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.

THE FOUR SEASONS

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After the long, bitter cold, seemingly never-ending winter we had this year, I promised that I would never again complain about the oppressively hot weather that would come the following summer. And, then it seemed that the cold weather long jumped from the record – breaking harsh northeast winter – over a briefly cool, rainy, leaf-budding and flower-blooming spring – to an early – not quite ready for it – summer. The  (almost) summer of my discontent had begun.

I thought with the constantly accumulating snow that fell this winter there would still be snow on the ground in June. But now, with less than two weeks of spring left, I am somewhat excitedly waiting for the summer solstice to arrive. The change of seasons is so beautiful that I don’t think I could ever give up living in the beautiful northeast.

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So, when spring arrived this year, I was one of the happiest people around, like a child when school lets out for summer recess. No more shovelling, no more winter coats, hats, scarves, boots or gloves. Winter is done, gone, good-bye. Spring arrived with some rain, sunshine, daffodils, birds and bees. It’s a sign that Persephone, the cherished daughter of Demeter, the Earth Mother, has once again returned from the Underworld and Hades. It’s also time to clean up the gardens, plant new flowers, fill up the Hummingbird feeder, and sitting under a tree in my favorite park with a good book.

I don’t really dislike winter and summer. There is something about all the seasons that I enjoy. My favorite part of spring has to be the increasing sunny days and working in the garden; summertime, and the living is easy – shorts and flip-flops and being at the ocean – although I would visit the ocean anytime of the year; fall –  who doesn’t love the fall – I love everything about it; winter is quiet and  pretty when it snows, walking on the roads – before they are plowed – everything looks perfect. Photography, being one of  my favorite hobbies, insures that my camera is aimed at all four seasons.

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Getting through the hardest parts of the winter and the summer – if one does not enjoy the extreme cold or heat – can be challenging. I recalled something one of my yoga teachers taught me. Some of the yoga positions are hard, but, like life, you breathe through it – inhale and exhale – and then you are back in the moment.

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THE GIFT

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THE GIFT

Writing is not what I aspired to. In English and History classes in high school, I dreaded writing and barely got past the first paragraph. College papers, when they were required, were the bare minimum. My papers resembled lists and I repeated myself in those essays or reports. I did not enjoy writing. It may have been explained in English class, but I did not really know how to construct an essay, a story or a report. So, I could never have imagined then that I would become a published author.

It is said that to write well, you need to read to understand how sentences are structured and how to put a story together. Growing up, I loved reading books. I read classics like, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” ;  Guy de Maupassant’s tragic short story, “The Necklace” twice, and every book by Tracy Chevalier.  I would read biographies on almost anyone and I still do,  for school and for enjoyment.  I read magazines from cover to cover, the New York Times and watched television news programs. This is how I learned how to deliver and write a story.  I saw writing as a way to obtain information or for entertainment, never as an art form.

And then, in late 2008 I had a life change. After twenty years working in the accounting department for a  media company that included a newspaper and a magazine, I was laid off. During the first year of unemployment when I had related the story of my spiritual journey to someone, it was suggested to me that I had a lot to tell, and that I should write books. I thought to myself “Never. That is not something I would remotely be interested in doing.” I did not like writing….I could not write. On reflection I wondered if that was because I did not think I had a story to tell.

Well, I did not think about that exchange again, until two years later when I took classes at a community college and found myself looking at the college’s club bulletin board. There were clubs and organizations for nearly everything and everyone.  I found myself looking straight at a notice for the college newspaper. I was led to it. I felt it was a sign, so I humored my spirit guides, even though I still did not believe I could write anything.  So, I attended the first meeting and I got a positive feeling. Something inside of me changed.  Shortly after that, I wrote my first brief on an  event at the college. A simple paragraph. I could not write any more than that. Still, I kept at it. There must be a reason why I joined the college newspaper.

