Trusting Guidance

July 26, 2018

Ever get a funny feeling in your stomach and realize that a little voice residing there is telling you something?  It’s becoming well known how the stomach has a second brain with lots of emotional intelligence. But the point of my story is that I get my own inner guidance in many ways, one of which may be discomfort in the stomach.

Over the weekend, I had dinner with a dance friend. Our plan was to enjoy dinner and the jazz group that was playing at the Vietnamese-French restaurant nearby, then we would drive to a local dance venue. It would take about 30 minutes to drive over. Normally, this would be a routine trip, nothing to be concerned about except on this evening there had been reports that heavy rain was due to fall. I tried to tell myself that a bit of rain was nothing to fear; that said, I kept remembering the terrible rain that I drove through back in January when a truck tire exploded and like a missile sent the remains crashing into my car causing me whiplash and $2,000 damage to my almost new car. Needless to say, it was upsetting and traumatizing. I had come out of it alive when such a crash could have killed me. Hence, there was trepidation over driving in heavy rain.

My friend was insistent that I go out with him and to help alleviate my concerns he offered to drive me and then take me home later since we’d met up for the dinner as dance friends often do. I reluctantly agreed. So off we went under an umbrella with me thinking, “Well, it’s not raining hard now. Perhaps we’ll get there before the downpour”. We were only about a mile from my home, and the local plaza where we’d eaten, when I felt a really strange feeling in my chest and stomach. I don’t normally have such pains. I told myself that it was only a 30 minute drive and that I would be ok. I assumed it was just a bit of fear after having had the accident back in January; leftover trauma, so to speak.

alarmAs we approached the highway entrance, an alarm on my cell phone caused me to say, “Stop and pull over”. I knew the sound of that siren type of alarm. It was used to indicate an emergency situation. In this case it was the NWS warning people to get off the road due to the impending dangerous weather, heavy rain and possible flooding. My reaction was immediate. I said, “No! I’m not going.” And we turned around and my friend drove the short distance back to my house.

Now one might ask,”Was it a coincidence that the alarm came in just before we got on the highway when it would be more difficult to turn around and go home?” We were only one mile away, so returning was easy. And my friend certainly understood at this point so no harm done in any case. I got inside the house and was totally grateful to be safe, then settled into the rest of the evening in front of the TV with my cat Skylar. I was never so happy to be in my PJs!

I do believe that my angels were watching over me. That when I needed them, guidance helped me with an outward signal that staying in was the right thing to do. The next day I saw on the local internet about all the down trees, accidents, cars that got stuck in water, people that had to be rescued from their cars, etc. it wasn’t a joke, nor a figment of my imagination. There had been real danger and I had been warned. I am truly blessed. Comments and observations are welcome.


Was it 11 dimensions or a case of abundance?

June 26, 2018

Over the weekend I was preparing to leave for a trip. On Saturday evening I wanted to wash the dishes and put a cleaning pod in the dishwasher and attempted to turn it on as usual, but nothing happened. No lights went on so I checked the various possible places that could cause a malfunction…a basket that wasn’t fully retracted, removing the pod and putting it back in, repeatedly opening and closing the door… well you get the idea. I really wanted to have clean dishes while I was away and not leave a full load of dirty dishes for a week until a service man could come out to fix the dishwasher.. or this was my thinking at the time.

After several attempts at fooling with this and that myself, I then went to the old standby… Utube and the internet…what info was there about what could go wrong with a Kitchen aide dishwasher? It wasn’t very old so the prospect of paying for a service call was quite upsetting as well as the fact that it was 8:39 pm on Saturday night before Fathers day. I had doubts that any service person would even come out on a Sunday anyway. Then I went out for the evening.

Upon my return, I decided to accept my fate that there just might have to be dirty dishes for a week and the world wouldn’t come to an end. I try to be neat and clean, but of course, situations occur and one must be flexible.  I should add a note here that in the afternoon I had gone to get my nails done and found that my nail lady’s son graduated from high school. As we have a very long and sociable history, I wrote a check to the young man as a gift for his special accomplishment. I’ll come back to this point later.

Back to the problem of the non-functioning dishwasher.  Miraculously, the dishwasher turned on. I stood back in amazement. What had I done differently? Somehow it reset and all was working. Ok so here’s where we go from the physical reality of the situation to a more spiritual view. As I believe that everything is part of a bigger plan, was I meant to have the dishwasher experience to teach me to take things as they come and when I relaxed about it, I changed the outcome from one of difficulty to one of comfort?; that is, a different dimensional outcome came into being? Or, another possibility is that my earlier action of providing the gift in abundance diverting the expense of repair from the universe to a return of abundant energy, saving me from the expense, the net again being a change in the dimensional outcome?

