Read the first part here.
Let me share a personal experience that helped me better understand the verse in Malachi 4:6. It reads:
“And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”
I had a dream/vision one day as I was meditating. My intention was to somehow assist departed loved ones with whatever degree of knowledge I had gained about emotional healing. In my vision, I was in a large room. On one side was a turnstile which allowed entrance from a dark place. On the other side of the room was another turnstile that allowed an exit from the room into the light. I became aware that as I breathed in, people were coming into the room through the turnstile. They were literally flooding into the room I was in, desiring to escape from the darkness.
As I breathed out, they were able to exit the room through the other turnstile and go into the light. I soon became very anxious. I didn’t want to impede anyone from getting out of the darkness and into the light. Soon I started breathing in as long as I could – then breathing out as long as I could so more people could enter from the darkness and exit into the light.Gradually I realized I was hyperventilating. The Spirit told me to just relax; breathe normally. I was told it wasn’t my responsibility to get as many as I could from the darkness into the light as quickly as possible. I was simply the conduit for them to pass. My only responsibility was to love, be calm, and know that I was a vessel to provide the bridge between the darkness and the light. I was also cautioned that the bridge I was providing was to help others. I was not to use the bridge to pass into the light because my work was not yet complete in this mortal dimension. (I later learned why I needed to know this.)
This experience provided the insight from which came the following poem…
Breathing…Slow and deep. Clearing my Mind.
Releasing all fear of this mortal dimension.
Preparing my energy to flow into all generations
filled with unprocessed experience.
Identifying the Intent: To heal
Recognizing the Power: Love
Wanting to remove my shoes as I walk on the Sacred Ground of their Pain.
Knowing with every breath I take I am fulfilling
a Covenant entered into so long ago…
to Give the Gift.
Allowing my Body to Become a Vessel of Light, A Bridge of Love.
Linking the Hearts of the Fathers to the Children…
the Hearts of the Children to the Fathers…
According to the Word.
Sonja Lorrigan Hopkins
November 15, 1993
We understand that each of us carries the physical DNA of our ancestors. What this experience opened to me was that possibility that we may also carry the emotional DNA of our ancestors. At the time I wrote this poem, scientific research about generational emotional DNA was not available. In the years since then, there have been many studies conducted… Here are just two articles on the subject:
- “How Trauma is Carried Across Generations” by Molly S. Castelloe, PhD
- “New Research Shocks Scientists: Human Emotion Physically Shapes Reality!” by LifeCoachCode.com
What this research is finding is that we are born with the emotional DNA for all the unresolved toxic emotions of all of our ancestors. I have also pondered this quote by Terry Real:
“Family pathology rolls from generation to generation like a fire in the woods, taking down everything in its path, until one person in one generation has the courage to turn and face the flames. That person brings peace to his ancestors and spares the children that follow.”
Several years ago, I read a BYU talk by Carlfred Broderick, “The Uses of Adversity” that hit me like a ton of bricks. I would like to quote one section of that amazing talk:
“… I had a woman who came to me who was an incest victim—the victim of a terrible family. She was abused physically. Her mother was neurotic and stayed in bed all the time to get her daughter to do all the work, including taking care of the husband’s needs when he was drunk. The daughter had been abused in about every way there was to be abused—psychologically, physically, sexually. Besides that, she had to do all the housework.
She was not a member of the Church at that time, although this happens to members of the Church also. In high school she met a young man who was a Latter-day Saint and who started taking her to church with him. Eventually they married. He was gentle and kind and patient because she didn’t come with very many positive attitudes toward men, marital intimacy, or many other things. But he was long-suffering and patient and loved her. They raised some boys.
Despite this, she had recurring bouts of depression and very negative feelings about herself because she had been taught by the people most important in her early life what a rotten person she was. It was hard for her to overcome that self-image. I worked with her to try to build her self-image. One day she said to me, “You’re a stake president.” She wasn’t in my stake, but she said, “You’re a stake president; you explain to me the justice of it.” She said, “I go to church, and I can hardly stand it. When I see little girls being hugged and kissed and taken to church and appropriately loved by their fathers and mothers, I just have to get up and leave. I say, ‘Heavenly Father, what was so terrible about me that, when I was that age, I didn’t get any of that? What did that little girl do in the premortal existence that I didn’t do so she is loved, so she is safe? Her daddy gives her priesthood blessings when she’s sick. Her mother loves her and supports her and teaches her. What did I do?’ Can you tell me that God is just if he sends that little girl to that family and me to my family?” She said, “It’s a good thing I had boys. I don’t think I could have stood to raise girls and have their father love them because I’m so envious.”
I would not have known how to answer her in my own capacity because that is manifestly unjust. Where here or in eternity is the justice in an innocent child’s suffering in that way? But the Lord inspired me to tell her, and I believe with all my heart that it applies to many in the kingdom, that she was a valiant, Christlike spirit who volunteered (with, I told her, perhaps too much spiritual pride) to come to earth and suffer innocently to purify a lineage. She had volunteered to absorb the poisoning of sin, anger, anguish, and violence, to take it into herself and not to pass it on; to purify a lineage so that downstream from her it ran pure and clean, full of love and the Spirit of the Lord and self-worth.”
I believed truly that her calling was to be a savior on Mount Zion: that is, to be Savior-like, like the Savior to suffer innocently that others might not suffer. She voluntarily took such a task with the promise she would not be left alone and abandoned, but he would send one to take her by the hand and be her companion out into the light. I viewed that woman in a different way also, again realizing I was in the presence of one of the great ones and unworthy to have my hands on her head.
When I read that story, I burst into tears because I knew the same thing had happened to me. Today, as I serve as a group leader with the spouses of sex and pornography addicts in the addiction recovery program. I know I am in the presence of some of the great ones who are striving to understand more fully how the Atonement of our Savior can heal their lives and the lives of their families for generations to come.
