SHYLA

From my journal entry on November 8, 2017:

‘For no apparent reason last night (11/7/17) I thought of Shyla and prayed for her.

I found a post on FB from yesterday (also 11/7/17) that she passed away. I’m so sad, but so happy that I knew her.’

Shyla was a very important spiritual teacher and mentor for me. She was an intuitive and medium and had those abilities since she was a child. She had been giving readings and teaching other spiritual practices for many years. She practiced Wiccan and was a Reiki Master. And Shyla was always generous with her time and her gifts.

 I had seen her about six months before her passing for my last reading with her. She was showing me how to interpret a tarot card. I had worked with my own tarot cards, looked at the pictures and read the interpretation in the accompanying booklet. She taught me to look at everything on the card, that there were objects and scenery – symbols – that were specific to the message. The card that she was explaining that day featured a man (King?) on a throne with Ram symbols all over the card indicating that a love interest would be an Aries – also based on the placement of the other tarot cards in the reading. There was an Aries man that I was interested in at the time too.

Over the twenty five years that I knew Shyla, I learned something new every time I saw her about tarot, psychic development, the spirit world, different realms, Reiki (I learned Reiki because of her. I am Reiki 2nd Degree), and extra terrestrials. I had called her one evening a few years ago before my son was to come back from a Boy Scout camping and hiking trip in New Mexico. I explained to Shyla about my sons ‘dreams’ about extra terrestrials. He had a couple of them where he would wake up terrified. He had had an ET ‘dream’ four days before he was scheduled to fly out with the boy scouts for this once in a lifetime trip. ET’s and New Mexico: if the trip was not already paid for I may have tried to cancel it. I was on the phone with Shyla for an hour talking about what this meant and more information than I wanted to know about extra terrestrials. I knew they were not dreams, per se.

I had met Shyla in the early 1990’s when nearly everyone in my office went to see different psychics, first Judy and then Shyla. I would continue to see Shyla once a year or twice since then, wherever she was. She moved a lot trying to find the space she was meant to be in. As a Medium, Shyla told me that although she did see and hear spirits, there was one time in a haunted house with a paranormal group where she did not want to open her eyes to see the spirit of a woman who was in a bedroom. That surprised me about her.

So today when I did automatic writing, asking for guidance from the angels, I also called in my Grandma Shirley for help, Shyla made herself known. I was not thinking of her however she offered some advice and had a message for me. When I was done I looked at my notes and thought it was odd that Shyla came to me without me asking her for help. Perhaps I needed a teacher. This time of the year is also when the veil is thinnest and our loved ones can come to us and we can hear or see them better.

Getting Back in the Game

It’s all about being ready and being prepared for the situations that are thrown at you.”  – Eli Manning

It’s been a little more than a year since my last post.

It wasn’t writers block.

The last year has been preparation for the changes that followed. I knew the changes were coming but I did not feel they would affect me as they did. I was preparing for the events and knew what was coming. I underestimated myself. Sometimes that happens. And sometimes, well,  more than sometimes, I let events take control of me.

In  2018, I became an empty nester; sold a house in a neighborhood where I lived for over 20 years; ended a long term relationship. These life changes, though I knew they were going to happen, hit me harder than I ever thought they would. I was preparing for them. I was ready for these changes. I was surprised by how hard they hit me. They all happened  within a span of three months.

I was unprepared for the grief that followed. And re-build a new life for myself.

I’m spiritual not religious. I used my spiritual tool box but despite setting intentions, meditating, taking walks in nature and trying to be gentle with myself, depression is something that just needs time before action. Processing those feelings of living alone for the first time and moving somewhere new. Learning to let go because I must, I have to. The changes were necessary to allow new opportunities to present themselves. When one door closes another one opens.

It’s been three months since then. I’m working on a new career path.  I’ve resumed dream interpretations and writing: I plan on publishing not one, but two books this year. I have been setting intentions, meditating and watching for signs. Guidance from the Universe. Am I on the path I’m supposed to be on?

