To Chihiro

and To Our Ghosts

Celebrated nature, shamanic journey, exploration of the psyche, dark side, power of the feminine, witchcraft, poetry paying hommage to the Great Mystery… Miyazaki is by far the artist who has influenced me most. 

And the Chihiro’s Journey is by far the movie I have seen most. Indeed, to have children serves the cause! but still, I learn something new each time I see this movie. Chihiro fascinates me.

Those who follow me on Instagram may remember that my daughter Tâm, for her French class, was invited to make a lecture on her favorite hero or heroin. I was thrilled to see her choose Chihiro, when others would take Superman, but also, I was mesmerized by (well ok, and proud of)  her very articulate vision on her.



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tres fière de ma Tâm qui a choisi Chihiro pour un exposé sur les “héros”. après avoir revu le film ensemble samedi, elle me dit “en fait chihiro m’épate parce qu’elle dépasse ses peurs alors tout fait peur (ses parents en cochons, l’esprit putride, la descente de l’escalier, baba yaga!) et puis elle sait dire non (au sans-visage) mais avec bienveillance. les héros sont toujours des hommes musclés qui remplissent leur devoir en sauvant le monde. la elle n’est pas reine du monde mais reine de “elle-meme”” et d’enchaîner sur cette peinture. euh… je suis fière de mon fils aussi qui s’est bien fait chahuter hier en classe et qui va ouvrir son cœur ce matin en mode “communication non-violente” pour leur dire qui il est, ce qu’il a ressenti et ce dont il a besoin. vulnérable mais debout, allez go go go! love mes enfants, gros gros love

Une publication partagée par Mai Hua (@mai_hua) le

“very proud of my Tâm who chose Chihiro for a lecture she did about “heroes”. Just after watching the movie yesteray, she tells me : “actually Chihiro amazes me because she manages to live beyond her fears. everything is so scary (her parents transformed into pigs, the stinky spirit, walking down this super steep staircase, baba yaga!) and then she learns to say no to No-Face, but kindly. Heroes are always muscled man who save the world to accomplish their duty. Here she is not the queen of the world but the queen of “herself”. Then Tâm painted her… “

A friend was telling me “when questioned about the complexity of his movies, Miyazaki just answers : children understand everything.” It is so true, we, adults, tend to forget this kind of chaotic wisdom.


So, who still does not know Chihiro?! (WTF!!!!!!!!)


At the beginning of the journey, Chihiro, this little scared child, has little to offer as a heroin. Despite or because of that, the poor thing is thrown into a (terrifying) dream land from which she has to escape. To do so, she has to explore it deeply, and work for a strange bathhouse for spirits. Under Baba Yaga’s commandements, she learns how to “clean” spirits, or rather : help them clean themselves. 


(my life goal is to become a baba yaga)


Them? all these spirits are indeed, projections of herself. All this extremely sophisticated complex bathhouse, these different tasks to accomplish are the shamanic theater of her psyche under transformation (/cleansing). There, she will go through a rite of passage by living through her biggest fears.

and grow.



Then, arrives No-Face. He is a monster, not because he is obviously ugly, threatening (he looks harmless) or stinky, worse… he does not show who he is (he has no face!). He gives abundant gold to everyone. and everyone wants him : of course! he is so “generous”!!!! at the same time, nobody truly loves him : he is so weird, there is something wrong here…



No-Face does not show who he is because… he has no clue.  What he wants is to be loved. He thinks that by showing a harmless profile, and meeting people’s desire, he will be loved. but love does not work this way. What he is giving is not a gift, since he wants something back (to be loved if you still follow me). He is not loving but driven by his need to be loved. We saw with Gabor Mate, this is called “attachment”. and…

attachement is not about love, it is about control. 

All this is both absolutely unconscious but also : absolutely inauthentic. Hence, No-Face will create the very situation he is most scared about : separateness and extreme tension (the whole activity of the Spa is stopped). He then gets angry. in Rage. “I am giving all the gold you want and you still don’t love me?!!!!” he becomes violent and eat everything and everyone. No-Face is sometimes called the “hungry ghost”, the ghost of addiction, who is suffering so much he is eating us from within (by the way, Gabor Mate uses him in his videos about addiction).


What does Chihiro do? She goes and see him. She sees him, under-stand him. She refuses the money but accept him. Without a word, and cool like a cucumber, she actually tells him : I see you, I recognize you, and I choose not to loose myself : i will neither take your money, nor fear you. she is now in touch with her inner integrity, courage and benevolance. pfffff, how I love you girl!

And you know what? we all have tons of ghosts around us, sat next to us (yes in the train of life). but most of us, consciously or unconsciously, don’t want to see them and do anything we can to hide them. We are No-Face who want to be seen like Chihiro! Angelo (please go go go to see this video!) told us that when coaching his artists (sometimes before they go on stage for festivals) he sometimes debrief this way : “you think you sang a song, but actually what you project is your syndrome of abandonment.” ah boum. it may be more obvious when you are onstage, but I believe it is the same for everyone out there!

I, you, we all walk around with all our ghosts and, please fasten your seat belts : everybody see them! of course : they are so huge! when you enter a room, everybody sees. but everybody is not Angelo, who is articulate and loving enough to name them, because he himself is in touch with his own. anyway, just know we feel it. 

as terrifying as I might seams, Chihiro teaches me I have no choice : either i get swallowed, live in fears, and in an inauthentic life where i need to hide a part of me, or I chose to quest and see them, re-cognize them, and let them consciously sit next to me.

owning your dark side is by far one of the most terrifying and exciting thing when growing up. and the process is endless. 



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Les dessins des studios #ghibli est une expo absolument saisissante. @monsieurlam @_truc_anh_

Une publication partagée par Mai Hua (@mai_hua) le

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