When the Light Goes Out

When the Light Goes Out

His natural, thin-lipped, wide-mouth grin carried so much sunshiny warmth I felt like I had just been placed center stage; in the spotlight. His shoulders were broad, yet slender and tilted forward in a slight hunch. The charcoal gray T-shirt that hung loose on his frame was light and the fabric seemed sheer and soft. No graphics littered the front; just a weathered and worn look that gave the shirt a little edge; making it seem casual and cool at the same time. Justin’s* demeanor and magnetic charm drew me in and made me feel like an old friend at once.

And almost as instantly, my body began to feel as if every ounce of life had been drained from it. There wasn’t any remnant of will to live left in any corner of my being. My arms became leaden weights, and I couldn’t muster the strength to lift them. My legs felt weak and unable to sustain an upright posture. The core of my being felt as hollow as a drum. My voice became suppressed, caught in my throat. It felt useless and strangled. My heart rate began to slow and my vision seemed to turn my perspective bleak like new contact lenses were covering my eyes unable to be removed. I knew Justin couldn’t go on for one more minute. The uselessness of life and the anguish in his heart turned into a roaring wave that was capsizing his life beneath it. His first words were, “I’m sorry. I just didn’t have anything left. I couldn’t stay.”

That Justin had chosen to leave this earth shattered my heart into slivers so small I was going to need a microscope to gather them all back up. Unfortunately, I am not sure all of the shards will ever be recovered. Even more, regrettably, this isn’t the first time I have felt this way. It is too hard to fathom how this light could go out; leave earth and leave the dark, vast blackhole of longing in its place. There will never be a day that someone Justin knew won’t look up and hope to see his light shining here with them. Never. It will forever be missed. A light extinguished too soon.

So many sweet souls have visited me, and their humor, charm, easy-breezy souls feel like a long, loving embrace. And it always takes my breath away that their lives were ended on their terms or by bad choices that left them vulnerable to leaving this world early. 

Suicides are impossible. How do you ever reconcile a life taken so swiftly? So forcefully? With forethought? What do you do when the light goes out?

It’s one of those deaths that leave so many what-ifs in its wake. It feels so preventable. It feels so upside down; the sheer force of trying to turn back time to prevent it leaves you breathless and dizzy. I am not saying other deaths don’t feel this way; it is just one of the types that tears a whole in my being and I feel like a tattered flag that will never fly again. After holding court with these souls, I am so devastated by the wake of grief that is felt here on earth for the loss of these souls; it takes days sometimes months for me to shake off the chill it leaves in my body. This also happens with souls that have been murdered, taken too soon due to cancer, and so many others. This particular cause of death is just raw right now, because of a session earlier this week.

There are roughly 129 suicides a day and it is the second leading cause of death in kids ages 15 to 19 according to the Association for Suicide Prevention.* It just seems so startling to think that the rate keeps increasing and we just aren’t entirely sure why. And so many lives are affected by this it is staggering.

After years of speaking to souls like Justin’s who chose to cross over, I still have no decent comforting words. Souls lost to suicide rip every last piece of hope from my heart because all I want to know is why? How does the God I believe in allow this? God, I adore you, but if you have a plan here, I am pretty positive I can’t understand it. It is so unfathomable, and nothing fills the hole or the guilt quite effectively. I have such a strong urge to try and rectify it, and that means keeping the soul here, helping them find peace here.

Maybe it stings so severely because this could have been me. My life has not been immune to suicidal thoughts. It isn’t this way now, but as a teen I remember how my life hung by a thread most days.

Each soul that I have encountered that has played a part in their demise is at peace in heaven. They are in a place where their pain is quiet, they feel loved, welcomed, they have a sense of home in a way that was hard for them to grasp here on earth. And while that floods me with gratefulness it also drips with misfortune because they leave so much love behind here. So many people that wanted them to feel peace and comfort here on earth.

Justin felt no different. The peace that flooded through his being was immeasurable on a human scale. He radiated pure joy. 

I know that some feel that souls that commit suicide are doomed to eternal damnation. 

But these souls sure don’t feel that way to me. They relay through thoughts, emotions and words that God loves them. Forgives them. That they do all the things souls in heaven tell me they do — reunite with loved ones, visit places all over the world, help other souls, visit loved ones on earth, find everlasting peace.

Sometimes they speak of the ability to take classes on how to better handle addiction, pain, depression so that if they do reincarnate, their souls are free of having to repeat that particular lesson over again. They send signs of hope to family here on earth and are well-adjusted to their fate. They want forgiveness from those the love here on earth. They feel immense remorse for the pain they caused, but few believe that there was an alternative to what happened to them. They use the word inevitable. These souls also share that they feel that there was a call for them to return to heaven; that God was somehow also responsible for their assent heavenward.

But all of these messages time and again still leave my heart feeling barren, vacant, devoid of solace. There is an emptiness that crawls up my spine and into my mind and makes my skin crawl with a pain I can’t entirely escape. Silent tears escape my body for days as it works to release this aching sorrow.

The people here on earth who are suffering the grief of suicide are left with questions, guilt, doubt, and broken hope. Why? How do we move forward and find meaning? I think the answer is going to be unique to each griever. It will match the impact of the physical life lost. It will only be understood by that mourning heart. 

Efforts to thwart suicide are valid. Lives can be saved. Why it doesn’t always work; I guess I will have to have blind faith. God knows what He is doing. Honestly, though, it still isn’t enough. My faith fails to cover the bill sometimes. Sorry, God. I love you, I do. I believe in you. I just can’t always understand, and this gift to communicate with spirits doesn’t seem to give me a more in-depth insight. 

The only thing that is helping me pull myself together tonight is the slight possibility that the messages I am able to translate from their loved ones help my clients. I guess, maybe just maybe, God uses people like me to aid in the healing process. To help loved ones know that there is a heaven, and that love connects us. It cannot be destroyed or cut short. Not all is lost.

Maybe people like me help others understand or have faith that their loved ones are not just dust, but are also alive; risen.

Perhaps it is a comfort to know that their loved ones have found a way to thrive in a place that surrounds us so they can continue to lift, guide and nourish us until we all meet again.

Maybe it is helpful to know that our God is a forgiving God, not a vengeful, punishing God. Our God is a nurturing parent who makes sure we understand and face the consequences of our own actions, but doesn’t kick us out on the street. Doesn’t leave us to fend for ourselves independently, but is always guiding us to the best version of ourselves. He is always guiding us and welcoming us home. And there is never an end to His love.

It still isn’t enough to help alleviate the loss of suicide, but maybe something is better than nothing. The cracks in my heart will remain. I am not sure Justin’s bright smile will ever fade from my memory. His soul shines a radiant light on all it touches even if it is seemingly gone from here; it still exists in heaven.

Most importantly, if you feel like you need help, please get it.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. To learn more about how you can help visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  or https://afsp.org/.

XO-

*The name Justin has been changed to protect his identity and the identity of my clients.

*Data for these statistics comes from the article: 9 Things All Parents Should Know About Teens and Suicide: Talking about it can be hard, but it’s so important. By Anna Borges.

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Inside Voice # 1

Inside Voice # 1

Struggle – verb: to proceed with difficulty or with great effort*

“You could never understand my pain.” This is a common phrase I hear a lot.

