I am so glad that you stumbled into our website, in response to my calling to the universe for a soul tribe.
My name is Huiying (abundant wisdom in Chinese), and I was born and raised in Malaysia, right across the strait from Singapore. As a nerd since young, I was lucky to study actuarial math and economics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. After graduation, I worked as an actuary in an international insurance firm, crunching numbers with the intent of escaping the rat race but couldn’t find a sense of purpose in my life.
Thankfully, amidst the hustling in corporate America, I found Tzu Chi foundation and my spiritual guide, Dharma Master Cheng Yen through volunteering. She teaches Buddhism as a system of life wisdom based on great love were so relevant and all-encompassing that it really opened my eyes to see spirituality without judgement. I started doing translation and editing work on the side and found a global tribe of selfless optimists trying to make a difference. We served in missions of charity, medicine, education and culture, bringing love and hope to dark corners of suffering and poverty. We organized book clubs, volunteer outreach and spiritual retreats for people to share stories and inspiration from charity and relief work around the world.
While my mind was well-nourished by Dharma, my body declined from overwork and neglect. I was often pulling all-nighters and started a vegetarian diet without fully educating myself on nutrition. As a twenty-six-year-old, I finally decided to investigate my constant fatigue and very irregular visits from Aunt Flo.
Since puberty, I’ve always had irregular menses and as my mother had similar issues in her life, so we thought it was an inherited condition that will disappear over time. I remember going to my university’s clinic and the hormonal tests all came back normal despite my very infrequent menstrual cycles once in a few months. And I was not sexually active or on any medication. It was a puzzling situation that bothered me for a long time and I kind of gave up looking for answers.
Fortunately, in a Tzu Chi medical outreach in Boston, I met a fellow volunteer who is now my mentor and healer, Jack Huang. He was a newly graduated acupuncturist from New England School of Acupuncture who gave me a diagnosis of chronic kidney yin-deficiency and excess dampness. He advised me to change my diet and lifestyle before my biological age deteriorates further into my forties. With my needle-shyness back then, I declined acupuncture but started following his advice of avoiding “dampness”-causing foods (fermented foods, tofu, certain legumes, beer, etc) and going to bed early (before 11pm). Within weeks, my Aunt Flo started to show up more frequently and consistently.
Jack explained how staying up past 11pm causes the body to start burning up emergency fuel (kidney-essence) that was meant for crises, reproduction and healthy old age. My long-term sleep deprivation signaled my body that I was in crisis, so it stopped menstruating thinking that pregnancy in such a state was unsafe. For the body to replenish this emergency fuel is more complicated than just taking a nap. This essence basically never gets replenished until all the other organ systems are fully nourished. This emergency fuel can only take the overflow.
As for dampness, it resulted from overthinking and a rich, greasy diet that may contain hard-to-digest fats, protein, legumes, beers, and so on. Lack of sleep and living in a damp environment also worsen this condition. When I was consuming a lot of fermented and soy products, oily and spicy foods in a very dry climate in Boston, my body was all confused and overloaded. The body needs to be nourished by local and seasonal foods that thrive in the same region so that it can strengthen the organ systems more overworked in the season. Spicy foods are most commonly consumed in humid climates such as South Asia where the spiciness induce sweating to lower body temperature in warm days. When consumed in a dry climate, the body loses precious jin ye, body liquids that keep us healthy. Certain emotional patterns such as overthinking, overworry, sadness, anger, stress, overjoy and so on also damage the body in different ways.
Since then, I have made it my priority to heal my body with lifestyle and diet changes (especially challenging being a vegan). This also strongly kindled my curiosity for holistic healing.
A few months later, my fading dedication to the corporate climb culminated in my job termination. With my good friend Tomasz from Poland, we traveled the world for 16 months together hitchhiking and couchsurfing on a very low budget. Though I got to meet so many kind and interesting people, take in the natural beauty and diversity of cultures in Europe, Australia, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Bali, I felt my heart yearning for a deeper purpose. So, I decided to check out the startup scene in Malaysia and work in my friends’ coworking space as their community manager. It was an invigorating experience working with so many changemakers and entrepreneurs passionately building their dreams. Alas, I struggled to live a mission-driven life in this capitalistic bubble of performance metrics and building castles in the sky.
