Some Reflections On 2020 So Far & How I View Myself As A Practitioner

September 22, 2020

Hello everyone! It’s been a while.

I haven’t been in the mood to blog for a while now. There’s usually a period each year that the dreaded feeling of burn-out will set in. I’m definitely recovering from some form of mild burn-out. Don’t worry, all’s well and whoever I owe reports to will still get their reports and Q&As done diligently. Some might say question what’s there to burn-out about when my job essential just involves writing emails and talking. Yes, I agree that physically, it’s not challenging but mentally and emotionally, it can be challenging at times. That’s when I’ll usually need to withdraw for a little while and just focus on myself and be in my own happy-zone.

I hope for everyone’s understanding when I say there will be times when I need to put myself first because if I were to be physically or emotionally feeling unwell, I will not be able to do whatever I’m doing properly. I will also constantly be snapping at people which happens once in a while. So if I take a slightly longer time to reply to your emails, do bear with me.

It’s almost a year since I left my corporate job. If you’ve missed the announcement, I left my job at Grab last October when I decided it was time to take a break and travel a little, then the pandemic hit and I’m stuck in Singapore. In some ways, the move is calculated and I was getting signals from all over the place that it was time to leave. It’s a huge pity that I don’t get to travel because I really wanted to reward myself for several years of hard work.

I’m still grateful for a lot of things in 2020 and I’ve had certain epiphanies.

2020 has made me realize that I have a marriage that only most can dream of. I am very blessed to have a good marriage that is filled with an abundance of love, laughter, and not to mention good food. It’s the biggest blessing I’ll ever have considering the kind of family environment I grew up it. 2020 has also given me some assurance that whatever I am doing right now is sustainable, which I also take it as a sign from Heavens that I am on the right track and conducting things the right way.

Being at home the whole day and the recent cool weather does put one into a more introspective mood. This post is a personal post, so if you aren’t interested, feel free to turn away. As I’ve said before, this blog of mine is also an outlet of mine. This is not the first time I’ve posted a reflective entry:

How I Feel About My Job After Almost A Year

I have to admit that, at times, things do start to feel a bit routine but that’s not to say I’m any less grateful for what I have. It’s just that the high I used to feel is no longer there and when I say “high”, it’s the initial excitement of building something. I remember how thrilled I felt when I got paid for my very first consultation and I rewarded myself with a meal that’s not economy rice. These feelings are, of course, passing and you settle into a rhythm and routine. A consultation is just another chart or house waiting to be broken down as objectively and logically as possible according to nature’s laws. But with the fading of these highs is also the realization that what I do still has its significance and has an impact on people, so it’s imperative that I do it well. It cannot just be about the excitement of having another source of income but a discipline that you commit yourself to.

I know there will be a group of people who will always accuse me of being pretentious and whatever I write here is just another chunk of marketing material. Well, get off my blog then and focus on your own life. I cannot emphasize enough that sometimes to get your life in order, you just need to focus on yourself and not waste your time passing judging or trying to compare yourself with others. It is a belief that I’ve been following for quite some time now.

I make it a point to remind myself how lucky and grateful I am for complete strangers from all over the world to approach me for what I do. The only continent that I’ve not had clients approach me is Antarctica. All other continents have been covered. To me, that’s exciting and it’s an honour.

I am grateful because I have a better, more comfortable life because of what I do and I’ve received a lot of envious comments from friends stating that I’m lucky to have found a passion and calling, and am able to make a living from it. Indeed, I do feel lucky. I sometimes even question myself if I deserve such a life because few people can relate to just how much my life has changed within a span of a few years. I can only wish that what I have now is my reward for doing something right. I believe many legitimate practitioners and astrologers out there also feel the same way as I do, and I’m heartened to know there are people out there who can relate to what I’m experiencing. I do not wish to become the kind of person who feels like the universe owes me anything especially when I’ve been taught from my life experiences since young that universe clearly doesn’t.

