I FORGIVE you for HOLDING ON: holding on to things, guilt, stress, people, trauma, relationships, and everything in between that no longer serve you in any way.
I FORGIVE you for being so HARD ON YOURSELF. You have always pushed yourself to be better than you were the day before or the year before, but this past year you've really understood the importance of self-care and balance in all things.
I FORGIVE you for sometimes going down the rabbit hole of COMPARE and DESPAIR mode. Going off FB/Instagram for 6 months was truly liberating, wasn't it? Now let's figure out a way to work on comparing yourself WITH yourself even more--it's the only fair comparison, right?
I FORGIVE you for feeling IMPATIENT when you talk to mom and she asks, "How are the kids?" (Referring to the grandkids you don't have yet.) Really she is trying her best to make conversation in the way she knows how given her own parameters of dementia.
I FORGIVE you for not being in touch with dad as much as you would like to. You always value his advice and his stories from his own past. He always tries his best to carry the phone conversation even though he is naturally quite introverted.
I FORGIVE you for unleashing "Ugly Olga" on hubby when we get into more heated discussions on things or when PMS-ing. You know he's just trying to understand you so he can provide a solution--MIT style.
Most of all, I FORGIVE you for being HUMAN. Everything you label: FEAR, DESPAIR, SADNESS, ANGER, GUILT, SELF-DOUBT (I could keep going, as you know!)...everything is disguised as opportunities for you to learn and grow into YOU--the 2020 YOU. The YOU you see clearly.
I LOVE you, Kyla. And I FORGIVE you.
FriYAYs WITH Kyla + Special Guest Anna Koj | On Change + Happiness | November 2, 2018
I have wanted to write and communicate WITH you for several years now, but I am not sure I knew what I wanted to say nor how to say it. You should also know, I avoid confrontations like the plague, I always have. I would rather go around doing something or saying something, anything, just so I can avoid saying what needs to be said or doing what needs to be done. Today that ends here WITH this letter to you.
I first met you when I was in elementary school. I was taught that if I avoided you, I would have a (false) sense of safety and even security. If I didn't follow the school's rules or society's rules for that matter, I would feel you breathing down my neck in the form of a stern talk or a scolding. So I always tried my best to avoid seeing you.
As I grew older, I found that you were inextricably linked to success. My idea of success was all about getting good grades so that I could eventually get into a good college, get a good job, then a good ____, and a good _____, and so on and so forth. My parents didn't push me, they weren't tiger parents per se, but my sister and I always knew that we had to get good grades. I recall in middle school and even high school, how my heart would beat faster and I would feel you creeping up on me when I'd get a report back or a homework assignment back.
In high school in the U.S., you taught me to fit in. I would sense you coming, intuitively, when I'd say something different in my British accent like "bin" instead of "trash can." It was at times subtle-- a glance here, a whisper there. And at times not so subtle--not getting invited to weekend outings, not having people to sit with at meal times, and not having anyone to walk to breakfast with in the mornings. I grew to avoid you by losing my British accent so I could conform.
In college, I began trying to understand the world around me more. I'd read the news or I'd watch T.V. I sensed you coming whenever I met people who didn't look like me or who may come from a different background from me. I recall meeting people from a different religion who also encountered you and definitely didn't want to hangout with me because I wasn't particularly religious at the time.
You would show up, after college, whenever I wanted to try something new, whenever I wanted to push myself. You were there in all of my travel adventures whenever I would go to a new and exotic destination. You were there when I started speaking globally. You were there in all of my new jobs. For better or worse, you were a constant companion throughout my 20s/30s.
IT'S TIME to CHANGE
In the last year or so, I have been doing some work on myself WITH myself and realized that I don't really need you in my life anymore. I don't mean this in a harsh or negative way. I think I have learned a lot WITH you over the last four decades you have been in my life. You have taught me some incredibly powerful lessons, like that you live inside my mind, and that if I want to change, well, you have got to go. I am grateful for all of our time together, all of the memories, I will never forget you.
Yes, this is us breaking up.
Over lunch somewhere in Incheon, I caught up with my friend Chris and told him all about my recent travels to Bali. I knew he would understand, as he was deeply spiritual himself and would often do meditations on me and as of late WITH me. As I recounted each story of healing, his eyes widened, his smile deepened, and as always I could feel him radiate warmth and calm energy.
