storytelling

RETURNING BACK HOME.

...The most important thing I can tell you about the timing of the home cycle is this: When it’s time, it’s time. Even if you’re not ready, even if things are undone, even if today your ship is coming in. When it’s time, it’s time. The seal woman returns to the sea not because she feels like it, not because today is a good day to go, not because her life is all nice and tidy — there is no nice and tidy time for anyone. She goes because it is time, and therefore she must...
— Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

My soul resonates very deeply with this book and particularly this chapter: Homing: Returning to OneSelf.

Within this chapter about the "thieving of soulskin" archetype, Estes breaks down the soul-psyche and stresses the importance of making time to reconnect with what rejuvenates you. Highlighting the importance of returning back home; returning back to your soul. 

I thought I'd share a couple of snippets I found quite interesting, coupled in with observations I've seen among peers, and also my personal story. 

Amidst all the noise and commotion of everyday life, many of us are experiencing a profound sense of disconnection. We don't only feel disconnected with our surroundings (think bored housewife washing dishes staring blindly out at the window into nothingness, thinking back to youthful days chasing boys, and suddenly getting started by the telephone ringing), but we feel disconnected with our core, our higher self.

For those who don’t take time to nurture their true essence, it is easy to placate their discontent and hide whatever they are yearning for with unhealthy distractions (sex/drugs/alcohol). And no matter what the source of this disconnect comes from- being stuck in a dead-end job to being in an unsatisfying relationship- the outcome is all the same. Dull eyes, short tempers, loss of glow, “hungover”, constantly falling short on substance. Jaded and faded. Never enough.

I see this all the time. I've lived it. 

We feel lost, out of touch, disconnected. “What’s wrong with me?”

Outside to the external environment, there is a drilling need for the ego to prove itself. To “keep up with appearances” and act as “Superhero,” to chug along chasing with blind ambition, to prove oneself (for who's real approval anyway?). "If everyone else (seemingly) has it all figured out, I can do it too." We go through the motions like an assembly line factory worker running overtime, the constant drill and the daily routine of our lives, while something deep within longs for more. Our soul is held captive as this longing for something else grows louder. Our soul is depleted as we continue to ignore the signs and fill our days with "distractions" that don't fulfill us but deplete us. 

We lose the soulskin by becoming too involved with ego, by being too exacting, perfectionistic, or unnecessarily martyred, or driven by a blind ambition, or by being dissatisfied— about self, family, community, culture, world—and not saying or doing anything about it, or by pretending we are an unending source for others, or by not doing all we can to help ourselves.
— WWRWTW, Estes

We lose ourselves without knowing what it is that we've lost. 
We lose ourselves without giving the time to figure out what it is we are fighting for?

What is this for?" "What do I need?" "What do I desire?"  

Maybe the furthest you come up with is "I know what I need won’t be found here."
Here, we are held captive. Lost in limbo to the external circumstances and the outside noise. 

It's often easier to blame your environment than it is to look within the restlessness of your spirit. This is not to say environment doesn't play a huge influence. If your environment is severely restricting your ability to be 100% authentic, you as a person with infinite possibilities of self expression waver. If you aren't strong enough to reflect and to act, your value system takes a hit. Over and over again, you lose that battle to your true self, you lose that battle to your happiness.

So the question you may or may not ask yourself is  "How long does it take for you to ADAPT and adjust to your environment?" "How long does it take for you to realize "this isn't it?" "How long does it take for you to realize the thing you're chasing isn't something you no longer wanted?" Hopefully, you find the answer and take action before you break. Hopefully, you can trust your intuition and know when it's time to draw the cards and start a new chapter in your life. 

If we pay attention to our psyche, we know in our heart when it is time to “return home,” to our safe place. 

Be clear on what "home" means to you. It doesn't have to be a place. It's a feeling.

For me personally, home is feeling connected, home is easy, home is where I don’t have to fake it to make it.

I simply am. 

To feel disconnected is one thing. To admit it is another. And the notion that you are ready to go back on this road home, ("home" personifies the question "how best to nurture your TRUE self"); this is the hard part. For your ego to take a step back and admit you have every right to feel good, loved, happy, and fulfilled- and to take just one moment for yourself in your day to bring you back to your good place.

Every day. Make time for yourself. 

