Are You Kind?

I can’t stop thinking about something that happened to me or rather, for me, the other day. For many reasons it affected me profoundly.

Perhaps, because I’ve been so ill. Perhaps, because for the last two years death and dying has been such an invasive subject. Maybe, because I’m alone without human touch. Or is it because I’ve lost trust, had my heart-broken, struggle to find hope purpose and joy in the “in-between moments” of pain and illness. Is it because I was adopted and abused?      Who knows. It just is. Most likely all of those things.IMG_2662 I love Brené Brown’s quote above for many reasons. It’s very challenging for many people including of course, adoptees, people who have been abused, neglected, are chronically ill, or just trying to move forward. The experience I had, I realize now, was only possible because I allowed myself to be vulnerable.

At this point in my life, nothing is off-limits. I’m an open book. My heart is wide open. My mind accepting, forgiveness comes easily when your time on this earth is unpredictable and could change any moment. The truly important things become obvious.

The definition of Kindness is rather simple.

the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate, affection, warmth gentleness, care

Kindness is synonymous with Love except that Love is a state of being and Kindness is a state of doing. When you can make each human interaction a moment inspired by Love, you are practising Kindness…you are taking the step. Love allows us to see the people on our path as the Buddhas they are, and then Kindness allows us to bless them  with loving acts.IMG_2010

I know what i experienced was far deeper than “just kindness”. It was authentic compassion. Authentic empathy. Authentic gentleness offered by a very kind soul.

So many people say they’re kind, perhaps even truly believe they are. Unfortunately for the receiver, you can feel the disingenuous energy and know it’s feeding their own ego being.

Many adoptees I’ve encountered over the years experience the same feeling when offered authentic kindness morsels. It’s overwhelming often leading to tears. The fact that someone truly cares and is offering you a piece of their heart in their hand can be overwhelming to say the least. How sad that such a deeply ingrained belief can still be present even at my ripe old age. From the time you absorb the negative energy in utero, you have the belief you aren’t worthy of love. Of course you know it’s not true. It’s just so deep that until someone comes along and offers you authentic kindness and you let yourself be vulnerable and open to receiving it, that you realize what you’ve lost.

Of course, I’m speaking for myself here, but I know others have experienced the same.

Here’s the story. As I mentioned, I’ve been dealing with my own mortality and all that it entails. Dying is a lot of work! Paperwork, emotional work, medical work, constant thinking work, saying goodbye work. A great deal of work. It’s especially challenging when you are alone. I’m blessed to have a couple of dearly loved friends, the ones that pulled me through my near death hospitalization. We had dinner one night and laughed until we cried as we discussed my death. Now, those are good friends!

Oh right, the story.

I was in a meeting. A business meeting with a business person I’ve known for many years now. I’m filling him in on some of “the story”. You know, the one that is over. The story of the last few years, condensed of course! I’ve been very tearful since my last admission to hospital last week. Part Mast Cell Madness, part facing reality and the exhaustion of it all. I felt a tear slip out of my eye and roll down my cheek. When I looked up, there he sat. His hands were stretched out to me, palms up. His eyes focused on mine. At first i was confused. What does he want? A “low five”, “patty cakes” “a book”?

What? What?

Then it hit me!

I’m supposed to put my hands in his! OMG! He’s being authentically kind! He’s oozing empathy and compassion. I reached over and gently lowered my hands onto his. He slowly rolled up his fingers wrapping my hands in the warmth of connection. I could feel the energy, the caring. I could feel his gaze. I forced my eyes to move from our hands to his eyes. He looked and said softly, “I’m here for you. Do you hear me? I’m here for you.”

It was authentic and my heart burst open, leaving me flailing in vulnerability and tears. For that moment, I felt the healing energy of..

Compassion, empathy and authentic kindness

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I wonder why more people can’t speak from the heart through actions. Words mean very little unless accompanied by actions.

I wonder if others take this for granted. I wonder what it would be like to experience this daily. I can’t stay there too long because I’d know all I’ve missed. What I can do, is encourage everyone to connect, to care, to be kind every chance you get. You will never know what a gift you have given to someone. A gift that may have changed the course of their life.

