Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Laughter Truly IS The Best Medicine

What do you do to have fun? I mean laugh out loud, roll on the floor laughing, belly-aching, fun?

Do you know that this is a really important component of life? When we are too serious and we do not permit fun in to our lives, we grow old faster and our very souls begin to "dry up".

We have one friend who is in his mid-30s who still makes "forts" at his house, and at other friends houses, just because. In describing these "forts" he makes, one is transported to the scene and can't help but laugh out loud. I am speaking about, entire living room "tents" made with sheets off of beds and blankets, pillows inside to sit on, and various household objects holding the "tent" in place.

The funniest thing about this is that he does this with his dates! And yes, even first time dates!

While my husband and I don't undertake the architecture of "fort-building", we'll make funny videos and engage in silly little role-playing.

Sometimes, being "immature" is a healthy thing, it's a positive thing, and it keeps us young.

Do you know that in India there is a phenom called "Laughter Yoga" and this has spread far and wide across the world?

In the mid-80s I was a teenager who was concerned with the whole "image" thing, and any and every little thing adults around me did was a major embarrassment.

One afternoon, my Mum and her best friend and I were at lunch at the Jockey Club in Hong Kong. We'd long finished lunch and had spent quite some time talking, when suddenly Aunty Primrose's face lit up. She had recently learned about this "Laughter Yoga" and decided that right there, in the middle of the Jockey Club restaurant was the time and place to exercise her new studies.

She suddenly began laughing completely and totally out of the blue. Then she began making all kinds of funny faces at us, sticking her tongue out, hands fanned at her ears, it was hilarious. Mum and I looked at her, looked at each other, and then could not help but begin laughing. The more we laughed, the more she laughed; the more she laughed, the more we laughed. It was a beautiful, vivacious cycle of laughter, of fun, and of being completely and totally present.

Out of the blue, I stopped laughing and asked "What are we laughing at?" This just fueled even more laughter what was completely and totally infectious.

Our bellies ached, our faces were wet with the tears that had streamed down them, washing our eyes, and we felt amazing. We felt good. We felt... light.

Several years ago, my girlfriend and I went to see a movie, it was a comedy but it was not particularly funny. However, there was something that my friend saw in the movie that struck her, and she began into a fit of laughter. Her laughter is loud and vivacious and the more she laughed, the more I laughed, the more the audience began laughing; no one was laughing at the movie anymore... or even watching the movie, but each time Cynthia laughed, the entire theatre erupted in uncontrolled laughter.

We laughed so hard, we laughed ourselves into an asthma attack and out came the inhalers, which only made us laugh more.

At the end of the movie, we were laughing so hard that we could hardly walk down the steps. I could hear other patrons saying "They're still laughing" and burst into new fits of laughter.

Laughter is a fabulous workout. It's great for the soul, it's great for the body, and it takes years off as far as health benefits go.

I am sure you have heard the terminology "Laughter is the best medicine", and it truly is. I have had friends who have beaten breast cancer without treatment but by pure determination, change in mind-set, refusal to accept the "C" label, and who laughed themselves well. They ensured that they lived each day having fun, making fun, and being fun.

Of course, each individual is different and many do choose to go the route of medicine, and that is truly up to the individual, but even so, laugh... have fun... be fun... just live with a lightness in your heart and a smile on your soul.

That's how I choose to live my life.

Here's the little silly video my husband and I made tonight... Hope it makes you chuckle.

©Leyla Hur
All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sai Baba and Me

"Love all, serve all; help ever, hurt never." 
~ Sathya Sai Baba

On Easter Sunday morning, many around the world woke up to the joy of  the knowledge of the Resurrection of their Lord and Saviour. Many around the world got dressed in their finest clothes to attend services in their
Sathya Sai Baba
local churches celebrating the life and the works of Jesus the Christ. It was a day of celebration, it was a day of renewal, a day of life, and a day of rebirth.

During this same time, many people around the world awoke to the sad news that their beloved Swami Sathya Sai Baba had passed from this incarnation in India.

It was news that saddened me also. And it was me who would have to break this news to my already grieving mother.

Sai Baba has featured largely in my life  for my entire life. My mother became a devotee of his back in the 1970s when I was still a little girl. I have memories of Thursday evening bhajan's (type of Indian devotional song) at the Sai Center in Tsim Sha Tsui (Hong Kong), a tiny apartment with all the bedroom walls knocked out to make a "hall" of types where we sat, women on one side of the room, and men on the other, singing, chanting, meditating, clapping, laughing, and "feeling".

I remember afterwards receiving little candies that Baba had materialized and someone had brought back from a recent trip to his Ashram in Puttaparthi, or other little sweet delights that just brought a delightful end to a meaningful prayer session.

It was a life in which I grew up, and it fit in perfectly with every other aspect of my life.

Sai Baba's photos were found throughout our home, to the degree that sometimes I'd bring a new friend home, and they would ask if he was my father!

Sai Baba's teachings were not of religion, or which religion was "right" and which was "wrong" as so often we encounter within the bonds of religion. His was a teaching of peace, of love, of acceptance of all human beings regardless of colour, religion, society status, sexual orientation, it was not about the mundane things of the world that so many of us hold to, it was higher, deeper, elevated. He taught that he was God as we are all God; "I am God. You too are God. The only difference between you and me is that while I am aware of it, you are completely unaware." It is something that I have taught often.

And it was because of these teachings that people from all walks of life, from all over the world, celebrity (the likes of Goldie Hawn, Ricky Martin, Issac Tigrett [founder of The Hard Rock Cafe], cricket champion Sachin Tendulkar, to name only a few) and common-man alike, turned to him and learned from him, and enriched their lives because of applying his teachings.

Baba said “Life is a challenge, meet it! Life is a dream, realize it! Life is a game, play it! Life is Love, enjoy it!” It was under this mantra, that I grew up, I learned, and I lived; and I continue to do so to this day, and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

He truly was a miracle man and did perform many miracles. Two very dear friends of my Mum and avid-devotees had experiences that were almost unbelievable had I not witnessed them with my own eyes. Knowing these women, I knew them to be honest, upstanding, and absolute in their faith.

One friend was lent a photo of Baba from another friend who had recently been to his ashram and who had received a materialized medallion (a blessing) from Baba. The photo was framed and at the time, the lady to
whom this photo was lent was praying for a miracle to occur. Each night she prayed and each morning she prayed. One day she found that on the photo itself (inside the glass) was forming the holy ash that Sai Baba is known to materialize, vibhuti. By the time I saw the photo, the ash was thick under the glass and was covering most of the photo. It was truly an amazing miracle.

An example of the miracle of Sai Baba's vibhuti manifesting
in photos
After returning that particular photo to the original owner, she purchased another photo and she has had the new photo continuing to manifest vibhuti on it, under the glass.

When I wrote to inform her of Baba's passing, she told me that that very morning, the vibhuti  from Baba's head on her photo had disappeared and she had wondered why.

Another friend, we knew in Malaysia, was also a devout devotee. She woke up one morning to find ash all through her house, the more she swept and cleaned, the more materialized. Once again, if I had not seen it for myself and with my own eyes, I would not have believed it, or at least questioned it.

Baba manifesting vibhuti
Baba was a huge part of my life. He still is. I have experienced my own miracles with him, those that I still hold close to me. This week, Baba left this incarnation. While he left this physical presence, he is closer to us now than he was ever before. His miracles will continue. His life will continue in all of us who are devotees of his message, his works, and his life. He can never die, as long as we continue.

