When the Student is ready, the Teacher appears


I was reading a self help book when I met my first spiritual teacher. The book, purchased from a bookstore was something I thought I needed in my life at the time. After reading less than half of the book I realized that it did not resonate with me. It was not what I was looking for after all. My sister had invited me over to meet him; she would be meeting her boyfriend there as well. The book I was reading was in my hands when I was introduced to him, although I can not recall why I would be carrying it around with me. But the Universe did.

After introductions, he asked me what I was reading. Prenaturally, he must have known why I was reading it and asked me to follow him inside. From a book shelf he chose a paperback and handed it to me and said I should read it. It had helped him. The book was ‘Out on A Limb’ by Shirley MacLaine. “When the Student is ready the Teacher will appear”, he said. I had never heard the Buddhist saying before but when he said it I got goosebumps. Something inside of me pinged. It was a knowing.

I was a little skeptical about this book having recalled what I had heard of it and her at the time. Less than 10 years from the time it was published I had her book in my hands and read the books description on the back cover. I waited about a week before I actually read it, unsure if I was really ready to read it. It changed the trajectory of my life. My spiritual journey had begun.

Just like different phases of schooling we go through in life, so did my spiritual journey. When I had completed the book, I read another my new friend had shared with me. This one was ‘There is a River’ by Edgar Cayce. My life was transforming and I wanted to learn more about New Age spirituality as it was called. When I was ready, the next teacher on my journey appeared. And then the next. And then the next. And I am still learning.



A Past Life

20181215_084458.jpgDuring a past life regression therapy session I saw myself in at least a few lifetimes. There were men in each of those lifetimes: a dark haired man with a mustache who was a landlord of a rundown building; a farm hand of my family’s farm and property in the 1800’s; a man in a white tee shirt and a red plaid kilt who was my father in that lifetime.
Past life regression therapy is therapy. To get to the root of my issue in this lifetime, I had to go back through as many lifetimes as it took to find where the karma began. My higher self and spirit guides, guided me and protected me during this soul journey back in time where I saw, not the entire lifetime with the aforementioned individuals ( it’s only a 2 hour session), but scenes from those lives showing me and reminding my subconscious of a situation in that lifetime, kind of like a movie trailer. In spiritual truth, I did not forget. The memory was there all along in my cells. During and after those scenes I knew who the man was in all of those lifetimes and certain traits of those men were familiar to me in this life.
I was raped by the farm hand in the 1800’s and became pregnant. In another scene from that life I saw myself on a horse drawn wagon with my parents – unknown to me in this life – being sent away until the baby was born. The farm hand in that lifetime was my husband in this life. In this lifetime I learned that the karma with my husband was to give him children.
The man with the red kilt, who was my father in that lifetime, was also my husband in this life. I was about twelve and was enslaved, meaning I performed nearly every chore there was to be done and I did not want to do it anymore. I wanted my own life. I wrapped a red plaid shawl around me and began to walk away. He ran after me with a spear and plunged it into my chest and twisted it around. The wound was fatal. During the therapy session the practitioner asked me where my soul was leaving my body. I lifted my hand to put it on my chest a couple of inches above my sternum.
I felt myself floating toward the sky and turned myself around and saw my body lying there on the ground. It did not hurt. I was not scared. I turned back around and saw the blue tunnel and went through it to the ‘Other Side’. And it was beautiful there. My guides and angels were with me throughout this transition. When I got home that night, I washed up before bed and my eyes saw the red stained birthmark on my chest. I had seen it my whole life and never knew what it was or how it got there.
Having read quite a few books about reincarnation and past lives, this was my first experience with my own past life memory. Not only was it therapeutic, but it was absolute proof for me that our souls do go on after this life.

Taking Back My Power

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The following is one of my past life recalls; names purposely omitted.

 I see a man and a woman in a wooden alcove – is it passion or violence?  Violence. The person I see is a man in that life – who is a woman in my current life. The man is above me. We’re almost hidden but no one thinks anything of it. ‘She’ is speaking low telling me how to behave – to not scream. I’m fearful but listening. This person has power over me. It’s something I have to give in to. He does it to every woman.

I try to find out what country and era I’m in. The Mediterranean area comes to me, possibly during the Renaissance era. He resembles a monk with a brown robe that falls down to his mid-calf, I can see his trousers – or whatever they’re called in that time. He has a bald spot on his head and carries a stick.  I think he’s a shepherd, although, I see him using the stick to push through the water as he walks away.

