Thursday, December 27, 2018

A Story for the New Year from The Banana Tree

From The Trees I Have Loved That Loved Me Back
by Jennifer Berghage

Banana Tree by Mahdis Mousavi from Unsplash 

Chapter 1

The Children Deck Me Out in Red To Test Out Bad Luck—In Which They Learn to Focus on the Good

I am a strong banana tree, proud to be the only one planted in the very center of the beautiful backyard at this rambling cream-colored two-story stucco house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, that is home to the new American family which has recently moved in.

In the afternoons, I enjoy the laughter of the children and all their activity around me. They sit under my shade when the sun is hot, and they listen to my long leaves rustle on the rare occasions when the wind blows softly in the twilight of evening. Sometimes, if we're very lucky, their father hooks up the hose so the children can play in the water, and I grow as much from drinking up the cool, clear water, as from their delightful playfulness around me.

There is a young boy that plays with the American children, and he sits quietly with his hand out and in it, some treats for the birds. He is so peaceful and still that the sweet little birds sometimes alight on his fingers and let him hold them and pet them while they eat their treats. The American children roll on the grass in fits of giggles while watching him. I think they've never seen such things as a boy holding and petting wild birds.

On New Year's Eve, in the darkness of the night, I watch the children run around on the second-story stonewalled balcony of their home. They are such free little spirits, dressed in the barest of essentials, just their soft cotton underwear, to help them stay cool in the heat. They have not very many Earth years between them, one has only four, and the other has six.

They are delighted by the fireworks that explode like flowers in the sky to celebrate the New Year. I can see the love pouring out of their parents' hearts as they spend time with the children before going out with other grown-ups, their friends, to celebrate. The fireworks will fill the skies for hours, magical twinkling many-colored starlights soaring down to Earth.

I can see the mother and father tucking the children in to sleep. The mother's perfume wafts out through the windows and surrounds me in a cloud of soft, delicious, powdery fragrance. It looks like the mother's two daughters will soon have another playmate, a brother perhaps, since Mother is glowing with fertility in the evening gown which becomes her. Father leans over and gives each of his daughters a kiss, and tells them their Aya will be at home watching over them. Sleep, children, sleep sweetly.

But not too long after their parents leave, I am surprised by the arrival of Sharon, the American girl who lives next door. She is a bit older than my two children; she must be around 9 or 10 years. It is late, but she sneaks through the bushes and into our backyard, where she calls to the children softly. "Come out, come out, we mustn't sleep away these special hours!"

My children come to the window and whisper so as not to awaken their Aya, "We are coming, we are coming!" And down the stairs they tiptoe, out onto the soft grasses until they are standing right beneath my big leaves and branches.

"Do you want an adventure?" says Sharon.

"Of course, of course," says the older of my two children.

"Well then, I will help you," says Sharon. "Do you see this red t-shirt I have brought with me? Let us tie it onto the branches of the strong banana tree right here in your yard, for it is said that if one ties red cloth to a banana tree, it will bring bad luck! Do you believe in bad luck? I don't. Let's try it and see if it's true!"

Well I can see my children start to shiver with fear, wondering what kind of bad luck they might bring by tying the red t-shirt to my branches. I think to myself what can I do to help dispel this fear? How can I protect them? What if it's true and bad luck will come? No one has ever done such a thing to me before.

I feel the softness of the cloth as it is wound around the broadness of my leaves. I'll hold it for them, but who knows what it might bring? I am prepared to protect them and I send them messages to go back to their beds. It is late and who knows who might be lurking about on such an eve of celebration and drunkenness?

"All right," says Sharon, "we're all set up. Now let us see what comes about. Goodnight little ones," she says.

"Good night, good night," say my wee ones and off they scamper through the soft grasses, tiptoeing back up the stairs and climbing back into their beds. Back through the bushes goes Sharon, to climb into her own soft bed, not knowing what a clamor she has wrought.

My children's parents arrive home and I see them through the window bestowing extra kisses upon their sleeping children. The grown-ups retire to their own big bed and soon fall into a deep sleep.

Suddenly I hear the hissing and whispering of a trio of dark-skinned men who crouch under my branches, hiding from those who might see them. "We will go up the balcony stairs and into the house," says one. "Let's collect any silver and things that we can sell quickly," says another. " I will check for anything else that might be useful," says the third.