My next assignment was to be an article on plagiarism. The publisher said there had been increased issues with students copying papers and cheating on tests due to the availability of cell phones. I took my time with it and really got into investigating and interviewing people for  the piece. I really enjoyed what I was doing and the writing came easily: I wrote over 900 words. The editor told me the writing was good and nothing needed to be edited. I remember thinking: what happened in that one month from the first piece that was a basic paragraph of information that I scraped together to this 900 plus word story? I never took a writing class. I was never a journalist. So, how did this transition happen? Where did this sudden burst of writing come from?

I don’t know how else to explain it other than it was meant to be. Destiny. The universe led me to it. Specifically, on a soul level, it was planned before my current incarnation. We all have “blueprints” of what our human experiences will entail. The who, what, when, where and how  of our souls journey. Who our parents will be, what lessons our souls want to learn, where we will live, who we will marry, how  many children  we will have, and when our souls current mission will end. I believe my spirit guides and guardian angels, who were with my soul during the planning stages for this incarnation, gave me gentle reminders about events that were pre-planned and guided me through the implementation of those plans. They led me to that bulletin board and subsequently helped with the writing of my book, “Sweet Dreams”. While the characters in the short story are composites of people I knew in this life-time, and are now on the other side, I am very certain one of them  also assisted with her part of the story.

Everyone has a story to tell whether it’s happy, tragic or inspiring. Writing is only a part of  mine. Although it did not come naturally to me until a few years ago, I really enjoy it now. For me, writing is a gift that I share with everyone. It is not mine to keep.  I am grateful for this gift. Who knows where it will take me or for how long. Everyday, I look for something to write about; or an idea will “pop” into my head – divine intervention. Be grateful for your gifts whatever they are.

Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for all great things in 2015.

Sweet Dreams

A PAGAN WOMAN

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Last summer my past came back to haunt me.  It  may have been either a past life memory or it was a re-awakening. But from that moment on there was no going back. Back, that is, in terms of where I was before that moment at the Salem Witch Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

 Back in the early 1990’s, I had visited the Salem Witch Museum where they have stage sets – thirteen in all – depicting the events leading up to and including the nineteen innocent people who were hung because they were believed to be witches. So, last summer, my family and I were vacationing in the area and stopped in for a visit. My daughter had just studied Arthur Miller’s play, “The Crucible”, in school that year and learned how the story was based partly on the Salem Witch Trials, and she wanted to find out more about this tragic event. There is also something newer at the museum since I was last there in the ‘90’s, and that is an exhibit called, “Witches: Evolving Perceptions”. It was here that I came face to face with my past. Literally.

The first scene of this exhibit shows a mannequin that is dressed up as a Pagan woman. The tour guide pressed the button for the audio and a disembodied voice told us how she was an ancient Celtic woman, that she and other Pagan women were actually midwives, they used herbs and were respected healers in their community. Then the tour guide moves on and everyone follows her except me. I cannot take my eyes off the the ancient Celtic woman mannequin’s face. It was as if I was staring into my past and my past self was looking at my future self. A real “Back to the Future” moment.

 The transition from Pagan woman to Witch,  was no doubt brought on by fear – and fear is at the root of everything. According to the Salem Witch Museum’s website,  salemwitchmuseum.com on the “Witches: Evolving Perceptions” exhibit, “…the strong Celtic woman, diminished and demonized by the church fathers in the middle ages. She speaks of her role as the troublemaker in society on whom all evil things are blamed.”  The remainder of the exhibit shows how Witches were Hollywood -ized; other witch hunts in history such as the McCarthy hearings on Communism and what became known as the Red Scare, and the persecution of the gay community at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. The museum uses this formula for a witch hunt: Fear + Trigger = Scapegoat. And finally, the exhibit ends with two more figures, a man and a woman, practitioners of Wicca, or witchcraft. “…descendants of the Celtic midwife, looking to the earth mother for healing and spirituality.”

Back in my hotel room, I thought over the exhibit and could not shake off the hold this Pagan midwife had over me.  The transition to evil wrongdoer, to Hollywood’s Wicked Witch of the West was unfair. I felt the Pagan woman or Celtic midwife was seriously maligned. As always, when I feel this strongly about something, I become passionate to the point of obsession and wanted to educate myself and understand not what was done to the Pagan woman, but rather who she really was and my connection to her.

