Four Crows and Car

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Yesterday my car refused to start after I left my second visit of my hospice day.  I was sitting out front of the house asking my Angels to start it again, I admit it had been sputtering for a while but every time I asked the Angels to intercede they would and I’d be on my merry way.  Today was not a day of intercession- well not of that kind.  I was sitting in an adult community of about a thousand and half houses. Now I knew a friend of mine had moved there, but I didn’t have a clue where she lived. Let me define “friend” for you-this was someone I had an active relationship with 30 years ago when our kids were small, and since have run into each other in the field as we are both nurses.  It is always good to see her, I have a genuine affection for her, but our lives are so busy we don’t spend time.

So I give in and call AAA, which I know will be a wait. (Once when my car broke down my middle son suggested we call AA- so they could come fix the car….but that’s another story entirely). So I am sitting in my car and I ask the Angels, ok- so apparently I am suppose to sit here….WHY? Then I see four crows circling and then landing on the house across the street.  I watch them and think about their symbolism of FAITHFUL LOVE.  I notice a car pull up and a woman hurries into the house followed by her mate.  I think to myself, she looks a lot like my friend…. I sit a while longer and the man comes out and I realize it is my friend’s husband! I am sitting across the street from their very house! I get out and we exchange hugs, he takes me inside and there she is! So the Angels wanted us to reconnect….

I adore this couple; they have been married forever, weathering the storms of life as a team, best of friends.  FAITHFUL LOVE.

The tow truck arrives, the driver is grumpy! I say to him, “What a great job you have rescuing stranded people!” He looks at me sideways as if I am a little nuts.  But my heart is full, in the midst of a losing half a day’s pay, incurring an unexpected expense, I am happy to have seen the Crow again and witnessed what is truly important, Love. Faithful Love.

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The Crow and Carrot Cake

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When I am anxious I bake, I know weird right? But I find that it grounds me and then I can share the fruits of my labor with others as my son and I cannot eat all of my anxiety driven goodies.

Last week I made a carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting, it was lovely.  First I had my neighbor over for afternoon teatime, our rendition of Alice in Wonderland, Mad Hatter in tow. It’s an excuse to relax and spend time together and eat cake and drink tea. The next day I brought a tray to work as my coworkers had a weekly meeting that needed a little sweetening.  Then the cake sat in the refrigerator, neither my son nor I ate more.  So I put it outside for the birds to enjoy.  This morning I watched as a huge black crow balanced on the edge of the pan and enjoyed the frosting until his beak was covered white and he flew away.  Crows get a bad rap being symbolic of misfortune, illness and even death.  But in ancient Egypt, however, the crow was a symbol of faithful love because of the bird’s monogamous nature. I prefer to view my black feather visitor as that symbol: Faithful Love.

When I initially baked the cake I did not imagine I would be sharing it with The Crow, but I am quite sure his visitation was as much to his nourishment as to mine.  The ripple effect of kindness is a level of love, an unseen healer in this world. Kindness is never wasted, it finds it way in mysterious ways, and as you release it- it flies back to you.

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The Light

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The Light –

I spend a great deal of time witnessing the end of life.  I often see my patient’s eyes refocus from this world to the next, their lips moving in silent conversations with invisible loved ones.  I watch as they slip effortlessly between the worlds until their spirit makes that leap of Faith back to the world from which we came.  I often explain the death process as similar to the birthing process.  Sometimes it takes hard work-labor- to move from one world to the next but we are always greeted on either side by those that love us, we are embraced by Love and welcomed.  We never die or birth alone.  It is the nature of transition.  People often ask me how I can work in such a depressing atmosphere, but to me death is as much a miracle as birth, indeed death is the birthing into the world of spirit.  Patients who once were afraid often exhibit an opening up of the soul, the remembrance of their Divine selves, it is a hushed but lovely moment.  They find Peace and Acceptance and Grace as they release their Light into the transition from this world to the next.

