My first reading.

This is a story that is told multiple times a week. Details are omitted to scrunch it into the allotted time. It is the story I tell before each reading; the story of how I got started doing readings for other people. I want to share it here in its entirety because I think just once it needs to be written down with all the details in place.

It was a regular day like any other. I was in grad school and had made a great friend. The kind that you meet and you already feel like you have known each other a hundred years. We had most of our classes together. We talked about lots of things; I had my first child in grad school and she had been teaching longer than I; married longer than I. She always had the best advice; but one day our conversation turned to one of her students. A student that had leukemia. An eight-year-old little boy whom she tutored. I had no idea when we started talking about Matthew the impact he would have on my life.

As my friend shared her worries and experience with Matthew and his family, I shared more about my gift with her. Opening something inside of myself I had held so close. Trying to share what little wisdom I had to bring comfort to the unthinkable situation that was facing this family, facing Matthew.

Matthew gained his angel wings in July of 2007.

A few months later my friend told me that I should share my gift with this family. That they needed my help.

Crazy town; I told her. Crazy people do things like that. I didn’t think I could help and I was sure that if I did everyone would think I was crazy. No one can talk to spirits for real. The things that happened to me were just random and I wasn’t about to do them out loud in front of the world. I played small and it suited me just fine. I had a sweet little life at this point. Two kids and a new job; I was moving forward into my sweet, quiet life comfortably.

So, I told her no. I thought that would be the end of it.

Sometimes you don’t hear when God is laughing at you. Chuckling at the notion that you think you have some control over what you are meant to do.

God and Matthew had different plans for me. Matthew was helping Him put those plans into motion.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear

Matthew began to show up everywhere. He was in my car; my kitchen, woke me up at night because I kept having the same dream. I would reach out for a tombstone that wasn’t there and carved into the rock were symbols I didn’t recognize. Each night I would trace them with my finger drawing symbols into a phantom tombstone.

Finally, I asked Matthew what he wanted. He had a family that loved him, why in the world was he spending all this time around me?

He asked me to talk to his mom. He asked me to help his family. Said he had something for his sister and turned into a butterfly and fluttered away.

Well, crap.

God knew if He sent me a child I would listen. God knew if He sent me a small boy that I would say yes. That with shaky legs, sweaty hands and my stomach in knots I would drive 40 miles into unknown territory and try to help this boy reunite with his family.

Arriving made everything worse. Encountering the eyes of this mother and father who had lost half their hearts and a whole child to Heaven was almost unbearable. What if this didn’t work? What if I was crazy? What if I just heard and saw things that didn’t really exist? I started praying in my head like a crazy woman. Dear God, please let me help this family. God please let this bring them some comfort. God please let this be real. God please don’t let this family down.

It took a good twenty minutes to get comfortable. Twenty minutes of small talk and looking at a few pictures. Matthew showed up right away, but I had never seen energy move so fast. I couldn’t slow him down enough to hear what he was saying. And then something shifted.

I started to hear him clear as day. I started to see him in his blue striped shirt and the wide grin expand across his face. He told his family about things he did in the house to let them know he was around. He described the item that he was buried with since I would have no idea what it was or how to pronounce what it was called. Matthew relayed to me the item he wanted his sister to have. He shared things he hoped for his family and wanted for the future.

We drove to his grave because of my dream. I had chills over my whole body as I stepped into the reality of that dream. Stepped into a solid, tangible reality I had only seen in dreams. I explained to them about the symbols Matthew wanted on his tombstone. His dad drew multiple samples on a napkin; skeptical trying to prove this was really happening; only one set of symbols represented what I had verbalized to them. Without hesitation, I pointed to the second set of symbols. The ones I had traced into stone night after night in my dream. Those were the ones. The ones Matthew wanted on his stone.

Heaven isn't some far off place. Heaven is all around us. You are a part of your loved ones heaven. Spirit is constantly sending signs to us to let us know they are there.

Then a little dog showed up and of course it had been theirs. Of course, that dog was with their son playing chase and being a constant companion.

That day changed my life. That day put me on a course with God’s plan for me. It unfurled my path; a path I had refused to step onto for 15 years.

When I was fifteen a line of spirits formed around me. A line. They would reach out one by one; tell me I was going to help them and I would shake it off. It couldn’t be. How could I tell people out loud this is me? I talk to dead people, seriously? I couldn’t handle the criticism. I wasn’t ready.

I wasn’t ready that day either and it would be about five years after this first reading for strangers that I would help other people out loud. Matthew never gave up. He would visit from time to time and nudge me down this path. Encourage me to keep the channels open; to pay attention to spirit.

When I first started giving readings he would be there with me. Cheering me on. Letting me know I was right where I was supposed to be. Eventually he handed those reigns off to my loved ones, but from time to time he still peeks in; still says hello with that wide grin across his face and his head tilted slightly to the right. Always dressed in the latest trends and his jet-black hair just a bit spiky in front. It always makes me smile.