 At the outset, I explored what Paganism is.  Before modern Europe, before Judaism and Christianity, there was Paganism, a religion that worshipped nature.  Now, I want to say that I do not now believe in organized religion. However, I was brought up Christian. I learned from that period in my life that Pagans were heathens, ungodly, basically Satan worshippers. Naturally, as a young child I was taught to fear them. There’s that word “fear” again. Hmmm.

 I took out books from the library, read articles on the Internet, and educated myself.  According to the website  paganfederation.org, the definition of a Pagan is :   “…  a follower of a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion.”  Pagans respect nature; a religion that “pervades the whole of everyday life…Pagans usually believe that the divine world will answer a genuine request for information….healers are common throughout Pagan societies…Pagans pursue their own vision of the Divine as a direct and personal experience.”  Paganism, they say, “is the ancestral religion of the whole of humanity.”

All religions descended from Paganism, so why do Pagans and Paganism get such a bad rap? As I read this, I thought to myself I love nature, I believe that the universe, God force, or divine helps me when I  put the intention out into the universe.  I’m a Pagan. Maybe we are all pagans – we just don’t remember our divinity.

 Statues that we see or use in gardens and in our homes originated with Pagans. Wedding rings and the wedding service, funeral services, and the holidays that come at the winter solstice and vernal equinox – Yule ( pronounced U-elle) which is commonly known as Christmas (Remember the Yule log burning on a TV channel at Christmas?  That’s a pagan ritual.) and Ostara (or Easter) are all traditions that come from the Pagans. All of these traditions originated with the Celtic Pagans  and have been passed down through the centuries.

In October, Samhain (pronounced Sow-inn) is the Pagan New Year. It is at this time that the veil between the physical world and the spiritual world is the thinnest . While the veil is thin, we will be able to connect to our loved ones who have crossed over.  We can, of course, hear our loved ones and angels anytime, but  the frequencies may make it easier  to hear them at this time. Listen and watch for their messages.

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A GHOST STORY

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One rainy spring day a couple of years ago,  I took my Nikon camera and went for a walk in a local park. Being in nature is very restorative for me and I love photographing nature. I had taken about two dozen photos already that afternoon when I came upon a road where no one was walking. The road was on a slight incline, with a gentle curve, and a canopy of green leaves overhead, protecting me from the light rain. It was there that I took my one of my  last  photographs.

I looked at that scene before I raised my camera and then looked at the scene again on the camera’s screen. Click. I looked at the camera’s screen to see what my photo would actually look like.  It looked good…except for the white ball at the bottom right. I didn’t recall a child’s ball there before and during the time I took the photograph. Suddenly, I got chills and not the good kind. I felt scared and started walking toward the exit from the park. I knew it was an orb. But, was it a ghost? If not, who or what was it?

I walked over a small stone walled  bridge near the exit of the park. I looked at the stone wall  with a tree towering above it. I didn’t think it would make a good picture,  but I  felt compelled to take one last photo. Click.  Once again, I look in my camera’s screen and I see the same bright orb near the top of the stone wall, as if whoever it was, was sitting on the stone wall, posing for me. I wasn’t scared, but rather I thought whoever or whatever it was had a sense of humor.

Somewhere, I had read that nature angels or fairies’ orbs are bright. Maybe it was an angel or a very large fairy.  I had taken photographs before that showed orbs: in a church, in a school, and outdoors. I have taken photographs that have shown several orbs in different sizes, but not as bright as the orb I saw in the park that day.

