See the light, be the light…

This past weekend, I went to a retreat with 18 other women. I almost didn’t go. 5 times. I came up with multiple excuses, mostly related to someone else needing me to stay home – even though they didn’t. They needed me to be there, to relax, refresh & reconnect.

When I returned home and my husband asked what we did, I wasn’t sure what to say. Time was strange last weekend – it seemed to go slowly and quickly at the same time. We laughed, we shared, we connected, we caught up with ladies we knew and met new friends. We did crafts, played, ate and sat by the fire. For some reason, I was reluctant to share our spirit connections. Um, I’m an author in a Wild Woman Book of Shadows book… spirit connections shouldn’t be a shock. We connected with loved ones who have passed, we acknowledged and celebrated the light in each other, we shared stories and shed old patterns. We challenged each other to level-up, be the light and share the joy. We did yoga and sound therapy, stayed up late and giggled.

This was our first retreat without our friend. She attended many in the past and this was the first one since she passed away. We could feel her presence. She sent so many signs… some were subtle and some were huge. The photo above is the fire we had one night. I was going to snap a picture because I love the cozy feeling of a campfire. After I took the picture, I noticed the green light to the right of the flame. This was not visible when we were just sitting there. It danced off to the side as I held my phone up. I was able to get a video of it. Again, we couldn’t see it just sitting there, but it was amazing. We knew it was her spirit celebrating with us.

Last year I was spinning a lot and was nauseous, so I made a conscious effort to stay grounded. While we were visiting after breakfast, I knew I needed to step away. I went to the porch, sat with my coffee and a grounding mat. I did some meditation and was setting my intentions for the day. This was the largest group of people I had been around (for the longest time) in a year. I realized it was a little much for me and I needed some time alone. The difference is, that I took the time. I actually put myself on the list of “things to take care of.” While other people might have had big breakthroughs, my small one was a big first step for me. I struggle to add myself to the list. I tend to want to do/help/give and I forget about myself. Don’t forget about adding yourself to the list!

My other “big deal” was that I sat in our circle, far from the door or the kitchen with my back to the window. You may be thinking, “So what?!” It’s a big deal for me because I like to look outside. I couldn’t do that where I sat. I also like to either be by the door so I can quietly escape or to be by the kitchen in case someone needs something. And I acknowledged this step. Silly as I may sound, my friends also recognized this change and pointed out how different it was for me to do that.

My weekend take-aways: 1) add myself to the list 2) acknowledge small steps 3) my family cannot read my mind 4) releasing control is ok 5) allow the support and friendship. There were lots more, but this was a start.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Add yourself to the list every day. see the light, be the light.

Here comes the sun…

I was sitting in Sanford hospital last week, waiting for my son’s cardio appointment & “Here Comes the Sun” plays over the speakers. They play this when a Covid patient gets sent home. It made me smile, although you wouldn’t be able to see it.

Earlier that day, I found out that my friend had passed from pancreatic cancer. My heart was heavy, but also filled with peace. I could envision her greeting her husband with a huge smile & arms wide open. I knew she would always watch over her daughter, but it’s not the same. The conversations aren’t quite the same, and you don’t get physical hugs. A few years ago, I met her at a Spirit School retreat. We connected instantly. I also connected with her husband who had passed away. We would see each other once or twice a year & keep in touch via texts etc. It was at that retreat where I learned we can connect with those who have passed away. When people say, “I just wish I could talk to them”… you can. Sure, it’s different, but you can still connect and communicate with them. I’m not a teacher or professional in this area, but I have had the experience. It’s one that’s probably easier to write about than to talk about. (Partially because I can’t see you rolling your eyes right now.)

Have you experienced a loved one appearing in a dream? Found feathers, seen cardinals, eagles, pennies/dimes/quarters? If you think it might be a message from them, it probably is. My friend’s husband came through in eagles. My aunt comes through pennies, my grandparents through pennies and dimes, and my mother-in-law through quarters. It makes me think of death differently. Although I’m still super sad at the passing of my friend, I know her spirit is at peace. I know she joined her husband and has left her earthly body. Less than 12 hours after she passed, her favorite song came on the radio. It’s not a current/pop song, so for me to hear it was certainly a sign from her. I smiled and cried and said, “thank you – I’m glad you made it.” Since then, I’ve seen 2 eagles, found a penny and visited with her in a meditation.

It’s no coincidence that I heard the song at the hospital either. The song “Here Comes the Sun” is one of hope. It’s about the sun coming after a long, cold winter. I believe my friend is feeling the sun. Her earthly pain is gone. Her winter is over and she is among the angels and spirits. I will miss seeing her at the retreats and hearing her laugh. I’m looking forward to the signs she sends.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. May the sun start to shine even though our actual winter isn’t over.