Spirit speaks to us through a variety of ways. If you believe a sign came from a loved one; than it did.

Matthew helped me get to where I am today. Matthew taught me how to listen. He helped me understand how this gift would work. Reaffirmed that as much as I am here to help the living that I work for spirit. That I am here to translate the messages of spirit to their families. When I give a reading I always let spirit lead. Spirit starts with their agenda, their messages; and those messages may not always be what their loved one may want to hear, but without fail they are always what their loved one needs to hear. Without fail loved ones end up finding a way to make sense out of the words and pictures that spirit gives to me. Spirit finds a way to make me feel both physically and emotionally what they want me to translate. God always leading the way; allowing this miracle.

I hope that what I do; that each reading pays Matthew back somehow. That he knows that this is how I say thank you. That I am forever grateful for his determination and patience. That it is not lost on me that a boy, not yet nine, changed my life in such a profound and wonderful way. Thank you, Matthew and thank you sweet family who welcomed me into their lives unsure of what that day would hold. Thank you all for changing my life and being the first step on my journey. Thank you for sharing your son with me and with the world.

Thank you,

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Spiritual Awakenings and YouTube

Do you know your truth?

Lately, I have been working on listening to my inner voice and trying to be deeply observant of what it tells me and what the universe places into my life.

Since the beginning of this blog I have been trying to document my journey to an authentic life and share the lessons that I am learning and today it hit me: I am unlearning. What does that mean? 

It means that we start out knowing an awful lot. As children we are deeply connected to light and spirit. We are connected to one another and trusting. That is how we are meant to be, you know? That is what the Universe/God wants for us (I use Universe and God interchangeably, but really whatever divine power you believe in I believe it is all one in the same so you can input your word for the Divine in place of mine as it suits you).

We are born knowing the light and basking in it. The world changes that in us. But the good news is we can always reconnect to that light; we just have to choose to do so. We can do it through choice, grace and being present to witness the light. Then you just hit repeat on that cycle, and baby you got it. 

That is what I have started to do. I am surrendering my life to love and light and allowing the Universe to deliver me to where I need to be and the things I need to know. You have to be present. You have to be watching. I know I am getting somewhere when the signs show up and say, “Hey Michelle, you are NOT losing your mind. You are right on track. Keep paying attention and I promise you are going to change the world.”

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I had to go into San Jose today and I felt like listening to something uplifting. I figured why not listen to some TedTalks.

I happen across Gabby Bernstein’s mini Ted Talk. You can watch it here.  It was definitely a sign. Her truths resonated so clearly. So clearly in fact, I had a spiritual awakening listening to YouTube. So many things fell into place and I had an epiphany of understanding. I know what I know and it is the TRUTH regardless of what anyone else might think. It is my truth and if I choose to live it I will lead an extraordinary life filled with love and joy. Come on who doesn’t want that?

I am going share a little of that epiphany with you.

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Gabby starts her talk by explaining that she is worried about the time she has to give her talk, but after mediation this nugget of wisdom is revealed, “Tell your truth and time will expand.” You guys, remember when you were little and you felt like you had all the time in the world. That is because you were connected to the light. You had all the time in the world to learn what you needed to know. We need to let go of fear and believe and trust in the Universe that we have all the time we need to fulfill our purpose. Live our truth and time will expand.

She continues by saying that, “when inspiration is your guide you become a miracle worker.” Amen sister!

When we allow our creativity to run free without interference from fear of what other people might think amazing things happen…miracles happen. Think about the great people who have graced this world with their wisdom. Martin Luther King Jr. I am sure people thought he was crazy. Sure one day everyone will live in harmony. They probably still think he is crazy. But I believe him.

Mother Teresa. Come on, I am sure there were people who in the beginning were like, really you are doing to go live with the poorest of the poor and the sick? It took her two years to get approval, but that didn’t stop her.

I am sure we can think of a million others where the same logic applies – they followed their dreams and the calling of the Universe despite what other people thought and in doing so they changed the world. As I am listening to Gabby’s talk and thinking of people I consider heroes and mentors; they all have one thing in common they all follow their “crazy” callings. I am a medium. I speak to spirit. It doesn’t get any stranger than that, but when I lean into love, when I listen to my inner voice I see me speaking to thousands of people. I see me with a microphone in hand and several books under my belt. If I lean into love this life of my dreams is real. It is my truth. I know I am on my way to find it.

That truth can’t be any crazier than the advice I gave one of my dearest friends this morning…”It’s like Taylor Swift says, ‘the haters gonna hate’ which is basically what Mother Teresa says when she says, ‘do good anyway’. People are going to tear you down. People are going to say nasty things. People are going to disbelieve what you are capable of, but if you live in a way that you are constantly taking the next right step toward good people won’t believe them and so what if they do? You know you are doing the next right thing. God knows you are doing the next right thing and in the end that is all that matters.”

