Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Owning Our Power and Taking Responsibility

(From a journal entry dated 26 January 2005)

To own our power is to take responsibility for the ways in which our lives impact others. We exercise power over people daily, but we don't always own up to that power. We cannot move through the world without causing a few waves. We can however choose to move through the world in a way that causes mostly soothing ripples. Or you can become the tsunami that leaves misery and devastation in its wake. A gentle touch and a light step will carry you farther down the path towards your life purpose. It will also leave you with fewer regrets.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Not All Who Wander are Lost

(Also printed at my website, www.SlicesOfMyLife.net)

As if the beginning of Spring being ushered in by a new moon wasn't enough of a sign to remind me that it is time to begin anew, releasing that which is finished and opening myself to that which lies ahead, I also got the number 999 today. It's not a number I get often. In fact, I have probably gotten it fewer than a half dozen times since I started paying attention to the meanings of repetitive or significant numbers in my life many years ago. According to Doreen Virtue's Angel Numbers 101 book, published by Hay House, this is the meaning of the number 999:

"This is a message signifying completion of an important chapter in your life, and now it's time to get to work--without procrastination--on your next life chapter. This number sequence is like an alarm clock, ringing loudly in order to jolt you into working on your life purpose!"

I'm getting ready to move back to the Pacific Northwest, and that is a very good thing. Yet somehow as important as this move is to me, since I consider this place in the world to be my true home, I'm not entirely positive that it is a permanent, or even a long-term move. Part of me is puzzled by this new information that is coming in, but another part of me has an inkling about what magic might be afoot. All I can do now is take the next step that is right in front of me. The step after that will open to me once I get to that point. First is packing everything up and returning to the Puget Sound region of Washington State. Then once I do that, I will see how things feel to me. There are a number of people I need to reconnect with there, and a number of people I need to connect with for the first time in the coming months. After that, it's anyone's guess. I just know that it is time for me to pick up and go again.

I'm beginning to feel like a traveling vagabond, but to be honest, I know that I am more like Gandalf in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. His movements were a source of great puzzlement to many, but he always ended up being in the right place at the right time. He always knew when and where he was needed. I don't think it's a coincidence that I wrote a research paper on this archetypal literary figure when I was in graduate school. I identify a lot with the "wandering wizard," and as my life unfolds, I understand this identification so much more. I have referred to myself in writings from the past, as the "Wandering Taoist," and now it appears to be time to begin my wandering again. On to the next step then, the next chapter of this story that is my life. As I begin this new chapter in my journey, I bear in mind some of Gandalf's more significant words, "Not all who wander are lost."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Not for the Faint of Heart

At any moment, in any place, you can turn your life around. You can stop doing what is yielding negative results and making you miserable, and you can start taking steps to make your life the wondrous place you always hoped it might be. It all begins in your mind and your heart. The things we need to do to move into a better place are simple, but they require discipline and a true desire to rise above. Spiritual growth is not for the faint of heart, but it is for everyone who is willing to change the way they think and look at the world. Spiritual growth has nothing to do with religion. It has everything to do with matters of the heart and mind.

Breathe in the Light

No matter what is happening in your life, stop a moment and breathe in Spirit. Feel your lungs with Light and breathe out love into a world that is in desperate need of that love. Be sure to remember to breathe some of that love right back to yourself first and give yourself a hug. You are worthy of love, no matter what someone in your past has told you, and love is always as near as your own breath.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Angels are everywhere and they are not restricted to one faith or religion. Although I moved beyond that tradition decades ago, I first encountered angels when I was very involved in Charismatic Christianity in the seventies. I had an experience when I was a teenager, where one of my guardian angels appeared to me in human form and changed my tire when I was rather stuck and didn't know how exactly I was going to go about changing it. I knew how to change a tire pretty much, but I had never done it, and it was a bad place to be changing a tire anyway. I sent up a very complicated prayer to heaven that went something like this, "Help!" You might want to write that down in case you ever need it. It comes in handy, and its rather like hitting the panic buzzer without the panicking bit. The panicking part doesn't help anyway, so just stick to the script and you'll do fine.