I ask my spirit guide who is with me why this is happening.  I get “He has no power and he wants it.” Women are powerless in this time and it’s easy for him to take advantage of them. He has hiding spots and a lot of time.

For nearly five years a woman that I had worked with, who abused her power over and over, was abusive to me, as well as to many other women that I worked with.  I would wake up in the morning and my first thought was of her and how I dreaded seeing her. It was toxic. I have felt fear and anger, even when I was no longer working with her, that I couldn’t place and could not let go of. I knew there was something that I had to overcome. I had thought it was realizing that I was not a victim and on a full moon I released that I was no longer a victim. It helped for a time. But the fear and anger persisted.  I knew that I needed to forgive and forget. So I did that. Eventually, the fear dissipated, but the anger was still ever present. I thought about professional therapy; therapy, I thought, would take too long to rid the anger that was swirling inside of me. I wanted to release it with a magic wand.  Instead, I prayed for a solution.

That solution came during this past life recall at a group meditation. That night I thoughtfully chose a question, an intention to understand my situation. I wrote it down and slipped into meditation. As I have shared in previous essays, our souls choose all of our relationships, lessons, and experiences before we reincarnate into another life here on earth. We choose who we want to learn our lessons with; we choose our family and other life lessons that we want to work on in this human journey. We also can choose to work out a karmic contract which is what I had with this woman.

That night in meditation I healed myself. There were no tears, only joy, as my metal shackles unlocked, freeing me from my contract. Finally, the karma was balanced.

No one has power over us. We only think they do. It is an illusion if we could only see it that way. But fear, which is also an illusion, is something that we’ve all learned to allow to control us, to have power over us, life after life after life. Until we learn to break that cycle. And we all have the power to do that.

….to forgive, divine.

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Forgiveness is for us – to forgive someone who has hurt us . To forgive is “for giving” to ourselves. We don’t have to forget what was done to us. We are not responsible for the burden. Forgiveness is getting rid of that burden so that we can move forward. Without forgiveness we remain right where we are.

A few years ago I went to see James Van Praagh at the local civic center, getting tickets as close to the stage  as possible – as soon as they went on sale. I didn’t get the meet and greet passes, just the tickets to see and hear what the famed medium had to say up close and not miss any wisdom he could share. He talked about the other side, his experiences, how he got started- his whole bio – pretty much everything I had already read about him.

Toward the middle of his appearance he was going to deliver messages from loved ones on the other side for a lucky few in the audience.  Before ending his monologue he wanted to preface the readings by stressing to everyone in attendance  in the auditorium the importance of being non-judgmental. He talked about why we should not judge people who have hurt us or wronged us and the reason for that is because of the Life Review.

When souls cross over to the other side they go through a life review. Every soul sees their life in review: the good, the bad and the ugly. Every soul that chooses to have a human experience  has a lesson or lessons to learn on planet earth. So, the purpose of the life review is to review our souls experience in that life. Did the soul accomplish the lesson or lessons? If not, the soul can choose to learn it in it’s next incarnation.  I can say I have finally learned one of my soul’s lessons after several life times. (My guides and I will be high-fiving in my booth!)

Sylvia Browne, Shirley Maclaine and others have written about the Life Review. There is a scene depicted in the 1991 movie “Defending Your Life” starring Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks. Both of their characters have crossed over and they and others enter their respective Life Review booths.  Shirley Maclaine has a cameo in the movie to explain to those who have just crossed over how to operate the Life Review machine.   

James explained  to everyone that when each of us transforms – from the physical world to the spirit world –  what the soul sees from this review is much harder to watch than having someone judge them harshly or any regret they have for what they should or should not have done during this lifetime.

Being judgmental is what humans do. I believe it is a habit that is learned in childhood and  through peer pressure and before you know it, it’s become an unhealthy, negative, and hurtful habit.

And the thing about being judgy is that it doesn’t only hurt the person we’re judging, but like a boomerang it comes back to us. So, in effect we are hurting ourselves when we judge others. It’s one of those universal laws that what we put out comes back to us.

I have forgiven a lot of people in my life, including myself – it is a good feeling. Sometimes I still judge (my human-ness) but I try to be mindful of the importance of not being judgmental. I really don’t want my Life Review to hurt too much. Life as it is here on earth hurts enough.

 

Past Lives: Dreams and Memories

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I am walking next to a little girl with blonde curly hair, underneath a black straw boater hat adorned with a few flowers. She is wearing a black coat down to her knees, white stockings and black ankle boots. She is walking on top of a rock wall as I walk alongside, her small hand in mine. I cannot see myself or what I am wearing; I feel that I am not her mother, but someone like a mother. I believe that I am her governess.

That is where the dream ends. As soon as I wake up, I know that the baby growing inside of me is going to be a girl and that I have known her in another life.  Since my daughter was born, I have been a mother and a teacher to her as well. I introduced her to story time and parks; books and Opera and classical music; daytrips and Broadway shows; art museums and painting and drawing since she could hold a crayon.

We get glimpses of other lives we have lived in this life via dreams or memories during our waking life.  Déjà vu moments; things that come easy to us; a feeling that we’ve known someone we just met a long time; an uncanny longing to visit a place we’ve never been before. We dream about events that may happen in the future. In dreams we may find answers to questions, problems or clues about ourselves. We can also get clues to whom or what we were in another life.  A past life dream will come to us just like any other dream.  It may look and feel different than a typical dream. Instead of a dream that seems weird or may jump around from one scene to another, past life dreams, in my experience give us glimpses of another life that happened millennia, centuries or decades ago.  In that snapshot of a former life, the subconscious gives us – our conscious self – the details. We know the rest on a soul level.

Past lives, for anyone who may not understand what exactly a past life is or how it is even possible – you may not believe in past lives or reincarnation and that’s okay – can be explained like this.  Reincarnation is when a soul chooses to live in a certain time or place; the soul chooses the people it will live a life with and other people who will help it along its journey in every life time.  Many of our souls have lived several lifetimes.  A soul chooses to reincarnate on earth or anywhere else. The universe is vast; we are not the only solar system out there – it may be very possible to live in another solar system.  We, that is, our souls, our guardian angels and spirit guides begin the process of putting together our life plan or blue print for the soul’s (our) next journey.

Past life dreams can be in color, black and white – as most dreams are, or in sepia – which for me is indicative of a past life in ancient times. I have had a glimpse of a past life that was in sepia – an antique type of color – that may have been in ancient Egypt. In one single flash of a past life you will know when and where it was; who the person or persons are in your current life; when this past life occurred; and feelings attached to those memories.

Occasionally, we will get a flash of a past life memory while we’re awake. Sometimes it comes to us when we suddenly experience a déjà vu.  It could happen while we’re at our computer at work; driving somewhere in our car; even visiting an historic site – there’s a reason you’re there.  Something will trigger a past life memory and it will resonate with you.

Past Life Regression Therapy is another way to discover a past life.  Regression therapy is conducted by a regression therapist who specializes in past life therapy and is generally conducted to help heal a mental, physical or spiritual issue which may have originated in a previous life or multiple lives and is  coming to the surface during this incarnation to be addressed.

Through dreams, memories and past life regression I know that a few of my past lives have involved moving west in a covered wagon; being part of an aristocratic family; and religious persecution.  The purpose of reincarnating is to learn lessons, such as compassion or perseverance, until our soul has reached enlightenment. It may take several lifetimes.

 

AS WITHIN, SO WITHOUT

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AS WITHIN, SO WITHOUT

 Ferncliff Forest in Rhinebeck, New York, is a beautiful 200 acre privately owned Preserve with hiking trails and a modest camping and picnic area that surrounds a serene lake. It is a nature lover’s respite. The area begs to be photographed. I gave in to it. I took a few photographs as we climbed up large hills winding through bare trees. I could imagine how the trees would look in a month when the leaves filled in the bare spaces.  My destination – the reason that I wanted to go the forest in the first place – awaited me in the center of the forest on top of a steep hill. My camera ready, I excitedly climbed the hill and walked up to the fire tower.  I was genuinely surprised at what happened next.

When I walked up to the tower’s steps, I hesitated. I allowed others to go before me. It was not what I expected, but I did not understand the apprehension I was feeling. I climbed the first set of steps, about a dozen. Simple deer fencing was all that covered the outside of the tower from the base of the steps up to the railing on each set of steps all the way up the 80 foot tower.  I’ve climbed the Statue of Liberty’s narrow steps, only feeling slight vertigo. But, this was different.  Once I got to the landing before climbing the next set of steps, I froze. Hesitatingly, I began to climb the next set of steps to the landing with tears in my eyes. I started up again and again backed down turned around on the landing and went down the first set of stairs and once down on the ground,  looked up at the tower, my fear beginning to grow.

I had started repeating “I can’t, I can’t” over and over which was turning into a self fulfilling prophecy.  Someone I was with said to me, “What are you afraid of?”  In that moment I knew my fear was a metaphor.  What I was afraid of was beginning to become clear.  And, suddenly I became frustrated with myself for not trying harder. I had waited so long to come here, climb the tower and take breathtaking photographs of the view from the top.

