Forgiveness

Last night at the Town Hall book talk & signing event with Kate, a woman asked us to share on the subject of forgiveness.

Today, I still find myself thinking about it.

Did I answer her with complete honesty?  What is this thing called forgiveness and what is my relationship to it?

When I met Kate, I didn’t feel like the major issue at hand was for me to forgive her.  To forgive her would have meant that she had done something to hurt me.  But I was actually happy that I had been adopted.  I adored my parents and would not have wanted it any other way.  I truly still feel this.  I think it was my great fortune and blessing that I met my mother and father…. in fact I often feel that it was really a choice that my Soul had made and it wasn’t going to be any other way.  I mean if you consider the fact that first I was meant to be Kate’s child, then I was meant to be some other lady’s child of Kate’s choice, but somehow stars crossed and I ended up in Watertown Massachusetts with Bob & Beverly Gaudette, I think we can say for certain that this was no coincidence.

However, as time passed and I began to know Kate, there became many things I felt like I had to forgive her for. Why did she say this, why did she do that? I was very oversensitive in my relationship with her.  I was easily hurt.  She was a person who could really make or break my heart for a long time.  So, I think the forgiving process began then – it unraveled as our relationship did.

And that’s why I love our relationship so much.  The relationship itself is like a bird covered in tar and bound in chains.  As times passes, one by one we are releasing those chains and cleaning off that tar.  It feels like our relationship is getting ready to fly now.  To experience this healing process really makes my heart sing.

But what does it all come down to really?  My teacher often says, “There is no one and nothing to forgive.”  What does that mean?  As the years pass and I continue to reflect on it, I have come to feel that the only person to forgive is myself.

I must forgive myself for the hurts that I impose on myself. I can fool myself for a while that it was someone else who did something to me, but that really gets me nowhere.  I must love and forgive myself all day long for any small and big stories that come up and take over my mind.  I am learning how to do this even now in this moment.

Kate and I have done a tremendous amount of work.  It’s such a beautiful thing.  However, I still have a person in my life who I need to forgive, who is like a thorn in my heart.  I am not completely free from this. But when I look at it honestly, it’s really that I just have to forgive myself more.  I have to be o.k. with me – all of me – and then I can easily be o.k. with others. I think this is the only hope for human relationships in our world.

Let’s just look at the word itself! For-give. For giving. We need to seek to give love, not seek to get it.  That has been a huge realization for me.  The more I seek to get love, the more I suffer and the more I need to “forgive.”  Because, I might get love for a little while, but it will be fleeting. Everything is.  Once that love, attention, energy is gone, I can feel pain again. On the other hand, when I just seek to give love first, I feel happy.  I feel truly happy and fulfilled and I don’t need anything at all.  At that time I feel the love of Heaven and Earth and it is the greatest love of all. I am content, like a flower in the sun, like a star twinkling alone in the sky.

I strive to deepen my capacity to love and forgive myself. I am interested in harmony.  The thorn in my heart is like the oyster that grinds this pearl of love inside.  My love will be that much more shinier in the end!  I have certainly experienced this with Kate and truly believe in the great power it could have over the human race if we could all just take a moment to go within, embrace ourselves, and breathe the comfort of love and acceptance back into the world.

 

Poetry

Recently, my brother Ian encouraged me to post some more of my poetry.

Actually, I haven’t written much in about 15 years because I have been so deeply involved in communicating with myself through my practice that I just didn’t feel the need. However, from time to time the desire surfaces again and when it does, I go for it.

A few years ago I was living in New Mexico and having some difficult times.  Despite the challenges, the sacred beauty of Sandia Mountain and the womb-like energy that I felt enveloped in while I was there directed me back to my Soul again and again.  Today I am posting two poems that came out of my heart during that time.  They are just written expressions of me reminding me of what I already knew, what I needed to hear – the whisperings of my inner being.

My Soul

My Soul is what I’ve been looking for all along.

My Soul.

