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…
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.
Months and years of family and health challenges left me exhausted with more questions than answers. What the heck Universe, what’s the story? “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!” Hmm… does it, because I was pretty darn wiped out and not feeling strong in any way. Good thing I have an awesome sense of humor and strong belief that we are more than this… While gabbing with a friend on FaceTime, the collection of crosses on my wall showed up behind me on the screen. She noticed the crosses. “They’re pretty aren’t they? Each one unique and different.” I said. She asked if I had named them, (in other words, the physical “crosses” I bear). Interesting perspective, a perspective I had not considered and made me laugh.
For me, crosses represent the intersection of Spirit with matter in order to experience physical life as human. However, I sure appreciated my friend’s fresh perspective. The challenges presented over the many years and months could very well be named as my “crosses.” They are the intersection of Spirit experiencing life in all of its Fullness. Living experience. Energy of the Collective Whole, Spirit, God in all of Its glory, living out unique, creative, beautiful experiences. Some tough and challenging, others easy and fun, still others wild, out-of-control crazy! So hold on tight! We are witnesses and companions to the unfolding and manifesting Spirit. There will be good times and not-so-good times on this journey. All part of our experience as more than physical, as more than this…
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~ Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum
In February 2013, I had a lucid dream experience where I was consciously creating in the fabric of space and time. I was present before the canvas of matter creating images with thoughts and gestures. Since 2013, there have been many mornings when I’ve actually awakened with my arms and hands up in the air gesturing as if I am still creating from the “other” side of the fabric, spirit body on that side, physical body on this side. I know that with regular practice through meditation, lucid dreaming and conscious awareness, I can change day-to-day physical reality creating a more desirable, joy-filled life-path. As a mystic, I know that we are, we live, simultaneously as both source-self (spiritual being) and the physical manifested self, experiencing life. One might look at the physical self as an avatar of sorts, a vehicle that allows us to experience living out all sorts of adventures through a physical body! In short, we live between two worlds.
Naturally and unconsciously through choice, we have created daily experiences using thought and action. However, many of us are thinking, acting, and creating experiences running on “autopilot,” allowing life to occur, to just happen… and as a result, often left wondering why things aren’t quite the way we’d prefer. How do we create change?
The simple answer is to turn off the autopilot. To be mindful of thoughts and consequent actions. To take responsibility for, and examine the choices made… and then choose differently where possible. We can create a new reality, with conscious mindful thought, conscious mindful decisions, conscious mindful planning, and conscious mindful action.
Will daily life then be picture perfect? I can say from experience that it will not because some of the choices made up until now have resulted in the experiences each of us are currently living through. However, I can say it will be better and that circumstances can be changed. Life is better because you will have become fully engaged. Daily life events are no longer just happening to you because you will have become a conscious, mindful, active, participant in its creation.
How to start? Over the next couple of months, each week I will introduce a set of self-exploration exercises to assist in becoming mindful of current life situations, where your focus has been, where it’s at today, how to make time for self-nurturing, and how to manage time and plan mindfully. These simple no-nonsense self-discovery activities are meant to be used over and over as you cycle through decisions, discover new facets of self, choose goals and take steps toward change. These activities have been used in workshops for over twenty years, basic, tried and true. They are focused, personal, and will nudge you toward self-nurturing, as well as personal and spiritual growth. Next week: Module One – “Primary Caretakers.”
Where do you find your strength? What moves you forward, upward, onward, possibly inward despite what’s occurring on the day-to-day life path? Who or what inspires you?
At any point over the last several years. I might have given up, stopped working completely, crawled into a hole, thrown in the towel on every day life, surrendering to the debilitating physical illnesses that insidiously sideswiped me, throwing me off my comfortable life-path. I crashed, but didn’t burn. I refused to lay there and got right back on life’s roads… repeatedly. Wouldn’t have any of it. No. Wouldn’t given in, wouldn’t give up. But I wasn’t alone, my “soul family” walked beside me.
Reflecting on what occurred over the last several years, the people I came into contact with, those family and friends that continue to be present… all has been instrumental and necessary. Looking at it all from a different, big picture perspective has provided insight. The insights as a result of my experiences were waiting in the wings whispering for attention. Some so in my face and obvious, I missed them completely! Other lessons quietly moved me from one step to the next and the next and the next, where then… a destination magically appeared, perhaps not what I expected or what I might have chosen, but a destination nonetheless. Then. When I’d land, and think o.k. I’m all right for now, surprise! A vortex of chaotic activity appeared again swirling into yet another series of events.
I learned patience and true self-care. As a result of dietary and nutritional changes, my overall health improved. I learned how important it is to get the sleep my body requires (not what I thought I could get by on). Much of my life I’ve acted as if I were Wonder Woman, able to face and overcome any obstacle at any time, doing whatever it took. Now I understand this is an unreasonable demand on the mind, body and soul. Wonder Woman behavior can cause what I call “body crash” and “soul disconnect,” something I’ve experienced first hand and continue resolving today. I now realize and accept healthy limitation. Each day I am better and better in every way. Progress has been a little slower than I’d prefer, even so it has appeared and I’m a grateful.
