Richard Gien

Art, Design & Fashion Consultants

What We Do


December 3rd, 2010

My “Butterfly Dream”

Back in summer, in July, at the Union Square farmers market, I casually spotted in a flower booth a vase with bunches of green leaves and feather- like spiral-shaped purple flowers entitled “Butterfly Bush”. I had a question mark on my forehead and walked away. The next day, on the way to the beach I spotted the same flowers in the front garden of a summer house. There were at least 15 – 20 different types and colored butterflies dancing around them!

It may seem like something not worthy of much attention or deeper thought … but my life experiences always guide me to the answers that I seek for, by cultivating the Art-Of-Relaxation, all answers I desire come to me effortlessly.

December 2nd, 2010

My “Fashion Dream”

Dreams are always one of the most powerful and insightful tools I examine. I often record them now to remind myself about who I am, and what I am!

In one dream I saw myself weaving a sleeveless A line dress with just two long sticks supported on sandy ground. With a soft creamy colored yarn I started from the shoulders down to the middle of the waist. I then used my left thumb and index fingers, touching, and the colored ran into the circle that I made with my fingers.

Rapidly, the entire crocheted dress was completed all the way down to the bottom while the picture of it had turned to almost 30 – 40 feet long …

June 28th, 2010

I went to Angelica cinema on West Houston Street and saw another Chanel movie called Coco and Igor.

The movie was purely focusing on one of her love relationships with Russian conductor, Igor Stravinsky. Almost three quarters of the scenes were shot in her country house outside Paris where the interior space, the set design was simplistically breath taking, and tastefully done in art deco style — decorated only in two colors: black & white. From hand-painted pinstripes wall paneling, to extremely stylish antique furniture, to old fashion porcelains, silver dining table wares, to silky embroidered floral bed sheets, etc, every single detail was meticulously chosen and put together. Even the actress who portrayed Coco Chanel, was dressed entirely in these two ‘no-mistake’ colors, with touches of sandy and silvery colors in two scenes.

As a creative person, I was mesmorized during these two lengthy hours of experience. I found myself magically inspired … and it changed psychologically how I look at the universal colors of black and white. Very cool!

June 18th, 2010

In another relaxing evening I was watching a TV documentary: Addition To Plastic. The show explains the current plastic culture we’re living in and how companies around the globes are looking for the solutions … good solutions.

The scene brought us to Kenya where a local woman decided to run a business by recycling plastic bags into handicraft gifts items from bags, to necklaces, to art work, etc. As many as 50,000 colors (range from shocking pink, electric blue, bright red, eggplant purple, etc.) plastic bags are individually hand washed and hung horizontally on rolls along strings, then dried under the sun in an open land. When the camera shot the rolls and layers of colored plastic bags on long strings they were surprisingly shown in artistic geometric lines. As matter of fact, they looked like individually cutout rectangular shaped Japanese Kimono sleeves softly flowing in the air.

In Kenya, they named them their Nation Flowers.

April 27th, 2010

I became a king of a country … an abbot of a Buddhist temple, etc. An April shower, on and off, inspired dreams that I had last night and early this morning. Not that I wasn’t impressed that I became one of them … On this cloudy morning, I wasn’t expecting to have had such vivid dreams that I could remember and write down. I was actually feeling good about these symbolic messages and lying on my bed for about half an hour dwelling on my current abundant life and my always brighter tomorrow realities.

Let’s see what I will become in tonight’s dreams …

April 25th, 2010

It has been a long 16 years that I have consistently been going to and practicing Japanese tea-ceremony at the Urasenke Teahouse in New York.

Every tea lesson required full attention and focus for nearly three hours of sitting on the Japanese tatami floor participating in the rightful tea procedures and the ritualistic aspect of it. Last Thursday, right after the tea lesson, while I was changing my Kimono into Western clothes, I suddenly had a quick but deep thought of how disciplined I’ve been, coming here for such a long time. I found myself thanking myself for having done a very beautiful job of feeding my soul all these years. But why have I just understood it after such a long period of time.

Wouldn’t it be so nice if every one of us in our every day life could really take our own sweet time to enjoy, to nurture, and to feed our souls. One of the ways to cultivate self love … unconditionally. In my opinion, It definitely seems like the smartest way to strive for!

January 1st, 2010

For the first time of living in Manhattan for nearly 15 years, because my mom and my sister visited here, we visited the Statue Of Liberty and Ellis Island three days before this new year began. Both places hold tremendous historical value in America; the symbolism of the FREEDOM highly triggers my focus of attention.

This quiet morning is the first day of my crossing override to 2010; I am determined to promise myself to visualize only the most positive outcomes and believe in my ability to make everything happen, to the higher good of all concerned, to achieve happiness and fulfillment, as I am in the cycle of change, freedom, and new experience.

Happy landings Mr. Gien!