It is said he will return, be reincarnated as Prema Sai Baba which will be the third and last of the triple Avatar incarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba.

Prema Sai Baba
"Sathya Sai Baba made several claims about when Prema Sai Baba will be born - estimates range from one year after his death (which would mean 2012) to eight years after (which would mean 2019). Prema Sai "will be born in Karnataka (the old Mysore State), at a place between Bangalore and the city of Mysore". Some of Sai Baba's devotees add that he once said that Prema Sai Baba will be born and/or live in or near Srirangapatna. Sathya Sai Baba died on April 24, 2011 at age 84 (though he considered himself to be 85 as he was in his 85th year)." [Source]

I believe he lives on. I continue to live by his teachings, they make sense, they traverse the bounds of religion and apply to all mankind. While my tears fall at his passing from this physical incarnation, I do take comfort in the knowing that he was such a great part of my life and that much of my life and how I live it, is because of his teachings of peace and love.

On the day that many around the Christian-world celebrated the Resurrection and eternal life of their Saviour, we mark the life and journey of Sathya Sai Baba, and his entrance in to eternal life. It was an auspicious day for his departure from this incarnation, and lends many devotees to the belief that he truly was an incarnation of Jesus who returned Home, chosen on that specific day.

Whatever the truth behind it is, he no longer walks among us in the physical, and many over time have chosen their own beliefs about Sai Baba, but those of us who knew, who love, and who believe, all we can do is repeat back to you the words of this great Avatar “Before you speak, think -Is it necessary? Is it true? Is it kind? Will it hurt anyone? Will it improve on the silence?”

Jai Sai Ram. Om Sai Ram. Sri Sai Ram. Shanti, Shanti Om.

©Leyla Hur
All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Life's Curveball

Life changes in an instant.

I have had this experience too many times to recount.

I remember waking up one morning in 1999 to find my husband missing. Several days of worry and wonder at where he was "this time" came to an end when, three days later I woke up to news that he had killed himself.

In July 2010, I woke up one morning and went about my day, only to receive a phone call in the afternoon with news that my beloved father had died suddenly.

This morning, I woke up, began my day, had several things I was going to accomplish, and then learned news that my dearest friend had been in a severe accident.

The point I am trying to make is not what happened to these individuals, the point is how do we deal when we are faced with such situations. The point is examining ourselves up until the point of devastating news. The point is making a mark that matters each and every moment of our lives. The point is telling those you love "I love you" at every opportunity, and truly mean it from the bottom of your heart. The point is loving our Selves deeply, truly, and completely and being OK with our Selves no matter what is happening in our environment.

While I am still reeling from the news of this day, and I try to find my balance within the day, I can't help but think of the events leading up to the day.

While it is true that I am not living in someone else's brain and am not God to be omnipotent and know everything, I still ponder... that is a normal human emotional reaction to question.

As humans, we feel we need to know the answers to everything at every given moment, especially when we are affected. But to what end?

As humans we ask "why?" and "How could this be?" to that point that we often drive ourselves crazy, and sometimes driving ourselves into faithlessness, anger, and hatred. While these are "normal" human reactions to situations, we must also know when to let go and let it just be.

This is one of the hardest things to do. To not allow our minds to drive us to places of craziness in over-thinking, over-analysing, and over-doing. Sometimes, things are just as they are; there is always a reason, but maybe that reason is not ours to know (just yet). Maybe it is not ours to know ever.

Re-playing situations and events out in our minds over and over again, does not change the outcome. Learning from a situation can better help us understand ourselves and our reaction to the event. Will it make a difference for further events should they arise, it can and sometimes it doesn't as human emotion can sometimes outweigh and overcome rational thought.

Getting locked and lost in a moment of time, without it being able to change the outcome, just holds us back from the reason for being in the exact place and time we were when the event or situation happened.

Nothing happens to us without reason. It might not be our reason, and to understand this, one has to go outside of themselves to accept that there may possibly be a greater energy force at play.

After my first husband killed himself, I became homeless within 2 1/2 days. For a long time, I got lost in the "whys" and "how comes" and "what could I do differently's". The fact remained that nothing I could have done would have saved his life if HE did not want it to be saved. At the time, there was nothing I could do to change the situation to which I became homeless.

What I learned from that experience was that life sends us curve-balls, sometimes on a more continual basis. Maybe the curve-balls are sent to show us how strong we are to overcome. Maybe they are sent to change us from one situation to another (one path to another) that is more suited to us. Most often, the curve-balls are not easy to bear. They are not fun. They are uncomfortable, but that is why they are called "curve-balls". How we deal with them is the key to our learning and our growth.

Each of us has potential for growth. If we did not, we would not still be in this life, walking the path of a human being. But sadly, too many of us get locked in to place. We get locked in to the situation and life we are in, because change is scary, uncomfortable, and at times too difficult to grapple with.

Too many of us get stuck. We may not like the situations we are in, but we are more comfortable staying the course of the known, than traversing the path of the unknown and potentially experiencing something amazing.

There is a saying about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. Sometimes it is. But if we are not willing to explore, and take a chance, take a risk, we will never know. We will only dream of the rumours that occur.

Sometimes, we take that leap of faith and find ourselves standing in a briar patch. That is OK too because often it is not the destination, but the journey to the destination that is where the learning and the experience comes.

Once our minds are expanded, they can never constrict back to where they once were.

The more we ask "why" from an outside source, and the less we ask "why" within ourselves and then traverse a path of learning to understand what OUR "why" is, the more we will continue to be locked in the groove we have created for ourselves.

When things happen "to us", we can shut ourselves down and shut everyone out, and get lost within the constant loop of replaying what happened; or we can jump off the wheel that is spinning furiously around us, and create a positive change in our life.

Death is never an answer to that change. It leaves behind a trail of unendings, pain, more questions, and cyclular events. It traps others into a web of attitude and devastation.

When death occurs in the natural frame work of time, it is more easily understood and more readily answered. But the taking of ones life, the thought of taking ones life, is not an answer.

Death does not end our current situation, but rather it perpetuates it on a grander scale. This experience of life is for learning, for gathering information, and for experiencing everything - including some of the most difficult and painful moments. To take away that life sends us into a tailspin of having to address the issues in a different place, a different time, but nevertheless still having to address them.

Death is easy. The contemplation of dying is the hardest part. The actual death process is easy. I know, I have done it time and time again.

I too have contemplated, gotten lost in the depths of misery, and attempted to take my own life on more than a few occasions. Once the mind is made up, everything else is easy.

But it is not worth it. The consequences, the climbing back, is all the more difficult than starting to create a change in environment, attitude, and visualization right where one is standing now.

I understand this issue from both sides of the fence, having done it and having it done "to" me. And I have learned some of my greatest lessons from it.

When that black cloud of despair, depression, and pain lifts, and the light begins to infiltrate again, perspectives change.

If that black, suffocating, pain-filled cloud is settling around you right now; burst through your own emotions, find that determination within yourself and seek a positive and creative change. Do not get lost in it, do not get trapped in it. There is a greater answer, a more positive solution and that curve-ball CAN be caught, and then ran with.

Know that you are NEVER alone. You are of infinite worth. You are a precious commodity here upon this earth to share of your Self, your Light, your Love, and your wisdom and knowledge with others. Each one of us has just cause to be here at this very moment in time and at this very place. There is only one way to go from here, and that it up the path of learning, success, and to do it with love.