Estes provides a list of small things that we can do almost any time to reconnect with the deep and true essence of our being: (It would be great if you could add to this list! Comment!)

  • Rereading passages of books and single poems that have touched you
  • Spending a few minutes near a river, stream, or creek
  • Lying on the ground in dappled light
  • Being with a loved one without kids around
  • Sitting on the porch shelling something, knitting something, peeling something
  • Walking or driving for an hour, any direction, then returning
  • Boarding any bus, destination unknown
  • Making drums while listening to music
  • Greeting sunrise
  • Driving out to where the city lights do not interfere with the night sky
  • Praying
  • A special friend
  • Sitting on a bridge with legs dangling over
  • Holding an infant
  • Sitting by a window in a cafe and writing
  • Sitting in a circle of trees
  • Drying hair in the sun
  • Putting hands in a rain barrel
  • Potting plants, being sure to get hands very muddy
  • Beholding beauty, grace, the touching frailty of human beings

No matter how busy or disconnected you are with the pressures of keeping up with your present reality, these types of simple tasks will bring you centered and nourished. It will bring you back home. 

The Importance of Finding Home

Every creature on earth returns to home. Home is where they find refuge after a dark storm. It is ironic that we have made wildlife refuges for pandas, wolves, and deer, but not for ourselves in the places where we live day after day. We understand that the loss of habitat is the most disastrous event that can happen to a free creature. While we point out how these creatures’ natural territories have become surrounded by cities, pollution, highways, noise, we fail to realize we too are subject to be affected by the same dissonance.

We as humans fail to realize the stress of a toxic environment on the human spirit. We know that for creatures to live on, they must at least from time to time have a home place, a place where they feel both protected and free. Free to be wild.  This is a natural biological response for them. Go back home. Find your swan. That is where you will feel the most safe and loved. How sad is it when you realize how many people in this world who have "free will" still stay and fall victim. Still fall victim to circumstance and outside noise. 

So, the question now becomes "Is this the right environment for my soul to be completely nourished?" 

Many “soulfully held captive” people take out their frustrations with their current environment by taking a “much-needed vacation.” As if they needed to personally justify their unhappiness and award themselves just “to feel again”. This is temporary and will always seem like a small treat out of a huge Halloween party bag that’s left on the top shelf- always out of reach. 

For the soul-self-psyche, vacation is not the same as refuge. “Time out” or “time off” is not the same as returning to home. Calmness is not the same as solitude.
— WWRWTW, Estes

I learned that the hard way. For the past 15 months, I've traveled in and out of the Mainland 12 times. Staying put was not an option for me and I was more than okay with using business trips as a means to get out of the monotony within a more socially repressed culture. On trips back "home," I would put my tired spirit to the test to nurture my long distance relationship in Taiwan or to reconnect with my old community in America. Ultimately, it just left me more divided and depleted as my identity was split into three, unable to feel grounded, body here but mind floating elsewhere lifestyle. Returning back to the China grew increasingly difficult as I left my wildish nature to breakdown and cry right before Departure, only to transform as stone-faced and dull-eyed, "strong fake Superhero" ready to face an alternate reality all over again by Arrival.

Most of a woman’s depressions, ennuis, and wandering confusions are caused by a severely restricted soul-life in which innovation, impulse, and creation are restricted or forbidden. Women receive enormous impulse to act from the creative force…

We can break away from this condition if there is an underground river or even a little freshet pouring from somewhere soulful into our lives. But if a woman “far from home” surrenders all power, she will become first a fog, then a vapor, and finally a wisp of her former wildish self.
— WWRWTW, Estes

My glow, skin, body, weight, cells, mind shifted. It wasn't a sustainable situation. 

When someone holds themselves captive to a place “far from home”, withstanding the “fake it till you make it (and become someone completely different)” approach, life becomes diminished. The cost to ourselves becomes very high. Without any  further deposits of energy, knowledge, acknowledgement, ideas, and excitement that had carried us out this far....we become less than we are. We become crippled with doubt and angst.

Ideas, creativity, life itself thrives on moisture. When your soul slowly dries out, it becomes harder and harder to function and go back to the way you naturally are; to your wildish nature. To how you want to live. To how you want to feel. To how you want to really be seen.

