Prepare yourself for an intimate and revealing glimpse into a personal hell of struggle and self-hatred to see it miraculously transform into a world of peace and acceptance. Borrowed Eyes and Feet chronicles what the author refers to as his year of enlightenment. For decades he tolerated life behind a veil of anger and retaliation which worked for him, but regrettably left a trail of hurt and regret. He summoned the courage to rise-up against his inner rage, self-doubt and self-destruction to find another way toward love.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.37(d)|
Read an Excerpt
My Year of Enlightenment
Do not remain in conflict, for there is no war without attack. The fear of God is fear of life, and not of death.
— A Course in Miracles
I call my forty-seventh year my year of enlightenment. This year was chosen for me. Don't ask how, but just know that my forty-seventh year has stood out in my mind for quite some time. I made a breakthrough in the 366 days of that leap year after a lifetime of struggle, anger, and self-doubt. I cannot pinpoint one moment or person responsible for this empowering change; it didn't happen overnight but manifested itself after many years of practice, study, and introspection. I will reveal my motivation in the pages to come.
The title of this book, Borrowed Eyes and Feet, came to me during a morning meditation on December 2 of that year. The meaning was not clear to me at that moment, but the words were heavy and remained with me until I commenced writing the work you now hold in your hands.
You will be given a glimpse into a life of fear, doubt, and anger. This story, told in chronological order, is a recollection of experiences and events from my life that occurred during my year of enlightenment.
Before you read any further, I ask that you pick up this book, pull it to your chest, and hold it close to your heart. Wrap your arms around the cover as though you were hugging a loved one. If you feel resistance or embarrassment about the foolishness of this exercise, do it anyway. Your resistance and embarrassment are fear in disguise. Dr. Susan Jeffers revealed this in her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (1988), showing how we can turn fear into personal power and action. Next, close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose. As the air fills your lungs and belly, flowing through your body, feel the overwhelming sense of love and peace within you. Hold your breath for a few seconds, and then release it. Feel your body relax.
I am glad you are here. I am honored to be sharing this story with you and equally frightened about what I will reveal in these pages. Writing Borrowed Eyes and Feet brought to mind the far too many moments in my life when I did not pause to enjoy the miracles that surrounded me. As the protagonists in our own stories, we are subject to distractions that make us lose sight of the miracles of love, laughter, and abundance available to us each moment of every day.
Stepping back to capture my life provided me with the opportunity to see it clearly. I thank Dr. Wayne Dyer, my hero and mentor, author of I Can See Clearly Now (2014) and many other powerful books. In his classic book Be Here Now (2010), yogi and spiritual teacher Ram Dass captured the power of living 100 percent of the time in the present moment. I am on a similar path and hope we reach the destination of now together.
The names of many people who have guided me on my journey appear throughout this book. My foundation has always been my parents and the role I played when I chose to show up in their lives. Please know that the return to love Marianne Williamson writes of often means walking through the fires of suffering, anger, and rage before reaching our destinations. I have accepted my path and have a clear understanding of the chapters in my life — past, present, and future. I am stronger because of where I have walked.CHAPTER 2
The Day I Died — My New Beginning
For miracles are merely change of purpose from hurt to healing.
— A Course in Miracles
It's a quiet Tuesday morning just three days into the new year. I sit alone in my office with my legs crossed and my eyes closed. I am deep in meditation, so deep that what I envision appears to be reality. I see myself desperately grasping a shard of glass between my fingers. The tip of my thumbnail is white from the grip I maintain on the glass, which is cemented to the edge of my forefinger. I observe dozens of scars hidden beneath the hair covering my arms. I stroke the hair of my left forearm to uncover the letters DIE carved into my flesh. For decades they have been sunk deep in my skin as a constant reminder of who I once was. For far too long I carried this past with me in anger and shame.
I continue inspecting my arms, rolling up the sleeve on my left arm to reveal a trail of scars appearing to be without end. The farther up I go, the less hair there is to cover up my past hurt, revealing my scars for all to see. Thirty, thirty-one. Releasing my sleeve, I focus on my opposite arm. Thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four. I continue counting until I pause to gaze at my initials, TC, carved into my right forearm, surrounded by scars — all the result of self-inflicted slashes from a razor long ago.
My scars glisten in the light while I replay past hurts in my mind. Thirty-five, thirty-six ... I grasp the tender flesh on the inside of my bicep between my fingertips to see my skin bend with each squeeze. My scars are the exception. They are rigid, not as forgiving as the rest of my skin. The tighter I squeeze my skin together, the deeper the scars seem to dive into my flesh. My wounds seem to be reopening to reveal my past and to remind me of my self-hatred long ago. Even after all this time I still haven't quite landed on the exact number of scars; I usually lose count after seventy or so. I've worn them in shame for decades, keeping them hidden to avoid inquiries from acquaintances and friends, afraid to face my fears.
I have a lingering fantasy about a time of revelation when I feel safe enough to unveil my scars. I cling to a faint hope that someone will appear with an answer and with understanding. I imagine this person's hands lovingly placed upon my arms, caressing my scars and healing my pain. Angelic words arise from within, telling me all is well. But this fantasy has eluded me for far too long now.
