Thursday, August 13, 2015

Using Spiritual Power to Change the Events of Our Lives

This lovely angel made by local artist Elli Groninger hangs in my bedroom,
can't you just feel the good energies?!
I had promised in one of my recent blog posts to share my methods of turning waking up into a positive event each morning, after one has experienced the shattering of reality as they know it by the death of a dearly, dearly beloved - in my case it was my sweet daughter. These methods may also have a positive effect for those who are feeling depressed or challenged, with or without the passing of a loved one. They have the power to change what we're experiencing in our day-to-day reality, especially when it's not so good.

One of the most painful surprises that came after the first time I fell asleep, having been notified that my daughter was found deceased in her bed as a result of a long-term illness, was that waking up after sleep was mind-numbingly, excruciatingly, exhaustingly, paralyzingly PAINFUL, as I'm sure many people have experienced.

In the course of my life, I had successfully traversed the passing of beloved pets, my sweet grandparents, my beloved father, and some close friends and acquaintances, but NEVER had I experienced this kind of CRASH into a reality that was more painful than I thought I could bear.

Sweet soft dawn, one of Jessie's photos.
Sweet, soft dawn was not the joy it had been for all the years of my life. I was used to getting up around 6 a.m., having a good, busy day, and being nicely tired by somewhere around 11 p.m. But while my daughter was sick, and after after she passed, upon waking the first few times, I realized a pattern was setting in where I started procrastinating at bedtime. Just a couple more things to do, one or two TV shows to watch, some beadwork to get done...and I found myself up til the wee hours, sometimes through the night til dawn, when I could at last not help but put my head down, only to realize that no matter what time I woke up, it was still the same crashing reality that hobbled my very heart and soul.

Recognition of Jessica's new pathways
So the first thing I did was realize that I would have to "be" in my mind. I would have to make it a comfortable place. I would have to own it, and not allow it to react with kneejerk emotion, but consciously guide it into smoother waters.

In order to do that I had to acknowledge that Jess was made of energy, so she isn't destructible. She is indestructible. That led me to think about what her expression of herself might now be in her new world. It led me to think about the fact that we all die, and it is a natural part of life, and each of us is essentially indestructible. It led me to remember that the reason there's a veil of separation is because this is a magnificent, wonderful place, the place from which we come when we are born into this world, and the place to which we return after each worldly adventure. If we knew how beautiful it is, how nourishing and life supporting, we'd probably all go jump off a bridge - but we each have our reasons for being here, so we mostly don't do that.

While we're here, we have our etheric roots in the ground of the mother planet who sustains us. Solid and nourishing.

Suckling our connection to Mother Earth - we have roots too, though they're etheric.
And we have the etheric part of our bodies reaching to the other worlds, connecting and receiving messages and guidance from higher sources. Most of us don't know how to do this. We are not taught, in fact, it has been hidden from us.

Reaching higher sources.
I remembered some things that had happened during the course of my life. Just before my father died, he came to me in a very vivid dream. We were in a field of grass sitting cross-legged facing each other, and he was a younger version of himself than when he actually passed over. He said to me "I love you, Sugar." He was originally from Virginia, and Sugar is a common endearment for loved ones in that territory - he often called me Sugar. And I said, "I love you too." He placed his palms up and I placed mine down on top of his beautiful palms. He said, "Take care of your mother." And I said, "I will." Then we rose, and had a good hug. After our hug, he walked to the edge of the forest. He had grown up in and loved the forested areas of Virginia so I figure he picked the place where we "met". He said "I'm going now." And with a big smile and a wave, he, dressed in a bright, soft, warm red jacket, turned and walked into the woods. I awoke knowing he would soon die, and he did within a matter of days. Our connection was such a gift. Thank you Dad.

We love the forest and the forest loves us.
I consider that this communication with my father was a spiritual connection.

I was reminded of another spiritual connection that I had initiated at a time when my sister was in trouble. She had somehow managed to become entangled in a relationship with a man who would not leave when she decided the relationship should be over. He was a real-time stalker, following her to restaurants where she dined with friends, sitting and watching her. Following her to her apartment where she lived alone, sitting on a little hill looking in the windows. She couldn't shake him and was quite understandably scared.

She was able to get help from the wonderful Centre County Women's Resource Center, even to the point where he had crossed so many boundary lines he was finally arrested and held for 18 months. Stalking is not okay and it is against the law. She was scared as it neared time for his release.