It’s the only answer.  Always has been.

It’s like having a glow stick tucked safely in the pocket of my heart.

A bright, sparkling, pure & sweet glow stick.

My Soul.

It wants to see the world through the windows of my eyes.

And it wants me to see the world through it’s eyes.

It’s eyes are as clear and clean as cool lake water.

I’m grateful.

I don’t have to be lonely, because I have my Soul.

Loneliness – an emotion so hard to swallow – often gets stuck in my throat, or sometimes it drops heavy into my stomach and just hangs, like a weight.

But tonight, I don’t have to be lonely.

Tonight, I snuggle with the Moon.

The great desert Moon in the inky black sky – she loves me.  She looks upon me and she nods, a knowing nod.

“All is OK, beautiful child,” she says.

She shines down and reflects herself in the Lake of my Soul.

And tonight I can rest assured that I Light up the World.

What’s Real?

What’s Real is the sun, shining down on my face, freckling my skin as I walk

through hot New Mexico neighborhoods.

What’s Real is the Sun, that shines from my heart, breathing in my chest,

spreading Light out into this world. Light of Life. Life Itself. The Life

that lives inside of the rocks, the lizards, the roadrunners, the barking

dogs, the bustling families and the majestic Mountain that overlooks hot New

Mexico neighborhoods.

What’s Real are the trees that I find in a shady park when I stop to rest.

Trees are the original Goddesses of this Earth! They wave and wink at me in

the breeze. I love them and they love me. Real is certainly the love that

fills my heart as I rest against their cool bark and nestle in their roots.

‘Sit here and be still, my lovely child’ they whisper in my ear.

Real is the gratitude and bright joy I feel from knowing that I am just

another flower blossoming from this Great Tree of Life. I find those real

feelings when I travel down into the deep basement of my heart. They are

always waiting for me there, smiling at me like old friends. One humble and

grateful mind, one bright joy springing from the seed of the Tree of Life.

One flower blossoming slowly. And all flowers, no matter what speed they

blossom at, are beautiful.

Real is my path, Real is my mission, Real is my love for this Earth and the

Souls that live upon it.

What’s Real, is knowing that someday, when my mission is complete, I will

return to my original planet where I understand the rules, and where things

make a little bit more sense to my pure heart. But for today this pure heart

is happy, just happy, to be here. Right here. To breathe. To love. To smile.

To shine.

A Story That Isn’t Real

We all have our stories.

I am talking about our unconscious stories that grow like weeds out from the deep wounds of our lives. Stories layered upon stories that color our perspectives.  Stories that affect our relationship with the world and most seriously affect our relationship with ourselves.

From a very young age I experienced an extreme sense of jealousy towards other children – always comparing myself to them and evaluating my worth against them.  

The first and worst memory I have of doing it was in kindergarten.   Joey O’Grady, a boy from my class, won the Candy Land board game during a school-wide assembly, when his name was pulled from a raffle.  I was a little jealous in that moment, wishing it could have been me.  However, the feeling escalated to a whole new level when I returned back to my classroom to find all of the other children in my class, as well as the teacher, crowded around him, cheering and congratulating him.   The feeling that came over me was so overwhelming that I couldn’t even enter into the room.  I just watched in horror through the small glass window in the door, my insides wrenching.  I felt frozen, nearly blinded, with jealousy and self-hatred.  I felt like my world had turned dark and the floor beneath me was gone. My teacher looked up and saw me standing there, so I instantly ran off to the bathroom to hide and cry.  I cried and cried, filled with an absolute feeling of worthlessness – a feeling that because he won and I lost, because he was the one who got all that attention and not me, that I didn’t even deserve to be alive.  It was complete humiliation and I was devastated.

