Our Soul Life

June 19, 2013

Several weeks ago, I attended a conference at the ARE (Association for Research and Enlightenment) in Virginia Beach on Our Soul Life. It concerned all aspects of the soul as in our current lifetime, past lifetimes, as well as how the soul moves through from one lifetime to another.

heavenIt was an enlightening conference, although this material is relatively familiar to me, since the speakers provided new and interesting information. The presentations included notable, scientific, and what I normally call left-brain (well-grounded) individuals; one such speaker was a neurosurgeon, Eben  Alexander, who had an experience of dying and describes his experience into the afterlife in his book entitled, Proof of Heaven. During his approximately 20 minutes in a near death state, Dr. Alexander experienced what he called heaven prior to being revived.  In his talk, he described experiencing levels of consciousness that included an ameba-like experience all the way up to sensing an all knowing and totally love being.

The next speaker was Suzanne Giesemann, a Navy officer who became spiritually receptive after the trauma of losing her stepdaughter to a freak lightning strike. She studied for in the UK to become a medium to make contact with loved ones that have crossed over and now helps others with their grief by such contact. She emphasized that not all psychics are mediums.

And yet another speaker, Greg Underberger detailed what his clinical experience with clients moving into a hypnotic state where they experienced contact with others in a “life between lives” state found to be extremely healing. Greg showed a video of a woman, who had suffered extreme trauma at the loss of a loved one, enter a hypnotic state only to advance into a state that appeared to transcend this dimension wherein she spoke with her dearly departed and in so doing, gained tremendous grief relief. She described the realm she was experiencing with eyes closed yet, to the audience, appeared to be interacting with other souls somewhere else. It was very interesting to watch and probably even more so for the one on stage.

All of the speakers together led the audience to wonder and perhaps take in the concept of life after death in a new, more believable way. I, for one, already believe in the continuation of the soul. Yet, to hear these stories described in such detail was exhilarating anyway. I’m sure that my summary doesn’t do the conference justice; that said, I hope that if you were on the edge, you might give the concepts further consideration.

On a more personal note, I’ve had my own experiences with after death communication when my father used me as a channel to convey messages to my Mom that she was not supposed to follow after him. The series of messages was healing, revealing, scary and soul developing for all those involved in both planes of existence. (The Circle of Life-A Journey Through Grief to Understanding) For more, see http://www.josanpress.com/store.html

Five Days Without My Baby

April 17, 2011

It’s been five days since my little boy Hercules crossed over Rainbow Bridge. Since then, there’s no one to wake me in the morning, so I sleep too much. I awaken tearful and my heart in pain without his dear touches on my face, “Mommy it’s time to get up”. There’s no one to interrupt me during the day to say, “Stop and let me love you”, so I just keep working and working. There’s no one to say, “Feed me, I’m hungry”, so I don’t realize that I’ve gone all day without eating as food doesn’t seem important. There’s no one to tell me to sit and watch TV so we can be together on the sofa, so I feel isolated in my aloneness. Hercules isn’t here to say, “Mommy, come to bed now. I want you to sleep with me”, so I stay up too late. And the cycle goes on. My life has a huge hole in it. I have to learn to manage my own life rather than have it managed by my love for this little angel that left me.

Hercules, when did it happen that you grew up from being such a little baby to getting so old and dying? Is this what it’s like to see children age? I’ve never had children so I’ve never had the experience of seeing children grow up. Hopefully, most parents don’t have to endure the passing of their own children. With pets, they just don’t live that long. But 17 years is close to 1/3 of my life. Hercules lived with me through the end of my marriage, through my divorce and through the years since. He’s weathered my trials and tribulations and he’s been a trooper through it all.

There were times when I wasn’t as patient as I should have been with his constant demand for attention. Sometimes, when I was working in my study, I would tell him, “Not now, Mommy has to work.” Isn’t this what parents do, thinking that there will be more time when they can be together?” There comes a point, when time runs out.

