It just dawned upon me that it’s not just another new year, but a new decade as well and what a decade it has been.
This feels somewhat like an obligatory year-end post as always as everyone feels a bit more contemplative. Not that I don’t enjoy writing it. I’ve always made it a point to share some light-hearted updates about what’s going on in my life as a form of connecting with my readers. I always felt it’s important to get to know your practitioner a little and I’m glad I can do it directly instead of having the media or someone else do it for me.
I’m struggling with what to write because it’s not I’m coming up with anything new, just that I have 100+ blog posts now and it’ll take a while for someone, especially my newer readers, to peruse them and get the full picture. I’ve always been very open about my story and my past on my blog and I keep repeating the same stories mostly as a reminder not just myself but my clients. These stories are the ones that kickstarted a chain of events that got me to where I am and they are the stories that I draw my strength and motivation from.
I’ll try not to sound repetitive and keep this year-end note short. This post is meant as an outlet for myself.
Perhaps to make it a bit more interesting, I’ll draw references back to my own chart because my life played out exactly the way my chart said it would.
Looking back at the past decade
The start of the decade marked the lowest period of my life.
I graduated in 2011 from NUS Business School, but it didn’t take long for me to majorly screw up my life because, like many of my clients, I jumped into things I wasn’t ready for, I was naive and I trusted the wrong people. I didn’t possess the maturity or wisdom required to survive, let alone thrive in the real world as I was still struggling with my own issues and wanted to prove something to the world and get validation – something I eventually learned to give myself. I won’t bore everyone with the details, but whatever it is that you feel that you have gone through, I would have likely gone through it too.
2012 was the year when everything came crashing down, and 2013 was also a complete mess as I struggled to climb out of the pit I was in. I was unemployed for the whole of 2013 and just went around doing odd jobs like giving tuition, teaching chess while still trying to start something for myself to no avail. While I did what I could to survive, these two years were also spent doing an extreme amount of reading as I practically had no social life as I just wanted to be alone, partly because I was also ashamed of how messed up and lagging behind I was compared to my peers.
Naturally, when you hit your lowest point, you start to do some soul-searching. This was the period where I picked up Chinese philosophy as a form of solace which eventually led me back to Chinese metaphysics which I actually got my first exposure to when I was 18. I didn’t start studying Chinese metaphysics when I was 18 – I merely approached it like a teenager reading the tabloid column of a newspaper.
I did find clarity, and eventually closure through my studies of Chinese metaphysics. Whatever the quality of my chart is, I wanted to find out for myself and I didn’t want anyone else telling me. My favourite Mencius quote always kept me going:
I have always reminded myself that every setback and failure was something to learn and grow from, and if Heavens wanted to give you an important task, Heavens will torture you first and see how you handle it. Perhaps this important task is to simply make this field I’m in better, or something else – I won’t know. But, hopefully, the training and torture can come to an end and I believe it has.
The turning point written in my chart eventually came
2014 was the year my 10-year phases (大运) changed. It was the turning point and the first time I stepped into a positive 10-year phase. The initial years were, of course, still a huge struggle, with me getting fired from a job, almost getting fired from another (while also getting my boss fired because he committed fraud), and put on the performance improvement program in another company. I eventually ended up at Grab and started off with a crap of a boss who also got fired, and eventually spent 3 years at the company which was a longer tenure than my previous 3 working places added together.
It wasn’t an easy start to my supposedly new, positive 10-year phase, but I fought on. I was a newbie practitioner, and I did not appreciate the significance a change in your 10-year phases (大运) can have. Not until now.
If anyone’s come for a consultation with me, you’ll always hear me mention your 10-year Elemental Phase and why not to take it lightly, because the changes it can bring will be immense and often irreversible. It can change your life. You may not feel it immediately but it will change. On the flip-side, it can also utterly wreck your life if you step into a negative phase and are not careful.
The most significant event that changed everything in 2014 was being forced out of the house by my abusive mother. I wasn’t forced out because I was a sloth and just laying at home the whole day and leeching off other people. I was already back in the corporate world at that point, taking a below-average salary for a university graduate because I accepted the reality that I had to start from the bottom again. Forcing me out of the house that fateful night was done with the intent to humiliate and cripple me because that’s just what narcissists do, and she was not above using physical violence to achieve this.
