Rooting for Truth – A sojourner returns to the family villages

For two years, I looked forward to taking my sister Florence to our family’s villages. After much planning, we finally arrived in early November 2018. I remembered the way after studying my notes from the trip in 2016 and Google and Baidu maps on-line. However, as we drove to San Duo village, road construction blocked our path. In just two years, the expansion of S273 meant that the rickety signage to San Duo was torn down and the entrance closed. No matter, we headed to Hong May village and the timing was perfect. san duo (4)

I wondered if the girl who was getting married in 2016 moved to her husband’s village and if I’d see any of the ladies who shared goodies they had made for the wedding. I hoped to reconnect with the village chief but learned that he was in the hospital. After touring the usual spots in China, here we were in a small village in the Taishan District of Guangdong. The village where our great grandfather Louie Fat was born. We walked down the narrow path to the plot of land where his house once stood. Someone had erected a make-shift brick wall to circle a patch of green onions. Jiegua/zitgwaa節瓜(fuzzy squash) still grew on the south side of the plot.

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With the help of a village lady, I paid respects to our ancestors by burning incense. Maybe because of the brick circular wall in the middle of the plot, I did not feel my ancestors’ presence this time the way I had in 2016. What a powerful moment that was for me. One that had affected others in my Rooting group almost as much as it did me.

This time I walked around the village taking it all in because it was surreal for me in 2016. This time I wanted to smell the earth, touch the grey brick walls that had stood for over a hundred and fifty years, and imagine what it was like walking through the narrow alleyways from house to house, house to field, village to village.

img_4072I met several elders who welcomed me even though we could not speak the same language. Did they sense that I “belonged” here? Their smiles and gentle hands held me with delight. I wanted to know their stories too. Did they or their parents know my great grandfather and grandfather? Whatever they experienced in their eighty-ninety years of life in Hong May, in this moment they were radiant. I watched as their children came to their home to prepare their meal with simple yet elegant filial piety.

You can imagine my surprise when a man came up to us and said in perfect English, “Hey. Where are you from?” After we recovered from our shock, we asked him where he was from. Peter Louie said, “I was born here, but I live in San Francisco now. I come back to visit my relatives every year.” Was he like our ancestors who came to San Francisco to create businesses and sent money back to their relatives in the village? Observing him with his family at the village and later at the restaurant where we went for lunch helped me envision what “homecomings” must have been like for Louie Fat in the late 1800s.

hong may collage

As we drove out, I noticed the banyan tree and an altar at the front of the village. We stopped and got yet another perspective of the village. Even though my great grandfather’s house was torn down for reasons unknown to me so far, the people of the village and the new buildings speak to the vitality and prosperity that has returned to Hong May.

After our lunch, we headed back to S273 to figure out how to get around the construction at San Duo village. Thankfully, we were able to jump the ditch and left the driver who found another entrance.

I wondered if the lady with the pink chair was still there and was delightfully surprised to find her. She was shy at first and she probably did not remember me, but after a few explanations from a young man, she perked up; and when I gave her the photograph of her from 2016, she smiled ear-to-ear. 30878114637_25ab16fa1b_zShe’s ninety now and still spry and still has her pink chair. I wonder if she will be there on my next trip back to the village and if she is, next time, I will ask her name, but she will always be the “lady with the pink chair” to me.

This time, I followed the directions on my map that I’d created from the notes I made from the files at the National Archives. This time, the village chief was there to open the door to my grandfather’s (Louie Mow) house. This time, I climbed the rickety wooden ladder up to the altar where tablets for the twentieth and nineteenth generation still stood. san duo (9)

Too excited, I didn’t move the incense bowl to get a better photograph, one that I could use to translate their names to add to my genealogy records and I forgot to pay respects with incense and paper money much less firecrackers. Somehow, I know my ancestors understood. Instead, I took in the view of the doorways below as I climbed down the stairs. I noted the sophistication of the designs even if not well made. Even though there was little furniture in the room and the house was obviously used for storage rather than for living accommodations, I knew back-in-the-day it must have hummed with activity when my father and his two brothers lived there.

san duo collage

As we left San Duo, I noticed what must have been the old entrance. A factory invades the space now, but as I looked back toward the village and noticed the rice drying where two years ago construction equipment was strewn about and the renovated community building, I knew that I’d be back again to learn more about the people, my people and the stories of their lives, reflections of my ancestors.

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The Cosmic 2 x 4

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.”

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What does spiritual prosperity mean?

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.

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Divine Discontent can lead to Bliss

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.

open-door-blue-sky1I 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.

Memoir of a Reluctant Medium

 

Thanks to Central VA IONS Community for inviting me to share my stories and some fun meditation exercises today. What a fantastic group! If you are not familiar with the Institute of Noetic Science, you should check it out: IONS

I am reluctant no more!

In celebration, I am offering a FREE e-book of Conversations with a Hungry Ghost:Memoir of a Reluctant Medium now through Monday. Click on the photo to go directly to Amazon and then, join the conversation.

 

Celebrating the birth of a book – Conversations with a Hungry Ghost: Memoir of a Reluctant Medium

There is a Chinese proverb about a red thread of fate that connects us. I felt that red thread pull me to my ancestral villages in China, and through the veil that separates most folks from the spirit world. It played such a huge part in my life even before I knew anything about anything. So, naturally, it graces the cover of my book that I just released on Amazon. I hope you’ll check it out.

Conversations with a Hungry Ghost: Memoir of a Reluctant Medium.

Through the course of writing my story, I am no longer a reluctant medium.

 

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Rooting for Truth 寻找真相 in a Small Village on the Other Side of the Globe

Until my father died, I did not know where he was born. No matter how many times I had asked him when he was alive, he evaded my question. Consequently, the only think I knew about Dad’s life in China was that he was afraid of water because his father threw him into the river.

My Caucasian mother ran away from Dad when I was nine and took me, my younger brother and sister with her. We were raised in the South and the only Chinese words I remember from my childhood were多謝 duō xiè “Many thanks,” and some words that sounded like “ki doy” and “ki nui” that I thought meant “bad boy” and “bad girl.” I have not found the correct transliteration in any Chinese/English dictionary.

Even though my exposure to the Chinese culture was limited, I was drawn to all things Chinese. I look less Asian than my brother or sister, but I feel Chinese. I feel drawn to China by an inexplicable force.

After I reunited with Dad in 1969, he did not share his story – our roots. Everything changed in 1990 when Dad died, and his ghost stood at his tombstone and wondered “What happens next?” I was aware of him at his funeral but after years of blocking the ghosts I saw as a child, I could not see or hear him clearly until I learned how to meditate and studied metaphysics.

Long story short, through my conversations with my father’s ghost, I began to piece together a crazy quilt about him, about his life in China and his life in the United States. I began to understand why he was so secretive. And I discovered the name and location of his village along the Pearl River. There’s just one hitch. It took twenty-six years to draw his story out. He would be one hundred six if he were still alive. I will be lucky to find anyone in the village who remembers the 华侨 wah que, the young man who went overseas. It doesn’t matter because now Dad knows that I was sincere about wanting to know our history and that I will go back to the village to honor my ancestors, and then I will write his story, our story.

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The take-away is this: if at all possible, do not wait too long to learn your family’s story. Gently pry open those shells to find the pearls of your family’s story. Sometimes the shell will be empty, but when you find a pearl, it will be precious. Like the grain of sand inside the oyster, some aspects of our lives are irritating and yet can develop into something quite beautiful.