If I had chosen to live my idea of a normal life I would be uneducated, unemployed, and entirely dependent on a man who hates me. I would be living a miserable life. Since I chose to listen to, and learn from, Rohini, I have a great career working for one of the world’s leading rare book, manuscript, and 19th-century photography dealers. Because of Rohini, I now love my work, and love my life.
When I met Rohini, I did not speak, eat, or work. I barely existed. I could not feel anything but occasional, though severe, pangs of anxiety quelled with cigarettes and endless walking.
Back then, my job as the owner’s daughter at a shipping container company was to check truck drivers in and out at the entrance gate of the facility. I would record what container and chassis came in and what container and chassis went out. When I showed up to do the job, I would tell the machine operators—Big Mike, Little Mike, Bud, Pat, and Jeff—over the CB what shipping container the truck driver was picking up. Once the box was loaded, I would sign the truck driver out. I did this from a filthy, smoke-filled trailer. The inside walls were covered with Penthouse centerfolds, fly tape, and a thick black grime. It was a loud, hazardous place with heavy machinery, trucks, and periodic brawls. I was the only woman working with the “yard dogs” at the gate. But I thought of myself as tough enough.
I had stopped going to school when I was 12, and officially dropped out at 16. I saw myself as strong and self-reliant, not ignorant and dependent. A friend of mine, Bear, would say, “I would never let my daughter work here.” Now I understand what he was saying, but back then I thought I was tougher than most daughters. I never considered there was nowhere else for me to go, that I was only there because my father knew I was too unskilled and undisciplined to get a job. I did not realize that the guys working at my father’s company put up with me because they had to; I was the owner’s daughter.
Rohini taught me the internal practice. She helped me go into my Heart and still so that I could see reality. She saw to it that I confronted the prison I had built for myself, that I acknowledged how I chose to cripple myself. Accepting what Rohini showed me was brutal. To say my life was turned upside down, or capsized, when Rohini showed me the Truth feels like a massive understatement. I had no idea who I was. But I did know that as I faced the truth, I was more authentic than I had ever been in my life.
Throughout this awakening, Rohini showed me Love. She generously supported me. I went to college, earning a Bachelor’s degree in English. This was something I had never dreamed I could do. Because of school, I started to develop my own interests, and I went on to earn a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts. Rohini guided me towards true independence. She helped me learn tangible skills that made me hirable. Rohini taught me to have something to offer the world. She told me to get a job at the business where I still work today. I fought her. I did not want to work. A big piece of me was still attached to being taken care of by a husband, or by my father, but eventually I surrendered and did what Rohini told me to do.
With persistence, I got the job. At first, I packed up boxes and did simple tasks a few days a week. I also transported important and valuable books. One of my big life lessons showed up as I was transporting priceless American historical artifacts to an Ivy League University. Lincoln will always be powerful symbol for me.
Of course, I am still learning from that lesson and many others. I now work closely with some of the greatest collections of 19th-century photography in the world, and books and manuscripts that will only reside in the custody of top institutions and elite private collections. Because of my work, I travel throughout America and Europe meeting with museum curators and leading experts in my field. The person I was when I met my Guru did not have the capacity to dream of the life I am living today.
The lessons Rohini teaches are hard, but learning them always leads to an expansion, and a deeper and fuller experience of Love.
Thank you, Rohini, for guiding me to the Heart, and showing me Love.
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