11dimensionsThe law of abundance provides that what we send out comes back to us multiplied. Kabballah speaks to unlimited possibilities all existing simultaneously so that we are free to select an outcome based on our choices each step of our lives.

So now you must decide for yourself. Did I just load the dishwasher wrong and when I corrected it all went right? Or, are there multiple dimensions (thought to be 11), and when I went into abundance via the graduation gift which took me from one dimension where I would have a repair into another where I wouldn’t.  A simple answer or a very deep One? It’s up to you. Comments are welcome.


Yes Kiddies, there was communication before the INTERNET!

June 13, 2018

Ok, my apologies to all those readers who are old enough to remember life before the INTERNET. How did we ever do it? When I’m out and about and see people sitting next to one another and texting, streaming and listening to music non-stop I wonder if everyone has forgotten how to carry on a conversation. So have we progressed in our abilities to communicate with all this communications? There are so many viewpoints to tackle; I’ll just take one today.

InternetI not only remember the days before the Internet, but I was actively involved in the messaging industry that attempted to address the issues of connecting disparate companies around the globe. There was a huge technical problem at the time. Every telecom company operated with their own data format necessitating a data format conversion if any one company could send messages to any other company; thus much of message was intra-company. So there were lots of people using a single provider such as AOL, MCI, etc. and anyone within that company could send messages to each other. Wow, but sending a message to someone not using that carrier was tricky and once accomplished, expensive. There was a service fee to connect. If you had friends among several different carriers, you had to pay this fee for each different one. It would be like paying tolls for using all the different toll roads to reach the homes of friends living in different locales in the metropolitan DC area. This is the best example I can provide to understand how it was back then.

At the time, I was working for the US Government, in the branch called the General Services Administration or GSA for short. I participated in meetings with “standards bodies” both for US standards as well as travelling to Europe for the standards being developed there as well. The goal of both these regional bodies was to foster compliance to a common data format so that all this conversion would be a thing of the past. There was beginning to be some success of standards taking hold when I came into the picture around 1995 timeframe. It was then that I had the idea of asking industry to cooperate even further for a test. Why not move faster towards standards?

At one such standards meeting at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), I raised my hand and asked the question “why are companies still using the 1984 standard when there is a 1988 standard?” (since it was already almost 1996!). And the leader of the meeting replied, “Great question, so you can lead the working group to find out!” Although I protested indicating that I was a mere government worker and not a recognized leader of any industry group, I was non-the-less appointed to chairperson of a committee to investigate industry cooperation. I took my new position seriously and without going into all the details, the result was a Challenge to industry which took hold slowly but gathered cooperation as predicted. I had a vision of how I felt it should work, that included the messaging part, a directory to store the names/address data fields and eventually a security component to protect the sender/receiver relationship.

The effort was picked up by the Electronic Messaging Association first in the US and then the European version of this same organization with what I would call great success having 14 countries and over 100 people involved. I have some great stories of both challenges and comradery that occurred over the 18 months that we all worked together to conduct testing with a standards-based data format which different companies would send back and forth. By the time that we were into testing, I moved from my government position to a telecom company – British Telecom that had a local office very close to me. It was lovely that their North American office was only 3 miles away, but I also spent a fair amount of time at their office just outside of London.

The point of this story is that real cooperation was required and real communication. We had many emails, conference calls and meetings all over the US and at different places in Europe. As the leader of the group, I did my best to foster teamwork, give recognition and appreciation and to plan group activities such as special dinners at wonderful local restaurants (with everyone paying their own way, but organizing was more than half the battle when one wants to eat in a lovely place in the outskirts of Brussels).

In the end, we were successful at moving international standards forward, but the Internet made it all a moot point. Like the wind, the Internet came blowing in with little security and me worrying how it would all play out. I was not an initial supporter nor an early adopter, but now I text, stream and play music off my phone like everyone else. I enjoy all the benefits that the Internet has, but I also have had my fair share of the issues that not having good security built in has brought to us all. But for this article, the emphasis is on cooperation and communication.

