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.


Doing the Right Thing

March 8, 2016

Life can be complicated. Heck, it’s most often complicated. And on top of it there is usually more than one way to get things done. When we look at all the variables and the options to attack our problems, sometimes there are short cuts, ways around the issues, or even methods that may be a bit nefarious. Ah oh! What happens when we choose to cut corners, snip a bit off the end of something to save time or take the low road rather than the high road? This is called taking the easy way out and is not the spiritual way; that is, thinking or doing in this manner will not serve us in the long run. Anything that doesn’t serve us, certainly doesn’t serve our soul growth, so why do it?

This leads us to a better understanding of doing the right thing. It’s obviously not easy to do the right thing when there are other options. If there were only one option, it would be easy. But this isn’t the way the world was built. We are usually given challenges so that we come out of the situation stronger than when we went in. As souls in a body, we’re given a choice – we can move towards the higher path towards the light or take the low road towards the darkness. Without a choice, there would be no challenges and therefore no way to ever overcome difficulties; thus, we would be in a world where we wouldn’t know the difference between the light or the darkness. So when we have issues, understand that these problems are not thorns in your side, but opportunities to grow and become stronger. Without hills to climb our legs would never have a chance to know their limits for example. The same is true of our spiritual and moral bodies. Only by stretching our limits can we grow, become better people and move forward on our spiritual path.

lightdarkIn the end, doing the right thing may be harder, but it is usually more rewarding. This has been my experience. I’ve found that with challenges in my life, moving through the tunnel of difficulty eventually brings me to the light; how wonderful it feels to get there. And, often there are unexpected rewards. It’s also my experience that when we follow the light and do the right thing, goodness follows us also.


Timing is Everything

September 23, 2015

It’s an old adage that we can be successful sometimes and at other times we might do the same thing and we could fail. Translated, this saying is “timing is everything! ” I believe when things fall into place as if it were a script already written, the situation indicates a divine hand at play. I recently had an experience where things fell into place just the way they were meant to so perhaps there was a divine hand helping out as well.

Time1
I was on the fence about travelling and after considerable deliberation, made a final decision against going on this particular trip. No sooner was the plan not to leave the area made but a dear friend became ill. I got a call from her sister informing me that my friend Jessie was in the ICU and that I should visit while there was still time. Getting this call was upsetting to be sure, although some one in her condition could be expected to expire way before this point. In other words, she had lived in a semi-paralyzed state after a stroke for many more years than the doctors had predicted. Still I was disheartened to hear the news. I knew that I would attend to her as best I could during her final time with the living.

The days passed quickly that week as I visited my dear friend in the hospital ICU, taking turns with family members in her room. Fortunately, the timing worked out for me to have blocks of time alone with Jessie to speak to her not just about the everyday common exchanges, but what might be still on her mind. My goal was to be a friend as well as a spiritual counselor during what was known by those close to her as most probably her last hours and days.

On Monday, during my first visit, I asked her if she had any regrets; any business left undone. We talked through a couple of things to the point where I felt she was satisfied that all that was possible to do was done. on Wednesday, I held her hand as she was too weak to speak and only occasionally opened her eyes as I guided her in a meditation through a beautiful meadow where her deceased family would be present to greet her. She seemed to relax during this time as judged by the attached monitors and the flicker of her eyes. I could only hope that she was able to let go of any attachments to this earthly realm and go in peace. I said, “Jessie, if it gets too hard it’s OK to let go” to which she nodded in agreement.

Thursday I got the call that Jessie had gone peacefully, surrounded by her family. I had just been about to leave the house and felt bad that I had missed her passing. Then I realized that I had done my part and wasn’t needed for the rest. Everything has a timing of its own. In this case, the timing was perfect. I was asked to conduct the service by the family and did so on Saturday. While preparing, I thought of Jessie and wondered how she was doing on Friday, when a photo fell off the wall. It was my Reiki plaque that said, “Just for today do not worry”… so I knew it was Jessie telling me not to worry. All was happening according to the divine plan. After all, timing is everything.