I am ready to receive good fortune and abundance.

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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.

A Billboard Sign

 

It’s time to take the next step.

These words were part of a billboard advertisement on a train platform that I saw while on my way to Manhattan. When I read the words I knew in an instant that I was meant to see them and they were meant for me. Not that every sign or billboard has to mean something to everyone, but when the universe has a message for us, one that has been given to us more than once — then sometimes a billboard is needed.

 

 

The words were a stark reminder of an experience that I had a year ago; climbing a fire tower in a forest preserve in upstate New York.  I recall how I had been looking forward to climbing the tower to get birds-eye photographs from the top of the tower on that early spring day. And, I recall how I couldn’t make it past the first set of steps. Everyone around me kept saying to just look straight up.  After many tearful pleas of “I can’t”, I eventually made it up another set of steps and then another – just to the height where I needed to be to get the pictures I wanted. They weren’t the shots I’d hoped for, but they would do.

Shortly after that day there was a moment in a shopping mall when I had that same fear of taking the next step, but this was going down an escalator. I felt sheer panic, as if I would fall rather than allow the escalator to gently deliver me to the first floor. Perhaps I didn’t trust the process? I did eventually get down after about half an hour. It took a while for me to go down other escalators after that day, as well. Eventually, the fear wore off when I acknowledged the message. The message was about taking more control of my life; being unafraid to take the next step.

So, on that early spring day that I saw the billboard on the train platform, I thought that I’d come a long way in the last year – on different levels. I felt like I had conquered a giant. I am a warrior goddess slaying her fear.  Or did I speak too soon.

Later that day, as I was shopping in a store in Times Square, it happened again.  I got to the top of the down escalator; fear of taking that next step. I was confused because I thought I’d gotten past that.  Maybe there was one more step to conquer. This time I knew it wasn’t fear that I felt, but uncertainty. How do I make that next step? Is it the right time? I needed clarity.

The universe – God, my guardian angels or deities – was pushing me to my next level or goal. The billboard was a sign: it is time. The spiritual challenges that we face and the signs that we get are different for everyone. For me it’s taking the next step and knowing when to take it.

 

*all photographs taken by Leslie Sheridan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished Books

 

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I’m a book addict. I love books.  I collect books. I own a library card. I carry a membership card to a well known book store and I use it often. Thomas Jefferson once said “I cannot live without books.” I concur.

In fact, I generally have four or five books going at any time. That is I’ll read a book for a bit, put it down and then repeat the process with about 3 or 4 other books. They’re not all just random books or the newest books that I cannot keep up with. There really is a method to my madness. But, a couple of months ago I realized that the madness had taken over and it needed to have an ending.

And so, I made a goal this year to finish any books I had previously started.  Two of the books for research purposes have post it notes riddled with arrows, notes and punctuation so that I can go back to them as needed. Two of the books were inspirational memoirs sprinkled with humor. And still another was a tome by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

About five years ago I saw an exhibit on Thomas Jefferson’s book collection at the mother of all libraries – the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. This exhibit consisted of Jefferson’s bookshelves with his 10,000 book collection! The founding father had a variety of books on all topics. There were the books you would expect to see on the shelf of a farmer, lawyer, politician, and Declaration of Independence author.  Surprisingly or not, there were books by Voltaire and Moliere; Homer and Shakespeare; as well as books on Plato, languages, astronomy, philosophy and religion.  I wonder if he read his books sporadically.

But, it was still time to finish my current collection of unfinished books. Cold, winter nights and snowy weekends are great for curling up with a good book and I took advantage of the cold nights next to a warm fire. At around the moment I committed to this, I realized that I may not have been alone in my decision. I felt a nudge from the universe, a reminder, that it was time to get ready to move forward. Was finishing the books a metaphor for finishing goals? Books equal knowledge. Lessons have been learned.  It’s time for me to let go of the past and move forward to the next level in my spiritual awakening.

