HERE'S MY STORY...
"Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway."
- Susan Jeffers
AND HERE WE GO
The word "pain" seems pretty straightforward and obvious to everyone's life. The fact is, it took me a full circle to recognise what I had been trying to "fix" in my life is actually known as "pain".
It also turned out that PAIN was not just a predicament that I had to resolve in my life but a greater soul mission that I was about to uncover.
As I looked back at my personal pain journey, I surrendered completely when I realised that nothing was accidental. My birth was not a mistake, my family was not a mistake, neither were the series of bad choices I had made in my life.
I wrestled with this explanation initially but now I had come to embrace that somehow, I was being put through the whole excruciating experience of pain just so that I can give birth to my healing works on Pain Transformation.
Only by walking in the shoes of those in pain for a thousand miles, can I get an inch closer to the painful hearts.
I am glad that now I am finally able to put my pain into words to share my story.
And by sharing, I actually want you to know that we are never alone in fighting pain. More importantly, everyone of us, you and me, has the power to transform these pains into our life's biggest gains.
"You Can Run But You Can't Hide."
My life began with pain.
Pain had been been such a daily routine in my growing up that I was oblivious to it.
My childhood to teenage years were besieged with fatal betrayals, suicidal deaths and financial crisis in a dysfunctional family. Everyday was an emotional struggle. Being young, it was really hard to even make of sense what was wrong with me and my life. I was so engulfed in these daily dramas that I began to believe that life could only be about one thing - suffering.
And with that, I swore to myself that the moment I have wings, I will change my identity and escape as far away from home as possible. Because in my eyes, "home" meant pain.
That burning desire did attracted the opportunity for me to leave my country in my late 20s and I lived abroad for the next ten years. I worked really hard in my career and finally succeeded to live the lifestyle I wanted. I splurged all my money on travelling, visited over 30 countries to see the world. I lived like a modern rebel, going against all normalities.
But my life image was just like a curated social media, no one knew the violently turbulent underworld beneath all that glamour. I felt like both a victim and a warrior altogether, fighting and resisting the world all the time, not realising that the enemy was actually right within my head.
Though my physical body was a complete show-off of freedom, my mind and heart was utterly held captive by my old wounds. Of course, I was not aware at all. Like fish living in the water who do not see water, I was living in my pain without knowing I was living in it.
To cope with the unbearable and unspeakable inner misery, I finally fell prey to many toxic habits and brought on tons of toxic relationships upon myself. For years, I continued to fight my pain by creating new destructive ones, living completely out of control.
By mid-point of my life, I was so battered by my personal issues and mental wellness that I no longer had the decent ability to live around people. The minute I am off work, I go into complete shutdown and self-sabotage mode. I retreated a couple of times into a hermit life and it was during those long and lonely journey that my spiritual awakening began to happen.
"What Will You Say When You Meet Pain One Day?"
I will forever remember 17th March 2013, the day my healing journey officially began. And it was all because of two young refugees from Rwanda.
It was my final weeks in Hong Kong before my dreaded relocation back home. I decided for once, to spend a sober weekend. I sprang onto a beach BBQ social event organised for refugees. It was at this event that I met these two little angels in disguise who changed my life forever.
I connected quickly with these two young girls the minute we boarded the event bus. I remembered the beach was exceptionally clear that day, no clouds in the sky, just blue. And the sun was comfortably warm, not hot. The girls changed into their swim suits and the three of us raced into the ocean. As the younger sister picked up a stick and started writing our names on the sand, I picked up my courage to ask them if they missed their home. Without a single hesitation they cried out loud "yes!".
I raised my suspicious eyebrows and probed "why?" because I never miss mine! I cannot imagine someone running away from a war torn home can love their home more than I do.
"We miss our neighbours, our friends, and our mum cooking our food! We like to run and play in the streets.!" the girls giggled as they told me with great pride.