Dragons may be out there, but we need have no fear.
So as his release time neared, I decided to do a "spiritual intervention." I sat in meditation (which is not just a passive tool, it can be very powerful) and called him to meet with me. We met on a spiritual level and talked. I reminded his "whole spiritual self" that what he was doing was against cosmic law - he didn't have the right to treat another person the way he was, and I asked him inside himself if he was happy doing this. He said no. He understood that the ego part of himself, disassociated from his spiritual self, was crossing boundaries and going against his own true spiritual path. I asked him if he would please leave my sister alone after he was released, and he agreed he would.

Upon his release from prison, he moved out of state, and she never heard from him or saw him again. I think this is an illustration of the power in learning how to communicate on spiritual levels. I believe that when we're feeling vulnerable, we have the power to seek agreement with individuals when they're in their spiritual form, which filters down to the physical, Earth-plane level after the meditation. But we can only ask, we cannot force or coerce. That doesn't work. In their more whole spiritual form, they have to recognize things for themselves and agree so that it filters down to the ego level, so the conversation needs to be carefully orchestrated. Also it's very important to say thank you - to acknowledge their realization that they are "off-path," and their innate desire to self-correct.

I believe that we can have this kind of spiritual communication with those who are living or passed on. We can do it for various purposes - to protect, to gain knowledge for historical work we are doing, etc. We can do it to smooth our relationships as we go about our daily lives. Meditation is a powerful tool. It connects us to levels higher than those we experience in our daily lives. Try an intervention with someone you're having difficulties with and just watch the difficulties dissipate.

So. Having had these experiences in life, I thought about how I could apply what I had learned to my vulnerabilities with Jessie's passing and the pain of waking up. One morning, upon first opening my eyes and realizing I was here yet again, I decided to acknowledge my daughter's growth. She was no longer the physical being that I raised and loved, she was more!

And knowing she was more, I realized she could lend me strength without being taken off task with whatever she's doing on the higher levels, because I understand they're somewhat holographic, so they can be in several places at once without losing any energy in any of the places they're "working." I decided to keep it simple. And I called to her, that first day, and said, "I can't do this by myself, will you send your peace into my heart and help me to be strong?" And I saw in my mind's eye our two palms coming together in a high five, clap! "You got it Momma!" And I said "Let's do this day!" So we did. And this type of meditation, where I take an extra five minutes to touch base not only with Jess but with my Lovies who are still here, is how I begin my days.

I high-five with Torey though I'm not sure he knows it : )
I high five with Jess first, then I think of all the Lovies in my life, my sweet husband, my beloved son, my pups, my relatives, and my heart fills with love. And my mind turns to the projects I'm working on and I can go on, with this new relationship nicely in place. And my current relationships nicely acknowledged, in spirit form. What a great way to start a day in the danged new normal we're creating.

I high-five with Rob, remembering so many of our good times.
Good times!
Good times!
My beautiful girl.
We can do hard things.
Here's hoping all your dreams are sweet and that waking up is always a pleasure through learning how to connect spiritually with your Lovies and your own spiritual agenda for this lifetime. This is one way to "be here now" even though we can participate on different levels of "reality." 

Let's do this day!

One of Jessica's beautiful photos of her time in Seattle xo

Doing Different Things and Doing Things Differently

You know how when you meet someone and you're falling in love, they're the very first thing on your mind when you wake up? And they're in your mind all day? And they're the last thing you think about when you fall asleep? It's like they permeate your waking life. If you're very lucky, and very much in love, this can last for weeks, months, years. It's wonderful.

My experience of my daughter's death has been like that - not so wonderful, but definitely permeating my whole being and existence 24/7. It is changing me - I am redefining myself, doing different things and doing things differently, because the previous reality is shattered.

So as I progress through this journey, I find that there are things about the event that seep into my work - my artistic expression. I am giving voice to them because I am listening to the urges of Spirit within myself.

When we were at Elowah Falls, scattering her ashes, I took a photo just afterwards, and in the mist from the falls I saw a group of Spirit Women and one Standing Spirit, as if the Spirit Women were welcoming Jess's spirit, drawing her into their circle to cleanse and heal her from her earthly journey, which, after the sickness, has made her tired and caused her pain.

Do you see the circle of women and the standing spirit to the left?
So as I teach myself to do different things and do things differently, I bring this to the painting that is inspired by this photograph. I don't usually post too much about paintings while they're in progress, but this one is taking quite some time so I will post as I go. I think this painting is one of my best, and it is birthing a new style that I will bring into subsequent works. It's softer, and I like it. I am studying Stephanie Pui Mun Law's tutorials in order to develop my own style the way I see it in my head. Stephanie is a master of watercolor whom I greatly admire. Might as well try to learn from one of the best.

The landscape of the upper corner of the painting is done.
The upper left corner of the painting depicts the beautiful pines of Oregon, which I adore, and the beautiful waterfalls. After we scattered Jess's ashes by Elowah Falls, the Lovies released lime green and pink balloons with notes and prayers written on them, and as they floated up through the sky a part of my heart went with them. They are appearing in my work now.