December 11th, 2009

Here I am sitting in my new apartment, looking out the 14 foot windows with the crystal clear morning light reflecting from the brick wall on the opposite side of the old parking lot building, and hearing only the sound of the holiday bell from the church two blocks away. Right now, contemplating and feeling completely satisfied. I am generous and good to myself which takes my life experiences to another level.

How nice if I could just keep sitting here and just enjoy this very precious time, and it would never stop …

26th July, 2009

I was charged up with enthusiasm this Sunday morning at my gym, which had arranged a special stretching and dancing class with a modern dance company. Pilobolus, an unconventional company that evokes organic forms through improvisation and creative play, continues to grow, expanding and refining its unusual collaborative method to produce a body of ever-changing choreographic works.

It has been 7 or 8 years that I have been following the works of this company, so I feel extremely emotionally delighted ‘to dance,’ and to explore the body work this way with the professional dancers.

What strikes me the most is the free flowing jolly energy. The main dancer, who was teaching the class, explained that they’re paid ‘to play’ … as professional dancers. She continued to remind us “Be smart and honest … with the choices of movements”. I had so much fun with this new experience and happily lost almost three pounds after the class!!!

28th May, 2009

The following is an e-mail that I received from one of my best students who just graduated from Parsons a week ago. I am proud and happy with my own teaching efforts, so I attach her thoughtful words to share with my readers …

Mr. Gien,

I hope you received my package today. I am on my way to the airport and I am very excited to explore London! I will contact Sally when I get over there, thank you for the contact information. I just wanted to wish you all the luck and success with your students for the next three weeks in South Africa. I feel very lucky to have had you as my teacher for the past year. I learned an incredible amount about myself and others. Your positive and nurturing nature created a safe learning environment that enabled me to confront my weaknesses and insecurities, which in turn, made me confident to explore my curiosities and aspirations. You have been more like a mentor to me and I am truly grateful for all your incite and knowledge that you have shared with me.

I cannot wait to hear about your trip and take plenty of photos!

Sincerely,

Samantha

Ps. Congratulations on the loft! It seems like time was on your side! You will be settled in, comfortably before the summer ends, just like you had foreseen for yourself!

May 27th, 2009

After running around in Manhattan for the past 3 months looking at 61 apartments, my first dream house came through last week in a beautiful loft – My new nest!

Thank you my god … Universe!

May 18th, 2009

It has been some time of not writing … so I am taking this relaxed moment to write a few simple sentences about how I’m feeling right now. I have had a full year of being a part-time professor at Parsons School Of Designs. I learned about my 17 young students; spent 100% of my energy crafting each of them. But I was rewarded with tremendous satisfaction and joy!

In just about 10 more days I will be flying to South Africa for another two and a half weeks of teaching at a fashion institution. I am exceedingly excited!

December 1st, 3:13 PM, 2008

It’s been almost three months since I have taken up being a part-times professor at PARSON THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN, Fashion Design teaching Senior Concept Development to last year students, preparing them to shape their portfolio when they graduate next spring to venture into the ‘jungle world’ of fashion.

My 17 young students have taken a very big chunk of my vital energy. It is surprising to my knowledge that all of them come in zip-zip / up-down kinds of levels in their design abilities, yet everyone falls into one same class with tremendous differences in expectations.

I learn as I go along teaching them … In most of my students I find innocent, dedicated and pure artistic endeavor energy that is nearly impossible to find in today’s commercial society. Connecting with this group of a new generation somehow makes me feel upbeat and youthful … I am really having a good time!

Let’s see how this will lead into some even more delightful surprise events yet to come?

October 18th 6:35 PM, 2008

In this beautiful fall weather echo my focus back to a Zen book that I read years ago – “When we’re in relaxed mood … all divine ideas come to us.”

My Japanese friend, Seiko talked about it once; I keep this simple sentence as a constant practice. As a matter of fact, I might have known this concept and technique since I was an innocent kid …

9 May, 10:22 PM - The Light Experience

I laid my body completely flat on the floor to relax, closed my eyes, then curled all my fingers and with index fingers softly rubbed over my closed eyelids like a very tired baby. Two strong white spots of light shined right onto my face with greater degrees of lightness on the edges. I tried to open my eyes and get out of it; but I did not … maybe because subconsciously I wanted to experience it. Then I felt a strong headache, very heavy head, as if I had a fever. I then felt an electric vibration that went from my head gradually down to my body and to the end of my feet. As on a movie screen the two white spot lights spread into a geometric pattern of broken lines and dots with black space in between… I was calmer by now. I remember I “looked into this image with a deep concentration”, yet enjoyed the details at the same time. And then the picture changed again – to a pale lilac grayish color background with exceedingly soft purple mini doted lines, one on top of another, forming a slow motion of a 3 dimensional flower with petals right in the middle. I had an impression of a living cell… very gentle … loving and feminine.