YOU are loved beyond your greatest imaginings and you are NEEDED beyond that which you can comprehend, and so often by those who do not voice it. Hold to that truth and that knowledge and keep walking the path, it WILL get easier in time, I promise you this.

I celebrate YOU in ALL your glory, your beauty, your wisdom, your Being-ness. Please take a moment to look in the mirror and celebrate and love YOU as I see you and love you.

Celebrating your magnificence!

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

United States National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Australia Lifeline: 131114
Samaritans UK: 08457 90 90 90
Samaritans ROI: 1850 60 90 90
Samaritans Hong Kong: 23822007

INTERNATIONAL World-Wide Suicide & Crisis Hotlines:

©Leyla Hur
All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Springtime Ecstasy

Today is a glorious Sunday in the Valley of the Sun.

After yesterday's rain, hail, and cold temperatures it has freshened things up. The wind is blowing a little more than lightly and it sings its song through the leaves of the trees, and dances off the wind chimes whose soft voice intermingles with the sweet song of the birds chirping away.

The breeze is cool, the skies, a brilliant azure with a puff of white cloud here and there. It is a sky that one can get lost in as it draws you in to its beauty and depth. Stories of the ages whispered into your being as you raise further and further into the magic of the vortex.

I dream of laying out on the lush green grass in the garden, its softness awakening my senses as I feel the little bristles of individual blades of grass gently poking my bare skin. The wind rushes over me while the sun touches my skin in the places the cool breeze has brushed, lending it warmth to the game. It is an erotic dance of the senses, hot and cold licking and teasing my body. Mother Nature in her finest and Spring-time truly bursting forth in a dance of fertility, love, and passion. This dance raises in fervor until the shudder of chills and ecstasy bursts in pure energy orgasm, delighting the senses intermingling with the theme of the season,  amplifying the intensity in the beauty of this day.  

Spring-time moments of beauty, passion, and enjoyment are what entice me on this beautiful Sunday.

Taking a mere moment in reflection of the nature that is around us, the passion in the season, the beauty of the moment, and the enjoyment that is life.

©Leyla Hur
All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bald IS Beautiful!

[First posted June 15th 2010]

Last week I made a mega decision to create an indelible change in my life. It was not only a physical change, but one which I knew would have to come with an attitude because it was a change that would… garner looks.

I questioned myself, my reasons, and if I truly had the “guts” to go through with it. Not only that, but I questioned where this idea had come from.

So what was this huge change in my life?

I shaved my hair!

Many have asked me why I did it, my mother completely freaked out, whereas others think its “cool”.

So, why did I do it?

My husband and I have joked that maybe I am going through a ‘mid-life crisis’, but it goes much deeper than that.

I believe that during the course of a person’s life, one goes through different “phases”. In each phase, change occurs; sometimes this change is intense and creates a massive wave, while other times it is subtle, sometimes so subtle that many don’t even notice it.

The point of the change is not the magnitude of the physical change (if there are any), but rather the change that is created on the inside, the change which creates an expansion of the individuals mind and environment.

In each phase, the individual goes through a “finding myself” stage. This does not necessarily mean that through the previous years the person does not know who they are, but sometimes it does. But what I apply to this stage is the finding of who the person is in this new stage of their life, and helping them with expansion of the mind in experience, learning, and opportunity.

Like almost every person on this planet, I have followed societies stigma of who to be, how to be, what to be, when to be, etc. My parents instilled these “rules of society” deep within me. Mother often teaching me what a “lady” can do and what she must never do; and shaving one’s hair is definitely not a “norm” in society.

While I lived this life of being the person that everyone expected me to be, I kept a large part of myself buried.

In the past several months, I have had some pretty dramatic health scares and major changes in my life. These situations often bring people to start examining their lives and looking at parts of themselves that they had not truly explored before. We often hear of such stories from individuals who “give everything up” to follow their dream of acting, or singing, or sports. Are they truly “giving everything up”, or are they simply expanding their horizons and adding a new dimension to their Being-ness?

As I examined the dimensions of my Self that I wanted to explore and create as a part of my Being, I felt this person aching to burst forward; and I literally felt this as a pain in the middle of my chest… my heart chakra area.

Many of my friends’ first questions to me when they see me for the first time are 1) Why and 2) What does your husband think?

And I know that this is just human society's rules, but I am left wondering WHY are they asking what my husband thinks? Why is that so important? As if what he thinks is the deciding factor for their opinion on the matter.

It leaves me believing that we are still living in a world where the opinion of one’s husband is more important than the support of one’s independent decision.

So, let me put to rest your own burning question; my husband was extremely supportive of my decision, in fact, he not only encouraged it, but he is the one who took the clippers to my hair and took it all off for me! He loves it!

The other question I am asked is “how do YOU like it?”

A very reasonable question; because the decision to cut one’s locks, especially when they have been half-way down ones back, is a huge one… take it one step further and take it all off… Now we enter a whole new arena, one of being “brave”.

So, how do I like it?

I don’t…

I LOVE it!!!

This is where it gets strangely amazing, I feel more beautiful today as I sit here typing sans hair (oh yes, we just shaved it again as it had started to get “long”), than how I have ever felt with hair on a “good hair day”!

I not only feel beautiful, I feel empowered, brave, strong, and fearless.

This brings me to the story of Samson. They say all his strength lay in his hair; well he must have truly been one vain guy to feel the need for long locks to have that intensity of strength, because I feel that same intensity now that I am hairless! ;o)

I have had quite a few good inside chuckles this past week living as a bald woman, going out proudly displaying my lack of hair; the first was the day after I had shaved it off, and we were in a department store. Of course, as human curiosity is such, I was garnering quite a few looks… and even more stares; my husband instinctively put his arm around my waist as we walked. Normally, my husband will hold my hand, but this sudden lack of hair and complete “exposure” to the world brought out his protective nature.

It is really very amazing how society deems what is “right” and what is not “quite right”; I have keenly observed individuals reactions to my lack of locks and how different age groups react. Children up to about the age of 10 don’t seem to care. They either don’t look, or they see ME and not what is “missing”.

Two great examples happened on Thursday night while attending a wake, and Saturday afternoon when visiting friends. On Thursday night, I was introduced to the six year old Great Grandson of the lady who had passed, and he and I engaged in a bit of a conversation; not once did his eyes venture to the top of my head and he carried on his portion of the conversation without any questions. On Saturday, while visiting friends, their three year old daughter carried on speaking with me as she has done in the past without any notice that suddenly I had something missing, or different.

And as I observe children, they don’t seem to notice anything different. But when observing teenagers, they openly stop in their tracks to stare. They nudge one another and point me out. They speak to me but can’t seem to move their eyes down from the top of my head to my eyes. To this age range, I must seem a freak of nature.

Adults are fun! They look but try to make it seem like they are not looking. Sideways glances, quick observances – several times in succession; looks of compassion, questioning, and the indelible “why?” looks.  Other’s will be polite in their conversation, but don’t dare to ask. Many will think I’ve either got cancer, or I am a lesbian, a skin head, or I am just bonkers.

So my question is this; so what if I have cancer? Or if I am a lesbian? Or that I am just bonkers? I won’t answer the “skin head” debate considering that I am of so much mixed blood the idea that I could possibly be prejudiced or racist is just ludicrous.  Plus, research has shown that we ALL originate from Africa, so my argument to skinheads and radical racists is that they are simply hating what is in the mirror!

If I did have cancer, is it my responsibility to somehow find a covering to hide my bare head? Is having cancer still such a stigma, or is it that people just don’t want to be reminded that there are such illnesses in the world?

