My Gift To You

So, the last two years or so have been interesting.

I admit, there were moments when I asked myself if I did the right thing. The answer each time is a resolute and resounding – YES even though a small part of my ego still clings onto some fear, and needless to say – doubts. That’s what ego tends to do – to protect you, and sometimes in that process, denies you the very thing you want for fear of losing all the things you need. The fact that I’ve had to ask myself if I did the right thing is a testament to how the ego works. Niggling doubts, possible regrets, they are all from the mind playing tricks on you. Truth be told, I always knew what I wanted to do, I just didn’t know if I would succeed at it.

And if I don’t, what then?

Yesterday, I was told by someone that I have not acknowledged the precious gift God has given to me – something that not everyone has the privilege to be born with – the gift of a voice, both written and spoken. In many ways, she was right. How could I have known it was so precious if I’ve had it all my life? Life is experienced in contrast, in polarity. Without darkness, one cannot understand what light is. She was the contrast that opened my eyes to one painfully obvious truth – that I had been squandering my gifts for many years. I have her to thank for that sobering sentiment. When people used to ask me what I do, I was often nonchalant about my writing. She told me that was a gesture of belittling my gift, and I was never to do it again.

I never really thought about it much, it was an automated response in many ways, probably rooted in my upbringing, where being good at writing is of little value to my family. After all, instead of encouraging me, my father used to always tell me not to send any more of my essays to the newspapers because every time it was published, he had to make the trip to the office to collect my pay slip. It wasn’t worth the effort, I was told.

Who knew, after all these years, part of my psyche still hung on to his comment. Perhaps that is why I somehow feel ashamed. Because what I’m good at isn’t being a doctor or an engineer – something that he considers important and of value – but I can’t help it if this is what I have been given. That realisation brought tears to my eyes.

It took me until yesterday to realise that as much as I’d like to believe I have changed my perception of myself to a large extent, there is a part of me that still holds on to that family disapproval. What I had to learn from yesterday’s conversation is that I should not to take man’s word over God’s will. People’s perception of the value of my ability is subjective, but my ability itself is absolute.  The gift does not cease being a gift just because a man, a woman or a child thinks that it is not important to them.

Here is also a truth I have come to learn you are given so that you can give. I was given something so that I could give it to others. So, right now, this is my gift to you. I wrote The League of Embers – The First Flame under an alias for a number of reasons. For one, I was afraid my ego would take over and demean what I was trying to write. For another, I didn’t think I could face any more of man’s criticisms. I’ve been on the receiving end of so many of them for all the things I have done throughout my whole life and all I wanted was for my intention to remain pure, untainted by other people’s approval and motivation. That is why I wrote the book under an alias, so that when the criticisms do come, I know it’s not directed personally at me. Who knew after all these years, my confidence is still tied to what people say about my work. It’s like a roller coaster ride. Like I said, it was a sobering sentiment. A moment of learning for me.

My book The League of Embers – The First Flame is now available for download at no cost from the Kindle bookstore, but not for long. You don’t need a Kindle device to read it, you just need to download the Kindle app for your device (PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPad etc) and it reads just like a Kindle.

TheLeagueOfEmbers-TheFirstFlameSo here’s my gift to you. You can find the link to the book here:

And here’s the link to the Kindle reading app:

I had bouts of tears and many moments of healing when I was writing this book. The reason will become obvious to you when you read it. You may or may not understand the subtext of the book but I hope you enjoy reading it just the same. It would mean even more to me if you share it with others, make it a gift that keeps on giving. After all, what does it cost you? Ten-seconds of your time, that’s all, and who knows, you may help heal a suffering soul.

Here’s to moving humanity forward.

With much humility and gratitude,

Chiao Kee

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