 

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The Detour

A recent hike with my camera in hand led me to a beautiful spot with a little leftover snow from a recent snowfall.  The path was an off shoot or smaller trail, of the main path, with the early morning sun filtering through the trees. Click. It was a beautiful shot. What I would not find out for another three and a half miles was that the picture I just took was a clue.
It was a perfect mid-winter Sunday morning. And so I went along the path, looking at the trees, the snow covered rocks and frozen stream. Being on this trail that early morning was just what I needed: cleanse my aura, get fresh air, and really just being out in nature – my favorite place to be. The trail has hills, gorgeous trees, and a stream running under a wooden bridge. It really is picturesque all four seasons.
One of the great things about taking an early morning hike is that there really aren’t many people on the trail.  It’s not anti-social; rather this time is spiritual – Sunday and the other six days of the week.  I don’t really think about things while I’m hiking. I allow myself to just be in the moment, although occasionally my mind does wander, as it did this day. The funny thing is I have daydreamed before on this trail, so I don’t understand how I lost my way. I was walking along the path for a while before I realized that the texture of the ground beneath the inch or so of snow left did not feel right or familiar to me. I did not recall there being small mounds of fall leaves or rocks jutting up through the ground. This path was lumpy; not clear or smooth like the path I had started out on.
The nearly three mile hike became a four mile hike. I wondered if there was a reason I subconsciously took a detour. Perhaps it was a route I chose to take to avoid something –on a metaphysical level. Was I meant to go off the path or was the universe allowing me to have a choice (free will). Or, I wondered, was it a reminder to stay aware while I’m on my path, to discern, to not be led by anyone or anything that might take me off the path. There is a reason for everything. Maybe if I had paused and listened to my inner self when I’d taken the picture, I may have heard “Stay on your path.”

 

 

 

 

….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.

 

Inspiration

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”  ~ Vincent Van Gogh

 

Like a lightning bolt, I never know when inspiration will strike.

Nature inspires me every day. I love the hues of blue and gray -whites on a really cold winter morning. I love how the sun dances off the water, glimmering sparkles of gold after a summer thunderstorm. I love the reds and golds of the fall foliage. I’m inspired by the textures of scenery – I love how it all comes together. I am always photographing it.

I’m inspired by a film with good, no, passionate acting and the cinematography. I love the beauty of film.

I’m inspired by art in the form of music, painting, drawing or photography, a play or musical. I love the passion that people exhibit through their work, their art.

I love a good book, not just a good book: literature. I love works by Tracy Chevalier and Patti Smith.

I’m inspired by people. People who live their lives with passion, a sense of adventure, an apparent acceptance of self so much so that they are content and able then to live in the present.

In high school I took a Humanities elective out of desperation. There was one other option that I would not take, the subject I don’t recall. So, I signed up for the comprehensive art class and was reluctantly accepted by the teacher. The class consisted of mainly art students and future art history majors. The teacher was refined and knew by looking at me that I didn’t deserve to be in his class – I was a bit rough around the edges but determined to stick it out in the class. Early on in the class there was a slide show of various paintings and other art pieces. One painting was Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy. He asked everyone in the class what we thought about the piece  and offer a description of it. I had seen this painting before and when it was my turn  to comment I said “I like it.”  The teacher said my answer was unacceptable. He wanted to know why I liked it.  

What I learned in this class stayed with me. It wasn’t the teacher, but rather the subject that inspired a love for the arts. When I go to art museums I really look at the piece, the colors, the subjects, the smallest details. What was the artist feeling, what did the artist wish to convey to us, or did the artist create it for themselves?

When I take photographs I don’t just see the scenery. I see texture and colors and light and I feel the emotions it evokes within me. Those are the elements of an art piece whether it’s a film, book, an historical piece in a museum, a painting, drawing or photograph. I am always interested, curious, grateful and inspired by life.