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Archive for the ‘Departed loved ones’ Category

image from spirit_elements-www-josephinewall-co

image from spirit_elements-www-josephinewall.co.uk

Two years before my marriage breakdown my father had passed away after a nasty battle with cancer. As anyone who has had anything to do with cancer knows, it isn’t an easy journey. Dad had Myeloid Leukemia and as time passed I became aware that I was hearing Nanny call me more and more often. I would lay awake at night waiting for her to call me, finally falling asleep only to wake when I heard her calling me, then lose any connection when I spoke. I became more frustrated with myself, wishing I could ‘wake’ just enough to ‘talk’ to her without saying anything, which I thought was stopping her from speaking to me.

I read everything I could find about Angels and spirit communication. I listened to anything I could on CD or video but couldn’t get to see or speak to anyone. (My ex called it “that rubbish”). I was frustrated and saddened by my failure to learn something which might bring some peace to Dad or Mum who was herself very ill. Yes, and answer some of my questions.

After his passing he seemed to be with me often. His particular scent was everywhere and I felt if I could turn quickly enough I might be able to glimpse him before he vanished. I began hearing him calling my name as I slept too. It was comforting but frustrating as I felt I was missing something important. Yet I had no idea where to go to find the answers. It seemed everyone was calling me and I was unable to hear what they wanted me to hear.

image from myvoiceonthewingsofchange.blogspot.com

Twelve months later my father in law passed away. I was shocked when I heard his voice call me. We had traveled out to Texas to see him, knowing in my heart we would be saying goodbye. Once I saw him in the hospital I heard voices all around me, his family waiting. A planned short visit became a dire need to stay overnight, one I knew would be the last but which my husband refused to accept. As I waited for him to return from collecting overnight items I heard his father calling my name. Yet neither of us said a word. Within minutes of his return his father passed away.

I was shocked by my experiences in the hospital. The last years had seen a growing divide between his father and I, almost in line with the decline of my marriage and I was stunned at the experience I had whilst I was alone with him.  Now I had even more questions. Why did he speak to me after all ‘this’ time’? “Why” could I hear his family when I had never been able to form a close relationship with them over the years? It was inexplicable to me at that time.

Twelve months later my marriage broke down completely and my foray into other avenues to find the answers which filled my mind finally began in earnest.

I began to actively seek out groups I could get to, Paganism, Wicca, Angelic workshops, Spiritual churches. Online and in person I searched for a reason for the why of life and death which perplexed me.  I pursued my Reiki healing and then followed with other healing modalities. I could feel my senses expanding and sense things even more intensely. I attended Doreen Virtues Angel workshops and became an accredited Angel practitioner. I bought and became proficient with a range of tarot cards but apart from friends lacked the trust in myself to read for anyone else. A wonderful ‘seminar’ with some famous psychics arranged by Hay House was a highlight at the time. I had so many questions bubbling away inside and no opportunity to ask any!

I became involved with a couple of Wiccan groups, only to find we didn’t ‘fit’, beautiful people and I had some answers and learned a great deal. Much of what I learned made sense but didn’t answer everything completely. In the process of searching through online groups I came across a colourful individual, I’ll call Evan, a colourful character who had led a colourful life.

Evan and his family lived in the Woodford area and I was invited up to meet them…. I gathered it was an inspection process to see if I would fit in with the group. It was a strange meeting, filled with questions and the impression of being ‘weighed and measured’.  In retrospect it was rather funny. They had their ceremonies which appeared to be very similar to the Wicca groups, but there was a hint that there was ‘more I could learn if things went well’. This intrigued me even more. What could be so secret that I had to ‘prove’ myself before I could find out about it. It certainly didn’t sound like any of the Wicca I’d been involved in or studied. It did, however, sound very much like it might lead to a darker kind of practice. My curiosity was piqued.

Now I know from my studies that Paganism is not ‘black magic’ yet I also know that there are those who do take such worship down darker paths. The feelings I received as we performed our full moon celebrations did not leave me feeling happy and joyous but uncomfortable and brooding, waiting for something further to happen. The secrecy and mystery they surrounded their celebrations with also made my hackles rise.

My years of reading Dennis Wheatley came to the fore and it took little time talking with the other members of the group to learn that the New Moon celebrations were more ‘interesting’. Now why should that be? Why were the chants so strange? Why were we not allowed to see them until the ceremony was about to start?