I feel useless to do anything to keep them out of the house, and I can do nothing as they tiptoe up the very stairs that my children previously navigated. The moon comes from behind the clouds, and still the fireworks explode every now and then, offshoots of celebration; it's the New Year when all that is owed must be paid, so that a clean slate appears to wipe out the debts of the previous year. I know that the trio is attempting to clear their slate by whatever means possible.

Soon I see the trio coming back one-by-one, arms full of the treasures of my American family's household. Their radio, their coffee pot, their silver, and many shiny glass bottles of liquor. The trio runs underneath my branches and across the yard to the stream that runs across the back. They pile their newfound wealth next to the stream and gather stealthily to plan their next robbery.

"Let's go next door," says the largest one. "We can pile everything up next to the stream and collect the piles all at once."

"A good idea," says the tallest one. "Let's leave this here and be on our way."

So off they go to little Sharon's house next door.

But unbeknownst to them, the grown-ups next door are still awake and having coffee before going to their beds, so that when the trio sets about sneaking into the house the grown-ups hear them and quickly call the police. "Stop, stop, I say!" cries the man of the house as the trio runs out into the darkness.

And they keep running. And they don't stop to collect the pile of shiny things they've set by the stream, the things that belong to my American family.

I am feeling very much relieved, so I waft out energy bands of peace and goodwill.

Just after dawn the next morning, I see through the window, the Aya of my American family bringing coffee to the grown-ups to wake them from their slumber, and she says to the Mother, "Did Sahib have many drinkies in the night?"

And Mother says, "Why no, we came to bed just after we returned home from the party."

And the Aya says "Well things been gone missing...." So the parents of my children rise and go through their home to check and discover, to their surprise, all the empty places of the things that are missing.

Soon their next door neighbors come rapping at the door and trumpeting that they've had a robbery attempt. They ask if everything is okay for my American family.

As they go through their home, they show their friends the empty spots where their family radio was kept, where the silver was kept, where their shiny bottles of liquor for guests was kept, and they quickly go to check on their children. To their relief, the children are well, so the grown-ups make coffee and adjourn outside with their neighbors, where, to their surprise, they find the pile of shiny things waiting for them in the garden by the stream, abandoned in the haste of the trio's getaway.

And there the people stand, whispering about these dangerous events.

"It is a good start to the New Year," says my oldest little one to her sister, awakened by the kafuffle. "The thieves didn't get away with anything, and no one was hurt."

She tiptoes softly down the staircase and across the grass and reaches up into my branches to unwind the red cloth. "I am sorry we tested you," she says to me. "Thank you for your protection; we will not do this again." And I feel relieved as I feel the breeze caress the leaves and branches that were wound by the red cloth.

"I did everything I could," I say. "But my protection only goes so far. You must help me in my mission, and not tempt the fates by testing these cultural legends and superstitions about bad luck."

I feel sure that the children will uphold the natural ways of nature and not bind me in red cloth again, as I hear the younger say, "It is a good day. We are celebrating a New Year, and though we tested the legends of bad luck, we were protected, and no one was hurt. Let's count our blessings, and swear never to test the bad legends again."


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Sacred Peyote Gourd Rattle and Saging Feather

Commissions, ah, this one was sweeeeeet!
You can click on the images to see them enlarged.
So I haven't posted a lot about my artwork this year, but I have definitely been busy. My art career has taken a turn towards commission work over the past several months, and I ADORE it! Working with clients to bring to life their vision is so much fun, and we end up being not only kindred spirits, and peeps working together, but also good friends after all the wonderful conversation behind and around the projects as well as a host of other things.

The latest project that I've finished has been a joy. I met this woman through membership with some FB groups, and she is a kindred spirit indeed. She is a healer, deeply trained in shamanic practices, and a member of the Native American Church, which has the most beautiful ceremonies that she participates in, traveling across the country, to almost every state. How I would love to join those ceremonies.

So this lovely woman wanted a Saging Feather, and a Peyote Gourd Rattle. The Saging Feather was no problem, as I have made many of them, but I'd never done a Peyote Gourd Rattle.

