Rooting for truth has taken a new dimension for me. Two years ago, I found a nugget that turned out to be a gold vein. The veins grew and grew until I traveled to Beijing in October where I was able to meet Lei Zhangbao and his family. He is a direct descendant of Yangshi Lei, eight generations of architects for the last eight emperors.
Thanks to Liu Hao from MyChinaRoots for helping me with the research, setting up and translating for me at our meeting, and helping me at the Tsinghua University Library.
You can imagine how excited we were to visit the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace, places that Yangshi Lei designed and built. I can hardly wait to write a book about this branch of the family tree who is listed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Registry. You’ll have to read my book to find out why.
Next, back to Taishan and what we discovered at the villages.
We’ve all had something from the past haunt us, nag at us, and sometimes hold us back from our present and our future like a ball and chain anchoring us in a sea of forgetfulness. There are many ways to get unstuck, to transcend the past. At the February Gathering of Richmond MindBodySpirit, Carole will share ways to do just that.
Sign up on the Richmond MindBodySpirit Meetup page.
As anyone who has had an “awakening experience” can tell you, the cosmic 2 x 4 is tailor-made to get your attention. It comes in all shapes and sizes. In fact, I believe that where you put your attention is where the Universe will plop the thing in your lap. I also believe it comes as a cosmic 2 x 4 because we missed the hints, nudges and even potholes along the way. Rarely do we miss the big one.
Such was the case for Eben Alexander, M.D., a successful neurosurgeon who suffered a week long coma and near death experience that rocked his world. His left-brained scientific background studying the brain did not prepare him for other worldly connections that forced him to think about the nature of consciousness in a very different way. His journey to understand the ramifications of his experience unfolds in his latest book, Living in a Mindful Universe. Thankfully, during his explorations he discovered that one does not have to have a near death experience to tap into ones higher consciousness. Enter Karen Newell, co-founder of Sacred Acoustics. Her innovative work in brainwave entrainment audio meditations not only mirrors Alexander’s experience on the other side but also demonstrates key practices of consciousness exploration: heart awareness, intention, and more.
If you have become aware of the hints, nudges, and potholes dancing around in your life, you will not want to miss the two-day event with Alexander and Newell: Living in a Mindful Universe/Into the Heart of Consciousness. I hope you will join us.
Even if you are not able to join us, be mindful of those hints in your life that call to you to “Wake up.”
I want to take a moment to thank my very dear friends for asking me to talk to their son, who passed over this week. Talking with him was a reminder to me that there is perfection even where our ordinary consciousness sees imperfection and all the opportunities we have to love unconditionally.
It will take me a while to put into words all that he is showing me, but I wanted to share the music I hear surrounding this beautiful old soul, welcoming him to the other side.
I love the words from this poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
It is part of the human experience to feel all kinds of emotions when a loved one passes. Honor those feelings and know that love does not die. Love is eternal.
What if amid the turmoil we see going on in our world we could create a beautiful life? What if despite the negative reports of economic downturn we could live in a prosperous world? What if we could live in a peaceful place when all around us there is chaos? In other words, what does it truly mean to be spiritually prosperous?
Those are some of the what ifs we will explore in the Spiritual Prosperity Consciousness workshop. Sign up here.
Many people search for purpose in their life. Others plow through life as if driven by the challenge to “grab the brass ring,” and then there are those folks who have accomplished much – success, fortune, recognition, and power – but feel as if something is missing. To make matters worse, they do not know what’s missing; just that there is a void in their lives that success and money cannot fill.
I call this “divine discontent.” Divine because I believe it is one’s Soul tugging at one’s conscious awareness as if to say, “Is that all there is? Surely, there’s more to life, but what?”
I believe it is the first call to awaken to one’s true self. In other words, to listen to the still small voice within, the Soul’s voice, because we are more than mere mortals, mere physical beings. However, just as physical beings must crawl before they walk, I believe one must attain a certain level of evolution before awareness of one’s Soul occurs. Just as crawling/walking/running is a process, so too is awakening to Self/Soul. Just as many other experiences are possible when we learn to walk, so too when we accept that we are more than physical beings. And then, Divine Discontent leads us to our true purpose, the reason why we chose this incarnation.
For me, the path from Divine Discontent to understanding my life’s purpose also means understanding my life’s purpose for many lives, to witness lesson learned in one life or not learned in another. I can no longer look at my current life from a one life perspective because I see the connections that show me clearly how impossible it would be to fulfill one’s life purpose in one incarnation. By understanding that there is a bigger picture, even if I do not yet see it completely, I now feel the excitement of anticipation about where Divine Discontent will lead me.
I now know to push through the divine discontent like pushing through a door to a room I never saw before. I know that something awaits me on the other side of that door. I shall embrace it with all my heart and soul as a child cherishes a new toy, or a scientist stands in awe of a new discovery, or an artist beholds his creation and wonders “Did I do that?”
I now know that my life can be magical as I accept my purpose as a Soul who chose this body, this incarnation and I am divinely content.
Another day at NARA (National Archives) and digging through more files, I hit pay dirt. The ratio of Chinese women to men in the early days of Chinese Sojourners to the Gold Mountain (U.S.) was very small. So, I cannot help wonder what motivated my grand-uncle to bring his young wife, Toy Shee, to San Francisco in 1928. I cannot help wondering what she must have felt as she birthed three children in this strange land. However, I have a feeling that my uncle Don (Louie Hung Don) would have cherished that young family as much as he loved spending time with me and my siblings in the 40’s and 50’s because he was one of the “bachelors” (the thousands of men alone).
What a difference it was reading Toy Shee’s interrogation versus her husband’s! And what a treasure trove of information painting a picture of her life in China. She must have come from a family of substance because ten servants accompanied her as she rode a sedan chair to her wedding. No doubt they were loaded down with gifts for the Louie family as well as all her worldly possessions. She proffered her husband (my paternal grand-uncle), a man she had never met, a cup of wine and paid respects to his ancestors at the family altar. Then, he went to the men’s celebration while she stayed at her new home with the women. A home she’d share with her in-laws and their servant, a young girl who fetched water from a river a few blocks from the house.
How did she feel when her husband returned to the Gold Mountain before their first child was born? How did she feel when he returned, decided to take her back with him but left their first-born with his parents?
A note to fellow genealogy researchers who are new to the Chinese traditions: Toy Shee means that she was from the Toy clan. I do not know what her birth name was. I do not know if a woman took a “married name” as her husband (Louie Kaow/Louie Qiao Wei) did. Her confident gaze speaks volumes to me even though she could not write or even sign her name.
I hope her spirit and/or the children’s will tell me more. Until then, I will enjoy MY grand-nieces and the memories of the day we shared exploring the Korean Market, snacked on fermented blue crabs, baby crabs, ramen, glass noodles and more. I’ll enjoy my extended family (new ‘cousins’ I met while doing research at NARA) as we dig through the documents, the Jiapu, and of course more food.