This week my world changed, as Birth brought with it a new Light into my world, a shift in the energy of the Earth, a Hope for all good things.  This new Light has changed me in subtle ways, as I watch the Joy return to once saddened eyes. Hope has returned as grief lessened its grip on a heart.  And yet the Magic is there is nothing that this little Light must do except Be, that is enough to bring Healing and Love to those around him.

It is a wonderful reminder that we all bring Light with us and just Being is enough.  Who we are is perfect, we are perfectly imperfect.  We are the Magic in this world.  We are all Children of God, little Sparks of Divine.  We just need to Remember to Shine.

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Dogs and Waterfalls

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I dreamt of my father last night, he passed away in 2002 as I was finishing nursing school.  In my dream he is sitting in the music room of my childhood home, my golden retriever Ruby who has passed was also there, with my son’s current dog Ivy, I let the dogs outside.  They stand beneath a tree that has a waterfall and allow the water to pour over their heads.  It is a surreal dream rich with symbolism.  Dogs are creatures of unconditional love; a waterfall is symbolic of letting go….

My father was a complex man.  He was a musician, a master carpenter, a Marine and an amateur farmer; we had a pony, chickens and as my Aunt would tell it a pig- but somehow I don’t remember the pig.

So why did my Father visit me? My Father was also an alcoholic; it is a devastating disease that affects every aspect of the person with the addiction- physically, emotionally and spiritually.  It also affects the entire family unit.  It is been proven to be a genetic disease, one passed down from generation to generation.  Alcoholism has invaded my family once again. I am not ashamed of this, to me it is a disease, not unlike diabetes or cancer, would you blame the person who developed these? But alcoholism and addiction in general has a social stigma attached to it, it is believed the person who suffers with the affliction has a choice, and that when they drink or they use it is because they made a choice.  They do not have a choice about the presence of their disease; it exists because of a complex biochemical/genetic matrix within their body.  The only choice they have is how to live with it.  In diabetes we know sugar and complex carbohydrates trigger increased blood sugars so regulating the disease has become more manageable.  In alcoholism and addiction the triggers are not so easily identified, based often in hidden emotions- those of shame, past hurts, traumatic experiences that trigger the need for relief that alcohol once so easily provided.

So where do I fit into this? As a child I was powerless to my father’s choices.  The fall out of his drinking often left me wounded.  Later in life, as he lay in his bed, I rubbed his back and forgiveness found me, I realized he was just a man who had lived his life as best he could with the tools he had, he was as broken and wounded as anyone.  More importantly I knew he loved me, despite the fallout of his alcoholism, he truly loved his children even if he couldn’t always show it.  I found forgiveness and it set me free from the burden of the childhood wounds that I had dragged through my adult life with me.

Now, again, as alcoholism reappears, it saddens me, and I cannot make choices for my loved one, I cannot walk their walk any more than I could with my father.  But I can walk beside them, I can love them, support them, offer counsel if asked.  I can forgive myself for not being able to do more, and realize that trusting the Divine is more important now than ever.  And I pray- a lot!

Alcoholism/Addiction is a call for healing, all the wounded parts of us, it is an opportunity to grow and explore the darkness so we can one day embrace more light. And when the sadness consumes me I will remember the image of the dogs beneath the waterfall and allow thoughts of unconditional love and letting go to fill my heart.

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Ladder to Heaven

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Lily of the Valley prompts childhood memories.  When the delicate white bells of the flower would open in May my mother would bring some inside and their fragrance wafted through the house.  In my child’s mind they were definitely flowers of the Fairies, easily imagined that winged luminous little beings of light would harvest the tender stalks of bells for some magical purpose.  Now the scent evokes memories of my mother, she loved gardening, flowers, digging in the dirt, long walks in the woods. She taught me about my other mother-the Earth and all the beautiful amazing things that surrounded us.  Often my mother would seemingly banish me “outside!”  I would wander for hours in the woods, climbing trees, swaying in the breeze, singing little childish songs as I witnessed the world from my perch nestled in the land of fairies.