So with the feather, first she picked out which one she wanted, from the stash that I keep on hand, which I buy from one of four feather vendors, this one comes from Robert Wills, who hand-painted all the feathers for the movie Dances with Wolves, since to use real ones is illegal for all people unless they're card-carrying Native Americans, who have special access since it's part of their heritage and way of life (I hesitate to describe it as "religion") for centuries. There's a list of migratory bird species that are protected by law, not only in the U.S., but also in other regions, and if those laws are broken, people face heavy fines and even jail time for not only killing, but simply possession of parts of these protected species. So we don't mess with that.

I use turkey feathers, which are strong and beautiful, as most other artists do, who make these ceremonial objects, and there's a lot to know about them! I learned that the turkey feather holds a natural curve, coming from the wing, and we can use an iron on both sides of the quill to get it to straighten out. I also learned that we can use steam to smooth out any splits, wrinkles, or curly stuff in the feather itself. So that is the beginning of learning to work with feathers!

Young Eagle Feather
Gitana chose this one - a beautiful hand-painted feather that replicates a young Eagle feather. It's just gorgeous. Look at that long, strong quill! So the questions began. "What colors would you like?" "What kind of fringe would you like?" "Do you have a preference as to fur or can I choose?"

Materials starting to be collected.
Well, she wanted white, and turquoise blue, and she let me choose the fur, which is badger fur, just the most glorious fur for this particular feather you could ever imagine! And I added copper color to add contrast to the two blues and the white.

Fur, handle padding, and fringe tips chosen.
We talked about the fringe tips, and Gita has an association with the bear, so I chose a beautiful white pearl shell bear to add to her fringe, and the rest of the tips were colors that complement the bead pattern on the handle. I padded the quill with soft leather, and you can see that the beautiful badger fur has been added.

How the beading comes along....
When I start beading the handle, I have to start a little ways down from the top, and I bead all the way to the bottom, add the fringe, then go back to the top to close up the "collar" so that the fur and leather are held securely. And so that the transition from beading to fur to feather is pretty seamless and very beautiful. Yes, there is MATH involved in making sure that the number of colors and her pattern will work and sit evenly given the width of the handle. Mostly I pray that my math will work out. This one definitely wants to be hers, and it does, oh YAY!

Handle is done, ready for fringe.
Fringe is done, ready for "collar."
Collar is done and we have a finished feather!! WOOT!
So she's all thrilled with her feather, and though I haven't shipped it and she has never seen or touched it, she says to me, "Hey I would really love a Peyote Gourd Rattle to go with that, you want to make it for me?" She tells me she has been looking for a year for a beader who can do what she envisions. I feel very honored. And I say, "Wow, yes, but I've never done that before." So I offer her a discount on the end price of the rattle and ask if I can ask her a million questions while as I progress with research and work on it, and I promise her that if it doesn't turn out just like she envisions, no obligation to buy.

And WOW. Our journey together begins.

I do the research. I buy the "kit" from a Native American vendor - great materials. Buy supplementary materials to "the kit" because I don't like the dowel they sent me, it's too fat and needs far too much work to carve it down to the shape and size needed. So I buy an "already prepared" handle. Then I do some more research and I know I'll need to make that handle smooth out because my client wants it fully beaded, so I buy some buckskin. Wow it smells so good and it's beautifully worked, brain tanned and smooth and white and soft. And then I begin.

First layer of buckskin ready to receive the horsehair
The first thing I have to do is construct the top, which is supposed to be removable so she can take it apart and travel with it and also in case she wants to change out the seeds or beads inside the rattle - some are more quiet than others, and some have significance for certain ceremonies. So the FIT has to be PERFECT for the top - tight but removable. No pressure, Jen.

Got the buckskin on, got the horsehair on.
And the bummer thing is, though it's manageable, that they ship the horsehair all sort of rolled up in a circle, so that it gets a badass curve in it. And THAT I have to train OUT of it, so I put on little rubber bands.
After the horsehair, the fur.
After the horsehair is on, no small feat, very messy and wonderful, I add the badger fur. Notice here that the horsehair is wrapped with FireLine, as well as glued with EZ6000. Trimming along that bottom edge was the hardest part. 

