Inner strength is about having the courage to embrace the unknown.
It is when something shocking or drastic happens, we are able to continue to have faith in the Universe, knowing that all is well and that everything happens for a reason.
It is when we keep our hearts open, amidst the storm and chaos around, to continue trusting and surrendering.
It is when we finally acknowledge and look at our fears, our dark sides, and our shadows, after periods of denial and ignorance.
It is when we allow ourselves to show our vulnerable sides, and know that it is safe to receive and ask for help.
It is when we set boundaries for ourselves, knowing that when we say “no” to other people, it is saying “yes” to ourselves.
It is when we are patient with ourselves and others, even when we are in discomfort, pain or grief.
It is when we listen to our emotions and our body, allowing ourselves to cry even when others keep on saying “Don’t cry”.
It is when we are compassionate with ourselves and others, even when others don’t understand what we are going through or don’t have the right words to comfort.
It is when we allow ourselves to have this void inside, for something new will come, for sure.
It is when we let go of any things, memories, or relationships that no longer serve our highest good anymore, especially our relationship with our old selves.
It is a journey to know our true worth, and it is not about who we think we are, or by what we do or have achieved in our lives.
It is to tune in to the signs of the Universe and our Soul’s voice, and to follow the path that is aligned with our Soul’s true purpose.
It is an energy of the feminine, the yin that can only be cultivated when we walk through our dark nights of the soul.
It is by allowing and receiving, trusting and surrendering, listening and being, that we build our inner strength.
Inner strength is about having the courage to be your true authentic self, and know that you are never alone on this journey.
It is the light, the flame of faith inside our heart.
After Thoughts – Why I wrote What I wrote:
I want to share what inner strength means to me after my own personal journey of the dark night of the soul. It didn’t even occur to me that it was my “dark night of the soul” journey until I heard this online recording about this topic. Then it hit me, oh yes, now I need to make changes in my life.
A long story short version (still long), I discovered that I had a right ovarian cyst back in January that needed to be removed with surgery. It was not cancerous luckily. But my feeling was that I should go through with the surgery. I felt that I could understand more of what my dad and other people had been through when they had surgery. I planned for the surgery in March (it was only a laparoscopic surgery meaning just a few holes on my abdomen) back in Hong Kong.
Lo and behold, I found out I was pregnant in February, the day after I planned my very first Museflower retreat in October, and was going to launch the news in the February newsletter (if you remember what I wrote then). I even had all the information on the website already and had to pull everything down the same night. It was more of a shock to me than joy, now all my plans had to stop and everything became uncertain. No October retreat, no Life Festival for me, and also no more cyst removal operation.
By March before I left to HK, my husband and I went for a check up after three weeks of knowing that I was pregnant. Unfortunately, the doctor informed us that the fetus was not growing at an expected rate and recommended to abort the pregnancy with surgery. It was a huge shock for both of us, and we were both devastated and disappointed.
I spent the following weekend crying my eyes out. I also felt that I started to lose the pregnancy symptoms, and brown spots were appearing like I was beginning to have my period. I instinctively knew that I was miscarrying the baby. In hindsight, I was grateful that we went to see the doctor and heard what she said before that happened; it was a mental preparation for the miscarriage and the last goodbye to the fetus.
Then I flew back to HK, the day I started to bleed. That same night I bled the most heavily. Luckily the next day I was scheduled to see a doctor (originally for the cyst operation since I never canceled that appointment), who later performed the surgery on me successfully. I also met with a Chinese doctor (originally for the pregnancy that my mom scheduled for me) who gave me herbal medicines and Chinese soup recipes to help regain my Chi (energy) and blood. I never visited both of these doctors before, so I was glad that they were both very helpful and compassionate.
I had my cyst operation 10 days after my miscarriage and stayed in the hospital for one night. After the operation, my whole body was stiff, in discomfort, pain, and even going to the toilet was a pain. I borrowed my grandma’s walking stick to go anywhere, and yes now I understand why my grandma had her walking stick.
One of the most difficult things for me during this time was to slow down and allow the body to rest. Funny I know, I run a retreat center advocating people to slow down. But me, I could do 10 things a day, and when I finished or accomplished even a small task, I considered myself using my time wisely and productively. What I had to let go of was my attachment to work and the need to do things constantly to feel useful. I felt that only by doing some thing I was carrying out my life purpose.
My Chinese doctor told me if I was used to doing four things at one time, just do one. At first I thought I could manage, the day I felt more energy I would do more (well it’s really normally what I could have done), but the next two days I would “pay” for it and my energy level dipped significantly.
I also knew how much trauma energetically speaking the surgery would bring to the body. I had headaches mainly at night, and it was much more difficult to fall asleep somehow. I had no more inspiration, dreams that I could not remember, and I felt this emptiness inside me. This emptiness was just anger, sadness, disappointment, and pain.
A few days after my surgery, I felt depressed. I started to doubt my decision about the surgery. Luckily that day, my sister and brother-in-law came to visit and made hotpot dinner, something that we haven’t done as a family since 10 years. We then played cards, and wow, laughter was really the best medicine. My whole energy was lifted up again.
That was when I completed the retreat program for the Third Annual Museflower Life Festival (see here), listened to the second recording about the dark night of the soul, learned about the story of a Goddess who went into the underworld, died for three nights in darkness and was resurrected. And yes, my laptop then crashed and died, and could only be restored after I would be back to Thailand, in exactly three days.
No more laptop to distract me (still I got my phone thank you Universe), I really had to focus inward. So I focused on listening to my soul’s voice and only do things that would really nurture my soul. It was not easy between what others told me what I should do and what my mind thought I should do. This gentle voice guided me to what I needed to do on that day.
I finished reading a book that was sitting on my shelf for five years. I decluttered my desk (it was so messy) and threw away all the old documents that I no longer needed. I took naps during the day when I felt tired. I said no to dinner and social gatherings outside.
New ideas started to come back to me again. I had a new idea about my first Oct retreat and changed the format and program (will be launched in the next newsletter I promise). When I came back to Chiang Rai, besides writing my usual work to-do list, I have set my own ‘spiritual’ to-do list, things that nurture my soul self. For example, to create one piece of artwork. And I did yesterday, finally took out the paint and brushes I bought five years ago and opened them for the first time.
I could now see the fears that I had, that were holding me back before but I was too proud to acknowledge them and too afraid to get outside of my comfort zone. I am grateful for all that have happened in the past few months, everything was to accelerate my spiritual growth, and to push myself outside of my comfort zone to make changes in my life.
Throughout this journey, I am also grateful for my husband, mom, sisters, close family and friends, teachers (who never met me but created all these beautiful healing tools I could use such as flower essences, homeopathic remedies, guidance cards, online soul empowering sessions, books), and all the invisible beings (my guardian angels and spirit guides) who have supported me during this process. The journey could not be completed without this support network.
I am still in the process of recovery, hence I am taking another two weeks off from the beginning of April, to really allow myself to integrate what has happened (or still happening).
I am sure that there are more things to unfold, so till next time, I will share more of my reflections with you.
All our journeys are different and unique. I hope that by sharing my story, you know that you are not alone in your dark night of the soul. If there is one thing I’d like you to takeaway from my story, it would be that with every drastic change, trauma, disappointment that happens in your life, stay open and keep trusting.
Thank you for listening.
With Love & Gratitude,
What does inner strength mean to you?
Have you walked through your dark night of the soul?
What have you learned from this journey?
Feel free to share your feedback in our blog comments below or email Tania here.