There was a time, not long ago, when most of my life was a lie. I cloaked myself in corporate clothes, all buttoned up and acceptable. I spoke only of tangible, earth bound matters and if anything came up that was slightly “out there”, I would comment with just the appropriate amount of disdain in my voice.
I had perfected my persona. I was “Normal”.
Little did the people in my world know that I had a big secret. I was nowhere near “Normal”. In fact, I was crazy as a spoon, living in a closet of my own making, afraid to share my true self for fear of judgment.
Beneath my mild mannered exterior raged an awakening being. Weird stuff was happening on a regular basis and while I found it all to be intriguing and life changing, I was afraid to tell anyone else about it. What would they think if I just blurted stuff out?
“Hi, I’m Brenda. I see dead people.” Or “Hello, nice to meet you. Did you know you have 3 Angels hovering around you and one is trying to unfold your wings?” Or how about: “You were a Egyptian slave in a past life and are still working on releasing yourself from those blocks.” No biggie. I’ll just share my visions then pack a bag for my trip to the loony bin.
For a few years I kept most of the weird stuff to myself, quietly learning and growing with just a few people in the loop. My American Husband, my best friend and my daughter to be specific. I trusted them to love me, no matter what. And of course, they did.
I took classes, learned to develop my skills. I flew to New York to spend a week learning about Past Life Regression with Dr. Brian Weiss and told everyone I was going on a Yoga Retreat. Liar Liar Pants On Fire. That was me.
I finally began to share because I felt compelled to be myself. But, true confessions: the first few times sneaking out of the closet, I published and shared under another name. Funny thing is that I got such a warm, heartfelt response, I actually got jealous of fake me and decided to let real me take over.
I published my first blog a few years back. It was an account of my first past life experience. I remember hitting the Publish button, then having a panic attack. My American Husband talked me down, convincing me not to delete the whole thing, and from that moment on I began to inch my way out of the Spiritual Closet.
Now that I am out, I take huge delight in helping others to own their own brand of “crazy”. With classes, workshops, blogs and facebook, we are finding each other, and as the community grows, we are becoming braver, sharing our visions and gifts. Now it is rare to come upon anyone who doesn’t share something magical… some experience or belief… within the first few minutes of talking. It’s as if by being authentic and letting it all hang out, others are given permission to do the same.
Crazy is the new normal.
Who would have guessed it? And life is so much more fun since leaving the confines of the closet. I highly recommend it. Freeing myself to be who I am, authentically, and trusting that sharing my truth will open more doors than it closes, has changed my life on every level. New friends, new experiences, a vaster understanding of the magic of life, plus never having to wear uncomfortable shoes… it’s all magnificent.
So bare your soles, and your souls. Kick off the cloak of who you think you should be and become who you are. We are all just waiting to welcome you to the fold.
“Who? That serious guy? Long beard? Naw. What’s up?”
“He claims some bush burst into flames then started talking to him.”
“Shut up. What a load of yak crap.”
“Dude, did he drink the bong water?”
“Dude, he definitely drank the bong water.”
And so it goes. This fairly historically accurate depiction of what must have been, is a scene as old as time. I know this scenario very well, from both sides. For the first few decades of my life I was quick to have conversations very much like it about anybody who had the audacity to be different. Seriously, what kind of woo woo nonsense were they on about? Are they so out of touch with reality?? Don’t they know they look like fools?
And then I smelled something burning.
Okay, relax. Put away the pitchforks and drop the stones. I am in no way correlating myself to Moses. I have no beard, I have never knowingly parted any body of water and I have not< yet> set my people free. Nope. Nothing in common at all.
Except that burning bush.
I speak in metaphors of course. My burning bush came in the subtler way of whispers and signs. But it most certainly came. It all began with the death of a dear friend, quite suddenly in my arms. Apparently trauma has a way of breaking us open and once that happens we can often experience something that is both devastating and beautiful. You see, we expand where we are cracked and if we don’t fall apart, our light begins to shine out of the places where we have been broken open.
And as our lights grow brighter we become aware of the magic. It’s been there all along but we couldn’t see it with our judgy, human eyes. But now that we have better illumination we can see the sparkly bits and hear the jingly sounds. We realize buddy Bill Shakespeare was right when he so eloquently said that “there are more things on heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.
That’s when we start to bloom. And grow. Our light gets ever brighter and we can no longer pretend not to see the unseen. It becomes who we are and we are compelled to share what we have learned, despite the fact that we will likely become the fodder of gossips and butt of jokes. It doesn’t matter to us what anybody thinks, because out paradigm has been shifted and we have a new version of the truth.
And if we follow the calling of this new paradigm, we do things like take Past Life Regression workshops, and Reiki classes. We even start giving Angel Card Readings …. in public!