Almost immediately after sending up this complicated prayer, a young man with long blondish hair pulled back in a ponytail (this was the seventies, remember), came walking up to me and my sister, who was with me at the time. As he got close, this clean-cut, hunky, hippy-ish looking young man says "You ladies need some help?" Totally relieved and feeling completely at ease with this young man (that's your first indication that it might be an angel), I said something to the effect of "yes, I have a flat tire!" I don't remember what exact words he used, but he assured me that all was well and that he'd be glad to change my tire. I opened the trunk to give him access to the spare tire and jack, and then faster than I've ever seen anyone change a tire before, my car was ready to go and the stuff was back in the trunk again. I was amazed that he'd done it so quickly. I asked him what I owed him and he waved that off and said, "Nothing." Then I said, "Well, at least let me give you a paper towel so you can wipe off your hands." He said, "No need!" and held up sparkling clean hands so I could see for myself. His hands were indeed not just clean, but sparkling clean.

Now I've changed a few tires in my day since then, and I've watched plenty of other people change them too. There's no way without wearing gloves, and this fellow didn't have any of those on him, that you could walk away from changing a flat tire without getting your hands dirty. It's impossible. He also didn't have anything with him, like a backpack or satchel, where he could have stowed anything that would have cleaned his hands instantly. I looked at him in great surprise and thanked him profusely. He bid us farewell and started walking on up the road. I turned to look at my equally incredulous sister, who was standing nearby. We were both stunned and thankful simultaneously that this handsome young man had appeared out of nowhere to rescue us. When we looked back in the direction he was walking, he had vanished completely, and there was no place for him to have gone where we wouldn't have seen him walking away. It was completely impossible, and yet it had happened. My sister and I then looked back at each other and said, "Oh my God, that was an angel!"

We knew right away that we had been blessed with a miraculous encounter and were pretty dazed by it. I don't even remember spending a lot of time discussing it. It was too amazing to wrap my brain around at the time. We were on our way home or to some spiritual event--either a church service or something else, but the most spiritual experience by far was this encounter with an angel. It wasn't until years later, when I started studying angels by reading books by Doreen Virtue, that I discovered that my tire-changing angel was none other than Archangel Michael, and that he is one of my guardian angels. I've seen him in bodily form one other time since then, but that is another story to be told later. I have been working with the angels since 2002, when I started reading Doreen Virtue's books. Later I attended an angel workshop in Sacramento, California, and knew then that one day I would attend her Angel Therapy Practitioner® training. I finally did so in 2006 at Dana Point in California. That too is another story and can wait for now.

This blog was meant to be a reminder that angels give us signs and sends us messages frequently. One of the ways they do this is via numbers. Have you ever noticed that certain numbers keep jumping out at you? Maybe it's a mile marker or a time on a digital clock or a date. Wherever you are seeing this frequent repetition of numbers, rest assured that it is no coincidence. The angels use numbers and other signs to send us messages, but we have to pay attention to those signs in order to receive the full benefit from them. Once you start paying attention, you can receive a steady stream of numbers to guide you in the moment. How do you know what the numbers mean? Well, it helps that Doreen Virtue has compiled a collection of number meanings that she channeled from the angels. You can find those numbers in the book, Angel Numbers 101, published by Hay House. I keep a printed copy by my bed and have the Kindle edition handy too. I highly recommend the book and paying attention to numbers and other signs coming from heaven that you are not alone in this world. There are angels all around, waiting to assist you, not only to figure out your life purpose, but also to help you to fulfill it.