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


Let go and let God

June 7, 2013

letgoMany spiritual traditions have a slant on the expression, Let go, and Let God. Why is this? The concept centers on the precept that we are innately egotistical; that is, concerned with self and thus we have a lot of self-talk. How are we feeling about this or that? How does this person make us feel? Do we like what happened to us? And if we don’t like it, then we are hurt, angry or otherwise agitated about the outcome of the situation, relationship, or event. This is an inwardly facing world view and, frankly, since we are souls in a body, here to learn lessons, a view that is understandable. But, just as understandable, this is not the only view. We can also be outwardly facing e.g. altruistic, or more caring about what others think, feel, and want.  Both perspectives are quite valid and may be more appropriate in certain circumstances. That being what it may, the attainment of a balanced perspective is always a good goal.

Now, where do we go from here? Letting go, as the Buddha proclaimed, is releasing our ego self to be more balanced and in sync with our true natures or “God-like”. Let’s dive a bit deeper on this one. When we are egotistical, we have cravings, desires, anger, and hurts about what we want/need to make us happy when in reality all we are doing is setting our mind in a place that creates irritability and suffering. Thus, moving out of this mindset, frees us from our wanting, needing, and craving to have life different than what it is to be more still. To put it another way, letting go and turning the problem over to God helps us to be more tranquil much like God. Thus we have the phrase, Let go and Let God.

Edgar Cayce, the renowned psychic of the early 20th century who would do readings from a sleeping state, had the expression, be still and know that I am God. This is a similar concept to the prior Buddhist one in that it stresses the importance of slowing down to get in touch with our inner divine self. We all have this inner divine quality (we are souls in a body here to learn lessons) which we often forget about. By slowing down, we can focus our minds to better connect with this inner knowing. In the end, both expressions are a way to move forward in our lives to betterment. Whichever one speaks you, by all means use.


May it be written

October 2, 2012

The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper, are called the days of atonement since we are to ask for forgiveness not only for our own misgivings, but for the rest of the world as well. We do this even for those we don’t like, even our enemies, since we are all children of God. Thus, it is a time to assess our lives, be grateful for our blessings and to ask for a sweet year – one represented by health and happiness.

While sitting in synagogue on Rosh Hashanah, happily listening to the sound of the shofar during the morning service, I noticed something in need of attention. The cloth upon which the Torah (the Bible in Hebrew) scrolls were being read was old and faded. It just didn’t seem appropriate for such a revered setting. The curtain covering the box or Ark of the Covenant which contained the other Torah scrolls was beautiful, deep blood- red velvet, with deeply embroidered design. In comparison, this table covering didn’t match up and was sorely in need of replacing, in my estimation.

My mind began working. As the words of the service passed by me, “We ask for forgiveness for…” my thoughts went, “I wonder how much fabric and trim would be to make the Rabbi a new table cloth for the Torah scrolls?” And then I continued, “But should I even think of such a thing? Maybe the fabric will be too expensive for me. Or, perhaps I won’t buy the right kind of fabric for such an important undertaking. “And, “Who am I to think that I could make such a cloth worthy of the Rabbi and the synagogue?” Then, I came back to more positive thinking and decided to wait until the end of the service and ask the Rabbi for his opinion.

“Rabbi, am I allowed to make you a new cover for the table where you read the Torahs?” I asked. His face brightened at the thought, since he recognized the state of his current cover and although he was a modest person, he seemed happy at the prospect of a new one for his simple synagogue. He responded that yes it was fine. I qualified my offer with being able to find fabric that I could afford and that was appropriate. Before I left, he came over to me and again mentioned the cloth. I knew he approved of my offer which made me smile inwardly. Since it was a religious holiday, I couldn’t do any serious measuring. Thus, I merely used the length from my wrist to my elbow knowing that it was approximately one foot. This is how I figured out the size of the cloth to be about six feet by six feet.

