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  • Writer's pictureTina Chan

Finding Healing in the Midst of Abandonment: A Personal Journey

"The wound is the place where the light enters you." - Rumi
Carnation

Abandonment is a wound that leaves us feeling shattered and exposed as if we have lost a piece of ourselves that we cannot recover. It's a pain that never truly fades away, even after years of healing. I can personally attest to this, having experienced multiple instances of abandonment that have left me feeling vulnerable and alone.


The first time I felt the sting of abandonment was a moment that forever changed me. When my ex-husband left me for another person, it was as if the rug had been pulled out from under my feet. The loss was sudden, and I struggled to accept that the future I had imagined had been taken away from me. The pain I felt was indescribable, and it felt like my world had come crashing down around me.


It wasn't easy to comprehend how someone I had loved and trusted so deeply for 15 years could walk away so easily. I had invested so much of myself into that relationship, and now I was left to pick up the pieces on my own. It took a toll on my self-esteem and confidence, leaving me feeling vulnerable and alone. It was as if I had lost a part of myself and didn't know how to fill that void. The feeling of rejection and betrayal was overwhelming, and it took me a long time to start the healing process.


As if one abandonment was not enough, I found myself going through a similar experience a few years later. I thought I had found my forever when I met someone else, but again, I felt rejected and alone. It was even more devastating this time, as I had hoped that this relationship would be different. The constant loss and rejection left me questioning my worth and value. I found myself spiraling into a deep depression, and it was difficult to see a way out. It was as if the pain from my first abandonment had been magnified, and I didn't know how to deal with it. The feeling of being alone and unwanted was all-consuming, and it took a toll on my mental health.


After the second break-up, I sought solace in a five-day Buddhist meditation retreat. I joined a group of twenty strangers hailing from all over Southeast Asia and Australia. During the retreat, as we meditated, I frequently cried something that no one else in the group seemed to experience.


Despite feeling like an outlier in that sense, I still managed to form meaningful connections with a few of my fellow retreat-goers who offered me solace and comfort during my time of need. Through the retreat, I learned about the fourth noble truth of Buddhism: that life is inherently filled with suffering. However, understanding the source of my pain and suffering made me feel enlightened and more at peace with myself.


After several years of feeling relatively stable and secure, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and turned my world upside down. The company had to let go of some employees, including me. This job had been a source of stability and security for me. Losing my job made me question my worth and left me feeling like I was no longer valued or needed.


Being abandoned was like a war, and I lost in the battle. Even though there was no physical violence, the emotional pain was just as real. It was a battle to try and come to terms with what had happened and find a way to move forward. I drank alcoholic drinks daily and couldn't sleep well. I woke up in sweats and panic attacks sometimes. But I knew that I couldn't continue down that path. Instead, I needed to confront my pain and take steps towards healing.


So I decided to embark on a one-year journey of self-discovery and healing. When the travel restriction to Indonesia was lifted in 2022, I went to Bali, where I immersed myself in Ashtanga yoga and seven days of silent meditation. I surrounded myself with nature and kind people, giving myself the time and space to feel and process my emotions.


During the months I stayed in Bali, my journey toward healing and self-discovery was far from easy. The yoga teachers' words echoed in my head - "you can't concentrate on your breathing and postures because your mind is clouded with pain and anxiety." I knew I had to let go of my past and be present to heal, but it was a constant struggle. It was hard to quiet the voice that replayed memories of my past traumas, and my body was still holding onto the pain and tension.


On top of that, I had to make drastic lifestyle changes, such as giving up drinking and transitioning to a more plant-based diet. The adjustment was challenging, and I often felt like I was depriving myself of the things that used to comfort me. But I persevered. I knew these changes were necessary for my healing journey.


Despite the challenges, I remained committed to my daily yoga and meditation practice. I also took long walks in nature, journaling my thoughts and emotions and practicing self-compassion. I gradually realized that true healing required patience, dedication, and a willingness to change. The road ahead was often daunting, but I knew I had to keep moving forward, even if it was just one step at a time.


Upon returning home from Bali, I felt renewed and rejuvenated, but I knew my healing journey was far from over. However, I was equipped with new tools and resources to help me navigate the moments of sadness and grief. I continued to prioritize my well-being through daily yoga and meditation and focused on being gentle and compassionate with myself. I practiced gratitude and learned to let go of the past.


Over time, I began to notice the fruits of my labor. The panic attacks and night sweats gradually subsided, and I started sleeping more soundly. I found myself focusing more on the present moment and letting go of the pain of the past. While there were still moments of sadness and grief, they didn't consume me like before.


Reflecting on my journey, I realized it was a gradual process requiring time, patience, and commitment. The road was not easy, but I felt myself making progress each day. While I am still healing and hurting, I no longer feel the intense pain and triggers of the past.


Through my healing journey, I hope to inspire others to find peace and acceptance, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Healing takes time, and feeling vulnerable and asking for help is okay. Remember that you are not alone in your struggles; there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.


TRUTH: My fear of having a relationship with a new partner is still present, and I know that healing is an ongoing process. Despite my progress, there are still moments when I feel vulnerable and afraid. That's why I've decided to consciously focus on myself, my loved ones, and my future.


If you've ever felt abandoned, know that you're not alone. Oanina (pronounced "One-ina") is here to provide a safe space to share our experiences and support one another. We hope that we can help those who feel lost and alone by sharing our stories. We're also open to hearing about other healing methods besides yoga, meditation, and journaling. If you have any suggestions or experiences you'd like to share, please don't hesitate to write in the comment.

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