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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

ADRIENNE ARIEFF: Understanding Life's Sacred Thread

by Cyrus Webb

I have always believed that there are more things that unite us than divide us, and when I heard of the amazing story of a woman named Adrienne Arieff I found another living example of that fact.

Here is a woman that like so many in the world just wanted to start a family with her husband. After three pregnancies and three miscarriages, however, it became clear to them that they were going to have to find another way for their dream of becoming parents to come true. It is with that backdrop that the book THE SACRED THREAD unfolds.

We are able to see how Adrienne and her husband Alex began the emotional (and eventually physical) journey that the couple embarked on that would take them deep inside of themselves and eventually to India where life would begin for them in a brand new way. This book and their story is sure to illustrate for you exactly how interconnected we all are, and what an amazing gift life is no matter where it is found in the world.

Reading the book was one experience, but when I had the chance to converse with Adrienne on the radio show Conversations LIVE it brought an entirely new dimension to me as it relates to what she was willing to do in order to become a mother.

I began the conversation by asking Adrienne about the response to the book, and she told me how heartwarming it has been to get the letters, emails and phone calls thanking her for writing it. She told me that many have seen it as a "great resource" when it comes to examining "alternative parenting adoptions".

For me I had to ask how her relationship with her mother and coping with her death and how it influenced her own desire to be a mom and bring forth life. "I think with her she was such a force in my life that her being with me spiritually helped me stay strong," Adrienne told me. "I'm sure her passing had a lot to do with my wanting to become a mother."

This wanting did lead us around the world to India to not just a journey for parenthood but it became almost a spiritual pilgrimage as well during this difficult time. "I had gone to India with one thing in mind and something else emerges," she explained. "I had no idea that it would be so life-changing. That place has a lot of power on many people... It's something about the worth of the people there. Their priorities are really about family, taking it slower and being in the moment." Those were all things that became reflected in Adrienne as well.

Her story and her decision to have a foreign surrogate have not been without criticism, but Adrienne told me she "didn't write the book to change anyone's mind." This was her journey and her decision to make, but by sharing it she is definitely debunking some of the myths about India and the people there. "Many westerners assume that anyone (in India) who is on this economic poverty line must be terribly miserable. That's just not true," she told me "They are happy. They live a simple life."

In fact it seemed to me that there was much we could learn from how they were able to be content with what they have and the priorities they set for themselves. Part of this story is the dialogue I believe it creates, and in the end regardless of how they child get it's here the important thing is that the child (or children) feels love. Adrienne agrees. "Once the child is born there is not a lot of difference when it comes to loving a child.

I mentioned earlier that this was more than just about becoming a mother. Adrienne discovered something more purposeful in her life as well. She discovered faith. "Faith has become something that is important to me now, even if it wasn't in the beginning," she told me. "I think because I had gone through so much sadness that I needed to grasp on to something." In the book she explains it this way: "I've never been a particularly religious person, but in India I find myself praying. So much is out of my hands in this country, and I'm learning that I have to give up control and focus on faith. Whether you believe in God, or the benevolence of the universe, it's important to have something to turn toward.. Prayer and yoga have become as important as eating and breathing for me. They make me feel more at peace. (p.164)"

 "India gave me back that confidence and my ability to listen to my inner instincts and not to others," Adrienne said to me. It allowed me to have moments to get my confidence and faith in a really good place."

Adrienne's surrogate Vaina is also forever connected to her. At the close of the book she writes this: "We are forever connected by the sacred thread of our respect for each other, and our love for these children." It is that line of the book that sparked the headline of this article and the theme of this month's issue.

Thanks to Adrienne and her deeply personal journey we are reminded of what is important. All of us on this earth are connected as brothers and sisters, all originating from one source. Sometimes with all of the hatred and discrimination that fact is lost, but I believe that stories such as this can bring us back to what is important in life and what really matters at the end of the day.  May we never forget what matters most: the importance of loving and living a life that reflects that love.

For more information about Adrienne and her book THE SACRED THREAD visit www.thesacredthread.com.

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