Where does fear come from? Are we taught to fear?  Or do we create our own fear?  And is there something else at play here? Fear is paralyzing, it stops us in our tracks inhibiting us from moving forward. It doesn’t matter what you are afraid of or what event triggers the fear. Why we fear is personal.  All humans are not afraid of the same thing.  Most people fear spiders, others do not; some fear other people or situations while it doesn’t bother other people; many people fear death and others enjoy living. I believe some fears go way back, not only in this life time, but further back, to a past life.  We are all working out karma from another life or lifetimes. If we don’t work it out in one life time, we carry that karma with us to the next life and so on. I believe that while I was on the fire tower the karma clock was ticking.

With a fear to conquer I decided that the third time was the charm. I began again. The first set of steps. The second set of steps, half way up, backed down, sobbing from fear. I knew what my fear was and it wasn’t the tower’s steps. The fear I felt inside about moving forward – financial security, stability, taking the next step – was manifesting on the outside. As within so without.

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Determined to get up the tower and take pictures, I looked up, not down or ahead, as was suggested by someone else and I prayed to be kept safe as I moved upward. I breathed, counted the steps and finally made it up the fourth set of steps (about half of the tower –the rest will have to wait until fall when I go back). The view of the Hudson River and the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge was amazing. It was more amazing because I had chosen to move forward.  In the end what helped was counting steps…one at a time.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Grandmother’s Eulogy

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Evangeline, my grandmother’s name,  was born in  1922, to parents who were pastors. The English meaning of her name is “Good tidings the word”; the Greek meaning, ” Good news message”. The word Angel is also in her name.  Angels are Gods messengers.

She was the visiting pastor at United Methodist church where my mom brought us nearly every Sunday. On that Sunday, the entire family was present and on time. She was present at the same church when my sisters and brother and I were baptized when I was about eleven or twelve. (During my dad’s and aunt’s upbringing she had travelled to different churches to preach. It was work  in the early 1940’s for a single mom. But, her connection to the church and Jesus was also her lifeline.) Until then, I’d never seen my grandmother in that role. She was speaking passionately with a raised voice and raised arms. Soon enough I would learn just how passionate she was about her faith.

Over the years that I visited her house,  I noticed books and papers piled up on her kitchen counter; bookshelves packed with books in various rooms of her house; music albums or cassettes neatly placed in their racks, the bead and  and pictures of Jesus or Bible quotes written or painted on paper and framed or carved in wood over archways and rooms in her house. The common denominator: they were all about religion. Specifically, Christianity, Jesus and the Bible.

As a child and then adolescent, I dutifully went to the methodist church with my family on Sundays. I recall that we started going to another church, Wesleyan,  that  seemed, at first to work for me. It was around this time that I was ….. looking for something else. It’s not that I was rebelling  against religion, rather I was looking for something that held meaning for me.  I didn’t know what  that something was, but somewhere I learned that most answers could be found in church or by talking to God. Maybe I learned it from my grandmother. I found a church to go to, but I did not find myself.

Throughout high school and into my early twenties, I was a devout follower of rock and roll.  I  accumulated rock paraphernalia: albums, ticket stubs, tee shirts and magazines. Unfortunately, what I learned from my grandmother was that you have to love God and church 100 percent. It’s all or nothing. If I wanted to find God and belong to church, I could not  continue to worship my rock and roll idols. I could not give up my Ramones tee shirt, the ticket stub from a Mink DeVille concert that I saw with my friend Jody or my collection of Hit Parade and Rolling Stones magazines. Could I?

The yearning to find that….something else became stronger around 1991.  What I found was a book that was not the answer for me, but it did lead me to my first teacher who handed me his copy of Shirley Maclaine’s  “Out on a Limb”. Many years earlier I had seen a People magazine article of her promoting her new book and I found the concept of reincarnation scary. At the time, reincarnation was synonymous with Shirley Maclaine. I believe that, over time,  her celebrity helped to bring new age practices into the mainstream.This book was the something else I was looking for.  As soon as I started reading, I could not put it down. Most of what she wrote resonated with me.  The part about re-incarnation would take a little more time for me to grasp. That would be the book after “Out on a Limb”,  when my friend told me about Edgar Cayce. With both of these books read from cover to cover, I was off and running on my spiritual journey. And, I got so excited about what I was learning, that I could not wait to share it with everyone. This is where I begin to sound like my grandmother. This was my A-ha moment. This was our connection – although we both came at it from different sides.