My Dad told me that in the not too distant past I would have been burned at the stake for what I believe and practice. He mentioned that right before asking me to do some of my “witchy stuff” on his sore leg. In case you might be wondering the Reiki worked, and though he was never a doubter, Dad came a bit closer to being a believer in that unseen force.
The burning bush comes to different people in different ways. Nobody was more surprised than I was when I felt compelled to start working with the Angels. Buttoned up, corporate, serious Brenda was shocked. But I have learned that listening to the whispers is infinitely easier than getting the divine kick in the butt that comes when we ignore what calls us. The message I’ve been getting seems to be a universal one and is simply this: Be authentic. No more hiding behind the mask you think society/family/friends expect you to wear. Whatever that is and whoever you are, be that. Because you are enough just as you are. Strip away the trappings and be bravely, uniquely, you.
I share what I have learned openly and with love. Those who get it, get it. Those who don’t will continue to believe that I drank the bong water. And that’s okay. Because more and more I am receiving those tender, private messages from people quietly inching out of their own spiritual closet. We chat about all of those things they don’t feel safe telling anyone else just yet. And they let me know that by putting my crazy on display I have helped them to know they aren’t alone. For that I am infinitely grateful. For that I will proudly let my freak flag fly.
In my quest for the Truth, I sample from the dishes presented, finding tastes of wisdom along the way. Each new flavor adds layers to my experience. With each new bite I find myself closer to satisfied but always aware that the banquet is endless. I feast with my senses and keep only those wonders that leave a good taste behind.
“When you feel a peaceful joy, that’s when you are near the truth.” Rumi
A few years back my world turned upside down (you can read more about that here). As in many cases it took this mayhem to start me earnestly upon the path to spirituality and seeking Truth, with a capital T.
There is a Buddhist proverb that says “when the student is ready the teacher will appear”. As I was trying to pick up the broken pieces of my life the first teacher to appear for me was the beautiful Louise Hay who became a kind of Spiritual Kindergarten teacher for me. I had a recording of her Affirmations that I would play over and over and over, her soothing voice repeating the words that began the job of healing my shattered spirit. “Life loves and supports me. I am safe and all is well. Deep in the center of my being there is an infinite well of love. I now allow this love to flow to the surface.” Hundreds of affirmations, over and over until, miraculously, my brain began to rewire itself and these thoughts began to spontaneously form on their own. And I began to heal. It was a miracle.
Louise was the first of many teachers along my path of self discovery. I read voraciously, one book after another, learning about different modalities and belief systems, taking them all in and trying them on to see if the fit was right. Building on the affirmations that served me so well I would begin each foray with my newest teacher by stating “only the Truth (with a capital T) resonates with me.”
Then one day the light went on. Hey wait a minute. If my soul recognizes the Truth then maybe I already have all of the answers inside. This twigged a memory that led me all the way back to my kindergarten days with Louise. Plugging in her affirmation I listened again for the thousandth time and sure enough there it was. “Inside of me lie all of the answers to all of the questions I will ever ask.” Inside of me! Truth with a capital T resounded.
But then the tricky part was how to get access to this great wealth of wisdom that was within. In my journey all roads lead to meditation, so I set myself down with some groovy binaural beats and asked a question: “How can I know if something is the Truth?”
Then I sat. And waited. And listened.
Hmm. Somehow I imagined this would be easier. I finished up my meditation with no answer to my question, then picked up the latest book I was reading. It was a step by step guide to inner peace and tranquility. I opened to where I had left off and began to read. Almost immediately Simon the cat jumped onto my lap. I gave him a scritchy under the chin then kept reading. Where was I? Oh yes, there it was. Something about following the correct path. I turned the page and Simon lifted his paw and smacked the book. I laughed and scooted him down off my lap. He’d never done that before.
I continued reading about the right way and wrong way to enlightenment. Simon jumped back on my lap and stared at the page. I laughed again. What was that crazy cat up to? He swatted the page once, then swatted again and this time he left his paw right smack dab in the middle of the page so that I couldn’t see the words. I moved his paw and tried to read. Two words in and he swatted the page yet again and this time rolled right on top of the book, completely blocking my view.
Confounded and confused I continued to attempt to read the book and every time I tried Simon would block me. The cat had gone stark raving bonkers! He’d never acted like this before. What was up with him?
And then it hit me. Ding ding ding! Bells and whistles! Here was the answer to my question. How can I know if something is the Truth? My cat won’t stop me from reading it.
Of course it hasn’t always been as easy as this particular time, but the Truth has a way of finding me and I have been able to recognize it. Sometimes it is simply a recognition, as if I knew it all along but just hadn’t come up with it yet. Sometimes it is a feeling, like anxiety in the pit of my stomach, that lets me know that while this is somebody’s Truth, it is not mine. Sometimes Truth puts the dance in my step and the song in my heart. It is all about feeling. When I feel good, I know that I am feeling God… so to speak.
