‎The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.  (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Recently I came across a site created by singer/songwriter, Lucinda Williams. On the site she discusses her newest album, “Blessed.”  The site also contained a series of five videos containing testimonials of normal, everyday people who volunteered to share bits of their life story and what “blessed” means to them.


After watching the five testimonials, it inspired me to share what “Blessed” means to me.

I have shared bits and pieces of my life’s story, in other posts.  It is my life story, as I perceive it.  I have made it known that the first half of my life contained many years rooted in intense emotional pain.  It was a childhood of horrors living with an alcoholic parent; never quite feeling that I belonged at home or among the few friends I had in the neighborhood.

On the outside, I may have looked normal, though never gaining the perfection I was striving for.  Inside, I felt my soul suffocating from layers of shame and humiliation.  I saw myself as a victim, though I could never find the appropriate mode or method to express it, other than through isolation or tears.  I truly felt that I had done something wrong to garner such feelings.  I looked at all the children in my neighborhood that seemed to have perfectly happy lives and families. Was not childhood supposed to be safe and happy? Maybe for most children, but not for me.

Though my alcoholic-parent sought treatment when I was 12, my life afterwards did not improve.  The negativity gained momentum.  Religion became the solution to all the problems.  We, as a family, ate religion and we slept religion, but all I saw was the same denial of the elephant in the room.  As shame, judgment, ridicule, hypocrisy spun out of control, pain kept getting stuffed deeper inside.

By the time I started college, I was a miserable human being. I wore my pain as if it were a burden on my back.  The attempts to wear the “happy” mask became more difficult to accomplish, especially in a life filled with lies, deceit, sadness, depression, layer on layer until it overshadowed the identity of self. It felt like a ton of weight on my being; I was completely devoured by shame and guilt for what at that time I saw as a life that was “less than,” insignificant.

I blamed myself for all the agony I had endured and for all the agony I caused others because of my imperfections.  Yet, there always remained a tiny “light” of hope deep within.  It was that splinter of hope, and the love of a husband who saw in me what I could not see in myself, that kept me going each day.

In 2007, a shift took place in my life.  I was introduced to Tai Chi by my mother-in-law, which led me to Yoga.  I then found myself learning about the teaching and philosophy of Buddha, Krishna, Confucius, Socrates, Lao Tzu, Thich Nhat Hanh, Zoroaster, and many others.  The axis of my existence, up to that point, was rotating at a ferocious speed in a negative direction.  One day it came to a complete stop, then started slowly rotating in the opposite direction, a more fulfilling and positive direction.

Peace, serenity and honesty, entered my life. The more I shared it with others, the more it grew within me. This is something I truly never experienced before.  Resentments and regrets dissipated as if into thin air.  I felt my Soul breathing.  I felt alive!  All the weight I had been carrying disappeared.  I started to feel joy and gained an understanding that all the seconds of my life had, and do have, a purpose.  I was able to see my past with greater compassion and wisdom.

I am who I am today.  I don’t consider myself religious, unless one considers Love a religion. If anything, I am a student of ALL religions. I am one incredibly spiritual human being; free from regrets, resentments, anger, and hate. My life experiences, collectively, have been the catalyst in nurturing my creative abilities and so many other wonderful things. I may not have had a “happy” childhood as a child, but I have one now, and that is awesome in my mind.

It boils down to how I deal with what I give and what I receive. I have the choice to take the lemons that life throws at me, add some sugar, and make lemonade, or I can allow the lemons to saturate me into a sour mess. Because of my life experiences, I am blessed to share the truth of who I am openly and honestly.  I am able to genuinely reach out to others who find themselves in similar circumstances in life. Sharing my life story may take a splinter of hope within another person and expand it to where their life axis changes rotation from negative to positive.

In Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths.  The first one teaches that there is pain and suffering in life.  No one is immune to that truth.  We all have experiences with misery.  But that is part of life where we grow the most. There is no need to suffer from the reality of this fact.  Complaining about your pain will not change the pain or make it go away. Complaining and blaming sucks you deeper into negative muck-like quicksand.  If life were perfect there would be no need to learn or grow. Give me a perfectly imperfect life, perfection is no longer what I desire, living is!

Of course, sometimes words are easy said and hard to do.  As the saying goes, “you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?”  I can honestly say, yes I can. Everyone should have a “happy place,” a place where they can go to find clarity, peace and serenity.  My “happy place” is through meditation. Some find it in prayer, some find it in music, art, even in silence. In that “happy place” is where self-inquiry leads me to the truth.  It is there I am reminded that if I want to maintain harmony in my life, then I need to be mindful to keep my thoughts, words and actions congruent.

All the things that we experience happen for a reason. We may not see that reason at the moment, but there is a hidden purpose in any given situation.  To be able to look at one’s past and see the beauty, even in suffering, brings with it the key to unlock the shackles of self-blame and blaming others.   The blessing is forgiveness, the blessing is compassion, the blessing is peace, the blessing is gratitude; ultimately, the blessing is love.   This is what “blessed” means to me.

Namaste _/♥_


2 Responses to BLESSED!

  • mrkoenig66 says:

    Marilyn, I am honored by your words. Gratitude can be so humbling. I do agree that we are all pathways, we all have a purpose. May the pathway always be kept open and honest so love can flow freely. Namaste my dear friend _/♥_

  • Marilyn Freeman says:

    thank you for sharing your journey. we must be the pathway…… and you are. Namasté