Saturday, August 27, 2011


I was asked to write about soup. What can you say about soup? Hmm...... I began making my own soups about five years ago. I love every part of the soup process & there's something lovely & satisfying about putting together disparate ingredients & at the end you have a delicious soup to eat.

The first soup I made, and one that is still a favorite, had tomatoes, onions, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, chicken stock, tortellini, and a sprinkling of parmesan on the top. I make this soup in the fall & load up a big pot & let the ingredients cook together. I equally love making soup as I love eating it, but really I love sharing soup. Making a big pot & then having some bread to go with it & feeding it to others.

Since having my daughter I've really had to use my daily life as a means of meditation & art. Soup making was one of the ways I was able to do something creative & meditative in my regular routine. I believe that the intention involved in making the soup goes into the soup as well & I hope it blesses & nourishes those who eat it.

Really everything in life can be used for transformation & used as a means of blessing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our Importance

Most of our energy goes into upholding our importance. If we were capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things would happen to us. One, we would free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea of our grandeur; and two, we would provide ourselves with enough energy to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the universe. - Carlos Castaneda

We humans are such funny creatures. Most of us spend our adult life trying to prove something & most of the time we're trying to prove we're valuable. However, if your value is in the hands of others then you are giving up a great deal of your power. At some point you begin to live your life from an internal space and this space begins to open up another world. Here's the interesting bit of all of this: to accept & acknowledge your inherent importance you must give up the idea of being important. The more you struggle to feel important in the world and the more you demand others see you as important you miss the mark. You don't have to do anything to be important because you already are. And any attempt to further your importance will begin to undermine the confidence that comes with knowing you already are important.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do you Yoga?

I've been practicing yoga for a few years now & quite simply it has changed my life. I came to yoga out of a deep knowing that it was a way to connect with myself and with the Divine. What brought me to yoga was quite simply a force that compelled me to begin a practice. I was shy initially & uncertain if I could even do the poses. But, as soon as I began everything about yoga felt so familiar & so easy. My body knew the poses before my mind knew them. 

How has yoga changed me? Physically I've noticed all sorts of things. First of all, my body feels lighter. After doing yoga I feel as if I float on air, which is a pretty nice feeling. And other things began happening with my body too. I swear I've grown taller since practicing yoga. But, what really has surprised & humbled me is how strong my body is. Through doing yoga I've found I have a stamina & strength that I never knew. When I do yoga there is something that moves through me that is completely light & full of grace. When this presence meets me it's as if it's doing the moves, not me. 

The longer & deeper I practice I run into all sorts of seemingly contradictions that are confounding to my intellect. The first one is that to go deeper into a pose & to become more flexible you relax into the moment. You don't force your body, but rather you keep breathing & relax. Through this relaxation & even breathing you are able to go deep into a pose. Recently, I've realized my body is able to be very flexible when I completely surrender. 

And yoga isn't just a physical practice, but a practical one. I've noticed that yoga teaches you about life, about your mind, about your reactions. How? When I'm in a pose that feels physically uncomfortable I can fight that discomfort, but when I do fight it I notice I lose balance or my body starts to tighten up. When I choose to accept where my body is and the position it's in there's a sort of peace that appears. And once I’m able to practice this peace in yoga I’m able to do this in life as well. It’s not as if I never experience anger, irritation, frustration & sadness, but rather than fight these feelings I can acknowledge them & just be with them. When I am able to be with these feelings I notice a space appears around them.

The most profound thing yoga has taught me, or rather I should say revealed to me, is that I’m always connected to something larger than myself. Yoga has shown me I’m not separate from source, from the divine. I am inextricably intertwined with this divine presence. And this knowing provides a sense of safety & comfort & this begins to move outward. I used to think the world happened to me or that the external decided what was internal. But, really what is within us affects what is external.

Yoga, like so much in life, is really a leap of faith. I didn’t know where my yoga practice would lead me, but knew I had to begin & each step of the way I have been so well taken care of & blessed. Ah, yoga. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I have never been very good at math & sometimes I joke about this because I'm Asian. Somewhere along the line there was an expectation that if you're Asian then you must be good at math. Sigh.

I have a story to share from when I was in kindergarten which pretty sums up my relationship with math. I was five years old and our teacher was trying to teach us how to count. I'd come home & try to practice counting with my mom. I'd say, "6, 4, 2, 1, 5...." and the next time I counted I'd say, "8, 1, 4, 2, 6...". Each time I counted I would count in a completely different order. My mom & my teacher were frustrated to say the least & there was talk that perhaps I had some developmental delay. They were worried why I couldn't remember the basic order.