If I were a lesbian, would it be imperative that I be lopped into a stereotype? Does it automatically mean that I am the “butch” in the relationship? Interestingly enough, all my friends who are lesbian tell me that there is not one or other “above” in the partnership, that theirs is equality across the board. Does that tell us something about the way “normal” heterosexual couples are in their relationships, that one is “more equal” than the other?

And what if; shock, horror, gasp; I have chosen this look on my own volition? Does this deem me a mad-hatter? A loony? Someone who should immediately seek psychiatric help because there is obviously something “wrong” with me?

My mother’s belief, once she had gotten over the initial shock and horror of the “news”, is that I should stay locked away in my house until it all grows back. Or that if I should venture out, oh the horror of that; I should cover my head with hats, scarves, turbans, or wigs.

So I guess it comes down to this; what deems beauty? Does a full head of hair make a woman more beautiful? Society seems to think this. But how then does one answer that my lack of hair has made me feel more beautiful, more confident than I ever have in my life previously (and I’ve been pretty well-grounded in that area in my past)?

I read an article about female celebrities who had decided to take it all off, and an “expert” suggesting that this is ‘not for everyone’, that it takes a certain characteristic to carry it off. Someone who is bold, outrageous, generally courageous are those who can carry it off perfectly; of course along with someone who has an “oval” or “heart-shaped” face. BOLLOCKS!

In taking my hair off, it has CAUSED me to feel braver, bolder, more courageous, and more outrageous; it has CREATED this, NOT the other way round!

I think the most amazing part of this whole experience are the number of girlfriends who have told me that they have “secretly” wanted to do this for years, but never had “the guts to”.

What has also been inspiring is to hear how many friends, and fans, have told me how beautiful I am. Several have told me how shocked they are that I am as beautiful as I am because they were concerned how it would suit me.
In the end, I did this for me; many deep reasons which are incredibly personal, and for some that I have shared. And I hope that in my actions it will empower others to take that chance that they have wanted to do for a long time.

Look, life is short, and if we don’t step outside of our comfort zone to create something amazing, then we’ll end up having regrets. Just do it. Whatever it is that you have been itching to do, just create the experience; and if you don’t love it, stop; but no matter what, I promise you that you will love YOU for taking the risk, stepping outside of your norm, and having an experience!

Thoughts without action are meaningless! If you don’t try something new, you will never know, and isn’t it better to know something, and know if you like or dislike it, and being completely ignorant of the fact? It’s not about doing it for anyone else, it’s all about doing it for you and where it can take you.

©Leyla Hur
All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

Take the Plunge!

[First Posted June 16th 2010]

Have you ever stepped to the edge of a diving board, your stomach in knots with anticipation, but yet you hold back from jumping?

The knots in your stomach turn into butterflies of excitement at the prospect of diving off this small plank, and embraced into the arms of the water below you, but still you hold back.

Or have you ever appeared in a play, and just before your scene, your stomach in complete turmoil, nerves and shakes rack your body, you know that you simply must proceed forward, there is no turning back as you stand on the stage and the curtain raises.

Often, we have a burning desire to do something in life... maybe its walking up to that cute guy, or girl, and saying "Hi" with the hopes that it'll go somewhere; or maybe applying for the job that you have dreamed about since you were knee-high to a grasshopper.

Have you ever stood on that diving board, and the nerves over come you and you turn around and walk back to the safety of solid ground?

Have you fled the rising curtain, or allowed fear to overcome you to mute your mouth?

Did you kick yourself for not saying "Hi" to that cute guy (or girl); or not applied for that dream job?

Why did you turn away from progression? Was it fear that held you back? Was it words of others etched deep within your psyche which caused to you believe that you simply "couldn't"?

If you did not already know this, those butterflies, the knots, they are nothing more than the adrenaline coursing through you and pooling in your center. Adrenaline usually works to push you to jump, make the move, take that risk; but too often we allow self-defeating thoughts, fears, and others words and ideals to hold us back.

How do you think it would feel to live a life without regret, without turning around and walking away from the experience you wish for? What if we could progress on a journey where we only walked forward?

The truth is, we ARE on that journey of progressing forward, we actually don't go backwards, that is nothing more than a state of mind that creates an illusion of "two steps forward, five steps backwards"... those two steps forward is the expansion in the experiences in your life. Have you ever been on one of those moving pavements? When you step on to them, they carry you forward, life is akin to this.When we seemingly "go backwards" we are simply halting ourselves for the forward journey, which we are already on anyway, and we revise the past. I believe that we do that to learn the lessons we have missed.

I have been thinking about this a lot recently. Maybe it's the lack of hair that has lifted any "clouding" on my thoughts, who knows, but I do know that I've had quite a few experiences lately where I have been told that I move forward so much, but then go backwards.

Hmph... this was something I needed to truly examine. How often have I been on the very verge of letting certain thoughts flow out of my mouth which would change so much in my life, or stood on the edge of the diving board only to fight my way through the crowd to get back to solid ground? And don't get me wrong, sometimes holding back is a good thing; but unless we experience the bad together with the good, we will never know.

How many times over the years have I been bursting to express my artistic side only to hold back because it wouldn't be approved on by society?

How many times have I walked forward from the abuse in my first marriage and in other aspects of my life, having clarity of revelation, only to walk straight back into the same cycle of abuse; maybe on a very different scale, but abuse nonetheless?

But was I truly taking backward steps? No, I don't think so. But what I do believe is that I was recreating an experience because there were things I had not yet learned and so I'd revisit those times to find different outcomes and new revelations about who I was, and how far I had truly come.

There have been some around me who feel that I live in a cycle that trends; my shaving my hair was a definite reminder to break out of that cycle. And yes, I certainly DID feel those nerves and butterflies when my husband was shaving my hair off, but taking that plunge was so worth it.

So I ask you, what is it that you desire but lack that courage to move forward? What is stopping you and why?

Since I posted my last blog about 24-hours ago, I've had several emails from women who have expressed to me that they were right on the edge of that diving board, that they had been there for a while, but fear had prevented them from taking the plunge.

Gosh, how many years do we want to stand on the edge and not take that plunge? The experience of jumping freely into oblivion is exhilarating, freeing, empowering.

Stop putting the emotional road blocks in front of you and just take the plunge. Whether the plunge you want to take is successful or not is not the focus, the fact that you took action is most important.

Imagine if I really hated the way I looked bald. I still would not have any regrets, and I'll tell you why... for one, I know that hair grows back and I could simply walk around with hats and scarves for a few weeks, or even invest in a wig or two and see how that worked out. And two, the fact that I DID it, I took the chance, jumped into the water and felt that feeling of soaring coarse through my body, was worth it.

So if you want to say "Hi" to that cute guy or girl, and even go as far as ask them out; just do it. If they reject you, so what? YOU extended yourself out of your comfort zone and you did it. Their answer is only the second part of the experience, the main experience is that you did it. And hey, a date is not a marriage proposal and life-time commitment!

If you apply for that dream job and hate it, well you know that it was not for you; but the thing is is that you KNOW.

Several years ago, I was reading a book and a in a part of the book (which was written by an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi), he expressed that he did not believe in God. Initially a shock factor to hear such a devout man saying he did not believe in the presence of a being that he professes to on a daily basis; however, he went on to explain that he did not believe because belief leaves room for doubt, rather he KNEW God existed, because when you know something, there leaves no more room for doubt or question.