And if in one day I can compare the wisdom of Mother Teresa, Taylor Swift and Gabby Bernstein and see the sign of an angel on a Mexican Food Truck in front of me letting me know I am on the right path, than guess what?! Miracles can happen and we need to remember to believe in them just like when we were kids. Anything is possible. I believed in true love and love at first sight and I held out for it. I knew it had to be out there and it was. Did it show up like I expected? Nope. Was it when I expected? Nope. But that is how the Universe works. If you ask and believe it delivers, just in its own way.

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Miracles happen every day and every minute. Offer yourself the willingness to be open to them, the grace in missing them, and the knowledge that you will have the chance to choose again. Unlearn that misery and strife are a part of life. We are here connected to each other and the light to do good and be joyful. That is my truth and I choose to live that every day regardless of what else gets thrown down at my feet.

Hoping my truth, vulnerability and authenticity help you on your journey –

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Permission to say no thank you

It’s Friday afternoon and I am beyond looking forward to the weekend and a little relaxation. As I sit in this safe, cozy chair I want to bare my soul to you. See you my dear readers are family and friends who support me. You have come to mean a great deal to me as I journey to find my most authentic self.

Lately my life has felt like a ball of yarn that someone grabbed the free end of and let unravel all over a hard wooden floor. As I have tried to scoop it back up and wind into back into a neat, little ball I have done a great deal of praying and introspection.

Is this where I am supposed to be?

Was not teaching this year the right thing?

Should I have shut down my side business?

Am I making the right choices?

I waited for God or the Universe to answer me back, but there was only SILENCE. But I have deep faith, and I knew God would answer back. So I just kept patiently listening…show me which step is next. I thought of all the ways God could answer me. That is when I remembered my very first prayer on this journey of authenticity; I prayed for friends. God had answered with abundance as he usually does. So I started to think about what I was hearing from them.

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Strung together they may still seem random to you, but to me it was all the answers I had been looking for.

I am going to back up a minute because I think the whole picture is important. For the last decade and a half, which is most of my adult life, I have been preparing for WHAT I was going to be; not ever really focusing in on the WHO I was. See I only lived on my own for two years out of college and the majority of that time I was dating my future husband and just starting my career as a teacher. We were married and in that first year of marriage I was pregnant and preparing for motherhood. We went on to have four kids in the next seven years. I was always preparing to be…

a teacher

a wife

a mother

The twins were two before the haze of my life was starting to wear off. Don’t get me wrong I loved all the moments, but they moved by at warp speed and I was so busy being WHAT I was that I never did stop to define the WHO. Maybe this didn’t happen to you, maybe you had it all figured out. But I sure didn’t.

So when I started to try and find my authentic self to see who I was, I figured out a couple of things quickly. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to have deep relationships and have a life with purpose. I thought that meant career, home, and self all at once. So I set out to do all the things.

And I did. I performed well at my full-time job, now in sales, but none the less I rose to the challenge of a new career and was executing it well. I was raising healthy, well-mannered, kind children. I had a solid partnership and loving marriage with my best friend. I started a side business that was beginning to flourish. And last, but certainly not least, I was writing. A dream I have had from a very young age and to my surprise people were reading my little blog. Slowly at first, but more and more with each passing year.

I really was doing it all and doing it well. But with so many balls in the air at once things were slipping and falling. Unfortunately, my focus was on the things that dropped, not the things that rose to the surface. I was just noticing the things that went wrong or didn’t get accomplished.

I was running on empty.

It was too fast. I was on a hamster wheel and I needed to get off.

Fear gripped me though. Wasn’t I supposed to fill up my life with the things I wanted? And I was successful, so why pull back? Outside looking in; I had it all. But…

I was in the worst physical shape of my life and nearing an emotional low. How was this happening?I had listened to my intuition and by some blessing or luck I was achieving all of my dreams. But the problem was in the whirlwind of doing it all I wasn’t actually enjoying them. So I have started stripping things down. If something didn’t feel right no matter the public humiliation or sense of failure at the time I stopped doing it.

I needed to put my oxygen mask on first.

Maybe saying no to soccer so we weren’t gone all afternoon was saying yes to the precious down time we needed to re-energize. 

So I stripped it all away – learning the things I didn’t want to do.

I’m still a work in progress, but I knew being a mom was what I really wanted. So I chose to put my family first. I am home afterschool and at bedtime. If my kids need me, I drop what I am doing and make sure they get what they need.

I am also putting me first. I am trying to find my way back to running. I am writing again. I have made overdue dentist and doctor appointments and am trying acupuncture to put myself back together again.