I rested quietly then opened my eyes. With my usual gesture of rolling up my natural colored yoga mat of jute plant; I left the room with the group of people. No one knew what had happened to me during that 10 – 15 minutes unless they find and read this journal that I am writing right now.

What was happening to me … Hello?

May 5, 2008 10:30 pm

I constantly remind myself that focus is concentration, and concentration = meditation. There are about 2,500 to 25,000 thoughts an average person could have in a single day.

Martin, a numerology expert I met a few months ago at Emily’s apartment, gave me a great hint for my emotional process: management and discipline. Then I will be the winner!

OK. Let’s eat brown rice all day long and see what happens?

March 9, 2008 3:30 PM

“I once lived in Boston and worked as a cocktail waiter. I had a lady customer who had no arms. She smoked and drank from her bare right foot right in front of me at the bar… Isn’t that cool!” He then continued to the next sentence, “ Look for a focus point that doesn’t move; imagine you’re Oscar … an Oscar statue. And use your heart to focus, which’s always the right way. I often meditate and see a Buddha face … But of course you can imagine Dolly Parton if you want to …” Then the class started to giggle!

The above is the story of my yoga teacher’s lesson on Sunday morning. I find Tim’s harmonious smiling face and very spontaneous personality rare and charming. What a great person to connect with, especially on relaxed weekend mornings.

As a matter of fact, if one looks closer, his face does resemble Indian deities.

March 2, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Right after my delicious veggie dinner at my favorite Indian restaurant, HAVELI, which has been operating for the past 13 years:

I headed down to this commercial street full of downtown kids, St. Mark Place. I bent and twisted my head trying to look at the head sign of this basement retail shop — The Iron Fairies. A neat place really — resembles a unique atmospheric essence of the movie HARRY POTTER. I wandered around and around looking at handmade soaps, candles, candle-stand, etc, where they all look like ancient products that have been kept ’till now for sales. They’re 24 iron fairies ( both the good and naughty types ) scattered on the window display. With dim lighting they seemed ‘fully alive’ on this relaxed Sunday night. The young sales lady, who also resembles a light energy, knows the names and stories of all the fairies.

I have no idea why I am so affected by them ( as I recalled I wrote about a Chinese Tang fairy in my old journals ); have yet to make a wish with a package of dust that was given to my by the jolly sales lady.

Iron Fairies Dust
Sprinkle this dust,
On your fairies in rush,
Wait and you’ll see,
How you have let me go free!

Oh Richard … Richard! Richard! You are dreaming about divine beings of angels, fairies tonight. But you must also focus on this coming month of Asian art fair and close some damn good big deals. OK!

OK … Brings all these divine sisters beside me, bless me and go to be my own Peter Pan!

November 30th, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Emily Cheng, who’s a devoted painter and a dear friend, reminded me of a social and political issue that is affecting humanity right now. After a lavish dinner at a rich Jewish man’s mansion last night, she said to me, I sort of know people of the elite group down to the poorest artistic people who only have a few pennies…. The world is this way right now.

“We’re completely responsible for our concrete realities…” . This Buddhist statement often reminds me of making conscious choices in life. I have to artistically create in order to nourish my soul… There aren’t other ways. I trust the divine support from up there!

26th July, 2007

Visualize yourself walking into a room… see a book… open up the book… and see your name written on the book with a special message for you – It was the angelic voice of my new yoga teacher, Gretchen from Chicago, who’s has been teaching here for nearly a month.

It was almost the same concept as in the movie Harry Potter which I saw three nights ago where he opened a blank book, wrote his questions, experienced his returned answer from “another world” messenger.

26th July, 2007

An unusual Monday night yoga class at my gym: my yoga teacher, Philip, who’s a good looking young Caucasian man with completely shaved head, crystal blue eyes and beautiful harmonious face, always reminds me of monks from the martial arts temples in the old Chinese movies.

Since he’s always very attuned to energy in the room… which he must be… the smooth-starting class ended up with everybody holding hands in a circle, then seated on their beaded keels, with left hands holding the next person’s left shoulder and right hands reaching out in the middle, touching and holding.

The floor plan became an open flower… I remembered I walked out of the room with exceedingly high energy; like water becoming holy water.

27th April, 2007

I finally got the return call from the buyer of Takashimaya New York to view my “Almost All Year Round” fashion collection.

The experienced buyer, Justin, with her charming assistant buyer, Olivia joyously selected the finest pieces in my collection with quick decision. Then there came a friendly middle-aged woman, the director of the store, who gave another experienced comment…. “Beautiful collection with old fashioned tailoring; your clothes remind me of Jeffery Beene!”.

Hurray!!! Packed and jumped into the taxi with my always happy spirit!

25th April, 2007

It is always a good feeling watching the Oprah show at 4:00pm whenever I find time – like having a relaxed “afternoon tea”.

The subject of the show was interviewing famous people – about how they “think / made” themselves so successful. There were three of them, yet almost all of them discussed and shared similar experiences of “The source of connecting with the greater up there .” All arrowed their right hands down on top of their heads to show the symbol of channeling.