The Balinese Healer
She was an 8th generation healer. I had first met her when she did a small blessing on each one of us at the retreat (see above photo). It immediately brought me back to childhood. Each morning, my Popo ("maternal grandmother" in Cantonese) would use similar incense to pray to her Chinese gods.
In our own private room, she chanted in Balinese. I wasn't sure what she was saying, or what she was doing, but I could feel my body ease into her healing. She told me I needed to breathe more, that my breaths were too shallow, and sent me home with a bottle of "holy water" she had blessed.
I left feeling a deep relief: knowing that the negative energy had left me, but also that somehow Popo was WITH me in that room too.
Suksma, Ibu. ("Thank you, Ma'am" in Balinese)
The Western Healer
"Breathe into your pain." When someone is dry massaging you, and you already have a low tolerance for pain, and you hear them say that, it seems like somewhat of an oxymoron.
"You know, in the western world, we are taught to run away from pain, right? That pain is a bad thing..." Malcolm continued. He was a massage therapist-meets-life coach. The staff at the retreat had told me that he could "see right through you."
"Yes, but it hurts..." I whined.
"What or who is telling you it hurts?" he asked.
"Well, I think my mind is..." I answered hesitantly.
"Yes, exactly. Go on, breathe into it. Another deep breath."
As the dry massage continued on my back, the pain dissipated just as he had said, as my breaths deepened. Malcolm asked me how I felt at the end of the session. I had so many thoughts running through my head: Whoa, I ran towards pain. Whoa, I have had this fear of pain most of my life until this very moment. Whoa, my mind has been telling me to fear pain this whole time.
"Gosh, I feel like, if you took this table out from under me, I would float here like a lotus flower."
I floated out of that room an inch taller.
Thank you, Malcolm.
The Tarot Card Healer
I first met Szilvia at the retreat. I must admit, even though Chris had done tarot card reading on me, and bought me my very first tarot card pack, I went into the 30-minute reading a little bit skeptical. Just to let you know, I came out of that reading with tears of joy, because there is no way she could have known what she did.
During a second reading a week later, I asked her why I was having nightmares and she pinpointed it to three reasons: 1) negative energy from clients/people I work with; 2) ghosts in my apartment (whose presence I have actually felt); 3) family stress I am taking on. She recommended I have someone do theta healing on me. I found out she was actually a licensed practitioner of theta healing and was overjoyed that she could do the work on me.
We sat in my hotel room across from each other, my palms on top of hers. I wondered with my skeptical mind, what I had gotten myself into, and what we were going to do. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest. Almost as if she sensed my nervousness, she asked me to stand up and close my eyes.
"I am going to ask your body some questions--not your mind--your body," Szilvia instructed gently as we began the session.
"Ok..." I said out loud but my mind was going back and forth thinking: What does that even mean? How can she talk to my body? I don't even know. Whaaat?!
"Body, tell us..." and that is how she began each yes or no question she would ask my body.
In the beginning, my body would lean slightly forward for "yes" and lean slightly backwards for "no." I was astonished. How was my body moving without my mind telling it to? What was happening? Later, the same happened in the chair, sitting down, except the motion was even greater.
Thank you, Szilvia. You'll be happy to hear my nightmares are gone.
Thoughts on Healing
Ok, I admit, I was super skeptical. I understand why too. Our brains are hardwired to protect us from unknowns/change/differences but I think the more open we are, the more phenomenal, life-changing experiences we can have.
On my week solo after the retreat, I serendipitously ran into Eve. She is the diet/nutrition consultant my hotel hired. I went on to rave about Szilvia during our conversation and found out that the two were really good friends--small world. And then she said, "I think we all have that power to connect and heal ourselves. It's just some are more in tune to it then others." Yes, totally agreed.
And what if these healers were huge mirrors that reflected what was truly going on within, reminded us of what was going on within, and gently helped us move passed negative energy, blocks, blindspots, and so much more?
Over coffee with Chris, I showed him the video (below) I had made in gratitude for the staff at the retreat I had gone to.
He looked up from the video and glanced at me, saying, "Wow. You have really changed Kyla. You are like a different person. I am so happy for you."
"Chris, I feel like I am vibrating on a whole different level."
"Kyla, you certainly are. There is no doubt about it."
*This blog post is dedicated to my friend Chris. Thank you for always encouraging and inspiring me to dig deeper within myself. This blog post was inspired by Szilvia, Malcolm, Ibu, and all of the amazing healers out there--official and unofficial. Keep up your life-changing work.*
Happiness coach, Theta Healer®, author, WITH Warrior in Chief <3