I was looking back at my own chart again at the turn of the decade, and realized my 10-year phases technically changed in the autumn of 2014. It doesn’t change the moment 4th February comes when ‘lichun‘ (立春) starts contrary to what many people believe. It’s different for everyone. I was forced out of the house in October which was in autumn, within weeks of my 10-year phase changing.
And what a change it was. It’s funny because at the point it happened, I was in anguish and despair, but looking back, it’s really the best thing that happened to me.
I left my home with a piece of malfunctioning luggage that night and never looked back. That was also the night I told myself I would severe all ties with my toxic family. Little did my abusive, narcissistic mother know that her plan to make me beg her to let me come home backfired and gave me exactly what I needed – which was getting her out of my life.
I rented a HDB room and had the best landlords ever and spent the next 5 years of my life there till I got married and got my own place. 2014 was also the year I started giving consultations because I wanted some extra income to pay rent and eat better for the sake of my health.
2014 was a very special year. Chains were broken, a new foundation was laid and, despite the tough start, it marked new beginnings.
I am a completely different person compared to the start of the decade
I’ve always argued that people who eventually step into a good 10-year phase always possessed a positive, resilient and growth mindset. But to be fair, our environment matters too as there’s no doubt that it affects our mindset and mental well-being. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg question, so both are important and it doesn’t matter which comes first. I always felt that if your mindset changes, your environment will change and vice versa. I’ve always proposed working on oneself first because that’s something you can control and work on immediately while changing environments tend to take some time or significant event. It has to start somewhere.
It’s a bit weird for an Asian to say this, but severing ties with my family was the single best decision I’ve made in my life and it was out of self-love and self-respect. I was also making sure I was not behaving and thinking like a low-level Enneagram Type 3 anymore. If you have not explored the Enneagram, I mentioned it a few times in my blog and I’d encourage you to read up on it and take the test. You’ll find it a lot more useful than trying to profile yourself with using BaZi.
It gives me a lot of solace and fulfillment when people tell me they can’t tell I came from a toxic family with abusive parents and domestic violence, and I take as a sign that I grew from the whole ordeal instead of letting me turn me into someone I don’t wish to be. That being said, I’m not someone without flaws – my life made me a very blunt, straight-talker which isn’t always welcomed. Not to mention I have zero-tolerance for toxic mentalities which makes me come across as an unempathetic person.
I definitely changed – a lot. The mental state I was in with completely no awareness feels very distant now as it’s as though I woke up from a really long nightmare.
From not knowing what I was struggling from to knowing exactly what’s the issue, what caused it and having it completely removed. That changed everything.
Giving thanks to everyone who made what I have now possible
I have a lot of people to be thankful for – friends, clients, and ex-clients turned friends.
I held my wedding banquet in October last year where my friends took the place of my family and I dedicated my wedding speech to everyone present. I would not have come so far without them.
There is another group that I don’t thank enough, which is my clients. I wish to make it extremely clear that I would not have the life I have now if not for you guys. I would not have been able to eat better and enjoy the comforts of my new home if not for your trust and support and believing in what I do. I do not want anyone to think that I take this for granted. I might seem or sound like I don’t care at times, but that’s only because I can be worn out and swarmed with consultations requests. I refuse to conduct this like other practitioners and train other people to do readings for me.
If I were in a business where I was just moving and distributing goods, perhaps I wouldn’t need to get more emotional over such issues and I didn’t have to bring up the topic of being grateful so often. If you like the product, you buy it. If you don’t, then don’t. But I think everyone knows by now that what I’m doing now tends to get a lot more personal, because not only am I the ‘product’ here, the quality of this ‘product’ will have a direct impact on people’s lives too.
I always go “I really can’t believe how my life turned out” in front of my wife to the point she gets a bit affectionately peeved because I’m always talking about myself. It’s hard for anyone to appreciate the depth of what I’m feeling because this has been my journey and mine alone and it has been quite a ride. It was a complete turnaround which I absolutely did not expect.
What I can only hope for is that what I can offer now, as a practitioner, is worthy of the blessings I’m receiving now.
Happy New Year everyone, and thank you for everything.