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To my recollection I have never seen a ghost, apparition, spirit or whatever you want to call it. Well, I have seen an orb that glided along the floor of a house I lived in… temporarily. After my logical side proved that it couldn’t be a passing car’s lights reflecting in the house, I jumped up and turned on every light in the small house. ( I had been watching a movie with the lights off – serves me right.)  Several years ago, an intuit told me that I was able to see spirits when I was a child, but that I had been taught to be afraid of them. To this day, I am petrified of seeing a ghost. In my bathroom, on some occasions, I just  know a spirit is there, although this entity travels to different areas of my house. But the paranormal activity doesn’t stop there. On one very frigid winter day, I picked up my cell phone to call someone and while I was waiting to hear the connection go through,  I began to hear something like a radio frequency instead. An awareness that something odd was happening struck me. And then I heard a female voice saying clearly but eerily, “Leave the ranch.” I tried to get this persons attention by saying, “Hello, who is this?” And, I wanted to know what “leave the ranch” meant? Get out of the house or leave them some salad dressing? But then it was over. It didn’t really scare me then, oddly enough and it was the only occurrence. If I am right and there is a spirit in my house, I haven’t yet mustered the courage to ask who it is. On second thought, I don’t want to know.

There are ghosts or spirits that are called ‘earth-bounds’ – souls who have left their human bodies but have not crossed over into the light. And believe me, when I hear that a friend, family member or someone I know has passed away, I cross them over. It’s not because I don’t want my house to be paranormally active –  I don’t. It’s for the sake of the departed soul. They belong on the other side, except when they come back for a visit. There are spirits and angels  all around us. I have felt friends, family members, my spirit guides, and angels. They’re not around to scare us – they’re checking in to say, “Hello.”  I can’t see them, but I have seen something out of the corner of my eye on more than one occasion and they usually give you a good feeling, a feeling of warmth, sometimes physically. I have felt this way when my cat, Zippy, visits me. He sits right next to my leg when I’m laying in bed watching a movie. With the lights on.

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CHANNELING MY INNER GODDESS

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In the eighth grade, circa 1977, I learned about Greek Mythology, a unit in the English curriculum. I was fascinated by the Gods and Goddesses and what their powers were. I was awestruck by the ancient ruins. I always wondered if  the Gods and Goddesses really existed. Were they real?  When did they live? Were they just a myth? Something resonated with me. I couldn’t explain it, but I started to become obsessed with the myth.

At the end of the unit there would be a party and all of the eighth grade students had to choose a project to complete: a written paper, a diorama, an ancient ruin re-created from papier mache, or dress up as an ancient Greek God or Goddess. Anyone dressing up would automatically get an “A” for the project. About a half dozen or so other students and I opted for the latter and dressed up as famous or infamous Greek mythological figures. I chose to dress up for the automatic ‘A’ as I had no artistic talent and I didn’t like writing.  In the cafeteria, where the party was held, there was Ambrosia salad, displays of projects and a parade by a few of the students dressed as Ancient Greek Gods or Goddesses.

I recall someone who came as Atlas, the legendary Titan of astronomy –  holding up an unusually large globe from the social studies room. Another student who walked in with a bow and arrow, and donned wings taped to his back – cut out from poster board – was Cupid, the God of desire, erotic love and attraction. I was more down to earth. I came as the “Earth Mother”, Demeter. I was drawn to her during our studies of Greek mythology. I wore a rather large piece of material – that I borrowed from my mother’s sewing room – around me for my dress and a Christmas wreath on my head. ( A few years ago on Halloween, I reprised my role as the Goddess of harvest and agriculture – with a grape vine wreath.)

I couldn’t put into words then the hold that the story of  Demeter had over me. When her daughter, Persephone, was taken by Hades to the Underworld, Demeter, heartbroken, ceased taking care of the earth. The crops stopped growing, trees lost their leaves, flowers no longer bloomed. Until six months later, when Persephone was allowed to visit her mother for the next six months, and the crops began to grow again, the leaves grew back on the trees and flowers were in bloom once more. But the deal was that Hades would take her back at the end of six months.  Demeter would become depressed and once more the plants on the earth would die. And so it would go, every six months – Demeter would have to share her daughter with Hades.  And that, according to Greek Mythology, is why we have the seasons: fall and winter, spring and summer.  Maybe I was gullible, but this story made sense to me, more than any other story of a Greek God or Goddess. Is it possible that it was more than just a myth?

