How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It has been a quiet summer for pastlifetourist.com, as a few of you may have noticed.  Maybe some of you imagined I had taken a leave of absence from life and was basking in the sun somewhere with a cool drink in hand and many cabana boys jumping to do my bidding.

Alas, no.

However, despite the lack of cabana boys and sandy beaches, I am happy to tell you that my summer has been quite spectacular.  Life changing really.

Funny thing happened.  Back when I was writing the Daily Halo and Weekly Halo-Scopes, the same messages kept coming up over and over and over.  Being the smart cookie that I am I eventually figured out that maybe those messages were meant for me, and not just the people who subscribed to them.

The messages were all the same.  Time to make a change.  Move on and follow your dreams.  Trust in the beauty of your dreams.  Make the leap of faith.

During that time I was working a day job that did not fulfill me, and being overscheduled, stressed and getting those nasty little frowny lines at the corners of my mouth.  Not a good thing.  So one day, while bemoaning my circumstances for the gajillionth time to my long suffering and patient American Husband, he said something that made absolute and perfect sense.

“Why don’t you just quit?  If you don’t try your healing business and writing now, when will you?”  What a wise guy, am I right?  If not now, when?

And so I gave notice at my job (which was a perfectly nice job, just not MY job) and jumped into a life of self employed exhilaration two weeks later.

Funny thing about taking a leap of faith:  every time I have taken the leap (every single time), my wings magically appear and I can fly.  Every.  Single.  Time.  And this was no exception.  As soon as I made my quiet little announcement on Facebook that I would be open for business, people started to show up.  And not just clients (though those have been coming in droves, for which I am eternally grateful!) but other people.  People I didn’t even know I would need, people who could be supportive or helpful, all started showing up, offering assistance.

 “If you advance confidently in the direction of your own dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unimagined in common hours.”  Henry David Thoreau

My days now consist of doing what feels right and important.  I work with clients doing Reiki, Regressions and Readings, and am blessed with a thriving practice.  I host workshops on angels, past lives, and all sorts of soul stuff with my beautiful friend Erin from clumsygrace.com .

I got to do readings at an Angel Tea Party this week!  Can you even imagine how fun that is?

And the coolest thing of all is that I have taken time this summer to finally finish my book, Pieces of Me, Memoirs of a Past Life Tourist, which will be released this fall.  Stay tuned to this space for exciting cover reveal and release dates.  (AAAHHHHH!!!!!!)

I am living the life of my dreams.  It took a long time to trust that I could make this change, but now that it’s done I wonder why the heck I didn’t do  it sooner.

So please my friends:  Anyone who is standing at the edge wondering if it is safe to finally jump… go for it.  Leap with all of your mighty faith and feel those beautiful wings appear.  They’ve been there all along, just waiting for a chance to fly.

Building Castles

“If you have built castles in the sky, Let not your dreams go to waste; Just build the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau 

I sometimes get really tired of being a grown up.  I have always had a vivid imagination but as a grown up I have learned to logic and doubt my way out of almost all of my wildest fantasies.  And I really miss those fantasies, dammit.

So I have decided to stop being such a kill joy to my own imagination.  To that end I have given myself a project this year.  I love to journal and normally I write about things I am grateful for, or about esoteric spiritual ideals and guidance.  But for now I have decided that I am going to free myself from any and all limitations.  I will begin each day by writing about the day I could be living if there were no limitations.

If I had all of the money, time, freedom and permission to live the life of my wildest dreams, where would I be today, and what would I do?  No limits is the only rule.  I write a page or two first thing in the morning.  I don’t have to share it with anyone, unless I really want to.  And you know what?  It is so much fun!  Yesterday I got a book contract and a movie deal!  The day before that I went swimming with the dolphins in Maalaea Bay, Maui.  Tomorrow I am planning a moonlight hike up the ruins at Machu Picchu, and I am pretty sure I will see a few UFOs circling in the sky above.

This little exercise is turning out to be the very best 15 minutes of my day.

Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about the power of imagination to create the life you want in his book Wishes Fulfilled.  He says “keep in mind this basic axiom – if all that now exists was once imagined, then what you want to exist for you in the future must now be imagined.”  So this is my intention:  I will untether my dreams and let them be as wild and fantastic as they can be.  I will allow myself the freedom to imagine a life for myself beyond the ordinary.  I will allow my imagination, in all of its beauty, to guide me to a most extraordinary life.

As a (reluctant) grown up I do understand that not every dream will come true.  But as a dreamer, I plan to at least give the universe a plethora of imaginings to choose from.  I may be creating a whole new reality for myself or I may simply be building castles in the sky.  Either way you look at it, castles in the sky are sure to improve the view, don’t you think?

And a final thought from another favorite Dr. of mine:

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.”  Dr. Seuss

Imagination

Image by: Joel Robison
Image by: Joel Robison

“The greatest gift that you were ever given was the gift of your imagination.”  Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting

The featured image is by an incredible young man from my home town.  His name is Joel Robison and I encourage you all to check out his work at http://joelrobison.com/

Awakening

flowerincrack

When you go through a hard period,
When everything seems to oppose you,
When you feel you cannot even bear one more minute,
NEVER GIVE UP!
Because it is the time and place that the course will divert!  

Rumi

Everybody has a story, that sequence of life events that they use to design how they present themselves to the world.  My story began November 15, 2008.  It goes something like this….