So when I see families sitting at the dinner table and are all texting and not talking, I smile at myself and mumble – yes, it’s nice that we’re all so interconnected now. But let’s do remember to talk to one another, take our friendships and relationships seriously and cherish the real times that we have together. Even while working to connect our world, my rag tag group of volunteers from the telecom industry would probably tell you that their days on our working group, as hard as they worked, was one of the best in their life. Why? Because of the comradery, the cooperation and the communication!

 


Neck Pain or Pain in the Neck?

June 6, 2018

painneckEver wake up with a stiff neck and wonder if you slept wrong or moved wrong in your yoga class… or perhaps doing sit ups at the gym? But did you ever relate that neck problem to a person who’s troubling you and have been thinking “what a pain in the neck?” What we think we create! As Edgar Cayce notes, first comes thoughts, then comes action; thus, what we think becomes what we concentrate on creating new possibilities that lead to other actions. Our world is a template of what is first conceived in our minds.

It’s not that our pains aren’t real. For sure, they are. Our physical world is composed of real stuff including real problems, real emotions and real physical issues. But where does it all start? As souls in a body, we are first spiritual beings with a soul plan and karma to be dealt with. Everything we do leads us closer to completing our karma both on the positive as well as on the negative side. Sometimes that negative stuff requires us to learn lessons that we are stubborn about learning. The universe is patient giving us many chances and creating many opportunities for us to go about learning these lessons. If one way doesn’t work, another way is tried. Have you ever felt as if you’re just in the same soup warmed over and over with different people playing out in a different place?

This has certainly happened to me whether at work, at my gym, at my aerobics class and even in my dance venues. People pop up and things happen, words are said, exchanges are made and I feel like – “wow, again the same thing. Why does this feel so familiar?” the answer is simple, because it has happened before, perhaps many times before. And you may have learned the lesson in one form but need to learn it again in another form. That person that is a pain in the neck may be teaching you a lesson but since you’re not learning the lesson, yet another person that is an equally difficult person – another pain in the neck comes along. And then you wake up one morning to find that you have transferred the emotionally pain in the neck to the physical pain in the neck. As Louise Hays points out in her classic book “You can Heal Your Life”, a pain in the neck points to “inflexibility, or failing to see an issue from multiple sides”; or “being stubborn”.

So the next time you feel someone is being a proverbial “pain in the neck” look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “am I being stubborn or inflexible?” and then wait for the answer. Your comments are welcome. Always in light, Rev. Joanne.

 

 

 


Stand by your beliefs and you will be supported

May 1, 2018

Recently I watched a TV evangelist talk at great length about how God promises us that we can be ten times better if we just “believe”. He then went on to give examples of how this can come to be; one of these stories was of Daniel, a well-known central figure in the Bible.

According to Good News Translation/The American Bible Society, the following passage tells the shortened version of the story of a young man who along with others of his day stood by their beliefs and came out not only momentarily victorious, but generally many times stronger.

The Young Men at Nebuchadnezzar’s Court
1 In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem and surrounded the city. 2 The Lord let him capture King Jehoiakim and seize some of the Temple treasures. He took some prisoners back with him to the temple of his gods in Babylon, and put the captured treasures in the temple storerooms.

 

3 The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief official, to select from among the Israelite exiles some young men of the royal family and of the noble families. 4 They had to be handsome, intelligent, well-trained, quick to learn, and free from physical defects, so that they would be qualified to serve in the royal court. Ashpenaz was to teach them to read and write the Babylonian language. 5 The king also gave orders that every day they were to be given the same food and wine as the members of the royal court. After three years of this training they were to appear before the king. 6 Among those chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of whom were from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

8 Daniel made up his mind not to let himself become ritually unclean by eating the food and drinking the wine of the royal court, so he asked Ashpenaz to help him, 9 and God made Ashpenaz sympathetic to Daniel. 10 Ashpenaz, however, was afraid of the king, so he said to Daniel, “The king has decided what you are to eat and drink, and if you don’t look as fit as the other young men, he may kill me.”

11 So Daniel went to the guard whom Ashpenaz had placed in charge of him and his three friends. 12 “Test us for ten days,” he said. “Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare us with the young men who are eating the food of the royal court, and base your decision on how we look.”

14 He agreed to let them try it for ten days. 15 When the time was up, they looked healthier and stronger than all those who had been eating the royal food. 16 So from then on the guard let them continue to eat vegetables instead of what the king provided.

