Capturing once in a lifetime moment and each encounter is one of a kind and unique. Life designer is looking to genuine and meaningful human connection, and telling candid human stories. In each episode, I will interview an amazing talent coming from all around the world across all different industries. They are artists, creatives, professionals, entrepreneurs, slash everything, and they are all on their journey to pursue their mission with a passion. It's their story-telling about how they become their own life designers! Please feel free to visit my website to find more information: https://www.lifedesignerwithjingyuchen.com/I am also running my solo podcast ‘Jing Lens’ -- my lifestyle diary . Here I share daily hustle and grind, small joys from my travel and hobbies, exercise routine, self-care practice, and reflection on my personal growth, etc., I consider Jing Lens as my dynamic diary to document and capture evolving and ( hopefully elevating) journey of my lifestyle. Lifestyle is a bit overkill buzzword today but I have always been drawn to this word, spending years and years searching and building my lifestyle. I guess I finally reach this self-validation point to feel may be able to to share some mindset and practice from an ordinary person’s life to provide one possible form of wholesome and joyful living.Both podcasts are located in my website. My website is like my container where I put my heart and soul to curate . Please feel free to visit my website to check in both podcasts if you are interested. Thank you so much for listening to my podcasts!
Conversation with Musician Zenith (Part One)
Growing up in New Zealand and being the only Asian kid in the whole school, Zenith experienced years of bully at primary school. It led her to develop an initial interest in how the human psychic and mind work, and she set herself up for pursuing psychiatry at a very early age. It’s a choice inherently driven by her intention of helping those struggling inside.
A gay year in Korea and a teaching job over there prompted her to shift the lane, and pivoted to pursue music. She completed the master degree in Sydney Conservatorium of Music. The scope of her music practice is enormous: performing cello, piano, violin, composing, singing, and teaching music ., as Zenith said, music is her life basically. Music fulfils her purpose of living, and secondarily music feeds her to sustain a living. The order can’t be flipped around because that order shaped her as a musician and framed her perspectives towards the world.
When it comes to performing music, Zenith considers it essential to incorporate intellectual pieces of information behind each piece ( a composer’s life, social environment, and political movement at that time,etc., ) into her creative act as supposed to just emoting and feeling her way through the sound. By employing both intellectual and emotional skills, a musician is equipped to deliver an individual narrative in its attached social and cultural landscape. History and human stories, therefore, are documented and archived. I also personally believe that only in this way can music legacy be inherited and evolved through generation by generation
We further address non-transactional value in music, which I consider distinguishes music from all other instrumental forces (economic power, tech power, etc.,) Because music moves our hearts! I can’t think of any other human inventions that can so easily and mysteriously activate and unleash human emotions and feelings!
Music is for ears to hear. As a human being, Zenith is humbling and compassionate in a profound sense that she acknowledges different forms of human living and struggling. Hence she will never project her feelings for music onto audiences. As a musician, her goal is only and always just to share her life passion with the outside world and to send invitations to whoever walks into her musical world. what to take in from a piece of music is absolutely individual but her genuine attempt and efforts to make an emotional connection through sounds will definitely be sensed by all her audiences! On that note, I am one of the recipients. 15 years old me accepted the YoYo-Ma tracks sent by my friend and since then music becomes my lifelong intimate friend.
Zenith’s insight into music musician education for children reveals music intricately interplays with the rest of the world ( art, architecture, fashion, history, science, religion, etc.,) Her revealing reaches my core belief that music goes beyond an exclusive component and isolated being, as well as embodying grand aesthetes that encompass a mixture of human civilization creation.
She not only offers her teaching methodology on technical training but also presents a full rich and enchanting world that sparks a 5 years natural curiosity. She made me believe that a piece can be unpackaged in a way to be linguistically understandable and emotionally relatable to a 5 year old. Music is to some extent exclusive as a career path, but musicians like Zenith reinforced my faith that Music Education plays an instrumental role in preparing children to be better emotionally equipped towards life in general . Music provides a perspective and reality to live a life with infinity.
Conversation with Musician Zenith (Part Two )
All musicians are searching for their voice in music. The minute it’s found, the choice of living life with music becomes eternity. Zenith found her voice in music which is to make an emotional connection with her audiences.
