My Story

When my mom was pregnant with me, every time Glenn Campbell came onto the radio, I would start dancing around in her belly and she would throw up. Apparently, I was drawn to music ~ country western music ~ from the womb.

I was raised in a rigid Chinese~American household in Westerville, Ohio. All I wanted was freedom, but I was a good girl who obeyed the rules. I wasn’t allowed to go to the mall or Friday night football games with my friends, but I was permitted to sing in the school musicals and write sad songs. Music was my form of rebellion.

Steered by my parents to take the practical route, I majored in finance at The University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. It was a challenging 4 years as I labored through classes on financial derivatives and secretly suffered with bulimia. My only sources of happiness were the the acapella group and musicals I was a part of ~ and my best friend, Ferd.

After graduation, I worked as a securities analyst in New York City. I was so miserable, I began calling in sick and then actually getting sick. I admitted to a friend that what I really wanted was to be a singer~songwriter. He said, “You can.” There was such a palpable knowing in his words, I applied to The Manhattan School of Music and got accepted. My dad’s response was “There are no Chinese jazz singers.” My mom stopped talking to me for 2 months.

I worked for a few years, temping during the day and singing in clubs and wedding bands at night. At this point, Ferd, my best friend from college, made a dramatic reappearance in my life after 6 years of being apart. We fell madly in love and got married. We didn’t have much money but we both worked hard. I entered a 12~step program and therapy for my eating disorder. Life was getting better.

My big break came when I was offered the role of Christmas Eve in the Tony~Award winning musical, “Avenue Q”. I had my Broadway debut and, finally, my parents’ approval.

Then, the unexpected happened: I fell into a deep depression.

My childhood dream of being on Broadway did not take away the dread I woke up with every single morning. I was free to do what I wanted, but internally, I was still bound to that good little girl.

Talk therapy and 12~step groups helped to a certain extent, but I needed something more. I explored shamanic journeying, chakra work, cranio~sacral sessions ~ whatever I could to free myself from the sense that something was wrong with me.

It wasn’t until I discovered a therapist who practiced Core Energetics that I began to do the deep inner work that would liberate me. I had to stop blaming my parents. I had to own the ways in which I was repressing myself and keeping myself small.

At the same time, I was brainstorming with a friend about other work possibilities since I no longer felt called to Broadway. I pondered the idea of doing workshops. She asked, “Like a singing class?” Though it was logical, I said, “No, that doesn’t feel right.” Then she said, “Imagine there are 20 people in my apartment right now. What would you do with them?” I immediately responded, “I don’t know but I feel excited!”

I invited 5 friends to my apartment and simply told them that I was going to work with each of them. Fortunately, they trusted me enough to show up because I had no idea what I was going to do.

As each of them sat in the middle of the circle, I discovered something about myself. I could see things ~ things that they had never told me. I could feel where they were blocked and help them release the blockage. I could tune into each person’s energy and hold space for what naturally wanted to emerge. Something transformative happened for all 6 of us that day. It was magical.

My friends encouraged me to offer what I did for them to more people. And that was the beginning of my Artists’ Workshops where I would help people unlock their creative energy.

Synchronistically, my Core Energetics therapist moved to LA, created a training school and a new modality called Radical Aliveness where I could learn to professionally facilitate groups in a powerful way. I enrolled and 4 years later graduated as a Radical Aliveness Core Energetics Practitioner. You can read more about that story here.

I am grateful for this work I do. It feels like breathing to me. It is my gift to be endlessly fascinated by people and the truth of who they are. I get to delve into the heart every single day ~ with my husband, my clients, my friends, and strangers I meet along the way.

I continue to aspire to greater freedom in myself. It’s not always easy. Freedom requires a level of honesty and willingness that I would not be able to get to without the help of some truly great humans I have met along my path. There are still moments I regress, but those moments are fewer and farther between.

I no longer wake up in dread. I wake up to a beautiful 20~year marriage; to family and friends who have walked through the fire with me; to work that I love; and to this life. This awesome, messy, painful, glorious, wild, astonishing, wonderful life.

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