Talking To My Younger Self

K’lee    Sonni Quick © 2017  Piano Improvisation

Very recently, I had a rather profound conversation with a man I don’t physically know. He is another mind in the blogosphere. Some people are so easy to connect to and you instinctively know your lives were meant to cross. There is so much we can learn from others if we stop trying to only get our point across and learn to listen.  I’m not sure without looking what country he lives in, but our ability to talk about this reality called life, is rare. Be honest when taking responsibility for your life instead of blaming the bad things on external reasons, or saying, “God must have wanted this to happen. It’s his plan for me.”

This man told me what he was doing with his own life. It was something I had never thought to do. Not like this. He said, “Go back and talk to your younger self and forgive her for the mistakes she made. Tell her you love her and you understand.” So the other day, while chanting, which anyone else could do using any way their faith dictates or even with no faith at all, using any means that helps give them with clarity. I sat down in the chair in front of the scroll of my Gohonzon to chant, already understanding the outcome will be difficult to deal with. 

I have been through decades of illness and surgeries and ongoing pain because my younger self stuck needles in her arm to get high and contracted the virus Hep C. This wasn’t even a word in our vocabulary at that time, but would it have made a difference to me if it was? I didn’t know then why I said yes to drugs. I know the answer now. It was a cause made somewhere in my long existence and the effect came forth at the time it was meant to. I  blindly followed the intended course. My younger self had no power over that karma the same way all karma affects the lives of others.

Some people have been taught, God pulls the puppet strings of their lives, but I never believed that. It made no sense. Not understanding why things happen doesn’t mean it was done by an outside source. It just means I don’t have the wisdom to understand it. Karma is the exact same thing as the lesson taught that reads, “You reap what you sow.” It doesn’t matter if you believe it. It is just as real as gravity. If you jump out of a plane you will fall to the earth whether you want to or not. We create what happens to us – and we repeat it until we learn the lesson it is teaching.

Unless you were born with an illness, ALL illness has a starting point that most people could have changed had they not done something to create it or perhaps allowing harmful things into their bodies that shouldn’t be there.

As I began chanting, relaxing myself with the deep breathing necessary to chant nam myoho renge kyo, I had a talk with my younger self at age 19. My 62 year old self, broken, stapled and screwed back together, gazed at a young girl the age my grandchildren are this day. They don’t know the word consequence any better than I did and think the only time that matters is this very moment.

I can so clearly remember a day, standing on the porch of someone’s house, looking out into a sunny day while watching people and cars move about in the course of their day. I thought to myself, I couldn’t see a time in the knowable future where I wouldn’t be sticking a needle into my bruised arm. These people didn’t know what they were missing. I hadn’t reached the point where the drug was needed to bring me up to normalcy. Forget getting high. I was using up my future life’s energy.

This younger me was so young, so perfect in her youth with her entire life ahead of her, and I cried. I  sat there with my head bowed and tears flowed down my cheeks. I whispered to her, “I am so sorry. I’m sorry what my lack of wisdom did to you.”

“I understand now why you did it, but it took me a long time to learn the answers. Why you needed to become this other person who felt better about herself when shooting speed – I understand.” I continued, “You needed the false confidence it gave you to make friends. I understand being near people made you afraid. I understand how you felt you had no value, so why would anyone else think you had value and want to be near you? Why would anyone want to be your friend? I understand you couldn’t give these feelings a voice. When you are high you feel you have worth. You have not learned yet how to achieve the understanding of how much value you really have – without the drugs.”

As I write these words I look at my left hand. I am grasping my thumb in a tight first. It is what I have always done when I needed to hold and comfort myself; reassure I am really here.

Because of this; because of the mountains you will have to learn to climb that gives you the understanding of how powerful you really are, the me you see before you now has learned things I never would learned without the life you have yet to live.

Without this struggle I would be a different person. I am sorry about the decades of pain you will have to suffer through, that I have already lived. But you will be okay. Through this you will help many people and become a woman who matters – all because of what you learned to teach. I want to thank you for being the soul – the body I inhabited during birth. I wouldn’t trade you for anyone else. You don’t know these things yet and I wish I could help you along the way, but understand I love you and I’ll be waiting until you get here. Just know, you will live through this.