I think deep down a vast majority of us feel unseen, unheard, and misunderstood. We search for connection, but feel like no one could ever understand our pain, or losses, what we have been through. And to an extent that is true. How we experience things is unique, but what we experience can be universal. Right now is a prime example. The world will remember this pandemic. We are all going through it. How we experience it day to day is unique to us, but so much of the what is happening to us is the same. Yet, it must be human nature to compare because we can’t seem to help it.

A few days ago, I was listening to Brené Brown’s podcast, she was interviewing David Kessler, an author and grief expert. During the interview he started talking about how people compare grief. For example, a grieving mother’s pain is greater than a grieving daughter’s pain, and he basically said that we can’t compare grief because “your grief is the greatest grief.” Why? Basically, he postured that the greatest grief is our own because it is the most significant amount of suffering we have endured up to that point in our lives. That truth resonated through me like a I had been hit with a tuning fork.

It has been so difficult for me to write about what I am feeling and experiencing during this time because of all the suffering I know other people are enduring, all while my family is safe and healthy. But listening to David Kessler reminded me we are all grieving something because as he defines grief, it is the loss of something, the death of something, it reminded me that we are all feeling loss. Some may be missing the loss of the school year, the loss of normalcy as we knew it, we are all learning how to cope with Shelter in Place (SIP), or with whatever we may be faced with in new ways. And what we are living through is one of those defining moments that there will be forever a before and after. We will say things like, “remember when we used to shake hands and hug strangers everywhere before the pandemic.”

Our first responders and essential workers are awe-inspiring, self-sacrificing humans whose stories are lifting me up and breaking my heart on the daily. We cannot thank them enough for what they do to help the rest of us. There isn’t a day that I am not thinking about their ability to put others first and what they must be encountering on a daily basis.

There are times I want to keep things light and funny, but I think about what people are grappling with, and it seems like if I do that, I am not being considerate enough. I want to address the death, loss, and gravity of the situation, but I get so overcome with emotion, I can’t seem to pick myself up off the couch and genuinely go into a downward spiral of despair, and that isn’t going to help anyone.

So, I wanted to start this post by acknowledging that I understand that there are so many people across the globe who are suffering and struggling and the people that are assisting others, saving others, and are on the front lines have my utmost and deepest gratitude. But to document this authentically for myself, I may have to keep things a bit lighter moving forward, even if this post stays a bit heavy.

Also, I want to recognize that the shelter in place isn’t safe for everyone, but I think it was the best choice for the majority of our population. While that doesn’t negate the danger, some people who are in abusive situations may be facing I think those in the hardest-hit areas of the country would definitely agree that shutting things down was the right choice. I think it’s funny that we feel because we are in a democracy that we were automatically given the right to chose what is best for us. We want that right, but just like a parent, sometimes our leaders have to make difficult decisions that they think are best for us. It is easy to throw stones, but I am going to side with our governor on this one. I think Gavin Newsom did what he thought was best for our state and the people in it, and I don’t think it was an easy choice. I think it was a weighty choice and continues to be a difficult one.

On to more mundane topics of discussion.

What is my family doing in all of this?

I did shut down my in-person office visits. I have been doing sessions over the phone. It has been good, but also more taxing than usual. The energy it takes out of me seems more daunting than it was previously. I am sure that is because of my own energy, my clients’ energies, and then doing what I do all mixed together. Plus my sensitivity to the hurt that is in the world right now, and there is a lot of crying on my end by the end the day. It is also hard when people ask the impossible of me. There are people who have no boundaries and think I have all the answers, or that spirit does, and that just isn’t true. There are no definite answers, there is only what is best in the moment, and we have to find that for ourselves, no one in this world or the next, besides God, can give us that. We can find comfort from others, but we can’t find definite answers to the universe. At least I don’t believe that is possible in this existence.

My husband has been working from home. He likes his commute, and he is definitely working 9-5, but I think this week, it is getting hard for him to not be in the office with some of his co-workers.

The kids are doing really amazing. I am so impressed with their resilience.

My oldest son is so on top of his schedule, his classes, and what is expected of him at school. That part has been effortless. He is even trying to learn a little Japanese. Some mornings, he spends trying to relearn how to play songs on his keyboard and strums his guitar at various times throughout the day. However, his need to play video games with his friends for hours on end has been harder to manage. We have non-screen time hours, and that has helped, but I still think he is on his devices too much; it is just hard when that is also his social outlet. How can you reduce his contact from his friends even more than it already is? He is such a responsible kid. I am hoping we can help him understand balance during this time.

My daughter’s transition to distance learning was reasonably seamless. She was already at a school where everything was digital. Her school is paperless, so textbooks are online or digital, and classwork is submitted digitally already. She was up and running within days of the SIP (Shelter in Place) order. Her phone and iPad were all propped up on her desk, and she was typing away while working with classmates on assignments on day one. Obviously, she is definitely having a more difficult time with the social aspect. She misses her friends and wasn’t planning on returning to that particular school in the fall, so she is rethinking that now that she missed out on the closure of the year. We are just playing it day by day. We have both shed tears over her heartbreak that she won’t get to finish out the year with her teachers, classmates, or on the peaceful campus. I am pretty sure she also misses the food. Our home lunches don’t quite compare to the farm-fresh, chef-curated meals her school offers. She has had some Zoom calls with friends and played on Houseparty the other day with two girlfriends. But she is still lonely.

For the twins, I threw my teaching hat back on and downloaded several units from Teachers Pay Teachers and have been teaching writing, math, science, and reading activities. I also have a geography unit we will likely start in the next month or so. I struggle with the online games and practice, but I am trying to incorporate that as it is part of what their teacher is assigning. We have also been baking, doing science experiments, some art projects, playing outside, bike riding, and walks.

The oldest of the twins is having trouble with his anxiety. We have been working on tools and techniques he can use to self soothe. They seem to be working, but it crushes my heart that he worries so much for being only nine years old. I have been open and honest that adults are feeling the same way he is. It is natural to be worried, this is the first time many of us have ever faced anything like this, but we list what we are doing to keep us all safe, and that seems to help.

The younger of the twins is less anxious, but finally, let out some sadness yesterday as he misses his friends and soccer. We even had a family discussion about how you just need to cry sometimes so you can release that emotion. It can help you feel a little better. Both boys have Messenger kids and FaceTime, so they have been able to connect with classmates over this time period, but I know it isn’t the same.

Of course, when the younger kids said they would have liked to have been over at Noni and Papa’s (my mom and dad’s) when this started so they could have been stuck there for months, it hurt my heart just a little. I told them they would miss me, and one of the twins said, “Oh, we have messenger kids mom, we would have talked to you that way.”

I am trying to make it fun, but I guess not enough apparently. But that is the plight of being the parent, you just aren’t appreciated or cool until they understand what being a parent is like.

To keep my own sanity, I am reading. Thankfully I have been a part of two book launches. The first Jen Hatmaker’s Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire. (You can preorder it here.) The second, Live, Love, Now by Rachel Macy Stafford. (You can preorder that book here.) Both have been uplifting, introspective reads. I am also reading, Little Fires Everywhere and watching the series on Hulu. That has been fun. I may have also got a little caught up in Veronica Mars, which is way too young for me, but the Good Place ended and I miss Kristen Bell. What’s a girl to do?

I have been exercising. But like I told my one of my friends the other day, if I hadn’t created the habit of working out before the SIP, it would have been hard to start because my unworthiness gets the best of me in times like this and motivation vanishes because I just think I will be fat and ugly forever and nothing will help! I know that those are unkind things to say to myself, but in the past, those words and the energy to combat them leave me depleted. Then exercise seems insurmountable. So if you feel guilty for not working out right now, stop it. Just stop it. Whatever you can do is enough.