People stop seeing you for who you really are after a while and I sat and listened to what was happening. I’m sure everyone has seen the backward writing which your brain can read easily after a few seconds. All the words for their ceremonies were written in reversed order. Nothing ‘bad’ that I could ever saw, but what went on at those ceremonies I was not invited to?  As time passed I became more uncomfortable. Their costumes became more flamboyant and brief and their talk left me in no doubt that their altar was not a place to honour life. Not in the way I would like.

Common  sense told me to simply stop going there as I had already heard of past members having somewhat unfortunate accidents. My police ‘radar’ was working overtime, and my angels were pulling me away. After my snake episode. yes, it was Evan who gave me the cranky snake, I’d had enough searching down this avenue. Discretion was the better part of valor!

Then I met an old friend from my children’s primary school who was having weekly meetings at her home. Reiki practice, angelic and spiritual discussions and demonstrations. A new era was starting.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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Blessings, Susan x

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Next week, New worlds open up.

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Despite the passage of time, the death of my Nanny still troubled me. (In Search of…Part One  here) Not being able to understand all the ins and outs of the situation acted like a burr under my skin and I desperately wanted answers.  Granddad’s passing seemed surreal because we were so far away. From time to time I would hear one or the other calling me in my sleep, waking me up enough to answer them before they fell silent. It was only after the incident on board the ship, where Granddad’s voice woke me that I recalled the number of times Nanny had been doing just that. I now know that she was trying to reassure me because of the deep hurt I still felt.  However, that realisation was to come later.

Mum tried to get us to church once we settled into our new home but it was hot that summer of ’72 and inside those timber churches it felt like we were descending into a fiery hell. At least it seemed that way to me. It may have been the way I was thinking at the time but I didn’t struggle when she finally decided it was too much. Fainting every Sunday morning didn’t seem like the way to go and my heart wasn’t in it anyway.

I have always been so very fortunate in that Mum never restricted my reading material. I was always happy to be able to talk about the strange things I ‘learned’ and my taste was eclectic to say the least,  everything from my school texts, English literature to autobiographies, fiction and thrillers and eventually into Science fiction and fantasy. I started reading Dennis Wheatley, a prolific writer of thriller and the occult. At the time, one which stuck in my mind was “The Haunting of Toby Jugg”.

In one sense it was a way of searching’ for answers.  It was a strange place to look but I was so focused on getting through school, where I didn’t fit in, that in another way they were an escape.   Another author I remember being introduced to was Dr T. Lobsang Rampa, a Buddhist monk who wrote many stories, beginning with one called “The Third Eye”. More questions followed the answers I felt I might be finding.

Books, films, I scoured them all, searching for alternate ways to explain what happened in life and death. I wanted a reason for the apparent randomness of events. Why did some people seem to sail through life without a care in the world whilst others had no end of horrible things happening to them?  What was the purpose to the horrors which occurred on a daily basis, to people, places and entire countries? How could I find an explanation for the debasement of human beings by other human beings?

If I made a mistake during this time it was that I kept my search to myself. In my self-imposed exile I failed to talk to anyone or I might have found others to talk to, broaden my horizons and perhaps find the answers I was searching for. Yet I didn’t and so the search continued. I wanted to help people, people who were unable to help themselves or had been badly treated in one way or another.  I wanted to do what they could not, whatever that might be.

Joining the police department after finishing high school was another culture shock. My rather quiet and staid upbringing was knocked on its head. In a sink or swim situation I grabbed the only lifeline available…. a wall, not of indifference but distance, between the events I saw played out daily and myself. It was the only way to survive being dropped into the human melting pot of behaviour, where the standards accepted by society seemed not to exist.  What I saw and learned served to give me even more questions. I was very empathic with everyone I met, the physical pain which would scour my body often left me feeling overwhelmed. I was an empath but hadn’t yet found the meaning for it.

PW 377. From a time long, long ago.

PW 377. From a time long, long ago.

Oh my, how things have changed.  There are times when I wonder what happened to this fresh-faced and innocent wanderer.  I wonder most of all how she managed to survive with the naivety I approached my entry into the police force. Since I’m still here I can safely say I survived. I learned and I survived.

