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  • June Okochi

A Letter from my 8 year old

In 2019, I met the amazing Julia Cameron in a workshop. Julia Cameron is the award winning author of ‘The Artists Way’

She asked me to write a letter to myself from my 8 year old and my 80 year old. I have never had to think of doing something so simple yet so incredibly hard in my life but I did both (on ink and paper) and I posted it in the mail to myself. The one that particularly made me cry and feel so many emotions was doing one from my 80 year old self.

It was a few reams of paper and I have decided to keep it personal for now. Maybe one day, I will have the courage to type it and share some excerpts of the letter.

Dear June,

Look at you. You are such a pale little pretty, skinny girl. So fragile yet so strong. So it’s important to remind yourself why you are here.

So here is the deal.

There is an incredible world of opportunity for you to shine your light and make this world a better place. Yes. You don’t have to be some big hero or superwoman. You don’t need the attention or recognition to make an impact.

Be understated. Just do your teeny tiny little bit in the world and let that be your legacy marked on this earth. The earth is too big, the sky too wide for you to craft your own little space and find your corner.

You know your condition is part of your DNA so it’s going nowhere. Regardless of your health challenges, your genetic imperfections, you have the power to touch the sky, to find your purpose and to touch lives.

Everything you dream is possible if you work hard, dream big and believe in yourself. Push those boundaries. Its so bloody cliché, I know but let’s give it a shot. With your Illness, there will be constant pain and suffering and there will be life challenges that may or may not be health related but you have to raise your head high, fight them and walk gracefully out of them taking the learning and finding meaning in each of these events.

Let that remarkable strength you have be a constant sense of solace that in the thick of it, in the bottom of a rot, in the dark pangs of depression, you will always come out the other side rising, still rising. Because hey, look at me, you don’t have a choice. It’s only one way sweetheart. I hope you eventually get to live by the sea or the beach as you have always dreamed, writing whilst watching the sun set and rise. Maybe even practice yoga each morning, ride horses weekly, find little fun adventures to experience and travel the world with someone you so love. Remember true love shines so brightly. There is no question about it. Love is kind. It’s simple. You will recognize it when it’s binary.

Never forget your family They will always be there when people come and go. There are the guardians of your being on earth. Love them. Unconditionally.

I hope you find someone, a partner who will love you so affectionately, look after you, feed you on your sick bay, hold your hair back when you are sick, kiss your feet and tell you each day how beautiful you are. It’s that simple June. And if you get that, you know he is precious to you so be those things and more to him.

Nurture good friendships. The ones who genuinely care about you. It’s rare these days and allow yourself to be loved by others.

As you climb, don’t forget to lift others. There is a huge difference between sharing and giving. Recognize your role in these and the impact it has on others. Find peace in solitude and being alone but don’t be lonely.

As much as your physical health remains a focus, don’t forget to look after your mental health June. The traumas, the pain and the suffering will have a toll on you. There will be losses, grief, heart breaks and disappointments. So you must remember to look after your mind. Let your self development and self care be your daily motivational factors. Lose yourself in the arts since that’s what you have chosen to immerse yourself in.

Keep creating. Don’t hold it back as you know what happens when you do.

Educate yourself daily. Never underestimate who you learn from. Whether it’s a child, a homeless man on the street, a wise old person, someone from a different culture. Use different forms to learn. Have an open mind. This is very important.

Always, always show gratitude for everything you accomplish because in doing so comes more blessings. Pray for the sick and those at the end of their lives, the poor, the shell shocked, those at war, veterans, sick children, the bereaved, the helpless and help them when you have the ability to do so. For perhaps your ‘healing’ could be buried in the (gift and) act of doing for others. A sense of lack is created by you. It comes from within. Always recognise this feeling.

You lack nothing. You are NOT entitled to anyone’s attention, no one because with this expectation comes resentment and we aim for contentment. Be aware of it. Always, always be kind to yourself, June. And kindness starts with the little things, from a soak in the bath, to a walk in the park, to having a lie in on the weekend and breakfast in bed. Whatever makes you happy. Show yourself compassion and empathy. And then show these qualities to others because these are the ultimate tools that will guide you and show you the path to navigating life. It will attract goodness and positive energy.

Love is in you. You are your own love story. Make your life your fantasy. Everything you dreamed of your little barbies as a little girl, the life of paradise? Dream it for you. You will soar You are beautiful, June So overwhelmingly beautiful. You are smart, kind, strong, compassionate and just pure. Your heart is deep in soul So keep that love burning Be the vessel and let the light in. Keep discovering yourself. Be restless. It’s ok to constantly seek to find. Expand your mind. Change is a good thing. Thrive on it. Be the alternative that excludes.

Discover your purpose. Live a great life in this beautiful, yet chaotic world. Find consciousness in every action you take. Laugh, June, laugh. Have so much fun like everyday was your final one. And as much as you are aware of life in its entirety, be also a little aware of your own mortality.

The world is what you want to make of it and if you are fortunate, it could be topped up with a little bit of luck. Do all the beautiful happy things you love doing. Forgive yourself Forgive others Learn from your mistakes Show your vulnerabilities Wear them on your sleeves. Because in showing vulnerability comes bravery. And in sharing vulnerability comes a connection to the Light and the universe.

Do not be afraid. Be generous even when you don’t receive generosity back but do it with consciousness. Afterall you are not being kind to others for reciprocation. If people are unkind to you, do not be unkind to them but feel free to emotionally and physically check out from that space. Because at the end of the day, you can’t change a person’s behaviour towards you but you can choose how you react to them. Always question and explore the “whys”.

Climb baby, climb Run, soar, fall, trip, fall, rise. I know you can do this thing called life. Repeat after me June. “I can do this thing called life”. And remember always that life remains the single most precious thing in the world. Always remember balance and certainty is tools to keep handy at all times. I love you so much and the one ultimate thing I wish for you June is eternal happiness. Anything else is just a cute little bonus. Right? So let’s do this deal.

Yours eternal

June Okochi

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