120 Steps

I just returned from another wonderful meditation tour in New Zealand.  It was a very precious healing time for me.

As I always say, New Zealand is my favorite place on the Earth.  And it was confirmed again.  This time was even more special because I had the opportunity to visit the Earth Village, which I had not been to when I went in 2016.  The Earth Village is a place that Ilchi Lee is developing so that people from all over the world can come together to live and work harmoniously, to learn to cultivate the health of their body, mind, brain and planet, and perhaps to bring those tools back to their home countries. A village where we can all live in oneness with ourselves, with each other, and with the Earth.

The Earth Village is over 300 acres of land and much of it is untouched, pristine forest.  There has been very little development done so far, but one of the highlights is the 120 staircase.  Ilchi Lee built this staircase at the time when he himself decided to make it his goal to live a 120 year life.  He chose this goal because he felt it may take him this long to fully blossom his dream of a complete Earth Village, and he felt that it was worth it to live to such an age for a dream that could benefit humanity and mother earth.  The 120 year human is a model of a healthy, happy, peaceful human and the representation of a life lived with purpose.  This is not a material purpose, but one that stretches beyond the systems of the current world we live in and touches the pure greatness that lives inside of each of us – the Soul inside that wants to bloom itself  into completion, like a beautiful golden flower.  If you’re interested to understand this concept more, please reference the “I’ve Decided to Lve 120 Years” book. The 120 staircase was built so that all people could come and contemplate their own lives – how they have lived so far, and how they will live for the remainder of their days.

When we entered the forest that day in the Earth Village, I felt instantaneously happy.  It was if the trees were welcoming me back home, enveloping me in a sense of belonging.  The first thing we did was pay a visit to a 500 year old Hwangchil Tree and offer our respect.  There, I felt as if I was standing in the presence of an ancient mother. Her roots were thick and strong, and when I knelt down to put my hand on them, I could feel them coursing with warm energy.  Tears came to my eyes for no reason and I felt such love and honor to be in her presence.  I felt her warmth through my whole body, and I desired to just be near her for a long long time.

After that, we moved onto a winding upward path that had been built for us.  Without it, the forest would have been too steep and too muddy for us to trek through.  It was a mystical walk, as a gentle rain was coming down, intensifying all the sights and smells of the forest.  We winded here and there and I felt as if I was suspended in the air, walking among the trees.  Finally, deep inside of this vibrant place, we arrived to the 120 steps.  The steps had numbers on them, and we were guided to meditate on each year of our lives at each step.  We could pause for deeper reflection at the years where we had an important, impactful event or experience.

That’s all.  It was such a simple instruction.  But it was so profound.   For me, as you can imagine, even stepping on the very first step was difficult.  Before the first step we sat on a small deck which was “the womb”.  Whenever I do womb-meditations it is always quite difficult for me.  I do not experience a cozy comforting feeling when I imagine/remember being in my mother’s womb.  Instead, I observed myself as I became very tense, and feelings of anger and defensiveness arose within me.  Where was that anger and defensiveness coming from? I believe it was some sort of feeling of guilt and shame.  And confusion.  So there I was, standing before the first step, filled with sensations of deep churning tension, frustration, defensiveness, a wall over my heart – covering and protecting me from guilt and shame, all encased in a cloud of confusion. Lovely 🙂 And I felt I could have stood there meditating on it forever.  But a voice inside my mind started nudging me, “C’mon Danielle.  You have to move.  You have to accept this as your beginning and move on.  Just step forward.  Begin.  It’s time.”

So I did. I stepped and stepped and reflected and felt and meditated and cried and smiled and stepped and stepped.  I paused at just about every single step 🙂 It was a very beautiful experience.  I saw how much my parents love had melted my initial tension and pain.  I saw that my mother’s mental illness had exacerbated my confusion, which caused a great deal of insecurity and lack of confidence.  I saw how I manifested so many people in my life – friends and lovers – that were mirrors of my inner chaos.  The dramas I experienced with them were actually the beginning of my self-purification process.  I saw how meeting Kate also added to the confusion inside of me, but at the same time brought a sense of relief.  Then, meeting Dahnhak and Ilchi Lee was as if a bright light shone down on me and sent me into an even deeper unravelling.  All the experiences I had from then on, and the great Souls who have come into my life, have helped me transform my rapids, into a flowing river of hope, courage and confidence, and even sometimes a peaceful stream of love, light, joy and gratitude.  I could understand that my whole life so far has really just been a huge movement towards healing, growth and transformation. I felt inspired by my own life.

Then, after passing my current age, it was time to throw off the past and move lightly forward, into a life of pure creation, manifesting my greatest self and all of my dreams.  We all climbed the remaining steps swiftly and joyfully and had a great heartfelt celebration at the top!

Later, one of my students who was on the trip with me said, “I think that was a magic staircase!”  I couldn’t have agreed more 🙂

It was a perfect opportunity to see my whole life clearly, in a perfect place, surrounded by the non-judgmental arms of the forest.  Something happened in my heart at the Earth Village that day.  Something let go, and a new sense of acceptance set in.  A lightness. A hope.  And a feeling of possibility.  Since then, I have a felt a new space to love opening in my heart.

When we continue to clean out the dark closets of our heart, our Soul’s light will naturally rush into those corners, filling us with love and gratitude and lifting us to higher levels of consciousness.  Our work never ends.  Our possibilities are limitless.  All we have to do is keep going on our soul’s journey, and never give up.

Thank you for allowing me to share my experience with you 🙂




5 Thoughts.

  1. Thank you Danielle for sharing your experiences in NewZealand on the 120 steps. I am happy for you. I also have been reading, “I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years”, and watching Ilchi Lee’s free video series on this subject. I have found his thoughts about death very moving and deeply resonating with my own inner truth. So, being in that ‘senior category’, I am asking myself the following questions? How do I want to live life with the time I have left? What does it mean to view death as the completion of life not its end? How can I have a death and life of Chunhwa?, How do I live from now on so I die with no regrets. I don’t find these contemplations morose but rather life giving. Ironic isn’t it?
    One easy question for you, Danielle nim: What is “Dahnhak”?
    My best to you as always, Charlene

    • I’m so glad to hear this Charlene. Those are very important questions and it’s great that you have found a venue to meditate on them more deeply. Regarding your question: Dahnhak is the original for of Body & Brain Yoga. In fact Body & Brain Yoga is just a modernized version of Dahnhak. Dahn=Life Force/Energy, Hak = The practice and study of. That is what it was once called in Korea. When it came to the US it became Dahn Yoga. And then in the past few years we rebranded to “Body & Brain Yoga” so that the name would describe itself more clearly to the American public. In my heart, though, I consider myself as a Dahnhak practitioner. Dahnhak has its roots in the ancient East Asian training of Sundo. I hope that answers everything 🙂

  2. Hi Danielle,
    Thank you for being so open and honest about experience in beautiful New Zealand and all the emotions and revelations that followed. The awareness that you have is a gift in itself, so please continue on your journey through the “magic staircase” and beyond. I’ve been on a continual quest to learn how to be present and live in the present moment–not an easy task! Have you ever read ” A Master Task in Gremlin-Taming” by Rick Carson? I’m taking a course in Body-Mind Life Coaching and have found this book to be enlightening in many ways. I will heed your inspirational advice and remain steadfast in finding the path to my Heart.

    All the best,

    • Hello Alice, no I have never heard of this book! It sounds interesting 🙂 I’m assuming you have read Eckhart Tolle’s books?? They’re my favorite so far for the study of the present moment. Thank you for your kind words! Best to you!!

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