I have looked back upon that moment so many times along my journey and wondered where that feeling came from.  How could I have interpreted that small and silly situation with so much pain? I have taken it apart again and again because that same feeling has reared it’s ugly head on many more occasions over the course of my life. In relationships, in the face of failure, and at times even in front of other’s good fortunes. The thing is, I have tried to project my hurt onto other people through so-called ‘jealousy’ but it’s only because I was trying to destroy myself.  It’s not about other people at all actually. It’s all about me.  I have come to know it as a paralyzing sense of shame. It is such an intensely deep lack of self-worth, a total instinct to sabotage myself.  And sometimes I do sabotage myself – both inside and out.  I fail, I fall, I lose, I hurt others, and I attract others who hurt me.  

How could this same feeling show up so many times in so many different moments of my life?  How could I keep re-creating new situations that cause me to wind up back at that same feeling? Totally new situation, same exact feeling. The reason is because it was not about that situation.  It had nothing to do with it.  It was all about my story.  A story that had been hiding deep within and made it’s appearance on that day in kindergarten, and has repeatedly manifested itself for the last thirty years.  It is a built-in belief that I shouldn’t exist.  A deep and excruciating story that I’m not wanted, and that I don’t belong here on this Earth. That somehow, even the Earth itself doesn’t want me.  And any sort of life situation – small or big – that shows others to be better or more fortunate than me in any way, sets off that threat. With it, my whole body, my whole being, seizes in self-doubt and self-defense.  It’s as if there is a wounded girl who has lived inside of my heart believing this story for so long.  Imagine how afraid she has been!  

No-one ever told me this story, that’s why it was really hard to identify for a long time.  My parents were only kind and loving to me. It was just imprinted in my information.  It feels like it was a story that grew in my cells and bones as I grew inside of the womb of a woman who didn’t want me. I am not blaming Kate, this was just how life happened. I think I was born believing that I had done something terribly wrong. Or perhaps I had concluded it after lying in a crib with no name and no parents for ten days.  Whenever or however it came to be, it is most certainly in there, and I have done a tremendous amount of work on bringing it to awareness, so that I can take back conscious control of myself, my moments, my life.

Because the thing is, this story isn’t real.  IT’S JUST A STORY.  No matter how deep it runs, it is not who I really am.   I awakened this knowing long ago, but it took me a long time to accept it.  I mean, to deeply accept it into my being.  I am still accepting it today.

Who I really am is beyond this story.  I began before this story began.  I am Life.  Life Itself.  Pure Life. I have unlimited potential and unlimited power of creation.  This is my true value.  My Absolute Value. This value cannot be compared to others.  It’s worth cannot be damaged or dissipated.  “We are individual flowers blooming on a single tree called Life.”  We are from Oneness and will return to Oneness.  I am a beautiful flower among all the many-colored flowers of Life.  And there is absolutely nothing that can ever threaten this.

Realizing this, and actually feeling it in my heart, in my body and my entire being, has brought great healing to me.  It is my truth and my liberation.  Now, I am breathing a new story into me.  And this is the real story.  I am not who I thought I was.  I am not a victim of my circumstance and I don’t have to live as one anymore.  If I do fall into victim consciousness, then it is my choice.  Now, I can take my power back.  My story isn’t real.  It never was.  It is a true cause for celebration!

There are times when it still comes up.  But now I know what to do.  I can observe.  I can breathe.  I can smile.  I can say, “I hear you.  I know your pain.  But you are not real.  Thank you.  I love you.”

Now, I begin to discover what true inner freedom is.  I continue my quest. Awakening the truth inside is one thing, but it takes a continued effort and practice to keep polishing it and making it shiny.  Sometimes, it is just a matter of seeing that I have slipped into the cage again, so that I can simply step out.  There is a great joy and lightness that comes with that.

As I said, we all have our stories.  I hope that you who is reading this also come to know that your story isn’t real.  That you are something far greater than the wounds and beliefs that have perhaps been imprisoning you, as they have done to me.  That you are not a victim of your life.  That you are free.