After the horsehair and fur, the buckskin and beading!
So the next step was to add a layer of buckskin and start beading her pattern on it. Same process as her feather, start close to the top and bead down, then go back and finish the transition between the leather and the fur.

All done, top fits!
So this was what I considered the hardest part of this project - getting the top to stick while in place no matter how she shakes her rattle, but making it removable. I think the spirits were with us while I was working because I shook it hard and it stayed in place. I told her, like a good leather shoe, it might stretch over time, and she might eventually want to glue it in place, but it should last for a good long while just by twisting it overtop the gourd.

So then came the handle....
When I ordered the "kit," they sent me a smooth, fat dowel for the handle, but I didn't like that because we'd have to do all kinds of work to carve the tip that goes through the gourd, so I ordered the already carved handle that they had available. It also came with some challenges. It was carved nicely to go through the gourd, but also had two areas of indentation that were great for beading but not if the beading was to go all the way down the handle. They were designed for beading on top and bottom but not middle. So my challenge was to make it smooth all the way down, and I used the gorgeous buckskin to make two layers on the parts that were too thin. It was important to do this right so that it would eventually turn out even and smooth with the beading overtop of it. So I added two buckskin layers to the thin parts and prayed, lol.

The 12 traditional rolled buckskin fringe pieces.
While smoothing out the handle, I also had to accommodate the traditional 12 rolled buckskin fringe pieces that have a very special meaning. So I glued and FireLine wrapped those before covering them with the smoothing layer of buckskin. No small challenge. I prayed some more....

Beading on the handle starts, yay!
Transition from buckskin to wood, will it work?
I was wondering if it would get all slippery when I transitioned from the soft, sort of "sink in" buckskin, which I love to bead, to the hard wood, and it worked beautifully. Oh YAY and thank you angels all! We had a smooth seamless transition! WOOT!

The handle is coming along....
The handle wanted to be with her sisters, the top and the gourd, so let me bead her all the way down and the process went smooth as silk. WOOT!

Yes, we have a finished handle! WOOT!
But that was not enough. You know me. I want to stretch for the best every time, so I wanted to see if I could do the inside collar of the gourd itself since I'd seen one done like that.

Yep! The collar. Woot!
So I spent not one, not two, but THREE times trying to get this right. Wow it was hard. First you have to cut out the circle just right, then design the pattern, then bead it so it sits right - so many things could go wrong, but they didn't. We got our beautiful collar and now her gorgeous Peyote Gourd Rattle is done!

Wow what a project. I feel very honored to have the opportunity to work on it. It is most beautiful and I feel so good that she will be working with it in ceremony. Oh so many good times coming with that!

Thank you lovely Gita for working with me. This was a pure pleasure all the way!

TA DA!! Magic forthcoming! XO


Monday, December 10, 2018

Getting Unstuck from Death

A Reminder....
Tonight I received a gift too great not to share. I was writing with my daughter, as I miss her during the holidays since she died. And if you've read any of my other posts you know we write back and forth sometimes. She gave me a sweet surprise, along with a lot of love, which I especially appreciate during this very difficult time - when we are besieged with movies, commercials, music, friends, and family members that are happy, jolly, and mostly oblivious to the piercing pain of missing our beloved who has gone Home.

Well Jess took care of that in very simple terms tonight. So I will share our letter with you in case it might help you to think a little differently about the death of your beloved. With me, I learned that the grieving is all about me, not her. And when I stop that and open up to the "her-ness" of her being now, there is really nothing to grieve....

Rob and I did one of my favorite things this afternoon, we gave our pups their bathies. This is one of the first things I was able to do after my daughter died - spend time loving my pups, and it was a lifesaver for me. I made myself do it after nights when I couldn't sleep, days when I didn't eat, and I remember bending over the tub all dizzy and weak and just "getting through" the process of giving them their baths because it was something I could care about. I didn't care about very much that first year. The relevancy just wasn't there. Nothing mattered at all next to the catastrophe we had experienced. But today, nearly four years later, I did not feel dizzy and I did not feel particularly weak, and I took my time helping the pups to really enjoy their baths, I let them lick at the water coming from the sprayer,  snuggle-dried them off with soft, thick towels, brushed them out gently, and it was pure pleasure. I think they enjoy it too, now.

Jess helps me so very much in this journey of learning to live in two worlds. So tonight, after the man and pups were asleep in bed, and Joey Max, my kitty, was curled up next to me in my studio, I pulled out the journal I write with Jess in and I told her how much I miss her, and how I was remembering the Christmases we'd shared as a family, and after agreeing that she'd had plenty of happy times while she was here, she suddenly went into describing the happy times she is experiencing now, in her world, and why. And wow, it was so beautiful and just delightful to think about.

You can click on the images to read the whole letter.

Jess starts to describe her happiness in her world.
"I am having happy 'times' here too, better than I could have imagined there. Mostly because of the lack of limitation. We have acceptance and belonging here as much as we want, and we never have to doubt its sincerity. That is true treasure. It belongs to all of us and you will surely enjoy it Mamaa," she said.

Then she described what she's been doing - learning to play with her new lightbody, which has few limitations, nothing like we have here. 

"Oh hey Mamaa, let me tell you about this body, my body, my individual self when I am not communing as part of the Whole! I love it! It is like a TV channel and I can switch all kinds of things about it. I can change how it looks - just by thinking of it, and because the basis of it is light, it has none of the restrictions that Earth bodies have. It can go through things, like water or cold or heat, and they don't hurt it. So I can explore whatever I want to, and it is kind of 'nuclear' or self generating, so it isn't limited by distance or time like our Earth bodies. We can meld with others who are like 'kindred' Spirits, and we can learn by this melding also. Kind of like cooking where you blend ingredients and the two separate ones become something else when they're blended. We can make music and sound this way Momma. It is loads of fun!"

Well that's a lot of information to consider!

We can blend our energies and share inspiration.
Then she says, "We can also blend somewhat with the energies of certain Earth people and you would call this 'inspiration.' That is very fun. If our hearts are pure, we are given the freedom to inspire others in many places, not just Earth. It's part of our learning about how we can create."

Oh, that's another zinger - she's learning how to be a creator! Makes me wonder what we might be able to create in those worlds. Maybe we should get our hearts in the right place before we mess with that!

All this is fascinating to me, but it's not the true gift that I want to share. She goes on to say, "Well Momma, about the sadness. You are doing much better. And I would like you to know that I am far, far away from that period of Earthly sickness and the events around that death. It was my transition, and most welcome in many ways, but I am sooooo much beyond it now, it's like a little factoid. A little process. And when you go back to it or hold onto it, it's like you're holding onto something that is at rest and has been at rest for me since the moment of my transition. I have no attachment or yearning, because I hold all of what I experienced, all of the love, and the learnings from the struggles as a part of me, but I have moved beyond it - it is so small compared to the absolute lack of Earthly limitation that I experience here and the absolute love and vastness and 'allness' that I experience here."

About the sadness...
That is where she first starts to go into her Gift to me. She is telling me to let go of the death itself. She is saying that was just a process, her transition. And she is way beyond that now, and the implication is that I also can be way beyond that and all the trauma and heavy emotion around it. But here comes the best part. She said, "I think that is why we have the gift of the night skies full of stars on Earth, to remind us of the 'smallness' compared to the 'Allness.' It's like we kind of know in our hearts when we are there, but we don't really stop and listen to the lessons of Nature and the Cosmos."

"It's like the rhythm of the ocean we talked about - the flow. It's like the air we breathe into our bodies - our true Gifts, that we just take for granted and we don't understand that they are The Great Reminders."

The Great Reminders
She said, "Our Creator knew that we would need these reminders and there is life and sustenance and power in them."

And here is the how to get unstuck from death part - she said, "If you feel sad, go outside and partake of The Reminders - the sky, the wind, the stars, the water, and fire can do that too. These are elemental - not totally 'containable' or even such that people can 'own' them, though they try. It is not really possible. They are sacred." 

And this is a HUGE reminder to me of the difference between our worlds - yes, we come here as spirits-being-human, and while we are here, we have these lovely, vast, un-ownable, uncontainable, life-sustaining resources, gifts, that our Creator has bestowed upon us. They remind me that vastness does certainly exist, uncontainability exists, and by that I think I mean that the concept of true freedom that cannot be captured or trapped exists all around us every day and every night to remind us of our true Home and our true Selves! How wonderful! How special are we that our Creator has gifted every one of us with things so sacred, so vast, so invisible, yet essential?! Just that these lovely Reminders exist means to me that our very limited world is not at all, all that is. There's far more. And that makes me very happy.

