Artist Sacred Dancer Author
Mama of Sanctuary Forest Garden
Mama of Sanctuary Forest Garden
Literally Deep in my heart, I experience the profound essence of silent retreats for many years. I tasted the first retreat at age 22 after I served my ministry in the Children League after being baptised in Dec 2003, at age 21. It was tough, so tough, not being able to talk, to be alone in the room by myself. I did not know what to expect. It did not help that I was afraid of darkness and the fear of ghost. It was so uncomfortable and challenging. Yet, at the end of the retreat, there was something about it that I could not articulate it in words then. Deep within my soul and being, I know the way to have peace in my heart is silent retreats. I went on to have silent retreats at different periods of my life in my younger days. The longest I tasted and could tolerate was only 4 days of silent retreat. Yes, that is how far I had gone. I yearned and longed for more especially when my life became more and more stressful and hectic and I felt so stuck. Literally stuck. No life. No joy. No purpose. I was so stuck to the extent I was living all the time in my head without a body like two separate fragmented broken pieces. That feeling was terribly awful. I could not even breathe or feel myself at all. I was neither here nor there. Like suspended in the air. Floating in the air. Living life like that was like living in hell. Do I want to continue to stay this way? Clearly is a No. I made a lot of decision and choices in life. Big choices. Like quitting teaching and return to creative arts. Moving to another country. The transition was hard. I had to go through it. But each decision I took changed my life forever and I never look back or regret.
In 2015, I returned into the contemplation journey with Nita after I reconnected with her in Singapore. She invited me to do a contemplation retreat online for 8 days, and after discerning I went on for 30 days where the 10 days took place in St Anne where I had face to face spiritual direction with her. Then after in 2017, after the passing of my dear beloved mother-in-law, I'm called to take Sabbatical leave from work travel and my true journey evolves and unfolds. I make conscious choices and decisions like a silent retreat to the Abbey and constant away to the Nature. The longest nature retreat was a 2 week in the forest. My Sabbatical is now coming to 5 months. I reached a breaking point yesterday where I felt that I could no longer go on and suddenly I have a breakthrough this early morning during contemplation. I gain such depth into the significance meaning of solitude, contemplation, retreats and also why in the nature. I now want to advocate it.
Why I advocate contemplation silent retreats in the nature.
I had gone through therapy and it did help me to heal to a certain point but not at integrating at the spiritual level. My soul called me again and again to come home, I cannot separate myself from the spiritual self, my soul even in my work. I had a very good supervision with my supervisor, Penny, then and told her I no longer able to separate myself from who I am where the spirituality is so important and is me. That began my whole transformation of coming home to my true self. Reconnecting with Nita after not having been in touch with her for quite a while is such a blessings. Returning to Authentic Movement at the same time complement my journey to integration of my spirituality and also healing layers accumulated during the last 5 years. You see. In life though we may have healed of our past, that does not mean it is the end of our healing journey. Nevertheless we are still facing the world around us, the interaction and so forth. It does not mean you are healed, the people around you are. Therefore, we can get wounded and hurt in the process interacting with them. It can be your family, your friends or colleagues. I realise that I have piled up layers of wounds again and haven't really take time to heal myself. Though I may process it in my supervision in related to work, with the constant chasing of promoting dance movement therapy, I went into the busyness of doing rather than being. Though self-care is such a big theme for me and I do take constant self-care, being a very sensitive person, I get easily overwhelmed and overloaded by what was going around me. I have not learnt to listen deeply and be guided by my inner guidance to set boundary for example and I focused more on methods and techniques. I chased 5 long years just studying methods. They have helped me greatly however it is no longer serving me in my spiritual growth. To put it simply. I lost touch and being connected with my soul which I have accessed to in my early 20s because I prayed and in silent a lot everyday in my personal prayer and I spent a lot of time in reflection and in quiet time. When I got caught up in the hectic and stressful life as a teacher, I lost it completely because I hardly had time to be in silence and to be my myself. I had a very interesting conversation with Jeroen just 2 days ago. When he first knew me, my face was full of pimples. I was super stressed then. My body manifested pimples as a form of imbalance in my life. I had constant headaches sometimes even migraine.
I was first led into dance therapy to heal my traumas (I know I no longer want to run away or can run away from my past) and after years later back to spirituality to integrate myself, to my true self, to come home. I begin to see how environment affects me, how nature helps to heal and bring a balance in me including my husband. I also see how being in contemplation and in solitude and in Sabbatical and the necessity to be in retreats, to unplug, to take time out for self, to rest in God. If I had not had a breaking point yesterday, I would not had my breakthrough when I enter into contemplation in the early morning, a conscious choice I make everyday. There is a huge difference being in the nature and back at my home when I contemplate. More efforts needed and longer to enter as there is no complete silence back at home and more distractions. No doubt it is much quiet than in Singapore, I do sense a huge difference being in the nature. I now understand why we need to take time off from the daily routine, from the daily normal life, to be away in the nature, to be in solitude, to be in silence, to especially be with a spiritual director or a teacher who is non-judgemental. Nita and Celine (my Authentic Movement teacher) have held me in such a safe space and place with unconditional non-judgemental love, giving me permission to be myself, to be who I am. To have come so far in my life, to come home, to be my true self and to dare again to take this path of spirituality even the whole world thinks I am crazy is one decision I know I never regret in my life.
If I have not walked this road myself, I cannot share the significance of encouraging you to make time, take time, to slow down, to have retreats in the nature, to be in solitude with a loving spiritual director. I am advocating retreats in the nature because to survive in this world, we need time out regularly. I ask myself why Dai Lama takes time out to pray, so is Thich Nat Hahn, Br David, monks everyday and they stay in the nature or in a quiet place. Yet they are strong active advocators of world peace. Why are the brothers in the Abbey so full of life, joy and so presence. I met a monk during my retreat he is full of joy and life yet so grounded. Now I experience it and will not trade anything for it. Now I get it. So my friends, we make a choice how we want to live our life. A choice that we take does make a difference not small but a significance one to yourself and to the people around you.
* EMBODIED NATURE Is BORN! *
Shalom! Blessings! Love To you!