You weren't dumped on earth with no compass, maps, or friends to help you on this journey called life. The universe has provided you with all these and more. All you have to do is to start looking for them, and they will magically appear in the most unexpected places: inside you and right beside you. You don't really need a map though, since you came equipped with a spiritual GPS. The truth about you and your life purpose is programmed into your soul.  Now that you've read this article, you know the secret, so get ready to have your mind blown by the wonderful internal compasses, hardware, and software that comes standard with every human body. Start looking for signs. They are everywhere, just waiting for you to notice them and receive a fresh download of energy and information from the divine realm. Signs are rather like energy pellets in a computer game. They can give you a sudden energy boost or provide you with a new tool or message that will help you to continue you on your path.

Start by opening your eyes. Not just your physical eyes. Your spiritual ones too. You'll begin to see some truly mind-blowing stuff all around you. Are you ready for it? If you don't know how to make this happen, you can start by simply asking the angels to reveal themselves to you. You might not have an angel appear immediately to change your tire, particularly if you aren't in need of that at the moment, but something will happen. Something that is not quite normal for your life experience. Or maybe it is normal, but you haven't been paying attention. You don't even have to believe in angels to ask for their help. You only have to be open to the possibility that they exist, so go ahead. Ask for a sign from the angels that they do indeed exist and that they are nearby to help whenever you need to figure something out. They don't always appear in person and perform manual tasks. They are messengers and helpers, not servants who do your work for you. They usually send you a sign or a message that helps you figure out what you need to do or learn next. Or they provide you with directions to get you to your next objective in life. It's never too late to ask for their help. It's never too soon either, so stop right where you are and send up one of those complicated prayers like "Help!" Then give them a chance to respond to you. You'll be thankful you did.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Surrendering to the Flow of Life

Some people don't get it when I talk about "having to do something" I don't particularly want to do, but doing it anyway. They don't get it when I say that I'm supposed to be somewhere at a certain time so I can be in position to help someone. You see, I'm on this planet to fulfill certain missions and those missions involve helping and teaching others. We all have a role to play really and a certain time frame to do that. While most of my life is based solely on what I want to do, sometimes  I have to sacrifice my personal comfort temporarily in order to help someone I've agreed to help even before I was born. An excellent case in point is feeling so strongly the need to move back to Florida temporarily. I did not want to leave my lovely spot in the world in the Pacific Northwest. I did not want to pack up my belongings again and move anywhere, particularly not Florida, and especially since I knew it would be temporary. Yet I did it because I knew I was supposed to do it. I had tasks I needed to do while I was here. I could not have accomplished them while living on the banks of Puget Sound. I can't explain exactly how I knew this, but my heart and my gut, if you will, were leading me to that place and time. Now I can resist this internal guidance, but resisting doing what I know is my responsibility to do can get annoyingly uncomfortable. Even doing something while still resisting inside can cause problems.

As for my move out here, I knew I needed to do it, even though I didn't particularly want to  do it. I did it, sort of kicking and screaming most of the way, but I did it. The move would have gone much more easily, I suspect, if I hadn't been kicking and screaming, but I really didn't want to leave my happy place on the side of Puget Sound. The trip out here was hellish, to say the least, but now I see that my resistance to following my guidance is what caused the difficulties. Had I simply said to myself, "Okay, so you don't really want to do this thing that is before you, but you do want to follow your intuition more than you want to stay in your comfort zone and not show up for your chosen work." Jesus had a similar experience, only he handled it a lot better. Praying in the garden of Gethsemane, he repeatedly implored God to "let this cup pass away" from him, meaning, "Can we just skip that whole crucifixion business? I'm really not into all that pain and suffering." Only Jesus was much wiser than I was. In the end he surrendered to his much more difficult fate by saying, "Not my will, God, but thine be done." He didn't want to go through the whole suffering gig, but because he knew it was part of what he'd come to earth to do, he did it anyway. He surrendered to it even though he did not want to do it.

