My Faith Story…
To start, my life began awesome until I reached 6 years of age, which I experienced a major health crisis landing me in the children’s hospital for over a month with an enlarged heart, 2x its normal size. The doctors were unable to reach a diagnosis and were really perplexed as to what had caused such a crisis. A team of Doctors couldn’t figure out my illness.
I oddly recovered and was sent home.
Where I continued to experience health challenges with bronchitis, strep throat, tonsils that grew back which needed 2 additional surgeries to be removed: while continually feeling miserable most of the time.
Around 11 yrs of age one doctor finally diagnosed me with several allergies and emphysema. This was crazy; 11 ys of age, with rapidly declining health. I felt like I was dying @ 11 yrs of age. He told my mom that I better not smoke… Which of course I took up around 15.
After several rounds of antibiotics and constant visits to the doctor’s office, resulting in no improvements, I started to feel that this condition was going to be my life state.
My mother as much as I adored her, she was a constant nervous wreck, which did not help give me much confidence in ever becoming stronger.
My dad on the other hand, was my Hero most of the time. He had such a love for exploring life, He introduced me to Asian culture around this time. He even visited the monument of the first recorded Buddha, Shakyamuni, in Japan.
During this young age my day to day existence was such a struggle my parents did everything they could to help me.
I had so much love and support yet,
I felt like my life, like a battery was dying; I believed if I could simply recharge it, I would be ok, but How? I longed to feel stronger! Constant prayer!
Daily cocktails of antibiotics, iron pills and food, that I did not enjoy, was my usual routine; I simply dreaded each day.
Since there were no other known solutions, or options. I gave up.
I decided to take recreational drugs instead to escape my life; this behavior led me to drop out of high school –
choosing to hang out with people that could care less about me or anything else.
These new friends were drug addicts, drug dealers and self-abusers; influencing me to finally getting arrested for drug possession- for 72hrs. My dad , my hero, came to my rescue once again.
These so-called new friends? Did not support me, rather they believed I had reported them, since many of them were arrested around the same time. After returning home, I received numerous threats on my life demanding I never step foot in Alki beach- west Seattle- (the place where we hung out), should I choose to live…
It was an exceedingly difficult time for me to experience. the loss of friends and NOW being addicted to drugs myself- being a dropout and being extremely unhappy.
Feeling so worn out and old.
At 18, I was introduced to SGI-USA; I attended a local meeting; at first, I was very guarded and arrogant. But I could not deny that I felt something; an interesting sensation: it was beyond description, rather a feeling. I decided to secretly try chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo; (part of the practice). I was amazed at how quickly my life felt happier, a sense of inner joy; not really based on anything …but
You know how you feel when you experience that moment of connection?
Well, this philosophy was exactly what I was yearning for without really understanding why.
So, I decided to plug into the practice and my life began to recharge naturally.
That battery within I mentioned, was finally being recharged!
Ultimately, my initial desire was to experience a better life- to feel happy. and it was finally happening! I felt so much power brewing inside- A renewed type of hope for the first time.
This is a favorite quote that has ignited a Life purpose, to experience something greater within to explore & to experience.
"A great human revolution in just a single individual
will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation
and further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind"
~Dr. Daisaku Ikeda
From that point…the joyful journey towards finding solutions began from there.
My health started to improve so naturally; it was my spirit at first which created the hope and courage to challenge my issues; starting first with school which I returned to graduate with a near 4.0 and I have never stopped learning to date.
I am really an entrepreneur at heart and love to explore new and different options with education & careers. I have experienced many things.
I simply love education now and will continue throughout my life.
Through this philosophy & the influence in SGI my values have elevated naturally; SGI.org, is a value creating society; promoting peace- culture & education.
I started appreciating my life more and saying NO to lifestyle habits that seem to break me down: like recreational drugs, smoking and poor eating habits were the biggest ones.
I started to choose Life sustaining behavior over my own self destruction.
One reason why I started Choixdvie & Lifestyle choices.
So, relying on my spiritual path acquiring wisdom through a consistent practice has been my foundation to continue to challenge each day with so much joy in living.
Decades later, I have a healthier lifestyle –I’m healthy and stronger than ever. AND. In many ways I feel younger than when I was @18yrs; I am not swayed by difficulties rather; I feel confident in facing them more with courage.
Here is another quote that has also guided me through difficulties up until now
By Nichiren Daishonin, the founder of this teaching I practice:
On the eight winds
“A truly wise man will not be carried away by any of the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering and pleasure. He is neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who does not bend before the eight winds”
…and it continues on with more great wisdom.
In Volume 1, page 794. visit The Free Nichiren Buddhism Library
To this day I continue to challenge & enjoy life; it is a difficult time for all of us in 2020, especially in America. Many feel hopeless and afraid; Too scared to leave their own home to live their lives fully. Many are waiting for something outside to help them.
Yet, due to this practice ultimately, no matter what we do in life it is a matter of our life state and how we choose to respond that makes a difference in what we ultimately experience. To never give up on ourselves first and foremost!
Never Give up on your Dreams!
I wish you the best! Please Stay Strong & Healthy.
Joyce Wood, chhc