I cannot keep my scars hidden forever. It's quite a task to do so, especially in the summer when wearing long-sleeve shirts in ninety-degree heat invites questions. Every now and again I field questions from those who are curious, typically children. "Hey, where did those scars come from?" or "What happened to your arms?"
Even after all these years there is still that moment of awkward silence while I ponder the question in search of the answer, the one that will release me from the shame and judgment that are soon to come. "They are scratches from a dog" is my usual reply.
My white lie reply often becomes even more obtuse when I jokingly claim that I wrestled with a bear or a tiger. Then the conversation usually goes elsewhere or a parent interjects, telling the youngster not to ask such questions. Whew! I am off the hook again, still avoiding my truth.
Some youngsters press on, though, unable to resist their intense curiosity. This is the point in the dialogue when I feel a little bit of pressure, a sense of shame and embarrassment that will soon overwhelm me.
This strange power of innocent curiosity that a child wields amazes me and quite often intimidates adults. A child's natural persistence makes a conversation feel more like an interrogation — to the point where most grown-ups become visibly uncomfortable. They often reprimand children and tell them to stop their incessant questioning.
Even though this sort of questioning makes me uncomfortable, I am equally intrigued by it. Why do children ask so many questions with absolutely no fear? They have no ulterior motive and simply seek understanding. I wonder if there is a point in time when that curiosity deserts us. Do our fears repress it so much that it is silenced forever? What changes our view of the world from ease and acceptance to trepidation and judgment? Do children persist out of sincere curiosity and love while we adults resist because of our judgments and fears?
When a child's questioning endures, I am pushed into a corner, and my vulnerability leads to my next canned response. I might say, "They are scars from when I was a kid. I did the silly things most boys do. These were not the smartest moves, and I have these scars to show for them."
At that point, the dialogue typically ends awkwardly. I am avoiding the truth, but I am not certain anyone is prepared to hear me say, "When I was younger, I didn't like myself much. As a matter of fact, I hated myself, so I found a way to release my hatred and anger by cutting myself with razors and burning myself with cigarettes."
Facing our fears and unearthing the truth can hurt on many levels. It can also be the breakthrough necessary for healing to begin. This is beautifully reflected in a line from A Course in Miracles: "For miracles are merely change of purpose from hurt to healing."
I cut myself under the delusion that I could avoid my pain. I created physical pain to mask my mental pain. All I wanted was an answer, something that would cut to the truth I was seeking. My anger festered during my youth, eventually infecting my adulthood.
I misperceived all of my parents' heartfelt expressions of love and concern as insincere garbage, especially because it came from people who couldn't understand and whom I held responsible for my pain in the first place.
Regrettably, the thousands of hugs, kisses, and "I love yous" my parents gave me fell short because of my inability to receive any of these things. My parents were in a predicament. Unable to understand my plight, how could they express any sort of empathy? No matter how much effort they put forth, I didn't allow myself to receive their love, their advice, or any attempt they made to understand my situation. I left them stranded in a place of helplessness and hopelessness. How in the world could I expect anyone to understand my insanity?
I had been running from the truth, fearing I could not share it with anyone because I would face ridicule and indifference. This inevitably changed the way I saw the world.
Still deep in meditation, I envision the piece of glass grasped tightly between my forefinger and thumb, causing my fingers to ache and tremble. Tears paint my cheeks in the sadness and suffering of my past married with the happiness of my new beginning.
I firmly press the razor-sharp glass into my wrist. Beginning just below the palm of my right hand, slicing through my flesh straight down the center of my wrist, the glass glides between the tendons surrounding the median nerve. The small indent formed by the tendons in my wrist creates a runway to guide the glass through my flesh.
My delicate skin gives way to this intruder without resistance like a speedboat ripping through the water. The boat's wake affects everything in its path. Nearby vessels suddenly rock up and down and side to side. Then, just as suddenly as the water is torn apart, peace is restored and the ocean again becomes one.
Tendons and ligaments are now exposed, an image my eyes were never meant to see, and I wince from the pain. Blood soaks my fingers with the dark red hue of life. Or is this my death? Am I cutting through my harsh exterior to reveal my true self? For decades I have known who was underneath this exterior, but my anger and fear prevented me from revealing this identity. Relief soon follows the excruciating pain. This is the moment when peace is restored and I become one again. I have been awakened to my new beginning.
I snap out of my deep meditative silence, returning to consciousness. I feel free, as though a burden has been lifted. The storm clouds of my painful past have broken to reveal a shining light of love.CHAPTER 3
I no longer allow my past to hold me hostage from my future and from the gift of the present.
— T. E. Corner
It is February of the year of my enlightenment, my birthday month, and I am in elementary school standing at the front of the gymnasium, eagerly anticipating the crowd of students that will pack the place in just a moment. Oh my gosh! What am I doing here? I will be in front of the entire school. I have to go to the bathroom. Is my zipper down? Are they going to laugh at me? Random thoughts dart about my mind. The room suddenly seems warmer and I feel myself starting to sweat.