Am I comparing myself to Jesus? Not exactly. It's more like I'm contrasting myself with Jesus. When faced with a task he knew was his and his alone to do, he surrendered to it, even though it was his personal preference not to suffer. I, on the other hand, continued kicking and screaming about half the way out here. It was only after I was nearly killed by a freak wind in Nebraska that I completely surrendered and stopped doing the whole internal temper tantrum bit. While I was calm in Wyoming when my tire blew on my car, which I was towing behind the moving truck, apparently I still hadn't completely quit resisting. I had only quit resisting on the outside. The inner me was still pouting somewhere behind that calm exterior. Not until after I was nearly blown off that Nebraska highway and had way too close of an encounter with an eighteen wheeler did I surrender to my fate. That is when the road got oh so much smoother.

While I have grumbled a few times since I've been here, particularly since the moving event itself caused me great physical damage I am only now healing from, I have mostly been okay with being here in Florida. I know most of you may think I am nuts for not wanting to be in Florida, but I grew up here. I already know that Florida and I are not a good match. The Pacific Northwest and I are a good match. However, I knew I had work to do here, so I packed up all my stuff, jettisoning a lot of it before I did, and showed up for work. It would have been a lot smoother if I had merely showed up without all the drama, but it wouldn't have been as interesting to write about as what I got as a result of  all my temper-tantrum antics. I'm not sure those interesting accounts are truly a good trade off for having to live through all that stuff, but as I have been known to say, "You can live and learn, or you can just live." I hope I am coming away from this whole experience with a lot of valuable life lessons in my backpack. In some ways, it's been like returning to boot camp after having been in the army for many years. I had to go back and learn some basic lessons again because I needed the review apparently. I had lost sight of some significant truths about life and my connection to the universe.

What are those lessons? Well, trust is one of them. I could have simply trusted my intuition and done what I needed to do quietly then gone back home again. I could have done it without all the kicking and screaming, but I didn't, and I learned what happens when I resist following my guidance with joyful surrender. Okay, well with surrender anyway. I suspect Jesus didn't start down the road towards the cross singing a happy song and dancing a jig, but he did surrender to it in order to fulfill that part of his life's purpose. My mother can attest to the fact that I was a strong-will child, but that strong will comes in handy sometimes. That same strong will is what enabled me to overcome my own resistance and do what I needed to do. It is what got me here despite the mishaps along the way. So it helps at the same time it hinders me. I guess I should just surrender to that understanding of myself and learn to use that strong will to keep me on the path before me. I may hit a few steep inclines along the way, but joy and surrender can make those inclines gentler. Stubbornness and complaining will make even the slightest bumps in the road feel monumental.

By surrendering to the flow of life, I can turn mountains into molehills instead of allowing my stubborn focus on the sacrificial aspect of a situation to turn the molehills into mountains. It's my choice. It's always my choice. There may be some things in life that I've agreed beforehand to do, but it's still my choice whether to complete them as promised. If I decide to follow through and do them, I have the further choice to do them joyfully and with all my heart or to do them grudgingly and with much moaning and groaning. Honestly, the moaning and groaning didn't help in the least. It is only as I've surrendered to this time in my life that the doors have begun to open to me, easing my way back home. So hopefully if I'm faced with similar life situations, I'll learn to say, "not my will, but thine be done" a lot sooner than I did on this phase of my journey. Who knows? Maybe I would have even been able to go back sooner if I had surrendered sooner.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Leaving a Trail for Others to Follow

Each of us is completely unique. There is no need to compare and contrast with others. No need to judge yourself or others. Each of us has a contribution we can make to the world. Each of us can make it a little bit better by having passed this way. "Leave no trace" is an awesome philosophy in the wilderness, but as a part of this global community, perhaps leaving a trail of compassion, love, acceptance, and respect is preferable.