24th April, 2007

“Tonight set an intention for your practice. And ask yourself… what do you want to achieve during and after your practice ”….a valuable phrase that often echoes inside me, spoken in one of my Yoga teacher’s tender calming voice on Sunday nights.

At home after every Yoga lesson, I’m cleansing and cleaning my natural color tone Jute-plant Yoga mat – a special mat I always imagine as a scroll of magic carpet that flies me into the infinite sky… whenever I step on it with my dedicated intention.

7 March, 2007

Sam, who’s my regular Sunday night “Candlelight” yoga teacher at the gym once said during the middle of the lesson, “In many times, whenever we come to a situation of confrontation, instead of trying to figure out what and how to say it… the best way is to allow yourself to receive it.”

7 March, 2007

It’s been a resistance intense working relationship with two dearest friends for nearly 14 years. As with many common human issues, our energies had finally driven us apart and we came to an end. The up and down or the right and wrong all seem very shallow and not at all important any more. As a matter of fact, I have always lived inside myself since I was a kid… till now. I really don’t pay much attention to how the outside world thinks I should be.

4 March, 2007

I am just in a mood to write a few of my inner thoughts again… I look advantage of the mild temperature and clear full moon before the storm targets Manhattan again tomorrow night. With my soaring feet, my walkman with new Japanese pop music and my coffee cake in hand, I melted completely in harmony with my early spring evening walk.

So damn lovely… and relaxing after months of working on / off various projects. It echoes the feeling of myself as a free spirit and how my everyday life should be … The power of the concept of either completely “on or off” keeps me going; the essential elements of balance.

February, 15, 2007 at 11:00 am

I am too lazy to open up my computer screen. So I get a pen and scribble down briefly what a black artist just said to me with a real smiling face, “Is my pleasure to bring you pleasure…”.

I keep profoundly reflecting on what was said because I had heard a sentence like this before. It has a tremendous effect on me!

November 7, 2006

A friend of mine, Susan, reminded me to feel good in every day life regardless of any outer circumstances. On the same evening, I browsed at Virgin Record and picked up a CD of jazz singer, Michael Buble, with a song entitled – FEELING GOOD. Feeling good! Feeling good! Ok, I am feeling damn good now!

One of the profound elements of the SELF-LOVE concept. I am going to stick my stainless steel gun to it!!!

Thank you Mr. Jung… for Synchronicity teaching.

October 30, 2006

I walked into my apartment at about 3:00 PM in this very mild fall weather. The western light was showing its golden light on the top right corner of my window like a light bulb turned on by its own power switch. At the same time, I was nibbling my fresh-baked Chinese turnip puff pastries from Chinatown. I took these few seconds and enjoyed this quiet scenic view before it vanished gradually.

I received a very comfortable feeling from this light being visit. Thank you, dear; and I am sure I will see you again tomorrow at about 3:00 PM…

October 3, 2006

For the first time, I watched the AMERICAN IDOL program with a young white man dressed like a typical hip-hop black singer, a stylish line of thin beard, with a big loose shirt and a pair of gigantic trousers that you could almost hide two cooked chickens inside without anyone noticing. He was already singing while I turned on the TV – an innocent appearance… but an outstandingly clear and beautiful voice really hit me. The vibrating pores of my skin were ALL PAYING FULL ATTENTION!. In fact, he’s like a extremely simple version of Maria Carey without the commercial make-over.

Right after his performance, three judges shook his hands and welcomed him to Hollywood. He then put on his brown boots and explained to the camera that he’s 17 years old.

I was so touched by the expression of this unique soul that I shed tears for a few jolly seconds.

June 29, 2006

At around 2:00 PM, my cell phone rang in my absolutely silent apartment; A stoic voice was on the other side of the world. One of my oldest / dearest friends, Andrew, who’s a very popular Paris-based fashion designer was on the line. His father passed away just yesterday morning so he was on his way to the airport, to Singapore. A similar experience to that which I went through about seven years ago when my papa was finally confirmed with pancreas cancer.

At 5:00 PM, I intuitively put on a black / white outfit which I rarely wear on a humid day in Manhattan. I arrived at KINOKUNIYA, a Japanese bookstore to pick up my special-ordered pop music CD of this multi-talented young vocalist, cellist, composer, pianist, etc, KOUSUKE ATAKI from OKINAWA. The CD is named SOLEZOLENI (could be translated as Each… Individually.) I paid the bill, loaded the disk, and walked out of the bookstore. My long awaited mystical music started to play as I passed by and looked into CHRISTIE’S auction house NY logo. My eyes tinkled… and finally were soaking wet when I got into the 49th Street subway station… In this hurried early evening, behind my very sharp, black, futuristic style lined PRADA sunglasses… no one could see how I felt in those moments.

I was on time for my YOGA class at 6:15 PM with LIZANNE HINKLE.