As a musician, Zenith never shines away from performing confronting piece and she also fully embrace playing dreamy piece like La La Land. When delivering confronting pieces , musician should not overstep boundary between making an emotional connection and healing. As far as I consider it, it already takes a musician’s full strength to be completely vulnerable and to even brutally expose herself/himself to that excruciating pain that comes with that piece. When a musician goes beyond making connections and attempts to heal audiences’ trauma through music, it becomes a rather unprofessional, unsafe, and even arrogant act, as Zenith put it. I agree. I was trained at work in building professional boundaries when it comes to dealing with crisis cases. Empathy and compassion will not qualify you as a therapist and healing should be left to accreted professionals' hands.
We also extend into 'what’s underneath the façade’. When reaching a radical acceptance towards the complexity of humanity and an in-depth life experience, a artist may finally gain the liberation to choose the tone in their professional work ( only play La La Land, for example ). I also consider Zenith as the least judging person as her judgment is formulated through her endeavours to peel layers to reach a person’s inner core.
About pretentiousness: I got this concept from Ethan Hawk, one of my favourite actors. He said it’s ok that you are pretentious if you do it with a bit of humor. it means you are aspiring to something. You have to set up a goal for yourself. Zenith enjoys being accurate and objective about her reality but she sets up her strict personal standard and goal which she fiercely protects. With that pretentiousness at core, Musician’s creative desire comes within and the determination to reach their goals is unwavering.
About sensibility: Zenith reiterates the importance of not separating a discipline from the rest of the world. She said: If you have a basic level of knowledge about what’s going on around you, you will be more equipped to be better at doing what you are doing.
About authenticity: Her authenticity come downs to practice and grind her craft on daily. Zenith and I apply the same mindset and practice to navigate our life that is to keeping the promise we made with ourselves and holding ourselves accountable. Again, means and craft doesn’t matter, Human connection is real when what drive us is essentially identical .
Zinth is very grateful to get to do what she is passionate for. She has no intention to diminish importance of work-life balance but I do believe musician like Zenith or artists in general sustain their living through tireless and fearless creative pursuits. I just purely wish all creatives take good care of themselves ( eat well, sleep well, maybe add some exercise lol) for greater longevity leads up to longer creative span.
From receiving the very first few tracks sent by my friends ( Yo-Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone , Forever love by X-Japan.,) to encounter Zenith and document her music story, I feel it’s like a full circle of me. In the end , I want to tell all musicians out there Wherever you are standing now, at least you already connected to your inner art and hence you will never lose hope to live your life. Hans Zimmer said however much people discourage you, however hard it gets, at the end of day, it’s worth it. If you feel compelled to write music, then do it!
Special Episode: My 2022 Home Project
I started my 2022 home project which somehow extends its scope into renovation, interior design , decluttering and organization from last June around. It was probably my biggest project in 2022 which grounds me on a very deep and personal level.
It was over half year of hustle, stretching my creativity, mentality , even physical strengths to a new level. My architect friends said they see my potential in interior design. I guess even I may get slight bit of sensitivity in styling or something , I still got overwhelm just by the idea of doing interior design in some scale from 5 to 10 years down to road . Because interior design is so deep. I was so intimidated by it , now a tip of iceberg is revealing to me. My respect for architects and interior designers are also being taken into next level . I just don’t know how much hard work and intense learning it will take to reach that professional level.
I guess I just need to follow my heart at my pace. Right now I am at informal/ self-taught level of learning. Over the last half year, I immerse myself to listening to hundreds of podcasts related to interior design and watched Tons of AD YouTube videos, ended up taking a whole notebook of notes. All of sudden, I become keen to dig into texture, material, color Palette , architectural structure, each aspect can be an independent discipline. It’s a new language system I am learning which depicts aesthetic , value and existence of life that I gravitate towards.
As an interest-driven person, I just feel so grateful to encounter this new hobby in 2022, and is willing to sit down still to learn the foundation. I vaguely sense that Interior design will offer me a new perspective and lens to restructure the physical space , reframe the way of thinking, reconnect time and space, it’s just I see music, life, and flow in architecture and I am so obsessed with that feeling.
Interier design are trials with endless learning curve and triumphs. I am often uplifted by musicians’ music, someone's kind words or share of people's inner art . I hope my share can bring a bit joy / enegery or a bit sense of hope ( even just for a moment) for my audiences. That's why I consider it's meaningful to make this episode.