Soul family members walked this path with me, sharing in the experiences… my adult children, siblings, friends, work colleagues doctors and other medical professionals, throughout the toughest times, they held me in positive thought and supported me with encouraging words and actions (for which I am ever grateful). We’ve talked and shared what it means to truly practice care for the mind, body, and soul. The health challenges I’ve faced have brought about large life change, change I know I would not otherwise have made. The challenges have been the impetus for action, new ways of doing, thinking, behaving, and believing… All of which unfolded working hand-in-hand with others. We all played a part in the unfolding of increased wellness… without them, without my soul family, I would not be where I am today. You know who you are, Thank You!
I am a vivid dreamer, able to fill dream journals with pages and pages of dreams, many about myself, sometimes about others, and still other dream stories are about the country or world events. When I have a particular dilemma or question about life, I will write it in my dream journal and wait for an answer.
Recently without prompting or questions, I dreamt that I was working with a team of people creating life experiences for a woman. The events were meant to challenge her in every way, experience after experience, one after another, sometimes more than one occurring on top of another. Layer after layer, one upon another, complex and highly intense. Each experience meant to peel and pull, to break away the characteristics of the woman… Until she was clean… Until she was clear and transparent… Ready to begin again.
The woman was never broken, instead she persisted. She allowed and accepted. She went through the experiences one after another, layer upon layer from the beginning to the now. Throughout the peeling and pulling breaking down process she came to be free… Free from the burdens each experience had brought forth in memories.
Now, she appeared before us all like calm waters, crystal-clear and accepting… Childlike in that she was now a vessel for what newness would begin. As I rose from the dream feeling indifferent, I thought it was just a dream about a woman. But it wasn’t about just a woman. I realized it was me. I am this woman. I am naked, clean, soul stripped bare, transparent, empty and calm, ready for the new beginnings that lay ahead.
Yes, I am — Let it begin.
A dear friend of mine passed away a week ago after an 8 year struggle with cancer. She has gone beyond the veil. I was fortunate enough to have spent some long periods of time with her this year. I realized this morning that during these last few months, with health and abilities declining, she didn’t lose her “spark.” Because of this, I actually missed the fact that she was losing the battle with cancer. My first thought… I was in denial. However, reflecting on our conversations I see now that yes, her body was declining, but she was the same person she had always been, loving, caring, joyful, positive, conversational and very funny. Her body changed but she didn’t, so I didn’t see that she’d be leaving us soon. I missed it completely.
We worked together over a period of ten years, developing a friendship after she resigned due to cancer treatment and declining health. When we spent time together, she would catch me off guard with her humor talking about “this cancer” or life events that had occurred. Life events that would have thrown most of us into a deep dark tizzy she handled with calm grace. I learned from her. The gracefulness, trust and humor illustrated in her words and actions quietly, without notice, sifted into my own approach to life. Gifts I didn’t realize she’d gently passed to me. I wonder if she knew herself? If she saw the change…
What I will remember most from our time together over the last five years is the laughter, the stories and memories we’d share about the old workplace, family or pets. She’d have this grin on her face, and sometimes would stop talking altogether because we’d think the same thing… pause and wham! We’re both laughing to the point of tears. What a hero! … I miss her already. Thank you dear friend for sharing your life-journey with me. Thank you for laughing and crying with me, thank you for showing me that we are more than these bodies, more than the events that make up our lives, that we are indeed living spirit experiencing life and most of all that we are more than this… Life’s journey is a workshop for the Spirit!
We will see each other again.
We are heroes, strong and courageous. Warriors of the day and sometimes the night. Life events unfold, some so good, others just tragic, through youth, young adulthood to adult, to middle age, and elder years. Good childhoods, not-so-good childhoods, wonderful home life, so-so home life, broken homes, great parents or broken parents. We get married, maybe stay that way or later divorced, sometimes face the challenges of being with a partner who has addictions, or maybe we deal with that challenge ourselves. Sometimes we stay single, or sometimes we lose our partner well before their time and we are alone. Children come along, or sometimes they don’t… but if they do, along with them is another set of life events that intersect with our own. We choose careers we love… or hate, sometimes just in-between. Our health is good, or not so good, or maybe absolutely horrible, but we move on moment-to-moment, day-to-day, year-to-year, fighting the good fight… being a hero. We are heroes… life-path warriors.
This is how I’ve chosen to see living. As a person of courage. How else can such human life tragedy or joy, despair or all-good be fittingly described? In seeing myself as a strong, heroic, capable being, I am better able to face any particular moment as it unfolds. I am a hero.
While driving to and from the office, just me and my thoughts, I’ve reinforced this glorious hero perspective by listening to inspiring, epic music. Some composed by Audiomachine, their songs Blood and Stone, Hope and Glory, Solstice Sun, Army of Kings, Existence: Beyond the Clouds and Rebirth are my favorites. Violinist Lindsey Stirling also has some amazing send-shivers-through-your-body compositions such as Transcendence, Elements, Song of the Caged Bird and Assassin’s Creed Theme. I get in 60 minutes every day of “I can conquer the world” hero-rousing tunes. Some bring memories of getting through a particular life event that left me broken way back when, bringing on tears but also feelings of gratitude for having bravely survived what occurred. Grateful for the courage that has kept me going.
We are amazing creatures. Perfect beings in our imperfections. You are courageous. You are magnificently brave. Choose to recognize the hero that you are. And so it goes, and so it is, and so it shall be. All said. We carry on. Peace dear reader, and much love to you for the journey.