This next poem was the result of learning to feel compassion. Having compassion for others has not been difficult for me — what was difficult was feeling compassion for myself. Learning to see myself as Heavenly Father sees me is a huge gift.
I look into the reflection.
All I see are the flaws.
Scoliosis producing an S-curved spine.
My stress-filled neck leaning to one side in its’ labored attempt to hold my head level.
I joke that I come from a long line of stiff-necked people
Puffiness above my once remarkable eyes, deeply shaded rings beneath.
Thick body resembling a drooping sack of flour.
Fleshy bulges pushing against side seams.
This can’t be my reflection!
It must be the shadows playing a cruel joke producing an illusion of sadness and pain.
Perhaps if I step into the Light where my vision is clear…
There I AM…
Heart full of gratitude.
Face radiant with self-awareness.
Hands reaching out to lift another in compassionate service.
Back straight and powerful for the journey ahead.
Shoulders supporting gifts of joy.
Knees bending in humility.
Body bursting with creative energy.
Eyes filled with unconditional love for self and others.
Sonja Lorrigan Hopkins
September 12, 1993
I am a certified life coach. In preparation for a couple’s retreat, we were putting together some exercises for the participants. One of the exercises asked each of the participants to write a metaphor that expressed how they would describe their relationship with their spouse. This could be expanded to have them write one metaphor for when they were first married and another expressing how they view their current relationship.
It got me thinking about what metaphor I would write for my own marriage. The first thought that came to me, because I tend to think in metaphor, was the following: My husband is a lighthouse. Strong, dependable, solid. I saw myself as the raging sea of emotion that crashes into him. I don’t crash into him to knock him down. I crash into him because that’s what I do.
After that, I started filling our home with lighthouses. Pictures, notepads, calendars, knickknacks… My husband even built me a beautiful lighthouse for the front yard. (I suggested I’d love to have a huge one attached to the house.)
Years later, I asked my husband what metaphor he would choose to describe our relationship. After several moments, he said: “I can see that I‘m the lighthouse. You’re the light and my job is to make sure you keep shining.” (Awwwww. My heart melted right down into a puddle.)
The last poem chronicles the experience of living and growing together. We have a companionship that I never knew would be possible. It puts the first 50 years of my life into perspective and I’d go through it all over again if I were assured we would find each other.
To my sweet husband:
Evolution of Love and Light
Such a fragile blend of the vulnerability of a boy
and the detached strength of a man.
New found feelings vacillating between the two
like a moonbeam gingerly penetrating ground fog.
First the faith and trust of a gentle boy wanting to explore a new discovery
then suddenly…the intensity and passion of a man gone too long without love.
How grateful I am to be charged with this sacred trust.
To help strengthen this noble warrior’s determination
to emerge victorious in his trek through the valley of mortal challenges,
Taking care not to erase painful lessons,
for that would also obliterate the wisdom
bought at such a high price.
Only desiring to assist him as he processes his experiences,
releases the pain, and continues his journey
toward self-mastery and enlightenment.
Willing, more than willing to be his helpmeet
with all the responsibilities and privileges the word implies.
Together greeting victory or despair with
the same level of commitment.
Our strengths so varying… an ethereal rainbow of talents between us.
No challenge of growth can escape our grasp.
We have only to desire to create…and it is ours.
We are creating the energy that will propel us – together –
toward our eternal birthright of further light and knowledge
Our love has been carefully wrapped in the torn fabric
of mortal heartache and stored deeply
within the chambers of gentle longing.
As his passion to evolve rises to meet my own
I know the time of illusions is past.
We are merging…as One…Into the Light.
Sonja Lorrigan Hopkins
Many years ago, when I was going through the program to receive my professional coaching certification, we were required to select a “stretch goal” to accomplish during the months that we were in certification. I had been singing other people’s music most of my life and I felt I wanted to write and record a song that would reflect the learning I had gained from the experiences of my life. Years ago, my then 6-year-old granddaughter was telling her daycare provider that on Thursdays she and her sister got to have a date night with their dad because her grammy was teaching class that night and didn’t want distractions. The daycare provider asked, “What is it that your grammy does?” My granddaughter thought for a moment and then said, “I’m not sure what my grammy does. I think she teaches people how to love.” That quote, in my granddaughter’s voice, is at the end of my personal arrangement of “Love is Spoken Here.”
We were also assigned the task of writing our personal vision and purpose statement. This was to provide clarity regarding the direction of our efforts to learn and grow. In preparation for writing our statement, we were instructed to write it as though we were introducing ourselves to an audience.
The limitation we were given for this task was that we couldn’t say anything about our education, work experience, marital status, children, past accomplishments, awards, degrees, or social status. Clearly it was a challenge to figure out how to tell people “who I am” without mentioning any of those qualifiers. We are most comfortable establishing “who we are” by describing our “place” in the world. I’ve written many versions of this statement as I have progressed in my understanding of what is deeply important to me and how I hope to be seen in this world.
My Personal Vision and Purpose Statement
“I am Love.
Noble, expressive, and joyful…
By nature, and by choice.
My purpose is to align my will
To God’s will,
reflecting wisdom, clarity,
courage, and grace.”
Sonja lives with her husband, Dale, on Anderson Island, Washington. She and her husband are Church Service Missionaries serving in the Addiction Recovery Program, focusing on pornography and sex addiction. She is also a certified life coach and teaches "Life Skills for Emotional Self-Mastery" in her stake twice a month. She does not teach you only to process something traumatic done to you in the past; rather, she helps you learn to feel it, heal it, and LET GO of whatever you still do to yourself and to others in order to cope with what was done to you in the past.