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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