RBYZ: On my terms (#004)

Meet Barbara Kiao, the therapist who practises what she preaches.

“Feel the fear and do it anyways.”

Says our guest this week. She had been a successful hospitality manager until she decided to study psychology when she was two decades too old. That is, according to the norm.

Seven years later, after getting her degree and license, she walked away from the broken marriage, accepting her own Rock Bottom.

Meet Barbara Kiao, the therapist who practises what she preaches.

What you’ll hear:

  • Can one really switch from hospitality to psychology?
  • Is there such a thing as “too old to learn?”
  • What does age have to do with… anything?
  • What does a calling feel like?
  • How to stop the stigma around counseling?
  • What does a clinical counselor’s day-to-day practice look like?
  • How does a psychology pro deal with crises and rock bottoms?
  • And much more!

Links from the episode:

 

Listen and subscribe to Rock Bottom with YZ:
A weekly podcast for and about anyone and everyone who has spiraled downward and doesn’t know which end is up.

Listen to Rock Bottom with YZ on RadioPublic

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Click here to see ways to help #RBYZ to grow.

The gem

Thanks for the curve ball, Life. 

I’ve gotten used to meditate first thing after I wake up, no matter how awful I’ve felt, especially over the last couple of months.

I’m nowhere near the stage of enlightenment. And Ten minutes seems to be the max I can handle to persist on a daily basis.

With the Drip by Drip mindset in mind, I’m now on a 118 streak, recorded by the meditation app.

What I love most about it is the story at the end of every guided session.

Today’s story is so good, that for a cat lover I have to quote verbatim here.

In India, I was living in a little hut, about six feet by seven feet. It had a canvas flap instead of a door.

I was sitting on my bed meditating, and a cat wandered in and plopped down on my lap. I took the cat and tossed it out the door. Ten seconds later it was back on my lap.

We got into a sort of dance, this cat and I…

I tossed it out because I was trying to meditate, to get enlightened. But the cat kept returning. I was getting more and more irritated, more and more annoyed with the persistence of the cat.

Finally, after about a half-hour of this coming in and tossing out, I had to surrender. There was nothing else to do. There was no way to block off the door.

I sat there, the cat came back in, and it got on my lap. But I did not do anything. I just let go. Thirty seconds later the cat got up and walked out.

So, you see, our teachers come in many forms.

― Joseph Goldstein

Soon I will be able to hold my cat in my arms. I kind of look forward to it, which was utterly unthinkable only a month ago.

The things I’ll be doing. The adventure I’ll embark on.

Thanks for the curve ball, Life.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

PS. Listen to the latest RBYZ podcast if you haven’t already. The guest is truly one of a kind! Episode show notes here.
PPS. Clocked in 482 words. Tallying 61,754 words. 14.12 days remaining.

 

 

Take a deep breath

But when I meditate in the morning, the message is always something different. Today it says: When we let go of all expectation, there is peace.  So I took a deep breath. And settled in. 

I re-started meditation in May.

Today I was told that I am on a 83-day streak. My longest was 91. So eight days away to set a new record. I hope I would just keep going.

I was doing meditation even when my Chinese family of four was here from December to February.

But my auntie fell sick only six days before their trip back to China, right on my 30th birthday. Her face was so swollen that she could barely open her eyes and she was running a fever. I stayed with her in hospital for the first night trying to get to the bottom of the cause.

Long story short. Auntie’s symptoms were relieved. The family went back to China on time. My dad and I even went to the Staples Center for the LA Lakers v. Dallas Mavericks game on Friday night when auntie was discharged late that afternoon, two days before they flew back on Feb 25.

Then, the insurance coverage. I was the middleman for the Ronald Regan Hospital and the Chinese Insurance Company. Roughly a month later, the insurance company confirmed that they would cover the staggering $36,000 hospital bill. By then, I was bone tired.

  • Yesterday in the mailbox, I got a Final Notice from the hospital, staying that they still hadn’t got the rest of the money wire. I have until Aug 8 to fix it.
  • The communication gap between the insurance company and the hospital bureaucrat is appalling. As if sending me those bills, the niece of the patient can solve the problem for her. The insurance company already paid for the 1st half. Shouldn’t she keep talking to the insurance company?
  • I had to stop myself from digging into this rabbit hole, from getting worked up.

Since my family’s left, I felt a huge void.
Plus, I was anxious about the work visa (H-1B) lottery result, my work prospect with the company, whether I was a liability or an asset, and when my boss would send the office manager to break the news to me.

As of June 1, I’m not allowed to be paid anymore. My parents once again showed me just how diehard they are to keep investing in me, regardless of my poor ROI.

If I were the hero of my own movie, I feel the stakes keep rising.  I need to prove my worth to the immigration board next year to get the artist visa (O-1)…

But every morning I switch on the coffee maker, sit on my couch, and meditate, I get a different voice.

Today it says:

When we let go of all expectation, there is peace.
– Kim Eng

So I took a deep breath and settled in.

 

Yours truly,
YZ