A friend of mine once said this to me: “the world is evil and I’m dead inside”. Even though we would often pass it off as a joke, it got me thinking for a long time about how our life experiences shape our essential truths.
I consider myself very fortunate to be brought up in a happy and loving family. My parents are simple people and we were not wealthy, yet I always felt like I had everything. Looking back, my growing up years can be said to be a very blessed journey, and I’m so grateful.
As cliche as it sounds, I’ve always thought of the world as a nice place to live in and how it’s such a blessing to be alive, until 8 years ago I witnessed my mom battling with cancer and eventually passed on after a year of suffering. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe the world is a beautiful place, but a conscious awareness grew inside me and I deeply understand that the world can be savage at times.
So as my friend continued to speak his truth about how the world is cold and all that happiness is fake, I completely understood everything he was saying. It is not easy to open your heart when you’re always being met by things and people that want to take it away. My heart still cringe at every false hope that the doctors gave us about how my mom was getting better, but she didn’t.
The loss of a loved one is a game-changer for life, or at least, it has been for me. In the years after my mom’s death, there were periods of time where my heart turned cold and my feelings became numb. I was confused about “being strong”, and I thought that being strong meant being indifferent and that healing meant feeling less of pain. But I wasn’t truly happy.
Till this day, I still feel intense grief on some days, but I no longer try to numb myself from those feelings, even though I know how easy it is to fall back into that thinking and how it would be so much simpler to build walls or be resentful. I don’t know what and how it happened, maybe it’s just time that has healed me, but I also attribute a large part of that shift to my yoga practice. There’s so much that can be written about how the practice has made me stronger, but more importantly, it has reminded me that it’s ok to be vulnerable and to feel pain. Whenever I looked back, I realized that the challenging practices, the ones that pushed me to my edge, the uncomfortable and sometimes painful ones, are often the ones that I grew the most from, where I learned to stay grounded without running away. In the same way, the practice has taught me to confront and process the pain that I was feeling deep inside my being. I guess as human beings, we’re all biological wired to be able to feel, both pleasure and pain. And if you try to avoid the hurt by building walls to protect yourself, you’ll also miss the joy, the intimacy, and the depth of human connections.
The journey of healing is challenging to this day, but it holds such a powerful space in my heart. So, to anyone whose heart has turned cold, trust that healing is possible. The process will always require tremendous effort, and being soft gives you that strength - the more you hate, the more you need to love. It paves the healing not just for yourself but for others. It creates a better world. A world that is not dead, but with more love and healed beings.
With love and healing,