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.