Anyway, the week after the party when I went into my Earth Science class, my teacher, Mr. Witter, told me he always thought I looked like a Greek Goddess. I took it as a compliment, even if it might have sounded a bit creepy. I felt a connection with Demeter. Maybe we all feel a connection with the Earth Mother. We plant our gardens, take shade under a tree, decorate our homes with vases of flowers and in the summer enjoy the fruits of her labor at the farmers market. I have always loved the fall: the crisp air, colorful foliage, the crunch of fallen leaves under my footsteps and baking zucchini bread and apple bread. Still, I’m sorry to see the long, warm summer days go away.  Perhaps it is empathy for Demeter that we feel when summer comes to an end.

And so it is at the autumnal equinox, that I channel my inner Demeter and pay homage to the Greek Goddess of harvest and agriculture, the Earth Mother, who gives up her daughter to the  Underworld and the plants, trees, flowers and crops die or hibernate, until once again Demeter is reunited with Persephone in the spring.

May The Source Be With You

 

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It happens sometimes. You’re trying to keep positive…about that job interview, about making ends meet financially or about finding Mr. or Ms. Right. Keep thinking positive thoughts….. Our thoughts, positive and negative, go out into the universe and come back to us. Sort of like a boomerang. Intentions, good or bad are transmitted out into the universe. Yes, it’s a universal wide hook up! So, if you project positive things, positive things will come back to you. Negative things come back to us if we put negative things out into the universe as well.  

It’s really hard on some occasions, for me, to keep up that positivity.  Recently, my book, “Sweet Dreams” was in the process of being published and printed. And then I was waiting for the word that it was going to be available in retail outlets which would take a week or two. But I was so excited and getting  slightly impatient, like a little kid waiting for Christmas day. At the end of the first week I had a moment ….just a small window of doubt. Just a split second. It was then that I heard a voice. It was Yoda saying, “That is why you fail.”

It was as if my guardian angel knew I might be seduced by the Dark Side and immediately plugged in a sound bite into my consciousness. I do like the Star Wars movies. Maybe that’s why she, my guardian angel, used this iconic movie character’s wise words to convey a message to me. I was grateful and immediately pulled myself together.

If you’re not familiar with the original Star Wars trilogy, let me catch you up to speed. Yoda, the Jedi Master, first appeared in Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back. Luke Skywalker goes to the Dagobah system, actually planet, to train with Yoda. Fast forward: Luke, who learned to use the force in Star Wars IV, is now honing those skills. In one particular scene, during meditation, Luke sees Leia and Han Solo in trouble and realizes he needs to get back but his ship, that he and his droid R2 had flown in on, sank into the swamp. Yoda tells him to use the force to bring it up from the deep water. He tries and tries and then, finally, his teacher, the Jedi Master, successfully brings up the ship for his student.  

Luke exclaims, “I don’t believe it!”

Yoda sternly responds, “That is why you fail.”  That’s the very voice I heard when I had my negative moment. 

I’ve seen other people staying in the moment, staying calm and focused before they respond to a stressful or challenging moment. Not that I’m not ever that way. But, I want to be that way all the time. I try to stay grounded so that when those moments are about to happen, I can reel myself back to the present moment.  I have learned from Dr. Wayne Dyer about staying in the moment. He also calls it staying connected to source. In The Power of Intention, Dr. Dyer says  “we are all from source.” 

When our minds are cluttered with stressful thoughts: money, work, partners, children, other people driving on the road, we essentially close off that portal for source to get through. The answers to our situations are all there in the universe, we just need to be still  and breathe and our minds will be illuminated from the source. This happened to my sister, Sondra, recently. While trying to complete a work project, she had run into a wall. Feeling that at that moment she couldn’t go any further, she got up from her desk and took a walk outside to get fresh air and sunshine, and away from the stressful situation at work. Walking outside among trees and flowers had started to release her stress. (Mother Nature has that effect on people.) Suddenly, she was struck by a lightning bolt that stopped her in tracks. Not an actual lightning bolt, but an idea lightning bolt. My sister stopped stressing and was relaxed enough that her spirit or soul was able to accept the lightning bolt idea from source and as it entered her consciousness, she had a moment and ran back inside. She was able to complete her project on time.   