PS. My loving peaceful thought is delivered to Andrew in his challenging experience…

May 26, 2006

Three young men standing on Christopher Street wearing sleeveless red tank tops with writing of “DON’T PLAY WITH YOURSELF”. When they started to offer free condoms to me, I then understood the meaning of those words. Very funny!

I went home briefly and got out again my peanut butter ice cream, tempting since the warm breeze of the past few days. One of the “red” guys said to me again, “Second chance, free condoms!”. I shied away and said thank you again. Right at this minute along came a petite American middle-aged lady with speed… voicing out positively, “You know what, guys! I am going to have one!”.

I am quite amazed by it.

May 10, 2006

Every morning before I read my related e-mails, I have to spend a good 2-3 minutes to delete nearly 10-15 e-mails that have no connection to me. Add to those the daily faxes, restaurant menus at my front door, mail, phone calls that sound like tape recordings. But, as a matter of fact, they’re real people talking / selling their insincere business thoughts over the phones?

These are global issues that we face in today’s world; our human life has fallen into a stereotype of business life – a life that only caters to business! I’d like to share an interesting classical Chinese story here. In the good old days when you entered any Chinese home, you would be greeted, and right away the host – Mamas or Grandmamas – would be sure to ask if you had eaten yet? But now in Asia, when you meet up with either of them.. they will go right into your face and ask, “How’s business?”

It’s a free flow of how energies are chosen to be used. I am a great supporter of positive thoughts and actions.

I am going to say my prayers tonight before my dream world… PLEASE MAMA MIA! No more junk connections… MY PRECIOUS LIFE IS EXTREMELYSHORT! I LOVE TO LIVE IN FULLNESS!

May 8, 2006

THE PROMISE – A classical ancient Chinese fairy tale about a little girl whose wish was granted by a divine goddess. Through a promise she made, she attained all the luxurious wealth – except she made a little compromise of never receiving any long lasting love from anyone in her lifetime. Surprisingly, at the end of the story, she overcame her belief and changed the total outcome of her life.

In fact, at the beginning of the movie, the story was told that during ancient times humans and fairies lived side by side… communicating. How deliciously beautiful! Yes, Indeed! I will be amazed & intrigued by the attire in 21st century!

May 8, 2006

I volunteer as an art project tutor to two 8th grade students at The Clinton School for Writers and Artists. This project has given me a loving opportunity to test and learn more about myself through these young, innocent, and artistic kids. The following is an interesting quote written in black paint on the left wall of the school just before you enter the building: “When we read and we write; we dream, our imaginations take us to places we remember, places we wish we could travel to, and places we will never be, when we read and write, we become super heroes, sports stars, mermaids, and crazy creatures.” by P.S. Readers, Writers and Artists. 2005 LOVE

The writing strikes me at a deep level.

May 6, 2006

My usual practice every morning is to: clean the wooden floor, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Then I wash myself up, make tea, Tai-Chi, and sit quietly for about an hour before I start to do business with my computer.

This morning in my mind’s eye I keep seeing a face of a bird… But this big bird has a feeling of a healthy human quality. Right at this very minute, I suddenly recalled that last night I dreamed I saw a gigantic bird rise above of my head… But how on earth could I have just remembered it right now!

I will not take time to figure out what’s the meaning of my dream, I’d rather wait for the message to come along and unfold the pages… ooh la la.. BIG BIRD! Isn’t there another big bird character in SESAME STREET – the children’s program? Though I remember he’s a damn talkative feathery yellow bird. The one which appeared in my dream has smooth feathers and shined like the Chinese Western Han lacquer ware DRAMA NEI!

PS. Two nights later on Channel 13 was a showing of the hawks of the Grand Canyon!

April 20, 2006

Wow. What absolutely amazingly cheerful spring weather in New York. Just two days ago, I remember, I opened my window, stuck my head out and looked over at my neighbor’s rooftop wisteria tree which had only one immature baby wisteria flower. And today, with a warmer temperature, the tree is wearing about twenty plus flower hats. One purple hat links to the next one, all equally beautiful, belonging to one mother nature. Right now, I’d really like to be a wisteria tree, the feeling of being a plant or flower. OK! Let’s do it!

April 20, 2006

I passed by PURL PATCHWORK at Sullivan Street by coincidence on a bright sunny afternoon. This new textile shop displays only cotton fabrics for home / table wear. The delicious smell of the new maple shelves, the harmonious arrangement of colors on both sides of the walls drew my attention. The color therapy ranges from subtle tones of pale beige, baby blue, light pink,etc, to natural tones of lime yellow, apple green, aqua blue, etc, and to strong tones of electric blue, shocking pink, curry yellow, striking purple, chilli red, etc.