I am proud of you, so proud, because you will learn the value of your life and you live it, in spite of what others think. You will reach and fall and pick yourself up no matter how many times life tries to knock you down. You will dust yourself off and re-determine you are stronger than the rock that knocked you off balance. You won’t hide. You won’t quit because you still breathe. This is the effect of the cause that made you an addict so long ago. This is the lesson it was trying to teach you. You will never repeat it again.

I wrapped my arms around her and held her close. People who I thought loved her – loved me – yet resented who I became, because the truth of who this young girl grew to be, became too hard for them to look at and see the truth. So be it. It’s easier to be hateful than to look at why you hate. It’s easier to pretend she doesn’t matter than to face your own insecurities. I expected too much from people who had no capacity to show and accept responsibility for their actions. How could I expect them to understand mine?

I had no strength to explain to my younger self what was to come, some pain is deeper than the physical. But she will learn that in time. That is a pain I see no end to. It is something to bear in later years.  Everyone has pain they have to lock away to survive.

9 thoughts on “Talking To My Younger Self

  1. […] My favorite way to play is in a completely dark room or even blindfolded. When you listen, dim the lights and close your eyes. Put your head back. This is dream music. What does it make you feel? Play it again. Where does it take you? What do you hear? I have asked people these questions. Strangely, I often get the same answers. What do you hear? These two pieces are two of my favorites and completely different. Picking up Broken Pieces Brings Tears to my eyes. A newer piece is K’lee written for a man whose words affected my Life. On my other blog watchandwhirl is a post, “Talking to my Younger Self.” It was written because of him. […]

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  2. Sonni, this is the type of post I could read every day and get something fresh and new from the reading. You’ve done something phenomenal here, so much so I almost don’t know what to say except… THANK YOU for this amazing gift, both your words ringed in light and truth, and the extraordinary improvisation!!! I can see you so much clearer now, both through these words and the exquisite music. Lastly, you’ve inspired me to go a little deeper in spending time with my younger self. It’s no consequence we’ve entered the same Soul Space at this particular place and time. Years ago, I might not have had the capacity to truly take in your words or feel the music the way I do now and you might not have been in a space to write or compose these brave works. The Universal Oneness does NOT create coincidence!

    My prayer is that many more people find both these words and your music. Once I can formulate the right words, I’ll do my own post with a link to this if you’re alright with my doing so?

    It’s cloudy and rainy here, but the day just got a little brighter!

    K’lee

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    1. You are right. There is no such thing as coincidence, luck, chance or miracles. Life unfolds exactly as it is meant to do based on the seeds that have been planted. Unfortunately most people don’t have the ability to understand that, so they can only attribute it to some otherworldly entity guiding their life – giving up the power they have. Of course you can use the post. Life is this wonderful journey if you let it. It doesn’t mean everything is painless, but everything is a lesson. Some people can’t handle that. They need to keep the ripples to a minimum – control the change. Never do anything that rocks their boat. Never talk about anything deeper than the weather. Don’t let anyone know who you really are because – what would they think?