Last year when he lost a tooth I realized that the time just might be running out and I began to thank God every day for each additional day we had together. Every day I held my angel in my arms and told him how much I loved him. He knew every day how much he was loved until the dementia clouded his mind. Then I think he still knew somewhere inside. Even on the last day when he walked around in circles, he still wanted to be with me, have me hold him and so it was a good day. The final moments were good. He ate well and yet we both knew it was time for him to pass on.

As I sit here typing this note, I’m crying for my baby. But now he talks to me in my head. He tells me, “Mommy, don’t cry. I’m ok. Mommy, go out and play. I don’t want you to be sad. I have lots of friends here to play with. It’s a nice place. Please be happy. Enjoy your life. I will watch over you now as you did for me all those years. I love you Mommy. “

I love you too Hercules. I hope that God is looking out for you and keeping you in the light. You are a dear angel and I know that if it’s possible, you are looking out for me.

Final Farewell – Saying Good-bye to a Pet is so Very Hard

April 11, 2011

My darling angel Hercules was laid to rest Thursday April 7 at 2pm in a lovely garden ceremony near my home in Reston, VA. We chose his favorite play area, which we called his bunker, to bury his ashes. As I’m a minister, I conducted a full pet memorial program complete with music, saging the site, appropriate prayers, verses and those present offering remembrances of Hercules. He was held in high esteem by all who knew him as a very lovable guy. Even my coaching clients would often enjoy having him on their laps during sessions and stated that he improved their experience. His energy was wonderful. I know God was with us during the ceremony, as it was a most beautiful and warm day, with the days proceeding and after rainy and cold. How could it have been otherwise when one of God’s own angels is returned to him?

Hercules laid to rest

Hercules was brought to me by God in July, 1994 after I had prayed for cats to show up on my property to keep me company. My prior pet had died about five years prior and I was lonely for a companion. I only had to wait 4 months when these little babies showed up. Hercules got his name by being the first to come to me and allow my touch – so he was the brave one. His sister, Judas was the sneaky one. (She is still with me and I have to remember to give her extra love as she wonders where he’s gone.) So God brought Hercules to me as my little angel for 17 years, and as he was only a gift, he was returned to God on Tuesday April 5 at 4:25pm.

Hercules loved me unconditionally and I loved him in return; in fact, I had to love him enough to let him go. It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. But let me say this. Now that I’m back in my logical mind, I realize that he was fighting to stay alive because he knew I was grieving. The signs of his severe deterioration were there, but I kept telling myself – just one more intervention and he’ll be ok. Eventually, I knew it was enough and together we made the decision over this past weekend. Somehow he knew, because Monday night he was more like his old self. He ate better, seemed more alert, and slept with me under the covers like he used to do prior to getting so sick. We had a very good last day.

Bless you Hercules. I couldn’t have loved you more and you couldn’t have loved me more. I learned never to let a day go by without telling you how much I loved you. I’m so glad that I did. You truly were a blessing, one that will remain in my heart all the days of my life.

Good-bye my angel. May God keep you safe in his divine light.

When it’s time for a pet to go

April 8, 2011

How much life is enough?

When deciding when to let a beloved pet go, one must consider their quality of life over one’s own feelings. This is an extremely difficult thing to do and a trial on which I was tested this past weekend.

For nearly two-months my dear cat Hercules was battling with chronic renal failure including anemia, dementia, possibly tumors and a host of other ailments. We would get one of his major issues under control and then another would pop up. He was on fluids for the renal failure which I learned to administer. Then his red blood cell count took a nose dive and thrice weekly shots were required. He needed four different medications twice daily and some natural remedies which I found to be helpful. All this I learned to deliver in as reasonable manner as possible, partly through trial and error. Which meds could be taken together and given in one syringe? Which ones tasted funny thus requiring a bit of ground up food be mixed in to camouflage the taste? I experimented until I had worked out a program that took about 2 hours in the morning and about 1.5 hours in the evening.