This episode do need some visual navigation lol so feel free to visist my Website to listen with photos attached for my living room.
Interior design shouldn’t be a race towards finish line and something you can pull it off at recorded time so you can show off to your friends. it’s a evolving and ongoing journey.
Home should be the expression and extension of inner self. When you are curating a sense of tyle in your place, you are also curating a sense of belonging and acceptance. Home should be a place fills you with joy and happiness and be the ultimate sanctuary.
I agree we can train our designer eye and elevate our taste through intentional learning and massive exposure to art , but interior design is never be as easy as just replicating a beautifully curated home from the catalogue to become yours. To be able to emotionally connect to a physical space, I think eventually it comes down to being authentic to yourself.
Function comes first. Style shoud support its function.
Music makes time pass, and architecture make space into meaningful form..no..I mean architecture make music stand still, here time turns into space.
Conversation with Entrepreneur Kaitlin Cuevas: Founder of Think Happy, Co. / Podcaster of The Think Happy Podcast/ Former Marketer
It was such a delightful and uplifting journey to produce this episode with Kaitlin, a joyful and empowering woman who believed YOU are in the driver’s seat of your own life-, and happiness is something we each create for ourselves! She built her coaching business ‘ The Think Happy’ , teaching women intentional methods to reclaim their lives & sustain their happiness. It took more than just one pivot ( from teaching to marketing to be an Entrepreneur) to stand where she is now. After working in marketing for her family business for almost a decade, she just recently pivoted to running ‘The Think Happy’ coaching business at full-time capacity and scale. It was a tough decision to make because she was the retirement plan of her dad , feeling like pulling the rug out from under his dad's feet! After lots of soul-searching, she fully embraced her true calling which is to help others live the happiest lives!
In her retrospect, The first life in marketing not only formed into her current business but also formed into her personality and character. Two most valuable lessons she took way is to always stay open and humble to learn as well as serving others the best she can with her passion and skills.
It started with Kaitlin writing a book of Think Happy, which laid out pillars of her coaching business :Think Happy, Co. It’s amazing to get into the nitty and gritty of her happiness pillars which were born from her real life. Kaitlin said time management builds the foundation of everything, and she is absolutely the master of the art of hustle! I also come to realization at this stage that time is the biggest asset of my life. One signature pillar I want to highlight in ‘The Think Happy’ is to set and achieve attainable goals. She shared that setting up multiple mini-goals will keep up our momentum to work towards our big goal without losing drive. She said when you accomplished something, the mini goal, you should take time to celebrate that. Celebrating those wins and living in that excitement for a little while will do nothing but help keep driving that momentum moving forward. Her goal-setting strategies also align with my project-based lifestyle.
We further touched on my favourite topic ‘ Energy. We believe energy is infectious and that frequency of energy translates into other people around you. It’s a ripple effect! When encountering an ‘energy block’, she gave an example of feeling ‘overwhelm’, she will move through those feelings not avoiding them. Her insight into how to identify energy-depleting factors and replenish energy just blew my mind. The key here is never let your energy level drop down to zero and then replenish. She believes if we got fully empty, it takes much more effort to fill back in. It’s like if we let our cell phone battery go to zero, the battery will die. Even if you plug in and recharge it, it still takes a few mins to reboot.
Kaitlin said we should try our best to avoid letting our cup get totally empty. If we continue filling in our cups through our days/ week, it's gonna prevent it from getting dry and going empty.
Joy and happiness filled in me while making this episode. I hope the ripple effect can translate to anyone who listen to this episode and add in your festive December!
Connect to Kaitlin
The One and Only Bella Is Back: Travel Creates New Reality
I am so thrilled and honored to have my first returning guest for this Podcast, the one and only Bella is back! Bella is a Creative Strategist based in NYC. I interviewed her Last year around this time. A year went by, Bella and I are both growing and evolving which leads to this amazing episode about ‘ travel creates new reality ’!
Bella shared her most recent trip to Mexico City that began with Hopping in a plane alone without any planning, and a solo trip sometimes turned out to be the best trip. As Bella said, being spontaneous led her to blend in and live like a local over there. To stay away from NY’s ‘ hustle culture ‘ and lifestyle featuring super-intensity and high discipline for moments, she recharged and reinvented herself in a new country in the way that she sees things with fresh eyes and new perspectives. She feels like her ‘inner- child ‘ passion and curiosity towards the world kicked back again. The biggest takeaway from this trip was to let guard off herself and embrace the opportunity of building a new connection with others. Another profound impact travel does on us comes back to our mindset shift: We can see ourselves survive and thrive in different places which leads to infinite possibilities in life!