Detail of the background falls.
In Oregon there are yellow flowers that grow just about everywhere and I love them, so I added some into my painting.

Jess in spirit form and the Spirit Women welcoming her.
This part of the painting is in the very early stages. I will glaze layers that gently pull out the features of the Spirit Women and the misty waterfoam surrounding them. And I'll glaze layers over the landscape in the foreground, which is composed of beautiful ferns.

Detail of Jess's spirit form
 When I drew Jess's spirit form I gave it wings, because she's turning into her celestial form, and she's my angel, so she must have wings. And because the moon was in the sky in the morning, soft white against robin's egg blue, I chose the Luna Moth as a reference for her wings, so they'll be a beautiful, soft lime green color with accents of deep navy blue.

The whole composition in its early stages.
So here's a photo of the whole composition in its very early stages. I will post more as I progress. I am enjoying working in this softer style and discovering how I can work with the watercolor to preserve its own expression as well as convey what's in my head.

Thanks for visiting!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Scattering Jess's Ashes, yes again.

Jess's Ashes
So this post is not for those who are primarily interested in my artwork, it's mostly to commemorate my daughter's life, and the milestones I face and experience in navigating her journey into wholeness in her Universal life and the continuation of my journey here in my Earthtime without her. My blog is about many facets of the things I experience, and my apologies to any who may wish to skip these parts.

It's kind of funny, and sort of a challenge, that when we were in the funeral home in Portland, choosing the container for the ashes we would scatter on the beautiful hike, the true tribute to my daugher, I had no idea of the volume of ashes of a human body and I made a sort of mistake in choosing a container that was too small. I didn't know til they turned the ashes over to us that I would have "leftovers."

After we scattered her ashes in the beautiful, proper ceremony with all her Lovies, we had to bring some back on the plane, labeled with a steel tag with a number on it, in a very official looking totally sealed up white box. I thought it would kill me when we went through security and instead of my daughter going through the process (which had made me cry when we brought her home to heal) they took the box out and spent an e t e r n i t y scanning it. Oh LORD. I had also purchased two little containers to transfer her "leftover" ashes into, a private little ceremony I had by myself late one night in my studio after we got home.

So I've known for several months that I would need to scatter these "leftover" ashes here in PA, and have contemplated various places--wanting to put them in places that Jess loved and felt safe in. I didn't know when I would do this. I wasn't looking forward to it. I knew it would bring pain. But it would also bring release, freedom, and a kind of peace.

Yesterday was a day of good work, learning new technologies for bead pattern making, and I felt good, but what I've discovered through this process is that a little time must be spent each night honoring and acknowledging my daughter, which I usually do by writing in my journal. Well that night I went a bit to the dark places--realizing that I am waiting in the night for something that will never happen. She will never call again. I will never see her again. She will not visit. I could not save her. I was bouncing into the acceptance phase of the dang chart they provide so you can monitor your coming to terms with this kind of loss.

I thought about the phone conversations we had had and wondered what I should have said or done. A huge piece of me and my life was missing. It hurt so much. I wanted to run away but there was nowhere to go to outrun this.

And that was when I felt quite certainly that it was time to scatter the rest of her ashes. So I called my sweet sister at about 6:30 in the morning, miraculously, she was awake, and said she would come to be with me. Then I went in the bedroom to my husband, who was also miraculously just waking up, and, standing by the side of the bed, flopped myself across his body, which is a position we often take when we're talking and he's sleepy and I'm not, and I asked him if he would take me to do this and he, in all his wonderful kindness said "Okay."

My sis arrived at about 9 a.m. I haven't seen 9 a.m. in all the months since Jess died because it's hard to sleep--well not so hard to sleep but just awful waking up to reality. (Blog post coming about how I've learned to make waking up a good thing.) So by 9, I had somehow taken a shower, my hubby had fed the pups and let them out, and he'd eaten some toast while I drank coffee. We were ready to go.

Special Territory
We drove to a place here in PA where my hubby and I have spent a lot of time, and my daughter also spent a lot of time. It's out in beautiful Nature, and you can see for miles around. It's very special territory. We've had picnics there, buried beloved pets there, made love under the trees there, and skinny dipped in the sacred waters there. I knew Jess also loved to swim there, so this was one of the places I chose to scatter her ashes.

Mourning Moon
It is a beautiful place, and today the moon was in the sky in the morning--beautiful white against robin's egg blue.

