My story is one of Victory over the impossible.
This isn’t to say I have a perfect life right now but compared to what it was like I am living a DREAM!
At the age of 27 I was kidnapped, raped and beaten at the hands of a psychopath.
There was a decisive moment in this horrid experience when this man had 2 high powered shotguns aimed at my chest.
He said he could kill me as easily as if I were a fly and I said to him “Go ahead, I have got nothing to live for!”
This is what saved my life.
He could not get me scared anymore and the fear was what he was feeding on so he let me go.
After he let me go I went home to my boyfriend who then beat me up for my drunkenness, which was one of the causes of my attracting this situation in the first place.
So..From the frying pan into the oven so to speak.
This was not by a long shot the first time I had been kidnapped, beaten and raped.
The very first time was when I was only 13 years old. I started to self medicate myself with alcohol shortly after that. And so at the tender age of 13 I started my own personal road of unspeakable suffering.
I became an active Alcoholic, active drug user and at the age of 19 was diagnosed with an incurable mental illness called paranoid schizophrenia.(*besieged by hallucinations and auditory hallucinations I referred to as “hearing voices”) The fringe benefits from all this was to live a life full of self loathing. To say I had no self confidence or esteem would be a gross understatement. Which was why in the final kidnapping experience of my life I said to my captor “Go ahead, I have got nothing to live for!”
The universe did not forsake me, as I had always thought, because one week after this final abduction my bass player, while I was night club singing, told me about NAM MYO HO RENGE KYO.
I was desperate and would try anything, even mumbling these strange sounding words over and over.
The reason I have stated here in this blog a “my final abduction” is simply this: After chanting these words I have never,ever attracted anything even remotely like this again in my life! I completely changed my Karma!
The organization that supports the practitioners of this Buddhism is called S.G.I.
I was so unstable it truly astounds me as to the compassion, patience and perseverance these Buddhist leaders and friends had for me. You cannot even imagine how unfocused and ill I was.
There were times a fellow Y.W.D. (Young Women’s Division ) would come over and drag me off of my roof, (where I was known to hang out and get drunk) and sober me up and talk hard at me.
She was the first one to get me to chant a long length of time 2 hours.
My Y.W.D. leader was a dynamo and chanted enormous amounts of daimoku (Nam myo ho renge kyo) for me and got me up at 7 a.m. to go to Youth practices every Sunday.
It really did not matter that I was hung over or even still half drunk at 7 am; it was the cause to save my life.
I always felt hope at these activities no matter what my physical condition was.
Just 3 months after starting this practice and chanting consistently every morning and evening, I spoke with my mother on the phone and she asked about how were the “voices”?
(One of the things that happen to people with this ailment of paranoid schizophrenia is that they hear voices, have hallucinations and often act upon the very strange often suicidal or self damaging things that the voices tell us to do.) If you’ve ever seen the movie “A beautiful Mind” you’ll know this condition is incurable, that you must take very strong medicine and that it follows you for the rest of your life!
In that moment my mom asked me, I realized there were no more voices! I completely cured the incurable with this very powerful, all encompassing practice!
They have never returned and that was over 30 years ago!
This is one of the greatest benefits of this practice that it heals the impossible!
I joined the Y.W.D. chorus, even at times showing up at rehearsals with bruises and black eyes due to the drunken fights with my boyfriend.
Later on I joined the Byakuren. (like a Hostess to meet and greet people) I knew that being active in the Youth Division was my only hope to change my life.
I must have really needed the youth activities because they even put me in twice!
When I turned 30 they transferred me to Women’s Division, But after chanting hours and hours of daimoku (Nam Myo Ho Renge Kyo) to go to Japan with the S.G.I. ~ my leaders decided to not only put me back in the Y.W.D. make me a Y.W.D district leader but also to invite me to attend a very special Youth Division Training activity in Japan with President Ikeda. I even had my photo (with all the youth) taken with him, where he told us we all looked like movie stars.. I still have and treasure this photo.
In the Youth division we studied and studied and engraved in our hearts the Gosho (writings of Nichiren Daishonin and Pres. Ikeda’s guidance’s and to this day I still have memorized many Gosho passages which have encouraged me throughout the years in those crucial moments.
Here is one in particular:
There is definitely something extraordinary in the ebb and flow of the tide, the rising and setting of the moon, and the way in which summer, autumn, winter and spring give way to each other. Something uncommon also occurs when an ordinary person attains Buddhahood. At such a time, the three obstacles and four devils will invariably appear, and the wise will rejoice while the foolish will retreat.
The wise will rejoice while the foolish will retreat!
The whole purpose of Buddhism is to change or transform our karma. Somehow, somewhere (perhaps many lifetimes ago) I created the life that I led. Also on the same hand I must have created some extraordinary and wonderful causes to encounter this practice at such a perfect time when I would be open to it, even desperate for it!
I am now a totally changed woman. Joyfully sober for many years now.
My life right at this moment is far from perfect but because of these tremendous experiences I have the strength of faith to make the impossible possible.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE IS TO BE HAPPY AND SPREAD THAT HAPPINESS AROUND.
My friend Frank calls me the richest poor person he knows. And I get that!
My second youth!
I owe my life to my Sensei (mentor) and the precious fellow S.G.I. members. I am grateful beyond words and therefore determine to show my gratitude through my actions of doing what others have done for me; for the Youth, for the 80 year old youth and for everyone I meet.
I can most honestly say without a shred of doubt or remorse.
It was an honor to go through every single thing!
I repeat “It was an Honor to go through every single thing!
AND I am determined to continue to reply to Sensei with my triumphant life in the Arts. As we all know being a successful artist in this world is not by any stretch of the imagination easy but with faith and practice and caring for others I will do this!
Thank you so very much!
For a sound bite of the phrase we chant please go to: