On Feb 16, we held a tea time titled as Finding Wholeness at a Time of Divide, a sequel to an AMA China session in December. (To view the recording of this session, please join Our Village, the online community of practice.)
Four Chinese women living overseas, myself included, were present at this session. We shared how we live with the tremendous stress brought upon by the increasing hostile narratives of China in the west mainstream media. We explored how to ground ourselves with a perspective of wholeness and turn that stress into fuel for self-transformation. Not that I don’t agree with many of the criticism toward Chinese politics. As a Chinese, my family and I had suffered from political suppression personally. However, China to me is so much more than just politics. Its culture, land, history and people are like a maternal source that nourishes my being. Criticism is important, but when it is presented in a narrow-minded and west-centric worldview, it causes harm and distorts truth.
This is a sacred experience for me personally. The six English speakers present at the session have shown such grace, compassion and beautiful awareness. Their words, stories and heart-filled presence are healing and inspiring.
We talked about the inner war that gets projected as the outer war. We shared our effort to find the “inner tyrant” hiding in our shadow, inviting him/her out in the open so we can embrace them. We felt into the immense trauma hidden under any hyper-control or hyper-domination faced, being it toxic masculinity or western-domination worldview …
What moved me the most was, at the end of the session, my friend and colleague Ellen turned to all the Chinese present and said this: (Ellen carries an indigenous heritage as her grandmother is a Choctaw Indian.)
“I want to acknowledge that you as Chinese living in the west, live in a culture where there is an ongoing, embodied experience of being disdained by others. I am aware of the western media’s constant attack on China. I want to say, from my heart, that is wrong. It is wrong. [I know this because] The way I have worked through my own white skin and connection with my indigenous heritage is ongoing. And I have a lot of anger. I imagine that it is your experience too. I want to acknowledge and validate it.”
Whoa! I was stunned by Ellen’s words, spoken with such beautiful heart and presence. Upon hearing her words, it’s the first time I felt that grey cloak of “being the target of disdain” lifted from my shoulder, a cloak I (and many Chinese) wore as long as I could remember since a young child. I was transported into a state of being that was so new and fresh that almost made me dizzy. In that moment, I saw Ellen offered herself as an embodied vehicle for “western civilization” to make peace with Chinese people. I cried, not so much from sadness, but from an overwhelming joy sensing into what a new world could be, when more people could come together and make peace with one another like this. And, my heart whispered, it is already happening, right now!
I know Ellen very well. what enables Ellen to embody these words is partly due to the indigenous heritage from her Choctaw grandmother. When we keep their indigenous source alive, we become aware of the part of our energy that is intimately connected with the collective identity and its karma, no matter how developed or individualized we have become. In fact, one’s individuation process can only be whole when it enables us to become more aware of that connection to the collective. This connection, when unconscious, can be perceived as a shackle, or bondage. But with awareness and compassion, this connection can be used consciously to make peace and affirm life, just as how Ellen has beautifully demonstrated.