Brenda is Broken Open

The universe whispers lessons and sometimes you hear and that is awesome, But sometimes you don’t hear. Sometimes you get so busy with life and with the mundane, mediocrity of physical existence that you forget to take the moments to sit in silence and to really listen.  So then the whispers get louder.  And if you still don’t hear them, they turn into shouts so loud that you have no choice but to hear.

My shouts stopped me in my tracks.  My shouts had me cowering with arms over my head wondering what horrible thing would come next. It all began with Janice.

My sweet soul friend and I had worked together for several years, creating costumes for the local high school plays.  So many hours we spent together, planning, shopping, sewing, gluing, organizing and laughing.  Janice laughed a lot.  She had an infectious joy and even in the most stressful of times, she would share the humor of the situation and before we knew it we would all be laughing with her.  A tiny dynamo with energy to spare and happiness in abundance, she spent her life and her last breath in laughter.

It was her night to sit in the audience and watch.  I laughed and teased her that she would cry during “Be Our Guest”, like I had the previous evening.  Seeing all of our kids up there giving it their all, the music swelling, the dancing spoons and forks and candelabras, the cute little salt and pepper shakers, the raucous napkins dancing the can-can, she would be moved as I had been.  And of course she would laugh at herself for crying, as I had.  And sure enough, intermission came and Janice showed up in the green room, laughing about crying, bustling around looking for some velcro to fix the Beast’s boot, talking a mile a minute.  Stooping over and searching through a bag of fabric, her voice ringing with laughter, she gushed about the first half of the show, her pride in the kids and in our accomplishment apparent.  She stood up suddenly, turning to me, and her laughter faded.  She looked into my eyes.  A question.

Hand fluttered to her chest.

“Janice.  Are you alright?”

Eyes simply closed.  I caught her as she fell and laid her gently on the ground.  Her breath shuddered.  She was still.

Pandemonium.

“Call 9-1-1”

“Get these kids out of here”

“Is a doctor in the house?”

“Where’s Larry?  Go find Larry.”

“Does anyone know CPR?”

A few shuddering breaths, her body shutting down.  I knelt beside her, held her hand and watched the final reflexes of her dying body.    The world shifted beneath my feet.

And then things got really weird.

As Janice left this world she took me on the first part of the journey.  I was crouched on the ground, holding her hand, shouting to Kristen to call 911 and watching Dave and Evan hustle the kids out of the room, then my focus narrowed to the place where my hand was holding her hand and I had the singular thought,  ‘She is gone’.  That is when I left my body and was at the ceiling, staring down at myself holding Janice’s hand. I could see it so clearly and at that moment I experienced an instant of “no fear”. It wasn’t a feeling of peace or of bliss or anything like that so much as it was a feeling devoid of fear, something I had never experienced before. It made me weightless.   But the really crazy thing that happened as I floated there with Janice, is that I could see that I had wings.

Yeah.   Wings.  WTF?

Seeing the wings totally freaked me out and I was instantly back in my body. It made me think that I was the one who had died and my tiny human brain latched onto the FEAR that had up until that point kept me shackled to this reality.  Fear was my brutal grounding comfort.

The next few weeks I thought perhaps I was going a bit crazy. I was in the clutches of grief, but also I was suffering from some pretty intense PTSD symptoms, not getting much sleep, panicking and crying and trying desperately to hide my struggles from everyone. Finally I told my American Husband what I had experienced. I sobbed as the story came out and I am pretty sure he thought I had gone off the deep end.   But being the amazing, understanding guy he is, he told me very simply that he believed me.   He had no explanation for what happened and neither did I … but he accepted that it must have been real.

He believed me.

Does anyone wonder why I love that man?  In the months and years to come I would have many more opportunities to rely on his quiet, sure strength and to be grateful for the solid foundation he affords me.

You see, the Universe wasn’t done with me yet.  Oh no, there were many more surprises in store.  Just about done with the PTSD you say?  Well then, kerBLAM! your other soul friend, Rod, has terminal cancer.  And while you watch by helplessly as his life is slowly tortured away, POW! let’s just take your job of 16 and a half years away.  Not enough stress yet?  Okay, then, SLAMMO! here’s a lawsuit to chew on.  That ought to keep you busy for 2 or 3 years.  And in the meantime, OOF! time to say good bye to Rod.  Now how about a nice ONE/TWO PUNCH! first beloved Sadie and then devoted Wyatt, best dogs in the world, both gone within 3 months of each other.

Did I mention the part about cowering with my arms over my head wondering what in the name of all things holy would be next?

What followed was 2 years of such severe post traumatic stress that I would often have panic attacks that would leave me thinking I would rather just die than to face the daily rigors of FEAR of what would befall me next.  When Janice died, so suddenly in my arms it woke me up to the fact that our time is truly limited. Of course I knew on a logical level that we all die one day and that each of us has our own unique expiry date, but to see it happen, like somebody turned out the light, one moment laughing and full of joy and the next… just gone… well that was the wake up.

This awakening has taken me to some dark places, and eventually to some incredibly light places.  Along the way I have experienced a whole lot of strange and wonderful things.  It began with the wings, but moved on to some even more bizarre happenings.  The roads have led me here, on this path of self discovery, where I have come to the realization that the lessons I learn in this life are even more valuable when I can add to them the lessons I have learned in other lifetimes.  Keeping a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing is the essential key that fits the locks and opens the doors to so many incredible experiences.  Anything is possible.  And yes, miracles happen.