I have a lot of passion about this.  We all deserve our freedom – it is our birthright!  I teach a class using the tools of Brain Education that helped me to go into my body and find how to take ownership of my stories so that I can write a new story – the one I really want.  One time, a student who was taking my class later sent me a poem that reminded her of this very point that I am trying to make.  I want to share that poem here with you ~

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

~ by Portia Nelson ~
(from There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk)

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

Nature vs. Nurture

As an adopted child who has met and developed a relationship with both of my biological parents, I have a unique opportunity to explore this concept of nature vs. nurture in myself.

Through examining it, I can see what kind of attributes and characteristics I have received from each of my four parts. It has been fun for me to take a look at this!

 

Part #1 My Birth Mother

Most visibly, I have inherited from Kate the bone structure of her face, including the shape of the eyes and nose, as well as her fair and freckly Irish skin.

But beyond these looks, there is another whole world of genes that were shared!

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was putting on shows since I was a little girl – I was theatrical by nature. In addition, I received from Kate my ability to story tell, my insightfulness, and a similar sense of humor.  Also, as I’ve mentioned before, a certain fortitude – a fighting spirit – the ability to endure and overcome. And as an added bonus, I believe that I have also inherited a sprinkle of Irish fairy dust that I can actually feel dancing around my head from time to time.

Perhaps most similar of all is our way of speaking so honestly, boldly and directly about things – getting right to the heart of the matter.  Next to Kate, I think that I am really just a mini-me in this department, but still it is so familiar and obvious where this characteristic came from!  Add Kate’s son Alec to our mix and we are like 3 peas from the same pod.

One time Alec said  to me, “You know that filter that people have which stops them from being so completely honest in inappropriate moments?

“Yes,” I replied.

“Well, I think mine’s broken.”

I laughed so hard when he told me that!  “Yes, I TOTALLY understand!!”

But I would say that those who love us most in our lives – me, Kate & Alec – love us precisely for our ability to be so deeply open, honest and authentic.

 

Part #2 My Birth Father

The very first time that I ever met my biological father we arrived at his house in Wilmington, Delaware and he said to me, “You want to come for a walk while I take my dog out?”

“Sure”, I answered.

I will never forget that walk around Brandywine Park. We chatted a little, but then at some moment we became completely silent. We walked for a while without saying anything at all and I remember thinking after some time had passed, “This is the most comfortable silence that I have ever experienced! Now I understand!”

Because, although I can be quite a talker and story teller, I can also get really really quiet.  Especially if I’m walking or driving, sometimes I just slip into a silent zone without even realizing it, and if someone else is around they might ask “what’s wrong?”  But there’s nothing wrong at all.  I’m just truly an introvert.

I believe that I have inherited this from Ben. He’s quiet and kind.  He likes to keep it simple and real. It resonates deeply with me.  One time I told him, “I feel like I am a Pine Tree who grew up in a forest of Maples and then suddenly one day I discovered the Pine Forest and it was like, ‘Ahhhh….I see! You are just like me! And I am just like you…’ ”

I can only vaguely remember how he responded when I said that, but I remember it being warm, understanding and heart-felt.

And as for the outside, well if I got Kate’s shapes then I got Ben’s colors.  Black curly hair, dark brown eyes.  Same teeth.  Same hands.  And I am quite certain that I have received this robust Russian body from his side of the family 🙂

 

Part #3 My Mother

It’s very clear what was nurtured in me through my mother.  From her, I learned how to love greatly and completely – without holding anything back. I never knew anyone who could do it quite like her.  Even at her funeral, my cousin pulled me aside and said “Everyone here keeps telling me that Auntie Bev made them feel like she loved them the most of all.  I was surprised!  I thought she loved me most of all!” I chuckled to myself as she told me that and heard myself respond in my mind, “That’s funny, cuz I’m certain it was me she loved most of all :)”

She just loved.  A big, beautiful, golden kind of love.  I learned how to love like that from her.

