I’d like to share with the REN XUE family an exciting development that happened in my life this year which is in part the result of being in the REN XUE Qifield and receiving the REN XUE teachings.
In May I signed up for DNA testing using a saliva sample through the company 23andme, which provides genetic health and ancestry information. In July I received a message through their website from another user of the service who signed up for the service less than six weeks after I did. Since I was already in the database and we both opted to receive information about any DNA relatives, I was identified as having enough DNA in common with him to be a half-sibling. While this came as a surprise to him, I had known that I have three half-brothers who live 500 miles south of me in San Diego, California.
I grew up in an adoptive family in New Jersey. When I was 30 years old I made contact with my birthmother and her husband, (who is not my father, but married my birthmother when she was pregnant with me), and we made arrangements to meet. The meeting never happened, but I learned that my birthmother had three sons with her husband after I was born. While I was never explicitly told not to contact my half-brothers, it was clear that their parents wanted me to continue to be kept secret, and I was, until the youngest brother discovered me this summer.
Since then, a beautiful reunification with my birth family has unfolded. Unfortunately, my birthmother died five years ago and I never had the chance to meet her, however getting to know my brothers, (I call them my “brothers” and they call me their “sister”, despite the fact that we are only half-siblings), has been fulfilling beyond my hopes and expectations. This is where the REN XUE Qifield and teachings proved to be valuable beyond measure.
Through the Qifield at the REN XUE retreat in Wonder Valley in April this year, I received information about wholeness and belonging. Being adopted can give one a feeling of disconnection, of not belonging anywhere. This feeling can become a self-fulfilling prophecy or pattern. I felt like I didn’t belong and I carried this information into every group and relationship dynamic and so, not surprisingly, I always felt a bit like an outsider. Over the last few years I have focused on questioning this pattern and letting it go and during the retreat I solidly felt, for the first time, my wholeness and unconditional belonging in the world. I believe this change in my consciousness, this new feeling of belonging, allowed for belonging to manifest in my life on the outside and for my brothers to come into my life.
Since the first contact with my youngest brother, I have experienced a range of emotions. The circumstances around my conception are cloudy and controversial and I harbored some long-standing anger at my birthmother’s husband, (the father of my brothers), for being the cause of my not meeting my birthmother years ago and for my being placed for adoption in the first place. Yet, while there have been a few challenging dynamics and feelings as my brothers, their father, and I navigate this new situation, each of these has been an opportunity to employ the five Xin qualities, especially openness. At every turn, I could feel the REN XUE Qifield supporting me to be open to everyone involved, to trust the outcome no matter what, and most of all, to trust and accept myself as I am. I’ve been feeling constantly grateful for the REN XUE teachings and Qifield for helping me know naturally what to do in each moment and to pause and go into my heart whenever I don’t know how to respond. The result of this has been a smooth, joyful, and heart-opening experience for all.
Developing relationships with “new” family members in mid-life is also proving to be a wonderful opportunity to intentionally create the kind of relationships I’d like to have. Because I just met my brothers, we have no relationship patterns yet; we have a clean slate. I can consciously choose what qualities I’d like the relationships to have. With one brother, we’ve even co-created a document outlining our sibling relationship intentions and the promises we make to each other in order to achieve those intentions. Of course, while there are no relationship patterns yet, I have my own patterns which I bring to the relationships. The beautiful thing is that I can more clearly see some of my patterns as they come up because the relationships are new. There is no old story with these people, no one else to blame for my emotions or whatever narrative I’m telling myself about a situation. It puts my patterns under a microscope for me so that I have no choice but to own them and transform them. As a bonus, my pre-existing relationships, including those with my adoptive brother, my adoptive parents, my husband, and a couple of friends, have benefitted from my fresh perspective on relationship patterns. After all, why not treat them with fresh eyes and intentions as well?
Lastly, learning about my birthmother has been a fascinating study of the theory of Shen and Yi in action. In addition to inheriting genetic information from my birthmother through DNA, I’ve clearly inherited non-physical information from her as well. Through stories about her, I can see some similar behavioral patterns in me that probably go with similar thought patterns. This seems amazing given that she did not raise me and we never even met. Perhaps some of this pattern information was even passed onto her from one of her parents. With REN XUE wisdom and teachings I feel I have been handed an opportunity to shift some patterns for a whole line of people, not just myself.
Now that I know some of my kin, I feel less separation and more belonging, which is deeply and undeniably satisfying. However, ironically, it’s also given me a greater understanding of and appreciation for the inter-connectivity of all human lives, not just the ones connected by DNA.