I curtailed my own activities to make sure I was home in time to do the evening medical program, including having my birthday dinner at 4pm so that I could be available. I didn’t mind taking care of my little darling. After all, for nearly 17 years he’d given me love, companionship, and reminded me when it was time to go to bed and often woke me in the morning. “Mommy, get up and feed me.” “Mommy, pet me.” “Mommy put food in my bowl.” Often, I’ve hear him outside my home letting me know he wanted to come in and then he’d cry to tell me he wanted to go outside. He was a great communicator. Unfortunately, once he got sick, he lost his voice. Or perhaps, he was too weak to use it.

 When the time comes:

During one of our several emergency room visits, the attending veterinary technician gave me some advice. Having just put her dog down, she said in response to my question of, how do you know when it’s the right time? “When there are more bad days than good ones.”  Then she added, “Be sure to pick a good day.”  Her words kept ringing in my head. I was evaluating my pet’s life. Was his situation bad enough to end his life?

 When yet another crisis occurred over the weekend, I had to face the reality. The pattern of problems was a sign of the inevitable. It was like putting one’s finger in the dam. Eventually, it wouldn’t hold the flood of water back. Hercules loved me so much that he was stoically dealing with the needles, the meds being popped in my mouth, the forced feedings because he knew I was grieving. I was crying so much. I didn’t want to let go.

 There’s a sense among pet owners that one more intervention will get the pet over the mountain and on the other side with renewed strength and vigor. And, sometimes the new medicine or protocol does buy weeks or months of life. But for my Hercules, the non-stop care bought him 7 weeks of added life. However, I realized that he had no real quality in that life. Sure, he was alive. He could walk down the stairs, but no longer up (his heart wouldn’t take it). He could lie in the sun at the foot of the stairs, which he enjoyed. However, I had to watch him constantly or he would end up in the lower level just sitting on the bathroom mat since he couldn’t walk back up again. Sometimes he’d eat on his own, and sometimes I had to force him. He hated being force fed.

 Then there was the dementia. He could have a can of food sitting right in front of him and he wouldn’t realize it. I had to constantly put the food under his nose and then he would eat some. This meant that I had to be there or he wouldn’t eat. If I had to go out of the house for a few hours, it would be hours that he wasn’t eating. So my schedule totally revolved around him. When did he need his fluids? When did he need to eat? I didn’t mind caring for him, but it was limiting for me. He was my baby and I loved him. That said, I finally had to let go. God had given this little angel to me and it was time for me to love him enough to stand back and let him go to his peace.

 I had a talk with him over the weekend and we agreed. It would be Tuesday when his regular vet came back to the animal hospital. Somehow he must have known, since we had a wonderful day together. He ate more, seemed more like his old self and slept under the covers with me. But I agonized over the decision right up to the last moment. At the vet’s, I was crying horribly. Then a sense of calm came over me. Hercules and I knew it was the time. We both were ready. The vet gave him an anesthesia and within seconds he put his little head down and that was it. He was out. The vet told me he was ready. He was at peace.

 My little darling Hercules passed at 4:25 pm April 5. I stayed with him for about 20 minutes until I realized the body on the table was no longer Hercules. He was gone to Rainbow Bridge to wait for me. Upon coming home I I lit a candle to celebrate his life and said prayers. May God’s light shine on him forever. And so it is. Amen.

 Here is the poem about Rainbow Bridge:

There is a bridge connecting heaven and earth
It is called Rainbow Bridge because of its many colours

Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows,
hills, valleys with lush green grass

When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this special place
There is always food and water and warm spring weather

The old and frail are young again
Those who are maimed are made whole again

They play all day with each other
There is only one thing missing

They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth
So each day they run and play until the day comes
when one suddenly stops playing and looks up !

The nose twitches !
The ears are up !
The eyes are staring !
And this one suddenly runs from the group !

You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet,
you take him or her into your arms and embrace
your face is kissed again and again,
and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated

Author Unknown

Guided to Leave My Car

February 18, 2011

Sometimes we are guided to do things and know why and other times we are led and aren’t sure what it’s all about… until later. The bigger picture may escape us. Here’s a story where the “why” is up for question.

