My two oldest children lost their father to cancer this weekend. He was 61. Divorced over 30 years, we’d come to a peaceful place with each other. To the point where we could sit and have a conversation about our lives, the kids and the state of the world. You know, everyday stuff.
He didn’t know he was sick until about two months ago. So this was an unexpected leaving. The kids visited with him, and he was happy in his last hours. As happy as one can be in a dying state, I suppose. I grieve him. I grieve that he lived with illness and pain and that there was nothing that could be done for him. I am very sad that our children are grieving the loss of this gentle soul. Because that is what he was above all else. Gentleness in a world that is not often seen, or offered. No matter the differences that eventually pushed and pulled us apart in those early years, that gentleness was the reason I married him. He was the reason I am gifted with the presence of two amazing people on the life path. Thank you for that gentle soul.
My son and I made arrangements with the funeral home. I wrote his obituary. I wish now that I had said more about the gentle-man who had attempted to live and thrive in such a harsh world, but I didn’t. Seriously… he was almost too innocent for this world.
We Are More Than This…
My own esoteric experiences have taught me that this reality is meant to be a place of experiences, where lives can be lived well. Or not. It’s really up to each one of us to decide. Me? I’ve made some incredibly naive and not so great choices, pushing myself and this body through events and drama I would tell my dearest friends to run from, to steer way, way clear of. And the results? I wore out my vehicle. My body crashed.
Hey, but you know what? The crash that came with being the overachiever, the fixer, the mommy, the best wife I could possibly be, the one everyone could count on? It forced me to sit. Well, lay down at first. For months. Chronic illness is a bitch.
Some time has passed and an early form of recovery is happening, albeit snail’s pace slow. I sit in awareness. In beauty, in breezy, sunny days, or listening to the rain, or playing with Frankie, the long-haired chihuahua trusty side-kick, and appreciating my adult children who pop in and gab, or bring me a surprise bunch of sunflowers. I sit doing work I love, writing or editing novels or articles on finance and travel. Lots of super-present moments, mindful awareness, moments I had not experienced before the crash. I was lost, running on autopilot. Despite all of the meditative knowings, lucid dreams, despite knowing we are more than this… I fell.
Conscious Connection With All That Is
The crash brought me back into conscious connection with Spirit, to the soul Collective. And my ex’s transition from this world to the next reminded me yet again that this is not our home. He is gone home. He’s left the vehicle behind. Individual expressions of Spirit, we are graced with experiencing incredible, vibrant life, exploding into diversity and life-paths filled with cosmopolitan personal stories that ignite passion, hardship, sorrow, joy, and love, shooting off, weaving through and into the canvas of time.
So now? What. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sit for a moment and watch the sun sparkles come through the rustling leaves blowing in the trees behind your house. Or close your eyes and listen to the cricket song as the sun falls away past the rooftops and the trees become shadows against the last flash of red light. Maybe watch the woodpeckers dig into the trees for bugs, or the blue jays fight over their territory. Listen to the squirrels complain because you’re too close to their stash. Smell the fresh-cut grass. Hug your loved one and breathe. Just stop. Be now. Feel the connection.
We are more than this…
Dedicated to HWT. Save me a seat at the edge, we’ll dangle our feet for a while before the next adventure.
It’s been a minute since I’ve written. Life has been incredibly chaotic, for a while now. Maybe longer than awhile, maybe for years. Yes. Definitely for years. And when I reflect on the chaos, the constant challenges with my house, my job, my adult children, my health, and, and, and, I realize… Hey, wait a second. This is life. For whatever reason, I have had the privilege of being presented with a new challenge fairly regularly for a lifetime, and ya know what? I’m meeting those challenges. So, should I be taunting the Universe with a Bring It On? Hmmm, maybe, maybe not.