As I left the synagogue I said a little prayer, “God, if this is something that I’m supposed to do, help me find fabric that is suitable that I can afford.” I fixed a price in my head. When I went to the shop to actually look for fabric, I told the shopkeeper of my creative project and he began to help me. I couldn’t find velvet in the right color so I had to find another alternative. The shopkeeper went into this work room and came out with a gorgeous tapestry fabric that looked quite regal and contained the deep blood red that would match the synagogue’s Ark curtains. The only problem was that it was on the small side. I then figured out that about 12 inches all around would be a good border in a gold color and would add enough fabric to be the correct size. As luck would have it, he came out with a  bolt of gold dupioni silk. There was exactly 2 yards left on this bolt and when we did the calculations, it was just enough to add the border! Wow, the two fabrics matched together beautifully. Then I needed gold tassel trim. The shopkeeper found some trim and gave me a good price. Since the other fabrics were end of the bolt, he gave me a remnant price. All together the price came to exactly half of the figure I had had in my head for fabric that would have been several hundred dollars retail. Including my work the tablecloth would be valued at close to $400. I was very happy.

Next came the construction of the table cloth. To say it was a labor of love is an understatement. With the added work of the border and the fact that I wanted to line it (I just happened to have lining material at home), it took me close to 30 hours of sewing! In the end, the Torah scroll table cover turned out beautiful, the Rabbi was thrilled when I gave it to him in time for Yom Kippur, and I felt like I had done a mitzvah (good deed) to be sure. In addition, I wrote a dedication to my father’s memory on the lining which the Rabbi said was very special.

My creative project turned out to be divinely inspired, guided and blessed. Hopefully, I’m forgiven for any transgressions over this past year. But, rest assured, I didn’t do it for that reason. I did it because I felt the urge and decided it was the right thing to do.


A Tough Lesson to Learn

March 16, 2012

Someone close to me is enduring a very difficult life lesson, the spiritual context of which he’s not yet aware. From where I’m sitting, I see that his wife and daughter don’t pay much attention to him when he tries to communicate with them. I’m not sure if this is in response to his neglectful behavior or whether it was they who first neglected him. These situations tend to have long, winding and complicated histories with only the tentacles visible to those around the individuals of concern. The result is a very unhappy person who does his best to work hard to provide for all the luxuries that his very materialistic family has come to expect. Yes, this is a definite example of entitlement to the nth degree. So what’s the lesson?

Once a year I go for a visit and I was told that he would not be available during my stay of six days. At first I was rather irritated since I’d provided my itinerary over six months in advance. Then I realized that there must be something more serious going on since he told me when we spoke that, “I’ll be ok and not to worry”. When someone makes such statements one immediately begins to wonder what they shouldn’t be worried about. Just what is the problem? How serious is it that it can’t be simply stated? I really dislike secrecy since I think it causes more harm than good.

Here’s a bit more background. Let’s call this person Bob, which is a name change for privacy sake. Bob is a very highly-educated professional, running a business with multiple employees and has provided a high standard of living for his family. His wife and daughter have anything they could possibly want. I gave up worrying about what to buy them as gifts years ago since my offerings could never meet the standards of which they had come accustomed to so I just bought what I could afford and left it at that. It’s also important to note that I’ve never been jealous of what they had either, since I could never afford to buy the kind of clothes, cars, jewelry or other luxuries that they had, nor did I care about it. I’m happy with what’s within my reach and was also happy for them if it truly made them happy to have these things.

After actually leaving on my trip and arriving at my destination, I was surprised to find that Bob hadn’t gone wherever he was going…yet. We were able to share a couple meals together but without the mention of what was wrong or where he was going. I did notice, however, that during the lunch that his wife and daughter seemed a lot nicer to him. So what happened? Bob is aging and has come down with an illness. The old adage is that money can’t buy love, but the fear of dying can certainly change perspectives. Bob was ignored before and disrespected, but from where I was sitting, it sure looked like reality (as in he might not be around forever) set in.

