Mid-Year Updates & Giving Thanks

June 12, 2022

Hello everyone! It’s that time of the month again when I struggle to write something impactful but have a hard time doing so. This post is really just an update of my life and some personal reflections. Nothing philosophical or technical in nature – just putting down what’s going on in my mind and connecting with my readers.

If you don’t wish to connect, then may I suggest closing the tab and heading to bed early because I hope you really love Mondays. (I’m annoying, I know.)

So they say Saturn is in retrograde now and it’s supposed to affect me quite a bit based on my Western astrological chart because it’s in an important and, thankfully, benefic position. I’m presuming this Saturn retrograde is going to be good for me although I can’t be sure, although what I did read is that Saturn retrogrades make you reassess your priorities. Coincidentally or not, I have been feeling rather more introspective lately and this was before I even knew what Saturn retrograde was about.

One of the events that led me to this state of introspection was my visit to my alma mater. I was invited to go back and give a sharing session, not to the students, but to the teachers. I’ve posted about this event on Facebook and you can see some of the snippets of my presentation here:

I hope the video gives people a clearer view of how I’m like and how I sound outside of interviews and media features. Most should be able to tell that I’m one who speaks my mind and doesn’t hide who I am on my blog and in real life. Consistency is important and it gives someone’s voice and words their power. I don’t think anyone would take me seriously if I’m always changing my stance on certain things. Perhaps one of the biggest factors why I’m very against putting up a false front is because I grew up with a narcissist at home.

The feeling of nostalgia was overwhelming as I stepped foot into the school because it dawned upon me that 20 years have passed since I graduated. I cannot help but reminisce about everything that has transpired in the last 20 years – the vicissitudes, triumphs, and eventual turnaround to get to where I am today. It’s been one hell of a ride which, till today, I still find it hard to believe I actually got here, especially coming from a past when there were many moments where I wish I didn’t wake up from my sleep.

We were encouraged to talk about how we got started in our various careers and this was the part where I teared up because it requires me to go back to a time when I felt life was cruel, and perhaps even absolutely meaningless.

Some pain and anger definitely still reside within me and that is something I am never shy to acknowledge. I’ve learned over the years that these latent emotions will always remain and I will have to find a way to honour them, perhaps rise above them, and hopefully put them to good use. In a lot of ways, I think I have but, of course, nothing is perfect.

I remember myself as a very soft and gentle teenager and young adult, but I had a huge personality change in 2014 when I decided to sever ties with my family. I guess, to be able to do that, some personality or character change is required and I remember 2014 was a very unique year in the sense that something inside me just snapped and everything became clear. My thoughts became clear and I suddenly found myself and what I needed to do. I don’t think everyone needs me to explain what this “huge personality change” entails – this blunt, sometimes self-righteous side of me has not always been there and it only manifested when I decided I will no longer take nonsense from people who I deem evil, or destructive. It wasn’t something that I consciously told myself to become – it really just happened given the circumstances I was in.

In some ways, I’m not surprised that I turned out the way I am today because it’s something that’s written in my BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu quite clearly, just that it took a while for it to show up in real life to allow me to appreciate or acknowledge this side of my chart and what I’m meant to be. I think one thing most people, even my wife, is unable to relate to is how I am able to switch between two very different personas. People who are close to me will know I have a softer side and, of course, some people, especially clients, will get to see the harsh side. The Zi Wei Dou Shu explanation of this is that I am born under two different stars which are very different in nature and the books will say people like myself are able to switch modes instantly when required.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s next for myself and what kind of person I want to become, as well as what I wish to do with my life. My life has reached a somewhat state of equilibrium, so I find myself in a position where I can, perhaps, do more without having to disrupt my life.

Nostalgia Has Got Me Thinking About Things

My secondary school holds a special place in my heart because it was the first time I experienced kindness and patience from the adult figures in my life. A lot of the teachers I met there are my benefactors. Of course, not every teacher left fond memories. There were also some whom you know enjoyed inflicting pain on students who are deemed a bit more problematic, of which I was definitely one of them because of things happening at home.

I would have never gotten as far as I did if not for some of the teachers I’ve met there and to be able to see them again was an immensely joyful event for me. One particularly memorable part of the day was seeing my Secondary 3/4 math teacher again because he left to teach in another school and I had no idea he returned.

Teaching me why sin^2(x) + cos^2(x)=1

This is funny, but if you remember my blog post on academic excellence and whether it defines success, I joked about how to this day, I still don’t know why sin^2(x) + cos^2(x)=1 exists. So my math teacher being my math teacher whipped out a portable whiteboard and basically ran me through it again.