My youngest son and I went out for breakfast this morning. He’s a senior web developer for a company that works with musicians, and in his spare time, an avid gamer. I’m a techie in my own right, working freelance as a content writer, college student coach, and sometime virtual assistant. So the two of us often talk tech and games, new software and gadgets. This morning we were gabbing about a recent purchase I made, an amplified TV antenna. The previous one was worn and broken. I use it to catch local stations rather than paying for cable. And if there’s something not on mainstream TV that I want to see, I’ll catch it on Hulu or Netflix, or some other reasonably priced service instead of paying crazy money for a bundle of stations I’ll never use.
Well, the new antenna arrived… ordered from Walmart. (I rarely buy from them, but found it online, with decent reviews and thought why not?) The product box, neatly packaged with padding inside a larger box, was misshapen, had obviously been beat up, stomped on and reassembled (the box, not the product), and did not have the original instruction pamphlet. The product itself, amazingly, was in good condition… but didn’t work. So. Even though it’s been an incredibly busy morning, I am just ticked off enough to get in the car and drive out to the local Walmart store. About halfway there, I thought, “Geez, I feel like I’m sleep-driving (kinda like sleep-walking),” but I persevered. I can do this!
At the store, of course there is a long line in the customer service area. Swaying a little while I’m standing, wondering if anyone can notice, I consider turning around and going home, but again, I persevere. I can do this! “I definitely need coffee!” Finally, it’s my turn. I bring the product, nicely taped, with the receipt to the counter. The customer service representative searches online with my customer number, and after some time has passed says, “Oh, this is a Marketplace purchase, I cannot take this back without the box it came in.”
“You’re holding it,” I say.
“No ma’am, the original box. The box it was packed and shipped to you in,” she replies. Seriously. You’ve got to be kidding. For real? I thanked her and walked away, too tired and feeling somewhat defeated. I knew I didn’t have the energy to argue or ask for a supervisor, to make a scene, or to hold up the ever-growing line behind me.
I got in the car, drove home, printed a return label from their website and drove it over to the shipping store on the corner by my house. They didn’t ship FedEx. Really? I must have had a “look” on my face. He directed me to the one down the street a few miles, “Not too far,” he said sympathetically. I really must have had that look. Back in the car, I headed to the FedEx store. Success! The young gentlemen behind the counter looked at the package, scanned the label, and asked, “Contents?”
“A TV antenna,” I replied.
“They still make those?” He grinned.
“Yes. They’ve become popular for those of us who don’t want to pay for local stations.” I reply, feeling just a little bit ancient. But what do I care? Works for me.
Back to the discussion with my youngest son. We often discuss how life is just waiting to pounce, could be good, could be sucky, or could be indifferent, but it’s going to pounce all the same. Today, while describing the events… I said, “It’s just like the old SIMS games you kids played years ago. Somebody chose this scenario for me and the drop-down box included, “Customer service rep refuses to accept return. Must have original shipping box. (bwahahahaha)” SIMS is a life simulation video game.
I remember one time years ago, the oldest boys were playing the game and had built this gorgeous house, complete with big screen TV’s, stereo’s, a pool, all the conveniences. Unexpectedly, because that’s how life works even with SIMS, a fire started in the kitchen. They had spent all their “money” on the best conveniences, and didn’t have a fire extinguisher. So the house burned down.
There are no “fires” in my life today. Today’s a better day. It’s a sleepy one around here, albeit a little weird in the weather department because they’ve predicted 3 to 8 inches of snow. (Another drop-down menu choice?) No one is sick, there are no family emergencies, my freelance work is done for the week, and I can nap while the crazy enormous snow flakes fall to the ground. The Universe has been kind. And with reflection on yesterday’s series of events, the conversation with my son today, and the quietness of right now, in the moment, I think, “What’s next Universe? Bring it on! But, one request, can you reprogram those drop-down choices to something really, really good? Like fun, happy, YEAH, good?”
Thanks. Yours sincerely,
We are more than this…
It’s been years since I recorded this meditative experience, imagining and capturing the colors as I moved step to step. I was honored when asked to share with an online Writers Salon, and share it here with you today. It’s as fresh in my mind today as it was nearly 15 years ago.