There is water in this beautiful place. And Jess loved it. In this photo I tried to capture the very last of the ripples that Jess's ashes caused when we scattered them, just like the beautiful ripples she made in everyone's lives whom she touched. I loved watching them flow so gently and peacefully across the water.

Jessica's Ripples
We buried the little cardboard container that I had tapped goodnight so many times--it was one of those with a photo of a sunset going all the way around it. We picked a spot under a huge old oak tree, and both Rob and I dug the hole. At first the roots were protesting a bit, and we didn't want to harm them, so I went over and pulled back a flap of the turf, and when I tucked the little sunset container (now empty) into the hole, it sort of popped in under the turf like it was perfectly happy to be there. Something about that felt so right. We said our prayers and started walking back to the car.

Happiness amidst the sadness - Earth's sweet messages
We were nurtured by sweet Earth's profusion of happy flowers along the trail back to our car. My husband went to the edge of the forest and picked a handful of gloriously sweet, sunshine warm blackberries and we had a little feast of them. Somehow that seemed so right as well.

Then we were off to our second destination for the other container of ashes to scatter. This container was made of ceramic pottery, with pictures of little black cats walking among abstract blues and greens. I had chosen it because Jess had had to send her beloved cat Jack across the Rainbow Bridge just after she returned home--he had cancer and it couldn't be cured. So I knew that Jack would be the first to meet her on her new journey, hence the little container.

Along our walk we were accompanied by a beautiful hawk, perhaps the same one who was with us on Mother's Day earlier this year.

This journey today wasn't about "dumping ashes," it was about acknowledging places Jess loved while she was here. So for the second acknowledgment we went to a way up high place--the Campbell Trail at Rothrock State Forest. Rob and I had gone there one New Year's Eve--the first one after all our kids left home, to welcome the new chapter of our lives. All of our kids know this place, they've all been there at one time or another. It's a beautiful view.

The view from the little parking lot next to the Campbell Trail

When I first got out of the car I noticed someone had been celebrating something--there was all kinds of glittery stuff mixed in with the gravel of the parking lot. All those sparkles felt like a good sign. You can't really see it from my photo, but they were sooo sparkling in the sunshine.

Glittery welcome
We started our little hike across the ridge of the mountain to the beautiful clearing where Rob and I had gone on our wedding day with the kids to make a cairn. We built it of six rocks, one for each person in our family, a commemoration of our union.

Beautiful pathways flanked by ferns
We walked and walked, thinking to ourselves, "We are so not 20 or even 43," since the last time we hiked this trail was about 13 years ago. It's just beautiful and I was so happy to be surrounded by fragrant forest, soft breezes, absolutely perfect weather.

The developed side of the valley
We hiked to the clearing on top of the ridge where on one side we could see the valley, with its farms and development, and the beautiful more undeveloped land on the other side.

Ah, sweet freedom in undeveloped land.
I chose this side to scatter the rest of my sweet daughter's ashes. They flew on the wind and landed across puffy ferns and sparkling white rocks. And then my little container was empty.

All done.
We sat and smoked a cigarette, centering ourselves for the hike back. We soaked up the vibes of others who have been here celebrating life and love.

Little firepit where I'm sure good times have taken place.
The beautiful view.
And then we hiked back. I tried to capture a photo of two hawks that circled above us--just one while we were scattering Jess's ashes, and two after we were finished, but my phone camera didn't do a very good job.

Nonetheless, it was perfect.

On the way back I was contemplating what the heck I would do with the little ceramic container and I decided to commemorate this milestone day by collecting some of Nature's bounty to put inside it, partly because Jess and I always used to bring home a rock or some bark or a stick or something when we hiked--both of us did this throughout our lives, and I didn't know she did this until I took care of her home, and discovered her containers of rocks and things. I brought some home and put them with my own, and they're lovely to have around. So on this day, I collected 9 acorns, some twisty bark, a couple of shiny limestone rocks and a few weathered sticks, and that's what I put into the little ceramic container. Somehow cotton puffs for the bathroom just didn't seem right....

These ceremonies today had little to do with Jess herself, and much to do with a milestone event in the moving on of our lives. She's whole and huge and empowered and I feel her peace and joy underlying everything. It resides inside me, and all around me.

It is only my little ego that cries.

So we came home and Rob had a firefly glass of JD whiskey, which we purchased for Josh's visit a few weeks ago, and I had a blue polka dot shot glass of cognac, and we took a nap in our bedroom with the pups, with the curtains blowing and the sunshine sparkling on the leaves outside. And I wiped my tears with one of my grandmothers handkerchiefs.

It was a good, milestone day in moving forward and letting go. Now when I see the little ceramic black cat container, I lift the lid and inside I see the bounties of Nature, and I know that it IS all right.

Love you Jess, always.