As a young child in Japan, she learned that her name “Naoko” had accidentally been given by a stranger, not by her parents; her father refused to name her, and the name given by her mother was rejected and replaced at the registration office. The questions – Who am I, then? & What is the meaning of my name, my life? – germinated and grew.
They became an obsession as she suffered constant physical abuse from her father as well as his adult alcoholic son living together – her half brother. Her mother did not protect her from the daily violence.
The imperative search for identity and meaning began when she entered university. It led her, not to the light, but to an abyss. She tumbled more and more into confusion, which drove her to a suicide attempt, then a bit later, to an abortion two days before the graduation.
She sat at commencement in devastation and horror; with guilt, loss, and more, the reason behind it all. An realization that she was incapable of loving.
In pitch darkness, she resolved to learn to love, no matter what.
She left everything behind and began a long journey with the help of a guide, who later became her husband.
He created for her the situations where she had to look squarely into her own darkness. No excuses, no turning away. For 15 years, she writhed around in the bottom of a black pit; being chased after by many demons even to the verge of insanity and death – Doppelgänger and another suicide attempt.
She lost the battle against the demons and was forced to accept the fate to live in the darkness all her life. Surprisingly, however, accepting her darkness opened her eyes to the same wounds, same darkness in her parents, then in others. She came to understand that her father was unable to name her, nor her mother able to look after her. They, themselves, were incapable of loving either!
Grace began streaming in her life. She “found” her parents as fellow human beings. People who came into her life brought healings after healings. She became very grateful for everything as she could not trace her deep early wounds any more.
In 1997, during her visit to Scotland, she unexpectedly met an angel and was urged to write about herself in English. As she wrote, her life went through an upheaval; what she’d loved started to go: marriage, house she lived before marriage, house she was living, then job, and finally country where she’d spent her entire life. In 18 months, she found herself in Montreal, Canada with a suitcase and a finished manuscript (later became Part 1 of Maktub: A Journey Home).
Life in a strange country was a struggle; she’d known no one except her new Canadian husband. She had to survive, and to integrate into foreign languages, culture, food, environment, foreign everything. At the age 50, she became a helpless baby again.
She was not able to function, express herself, understand or be understood. She didn’t know why she was in Canada or where the life would take her. She desperately searched for meaning and new identity, looking into herself for about 10 years before dawn showing far away.
She now realizes that new experiences have broadened her horizons. Struggles have made her stronger and deepened her insight. Human encounters and everyday occurrences unimaginable in Japan have been healing her in much deeper level.
Though she finds life in the adopted country still sometimes challenging, she embraces and appreciates what life is offering.
Her healing journey continues.