Friday, January 3, 2014

The New Year has begun...

The New Year has begun and it has been quite the interesting start in my life.  On December 29th I celebrated my 41st birthday.  I may chronologically be this age but I know my body to be of a much younger age, and my mental state to be of a much older age. 

 A week before my birthday during the Advent Season I prayed to God for a birthday wish-- for a healing of a long time addiction.  For many years I have struggled with binging on sugar and chocolate when overwhelming life situations present themselves.  I use a bag of cookies or some other sweet to numb the truth so that I don’t have to deal with the raw emotions that are arising.  Working as a spiritual healer for years I was well aware that if you can get to the root of those emotions in the midst of it, than the pain does not have to follow you around for years and manifest in ways that could cause great harm.

Many times I have tried to stop this addictive nature, but it had a power over me that was not easy to tame.  I once went on a 3 month restricted diet of no sugar at all, but as you can see it only lasted 3 months!
God works in strange and miraculous ways.  The day after my birthday my body came down with the flu, it lasted 4 days with a pounding headache and fever that did not let up for 48 hours.  I have to say I felt the kiss of death, when I touched my temples and experienced several veins bulging and pulsing rapidly.  The heat that came off of my head was unbearable and even a cold bath only dropped my temperatures for a few moments.  I would place a towel on my forehead and within minutes it was hot, this went on for 2 days straight. 

Then I remembered my prayer to Jesus, “Please Lord, help me release this addictive nature.”  Although the pain didn’t disperse immediately…. a revelation came.  God was burning away the neural pathway in my brain that made me resist dealing with my emotions through my use of an external vice to cover us what I was truly feeling.  As this divinely spiritual experience took over my body and I realized that God was literally changing my brain chemistry by way of fever, I was able to find solace in the pain and I believe this knowing is what brought me through.  A couple of months ago my friend Sarah sent me a beautiful photograph she had taken with the following quote,… MY PRAYER WAS HEARD – YOU SAVED ME FROM DESTRUCTION AND RESCUED ME IN TIME OF TROUBLE.  Nearly every day now I have glanced over these words and what has been revealed to me today is the power of our environment.  Today these words have come true in my life.
 
I also realized that my addiction could not have been healed in the past because in the past I had wanted to make it go away. I had tried to force it to stop.  This time I had put my request and prayer out, but this time I had put it into God’s hands to do His will unto me.  And I have seen the miracles of his work.
As I came more into a clearer consciousness on the 4th day, I also realized that getting the flu and being alone here in New Mexico really made me realize how much I miss having a community of like-minded souls around me.  I think after I left my partner back in September I needed to come to a place where I knew nobody, because I needed to do a lot of soul healing work that had to be done directly with me and God – no distractions. 

It is not the easiest path to undertake, to go out into the world alone, and be challenged to the depth of who you are, yet I encourage anyone who feels the calling in their heart to venture on the sole journey.  If you feel afraid pray to God, ask for courage because the insights that come will make you a believer and a true mystic -- someone who not only knows God but who has experienced God.  I have seen my relationship with Jesus blossom exponentially in the past month.  On many occasions since my arrival in Angel Fire I have felt His presence so profoundly and intimately that I have been brought to my knees and with a fountain of great tears.  These tears are the riches tears I have ever experienced, they pour out pure love, joy, awe & gratitude.  I would not give those moments up for all the treasures in the world.  This is the one and only treasure I could ever ask for.  We are not here to build our treasures on earth but in heaven where they will last forever.
ᴥᴥᴥ

As my body began to return to a more balanced state of health and my mind had not only returned to clarity of the past but it had been gifted even more ability to see the truth of all life, I felt I needed to connect with my ex-partner and talk heart to heart.  I felt there were things that still needed to be said and that reviewing our relationship could help us both grow as we entered this New Year.  Shortly into the conversation he told me, “I have met someone--- …………….“  and with a deep pause…. my heart sunk.  Tears welled up in my eyes and I said, “I know…. I felt it.”  Even though I sensed it and I had even prayed that he would find someone who would be good for him and his girls, my heart felt the loss and the sadness flowed right in.  But this was part of God’s plan, I had left him and he needed to move on, we both did.  It seems that no matter who leaves who if there was great love for each other there always seems to be a sense of sadness when you find out that your lost love has moved on – the door closes.

I swallowed my tears enough to allow the conversation to go on, and asked about her.  He told me how she was she was really good with his girls, and I knew on all levels this was right, because if I couldn’t be the one for him, if I couldn’t be what he truly needed, I prayed that someone would show up who could. 
The beauty in this day was that I was able to honor a situation in my life that in the past would have overwhelmed me with pain and sorrow and caused me to run for some sweet thing to help me avoid my true feelings.  But God had promised a miracle for me and He had fulfilled it.  He allowed me to fully feel the pain and no longer push it away. 

I found myself getting off the phone and becoming flooded with a fountain of emotions from… great love for David, to great pain, sadness, and loss.   As I cried to set ache in my heart free these words gushed from my soul, “Thank You God, Thank You God, Thank You God, Thank You God……..” until the tears were no longer, and what I was left with were the feelings of relief, of joy, and finally of inner peace. I think the greatest thing about my relationship with David was the deep love I felt for him. I was able to see the spirit of who he was beyond the physical, and when you can capture that essence in someone even for a moment that is true love.
 
I don’t think it is humanly possible to go through such a physically challenging dis-ease & then right into a heart wrenching emotional sting and come out of it with such grace if not for the love of God, Jesus, Mother Mary, and the Holy Spirit carrying me through.  To all those who have ever had to endure physical, mental or emotional pain I tell you, not as a teacher but as a friend, as someone who has first handedly seen the workings of Christ in my life and the miracles of prayer…. God Will Help Us, all you have to do is reach at your hand to Him and give Him your life.

Even though I was too sick to say the prayers during my fever I held the rosary in my hand when I slept.  And I know that the more consistent you are with your prayers in times of abundance and good health, when times of trouble come and you are too weak to say the words, the saints and angels will intercede for you.

In honor of the Divine Mother Mary and all she has done for me I offer her this portrait.


Hail Mary, Full of Grace
The Lord is with thee,
Blessed are you among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy women Jesus.
Holy Mary Mother of God,
Pray for our sinners now and at the hour of our death.
~ Amen ~

As a free spirit seeker before returning to the catholic faith I frowned upon the word, “sinner.”  But now as a mystic entering religion again I see it with new eyes.   Sin is the things that separate us from God, the things we know we have done wrong either against ourselves or against another.  It takes a conscious, humble soul to realize that they have fallen, and acknowledge that some of the things they have done could have been played out with more grace and kindness.

And when all people begin to look at their life in this way, then world peace will prevail.

My word for 2014 is HUMBLE- GRACE

I am a freer spirit now than I have ever been before because my faith has been renewed once again.

All my love,

Windy

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent Begins Today - Dec. 1

It is very exciting as we move into the Christmas Season.  Having taken the past 3 months to investigate the catholic faith I find I am more excited than ever to attend mass on Dec. 25th and celebrate the birth of Jesus.
I picked up a Living Faith Advent book and each day I read a new passage.  The last line in the book today says:

"Our entire life is an advent.  It is a beautiful season of expectation.  We are waiting, and preparing ourselves for LOVE."  - Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti

Wishing you a Happy Advent time as you prepare for the Joy of Christmas!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Next?

What Next? – part 1

A week ago I was having a conversation with my mom and I told her my next posting was going to be called, “THE JOY OF SUFFERING.”   I started writing it a few days ago but I found myself struggling to express my thoughts clearly about it.

So I let it sit… thinking I would come back to it… but as life has it, I have changed so much in the past few days that “ suffering” is quickly moving out of my life.  What I do know is we can’t stay in misery forever and there is always a rising up when we realize that.  I learned from the greatest man who ever suffered, Jesus.  While on the cross he says, “Father unto you I commend my spirit.”  By these words Jesus is giving us a really big hint… “commend” means to entrust, to deliver with confidence our life into the hands of God.


I would like to describe the process I have experienced over the past few days.  I have been reading a book called, “33 Days to Morning Glory.”  I am 6 days away from completing the 33 day personal retreat.  The intention of the book is to fully give over our life to Mother Mary.  As I do, I am finding my worries, doubts and fears are releasing as I ask for her intercession in my life…. with Her Divine Vision She can see exactly what I need and point me in the right direction.

In one of the chapters there is a meditation on “dying to self.”  I have always been curious about this concept, “the dying of the ego” or the parts of us that feel we need to control our reality and everyone else in it.  And I am the first to admit I have fallen into this phenomenon. The process of letting it all go can be challenging, because the part of you that is trying to hold on is losing its grip and as it does, an inner battle begins.

Some of what has happened for me in the past month….. has been a guidance to return to my birth name, end my 9 year career of being a ‘healer’ which was a big part of my identity, and all this compiled with the ending of a 2 year relationship and my cat dying…. With this much change, one can feel like they are having a nervous break-down or mid-life crisis….

However… allowing all these changes to arise, feeling the emotions as they pass through, while not getting too attached, and then attempting to maintain some sense of sanity is what we hope to achieve.  But a dying of self is also a losing of sanity (hopefully only for a short period of time!!!)

For me I can best describe it as a crumbling of everything I have ever known about myself, my beliefs, my sense of self, and even my reason for living.  I did go through a couple dark stages where I couldn’t even see the point of going on in this reality.  But I guarantee that as you get through that piece, (and YOU WILL), you rise into a lightness that brings a whole fresh start. Into the arms of the Divine Beloved who will take care of you.  We have to die on an intellectual, spiritual, and emotional level to receive the eternal life of JOY here on earth.

The emergence… is YOU completely surrendered and ultimately free of your own self destructive nature.  And the leap of faith that you take in going down this road reveals to you the true beauty of the world beyond what the physical eyes may show you.  
There was an interesting movie concept that came out in 2001 called, “Shallow Hal.”  The movie is a little distasteful in some respects but the idea is that this man sees the beauty in this woman who is portrayed as unattractive.  I think that when we truly wake up to God’s plan we will see the beauty in everything and everyone.
  
What Next? – part 2

So what is next for me…  FUN!  I have spent many years offering healing work for others while simultaneously doing my own healing work on self.  A lot of heavy emotional drudge has been brought up to look at.  But as with many things in life there is completion and we come full circle.

I have observed that over the past 10-15 years there has been an upsurge of self-help books, healers, and guru’s advising people how to live a conscious life (and I was one of them.)  It was needed because the world had to be shaken and awakened.  So I can only speak from my personal experience but as I let go of being a healer and even seeking healing myself from others I have come to realize that spiritual journeying is a very internal private affair.  When we seek too much outside of ourselves for answers we lose our own intuitive nature.  At some point it is time to say, “I am done with healing, I am done with seeking, I am ready to BE!”

And as hard as it was to let go because on some level I was being fed emotionally by the work, I can now see what is coming…  and it is activities of fun, of community, of laughter and joy again.
There is a song I have been listening to tonight as I write this blog entry that says:

“I believe in Angels, something good in everything I see.”
“I have a dream, a fantasy to help me through reality.”

These lyrics inspired me to remember that the dream life is possible.  And with the help of my guardian angels I know I can live it again.  When I married my first husband, our life was all about having fun, he was charismatic and treated me like Gold!

Nine years ago I broke away to go on the spiritual path.  I have no regrets because the healing I went through has made me who I am today.  I am ready to enter the next nine year phase of my life…

When I look back I see that I had true love in all the relationships I have ever had but somewhere down the line we stopped seeing the essence of each other and things got gloomy!  Now I know that with open communication and a willingness to love without judgment, our fantasies can turn into reality and all it takes is the love of one couple to break through and spread throughout the world like a wild fire....!

   ...and so my fantasy and my new reality is….



for my Prince Charming to show up because I deserve that… we all do.   I believe in summer concerts with picnics of wine, grapes, crackers and cheese, I believe in dancing in the kitchen when making dinner with my love, I believe in long walks holding hands just being with each other ~ even without words, I believe in surprise flowers showing up on my doorstep.

And I believe in loving my future husband with all my heart and soul, giving him back rubs and washing his feet, leaving him inspirational notes on the bathroom mirror and laughing a lot!!!

So I put this message out into the world, wherever you are I know we will meet.  Until then, know that I am happy now and my life will go on with an inner joy that is not dependent on outer circumstances.  The light of my heart has been re-ignited and God is the keeper of the flame, so I know I am in Good Hands.

I encourage you all to write your dream and give it over to Mother Mary, She is all knowing and She will bring you the friendships, the loves, and the most joy you have ever known.

Blessings of delight,
   or as friend wrote me today… signing off with these words…

Oodles of Hugs and Gallons of Love,

Windy

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bubbling Joy

Hello Dear Friends

I just got home from mass and I am bubbling with joy.  If you have been reading my last few posts you will have noticed they have been about death and suffering... which can be a beautiful thing.  However something shifted in me today and the joy is overflowing.

The joy that used to fill me daily had slid away as some emotionally heavy trials took place in my life this past year.  It started with my good friend Nan passing away.  Then my partner's ex-wife passed away and my life changed drastically, which resulted in a move to the east coast this summer.  Normally I love change as long as it is in alignment with my soul. But unfortunately instead of feeling my usual uplifted self I began to feel like I was drowning, which eventually spiraled me into a deep depression.

My soul was calling out to me, I had to listen, I had to reclaim my faith.  I meditated and asked for soul guidance on whether to leave my current relationship.  My inner voice told me I would suffer if I stayed and I would suffer if I went, which didn't make the choice any easier.  I had to take some kind of action and so I found the courage to leave.  Once the decision was made I was guided here to New Mexico.... and upon my arrival my soul was greatly pleased.

But after a month of being here, I began to experience deep remorse of having left my partner David, and great sadness.  Then right after those feeling began to surface, my cat Princess died. So I was bombarded with grief and loss.  I knew that I had come here to heal, to isolate myself in the desert and deepen my relationship with God.  I had always felt this calling to spend 40 days in the desert just as Jesus had done.  And just as He experienced... I too was tried, and tested.  

I can see that the pain, the tears, and the solitude has only made me stronger.  Today is my 61st day in the desert.  It is not that I have not spoken to anyone it is just that I have not reached out to connect with the heart of people.  Having chosen to be in prolonged isolation, has given me the opportunity to experience deep loneliness.  I call it an 'opportuntiy' because every situation (if we allow it) provides us a chance to grow and become more enlightened.  I think loneliness is something that many people feel, even in big cities.

Throughout the past 2 months, I stayed committed and everyday except one where I got mad at God, I did my daily spiritual practice which consisted of saying the rosary in the morning, doing some faith based reading during the day, and sitting in nightly prayers.

On October 31st something shifted inside of me.  I woke up this morning to snow and I saw God's light shining as a reflection of my true state.  All the suffering I had been experiencing began to dissolve.  


I was reminded that faith can carry us through anything.  I am aware that there are times that come where we find ourselves falling into despair.  We must not give up, even within the darkest moments of suffering, or the deepest feelings of loneliness God, Mother Mary, Jesus, the Saints and Angels are always with us. 

What often happens when times of turmoil arise is that we can lose faith and fall into doubt. This is when we really need to call out to God.  Break the patterns and say NO to the doubt, "I will not let fear rule over me any longer."  

I had an experience a few days ago where my mind was running with this thought of deception over and over again.  I could barely focus on anything it was consuming me until finally I called out to God for help. I said these exact words over and over again, "Mother Mary Please Help me, Oh God Please Help me."  

A minute or two passed and then the phone rang.  I just about jumped out of my seat.  I picked it up and it was a woman calling to schedule a job interview with me.  The job was to work for a place called, "ANGEL FIRE."  Now I would say that was a pretty powerful and timely message from God and the angels.  It was enough to take me out of my state of misery.


After I hung up the phone the haunting thought that had been hanging over me, was nearly wiped clear.  I began to feel light and I even started singing after that. The Grace and Mercy of God is the most wondrous experience you can ever have, it is like no other. 

I am aware now that the more time I devote to my spiritual practices when I am in those light and happy states, the more power I have in overcoming the dark and heavy times.  When prayer is a daily practice it stays with us to help us get through the inner battles.  

God wants to give us so much.  He has given us is His love and given us free will to choose that love.  And so He patiently waits... until we reach out to Him.  And when we begin to love Him with all our heart and all our soul that is when the overflowing, bubbling joy arises.

I have never been more excited to go to church especially in honor of All Saints Day.  I gave up the Catholic faith as a young teen and at the age of 40 I have decided to give it another chance. As most of you know I have spent the past 10 years going up every religious path you can imagine... but it recently became clear to me to pick one path.  Over the past month I have released all of my Buddha, Hindu and other esoteric items of worship which has allowed me o bring all of my attention to Jesus & Mother Mary who are carrying me to God.  

I am not saying that any other path is 'wrong,'  For me I needed to have one focus. I have always believed that when you are feeling really good INSIDE, than you must be on your destined path.  Becoming Catholic I have felt good and I have still had my challenges.  There have been many times these past months where I haven't necessarily felt 'good.'  But when it comes to feelings you have to give it time and know that challenges also lead to rapid spiritual growth.  

But don't let the challenges consume you because you have help and we are here on earth to receive that help through God, and through our spiritual family.  What I do know is that when I walk into the church I feel at peace... I feel at one with God.  

I have just taken a 3 week fasting period where I did not receive the Eucharist in anticipation of the November 1st Holy Mass of the Saints.  I feel I am now ready to receive the Lord.  He showed me suffering so that I could understand the magnitude of His Glory.  My soul is happy, I am with Jesus again.


As for my great love with David, it definitely was not an easy decision to leave, but I realize now why it had to happen.  I gained clarity by putting some distance in the relationship and I was able to see the beauty that we had created.

When David and I first met we didn't see each other as bodies, we saw right into each other's souls.  And as we connected on that level we experienced great love.  We were seeing God within each other, as perfect, whole and complete.  When you love the soul, like that...., the love never goes away no matter how far apart you may be.

Even though we are thousands of miles away, when I walk down my country road, every so often I feel David as if he is walking right beside me, holding my hand and encouraging me to do what God brought me here to do. And I know I walk with him throughout his days encouraging him to be who he has come here to be.

New Mexico has brought me peace even through all the struggles, and the expansive landscapes have soothed my soul.  No matter where my journey takes me now this 61 days of solitude has allowed me to re-commit to my faith.  I have been reminded of the necessity to take time each day, to sit in quiet and listen for the great voice of God, knowing that He will continue to provide a clear path for me to follow.

I have also experienced a deeper appreciation for the wonderful friendships I have cultivated thus far in this life. Thank you to all of my friends, you are with me... always

all my love, Windy

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ALL SOULS DAY

….is a special day of the year, designated to honor all souls who have transitioned out of their body this past year.  ALL SOULS DAY takes place on November 2nd, the day after ALL SAINTS DAY.

   I was speaking to my mom not too long after my cat Princess died, and she said to me, one of the wonderful things about witnessing the passing of others, is that it makes us stop and reflect.  I feel our world is moving in a direction where we will be spend more of our time in reflection and less time trying to get things done.  Which means that hopefully we do not need death to come around just to remind us to slow down and just 'BE'. 

   I think it is wonderful act of devotion to take one day out of the year to honor the lives of all those who have gone on.  And it is also a great opportunity to thank God for our own life and all the incredible blessings He has bestowed upon us. 

   There were a half dozen people I knew who passed away this year and so I will celebrate, Nan, Ken, Mary, Seung-Un, AJ & Princess this Saturday, November 2nd in a Catholic Mass.  

   I would like to share with you the life of one special lady who was a great teacher and friend to me.  Her teaching came through the stories she shared and most powerfully through her essence of being.  She helped me reconnect with my soul and opened me up to receiving God's love.  I would like to honor the life and death of Nan Cowdrey.

  
Nan Cowdrey – died January 11, 2013 at the age of 94. 

   She was like a spiritual mother to me.  Nan lived life to the fullest and at age 94 was still going strong.  She openly spoke about dying to me, although she would always say with a chuckle, “I am not ready to go yet!” But when she did go, her dream was to walk up into Mount Shasta (her favorite place) and simply not return.  She also told me that when she died she had no intention of coming back to earth, she was going to heaven, and she was going to stay there.  Nan had been a writer and TV producer and when it was time for her to go she knew all of her work would be done here.  
 
   One morning Ilonka, Nan's dear friend and caretaker, came into Nan’s room to find her laying on the floor.  An ambulance was called and she was taken to the hospital.  Upon her arrival Nan was placed on life-support and the doctors said there was nothing they could really do for her.  That is when Ilonka called to tell me the news. 

   I had plans to take Nan out again in a few days and so I felt the shock of what lay ahead and the emotions that arise, when you know that someone is about to make their transition.  As I drove over to meet with Ilonka and see Nan I was in a meditative state, where it seems the car is driving you instead of you driving the car.  As I neared the exit for Los Robles Hospital I noticed the clouds hovering in the sky had formed the same shape as Mount Shasta mountains.  I felt peace for Nan and I smiled seeing how God was helping to orchestrate her perfect exit.


   Nan had discovered the energy of those special mountains as a 16 year old girl when she embarked on a journey taking a train to Mt. Shasta on her own volition.  For many years she returned to explore this sacred land and when she was there she met out of body Spiritual Masters who spoke with her.  Nan shared some of her stories with me and told me that if I opened up enough by raising my vibration I too could meet with them.  She went on to give me strict orders that if a happening should occur I was to bottle my experience and not let it out until the right time.  In the summer of 2011 I did have an experience where I met a Master who appeared in physical form... but that story is still not ready to come out yet.

   It was always a delight to be around Nan because she never talked about mundane things, when she spoke there was always a pearl of wisdom I could extract.  She was just an amazing being of light.  I once said to her, “You are a Master”, and of course she denied it.  It was a combination of her humbleness, her devotion to God and the spiritual path that was the link to our relationship.  

   Along with her humbleness there was a feisty passionate side to Nan.  There were certain things she wanted and was not about to let anyone tell her she could not have them.  Even though she was no longer allowed to drive she wanted her car registration and insurance kept in order just in case she needed to make a get-away!

   I would take Nan out shopping and for lunch every other week.  During out outings I watched Nan interact with people and I would see how her joyful presence could light up every person in the room.  After Nan passed away I went back to a few of the store owners and told them she had died.  I was blown away by this experience because even though they had only met her once, they all seemed to have the same response, which was a tear in their eyes and these words, “But she was so alive.”  Even at the age of 94 she was truly... so alive.
 
   It was obvious that even in just one encounter Nan had the ability to connect with people on a level that went much deeper than the physical.  She knew how to go right to people’s hearts.  I loved being around her because she met people at their level and when someone can do that you immediately feel at ease to be yourself.  I saw it over and over again people just felt at ease and happy around her.  

   Nan was also incredibly appreciative and that is a beautiful virtue to be surrounded by.  I remember every time we went out Nan would hold on to my arm as I walked her to the car and tell me how grateful she was that I had come for her.  It was a beautiful exchange, because I was as grateful for her, as she was for me.
     
   There was only one time when Nan felt really upset about something going on in her life and she just could not let it go.  I was on the receiving end of her frustration, and I began feeling like I just could not take this anymore.  In the midst of her words I broke through with a force in my voice and said, “NAN, LET’S JUST PRAY ABOUT THIS!”  She looked down, and for a moment I thought, Ohhh no, I hope I didn’t overstep myself, after all she is my elder.  She took a moment and then said, “You’re right... let’s pray.”  

   It was a profound experience for both of us and it definitely shifted her out of her state of frustration.  The incident has stayed with me as a good reminder to catch myself before going into states of ranting over some thing or some one, when all I really need to do is stop, and through prayer allow God to work out the details.  Nan was always teaching me in some form or another.  And I was an eager student, always seeing that within every situation was an opportunity to learn, and to grow.

   When someone close to you dies what usually comes to mind is the last time you were together.  After her death I found myself going over the conversation we had during our final outing.  One of the last things she said to me was that I should write and it would be good for me.  I told her I had already written a book and I would only write again if it was channeled.  Meaning I was no longer interested in writing for personal gratification, I would only write if God gave me the words.  I could be just as feisty as Nan was and I think that is why I liked her so much.  Needless to say this is the written word you are reading, and so I must be listening to God’s voice or I would not be here.

   When Nan died she was taken off life support and her heart stopped.  But then a minute later it beat a few more times.  When Ilonka told me the story of how beautiful it was in the room, and how she could see the light coming to Nan, we both knew that through her final heart beats she was saying, 'I love you and my soul goes on even though my body as you knew it will not'
 
   I was not in the hospital room at the time her spirit rose.  I was standing on a mountain watching the sun set, knowing that Nan was hooked up to some machine.  Nan was a mover, a true nomad and if she would have been conscious, she would not have liked being held down in a bed like this for long.  

  Something inside told me to go for a walk, to put on Nan's coat which she had given me only the week before and walk out onto the mountain near my home.  When I put the coat on it was as if in that moment I became Nan.  I was doing exactly what she had always wanted, walking into the mountains.  I found a nice spot to pray and I stood facing the sun.  I remembered how much Nan loved the sun she could sit in it for hours and be completely at peace.  She told me that there was a city of light that existed within it.  And so as the sun set I felt Nan within it.tall. I lit some incense played my drum and said, “Nan you can go now.” 

   I did not find out until the next day that she had passed away around the same time I was on the mountain offering God her life in this ceremony.  For those 3 days after her passing I lit a Mother Mary candle and honored her life and her death.  I think Nan showed me how to go through the process of grieving as one more final teaching. 

  Those first 3 days are so powerful, and it is so important to take the time to allow the grief to arise and to release it.  The sooner you can let out and let go the quicker you can send your loved ones on with love and free of attachments.  I am not saying that after the 3 days you no longer think about them it’s just that if you do the work in the beginning and sometimes the work starts even before they leave us then the healing process is shortened.  I feel that as we continue to evolve death will no longer be seen with eyes of sorrow but with tears of joy, as we realize we are returning to the kingdom of Heaven.
    
   I am grateful to Nan for having been such a wonderful friend and teacher.  And I can say she continues to teach and surprise me from where she is now.  Just before I arrived in New Mexico, I stopped on the side of the road to meditate on why I was coming here and give thanks for a safe journey thus far.  I had my window open just a crack and through that small crack floated a tiny feather.  To be honest I am not sure how it got there... but I knew it was Nan.  She had often told me that when she died she was going to sit on a cloud of feathers.  I loved her imagery.  And I knew that one day after she died a feather would fall from the sky and I would know it was her. 



   Nan always spoke highly of New Mexico and she asked me to one day bring her here.  I believe Nan guided me to come to this land of enchantment, to be surrounded by mountains and big sky so that I/we could write and she would continue to inspire me.


   I wanted to say thank you to another person who shared in the life of Nan with me and that was my soul partner David.  We met up after the first night I had gone to see Nan in the hospital.  As we sat in my car, I cried and thanked God for her life.  David and I held each others hands and we held Nan in our hearts.  I know that she is guiding both of us still.  Thank you David for being with me in that time.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Holy Death

     On October 10th, 2013 my cat Princess died in my hands.  Her death and her life have been a beautiful blessing, teaching me how to live life to the fullest and how to go on when someone so close to you dies.

     She was a sweet cat.  She enjoyed watching the birds... but was not a hunter like some cats, she loved all animals.  With humans she asked for respect and that they approach her in a calm and gentle way.  She radiated peace.  If you were fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend some time with Princess, you would have been mystified by the power of her eye gazes.  One look from her and all your worries just melted away. 

     I had worked as a healer for several years and she loved being in sessions with me.  In the last few sessions we did together, Princess would hop onto the couch beside my clients nudging her furry little body up against them.  The clients would keep talking to me at first, and then naturally begin petting her.  Soon enough they would find themselves in full eye gaze with her.  If she wanted your attention she definitely knew how to get it, and it was not in any kind of forceful way.  Her presence and calming nature rubbed off on people in the most wonderful way.  They soon realized that what they were fretting about was not worth the struggle it was causing them.  She could bring people into an instant state of peace.  I sometimes think I could have just walked out of the room and left the two of them in there and the healing would have been complete.
 
     Princess and Casio first came into my life at the end of 2006.  I found myself walking past a coffee shop one afternoon. In the window was a photograph of two cats one white, one black, and a note that said: “Looking for a good home.”

     My heart lit up as I had been thinking about getting a cat.  I wanted to be sure I was ready and not being pulled in by a passing impulse.  So each day for the next four months, I walked by the coffee shop, and I imagined myself taking them home.  I knew that at any day someone else could come by and claim them as their own.  But I was insistent that the timing had to be right, as this was a big responsibility to take on.  By the middle of December they were still there.  No one had come to collect, so I made an appointment with their owner to go visit them.

     When I walked into the room to see them for the first time, both cats were timid but Casio allowed me to approach him.  It was instant love and I was convinced that he was going to be my cat.  I then turned my attention to Princess who was huddled in the corner.  I could feel her un-ease like she was hoping somehow she could just slip beneath the crack of the wall and be free.  I sensed her apprehension, I got down to her level and as I did she lifted her head.  I was able to look into her eyes and we shared a brief moment.  I could tell she was uncertain about me, and at the same time I felt she was asking me to take her home. I knew I could love her like no one else had.


     I brought them home on my 34th birthday, and it truly was one of the greatest birthday gifts I could have ever received.  Taking my time and being ready was so important.  I was beaming with excitement as I set their crates up in the kitchen, and opened the cage door.  They very hesitantly, poked their heads out and then rushed back inside.  I could understand their apprehension as this was a big change and in their eyes I was a stranger.  We had to get to know each other before a trust could be created. 

     For the next four days I barely saw them.  I would call out their names, but they stayed hidden in their safe zones, under the couch or beneath the bed.  I felt a sense of despair set in, as my hopes of having animals around to play and cuddle with was not turning out as I had anticipated.

     I reflected on the situation at hand and an insight came to me.  I decided I would write them a letter and tell them how I felt about them.  I got out a piece of paper and put my feelings on the page.  I wrote out a contract of commitment that I was prepared to make that went something like this… “Dear Casio and Princess I love you.  This is your new home and I am committed to staying with you and taking care of you.  And I will always honor your spirit.”

     Now I know cats don’t read but this worked.  Within the next 30 minutes Casio was the first to pop his head out and then Princess came to check me out.  Soon are time together was filled with bonding and cuddling.
 
     From that moment of commitment, our life grew and blossomed in the most amazing ways. I promised to always allow them their freedom, and although there were times where I feared for their safety, like when we lived in coyote country, I did my best not to worry about them.  I let them know that there were things in the world that they must be aware of.  And then I had to let go and trust in God’s divine plan.

     Our adventures really began after we had spent our first year together when I decided to move back to Southern California.  Over the next five years we moved 16 times, lived in 12 different cities and took 4 plane rides across the country.  I have to laugh when I tell this part of the story, as the reason Casio and Princess’ original owner was getting rid of them was that he wanted to travel more.  Why I find this so amusing is I believe the true story is; that the cats wanted to travel and they put the idea into their owner’s mind.

     When he could not imagine taking them on his adventures, they called in somebody who would.  That’s when I showed up.  I would never have imagined moving around as many times as we did.  But I have to say I loved all of our travels.

     When Princess started getting sick this year I called on Elizabeth Ayer Lee, who is an animal whisperer.  She offered her sessions by phone and so I enlisted her guidance.  I knew I could communicate with Princess myself but I also knew that I might be too emotionally attached to see the clear picture and a spiritual advisor would be very helpful.  I asked Elizabeth if Princess’ sickness was related to how many times we had moved.  Elizabeth told me that Princess wasn't bothered by all the travels.  She said she was very happy to be my assistant and would go wherever I went.

     It showed me how committed Princess was to me.  She was always working on helping me be clear so I could be a positive role model for others.  When I had heavy stuff to deal with she would take it on herself to lighten my load.  When she began vomiting everyday it was hard to stand by and see her go through that because I felt she was in misery.  I was never upset with her I would clean it up and tell her she was okay.  To the very end she was happy to be of service.  
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     When I left Connecticut and drove out to New Mexico Princess stopped vomiting.  I think she was happy we were finally going to New Mexico.  We had a few really good weeks in our little cabin.  I was enamored with the beauty that we had come to know as our home.  We were living on a 40 acre farm with trees all around us.  The mountains were spectacular, far enough away so they did not feel like they were encroaching on us and close enough to feel the power of their presence.  We had breath taking views and incredible sunsets.  Red, orange and golden light filled the sky every night.



     Princess loved sitting on our front door mat enjoying the morning sun.  A few weeks after our arrival, she began showing signs of un-ease in her body, and I could see she was weakening again.  The week before she died I took her to the vet for testing. The next morning she barely had enough strength to lift herself up.  It wasn’t easy to watch her rise, take a step and then fall down again.  I carried her over to her food and water dishes but each time she turned her head and refused to eat.  I thought about having another session with the animal whisperer to see if I could better understand what she needed.

     Later that day I took her outside and I put her on my lap and as I pet her I cried wishing so much that she would get better and not wanting to lose her from my life.  Then I felt a calm come over me which I now know to be the Holy Spirit which comes when we are in great need.  In that moment I was able to make peace with her leaving.  I asked God to take her quickly if she was unnecessarily suffering.

     As Princess lay in my lap that sunny afternoon I began the rosary prayers.  This was a new practice I had adopted in my life after coming to New Mexico.  I did not ask for anything I just sat in devotion to God.  Within a few minutes Princess jumped off my lap.  Her legs were still weak but I could see she was determined.  She would take a step or two and then fall on her but only to rise again and go another few steps.  She had enough energy to get herself into the kitchen, where she began eating again.  I could hardly believe what had just happened because moments before she was completely immobile. After this miraculous recovery I decided not to call the animal whisperer, not because Princess was better but because from this day on I wanted to leave what was to be her destiny in God’s hands.  I suppose this was the beginning of me being able to really let her go.

     Each day she seemed to be getting stronger and even began using the cat scratcher again so I figured her legs were improving.  The morning she died, I must have known on some level that her departure was near.  She had been sick again that morning and so I carried her outside. I held her in my arms, rubbed her soft white belly and told her I loved her.  She just looked at me with her sparkling eyes, and I could feel her peace and her love.  Then she signaled that she wanted down and so I laid her in her favorite spot on the front mat and I returned inside to my bed. 

     Reaching over to my night stand I flipped open “The Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer,” and said it for her.  Normally you say ‘I’ throughout the prayer but I decided to say it to Jesus, for Princess using the pronoun ‘she’.

The prayer went like this…

O most holy heart of Jesus,
Fountain of Every blessing,
She adores you, she loves you,
And with lively sorrow for her sins,
She offers you this poor heart of hers. 
Make her humble, patient, pure,
And wholly obedient to your will.  
Grant Good Jesus that she may live in you and for you. Protect her in her afflictions,
Give her health of body,
Assistance in her temporal needs,
Your blessing on all that she does,
And the Grace of a Holy death.

     ~ Amen ~

     I stayed in bed, continuing to read the book, “I BELIEVE IN LOVE.”  I had just finished reading the third chapter, ‘Humble Confidence’ when I heard a thud. Both Casio and I jumped.  Princess had tried to come back in but had landed across the threshold of the door half way in and half way out.

     I rushed over to her.  She was panting and her paws reached forward as if trying to move and grab something out of mid air.  I placed both my hands gently on her and said, “You’re okay.”  Princess had always been a very quiet cat you would hardly ever hear a peep out of her but now two small cries came out of her mouth which sounded like a woman’s voice saying, “ma.”

     I was in shock and at the same time I was completely present with her.  All of a sudden words came flooding out of my mouth, “Lord hear my prayers, Lord hear my prayers, Lord hear my prayers.” Over and over again I repeated them.  Princess gasped her last few breaths.  They came so intermittently I kept wondering if she was still here.  And then as quickly as it had begun it came to an end.  Her spirit was no longer here and that loving, beautiful energy that once filled her eyes was gone.  I was graced with having been able to hold her and I know for sure she lived a holy life and died a holy death.

     I sat beside her, weeping in my doorway.  I knew she had died but it was hard to believe it had really happened.  In the moment time seemed to stand still and when it was done it seemed to have happened so quickly.  I was not quite sure what I should do next.  I was afraid to move her, but I knew I had to pick her up she was my responsibility right to the end.

     I gently lifted her and instead of allowing fear to take over I found it to be incredibly beautiful.  I could still feel her warmth but the life force was definitely gone.  I held her in my arms like you would cradle an infant, and her head slumped over.  I took her outside one more time for us to be together in the sunlight, and I thanked God for her life and her service to me and all those she had helped to heal.

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     The night before Princess died I had gone on to my church website looking to see if I could find a ministry to volunteer with (www.olgtaos.org/video-gallery).  What ended up catching my attention was a four part video series.  I rarely watch videos, but that night I listened to this 40 minute talk all the way through.  The story was about a man who spoke of how he managed to go on after his 16 year old son's life had come to an abrupt end.  It was emotional to watch and it definitely touched my heart.  He left me with a very clear message which was this, “When the pain from loss comes, and it will, the one thing that can ease the suffering, are these words, Thank You God.”  On the morning of Princess’s death those were my words, ‘Thank You God for her life.’  She was a gift in so many ways with her presence and with her gentle nature. 
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     I brought her back into the cabin and placed her inside of her crate.  Thoughts were now beginning to stream in and I felt the next thing I would have to do would be to take her to the vet and have her cremated.   But I did not really want to do that, what I really wanted to do, was bury her.  I felt Princess’ voice within my heart advise me to go for a walk.   

      I am glad I did as I felt much clearer when I came back.  I wanted to imagine she would get up and be her lively self when I returned, hoping that all this had not just happened, but when I came back she was still there laying in her crate and the reality began to set in.
   
      I truly feel there was something greater than myself moving me through me that allowed me to deal with what I had to do next.  I dried my tears and then headed over to speak with my landlords.  I told them what had happened and asked if it would be possible for me to bury her here on the land.  They were very comforting and said, “Yes of course, that is what we do out here.”

     So I picked up a shovel and began walking the land to find the spot that Princess wanted.  It was quite easy to dig the hole, the dirt was soft not like I had experienced a few weeks ago when I had attempted to pull up some onions.  I feared the earth would be hard and I would struggle with it but Princess had guided me well.  I felt like I could dig forever because I knew that when the digging was done it would make this day very real.  And then the voice came and said, ‘Stop… that is enough.’  Even though I wanted to continue, I knew.  It was time to go get her.

     I returned to my cabin and placed one of my beautifully adorned scarves on the floor.  I took her body out of the crate and placed her onto the cloth.  Just seeing her there so lifeless made me weep again and I allowed myself to fully feel the loss.  Then the calm came over me again.  I grabbed two jars of Holy Water which I had picked up at a church while I was crossing the country.  I anointed her body and said another prayer.  Then I carefully wrapped her and picked her up.   As I began carrying her into the field I cried deeply and said the Hail Mary over and over again.  I know that the Blessed Mother had to have been moving my legs as I carried Princess to where the body would now lay.

     When I arrived at the spot I fell to my knees and placed her in the hole.  I thanked God for her love, for all that she had taught me, and all that she would teach me through her death.  I covered the hole, and gazed out at the incredible scenery, it truly was a beautiful.  As I walked back to my cabin I felt a surge of power in my legs.  It was a new strength that arises when we overcome a life challenge that brings us to our knees.

     You never know what struggle might come your way that will be the catalyst for you meeting God face to face.  Some people may read this story and say, “Well it was just a cat, what’s the big deal about that.”  The wonderful thing about animals is that they offer such unconditional love, that when they are gone that part of our heart really feels the loss.  I am grateful for my deep connection with God, and I know that my union with Him allowed me to come through this so quickly and with such grace. 


     Shortly after laying Princess to rest a great storm arose.  A wind erupted like I had never experienced here.  Clouds rolled in full of rain and hail poured down onto my tin roof.  A crackling thunder pierced the solemn air and I found delight in knowing that Princess’ spirit was having its final say.
 
     Before I left her grave I had gathered some rocks from the area and created a heart shaped monument.  I picked up a few other rocks with the intention of painting her name on them to mark this sacred spot. By five o’clock that same day I felt that I would return to place them in the center.  At exactly 5 pm the sun burst through the clouds and the most brilliant light came flooding into my cabin.

I believe it was Princess saying, “I am good, I am Happy, I am with you… always in your heart.”

     Other messages that Princess shared with me in her last days was her ability to get up in the midst of what seemed like the end of her life.  On the day I had said the rosary prayer, she found the will to rise and continue on.  I know we don’t live forever but while we are here it is our duty to give the best of ourselves to this life.  I think God wanted me to have her around for one more week so I could witness the power of divine will to go on in the face of struggle.



     Winston Churchill has a quote that says, “Never, Never, Never Give Up.”  I have added on to his quote with these words, “Never, never, never give up your path to God.”
 
    What I experienced in the first three days of Princess dying, was a mix of happy memories of good times shared along with sadness of no longer having her physical presence with me anymore.
 
     Some people experience anger and guilt as a part of the grieving process.  I did not have these emotions arise and I believe it is because I knew in my heart I did all that I could have for her.  The most significant thing I did was I let go of my need to control the outcome by offering her life to God through prayer.
 
     When we pray for others we return them into God’s hands and so when they leave us, we understand that it was in the divine plan.  We then become more receptive to the messages they will share with us through their departure.  Our faith is strengthened as we carry on.

     October 13th, was the third day after Princess’ passing and I woke up feeling light, and happy. I dressed in her colors, white, tan, brown and black and went to church, and I remembered that Jesus also rose on the third day.  If you could find it in your heart to attend a mass in honor of her, I think she would really like that.
 
     A friend sent me this prayer on the third day as a reminder that when our family, our friends and are pets die they are with us more than ever before.  We are not, our bodies; we are spiritual children of God.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
       -Author Unknown-
   
      From Princess, Casio and myself, I just wanted to say thank you to all those who provided a home for us on our adventures, and to all those who took care of them when I went on personal retreats.  I think Princess brought me to New Mexico so she could die on this sacred land and so I could write her story.  And to God, Jesus, Mother Mary who continue to carry me through this life offering me divine Grace and Mercy.