Spiritual Awakenings ~ Grandma Shirley

Grandma Shirley ‘s holiday cookie specialty was snowball cookies, a melt -in- your- mouth butter cookie with nuts and covered in confectionery sugar that resembled a small snowball. I would eat them as fast as she could make them. They were too irresistible to leave alone on the plate. Snowball cookies (a.k.a. Russian Tea Cakes and Mexican Wedding Cakes) are what she called them for young children. They were not for me or my sisters or brother, but for one of the organizations that she volunteered for. She had a kind and generous spirit. She taught me a few life skills in addition to baking such as personal finances. Grandma Shirley was one of my first spiritual teachers. She introduced me to reincarnation.

In the early 1980’s reincarnation was beginning to become part of the vernacular and Shirley Maclaine played a big part in it. I recall seeing the magazine with her in it and the subtitle about UFO’s, that my mom left on the coffee table. It scared me at the time and I threw down the magazine. This was after my encounter with Grandma Shirley when she told me she believed in reincarnation. She tried to explain to me that when someone we love dies or transitions, as a friend of mine had recently, they don’t really leave us. I loved her but I had no idea what she was talking about.

Fast forward about seven years when my spiritual journey started accelerating. I had already met my spiritual mentor HB who had handed me ‘Out on a Limb’ to read. As I’ve mentioned before, I was ready for this. It was the right time. So, when I saw my grandma Shirley again I did not feel freaked out. We had a mutual interest in reincarnation. She talked about the feeling that she had been here before – where she and my grandfather were currently living in the northeast. I understood what she was saying. We were on the same psychic wavelength.

I saw grandma Shirley a few months later in the hospital where she was dying from leukemia. She succumbed not long after that and made her transition. She didn’t push her beliefs on me. Sharing her spiritual beliefs with me was another way that she showed her love. Perhaps, we’ll be in another life together. It was a wonderful ‘life’ skill she imparted to me. And her snowball cookie recipe.

Knowing, Hearing, Seeing, Feeling: The Clairs

Shyla shared with me that she was afraid to see a ghost, that is, an earthbound, while she was investigating a haunted house with a paranormal group. She told me she had been lying on a bed in a bedroom of this haunted house when, with her eyes closed, a female presence got on the bed with her and was talking to her. Shyla said she was afraid to open her eyes to see this ghost; she didn’t want to see her. My reaction to this was a mix of surprise and interest.

Shyla was a spiritual teacher and an intuitive medium. She had the gift of knowing, feeling, hearing and seeing, what I call the four clairs: Claircognizance, clairsentience, clairaudience and clairvoyance.

I have heard that anyone can be one or all of the clairs. I am mostly all four by admission. I have seen energy mostly in the shape of orbs and flashes. It frightens me now just as much as it has my whole life to see them. I don’t want to see a ghost or spirit or apparition. I’m not sure where this fear comes from, perhaps I learned to fear them at some point in my early childhood.

My other senses became stronger, particularly clairsentience. My inner and outer energy radar can feel energy from those living on earth as well as earthbounds. At first feeling earthbounds was frightening and I would run from the room. I still do. I learned to tell them to go away because they don’t belong here on earth and they don’t. They need to cross over first and then they can visit earth another time. Problem is, they don’t know they’re ghosts; they think they’re still flesh and blood.

Conversely, feeling a crossed over loved one is different to me. I feel love and an awareness of who it is. I feel Shyla when she’s around – she’s still teaching and inspiring me.

**All photos by Leslie Sheraden

Crossed Over Loved Ones

I believe that when our souls leave our human bodies they go to the Other Side of the veil. They go home. When I recalled  my soul leaving its body in a past life during past life regression therapy, it did not hurt. While the action of my death in that life may have been painful, I did not experience that during the past life recall.  I did not feel panic or that I wanted to leave. In fact, it felt quite natural. As I went through the blue tunnel, where departed souls travel to the  other side, I felt pure love, lightness and peace. It was not at all scary as I once believed death to be.

When Spacey passed away, the pain that I felt in my body, head and heart was impenetrable. No amount of hugs and hand holding would have lessened the pain. No one talked with me about death, except for expressing sympathy. I only knew from church sermons when I was young that when we die we go either to Heaven or Hell. I hoped she would go to Heaven.  I only knew that she was gone and I would never talk with her again. Eleven years later when Grandma Shirley passed on, I understood more about the soul; where it is after the body is no longer needed for its journey here. It did not mean that I missed her any less or that I did not mourn her.  I recalled our talks  a year or so before she left this world about reincarnation and that death was a part of the life cycle. 

As more loved ones passed, understanding grew and pain lessened. I knew that they passed from the physical world to the spirit world. They are still with us in spirit. When I was first aware that I was experiencing visitations I knew that it was communication from crossed over loved ones.

Linda was a co-worker at a media company we worked for in  New York. We both worked in accounting: she was the  accounts payable and accounts receivable bookkeeper,  I was an office clerk. I was younger than her by about twelve years; she was married with older children. I was recently married and was starting my family. She was supportive of me and I looked up to her. One morning on the radio a news report said a young man had been killed in a motorcycle accident. He was Linda’s youngest son. I was heartbroken for her.

A few years later I had a dream.  Linda and I were sitting at her desk. She was cross training me on an aspect of her job. She was sitting in front of her computer and I was sitting to her left. On my left were three beige 4 drawer lateral filing cabinets. While Linda was showing me something, I suddenly looked up at the end of the cabinets. I knew someone was there. A young man I did not know was wearing khaki pants and a waist length brown jacket, unzippered. He casually walked from behind the cabinets, looked right at me and said, “Please tell my mom I’m okay.” And kept walking. I had never met her son but I knew this was him in  my dream. Later, when Linda was training me on something I would be doing for her, we were sitting just as we were in my dream. I related this message dream to her. At first Linda did not believe that souls could connect with us in our dreams or connect with us at all. But she thanked me for telling her.

My visitations with Peggy during automatic writing, Spacey getting my attention while I followed a service truck that bore her nickname, and Grandma Shirley sitting next to me in bed talking to me and others that I knew that have visited me in different ways, have shown me that we all transform from the physical world to the spirit world. Physical death is not the end. My crossed over loved ones wanted me to know this and that they are just visiting.

*all photos by Leslie Sheraden