Experience of Life
WHO IS Emily Eunjue Hayes? Today, I am a singer, songwriter, composer, wife and mother of two. Seemingly, I might appear as a very ordinary person. I was born in South Korea on December 1st, 1967. I was the first born of four children in a Catholic family. The first time I ran away from home was at the age of six. I ran to save myself from constant abuse from my mother. The circumstances of my life didn't allow me to have an education or a home. I basically had to teach myself how to survive in the world. My life was a mess. I went through periods of being a pickpocket, a thief, a drug addict, an alcoholic, a gambler, and a prostitute. I have been through everything you could possibly imagine. I tried over 50 different jobs in order to pull myself out of my dysfunctional life. I constantly tried to become a better person but my life was such a mess that I did not know where to begin to fix it. I tried to kill myself every moment through drugs and alcohol and I have attempted suicide on two separate occasions. I don't know if it was fortunate or unfortunate but the suicide attempts were not successful. I guess I wasn't meant to end my life that way. I had to journey at an early age and had to face life from every different angle (which was a valuable experience after all). While I was going through periods of questioning, "Why is my life like this?" I couldn't get an answer. When I reached the age of thirteen I thought that I had finally found the answer. It was my mother's fault. I grabbed a knife and went in to her room while she was sleeping. I raised the big butcher knife and . . . I couldn't do it, I couldn't kill her. When I realized that I couldn't be a killer, I ran from my mother's room into my room and burst into tears. I realized that because I existed, my mother's, my sisters', my father's, the community's, everybody's suffering existed. From then on, I turned the knife toward me to kill myself because I thought I was the cause of the problem. Since then nearly three decades have passed. Today, I have no shame to talk about the life I had to live. I simply understand that I had no choice but to be born in an abusive household. I didn't choose these circumstances and I realize it wasn't my fault or no one else's fault. You may ask yourself how I came to this conclusion? In Sydney, Australia, in 1999, I was sitting on a park bench, with less than 50 cents in my pocket, seven months pregnant, no food, and no place to go. Then I realized that: I couldn't kill myself, I couldn't survive, and I couldn't do anything right. So I surrendered for the first time in my life, pure surrender because I realized that I cannot make it. It was my first surrender to God, Nature, the superpower or whatever you want to call it that controls everything. I looked up at the sky as pigeons were flying away and a quotation from the bible, Matthew 6, verse 26 to 28, spontaneously came to me: "Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren't you worth much more than birds? Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it? And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers." As birds were flying away, while I was looking up at the sky, I saw pigeons surrounded by light. The quotation, the pigeons, and the light all came together as one and it moved me. I realized how powerless I was. I was nothing. I replied to Nature or Wisdom and I said, "Now, you lead the way. I will follow. No more my way. I will follow your way." I came back to Korea in February 2000, and I came back to my mom's house. I simply told her, "I'll go to church and I'll put everything in practice. I'll go with a beginner's mind. I'll change." And change came. From that moment, I started a spiritual practice that lasted for five years. I put everything in practice as it was taught. (Later at the end of spiritual practice I had to lose everything that I had been taught from the Catholic Church.) During that time, I took three different courses in Catholic theology and became a teacher in the Catholic Church. One day, my husband asked me, "Why was I trying so hard to get to heaven? I do not doubt your faith but why can't you simply trust in the wisdom that 'God is love'. If you would simply trust in Him, you will no longer pray, worry or climb the mountain called Zion to get to heaven because God's love is not something we can achieve. It is freely given. Why can't you just trust without asking for heaven. Remember God is love..." I started to think of what my husband had to say and I realized that what my husband had to say was so true. I decided to trust that "God is love." I finally found the freedom without praying or trying to change things in life anymore because I realized I do trust in God/Nature and Life has a better plan than I have. My husband helped me open up and accept everything as it is. So I took a big step and allowed myself to move on to the next chapter in my life. When I realized with my whole being that I had to let go of the "I", there was nothing to do. From that moment on I unconditionally let go of trying to control my life and there was no more work for me because I truly realized that I no longer exist but I am an instrument of the Universe. I became engaged with the Universe. I was no longer I . . . I went through a brain death that lasted for more than one month. I was with my family but I did not know what I was going to do next or why I was even there. There was a lot of fear of the unknown so I cried so many times but it wasn't only fear I felt. I felt a great peace from the unknown. Fear of the unknown and a great peace were dynamically mingled together within spirit. Once again, I was moved to the next chapter of my life. I suddenly became a singer, songwriter and composer. I never wanted to become a singer because I knew that I had no musical talent. When I was very young, I had piano lessons for one month but that wasn't enough musical training to become a musician. I couldn't sing and didn't know how to play a musical instrument. I never even dreamed about becoming a musician but today I am one. Simply, music wanted to be born through me to be shared with the world. I'm only responding spontaneously. I am a channel of the Universe and an instrument of Nature. Spontaneously!!! That's all I can say.