Catrien Ross

Artist & Mystic in Japan


I started this personal website and blog as a way to understand and share a startling phenomenon I experienced twice over in 2013.

At first I did not know how to begin to explain what had happened to me – it seemed so unbelievable at the time.

How could spontaneous paintings and piano compositions begin pouring out of me when I knew nothing about either painting or playing the piano?

Research led me to sudden savant syndrome and the work of Dr. Darold A. Treffert, whom I contacted, and we have corresponded since.

In 2018 Dr. Treffert invited me to take part in an initial survey examining what he terms “sudden genius” – an extremely rare phenomenon which nevertheless can and does occur.

So my blog now explores this blossoming of sudden genius and on a personal level, its connection, if any, with the mystic path I have long traveled.

Some Personal Background:

I was born in Jakarta to a Scots father and a Dutch-Indo mother from a long line of Indos in Java. When Europeans were forced out of the new Indonesia we returned to Scotland, stopping along the way for my father’s work in Malaysia and Africa.

I grew up in Glasgow, attending Hyndland Secondary School, then continued study in the USA, where I graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University. I spent many years as a university lecturer and non-fiction writer, receiving several first-place awards for medical and business journalism. After establishing my own consulting company I was invited by the Japanese government to study with other business executives in Japan, and I left America for Tokyo.

In Japan I created a new life in a new culture: A government-private sector cooperation consultant, the Tokyo correspondent for The Lancet, a long-time speaker and columnist for the Japan Economic Foundation, a medical university lecturer, a feature writer, a researcher of ki in Oriental Medicine, and the author of a Periplus Tuttle Classics book selected by the Japan Times as “A Best Book of 2009”.

A spiritual crisis and reawakening changed everything.

Saying goodbye to Tokyo, I moved to the mountains of Yamanashi, where for over two decades I have been reclaiming my life as a natural mystic. I live in a centuries-old kominka, deep in Nature, and where I have learned to remake an old post and beam house by hand, lay slate floors, grow food, chop wood, and how to handle daily water from a mountain well. I have experienced renewal and reconnection with natural rhythms and a deep awareness of the miracle of existence, both within me and without.

The natural wisdom of my life in the mountains reignited the spiritual awareness and healing gifts of my childhood and in 2009 I established Energy Doorways, my creative and spiritual center at the foot of Mount Fuji, and now the exclusive publisher for all my new books.

I had been an author and spiritual teacher to individuals and small groups when I experienced my sudden genius blossoming in 2013.

+81 080-1295-8008

Energy Doorways
Katsuyama 1175-1
Fujikawaguchiko Town
Yamanashi, 401-0310


In 2013 I experienced what has been termed the phenomenon of sudden genius.

Spontaneous paintings and piano compositions began pouring out of me in fantastical flows that reshaped my mystic path in the mountains of Japan.

The experience was all the more astonishing because I have no study or training whatsoever in either painting or the piano and before my sudden artistic output had not the slightest interest in either.

I do not sketch, draw or paint, and there has never been a piano in my house.

At the everyday, surface level I know absolutely nothing about painting or piano techniques.

I have since come to understand that my paintings and music reveal a hidden universe in the brain that can all of a sudden be directly accessed.

This expanded creativity, erupting as an epiphany in my DNA, gives me all the knowledge I need about painting and playing the piano.

My sudden genius paintings and music now proclaim the magnificent mystery of this hidden universe within.

More than 100 of my acrylic on canvas paintings hang in a Buddhist temple in central Japan and my original piano compositions have been released as two CDs, Music from Source and Remembering Hans.

I still write – writing being my first love since childhood – and since 2009 I have published all my books and other productions exclusively through Energy Doorways.

My books and sudden genius paintings and music may help open doorways to expanded creativity and spirituality for others.


So what can a sudden genius on the mystic path in Japan do for you?

  1. By embracing my sudden genius blossoming for what it is, without fear or doubt, I allow my paintings and music to show that there is so much more in us than we know. I dance with the mysteries of the universe, and you can, too.
  2. By being true to who I am, perhaps I can inspire you to become the best expression of yourself. It takes courage be just as you are in this world. So many of us are afraid to sound our own note. Yet your unique note matters.
  3. By providing a safe space at my website, I invite you to explore your own creative and spiritual expansion. Connecting with my story may be a way to deepen your own inner journey and stir your own sudden genius.
  4. By posting my blogs and publishing my books, I share my mystic path and my lifelong commitment to lasting personal transformation. My words may elicit a resonance in you that leads to a new way of seeing who and what you are.
  5. By being myself, you, too, can feel free to be yourself whenever we meet. Across oceans. Across cultures. Across worlds. It is that simple. That joyful. That real.