I am also taking stock in my success. My mediumship gift is just that a gift. It belongs to me and God will continue to show me when and where to use it. If it is meant to be a business again when my kids are older it will be. Just because others are demanding it of me doesn’t mean I have to share or answer their demands. My family and myself need to come first. Each of us is a gift. We must nourish ourselves, too.

I was “fucking crazy” not to like myself. I may be an introvert and run and hide. But I am kind, hard-working, bright, determined, compassionate and contrary to what I said on an Internet questionnaire 10 years ago – I would LOVE to be my friend.

So the last of what I heard hit home, too. I know that what I am doing is the right thing. When I got to hold my friend’s infant son for the first time, I was “glowing” holding that baby. I felt a sense of peace wash over me. God was answering me. Yes, taking the time for my friends and family – this is right.

I can say no thank you or maybe later. I do not have to do all the things all at once.

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So I guess what I am hoping to share with you all is…

have faith…

If you can’t find or see your answers, don’t stop looking for them. Handle yourself with kindness. You have permission to NOT do all the things all at once or ever if you don’t want to.

A wise person always tells me, “You can do one thing really well, two things okay and three things not all.” It is okay to slow things down and focus on the one to two things you really want to do well; the rest will fall into place.

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I have had rainbows in my clouds

“To get to experience another day and have the health to dream of the opportunity for more days is a rich and indulgent luxury.”

Over three decades ago on a sunny September morning I skipped into kindergarten. The carpet was a deep red contrasted by the stark white and gray flecked tile that rimmed most of the room. We all had cubbies and while there were tables and chairs we always started and ended our day on the floor sitting in a giant circle. Luckily I attended kindergarten when there was still a great deal of play. The corner of the classroom that housed the play kitchen and a reading loft was glorious. But best of all was the thin, gray-haired, fiercely blue-eyed woman who was my teacher. Mrs. Johnston had a kind and open heart.

In her class, I learned to tie my shoes, to read and write. I also horribly failed cutting. I never could make that black dotted line disappear no matter how hard I tried. She loved  teaching art and giving us time to play. She was also one of the first adults I ever saw openly weep. Our art teacher that year had a heart attack while he was driving home from work and did not survive. As she told our class that he would not be coming back she couldn’t help but shed some tears. It is important to know there are people that care that much about other people.

My sister went on to be in her class and even after we moved away our family still exchanged Christmas Cards with her each year. The exchanging of cards and occasional letters continued every year, even when I was married and had my own family.

This year, four days after Christmas a letter came in the mail. A letter I was expecting, but at the same time had often feared the past three years. At eighty-two years old, Mrs. Ara Johnston had passed away. This summer she had a brain aneurysm and left our world for better one.

Mrs. Johnston's Obituary Photo
Mrs. Johnston’s Obituary Photo

I dreamt of her this summer. You know one of those dreams that seems so real that after you wake you can’t tell if it was a memory or a dream.

In the beginning of the dream I walked into a supermarket through a great wide opening and was blasted with a force of air as I crossed into the threshold of the store. I knew immediately I was in a King Super’s in Colorado. They have huge doors that slide back and stay open. As I was finishing up my shopping I noticed a woman with silver-gray hair in the check out line paying as a young man helped to bag her purchases. I knew exactly who she was without even having to see her face. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t seen her in 30 years; her kindness and belief in me left such an impression I knew I would always be able to recognize her effortlessly.

I contemplated walking up to her knowing she may not remember me. She taught for over 20 years. I remember thinking how many little faces she must have seen. But I knew I had to see her. So I walked up to her. She had that same sweet smile I remembered and she greeted me with a hearty hello.

She said she knew I was one of her students, but names always escaped her. She said she never forgot a face though and even remembered some of the outfits I had worn in her class. She talked about how she never really left teaching until she had to. She substitute taught after she retired. Always quick-witted, she made to sure to ask me if I had ever properly learned to use scissors. I assured her I had not; I was incapable of cutting a straight line. She gave me a hug and a hearty smile and said she had to be going.

Funny how I thought I would always see her again, but then of course I never did get the chance. Just in my dreams.

So many of the gifts in our life are the people who are put into it. Mrs. Johnston believed in me, as I am sure she did all her students, but I will always remember that she never gave up hope that I could learn something or master some skill. She always pushed me to excel and try more difficult tasks. My love of learning started in that classroom and has continued the rest of my life.

Maya Angelou said, “I’ve had so many rainbows in my clouds…I bring everyone with me who has ever been kind to me…I have most certainly had rainbows in my clouds. The thing to do you see, is to prepare yourself to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud..to be a blessing to somebody.”

Ara Johnston was a rainbow in my cloud, she was a blessing.

Mrs. Johnston as I remember her
Mrs. Johnston as I remember her

Cherish your rainbows and prepare yourself to be a blessing to others; it truly is what matters most.

Love,

Me