I met my first husband whilst I was a police officer.  It was after our marriage that the ‘voices’ started occurring more often. His maternal Grandmother was a lovely lady and we had just spent a beautiful long weekend at her property out on the Downs, past Toowoomba.  So it came as a shock to be woken from a sound sleep hearing her calling my name. Once again I awoke as soon as I answered her. The next morning the local police knocked on our door, a request to call his mother. His grandmother had passed away during the night – at the precise  time I woke from sleep answering her!

This was the first funeral I attended. It was sad, more so because it was so totally unexpected and we had seen her just a few days earlier.  Yet people are strange creatures, what followed after the ceremony was much worse. In the days and weeks that followed I was surrounded by the scent of her perfume and awoken frequently by Nanny calling my name.

I started reading books by known psychics, Doris Stokes, Sylvia Browne and anything I could find on the afterlife, spiritual beliefs, practices  and occurrences. Suddenly all my strange encounters as a child which I had put down to an over active imagination (at least Dad had) suddenly made so much more sense.  I read everything from tomes about Angels to Paganism and Wicca. At the time I was ‘researching’ all the books I read were purported to be by respected psychics.  I neither advocate nor denounce anyone since they all had information I found useful.

They were years when I was restricted to reading. Venturing further afield and attending meetings was ‘outlawed’  and hence the urge to see for myself what these people had to offer, as answers, was increasing.  I managed to start my Reiki healing and the results from that, the amazing feelings which came with it, sparked an ever-increasing yearning to go further.

It would not be until my marriage ended over two decades later that I was finally able to seek out these new avenues for answers and experiences.

Next week – My foray into another world.

image fromartel-art.livejournal.com

Blessings, Susan x

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“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.”
Swami Vivekananda

Some people spend their whole lives searching for their own truth. Some take the truths their families taught them or the church taught them and are fulfilled and happy with this. For these people it is right and none can gainsay this. For those who search for their truth, the questioners of life, death and all manner of things, their search may be long, yet we must hope that they eventually find what they are searching for.

What feels like a lifetime ago I turned my back on the beliefs I was brought up to believe. I was a questioner. I needed to know the ‘why’ of things. I couldn’t blindly accept what I was told. I was part of the new movement of people who wanted to understand their world, their place in it and where it was leading to.  Until I was 14 years old I thought I understood my place in the scheme of things, but I had reached a place filled with questions and I could find no-one to give me answers.

My Grandmother, my Nanny, was a beautiful lady. She had been ill for much of her life having contracted St Vitus dance as a young child which left her with a weak heart. She had such a strong belief in her faith, in God that despite all her travails she believed. In all honesty it probably kept her going through everything.  Her passing and the manner of her passing saw me reach a crisis in faith.

Beautiful memories

Beautiful memories  Nanny sitting between her brother, Alec and Grandad, her husband.

It was the first time I refused to cry. I refused to allow the mourners who had come to sit with the coffin, this was in the days when the coffin came home for the final viewing, I refused to let them see me upset or cry. It felt as though their eagle eyes were boring into my back as they watched me cross the parlor, waiting for me to break down in hysterics. In my self-imposed agony I refused to allow them that satisfaction. It is strange what thoughts pass through your mind at times like that. To this day I abhor open casket viewings.

There was no closure, I had important exams the next day and my parents, wishing to spare me the distressing funeral service told me to go to school. Whether this would have helped I don’t know, I only know that it hurt almost as much as losing her.  It also created an internal barrier which prevented me from going to the cemetery later.

I was a ‘good Catholic’ girl, attending a Catholic college and was a handmaid of the Blessed Sacrament. I went to mass every day at school and thought I might become a nun. That was about to change. I needed desperately to understand why, an all merciful God could take a beautiful soul in such a horrid and heartbreaking way. In a fit of despair I asked my school chaplain this question. I was told it was “Not my place to question the workings of God.” Further pressing on my part solicited the response the “I would be excommunicated for my heretical behaviour!” I was so angry at this callous attitude I believe I was quite rude. By this time I’m afraid God and the Church had lost me anyway.

I refused to go to church at school unless it was absolutely necessary, but refused to open my mouth at all, refused Communion and, but for my mothers deepest wish for us to continue to go to church would have stopped going with her also. I refused, in my mind at least, to have anything to do with a God who was so vengeful and cruel. There was no blessings to be had for me at that time.

