Another Paragraph …or Two

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Above you will find the Hay House Radio Interview I did for Finding Heart Horse

I thought I would post another sneak peek for those that haven’t read it. Remember, the proceeds go to Covenant House, Vancouver, B.C.

There is always hope.

This is from the prolog About A Horse. You can find the first part in my previous post Finding Heart Horse…one year later.

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When my parents took me to visit my aunt and uncle who lived on a farm, I quickly and quietly made my way into the world of the barn where the horse’s lived. I would nestle into the golden straw, inhaling the fragrant honey dust, as hours magically disappeared. Listening to an orchestra of barnyard sounds while enveloped in the dusty air brought me a perfect peace.

It was into that perfect peace that my Heart Horse first made his appearance.

Just as if he were a real horse, my Heart Horse danced and pranced and snorted with joy. Sometimes when he was afraid, I could feel him inside my own heart, racing around frantically, as if to warn me of pending danger. Other times he stood quietly in the grass, munching on crispy red apples and appearing deep in thought, as if to just let me know he was near. And sometimes he galloped wildly free of restraint, tickling me with his unrestrained joy. But those happy and free rides were rare. Mostly he stood guard.

Old Uncle Willy understood my love of horses. He understood my connection to them and my ache to be closer to such a strangely forbidden desire. Uncle Willy always seemed to know where to look for me whenever we went to the farm. And he always seemed to know to look for me, when others hadn’t thought to.

One morning when I was huddled under a mountain of straw in the corner of Ginger’s stall; Uncle Willy came looking for me. He found me hiding there, buried under a pile of golden grass and crying, as Ginger stood over me with her warm breath tickling my neck as if to say, everything will be okay.

I was hiding in there because my cousin had told me, yet again, that I wasn’t real family. It seemed that each time she said that, it hurt a little bit more. Sometimes she even said it front of my mother, but instead of telling her to stop telling such awful lies, my mother would just agree. That really stung. And it made me sad.

I wasn’t sure what they meant by not being “real” family, I was just as real as they were, but I was sad that they even thought such a thing. After all, I had the pictures. My parents holding me when I was a newborn, teaching me piano when I was a toddler, posing me in front of furniture or houses or relatives to take my picture when I was a child. What could they possibly mean that I wasn’t real family? I didn’t understand at all, but I knew that there was something about me that was different. I just had no idea what it was.

Uncle Willy seemed to understand why I was crying, but he didn’t ask me about it. Instead, he told me a story about the Rocky Mountains and the wild horses that lived there. With his soft and comforting words, my uncle told me all about how magnificent it was to see a thundering herd suddenly appear in a lush green valley in the mountains. What Uncle Willy told me that day in the barn gave me the strength and desire to survive the cruel and hurtful comments of my cousin.

“Claire, you wouldn’t believe how amazing these horses are!” he told me. “They sound just like a train going by at a hundred miles an hour when they come galloping out of the mountains. Their manes blow behind them in flashes of black, silver and gold, like flying flags!” I listened to Uncle Willy’s fantastic story, enthralled.

“Tell me more, Uncle Willy! Tell me more!” I pleaded.

“Oh, it’s amazing, Claire, just amazing. You can even hear the different types of snorts and whinnies—they sound just like they’re talking! Then all of a sudden in a gust of wind and dust they’ll be gone. But . . .” and he looked left and right, like he was about to tell me a secret, then lowered his voice to a near whisper, “When they’re gone, you’re left with a feeling of magic. You know what it’s like to be free and wild but still be a part of a family. A really big family!” The images Uncle Willy conjured completely enchanted me, and I’d practically forgotten my cousins’ spiteful words.

“I tell ya girl,” he added, “Someday you have to go there. It’ll change you forever.” I watched as he got a faraway look in his eyes and sighed as if he were there that very moment. I snuggled into the straw and closed my eyes, wishing I were there, too.

“Someday,” he promised me, “when you’re older, you can go there. You’ll see for yourself how beautiful those horses are. And here’s the best part!” He smiled, and then said, “If you can catch a wild horse, it’s yours! It will belong to you and only you for the rest of its life. That’s the rule.” Uncle Willy tousled my hair and pulled me upright with a grin. “Come on, now. Let’s go inside and get some ice cream!”

I couldn’t believe my ears. If what Uncle Willy said was true, and it had to be or he wouldn’t have said it, I could actually have my own horse some day! I brushed all the straw off of my clothes and went back to the house with Uncle Willy for two big bowls of chocolate ice cream. But I couldn’t pay attention to anything else he said. All I could think about were those wild horses.

As excited as I was about pursuing wild horses, in the weeks and months that followed I knew better than to talk to anyone about my dreams. I had learned how quickly people will snuff out your dreams if you say them out loud. So I buried those words inside my Heart Horse, assuring him he would have company some day. He whinnied softly inside my heart, swaying back and forth as if to say, we will wait, we will wait, we will wait.



Are You Starving?

Feeding The Soul

How many of you are surrounded by “things”?  Your space choked by the latest technology, the latest appliances, toys….. surrounding you, reaching out, trying to entice you to spend your days wandering around without specific purpose.

I know myself, as I sit with my morning coffee, catching up on the latest news feed, fb pictures, important posts, I look up and at least two hours has  vanished and my coffee is cold.

It’s November: Adoption Awareness Month, with all the awareness that this brings.  The gift that keeps on giving but never fills the empty spaces, the hunger and longing, the starving for connection and love.

It’s November:  Stores already have their Christmas displays out.  The latest toys flashing on the tv screens winning over children with the “I wants”.  The people already rushing about, pushing, shoving hoping to fill the hole where the hunger causes growling and rumbling pains.

