Thank you for reading my articles here. If any piece resonates with you, I encourage you to share your reactions, as they will likely resonate with other readers, too. I also invite you to visit my website to learn more about REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life. Much Love and Many Blessings, Alice

Friday, August 5, 2011

Honoring beginnings while dreaming big

In The Big Leap, Dr. Gay Hendricks says that we all have an internal thermostat setting vis-à-vis success and happiness. Whenever we exceed that setting by creating more success and happiness than what we subconsciously believe we deserve, our instinct is to drop back down to that familiar default setting, even if it’s suboptimal. In other words, we unknowingly self-sabotage because we don’t know how to deal with more success and happiness beyond the limits we had somehow set for ourselves—and forgotten about. Until we shine awareness on these limits and break through them, we unknowingly repeat self-limiting patterns in our lives.

I’m currently visiting my childhood home (Macau, near Hong Kong), celebrating my dad’s 70th birthday and participating in the first family reunion since 1995. None of us thought it’d be 16 years before all 4 of us kids and both our parents—plus 4 grandkids now—would be in the same place again. I really looked forward to this rare family gathering, and booked my flights a year ago, as soon as discussions first started. 

As much as I was full of anticipation for this reunion, as the trip approached, I also became aware of some low-grade anxiety I had about this visit. This unease was familiar, as I had it every time I made this long trip across the Pacific Ocean since I left home 25 years ago. The difference this time is that I’ve developed the consciousness to recognize what’s underneath the stress. It’s a tap on the shoulder to reconcile my current reality with forgotten limiting beliefs about money and success. It’s time to clear out some more neglected weeds in the fertile ground of my subconscious mind.

Over the years, every time I’ve traveled back to my childhood home, my life would so happen to be in transition and/or I'd have to watch my spending. To give you an idea, in 1992, I came back to my parents’ home as someone’s depressed trailing spouse, with a Master’s Degree but no job in hand, feeling that life was hopeless and not worth living at age 21. In 1995 and 1997, I was a doctoral student living on a small graduate assistant’s stipend. In 2004, I was going through a divorce, in addition to being burned out from my consulting job then, and in the process of reinventing myself. In 2007, I had just bought my very first house on my own in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area. Not only had I invested my life’s savings in the down payment, my discretionary spending shrunk dramatically because of having a mortgage. On this current trip, I’m still in setup mode with my REACH mission; it isn't the homecoming of a successful entrepreneur—not yet anyway.

I started wondering: Why do I keep repeating a pattern of returning to my childhood home not particularly feeling prosperous or successful? I’ve certainly created a good life overall and increasing success in between visits over the years. What’s behind this pattern I keep repeating? My contemplation yielded a very simple answer: I was subconsciously trying to honor my beginnings. 

I was born amidst a pervasive consciousness of lack. This consciousness was in part cultural and in part circumstantial. My parents were born in the World War II era, and had truly heartbreaking, depriving childhoods. Despite that, they did an amazing job raising us 4 kids with what they had and what they knew how to do. I’ll never forget an experience when I was 9. I asked my mom for what was equivalent to $1.20 for a school project, and got yelled at so badly that you’d think I committed a crime. I was stunned. What wrong did I actually do? My mom later explained that money was really tight, and that was why she freaked out when I asked for money, even though it wasn’t much. Her intense fear and desperation burned a lasting imprint in my young heart and consciousness. I’m recounting this moment to give you a sense of the environment in which I was raised.

Subconsciously, returning to my childhood home posh would be grossly incongruent with the messages around financial hardship with which I was raised. Even though I’ve done a lot of work in releasing limiting beliefs about abundance, my consciousness has been focused on the current life I’ve created in the U.S. In effect, I’ve manifested a completely different reality thousands of miles away from where I grew up, where I got many years of foundational subconscious programming about money and security—or the lack thereof. Just like what Dr. Hendricks said about returning to my original thermostat setting, my subconscious mind needed my success status to match my memory of childhood circumstances whenever I go back to Macau.

What a revelation all that was! I truly honor where I came from, as it offered the contrasting life experiences from which to pivot, to break through my default thermostat setting and to reach greater heights in this life. But, it’s clearly time to let the old programming go and to leave the past where it belongs. I’m not my mother, fearfully and desperately trying to manage a household with severely limited resources. I’m most certainly no longer the 9-year-old who was gravely afraid of being a burden to my mother and felt grossly insecure at home.

Instead, I choose to mindfully acknowledge and honor the tenacious dreamer in mewho has successfully realized every dream I’ve had since childhood, starting with wanting to create a bigger, better and more meaningful life than the one into which I was born. Each dream has led to a bigger one that expands my consciousness and stretches me to grow—more and more rapidly—to surrender to Divine flow and to express more grace and joy my spirit came into this human life to experience.

What about you? Are you in any way held back by your default success and happiness thermostat setting? Are you repeating any patterns in life that could be traced back to forgotten childhood memories? Are you unknowingly still trying to honor where you came from? Know that by breaking through your old thermostat setting, you aren’t dishonoring your beginnings. Instead, you’re simply recognizing that where you came from set you up to make conscious choices to becoming more successful and happier. There’s nothing wrong with that. Honor your past, celebrate the present and dream big for the future!


  1. Beautifully written, Alice! What a wonderful revelation to trace back your patterns over the years and know that it all stemmed from your childhood. Wow. Thank you so much for being open and sharing so much of yourself here. I also have limiting beliefs about money that stem from my upbringing. The first step is to be conscious of these beliefs, and the second step is to create new beliefs - which is what we're both working on now. Thank you for this amazing post!

  2. Thank you, Jodi! We're all constantly learning and growing. I'm inspired by others' lessons, and hope to participate in this circle of sharing by being willing to be authentic and vulnerable.


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