My life in Toulouse for the past year has comprised of recharge, recalibrate and restart. What merely started as a desire to break free from a life that didn’t align with my goals, led me to a self-healing journey I never knew I needed. I knew France would change me but I didn’t expect it to be this transformational. I’m a different person now than who I was one year ago, to say the least. It feels bizarre – I am still me but different. New different. Good new different.
One of my yoga students asked me, “How did you know France is for you?”
Truth was, I didn’t. However I took the first step by listening to what was not for me. With that, I courageously admitted that living in Singapore wasn't for me. Many were puzzled by my confession – Singapore is safe, clean, and convenient. What else do I want?
I felt very much like a stranger even in my own country, to be surrounded by family and friends but still feel lonely. My values didn’t reflect of those that were shaped by the society and I had always struggled with finding my place. My heart knew I had a life purpose that was bigger and larger than staying in Singapore. I had to seek my truth.
“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.” – Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The paradox of finding yourself is first you have to lose yourself. That's exactly what I did - left my home to find a home. It was with a heavy heart putting Wiy Yoga on pause that I had built with my heart and soul, sweat and tears to uproot myself in Toulouse – in pursuit of answers. Being away from Singapore gave me the space required to face my demons and work on healing myself. It is one excruciating journey, but it is necessary.
What have I learnt in my pursuit?
1. Be mentally flexible
This practice was extremely challenging for me as I came to France with only one objective. Ten months in... I was nowhere close to attaining that goal. Limited job opportunities, uncertain visa status and unfeasible living condition brought me to my knees. In my lowest darkest moments, with literally nothing else to lose, I let go of my ego (which included judgement of self/others, expectations and desires). Instead, I surrendered to what the experience had to offer. I acknowledged that I had come this far and I will continue to go further. But if this path was not meant for me then I would gracefully accept the reality. I relinquished the need to be in control as I allowed the divine to lead me. In the meantime, I practiced freewill and knew that how I chose to respond would set the tone for the next phase.
We are constantly working in harmony with the Universe. Are we listening to what the Universe has to say? NO = next opportunity. Rejection = redirection. Failure = lets try again with a different way. To have our eye on the prize is impressive but it's equally essential to remain flexible. How do we respond and adapt to life's surprises?
Sometimes life can feel like all hope is gone. I do believe it is the Universe's way of protecting us from (more) heartbreak even if it may not feel like it at the time. Pray. Wait. Trust. That the Universe has your back.
2. Love the highs and especially the lows in life
Life isn’t always a bed of roses (hence la vie en rose). In fact life is made up of 80% lows and 20% highs. It’s how we show up for ourselves during the 80% that helps us to appreciate the 20%.
It's my one year anniversary in France on 12 June 2023 - I can't believe it, time flies! The first 10 months have been gut-wrenching, soul-breaking and heart-rending. There were countless times where I ugly-sobbing-cried every single night in my bedroom because I felt defeated, rejected and unwanted. But I am extremely thankful for those moments - it reminded me to be patient for my right time, right opportunity and right people. Slowly but surely, life started to look up for me. I found several work opportunities, an apartment and close friends that I can count on.
"This too shall pass" I have never understood that saying until now. Nothing lasts forever, so we gotta embrace the good and the bad before it is too late.
3. Be patient with yourself while you heal your inner-child
This is my biggest takeaway from my journey. And boy, it was a lot of work. Twenty-nine years worth of self-loathing habits can’t be changed in one year. It takes continuous and conscious efforts to rewire my brain and cultivate healthier self-love habits.
I grew up without a father and for the first time I am sharing this online – I went through physical, verbal, mental and emotional abuse during my childhood. As a result, I didn’t function like a ‘regular’ person. Yeah if you thought I was a weird person, you were right. I had learnt to identify myself with my trauma – and only thriving on survival mode – I didn’t believe that I deserve love. How could I? When the two people who gave me life are not active in my life? With the help of tons of self-help books, podcasts, meditation, journaling, listening to my intuition and praying – I am the woman I am today because I am in an endless pursuit to heal and evolve. I am committed to break-free from the cycle of generational trauma and toxic patterns.
"The wound is not my fault, but the healing is my responsibility." Marianne Williamson
Now I also understood why we are told, “all that we are and desire reside within us” because it’s true.
The Wiy that I am now has always been present within myself, but I was hiding for the fear of society’s judgments. Not anymore. I vow to live authentically me. My experiences, achievements and failures are mine. My life is mine. I am at peace with my present and eternally grateful for my past, present and the unknown that is to come.