I love what I do. Not just because it’s a job that puts food on the table for me and my loved ones, but also because I’ve witnessed what it can do for others. I love what I do also because of the individuals I get to meet, whom quite a number have become my friends that I meet up and hang out with. It’s heartening to see some of your client-turned-friends through different milestone – changing careers, getting married, or becoming a parent. There is an immense feeling of fulfillment when someone comes back to you to share how your input has helped.

Of course, I do see some of them go through tough times like going through a divorce or the loss of a loved one, of which I can only hope what I do gives them some form of closure or respite.

There are parts about my job that I don’t like and there are no prizes for guessing what it is. But instead of talking about our favourite Category 4 chart-holders, I will shift the focus to myself instead.

There Are Definitely Things I Don’t Like About Myself

I pride myself for being a very self-aware person because if I wasn’t, I would not have made it so far or stepped out of the shadows of a challenging start to life. Be that as it may, what I am also aware that this self-awareness is pointless if there is no form of self-control or if it isn’t being put to some form of constructive use. Of course, I’ll always make it a point to put it what I know, or rather what I’m aware of, to constructive use, but it doesn’t always work out at times.

I don’t want anyone to ever think that just because I am a practitioner, I am some embodiment of virtues or morals. Trust me, that is never how I perceived myself and I am far from that. I am just another human being who read a lot of books, and I am also not the type that constantly quotes scriptures or advice people to become like our great spiritual figures. I am a pragmatic realist and some of the things I do as a person can be put up for debate on whether it is intrinsically good. The simplest example I can give is that I am supportive of capital punishment, that the death of someone can be good for society as a whole. This is a notion that doesn’t sit well with some people, especially the ‘woke’ generation.

Suppose someone were to have coffee with me and asked me if I were a compassionate or kind person, I would not be answering with a “yes” or “no” – I’d be asking that to define what do you mean by being “compassionate and kind” and what does it entail? What if this person I help ends up harming others and how do I answer Heavens if it does? I am questioning my thoughts, intent and consequences of my actions all the time. I know these things and my train of thought makes me appear to be a very ‘cold’ and rational person, and in a lot of ways, I am.

Another important point I wish to bring across is that just because I study metaphysics doesn’t mean I always know what is the right way to live or the right thing to do at any time. At the end of the day, what I study is laws, patterns and how laws manifest in the physical world. Suppose someone lives in a toxic home environment with abusive parents, should this person move out and cut ties with his or her parents? Or go with the whole Asian filial piety thing and continue to suffer? Does Chinese metaphysics give you the answer on the best thing to do? No, it doesn’t. What Chinese metaphysics can do is to only bring to your awareness that you were meant to be in a toxic environment, and what you need to do next is for you to figure out yourself. I have suggested to some clients to move out or to even call off their marriage at some point in my career. Surely these are actions which, in certain contexts, can be morally frowned upon, but at the end of the day, I know my client ended up with a better life.

A lot of clients are caught up by what is the “right” or “wrong” thing to do. I’ll always tell them sometimes it’s not about “right” or “wrong” because you’ll never come to a conclusion. Just think about it from cause-and-effect, and whether or not you can be at peace and happy with the consequences of your decisions at the end of the day.

I know how I can come across and I don’t try or aspire to be like some saint. People who have sent me a badly drafted email trying to guilt-trip me for a free reading or anyone who has been self-entitled or rude would know what I’m talking about. Fortunately, the people who see this side of me are the Category 4 chart-holders that I refuse to serve although some sadly some still get past the filter. I do get sucked into someone else’s toxicity and negativity at times and an argument will ensue, and it only serves to let me regret my behaviour after I’ve cooled down. In some ways, I’ve been conditioned to not back down from a fight, but life is gradually teaching me that not fighting is the real way to win. As for my clients whom I’ve had the honour of serving or am currently serving, I certainly hope at no point I made you feel I had a dark side because that’s not something to be proud of.

