Freedom Session

For the past 19 weeks I have been attending a program called Freedom Session.  I was recommended by a friend to go on this journey.  I have to say it has been so good for me and I have seen significant improvements in my mental health as a result of it. I no longer use my drugs of choice to avoid reality and to run from the truth of the past. I no longer live in a fantasy world nor do I avoid talking about the sexual woundedness I have experienced in the past. Although the journey was sometimes painful, where I had to sit through video presentations, do small group exercises and complete 1-2 hours of self-reflective weekly homework, it was well worth it to come out of denial and to stop using escape mechanisms.  It is liberating to have dealt with these issues that I have kept hidden inside for so long, and freeing to live in the present rather than to dwell on what could have been.  I feel like I can finally move on with my life.

Freedom session is described as a healing discipleship journey that uncovers the roots of pain in our lives and invites Jesus Christ to heal those areas of our hearts. Freedom sessions deals with issues – like broken marriages, sexual woundedness and abuse, addiction – by freeing us from our drugs of choice – the things we use to attempt to escape the pain in our lives. 

https://freedomsession.com/

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Healing – Hoʻoponopono & Sedona Method

I met a girl who specializes in healing. She introduced 2 methods to me on how to heal from the past. The first one is called Ho’oponopono which is a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.

“Hoʻoponopono” is defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary as:

(a) “To put to rights; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up make orderly or neat, administer, superintend, supervise, manage, edit, work carefully or neatly; to make ready, as canoemen preparing to catch a wave.”

(b) “Mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right (hoʻoponopono) through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.” [13]

The process begins with prayer. A statement of the problem is made, and the transgression discussed. Family members are expected to work problems through and cooperate, not “hold fast to the fault”. One or more periods of silence may be taken for reflection on the entanglement of emotions and injuries. Everyone’s feelings are acknowledged. Then confession, repentance and forgiveness take place. Everyone releases (kala) each other, letting go. They cut off the past (ʻoki), and together they close the event with a ceremonial feast, called pani, which often included eating limu kala or kala seaweed, symbolic of the release.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho%CA%BBoponopono

I feel like although I didn’t officially practice this method, I did have a discussion with my ex regarding some past issues a couple of months ago where we opened with prayer and discussed all the probelms and feelings associated with certain incidents. I truly tried to forgive him and let go. However, I still feel like there is some anger leftover. Which is why I want to try the second method.

The other method is called the Sedona Method.

There are three ways to approach the process of releasing, and they all lead to the same result: liberating your natural ability to let go of any unwanted emotion on the spot, and allowing some of the suppressed energy in your subconscious to dissipate.

The first way is by choosing to let go of the unwanted feeling. The second way is to welcome the feeling, to allow the emotion just to be. The third way is to dive into the very core of the emotion.

You will find that as you work with The Sedona Method, it will give you much more than you bargained for or even dreamed possible.

  • What happens may surprise you
  • Release even long-standing problems
  • Become more aware and more successful

As you continue to use The Sedona Method, you will become more adept at using it, and the results will greatly accelerate over time. You will quickly reach a point where releasing becomes completely second nature. As natural, in fact, as breathing is to you now.

https://www.sedona.com/Home.asp

 

Everyone has a story, by Brene Brown

BreneKateSpade-Banner.jpg

Like many of you, I am a big Kate Spade fan. My first bag was a giraffe-print “Sam bag” – it took me six months to save enough money to buy it.  I carried it every single day for two years. I still wear her jewelry, use her stationary, and love her clothes.

The news of her death was a cruel reminder about the realities of depression and anxiety, and about the dangerous stories that we make up about those “successful” people who don’t know anything about pain and never need help. I say dangerous because they’re never true.

Everyone has a story or a struggle that will break your heart. And, if we’re really paying attention, most people have a story that will bring us to our knees.

You would think the universal nature of struggle would make it easier for all of us to ask for help, but in a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, there can still be so much shame around reaching out, especially if we’re not raised to understand the irreducible nature of human need.

We can encourage our children to ask for help; however, if they don’t see us reaching out for support and modeling that behavior, they will instead attach value to never needing help.

We also send strong messages to the people around us, including our children, friends, and employees, when they ask for help, and in return, we treat them differently — as if they are now less reliable, competent, or productive.

And, when we respond to a tragedy like this one with unfounded comments and criticism about how someone who most of us didn’t know at all managed her struggle, her meds, her work, her family – whatever the focus – we help create that culture where it feels like help-seeking just opens us up to more pain and judgment.

To know pain is human. To need is human. And, no amount of money, influence, resources, or sheer determination will change our physical, emotional, and spiritual dependence on others.

Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both.  Need is the most beautiful compact between humans.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-8255

TTY at 1-800-799-4889

Back in the Dating Arena

I decided to get back into the dating game. After taking some time off to work on myself through my freedom sessions course, blogging, and finally living on my own. I’m feeling more comfortable to be myself, and want to once again, start the search for someone to share my life with.

I was hesitant because I’ve been on so many bad online dates in the past, but that being said, I probably wasn’t ready to date back then, thus resulting in disastrous experiences.  Nonetheless, I decided to give the online dating world one more shot.

After one sketchy date that didn’t go anywhere, I was lucky enough to have met someone  during my time back that I like – ‘not crazy much or anything. Just a normal, medium sized like. Because he’s pretty awesome.’ What struck me about this one guy in particular was how caring, considerate and positive he was while chatting. He was easy to talk to and so cute. I loved the pictures he chose to display, and noticed his little dimple. I didn’t know how tall he was, but who has ever complained about a guy being too tall? Not to mention he’s also dark and handsome.

When we first met, I was intrigued by his interesting and passionate answers to the first date questions I prepared. I also noticed how adorably shy he was – he drank the entire glass of wine so quickly!  As the date went on, I realized how respectful he was of my boundaries and he told me later on how he really wanted to earn and not break my trust.  I also discovered that he is sweet and gentle.

At the end of our second official date, I was blushing as I received hand picked roses from a rose bush. I was smitten by this gesture. I feel cared for and appreciated. I also feel adored and doted upon. When I’m not with him, I find myself wanting to memorize his face. Right now, I find myself on cloud 9, enjoying the honeymoon stage. I find I have more of a reason to get dressed up and to put effort into myself. I’m also more motivated to clean more and keep a tidy space.

Current Playlist / Soundtrack to our romance:

Kiss by Kiss – Brett Young

Kiss by kiss I am getting to know you
And every time you look at me I just want to hold you
All my life I’ve been waiting for you
Little by little I’m falling for you
Kiss by kiss I’m falling for you
Kiss by kiss

As we get to know each other more, I also want to take this as a chance to grow myself and further work on myself. I know I need to address my insecurity, my centre of attention tendencies, my fear of intimacy / attachment and my needing to win. For example, I was feeling competitive with my cooking skills as I learned that he’s a better cook than me!  I immediately felt embarrassed because I am the girl, and also felt motivated to practice more to beat him, rather than simply delighting in the fact that he can cook well and has made me the best egg I have ever eaten. I also sometimes act as a martyr, pretending that I don’t need anything in return. But this time, I feel like my needs are finally getting met. He gives me the quality time and attention I need, and doesn’t take advantage of the fact that I’m willing to do all the dishes or offer to pay / buy many gifts. I really feel like he’s meeting me in the middle, and doing more than expected.

I’ve learned that we are attracted to each other because we can be opposites. For example, he is an introvert while I am an extrovert and he falls on the judging side  of the meyer briggs personality (prefer a planned or orderly way of life, like to have things settled and organized, feel more comfortable when decisions are made, and like to bring life under control as much as possible) while I am perceiving (To others, I seem to prefer a flexible and spontaneous way of life, and I like to understand and adapt to the world rather than organize it. Others see me staying open to new experiences and information).

I look forward to getting to know him more, and to try new things together in this journey. My friends and family are telling me to take it slow, but it simply feels so natural going at the pace we are at. I do want to know EVERYTHING there is to know about this one particular being, and I look forward to digging deeper everyday. Some things I want to further explore are: values, struggles, spiritual autonomy, friendships, common interests, and goals.

I am also maintaining a support network and trying (no matter how difficult) not to get swept away into time with each other only. I’m taking the time to chat with friends and am also balancing out regular activities like church, coffee dates with friends and work with time together.

Living in the past –> present moment

Shock is defined as a physiological response to any distress that seems intolerable and in which a person feels helpless. It is the body saying ‘I can’t deal with this right now, I need a moment to collect myself.’*  I was in shock when my ex-boyfriend in high school robbed a house. I never talked to him or anyone about it. It was like a deep, dark secret. I didn’t want to tell anyone because he would get in trouble. Yet, I was so mad at him and it was a bit surreal. I broke up with him after that. He punched a locker when we broke up in front of me. I became afraid of him. Shortly after, I was in even more shock when he was hospitalized for fighting and was kicked out of my high school. I couldn’t deal with it at the time.  I was confused and stressed.

Trauma enables us to go into shock that protects us and yet prevents us from seeing what has actually happened in our lives. Shock protects us & also disables us from pain, fear or shame.

I became a high achiever with many to-do lists and multi-tasked many activities. I was socially rewarded but personally, it was costly because I was neglecting self-care. I was in denial of the pain and shame my heart had felt. I was constantly busy because I was running from something.