We go to the woods to breathe the fresh air and we know it makes us feel good, and it can be very healing. We go to the beach and listen to the rhythm of the ocean and we know it makes us feel good and can also be very healing. And we look up at the sky countless times, wondering about those beautiful stars, and we know that also makes us feel good. But do we ever think that these are The Reminders of where we came from, of the vastness of that endless flow, the rhythm itself of Love? That these are the Reminders of Home and that if one of our beloveds goes Home, the completion of their Earth adventure is truly to be celebrated?

Thank you sweet Jess, as always, for sharing your much expanded perspectives!


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Hey, that was a REAL elf!

I'm pretty sure that's a real elf!
I've been looking forward to posting this story, which is also in my book, Coming Alive After Death, which will be done in the next few weeks. Will post when the book is available, can't wait! Still winding up the last few chapters and resource section.

To set up this chapter, you need to know that Jess had two grand mal seizures over the summer, which resulted in the suspension of her driver's license, to keep her, as well as others, safe on the road. So she reluctantly became "a bus person." 

Bus Angels

Jess became a Bus Angel. Once she got over the fact that I knew about both of her seizures and realized I wasn't going to come and overtake her life, she settled into telling me her stories.

She sent beautiful photos of her walk to the bus stop in the mornings or evenings, in the rain or the sun or the wind or the ice or the occasional dump of snow.

"I bought special boots for my bus stop walks, Momma." She sent me photos of her sweet feet encased in these rubber-soled boots that were nonetheless very fashionable.

Before her first time taking the bus, I gave her a pep-talk on the phone, reminding her of the days when she and her brother were very young, right after the breakup of first marriage, and the biological father would make them take the bus to school on the days he took care of them before we moved out of state. When they were little, I had always taken them to school myself, and because of my care, I never imagined they'd become "bus people." But they loved the school bus at times when they stayed with the biological father, and felt very independent as youngsters and I was grateful at this time to be able to remind her of it.

"There were two people sitting next to me, Momma," she said after her first ride. "They were arguing and it made me feel uncomfortable. One of them was clearly drugged out and the other one was trying to get her through it." Jess was afraid that night, afraid of strangers, not for certain sure where she was supposed to get off, and a bit mistrustful of the whole process of riding the bus.

I waited, heart still in my throat for the next evening's bus story. "There was a person on the bus who had never ridden a bus before," Jess said. "And they didn't know where to get off and they were all scared," she said.

She had done her research to find her bus stops (not one, but TWO) so she knew the way to work and home, and some other places besides.

"Maybe you can become a Bus Angel," I suggested, searching for a way to help her be comfortable among people she didn't know, strangers around her where she'd previously been able to drive her car, smoke, play her favorite music, and zip around to wherever she wanted to be, parking close to where she needed to go.

"Bus Angels are people who help to comfort others," I said. "And if you see this person tomorrow, which is likely, you can talk to them and see how their bus adventure is going." Searching, searching in my heart for a way to make her feel empowered after the loss of driving privileges. Her beautiful new car named Bluebird (for the bluebird of happiness) sat in the parking lot of her home all day, all night, with no one to turn the ignition and start a new adventure with her.

"Jess, even though taking the bus is harder, please don't drive," I said one night. "You don't want to risk having a seizure at the wheel, and I would never want you to experience harming or even the death of another person if that should ever happen." God, she listened. And through the ice and snow and rain of winter, she walked and walked, slid, and became a true Bus Angel. She took the battery out of Bluebird so that she would not be tempted to drive. Sweet Jess.

At Christmastime they of course, always had Santa come to the studio to take photos with the children, and one of Jess's favorite things to do was dress up as an elf and become Santa's helper, to the delight of all the children. Holiday time came around, and she was still taking the bus, counting the days until she could drive again in February. It would take six months clearance time without a seizure for her to secure driving privileges again. So she dressed in her elf outfit, soft green tunic, stockings, little boots, and a special hat. She wore it on the bus to work.