I spotted a textile of optical designs – Ovarl flower prints, diamond-shaped sky blue over red/ pink eggplant with yellow mini chrysanthemum flowers, etc. In fact, from a distance, it has a typical look of Japanese gift wrap papers that you buy from bookstores. After almost a week of thinking about it, on my second visit I decided to make a short sleeved shirt out of this peculiar textile – a feeling of a boy shirt, and perhaps I will wear it on May 5 which is BOYS DAY in Japan.

Colors are exceedingly important for me, and at this moment bright colors resonate with me and raise my higher energy. I can’t wait to be seeing / wearing this cheerful shirt named LUCKY FLOWERS, textiled by Junko-Onishi.

February 7, 2006

While on the way to my gym, with my usual relaxed mood, I picked out a book from my bookshelf so that I could read it on the train – The Spirit of Loving (Reflections on love and relationship by writers, psychotherapists, and spiritual teachers) For the past few weeks, I have been dwelling on this profound issue of relatedness or connectedness, wherever I go, whatever I do. My deepest thoughts were promptly revealed in my dream just a few nights ago. The following is the quotation from the book:
Have we actually a relationship with another? To be related means to be in contact. You may be sexually, physically in contact but that does not constitute a relationship. We are talking of a relationship in which there’s no image between you and another. I do not know if you have ever tried it. Do. Have no image about your wife, your husband, your neighbor, or about another; just look, just see, directly, without the image, the symbol, the memory of yesterday, of what she said to you, what you said to her, how she annoyed you and all the rest of it. Stripped of these things there is a possibility of right relationship. Because then everything in that relationship is new; relationship is no longer of the dead past.

- J KRISHNAMURTI

February 7, 2006

After almost 13 years of waiting for my green card … it has finally come. I learned of this through a phone call from my attorney, Frieda Wong, on Friday night.

Tears of joy… which I probably have not experienced for a DAMN long time. Salty tear drops on my face and a froggie sound from my throat. In fact, it’s not just a release. As a Chinese-born Singaporean, an active world traveler, I see, understand and appreciate the United States of America, the only place for freedom of speech, perhaps more than Americans themselves. Especially when I am living in a magnetized city like NYC

So how did I celebrate this occasion? I shared my happy feelings with nine people who wrote my reference letters with phone calls, making homemade food, buying dinners for them, etc. But the most important of all, for myself, I brought my handmade paper flower to the Hudson River that evening, gazed at the river and quarter moon. With one long stretch of my appreciative right hand, one red flower carried my beloved message by the stream…

So now “Thank God It’s Friday!” would make more logical sense to me.

January 6, 2006

Since my sensitive body is in a state of hibernation, I am enjoying the privilege of this quiet winter afternoon by writing about Halley’s family stories that touched me.

Halley is a professional graphic photographer with whom I harmoniously collaborated on a fashion project four years ago. Last night we met again to talk about the continuity of a second fashion project – “THE LIGHT PROJECT”.

The solid hour and a half sharing time was short but deep. The positive energy of our conversation was about the general world view of things, the artistic fashion concept. Then his cell phone suddenly rang in the silence of his 7500 square foot studio. His seven year old daughter, Gabriela, was on the other end trying to stay up late and wait for papa to come home. When Halley hung up the phone, he started to chat about his daughter. He explained that regardless of the fullness of his working schedule, he does spend plenty of time with her. But there was a time, a while ago, when he missed three nights of seeing her. When she saw Halley the next morning, she held his hand gently and said to him, “Daddy, for the past few days, I have been trying to connect with you…”. I listened attentively; then he went on to the next story: Little Gabriela was on her children’s skateboard on her own when somehow she fell over, breaking her one wisdom / one main adult tooth, with blood all over her month! She cried out so loudly that, at the time, Halley was completely lost but picked her up, hugged and nurtured her. She looked into his eyes… and said, “Daddy, is okay now… There’s no more pain now.” Instantly, she stopped crying! Halley explalned that, at the time when he held her in his arms, Gabriela felt and received his love…

I am yet waiting to meet up with “this little Gabriela” sometime in the future.

December 25, 2005

A dear friend of mine, Pierre Sernet, who’s a French artist as well as a real estate broker by profession, last summer married a charming young lady, Keiko from Kyoto, Japan.

For the past few years, Pierre’s artistic endeavor has inspired him to build a portable teahouse, which is in the form of a cube. Twelve wooden poles with detachable metal hinges make it possible to travel with it around the world to provide a“service”for whoever is open to this experience and desires to sit and have a bowl of tea with him.

He was once again invited by FELLISIMO Gallery on 56th Street to present his works. I arrived early at the opening show, at 5:30 PM, where he had very few people wandering about. Pierre was relaxed with Keiko at his side, as an assistant serving tea to three Japanese guests. Pierre invited me for tea with another two guests. I sat inside the tea house and gazed at his tea procedure as well as his tea’s photoworks on the walls: images of Fuji Mountain; of a countryside mama backpacking a baby in Japan; an Indian man in turban with his calming camel beside him in India; Qui Lin Mountain scenery of a farmer with an impatient cow in China; both man and woman in bikinis on the beach in Brazil, etc.

