Friday, December 16, 2016

Rebirth - Presents from the Universe

Out of the darkness and into the light - the view from my friend 
Lorena's gorgeous barn - I LOVE barns!
Wow. Coming out the other side of a long, dark tunnel is amazing. It sure takes a lot of work. I've been doing the work, and I see at last, a vast, open pathway before me, with guideposts along the way that are clear and very beautiful and also very rewarding. It's like the first deep, rejuvenating breath of fresh air after being underwater for a very long time.

I think my message in this post is to encourage peeps to keep doing your internal work even when the going feels rough; it can open avenues that are greater than you've hoped for or imagined in your wildest dreams. Do not be afraid. Keep doing the work, because though we may not know the timeline for coming out the other side of the tunnel, I find that we DO come out if we do not give up. Do not give up. 

Our world works in mysterious, marvelous ways. Wherever there is discontent or weariness inside of us, there is potential for growth and the opening of new pathways if we do the work to get there. The work simply means giving ourselves permission to seek information and to express ourselves according to the positive urgings of our own hearts and minds.

I definitely believe in Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, the Giving Spirit of this beautiful season. And this year, Santa, St. Nick has been especially generous, for which I am surprised, and very, very grateful. 

I was experiencing several hard things about the holiday season in response to my daughter's passing almost two years ago (two years of eternity, two years of just yesterday). One was that though we decorate for Christmas at home (and also did last year, though modestly), I could not put out the stockings because there is one for each member of the family, and my perception was that my family was lopsided - too much pain to put out Jessie's stocking. I can't fill it, I can't "love" her the way I always did with all the kids. Same thing happened last year with the stockings in particular.

We put up our two stockings but read on to see how we fixed the lopsidedness....
Another thing (like last year) was that I couldn't put our beautiful nutcrackers on the mantel like we always did, because there are six of them, one for each human member of our family. And seeing them and knowing that some of our Lovies are here and one of our Lovies is there is just too, too painful.

Our Nutcrackers - just two this year, not six
But I realized this year that the "not putting things out" felt almost as painful as "putting things out" and I resolved to find an in-between place where we, my husband and I, would feel nourished and we could create space to celebrate and feel happy, yet also protect myself from getting demolished by pain and grief. 

Example of pain and grief - I watched the movie Fools Rush In, which is a reeeally sweet story, but when the couple is in the hospital doing a sonogram and they see the image of the baby and hear its heartbeat what popped into MY mind was: Oh! MY baby doesn't HAVE a heartbeat anymore! - UBER OUCH. I have another biological baby (my son, Torey, grown now but always my baby) who does have a heartbeat that is strong, sweet, sensitive, and oh so loving, but of course, one cannot replace another, and they are each their own shining individual selves.

My beautiful son who lives in Argentina xo
I cried and kept watching the movie, holding the pain, b r e a t h i n g...and then sweet Jess downloaded her peace and joy into my heart and I somehow found in my heart the thought that she IS the heartbeat of the whole Universe, the Earth, the winds, the tides, the rhythm of the sun and the moon, the stillness and quiet, the passion and power - "I am everywhere and always with you Momma." And because of feeling, really feeling her peace downloading throughout my whole self, I was okay. We will all be that someday. That Spirit Self. There's something quite right about it. I wiped my tears on a handy napkin and kept watching.

Jess with her last Christmas tree xo
Most peeps doing the holidays don't have to go through this shit of roller coaster riding but it happens many times per day and night, every day and night for those grieving a loved one, and that's why we like to be alone - we can't predict when we might feel demolished, what that trigger might be, and we don't want to spoil others' happiness and fall apart in the middle of a parteeeee. It's not that we're antisocial, we're "in recovery." And that recovery DOES happen, but it's a long and solitary road for awhile. Rather bumpy to say the least.

SO the second present I received this year, after the wondrous feeling of peace from Jess, was received in a conversation I had with my sister on the phone as I explained my feelings about the stockings: I learned not to be "all or nothing." My sis said "What if you just put out Rob's stocking, and your stocking?" 