When we are young and our soul-lives collide with the desires and requirements of culture and the world, indeed we feel stranded far from home. However, as adults we continue to drive ourselves even farther from home as a result of our own choices about who, what, where, and for how long. If we were never taught to return to the soul-home in childhood, we repeat the “theft and wandering around lost” pattern ad infinitum. But, even when it is our own dismal choices that have blown us off course—too far from what we need—hold faith, for within the soul is the homing device. We all can find our way back.
— WWRWTW, Estes

I take solace in these words. And know that it isn't too late to find my way back. While I am now struggling with what it means to “Return to OneSelf,” I told myself I’ll keep writing while processing. It hurts too much to just ignore your intuition, go blind and bubble up until you explode. Looking back at old blog posts, I honestly can't remember that enthusiastic spirit anymore and the rush of passionate momentum behind those words filled with action...and I'm trying to pinpoint  where in the past 15 months it had all changed.

Rooted deep within me is a highly emotional third culture kid suffering from privilege guilt, caught in an internal battle between eastern Confucian filial piety morals and a millennial mentality full of western mantras “Do What Makes you Happy.”
— Tiffany Lin, May, 2016

The truth with this whole post and my dissecting "Returning Home" is that I'm still figuring it out. And I'm only getting started. My 15 months of a long writing hiatus/neglect on repping reMINDmebands/neglect on nourishing my own soul was influenced by many factors. 

Deep internal noise and external circumstances got to me. I couldn't share my pain because I didn't want to believe it. In respect to my ego, I wanted to overcome it first. My personal value system took a backseat as I struggled to ADAPT to the new value system placed before me.  Forgive me. I am working on forgiving myself. Growing pains.

For the past month, I have poured my heart into dissecting my feelings. Out came a heartfelt letter to my father speaking truth about the struggle I've faced between hiding my soul-psyche and living in an angsty pent up ticking bomb of repressed emotions. In my Letter of Resignation to my FatherI ultimately took my ego aside and felt empowered to break free and start the trek towards listening to my soul. 

I tell myself that this is a new chapter of my life. Some of my friends around the world have already long ago reached this point of clarity, liberation, emancipation within themselves and have turned out even stronger. Some of my friends are still lost in limbo with self-denial that they aren't lost. We are all humans living in a constant game of "lost and found" and everyone is playing. EVERYONE, regardless of age, gender, race is living this game. I tell myself that its time to reconnect and build. 

I'm wearing reMINDmebands again to help. I wasn't having those inspiring organic meaningful conversations "what does this word mean to you" in China. The sort of thrill behind having accountability is something I'll value as I move forward. 

This next month is full of adventure and time to breathe and reconnect again. I am getting excited about the possibilities!  Even if this just turns to be a solo passion experiment held to my own accord, I'm happy to share. Follow @remindmebands on Instagram on my future travels!

Right now, I'm still working on being okay with the subtle and the not so subtle differences between who I was and who I am now.

It feels good to return back to writing as a form of release and sharing myself along the way. 
It feels empowering to listen to my intuition and start to rebuild my own value system again. 

I will take to heart my core values (gratitude, energy, positivity, honesty, mindfulness) as I listen to my core desired feelings (Inspired, fearless, creative, expansive, To be able to know and say "Yes. This is what I want.") 

So here was an exercise for myself carrying my TOP 5 Values. I suggest everyone do the same. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced all that I have in this span of time and for the eye-opening call to action for me look within. Time to heal and reflect gave me the space to be honest with myself and to admit that the core of my being holds higher resonance elsewhere than my current situation. I am mindful of the decisions I've made and how it influences my role within my family business and the consequences of being responsible for my own life. Ultimately, I find endless energy knowing that the future is mine and mine to own. I can't wait to reflect positivity within myself and spread it out openly and lovingly to the world. 

I've been chasing my feelings for awhile the past month. And it feels beautifully expansive.

It feels that I can sum it up in just one word alone: Freedom.

Thanks for listening. 

#reflection #comingback #freedom #selflove

 

Peace begins within you. Spread the love and feelings of goodwill towards others. Through unity, realize that we are all connected by our differences, struggles, insights, and beliefs. Respect yourself, others, and our environment. With peace, love, unity, and respect, you'll have the freedom to live a life with positive vibes.