Anyway, one day I said to my mom, "But, mom - why do I have to say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10? I don't understand."

My uncle LOVES this story & we talk about this almost every time we visit together. He said he knew I was an artist at early age.

I must say that most of my experiences in education have been similar to my experience learning to count. I think I tried to learn many things just made no internal sense to me & did it just because, "that's the way it was."


My friend Faith & I have been having a discussion about art, some of you may have been following it on this blog. Anyway, I went back this morning & re-read her comment about art, 
In my mind, I am trying to think of artists (of any medium) that were "fighters". There are certainly those who were disturbed, but I don't picture "fighters".
I was surprised years ago to discover that Hitler was actually an artist. I found out too that North Korea's infamous leader Kim Jong Il is an art lover, but he is an art practitioner? I highly doubt that Hitler created much art. I thought that too that Stalin had some connection with art that got thwarted at some point. My personal experience is that if you don't honor your creativity & find some way to express it it will find an outlet. I watched a great PBS series called Craft in America & one of the artists was so great at articulating this. He said that there are many things he's angry about & that he fuels that into his art. He makes a conscious choice to put that energy into art rather than into destruction. I was so impressed with him & his honesty. And you know what? You can say, "Oh, he's not doing anything to help the world - he's "just" an artist." And honestly, perhaps sometimes I think this way, but after watching him & listening to him I thought what a brave thing he is doing. Rather than fight with guns and bombs he makes commentaries through his art. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

For Faith

"Making art more accessible or mainstream for those of us who love to try art, but don't consider ourselves artists? Or something about your vision of being an artist."

I think you just start where you are, with what you have, and just begin. I like to call myself a creative practitioner because making art is a practice. What I have come to realize recently is that I practice this art in different ways though. On some days my cooking is my way to practice art and on other days yoga is the way I honor my creativity.

Creativity is not outside of us, nor does it happen to us. Creativity is a flow & moves through us. You can't hide from it, can't run from it, nor can you chase it down. Really, you must still yourself & allow this force to reside in and through you. I don't even really know if we can "teach" one another this, but rather it is something within ourselves that we each can discover.

When I was living in Eugene, Oregon I hosted art parties & let friends come over & create. I didn't "teach" them anything, nor did I want to. I provided materials & food & a place for them to make what they wanted. I was so amazed at what people created & realized that people don't need instruction on how to create art. I think rather people look for permission. I would watch my friends create beautiful & amazing things that I could never dream of!

I think many people are blocked about creating art because there's an idea that it should look a specific/certain way. I don't know. I guess each person has to decide what expectations and ideas they have about their art.

When my friend Faith asked me to write about this I didn't know that I was actually describing my vision as an artist. My vision is that it must come from within. I wish I had some magical formula for others, but really my art process has been to honor my artistic impulses & you know why? Those impulses are always way wiser than me & they always provide me with what I need.

Joy, Prayers, and little Yellow Bits

‎"Mom, I'm going to write you a poem made of joy, prayers, and little yellow bits." - Emerson (not Ralph Waldo)

Emerson learned to read earlier this summer and is now beginning to write some words. I thought about poetry when she said this to me this last night. She whispered this to me, "I'm going to write you a poem made of joy, prayers, and little yellow bits."

Her poetry isn't written, but it's verbal. She will often speak me in such a lyrical & lovely way. When she speaks from this place every word she utters is a blessing. There is something magical that occurs when we use language in this way. We open to a deeper place within us and let it speak & move through us. I sometimes marvel at the wise words that come out of my daughter's mouth. Are all children wise & what happens as we get older?

This short post is my way or passing on the poetry that Emerson shared with me last night. I say it to you, "I'm going to write you a poem made of joy, prayers, and little yellow bits." : )

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


"Making art more accessible or mainstream for those of us who love to try art, but don't consider ourselves artists? Or something about your vision of being an artist."

My friend Faith posed the question above. Thank you Faith! It's interesting that it should be Faith that should ask me these questions as my answer involves faith. 

When I was living & working in Eugene, Oregon I used to host art parties & invite people to make art. People would begin the evening protesting & claiming, "I don't know what to do. Where should I begin? I'm not an artist." I would just put out what materials I have & feed them some food & just start my own project. I didn't attempt to teach them, but rather provided the space for them to make something. And you know what? Make something they did & it would always be amazing to see what they would make. There is something so lovely & surprising about art. Using the same materials I had used they would create things I never would have imagined. 

At these parties we'd talk & sometimes we wouldn't, but I felt so close to these people. Somehow sharing that space & creating cut through the small talk. 

