Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.
A few days ago my beautiful friend Erin, posted this blog on acceptance and non-judgment. She embodies this. Go find her words of wisdom at clumsygrace.com The world is truly a better place because she is in it.
“Not only the thirsty seek the water, the water as well seeks the thirsty.” Rumi
“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” Rumi
It’s good to leave each day behind
Like flowing water.. free of sadness.
Yesterday is gone and its tale told..
Today new seeds are growing.
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” Rumi
Remember when you were a little kid, how you would get so excited about Christmas? For weeks you would dream about that glorious day. You imagined the lights and the presents and the food and SANTA and every other glorious thing about that day and the flutter of excitement in your belly would grow and grow until you just didn’t think you could stand it anymore.
Well nowadays I don’t feel that level of excitement for Christmas. It’s a wonderful day and I really love the family time and all of the other stuff mentioned above, but that flicker of excitement just isn’t there anymore… for Christmas.
Nowadays I get that excitement and anticipation about New Years Day. Now please don’t imagine that I am one to get all dressed up and head out to a fancy party on New Years Eve, dance and drink champagne etc., like the ending of When Harry Met Sally. As a matter of fact I don’t remember the last time we went out to a party for New Years. Last year we managed to hit pause on A Christmas Story in time to do the countdown, had a sip of champagne and a kiss, then went back to the movie. This year is bound to be very much the same story.
No, it’s not the New Years Eve thing that gets me all atwitter. It is simply the New-ness of it all. It is that fresh page, fresh start, NEW chance that I love. For weeks I think about what will be my New Years intentions, and I ponder what I have been grateful for in the previous year. On New Years Day, a new chapter starts. Heck sometimes a whole new book begins and the possibilities are endless. The best part is that I have finally realized that I get to write the stories in that fresh and shiny new book. It’s like getting the keys to the magic kingdom!
Is it any wonder why I get so excited?
This year I have decided that one of the best ways that I can live in this new and shiny year is to try to treat each day as if it is the first day, all clean and sparkling with new possibilities. 2015, let the magic begin!
“But listen to me. For one moment quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.” Rumi
“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.” Rumi
“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.” Rumi
Life is all about change. In our day to day world it is easy to forget that fact. We go about our days thinking the same thoughts, doing the same things, slight variations of a constant stream of sameness. It brings comfort and lulls us into a false sense of security. We nestle into our routines and create a nice, comfortable illusion for ourselves.
But then something happens and that illusion is shattered.
Which brings us to last week. Message received from Mom: Dad is in the hospital with multiple pulmonary embolisms (emboli?) and while she ensures that everything is fine, I decide to hop a flight anyways, to see for myself. What, me worry?
He is fine. I am happy to report that through the magic of blood thinners and after a week in the hospital they sprang him and he is back to his former self, only better because now he can breathe. Which is important.
But for a while there he was knock knock knocking on heaven’s door. He actually came close enough to the other side that he had a peek at it. As he was laying in the hospital his first day in, he had a couple of visitors show up. His parents. They stood there in his room, smiling, dressed in their best going to town clothes and looking to be in their early thirties, which is cool because they’ve been dead for quite a long time. Dad reported later that he had the thought that he must be passing over and that they had come to meet him. He claimed to have no fear at all, just a sense of comforting recognition. And then Mom walked into the room and they disappeared.
Exit not taken, for which I am sincerely grateful. Back off Grandma and Grandpa… we are keeping him here.
Dad’s experience reminded me of a book I had read not long ago by David Kessler, called Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms. David Kessler is a hospice expert and through many years of working with the dying came to realize that a very large portion of those in their end days had similar experiences. Upon further inquiry with other healthcare professionals, David managed to compile accounts of the phenomena that people seem to experience at the end of their lives. While each experience is unique to the individual there seem to be three distinct themes.
The first is Visions. Many people in their final hours or days will have visions of another place or of deceased friends or relatives popping in for a visit. The visions while unique to each person all seem to have one thing in common. They are comforting, bringing a peaceful exit that seems devoid of fear. Having that peek across to the other side and seeing the beauty and love that awaits takes the fear out of death for both the dying and the bereaved who are left behind.