Monday, March 12, 2012

No Room for Ego in Healing Work

I have been drawn to Reiki for a number of years, but got tripped up by there having to be a special lineage, as though Spirit and healing energy would be concerned about such things. It smacked too much of elitism. When I came across this article during yet another exploration of Reiki, I sighed. Thank you, dear friend, for being a voice of balance in this field of work. There is no room for ego when it comes to healing work or to love.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Checking Things Off My Invisible List

(Reprinted with permission from Slices of My Life -http://slicesofmylife.net)

It has been a while since my last post. Since that time I've checked off a few more items that I needed to complete (unbeknownst to me) before I could go back home. One big thing is that I needed to be here apparently when my niece's maternal grandmother died. I was the only one in the family at the time who was available to drive her up to North Carolina to the funeral. When my mother told me about the woman's passing, I knew right away that this was one of those reasons I was in this place at this time. So I dropped everything, drove to Orlando to pick up my niece, and we took off on our first road trip together. Everything was timed perfectly for me to leave the day after I had to tutor, so I would have nearly a whole week for this task until I needed to be back to tutor again. We didn't need that long though, since my niece wasn't interested in being away from home for that long. I managed to get to my mother's house the next day around noon, and we were on the road in a pickup truck I'd borrowed by early afternoon. I drove all the way from south of Orlando to Florence, South Carolina that day. We ended up stopping there for the night at a hotel near I-95, right at the juncture of where we needed to get off the freeway and start our trek on back roads until we reached the small town in North Carolina where my niece's family lived.

After a decent night of sleep in a comfy hotel, and a continental breakfast, we launched ourselves into the second day of the journey. We had plenty of time to get to the funeral, so we stopped for lunch at a family-style diner and had lunch, which for me was a second breakfast in truth. We knew we were now very close, but for some reason, we had a ridiculous time trying to find the little town from where we we had gotten off the freeway. We finally found the place after a phone call or two. At the point we didn't have a lot of time to spare, so it was a good thing we had left that morning with plenty of time available to us. It ended up taking us nearly an hour to find our way to a town that was only five miles from where we'd stopped for lunch. When we got there, everyone was delighted to see us. They were even delighted to see me, and I was shocked to figure out that I had met most of the family at my brother's wedding more than two decades earlier. I didn't remember most of them at all and the rest of them only a little bit, but they recognized me from the wedding and welcomed me as though I were a close family member as well.

We spent a couple hours with the family, but my niece was not interested in staying for a long time. She loves her family dearly, but in some ways she's just not really sure what to do with them. I'm more experienced at social interactions such as the one we experienced at the family's church, so I tried to help smooth things out. I have to admit that as exhausting as the quick trip was, I'm really glad I made it with my niece. We got a lot closer on the drive, and I got a good reminder of what a good community can do during times of loss and sorrow. I reconnected with part of the family I'm not close to at all, and I got to see my late sister-in-law's grave site, which I had never seen before. I had been living in North Carolina, on the other side of the state, when she passed on, but I was either in graduate school at the time, or I was working. Whatever the case, I wasn't free to pick up and leave, so I didn't. I got really choke up when I saw her photograph attached to the tombstone, but it was good to get some closure on that all these years later. I felt as though I was finally able to say goodbye to her. She was a good woman, and my niece reminds me of her sometimes with her mannerisms. She had been so young when her mother left this world that it shocks me to see my niece do something with her hands that is exactly the way her mother used to do it.

Since I've been back in Florida, I've gotten to reconnect and get even closer to my youngest nephew. I've had opportunities in the past to catch up with my older nephew, but not so much with my younger one. So it's been great to deepen and strengthen the ties with both my nephew and my niece. I've also gotten much closer to my sister during this time. We have come to a very new place in our relationship. Even without a lot of overt communication in the past, we always slip right into a smooth groove when we do get together again. I feel closer than ever before to her now though. Part of this has been us bonding over going through peri-menopause at the same time. Even though she a few years older than me, we are neck in neck in the pace at which we are transitioning through this time in our lives. It has been a godsend that we have, because our experiences have been so similar that we have been able to comfort each other and even laugh at ourselves and our similarities. I'm thankful to have gone through the most difficult stage of this time with her in such close proximity. That may seem like a small blessing, but in reality it has felt huge to both of us to be there for each other. We have also been doing a lot of spiritual work together. Spiritual work that makes sense to the two of us who are so psychically connected, but perhaps not so sensible to someone on the outside. We both know that our relationship is stronger for it, and I know that in the future, even if I'm thousands of miles away, we will remain close and in more frequent contact than previously.