And as much as some people do not believe me when I say this, I am trying very hard to work on these darker sides. The side that is impatient, blunt, and basically the side that needs to find some form of balance in the way I conduct things and bring things across. I am fully aware that I am the embodiment of my chart and what it describes of me. In a way, I embrace it. Not only because is it a very accurate description of me, but what my chart says I’ve become does have its perks, although it will also have its downsides. I guess my challenge here is to be able to learn from the characteristics of other stars or other kinds of charts and reach some form of balance.

Perhaps patience and compassion towards some of these people I find it so hard to deal with will come with age.

I’ll Always Be Grateful For My Clients

The thing about being a service provider running your own thing is that, without your clients, you’re simply – nothing.

I’m perfectly aware that when most clients come to me, not only are they parting with their hard-earned money, they are also in a vulnerable state and entrusting me with a lot of things.

The majority of my clients are really, really nice people and they are the reason why I enjoy my work so much. The patience they have while waiting for my email replies and trusting me fully, to their understanding that I need some time to rest and recharge. The majority of my clients show a lot of appreciation for what I do, and as mentioned, some do end up friends and we’ll meet for coffee or a meal. It’s like how someone people become friends with the barista at the cafe. It’s the same for me.

It’s heartwarming.

I’ve met very inspirational figures through the course of my work. Immigrants who escaped from a war-torn country, people who were abandoned since they were a child and had to fight to survive, and people from humble beginnings who ended up really successful. They don’t actually need a reading because they already have what it takes to do well in life. Chinese metaphysics gives them that extra lift. That goodness in their character is intrinsic and they are just born different and life, along with the decisions they make, just keeps pushing them to better places and greater heights.

I love my job because I get to see the best of humanity as well and witness first-hand what it means to live with dignity, pride, and the beauty of the human spirit. I’m not trying to make it sound like the Olympics here, but there are great stories and victories in all forms happening every moment. Someone’s turning point has just begun.

If it isn’t clear by now, I don’t expect to be treated differently. I’m a service provider who is exchanging time for money, and mutual respect is enough. I do not need people to call me “master” because exactly what in the hell am I a master of? I can’t even consistently take a good dump every morning. To me, this job has always been about two people having an affinity. It’s not just metaphysics. Whoever you meet in life is a form of affinity (or fatal attraction). I cherish that affinity, and nothing makes me happier knowing that Heavens gave me a passion or skill that can make a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s a small difference.

There Will Always Be A Side Of Me That Dislikes Category 4 People

Then there is the flip side of things.

I think there is really one thing that I need to make very clear which I didn’t get to in the past.

Whenever I say Category 4 chart-holders, I am really referring to extremely deplorable, worst of the worst characters who have no shame, moral compass, and you might even be able to label as sociopaths in some cases. You don’t necessarily have to go to jail or appear on international news to hold that label.

I won’t dislike you simply because you are struggling with life because what does that make me? We all struggle at some point. But what makes me really dislike someone is their attitude in times of struggle. Do you seek to find out what’s wrong and change? Or you lament the world around you and try to drag others down to make yourself feel better?

I know most people won’t be able to appreciate just how bad someone can get, which is great because you’ve lived a life where you need not come across such degenerates who make you question humanity or human dignity. Most people only get an idea of how Category 4 people are like through the news. You don’t actually get to talk to them and see how twisted their minds are. I, on the other hand, have met such people at different stages of my life and even my parents are classic Category 4 chart-holders.

I still meet them once in a while due to the nature of my work and these are the bunch of people who love to hate me which I don’t exactly blame them for. Imagine being turned away for no apparent reason, being metaphorically torn a new orifice to take a dump with, or paying money to someone only to be told a whole bunch of negative things about yourself and your life. To these group of people, their only defence to being inadequate is to slap the “arrogant” label on anyone who crosses them.

When I say Category 4 people are bad, they are really THAT bad and they come in different renditions.