Take it off cruise…

How many of you use cruise control in your vehicle while driving? I use it on the interstate when I’m going lots of miles without stopping (unless it’s icy). How many things in our life feel like cruise control? We just set it and forget it? Recently, I got a health reminder in my medical app to have a Pap smear. Normally, I’d be glad for the reminder and I’d call to get an appointment. My medical team was on cruise control, because I don’t need a Pap smear. I no longer have the parts for it. I had a radical/total hysterectomy almost 5 years ago. I chuckled to myself and sent them a note asking to remove the reminder.

How often do we go through our days on cruise? We go through the motions, assuming we have plenty of time. Then, a sudden jolt disrupts our routine and we feel lost. It may be a job change, an illness, a death, an accident. We come out of our hypnotic state, like when you’ve been driving on the interstate for a while and suddenly realize you missed your exit. A family from my sister’s town lost their adult son in a farming accident last week. He was a newlywed and sounded like a great guy with a zest for life. This is not the detour his new bride or his family and friends wanted. There are so many why‘s that we will never have an answer to, until we meet on the other side. There are no words to ease their sorrow, and our tears cannot bring him back.

Maybe in honor of him & those no longer with us, we take it off cruise on purpose… take a detour, try a new road, stop and look around, pretend you’re a visitor in your own town & see all things you missed as you were cruising by. Pick up some flowers to share with someone or use them to brighten your own space. Be silly, spread joy, share some kindness. It doesn’t take much effort to find the bad/negative news. I challenge you to look for the good stories. Find something to be grateful for. Share that with others.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Take it off cruise this week on purpose. Maybe you’ll discover something new.

The right words…

Fall is a time of loss. Trees lose their leaves, the grass stops growing in the upper Midwest and we lose daylight hours. As the mornings turn crisp and frosty, the evenings get dark more quickly, and before we know it, the sun will be going down at 4:30.

This fall has been a time of loss and remembrance for many people also… an anniversary of loss for a friend’s son & nephew, a cousin’s husband, a friend’s stillborn baby, my mother-in-law and many others. Birthdays and anniversaries come and go. A friend recently lost her best friend, leaving behind a husband and two kids. I struggle to find the right words. I’m a “fixer”… I like to make things better. I’m not able to fix the holes in their hearts. I am fortunate enough to have both living parents, spouse, children, siblings and friends. The right thing to say to me might not be comforting to them. Eloquent sentences in my head turn into just “I’m sorry for your loss.” This isn’t like the trees shedding their leaves for the winter. Their person isn’t returning.

I feel a sense of aching for them. I think about all of the “what if’s” and “should have been’s”… wishing I could change the story. It’s not my place and I don’t have the power. I believe we will see our loved ones again, but it doesn’t make it easier when we wish we could hug them or talk to them one more time.

Psalm 23 is a comforting verse to me:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for the sake of His name. 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,a I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

A friend who I met at a survivor retreat found out she had weeks to live. Over the last month, friends and family from all over have come to visit. What an awesome and amazing outpouring of love. She has outlived their timeline and has had some wonderful company. They aren’t waiting for her funeral or death, they are celebrating every day she is alive. Wow.

I may not have the right words, but I will reach out anyway. I wish you peace on your journey of enough. If you are going through a season of loss and remembering, hold on. I wish I could find the perfect thing to say to comfort you. Just know that you are enough. Your grief journey is uniquely yours. You cannot do it wrong. Honor those you’ve lost, live your life, find peace and joy again.

Nothing at all…

You’ve heard it – “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” So I’ve been silent. Not knowing what to post or where to focus my energy –  I’ve said nothing at all. While several people have been confrontational, my normally “passionate” personality has left me silent. I’m torn between sharing my beliefs and not knowing how to do that and still be a nice human.

If you don’t know me well, you might not be fully aware of my personality. I’ve been called passionate, stubborn, aloof, opinionated… I could go on, but you get the idea. Once you’ve been stereotyped, it’s hard to break out of it, and it becomes kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m not known for keeping my mouth shut. If you want my opinion, I’ll likely give it. But sometimes that is in direct conflict with my anxiety related to confrontation. That’s where I’ve been lately, just trying to be a nice human. One nice thing about moving is that you get to start over. People don’t have opinions about you yet. There isn’t baggage that follows you around. That part is pretty cool. But I’ve struggled with what to talk to my kids about & how to approach things lately. I also want them to be nice humans, so I don’t want to give them a bad example.

Then tragedy struck, and two teens died in a car crash last night. And again, I’m left with nothing to say, but this time for a different reason. Nothing at all… there is nothing that could comfort the families of these two kids. Both good kids with promising futures, taken too soon. It’s hard to find “everything happens for a reason” in something like this. I don’t understand the reasoning behind it. Why don’t these kids get to grow up, get married, have kids and grandkids etc? Why do their parents have to plan unexpected funerals? The list could go on… so many “why’s” with no answers.

It makes me want to hug my kids closer, worry less about the bad things and focus on the good. I pray that the families and friends of those who died last night will help to comfort each other. I pray they will rally around and support the girl who survived the crash. I pray that they all feel the love around them. I wish them enough strength to get out of bed & enough faith to help them through such a difficult time.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough, and may you comfort someone along their journey.