With that, I encourage you to experience everything in your life; feeleverything, each emotion, each experience, everything, because then you willknow what you truly like and dislike, therefore truly knowing YOU.

In the movie "Yes Man", Jim Carey's character attends a seminar and he is given the challenge to say "yes" to everything, every opportunity, every question, everything. While the movie takes it to a different extreme, the premise that is important is to see how his life changed and how much happier he was, how his horizons expanded with each new experience. I encourage you to take a week, or two, or three and say "Yes" to those things that you might not ordinarily say "yes" to; within legal reason of course.

Life is about having fun. Life IS fun, but we just limit ourselves, we place stereotypes on ourselves and others, and we conform to what others thoughts of "normalcy" is. Even for just one day, let things slide off your back, smile often, laugh even more, take at least one step out side of your comfort zone and see how you feel. If you like it, do it again tomorrow, and the day after; and record how you feel, how things in your psyche and environment change, how people around you change in reaction to your change.

I'd love to hear your comments, thoughts, and experiences, so please feel free to leave them for me below.

Celebrating your magnificence!

©Leyla Hur
All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

Confession of Bad Hair Days

[First Posted June 18th 2010]

Last year, I was interviewed by a freelance journalist asking my opinion of individuals applying for jobs who were, either bald or balding. They asked me, what advice I could give as an Empowerment Consultant to individuals who were having confidence issues when applying for a job because of their hair, or lack thereof.

I have been thinking about this situation during this last week. At the time I was contacted, I had a full head of hair, but I had been going through my own very private self-conscious shame and pain as my own hair had been thinning considerably since being ill in ’01 and ’02; and after the coma in ’02 it seemed to be coming out in clumps.

In my youth, I had a thick head of hair, so thick in fact that my Mum had difficulty getting the “bubble” around my ponytail. My hair was often talked about in such a way that I would sway from feelings of guilt because I had so much “more” than some of the older lady friends who visited us, to feelings of pride at how thick and lush it was.

As a teenager, I experimented with lightening my hair (much to my mother’s chagrin), and I’d cut it short a few times. The first time when I was 11 and the “Princess Diana-look” was popular; I loved that hair-do.

Then I started puberty, and my hair “suffered” with extreme oiliness. I was told so many different things, from washing it twice a day to not washing it for several days, washing it with vinegar, rinsing it with beer, bleaching it, etc… nothing worked, and I had to learn to manage with having constant “bad hair days”, as almost every high school photo mercilessly showed.

But always, my hair was a main focal point. My mother always raved about it, and styled it in ways that would make me cringe, and sadly I have too many photos that remind me of those moments in humiliation when “the comb” was brought out.

In my early 20s, I entered into the world of modeling and my very first “gig” was a hair show. They loved the length of my hair, the colour, the thickness, the healthiness and thought that my hair… along with my “look” was a perfect marriage for their show.

So, the bunch of us girls who were “hand-picked” were loaded into a van and driven to a hotel and herded into a room that had been transformed from a simple bedroom to a full blown salon; with the bathtub serving as the “hair washing” station.

My hair was cut, permed, and rolled into tiny rolls and pinned to my head. I was told to not take the pins out that night, to basically sleep sitting up so as not to mess the “process”, and to arrive early the next morning so that they could maneuver these little curl rolls into the fabulous “do” which I was to model. Yes, the things we have done to satisfy vanity, not just our own, but others as well.

And as had often been the case over the years when I had my hair done, it look great – at first; but then, a day later… I had to wash my hair. From the moment hair dryer hit hair I was left with a fuzzy nest on top of my head, with long strands hanging down at the nape of my neck. I now had to figure out what to do with the fuzz… too short to roll into a bun, I lived with hats covering my head for the next several weeks, until finally I could stand it no longer and chopped off the long strands, leaving my hair with a cute curly bob reminiscent of when I was 16 – this, I knew what to do with.

The thought of shaving it all off and letting it “start again” never even crossed my mind in those days, that was an extreme left to those who had had chemo or alopecia, not me; I was, after all, a model and I NEEDED my hair. Of course, in those days’ super models that graced the runways sans hair was not quite the rave; sheesh having a tattoo automatically rendered one “undesirable” for the modeling world; so no hair… not even an option. How far we have come!

Years later, as my hair began to thin, I was so self-conscious about it that I had a classic ‘comb-over’, only having long hair and being a woman, it was carried well. But even still, I would often have my husband check my hair to make sure all the “bald spots” were covered well while we were out.

It was a silent shame that I lived with for many years. I could not even contemplate a “short cut” because I feared that it would not leave enough for cover up.

The norms of society dictated that my having thinning hair was something I had to fear, something I had to feel shame about – as if it was a situation which I had created all on my very own.

I started seeing more and more women whose hair was thinning, and each time, I felt this overwhelming fear that eventually that would be me.

While I was empowering people in my day-to-day life, I had this incredible deep secret that I shielded from the world.

In the interview, I had mentioned that having a bald head was not what was important but rather the manner in which a person carried themselves. Even referring back to my years when I had worked as a headhunter (Executive Search) in Hong Kong, and the scrutinizing way we looked at people; we looked at their grooming, their presentation, and the confidence with which they carried themselves. Balding heads were never commented about as it was never seen as a flaw, especially if a person had confidence in themselves and their abilities.

But that was “everyone else” and I was not them; this was my own very private nightmare, and I felt like I was drowning in the fear that people could “see” this flaw and, I confess that, I felt shamed not only at feeling like it was a flaw, but also that it was actually happening to me.

Hair is deemed by society as such an important part of a person’s makeup. In some cultures it’s the worth of a human being, in other cultures it’s the measure of a person’s virility and fertility. My own fertility issues came into question and I wondered if my losing hair was actually telling me that I was useless and the world could see this, I mean it’s not like I had any children to show them otherwise, right?

This deeply private secret was crippling me in so many ways, and it began to hound in on my personal life and relationships. Hair products were my best friend and each trip to the salon, I’d ask if there was anything I could do or take to help re-grow my hair to its original thickness. I even contemplated using Rogaine until a friend gave me her theory of it causing hair to start growing in places other than where it was intended as it’d run off to such places while in the shower. I investigated hair plugs, hair transplants, weaves, extensions; but each step had its own side effects which could be devastating. Each trip to the salon was made by special arrangement to go and have my hair styled when the shop was closed so that no one would know my personal shame.

The more I delved in to my work, motivating and empowering people, the deeper my insides sunk as I felt like I was somehow being deceptive. I mean, how could I be motivating and empowering people when I was struggling with my own, very real and devastating issues?

After I was diagnosed with diabetes and other health ailments in September ’09, I realized that these crippling issues I was dealing with had manifested themselves into physical dis-abilities. It was around the same time when I came to this realization that I began to get flashbacks to abuse I had suffered in my past; abuse that was outside of my previous abusive marriage, abuse that extended far into my earliest cognitive memories. I tried to understand why… HOW… I had attracted to me the kind of man who would abuse me in the way he had. In my digging deep, I came to many deeply painful realizations. I saw how my life pattern had been developed and the pattern I had continued to follow.

I saw how I was intensely controlling of myself and of those closest to me. I saw how I was repeating patterns which I had vowed to never allow into my life again. In many instances, I would speak and I would no longer hear my own voice, but the voice/words of those who had oppressed me. And while I was doing it all under the guise of love and caring, it helped me to understand where the originators had come from also.