It was a bleak time. The pain refused to lessen and my obdurate stance on refusing to cry caused Mum a lot of heartache. I also refused to go to the cemetery with the rest of the family. I took the better part of a year before I found my way there alone one day. There was no peace there for me. I didn’t feel God’s presence or his reassurance. I simply saw a sad and lonely place, filled with dark reminders of those who had been lost. There were no answers there for me only more heartache.

Even though we left England a couple of years later I hadn’t reconciled to going to the cemetery with Mum, always making my solitary way there so spend time trying to remember something other than the last time I saw her face. Perhaps that was the cruelest irony of all for me at that time.

I was wrong. It appeared the “all merciful God” had not finished with my lessons in his omnipotence. My granddad didn’t want to leave all his friends and family and come to Australia. It was difficult leaving him behind but there was a hollowness inside that this new pain simply sank into. There was plenty of time for introspection on the way over, between the insane bouts of high jinks. Yet the thoughts of “why’ and “what does come after’ never left.

There was a strange feeling a couple of weeks after we sailed. It coincided with getting underway after the long layover in Teneriffe. I woke one night to hear my granddad calling my name. Just that, but so clear I answered him. Then it was gone. A puzzle for me to think about.

When we arrived in Australia my parents were ushered into my Aunt and Uncles lounge and ‘the children’, of which I was apparently still counted as, were ushered into the garden in the broiling sun. Shortly afterwards we were called inside. As soon as I saw my mothers face I simply said “Granddads dead, isn’t he?” Despite the shock on her face she confirmed that he had passed away in his sleep two weeks after we left England, the same night I had my name called.  I had more questions than ever. So many things were piling up in my mind and I was looking for answers to them wherever I could.

In part two I recall the strange places I searched to find the answers to my growing number of questions,

Man learns through experience, and the spiritual path is full of different kinds of experiences. He will encounter many difficulties and obstacles, and they are the very experiences he needs to encourage and complete the cleansing process.”
Sai Baba

Blessings,  Susan x

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Mum 1980

Mum 1980

There are many ways of looking at anniversaries, but the first has to be the type of anniversary which is occupying your mind.  The best, of course, are the happy ones, the birthdays, weddings, births, graduations, when you met THE ONE, special holidays and holiday travels. In fact there can be so many highlights in our lives which can become anniversaries.  Strictly speaking an anniversary is defined thus:-

anniversary is a day that commemorates or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same day of the year as the initial event. For example, the first event is the initial occurrence or, if planned, the inaugural of the event. One year later would be the first anniversary of that event.

Today I am deep in remembrance of an anniversary which, in itself is not as happy as the others I mentioned. It hardly seems believable that today marks the fifth anniversary of my mothers passing. I’m beginning to wonder if time stands still at times, since I recall this anniversary as an event which happened only yesterday. It is however the first time I have publicly acknowledged it. My normal practise is to withdraw for silent communion with a lady I revered above all others. A lady who was not only my mother but my best friend, the person I would turn to first and foremost to share the joys and sadness which populated my life. We were as close as sisters and I loved that special bond. So close in so many ways.

She was stunning, breathtakingly beautiful, and to me, wise beyond anything I could have imagined. I hoped to emulate her example as I became older and have to trust I honour that. She was a small lady, barely 5′ tall, yet she had a presence which made her seem much taller, imposing is the word I would use. She had the most amazing deep auburn hair which shone like a molten coppery gold. I wished every day to have her hair, and those beautiful curls, rather than my straight and black brown hair. Still, my beautiful daughter has inherited those incredible auburn locks, despite the pain they caused her as a child, being called ” carrot top” or worse still “Red”.

Mum and Dad 1977

Mum and Dad 1977

My mother, Patricia, was petite in every way. On her death I inherited much of her jewellery.  Her fingers were so small I am unable to wear any of the rings, not even on my little finger!  That, for me at least, epitomised her, small  and petite but she had a strength of will which placed her amongst giants.

Unfortunately she was ill for many years. The day my son was born in 1982 she collapsed in Brisbane and shortly thereafter was told she had inoperable emphysema and chronic asthma. It was heartbreaking to receive such glorious news of her first grandchild and the sentence of a slow death at the same time.

It was her indomitable will which refused to allow her health to dominate her life until much later. She saw her only granddaughter born two years later in 1984. She often said they were the most precious treasures in her life, and she and Dad spoilt them as much as they could. As their only grandchildren they were spoilt, but not overly so, and they adored their grandparents in return.