I gaze outside from a window that protects me from the cold winter air. A piece of paper, maybe a student's lost homework assignment, dances in the wind, floating past my view and off into the horizon. Frost lines the edges of the windows like a matted picture frame, a gentle reminder that winter awaits those who venture outside.
The gymnasium remains quiet as I anticipate the arrival of the students, but my mind shouts with fear and doubt. These thoughts collide in my head like teenagers pushing and shoving around a mosh pit at a Godsmack concert. Around and around they go in a violent dance. Any attempts to leave the pit are futile, making the scene even more threatening.
People form a wall around the mosh pit, adding to the frenzy. Some watch in fascination at the insanity within, others try to drum up the courage to enter the pit, and some are there to push people back in. I try to force fear and doubt out of the mosh pit of my mind, but these feelings return to the center stronger than before. With deliberate practice I have learned how to concentrate and to shift my focus to affirmations that counter thoughts of fear and doubt.
But all too often fear and doubt overwhelm my affirmations, which eventually fade into the fray. Though most of us don't realize it, this is the way our minds operate. We unknowingly allow negativity, fear, to rule the day. When we attempt to throw affirmations into the mix and immediately experience failure, we give up and allow things to remain the same.
More than ever before, I find this an intriguing dance. I attempted the positive thought approach many times, and it didn't work. I never gave up, though, and now my awareness of my thoughts, both positive and negative, has been heightened. Negative thoughts still rear their ugly heads every so often, attempting to stomp around the mosh pit of my mind. But my awareness of them and how I deal with them are more like a game these days.
I know I can shift my focus from the bad to the good by allowing positive thoughts to overpower the negative. I acknowledge any fearful thoughts entering the mosh pit of my mind, and then I introduce even stronger affirmations into the mix. This practice overwhelms ornery thoughts, which eventually dissipate into my vast array of affirmations.
I have altered the mosh pit of my mind over several years through the recitation of affirmations and a concentrated focus on my thoughts. My mind is now brimming with thoughts of a positive sort. Whenever fear and doubt attempt to intrude, affirmations quickly enter to nudge out the negativity.
If you saw a peaceful mosh pit, you might think it pretty lame and look elsewhere for fun. Those seeking peace and acceptance may stray from this path, fearing that without struggle, pain, and suffering their lives have no meaning. I once embraced this flawed approach, believing I must bleed, struggle, and suffer to be worthy of anything good. Eventually I tired of this approach to life and decided to go the other way toward a life of ease and allowing. Now a universe of amazing opportunities, happiness, and abundance has been revealed to me. It was there all along, but I didn't allow it to shine through.
Snapping back into the present moment, I am aware that in a matter of minutes I will be speaking to more than one hundred children at Hayshire Elementary School about my recent book, Positive Thoughts, Positive Life! Amid my thoughts and affirmations I rehearse my presentation in my head. I realize it may not go exactly as I planned, but if I get my message across I know the talk will be a success.
I float a smile toward a teacher who leads a group of students into the gymnasium. Boys and girls flow through the doorway single file. Watching the children enter in such an orderly fashion, I am reminded of a procession of ants heading toward a newly discovered treat. One by one they march forward. Arriving at their destination, they snatch a morsel of nourishment to haul back to the colony. This morsel will not only benefit an individual ant but will contribute to the growth and development of the ant colony.
Snapping out of my daydream, I see the gymnasium overflowing with kids. Wow! More than one hundred eager children are looking at me, whispering to one another or sharing a giggle. The silence of the afternoon gives way to excitement throughout the school. I can see it, feel it, and hear it. The sheer joy only a child exudes fills the air.
Today the students will hear about Kylie, the protagonist in the children's book Positive Thoughts, Positive Life! The book focuses on how Kylie achieves all she desires by reciting affirmations each day and by chronicling her dreams and desires in her List for Life journal. On this special day each student will receive a morsel of personal development to share with friends and family.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Borrowed Eyes and Feet"
Copyright © 2018 Thomas E. Corner.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: My Year of Enlightenment, 1,
Chapter 2: The Day I Died — My New Beginning, 5,
Chapter 3: I'm Bad, 11,
Chapter 4: Shadow, 21,
Chapter 5: Carried It All Those Years, 25,
Chapter 6: Wayward — Finding the Light, 29,
Chapter 7: Rabbit — Release from Fear, Finding the Light, 35,
Chapter 8: A New Season Begins, 45,
Chapter 9: My Independence Day, 51,
Chapter 10: Love Asunder, 59,
Chapter 11: On the Sidelines, 65,
Chapter 12: I Was That Child, 73,
Chapter 13: The Bee and Me, 83,
Chapter 14: Sometimes I Think You Were Never a Kid, 91,
Chapter 15: Trick or Treat?, 97,
Chapter 16: Doing What He Intended — a Thanksgiving Awakening, 109,
Chapter 17: One Thousand Years Later — December 23, 3016, 115,
Chapter 18: Finding Enlightenment after Resistance — a New Beginning, 119,
About the Author, 135,