• Jolene Shu Wen Chiang

Facing the Flame

Updated: Feb 26

“As humans, our ability to reflect on the past and dream of the future is a bit of a double-edged sword.” - Alexandra H. Solomon

Photo caption: Author's watercolour painting sketch

Indeed the human's mind ability to move backwards and forwards can be a double edged sword. When practised in moderation, retrospection and foresight can be put to good use. It leads to growth and shifts that brings in more peace, joy and kindness.

On the other hand, it may also lead to living the present as if it were the past, or living it as the future which has yet to come, hence the anxiety and/or rumination. Imagine going back and forth between these two states - sadness, yearning, regret, blame, anxiety, uncertainty and fear.

From personal experience, I needed to slow down. Slow down to take stock of lessons learnt from the past. To be kind to myself while I process past hurts, and not just allow time to freely past. Taking responsibility for my part, and contemplation helped me come to a place where I can make a choice again.I just wanted to share that re-imagining something different yourself is definitely possible. With patience and perseverance, you get to be an author now as an adult to your inner child/past hurts, where you feel more empowered and at peace. 

It also helps to release blame, anger, sadness, guilt and shame -- internalised emotions as a child that perhaps were not yours to begin with. What is your story of origin for each emotion?

I shall end off with this beautiful quote that I think sums up the bittersweet journey I have embarked on in the past 2 years...

Photo caption: Author's mixed media watercolour painting sketch

“Family dysfunction is like fire in the woods that rolls generation to generation taking everything in its path until one person has the courage to face the flame. That person brings peace to her ancestors and spares those who follow. Those of us who grew up in families that struggled to love with integrity and wholeness can break these patterns.”

- Dr. Terrence Real

Whoever is reading this, I stand with you in solidarity in facing the flame and you are not alone. We are all in this together.