So how does the life lesson work? Bob wasn’t getting his needs met. He was being nice to everyone around him. He has a wonderful nature, is of service to his community, yet, went home to an emotional shell. When he got sick, it was a wakeup call to his family. I certainly hope that he gets well and that everyone realizes that money does buy things, but that’s all they are, just things. People and what they bring to our lives are much more important. We all should value what we have before it’s too late.

I hope both Bob and his family learn the lesson of being less material and more spiritual. The universe has a way of pulling us back into balance… sometimes kicking and screaming. Sometimes it’s a tough lesson but one that we all need to learn at some point in our lives.


Another Circle of Life is Complete

February 5, 2012
 

Judas and Hercules come full circle

A circle of life that started almost 18 years ago was completed on Friday when we picked up the remains of my red tabby Judas and laid her to rest. I had already bought a keepsake (4”) cloisonné vase similar to the one holding some of the ashes from her brother Hercules (4/5/11). The one for Judas is white with flowers, while Hercules’ vase has a blue design. They will drape a box holding their collars and which also has a photo of the two of them when they were fur babies.

Fulfilling her life lesson

Hercules lasted almost 17 years and Judas had an additional ten months. She had that time to complete her life lesson to be independent since she’d been subservient to her brother while he was around. She let my new rescue cat Skylar know who was boss when he came on the scene last October. He was only allowed to get so close. They took turns lying next to me on the bed during the night until she lost her strength to jump up that high. In the end, she didn’t care where Skylar was. And, she just wanted to be left alone. It was this behavior that triggered me to know the signs of her being ready to depart this physical dimension.

How brave she was

Amazingly, she never cried even though the squamous cell carcinoma (oral cancer) that wracked her mouth must have been painful. She was stoic until the end. I gave her pain medication on the advice of her doctor so that she could be as normal as possible during her last days.

Judas lived her life according to her rules and didn’t want to be bothered with fussy treatments like sub-Q fluids or forced feeding. So I had to just let her tell me when it was time to say good-bye. When a blood vessel in her lip burst on Tuesday January 31 and the bleeding just wouldn’t stop, I knew the decision was in God’s hands. Judas was not meant to see February. Events fell into place quickly with me taking her, aided by a dear friend, to be put to sleep and then cremated.

A lovely ceremony

Judas Celebration of Life Service

Being an ordained interfaith minister, I wrote a celebration of life ceremony to remember Judas, similar to the one that I’d done for Hercules ten months prior. Her service was on a lovely winter day, at 2pm. It was sunny and about 50 degrees with the days before and after being much more dismal weather. The ground was soft due to the rain the day before making digging a hole for her ashes easy. God’s plan was in play and all went smoothly. I read a letter that I’d written to her extolling all her virtues and how much I loved her. Then my friend and I buried her ashes next to the same rock where we buried her brother’s remains last year.

Together again

Now the two of them, Hercules and Judas are reunited body and soul to play in the meadow together waiting for me to come at Rainbow Bridge.

Another circle of life is complete.


Judas crossed Rainbow Bridge

February 1, 2012

ImageYesterday at 2:10 p.m. EST my gorgeous red tabby Judas crossed over the bridge to meet her brother Hercules (4/5/2011). Judas had the same chronic renal failure indications that Hercules died of, but what actually took her down was oral cancer. When I couldn’t stop the bleeding in her mouth, I knew it was time to take her in. God was with me as my pet sitter had come over to say good-bye and so could run and get me some cloths to wipe her mouth. My guy friend, who normally doesn’t come over on Tuesdays, decided it was a better day and showed up exactly when I needed him to take me to the VET for the 2pm appt I was able to get just minutes after all this occurred. Everything fell into place once the decision was made. Thus, as I was crying hysterically, I knew I was being guided to do the right thing.