It’s November:  The month that I receive with love and eagerness my first GrandOne.  I remember well, when I first looked into my daughters eyes at birth and saw for the first time a genetic connection, a love so profound I still have no words.  For the first time in my life, I felt full.

Each of these November events bring different types of hunger, values, desires.  Our insistent soul demands these agendas: transcendence, transformation, connection.

What I find interesting is that If, and only If….we find ourselves living in a mythological system where the energy of the images of our tribe, our family or culture in fact changes us, lifts us, connects us, then something abstract, contrived, and trivial like money loses its charm.

We are not hungry…..

But….while money is necessary, money for the sake of money, things for the sake of things, while seemingly so urgently relevant, leaves me wondering if it’s because millions of us are not able to experience effective spiritual lives.

Soul

The literal translation of the word soul is a Greek word psyche.

 It’s a word, a metaphor to describe what we consider to be our essence.  It is the energy that blows through us, that enters us at birth, animates our journey and then departs, at our passing.

When life is lived in accord with psyche’s intent, we experience inner harmony, supportive energy, connection and our lives become meaningful.

If the external things in fact fed our soul, we would not be so hungry all the time.  If they linked us to other realms, connected us in compelling ways to our tribe we would not have hunger pains.

We are affluent, yet starving….

A few years ago, before I became so ill, I spent time with the Hill Tribes in Northern Lao.  People who lived as it was, centuries ago.  Straw Houses on stilts, coffins built when a babe was born because life span was 35yrs.  The children had no toys, no clothes, no healthcare.  Babies were having babies,  Food was what you had around you.

And yet, I have never met such full, connected, loving beings in all my travels.  Lao, being a Buddhist Country was built on a foundation of inner, soul, heartfelt spirituality.

 To us, it appeared they had nothing.  In reality, they had everything.

Soul, Hunger, Loss, Love, Belonging, Tribe, Adoption, Pain

I think of these things a great deal.  As an adoptee I have a broken place in my heart that leaves me with hunger pains beyond description.

My saving grace is that I am filled with spirit, my soul is full, my heart open.

November

A good time to review what’s really important in our daily diet.  A time to reflect on what makes you hungry and what feeds your soul.

Telling Your Story

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THICH NHAT HNAH’S WONDERFUL CALLIGRAPHY FROM OPEN HEART, OPEN MIND RETREAT 2011

So, it’s been awhile since I blogged. Each day when I sit to write I find the day has been taken up by Finding Heart Horse and The Wall of Secrets, the two memoirs on their way.

Finding Heart Horse is now in the publishing stages with Balboa Press, a division of Hay House. I had no idea how much work was involved even before you can submit a manuscript and have spent weeks trying to get it all in place. The pictures, the formatting, the words and finally I had what I considered to be the full file. My story all typed neatly in a specific package, specific file as requested.

My story. I told my story! Inside my story is a hundred other stories each one begging for validation, for someone to hear, for someone to see, for someone to understand.

Isn’t that what we all want?

To be heard. To be acknowledged and validated especially when your story involves the pain of abuse and violence, adoption and trauma upon trauma. We want and need people to listen.

This blog came about because for me, after 7 yrs of writing these books, working through each and every story emotionally, I felt free. I was no longer my story. I had to roll in the gutters of Hell along the way. Covered in the dirt and grime of life stories I emerged feeling lighter, integrated and scared. It was on paper with all of the guts and gore and pain endured. Not easy by any means. To walk through those stories as if I were there in time was beyond excruciating . Sometimes, in disbelief I would reread and reread and wonder how I had survived at all. I was FREE.

The truth will find us out, but it will also set us free. The trick is…you have to tell the good and the bad. The blog came from a few requests by the publisher to “retell” a rape scene because I was only 16 at the time and underage. I also had to get rid of what I considered to be some of the most important pictures.

My immediate reaction was one of anger. I mean, come on! A rape is a rape is a rape no matter how graphically you describe it or blankly leave out the guts and gore. I felt unheard, unvalidated, unseen and dismissed as I was so long ago.

It appears then, that while most of my story is on the paper and out of “me” therein lies some residual triggers and why wouldn’t there be?

I lived with secrets for 5 decades. You can’t change those deeply ingrained emotional triggers overnight. After sitting with these feelings and recognizing where they came from I was able to let go and rewrite the scene with less graphics and know I am heard. I hope they know that this is only one of many other scenes to follow!

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THICH NHAT HANH
OPEN HEART, OPEN MIND
2011

So I sat in reflection of how important it is to Tell Our Story. How important it is to listen to others tell their story. To listen with Compassion.

We all long for connection. When you tell your story it resonates with others. Person to person we connect, not in our pain but in the fact that we are healing, growing together by honouring each others stories and actually “seeing” the other person. The real person, all of the person, the good and the bad and ugly, if there really is such a thing. We are the ones that put those labels on.

In the superficial world of everyday life, people prefer to show their best side and hide any flaws out of fear perhaps or societal requirements. It’s when we tell our stories with truth and honestly, its when we make mistakes, or have to apologize or speak of failures that we become truly human and we connect with others in an authentic manner.

I see now in a different way Finding Heart Horse has blessed me with many lessons and will continue to do so as I work through each part of this publishing process I still need to work on healing my heart and telling my story is a huge part of the journey, I have to dig through the layers of hardened emotions if I want to rescue my heart that has so many cracks and patches already.

We all have these scars, but until we can look at our past in the eye and not blink, it will always be telling us to be less than we can be.

We carry our own pain but also part of the cosmic pain that connects our spirits together.

We really are one family.

Because we have room for our own pain, we have room for the pain of others and we can actually help to bear their suffering. Only then can pain be transformed into joy. When one heals, so does the rest of humanity, And when humanity heals, so will the planet.

Tell your story. Tell it in whatever way you choose. I’m listening with compassion.Image