I believe you honor what is within you & explore that & listen to where it takes you & guides you. A big part of this is faith. Why? Because you don't know where it will take you, don't know what it will involve, don't know what it will bring up. And each creative act is truly a leap into the unknown. 

My friend Faith posed two questions to me & you know what? My answers to both of them are the same: have faith & create from the heart. You know how & where you start? Right where you are, with what you have. Really. Where you & what you have is MORE than enough. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Why Art?

I'm not a politician, nor am I a head of a corporation. I am an artist. Here's my thinking - if people practiced an art on a regular basis our world would be different. I'm pretty sure there would be less war. I also think we'd start being more humane to one another. Why? There's something about the creative process that honors and uses human emotions. If I am working through an emotion or feeling I find I intuitively turn towards art (the specific medium depends on what I'm working through) & something about making something gives voice to what I am feeling. If I don't create that feeling gets stuck.

There is also an extreme joy in starting out at the beginning of a project & not knowing where it's headed. Almost each time I set out on a creative adventure I think, "How the heck am I going to pull this off? I can't do this!" And yet, bit by bit I figure it out (or it figures me out) & the answers begin to appear. I love that. I love it because this process humbles me and shows me greatly. I always feel like I'm walking this very thin line when I create. I navigate & determine lots of parts of the process, but within each creative project there is also a moment when I know I just have to let go & when I do... something beyond me works through me & this expansion is really a state of grace.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kimchi & Crepes

I've recently begun to make more Korean foods. I am, after all, Korean. I was raised here in America, but was first & foremost born in Korea. I have struggled with how to connect with Korea since I spent a whole lifetime away from it. I find that through making Korean I am able to connect with that part of myself in a way that is not limited by language. I don't speak Korean after all and yet ironically enough I understand it quite well. Go figure. I like the very act of cutting up the ingredients (and with Korean food there seems to be a good deal of prep work involved) & mixing them together.

Beyond the prep work involved with making Korean food is the JOY of eating it. There's something so delightful about eating Korean food for me & it's something I can only describe as bliss. Korean food for me is pure Comfort Food. I eat it & feed some deeper & older part of myself. I eat it & I am whole. I eat it & I am joyful. I eat it & I am connected. I have no other way of describing this experience.

And the crepes? I don't know - they just sort of seem to make sense. Who doesn't love a thin pancake? I've never met anyone who can resist a good crepe. And top it off with some good ice cream & you're good to go.

I double dare you not to like a crepe, ok?

Yoga. What is it good for?

Technically I came to yoga a few years ago, but really I feel like I've always been practicing it. The other day I got into a conversation online about what you would say to someone who is worried they're "not flexible enough" to begin a yoga practice. And I thought about this for a while. Why do you practice yoga? I know lately it's become a sort of trend, but honestly I began yoga for no other reason than I just knew it was a way to honor myself completely & wholly. I appreciate the physicality of it & enjoy the benefits of having a more fit & toned body, yes! But, beyond the physical component I surrendered myself to yoga because I knew it was my way of opening up unabashedly to the divine. And some deeper & wiser part of myself knew that this path was the right one for me.

There is something compelling about these photos of people doing yoga poses & yet yoga is not about how flexible you can get. When I'm on the mat I understand how futile it is to compare myself to others in the room. You know why? Because when I start to focus more on others I lose my center & lose my balance. I've understood that when I arrive on the mat I have to let go of what others are doing in the room & not compare. Because in the most difficult of poses looking at your neighbor will not help you go deeper. Really, what helps you when you are in a challenging pose is complete surrender & in that sweet moment is when you go deeper into the pose because you are doing it for yourself & doing it in union with the divine. And when you are in union you are more flexible than you ever could have imagined. Flexibility doesn't come by force or by pushing your body into something, but rather by an open-ness & surrender.

And really, if that's all I gain from yoga - it's more than enough & I am grateful.

Spider Webs

I recently watched the movie Charlotte's Web with my daughter. I've seen Charlotte's Web before, but had never really thought about spiders before. Usually if I do think about spiders it's because I see one in the house & am trying to get rid of it.

But there was something about that particular day when I watched the movie that helped me see spiders in a different way. What was clear was that spiders create from what is within them. They're not looking outside of themselves for resources or even for guidance. They use what is inside them & from this internal space are able to create these magnificent and glorious creations called webs. These webs are not only beautiful and intricate, but they are also an act of faith. With the webs they create they trust that what they need will arrive. They don't hunt it out, don't search it out, don't do anything else but know that what they need to sustain them will come to them.