Not giving up, as if dying to hear some sad stories to soothe my wounded ego, I asked again "so what will you like to be when you grow up?" I was hoping they will say something depressing with deep hopelessness, when the elder sister immediately pointed at me and shouted "you!". With a huge grin across her face, she continued " I want to be like you, travel around the world and have lots of fun."
The crazy amount of tears that I had been holding onto in my life finally tipped over and streamed down my cheek in that split second.
That brief innocent dialogue completely and unexpectedly broke me down right on the spot. I could feel my face burning with shame, my heart aching with pain and my stomach wallowing in guilt.
"I have been the most selfish and stupid woman on earth, how can I not see and be grateful for all that I've got?" I screamed in my head. The fact that two young little souls who had got "nothing" are happier and more grateful than me, who had "everything", was like a big fat slap on my face.
The next thing I knew, I felt as if all my anesthesia finally wore off and the pain slowly sipped all the way deep into my bones.
Every single pain cell started to break loose from my chained up constraints and began their big feast on me.
It was this precise moment, for the very first time, in a long time, that I came face to face with my ugly inner pain.
My heart was paralysed for the rest of the day, realising I cannot go on like this anymore. This self-inflicted misery, self-pity, self-sabotage, all had got to stop. I, need to get help.
"Nice to finally meet you pain, you suck."
"You Can't Fix What You Don't Know."
Meeting pain was one thing, dancing with it was another. Like waking up from a bad dream, I felt more lost, angry and fearful than ever.
Unlike what we assumed, awakening does not make you feel good overnight. On the contrary, it will drag you deeper into what you fear the most, only because you will need to face it in order to release it.
Of course, I did not know that was part of the normal protocol and went hysterical. In the next few years, I would continue to struggle with all kinds of unbelievable relationship crisis from love, family, workplace, money and of course, my own state of mind.
However, as I was staggering through my valley of shadows, something else was happening in parallel.
On the same fateful day where I met the two beautiful souls at the beach event, another guardian angel arrived. When we introduced ourselves to each other, we laughed, because we both shared the same name, only that it was spelled differently. What a coincidence.
This beautiful soul sister became the first spiritual friend in my life and she was the one who held my hand, opened the door and invited me to a whole new world of healing works.
I surprised myself with my immediate resonance in this strange new space. I was greatly enchanted by all the new perspectives of my body, mind and spirit. I felt like I had found my true sense of belonging.
My healing exploration was like Jules Veme's Around The World In Eighty Days. I literally ventured through every school of healing modalities that I could find on the healing map.
From the mystical energy world of crystals, angels and spirit guides, to the ancient practice of yoga, reiki and chakras which eventually led me to religion and spirituality. (At one point, I was even contemplating shaving my head to become a nun in the monastery. Well, I'll save the story for another time.)
I would say that the introduction to Zen Buddhism was a pivoting point in my healing journey because while learning the philosophy of mindfulness and meditation, my curiosity around thoughts and emotions began to take root.
However, the explanations of thoughts and emotions were too abstract for me in the religious studies. My eagerness to find the answers left me with no choice but to step into the zone that had always put me into restlessness since school days - the world of science.
But somehow my relationship with science rekindled and eventually it solved the last piece of puzzle to my complete picture of our pain nature... ...
TO BE CONTINUED
A HEALING MEMOIR
BY SILVIA SIOW
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INTERESTED TO FOLLOW MY STORY?
Like every writer who dreams about putting their whole life story into a book, I, too, started this mission many years back.
As I flipped through my hundreds of drafted writings, it dawned on me that nothing was holding me back more than my fear to talk about my old pain. Who wants to rock your own boat when you finally entered the calmer sea?
But then again, what's the point of drifting aimlessly?
Well, this book has transcended together with my spiritual awakening and more importantly, my complete pain healing and transformation.
Breath by breath, the words, the story, the theme, my intention... are all coming together as one.
This book is a guide to healing emotional wounds from the past illustrated through the memoir of my own pain journey.
I hope every word, every story, every idea, will be like a shining torch to help you navigate out of your own pain journey.
Remember, while pain is necessary, the suffering is totally optional.