Hence, I considered working full-time for Tzu Chi Foundation with the lovely translation team in Hawaii that I’ve worked part-time for a few years. A chance medical outreach trip to Mexico City with dozens of volunteers after the 2018 earthquake opened my eyes. As I got to serve and work with a team of healthcare professionals from all over the USA serving hundreds of locals in a few days, I realized how limited what I could do without any specialized skills and how deep the need for healthcare is. An experienced acupuncturist shared his journey of leaving IBM as an executive at 55 and dedicate his every day to his top three priorities or core values. He encouraged me to declutter my to-do and to-live-for list to only three items. Meeting these acupuncturists who boldly took a leap to pursue their passion boosted my courage to do the same.
I came back to Boston and finally decided that the community and life that I have built here is most supportive of this journey. I applied to MCPHS – New England School of Acupuncture. Visiting the campus and talking to the faculty and current students who share the same dedication and passion for holistic healthcare cemented my resolve.
Seizing my last summer before grad school and me attending my little sister’s wedding in Singapore, I decided to study Thai Massage in Old Medicine Hospital Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was amazing how this Buddhist therapeutic tradition is so well-preserved and incorporated into the everyday living. I had so much fun learning from local teachers who truly love their craft. Human touch for healing was so natural and intuitive for the whole community. Farmers commonly have their children massage them by walking all over their bodies. The technique gradually developed variance by regions. I was so excited to incorporate this ancient therapeutic tradition with acupuncture.
One of my best friends from the startup scene happened to be shifting into her calling as a hypnotherapist and we met up in Chiang Mai, coincidentally right after both of us ended our romantic relationships. It was such a magical and healing retreat for two soul sisters, basking in the colorful cultures and indulging in delicious food in Chiang Mai. She offered me a few sessions on self-love and living worry-free. It truly transformed me and inspired me to incorporate more mind-healing into my study. We vowed to come back one day and create a retreat that brings people together for healing and abundance. For months after her session, I truly felt most in love myself and for the first time in my life, really felt like a goddess walking on the land. I love who I saw in the mirror more and more deeply every day. I lamented how I have never learned to learn and accept myself so radically all my life.
As soon as I came back to Boston, I started practicing Thai massage by offering donation-based sessions to my local community. It was eye-opening and so affirming to work with different body types. I truly began to appreciate the diverse beauty of the human form. As confirmed by my Tuina and Traditional Chinese Medicine professor, bodywork really nourishes and tonifies the Blood as well as moves Qi stagnation. The best part of all this, when I give Thai massage, I recharge my own body with a gentle yoga session while also stretching out my client for their healing.
As this sweet summer was concluding, three friends (completely unrelated) mentioned “Family Constellation” to me about it. I have never considered my ancestral lineage or intergenerational trauma in my healing work. I was intrigued and coincidentally, two renowned Family Constellation facilitators, Dan Cohen and Emily Blefeld from Seeing with Your Heart were hosting a weekend workshop in early September. I was fortunate enough to take time off from classes and attend this life-changing workshop.
When my blocks and intentions in life was constellated with a dozen strangers in the room representing my ancestors’ consciousness, powerful shifts happened. I got to see the toxic pattern of children trying to heal their parents, my subconscious rejection of female sexuality and womanhood due to my paternal grandfather’s polygamous marriage which saddened my maternal grandmother and how my father suffered from severe anxiety amidst all this.
After a deeply emotional 2 hour session processing my grandfather’s regret, my parents’ pain and my paternal grandmother sorrow, I got to set aside the task of healing my father and reclaim my body and womanhood. At the end, love and ambition awaited me to take my place in the future end of the field. And anxiety left my father and the room.
After that truly transformational and healing experience, I was inspired to incorporate soul-level healing into my work. Now, as I finish up my first semester in acupuncture and herbal medicine graduate school, I am starting a nine-month immersion program with Dan and Emily to dive deeper into ancestral healing and family constellation therapy.
Thank you for taking the time to read my journey. I hope it helps to remind you to prioritize healing as you journey into abundance and love. My team and I are happy to chat and connect with you to see if our retreat is right for you.
Sending you much love,
Learn about the space: Narittaya Health Resort and Spa, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Learn more about the program.
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