We both thus established the fact that travel leads to a new reality: when we truly open ourselves to the world, we gained the strength to build a new community and family, make new friends, and build a new life anywhere in this world. Bella said whenever we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, we have the opportunity to start over again! It’s so powerful for anybody in whatever situation at whatever age. Unique travel experiences stay within us and the memories we built won’t fade away. It becomes our stories to tell when we are too old to travel, sitting on the couch and beginning to reminisce. ( In this episode, Bella shared her ‘ Crazy adventure ‘ slash the best night in Mexico; I shared my ‘debut sing in a steamboat’ story from my recent trip to New Zealand.
As Bella said: all the small things, little moments in the stories, all those particular moments made us who we are, and made our lives special! Bella shared :
We are always growing, and picking up new things, and our priority is also changing. Our life pursuit is more than just success in careers and it even can be bigger than ourselves.
Learning is deeper than just elevating our skills to be the best in our expertise. We learn to be better persons, to be humble, to slow down, appreciate small things from each travel experience.
Apply that mindset or things we learn from that trip to other aspects of our life. Try to see how life goes and what happens to you. You start feeling excited about life again and wondering what is coming ahead!
This Episode means so much to me as we both are growing and surviving through this pandemic to this point of having this Episode about Travelling. I want to tell everyone that things do get better. Adversity builds our character and Constraints lead to Creativity!
Conntect to Bella :
小红书： 一只纽约文艺狗 Bell
Listen to our Episode back in 2021
Conversation with Beverly Price: Founder of Nastava Jewelry/Founder at Her Self Expression/ Transformational Coach
Coming from a upbringing where education around self-love and confidence seem to be missing, Beverly price discovered her path from self-expression to self-empowerment in later her adulthood. The road to self-empowerment comes with pain and struggles, but Beverly said, without being self-empowered, she wouldn’t have that strengths to pivot to Jewelry design from finance sector. It took her 30 years to reach other side of self-empowerment while she believe it doesn’t need to be that much long for women to get there. She is hence missioned -driven to take women on a journey from self-expression to self-empowerment. she funded her Jewellery brand Nastava that featuring bespoke Pieces and finest materials. As an intuitive designer, she pours in soul and heart in each piece . The goal of Nastava is to empower and inspire her clients with the boldness and uniqueness element in her creation. She believes This transformation on the outside, along with a transformation on the inside, is the best recipe for confidence and self-empowerment. When you feel beautiful outside, you feel empowered inside.
She further shared other foundations of self-empowerment: don’t compare yourself with others. Often we compare our inside with other’s outside which always ends up feeling the sense of inadequacies . What we should focus on is to fall I love with authentic ourselves and be comfortable on own skin. We should also switch the victim mindset to I am responsible for myself. Somtimes professional help is needed to find that strength to move forward.
Beverly described her Entrepreneurial Journey as an emotional roller coaster ride . She said Entrepreneurial world is not for everyone . But if you do want to build your own business, you should take that leap of faith eventually. There is little voice inside us that take us to our true calling .There are some nudges in our life along the way that ‘push’ us to embark on the journey. She addressed struggling facing female funder in current funding ecosystem, and what takes to be a successful entrepreneur ( resilience , optimism , mindset shift, building support network, etc., ). When self-doubt and second guess creep in ( which is inevitable ) you are still able to cope emotionally well and keep going! She just launched a new podcast called Her-Self-Expression ( I am a big fan ) and built Her- Self -Expression Sisterhood, a Facebook Group. Both are extension of her life-long mission: Support and Advocate for women’s personal journey from self-expression to self-empowerment!
Being a participant is the key in support network so you can have fuller and richer life experience, and you can’t just expect people to come to you . You need to be an active part as well. Essentially you need to be that kind of friend somebody want to be friend with.
When the pain of problem comes greater than the pain of solution, change will happen.
When you get to other side of empowerment, it doesn’t mean you arrived and the journey ended . The journey continues through your whole life.
The biggest thing is walking through your fear, just put one foot in front another and keep going.
Connect to Beverly: