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Where do you feel home?

The story of a droplet on her way home to the ocean
There is home, where you were born- the traditions you never questioned, the language you first learnt to speak, and the people with whom you share your blood.
I was born in Singapore, a tiny island near the equator in South East Asia, to two teachers. Growing up my mother told me to ‘always do your best’, while my dad told me to ‘take initiative’ in all I do. As the second of three daughters in a family of five I slipped easily into the role of balancing and bridging everything and everyone. I longed to embody the wisdom, discipline and pursuit of lifelong knowledge that my father embodied, while connecting deeply with values of humility, kindness and reciprocity my mother lived by.
My life, initially, was quite an unspectacular and a fairly conventional one. I did fairly well at school and had the great fortune to find work at a small company doing healthcare market research that became my home for the next seven years. I met whom I thought was my soulmate through our common love of analogue photography. Transitioning from girl to woman, I believed my role would be to become a wife, and eventually a mother, phases which my mother told me would make my life a ‘complete’ one.
A home that gave me all I needed, stable job and decent salary, a dependable boyfriend of many years with whom I had a deep connection with, and a comfortable life; there was not much I could complain about or ask more for.
But there was always a voice inside of me that said, and still tells me every day,
‘There is more’.
I longed to be a creative person, to inspire myself & others, to flow and become intimate with life. I imagined a world where every single person has ALL their potentials fulfilled, a world where people wake up every day feeling excited to be alive, to create something new, to embark on a new odyssey.
But I was scared, and so I held back and clung on to comfort. In 2016 life gave me a push- my boyfriend of 4 years abruptly broke up with me, suffering burnout from work, and reeling from an insensitive and negative response from my boss regarding my application to relocate overseas for work, feeling like a failure from trying to date and find a true soulmate, even though it was all I knew, I decided that Singapore could no longer be the place I would call home.
I longed for a different kind of life. I longed to feel a passion burning deep in my heart, that would keep me awake at 3am in the night, a drive that would push me to do something even if I didn’t receive a single cent or get any recognition for doing it.
But who was I?
What could I create?
How would I share with the world?
I was born and only ever lived in Singapore; I had my first and only job as a healthcare market research manager for 7 years and only ever dated a single person all my life.
But despite the uncertainty I knew there I could not find the answers I sought. And so I left my home of 30 years and embarked on a path to find who I might be, what might be my life’s work, and the reason why I want to wake up every day.
This journey brought me to many places – Surin, where I resided in nature, bathed elephants, Chiang Mai, where I meditated, studied massage, Japan, where I wrote, drew, painted, and met my partner; Belgrade, Lisbon and Messejana, where I made art, exhibited and thought I might actually become an artist, and eventually to Turin, the home of my partner.
In April 2019 we arrived in Turin and this became my first adopted home. I spoke no Italian and knew nothing of Italian culture and for the first months dealt with self-deprecating voices asking myself why I had left the comfort of my home in the first place. Struggling to find work as an artist I decided to audition to teach Yoga, a skill I had thousands of hours training in but never found the reason or courage to try teaching regularly because of the comfort of my job and my fear of failure.
YogaUnion was my first adopted home. It all began with the first yoga class that I substituted for the founder, Pandhora. As I taught, from the compliments of my students I realised this was a talent I had but never knew. For the next years, this became who I was & how I introduced myself (I am a Yoga Teacher) and what I thought would be my life’s work- supporting people to return to the realisation that they already are and have always been Whole.
In 2020 the pandemic broke out and we were caught by surprise. I struggled with not making money, not being able to teach and not having a reason to wake up every day. In this empty time I took an online Yoga Therapy training, which forced me to deeply reflect within myself to connect with what my dreams were. I started teaching online for My Vinyasa Practice, my second adopted home, and connected with yoga teachers and trainees from all around the world.
Yoga can change the world, it can move hearts and shape lives. But not as a fitness class, only if the wisdom of this ancient tradition is taught at a deeper level. This desire triggered the birth of the Art of Teaching Yoga– a community where I shared with yoga teachers the artistry of teaching and how to find their voice. Again I thought this might be my life’s work.
But day in and day out, teaching yoga teachers to teach yoga, teaching Yoga to others, being complimented for my talent and effort, being thanked for the change and improvement I made in other’s health, this was not enough for me. What about all the other stressed, tired, unfulfilled people on this planet who do not want to practice yoga? How might they become intimate with life? How might they break out from their mental blocks to realise their full potential to become who they want to be?
I wanted more. I want to meet people from all walks of life, people who are extremely different from me, because in diversity and discomfort magic unfolds. This desire led me to organise meetups in Turin to connect with digital entrepreneurs and seek out and make home various virtual communities, including Caveday, an accountability and co-working virtual community, Elpha, a community for Women in Tech, and CreativeMornings, a community for Creatives and Makers.
I’ve stopped calling anything my ‘life’s work’ because my identity keeps evolving, I keep growing and so my dreams keep expanding as I am wanting more. I now call it my ‘year’s work’ and for 2022 my ‘year’s work’ is to inspire other women to embark on the journey to find themselves, find home, and become the heroine of their own life. I am working on various things, a Heroine’s Path podcast, a separate project with my friend barbara and a virtual training course to support female changemakers to maximise impact and minimise effort by flowing with life through seasonality & cyclical wisdom from Chinese Medicine.
Where is home?
This is a question I was still asking myself. I used to think it is a physical place, which though true, is only part of the full truth.
Now I know it can be found in the company, the support and in communion with others. In Dec 21′ heeding my intuition I took a women’s yoga training course and returned to the practice of Yoga Nidra with my teacher Uma Dinsmore Tuli, a lying down form of meditation that awakens deeper states of consciousness. Reconnecting with my heart, my intuition and ‘inner teacher’ in the words of my teacher Uma, I realised, that, of course, the answer had been under my nose the whole time-
‘I already am at home’
I just forgot. I just didn’t believe it. I was blind to the truth that I could not see with my eyes open, and I had to close my eyes to see them again. Using the metaphor of my teacher Erich Schiffmann, each of us is a wave. Within each wave contains the water of the entire ocean. When we learn to relax into ourselves, we return to our ocean nature, we come home to ourselves. I have been, and am home, all this time.
I am still looking for my physical home. My collaborator and friend Barbara has her home in the mountains, this is where her spirit resides. In a hike with her up to the snowy peak near Corio she, along with twenty or so others we were sounded by, marveled at the majesty and beauty of the mountains. I felt nothing, and realized Turin, despite all it’s beauty and the fortune and opportunities it has brought me, is not and will not be my home. My heart already knows the answer – I will return to the Ocean, where I belong. In 2019 while preparing for an art show, hit by a flash of inspiration I wrote a short story, called the Droplet, about a droplet finding her way home. Below is the painting which inspired the story, which I painted in what must have been 10 strokes. It was not me, it was the Source, I did nothing, I was merely allowing life through me.
This is my story and it is still being written and I am excited to see how our stories will intertwine and how it will unfold. I like to think that each of us are like separate plotlines, each a hero/heroine of our own story, and the greatest story being told is the story of Life itself.
Thank you for reading my story.
I want to know yours-
What is your story? Where do you feel home?
May be art of ocean

Wenlin

Wenlin Tan 陈文琳 is a growth consultant for female changemakers, embodied movement & mindfulness educator, Women’s Health & Well-being Specialist and curious human. She specializes in supporting female Changemakers to optimize their well-being and impact in the world by aligning with the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Eastern Philosophy, Qigong, Yoga and Psychology. Wenlin brings with her over 15 years experience conducting & overseeing market research, consulting and teaching across the fields of health, wellness, productivity and self-growth. Wenlin has consulted/worked for Figment (Co-living & wellness, Singapore), Caveday (USA, Productivity) and The Research Partnership (Healthcare, UK) and now specialises in supporting female changemakers to leave lasting impact in the world.

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