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A creative blog by Lisa Schultz on The Whole 9

Lisa Schultz has spent a lifetime observing the human parade. Now at the helm of The Whole 9 and The Peace Project, she reports in on her findings and asks that you join in.

So you say it’s your birthday…

So you say it’s your birthday…

51 years ago today, shortly after I was born several months premature in a small town in Southern California, I was taken from my biological mother and cared for by nurses in a hospital until I was well enough to be sent home with my adopted parents.

About 15 years ago, I contacted the adoption agency that placed me and they sent me the first photo that was ever taken of me. Unlike most first photos, I wasn’t shown cradled in the arms of my mother, but was shown held out at arm’s length by a woman from the adoption agency so that she wouldn’t be in the photo.

Last year on my 50th birthday, my daughter Willow and I tore up that photo and with tears running down my face, I said “That’s not me anymore.”

There’s a deep pain that comes from being given away that most people can’t understand — it’s a feeling that caused me to approach my first 50 birthdays with a feeling of dread.

Last year I broke that pattern and this morning, as I woke and thought about my life, I realized that this feeling of not being wanted is one that has allowed me to connect on a deep level with people around the world that feel disenfranchised and alone — it’s the foundation for the compassion and desire for unity that drives me, drives my life and drives my life’s work.

Right now I’m looking over at the sleeping face of my beautiful daughter and looking forward to heading to Sierra Leone on Friday to finally bring home my beautiful son, Ahmed Tijan Sow, who like me, is lucky enough to have two mothers who have loved him.

Honestly, in this life, I’ve never sought to make lots of friends or make lots of money, but as I think about my life and what I’ve accomplished with this worldwide network of people who believe in peace, justice and equality for all, I deeply know how rich and loved I am and I smile and think:

Happy Birthday to me.

Thank you to all of you who have allowed me into your lives in so many ways. Let’s continue walking hand-in-hand to create a better world <3

2011 Peace Project submission by Rebecca Rose.

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