I also learned how to laugh hard, cry loud, and sometimes shout at the top of my lungs.  Basically, I learned how to express myself freely – the good and the bad of it – I learned how to feel every feeling.

I also received a huge amount of praise and admiration from her.  She made me feel like I was special.  This was hugely helpful later in life when my feelings of self-worth began to plummet.  I always held in my heart that undoubtedly my parents loved me, believed in me and supported me no matter what.  I always had that comforting ground to stand on.

I hope that every mother who adopts a child can instill that kind of love and acceptance into their kids from the time that they are tiny babies, and consistently through their growing up years, the way my mother did for me.  You just cannot know how truly important and critical it is.

 

Part #4 My Father

When I was a little girl, my father used to get on his knees in the living room and slow dance with me to Billy Joel’s “Honesty”.  I’d be there in my nightgown, lights low, almost time for bed, and we’d rock side to side while he’d sing to me, “Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue… …. Honesty, is hardly ever heard ~ mostly what I need from you-ooo.”

My father taught me to be honest, but a different kind of honesty.  He taught me purity. He taught me to appreciate the simple beauty in life.  The moon.  The joy of feeding ducks and squirrels. Appreciating a flower, or the base in every song.  He is the most humble, loyal and selfless man that I have ever known.  Through himself as a model, he taught me how to be those things.  To be responsible and consistent.  To be good, just plain good.  I only hope and pray that I can emulate his goodness in my own life.

Sometimes I feel like my father is not from this world.   He is still teaching me how to be kind, self-sufficient, to appreciate the little things, to roll with the punches, to help others, to have hope, to believe in myself, to be simple, and to be brave – in the face of life, and in the face of death.

 

I honor all four of my parts.  I offer my gratitude.   I thank all of them for the roles they have played, the hardships they have endured, the hearts they have shared.

I consider myself to be very fortunate in both the nature and the nurture that I have been influenced by.  Of course, there were difficulties and negative sides too, but the good far outweighs it.

And beyond these four parents, I extend my love and gratitude even further to Father Heaven and Mother Earth.  Thank you for this great Life.

 

My Seu-Seung Nim

This blog certainly wouldn’t be a complete scrapbook of my heart if I did not properly introduce my teacher.

Sometimes I fumble around for the right words whenever I reference him.  You might hear me call him ‘Ilchi Lee’, or sometimes just ‘my teacher’. When I use a more close-to-my-heart term I like to address him in Korean as “Seu-Seung Nim” which, to my understanding, means spiritual teacher.

It has been an amazing, awe-inspiring, sacred blessing to have met him in this life.  Words can hardly express the meaning of it to me.  It has been a very special meeting – one that I think only a person who has a spiritual teacher in his or her heart could understand.  Perhaps you who are reading are one of those people and understand me!

On a worldly level, he is a truly admirable person who works tirelessly for the betterment of humanity.

On a spiritual level, he has touched me, awakened me, opened me, healed me, brought peace to me, illuminated me, given hope to me, empowered me and enlightened me with his great love,  great wisdom and great light.

From time to time I may share his messages that have sunk deep into my heart or woke up my brain.  I am endlessly grateful to have access to these powerful messages that sometimes feel like vitamins for my Soul.  And I am endlessly grateful for him – for his sincere pursuit of his vision & dream – that have brought so much hope and healing to the lives of thousands of people.  I have been forever inspired.

I am sharing one of his great poems with you today.  It is one of my favorites.

This “Prayer of Peace” was presented by Ilchi Lee at the United Nations ‘Millennium World Peace Summit’ in August 2000, as a vision of peace that transcends religious, racial, and national boundaries. I found it posted at Ilchi.com.  I hope that you enjoy it with your heart 🙂

Prayer of Peace

I offer this prayer of peace
Not to any one god nor to many gods
Not to the Christian god
Nor to the Jewish god
Nor to the Islamic god
Not even to the indigenous gods of many nations
But to the divinity within us all
That makes us all brothers and sisters
To make us truly One Family
In the name of humanity.

