Home is within the Heart
by Adele Leung
This Solstice we are bringing home all that we have felt wounded in our lives or lives past.
I grew up in a family structure that belonged to a greater structure, the church. The church was our overseeing family, yet within my immediate blood relations family, we were less tight knit. My parents were not close with most of their brothers and sisters, we rarely celebrated any chinese family traditions, and if it were not an occasion related to the church, we rarely celebrated at all.
Chinese families are big on traditional family celebrations. Yet I only celebrated my first Winter Solstice family dinner when I was in my twenties, far away from home in Canada, without my family, but with friends I studied with at the time. Later when I returned to Hong Kong from Canada, every Winter Solstice when my working friends had to go home for an early family dinner, I didn’t know where to go or who to eat with.
I did not grow up bearing strong connections with my culture or with Family in general. And when I made a conscious decision to leave the church when I was twenty, by default on an energetic level, I have made a decision to leave my family. Like most things in my life, this was not a logical decision, I could only follow my heart. I cannot even begin to describe the years that followed. The immense feeling of being orphaned and of not belonging to anywhere, anyone, anything. The deep loneliness that resulted from a decision of my choice. I knew I could not go back, yet, I was also too pained to go forward. At twenty years old, I began the path of truly returning.
If I had to be true to my heart, to listen to my soul, and experience the deepest loneliness, could I do it? Would I do it? Yet my heart still told me, there is no other way if you wish to be true. So I ventured into the world, without the care I had experienced growing up, alone. Initially, there were many moments when I rejected that care consciously, because of the pain within me. But also because I really wanted to learn to do it on my own. For years and years, I fought. I fought that demon within my soul. That demon that told me I had no family, that I was all alone in this world.
The harder I fought, the more I wanted my own family. And that did not come easily either. To wish to create a family outside the system, the existing structures, yet to have it be strong and resilient enough to be sustained, was almost impossible. Yet I could not walk on another path. It felt like the greatest impossibility, but I had no other path to tread on, I could only keep walking.
For years I felt I was not understood nor respected for choosing for myself, I felt if I did not agree to stay in the church, I had no place or belonging in the world. I felt I didn’t deserve, because I chose different. I felt because I honored my soul, I was ostracized, and I didn’t understand. And every time when I wanted to numb this deep pain, I created a situation for myself that only temporarily soothed this wound, but soon enough will present itself as a clear mirror to reflect even more so the rawness of my pain.
I do not wish to and frankly, cannot keep repeating this pain. Opening up the wound long enough to feel the hurt and trying to cover it up only to cause it to fester even more. I wish to live, I wish so much to live, and to do so I had to face my pain in all its ugliness and terror. I began to come back to myself, with full acceptance, of myself and of every choice I had made. I began to dissolve the battle within myself of listening to my heart and not so of man. I began to truly honor the precious opportunity to be alone, which is not being lonely, but being full of my soul.
I also began to come back to acceptance of all those around me. My family, my friends, the church, everything. Being different, choosing different, does not mean we are separate. I was brought up in this unique situation, because my parents probably experienced similar. And without being in this environment, I would not feel so deeply what it means to be connected, nor would I dive to such depths to explore and discover what unity truly is. What I have learned is the unspoken strength of aloneness, not to mention the immense beauty it serves in one’s life. I cannot describe more unless it is also experienced by another.
I am still human. Every time I feel the physical warmth of someone else’s family, I cannot help but wear a smile, yet it also touches on the residual pain within my heart, and tears of longing, of belonging, wants to fall. In this Solstice, unconsciously planned, though non coincidental, my parents are physically on a trip to Vietnam. And in-truth, it is the most perfect opportunity for me to surround and wrap myself in all the emotions of insufficiency, so that I will see so clearly, these emotions are only my judgments.
Without a strong personal bond of family and culture, what it has gifted me also is the ability to feel the bonds within the heart beyond that of family, culture and religion. And the connection within the heart, similar to my life, is all illogical. But it is truth. And it is strongest and eternal unlike that of a physical bond. For most of my life, what I thought I lacked, have in-truth allowed me to receive what is the most ever-lasting. And on this day of the Solstice, where the North and the South come together in unity, it is the home within the heart, that I know I will always have a place to return to and forever reside in.