Across the nation, thousands of young men and women are about to graduate from high school and embark on their next journey as freshmen in colleges and universities. This is certainly a time of joy and self-reflection for them and I see myself in each and every one of them, as I remember back to when I also went through that same experience. Obviously, I’m in a very different place now and I’m aware of many things I didn’t know then. When I sit down and let my mind wander, I imagine a magical encounter between who I am today and who I was then.
Nowadays I spend most of my life on a plane. I travel the world sharing the wisdom of Ho’oponopono, the ancestral Hawaiian art of problem solving. This has changed my view of everything. I now feel that my mission is to awaken people, especially when they’re young. I feel so grateful for how I now perceive the world. When I woke up, the first thing I told my kids was: “You can be happy now, don’t wait like I did”. But this was not always the case. I was an accountant who specialized in taxes when I was blessed with my own awakening. I realized I had been looking for peace and happiness in the wrong places and began my search for something new. That’s when I found what I called The Easiest Way.
When I was a child I was very shy. If I was speaking on the phone, my shyness disappeared, but if I was in a situation where I had to speak face-to-face, I withdrew and kept to myself.
Back when I was in high school the game was completely different, but I was obviously suffering from low self-esteem. I had hoped that a boyfriend and a university degree would be my answer to everything. I believed that this would make me a ‘somebody’ and searching for such things outside myself would make me happy. These were the faulty beliefs that guided me most of my life.
When I imagine a meeting between my younger self and my more mature self, I know exactly what message I would give her, one that could change her life. I would tell her to not waste her time, that she is perfect as she is. That she must love and accept herself and that she must follow her heart, even if that makes her different from others. I would insist that she trust her instincts, to not pay so much attention to other people’s opinions. Search for her happiness first and then, perhaps decide which career to follow, and be fully conscious that her well-being does not depend on any college or university degree.
My older son woke me up the day he spoke to me the way I used to speak to him (angry). That they I decided to change, and I did. Now I feel that I must awaken others in the same way he had me, I can’t keep what I found in my own search for happiness and peace only to myself.
Today I know how different my own life might have been if I had only known back then what I know today. That younger version of myself could have been happy without having to search in the wrong places. This is the reason why I enjoy and feel compelled to talk with children and teens in my travels around the world. When I was a child there was no one willing to share their wisdom with me, but now I can and am happy to help others. I will never forget the conversation I had with a girl in Serbia. She was probably 10 years old. She asked me if it was possible to talk to animals. I responded with a question: “Can you do it?” She answered without any hesitation, “I can”. I replied, “See, you do have the answer. Why do you feel the need to ask me?” I then explained to her: “Be brave. You will have to accept that you’re different. Don’t listen to others. Kids will say you are wrong but you know you’re right. Please trust yourself and don’t change”.
Recently, I had a wonderful experience speaking with 1500 teens in Puebla, Mexico. I couldn’t believe how deeply involved they became, how they followed every word of my lecture and how they stood up to speak about their feelings. I was overwhelmed. But couldn’t be happier. They are our only hope to bring peace to the world. That’s why it’s so important for me to talk with them directly. They have a different kind of mind. Their’s is more open than ours. Peace will come from the younger generation and that’s why we must raise happy children. Let’s allow our children to be themselves. If they accept and love themselves, they will be able to accept and love others.
Youth and peace go hand in hand.
Originally published at medium.com