Writing has been a struggle. I want to be a writer so much, but the voices in my head that tell me I am not enough, even though I can quiet them everywhere else, here in this writer space they remain unchecked.

  • “You have nothing valuable to add.”
  • “You are too wordy.”
  • “You haven’t had enough pain to write in a way that resonates.”
  • “You aren’t entertaining enough.”
  • “You aren’t honest enough.”
  • “When you do tell the whole truth, you hurt people’s feelings.”
  • “Just shut up.”

I can hear you through the internet; I know I am not being nice to myself. I get it. I promise. And on top of that, I asked a friend to answer herself with love the other day after painting hurtful words her brain was shouting at her, I guess I need to do the same.

  • “Your experience is worthy enough to share.”
  • “Your words can take up the space they take up.”
  • “You can be a writer with any life experience; talent isn’t measured by pain.”
  • “Your words are enough; if people like them great. If they don’t, they don’t. Helping one person is more than enough, even if that person is you.”
  • “You are a solid gold truth-teller; it is your default.”
  • “You are kind, and you are honest. Your words always have the best intentions, and that means something.”
  • “Write – let your heart be free on the page.”

And so there you have it. I will write a little each day, show up here authentically and offer what I can. It’s all any of us can do.

It is my sincerest wish that you are well and finding ways to cope with the new normal.

Sincerely,

Open Letter 2020

Open Letter 2020

At the beginning of last year I wrote a letter to myself, you can read more about why here. Accountability is important and it truly did keep me on course most of the time.

I wanted to do it here again, so I have these to look back on, plus it is my own version of therapy. My goal is that this helps you as well. I always write to reach just one soul that might feel like me so they feel a little less lonely, maybe a little more inspired to be unapologetically themselves and maybe this letter will hit the mark.

I wish you all a happy, successful, healthy 2020.

Dear End of 2020 Michelle,

I wrote this to you in a time when my soul felt bitterly broken, for that, I apologize. I tried so many times to write this from a place of hope, success, cheer, but alas, weeks passed, and my heart still feels achy, torn, defeated. Depression does that to you, no matter how hard you try. No matter how much work you put in. No matter how illogical it may seem, your brain sabotages you to believe you are nothing, worthless. Even though I hope that isn’t true, it sure feels like it with a force I cannot shake. And I finally decided that writing the truth is essential because I am a truth-teller, and that is what it is. So this letter is not as uplifting as I would have hoped, but I still want it to guide you, and I hope when you read it back, you are in a place where you have risen above, a place where you have found peace and strength in who you are now. 

You threw a birthday gathering for yourself, which is a huge accomplishment, and I am so proud you didn’t cancel even though you wanted to. It was good to see a room of people show up for you. Hugging each one of them felt like home. It is necessary that you continue to be the kind of friend you want to have, even when you struggle with it. Believe me, I know you still struggle. At the gathering the topic of friendship and worth came up. You were rocked to your core when you said how hard it was for you to feel like you do things right and immediately everyone’s voice raised to shut you down in seconds. This is hopeful, and I want you to try and focus on the idea that people don’t see you the same way that you see yourself. I know that is extremely difficult when several of your friends you had to work so hard to get them to notice you to begin with, but that happens. Even if you feel invisible, you are seen, respected, and loved for who you are.

I know you think people care more about what you can do, speak to spirits, than who you are. I know you struggle with that so immensely. I know that you love what you do, but it doesn’t define you. It isn’t who you are, and those that can’t see the difference aren’t worthy of your heart. You are not what you do. You are not your calling. It chose you and you answered that call because of who you are, not the allure of that calling. It puts a barrier between you and those around you that are connected to you because of it. But there are people that love you for who you are. Remember that and seek them out, they will not abandon you, and they won’t care if you are a quiet, homebody who likes to read and stay in her jammies. In fact, those things make them love you more.

Remember always that the quiet girl who wanted to put good into the world, the one who is shy and scared, but full of faith; she is who you are. That girl is worth something. She has value. Keep trying to find her and love her so that she won’t feel so lost, so lonely. My biggest goal is that ten years from now, heck one year from now I want to walk into a room and feel like I belong here, feel enough, capable, funny, wise, warm and engaging. I hope this year you find a balance between what you do and who you are and how you handle that so that goal becomes a reality. You should never have to apologize for the space you take up in the world.

2019 was a good year, you should be proud. You run a successful business that has grown exponentially via word of mouth and you do it all scared. Each day is leap in faith. But I know how much this wonderful job, this calling, means to you. It is vital to your human existence, because at the end of the day all you have ever wanted to do in this life is help people and be a mom. 

Both you have accomplished. But I know it’s beating you down. I know each loss weighs on your heart. Each person you carry with you and can’t seem to shake how loss feels. It catches in every breath, shades every moment of joy, and leaves you feeling so lost and empty because there is so much pain. This pain is a continuously exposed nerve ending, and there is nothing it doesn’t touch. I know there is nothing else you would want to do in this world, but I also know this is not the job you asked for, it was given to you, and you have done your best to rise to every challenge. I know you do not feel worthy of being chosen and that writing these words makes you feel as if you will lose it all because you sound ungrateful and that is the farthest thing from the truth. You just want to keep going and find a way to carry the load so it doesn’t break you. My wish, my hope is that right now at the end of 2020 you are reading this and have found a way to carry that sorrow and loss that is brought into your heart over and over, day in and day out in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling hollow and less than. I know you have struck out with every therapist you have contacted. No one will see you because of what you do. You have risen above judgment before. You have found a way, and I know you will figure this out, too. You are not forsaken, remember in every moment whose you are. HE will not forsake you. HE led you to this spot, and HE will see you through.

As a mom, you have grown so much. You catch your tongue and temper and meet most moments of chaos with peace. You have spent this year truly learning your children’s hearts. You are ready and watching to see how they greet you. Almost always you drop what you are doing to meet them at the ready and listen. You spent time with them. Work came second, and in your workaholic heart, that has been an enormous adjustment. You define yourself by how much you accomplish, and while you like the new pace of life, you feel like you didn’t do enough. Remember that whatever time you spend with your family is more than enough. You saw soccer games, watched dances, made family dinners, read books, had movie nights, game nights, listened to stories, baked together, laughed together. All of that time is what life is about. It is more than enough and it will be the one thing that fills your heart and soul completely.

As a wife, you have put your marriage as a top priority and work from a place of grace with your husband. You are always grateful for all he does and work to make sure he knows it. You spent time together and shared your heart openly. You have seen how he has responded with so much love and openness. You are one lucky girl he chose to marry you and has been by your side every day for nineteen years. What a beautiful life and marriage you continue to build with one another. 

Regrettably, you didn’t finish your book or start a podcast by the end of 2019. It eats at your soul that you let fear stop you in your tracks. That you allow what is hard and seems insurmountable leave you voiceless. The book is now done. You have a clear plan to publish and that is enough. You feel satisfied and hopeful that you completed what you set out to do. The podcast isn’t on the radar anymore, but you published a blog post bi-weekly most of the time, did more quick little videos via Facebook and Instagram, and again that is enough. You like keeping it small and being out of the limelight and that is okay. Small steps filled with great love is always enough. And in doing this you kept what is most important sacred to you and at the forefront; your family. This season is about them, time with them, and you can set anything else down that doesn’t make that the focus. They are worth more than any book, any business, any podcast, they are your world and time with them is priceless. So if you took time and space for them and for you, so you could be better for them, then great job, keep up the good work. WAY TO GO! When you have everything that is good in the world at your fingertips, and you have that in your family, that can be enough. Don’t let yourself or anyone else tell you differently, even Rachel Hollis.