"Oh," I said, "that never occurred to me." And it hadn't until then. But I thought it was a GREAT idea. So I related it to my husband, and before he went to bed he brought up the beautiful mantel hanger he made with its bows and our two stockings and hung them by the fireplace.

That worked and felt good. We've done Christmas for all the kids for ever so many years and yet, Christmas also belongs to us on a private, special level. We've picked out and brought home really special ornaments for our tree every year, so that at this point in our lives it is full of personal celebrations and memories, both of/for the kids and of/for ourselves. The tree glows and emanates peace throughout the whole house. I love it and sometimes sleep in the living room near it at night.

Beautiful reflections, magic tree vibes
Well, of course he put our stockings together on one side of the mantel, because just as we don't sit at opposite ends of the dining room table, we like to be next to each other on the mantel as well. So it was feeling a little lopsided. And I felt another inspiration download into my heart: We have LOVIES here in our environment right now! We have Joey Max, our kitty, who comes into my studio with me every single night and purrs and plays and cuddles and sleeps, and we have Benjamin, our Yorkie pup, who guards fiercely day and night, who lapsits, snuggles, and snorts, and we have Lil Bear, our Yorkie/Maltese, who owns my heart and second sleeps with me after a whole night of working when I go to bed with the dawn, and licks all my hand lotion and perfume off and likes to lean against me any way he can when I'm sitting still and he's near me.

Joey Max xo
Benji xo
Lil Bear xo
SO I said to Rob !!Let's go to PetCo and buy THREE TINY STOCKINGS for our fur-peep LOVIES!! And he said "Yes, that's a Very Good Idea." So we're going this weekend, regardless of the weather. And we will come home with THREE TINY STOCKINGS and TREATS and TOYS to put into each of them. And our mantel Will No Longer Be Lopsided. I have learned to love the blessings that are right under my nose and make them feel appreciated xoxoxoxo.

One of my greatest blessings xoxoxo!!
Another beautiful gift I received this Christmas was the gift of relief in a couple of ways. One I will try to keep simple, but it's so wonderful and huge - I had given myself permission when I retired from the University to devote my energies to my artwork and to take courses and learn however and whatever I wanted to. So when I came across the meditation course that Sara Wiseman offers, I decided to go ahead and sign up. Wow - she's terrific, not so much as a meditation facilitator, I've experienced much better, because she never stops talking during her guidance, so you have to know how to do your imagery while she's talking, but she's terrific because she WAS able to introduce me to four of the most magnificent spiritual guides I've had all along but hadn't actually met yet. WOW.

"Heaven to Jen, heaven to Jen...bleep bleep...."
After the meditation, I became more consciously aware that I am happy when I feel balanced, and to feel balanced I understand that there are three areas of my life that I can define and work on/with/through: the mystical, which has always been very strong; the earthwork (service), which allows me to contribute to others and receive in kind; and the spiritual, which is reflected in my painting and beadwork. Being able to define these helps me to put to rest any "battles" between them and to make room for each of them regularly, even daily as much as possible.

Spiritual - My beadwork xo
During my meditation with Sara's guidance I had the most glorious time. And it brought me a LONG way through the dark tunnel and into feelings of true relief. 

I met my mystical guide, who appeared to my right, my Earth guides (there were two) who appeared to my left, and my spiritual guide, who appeared behind me. And WOW were THEY beeeautiful!

The relief came in a way that totally surprised me. And my heart grew three sizes indeed! 

I found, in meeting my two Earth guides, that Jess was among them. It was interesting, since, at the beginning of the meditation, Sara outlined that this "first lesson meditation" was "limited to our personal spiritual guides, not the departed, that's saved for Lesson 4." 

Jess was dressed in a soft, pleated, flowing black skirt and a sleeveless maroon top, with her beautiful glossy long hair bouncing around her and her feet bare. She held her hand up to her mouth as she giggled, and I could feel her feelings - "OH MOMMA!! I'M SO HAPPY YOU'RE MEDITATING! I'M SO HAPPY TO CONNECT WITH YOU AND SEE YOU HERE IN MY VIBRATIONAL LEVEL! WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SUCH FUN!" I could literally feel her elation. I understood that she is a big part of my "spiritual" life in the paintings we do together and also very much a part of my Earth guidance since we are able to share our work here and help others to feel and see the vastness and beauty of love. 