17 God gave the four young men knowledge and skill in literature and philosophy. In addition, he gave Daniel skill in interpreting visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the three years set by the king, Ashpenaz took all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them all, and Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah impressed him more than any of the others. So they became members of the king’s court. 20 No matter what question the king asked or what problem he raised, these four knew ten times more than any fortuneteller or magician in his whole kingdom. 21 Daniel remained at the royal court until Cyrus, the emperor of Persia, conquered Babylonia.

Daniel

The point of the story is that Daniel and his comrades chose what they believed to be the correct behavior regardless of what others thought. In this case, the heavier food would indeed slow them down while a lighter diet kept their heads clearer and facilitated higher performance. In the end, Daniel rose up through the ranks as he aged and eventually became the leader of the city, while his comrades were also appropriately rewarded for their service.

What does all this mean for you or me? Well, it means that even under duress, if we take the higher ground, we will be supported by the positive forces in nature. Recently, I had 3 nasty things happen to me during a very short period of time. In just one week, a pipe burst flooding the lower level of my home; while the house was being repaired I was very sick with the flu; then at the end of the week when I finally went out my car was hit on the highway during a flash rain storm by an exploding semi-truck tire. It was almost as if it all was meant to happen to show me that I could live through lots of duress. Although each of these things were quite distressing, I kept my perspective and believed that it was all part of the divine plan. In fact, I believed that there was some lesson I was meant to learn. Perhaps that God had saved me – each time. I could have been away when the pipe burst; I could have gotten ill during a vacation rather than a week when I had to be home anyway; and the exploding tire hitting the car could have killed me. So I had lots to be grateful for. I continued to believe and stay positive.

The next month I left for a 2-week vacation and everything went very well… or at least the challenges I experienced were all kept under control. I had a wonderful time. I went on the trip believing that I had had my “three” bad things happen to me so that nothing else would happen this year! It was certainly one way to look at it! I believed and I was supported. We always have the choice to make daily how we will believe, and whether we will take the higher road when under duress.  

 


Blessed or Cursed

February 14, 2018

It’s every homeowner’s nightmare: to come home to a flooded home. From that perspective I was fortunate that the pipe burst in my home 36 hours after I returned home from a two week trip away. I heard water rushing in the lower level and after thinking, “there’s no laundry in the washer, why do I hear water running?”  I rushed downstairs to find water pouring from the ceiling. In disbelief for several seconds as I watched huge amounts of water gushing out of 3 ceiling lights onto the wood floor, I ran for a largwaterfalle bucket to put under one of the larger spots. At first, I thought I had a leak and then soon realized it was a much bigger problem. Very soon the bucket became too heavy for me to lift so I found a smaller bucket to literally bail water from there into the bathroom toilet about 20 feet away. I repeated this maneuver for about 2 hours. At more than middle age, this became very tiring but I just couldn’t stop. The water was relenting. I finally let the water spill over the one bucket long enough for me to turn off every water valve I could find with little result. I figured I had a burst pipe as the weather had turned very cold just days before. The pipe must have frozen and when I came home from my trip and began to run water throughout the house essentially thawing the pipe, it burst from the pressure.

As my wits began to return, I found my cell phone and in between bailing the water I started with the phone calls. First I notified my nail lady that I wasn’t going to make my appointment for my nails. Being the lovely person that she is and the wonderful relationship that we have, she sent her husband over to help me (fortunately, he’d just gotten off from work due to the icy road conditions). Within 30 minutes the two of us were working bailing water and doing our best to move furniture out of the way of the water. It felt like a small Niagara Falls in the lower level which by the way has a 12 foot ceiling so there’s a long way for the water to fall. Next I called the insurance company who said they’d try to find a mediation company to come out to help me; meanwhile they instructed me to call the local county water service to turn the water off at the street main. The county was unusually cooperative, not only responding to my frantic call within 40 minutes or so, but it did help calm the rush of water… yet not entirely. Next I tried to reach plumbers to fix the rest of the problem.

There were so many people with burst pipes in the area and the day was wearing on into late afternoon by this time that I was getting negative answers from the plumbers and water mediation companies that the insurance company provided. I was frantic. Finally I was given the name of a plumber by a company that couldn’t come out so I just called them. These people came out and essentially ripped me off, merely getting the water shut off but not fixing the problem. Next I went upstairs and after searching my files found a prior company I had used years before when a different water problem had occurred. They came out right away and took over. The plumber had gotten the water off, but the room was soaked and a mess. The mediation firm tore the room apart, moved the furniture and began the process of taking out the water-wet walls, taking up the wet floor and getting the room dried out.