Meditative Journal Entry – October 23, 2003
I woke at 8:30 today. Mmmm….Sunday, how delicious to sleep in, soft sheets against my skin and warm comfy blankets, stretching long and hard first, then curling up into a ball, I sink deeper into the pillow soft mattress…“I think I’ll doze instead of pulling myself out of this heaven.” Pulling deeper into the warmth of a body heated cocoon, I doze, reaching inwardly to my healing room, downward, a step at a time imagined.
Breathe in…Swwww, “Red.” Breathe out. Whwww…Image of my now familiar staircase descending to the unconscious mind, each smooth step a vivid color, a railing to guide the hand of my spiritual body. Stepping onto the first step, a lipstick red, the kind you’d see on Marilyn, yeah, Monroe…the Charm lollipop cherry smell, mmmm…yum. The color rises from the step, enveloping me in its vibrancy; I am encased in a red haze.
Breathe in…Swwww, “Orange.” Breathe out, Whwww…Another step down to orange, tangy, tasty orange like the oranges at the Farmer’s Market, split open to sample…the color rises from the step, enveloping me in its sparkling juices, I am sheathed in a cloud of orange energy.
Breathe in…Swwww, “Yellow.” Breathe out, Whwww…glide to the next, yellow sunshine, lemons, lemon drops, sweet and sour all at the same time, yellow buttons, yellow raincoats, yellow shiny slicker boots, the color rises in swirling ribbons closing over me, holding me in a armor of golden light.
Lightness of being, I have an itch, “No not now, I’m meditating, go away, let me be, I love my time away from burden, life, matter.” Breathe in…Swwww, “Green.” Breathe out, Whwww…down again, green, clean green, healing green, blades of young grass against tender arches, scents of climbing trees, hot days, willow branches, children’s laughter, “Higher Colleen, come on you chicken!” Brother Bruce shouts to me. The color rises, a transparent mist closing over me, healing.
Down a step, Breathe in…Swwww, “Blue.” Breathe out, Whwww…turquoise hues, ocean water against beaches of broken, jagged, “ouch” hurt your foot shells. Ahhh…but the comfort of blue, Easter eggs waiting to be found, just behind the bushes, “Look, look Colleen, there…no don’t give up. Ah! You’ve found it!” Filling my basket now with hues of blue. Come now, time for sleep, comfy stuffed lamb blue on the cheek, open mouthed Hhhhhhhh, deep, deep into sleep…breathe out. The color rises, a cloud of blue, I am at peace, such quiet peace.
Breathe in….Swwww, “Indigo.” Breathe out, Whwww…Crayons! Purple crayons, waxy smells in crisp, clean coloring books with glossy new covers, don’t let the cover get wrinkled. Deep Indigo hippie 1969 skirt with glistening mirrors around the hem and small jingle bells tied to the waist, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jethro Tull, Purple Haze, Deep Purple, Indigo girl, that’s me. The color rises, purple haze towers over my head, and I’m nearly there, one more step.
Breathe in…Swwww, “Lavender.” Breathe out, Whwww…Lilac’s lavender outside the window, now inside riding the waves of warm air streaming through transparent sheers, childhood memories of lilacs in Ball jars all over the house, in the kitchen, family room, bathrooms, everywhere…mother’s favorite. Her lavender lotion, lavender walls, mother’s room, mother’s arms, mothers love, the color’s aroma rises over me, surrounded in comfort I’ve arrived, the landing, double doors before me.
Feeling at peace, doors open before me, “Now to the dream center. Wait, what is this place?” I stand at the railing of a terrace, cement like, and spindles every few feet…before me a landscape of small mountains, with a forest of many greens. I stand gazing about, “How beautiful. I wonder where I am.” And in that moment of beauty and wonderment, there appeared beside me a woman, my guide and companion while I am waiting. We are both clothed in gauze flowing gowns, simple lines, comfortable in the heat beginning to radiate with the mid-morning sun.
She knows me. She knows this region. I understand I am on another continent, a very lush area. Out across the prairie, reaching the forests that lay before the mountain foothills, there the wild animals run. Across the acres, all manner of animals wander. I would go closer to watch them. I feel a deep desire to explore the fields and towering forests. But the elder guide reminds me, “This area belongs to the wild, not to us, and it is not tame. No my girl, you must stay here within the walls of the compound.”