As for the wings, I’ve done a lot of research, asked a lot of questions, read a lot of books and come to the conclusion that there are about as many theories as there are people.  Some resonated and some did not, but the one that brings me the most comfort is simply that an Angel stepped in and took over in those few moments I was unable to cope.  And as I traveled through the wreckage of my life those next few years I often imagined that if I ever needed her again, that Angel would be there for me in an instant.

Our stories happen to us and it is very easy to become identified solely with them.  For the rest of this life I could walk around and be that victim of circumstances and loss and only that.  Instead I choose to take the wreckage of that time  and climb on top of the rubble and use it as a ladder to something more.  In hindsight I  see that all of the chaos and calamity was really a gift from the divine.  It gave me a glimpse of eternity and opened my awareness to a realm I never knew existed.  I was plain old sepia toned Dorothy opening that farmhouse door to the land of Oz and discovering that the whole world is in vivid, glorious technicolor.

Since it all happened I see things and hear things and know things that defy logic or explanation.  The greatest part of it all is that I no longer have any fear of death because I know it is an illusion.  Only our bodies die, and we cast them off like an old, tight shoe and soar to realms and dimensions we only get hints of now.  We really are spiritual beings having a human experience.  But boy that human part of our experience can sometimes really kick our ass, can’t it?

photo

If you really want to see how high my freak flag can fly, take a look here:   Page 8 (Great book by the way, I highly recommend it.)

For more information on that whole shared death experience, please read Glimpses of Eternity by Dr. Raymond Moody.  Turns out this type of experience is not uncommon.  (A huge shout-out to my friend Joanne for pointing me toward this book and helping me to understand that I am not <completely> crazy.)

Miracles Happen

Brother Sun by David von Braun
Brother Sun by David von Braun

“Run from what’s comfortable.  Forget safety.  Live where you fear to live.  Destroy your reputation.  Be notorious.  I have tried prudent planning long enough.  From now on I will be mad.”  Rumi

Fourteenth row.  I can’t believe how close we are to the stage.  Was I even this excited when I saw Billy Joel perform live in Calgary back in 88?  Checking the time I see that it is only a few moments to show time.  I look up and there he is!   Walking down the stairs, just as casual as can be in his shorts and T-shirt, he shakes a few hands, gives a hug then signs something.  He chats a bit then moves closer to the stage.  As the announcer walks to the microphone I see him smile and wave at a few people.  ” Ladies and Gentlemen, blah-d-blah blah……… Dr. Wayne Dyer!”  The crowd roars.  I am personally doing the bouncy clap, trying desperately not to hoot, whistle or throw any undergarments at the stage, which to my mind would probably not be deemed appropriate behavior at a lecture on Spirituality.

Dr. Dyer saved my life.  I can’t honestly say that I would be who or where I am today if it hadn’t been for his books, his teachings, or the mesmerizing quality of his lectures.  I had recently been through some very traumatic stuff and through it all Dr. Wayne was the life line for me. He followed me through my days, his voice repeating words over and over from the tinny speakers of my MacBook.  His teachings on Inspiration, Intention and fulfilling our personal Dharma had been the bricks in the path that led me away from despair and showed me that I had everything within me that I needed to heal, survive and thrive.

I had really wanted to go on his tour of Holy sites in Europe, but the cost had been prohibitive.  Regardless, I knew that the Universe had ways and means beyond my small human thinking that could make this miracle happen for me.  So I just did what Dr. Wayne says to do.  I set the intention.  “I intend to experience the miraculous with Dr. Wayne.” And then I left it up to the great Divine Mind to figure out the hows, wheres and whens.

As with most miracles, this one knocked my socks off.  I had planned to drive to Kelowna, a city about 7 hours away by car, to take my daughter for a music festival.  I was talking to my Mom, asking her if we would be able to stay with them while we were there.  Dad mumbles something in the background. Mom says “Dad wants to know if you want to go see Dr. Wayne Dyer in Vernon while you are here.”

Well slap my ass and call me Judy!  Did he just say THE DR. WAYNE will be mere moments away from me while I am in Kelowna?? Needless to say I booked our tickets that very night, and didn’t sleep a wink between that day and THE day of the event.  (I told you a million times not to exaggerate).

You see, when somebody reaches across the page and touches a soul, that person can tend to gain a little bit of rock star status.  At least he did for me.  That would account for my nearly rapturous state at the lecture that evening.

The events that occurred that evening count as some of the most bizarre, magical moments of my life.  On reflection I believe that what allowed it all to unfold the way it did was my state of pure openness.  I was of a mind and a heart that was open to everything and attached to nothing.  It was that magical state that allowed the veil to slip open for me, giving me a glimpse of eternity I never in my wildest dreams would imagine seeing.

Dr. Wayne began to speak, his deep soothing voice moving from topic to topic, easily inserting interesting and pertinent quotes and funny stories.  He is engaging to watch, a true master of public speaking.

My senses seemed to narrow and all of the people around me, the auditorium, everything faded so that it was just me watching him.

And then something weird happened.

A large white light seemed to extend from his form and surround him.  It was a huge aura of energy, moving with him so that he seemed to be dancing in the light.  I was mesmerized.  At first I wondered if I might be getting a migraine headache.  I’ve had those in the past and they sometimes created the light effects similar to what I was seeing.  I looked around me to see if the aura was anywhere else, but it wasn’t.  That is when I knew I was seeing something very special indeed.  I was seeing the spirit and not just the man.