Over ten years later, I saw fireworks outside my bedroom window. It was a roman candle – something he would have lit up back in the day around Halloween. It reminded me of him and triggered flashbacks. Parts of our relationship came back to my memory. Past events felt like they were happening in the present moment. I couldn’t separate the past from reality.  Old feelings resurfaced. I cried for days until my eyes were red and hurt. I couldn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. I finally was able to get over what had ended years ago, because the flashbacks forced me to face the past I wanted to run from.

Shock is deeply embedded in the body. Traumatic memories are stored in traumatized parts of the body. Long buried memories stored in the body unretrieved are silently at work. When we are stressed often enough / deeply enough we call it trauma, there is psychological imbalance, and we are not able to recover without treatment.

I got medical treatment. I also started talking about what had happened – something I always kept to myself and had never told a soul. I wrote about it. I retold my story many times. I went to and continue to go to counselling. I messaged him and talked to him directly over Facebook after I ran into him one night. I stopped being afraid of him. I am recovering. I am dealing with it rather than being paralyzed.

The deeper the shock the more we lose ability to trust or be intimate with others.

It’s always been hard for me to enter serious relationships. A part of me believes its because of the relationship my parents had, but another part knows its because of my past serious relationship. I felt betrayed in a way. I didn’t want to ever hold hands with someone while walking into a room again. The idea of having a public relationship scared me. Could I ever do it again? I’ve dated men who are afraid of commitment, men who are far away geographically and a mixture of both since then. I know I need to deal with my past in order to take a risk and attempt being in a serious relationship again, especially if I ever want to get married and have a family. So here I am, doing research into the topic, journalling, telling my story.

While I’m still coping, I find myself moving on as well. I’m living in the present rather than the past. It’s still painful every time I revisit this topic, but it’s a part of my history. It has deeply impacted and scarred me.

Have you ever been traumatized? How have you recovered? Would love to hear from you in the contact section above.

-*Italics Source: Overcoming Shock by Diane Zimberoff & David Hartman

Faith in the Midst of Disappointment

And there I was, starting off the New Year by crying, because once again I was hospitalized for health reasons. Being in and out of the hospital was what occupied the vast majority of my late 20’s.  I felt like it was such a waste of the best years of my life.  When everyone was climbing up the corporate ladder, travelling, getting married, and buying a place, I was still in the same situation, going nowhere.  When I was first diagnosed, I spent my time in the hospital reading the bible. I marvelled at Jesus when he healed people in the bible. I put my hope in Him. I believed that God would heal me in his time.

But now, about 4 years later, my patience is waning.  Will God ever heal me? Am I doomed to come in and out of the hospital for the rest of my life while everyone was out there living and enjoying themselves? Will I ever be able to focus on my career again, or start a family? Sigh. A huge wave of disappointment washes over me every time I revisit these questions. And now, I think I’m starting to lose my faith. Did Jesus really perform miracles and heal people? If he did, why doesn’t he heal me?  What is the point of me going back and forth between the hospital wards and my entry-level part-time job?  I want to start growing, progressing, rather than simple surviving. There has been some positives including building strength, compassion and resilience. However, I wonder when it will end.

I’ve decided to start practicing yoga again to help with my anxiety and to stress manage. I also do runs once in a while and dragonboat once a week. I also plan to visit a nutritionist to begin eating healthier. It feels like this is in my control. However, what God plans is not. And I’m beginning not to trust the being who has put me through so much in the past couple of years. I felt like a failure for many years being behind everyone else in this pursuit of life.

However, despite it all, I don’t want to give up on my faith. Although I’m tired and losing hope, I do still enjoy praying and going to service.

Has anyone else felt disappointed in God? If so, how did you keep your faith strong? Would love to hear from you in the contact section above.

 

Emotionally Numb

I’ve felt completely overwhelmed with emotions in the past, where too much had happened all at once and I couldn’t process my emotions. It felt like an overload. Indecision, anxiety, and cutting people out occurred as a result of too much. But now, as time passes by, I’m starting to feel less and less, to the point of numbness and nothingness. When I revisit certain topics/ issues/ events that have happened in the past, (not because I’m dwelling, but because it has come up in counselling or in personal development programs),  my heart feels numb. My brain freezes. I’m at a blank.

Even now, as I’m trying to write a lengthy blog post to dig deeper, I can’t.

It’s too hard.

Has anyone else felt this feeling of being emotionally numb before? Would love to hear from you. 

Where there’s anger, there’s always pain underneath

Inspired by Ken Shig’s sermon this past Sunday, I have decided to blog on the topic of anger. I’ve had a lot of anger pent up within me the past 15 years, mostly towards my ex-bfs and my family. For the secrets they had kept, the things they didn’t do, the things they did do, the expectations they didn’t live up to. With my exes, I encountered significant hurt and anger, where I was traumatized by crime and was wounded emotionally + physically. I was determined to leave East Van by doing very well in school, setting my health aside, and used alcohol as a form of escape. When my plan to leave failed, I was left feel very depressed.

