There is anxiety and stress. There is also depression. Coming from a Christian and Chinese cultural milieu, I use to feel guilt that I would have these conditions.
As part of my own psychological and spiritual journey, I now acknowledge that it’s ok to go through anxiety, stress, fear and even depression. Going through life changes and growth is never easy. It can disable me, or it can create so much fear and panic that I don’t want to leave the confines of my home.
I have been working with a St. Ignatius Spiritual Director for the past few years as part of my own spiritual journey to love, know and do God’s will. Part of this is shedding away all the layers of “things” piled upon me in my 60 plus years of life.
The awareness of how much psychological and emotional baggage I carry on my shoulders is daunting. Spiritual awareness is letting go of all the “stuff” that keeps me from God.
Hand in hand in my spiritual journey the past few months is seeing my art therapist. Through visualization, I can explore those areas in my psyche which chains me. Art therapy and my spiritual direction helps in healing me to be the person I was meant to be in God’s image.
I am going through a personal transformation and letting go of emotional and psychological chains to becoming my authentic self. Free from the sins of the “father” and all those “ism” that has unconsciously molded and shaped the neurotic, anxious and stressed out me. It is and has been a healing journey.
Christian work ethic was my moral compass. Topped with the drive, angst and expectations of my immigrant parents – where my Chinese cultural repertoire often conflicted with my Christian one. I was a CBC – Canadian born Chinese.
The pace of life since university and then career set the pace for the next 30 years. It shaped my friendships and social environment. Fast forward into my 60s is the realization that I existed in a pressure cooker. The past many months have seen me breaking free to find my authentic self in the mundanity of my life. The career that once gave me much joy, is now but a shallow prison. Friendships were based on a thin thread of association and easily sever (for the first time C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves made sense). I let the “stuff” of the world come between me and God.
Luke 24 is pivotal in my state of flow. Mediating on Mary Magdalene’s grief over the death of her beloved friend and the disciples focus on the current news until they recognize Jesus when he broke bread, all help me understand that peace and joy comes only from fixing our focus on Jesus.
With my eyes on Jesus, I can move towards healing my mind, body and soul. All those angst and inner pain starts to slowly flow out of me. Yes, it is taking proactive action on my part to get better. Now, I can move towards the next phase of my life because my gaze is on Jesus. Only then can I let go of my baggage. I can now grieve and walk towards the light – because I am safe in Jesus’ embrace.
Resource: The Catholic Guide To Depression, by Aaron Kheriaty
The Four Loves, by C. S. Lewis https://ia800104.us.archive.org/27/items/fourloves01lewi/fourloves01lewi.pdf
Thank you for letting me share my journey with you. Jesus loves each of us at whatever point in life we are at. I pray that each of you walk with him into the light. All the things we once deemed important, hurtful, or heavy falls to the wayside.
God Bless 🙏💕