My eyes were swimmy with tears but I couldn’t stop grinning.  This was the most awesome light show ever!  Better than any rock show.  My love dial was turned up to eleven. Dr. Wayne started to talk about St. Francis of Assisi.  He had written about St. Francis in his book There’s a Spiritual Solution To Every Problem.    Although I hadn’t yet read that book I had always felt a great affinity for St. Francis and the prayer based on his teachings, Lord let me be an instrument of thy peace.  Such beautiful teachings, pure in the spirit of Divine Love and service.  I watched as Dr. Wayne became immersed in the passion of the teachings, his excitement evident in his voice and actions.

Then something really weird happened.

The man, Dr. Wayne Dyer, phased out of my sight and in his place stood Francis of Assisi.  He was very thin, dressed in tattered monks robes with a fringe of hair around his otherwise bald head.  His face was unlike any I had seen depicted in the frescoes and paintings of St. Francis.  He did not wear the anguish of a martyr in his demeanor and expression.  To the contrary.  His face glowed with rapturous joy.  It was the most sacred thing I have ever witnessed and even now, years later as I remember it brings me to tears. It lasted for only a few seconds but the impression it left has changed my life.

Soon it was time for an intermission.  Dad, my date for the evening, went off to stretch his legs.  I sat quietly amid the sounds of hundreds of people milling about.  Closing my eyes I took a deep breath and tried to assimilate what had just happened.  Was that real?  Did I just see what I thought I did?  Or has the cheese slipped off my cracker?

A soft touch on my hand startled me and my eyes flew open.  Sitting next to me was a very lovely older woman.  She grasped my hand and stared deeply into my eyes.  I smiled back, a bit startled, but was fascinated by her eyes.  They were so young looking in such an aged face.  Sparkling green, they seemed somehow familiar.  Did I know her?

“I couldn’t stop watching you.  You were shining.  It was as if a light was glowing from you.” She smiled at me and I felt like I was seeing somebody I knew really well but had forgotten for some reason.  The connection between us was intense, like instant love, just add water. We began to talk, our words melding, completing each others’ thoughts, talking about important things like God, and love and how we are all connected, about angels and friendships and family.  We talked for the whole intermission and when Dr. Wayne climbed back on stage, she left my side to sit further in the row.

Our conversation was not finished, I decided.  As soon as this was over I would get her contact info so that we could resume our connection.

The second half of the evening was even better than the first.  Everyone in the building could feel the energy and Dr. Wayne was as good as I have ever seen him.  The aura was back, bigger than ever and I felt myself once again drawn by his words to moments of pure, inspired Truth.

He began talking about his year of living the Tao. For one year he gave up almost all of his worldly possessions  and studied the Tao Te Ching, an 81 verse teaching that was purportedly written in the 6th Century BC by the Chinese Master, Lao Tzu.  In the book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life,  Dr. Dyer wrote 81 essays, one for each verse of the Tao.

As Dr. Wayne was discussing these teachings he was once again caught up in the passionate message he was delivering.  The words flowed seamlessly, carrying the messages of Lao Tzu.

Then something really, really weird happened.

Dr. Wayne’s physical form seemed to fade into the white aura that surrounded him and he became the form of Lao Tzu.  He had long white hair, braided down his back and wore a simple blue tunic.  He had facial hair, long and sparse, and the Asian features of the great master.  He emanated true wisdom and peace.

I could barely breathe. Again the image only lasted a few moments, but they were some of the most powerful moments I’ve ever experienced. What was happening?  And was I the only one who saw this??

I turned to look at my Dad but he didn’t seem overly weirded out.  I looked down the row and everyone was in passive listening mode, all eyes turned toward the stage.  With the noted exception of my new friend that is.  Her twinkly green eyes peered down the row at me and we smiled at each other.

Dr. Dyer talked for another hour or so, powerful messages, good laughs and everything a person could hope for from an evening with the man.  We stood up and applauded at the end and as soon as he had left the stage I turned toward my new friend, anxious to get her email address or phone number.

And then something really, really, really weird happened.

She was gone. I searched the row, looking for her diminutive figure.  The seat she had occupied was empty and there was no way she could have left other than by crossing in front of me.  Where did she go?  And more importantly, was I losing my mind? Ah what the heck.  Was a mind such a terrible thing to lose?

Dad and I left the venue and as we were pulling out of the parking space I happened to catch my own reflection up close in the rear view mirror and paused as I saw my own green eyes.  They were exactly the same as the  lady’s eyes.  No wonder they looked so familiar to me!

Mind = blown.  But in the best possible way, of course.

The following few weeks were spent trying to make sense of what happened.  I shared the experience with my American Husband, my daughter and my best friend.  They each had differing theories on what the visions meant.  As far as the Dr. Wayne transformations there were a few schools of thought.  One was that Dr. Wayne had been both St. Francis and Lao Tzu in previous lifetimes.   Another was that he was so enraptured by the messages of these men that time kind of folded in on itself and they became One for a moment.   The third option lived silently in my mind and whispered that I was delusional and had better not talk about this because I would be judged as bat-shit crazy.

As far as my friend, the woman with my eyes… who could she be?  Was she an angel?  Was she me from the future (another fold in time)? Or was she me from a Parallel lifetime?  Jury is still out on this one, but I do know that she visits me in my dreams sometimes and it is always such a beautiful reunion.  I only spoke with her for a few minutes, but I have missed her ever since.

