Updated: Jun 7, 2019
Tomorrow, Julie Yip-Williams's memoir, The Unwinding of the Miracle, will be released by Random House. It tells the incredible story of her life - of being born blind in Vietnam, narrowly escaping euthanasia at the hands of her grandmother, fleeing political upheaval with her family to Hong Kong, and coming to America, where a surgeon gave her partial sight. This journey led her to becoming a Harvard-educated lawyer, marrying a man she deeply loved and having two little girls. Then, at age 37, she was diagnosed with terminal metastatic colon cancer. She died last March.
While most would consider her story to be a tragedy, Julie shares so eloquently in her memoir, which includes a heart wrenching honest letter to her daughters that, "our purpose in this life is to experience everything we possibly can, to understand as much of the human condition as we can squeeze into one lifetime, however long or short that may be. We are here to feel the complex range of emotions that come with being human. And from those experiences, our souls expand and grow and learn and change, and we understand a little more about what it really means to be human. I call it the evolution of the soul. Know that your mother lived an incredible life that was filled with more than her “fair” share of pain and suffering, first with her blindness and then with cancer. And I allowed that pain and suffering to define me, to change me, but for the better."
In Breathwork we use the gift we have been given by the divine, our breath, to guide us through our journey. That includes caring for the human that holds our being, feeling the connection that lives between us and the divine, those around us and the beauty and suffering in this world, hearing our highest thought among the chatter in our minds, and living our lives as accountable to our highest thought.
Julie shares in the letter to her daughters that, '"In the years since my diagnosis, I have known love and compassion that I never knew possible; I have witnessed and experienced for myself the deepest levels of human caring, which humbled me to my core and compelled me to be a better person. I have known a mortal fear that was crushing, and yet I overcame that fear and found courage. The lessons that blindness and then cancer have taught me are too many for me to recount here, but I hope, when you read what follows, you will understand how it is possible to be changed in a positive way by tragedy and you will learn the true value of suffering. The worth of a person’s life lies not in the number of years lived; rather it rests on how well that person has absorbed the lessons of that life, how well that person has come to understand and distill the multiple, messy aspects of the human experience. While I would have chosen to stay with you for much longer had the choice been mine, if you can learn from my death, if you accepted my challenge to be better people because of my death, then that would bring my spirit inordinate joy and peace."
Death is something we do not talk about enough because we fear it. Yet, when fear is our guide, our true journey will not be one that leads to fulfillment. Instead, fear will take us in circles - leading to make the same mistake over and over even if it is painful, because it is familiar and thus, safe. Time will pass but we will not grow, and as Julie shares, "there is incredible value in pain and suffering, if you allow yourself to experience it, to cry, to feel sorrow and grief, to hurt."
I strongly encourage you to pre-order Julie's beautiful book and read it to help you learn to this truth, that you can, "walk through fire and emerge on the other end, whole and stronger." The other end is the journey of your life.
Then subscribe to Just Breathe with Eileen Fein, to listen and learn, then download my FREE Breathwork Meditation Worksheet to expand and deepen your experience and follow me on Instagram to stay inspired and live mindfully!