The second phenomena is that the dying, in their final days, will often make reference to taking a trip. They will talk about waiting for a bus or train or ship. They will sense the need to prepare, get packed and ready to leave. The metaphor of dying as a journey to another place is made manifest in these visions that many of the dying share.
The third shared experience common among the dying is the sense that the room becomes crowded. Many of those at the end of their lives will talk about the crowds of people standing about. When asked to identify the people in the crowd it seems that they are the deceased friends and relatives of the person getting ready to pass over. Must be one heck of a party when the dying person finally joins all of them.
The medical and scientific communities have long sought to ignore these events, chalking them up to oxygen deprivation or hallucinations brought on my drugs or a dying mind, but there is a growing movement of researchers determined to bring these experiences into the light. Latest studies put the frequency of visions and phenomena upwards of 90%. That seems a mighty big coincidence, don’t you think?
It is comforting to realize that there is nothing to fear in dying. If anything these experiences make me understand that death is a sacred part of life. Taking fear out of death and dying helps to take the fear out of life and living. At death the veil lifts and the dying see that they are surrounded by crowds of loving beings. It makes me wonder. Have they been there all along, walking with us through life, whispering , laughing, cajoling and comforting? I think so. Yes.
At Steven Jobs’ funeral his sister eulogized him. She talked about his final words as he passed from life to death. His words really do say it all:
“Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
“Stop acting so small. You are the Universe in ecstatic motion.” Rumi
Confession of a Theatre Geek:
I listen to Broadway soundtracks while cleaning my house. I blast them loud and proud, and Yep, I sing along, sometimes pausing in my scrubbing to act out certain parts. It’s who I am. It’s what I do.
My daughter, Em has known this about me her whole life, and for the most part is not too terribly embarrassed. As a matter of fact, she quite often sings along. The only difference is, she is actually good at it.
I have always believed that every person born into this world has a unique gift or talent, something they are the very best at, that they born to do. Our purpose in life is to discover what that is and to share it with the world. For some of us, myself included, it is a lifelong process. We dabble, and explore, trying this and that until we find something that rings our bell. For others, like my Em, they figure it out before they even know they have anything to figure out.
The year was 2000, a new century was upon us and without any of the Y2K drama we had been warned about. Em was 3 years old, sitting in the living room playing with her pretty ponies. I was in the kitchen, scrubbing something or other, belting along with the Phantom of the Opera, lost in the swells and passions of the music. It was coming to the end of the song, and I stopped singing because even in my wildest dreams there is NO WAY IN GOD’S GREEN EARTH that I would attempt to hit that last high note that Christine hits. You know the one I mean… where the Phantom is mesmerizing her to “sing my angel of music, SING FOR ME”. And, man does she sing!
(I googled it. The note is a high E natural. For anyone out there with any singing experience, you know this is a super high nearly Minnie Riperton high note.)
So picture it. I have stopped scrubbing and am standing listening. The highest of the high note is about to be sung. I wonder, fleetingly, if I should turn down the volume so that the wine glasses don’t shatter, when I hear this voice sing out, on perfect pitch just seconds before Sarah Brightman: a perfect high E natural.
I look around the corner, and there is Em, singing to her pretty ponies, effortlessly hitting that high frigging E. 3 years old and she nailed it.
So that is when I figured out that she has a Voice. She is 17 now and singing is her passion, her purpose and her gift to the world. She is still undecided about pursuing it as a career path, but there is no denying that her Voice is her Dharma. What is it like, I wonder, to find your passion that early in life? She seems pretty darn happy about it to me. Lucky kid.
Here is a sample of her song stylings now, featuring mismatched socks and impromptu sing-a-long by our dog, Jojo.
My own journey has not been as simple, or as clear cut. I have tried my hand at many creative pursuits over the years, from painting, to quilting, costuming to acting, and with each new venture I find a different part of myself. With each new discovery I am putting the pieces of me together. And now, as I write everyday, I lose myself in the creative process. This thing, this writing, is as close as I have come to my soul’s purpose here this time around. I believe I will see where this road leads. Isn’t it true that to become more like God, a person needs to create? For what is God but The Creator.
I am the open vessel through which my Divine Creation flows.
“Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” Rumi
Dammit dammit dammit! I missed my flight. It was a quick connection and the gates were miles apart but I still had believed that the travel angels, who work so beautifully for me, would come through once again. Imagine my surprise when I finally ran up to the gate and saw the tiny plane taxiing away toward Newburgh without me on board.
My first inclination was to become Old Me and start to wail and cry and threaten and blame. Those feelings swelled up in a big bubble of frustration, but I had been in training for just this sort of thing these past few years, so New Me took a deep breath and just sat there in the moment and let those feelings dissipate into the air around me. Everything happens for a reason, I reminded myself. Including this.
I used the extra 4 hours in the Philadelphia airport to relax, eat some soup, read a book and just catch my breath. The time went quite quickly and before long I was taking my seat on the tiny plane that would take me on the last leg of my journey to Newburgh, New York. I was on my way to the Omega Institute for a week long seminar led by Dr. Brian Weiss on Past Life Regression. This in itself was quite surprising. Old Me would never have thought to take the time or spend the money to do something so outrageous. It wasn’t practical, people would think I was crazy, who was I to think I could learn this stuff, and on and on the doubts and resistance would come. Of course those thoughts did come to me, but instead of believing them and giving in to them, New Me decided to ignore them and listen to my inner guidance. I felt a strong, intense calling to be there, so I decided to throw logic and fear to the wind and answer the call.
The plane was flying at a very low altitude, under the clouds and as I watched out the window at the passing nightscape something really bizarre happened. The lights of the towns and cities below seemed to refract and spread out in beams, interconnecting and creating the most amazing, beautiful grid of light. I stared in awe from my vantage point up in the air and was overwhelmed by the beauty. What was this? What did it mean? Old Me determined it must be caused by the convex curve of the window or perhaps by atmospheric conditions or something logical like that. New Me quietly told Old Me to shut up and just enjoyed the magic of the flight. The beauty of it all made me feel a bit high and when we landed firmly on the ground I giddily walked through the nearly deserted airport toward the stand of taxis to find the driver I had booked. I walked outside, stopped dead in my tracks and I laughed out loud, causing several weary travelers to look my way and wonder what was up with the crazy lady staring at the sky. The grid was still there! The streetlights above and the lights from the surrounding buildings were beautifully refracting and continuing the light show for me. It took my breath away. Old Me briefly considered that I may be coming down with a touch of a brain tumor or something, but New Me knew that this was something big: something mystical and amazing and the real reason why I had missed my flight. I was meant to see this phenomena. I had no idea why but I knew that this would be important.
Everything happens for a reason.
I have learned that we show up for each other over and over again wearing different guises. This was never as clear as during that week in Omega. The very first morning I wandered the dining hall, breakfast tray in hands, feeling very much like new kid at school. Then I found her. My soul sister, friend from all eternity and a little piece of home. “May I join you?” I beamed at her, already impatient to get past the awkward introductions and start reminiscing about our vast connection. Katie, my beautiful Katie, sister mother teacher friend, flew all the way from Australia to attend the seminar. Somehow, she told me, she felt a calling to be there at that time. It was something I would hear over and over during that week.
Each experience that happened while we were at Omega revealed new connections, threads in the tapestry. I first met Butterbean during a regression that week. It is not surprising to me now that she showed up when she did. I was regressed by a young man with a deep soothing voice who just so happened to be named Thomas. Of course she would show up. Everything happens for a reason, right? In my life as Butterbean I recognized Miz Ginnia as a dear friend of mine who had passed away the previous year. Though there was no physical resemblance, the soul was the same. Imagine if your best friend changed the shirt they were wearing, you would still easily recognize them wouldn’t you? That is the case with our soul friends and families.
150 people attended that seminar… 152 if you count Dr. Weiss and his wife, Carole. We converged for a week, drawn from all over the globe in a way so compelling that none of us could ignore the call. Then the stories began to emerge of connections from lives past. People we just met turned up playing significant roles in other lifetimes. We were all inextricably linked, woven together in a tapestry of experiences and lifetimes and we had been given this amazing gift to remember it all. We were like those beams of light I saw, weaving a tapestry, intricate and beautiful, beyond the imaginings of the human mind.
We journey here to gain experience, not necessarily understanding and while Old Me rails against the mysteries, New Me revels in the magic of it all.