You did keep up with your workouts. Working out is your jam. I know crazy, right?!

You have found lifting weights to be fun and ran 2 5ks officially, more than that off the record. You did your two 10ks this year. You ran six whole miles without stopping, something you never thought you would do again. YOU ARE A WARRIOR GODDESS, AND YOUR BODY CARRIED YOU THROUGH THOSE MILES – think about that every time you don’t like the way something fits. You have strength, stamina, and are working toward your best physical self. It is great that this year you got your check-ups, you took a better look at nutrition and shed that last 20 pounds. I am so proud of you for putting yourself on your checklist and knowing that taking care of you means you can take better care of others.

I know you are a recovering perfectionist and that the call of the Western Culture screams that you have to do more to be enough, but I am so proud you are listening to your heart and finding that the greatest, most valuable moments, are the ones that come in every day simple things. You read all the books, you cuddled with your littles, if you felt like laying in bed a little longer you did and were grateful for the luxury. You filled your year with moments and memories and there will never be anything bigger or more meaningful than that.


Sincerely,

Beginning of 2020 Michelle

Love never dies…

Love never dies…

A few weeks ago, our house was in the throws of ordinary sickness. But it can still be exhausting. I had spent two nights mostly awake, caring for sick children. One with croup. One with the stomach flu. And as I dragged myself out of bed with a stuffy nose and groggy head, it took all my effort to slapdash an outfit together and make myself presentable.

I had an appointment that had been booked out for about twelve weeks. This particular client had met with me before, but she reached out to me when her mother was dying. I felt it best to wait before meeting with her, her sister, and her father. She contacted me again after her mom had passed, and we set a date to meet a bit before Thanksgiving.

All of my sessions are important. Still, in this case, we have mutual friends in common and past history, add to that the holidays, and she had just had to sit with her dying mother, a relationship that is so important to all of us; I really wanted to make sure this went well. I said an extra prayer for strength since I was slightly sleep deprived then set off to meet them.

They arrived and after introductions I walked them back to my office. I was in awe as they each found a place to sit in my little office. The steely strength that only love can build rested securely in each one of their souls. Grace be to God, their loved one arrived and started to describe herself, heaven, and deliver messages for each of them.

The sheer power of her spirit was astounding. The depth, earnestness, and ardor these four people had for one another was breath-taking. To witness this kind of fortitude in a premature loss like this one, at this time of year, was definitely atypical.

It rocked me awake. On this Eve of Thanksgiving, this session brought me right into the present. What I witnessed about love that day, I am sharing with all of you; in hopes that it will sustain you the same way it does me.

I sat in awe and wonder as I delivered messages from their beloved, who had been in the afterlife for roughly three months. This spirit was so at peace. So full of hope and love. She was the most content spirit I have ever spoken to this quickly after transitioning to heaven. When I asked her how se was okay, she told me it was faith that let her feel so calm and content. When I shared this with her family they were not surprised. They said she had been like that through her entire illness.

This mother who gained her angel wings came forward not to share things she wished she had said because she had said them all. She spent every day loving her family and rested in a deep faith that whatever happened to her would be okay. She spent her days focusing on her family and nourishing them with memories and warmth. So whatever we are doing right now, if it isn’t that, we need to make more time for it. You won’t regret it. You don’t want to miss your people more because you didn’t make the most of the time you had here.

Love is the strongest element in the universe. It is built out of kindness, compassion, trust, and hope. Love doesn’t die. Our bodies may stop working, but our souls continue on, and what comes through is love. To bear witness to the love that existed across the boundaries of heaven and earth during this session was life-altering.

We get one chance at this life, the one we are given. And we grieve a great deal of the time we are an adult. We grieve relationships, people, opportunities. We mourn the past, present, and future. We focus on the hustle and bustle and monotony of life because we must. It is how we persevere.

What happens though if we live in the present? What happens if we act from a place of love and believe in miracles? What happens if we live right now?

Love happens. We can feel and experience things we never thought possible. Of course, it doesn’t allow us to escape pain; in fact, grief is love. They are two parts of a whole.

This family who sat in my office grieving and navigating a new normal had more composure, compassion, and gratitude for one another than I commonly see. Why? Because they spent the time, they had together physically making moments. Saying the things that they wanted to say. They counted on one another and honestly shared and showed up for one another. And they continue to do that.

They live in the present with their loved one in heaven. She is a part of everything, even though it hurts, even though it is hard.

Grief is a fingerprint, and no two loses, even for the same person, are alike. Unfortunately, you can’t go around grief, you can’t go under grief, and even if you try to avoid it, you find yourself face to face with it eventually. The only way to deal with grief is to go through it. Whatever time or path that takes will be unique. However, one thing I find to be a commonality are those who find a way through often ask for help, say what they need, face regrets head-on, and genuinely use love as their center and grounding force to guide them. Both with the loved one in heaven and the surrounding people they have here. And they live in the moment. They take life moment to moment. Just like the family, I was able to visit with on Thanksgiving Eve.

Love is worth it all. Love truly wins because it never dies. It is what allows you to experience one another across heaven and earth. It is what binds us together through it all.

I know this season can be hard. I miss my people, too. We will never get over our loved ones. We carry them in our hearts, minds, souls, and we grow around the holes they leave behind. Those holes are where love has left its impact.

Grateful doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about being able to witness miracles day in and day out. Awe of what love can help us endure leaves me speechless.

I hope that you find a way to live in the right now. To love your people both near and far with a vulnerability that allows you to say the things that will matter across space and time and leave you without regret. My wish for you is that you believe in miracles and have hope that anything is possible. Your words, thoughts, love it all reaches heaven. Your loved ones are with you if you can find a way to believe that their love will guide you through your grief.

Your angel loved ones are sending the little hummingbird that shows up on a cold December afternoon. They are the energy displayed by the two flickering lights on your Christmas tree, even though the rest of the strand is fine. They are visiting in a vivid dream where every detail is remembered. They are present in the smell of their favorite aftershave or perfume. They are showing you they can still exist past what life holds for us here. To give you hope to show you a way through, to let you know they miss you, too. To remind you, they will never leave you, and love never dies.

Keep going through it; even though the light at the end of the tunnel is heaven when you will finally have peace and everyone is reunited; there is still joy, life to be lived, hope, fun, and things to look forward to on the journey through, here on Earth. It is different because it will forever be through the lens of loss, but that doesn’t make it less than; it just makes it different.

May you have peace in your heart this holiday. May you have family, friends, and loved ones to help guide you through and the faith to believe the signs they send you along the way are real examples of their love because love lasts forever.

Bless you this holiday season in whatever life may hold for you.

What I don’t talk about…

What I don’t talk about…

As a spiritual medium, I get plenty of questions asked of me. But the one thing people consistently ask me is if what I see scares me.

The answer to that question is mostly no.

What I primarily talk about with people are the best parts of what I get to experience daily. The parts where there is healing, love, and light from Heaven seeping into our Earthly lives. The part where loved ones from Heaven share their stories and bring laughter and smiles so that their loved ones here can cope just a little bit better with the loss.