A great deal of ease, comfort and honorable feelings were presented to me during Pierre’s tea show. Just before I departed, a short conversation between Pierre and a western woman who was festively dressed in a Chinese-style floral embroidered outfit caught my attention. She said to Pierre, “In life, I am open to new experiences and this’s a very nice one. The tea tastes like medicine… But I like it! Thank you!”

October 10, 2005

Picking up my favorite Chinese pop music CD for relaxation, I muse that David Tao is one of the most talented Taiwanist songwriters, composers, artists of the 21st century.

I have listened to this particular song more than one thousand times. As a matter of fact, the casual yet profound lyrics that have been on and off my mind, now gradually, gently, deeply touch me. He soars with his magnetic voice. All I want is to have a relaxed mood, happy feeling when we are together…. real simple one.

I can really connect with this feeling and share it with others in everyday life.

July 31, 2005

Since I am such a chocolate lover, it was another night to discover the chocolate section at Whole Foods Market. Gazing at all the beautiful packaging, I consciously picked up red, white and sandy brown colors to take back home.

Immediately after my usual celestial dinner, I realized each chocolate bar had a love poem inside its wrapper. This reminded me of a movie I saw many years ago, “LE CHOCOLAT”, which was directed by a Polish man who is also a Buddhist practitioner. I still remember vividly hearing those experienced actors, during an interview, talking about the calming and loving energy they encountered during the making of this movie.

The following is one of the poems, which is inside the red wrapper, written by May Riley Smith:

My Life is a Bowl

My life is a bowl which is mine to brim
With loveliness old and new.
So I fill its clay from stem to rim
With you, dear heart,
With you.

My life is a pool which can only hold
One star and a glimpse of blue
But the blue and the little lamp of gold
Are you, dear heart,
Are you.

My life is a homing bird that flies
Through the starry dusk and dew
Home to the heaven of your true eyes,
Home, dear heart,
To you.

May 25, 2005

As my friend Susan said, “spring is the time of rebirth.” So this story is about one of my most jolly and precious experiences to which I will be looking forward once a year.

Right at the beginning of Christopher Street, a narrow alley in a Manhattan historic district, on the south east corner grows a wisteria tree. Over the years the vine has overgrown with branches that spiral over leaning trees, covering almost the entire street with an arch.

Early every spring, with a nostalgic feeling of waiting to meet with a lover I see but once a year, I await the blooming of the wisteria. The spider-like wisteria flowers decorate the whole tree… like a spring Christmas tree! With my warmest enthusiasm, every year I visit the tree at least five to seven times in a day, just a minute’s walk from my apartment. (By the way, someone has commented that my scenic street is like a post card from the good old days…) At the gym the evening before I left for Asia, Dave, a musician, casually commented about this amazing tree with his usual big smile.

Oh, my dearest wisteria … I am writing to express my loving gratitude to you with your fragrant purple and green dresses that bring me a such a motherly healing power!

May 18, 2005

After my grocery shopping at Whole Foods, while I was inside the subway platform, I realized that a gentle voice behind me was paying a nice compliment regarding my attire – a cream Kimono.

The compliment came from a black gentleman with a baseball cap and grandpapa glasses. From a distance he asked, “Is this Japanese?”. I replied, “Yes…”. “But the material is different. In NYC, I don’t see such attire often. It is such a pleasure”. I walked closer to him and explained that pure silk makes this Japanese kimono’s silhouette fall better. “I am learning something new every day”, he said. “Well, aren’t we all!”, I replied. Then we both got into the train and chatted about how nearly the whole world is in NYC. He started to tell me a story about an eighty-six year old lady from Texas whom he met who insisted that the only one thing that makes our life easy is a positive attitude.

“Here is my stop. You enjoy and have a nice life”. He put him palms together with a beautiful smile and left.

It was such a brief but nurturing connection. For the past few years life has been comfortably ‘light’ for me. So right now I am following up with this string of balance on my evening walking meditation, and saying a big thank you before I go to my spirit dream world tonight!

March 14, 2005

I have been wanting to write this little ordinary story for the past year. I just now sat in front of my computer screen and typed it in word… by… word.

My friend, Emily C, ABC ( American-born Chinese ), divorced, single mother, both lives and works in NYC as a painter.

Very often her paintings are images of circles. As a matter of fact, they are deeply influenced by Buddhism, with absolutely breathtaking, vibrant color schemes. Emily talked about the feeling of wholeness whenever she completed a painting. Naturally, she collects Asian antiques. One day she had her antiques evaluated by experts and found that they were worth nearly nothing. She said to me, “Richard, I brought them home and love them even more than before.”

Indeed, an exceedingly interesting lesson to digest, understand and learn. I pray innocent kids (we) will learn our lessons joyously faster.