That day, there was a little girl on the bus with her father and the child stared at Elf Jess with big eyes and started flirting. Arms out, she stretched waaay away from her seat on her father's lap and leaned towards Jess, begging to sit in her lap. Jess raised her eyebrows to the father and he nodded his head, handing over his little girl.

Jess took her onto her lap, wrapped her arms around her, and swung the little girl side to side, side to side, her hair hanging upside down as the little girl leaned backwards, giggling, and laughter surrounded them from people sitting alongside. When Jess got off the bus, she noticed that the father and the little girl had gotten off just ahead of her, and she found herself walking a few feet behind them towards her workplace.

"Do you think that was a REAL Elf, Daddy?" asked the little girl.

"I'm pretty sure it was." said her father.

And Elf Jess, the Bus Angel, glowed all day.

It was good stories on the phone that night and I knew she had graduated from fearful, unempowered bus person to Bus Angel.

Yes, Virginia, Santa works with some awesome elves!
I'm so proud of Jess for living life to the fullest, even just a couple of weeks before her body failed her and she died - January 9th. She never let fear set her back. Such grace. Such love. Such sweet, sweet memories. I imagine that in her Heaven she can spend as much time with Santa as she wants, and sweet little girls and boys who believe in elves!

Happy holidays!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Biggest Zinger Ever from Sweet Jess

Yep! It's Shakespeare!
Some days, when your child has died, you bend over and go silently inside your head, even three years later, Oh my God...Oh my God.... And the pain just waves through you and you cry. And you've learned enough to stop for a minute and remember the love and the laughing and the good times. Yes, that helps.

So I had a few waves today and after Rob and the pups went to bed I cried, not loudly, just a little, and I tried to figure out what the trigger was. Well I'm sure the #@%&*!! Hallmark CHRISTMAS movies that they started playing even BEFORE HALLOWEEN might have something to do with it. We all know that holidays are bittersweet without our Lovies here to be able to give to and love in the physical ways we know how.

So after last night's movies, I decided not to turn on the TV tonight, and I sat in the quiet listening to the rain for a while.

And my kitty Joey came up to sit not just next to me, but upon the pillow I had on my lap, purring all over the place and being so zen. So I petted him and told him what a shiny boy he is, my baby lynx kitty. And my heart started to settle. I thought for sure Jess wouldn't be able to connect, because though I was feeling mostly "peaceful," there was much emotion still roiling around inside.

But after a while of listening to the beautiful rain outside and petting Joey I reached for our journal and got a huge surprise.

She's been studying.... Click on the images to read the letter
I never know what I'm going to get when Jess comes in - sometimes she's her very upbeat, rollicking Earth-type self, sometimes she lets her teachers' knowledge filter down, and sometimes she brings other family spirits to visit with me. Tonight she was her rollicking self, and I could feel immediately that she felt like the cat that ate the cream...she was very happy and excited to share something new with me, and boy, yes, it is very new. I had never thought of it before. Wonder if anyone else has....

She greeted me by saying "Greetings Mamaaa! How fare thee today?" and I knew something was up. Then she told me she'd been studying history, and she explained the process of studying in her Heaven by reminding me of the Scrooge scenes in the Christmas movie (no, haven't seen that one yet this year, but I'm sure it's coming...). She said, "Here we can become observers and just like in the Christmas movie about Scrooge, we can 'be' in the scene without actually affecting it."

But THEN, she went on to say, "Do you know that this is eventually one of the ways they will learn to teach history on Earth? No need to write anything down. It's all in what you call the Akashic Records! And children will be guided into meditation to experience whatever prompts their interest about historical events."


She wrote, "As you know, each one [historical event] has a million stories, a different one for each individual who lived an Earth life through it and some before and afters that felt its effects but didn't personally experience it, like children or elders!"