“Yes, I know, I am to wait for Alexis, my life partner, the man I am to marry.” Still standing against the railing, I’m drawn to the wild. Feeling its pull, I have no desire to stay within the confines of the spiritual teachings compound.
The white haired, gentle woman beside me touches my sleeve, “We are protected only up to these barriers,” pointing out a protection device that shields us from the wild beasts and creatures who roam the natural setting before me. With a rustle of robes, she turns. I follow reluctantly heading back to what I can only describe as a complex, a collection of small square buildings. “It’s quite a walk my lady, I will call for transport assistance to bring us back to the fortress.
“No. I can fly back.” I tell her, hesitating, not wanting to belittle her, knowing she cannot do as I do. My companion is reverent of my skill, respectful, and so she allows me the space to move on, and upward. I fly easily to the next level of steppes, away from the grassy terrace, up the slopes to the compound. Landing briefly, I glide to the yet another level, and then soar high into the vast sky just for the sheer pleasure. I know I will be settled into the compound soon, I am pleased that I have allowed myself this little bit of joy, the small treasure of free flight.
“Just a little longer…a little bit longer,” I rise from this blissful meditation, a place unlike our own reality, a place of visions. I stretch again and know it’s time to move into the day. But not before I record my vision experience and the images of the wizened woman who was my guide.
Image by Katherine Dinger
There’s an angel hovering in my window. Ok, maybe it’s just the sun’s reflection, but maybe it’s reflecting the aura of what I wouldn’t normally see. I was in the moment. And Spirit knew I needed this on the life path right now. A reminder, the assurance that I’m not walking alone.
My intuition, dreaming, and lucid meditation experiences have proven that we are more than this. We are just the tip of incredibly intricate beings, experiencing life stories together. Choosing each moment how we’ll perceive what’s happening at any given time and realizing we walk together, and not alone makes life easier. If you’re on autopilot, well, you’ll miss the opportunity to make that choice, or see the hidden treasure of witnessing manifested living Spirit.
Ya, life is incredibly difficult sometimes. Hmm… maybe more than sometimes, maybe all the time on some days. Still even in the painful, or exhausting, or oh-my-God why is this happening days… if I just stop. Stop completely. Breathe in, breathe out, become a Witness, observe what’s happening, and look at the different perspectives, weigh options, think about next steps… and then choose a way to see, to act, to realize there are resources in centering, in sitting into quiet observation, to feel the presences of Spirit, it’s easier. Life hasn’t changed. The experiences are still there, but it’s easier because I’ve stopped for a moment to be a witness to the experience, to have compassion for myself and others, to wait quietly with respect, to listen to the treasured whispers of Spirit’s knowledge.
Occasionally, I will just react. No thought given to anything happening. Just give in to the emotion, racing thought, the why-why-why me attitude. Spirit guided sculptures and paintings scattered throughout the house are good reminders to remember that we are more than this. Spirit inspiration in form, like the sculpture I bought some years ago created by the artist dreama j kattenbraker, “Witness”
“Step into compassion, step into the face of witness…” She is a hollow vessel collecting knowledge through life experiences, outwardly reflecting memories across her worn and weathered body. Eden’s snake of knowledge is around her neck, and the key to her heart still hanging as she’d left it when she opened the door to physical being. Arms extended, Witness welcomes all life, all creatures, all spirit manifested, gazing upward knowing she does not exist alone. Her wings imprinted with words of wisdom…
“When I become the witness to another soul, I move out of judgement into a place of compassion I am given the senses to taste touch, smell and hear – to collect knowledge. Knowledge demands me to actively care for those I know. Knowledge teaches me to actively love. Please grant me the grace to use knowledge with care and compassion.