It is ironic how the future turns out. The family was as prepared as you can be in these situations, but we were all shocked when Dad suddenly learned he was ill. Terminally ill. He  passed away in 1997 and left her bereft at his loss. We all were, since Dad had been Mum’s rock for so many years. Despite  knowing how strong-willed she was, her health deteriorating, I prepared myself for the worst.

It is a terrible thing for someone with an active and clever mind to be confined physically as she was, yet aware daily of what was happening to her. The frustration and humiliation, for her at least, were a constant raw wound to her pride. To me she always looked beautiful, but when her health stopped her from being able to care for herself the way she liked she withdrew more and more. Her enjoyment came from her grandchildren, her craftwork, which we shared and the long, daily conversations we had in between visits.

Graceful and always ready with a smile.

Graceful and always ready with a smile.

During the last six months of her life I was privileged  to care for her so that she could remain in her own home as long as possible. She had a horror of dying in hospital, alone without her family. This stemmed back to her own mother who did pass away in hospital shortly after Mum had left for the night.

We talked more than ever before, and as much as her failing lungs would allow. We had one last Christmas together in 2007 before she finally went into hospital, another hard decision in February 2008. The next two weeks are indelibly etched in my memory. The hospital called earlier each day, until I was being called at 4.30 am because she was calling for me. I thanked the “higher powers” that my children were teenagers who understood and willingly worked around this so that I could be there for their grandmother.

I tried to get her to eat, bathed her and got her into her fresh nightgown, and made sure she got the only medication they could give her to ease things – morphine!  How she hated that, but at least it enabled her to rest peacefully. It was heartbreaking watching my beautiful mother slowly lose that will to live, to finally simply want an end to the torment. Still she fought it every step of the way.

The Administrator for the hospice was kind and gentle, yet even so Mum didn’t want to go. She decided it meant it was the end and the day of the transfer has been carved in memory as one of the worst I can remember. It was hot and she hated the heat. It was crowded and noisy, which bothered her then. The warder wanted her to lie down which made her breathing worse, so that was another problem. The short transfer from the P.A.to Mt. Olivet seemed to take hours. Once there I bathed her and settled her in a fresh nightgown. She curled up like a child in her bed.

My brothers all came for a brief visit. I think I was the only one who realised we were saying goodbye. I wasn’t ready to leave , although it was much later than usual. Bombarded with urgings and cajoling from my three brothers I finally left, intending to have a quick shower to freshen up and return. As I walked through the door the phone was ringing.

My darling mother had passed away as I was driving home .

I knew how much she hated the sombreness of funerals so I arranged a white casket to be covered with her favourite flowers,  yellow roses and red carnations.

So, one stage of her life was finally over and, as a soul in a human body she is now enjoying the next stage if her life, pain-free, able to run and dance and move freely once more. I rejoice in her freedom again and know that missing her is a normal reaction, yet I am disappointed that believing as I do I still grieve. I grieve for myself, my loss and somehow that feels selfish.

I wish my mother an eternity of happiness and joy, free to dance and sing as she wanted. I believe that one day I will be able to talk to her again and I long for that day.

So today I will look through my albums and with a heart overflowing with love, remember a wonderful lady who was my mother, a woman who taught me so many things, and be eternally grateful that she is free and happy once more as I lay flowers on her physical resting place.

This is for you Mum. Thank you for making my life so wonderful.

image from MATTCLARK_01’s media

Ever your loving daughter, Susan xxxxxx

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image from sendflowerstomumbai.com

There is a great deal to be said about the amount of work needed to produce beautiful blooms such as these. As a rose lover, I can appreciate the hard work needed, especially in our hot and humid climate. Roses not specially bred here have a hard time. Similarly, those which have been bred for colour have often lost the beautiful scent we associate with roses.

image from hdw.eweb4.com

There are a lot of tears shed over roses which develop a vast range of diseases from bud to bloom  and ruin many months of hard work.

image from marinrose.org

There are many examples, but since it is almost like a physical pain to see a beautiful rose so ‘damaged’ I didn’t want to add any more.

From medieval times roses have carried great importance.