So of course I went "Wow Jess!" Cause what was going through my head after she said that was that I imagined what it could be like if we were all brought up with meditation. We'd be taught the process, and we could now be in a classroom studying, really studying history together this way. We could be given 20 minutes or half an hour to go to an agreed upon event, each student encouraged to explore, in meditation, whatever they were most interested in about it - could be strategy, say, if it were a battle scene, could be effects on town or family, could be politics, WHAT a lot of spherical information could be picked up. And then each student could write up or orally share their experience, and WHAT a well-rounded understanding of the event everyone could have after hearing the other students' perspectives. Can you imagine if we put aside all doubt in our ability to connect with the All That Is? Hm.... Kind of really exciting to think about.

So to get a feel for what Jess was experiencing in her learning of the Shakespeare era, I asked her about it.

How Jess perceives Shakespeare's era
"Oh I love the things they wear," she wrote, "but the living conditions were hard, especially for women of that time. They were limited as to their options - most all options."

I asked how the physical conditions were and she said, "Cold, everyone felt the cold and damp in their bones a lot, so hot food and drink was popular, plus alcohol for warmth and medicine. Bad teeth and lots of pain there, but they just pulled them, which made healing possible."

"It was smelly too," she wrote. "Much more earthy, real smells around the streets. Straw, land, fecal matter and urine, too many wandering cats. It was not as 'soft' a time as you and I know from this life."

"Why are you studying Shakespeare my darling?" I asked her.

"Because I can Momma!" she replied.

So of course I threw out the age old debate to see what she would say about it - "Well some say he was not actually one individual. Was he?"

"Well Mamaaa, he, or his writings I should say, were filtered down from one of the 'collective consciousnesses' here. There were a few individuals who could channel that wisdom and put it through their 'timeframe' Earth lens."

So I asked her, "So are you studying the stories themselves, or 'being part of that time frame' or what?"

"All of it Mamaa. I can see the writers feeling it and putting it on paper. The happenings politically around its distribution, and go into more detail about individual experiences!"

So of course, as my mind thought about this like I'm a kid in a candy store, I said, "Wow! Can you imagine what it would be like to study art that way?! I could be busy for centuries!"

And she said, "Yes! And what's happening on Earth with the technologies where artists can do videos of themselves working and teaching is 'today's' way of Earth trying to do 'as above, so below.'"

Well this concept is a ZINGER for me. Can you imagine what we could learn and do if 1) we were raised knowing we are spirits being human and we have access to the higher "worlds," 2) we were trained to trust our gifts from Heaven including intuition, meditation, and imagination, and 3) we were raised with the "we" mentality rather than the current "every man for himself" materialistic diversion?

I think most people can't even begin to imagine what society could be like if we just stopped allowing ourselves to be distracted by fear, by materialism, and by the negative, petty trips these bring about. But if we start to imagine what we could bring about if we weren't so distracted, well, of course, WORLD PEACE and NO MORE HUNGER would be on the list, because what becomes possible when we learn "spherically" is that we learn to understand things from all different points of view, and the result is compassion.

Sooner than you think, Momma.
So of course I asked her when she thought all this might come about, and she said, "Sooner than you might think Momma. Peeps are learning a lot about meditation for relaxation and healing and it will just be a small step from there to realizing its other gifts and uses."

Well of course. We look at meditation now as a very personal thing. But it also has a "community" purpose. WOW!!

So I started off a bit sad missing her, and she came and bopped me out of my misery - waaaay out! Such lovely things to ponder! Our gifts from Heaven coming out of the Woo closet and being studied and implemented in mainstream ways. Just think what we could accomplish and how MUCH fun it would be.

So wonderful sweet of Jess to have this kind of conversation with me. I know she's happy where she is and lord, she's learning so much and having a good time too. If I could study that way I surely would not be bored. And it could really keep me busy for a very long time....

So we talked a little more and signed off til next time, with so much love.

Joey Max, my sweet kitty who came to purr away my tears earlier is now asleep in playspace.

ZZZzzzzzzzz xoxo!!
And I'm feeling not only filled up with love from the "visit" with my Sparklepuff, but actually very excited about future possibilities! GIFT!

We are only just becoming....
Happy pondering! And again I'll recommend, if you don't already have the Insight Timer meditation ap on your phone, download it for free. It offers thousands of guided meditations, short, long, in-between, for all different purposes, healing, excellent sleep, starting your day, and a million other things. It's wonderful! You can meditate on your own without any input, as you probably already know, but for those starting out or even just those who enjoy a guided experience, check it out xo