I am delighted to announce that after 20 years, I still don’t bloody know why sin^2(x) + cos^2(x)=1. Oh, and by the way, if you’re wondering who was taking the pictures, my wife was with me because I wanted to introduce her to my teachers.

I cannot begin to tell everyone how nostalgic, or even magical, that day felt because what you see in the above picture was an exact parallel of how things were like 20 years ago when I would be seated at a bench outside the staff room, and the teachers would be patiently helping me with my school work. It wasn’t just my math teacher whom I remember fondly.

I looked up to them and I still do. They had a profound impact on my life not because they helped me get my As (because I didn’t) but simply because, well, they were there when I needed help. I wanted to do well in my studies, and despite being in the last class of the level, these teachers didn’t give up on us. It brings me a lot of joy that I finally get to buy them lunch to thank them after all these years and this will be happening over the next few weeks.

Despite all the crap I’ve gone through in my life, I’ve never felt like my life was cursed. I really, really, met a lot of good people in my life and I’ve always had serendipitous events that gave me opportunities to grow. But alas, there was also a period where I met a lot of really, really bad people and I’m glad I got to see different sides of the world because it helps me make better sense of it.

Visiting my school and seeing my teachers again reminded me of how lucky I was. It’s not just the teachers who were my benefactors. There were many others whom I’ve met in my life who helped me and I am still meeting benefactors at this stage in my life. There are so many stories I wish I could share but I won’t know where to start.

So yes, I’ve been thinking, a lot. Perhaps this is the sign of my 10-year phases changing and I’m experiencing what I’ve always been telling my clients, which is that a change in your 10-year phase marks a shift in your mindset too.

I don’t think many of us get to feel nostalgia often. It’s a very fleeting emotion that comes and goes, and it never returns sometimes.

Nostalgia is a beautiful emotion that binds the past and present together and gives meaning to the things we’ve gone through. There’s a sense of idealism that things can go back to the way it once was but also hope that the future can be even better by virtue that these memories exist.

A Message To Clients Old & New

There’s one thing that I tend not to do enough or make it a point to do in consultations which are to thank my clients.

I know some people will not believe me when I say this because of the way I come across sometimes, but I am really, really very grateful for clients because I will basically be sleeping on the streets if not for them. But I will also say this upfront that there as some clients that I am not so thankful for and I would rather just keep things transactional.

Most people know that I adjusted my prices higher as announced in this blog post after Chinese New Year. I am extremely grateful, and lucky, that my price hike did not affect anything. People are still willing to part with $488 to get a reading from me and I thank everyone for your vote of confidence and trust.

It is not a small amount – trust me, I know.

I don’t want to keep going into why I chose to charge such an amount because this has been covered before and in my FAQs as well. I just want everyone to know that my pride and dignity push me to make sure I deserve the amount I’m charging.

When I am doing work and deciphering a chart or drafting an email, my brain goes into work mode and it’s just very focused on delivering what I see, so it’s not going to sound very personal most of the time. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your trust in me. As cold or harsh as I might sound sometimes, especially to certain individuals, it doesn’t make me some unappreciative prick who takes things for granted.

Some of my friends ask whether I miss the working world and meeting new people outside. Frankly, I’ve met more disgusting people than inspiring ones when I was in the corporate world, so I don’t quite miss it. I actually still get to meet new people every day and more than the average corporate professional. I also rather meet people through the work I’m doing now rather than in an office setting because things in the corporate world can get a bit pretentious and you never know if someone has a hidden agenda. It also helps that people whom I meet have to submit their birth details first, so I know what kind of person I’m dealing with.

Most of my consultations go down very well and it’s a pleasant experience for both sides and believe it or not, some of my closest friends now were once my clients it feels as though I’ve known them forever.

I’ve said this before, but my life has become a lot more colourful, interesting, and sometimes even fun ever since I became a practitioner. My friends are no longer just from the same education route I took – they span across all ages, all walks of life, and from different parts of the globe. Being a practitioner has allowed me to appreciate people for who they are at their core and not what kind of education or background they have. All this being said, I don’t want people to think that I want to be friends with everybody. It should be common sense to everyone that given all that I’ve been through, keeping good people around me is extremely important, so I’m very cautious of who I let into my life.

To those that I’ve gotten close to over the years, just know that I’m very grateful. For those just passing by and got something from the reading, I’m thankful as well.