We have lost much of the ‘language of flowers’ where each flower had its own meaning, even down to the individual colours of blooms.  Anyone familiar with the film, “Kate and Leopold” will recall his horror at Kate’s brother wanting to send a mixed bunch of flowers to impress a girl. It would be nice, I think if we could remember what a floral arrangement really said to the recipient. Too “Old Fashioned” perhaps for most, I don’t know.

image from suenicolphotography.com

Yet the truth is that like most flowers roses need the right care and feeding to grow into the magnificent blooms we, especially woman, adore.

image from floridadomehome.com Bio dynamic horse manure

Families are like that too.  Each member of the family is its own unique flower. Each has its own qualities. Each its own form and scent.

Thunderously close to scandalous, each needs its own fertilizer to grow        well. Colloquially speaking it requires its own brand of shit to  grow         the way it was meant to. If it doesn’t get that it may be stunted, malformed or not bear flowers at all.

image from incrediblesnaps.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How could anyone want something so unique, so beautiful not to look the way it should? How could we want a person, one we love not to be the best they can be? Obviously we wouldn’t want that. Yet sometimes it happens.

image from allaboutrosegardening.com John F Kennedy Rose

Who would want to see the great John F Kennedy not be all he could be and achieve what he did for lack of a little shit in his life?

Yes, that’s right, in the past few weeks more than a few bucket loads of fertilizer, of pungent, gagging, shit has been poured over my life and all I have tried to achieve in my, reasonable lifespan to date. Unfortunately, it has come from those generous souls, my remaining siblings. Their aim is remarkable and their sting is incredible!

I have been astounded at the sharpness of the thorns attached to the roses cast my way. I should add the roses are suffering from petal blight. A crying shame barely covers the feelings.

                              image from rosesuk.com The  rose names Patricia

This beautiful rose carries the  same name as my mother, before she passed away we often talked about our love of roses.

The yellow roses at the start of this soliloquy is for her. They were her favourite of all flowers and colours, although my brothers didn’t know that until a few weeks ago.  Visiting the cemetery two weeks ago I suddenly found her place in the Garden of Remembrance surrounded by Yellow Roses.  Quite a feat I would say, if I was to pass comment.

image from http://www.roselocator.comRose called “Susan”

This little beauty is called”Susan”. I was surprised when I learned there was one with my name. I have plans for a garden to commemorate my family when we finally have our farm and time and space to do it justice.

Yet there are many beautiful plants, not just roses, but today I am confining myself to roses for obvious reasons. For some, unknown reason my three brothers have decided that I am “Persona non Grata” for which offense they have decided not to let me know.  I’m sure I have inadvertently done something it’s all to easy to do that. Pleas for a family get together have been refused.

image from Ladybird Roses

My husband and I are trying to find somewhere to move to. Packing is not a pleasant pastime and the arrival of six boxes today was an unhappy event. I was told they were arriving. I had no idea what they contained.  It has been a heartbreaking day seeing what they contained,  since I didn’t have the luxury of knowing beforehand, nor choosing anything, I had to open them up to find out.

image from Ladybird Roses

Once again, I have been sent the items my brothers have decided they don’t want and therefore I can have them. Hurtful – definitely, and I have no recourse. Those items which meant a great deal to me were unilaterally denied by my eldest brother. He has kept the majority of things, although he has told everyone I have taken everything. So strange that, but not unexpected.  Yet it still pricks like a handful of thorns.

image from jardinclassicgardens.com    The Peace Rose

I could wish it were a simple matter of sitting down, as adults and talking this through. It’s not as though we didn’t all love her and want to remember her. Yet I know that one person cannot take control over what is arbitrarily given to other members of the family. We each have attachments to things, perhaps those we chose for her, those she held especially dear from Dad. Yet whatever they are, all four people need to sit down and not hide behind tears. We need to say, “Here are Mum’s things, ALL OF THEM, and we need to talk about what we would like. No one person should have the right, or take the right to decide who can have what. As an executor I know this and am stymied from doing just that without causing more problems.  Now I feel like the pooch below, flushed down the toilet for daring to voice a contrary opinion.

image from IZISMILE

Irrationally I feel I have lost all my family, not just my mother.  The thorns were huge long poisonous barbs and I cannot get them out. It’s not enough I’ve spent weeks going to and fro to doctors and specialists  with other problems of my own. Not that they either know or care since no one will listen to a call and emails are strictly forbidden.

I lie in bed between doctors visits, hoping against hope that sanity will prevail.  If I cannot get myself “under control” then the hospital beckons – Ugh, not what I want.

