Dear Friends in this Community,
The last time my Australian friend, whom I met at Mindvalley University in Tallinn in 2018, shared with me the news that she had a brain tumour. I suggested we, her friends, hold a prayer circle before, during, and after the surgery — for her healing.
She has recovered and she shared this: “Thanks so much for your leadership in the group, I am a bit overwhelmed with all the love.”
As the world is still enduring the pain of loss and the anxiety of a distressing economy and uncertain peace ahead… This has prompted me to hold another Healing Prayer Circle for EVERYONE here.
I have been in prayer since August 5th, as I lost my best friend Peter on August 6th 2021, and another friend the next day, August 7th — both covid related deaths.
I was just informed that a good female friend of mine at 46 has a cancer relapse — I reached out for the usual CHECK-IN “Hi” on Facebook and she saw a friendly face in her time of great anxiety and sadness.
As I turn often to silence, meditation, and prayer for times of trial, I am inviting you to send me names of people whom you want me to hold in prayer during my next 2 weeks of prayers.
Also if you’d like to join in the prayers with me or request prayers — do fill out this google form: https://forms.gle/2Men4q32njG7Z7VaA
We will send those who want to Pray together some times to set aside, so we are praying at the same time around the world.
Below find a reflection I wrote recently on how I have managed to move from pain, suffering, and loss to wisdom, understanding, and hope during such difficult mental health and healthcare challenges in my work.
Holding the Space for Pain
One of the reasons I have been doing spiritual retreats — like Vipasana, Camino de Santiago, Taize and personal development like my certifications in Coaching and Mindfulness is deepening my ability to absorb and transmute pain and suffering into wisdom and peace while in pain.
It did not occur to me until the last two personal development events I attended by Mindvalley that I was able to hold the space for conversations on deep suffering and pain and loss and trauma because I had gone through the baptism of fire myself in so many parts of my life and I manage to find a peace or a graceful acceptance despite the inner turmoil of it all.
When two new friends shared with me the stories of murder that struck their families, they felt safe enough to tell me before they told others or no one else but me.
Did they sense I knew the same from my aunt being murdered when I was 17? There was a robbery in her office and the robbers tied the colleagues and her up but she tried to fight back and they shot her.
Did they know that 100 days after my aunt was killed another aunt from that same family fell and hit her head and died as well. I watched my strong grandmother the one whom we adored as children, the matriarch, the active church goer, the one who kept 11 children together, grieve and mourn — unable to come to terms with the loss.
When my friends tell me about their divorce before it comes to the actual divorce, did they feel how I could empathise? Seeing my family coming to terms with our own internal struggle as my brother separated from his wife and how to tell the then young girls that our once aspirational dream family was no longer to be. Did they know I would hold their secret for as long as they needed me to, just like I hid ours from our Catholic church friends as if we had committed a massive crime for two years as the couple tried to find counseling and ways to make the 15 year marriage work.
When my friends introduce me to their moms with dementia, or fathers who can barely walk and let me into their homes when they prefer not to let others in; is it because they know I spent 3 months of my life in Ward 54 of Singapore General Hospital by the bedside of my mother as she wavered between death and life… losing her sense of reality and seeing people where there were none. That I had won a PPE before it was fashionable just to be in the same isolation room with her to hold her hand?
When I sit at the funeral wakes of neighbours, whose night of their death I was unable to sleep … lying awake feeling something amiss…. did their families understand in my sad eyes that I too sat at the bedside during the last minutes with my father, my mother, my godfather and the stranger who shared the isolation ward with my mother? The same stranger who was smiling just the day before. Whose death I shielded from my mother by turning up the volume on the television…. worried that my mother’s spirit would follow the same way and I would lose her.
I have sat with the sorrows of many
I have even chose a profession that delves into such pain and insanity
I am trained to listen beyond the abuse by an alcoholic father
and trained to protect the innocent and vulnerable by starting with my own mother
I know this pain they speak of
And I am not afraid and I do not flinch when they share
I do not run
I do not hide
I hold their graze
I let them tell their stories
I let them take the weight of being judged and unseen off for that few moments and be held by my acceptance and understanding
It is this gift and sometimes in the same vein the curse I grapple with — that allows me to be the heroine and also the victim of the sadness of the world. For in my empathy — there is also a part of me that still remembers the pain.
I hope this email finds you well and I hope that no matter how challenging life may be, you have a friend who is CHECKING-IN on you, or you are the friend that is checking in on someone else, because in challenging times like this we all need a friend to Hold the space for pain. May I be that friend to you too.
Your Prayer Warrior
P.S. This is the work I have been doing for mental health with youths aged 13–25. Link: https://tinyurl.com/EndingLonelinessOnePAL