Recently, we took a trip to Western Maryland to enjoy an activity that was on my bucket list. All my adult life, I’ve wanted to ride in a real husky dog sled, and I finally got the chance. Last fall, I came across an article in my local town magazine about a woman who owned a Siberian husky and how she volunteered to support the Iditarod race in Alaska. The article provided resources for interested people to learn more about the sport of husky racing as well as for those wishing to actually ride in a husky dog sled. I was surprised to learn that one such organization was within a three-hour drive from my home in Northern Virginia. Wow! I didn’t have to go to Alaska. (I did try to take a sled ride while travelling in Switzerland, but when we arrived at the top of the mountain, we were informed that the temperature was too warm for the dogs to run!) The date finally came and we were off, prepared to hit a bad snow storm sometime during the three days of our trip, (one day to drive up, a day to take the sled ride and do a bit of skiing and then a day to drive back).

Paying attention to guidance

After about an hour and a half of driving my slightly aging 2002 Volvo, I turned off the cruise control as we came upon some traffic and I wanted to have more driving maneuverability. Unfortunately, the car continued to respond as if it was still controlled by the cruise capability. I put my foot gently on the brake and the car slowed down, but when I used the accelerator, the car stopped at 60 mph, the speed at which I had set the cruise feature previously. This became frightening since I wasn’t sure how the car would respond to my actions, particularly in light of the normally delicately sensitive reaction to which I was accustomed. I told my travelling company of the situation and he kept asking me questions to which I answered, “The car isn’t responding. It’s like it has a mind of its own!” I felt that I had to pull off the highway to figure out what was going on, so I took the next exit, and pulled over at a nearby fast food restaurant. I turned off the car engine hoping to reset the cruise control, but it didn’t have the desired effect. When I returned to the highway, the car was still not under normal functioning.

This time, I was even more afraid. I knew that we had two more hours to drive to reach our destination. What to do? Again, I told my companion that I had to pull off the road. I took the very next exit, which was Hagerstown, a rather old railroad town. Immediately as I left the main road, there were two car dealerships, one with a service center and an associated car rental company. Pulling into the Toyota Center, I entered the service area and commenced to explain what was happening. Rhonda, one of the technicians, in trying to help me, provided instructions to pull my car into one of the service docks right away even though other people were waiting in the outer area. Rhonda couldn’t have been nicer. Toyota diagnostics aren’t much use on a Volvo so she started to work with my service manual and even called the nearest Volvo dealer (about 25 minutes behind us), but to no avail. Finally, my travelling companion and I decided to leave my car and book a rental car to continue on to our destination. We knew that about 10” of snow was predicted the next day and that driving in a bad storm with a car acting questionably would not be advisable. So off we went with the rental car, knowing that my “baby” would be safe in the hands of the Toyota Service Center’s parking lot and Rhonda’s watchful eye.

The rest of our drive up to the Western Maryland resort area of WISP went very smoothly now that I no longer was concerned about our mode of transportation. I could relax and leave the driving in the capable hands of my travelling companion as he’d taken over once we switched cars. Relaxing is something that I need to do more of and now I could get comfortable. We reached the resort in late afternoon, checked in, and surveyed the grounds. It was snowing lightly and rather chilly with the temperature hovering around 30 degrees. For the rest of Tuesday, we enjoyed our brief respite which included making plans for rental skis and a lift ticket for each of us for the next day after our husky dog sled ride. While we had time, we were fitted with skis, books and poles and put our rental equipment in the lockers provided by the resort for use by the guests. It was all very convenient. We also enjoyed dinner in the restaurant and watched the evening skiers on the slopes while wondering from where all their energy materialized.

The Ride of my life

The next morning, I jumped out of bed quite excitedly, prepared for the ride of my life. We were early to the Husky Power Dog Sled location as it was snowing quite heavily and we could hardly see to drive. Luckily, we only had a few miles to travel. Upon arrival, I realized how cold my hands and feet had become but I just had to be tough. After all, I was about to do something that was on my bucket list – a line item that I wanted to do before I died! And it was fast approaching. First, we heard the dogs barking in anticipation of the opportunity to pull a sled. These Alaskan husky dogs just live to pull and in addition, they love the cold weather. Today they would be very happy as it was cold enough for them and they would get to pull on an 11-dog sled team first for my friend and then for me. How fun!