But the truth is, sometimes it is just a bit too much. Sometimes I don’t understand why I see what I see, or why spirit tells me what they do.

People think this ability is some on-demand satellite dish that I have some control over. It is not that way at all. Spirit says what they want when they want, how they want, and I am just a conduit for that energy and message. I can’t just dial up Heaven and ask whatever questions I want. I can’t just ask a soul to show up and tell me things. There is a method to this, and it is that they are in charge. They send people to me, and spirit knows who is coming to see me, and spirit has a set agenda of what and how they are going to communicate. They are the boss of it all. And above that, there is God. There are rules to what souls can share. We aren’t supposed to know everything.

The awareness of this gift all started with unexpected impromptu visits. They have diminished a bit because spirit now knows I have office hours, but there are still unexpected visitors.

Even when the visits are expected, the messages that are delivered aren’t always easy to receive.

Spirit often conveys how they died, and not all death is smooth. I have witnessed murders that were video recorded, been asphyxiated with a telephone cord and hit in the head with the receiver, stabbed, assaulted, then murdered, shot, hit by cars, in car accidents, slipped and fallen off a cliff among other things. Felt Parkinson’s, Cancer, pneumonia, several drug overdoses, liver failure, strokes, aneurysms, septic shock, total organ failure, Alzheimer’s, heart attacks, and the like. This part is often not explained in detail during a session if I can help it. I try to get enough of the information so that I can relay some knowledge to my client and leave out the parts that aren’t necessary to relive. And spirit is gentle with me, only showing me enough so that I understand. There isn’t physical pain associated with these visuals. Still, there is an emotional aftershock as some of these incidents leave an imprint on my soul. How could they not? And it is scary. I can’t believe what human beings are capable of. But some of it I have relived first hand. It is brutal.

This started a long time ago, but I am not sure I will ever get used to it.

When I was about three, I started having dreams I didn’t quite understand. They were of places and people I had never met. Often I would awake, and there would be a visitor in my room that I recognized from the dream. Only one such visitor has ever been able to take that dream and turn it into a healing message for their family. That is Matthew. Other than that, for 38 years, I have had hundreds of dreams that I can’t turn into a healing message or even sometimes make sense of myself.

Just like with anything else to do with spirit, these dreams come one at a time, in clusters, or not all and always on spirits’ schedule. They seem to have no rhyme or reason as to why I am given the knowledge or visit.

Needless to say, even now as an adult, I like light to be present enough when I am sleeping that if I am awoken, I can make out what type of figure is in my room. I am not afraid of the dark, just averse to it. I want to be able to identify the beings in my room when I am jolted awake. My kids literally scare the ever-loving crap out of me because I always expect a ghost. So I guess I am the opposite of most people. I am less scared of the ghosts and more frightened by the actual, living, physical beings that wake me.

Recently, these dreams have been acting up again. Turned themselves up a notch. I think these spirit visitors are preparing me for something, but I don’t know what yet. And for some unexplained reason, I feel compelled to write it out here on the Internet.

First, I dreamt of a missing child who was murdered. That one was connected to a session I had, so I dismissed it. Then a few nights later, I dreamt of an elderly man who was also killed. He even gave me his name, which to me, is a big deal because names don’t always come through for me. I Googled him, and he has since been found as well as the parties responsible, so I wasn’t sure why he wanted to show himself to me. These things just happen to me, and I am not sure what to do with this knowledge.

And then a visitor started showing up and is still around me. He first showed himself by touching my arm in the middle of the night and saying, “You know I wouldn’t have died if I had, had my cell phone.”

It was so clear, in my sleep state, I actually thought it might have been my oldest son, but I knew within seconds that the voice didn’t match his, but the height and build did. And the visitor wasn’t visibly present to me once I was fully awake. Still rattled, I knew it wasn’t my oldest son, but checked on all of my children anyway. They were all sound asleep in their beds. It took me hours to fall back asleep. Who was this young man? Did he just die? Was there something I could do? Why did he pick me? Did I know his family? Was he going to come back? Did it all even really happen, or did I imagine it?

Then a few nights later, I dreamt of a basement in a house near what looked like a sort of man-made lake. There were water skiers and jet skiers out on the lake, and the house was sort of up on a hill. I knew I wasn’t in a place I had ever been before, but I was being led through this property by someone who lived there. I knew the house had access to this lake and that it was one of the features that made this individual that was taking me on tour love it so. He loved the water. Then he showed me an orange dirt bike up on blocks in the corner of the garage. There was something a little odd about that. I think he wanted to use it, not have it sitting there. But it stuck out to me because you don’t typically see dirt bikes on display in houses.

Then I woke up. I knew someone was with me in the room, and I looked down at the foot of my bed to see a young man with long hair swept across the front of his forehead and smiling the best smile. He was so young, maybe nineteen or twenty. I was trying to catch his name, he said something and all I could make out was andy something. Instantly I knew he had been murdered. And then he vanished right before my eyes.

I thought maybe he would be connected to a client that was coming to see me and tried to put this dream and visit out of my head. But I knew his sweet face would forever be imprinted on my brain.

The next day as I was picking my son up from soccer practice, I started listening to Culpable, a podcast my husband recommended for me. I had just finished Confronting, and he thought I might be interested in this one, too. I was driving and thinking about dinner, homework, and what was left on my to-do list, so I was paying attention, but it was also just so sad that I think I was just half-listening until there was a description of a basement. Somehow this basement was so vivid in my mind. It was like I had been there before. And at the end of the description, the interviewee states in the corner of this basement up on blocks was an orange dirt bike, and chills went up and down the back of my spine.

I turned off the podcast and just decided not to listen anymore. The young man from this podcast might just be the person visiting me. But that couldn’t be right, could it? Why would he do that?

As I lay in bed later that night talking with my husband and telling him about the experience, he doubtfully listening with a hint of you are losing your marbles type of vibe, so I reached over to my phone and Googled Christian Andreacchio. I dropped the phone when his image came up. It took me at least ten minutes to halt my trembling body and pounding heart.. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the young man that had been sitting at the end of my bed.

I didn’t want to go to sleep. I didn’t want another dream. This wasn’t something I could do anything with. I tossed and turned.

Several days went by, and I refused to listen to the podcast again.

Then something told me that it would be okay if I started back up. I wasn’t going to be able to get the messages to anyone, and if I didn’t want him to visit, I could just ask him not to, right?!

Well, as I was jogging uphill and listening to another episode, Christian’s uncle is being interviewed, and he is talking about trying to find Christian’s phone. I immediately blurt out, “He didn’t have his cellphone. They took it from him.” Yes, I audibly said this one my run. I talk to myself. No surprises there.

And in the next few minutes of the podcast, it is revealed that Christian’s phone was found in someone else’s custody. And immediately, I knew why the spirit in my room had said, “You know I wouldn’t be dead if I had, had my cell phone.” It was all just for that moment. He wanted me to know without a doubt that it was him that had come to visit me. It was all just so I would know at that moment he had been speaking to me all along. He isn’t releasing new, unknown information to me; he was just trying to validate himself to me in a way I would understand who he is.

My husband thinks I am crazy. Heck, I think I am crazy. I don’t know why these things happen. Even after almost four decades of these types of things happening to me, I don’t know why.

And I have listened to several real crime podcasts, and I watch Cold Case Crime shows, and the victims in those shows haven’t come to visit me. Just this sweet, young man. He is the first.

