Excerpt from “Whispers of Hope”

1. Hands

 

“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”

Anne Frank

 

I do not remember when I stopped believing in fairy tales. If family photos are an indicator, then I would say sometime before my first birthday. Portraits of me at a year old are haunting. They reflect eyes that have seen more than a one year old can comprehend. Apprehension and sadness had moved in where spontaneity and joy should have resided. If there really was a happily ever after I was not able to find it at my house.

The search had been going on for as long as I could remember. Yet I really could not even define what I was searching for. There just always seemed to be an ache inside me for something different. Maybe it, whatever it was, would be around the next corner. Surely there had to be more to life than this. This quiet desperation, this day to day living that could not even really be called living. More like existing. What exactly was the point? It was a life defined by other people and circumstances, a life of reaction, always waiting for the other shoe to drop, a life of fear and contraction. It was lonely, devoid of true connection because I was too afraid to really open up my heart and let others in. I kept waiting for something outside of me to change so I could feel better.

My journey had been fraught with adversity including: childhood experiences of abuse and alcoholism, leaving home at 16, my father’s suicide when I was 18, breast cancer at 35, and the end of a 20-year marriage when I was 42. My life path was like the twists and turns of a labyrinth, continually bringing me back to myself, giving me repeated opportunities to see the many facets of who I truly was. Really see them. Not just with my eyes, but with my heart and soul.

 

At this point in the journey I am finally able to answer the unspoken question, the one that has been handed down in my family for generations and was transmitted energetically with so much contempt. The question that reverberated throughout my body anytime I dared to stand in my Truth. “Who do you think you are?” I can answer that question now. I have come home to myself and I really like where I live!

It has not always been so, actually, far from it. If those who knew me as a child were to meet me now, they would find very little resemblance between the person before them and the frightened young girl I once was. I have grown from a child, feeling victimised by the circumstances of my life, to an adult who recognises I have choices, someone who has never given up hope. I have found a wellspring of love at the centre of my being and have made a conscious choice to live every day from that place. Almost all of us have grown up with less than ideal circumstances. I felt a burning desire to make sense of all that had happened in my life. I certainly do not have all the answers, but I live and love the questions. This is my story.

It all began with hands. A person’s hands and how they use them will tell you more about them than an autobiography. A life path is contained in the lines of their palms. The backs will tell you their age. The texture of the skin will tell you how they labour. Is it soft and supple or hard and coarse? How well do they care for themselves? Are the fingernails well-manicured or dirty and broken? Is their touch filled with love and kindness or with fear and anger? Even though people may try to alter their appearance to give a false impression, their hands will always tell the truth. Like their fingerprints, they are totally unique. There is not another person in the world with the same blueprint for life.

If I had known to look at my parents’ hands when I came into this world, I would have seen the generations of hurt and pain held in their very cells. I might have understood from my first breath their abuse had nothing to do with me. But I was a baby, dependent on those hands for my survival. The deeper understanding of their legacy of pain would elude me for years.

On the day I was born, my father’s hands were soft hands; not strong hands, but steady hands and at times, almost tentative. They were kind, gentle, loving hands. They were gifted hands, brilliant hands, musical hands. They were hands that had known wealth and privilege and yet at the same time they were hands that never felt like they belonged on this earth. They felt unwanted and useless—like they were never quite good enough. They were lost hands despite their beauty and they foretold a short life.

My mother’s hands told a different story in many ways, and yet the essence was very similar. Her hands were young, innocent, and afraid. They were strong and filled with rage. They spoke of hard work, poverty, and abuse. Underneath all of that there was a yearning to do it differently with her own children. It took until the end of her short life before she was able to tap into that hunger and begin to try to satisfy it. They, too, were hands that never felt good enough, and that underlying belief coloured everything they did.

My baby girl hands were a blend of the two. They were shaped like my father’s and mirrored his softness, kindness, gentleness, and brilliance. They carried my mother’s strength, innocence, and a desire to do it differently than the generations before her. What I inherited from both sides was the feeling of not being good enough. What hid in the shadows waiting to be claimed were the qualities of compassion, determination, the ability to see into the very heart and soul of people, and unconditional love of self and other. I spent the first part of my life gathering evidence to support the inherited mistaken belief of not being good enough. Part of my life’s purpose has been to venture into the shadows, shine a light in the darkness, and reclaim the qualities that speak the Truths I forgot on the day I was born.

I finally know at the core of my being that I am okay, more than okay actually. I know there is a reason why I am here, that my life has purpose and meaning, and that I matter. There really is a happily ever after.

 

Tools for Transformation

·         Who do you think you are?

·         Why not follow me on this adventure and find your Truth?

F

 

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