The Healing Power of Words – feelings, reflections, text therapy

I’ve experienced a sudden loss of a dear friend recently. It was horrible, tragic, and heartbreaking, to say the least. It was an unforgettable scene, with all of us being there, weeping, and talking ceaselessly to our unconscious friend at the ICU, I was once again reminded of the fragility, the impermanence of life. 

Yes, this human life is impermanent. This body that my soul is residing in will stop working one day, and decay. And what, what remains? 

The hardest part of witnessing the unconsciousness, and eventual death of someone you care about is that –  there’s nothing much you can do. The feelings of helplessness was extremely unpleasant, and strange. I guess, I am just so used to having controls, or living in the illusions that I have controls over situations.

Perhaps it was out of my habitual pattern, to stay busy and avoid facing my feelings, my heartache, and my grief, I started to put together a little photo book, as a little gift for his family. 

As I started to gather photos from my friends, to put together this album, I received one that feels very very special. It was a picture of a post-it note he had written. It was a powerful one, at least to me, to see his writing and to feel him again. It was as if his message in this little handwritten note somehow came alive. His spirit present, and we can almost hear him speak these words again. Who would’ve known that a little post-it note would hold such treasure?

I was suddenly reminded of the moment when I was at my father’s apartment alone, going through his belongings after he suddenly passed away. I was amazed, and my heart touched when I saw that he had kept a random message that I’ve written for him, as if it was a treasure. It was in that moment which I realized, that I mattered. It was a very healing moment for me as I tried to come to terms with his departure. 

Yes, I love to write. I love words. And I have even started working as a text therapist in addition to my more traditional practices. To be honest, I was very skeptical of the validity of text therapy before I gave it a try.  And now? I’m loving it, and I am amazed by the deep emotional process that happens between me and my clients, between the exchanges of written words. It is such a beautiful way in connecting and working through deep emotional wounds. 

P.S. If you’d like to work with me through text therapy, and/or remotely through video sessions, I am on the talkspace.com platform. Just request me when you talk to the matching therapist.  (You do have to be a California resident, though. As it is where I am licensed.)

May you be blessed with words.

The Power of Faith in times of Transition – a reflection on love, passion, and life’s journey.

It was about seventeen years ago when I left my birthplace – Hong Kong, and arrived at this country – the United States of America. I didn’t know a soul on this land, except my then boyfriend, whom I dated for a year when we met in Hong Kong. I didn’t have much money, no relatives, no connection, and I didn’t even know how to differentiate nickels and dimes. But I was brave, and I had no fear. 

I still remember moments during that long flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. The flight was unusually empty because of the strike of the airline, and I had the entire aisle to myself. As if the universe was making space for me. It was perfect, for a long and emotional flight. Sitting on my lap was a box of sweet memories – the tokens of love from friends and family. The bittersweet parting gifts. As I looked out the window and glimpsed at the night view of this gorgeous city where I was born, I felt a sense of calm and serenity. A moment of grace and solitude came over me. Deep inside my soul, I knew this is the right path. Reading the words of my childhood friends, looking at the pictures, the gifts, reminiscing the moments of the last goodbye at the security gate; I slowly realized that I’ve made a significant and possibly life changing decision.

It all originated from this simple but strong desire in my heart – to cure my mom. As long as I could remember, my mother had always been in and out of hospitals, and her condition was only getting worse throughout the years. And as I got older, I was determined to help, to find out what was going on, or to at least alleviate her suffering.

The sight, smells, and sounds of the hospital came back to my senses as I recall this memory. I was sixteen years old then, sitting across from my mother’s psychiatrist in her office, attending a meeting about my mother’s condition. “How are you supposed to be able to help her when you only see her every two weeks for 10 minutes? ” I confronted the psychiatrist. I’ve been visiting the hospital every week and I tried to understand what kind of treatment they were providing. And the only “treatment”, it seemed to me, was prescribing and dispensing the meds.  “Well, that’s the way we do things here.” She got defensive, and probably feeling angry that me – a teenage girl was challenging her about her profession. “How about other countries, are there other ways?” I didn’t give up, I genuinely wanted to find out if there are alternative, better ways in treating these kinds of illness. “I don’t know anything about other countries.” She said and her body language told me that she wasn’t going to discuss treatment with me any further. Our conversation ended.

That was the moment, when the idea of studying “overseas” germinated in me. I was determined to find the answer, to search for the cure, for my mother, and for all who suffered from this daunting curse of mental illness. And as if by magic, things unfolded over the years. There were times that were challenging, difficult, confusing. But there were always help along the way – be it angels, friends, guides, or teachers. Life is strange, indeed. And I often found it such a blessings to be on this path, to live, love and work as a healer and a therapist. I just have to remember, to channel my younger self more often – the fierce, determined, passionate soul who seems to have such unwavering faith in life, who lives without fear.

Sometimes a seemingly hopeless situation aren’t in fact hopeless. Sometimes sorrow and tears can be transformed, to hope, healing, and a beautiful path. All we need is to have faith, and trust that there will always be a way. The passion in our heart will keep us warm ,the lights of hope will illuminate our path as we walked through the winding, shadowy road. And as we keep following our heart, keep listening to the little voice that speak to us in quiet moments, we will never truly be lost in the enormous jungle, even if at times, it feels like we are all alone. We will be fine, we will be safe, wherever we are.

I’ll leave you with a poem I love. 

 

The Journey 

by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible.

It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,

determined to do
the only thing you could do 

determined to save
the only life you could save.

 

 

 

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