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“We are each of us angels with only one wing.

And we can only fly embracing each other.”

 Luciano De Crescenzo

 

 

 

 

 

Undones, Do You Have Them?

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Having faced death several times myself and recently experiencing the deaths of two very special people, I find myself preoccupied with loss.

Adoptees tend to do that of course. Our beginnings in utero had already started the prewiring necessary for our survival which was begun with loss of our mother.

Of course, I’d like to be thinking of sunshine and rainbows, but the reality for all of us is that death is inevitable. It could be tonight even.. It will come whether you’re ready or not. That is a certainty and we don’t have many of those in this life.

My life has been filled with loss as most adoptees are. The loss of our mother, our family, our heritage, our genetic markers, our family dynamics. Each future loss such as the recent losses I’ve mentioned open that old wound.

Then of course you add in the numerous losses one tends to accumulate over the years and suddenly life appears to hold nothing but darkness, silence, the sound of tears dropping, emptiness, loss of health. Living with an illness that could at any moment take my life brings it all to the frontline.

Being a practicing Buddhist I’m well prepared for the inevitable. I don’t fear death at all and in fact, at times would welcome it. Most people living with Mast Cell Disease can attest to that when you’ve spent days in excruciating pain, vomiting into a pail, fighting the anaphylaxis demons with epinephrine.

That in no way means I want to die. It means I believe one has to prepare for their own death in order to live. A close encounter with death can bring a real awakening, a transformation in our whole approach to life.

The Nature of everything is illusory and ephemeral,

Those with dualistic perception regard suffering as happiness, Like they who lick the honey from a razor’s edge. How pitiful they who cling strongly to concrete reality:

Turn your attention within, my heart friends.

The above is a verse of a poem by contemporary master, Nyoshul Khenpo. It clearly outlines the need to reflect deeply on impermanence. It’s very difficult to turn our attention within and so easy to allow our old habits, our set patterns to rule us! To reflect on this, slowly brings us wisdom. Watch how you repeatedly fall into the same old habits that always bring you suffering. Again, and again, and again. With observance and practice we can slowly emerge and change.

Your Undones…

Your undones are that persistent, niggling, feeling that is sent to you from The Universe, Your Higher Self, how ever you think of what is “out there”. It’s telling you that you have unfinished business. Business that will pester you, stress you and take your energy until you complete it. Mental nags are undones. They remind you that you have broken agreements with yourself and time and time again you’ll notice they rob you of your self respect. Creativity…gone. True joy…gone. Internal peace…gone. You are able to get back all of those things if you complete your undones.

Right now in your mind I’m sure you can identify several. I know I can. They could be unresolved conflicts, withheld forgiveness, appreciation not mentioned, love not given, goals not met, promises not kept. Your life is probably full of many more not mentioned. They come in every size, shape, and in each and every area of your life. Check your basement. It’s probably full of undones.

Let this sink in…You won’t find peace until these undones are completed. Just remember, life is short and very unpredictable.

Emotion……Energy….In motion

ImageDo you know where your heart is?  Do you know what’s in it?  I mean, not in a medical way but an energetic way.  All logic has told us that our five senses cannot manfully explain or represent the existence of our soul, our heart, our energy.

Our five senses belong to the higher order of logic and understanding, therefore we need to pay close attention to feelings.  Because of this we have delegated the heart as the sensor to external energy and emotion.  Somewhere along the line we decided that feelings were nothing more than unnecessary add ons  that were capable of creating pain and dysfunction.  With this idea, most people tend to repress their emotions in fear of pain.

I was just over on Lost Daughters blogspot where a discussion about parenting was taking place and how adoption has affected our individual parenting styles.  As adoptees we come from a place of primal pain, primal wound.  A place so deep and dark many of us don’t even recognize that it’s there buried in the rubble of our fractured hearts.  It usually isn’t until we decide to search for our roots that we begin to peel back the layers and discover the buried trauma, the buried coping skills we have utilized to protect and save us from an unfriendly world.