So here’s the thing.  When strange things happen to me I tend to keep them to myself, only sharing with a select few people.  I would like to say that I am independent of the good opinion of others, but truth be told, I fear the judgment.  (I’m working on it)

These events began to grow in my consciousness.  It seemed that every moment of the days following I would think about them, and a persistent voice was nagging me, like Patrick Swayze singing ”I’m Henry the Eighth I am” to Whoopie Goldberg, over and over and over.  This persistent, nagging voice kept telling me I must write a letter and tell Dr. Dyer what happened. I ignored that voice of course. (WRITE THE LETTER). No way was I going to be THAT person!  (WRITE THE LETTER).  He would think I was wacko!  (WRITE THE LETTER).  Crazy as a spoon!  (WRITE THE LETTER).  Off my proverbial rocker! (WRITE THE LETTER).

I sat down at my computer and wrote the damn letter.  Without allowing myself to give it any further thought I found the address to Hay House Publishing in the back of Inspiration Your Ultimate Calling and stuffed the damn letter into the damn envelope, sealed it and dropped it in the damn mail box.

Whew.  Done.  I could breathe again.  Certain that my letter would never find the man, I went on with daily life, relieved that the nagging voice was stilled. Little did I know what the Universe had in store for me.

You have one new message.  “Hello Brenda Babinski, this is Dr. Wayne Dyer……”

The Art of Dreaming

Dream Chaser by Cypherx
Dream Chaser by Cypherx

 

“Let yourself be drawn by the strange pull of that which you truly love.”  Rumi

Don’t you just love all of the inspirational quotes about following your dreams?  “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.  Preach it, Eleanor Roosevelt!  Or what about our buddy Walt Disney:  “If you can dream it, you can do it”.   And since I have reached that 1/2 century marker, C.S. Lewis has become my new BFF with this one:  “You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream”.  Makes me want to take up embroidery so that I can put that on a pillow.

I have found that the problem with growing older is that my freedom and capacity to dream seems to have diminished.  When I was young I could look toward the future and know that anything was possible.  Everything I wished for could actually come true.  Life was expectant and exciting and I hadn’t learned to temper my dreams with logic or reality.  What a wonderful, breathless time that was.

But life set in and before I knew it I was paying a mortgage, raising a child, building a career and taking care of everyone else.  I made sure to cultivate my daughter’s dreams, signing her up for classes and driving her here and there, excited to see her so vividly open to her own beautiful future.  I was busy, never having a moment to myself, but that really didn’t seem to matter.

And then one day somebody asked me a question.  It was a simple question, but one I hadn’t  thought about in a very long time.  The question made me pause, and by pausing I finally understood how very out of touch with myself I had become.  Why was it so hard to answer?

“What are my dreams?”

I honestly couldn’t answer.  Dumbfounded and flummoxed I did what I always do in situations like this one.  I googled.  My searching brought me to a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer, called Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling.   I recognized his name from PBS specials my Dad liked to watch and decided to give it a try.   I ran down to the local bookstore and picked it up.  It was my first book by Dr. Wayne and I was captivated almost at once.  My family and I were headed to St. George to visit my parents and I ended up reading the whole thing on the way there.  Every word, every new chapter was another AHA! AHA! AHA!

Wayne’s words were like water to my thirsty soul:  “There’s a voice in the universe calling each of us to remember our purpose; our reason for being here now, in this world of impermanence.”  Yes, Wayne!  Yes there is!  ” The voice whispers, shouts, and sings to us that this experience of being in form, in space and time, knowing life and death, has meaning. The voice is that of inspiration, which is within each and every one of us.”  YES!   It IS within me!

I could have danced with joy had the airplane aisles been just a smidge wider.

This beautiful book began me on my journey to finding my inner bliss, my purpose and my calling.  I began to really pay attention to what excited me.  And once I finally figured out what my dreams were, I made efforts, even if they were just baby steps, in the direction of those dreams.  Baby steps to personal fulfillment.  Baby steps to divine enlightenment.  Baby steps to Bliss.

In these subsequent years I have learned a few things about being a Dream Catcher.  Perhaps a list is in order?

1.  Dream big, then grow into it.  There is no sense in attaching limitations to our dreams.  Shoot for the stars and wait for the Universe to build you a rocket ship.

2.  Be specific.  Clarify what you want so that you can easily visualize it.  Write it down and remind yourself as often as possible so that you stay focused on the Dream.

3.  Ask for help.  Call in your celestial team for a meeting and delegate the tasks to your angelic helpers and spirit guides.  In other words, pray. .. whatever that means for you.

4.  Believe.  Trust that your Dreams will come true and they will.  You become what you believe.  Simple as that.

5.  Let go.  The hows and the whens will be sorted out by the Universe.  Don’t try to micro-manage the celestial team, because that is just likely to slow things down or trip things up.  They know what they are doing a whole lot better than you do.

6.  Take a few steps.  With every moment of every day take those baby steps as you are guided.  The path will show itself and you will be guided in the perfect way and at the perfect time to your Dream destination.

Your life is yours to live.  Dream big, and believe that those dreams will come true.

The Language of God

Photo by:  Walter Babinski, My American Husband
Photo by: Walter Babinski, My American Husband

“Silence is the language of God.  All else is poor translation.”  Rumi

If I could point to one single thing that has been my greatest guide, teacher, healer and solace in the past few years it would be developing a meditation practice.  For quite some time I had read about the benefits of meditation to overall physical and mental health and would think to myself “gosh I should really learn how to do that.”  Somehow it seemed like it must be really difficult.  Shouldn’t I have a guru?  And sitting in that lotus position for more than 3 minutes made me dead from the waist down, legs completely asleep.