Why was knowledge warned against in Eden’s garden? Once I learn someone’s story, burdens, vulnerability, fears, talents – I cannot be ambivalent anymore. I carry this knowledge in my sack. It is both a burden and a paradox. Knowledge demands right action. When I pretend not to know the weight bears down on me like a mountain, a glacier. Thus the warning, “Don’t taste this fruit from the tree of knowledge.” ~ Dreama
“Once I learn someone’s story…” even my own, I can’t be ambivalent anymore. The door to knowing is open and now right action is the only way. “Choose,” life says. The autopilot is off, I’m in the moment, clearly observing.
Becoming aware is a way of life that can’t be undone once you know, once you’re a witness to the unfolding of your life, as well as others. You might slip once in a while, but it’s always there, the knowledge that we are more than these experiences. It makes living so much more interesting.
But answer me this… If you’re not your experiences… Who are you?
Do you have déjà vu’s? It means “already seen” in French. Have you had premonitions of what will be and then it happened? Do you pay attention to what you’re intuition, your inner senses are telling you?
I have what I’ve come to call “flash forwards.” They are rapid pictures of what will unfold… fast quick flashes, much like a slide show, each a diorama of what will occur. There’s typically a trigger that brings on the flash of knowings. This “skill,” for lack of a better word, started mid-July 2014. Completely conscious, I will in mind’s eye flash forward to possibilities/probabilities that exist in relation to the person(s) I might be speaking with, or if alone, in relation to my own life-path.
The first occurrence happened while I was speaking with a gentleman I’ve known for 20 plus years. Standing in my family room, he spotted the series of young adult sci-fi fiction books in my bookcase and asked if his daughter could borrow one of them. “Of course,” I replied, pulling the book off the shelf and handing it to him. As he took the book, both of us each holding a side, I “saw” a series of events that would occur between us. Disoriented, it took great effort to focus on what he was saying in the present, and be in the events of what would unfold, all existing at once. After he’d left, I wrote out what I had retained thinking, “No, this wouldn’t happen, I don’t understand how these circumstances would ever occur.” And I put it aside after a few days, going on with everyday life not giving the inner mind slideshow another thought… until everything I had seen unfolded in reality just two months later.
In November, 2014 another flash-forward occurred, this time involving the unfolding of experiences that would affect a friend’s life. I was not directly involved in the events. I told her what I had seen, and advised her to take the information to heart, to make the appropriate changes where needed. The events unfolded that December just as I had “known” them to unfold, with some major consequences affecting her life-path. Because she had not made the recommended changes, the results were unpleasant. The ability to see what would occur had now extended out to others lives, not just mine.
Many flash forwards have occurred since, some pleasant, some unpleasant. I have learned to pay attention and if necessary, make different choices where needed before the actual events occur, consequently changing the outcome. This skill is different than seeing someone’s past or sensing someone’s physical illness, which has been a life-long skill-set. This particular ability provides instant knowing, with one catch. It’s not something I can do at will. This occurs randomly, as if the Universe is handing me a filmstrip ahead of time saying, “Here, this is going to happen, and if you make a conscious choice, it will turn out differently. Pay attention. Don’t disregard. Be prepared.”
So I pay attention. Another flash forward occurred this last Thursday. I had picked up four ceramic coasters of Lake Superior that my bff from Wisconsin had gifted me… it was a trigger. I flashed forward to being involved in a relationship (which I am not currently in). I could not see him, but felt and saw events unfold quickly leading to the intersection where this relationship would manifest. It felt fantastic. Even though these flashes of knowing have been ongoing for several years, they always leave me in awe. I’ve stopped doubting myself and to trust what I feel and see. Let’s see what this new adventure holds!
What’s your experience with gut feelings, inner senses, or premonitions?
We are more than this…
It was incredibly gorgeous today. Sunshine, warm temps, nearly 50. I sat in the sun, writing, feeling so fortunate, blessed, Grace brought me here. At first, in the beginning, it was into not feeling so great all the time (fibro flares) … to giving up my coulda-been-for-life job. It’s been a tough journey, but look where I am… sitting in a sunny window doing something I love (with my faithful pup friend Frankie). What more could I ask for? Maybe another homemade mocha with lots of vanilla and whipped cream.