Often, abuse is not characterized by individual’s intent on hurting or abusing; and any therapist will tell you that abuse stems from the need for power and control. Most often, these individuals don’t realize that they are acting out the role of abuser. Parents can fall into this category, often under the guise of love and protection which they believe they are carrying out. They work with the best that they have, the knowledge that they are given in their own up-bringing, the views of the world and their protective instincts to shield their beloved child from the pain and hurts of the world. Sometimes, the best intentions can cause a situation which leads to a life of confusion, lack of self-esteem, complexes and more in the very individuals whom parents had sought to protect from these emotions and experiences.

For many, realization of abuse leads to blame, hate, anger, sadness, and many other emotions; and I admit that my own realizations lead to many of the same emotions. The things I am most grateful for is a loving and understanding husband, who is emotionally extremely healthy who is always there to help me steer my course without taking the reins; as well as my own background in empowerment consulting, specifically helping individuals find their truth, moving past the bubble of prior abuse, and turning obstacles into opportunity.

I admit, when I first broached the idea in my mind about shaving my hair off, it was done so in jest – a running joke within my own psyche, the 15-year-old in me that was rebelling against my mother and “the establishment” and what they would have thought.

The more the thought came to me, the more I realized that the thought was not my own; but rather something being filtered in by some unknown force…  The more I examined this absurd thought and in asking why on earth I would actually do this, the more I received the strong and solid answer that if I found that braveness within myself, I would be doing this for no one other than me. Maybe this was the final step in letting go, releasing, creating the positive change and seeing the constant reminder WHY.

Usually, I am someone who does things immediately and then figure it out as I am on the path. This was actually one of the first times in my life where I really examined an idea, weighed it out. Of course, I could not know what the outcome would be until I had experienced it; if I hated it what would be my reaction? What if it looked like crap? It wouldn’t be as if I could simply glue it back on. I had to weigh everything up and be absolute when I made the commitment… IF I were to make the commitment.

The process evolved naturally for me.

And on a day which had been particularly bad for me emotionally, I discussed my thoughts and feelings with my husband, my best friend and confidant, and reveled to him my desire to shave my hair. When I had initially thought about it, and envisioned my conversation, I had seen him adamantly talking me out of such a drastic move. I almost found comfort in thinking that he would be the voice of reason and would talk me out of something “crazy”, because it was a crazy thought after-all, right?

He asked the right questions, made alternative suggestions, but he was not in shock or horror at my private revelation. It surprised me especially considering here is a man who, when I broached an idea of cutting my hair short, told me “NO” in no uncertain terms. He loved my long hair, didn’t even see the thinning; so why on earth would he allow me to shave it all off and be bald?

When he was convinced that I had thought it through, he told me that he supported me in all my decisions.

I was happy at his support, but also a little taken aback.

Hang on here; he was supposed to be my voice of reason! He was my “back-out plan”; this was not what I was expecting.  What the flip?!

So now I had to examine this new emotion. Did I really want to do this? Was I ready? And why the hell was I doing this again?

My mind reflected and through the butterflies and nerves, I was ready.

I remember watching intently in the mirror as he took the first part off, and while I was initially shocked and thought “well, if we stop now, I can still hide it”, but as he took more and more off, there was an intense feeling of relief and release.

The moment I saw myself for the first time without hair, I smiled. I had prepared myself for tears, possibly for regret, but nothing could prepare me for the intensity of joy which I felt at seeing myself. For the very first time in my life, I truly, deeply, resolutely felt beautiful.

I had always known I was attractive, remembered turning heads in my late teens and twenties, but truly KNOW I was beautiful? The tears that suddenly sprang to my eyes was one of the intensity of joy at seeing, for the first time, the way that God see’s.

People have questioned me when I have mentioned that for the first time in my life, I truly feel beautiful, so they say “and you feel this way WITHOUT hair?!”

In my standing bare before people, without any coverings to shield me, or to hide my secrets; I feel lighter, I feel happier, healthier, more complete.

And while I am still working through many emotions dealing with my past, my understanding of many of the reasoning has helped me love my parents with a completely different passion and intensity. While there will always be things that I disagree with, I understand. I don’t see them as these foreboding people whom I had a love/resent relationship with; if anything, I feel for them. I see them for the first time, and I feel for their pain because for the very things they worked so hard to shelter me from, I experienced firsthand. But I don’t regret my decisions and experiencing these things because had I not, I don’t think I would have been able to be the person I am today. Yes, at the time, it was devastating, and I did have regrets; but as time can tell, each made me stronger, helped make me well-rounded, open-minded, and non-judgmental.

I have not spoken with my parents about my past, my experiences with them, my feelings, or my realizations; I don’t think it would be advantageous, but rather would have an adverse conclusion. But just because I will not carry out what most therapists would advise as being “closure”, I have already done that in my own way, and I don’t think that saying things which would hurt and confuse would have any merit.

What I have learned, I have learned for me, for those in my immediate environment, for you, and for those who will come in to contact with me at some later place in time.

©Leyla Hur
All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

She Said "Change Will Happen"...

[First posted July 21st 2010]

It has been a few weeks since I last sat down to write anything, and the reason being was that I've had a lot of things to deal with and a lot of soul searching.

When I first shaved my hair, and posted my very first photo on my Facebook account, a very wise friend messaged me privately. After the customary compliments to how good I looked and "good thing you have a nice shaped head" (which still makes me laugh, especially when one acquaintance told me "You are SO lucky that at least you have a nice shaped head"!); she told me that there is an ancient saying that when a woman cuts her hair, she is going to experience some major changes. She followed up by wishing me the best and hoped that the changes I'd see would be positive ones.

Arrogant, and a little self-righteous in my attitude of shaving my hair, I politely responded that I had done it all for change and that the change could only be a good one.

Oh wow... how I wish I'd known then what I know now. And how many times in life have we said the exact same thing?

I did this specifically for change, but the change I figured on would be an internal change and that there would be nothing outside of me that would be affected. What I did not factor in was... the Universe.

As is always the case when we make major decisions (and follow through), the Universe is already a few steps ahead of us. When small things started to change, I embraced them and the words of my friend rang in my ear. "Okay, so maybe she's got something there", I'd say to myself.


Well, I guess I could only describe it as a mega earthquake of potentially devastating effects. The tectonic plates of my very existence shifted and things in my life would never be the same again.

When this "event" happened, it literally struck as an earthquake, out of the blue and totally caught me off guard. There had been a little "rumble" several months ago, but then the energy subsided and I had thought that the matter dealt with and simply "went away". What I did not expect that it was simply the beginning of a potential Armageddon.

The first thing to happen was anger; intense and absolute anger. The situation concerned a family member, who had been abusive and controlling my entire life. This person still attempts to control, manipulate, and abuse.

Now; interestingly, just prior to this seismic event, I had been soul searching and trying to understand why... How, I had attracted to my life such an abusive first marriage/husband. I mean, I did not grow up to expect to be married to such a man, so how did this happen?

Well, I guess I put it out there for the Universe to answer and to throw the answers in my face, shift my world, and create a massive change.

After the anger subsided, I expected to feel the sadness, the pain; but in its stead, I felt nothing. I was absolutely devoid of any real emotion for this person, and knowing my own reactions to life, and trusting in my intuition, realised that I was finally "done". I have no more emotion for this person other than them being a human being who walks this planet and who shares the same air that we all breathe. But as far as any emotional connection, they broke the final straw and sealed the deal. And I feel relieved, I feel freed; and for the first time, I am not questioning my reaction; it simply, just is.