On Other Practitioners & The Industry In General

This topic is perhaps one that I think about the most and for good reason. It’s time I address a few things once and for all.

The past few months have been interesting because a lot of people have been feeding me information on other practitioners for some reason. I’m not the first practitioner most people have been to, and it’s only normal for people to switch between practitioners from time to time to get a second opinion on things.

I get a lot of “This is not what I heard last time from Master so-and-so.” from clients which always leads to pretty interesting banter. I bring up other practitioners in my blog from time to time and some of my best posts were also ‘inspired’ by them.

I’ll be very upfront with my thoughts here and this is nothing new: People who have been following my blog since 2016 will know that there was a period when I was a very angsty practitioner calling out the injustices of the industry and sometimes throwing shade at other practitioners whom I know and have hard evidence are engaged in unethical practices. They could be selling generic reports, buying fake social media followers to appear more credible, or it could just be that they are extremely bad at what they do. I won’t lie, I thoroughly enjoyed writing those posts and letting everything out. I also felt that it was important that I addressed those issues. The emotions were too intense at that point that it was impossible for me not to talk about it, especially when, if I may say so myself, I am trying to make the field better and present Chinese metaphysics for what it really is. I was still considered fresh in the industry and I was basically caught off guard by just how bad things were so a lot of my actions were, frankly reactive.

There will always be new practitioners popping up. Hopefully, they are good, ethical practitioners who know what they are doing and their being in this field not because of some incessant need to feel special or important. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the latter happens most of the time.

There’s a saying in the industry that astrology is the first thing the unemployed turn to as a career because, as I said before, there are absolutely no barriers to entry into this industry. You will find that a lot of practitioners were once failed entrepreneurs or business owners – myself included actually. It is literally easier to come out to give BaZi readings than it is to set up a food stand in a night market or bazaar which should explain why new practitioners pop up all the time. There will definitely be practitioners who just want to do this purely because they see it as a money-making opportunity, and then there would be some who feel that they are Heaven’s chosen one and they report directly to the Jade Emperor. Some of the less visibly, slimy things some practitioners do are plagiarize or use black-hat SEO to bump up their rankings. I lost count of the number of ‘practitioners’ who copied my content I can’t even be bothered to call them out for it anymore.

I’ve said this a long time ago in one of my posts but I can’t remember which one, but the ability to be able to read someone’s chart does give you a sense of power, and even power over people. This is something that should never be abused. With power, of course, comes the temptation of one’s ego.

If anyone has friends who took BaZi or Qi Men Dun Jia classes and you realize they love to do readings and give you unsolicited advice when you didn’t ask for it, it’s because learning Chinese metaphysics sometimes tends to amplify someone’s character flaws and a lot of these new graduates want to go on an ego-trip of feeling like they are Heavens’ chosen one.

We all want to feel important and it is a very natural human desire. But do this the wrong way and with the wrong intention and all hell breaks loose. It’s like your annoying colleague at work who constantly gives stupid ideas at meetings just for the sake of wanting to be heard. Some people use Chinese metaphysics as a means to feel important – which can be dangerous. The fact that I can speak about all these things without wanting to stab myself means these are things I’m always reminding myself of. There are the pitfalls I need to be aware of. No one needs to remind me about it – it’s my job to remind myself.

The industry is a mess and it will always be a mess because this field is something that will likely never be regulated. If there comes a point where it does get regulated, things will be even worse because the fighting to appear legitimate will intensify.

I think what I am trying to say here is that I’ve come to the point where I really don’t care anymore.

I’ve been asking myself a lot recently why I cared so much about bad practitioners out there and I’ve been trying to dig deep. Because if I mistook my own ego for a sense of justice, it would be extremely, extremely detrimental to my own development not just as a practitioner but as a human being as well. Yes, there is some filth and injustice in the industry, but I don’t think I have the right to be the one dishing out justice – at least not all the time. It’s frankly also very tiring to be doing so.

There are just a lot of things that feel very wrong with this industry but I don’t know why most practitioners, especially the newly-minted ones, have no qualms about making it worse.

One interesting story that I wish to share is that, sometimes, I do consult the I-Ching (易经) on what is the best way forward for myself, and I often get Hexagrams to tell me to just move on and focus on myself. It sounds simple, yes, and sometimes the wisest thing to do is in fact the simplest thing to do but human emotions get in the way. I did a divination for myself recently and I got Hexagram 56 (旅) with the 1st line changing, which basically is the universe’s way of telling me not to get distracted and move on.