Our husky ride was amazing; nothing short of spectacular, as we curved through the woods over fresh powder snow. I normally don’t like cold weather, but I braved a snow storm and for me, very cold weather to do this ride and loved every minute of it. My husky dog sled ride was all I’d hoped for and more.

Husky Power Dog Sled Ride

Afterwards, we drove again through a snowstorm to get back to the resort just in time to make a few ski runs down the beginner slope. It was quite funny how I was a bit scared to take the lift and the operator stopped it in order to allow me to get on. I felt like the whole trip was planned just for me! Ok, so I’ve slowed down over the years. I can’t do the heavyweight slopes anymore, but that’s ok, I still got down the hill without getting hurt and it was fun.

Back inside the Resort we heard people in the hallway saying they were going to drive home in what was by now a terrible snowstorm. We were so glad that we had decided to stay over an extra day during our trip planning so were not concerned about driving in such bad weather. Later, we heard the horror stories of people being stuck in their cars for upwards of 10 hours on highways around Washington, DC. But fortunately, we were not among them.

 Instead, we left Thursday morning with a clear sky and smooth sailing all the way back to the Toyota Dealer to pick up my car. There was Rhonda, on duty. We were grateful for her support and attempts to help. As a thank-you to her, I offered a copy of my inspirational memoir, The Circle of Life – A Journey through Grief to Understanding, asking, “Are you spiritual?” She replied, “Yes, my son has had issues since birth and we almost lost him a few times.” Rhonda thanked me for the autographed copy of my book which she assured me she would read.

After having a quick lunch and saying good-bye, we quickly moved all of our things from the rental car back to my car and continued on our way. At this point, I figured I would have to drive slowly, keeping my car below the speed where the cruise control had been set previously. But, to my surprise, the speed of the car inched up normally. I told my companion, “The car appears to be driving normally. How is that possible?”

Understanding comes

Then it hit me. We were supposed to stop at the Toyota Dealers. What’s the probability that my car would act up, then I would decide to pull off the road exactly in front of a location where a woman had a son that might die any time? I believe I was supposed to give her my book as there is information in it regarding life after death that will be reassuring for her. I only hope that she understands that death is not the end and that it is possible to communicate with loved ones after they cross the veil of death. I was guided to leave my car. The universe, once again, provided a perfect plan for all concerned.

Life after grief

June 16, 2010

The Circle of Life – A Journey Through Grief to Understanding, is author and intuitive Joanne Aaronson’s personal account of after death communication in order to promote a spiritual perspective on death and dying.

Where does this philosophy originate? The continuation of the soul after life, through a wheel of rebirths is

Healing from grief

known as reincarnation in the East. It is also integral to the Jewish religion through Kabbalah – the recurring wheel of rebirth enabling the soul to attain perfection. The point is that death is not the end. We do continue on, yes in another form, but we never cease to exist. As Einstein said, “Energy is neither created nor destroyed, it only changes shape.” Thus a soul that has lived in this physical dimension carries on in another form in the next. Knowing that your loved one continues on provides a degree of comfort.

Death is not the end and under certain circumstances, communication with the departed is possible. Anyone that loses a loved one goes through the stages of grief that are so painful it’s like tearing one’s heart out. Understanding the increasing fortitude, courage and resilience of one widow can provide encouragement to another.

In this amazing story, read how Joanne’s daily guidance helped her mother put her life back together after the only man she ever loved was gone. As is common with the circle of life, there were journeys within journeys, and eventually, the teacher learned from the student. In turn, the reader can learn from the experience of others while being educated along the way. There are underlying spiritual principles presented that can provide guideposts from which to interpret life’s twists and turns during your own journey through the circle of life.

There is life after grief.

Introduction for The Circle of Life – A Journey Through Grief to Understanding

May 24, 2010

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