As many people as there are, there are that many paths to the Truth. We all have our own to walk, and each path leads up to the mountaintop. I tend to follow my inner GPS now and sometimes it leads me on a solitary path and sometimes it brings me to my next teacher. I always learn what I can from the next person, book, lesson or ideology, take what resonates then move forward to whatever or whomever comes next.
What I have learned along the way is that accessing my own inner guru is easiest if I take a few simple steps. (hold onto your hats, people, here comes another list!)
1. First I ask the question. What is it I need to know at that point in time? Sometimes it is specific, such as “Is this author’s work Truth for me?” and sometimes I ask a more general question. “What is the next action step on my spiritual journey?”
2. Then I get quiet. This is step two. I close my eyes, get into position and sink into as deep a meditation as I can manage. Sometimes I go profoundly still, and sometimes the monkey mind won’t shut down, but either way I intend for the silence to bring me answers and usually it does.
3. Third step is to listen. Observe how my body feels and pay attention to any quiet thoughts that may pop in from realms unknown. Many times I will simply experience a knowing during the meditation, as if I always had the answer. Other times nothing seems to come and then later in my day or week I will have the answer show up in other ways, signs from the Universe, as it were. These take the form of things like random bits of conversations or song lyrics that seem to speak directly to me, or I will suddenly start hearing over and over from various sources about a certain person, book, or program and realize that this is something I am supposed to investigate. And sometimes my cat lets me know. (okay I’m just kidding. Simon has only done that the one time. But how cool would it be to have an oracle cat??)
4. And the fourth and final step is to trust what comes to you. Trust the messages. Trust the visions. Trust the cat. Even if it belies your ever present logic, trust it anyways. Your inner guru is the best guide you have. That piece of you that is connected to the Divine, where all Truth lives. Trust it. It will not lead you astray.
I use the information and guidance that the teachers bring to me to guide me along my path. I beware the self evident truths that others espouse because I understand that as soon as people label something or create rules and regulations around something it becomes more about the people in charge than about the spiritual truths they teach. Sometimes a frog is just a frog, no matter how they try to spin it. I take the good, I leave the bad and I forge ahead on this journey of discovery.
“There is the Music of Heaven in all things and we have forgotten how to hear it until we sing.” Hildegard of Bingen
I’ve got a secret.
I have been coming out of the spiritual closet incrementally for a few years now. Sure, it all began with a pretty big splash. Dr. Wayne Dyer received my letter and was moved by it enough that he asked to publish it in his book Wishes Fulfilled. Millions of people have now read about my experience, and happily most of those people are strangers. Because of this letter I had to show my immediate family just how high my freak flag can fly. Luckily, it turns out that most of my relatives have had similar experiences and once I opened the dialogue to the weird and wonderful, their stories have come out as well. I can’t begin to tell you how happy that has made me.
But since that big splash it has been baby steps, just showing a little bit of my crazy at a time. It is a bit like walking into a cold lake, slowly easing into the depths so that I can get used to the temperature a little bit at a time. Ankle deep, feet didn’t freeze off? Excellent, now let’s see about these knees. Lately I’ve been thinking, why not go all in? What have I got to lose, really? So….
<takes a deep breath and……………. *SPLASH*>
I see dead people.
Okay I don’t typically see them, though that has happened on a few memorable occasions (for instance once I was at a friend’s house enjoying some live entertainment by a bunch of theatre alumni. I looked up and saw her deceased husband watching the kids singing. He had such a huge smile on his face! Amazing.)
But mostly I just hear them, only not with my ears, if you get what I’m saying. I hear them in my mind, their voices very distinctly their own. Usually they are there to say “hey, things are great here, don’t worry about me” and sometimes they bring very specific messages. I have sometimes shared the message with the person it is meant for, but a lot of times I haven’t. I regret that. I regret that I let my own fears of being judged stop me from relaying messages that might have brought some comfort to the recipient.
So from this moment forward I vow to you and to myself that I will relay whatever messages come my way. No more regrets.
I see Angels.
I don’t understand why it is that this confession makes me feel the most vulnerable but this is one I’ve kept close to myself with a very few exceptions. Perhaps it is the linear thinking cynic that still lurks in my brain. Perhaps it is because I wasn’t raised with any sort of religious structure so to believe in such things must be ludicrous, right?
Whatever the reason, I will share with you now that I see Angels, sometime as visual specters and sometimes I see them with my mind’s eye. I know that Archangel Michael stands behind my daughter and has done her whole life. I see Archangel Gabriel sitting with me when I write. I have seen four angels surrounding a very dear friend of mine, holding her arms and legs, not so much to hold her up as to keep her from flying away. Sometimes I sense they are near and see sparkles of different colored lights.