Friends, family, a compassionate physician who mixes East-West medicine to find the best approach, I’m one blessed chicklet. “Pollyanna” at heart, you will find me ever optimistic finding the best in every situation, and the sunniest window to sit and soak up solar energy. It really does help. Promise. Do it.
Did you work this week? Or did you opt to take time off since it is the new year and all that jazz. Working freelance, I have the option to work up to forty hours. This week, I was really torn. Do I work or not work.
New Year’s Eve, I decided to do six hours. New Year’s Day, none, zero, zilch. Time to take down Christmas while I had time (wait, I work from home, don’t I always have time? short answer… no) So I didn’t work-work. I did house-work. And yesterday? Argh… worked part of the day. So it’s time to play catch up.
I felt incredibly guilty for taking time off! I jumped out of the workforce rat-race for a reason, to take care of me. To focus on having more fun, read more books, drink more cafe mochas. But here I am feeling guilty, letting the old programming grab me. Get to work! I worked today. Tonight I felt good about it. Idk… the guilt is still bothering me about the time off. The voice in my head, But you only did 20 hours this week, think of all the money you might have made… Stop. Just stop.
It’s not always about the money. I sat in the sun. I read two books. I wrote. I set up my little art studio in a corner of the family room. I meditated and added songs to my playlist. I talked with friends. And tomorrow’s Friday. I’ll work tomorrow… at least part of the day.
I’m rambling… Did you work this week?
Hey all. Do you have big plans for 2019? Were there goals you set last year that didn’t manifest? My big goals for this year are to:
- Listen to my inner voice. Being preoccupied with to-do lists, writing more chapters for the second book in the Life Journey series, helping my adult children navigate “adulting” challenges distracts me. So. #1 – Sit, Listen, Manifest.
- Meditate more and get out of the same routine. I’ve been meditating for nearly 50 years, using the same techniques forever. It’s time for a change. So the nano is going to get a whole set of new songs, (yes I still use it), and the guided imagery scenery will change. Lately, I’ve been using Jason Stephenson’s YouTube channel. Good stuff!
- Cook some new dishes. Clean eating is a way of life for me, but the same recipes over and over has got to go! Time to look for some new clean-eating, autoimmune friendly meals. (Ideas? Anyone? Anyone?)
- Head over to the coffee shop to write, work, blog more. I love my sunny ceiling to floor windows here at home, but I think it would be cool to soak in the coffee smells.
- Romance – More to come on that one. It’s been on the back burner.
- Imagine more awesome things for 2019. Maybe monthly.
What are you up to? Any good recipes? Romance advice? Favorite meditations? Please share with me. Happy 2019 trails!
Wow what a ride! This life journey sure is a blast. Took a minute for me to get to this place of acceptance and yep, discovery. It’s a whole new world for me (I sound like Jasmine from Disney’s Aladdin… wait let me get my flying carpet out).
Didn’t think I had it in me to make such major life changes, especially being 63 and all. But who says we can’t do, learn, become more than this in the senior years of our lives? (and what’s considered senior nowadays?) No one. It’s our own perspective and the limits we set on ourselves.
Health challenges pushed me out of the comfort zone into the unknown. Oh no! Let me just say, this Pollyanna chicklet was freaking out. (and maybe sometimes I still do a little, for a few seconds when I wake up in the middle of the night and think what the he**)!
When I relax into the web of knowing, into trust of Spirit and All That Is, I do OK. So far, every need has been met. Every. Single. Thing. The right doctors, the right tests, a work-from-home job I can do in my p.j.’s. And not just any job, it’s a job that not only uses my writing and blogging skills, but allows me creative freedom (this is very cool). I work in the sunny south windows with my trusty sidekick Francis aka “Frankie” the long-haired chihuahua, sipping hot chocolate from Penzy’s (the best) and snacking on tasty Envy apple slices. Oh yah.
Let it Be (John Lennon), Be Here Now (Ram Dass), Que Sera Sera (Doris Day) and of course my favorite We Are More Than This… Trust without borders.