But then life happened and things got pretty intense.  I had struggled with minor anxiety for many years, occasionally having bouts of panic attacks, but had always been able to muscle through them without any medical intervention.  When things got real and I found myself in the throws of some pretty major PTSD I decided that I would give meditation a shot.   From what I had read meditation was shown to help cure all manner of ailments, like asthma, cancer, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, insomnia, and praise the good Lord, anxiety.  Time to give this a try.  What did I have to lose?

I began reading about techniques and was soon adrift in a sea of terms I had never heard before.  Kundalini, chakra, blue pearl, third eye, etc.  It all sounded very foreign and scary to me.  I almost gave up before I started, but the panic attacks had begun to rule my life, so I persevered.  Happily, I found these things called Podcasts on iTunes and there were a whole bunch of free guided meditations to choose from.  I found a few I liked and began what has become a daily necessity for me.  Twice daily that is.

My tips for anyone wanting to start a meditation practice are pretty simple.  I even wrote a list for you.  Here they are.

1.  Start slowly.  5 – 10 minutes every morning listen to a nice guided meditation.  After you get comfortable with that you can increase the time to whatever length best suits you.  I do about 1/2 hour morning and night and that seems perfect for me.

2.  Sit or lay down or walk or do whatever feels best in your body.  I don’t do well sitting cross legged on a cushion because I end up spending the whole time concentrating on how uncomfortable I am.  So in the mornings I sit on my couch with a cushion at my back to keep my spine straight.  My hands rest in my lap.  In the evenings I lay in bed on my back with my hands on my hips.  Both positions allow me to just forget about my body and turn inward.

3.  Once you are getting the hang of things try switching it up from the guided meditation to some binaural beats, or simple meditation music.  I have a couple I like on my iPhone and they are 1/2 hour each, so I don’t have to worry about setting a timer.  Once you are comfortable with the process you may find that you don’t need to use anything anymore.  I now prefer silence for my meditations, but sometimes I will listen to the IAM Wishes Fulfilled Meditation by Dr. Wayne Dyer and James F. Twyman.  The binaural beats are subtle and the music is very soothing.

4.  Follow your breath.  Focusing on your intake and exhale allows you to centre yourself and not be carried along by your thoughts.  Personally, I have never had my thoughts stop completely, but now when I realize I have jumped on a train of thought I just gently move my focus back to my breath and let that train carry on without me on board.

5.  Be kind to yourself.  It is a learning process and there is no right or wrong to it.  Some days I never get past the monkey mind and other days I get a glimpse of that perfect, beautiful stillness that is always there waiting for me in the space between my thoughts.  That is what makes it all worthwhile.

I began to meditate specifically to help heal from a trauma.  I continue to meditate because during the silence and stillness I can finally sense that I am so much more than this human existence.  Where prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening.  I have moments when I feel the oneness of all that is and am filled with a bliss words can’t describe.  Those are the magic moments.  Those are the glimpse of eternity.

Meditation has taken away my panic attacks completely, and the added benefits to my health and physical, emotional and spiritual well being are endless.  I have much less stress.  I very rarely feel ill or get colds, flu, or bugs that are going around.  My immune system feels stellar most of the time.  Plus I sleep like a baby, which is something new for me, too.

If you haven’t tried meditating yet, I highly recommend you do.  You never know… It may just change your whole life like it did for me.

Born to Fly

Emily tests her wings Photo by: Walter Babinski, My American Husband
Emily tests her wings
Photo by: Walter Babinski, My American Husband

“You were born with wings.  Why prefer to crawl through life?”  Rumi

A year ago in January I attended a workshop in Maui on Divine Love. It was led by Dr. Wayne Dyer and turned out to be a life changer for me. I am not surprised that this happened, afterall a couple of my life changing moments happened as a direct result of this incredible man.

This time around it was a simple sentence that seemed to resonate in my whole body. A great big A-Ha moment that left me ruminating with it for quite some time, wondering how to begin to live it. The words were a paraphrase of a Herman Melville quote and are at the root of a lot of Dr. Dyer’s teachings, but for some reason these words more than any others did the trick for me. They were:

Beware the half lived life.

Shazam.

I am a linear thinker, for the most part. I love writing lists of things to do then checking them off. Sometimes I even add stuff to the list I’ve already done so that I can have the pleasure of checking them off as “done”. So I thought, what better way to begin to truly live intentionally than to write myself a list? So here goes. My 5 steps to the fully lived life.

1. Stop Numbing

There are certain activities in my day that put me into a zombie-like state. I stare transfixed, and yet completely disengaged. My eyes glaze over. My jaw hangs slack, mouth agape. I am in a coma of soothing non-being. For me this usually happens when I think I am just going to “quickly check Facebook”. I open the site and begin to scroll and when I finally look up again I see that hours and hours have passed and wow, is that drool on my chin? And what valuable life lessons, entertainment or worthy knowledge did I gain in all of that time? Usually nothing. Someone just ate spaghetti for lunch, and someone else has a great recipe for gluten free cardboard bites, and somebody else has a hella-cute grandbaby and that a friend of a friend went to Mexico for vacation. Also there is typically a dump truck load of inspirational memes, most of which are pure unadulterated crap. (I mean really people, if you are going to take the time to go to meme-generator and create some inspirational quote, against a dancing silhouette at sunset on the beach, please, please, please, I’m begging you, check your spelling. If I read one more “Lif begins at the end or your comfort zone” my head just very well may explode).

