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“Katie, I don’t want you to die.”

I’d like to share the journey that I had with this thought. —Sujung

I’m contemplating the memory of me saying “I don’t want you to die” to Katie at the Convention. That morning during The Work for Breakfast, I did The Work on “I want my hands to function properly.” The situation was that after the laundry, while I was picking up the laundry from the washer and moving it to the hanger, I dropped a clean piece of laundry, and I felt frustrated with my hands for being clumsy. At first, it seemed trivial and I was hesitant to explore the thought on my hands, but somehow I said “Okay, let’s do it,” and my wonderful partner, Alicia, started to ask me, “Is it true that you want your hands to function properly in that situation?” When I was asked question 3, “How do I react when I believe the thought?” I said, “I feel lost” several times. She asked me to stay there and feel that feeling of being lost. I closed my eyes in an attempt to go there and feel it, but in that short moment there was some ongoing resistance to going there, and then there was a moment when the resistance dropped, and I was right there at my mom’s death when I was seven and felt LOST, and didn’t know what to do. I went to school, came home, she was gone. She had died in a car accident. I started to sob, and the cry came from a deep place inside me. I call it the “animal cry.”

After that, when it was the morning session with Katie, after Ernesto’s amazing insightful story, somehow my hand was up in the air, I was handed the mic, and I started to talk to Katie and said, “I don’t want you to die.” It didn’t matter how childish I sounded, how absurd it was to ask her not to die for me. It was necessary for these words to be expressed, because they were so true for me in that moment.

I realized later that the experience meant a lot to me, not just because I had a chance to tell her that, but also I was able to throw a tantrum, which I have almost never done since my mom died. I was so grateful that Katie was there not teaching, just listening to my tantrum and meeting me from where I was. I got a chance to tell Katie what I wanted from her, which I couldn’t when I was seven.

When I asked Katie to promise me that she would take good care of her health and live long for me, she promised she would do her best to take good care of “that” body. I felt relieved and was able to sit down. The child was heard finally….

I thank Katie for holding the space for me so that I could be who I was in that moment… a child throwing a tantrum, resisting what is, asking mom not to die for me… Sometimes maybe that is all that is needed. To be heard… sitting with that child in us… meeting her from where she is.

I’m amazed at what the “seemingly trivial” one-liner brought me and where it led me. I’m also amazed at how things are happening for me each moment. I wanted to talk to Katie after the session, share my experience and hug her, but there were quite a few people lining up to talk to her, so I left the room. At noon that day, I saw Katie in the lobby having a meeting with the Thinking Project team. I went to the staff room and came back to the lobby and saw Katie just finishing the meeting and walking to the elevator alone. I called her name, she turned around and we hugged. Tears began to pour immediately, so I cried in her arms for a while. After a good cry, she kissed me on the cheek and whispered in my ear, “Isn’t it wonderful to love someone so deeply?” and I nodded, crying. When we were parting, I was able to say what I wanted to say: “I love you so much.”

At the banquet, I saw people taking photos with Katie. I wanted to take a picture with her last year after I was certified, but I didn’t have courage to ask her, so I didn’t. After I came home from the convention, whenever I saw photos of people with Katie, I felt annoyed at them and at me. I was beating myself up for not asking her what I wanted. However, this time, the moment I noticed the thought “I want to take a photo with Katie,” I just stood up and went to her. There were people waiting to take pictures with her and suddenly she stood up. People moved away and suddenly she was right in front of me. I said “Katie, I want to take a photo with you.” She leaned toward me and said, “You know, I need to go to the bathroom.” Usually this is how I would’ve reacted: “Oh, I’m sorry, go ahead.” But this time, somehow, I was like an innocent child. So I asked. “Oh… Are you coming back? Will you come back?” and she said “Well, just in case, let’s do it now.” So we did. We took a photo. 😉 😉 😉

It dawned on me that asking “Are you coming back?” means a lot to me. Several months ago, I was washing the dishes after dinner, and my husband was in the living room. Suddenly I heard the beeping sound and the sound of the door closing. I felt my heart dropping, called him several times, ran to the door, and opened the door. He was there waiting for the elevator to come. I asked, “Where are you going without telling me where you are going?” and he whispered, “Downstairs. I’ll be coming back soon.” I felt relieved and closed the door. I was walking to the kitchen feeling confused, wondering what it was that made me feel so desperate to go catch him. He is coming back soon. He is coming back soon. Suddenly one thought appeared: “But Mom didn’t come back. Mom didn’t come back.” And there I was, standing in the middle of the living room starting to weep. She didn’t come back. She was gone when I came home from school.

I am grateful that I was able to ask Katie if she was coming back. It’s amazing to see how these are all connected and how they all come to surface so beautifully… to be met. I’m so grateful that I had a chance to relive the situation with Katie. I thank Katie for her presence, and I thank me for my presence. It IS wonderful to love someone so deeply!!!

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