February 21, 2005

The morning’s golden light is beautifully permeating my 1836-built apartment from both my left and right windows. So very ‘high’, right away I have to sing and dance with my new Chinese rap-pop music at the same time.

Intuitively I take out my almost-ten-year-old emerald green wool knitted Giorgio one-button jacket, followed by a five Dynasty Chinese jar (Poetic name : Happy Green Apple) that’s more than one thousand years old yet still showing its intangible qualities. It’s especially stunningly shining on a sunny day like today, displayed atop a 50s American rectangular cabinet of natural maplewood color. Good, perfect and balanced!

As I look out of my left window and see the familiar stretch of house windows on Waverly Place, including a parked van’s windows, all turn completely illuminated, yet softly focused, in two or three different shades of green.

Very often we are attracted to things that cannot be conveyed through words. In my opinion colors are like vibrations that deliver healing messages, but only if we are open heartedly attuned to receiving, listening.

OK! Right now I am going to light a green incense and see what will happen… Guess what?

November 24, 2004

Second story written on United Airlines on the way back from Singapore to New York.

Yummy… Yummy! Once again, I was invited by my sister, together with Mom, to one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Singapore for dinner before I departed for New York the next morning. The Crystal Palace, a small, dim, yet stylish environment with a high ceiling of gold leaves, dark wooden panelled walls, delicate potted simple white tableware on crisp white linen table cloths, and deep plum carpeting was created by a Japanese interior designer who lives in Singapore.

While I was ordering my herbal soup of the day, on my far left I spotted a restaurant captain serving a gigantic winter melon soup dish, approximately 16 – 20 inches in diameter with a zip-zap rim on a silver-like pedestal stand. With the warm white steam wafting from the hot soup, the golden funnel spotlight really captured the essence of the presentation.

With my usual curiosity, I was immediately chasing after the recipe. So the young, attractive captain explained enthusiastically. The preparing of this dish takes about three to four days including the selection of both fresh and dried Chinese herbs, both fresh and dried vegetables, bacon, semi-ripe melons, etc. The technique of handling this dish is exceedingly important and is performed only by experienced chefs. Perfection must be achieved in the balance of water to ingredients, the consistency of the stove heat, broiling the first time, rebroiling repeatedly three to four times, and adding or changing steaming hot water, for at least eight hours to get the perfect taste for each night. Because of the huge stainless steel broiler, limited space and time-consuming labor, many foreigners of the old families would call in advance to reserve this special dish for dinner only. Young people in Singapore are not familiar with or interested in such traditional dishes any more.

I was extremely delighted to hear that there are still dedicated people who enjoy spending time producing quality products as the world is in rapid speed. It was also a peaceful dinner with Mom and Sis to whom I felt closer for the first time. We felt a happy energy, one that they rarely click into because in Singapore, my hometown, materialistic life is so overwhelmingly promoted.

November 24, 2004

Just about a week before the Fall Asia Auction Fair in New York (It’s always a joking comment by a dear friend of mine that this is a GOLDEN WEEK of our businesses)…

Early in the morning, I was at J&R fabric store selecting black silk lining for my client’s new corset belt for the Fall collection. My cellphone rang, with the enthusiastic voice of a gentleman who had seen my ad in THE ASIAN ART NEWSPAPER, expressing interest in two of my Asian ceramics. At the time I was focused on the fabric colors, so I agreed to call him back after lunch at 2:00 pm.

We spoke punctually at 2:00 pm. The first Japanese ceramic bowl (POETIC NAME: A PIECE OF HEAVEN) seemed on the ad a high price for a first time buyer… but the second Korean bowl, which had a medium price, attracted him.

It was unusual, unpredictable fall weather in New York. The foggy sky and heavy rain lasted for about an hour and then came the bright sunny sky. Mr. Yohe called to arrive at 1:30 pm. Seated on my two tatami mats, my home gallery (building of 1836) which is in the heart of the West Village in Manhattan, the potential buyer was silently handling, gazing at the Korean bowl. He offered a price if I would accept it… I paused and asked, “Do you think you like it or do you love it?” With his gentle voice, he replied, “This Korean Punchung ware of the robe design is what I always wanted.” Immediately, I leaned over to shake his hand as a symbol, a beginning of a potential friendship, as opposed to a closing business deal affair. Finally, Mr Yohe asked if he could looked at A PIECE OF HEAVEN — as I had expected. For 7 – 8 minutes… he was almost still and silent, the loving energy in the my space was fully floating in the air. Then he started to speak, “Richard, this is a very mysterious piece… very mysterious piece.” I replied, “In my experiences of handling all the objects, I always trust that every piece will finally find a perfect home, just like us humans. A real inner home followed by an outer home.” He smiled, wrote me a happy check and brought his new baby home.

Never had I experienced such a harmonious dealing with a first time buyer who is so atuned to the heart’s feeling. And surely, I will be expecting more and more in the future.

WOW! THAT WAS SUCH A SATISFACTORY, HAPPY AND BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE!