Showing posts with label connections to the afterlife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label connections to the afterlife. Show all posts

May 15, 2013

Soul Searching

As we grow older the pool of people we meet and befriend becomes larger and more diversified. Some are just acquaintances while others have been there during the worst crisis of our lives.

I have witnessed people truly coming together in support and out of compassion for one another and it is a beautiful thing. I volunteer as a facilitator of support groups for those suffering from mental illness as well as their caregivers. Often the people that attend my groups are living in a psychiatric ward or have just been discharged. Many of the participants were or are admitted at the same time and so they become familiar with one another. This provides them with a common ground and a shared understanding of the pain and daily challenges they all face.

They don’t pretend to be someone they are not. They are past the stage of disguises and stories and fake images. They are exhausted but they are fighters and they deal with the very essence of survival in the bleakest of moments.

Through these people I experience a refreshing dose of reality at its core and I would much rather spend time with any of them over someone who places judgement upon them.

 The thing is, if I were to meet one of these individuals at a party or a conference or on the bus, I would have no idea of their experiences - how could I?

If you really sit down and talk to someone without all the layers and layers of bullshit and you lay it on the line ... this is who I am, this is what makes me feel comfortable, this is what makes me feel awkward and I would really appreciate if you could do and so... or not do so and so...

Can you imagine if that was the way everyone met and introduced themselves to one another? You would know their weak spots, their boundaries, their likes and dislikes and how to make sure you provide a positive and warm environment for them. Wouldn't that be a nice start to a friendship?

 The point is that you really don't know anyone until you give them the chance to tell you about themselves and even then you have to weigh the truth, the facts with whatever else is mixed into that recipe.

Everyone has a story - in all of us there is a novel to be read. These novels are filled with many words, verbs, adjectives, metaphors, phrases, question marks, exclamation marks and answers.

And somewhere in the middle or toward the end, if you look carefully enough, you will discover the root of our existence - the Soul.

It may slip by you at first but your gut will demand that you search again and dig up that buried treasure. A Soul isn't an easy find but it's there waiting to be discovered.

So at the end of the day, at the end of every day, you should ask yourself -

"Whose soul did I discover today?"

Soul searching is mystical.

Soul searching is movement.

Soul searching is not only how we find ourselves - it is how we find others and through them ourselves.

And like life  - it is a journey that is well worth the ride.

Apr 12, 2013

What You Learn From Death

When you witness death, life no longer scares you.

You find yourself comparing the end to the beginning. You forget that it’s the middle that counts because that is where everything happens.

When you are waiting for your phone to ring and you are on a marathon of hospital runs and standing in elevators where everyone looks down instead of up; you transform into a shackled zombie shuffling along a single track always looking over your shoulder for an oncoming train.

By the bedside watching a loved one slip away, you are reminded of how they lived. Tiny snapshots expand into full cinematic view. The heart rate machine seizes to reach its highs and lows and collapses into one final long beep. The oxygen mask is removed and your entire childhood slips through the palm of your hand leaving your soul robbed and barren.

You die a little each day but on this day you die more.

If there is one thing you learn from death; it is this:

The beginning is for learning.

The end is for remembering.

And the middle is for living.

So make sure to have a spectacular middle.

Jan 6, 2013

No Porch Light to Call Me Home

There are dark cold days when nothing falls into place and my heart drops and my mind spins. I can’t grasp onto anything or anyone. There is no exit from the heavy sorrow that fills and overflows seeping through my pores.

There are slices of light and seconds of sun that lift me and push me upward and allow me to breathe fuller and escape what seems to be the unrelenting noise of my thoughts.

And between these states of dark and light, between the flow of the ocean and the moon rising, I reach out and search for those I’ve lost, those I’ve loved, those I will never touch, see, hug, hold again in this life.

I can’t find them because I don’t know where they are only that they are somewhere around me with me watching over me moving forward with me and forever connected to me.

When I close my eyes I see them and sometimes in my dreams I hear them. They are telling me they are okay and they will be there for me, they wait for me, their arms will be open. They will swoop me up and spin me around in circles of love. They tell me to go on living and to enjoy each and every moment and to stop stopping and keep moving.

They tell me to break through the fog and the dusk and wipe my tears, clear my eyes and take a second look, carefully, purposefully searching with hope and promise that eventually, inevitably, comfortably, warmly...

I will find a porch light to call me home.

And there they wait, there; they are exactly how I remember them and as they always will be.

Sep 20, 2012

Spirits That Hum

If you sit down

on the grass

in the sun

with the wind




for spirits

of souls you have loved

you will hear them

if you let your mind

at ease

and stop thinking

they will come to you

and speak

with a whisper

you will feel them

in the tall grass

with your fingertips

their voices

will tell you

they miss you

as much

as you miss them

they'll surround you


they leave you

they won't tell you

where they are going

just that you can't follow

you'll stand up and walk away

and just when you think

they will never return

the wind will blow

the sun will shine

and somewhere in the distance

you will hear

a hum

Sep 10, 2012

Walking Around the Block

In the Jewish religion it is traditional to “Walk around the block” at the end of the Shiva/mourning period. As a Rabbi recently explained to my family, it is a way of saying “we are finished mourning and are returning the community rather than having the community come to us.”
For me, the “walk around the block” symbolizes the circle of life and the hard, cold fact that life goes on.
You lose someone you love. You open your home to friends and family and people who come out of the woodwork that you never imagined seeing. You sit on low chairs that are hard as rock and your back aches, your legs cramps and your neck becomes stuck in an unnatural upright position.

There are swarms of well-meaning people who “close talk” and touch and even kiss and hug you although if you ran into them on the street such acts of affection in many cases would not take place.
People come to pay their respects for different reasons. Some have recently lost a parent and can relate to the awful, sick feeling you have in your entire body while others knew the deceased and find it impossible to believe they are gone. There are strangers who knew them but never knew you or the rest of your family and if you scan the crowded room you’ll see people who don’t seem to know why they are there at all but still they are there.
And in some ways it’s beautiful, in others overwhelming and you feel as if you are drowning in it all and you just want to hide in a room so that you can be alone and really reflect on the tragedy that has unfolded. You want all the noise to stop so you can feel and not listen; so you can close your eyes and see their face and imagine them there with you.

This morning we walked around the block and cut through the park in back of my parents’ house, one of my dad’s favourite places where all of us played baseball and hockey and stayed out after dark under the watchful eye of the moths dancing in the glow of the park lights.
Did I feel his presence? Yes I did but truthfully I have been feeling him all around me since he passed. I don’t have to be in the park or on the back balcony or in the den or at the kitchen table.
He is with me no matter where I go. And this is so comforting because one of my biggest worries and one I am sure others share; was that I would lose him completely including the connection to his soul and his very being.
I watched my mother as she walked arm and arm with my older brother. I tried to imagine how she must feel. They had over 50 years together.
50 years – my God.
Their favourite part of the day was first thing in the morning because they always had breakfast together. Something as simple as sharing the paper and talking about what each of us was up to at work and in our personal lives and anxiously awaiting each of our phone calls that would come in by the end of the day so they could hear our voices.
I can’t imagine what it will be like for my mother to sit at that kitchen table and have breakfast without her life partner by her side. I know she will talk to him as I have been doing these past few days. I know she will feel pain, loss and bewilderment. And through all of this my wish for her is that she feels my father, her husband, her best friend – all around her like a walk around the block and the circle that is life that goes on and on forever.

Jan 22, 2012

Life is a Towel

Towels of my life.

3 yrs old, cold, shivering, running out of the gated kids area at Blossom Pool, my mother, kneeling, open towel, wrap around me, warm, fabric softener scent, hug, love, safe.

Guest - friends country house - age 11 - weekend in winter - new discovery - some families have two houses - one for the week - one for the weekend - we don't - here is the guestroom, here is the washroom and here is your towel - large, plush - it may even be new - yes I think they gave me a new towel - welcome.

Boyfriend - Me - first shower with someone other than myself - towel on, towel off - all weekend long - fun, exciting, daring - and lots of towels.

Grandmother - MS - confined to bed for 40 years - paralyzed from neck down - forehead as in head as in only part of body she can feel - heating up - fever - me 16,towel - cold water - hold gently on her against her forehead - brush of fingers to her cheek - does she know I love her? - does she know I wish I could fix her? - get another towel - wet it with cold water - switch towels - a cold towel on her forehead - the only thing that makes her feel alive.

Husband - Throat/Jaw surgery - 3-4 hrs turns into 12 hours - bleeding out - blood transfusion - induced coma - no one coming to get me in waiting room - regular room cancelled - ICU bed instead - pale, blood on gown, helpless, what if? - out of coma - recovering - towel - 24/7 - keep them clean - keep them dry - from mouth to chin - make sure he doesn't choke - make sure his gown stays dry - towel my hand to his mouth.

Nephew - First bath - babysitting - rubber duckies - laughter - eye contact - his eyes watching my lips move as I sing "Rubber Ducky You're The One - You make bath time so much fun" - careful - slippy - precious - towel - holding him - his hands around my neck - Johnson's Baby Shampoo - Powder - gentle towel dry to tiny head of hair - his head falling against my shoulder - one of life's best moments - together in a towel.

Me - sick - weight loss - shivers - weak - needing help not wanting to ask for it - husband - running bath - husband carrying me to bath - warmth - clean - refreshed - husband - wrapping towel around me - wrapping himself around me - unconditional love in a towel.

Life, love, loss, laughter, pain, comfort.

Get me a towel.

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