 Prior to this point, I was concerned that I might take even one precious day from Judas. How could I cut the life of such a beautiful creature by even one day if she was meant to have it. But it wasn’t in my hands. When a capillary broke in her diseased lower gum, the blood was pouring out. I carried her into the Vet in my arms with blood all over my shoulder where she had tried to bury her face. Up until the end, she looked to me for comfort, something she’d done since she was a kitten all the years ago.

 Both Hercules and Judas were found in my backyard the summer of 1994. He was named for coming to me first, being the brave one and she was named for being sneaky, grabbing the food I put out and then running away. I loved them both dearly, but each had different personalities. Judas, being a female was subservient to Hercules until her passed. She’s now had about 10 months to be the top cat, independent and stubborn until the end. She refused to allow me to do the fluid IV so I put Normysol solution in wet food 4 times a day. Then a few days ago, she started to refuse the doctored food (also with many supplements to try to overcome the cancer). So, I yielded to her will and gave her the plain wet food. She still barely ate.

 Yet, yesterday morning, she got up a bit brighter, had her pain medication, and ate more than usual. But the second meal at noon was fatal when a capillary broke and blood poured out. I had to take my beautiful girl in. She died in my arms with me telling her what a wonderful girl she had been, and how she couldn’t have been loved any more. I knew her soul had left when I saw her body lying there.

 I took her home to show my new rescue cat Skylar, whom I got in October. He hadn’t bonded with her yet and so seemed unimpressed. I haven’t noticed any change in him but I wanted to do this any way. Then I took Judas in a little box, with the help of a friend, down to be cremated. I will pick her up on Friday and hold a ceremony for her. Her ashes will be buried next to her brother so they can play forever at Rainbow Bridge. Already Hercules is telling me that she is there and not to worry about her. Still my heart is breaking for my beautiful girl.


Admitting Defeat – Well, Almost

October 19, 2011

In my last blog article I wrote about how I asked God to send me a pet and one showed up. I fully believe that the right thing is the one that works out. Sometimes the whole picture isn’t known at the time or there’s more to the story. Here’s what happened.

The Divine Plan was at work

Yes, I let my pet sitter know that I was ready to welcome a fur pal for my 17 year old Judas who lost her brother to chronic renal failure in April (six months ago). And, yes, this cat rescuer had a beautiful tortoise shell female that I fell in love with. Well, I loved the exterior package and, as we know we can’t always judge a book – or a cat- by its cover. As it turned out, this cat was very pretty, but it had a mean disposition.  Although I kept it in a separate room for a week as I was instructed to do and I went into this room daily to play with it, I didn’t feel like we were bonding. Sure, the cat would come to me when I opened the door to get petted and for some treats, but that’s just because it was alone and wanted company. But after a few minutes, it had had enough and would whip its head around and slap me with the paw.

We don’t always know the whole picture

I kept telling myself that this was normal for a cat that had been on the street for awhile and had to get used to kind treatment. Then when she bite me I drew the line. Meanwhile, Judas knew the cat was in the house and didn’t like it at all. Judas was screaming day and night. The combination of her reaction and my experience made me come to the conclusion that this wasn’t the right animal to adopt. I had to back out of the agreement. Luckily, the cat rescuer told me that sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Whew!

But the right thing was happening

I really felt bad about the whole thing. I had started to get invested in this beautiful cat. I gave her a new name – Athena; bought a gorgeous crystal collar and name tag, as well as some new toys. Everything was salvageable except the name tag, a small price to pay for what would have been a very bad situation if left to continue.

I checked in with guidance and realized that the whole experience with this cat happened for several reasons. (1) I learned that I had to give affection on this animal’s terms and not mine. Ok. (2) The cat rescuer was going through some tough times and we had the opportunity to talk. As a result of this interaction, she decided to come see me as a client. This was good for her as well as for me. So, in the end, the right thing had worked out for all concerned.

 

 


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