Not a whole lot has happened with my brother, but the fact that I was here to take his daughter to her grandmother's funeral meant a lot to him, and that strengthened our bond too. I've been close to my mother all these years, even while I was living in Seattle, so that may not have grown a lot, but we have been able to spend a lot of time together. That is always a good thing. Our family is a family of deep psychic connections, and it's also a family of mirth. We laugh so much when we are together that I'm sure other people in restaurants think we've been imbibing liquid spirits, when in reality, it is simply Spirit that draws us together and makes our hearts light and joyous.

I've definitely gotten even closer to my best friend. We've never spent so much time together as we have these past months, which will be nearly two years by the time I leave here to return to Puget Sound. I'm glad I could be here for the health challenges she has faced these past couple of years, and I'm equally glad I could be in a safe place where I could deal with the physical and emotional challenges I've been dealt the past couple of years as well. Very different issues, but we've been able to take care of each other, strengthening our lifelong bond as well. The value of this time together has been truly priceless. We've done a lot of laughing, and we've done a lot of serious soul-searching and talking. Again, I could only describe these times as priceless, and I am endlessly grateful for them.

I have, however, come to the place when I know it is time to pack up and move my kitties and myself back to the place in the world that feels most like home. I know that I will never feel as much as home anywhere on this side of the veil as I do on the other side, but it is not time for that just yet. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my oldest boy kitty had to be put to sleep two days after I arrived here. While that broke my heart, watching him suffer broke it more. I am so grateful that he returned to me as a new kitten six months later. It was much longer than I would've liked, but given the state of my health during the interim, it was definitely for the best. I was doing so poorly health-wise that I wouldn't have been able to care for him properly. He returned to me as soon as I was well enough to take care of him. We are enjoying our reunion every day of our lives, and he surprised us all by adopting a kitten that my best friend had brought home from the vet one day. The kitten was supposedly for her, but Li'l Grey adopted her immediately, so now she will be coming with us when we leave. While I wasn't planning to adopt any more kittens or cats, since I already had my three soul mates with me, I can't deny that she is completely bonded with my three cats, since they are the ones who stay inside all the time with her. They are her siblings now, and tearing them asunder would be something neither of us can do. We agreed that she would be mine now, so I have an adorable little silver tabby girl to add to the herd of kitties in my care.

One last thing that has happened since I've been here is that once I started recovering my health enough to work, I started tutoring children in the school district here. I've been tutoring for over a year now, and I honestly can't fathom why I didn't do it sooner. Of course, it hadn't been the time for it, but now even when I go back, I plan to start taking in students to help them particularly with reading and writing. That is my passion, so what better way to give back than to share that passion with kids. A lot of the children I tutor just seem so grateful to have an understanding soul to sit down with them and give them undivided attention. I don't have other kids of tasks pulling at my attention, so I'm able to focus on them and their needs. Growing self confidence and self esteem seem to be the gift they receive more than any other, although their grades improve too. It's truly a joy, and it's a very healthy activity for me since I know I have a tendency to become much too hermit-like in my existence. I've already started making in-roads towards gathering students to teach once I get back to Kitsap County, Washington, my home away from home, where friends and former co-workers have become like family to me. I'm pretty lucky really to have my hometown,where my family of origin lives, and my adopted family in Washington. I find that I have been blessed indeed by this sojourn back to Florida, which I really did not want to undertake two years ago. I'm glad I did, but I'm also glad to going back to Puget Sound to live for a time. I don't know how long I'll stay this time, but I'll take it for granted even less than I did before and cherish it more than ever.