Happy Jess
Detail of our painting together, Dancing for a Dream
And because I understood to a very deep level that our relationship was ongoing and more engaging than I had imagined possible, my heart just felt so light. And this feeling continues. Maybe I've lost my mind, maybe I'm imagining things, maybe whatever, whatever - it feels good so I'm going with it all the way.

Another gift I received, in a most natural order after the meditation and meeting my Earth guides, who help with career, relationships, and all kinds of things related to the logistics of navigating life on Earth, was A NEW JOB!!! I thought to myself, hm, maybe should have connected more consciously a long time ago....

And WOW, this job is also greater than I had imagined possible. It's HUGE. Millennial! I can't say too much about it because I'm restrained by confidentiality, but I've been hired by an international educational organization composed of pathcutters. I'm in home territory since it uses all the skills I used at my University for 16 years as an editor and instructional designer, plus I'm learning hands-on about "the jobs we didn't know would exist" as we designed courses for Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen X, Y, and millennials. 

Training/education in the old days was to teach people to fit into existing positions but training/education today is to teach people to create, to seek, and to empower themselves to morph into positions that never existed before. This organization is truly impressive because they're totally plugged into several other organizations that never existed before and that help to streamline processes and create efficiencies for huge, international organizations that employ a sizeable workforce. Ya ya!

I think the job is, in a way, a result of connecting meditationally with my Earth guides (which we all have). It's just so serendipitous!

The other two guides were magnificently beautiful, but I'll save that for another post.

I'm feeling Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Birthday, and happy everything, Jen. I'd been looking for work for about a year and a half, wanting structure and meaningful engagement to my days, but also wanting time for my artwork and not to be "in a fishbowl," being constantly taken off-task. I did not think it possible to have my desires fulfilled, but I find now, thank you Santa, that I can work when I want to, sleep when I want to, go outside when I want to, wear what I want to, take time to do whatever I want whenever I want to, and work in my own environment where I have access to sunrise, sunset, afternoon sunbeams, swimming, walking, rain, fresh air, my pups and kitty, whatever I wish to fix to eat, and it is just soooo wonderful. 

I find myself living what I heard them predict in a distance education conference several years ago - the majority of employees of the future will be contract workers in a "buyer's" market - they'll work when they want to, doing what they choose, according to the skills they've personally built within themselves. Hallelujah!

It is a mistake to believe that in contrast to full-time work, people would choose leisure as a whole life activity. Total leisure tends to lead to stagnation and slow death. Rather, research shows that most people have an innate desire to engage with others in meaningful and influential ways according to their interests. They love to be active in areas they care about. And cares are as varied as imaginable. I love that education is heading that way too.

So here we are. It's a good place to be.

Opening our internal petals
Thank you Universe, spirit guides, and Self for doing the work and continuing to do the work. Thank you sweet Santa, St. Nick, for sharing your Giving Spirit - I now allow myself to give and embrace, to receive and be embraced, in love.

Life is very sweet. And the light is good after the darkness. I'm sure I'll continue to bump along a bit (will keep the napkins and hankies handy through the holiday season), but not like anything I've experienced in the past couple of years. 

I am reborn, as I believe we all can be, sometimes several times in a lifetime, and sometimes right outside of it.

The Chrysalis
The Rebirth
Here's to growing, here's to LIFE and LOVING. Here's to the beautiful gifts of the Universe when we do the work to open ourselves to receive them. I'm sure they're each very personal and just the right thing for each person. I think meditation, prayer, and being open to allowing ourselves to explore whatever our hearts and minds seek, lead to really interesting, rewarding, and influential experiences. 

As Glennon Doyle Melton says, "Carry on warriors." xo 

May your holidays be oh so sweet.

Yes, best holiday cookies we've EVER made! WOOT!!


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