      When I moved home to Pa, extremely sick, instead of love and compassion I was rejected and called ugly names because my mother needed the family to love her more. It wasn’t done with the conscious intention to hurt me. She just needed attention. She begged me to move home because there was a transplant hospital close by. I lost everything. Through her stories and gossip, and because of my anger because she wouldn’t respect my privacy, my family kicked me out. I was staying at my mother’s while I went through a myriad of testing to get on the liver transplant list. Through everything, I never received one phonecall from my large family before during or after the surgery, except from one person my family also disowned. But my husband, whom they disliked, never let the hospital and he took care of me. You see, he wasn’t invited to move to Pa with me, which caused my mother’s complaining, even though we had been married for ten years. What they never knew, and still don’t; I have been on pain killers for 23 years, the last ten on methadone, for nerve damage. Methadone is a good pain killer because you don’t get high on it. That’s why its good for junkies. It covers the pain receptors. No other pain killer can get through it. It won’t work. The pain specialists at the hospital don’t know what they are doing. After surgery they cut my methadone dosage in half and instead gave me all kinds of other narcotics because I had been filleted like a fish. These narcotics had no effect at all, m&m candy, and for 2 years, before and after. I also had to sleep sitting up leaning on a wall because of about 70 pounds of fluid pressing on my lungs they couldn’t drain. I hallucinated from lack of sleep ( which was kind of cool) and spent a lot of time to and from the hospital. I wanted to die. I couldn’t convince the doctors how much pain I was in because they thought they were giving me pain killers.It took a month and a half for it to begin to subside and then my back fractured. In the hospital, in the ICU, my mother stopped by, packed to spend a week at the beach with my sister’s family. I told her to just go. Have fun. I never even got a get well card from anyone. Repeat everything with the surgery I just had on my arm. I didn’t just break my arm. That is too simple. When I’ve tried to talk to my family I’m told to “get over it”. I can’t talk to them because – I’m too deep. My mother tells me to keep trying because she wants a happy family. I finally realized I can’t fix something she broke. I try to write, but they hate it when I write. So I wrote a couple posts and put it on my blog and the shit hit the fan. Literally. Threats to never do that again. My mother won’t stand for it. For the whole world to read! I don’t have a large readership on that blog and the world doesn’t know them -but it posts to facebook. Oops. My mother had a stroke. (not because of that) I did everything for her she wouldn’t do for me until I fell. My mother had to go to my sisters house and coming home here and there as I healed. Ten days ago I registered for a university sponsored writing course for six weeks, with certification which is good for credibility. The topic – culture in society, writing in all formats. Fiction, non fiction, shirt story essay etc. The topic is right up my alley. I was excited. It was six weeks away. I said during that time I would be very busy because I had all my other writing to do as well and needed that time for myself. I was told I was rude and thoughtless to register for this class without seeing if it worked with my sister’s schedule. Maybe she wanted to plan something and needed to bring mom home. Nothing was planned so far but I should have thought of her life first . . . This is where “The Argument” comes from. I sat here a few days ago thinking, “What am I doing here?” I am not invited to birthdays, holiday dinners or occasions of any kind. My mere presence causes problems. I begged my mother for the last 5 years to tell them the truth – I never did the things she accused me doing whenI moved here and she won’t. I’d hate me too if I did what she said I did. Of course mom doesn’t lie so it doesn’t matter what I say. She doesn’t have the courage.

      I had a great childhood. Wonderful memories. But people change. I look at old pictures and want to cry. They are just memories. But I have my own family, my children and 7 grandchildren mostly in Texas. A couple in Ca. One in Vacaville and one on a marines base in San Diego. I lived in Ca a long time. Across the Bay, just north of Richmond. I want to get out that way, to San Quentin. A friend on death row recently got married. A pretty decent artist. I don’t like Texas, especially the politics, but I still have 4 grandchildren under the age of ten and we need each other. I’m broke and on disability. My health has been an issue. My kids would help ( or rather pay me back) My husband is getting old. I haven’t told him yet. Obstacles aside. In my near future I’m leaving. Meaning within 2 years. I’ve moved many times. My mother is old, but do I have to stick around until the end. I could be too old then. I feel driven away. They will gossip about what a horrible person I am leaving her, but I’m not leaving her – I am going toward the next chapter in my life. At one point I played every piano bar in Texas. I want to get back to work and I want to finish my book and market it right and get on media. I want a movie made of this book, or a TV series and I want to lecture. Reach for the stars. If you only land on the moon how great is that! I want to be closer to Jamie’s prison to work with him and make sure when he gets out the full force of society won’t knock him down. Does everything happen for a reason? Is this the benefit from the negativity of my family? Do I lose or do I win? One main motto of mine- “If you don’t like what I’m doing don’t watch me do it!” I almost deleted this tale of woe. If we don’t learn what our life is trying to teach us then we get to the end of it and have regrets. I have no regrets and won’t apologize to anyone for living life on my terms. Thank you for listening.
      p.s. K’lee you’re pretty amazing yourself. Did you see the message I left at red bubble?