And so my decision to deactivate Facebook for the month of July seemed the best and most productive step in my journey toward engaging back into life. Some people numb themselves with alcohol, drugs, or binge watching tv series on Netflix. For me, Facebook was my drug of choice and so it was time to pull the plug… at least for July.

The month off was easier than I had imagined it would be.  You can read about that here if you like.

2. Mindfulness

I live in one of the prettiest places on the planet. Surrounded by mountains, forests and glacier fed lakes, and with the most sunshine hours in all of British Columbia (so “they” say). Cranbrook is pretty close to being paradise, and yet I find that my senses have become dulled to it all. My monkey mind has me everywhere but here. I worry about what is coming, I rue what has been, I have fake conversations with people, coming up with all sorts of issues and problems and scenarios that only exist in the madness of my rampant thoughts.

Luckily, because I’ve read Deepak and Eckart I know about the present moment. The elusive NOW. I meditate twice a day, so I have times when I skirt around it pretty nicely and I’ve even had a few spectacular instances where I was really there, in the NOW. When it happened I immediately had the thought arise, “oh wow this is the NOW” and with that realization was of course thrust back into the world of thought.

So my plan to be more mindful brings me to write a sub-list (I get tingly just saying that). To be more mindful I will:

2a. Follow my breath. Whenever I think about mindfulness, just stop, drop, and follow my breath. Here is goes in. Annnnnnd, here it goes out. Ahhh.

2b. Pay attention. Practice using all of my senses to experience where I am and what is happening around me. See the way the light changes as it dapples through the leaves. Listen to the wind and the migrating birds and the leaf blower down the block. Feel the air around my skin. What do my toes feel like, right now? Smell that perfect, autumn mix of cool crisp air, falling leaves and distant frost. Taste the pumpkin spiced latte. No I mean really taste it. Experience it all, with my senses and try very hard not to judge any of it. Just BE with it.

2c. Meditate. Duh.

2d. Let music take me away. For me a good, loud Billy Joel song, or maybe some old Joni Mitchell making ice cream castles in the air, or even Mozart in a pinch, will set my mind to rest and allow me to just feel. Loud music, played through real speakers is the only thing that works. Forget the tinny shit that comes from the laptop speakers. Just no.

Ahh you blessed sub-list. You complete me.

3. Live on Purpose

How easy it is to slip into the redundant, mediocrity of just moving mindlessly through the days and weeks. It is so easy to fall into the rut of daily living, and years can slip by while we check the tv schedule and plan how to spend time living vicariously through fake people. Each morning I write a list (yay!) of my intentions for the day.

Setting intentions, for me is similar to goal-setting, but with a slight, very important difference. Setting a goal is like saying I want to arrive at this destination (the goal) and to get there I need to take this highway, turn left at this juncture and follow the road to the intersection of this and that, then arrive at said goal on this date at this time. Logical, linear, brain thinking action plans.

Setting an intention is figuring out where you want to go, imagining how that will feel, then really feeling it. But here comes the tricky part… that is when you hand it over to the great universal mind to figure out the hows and whens. You still jump into the car and you still head toward the destination, but you trust that the Divine has the wheel and will know the best shortcuts and routes to take to get there. It’s all about letting go of the outcome. Sounds easy in principal, but for one such as I, great lover of lists and plans, it is more challenging that you think.

Who me, control issues? What?

4. Follow Bliss

Have you ever watched a little kid when they are playing outside, all by themselves? They talk and laugh and have conversations with the invisible people who live in their imagination. They find bugs and make shadows and run just to feel their hair move in the wind. They watch clouds. They live life. I have watched my daughter in the throes of delicious that I describe. Heck I even remember way back to the olden days when I was like that, standing on an old stump, singing Black Velvet Band at the top of my lungs, imagining that I was on stage in front of thousands of adoring fans. Guileless.

Life happened and I find myself now trying to separate the “shoulds” from the “coulds”. What makes me happy? And why is that such a difficult question to answer?

In an attempt to regain my own sense of blissful wonder, I look back to the times in my life that I felt the happiest. And I turn to the theatre. I have recently volunteered to shadow Terry, a locally famous director of community theatre. I run, fetch, sew, glue and do whatever needs doing, and in the process I learn all about directing and producing plays. I remember, even back when I was performing, how cool it seemed to be the director. It is like creating a piece of art with the stage as the canvas and the talented willing people as the paint. How stupendously cool is that?

Also, writing. Time disappears when I write. Worlds are created, people live and die, and I am in control of it all. I laugh and I cry. I look frustration and apathy in the face and sometimes I win. And lots of times Facebook wins. (see number 1).   It’s a process…

And then there is the Book Club. Moving back to Cranbrook offered me lots of surprises, good and not so good, but the greatest so far has been my adoption into the Book Club. We had our meeting last week to talk about The Signature of All Things. We range in age from fabulous to extraordinary, five intelligent women who love to read, raise families, travel, cook, laugh and commiserate. Bliss achieved.

I have set only one rule for this step. It is simply this: If it feels good, do it.

5. Gratitude

To be thankful for what I have is the secret to my happy life. I figured this one out a few years ago after reading the Secret. I originally read the book because I heard it was a how-to guide on getting free stuff from the Universe. It was my first real introduction to the law of attraction and I went a little bit crazy with it. I manifested a new computer, car and house all within the course of a few months. But then I felt like something was missing in the process. I got all of these things that I was sure would fulfill me then found out that they didn’t fulfill me at all. It was disenchanting. I realized then that the important things in life aren’t things and that was the second best lesson I took away from that book.

