Ivy Kwong is a Licensed Psychotherapist who really flows between three roles: One, as a guide to walk alongside you as you navigate your journey, helping you to see and consider new directions and previously undiscovered paths. Two, she is an advocate of your growth and healing by assisting with tools and insight as needed and inspired, and Three, she operates as a mirror to reflect your strength, resilience, and gifts, and to gently raise awareness of your blind spot s from a foundation of compassion and care. Her approach is warm, collaborative, intuitive, and holistic and she believes you are the expectation of your own healing.
I noticed Ivy because I was doing research on Vipassana meditation retreats and came across her very witty and informative article (link below if you want to read). How can you not like somebody who makes you laugh out loud? I also liked the fact that she’s a psychotherapist who did a meditation retreat. I love it when the two worlds of science and spirituality come together. It creates a holistic perspective of our true essence.
I originally invited Ivy onto the show to share her experience of the Vipassana retreat but it organically took a different direction and we ended up talking about - in short - life.….this journey….healing. Ivy’s personal story highlights the richness of life and the dynamic facets of these journeys. No journey is the same and they are not meant to be judged as “better” or “worse”. They’re just different, each one precious. Our journeys are our own yet there are many points in which we can connect and relate to each other. It’s like we’re an Earth sized venn diagram, each person’s journey is a circle and various pieces of our experiences overlap with others’. Each story interwoven one way or another, held together with the common thread of our truths (which I think might be love?). Our journeys are of finding our way back to this common thread, but there can be quite a bit of muck to get through. We’re lucky though, because our stories are interwoven which means that the lessons that we learn on our own can be shared. And through the sharing of lessons we help each other get a little closer to that common thread. I guess that’s my long form way of telling you what this episode is about. I tried to be succinct about it but what Ivy shares with us provides such deep value that it wouldn’t be a clear reflection if I just said that it was about how to develop self-worth and heal the innermost parts of ourselves through our inner child. Trust me on this one, you want to listen to this. You’ll come out with your heart full and with more compassion for yourself.
Things that we all desire: to be seen, heard, protected, and safe.
There are pivotal moments in our lives where we need to decide if we’re going to self destruct or persevere.
Ivy’s transformation began when she came to a point in her life where she realized that if she kept living as destructively as she was, her life was either going to be shortened or it wouldn’t be a life worth living. She had to decide to make a change.
“The people who have gone through the darkest times are the ones who are capable of generating the brightest lights”
Ivy’s advice on trauma comparison: there’s no such thing as anybody else’s trauma being “better” or “worse” than the other. Your experience is your own and that needs to be honored.
We get messages all day about conditional worth from what your social status is to how many likes you got on your Instagram post. The real truth is that you are worthy and you deserve self-love. You need to find a way to realize that.
We’re doing the work to heal so many generations of our parents’ wounds
Our most difficult relationships are the ones that teaches us the most
To create a life that was worth living, Ivy had to:
Admit that the work she was doing (being a lawyer) was done out of expectation and was not her calling. She had to start looking for what her deepest calling was.
She worked with her inner child through post induction therapy, which she now offers to her clients. She visited her six year old self to provide the healing that was required there. This work is important because your inner child is visceral and knows your deepest truth.
Magic and serendipity happens when you start committing to yourself, to your inner child, presence, to be able to be with yourself.
Your inner child is with you throughout your entire life. All itierations of you are all part of you. They’ve always have been and will be. Learn to reconnect with and listen to all these diff parts of yourself
Aside from induction therapy, you can connect with your inner child by:
Finding a pic of yourself from when you were young (4,5,6,7 years old) and sitting with it.
Internally or vocally and tell yourself “I love you. You’re important. You matter and you’re precious to me. What you have to say, think, feel, I want to hear you “
Ask her/him “what do you need right now”
Sit with this for 15 min
Wherever we are at your journey, realize that you are already doing your best with what you have. Have compassion toward yourself for that.
In order to believe you’re worthy of self love, you need to treat yourself with self love.
How to believe your worthiness: treat yourself like your’re worthy
You teach how people to treat you with your boundaries. If you don’t reinforce your boundaries, then you teach yourself that you’re not worthy. You’re telling yourself that other people are more important and then your self worth issues continue to brew.
Learn to say no and tell yourself/inner child/universe that you’re worthy of care and protection and being honored.
“in order to become you have to be”
The richness of life can be accessed when you go to a place where you can surrender (ex. nature…)
Depression comes from fixation of past, anxiety comes from fixation of future
We choose our stories. We choose our stories, we choose to empower or dis-empower ourselves. Things that happen can be the worst things, condemning our life to suffering or they can break us open.
Tips/tools to plug into love, truth and connection:
Allow yourself to be fully human and feel everything. Happiness has just as much importance and beauty as sadness, fear, joy. All of these entities are part of you and instead of pushing them away or denying them, listen to them. Ex. Anger tells you that a boundary has been violated. Let yourself feel what you feel. They’ve got messages.
It’s okay to not know things. Are you thinking your feelings or feeling your feelings? Feel without having to understand, explain or justify it. There’s a limiting factor to having to understand and make sense of everything.
Play! Just for the sake of curiosity, joy, expression, connection and without a need of any outcome.
Little tidbit about vipassana retreat: for Ivy it was powerful, beautiful and so hard to do! The retreat consisted of 10 days of meditation and no talking.
One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:
Acceptance is the key to freedom from all suffering. If you can accept what you’re feeling, thinking, experiencing in the moment (provided that you’re in a safe situation) that can lead to freedom. Accept what is rather than force what isn’t.
“May you have the serenity to accept the things that you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference”
What is one nugget of wisdom that you would share with fellow seekers who are on this journey of growth and transformation?
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Laugh, allow, give yourself grace, compassion and recognize that you’re doing the best that you can with what you have right now. At any moment you can do something different.
If you have any questions for Ivy or want to learn more, connect with her through:
The article about vipassana retreat where I first learned about Ivy: A Brutally Honest Review of My 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat
The “trapezoid head” article that we were talking about: My Never-Before-Shared Story of Middle School Love and Death