8 Years of Cultivating Inner Peace and Healing: A Reflection

*This blog post includes mention of abuse and mental illness

*This blog post includes mention of abuse and mental illness

As a teenager, I struggled with a sense of inner turmoil practically everyday.

I didn't quite understand it back then, but my journey reflects that of a young woman searching for inner peace and healing.

Since those days, I've been able to cultivate a sense of inner peace relatively easily despite whatever my external circumstances look like.

I share some tips at the end of my story on ways to do that.

I want to share with you my journey and my key takeaways for finding your own sense of inner peace -- no matter where you're at on your journey.

2008 - Doing What You Can

As a young teenager, I was in an abusive relationship with a guy who was an older teenager -- he was about 3 years older than me.

It took me a long time to process all the harmful things he said to me and to realize how badly he treated me verbally and sexually.

I simply had no sense of healthy boundaries.

Frankly, it was not until very recently that I even addressed this deeply traumatic and wounding part of my life in therapy. (More on that later.)

But while I was being manipulated and abused in the relationship, I was still resilient. You could say "How did you ever find a sense of peace at that point in your life?"

Well for me, it was doing what I could.

For me, that sense of peace came from a nightly ritual I had back then -- showering and journaling.

Showering because it was a completely lonesome activity. I could clean and pamper myself, and not need to worry about any of his phone calls or text messages.

Journaling because I kept a diary and it was one of the only ways that I could express my voice without criticism.

For some time, these two activities were all I had to help me deal with an abusive boyfriend, who at that time, I didn't even consider was "abusive."

2010 - Creative Therapy and four letter words

At this point, I had luckily gotten away from my abusive ex-boyfriend.

However, all the wounds from the relationship were still within me and I had no clue how to heal properly.

The only thing I knew was that I was free to be who I am.

I didn't know I needed therapy, but I was drawn to therapeutic activities.

You know what I did? I was unapologetically fashionable.

I loved to go shopping, so I shopped and styled myself.

I would play music in my room, find inspiration and then went on to create all kinds of outfits and strut around in my room.

It was creative therapy.

It was my own version of art therapy.

It was how I empowered myself.

It was how I found peace while I was an extremely stressed out student at a college prep school.

One more thing... It was the same time I started to use the word "fuck" in my writing (on Tumblr LOL) and the same time I started practicing y-o-g-a.

Both were extremely healing and inner peace inducing activities.

2012 - The start of inner peace and healing potential

After 10th grade, I attended junior college.

I had always felt as if I wasn't good enough as a result of that relationship years ago and I felt I needed to prove to myself that I was "smart" and "hard working" enough.

And I did really well in school in that year.

But I was also extremely anxious and probably chronically stressed and I decided I needed to get in touch with my spiritual side...

I went on my first yoga retreat with Three Trees Yoga to Harmony Hill in Union, WA.

For 3 days, all I did was yoga, meditation, and unbeknownst to me some deep healing. I even bought a Jon Kabat-Zinn book from the retreat center and began my mindfulness inquiry.

I realized just how much I loved being around the yoga teachers and like-minded people on retreat.

For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. I felt inner peace and healing potential.

2014 - Finally, Some Therapy

2014 was a difficult but beautiful year.

I was studying at the University of Washington-Tacoma.

Because of the yoga and mindfulness inquiry I had been doing between school and work, I realized something profound.

I was unhappy. I didn't know exactly why, but I knew I wanted to address it.

I gave up my pride and went to therapy on January 21, 2014.

It was a year of battling depression, anxiety, social anxiety.

It was failed classes. It was hating myself and learning to love myself. It was feeling worthless and having to remind myself I am worth it.

It was a messy road toward healing that sometimes included peaceful moments, but most of the time, not so much.

Nevertheless, it was the right thing to do and I knew it deep down in my worn out heart.

“Peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no trouble, noise, or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~Lady Gaga

2016 (Present Day)

I, like so many other idealists, wish to live in a world where there is peace or at least less violence.

Ahimsa (non-violence or non-violation) is a huge concept in yoga philosophy and I strive to do my best to practice it.

But you cannot have world peace, without inner peace first. Because how we feel about ourselves, and what we think about ourselves influence how we behave outwardly.

Although most of my concerns had been addressed in therapy, there was one thing I still couldn't peacefully handle until Spring 2016.

The trauma of what happened when I was a young teen (2008).

I was finally able to address those issues when I started going to Samdhana Karana Yoga.

First, I joined a support group for women SKY offered and then I finally told my therapist what I was trying so hard to deny... The "violence" that happened to me, a peace-loving and peace-seeking yoga teacher.

Now, as I continue my healing and inner peace work, it's become something that I am extending to others in my business. When I am able to teach yoga and meditation, it nourishes me as well.

It's an underlying drive for the existence of my blogging and services. It's why I try to have the kinds of relationships I have with all the people in my life.

My takeaways for cultivating your own Inner Peace and Healing

  1. Do what you can
  2. Follow your creativity
  3. Find the right space and follow your curiosity
  4. Ask for help
  5. Ask for help and trust that you can help.

Thank you for reading and being in my life.

With love,

 
Hien Hong