In George Lucas’ Star Wars, The Adventures of Luke Skywalker,  Obi Wan Kenobi, a Jedi and when Luke meets him is known as a Wizard, explains the force (which rhymes with source – I know….hear me out)  as “an energy field generated by living things…..The force surrounds each and every one of us. Some men believe it directs our actions, and not the other way around.”  He continues to tell Luke that those who “could recognize the force”, we called “charlatans, fakers, mystics – and worse.”  He explained to Luke, the Jedi to be, that knowing and understanding the force and how to use “it was what gave the Jedi his special power.” 

I want to believe that George Lucas was interested in metaphysics.  (If I ever met him, I would ask him.) I believe he used this story to share his beliefs – but maybe telling it in the 1970’s was out there. Not as acceptable as it is today. When Dr. Dyer talks about spiritual and inspirational ideas, everyone listens. Maybe someone reading this will think this is out there, but I feel we should all stop and listen, and stay open to the force, or rather, source. The universe is communicating to us…are you listening?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leslie’s Garden

I enjoy being in my gardens. I love watching my flowers and plants grow from one season to the next. I enjoy the birds, dragonflies, bees and butterflies that are attracted to the flowers they pollinate. It is beautiful and peaceful. One of my gardens is called The Angel Garden because it has an angel statue in it. One of our cats, Max, enjoys sleeping there behind the snowball bush on a warm, sunny summer day. He also likes sleeping under the Japanese Maple in our front garden where no one can see him and he can get his afternoon cat nap.

Nothing is perfect, but nature has its own plans. In my rock garden, so called because it is a circular rock wall, there are two Hosta, that thrive in the shade of a Maple tree and enjoy the temporary company of some colorful Coleus and pink Impatiens. Recently, there was an intruder in the garden who completely bit off every leaf on both Hosta plants. Even the colorful Coleus’ leaves were drooping in grief. I surmised it must have been a ground hog, and not a deer as I did not see any hoof prints. At first I was mad! How dare that groundhog eat my Hosta’s leaves. I realized that it wanted to eat something other than grass, but I wish it had eaten up all the weeds in the garden first. So, I forgave the groundhog. The generous, perennial Hosta’s leaves will grow back.

On my spiritual journey, I have learned that Mother Nature takes care of her gardens and its inhabitants, as does Archangel Ariel. As souls having a human experience, we are taken care of on our journey by our spirit guides, angels and archangels. We are all beautiful and connected to nature and each other. But we each have our own paths. And each of our lives is like a garden: there’s variety, beauty and growth. We share our lives, our journey, with all living things. And be generous towards each other and all living things.

My spiritual journey began over twenty years ago when I was looking for ….something. A change, the meaning of life….or was it my spirit’s re-awakening? Is everything in our life all planned out, like a garden? Stay tuned.

Welcome to my garden.

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ANGEL TO THE RESCUE

 

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( picture of the Bunker Hill bridge, Boston)

 

I remember the days when you went on a vacation road trip and you would need a map. A Rand McNally paper map that was folded accordion style and then folded over, like a small memo note book. Growing up, my family had one for New York State that my dad bought at the gas station.  Later on whenever I went anywhere, I bought a map before I went on vacation. I had maps for New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Some trips only required that I stay on the interstate and use the green directional signs and I had no problem getting to my destination. Times changed and we started relying on technology to help us find our way. Paper road maps, for the most part, although they do have a few in some gas station food marts and convenience stores,  have ceased to exist and have been replaced with  MapQuest, Google maps, etc.

And so, on vacation in the Boston area last month, we got lost. To be specific we were driving back from Boston. My daughter and I had had a wonderful day shopping in Quincy Market Place  at Fanueil Hall.  We had been in the area a few times before, and we’ve had several trips to the north of Boston in Glouchester  and Rockport.  But, I wasn’t as experienced driving in the Boston area. My daughter had put our destination into her Galaxy S4, giving the computer the directions we needed to get from Boston to our hotel a half hour outside of Boston, in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Option one: Get on I-90 to I-95 North until our exit. Cut and dry. Option two: Take Route 1 and shave off eleven minutes, saving us time and gas. Too good to be true? Yes.