The first line of the hexagram roughly translates to:

If the wanderer busies himself with trivial things,
He draws down misfortune upon himself.

– Hexagram 56, Line 1

I’m going to be a bit cheeky here and thank the universe for labelling these practitioners as “trivial things”. If the universe labels them as such – I’m not going to say otherwise. It’s fascinating that out of all the possible lines I could have received, it was this particular one. It really feels like someone is addressing your question. The Hexagram is very fitting because I’m really having serious thoughts about how I wish to move forward as a practitioner which is why I guess I’m labelled a “wanderer” deciding his next steps in this case and there are, in fact, many things distracting me right now.

Considering the Hexagram as a whole all the way to Line 6, I guess what the Hexagram is also telling me is to stop nitpicking and also to do things in moderation. Line 6 of Hexagram 56 does emphasize a lot of humility, which I make a point to constantly remind myself of because I know arrogance is a character flaw that I might easily develop if left unchecked.

The point is to focus on the bigger picture and I’ve been thinking a lot about exactly what this “bigger picture” entails.

I know I’ll probably end up doing this for the rest of my life and like how many people are asking “what’s next” and when their next promotion will be, I’m also asking myself the same thing albeit in a different setting.

In a lot of ways, I actually have to thank these practitioners that I’m always so peeved about. Some of these practitioners do give me inspiration on what to write, such as the post on inductive reasoning (取象) in Chinese metaphysics. Some of them also help absorb the clients whom I don’t wish to serve, so it’s kind of a good thing that they exist. Perhaps most importantly, one of the reasons why I managed to stand out in my earlier days as a practitioner was because of the contrarian position I took against these practitioners and my self-study from the Chinese classics helped.

I always felt that choosing which practitioner to go to is no different from choosing a life partner or the company you wish to work for. Choose wrongly and you can expect things to really mess up.

I’ll give a very simple example: Some couples don’t hesitate to tie the knot because some practitioner said that they are a match made in Heaven and that all will go well, but next thing you know, a few years pass and they come to me, they get told that they are a match made in Hell. I don’t know why these couples aren’t told the truth right from the start but it’s either the practitioner is a charlatan, or they simply don’t believe in what they do, which shouldn’t be the case.

I guess my message, at the end of the day, to whoever stumbles on my blog is that everyone will need to be able to be discerning and make their own decisions that they won’t end up regretting. Whatever that I need to say about the industry has already been said and it’s time to focus on myself now.

People need to understand that going to a practitioner can be seen as a fated event that lies within the cause-and-effect chain of things. If the house you end up in and the person you marry are fated, I don’t see why the practitioner you go to won’t be. Again, I am not saying this as a marketing ploy or to put myself on a pedestal. I’m just stating what should be obvious but ends up being a blindspot to most.

I’m assuming that anyone who bothers to go to a practitioner believes in astrology and BaZi and what these techniques can reveal. Someone’s character and life, like it or not, are determined at birth. As daunting as this might sound, that is the truth. What I hope people always remember is that practitioners also have their own charts to deal with. Our success in this field is already written down in our charts and the fact that we are practitioners doesn’t mean we automatically transcend our charts, neither does the fact that we are practitioners doesn’t automatically make us saints or good people. We are all still ultimately bound by our charts and we are born the way we are which is the reason why you’ll see a plethora of practitioners who approach this field differently.

There will always be a part of me who cannot stand what’s going on out there but I’ve come to accept that I am just a very, very small voice and perhaps insignificant figure in the grand scheme of things. I’ll just have to accept things for the way it is, channel my energy toward the right places and focus on the people I’m meant to cross paths with

I’ve been figuratively fighting almost my entire life now trying to survive my childhood, and then the real world, and I’m really, really tired. Believe me, I did not ask for these fights, but for some reason, I was meant to go through all of it as it feels as though I’m being prepared for something.

My soul craves some rest. It doesn’t mean I’ll stop working hard. It’s just that I feel like I don’t have to keep fighting anymore.

The Hexagrams have spoken and Saturn retrograde has also been knocking some new perspective into me, so I guess what I need to do moving forward is clear.

What I’m Doing With My Extra Time

I have some bandwidth freed up now, and a lot of my extra time now is spent on rebuilding connections and relationships that are important to me. I’m definitely spending and have always been spending time with my beloved wife, and I’m also catching up with friends whom I’ve not seen for a while.

My nostalgic visit to my alma mater reminded me of what’s important and what matters.