Serial cheated, gambler, womanizer who divorced his mentally-ill wife who thinks she’s the reincarnation of one of the Buddhas. Check.

Overweight clandestine foreign agent who spied for China and ended up in jail. Check.

Loan-shark runner turned failed entrepreneur and eventually went bankrupt. Check.

A grown man fighting with his own family for inheritance and can’t quite figure out why his family shuns him. Check.

Scion of an Indonesian conglomerate who expects people to speak to him like he’s the next Messiah. Check.

42-year-old unemployed Ivy-league graduate still taking an allowance from family and putting others down with his ‘wealth’ and paycheque from 12 years ago. Check.

The list goes on.

My job is interesting because I get to meet all sorts of people and I really mean it when I say ALL SORTS of people.

I know this is going to sound very wrong, but I’ve always asked myself why is it that a puppy, which is an animal, can evoke such pleasant feelings in us, but some people, as human beings, can only make you feel the complete opposite? Are we not better than animals?

I don’t know, maybe there’s some special rule that all dogs are born on good BaZi days. And yes, I intend to get a pet dog at some point in my life. A corgi. Also, if a corgi and a Category 4 person were drowning. I’ll save the corgi. Sorry.

I know my epic blog post from 2017 about good charts vs bad charts inspired by the sheer frustration towards humanity splits charts into a mere four categories, but please bear in mind that is an oversimplified way of looking at things because:

  • For some charts, your Elemental Phases do change and you don’t stay stuck in a positive or negative phase forever. Some people do grow eventually. You might be a Category 4 chart-holder for a while, but your later years can be labelled as Category 2. This simply means you learned your lesson and you have grown, and Heavens will reward you for it. I need to remind everyone though that most people don’t change that easily, which is perhaps a reflection of why you usually get two consecutive 10-year phases of the same element.
  • Natal charts have a huge variety, and the level of auspiciousness and inauspiciousness has a wide spectrum. A good chart can be good in different ways and the same can be said for bad charts.

The point of that blog post is to let everyone know the difference, as well as significance, of your natal chart as well as major phases you go through. I want people to understand how it physically manifests in the real world, and when I say “physically”, that, of course, includes someone character and mental make-up.

Addressing My Haters – Yes, I Have Them

I definitely have haters and it’s usually people with the Category 3 and Category 4 charts.

To be fair, sometimes I do asked to be hated because I’m too blunt or abrasive, but there will always be cases of people hating for the sake of hating. It’s interesting because I never thought I’d get to a point where I’ll actually get haters, but I guess that’s one of the marks of progress and success in my life. It also feels as though what I went through in the past is preparing me for these things so that I don’t lose focus on what matters.

These people will always have a special place in my life, and I sometimes entertain the childish thought of whether I exist to drive some message to them. I don’t have an explanation on why they exist, only that they must accordingly to the laws of Yin and Yang. Something has to break down and decay before something new and beautiful can be born. That’s just the laws of nature. I used to call them the ‘fertilizers’ of people with good charts because they inspire us to make sure we grow and do not become like that because decay (Yin) has to come first before growth (Yang).

To me, these people serve to remain us about the good things in life although it involves them intruding into ours once in a while. I take it as a compliment when these people hate me because I see myself having something that they don’t. I grew up knowing what it’s like to be ostracized and I don’t even care about whether my own parents love me, so I’m not sure what these haters are trying to achieve.

Perhaps the worst thing about these people is that they bring out the worst in all of us. As much as they are an opportunity to practice wisdom, and perhaps even kindness, you need to be close to being a saint to be able to do so. But kindness here not necessarily means literally extending a helping hand here, because sometimes, if you show one these people so-called “kindness” and help them, and what closely follows is ten perfectly nice and innocent people suffer. Perhaps kindness here is acknowledging that there is a bit of ‘Category Four-ness’ in everyone one of us and we pray that us and the people we love will not regress to such a state. As much as we dislike having Category 4 people around us, they serve as important reminders on how not to live.