For years, I have been able to simply let go and let God regarding many people... usually these people have been friends and any family members have been on my husband's side so that "loss" was easier to bear. And I have been coaching people to let go and let God all those individuals in their lives who drag them down, hold them down, and try to drown them and their dreams.

In my arrogance, I honestly thought that I had let go and released all these people from my life; but this event showed me different.

I really had to wrap my head around this in the past weeks since it happened. I tried to understand my emotions, my reaction, and what hold did this person have over me that allowed me time and time again to permit them back into my life, accepting them simply because they were family, but forever walking on eggshells around them. How old was I? And how old was I made to feel when I was around them, or in contact with them?

As I started to see things with the rose coloured... family coloured glasses removed; I started to see a lot more than what I bargained for. I started to see where things stemmed from, why I reacted often to things that happened around me. I began to understand. I now KNEW why I had attracted the kind of man into my life who abused me in so many different ways. When I looked more at the ways I was abused, I saw that they too mirrored what I had been "used" to. I realised that I not only came from a dysfunctional family, I came from an abusive one.

Suddenly, I was welled up with intense emotion. I could not understand the emotion which arose, and often I could not even identify it, but it was simply there. I would be laughing one minute, in sheer happiness; and the next, I was balling my eyes out.

When other members of my family decided that they wanted to "write me off", I took this as a moment of being free. For the very first time in my life, I am free. I am free to think, free to act, free to be; without consequence, without having to explain myself; I am finally free to be ME.

This was the change I had been striving for when I took my hair off, I just did not anticipate the work that would have to come with it. Not the kind of work I experienced anyway.

For the very first time in my life, I see those around me for who they truly are and what they truly are, and I am ready to let go and let God.

This process is not easy. It is wrought with pain, and anger, and emotions that one might not even be able to explain, but once you get through the storm, you can stand tall and proud and free. Those who anchor you down do not deserve to be in your life. I have learned my self-worth and I know that I don't deserve to have the kind of people in my life who are abusive, manipulative, or controlling. I deserve better; and so do you.

©Leyla Hur
All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

Emerging Butterfly

[First posted June 22nd 2010]

I am so grateful for the wonderful friends that I have around me supporting me and loving me, no matter what.

Last night, I was absolutely exhausted, and received a comment from someone who quite often does tend to push buttons. Usually, I let things slide because I know the characteristic of this person; but last night, my button was pushed... all the way. I was upset.

The comment made me think that there are some people who think that other people's actions are done simply to offend them. My lack of hair seems to be having this effect on some people.

It makes me wonder about these people. What is up with their self-consciousness or lack of self-esteem that makes them feel like they are the victim in each and every situation?

This lead me to start examining my own life and my past. There was a time when I felt so guilty for everything, even going so far as believing that if I drove past a golf course, and it was stormy, and a golfer got struck by lightening, that it would somehow be my fault.

When you read that, you may be thinking "how ridiculous"; after all, I am not God, I can not control the weather, the golfer, the decisions or anything else. I think that kind of control would actually make me Satan and not God.

As I was able to get through that time in my life, let go of the guilt, and understand where it came from; I suddenly had people enter my life who had the exact same feelings of guilt.

A healthy person reading this might then wonder what have we done in our past that is causing us to feel guilty for everything.

It's not that we have done anything, but rather influences in our lives have caused us to believe these things. So when I understand this, I can also understand individuals who are perpetual victims, who open their mouths and speak without a filter causing others to feel hurt, confused, uncomfortable, and questioning of their actions.

Are they truly self-righteous, or are they coming from a place of victimization from past influences or abuse? Some people don't realise that they have been abused as it is so subtle, but their actions towards others are reflectent of their past and how they are living their lives.

Instead of focusing on the actions and words of the other person, I have to be reminded of the lessons which I learned when I was involved in Kabbalah and was involved with the Kabbalah Center; my teacher taught me that each time I react to a situation, I am simply reacting to something within me that is being mirrored back.

Sometimes I have found the reason to be really obvious, and other times, not so much. I remember at one Kabbalah event where I worked the registration desk; this woman was very demanding and argumentative about the money that was being charged for the event. The more I tried to explain in a calm and rational manner, the more belligerent she was getting. I was very pleasant to her, but inside of myself I was steaming.

For the life of me, I could not understand how I could be getting upset with something that was mirroring my own image; I mean, I would never speak to a person like this, so what was the mirror?

I spoke with my teacher who told me that the woman was obviously displaying issues of trust, and the lack thereof. NOW the penny dropped... THIS is what I had been reacting to.

Most of my life, I have had major issues of trust. Growing up, I was taught to not trust anyone, to not speak about family secrets to anyone, and to keep myself encrusted in a cocoon with walls so thick that no-one could penetrate them.

This lack of trust affected every area of my life. I was so closed down and so angry, that I used that as a protective barrier so that no one could come in and cause more disruption to my life. In my lack of trust, I opened myself up to the worst possible person and allowed an abuser to enter and grasp a hold of my neck and squeeze the life out of me. This experience only caused my walls to thicken and my anger to deepen.

When I met my current husband, I felt a place of security and in that place of safety and security, I let myself go, just a little, and in doing that the pain and anger and all the emotions that had laid dormant for so long, began to creep out and I went through a major breakdown. For 2 1/2 years my husband and I suffered through a roller coaster of emotions, angry outbursts, and while I was letting these emotions out, I was burying even deeper ones.

As I struggled to surrender myself to the emotions buried deeply, and they resurfaced, I began to encounter more and more people who were suffering through many of the same emotions and experiences. They were uncanny and it was amazing how each of these emotions related to me. It was as if God had placed these people directly in my presence, coming to me for advice, so that I would HEAR the advice and then learn from it.

The more I opened myself up to understanding what I was going through, delving deeply to uncover the deep seeded emotions, the more that these people were coming to me; and with each person's story, another layer of my own past was uncovered and I was lead to understanding.
In my difficulty; and quite frankly, anger last night at this persons comment, I wrote to a couple of friends to express myself and vent. The advice I received back was wonderful. I did not need (or want) anyone to jump down this person's throat, I did not need anyone to bad mouth this person, what Ineeded to hear were the same words I would have told them in the same situation. I am so grateful to them for the sage advice in reminding me that in the ignorance of this individual they don't realise what they are saying and that I know who I am, and reminding me that I have done this for me. I did not do this to piss anyone off, or offend them; in fact, I did not do this for anyone at all. I am learning about a new part of who I am and why I am, what I like and don't like. I am entering a new phase in my life and I am pretty darned proud of myself.

My cocoon is thinning drastically and I am emerging as the beautiful butterfly that I am.

©Leyla Hur
All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

The Gift

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Peter.

Peter was very much like other little boys of the same age, he played ball, he told jokes, he even picked his nose and flicked his boogers. Looking at Peter, you would think that he was just another ordinary little boy.

But there was something about Peter that was so different, so amazing, and it was something that Peter was so self-conscious of, that he hid it. This special gift that Peter had was, his brilliance!

Yes, Peter was a brilliant little boy. But deep down, he knew that his brilliance could take him places, far away places, and if he allowed his brilliance to shine, he would supercede his parents and brothers and sisters, and even possibly be separated from them. This fear held Peter back, and he did not tell anyone about his brilliance, nor did he show anyone how brilliant he really was.

Over time, this secret made Peter very sad. He wanted so much to tell someone, anyone about his secret. He wanted to tell his Mum and Dad, but they were always too busy worrying about bills to pay any real attention to him.