The greatest lesson I learned from the Secret was about gratitude. I had put my heart and soul into the gratitude exercises. I would sit and appreciate the heck out of stuff until I would have tears of happiness streaming down my face. It was during one of these sessions that I understood (a-HA) that gratitude is its own reward. Being in a state of pure appreciation means that nothing is missing. And if nothing is missing, then I have everything and that is all anyone could ask for. Just everything.

I kept a gratitude journal for a long time. Every day I listed (don’t you just love lists??) five things that happened that day for which I was truly grateful. The process of journaling the things I appreciated instilled a mindset that I still have today. I look for things to be grateful for. It is a constant process of finding stuff to appreciate. If you haven’t tried this, I highly recommend it. I swear it will change your whole life.

So everyday is thanksgiving day, sans the turkey dinner. And today I am grateful for:

5a. Inspiration, that invisible muse

5b. Meditation and the elusive NOW

5c. Silky, glorious, abundant words

5d. Life in all of its messy glory

5e. Lists

And now that my lists are written, I surrender the intention to the universe to guide me through this beautiful fall and into winter, living on purpose, with intention and fully, completely engaged in my life.

Simply put, I intend to Live Life.

As Dreamers Do

 “You got to have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?” Rodgers and Hammerstein

Don’t you just love all of the inspirational quotes about following your dreams?  “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.  Preach it, Eleanor Roosevelt!  Or what about our buddy Walt Disney:  “If you can dream it, you can do it”.   And since I have reached that 1/2 century marker, C.S. Lewis has become my new BFF with this one:  “You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream”.  Makes me want to take up embroidery so that I can put that on a pillow.

I have found that the problem with growing older is that my freedom and capacity to dream seems to have diminished.  When I was young I could look toward the future and know that anything was possible.  Everything I wished for could actually come true.  Life was expectant and exciting and I hadn’t learned to temper my dreams with logic or reality.  What a wonderful, breathless time that was.

But life set in and before I knew it I was paying a mortgage, raising a child, building a career and taking care of everyone else.  I made sure to cultivate my daughter’s dreams, signing her up for classes and driving her here and there, excited to see her so vividly open to her own beautiful future.  I was busy, never having a moment to myself, but that really didn’t seem to matter. 

And then one day somebody asked me a question.  It was a simple question, but one I hadn’t  thought about in a very long time.  The question made me pause, and by pausing I finally understood how very out of touch with myself I had become.  Why was it so hard to answer?

“What are my dreams?” 

I honestly couldn’t answer.  Dumbfounded and flummoxed I did what I always do in situations like this one.  I googled.  My searching brought me to a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer, called Inspiration, Your Ultimate Calling.   I recognized his name from PBS specials my Dad liked to watch and decided to give it a try.   I ran down to the local bookstore and picked it up.  It was my first book by Dr. Wayne and I was captivated almost at once.  My family and I were headed to St. George to visit my parents and I ended up reading the whole thing on the way there.  Every word, every new chapter was another AHA! AHA! AHA! 

Wayne’s words were like water to my thirsty soul:  “There’s a voice in the universe calling each of us to remember our purpose; our reason for being here now, in this world of impermanence.”  Yes, Wayne!  Yes there is!  ” The voice whispers, shouts, and sings to us that this experience of being in form, in space and time, knowing life and death, has meaning. The voice is that of inspiration, which is within each and every one of us.”  YES!   It IS within me! 

I could have danced with joy had the airplane aisles been just a smidge wider. 

This beautiful book began me on my journey to finding my inner bliss, my purpose and my calling.  I began to really pay attention to what excited me.  And once I finally figured out what my dreams were, I made efforts, even if they were just baby steps, in the direction of those dreams.  Baby steps to personal fulfillment.  Baby steps to divine enlightenment.  Baby steps to Bliss.

In these subsequent years I have learned a few things about being a Dream Catcher.  Perhaps a list is in order? 

1.  Dream big, then grow into it.  There is no sense in attaching limitations to our dreams.  Shoot for the stars and wait for the Universe to build you a rocket ship. 

2.  Be specific.  Clarify what you want so that you can easily visualize it.  Write it down and remind yourself as often as possible so that you stay focused on the Dream.

3.  Ask for help.  Call in your celestial team for a meeting and delegate the tasks to your angelic helpers and spirit guides.  In other words, pray. .. whatever that means for you. 

4.  Believe.  Trust that your Dreams will come true and they will.  You become what you believe.  Simple as that.

5.  Let go.  The hows and the whens will be sorted out by the Universe.  Don’t try to micro-manage the celestial team, because that is just likely to slow things down or trip things up.  They know what they are doing a whole lot better than you do. 

6.  Take a few steps.  With every moment of every day take those baby steps as you are guided.  The path will show itself and you will be guided in the perfect way and at the perfect time to your Dream destination.   

Your life is yours to live.  Dream big, and believe that those dreams will come true. 

catch_the_dream_by_al_roo7-d4xdz53

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you.

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do.

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Suddenly it comes in view.
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

When a star is born
They possess a gift or two.
One of them is this
They have the power to make a wish come true.

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you,

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do.

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing.

Like a bolt out of the blue
Suddenly it comes in view.
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true.
~Jiminy Cricket~