No one said families were easy. We are all different blooms. But we all need shit to bloom, only I’ve had enough, thank you! Eventually the manure can simply feed a garden of weeds. I pray that won’t happen.  In the meantime, I’m going to try to mend a broken heart.

image from kootation.com

Nope, It will mend because it’s not really broke, just badly used. In the immortal words of Helen Reddy,  “I am Woman”.

“I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
’cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

CHORUS
Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
’cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
’cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

CHORUS

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can face anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman
Oh, I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong”

See you all in a couple of days, bruised, battered but still here.

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image from el3mentsofwellness.com

The mind is a strange and wonderful thing, it can fill you with delight and excitement and it can also eclipse you in shadows and tears.  It’s the quintessential offering between dark and light, depending on how you approach things. Memories are the living reminders of the past, where friendly apparitions walk through our minds and hearts, helping us to recall the fun, the frivolity, the serious and the sad events of our life. Our highest of highs and lowest of lows.

Yesterday, January 2nd was my time to take a ramble through the laneways of my mind, my memories, as I recalled what that day means for me and where my rambling took me. On January 2nd 1998, at 12.15am, my father William Lister passed away as I sat by his hospital bedside. His two year battle with his illness was finally over and as I held his hand, (I have to admit) I was relieved that his pain was finally over. He had crossed over to join the rest of our family who were in spirit and the next stage of his existence had begun.

It was a cruel irony that the last two years of his life were spent in a mammoth struggle to “soldier on”, typical for a man who spent his National Service in Egypt and Switzerland, in an attempt to save his family from as much distress as possible. Such is the nature of the man, and the atypical “stiff upper lip” and non complaining attitude of the Yorkshire man he was, that no-one ever heard him complain.

William Lister (Dad) 1954, shortly before his deployMent to  Egypt.

William Lister (Dad) 1954, shortly    before his deployment to Egypt.

In life he was an irreverent rogue, filled with fun and frivolity, an irrepressible funster with an ever-present smile or cheeky grin, whom everyone loved as everyone I can recall fell under his spell.  He was a genuine gentleman and everyone respected that.  He was definitely someone who was in touch with his “inner child” and gloried in playing with him – especially where his children were concerned, and when they came along, his grandchildren.  Everyone knew his greatest passion in his life was his wife, Patricia, (Mum), and with very little difference was the joy he had in and with his children, and  later his grandchildren, he surrounded us with unconditional love. His “inner child” had plenty of opportunity to come out and play. Children simply loved him.  His family was the centre of his universe and he was a truly contented man. He told me during our long wait that he had wanted for nothing more from life than he had been given.

So yesterday was spent acknowledging the sadness of loss but tempered with the knowledge of the love, the fun and games, the satisfaction he had in and for his life and the great joy he brought to so many, both in the family and to his friends outside the family. The great happiness and joy he brought to my life. At the “end of the day” we can all only ask for this much and if we have achieved it then we have served the Universe and Spirit well.

Patricia Lister (Mum) 1995

Patricia Lister (Mum) 1995

We, those left behind, always wish for more, especially more time. Yet love knows no boundaries of the flesh. As I write this I know he is here with me now. I sense his presence, I smell his scent and I know he is here as he was with me yesterday. It is a comfort and support, and what more can I ultimately ask for?  His presence prompts me to remember all the good times and although it takes a long time, and there are occasions when I slip, I grieve a little and then remember the fun and happiness and go on again. Whilst the memories may be bittersweet, they are still sweet, never gone, never forgotten and ready to reach out and comfort if we need it.

In my meditation last night I blessed and gave thanks for the wonders of the silken chains of love, of family, of friends which we forge. During life and beyond they remain, ready still to love, to comfort and to teach. I am grateful for the wonderful times I had and which I can remember always.

I am grateful for the lessons I have learned, that the spirits of our loved ones still remain, that we are all spirits in a physical incarnation. There is a sense of peace in knowing this and in feeling this, so that even on my walk down “Memory Lane”  I am mindful of the knowledge that he is with me still, acceptance of our souls growth through life and beyond, and that we have each chosen our life lessons even if we often have a difficult time understanding them.

