"Spirituality" was never in my vocabulary until my thirties. In fact, I was an adamant atheist up until my awakening.
Today, I'm running a spiritual blog. What prompted the 180?Motherhood.
Growing up, my family never spoke about God. We would partake in traditional Chinese customs or celebrate lunar holidays, but nothing too religious. I have faint memories of my mother's own spiritual tinkering (ding!) - seeking fortune tellers, traveling to Tibet, playing Buddhist sutra CDs to lull us to sleep. We had our superstitious moments, but we mostly brushed them off.
When my family relocated to the states in 1999, I attended my first mass and bible studies at my new high school. It wasn’t intentional, but I felt forced into learning about Christianity and guilty for not believing in Jesus. It was also the same period my parents were going through a divorce. While it could’ve been the perfect opportunity for spiritual learning, the timing was not ideal. As a disgruntled adolescent, I tuned out all things religious, all things spiritual, and wanted nothing to do with God.
“Spirituality is an inner sense of relationship to a higher power that is loving and guiding. The word we give to this higher power might be God, nature, spirit, the universe, the creator, or other words that represent a divine presence. But the important point is that spirituality encompasses our relationship and dialogue with this higher presence.”
( Lisa Miller, The Spiritual Child )
When I had my second son, I experienced Spirituality for the first time in my life. It was not to say my first motherhood experience wasn’t magnificent. In fact, it was beyond perfect, the epitome of reaching God. But it was the second time around that I finally became aware of the omnipresence of Spirituality.
When my little one entered my life, it appeared as if I had all my shit together - a happy family, a work-life balance, the perfect IG page. But in fact, my relationships, identity, and sanity were all in shambles. Lacking sleep and control, I had no direction nor a sense of purpose. The confusion only added to my guilt and shame for even feeling these emotions. I felt ungrateful. I had everything... right? Lost in the darkness, I pushed everyone out of my life.
With darkness comes light. The light was my family, husband, and especially my kids. It was during this deep battle of depression and loneliness that my unconsciousness reached out. I slowly climbed out of my darkness, my children being my beacon of hope. Bit by bit, I freed my shadows through writing, dancing, music, yoga, learning, and meditating. Angels and mentors lifted me up along the way. Thus, began my inward journey in reclaiming myself. In retrospect, I have the extremities of motherhood to thank, my family to thank, my breakdowns to thank. Today, I have transformed into my strongest self, my best self.
In fact, in Dr. Lisa Miller's must-read book for all mothers,The Spiritual Child, one of the many fascinating scientific discoveries is that "parents and children share a parallel developmental arc in which a child's need and yearning for spiritual exploration coincides with a similar 'quest' phase in adult life." In other words, in witnessing the miracle of life (aka our children), our own spiritual light can also be ignited as we go through the "quest" of parenthood. The timing may be different for everyone, but it's there if we choose to search within.
I am in awe of all the women before me who speak and live their truth. Whether it's issues on self image, mental illness, sexual trauma, gender/race/sexual inequality, it takes extreme courage and authenticity to speak up. During the course of my self-discovery, I realized how programmed I’ve been to keep quiet as a woman, mother and human being of both Eastern and Western upbringing and heritage. I would tremble at the thought of standing on stage, all eyes on me, mic ready when I am (which was a firm never). With years of inner healing, and the love and support of my peoples (hugs), I’m proud to be at this point today, writing and speaking my truth in hope to help others like me - especially the women, mothers, and human beings with the same earthly and spiritual perplexities in finding themselves, their real selves.
I’m here to say that it’s perfect to be imperfect and none of us have to succumb to the impossible societal and social media standards of womanhood. Supermoms are unnecessary, for all moms are super. The perfect body is not a size zero post kids, but what feels in alignment inside and out. Beauty is not just a dolled-up face, but the depth of your soul. Work, but work on what you love, not what you're told to do. Love, give love to others but especially to yourself.
I certainly don't have all the answers, I just have my own way of living and being. Every day will continue to present problems, mistakes and breakdowns. What I do have is the awareness, courage, and self-love to be 100% myself.
And I have an inner tinker that I will turn out okay. Ding!