On the more business side of things, I’m finally getting some time to read again, so I’ve been doing a lot of revision and also reading up on whatever interests me. Most recently, I’ve been reading up on some academic discourse on the history of astrology and how Chinese astrology was influenced by Israel, Islam, and India. It’s fascinating and I’ll share that someday.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to pick up 易爻占卜 which is basically divination using the Hexagrams. I’m using it for my personal life (as illustrated above) and things outside of work as a means of supplementing Qi Men Dun Jia. I’ve also been trying to sharpen up my feng shui knowledge and reading up on 玄空大卦 which is why I need to be proficient in the Hexagrams. Just professional development on my side of things.

Of course, I’m also working on classes, which I’ve yet to actively push or advertise although I’m struggling with whether I should do so.

2022 is a bit of a special year because I would be entering into a new 10-year phase which, if you’ve been paying attention, is a huge deal for anyone. It is, arguably, supposed to be my best 10-year phase and the start of an extended period of good fortune. Of course, I’m happy to see all these positive signs in my chart, but I cannot help but still think about whether I actually deserve them.

I often ponder with my wife that if things are relatively good now, then what would an even better 10-year phase bring? I really don’t know what to expect. If I can sustain what I have now, I would already be very grateful, so I don’t know how to feel if the charts are telling me things will be better. But whatever it is, I’m hopeful and I look forward to my next 10-year phase, but I know I can’t be complacent.

My wife and friends sometimes joke that my next big feature might be on Netflix. The dream. Let’s see if that happens.

Some Ending Thoughts

Despite the fact that I’m a practitioner, I’m still figuring a lot of things out. I have the same thoughts, dreams, and troubles that everyone has. It’s just that knowing how to read charts gives me a bit of a heads up on things, but it doesn’t mean I am able to avoid every single negative event I’m supposed to go through.

I guess all I wish for is a simple, healthy life that is preferably free from unnecessary vexations and drama. I really feel like I’ve gone through enough in my life in the sense that I’ve learned from a young age that people are only learning in their 40s and I take comfort in the fact that life’s better now because I’ve learned these lessons early. I’m blessed with an extremely good marriage and I kid you not that my wife and I laugh uncontrollably from our interactions almost every day. I’m also blessed with a job that I enjoy and find meaningful, and I’m constantly surrounded by good people.

I really, really don’t know what to expect moving forward because my journey so far has already been quite amazing. I never expected to get this far. Of course, I wish it’ll get even better, but the notion of my future being even better is hard to fathom because I don’t actually know if I deserve it or not. There are others out there who are also doing meaningful things with their lives and are, in fact, nicer and kinder people than I am, and I hope Heavens is showering them with blessings too.

I need to make one thing known before I end off though, that whatever I write on my blog and these reflective posts is not a way of my trying to virtue-signal. Virtue signalling is something that I learned of only recently and I’ve been reading up on it a little. If it helps bring a bit of balance to this post, there are people that I feel really deserve a horrible, lonely death. I also don’t write about anything politically charged or has to do with a certain social movement. All I know about the world is that it’s in a state of chaos seeking balance. Of course, I also find it hard to empathize with Category 4 chart-holders who brought upon their own miseries and despite all the things I’ve written, they still do not get it. My sympathy, or empathy, really isn’t going to change anything and it is the last thing they need. I don’t need people to see me as a good person because, and I say it again, I don’t need that kind of stupid validation given all that I’ve been through in my life. If you think I’m a good person, I’m honoured. If you don’t, that’s fine too. I always tell the people I’m close to that I am answerable only to Heavens – and I trust that Heavens will guide me accordingly.

One thing that’ll remain a constant no matter what is that I’m always trying to get better at what I do with each passing year and each client I take on. You can call it a competitive streak or perhaps just self-respect or pride in my work but I would really rather die than be bad at what I do. I guess what I can take comfort in is that looking at the readings I gave in 2016 and the ones I have now, I know I’ve definitely made a lot of improvement, but I’m still not satisfied with my level of proficiency and I hope I never will be.

Oh, before I forget, continue to expect some incensed posts with a lot of flair in my language. It’s just my style of writing. Some clients still trigger me. I’ll still write about things I feel are important to me and things I feel people ought to know in my unique Sean-esque way.

To those new to my blog, I hope you enjoy the journey that I’ve chronicled in my blog. For those who have been following my blog for a while, thank you for spending the time to read it. I hope some of these posts have helped you in one way or another, or perhaps given you a good laugh (about how many self-absorbed idiots exist in this world).

Till next time.

– Sean

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