At night, Peter would hear his Mum and Dad fight over money. He saw how unhappy money, or the lack of money, was making his parents. And he began to rage a hatred towards money.

Peter was doubly sad because he knew that if he could only have the courage to speak out and tell people about his brilliance, that he would be able to solve all of his parents problems.

One day, Peter worked up the courage to tell his Mum about his secret. He practiced all day what he would say and how he would say it. Finally, this feeling of boldness formed in the pit of his stomach... well it felt more like a boulder than boldness, but it egged him on, and it helped him move his feet, and he began to feel pride and happiness swelling in the center of his chest. This warmth grew larger and larger and it felt as if the sun itself had reached down and touched him.

Peter got right up off of the sofa and walked tall and proud into the kitchen where his mother was making dinner. "Mum, I have something to tell you."

His Mum was really busy and harried-looking; "What is it Peter? Can't you see I am busy?"

"Mum, I have a secret to tell you." His chest puffed out in pride as he finally had found the courage to let go of this deep-seeded secret.

"Well, what is it? Do you think I have all day to be standing around listening to your silly little "secrets"? Do you know all that I have to do? Do you even care? There are bills to pay and your father is too lazy to do anything about them, so not only do I have to work until sweat appears on my brow, but then I have to come home and fix dinner for all you lazy children. So tell me Peter, what is this "great secret" that you have to tell me and it better not be something ridiculous , because honestly I really have notime to listen to a bunch of dribble right now."

With each word that came out of his mother's mouth, the warm feeling in Peter's chest diminished more and more. His back began to curl as he rounded his shoulders in. His head began to droop, and he could feel the heat of tears prickling the back of his eyes.

He knew... he knew he could not tell his Mum his great secret. He knew that he had to keep it locked away within himself.

"Well..." she crossed her arms and tapped her foot waiting impatiently for Peter to answer. "What is it?"

"Nothing. Just that I love you." Peter responded.

"OK fine. You've told me your "secret", now leave me alone so I can finish dinner."

Peter walked away from the kitchen, his heart swelling to the point that it almost burst.

After that day, Peter kept this secret locked inside of him for a very long, long time.

As he grew older, he began making choices that were not so good, and he had to live through the consequences of those choices. These consequences, and the guilt that he felt over making some of the choices he had made, added to his self-doubt, his loneliness, his isolation, and his fears.

One day, Peter met a young lady, and his heart began to swell in a love that he could not understand, and he did not want to truly understand. He decided to take a risk and marry this lady.

This lady was very different to anyone he had ever met before. When Peter introduced her to his family, they scorned her. They did not like the light that was shining out of her. She was the type of lady who entered into a room, and the entire room lit up. The more her light shone with love and compassion and friendship, the more Peter's family hated her.

And the more Peter's family hated her, the more he grew to love her.

Soon, Peter began to discover a new found strength inside of him, and he told his family that he would never leave his beloved bride; in his saying this, his family scorned him also. Finally, Peter had no choice, but to leave his family and so he did.

As the years went by, Peter and his wife fell more and more in love with each other. His wife's light began to rub off on Peter and he would have moments, great moments, when his inner-light shone so brightly, it was almost blinding.

And as Peter's wife observed him, she noticed something about him, a very special quality that could not be denied. As she began to notice this, so did others.

Soon, Peter's secret was beginning to be revealed. In small ways at first, but soon the secret of his brilliance was shining forth brightly.

Sadly, there were many dark forces who noticed this and who took advantage of it. Each time this happened, Peter began to withdraw his light a little more and a little more. His once shining bright star, began to grow dull. He began to get sad and fearful once again. And no matter what encouragement his beloved wife would offer him, what words of wisdom she shared with him, he did not want to hear or listen.

One day, Peter had an immensely brilliant idea. It was the idea of ideas. It was something that was SO brilliant, he would HAVE to share it with the world as it was just too great for one man to hold within himself.

Peter shared his idea with his wife. Immediately, she began to glow. The glow came from a deep place inside of her as she recognized the brilliance of Peter's idea. She encouraged him to work on his idea so he could share it with the world, and help light up so many lives that had grown very dark, and were decaying in so many places.

But Peter grew scared. Everyday he would go to his computer, he would determine inside of himself that "today is the day I'll start working", but then he would find other things to occupy his mind and his time. For weeks and weeks, then months and months, Peter would follow a routine. Each morning he would tell himself that "today is the day", but each time he turned his computer on, he would find himself another distraction.

Soon, he noticed that there was almost no food in the house and there was no money to go and buy more food because he was not making any money. The once shining bright light that his wife exuded was starting to dim. She no longer carried a smile on her face and her face was beginning to grow deep lines from frowning with worry and stress. He noticed that they began to have more and more arguments about little things, and he began to feel that she was picking on him each time she thought she was motivating and encouraging him. Soon, the love he once felt for her was also diminishing, and he began to fill his mind with thoughts of divorce.

Peter did not know what to do. He knew that this secret that he held on so tightly to was destroying his life. He felt himself die just a little more each day.

Soon, he told his wife that she had to stop pushing him to work. He began to let go of his brilliant idea because he did not feel the courage to pluck himself out of the sorrow and dark pit that he had formed around him.

As he let go of the idea, there was another man who lived in another state, and soon he was finding himself becoming filled with the most brilliant idea the world had ever known. And as the idea filtered away from Peter and filtered into this new man, the light within him started to grow greater.

This man was not a brilliant man by any means, but he knew brilliance when he saw it. He grabbed hold of this idea and began to work on it. Soon, he brought his idea to the world, and all the people of the entire world stood up and clapped. They jumped up and down with glee. The light that had been going out in so many lives began to grow again. Soon the entire world was glowing with the light of happiness, positive energies, love, and fulfillment, as this idea truly changed the world.

But in one small part of the world, there was a darkness. A sorrow so deep. A regret so great. A pain so tremendous. It emerged from two people, Peter and his beloved wife.

As Peter let his idea slip away into the Universe, the Universe realised that they needed to find someone else much more suitable to manifest the idea into life. So they did.

What Peter never realised or wanted to comprehend was that his gift of brilliance was just that "a gift". It was entrusted to him by the greatest force, but he hid it away. He was too afraid to let it shine. When he was entrusted with the greatest light-giving idea, he was too scared to let it out and share it. As he fell more into his routine of being busy by procrastinating, the Universe was always observing. Finally, the Universe knew that it was time for the idea to shine, there were more people in the world that needed this idea to materialize than just Peter. So, they found someone else and they gave him the idea instead.

Often, we do not realise that the ideas we are given are not created by us alone, they are entrusted to us by a higher and greater force. When we are entrusted with such a gift, it is our responsibility to hold on tightly and take that idea to the maximum limit. We do not know what that idea can do for others, but the Universe does. While we may be compensated monetarily or by wide-acclaim, the Universes compensation to us, and especially to the ones the idea touches, is so much greater.

When you have an idea, do all you can to turn it into reality. There are no true obstacles but the obstacles you place in front of yourself. They are nothing more than mere illusions that can be maneuvered by simple imagination and action.

Success has never been created by imagination and dreams alone, it takes action, work, and diligence in persevering the end goal.

Do not be like Peter, if you have an idea, put it into action, today! You never know when the Universe will remove it from you and give it to someone else. Don't let your fears or the words of others distract you or hold you back. Inspite of what others say to negate your idea, your dream, or your belief, do it! There is an even greater audience watching you and cheering you on.

©Leyla Hur
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