A few years ago after they became quite vivid in my experience, I decided to ask for a definite, without-a-doubt sign that they were actually real and not just the workings of my over arching imagination.
My family and I were heading to the beach that day. I was in a playful mood and just before leaving I said out loud, “Angels, bring me a $5 bill today. Have somebody place it in my hand before the end of the day.” This may not seem like much of a test to some of you, but for me it was a pretty challenging task for my Angel buddies. You see, I never carry cash and always use debit for any purchase. For me to be handed $5 would literally have to be “pennies from Heaven”. Plus, we were going to the beach. What were the chances?
I truly believed they could pull this off. I suppose that was the key.
My American Husband and I had been out for a swim and were walking back toward the shore. I kept looking to the sky because there was this one amazing cloud that looked just like a giant Angel wing. I was laughing to myself, thinking ‘You sneaky Angels. Nice sign, now show me the money’. I looked down and saw something strange in the water. My American Husband had seen it too and reached down to grab it.
It was a $10 bill.
I laughed out loud and reached for it, but he pulled it out of my reach. I explained to him that this was my $10 bill because I had asked the Angels for $5 and they were obviously being generous.
“No this is my $10 bill. If you wanted $10 you should have asked for $10”.
We kidded and joked for the afternoon, enjoying the sunshine. I kept checking the sky to see if the angel cloud had blown off, but it stayed right where it was the whole time. I could almost hear those mischievous cherubs laughing.
After a few more hours we packed up and went home. As we were leaving I took a photograph of the cloud. I never wanted to forget this day, or this sign. When we got home, my American Husband came up to me as I was unpacking the cooler. He held out his hand to me and in it was a crisp $5 bill. Placing it in my hand, he said, “There. The Angels said to give you half”.
Boom. Well done, Angels!
I still have the $5. I never wanted to spend such an amazing, miraculous gift.
I talk to the Angels now, everyday. I ask them for help with just about everything. I look for and find their signs and guidance in all sorts of places. It has changed the way I walk through life. I never feel alone, and I know that I am always supported. And if I listen very closely, sometimes I can hear them singing….
“Lean on me, when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on”.
I have had visitations from Ascended Masters.
The first time it happened I was meditating. I was fairly new to the process and was getting quite adept at emptying out all of the noise. On this particular night I was sitting and really digging the stillness. Then something weird started happening. I could “see”, floating right in front of me, a woman. She looked like some sort of Buddhist or Hindu statue, like a goddess, and she was just hovering there in front of me. I tried to make her go away, following my breath and silently chanting Om Mani Padme Hum, the mantra I had read about online. But instead of going away, she came closer, reaching out her hand and touching it to my heart. I felt instantly flooded with love, so much so that tears began to run down my face. Alright, I decided. Let’s just go with it.
“Who are you?”
Immediately, loudly, this line from a song played in my brain: “Flowers in her hair. Flowers everywhere.”
Well that doesn’t help me at all. So I turned to the greatest spiritual tool I had at that time, Google, and started searching. I knew what she looked like and that there was something about flowers in her hair so I began by searching images. It took me very little time to find her, God love Google. She was Quan Yin. I had never heard of her and figured that if she was going to show up for me in a meditation I’d better study up to see if she was bringing me some sort of message.
Turns out she is a Bodhisattva (literally a Being of Enlightenment) who, according to legend decided to forgo the bliss of Nirvana and hang around humanity to help us fulfill our own divine plans. She is an Ascended Master associated with the lotus flower and unbeknownst to me at the time, Om Mani Padme Hum roughly translates to “Hail the Jewel in the Lotus” and is used by devotees to call Quan Yin for assistance.
I’m not gonna lie to you. It was a pretty awesome experience.
She was the first Ascended Master and since then I have had a few more. Buddha showed up once during my Reiki attunement. And not long ago a fellow who called himself Yeshua began dropping by during my morning meditations.
Then there is the White Dolphin. He has come to me in lucid dreams in the past few weeks. I am not sure who or what he is, but I know that every visit feels like a visit from heaven. Pure, divine love.
Maybe I am not meant to understand everything. Maybe magic and mysticism are the keys that open the door to better understanding. All I know is that these moments have been sacred, playful, comforting and enlightening. I’ve gone beyond disbelief and cynicism and embraced the gifts that these visions have brought to my life. With each new experience I am broadened, deepened, filled in and awakened.
Speaking of Ascended Masters, my friend Joan sent me a quote yesterday by St. Francis of Assisi. “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching”. I hadn’t heard that one before and it resounded loudly. I have known for some time that I needed to share everything, or at least to stop hiding it. I don’t expect to change anyone’s belief system or to convert anyone to mine. I only want to speak my truth and walk my path fearlessly.
One last Secret:
I have complete faith that this information will be found and embraced by the people who are open to receive it. That is the greatest part of “letting go and letting God”. Simply trusting.