These people definitely bring out the worst in me and perhaps they’ll always be my biggest karmic challenge. For now, I can only make it a point that they are not near me.

The Industry I’m In Can Get Very Toxic At Times

Drama is everywhere and the field of Chinese metaphysics is included.

The toxicity doesn’t just come from clients but from the practitioners themselves sometimes. There are forums where people go on all-out flame wars and individuals trying to be recognized as the leading voice within those forums. Their grudges can go on for years. It’s scary. For some reason, I tend to get mistaken as one of these individuals in these forums hiding behind a pseudonym because I share the same trait of being vocal about how some people really don’t know what they’re doing. The funny thing is that I end up taking some hits or getting flamed for things are I’m not even aware of. It’s dark, but funny at the same time.

I know I do get vocal about how certain things are conducted out there and there has some pent-up frustration in the past, but I am past that phase now and am fully focused on myself and my own practice now. There are enough posts explaining the things I am unhappy about in this industry and I’m getting tired of repeating them. I’m sure many readers are tired of reading the same thing too. I will just let nature and karma do its job.

If it’s not clear from the start, let me just say that I will never, ever participate in any forum. I did start my own forum as a fun experiment to see if it increases engagement, but I have a feeling it’ll eventually be shut down if it becomes too much of a hassle to deal with.

As an industry and community: I do have contacts and acquaintances in different parts of the world, and they are practising other forms of astrology. I do turn to them from time to time to discuss a few things and see how the different disciplines overlap. There is really still a lot of things to learn.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I am fully aware of how messy things can be in this industry. Egos will clash just like how egos clash everywhere. I am perfectly aware of this. This is the reason why I try to keep my practice as private as possible – it is simply between me and my client. That’s all.

I Am Far From Being The Perfect Practitioner

This is also another thing I wish to make clear because some misunderstandings do occur from time to time.

If someone were to ask me whether I feel like I’ve learned more or have gathered more experience than some incumbents, I will very confidently say “yes” because I know I’ve done my homework. I don’t spend time advertising, creating videos, or going for events trying to raise my profile. I actually like sitting somewhere quiet reading a book. Talking to people and having them share their life with you is the absolute best way to improve your ability to decipher a chart.

If you are a beginner who poses a challenge or said something wrong that misleads others, I will, of course, point it out and even put it down. Some people will question why aren’t I open to other people’s opinions? Because it is not about opinions here. There is no such thing as subjectivity when it comes to these laws. One chart cannot and its beneficial elements cannot be interpreted in two different ways or more. So it’s not about me wanting to be right or enjoying being in a higher position of authority – if it is wrong, it is wrong.

Imagine this. How do you be in a constructive discussion with someone who believes that the Earth is flat? They throw a label on you, accuse you of being arrogant, and continue to believe that the Earth is flat.

These are the situations where “Sean is an arrogant prick” label is often thrown at me. Aristotle said that “Virtue is the golden mean between two vices” just like how Buddha said that the Middle Path is important or how Confucius said Heavens will punish those who are arrogant. I believe that for anyone to do something well, there must be a certain level of confidence that fuels that drive, but I am also always trying to make sure my confidence does not cross the line that it becomes arrogance.

The work I do does not put me behind the veil of a corporate name. I am the product and the service. As such, I know I will always be under scrutiny for my conduct and how I am as a person and practitioner. I know how I can come across at times, and for that, I will always apologize if the way I am offends people somehow. But at the end of the day, I hope everyone realizes that if I really were that arrogant prick some people claim I am, Heavens will punish me accordingly.