I know it is hard to believe. I am having a hard time believing it myself. But tonight, as I listened to another episode in the car, his mom read an open letter, and Christian appeared in my front seat and held my arm while she read the letter. “Tell her I heard it,” he said. He is nodding at me as I write this.

It does scare me. It does worry me. What am I supposed to do? What does spirit need of me? I don’t seem to be able to provide it. I don’t seem to be able to understand it. I don’t seem to be able to release it in a way that makes a difference.

I guess the best thing to do is to listen. I listened to Matthew finally, and that led me here. What do I know? I just have to continue to be the messenger and deliver what I believe to be accurate and let the rest sort itself out.

My heart aches for this family. My heart aches for Christian. My heart always aches for those souls whose lives are lost in such senseless ways.

I guess I can just be there for him. Listen as he needs me to and hope I do what he needs.

But these are typically the things I don’t talk about. These are the pieces that don’t fit into the puzzle. Maybe if I talk about all the things, perhaps that will matter somehow. Perhaps it matters to them. I have seen and felt their deaths. They are not alone. I am with them in their last breaths. I am with them as they show me their stories, and when they need me to talk about it, I guess it is time to start talking about it.

I can tell you they are okay. Every one of these souls that have had unspeakable things happen to them have been radiant, kind, well adjusted. They are happy and loved. They are at peace, just wanting to help their loved ones here.

I do say that death is my best friend. Maybe it’s true, maybe these souls just need a friend, and I am here to listen. If that is the case, I will keep listening. I will share what I know and hope that helps them to do what they need to do. And now, I guess I will talk about the things I don’t usually talk about, and continue to speak life into death, even when I don’t understand why. Maybe I don’t need to.

Thanks for listening,

Snippets from Heaven: Part 2

Snippets from Heaven: Part 2

On a Monday evening in July, I was making my second call of the day for a phone appointment. I never know what to expect in any session. As per usual, I only knew Michele’s name and nothing more. She had contacted me via email and given me just the details that she would like an hour session and phone was fine with her.

She had patiently waited a month to speak with me. During the session, we were able to connect with her father.

If you don’t know already, dear reader, I remember little about each appointment.

I know I enjoyed speaking with her dad and was in awe of his ability to connect so clearly with her as he had only been in heaven a short time. His messages were filled with love for his daughter, and he expressed a great deal of joy. I recall liking him and connecting with him in a way I would a new friend. I loved the comfort and peace that rested so firmly in his soul. But even more, I enjoyed his humor and that he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to give me a hard time.

As the session ended, Michele’s dad said,  “Thank you for calling me.” I relayed this message and I then thanked Michele, as well. And Michele said, “I think he is talking to both of us.” I was a bit confused and didn’t have to wait long for Michele to clarify.

She said that she and her dad shared a love of all things spiritual and had always wanted to go see a medium together. They didn’t know who they wanted to see and about a month before Michele’s dad passed away, he called her. During the call, he said he had just spoken to a friend and had found their medium. He told her to write down the contact information. Michele was excited and wanted to know when they were going to make an appointment to see this medium together. He told her that she should go see the medium first, by herself. She was confused about why they couldn’t go together. She shrugged it off. But when her dad passed a month later, it all became clear. She felt that he had found the medium that he, himself wanted to communicate through.

Then Michele said words that blew my mind, “The medium he found was you.” And I heard her wave a paper in her hand. Then as I expressed disbelief, she messaged me the below picture.

By the way, I may have asked for proof – I know I am totally the skeptic, and it is entirely ironic please remember my post on offering compassion before passing judgment; I am a human after all. 

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Shared with consent from Michele

But there it was. Michele shared with me that her father and chosen me to speak through. I am still in total awe.

Not only is it remarkable to me that he picked me himself before he passed, but it also came at such a perfect time. As messages from spirit tend to do.

As you all know, I struggle with faith and how I fit into that picture often. (If you are new, dear reader, now you know and if you are an old friend, dear reader, you, of course, understood that already.) I love God, I knew God before I understood how to explain Him. And yet, I am some sort of abomination to those whose faith has them cling to literal interpretations. I have made my peace with God because it is only His opinion that matters. Only He knows my heart inside and out. Only He knows my soul with complete clarity. And He is my creator; so He knows I was made just this way with purpose and intent. Anyway, it still stings when I get messages about how people are praying for my soul and that they hope I don’t go to hell for what I do. And it still stings to be made fun of and reprimanded that I do this for personal gain. But I don’t think I would be human if it didn’t hurt.

Regardless, I had once again been thinking about my sessions and was wondering with a heavy heart if I was on the right path; if I was making a difference. And this reading happened. Literally not an hour after I had pondered those thoughts with a heavy heart. Here was spirit saying not only did they want to communicate with me; but I was being selected by them explicitly. My heart still bursts with honor and love. I can’t even imagine; out of all the souls that they could choose; they will pick me. And this beautiful reminder; helped me to remember just to keep going forward, helping one person at a time; doing the best I can right where I am and that, no matter what anyone else says; that alone is enough.

What else struck me about this was, Michele continued to connect the dots between spirit and how they chose to communicate. She sent me the following message (*names have been changed to protect their identity):

“Not sure if you remember Monica* – she came in a few weeks back, with her mom on the phone. She’s my girlfriend who’s father passed 10 days after mine,… My dad brought them into your life as well. When you said your 2 friends told 2 friends, I thought about how my dad’s friend told him, he told me & I told Monica*,… It’s amazing to step back and think about how life works and how we are all connected to each other.”

I think we forget how connected we are to each other. I think we forget that underneath our skin and bones is a soul, and that soul is intertwined with the other souls here on Earth deeply and profoundly. I think when we remember this; we remember to treat others with grace, and compassion, I believe when we remember this hate evaporates and only love can remain. We know each other at a soul level in a way our brains can only just begin to comprehend. And our souls are speaking to one another. And all the while our loved ones in Heaven are guiding us and working with one another to make sure we are loved and protected from Heaven, too.

I will close this with the same words I used when I messaged Michele back:

“We can tear up together. You are not alone. I am thanking him; over and over. He thinks it is appropriate, too. He absolutely thinks he deserves all the credit. The grin on his face is priceless!”

Hopefully, you will remember joy, love, and light are ever-present around you. Your loved ones are not lost; they are alive and well, thriving in Heaven finding ways to continue to be a part of your daily lives; holding you close and dear as ever. You are not alone.

Love and light, until next time,

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Snippets from Heaven (Part 1)

Snippets from Heaven (Part 1)

I wanted to share with you some snippets from heaven. Since I have changed my line of work, I have noticed an increase in the number of miracles that I witness. One of these miracles is the resilience of the human spirit.

If you have watched the news at all last week, you have seen the story of the orca whale that has carried her dead calf for days. (If you haven’t read the story you can click here to read it). This story hit my heart like a target.

My journey with mediumship began because a little boy in spirit named Matthew; wanted me to help him connect to his family. So the first people I ever met were bereaved parents. I still cannot imagine what that kind of grief feels like, but this mama orca carrying her 400 pound baby day after day, a baby she grew in her womb for 17 months and was only able to see alive for half an hour; I think this captures visually the kind of grief a bereaved parent experiences.

Over the past five years, a good majority of my clients have been bereaved parents. To watch these parents live with the loss of their children is devastating and yet at the same time inspirational. These parents carry such intense grief, that grows and changes, that consumes and envelopes, and yet they grow and change around the pain they carry with them. They turn it into power and create change or bring about more goodness in the lives of others. Never will I be able to capture into words what this looks like. The statue below (shared at totallybuffalo.com) says what that this grief feels like better than my words ever could.