Lily of the Valley has many symbolic meanings attached to it, ‘the tears of Mary as she watched the crucifixion’, ‘Eve’s tears as she and Adam were driven from Eden’, ‘the blood shed by Saint Leonard of Noblac the patron saint of imprisoned peopled, during his battles with a dragon’ and also the ‘Second coming of Christ’ in some religious paintings. This all from a sweet fragrant white bell beauty of nature.  So often our need to tell our human story is intimately intertwined with the gifts of nature.

For me, the little flower is also aptly referred to as a “Ladder to Heaven”. It becomes the bridge between my mother and me.  She now resides in a place of Divine Love, Summerland if you will, where I imagine there are vast beautiful gardens.

Working in hospice over the weekend, I bore witness to other daughters losing their mothers; it evokes in me a deep sense of empathy and compassion.  Sometimes words cannot convey what the heart knows, and so I smile sadly and hugged them, knowing their journey has changed, that childhood memories will now bring them bittersweet comfort, as they stand at the foot of the Ladder to Heaven.

 

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Orbs two

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Orbs Two

Last week I visited a hospice patient in a snowstorm.  He had come home from the hospital after his daughter made the decision not to insert a gtube, a feeding tube, as his body was shutting down and she made the heart rendered choice to allow nature take its course.  This was not an easy decision and she struggled even afterwards.  On Saturday I spoke with her trying to comfort her and validate her decision.  When I returned on Sunday a gift awaited. The daughter that very morning had asked in prayer for a sign that she had made the right decision.  The snowstorm had abated, leaving a six inch blanket of fresh white against the bareness of branches.  As she looked out the window she saw a green orb floating in the yard.  Quickly she grabbed her phone and captured it on video.  The bright green orb floated and then landed in the branches of a tree where it remained for some time.  Within the orb appeared a face with several smaller faces behind it.  It was exquisite, brilliant and ethereal all at once.  There was no doubt in her mind that this was a sign, the sign she had requested.  That the world of spirit had sent her comfort and confirmation that she had made the right choice for her beloved father.

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2017

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Going into a New Year I can’t help to think of my need for delusional optimism-I always say- this is going to be a better year than last year….but when I look towards the prospect of 2017 I realize it will be very much like Life has always been, a roller coaster without regard for my comfort.  I am one of those people who does not like great adventure, theme parks, crazy rides; adrenaline inducing stuff, Life has given me quite enough of that. I prefer the swan boats, the ones you can peddle and control the direction and speed of your journey, yes I have a bit of control freak gene, I believe it’s from my mother’s side of the pool.

In any case, this past year was full of challenges, ones I never thought I would have to face, but indeed life had other plans, “Life, it’s what happens when you’re busy making plans…” So I began to think about what makes it all possible, because despite my need to control -it’s all going to happen.  The only thing I can say is that navigating the challenges has become not exactly easier but more understandable.  I now know there are things that happen that I cannot control, I can only chose how I am going to respond to.  I chose to respond in love and compassion because I have tried anger and judgment and it does not help.

This year addiction was a huge theme and I imagine it will continue to be as it is an epidemic in our world right now so it’s quite impossible to not be touched by it on some level.  It is a mighty disease, one wrapped in shame, secrecy and often isolation, not a good mix for someone who needs healing.  I have said goodbye to those who lost the battle and prayed incessantly for those who continue to wage the war.  I hope to find ways to make a difference, to help facilitate healing, because diseases come in all forms, mental, physical and spiritual and addiction claims all.

Life will continue, the sun does not waver in the face of our challenges, and that my friends is a good thing, a constant presents of Light is needed for all of us to find our way.  I hope this year brings you new ways to navigate your life that instills Compassion, Peace and Love.

 

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