We took Option two. The robot lady in my daughter’s Galaxy S4 mobile device, sent us on the scenic route of eastern Middlesex county. We must have driven up and down Walnut Street a dozen times. The robot lady re-directed and re-directed us. We did see the small road sign for I-95, but where was I-95? Where was the road that led to the ramp? Ninety minutes before we had begun a thirty minute ride back to our hotel! My head was aching and we were exhausted. Then the inevitable happened. Her phone died. My cell phone, an older Samsung model,  not set up for internet, was still very much alive. And this may have been what saved us. I need to say that the few people who helped us with directions were very polite and understanding, even in the age of the internet. One person stands out. Was it fate? And if so, why?

After what seemed like our fiftieth time cruising up and down Walnut Street, we gave up and  drove until we found a gas station. I got out of the car  and walked into the gas station to ask for directions. The old fashioned way – you know –  what people did before technology changed our way of life. There were two people in line at the gas mart counter.

“Excuse me”, I asked the tall man next in line. “Can you tell me how to get to I-95?”

He hesitated a little and started to speak up  when the woman in front of him who was at the counter said, “I know. You have to…  Hold on, let me finish here.” The man behind the counter gave her the receipt and change for her purchases which she put into her tiger print clutch wallet. She closed her wallet and we walked outside the store while she gave me directions. She spoke well and had a great sense of direction. She lived in the area and knew it well, I could tell. She told me to go out here, turn there, go two lights, turn right, go around the lake, then come to a stop, go onto Walnut Street (where we saw the sign for I-95!) and then turn somewhere and you see this store and the ramp for I-95. Okay, she didn’t say it exactly this way, but her directions were clear. Except that at this point my head wasn’t absorbing any more information. I nodded okay, thanked her and jumped back into the car where my daughter was waiting.

I went to start the car and realized I didn’t recall anything this young woman told me. I was mentally exhausted. Suddenly, there was a knock on my door window. It was her. I rolled down my window.

“Would you like me to text you the directions?”  she asked.

“That would be great! Thank you!” I replied, relieved.

Did the universe communicate to her that I needed written directions to get me to my destination? I believe that. I don’t believe in coincidence. She was meant to give me written directions by text.

What followed was better than the on-line directions. She sent me a long text of perfect directions. I looked them over and handed my phone over to my daughter. Every single direction was spot on. Can a human being communicate directions that perfectly? Was it divine intervention? We were back at our hotel in less than twenty minutes. I sent her a text to let her know that we arrived and to thank her. I was grateful.

I believe in signs. I believe that our angels and spirit guides are around us, helping us throughout our day and our lives. In little ways and not so little ways they rescue us from whatever trouble we’re in. We can recognize that if we are aware. There are people who come in to our lives for long and short periods of time to assist us during this journey. Some for just an interlude – like the woman who rescued me that warm July day.  I don’t believe she was an angel,  but I believe she sent  by an angel. We were both in the right place at the right time. It was fate.

After we rested for a bit in the hotel, we went out to find something to eat, trying not to get lost again. We pulled up to a fast food restaurant, not my first choice, but it was late and not much was open except fast food. Before I got out of the car, I asked the universe for a sign or something to let me know what was going on.  Why did this happen today? What was the purpose of  getting lost today?  Then, I thought… “aaaaah. Getting lost.” Was I getting lost spiritually? Was  my soul veering off  the road and did I need to be re-directed?

I have learned over the course of my spiritual journey to pay attention to signs. Our angels, loved ones on the other side and spirit guides communicate to us in various ways: butterflies, birds, dragonflies, coins and sequential number patterns, to name a few.  So, as I got out of the car and walked toward the restaurant, my eyes caught  a sign at the gas station next door to the parking lot. The sign I’d been looking for came in the form of  the price of a gallon of regular gas: $3.33.