There are a few things I wish to make clear. I have never claimed to be a perfect practitioner. I do not know everything and I have to refer back to my books if I happen to get a complex case and I’ve said this many times. I do make mistakes, and sometimes very silly mistakes such as:

  • Keying in the wrong birth time when generating a chart
  • Or worse, keying in the wrong gender

Most people don’t know how overwhelmed I can get at times, and how much consultations I get a month is not something that I wish to flaunt like some trophy. I don’t post about the feng shui audits I go to nor my clients’ compliments because I don’t want to turn this into some sort of popularity contest or circus. Chinese metaphysics is one of those fields where there is a lot of temptation to showcase how well you’re doing or how accurate you are, but it kind be a bit demeaning to this field if this is overdone.

Sometimes the mistakes come from lapses in judgement or rigour, especially when a chart is harder to decipher and goes against the usual train of thought. For example, people always assume a weak Daymaster’s beneficial element is one that strengthens it, which is not true.

I will always admit that I got something wrong because if I don’t hold on to such a mindset, I will never improve. It is the same as chess which I grew up playing. If you do not figure out and admit why a move you made was bad, you will repeat it and you will never get better. I won’t cook up a story and try to talk my way out of things.

Believe me when I say I always make it a point to revise what I know and try to learn as much as possible. I sometimes look back at the reports and analyses I had when I first starting giving consultations and I’m glad I made progress as a practitioner. I will be very disgusted with myself if I am earning money through spouting nonsense and I don’t want someone else to suffer or make the wrong decision because I don’t have the humility to admit that I am wrong.

The last thing I want is for people to think that I am a know-it-all. That being said, I do take a lot of pride from the fact that I did my homework and I am constantly learning, and when I want to study something, I won’t be satisfied with a superficial understanding of it. Let’s take trigonometry for example: Has it not bothered you that we were forced to memorize “sin x + cos x = 1” and not be told why or how the theory came about? I absolutely hate it when I have to study something, but not know the foundations it was built on.

There is so much more I wish I could learn, but I know that even if I were to commit the rest of my life studying everything on Chinese history and astronomy, my biggest regret is knowing I may never be able to reach the level our ancestors did. Times are just different and it is very difficult to commit yourself to such pursuits of knowledge without having to sacrifice other areas of your life, which I am not ready to do. Besides, I am not even in a geographically suitable place to study the history and theory of Chinese metaphysics because we can’t even see the stars used in Chinese astrology from Singapore. As much as I would like to get into the heads of our ancestors, there are some limitations. However, if I do get that chance, I will jump on it. For now, it’s just reading whatever books I can get on and understanding the building blocks of astrology, such as the development of the calendar.

I think what I wish to convey here is that I do have career lows. Trust me, I do. Everyone has a point where they doubted themselves and their work. It can come from your boss, colleague, or client. I, too, feel that way sometimes do despite working for myself. Once in awhile, there will be this epically toxic person or client who makes you question your worth and what you do.

There’s nothing more I can do but to continue to hone my craft, learn more, and minimize errors.

The Journey Continues For Now

I’m honoured that my clients hold me in high regard in terms of my proficiency and experience, but I am still far satisfied with what I can do. I guess I’ll only be satisfied if I’m able to predict lottery numbers.

I’m grateful that what was once a side-gig is now a full-time job. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year. In a lot of ways, my time and life were given back to me by virtue of the trust given by my clients. I’ve been using a lot of my free time to learn more, growing in other ways, as well as thinking about what’s next for me. One chart after another, or one feng shui audit after another is definitely something that I can do for the rest of my life, but there’s this yearning to wish to do more. That’s just how I am and how my chart is, and before anyone jumps to conclusions, it’s not about wanting to make more money. I’m still figuring things out.

I’ve always had this inner drive in me to wish to do more and get more out of life. When I was younger, due to the way I grew up, the motivation was for the validation and attention. That was the past. But now, it’s really more about cherishing what’s left of my life after a tough start and wanting to make the most of it.

Taking a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine will likely happen in the next few years. If I knew a pandemic was going to hit, I would have started this year.

To my clients reading this, please know that I mean it when I say I’m very thankful for the trust and faith you’ve put in me. Thank you for appreciating me, my time, and what I do.

– Sean

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