This process took close to a week and most of this time I was sick with a very bad cold so I slept through it even with the banging going on downstairs.  When I finally did go out that Friday night, I was very happy to be out of the house. But on my way home, there was a flash rain storm and a huge semi-trailer truck driving by blew a tire and hit my car leaving black marks across two doors and damaging the front driver’s side to the tune of about $2,000 damage. I was pretty shook up by the incident but walked away from it (after driving home as it was still pouring rain). Insurance covered the 10 days for the car to be in the shop, repaired and the loaner car. So, does God hate me with all this or am I blessed? The answer is coming up shortly.

The following week the next company came in to start putting everything back together. They repaired the ceiling, the walls and swept up the floor. Then I started to see the damages. Many of my draperies, and other personal belongings were not handled properly and sort of just thrown aside rather than boxed up or moved to safer areas. If I’d been there and not half dead with the horrible cold I would have made sure where things were put and how they were managed. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Later that week I saw how my new fiberglass door frame had been gouged when one of the guys was pulling up the floor. Luckily I knew of an artisan who could fix fiberglass much like a boat is reshaped after a hole. Then I sent the bill to the company responsible and it was paid. So although it was great aggravation to locate this repair firm again, the damage was fixed. And my things were recovered mainly by my moving them myself after the fact to a safer location upstairs.

I still am trying to find a good vendor for the floor… I’m a bit worried about how things will be managed while the work is being done so I’ve scared off a few vendors. That’s ok. If they don’t want to be careful or responsible then they aren’t the right ones for me, especially after what I’ve been through.

Now here’s the message from all this. If it had to happen it did after I returned from vacation. I was home at the time to save my furniture. None of it got ruined. The bad cold enabled me to sleep through the first week and not know about the damage until I had more energy to deal with it. And the damage was repairable. The car accident was a reminder that none of this is life or death – but the situation with the car could have been.

My verdict: I’m blessed and yes God must really love me to protect me and make sure it all works out ok.


Hospice – Being of Service

October 1, 2013

Last month I took training for Hospice. It wasn’t easy; even during the sessions I felt emotional as the instructor described the possible scenarios we might encounter in working with those predicted to have only 6 months to live.

ImageNext came the time to select my first client patient. The Volunteer Coordinator sent out a number of emails with possible hospice patient selections. I picked one that was in a reasonable geographic location: and a day that I was available. After preparing myself by making sure I had the necessary paperwork with me, the emergency phone numbers of the hospice organization, and review of this particular client patient’s information, I left home with some in trepidation.
Having arrived, I settled in with my first hospice assignment.

The gentleman had dementia and seemed to feel chatty, in that he wanted to share stories from many time periods in his lifetime. Several stories in particular are worth noting. He seemed to be giving me an overview of his life telling me about how he met his wife, about his children, and some other stories from his childhood. I mentioned that I had a cat in passing just to have a subject to talk. He then decided to tell me about cats that his father had when he was a young man. Unfortunately, his father decided that the 12 cats he had at the time were too numerous and asked his son (this man) to dispose of some. My patient then described in great detail how he took these poor little creatures, put them in a bag, and drowned them in the family pond! I realized that it may have been a painful memory for him; perhaps something that he regretted but he didn’t describe it that way.

It was extremely difficult for me to sit there and listen to the story when I wanted to scream running out of the room in horror thinking of my dear little cat that I love so much in any possible harm coming to him. I love my little rescue guy so much – he’s like a child to me. The emotions that I feel for my little cat were brought up when this patient told me the story from his childhood.
We were taught not to react to anything that the patient says so I had to squash my feelings and just sit there as if he was reading the paper or reciting a shopping list. I had to keep reminding myself of my higher purpose for being there; that I was helping his wife take a break in her caregiving which had been constant for many months. By definition, the doctors had said he was within 6 months of the end of his life. He didn’t seem that frail to me, but then how would I know.

Anyway, I did my best to keep him company and to talk to him as I was there for 3 hours. Eventually I let him rest while I went back to my book. This was how it went for my first hospice visit. Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy visit, nor was it a comfortable experience. That said, it was a blessing for him and for his wife that I was there to assist.

So being of service by volunteering for hospice is not an easy thing to do. It is definitely a higher calling and one that must be carefully thought out before an individual goes down this path. There are great challenges in doing this kind of work. In the end, my first patient taught me that I had done the right thing and that I was moving forward on my soul path since when there is a challenge we challenge ourselves to move forward spiritually.


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