I offer this prayer of peace
To the cosmic Oneness that is our birthright
Our privilege
And our strength
That should we let it shine and show us the way
Will guide us to the road of peace
Not the Christian peace
Not the Jewish peace
Not the Buddhist peace
Not the indigenous peace of many nations
But the human peace
That has a place in the hearts of all people
To allow us to truly fulfill our divine potential
To become children of one humanity.

I offer this prayer of peace
To allow us all to realize
The truth of our existence
To discover
The sanctity of our lives
To seek
The spirituality of our beings
Please allow us to experience
With all our hearts and our souls
The intimate connection to the divine
Which we all possess inside
For our bodies are the temples of worship
And our souls the altars
Upon which we shall stand tall
And live out the true meaning
Of our existence.
I offer this prayer of peace
To declare a revolution
Of the human spirit
I wish to announce that
It is now time
For all of us to spiritually awaken
And become enlightened
That the time for an enlightened few is over
That the age of elitist enlightenment has passed
For how long will you seek for prophets
To come down from mountain tops
And tell us what to do?

We all must become enlightened
To recognize our divinity
To raise our consciousness
And proclaim out independence
From blind reliance on long ago sages
And draw the answers from our own well
Of spiritual wisdom.

We must ourselves become the enlightened ones
We must ourselves realize our Oneness
I declare that we must all become ‘Earth-Humans’
Of the earth
And not of any religion, nation, or race.
But of this earth, for this earth, and by this earth
To create a lasting peace
On earth.

I offer this prayer of peace
For the United Nations
In which we stand today
To lift itself from the quicksand of politics
And live out its distinctly spiritual goal
To eradicate the disease of war
And create and equitable and peaceful world.
Let us hope that the UN finds
The strength and the will
To speak on behalf of all people and the earth
And not just for a few privileged nations
Let us wish upon them the wisdom to become the beacon that we can all follow
To the promised land of love and peace
I pray to thee
God of all gods
Divine spirit that lives within us
And connects us in One Life
That you grant us the vision
To establish a Spiritual UN
That will guide us into the next millennium

I offer this prayer of peace
With all my fellow ‘Earth-Humans’
For a lasting peace on earth.

ppl on earth

 

Morning Light

It is early morning.

I am headed out soon, on my way to catch a flight to New York City.  In fact, I am on my way to see Kate.

I just finished my bowing meditation practice.  Today is the 249th day in a row of doing this and I have my sights set on 300 days. I have made this commitment to myself for self-cultivation, and have so enjoyed the transformation that has taken place.

When I bow, I have a chance to reflect on myself and look inside.  It is a purification process. Upon finishing I feel lighter and more open.

As I wait for my ride to come pick me up, I opened Ilchi Lee’s new book, “Solar Body,” and I was instantly struck by this short explanation of what I experience everyday:

As your consciousness turns inward, your lost sense of balance and self-control will be revived and your power to examine your own thoughts, emotions, and habits will improve. When your communication with yourself deepens in this way and you develop the power to observe and choose, you will have the power to create positive change—not only in your health but in all areas of your life, including relationships and self-development.

This morning in particular I am aware of a deep habit that I have to kind of sabotage myself, to put myself in the dark, to focus on my lack and therefore create failure and lack in my life over and over.  This pattern is slowly coming into awareness as I practice, and I can see how this deep sense lack  – which once began as a fundamental lack of self worth –  has permeated my life since I was old enough to remember.

But now, when I calmly shine the light of my consciousness on this habit, I can recognize that beneath it there is a bright Soul that never stops smiling. There is a sense that “Everything is ok”; a feeling of Absolute Value, which my teacher often speaks of.  I feel a soft joy and love rising up from my heart.

With gratitude, I choose my Light again.

 

solar body

 

Note: This book has not yet come into print but I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy for reviewing.  More info on it can be found on Amazon.com under Solar Body: The Secret to Natural Healing