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Click here to be taken to the original source

Which is why I want to share some stories with you. This piece will be the first of several to follow. I can’t promise they will be in order – I may be moved to post other blogs in between, but there will be more of these.

These stories have allowed me to have a greater understanding of the communication from heaven. I want you to have that experience, too. I think we can all understand that there is a soul inside each of us that lives beyond our bodies; and that maybe, just maybe it is our soul that allows us to grow around our grief. It is our soul and its connection to the souls in heaven that help us here to cope with our loss and find a new way to survive.

Delia and David

I met Delia on a Tuesday in June. She came to my office for a session and like most people I meet; I didn’t know her last name, where she was from, who referred her or why she was there. And in like fashion, I rarely remember details of a session, but Delia and I spoke for a while, person to person, after the meeting, and she shared with me how some of the things her son, David had relayed through me, made sense to her.

These moments with clients are such a gift to me. I love to hear how the messages that I help translate are connected to real life events here on Earth. Plus I enjoy hearing about the lives that each of the spirits that speak to me, lived.

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David Surfing – shared with consent from Delia

Delia shared stories with me about David. His love of surfing, his son, and just how he was an all around great person. One of the things David conveyed to her through me, was that he left her signs with wings. He sent her these wings so she would always know when he was near and how much he loved her. I didn’t understand how he could make angel wings appear from up above, but he insisted that was what he was doing from heaven.

After the session, Delia explained to me that she saw angel wings in the sky all the time. Delia told me that “in [her] living room a Tiffany lamp over 30 years shines Angel wings on the ceiling [only] when turned on 6 months after [David] passed.” She feels these wings let her know that David continues to love her from heaven.

Below are pictures she shared with me so that you could also see the angel wings David sends his mom from heaven (the below photos were sent to me from Delia and shared with her consent):


I loved hearing these stories and knowing that what David shared through me on that Tuesday in June had brought Delia some comfort.

I want to share a little bit about Delia, too. She is a mom and grandmother. She has two children in addition to David. She is active in her grandchildren’s lives, and she is the most joyful person you could meet. You would never know her story by looking at her. She is patient, a great friend, and always ready and willing to help others in need; no matter how much her own heart is hurting. She helps to let David’s son continue to know his dad. She wants to insure that his son always knows and feels his father’s love for him.

Over the next few weeks, I thought about Delia and her son David a great deal because his death was so tragic and the connection between mother and son was so powerful; I was in awe of Delia’s strength and David’s ability to connect with his mom.

Then, through July, I started to see my own images of angel wings in the sky. Unfortunately, mostly when I was driving so, I couldn’t capture them. But I finally was able to take a picture of one such experience (shown below). I hadn’t seen Delia’s photos yet, but I remembered the wings and wanted to share with her that I was hearing from David, too. Spirit loves to be included in the present day world; not just remembered in the past. It always feels so important to me to let these parents know that their children in heaven still have an active impact on the world today and change my life in such significant ways.

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The day this photo was taken, I had a client come to visit who happened to be a friend of Delia’s. Which of course, is also how spirit works, connecting all the dots and making sure their message is hitting  home.

I shared with Delia’s friend that I had been seeing the angel wings for several weeks and that I would call up to heaven, “Hi, David” each time. Delia’s friend shared with me how the session that I had with Delia had helped her to heal in new ways and that there had been a noticeable difference in her. David’s connection and the things he shared with her had given her peace. He found a way to mend Delia’s heart just a bit so that she could grow around her grief a little more.

As I thought about that, I realized that this was David reaching out to me to say thank you for being a small part of that. And in full circle, I reached out to Delia later that day to share my photo; to which she shared her photos with me and now she is letting me share David with you.

I am sharing this with you because I want you to know like I do, that spirit can do anything, and God wants us to feel their love. I always say, how could Heaven really be an exceptional place if we were cut off from our loved ones here.

Of course, there are ways spirit can communicate and reach us. Of course, God wants that for us. He sent his only son to Earth out of his love for us. God can understand the kind of grief that bereaved parents feel. He holds that grief close to His own heart. He will always find ways for spirit to reach and heal us here on Earth. David and Delia are an example of this kind of love in motion. That our transition to the other side cannot severe love – that love is something that can cross through the veil between heaven and earth.

Love and light, until next time,

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What I have learned about Heaven…

What I have learned about Heaven…

One of my clients emailed me this week and asked:

What is your take [on Heaven]?  And what have you learned from being the mediator for spirits?

To answer that question, it is important to get a little back story. I think it is important to understand the source behind my answer.

Becoming a medium wasn’t in my lifelong goals and dreams. It became something I am extremely proud of. It is a gift I hold dear. It has also become my dream to help as many people as possible. To be the best medium that I can be. It is work I take seriously and hold in the highest regard. In my youth; however, it was something I spoke of little and felt more comfortable keeping to myself.

Now, the road wasn’t an easy one and I often took the path of least resistance in the beginning; I am human after all. But, God asks more of us. God asks us to follow Him into the dark and help shine his light unto the world. I know that is what God has asked of me.

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When I decided to share my gift with the world I was terrified. In fact, I went to see my therapist and discussed this at length with her. In her wise way she told me that the path was already clear and I just needed to see it for myself. She asked me to follow her in a simple exercise. She said, “I want you to close your eyes and just focus on your path.” Over the next few minutes she continued to ask, “Who is leading you? Where are you? What is happening next?”

I closed my eyes, and asked God to guide me and instantly I was in a meadow filled with white and yellow flowers and tall grass. A breeze was gently caressing my cheek and the light that surrounded me was the brightest and warmest I had ever felt. I looked down and I was on an unpaved road; it was packed down beige colored dirt with stones and pebbles, and in some areas the grass had grown high and wild covering the path. I could see no other tracks or footprints on this path.

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http://www.ryylxjw.com/heavenly-wallpapers/41004327.html – original source

When I looked up ahead of me to see who was leading me, there was a man dressed in a white robe with dark flowing hair. He turned back to make sure I was still following and gave me a radiant smile. His eyes were the color of dark, rich honey and they reflected a warmth in his soul. I immediately knew I could trust him. In fact, I felt like I had known him all my life. He travelled the path ahead of me without ever having to watch where he stepped. His sure footed-ness let me know he had travelled this path before.

He stopped every so often and reached out into the grass and each time he did a child rose. He would usher me to touch them on their head just as he did. These children began to flock around me. A sense of purpose filled my soul.

My therapist asked me to open my eyes. She then asked me to relay what I had seen. Just before I opened my eyes, the man nodded at me. He told me it was time.

I know this could have been my imagination working overtime, but what I saw that day, in that moment felt real and tangible. There are still moments I can feel the way the blades of grass brushed against my hand as I passed. I can still see the light shining down and wrapping itself around me warming and filling my soul. The faces of those children shining up at me and the support as they fell in behind me on the path.

I believe God is leading me down the path toward sharing my gift; I believe God is always guiding me to share the messages he wants delivered through spirit. It is always Him that I ask for guidance and strength to work with both spirit and the people who ask for my assistance. It is always Him.

So, while I may not be an expert on Heaven, I feel that what spirit has shown me is coming directly from the source. What they describe is love. Heaven is love. It is unconditional, ever-growing, never-ending love. Spirit arrives to open arms and they are instantly washed over with love and warmth. It fills their soul to the brim and all fear vanishes.