I had to seek counselling to move toward healing because of this anger that lead to  me being unhealthy and depressed. Potential friendships were lost and terms became bad. I’ve been dealing with unresolved anger for the bulk of my years here on earth, and like Ken said, its time to “put a shelf life on it, an expiration date, and let it go.” But I’ve learned that sometimes, as much as you try, it can only be gone in God’s time. God works in the most miraculous ways, and after so many years, I’ve finally grown compassionate towards one of my exes and have forgiven him, every time the memory comes up. I also have forgiven my other ex and family for things I can’t quite understand – by discussing issues with them and seeking apologies and explanations.

In addition, for the past 5 years I’ve been struggling with anger at God, for putting me in the circumstances I am in, for my hardships and trials and tribulations. For letting other people live glamorous and meaningful lives while I felt like I was just drifting by living with the bare minimum. Being pitied. But this also helped me learn who stuck by and whose friendships were worth keeping. It also helped me realize that family is so important and I’ve come to appreciate their efforts to keep me healthy.

Finally, I feel at peace. I can say I am also content with life, since I finally moved out on my own in a studio, I feel like my home is an oasis. I also look forward to every day, whether its going to work or volunteering or service or studying or hanging out with friends and family. I even look forward to going to events on my own from time to time. If you are currently struggling with anger towards someone in the past – I can encourage you that one day, when the time is right, and if you actively take the right steps to forgive, the anger will subside and you will finally be able to move on with your life.

link to sermon will be up soon: https://www.tenth.ca/series/spirit-filled-relationships

Have you ever been angry at someone? How have you forgiven them? Would love to hear from you in the contact section above!

How will you change the world?

 

When I was young, I wanted to change the world. I wanted to be influential and rich. I wanted to leave home at an early age and never look back. Now, as I grow older, I spend more time worrying about my parents and I spend more quality time with my family than I did in my teenage years and early 20’s.  I think part of this change has occurred because I attempted to understand my parents and I also finally forgave my parents for all that they didn’t do.

My childhood growing up was far from perfect. My parents immigrated here in their early 20’s/30’s with no background in the language here (English), and had an arranged marriage. They came here with nothing to start a new life; a new family.  My dad was a chef and my mom worked at a factory with a side job teaching Chinese on the weekends. However, they argued constantly. There was always conflict in the house. I resented them for that. Why couldn’t they be in love? Why can’t they just get along? Why are they even married anymore?!  I used to ask myself all the questions above.

I guess in the end, they taught me the power of perseverance in order to keep the family together. However, they also taught me that relationships take work. I was determined to figure out how to make a relationship a happy one – rather than one filled with disdain and avoidance like my parents had. I took a relationship course in university called intimate relationships where I studied John Gottman (https://www.gottman.com/) and I recently learned about marriage preparation courses offered at churches.  I definitely don’t want a relationship like my mother and father had.

My mother was unhappy with the financial situation, thus she always worked long hours to to pay off the mortgage and to buy us groceries. She was the breadwinner and she provided. My father avoided my mother’s discontent with going out with his friends or going to the casino – putting us into further debt. On good days my father would cook for us and take us girls out (my 2 older sisters and I) to somewhere fun in the city.

While I can critique the fact that they could have made more of an effort to work on their relationship, spend more time with us, make us more nutritious food and put us into more extra-curricular activities, there’s no point dwelling on it. It was a hard life: they struggled with medical issues, starting over in an unfamiliar country, addictions and making ends meet. I can only understand now as I go through some of life’s trials that it is not easy being an adult – even without a family of my own. Perhaps I could also look at my own shortcomings and realize that no one is perfect. I need to believe that they tried their best, just like I am trying my best now.

I also try to focus on what they did right: such as buying real estate and providing a stable home, being there at the end of the day to check if we came home on most days, and making sure we ate dinner and had babysitters.

Side Note – My Older Sisters
On National siblings day I joked that I sometimes get called Cinderella because I am the youngest of three daughters. However, that is far from the truth. While I do think my sisters could work on being gentler and kinder, I know for sure that they love me. They have taken care of me since I was a little girl by cooking and driving for me, and they help me out financially when I need it. I am truly grateful.

I also realize that my time with my parents are fleeting now as they age. I try to enjoy my time with them and check up on them to make sure they are doing okay.  My previous hatred of going home has been replaced with trying to spend quality time with my folks whenever I can. While I still feel discomfort being in the house I grew up in, I do honestly enjoy being with my parents when we go out to restaurants, go to other seasonal events, or the park. The only way I’m changing the world now is by going home to love my family.

 

How do you want to change the world? Would love to hear from you in the comment section above.

 

 

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