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  3. I dislike all organized religions. I do, though, believe in an organizing power and over the years have fashioned a belief for myself that is mainly eclectic. I see, though, that it is organic and continues to grow and change. I’ve always been a lone practitioner of life, maybe because of the autism. I could never see blaming “god” for anything in my life and as a parent, I began to understand that for most of us, our parents really can’t be blamed for much either. Many have tried to raise children either by what was passed along in the family (goddess save us!) or by instinct and now we have social media to pilot us through the ocean of life. I guess I’m trying to say that the Golden Rule is probably the safest way to live each day and keeping a sense of humor (although that becomes harder each year). Blessed be to us all!

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    1. Oh how right you are. Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you. But it is missing one word at the end. “Why?” Why should you treat people the way you want to be treated? What will happen if you don’t? Do you get away with treating people the way you want, if you don’t treat people right? Are there repercussions? Yes, there are. In organized religion there is the teaching, “You reap what you sow.” In Buddhism ( in some sects) it is called “The law of cause and effect. In secular life we say, “What goes around comes around” or “You get back what you dish out.” It is all the same thing. There are effects for the things we think, say and do. Some are easy to see and some are not. The things we can’t figure out are not miracles, luck or chance even though some people call it that. If people learned nothing but this principle and tried to follow it in all they did this world would be a better place. When I put in parenthesis ( in some sects ), Buddhism was just as corruptible as all other faiths. Greedy priests who made the lay people think they were the direct conduit to Buddhahood just like the Pope is the conduit to God. Beware of any faith who has a head person with direct communication to anything. I agree with you about organized religion. I remember going to church as a kid and was bored to tears because nothing changed in the boring service except the boring serman, and interchanging the same choir songs and the verse that was read. You could do the entire service without ever thinking. Everyone was so enlightened after an hour, ahem. Look at churches today getting the okay to preach politics swaying the congregation to vote certain ways. I recently read of a church that sends out bills to people who don’t tithe a certain amount each month and extra is added on for each child. Whatever it is you use as your guide should enable you to summon the wisdom and strength to battle the obstacles that keep you from whatever it is that makes you happy. Where does that strength come from? Not an outside source. It comes from within. But there have been too many generations of one family teaching the next generation to believe in something they have no way of proving. It’s more of a “What if it’s true” type of attitude if you don’t believe. Better to believe than not believe just in case. That does not take into account the very sincere people really really do try to practice Christianity the best they can but what they practice now looks nothing like what was practiced a couple hundred years ago. Faith used to be built on fear, not love. I have enough confidence in my own abilities and I can keep my ego in check and admit I’m wrong when I am. I tell the truth. Have respect for life around you and don’t hurt anyone. If you have a way to focus your dreams and have the confidence you can attain them because if you think you can, you can, and if you think you can’t, you can’t. Learn your own human nature and self correct the things about yourself that end up causing you unhappiness and if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That is Buddhism. I don’t need to pretend there is an alien life force “out there” who knows every thought in my head and has a plan for my life. That thought scares the crap out of me, if it were true. Thank goodness it isn’t. People can believe that all they want and they can’t really hurt anybody with it – except the politicians sure do try to use it against us, don’t they? Peace and love and smiles. Sonni

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    1. Thank you Clarissa. Most ? Many?, people don’t like the thought that they are responsible for the unhappiness in their lives. Happiness is okay when we think we did something right and it turned out good, but the deep part inside us that makes us who we are – the part that maybe is not so nice – is something easier to blame on something else. Beliefs are often the scapegoat for those things, no matter the religion, because all the usual ones are based on a deity. God wanted this to happen, giving the responsibility back to him/her/. This has been on my mind so much the last few days, even more than it usually is. IF I believed in God, which I don’t, as a Buddhist, these sentences would upset me. I believe it is a concept passed down through the centuries that changed drastically and now encompasses the belief, this unseen force actually has the human emotion of love. A few centuries ago religion was used to instill fear. The masses were going to hell if they didn’t follow the rules laid out for them. Believe in God or else we’ll kill you. If anyone can prove otherwise I’d be willing to listen, but all anyone can do is quote scripture, which sounds nice and has some good lessons along with utter crap, written by a bunch of different people. But that is me. Each person has the right to deal with their own life any way they wish. I know this is off the topic of your comment – but is about how we deal with accepting full responsibility for things experienced, beginning with our younger self.

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