When we close the door to our feelings we also close the door to the vital currents that energize and activate our thoughts and actions.  We can’t begin the process of understanding the effects of our emotions upon us, our environment and other people.  Without awareness of our emotions we cannot associate the effects of anger, sadness, grief or joy within ourselves or others…with their causes.

 There is no distinguishing between which part is personality and that part of us that is soul or heart.  Without awareness of our feelings we cannot experience compassion.  How can we share the sufferings and the joys of others if we cannot experience our own?

Everyone, not just adoptees needs to become intimate with their emotions.  Emotion is energy.  Becoming aware of this energy is the first step of learning how our experiences come into being and why.  For myself, with my multiple layers of trauma to peel back, it’s taken a lifetime of exposing, and expressing the layers as they became available and I’m not done yet.

Emotion reflects Intention.  If you are aware of your emotion then you become aware of your intention.  Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Not quite.  If you see a discrepancy between a conscious intention and the emotion that accompanies it you may see a part of yourself that requires healing.  For example, when I met my Birth Mother I wanted it to be a happy, joyful occasion but in fact, I was terrified and filled with such sadness it was unbearable.  Obviously, there was a great discrepancy.  I discovered a place of grief and loss i could barely stand it.

It’s all about understanding energy and how our emotions run on frequency spectrums.  As you work through your layers of emotion you begin to see that you can step away objectively and actually control your feelings.  Being aware brings you to a way of living in peace,  A place of being where when you are open to your emotions, to your place of pain. it will then bring you closer to your heart.  Being aware leads to an open heart.

Do you know what triggers your emotions?  Do you know how they impact every single aspect of your daily life?  Do you have any idea of the power of thought?

 Since being diagnosed with mast cell disease and really paying attention to my emotion and my energy, it has become so clear how the two are intertwined.  Each trauma I experienced early in life, from surgery to rapes, upped the ante and my disease progressed as if it were climbing stairsteps to the ultimate top where reunion sent it over the edge into the abyss of mast cell hell.  I can pinpoint each and every step.  Needless to say, I’m very careful with my self talk now and my energy.

If you have 70,000 thoughts a day, can you imagine if you thought negatively for 60,000 of those, the damage it would do to your body, life, relationships.  We are energy, our thoughts are energy and affect every cell either in a positive or negative way.

There are no shortcuts.  Life mastery stems from emotional mastery which comes from digging thru the layers and discovering what you are really made of.  Only then can you say you have achieved self mastery and an open heart.

It’s not an easy place to go… This deep cavern of emotion.  Once you get through one layer and know you survived, you begin to notice a feeling of lightness and exhilaration.  It requires perseverance but is something that will transform every aspect of your life.  Find those core beliefs, the ones we have lived with most of our life without awareness.  Dig them up and take a good look.  Ask yourself what purpose they fulfil  in your life and if they are really true, then get rid of them and live a compassionate life with your heart wide open.

I put that saying at the top because some of the most beautiful people I have met in my life have been through the most horrific experiences and yet they were just that…beautiful souls.

 As a nurse, many times I have had with the privilege to sit with and hold hands with, souls that are in the death process, children included.  The most amazing stories have been told and emotions shared, truths spoken….such beautiful souls.

 The stories on the streets you hear will break your heart and yet they look at you with kindness in their eyes and hide hearts of gold….such beautiful souls.

 In Northern Lao, when I visited the hill tribes who lived with nothing and yet were always smiling and willing to share whatever they had….such beautiful souls.

It is here adoption comes in and the many people I have come to know and love.  Our journeys shared and emotions bared….all with open hearts and a compassion so profound wrapped in such strength …..such beautiful souls.

It is here with fellow mast cell disease sufferers  I discovered such strength and heart  with endless compassion for another’s suffering despite dealing daily with such emotional and physical pain. themselves…..such beautiful souls.

They live among us.  Take time to get to know them,  to listen to them and learn from them.  They live with hearts wide open…..beautiful souls

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