Heaven is a place where each spirit is welcomed and nourished with all that they need. Everybody is in. Not one soul is left in the dark.

What I have heard in reading after reading is that while Heaven is open to all and everyone is welcome; there are privileges and jobs assigned to a soul based on their journey both here on Earth and in Heaven.

A soul may be required to complete tasks and provide assistance to other souls based on what they have experienced or neglected in this life. While another soul is open to choose and explore Heaven because of how well they lived their life here on Earth. I always get the sense that all is forgiven, but not forgotten. A soul is always required to work through unfinished business and learn valuable lessons that may have been missed or overlooked while on Earth.

I have had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of spirits and all with different ethnicity, religion whether devout or atheist, of all different sexual orientation, all different ages and genders and all of their descriptions of Heaven have the items I discussed above in common.

Jesus came to teach us how to treat one another; how to wash away sins; how not to judge one another. His message was simple; his message was love.

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Heaven is love. It is unconditional and non-discriminatory. Heaven is a place we can all look forward to. But it is also a place where we will be held accountable for how we treated others and we will be lovingly guided to heal our souls and the souls of others we may have affected.

For me, God is everywhere. God is in every church, synagogue, mosque, pew, park bench, school, creek, ocean, river, lake, home, mind, heart, every nook and cranny where there is space; God is there.

Like with anything else that truly matters, we cannot use money or material possessions to purchase our place in Heaven, we have to earn it with our words and actions. We all get a ticket, but that doesn’t mean we get to ride for free. We have to do well here. We have to pay attention here to ourselves and others. We have to lift people up and be a part of a community. God is always paying attention and while we are held accountable for our actions; we are always welcomed home.

So in answer to your question; Heaven is love and we are all welcome there. What we do there is up to us; based on how we lived our life here. We are always forgiven and always welcomed with open arms.

Until next time,

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Big mistakes and bravery

Several years ago I started to disarm myself. Piece by piece I set down my armor. I came out of hiding and decided in order to live fully I must be seen fully. That is why I started this blog and even named it “afourytale” – a fairy tale; four kids – a..four..ytale…get it.

I didn’t want the cliché version of a fairytale; I wanted to rewrite the standard fairytale. Fairytales aren’t beautiful stories with happy endings. Fairytales are messy, unkept, broken stories that do not always have perfect endings. When I read how the little mermaid really ended in her becoming foam on the ocean; my heart crumpled. But I think we need to rewrite these stories with more modern versions of truth. Fairytales are our lives – they are hard, broken, beautiful, messy, lonely, noisy, colorful tales of truth and vulnerability.

I wanted to share that even with all of the mess that life can bring our perspective can create that story into a fairytale. And in order to do that; I was going to have to set down my armor and show all the sides of myself and my life. I couldn’t hide behind perfectionism any more. I didn’t want to be seen as perfect anymore. In fact I had come to despise that word and every time someone would describe me that way I would cringe. I had to shed the armor and leave perfectionism behind me.

Now disarming myself and shedding my armor is something I have found that I have to relearn on a regular basis. My default button is to run and hide. It is so much easier to grab my armor, steel myself and let things bounce off of me and not feel.

After three years of constantly setting down my armor a strange thing has happened. Now when I try on my mask and armor it doesn’t fit right. Something feels askew.

Each time I try to put on my armor or retreat to its steely protection I hear loud and clear these words from the Universe: “Fear not. Remember.”

When I hear these words I set down my armor and go out into the world feeling extremely unprepared, totally naked and yet fully alive. I let what comes hit me and instead of retreating I feel each inch of it and decide not to let others dictate how I feel about something, but to define it for myself.

For instance, yesterday I was called selfish. It stung. It hurt fiercely. But I decided instead of retreating, instead of hiding my hurt, to fully listen to how it was said and decide for myself – is that how I define me?

I take things personally. Does that make me selfish? No, it makes me human. I do not have to change that I take things personally. I am a person after all. I just need to make sure the person that I am talking to; knows that I am hearing them as well.

I am not selfish. My truth is that I am kind, super extra feely, and that being personal and feeling everything that comes at me is how I best process the world. If I just allow myself to feel only what other people expect me to and to only react the way other people expect me to, then I am right back in my armor and that is not how I want to live my life.

Being brave is setting down your armor and being your true self. Brene Brown uses the Teddy Roosevelt quote about going out into the arena:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

Life is the arena; where we show up leaving our armor behind and let our blood and sweat show for all to see. When we do that we can become connected to one another. We can also become whole. We become fully alive.

Why am I telling you all this? I tend to make mistakes on a large-scale. I tend to make mistakes that affect other people and not just myself. Not on purpose mind you. I go in with my whole heart and do my very best. Daring greatly if you will. But I have also learned that if something doesn’t feel right then it isn’t something you should keep doing no matter what.

About a month ago I tried to do something I thought I always wanted; only to find that it didn’t fit anymore. It wasn’t who I was any longer; it was only who I thought I was. It was a part of me that fit into my armor. And since I can’t wear my armor anymore without feeling completely ridiculous and askew; this activity didn’t fit me either. I had to say, “No thank you; this isn’t what I want.” It was hard. It was scary. It was also just right for me. Being brave sometimes means saying no thank you, that’s not for me even when everyone else is watching.

And last but not least, being brave also means asking for help. A group of my friends decided to get together. I couldn’t fathom trying to join them. I felt like bad company and thought it would just be a bad idea to go. “No one wants to see me any way. I won’t be missed,” I thought.

The words of the universe stirred in me again…”Fear not. Remember”… and I began to reevaluate my thoughts. Ah-ha! There I go again defining myself using other people’s ideas. What do I want? What is best for me? And my answer changed. I wanted to go. I was still scared and nervous that I would chicken out at the last-minute. I know some of you think this rather silly to be scared of your own tribe, but letting myself be seen by the people I love is terribly difficult, because what if they woke up today and decide they don’t like me anymore. They can see all of me now and if they don’t like me after they have seen everything then what? Fear of pain, fear of rejection still creeps into my soul and takes away my courage to be seen.

So instead of retreating and hiding – my default – I sent them a group text. “Guys, I want to go tonight. But I am scared I will decide to hide here at home instead. Can someone please come pick me up so I can’t back out.” And guess what; someone came and picked me up. Everyone rallied behind me. Everyone understood.

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I can’t live in my armor anymore. I have to live in the arena. My soul is the only thing that feels true any more. Just because my armor doesn’t  fit doesn’t stop me from trying to slink back into it mind you.

Armor has many names…perfectionism, fear, hatred, addiction – the things we use to numb are armor. The things we use to hide ourselves it is all armor. You have to know what your armor is to know how to take it off and set it down.

I have had many people comment on my courage and bravery the last year and I never thought this was me. “I am just a girl,” I say. “I am just trying to take the next best step for me.” But I have taken time to define bravery for myself.

Being brave is….

not letting fear dictate your choices

not defining who you are by other people’s standards

taking your next right step

remembering who you are

remembering to ask for help

setting your armor down and stepping into the arena unprepared, raw and wide open.

I guess by that definition I am brave. But I am also just a girl trying to take the next right step. But I am not doing it in the quiet darkness, steeled against the world. I am doing it here, and in the arena, and out in the open for all to see. Some days that feels really difficult, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. So here is to big mistakes and bravery because I have more to make and more to learn.

Fear not.Remember –

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