At that time, I knew I had found exactly what I had been looking for.   I started to share my new discovery, but I knew it would not make other people comfortable: family, friends and co-workers. I tried anyway…and well, the obvious responses happened. Use your imagination.  I knew my grandmother would have thought it was the rock and roll or not going to church that got to me. I never did share this with my grandmother, although I  did try to tell her once, but she did not understand what I was talking about. Out of fear or respect , or both, I changed the subject.

Anyway, after reading “Out On A Limb”, the Universe opened up for me. This is how I now know when I am on the right path. Some might call it synchronicity. Others may say it is fate or destiny. Well…it’s both. It is meant to be.

So, I started reading everything I could to learn more about everything esoteric and paranormal. I did my research. I wanted to know and understand what else was out there and I knew that there was more than just the Bible and the three core religions: Catholicism, Judaism and Protestant.

I would pick up any book by Shirley Maclaine, process it and decide where to go from there. Then, Sylvia Browne and Doreen Virtue. Then various books with a spiritual message.  Collections of Angel figurines and ornaments, butterflies and dragonflies in any form came next – they’re in almost every room in my house. The new age music that calms me and brings me peace. Recently, I looked down on the floor next to my bed and over at the book shelf. Nearly every book on the shelves are spiritual in nature, except for a few biographies and  my Ramones CD’s.

A thought came to me: I had become my grandmother.

When I talked with her last year, I began talking with her about the Bible and her favorite person in the Bible she told me was Jesus. His pictures adorned her home. She looked up at me as if she had just realized I was talking about something she knew. A certain look came over her as if I was speaking a foreign language that she had recognized. I showed her my gardens because I knew she loved flowers. When I saw her in the nursing home over the summer, I’d brought an oversized “Hello Kitty” coloring book with me because I knew she loved coloring. As she  colored Hello Kitty with only a blue crayon, I just watched her and recalled it was just like I remembered her views on religion. Talking about Jesus, praying to him and reading or being read to about him. She loved Jesus.

I started this story  a little over a year ago when I first learned that she had the signs of dementia. She passed away nearly a week after falling in the nursing home where she lived for the last seven months, eight years almost to the day that her husband passed. I believe she didn’t want to live anymore. She wanted to go “home” to see him. And to see Jesus.

The Art of Letting Go

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My daughter, my first born, leaves for college this month, two states and three hours away from home. She’s ready. I’m ready, I think. I say “think” because I’ve had eighteen years to prepare for this milestone. But when I think about it, I get anxious.

I recall watching the school bus going by our house when she was two months old and thinking to myself, “She is not going a noisy, germ-infested school bus.” Five year later: new shoes on and a Veggie Tales back pack loaded with her lunch and school supplies, we headed for the bus stop. I had the video camera ready as the school bus drove up to record this milestone, as I had so many others since she was born. We barely said our goodbyes, when the school bus door opened and she eagerly bounded up the steps to take her place in the front seat. Her little brother and I watched as the school bus drove out of sight. I had prepared myself to go directly to the grocery store so that I would not have to go back inside the house, but alas, I forgot my pocketbook in the first- day- of –school excitement.

After I wiped away my tears, my son and I went to the grocery store… and then the mall. I celebrated my first born child’s first day of school by shopping. The second child was easier, not as emotional the second time around.
And so it would go…moving up from elementary school to middle school…moving up from middle school to high school…graduating high school …and all the many other achievements in-between.

I’ve been learning to let go for the last eighteen years: Watching her grow from an infant to a curious toddler to a free spirited girl and to the young woman she is now; when she learned to walk and no longer needed me to carry her, learning to ride a bike, and finally gaining her independence when she obtained her driver’s license and could drive herself to school, her friends’ houses and to the mall; the first sleepover with friends (and all the subsequent sleepovers) and when she traveled to France and Spain with her school mates.

It’s hard to let go – to let her be…herself. I want to hold on to her longer – to be the little girl who looked at me with a Cheshire cat smile when she was up to something (and she still does). Or in the morning when I’d wake up and find her sleeping on the floor next to me with her pillow and blanket – a safer place to sleep when a nightmare would wake her up. On the other hand, I know I have to let go and allow her to be the lovely young woman she is. It’s time for her next adventure.

This is her journey. She chose her path. She chose me as her mom for this life’s journey. She is mine to borrow. But her life is her own. It always has been. We were brought together to love and learn lessons. I feel that in this life, she is teaching me to let go.

But, I’ll be calling all archangels and angels to watch over her as I drive home the day I drop her off at college. Maybe I’ll drive to the mall first…then go home.