William Lister (Dad) 1995

William Lister (Dad) 1995

In the heat of the cemetery yesterday standing with my husband Ray at my side, a breeze blowing zephyr like through the trees, the birdsong from the nearby bush a chorus in the background to soothe us, a young hare suddenly darted out of the gardens, charging up the edge of the grass verge before bounding across the road and into the bush on the other side.  To say it was a pleasant surprise would be an understatement. It most certainly lightened the sadness.

I looked up the mystical meaning of seeing a hare, and considering where I saw it I think it was particularly  relevant.

The Romany (Gypsies) believe a hare is a lucky omen.

Some Native Americans see hare as a messenger telling you to put fear behind you and get on with your life.

Since our ancestry is both Celtic (Irish) and  Romany, I couldn’t think of a better sign from Dad that he was definately there with us.

I Love you Dad.

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image from fwallpapers.com

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”    Deitrich Bonhoeffer

It seems appropriate that whilst I wrote about “12 Days of Christmas – Gratitude Style”, that it should be remembered after all the Christmas festivities have finished, that gratitude is not something which is only to be thought of then but throughout the year and for many different reasons.

image from theclassywoman.blogspot.com

Christmas day dawned bright and early at our home – perhaps too early for someone who isn’t sleeping very well, but it was a special day and what’s the loss of a little more sleep?  The anticipation of having my son and daughter visit was, as always, tempered by the knowledge that my parents would not be there, nor could I see them. My parents have passed over and despite the passage of time it feels like yesterday and the wounds are still raw.

It was brought home even more by the shooting in the US – so many wasted lives.  The private tears I shed and the prayers I said were for all those souls and their families as well as for myself. Yet for all that, I felt incredibly selfish. Here I was with my beautiful family and I was mourning the loss of my parents with whom I had shared so many beautiful memories of this time and others.  But, I am only human, and this is what humans do. I feel blessed to have my children with me on Christmas day, or any other, and grateful that I shared so many glorious ones with my parents, and they with their grandchildren. Yes, I have been blessed.

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I know that grief has its seasons, from the raw and open wounds of its beginnings to the calm and soothed eve of acceptance. I also know that we can revisit these many times over.  Strangely I am grateful that I feel so intensely for those I have and those I have lost, and those of whom I know nothing at all beyond what I have seen and read,  since it means, to me at least, that my heart is full of love for everyone and full of gratitude for their presence in my life.

image from 100smilechallenge.wordpress.com

Especially in my prayers and thoughts are all those who serve our countries and lose their lives.  The many soldiers, sailors, firefighters, ambulance officers, policemen and women, nurses, doctors, and even the bus drivers, train drivers, teachers, people who give their time so that others may enjoy themselves – even the call centre operators who work on the telephones that we may talk with loved ones far away over the festive season. I am humbly thankful for their efforts and grateful for what they do for us.  I cannot thank them all, I only wish I could.

image from naturallyearthfriendly.com

Christmas Day is only one day though and gratitude continues every day. The development of the “Attitude of Gratitude” is something we can all practice each and every day and make our world a more beautiful place, and in this place and space I thank and am grateful for each person who reads this who may perhaps be moved to think of others and be grateful also.  In such a way can we “Pay it Forward“.

image from stopeatingyourheartout.com

For those with no home, living on the streets despite the weather, I pray for them also, sending them love and light and praying that the glow of warmth I feel in my heart may somehow keep them a little warmer, more loved than before.  I am truly grateful for my home, my family and that we can gather together at any time. Love and family are my treasures.

image from theprovince.com

Love and gratitude can be found everywhere – even amongst our beautiful creatures. The bonds of love and family are as close for them as it can be for us. I am grateful for the beauty of nature, the glorious sights I can see and the love I can feel between two incredible creatures. We have all been blessed to be able to see such wonderful images captured if not in fact.

image from mindfulnessmuse.com

This is a simple message, that we may all be grateful for the treasures we have.  My hope that, despite the challenges we face, the hopelessness we may feel, that we may turn the corner from the darkness into the light and remember how much we have to be grateful for.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”     ― Thornton Wilder

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image from duskyshadow.blogspot.com It’s hard to see the light when you feel oppressed by the darkness.

Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.”   J.D. Stroube, Caged by Damnation

There are twelve days to go until Christmas and I have  begun to reflect on the past year.  It has been a crazy year, at times a crappy year, sometimes insanely fabulous, filled with enormous highs and unplumbed lows, this year more lows than highs it seems. There were times when I didn’t think I would make it and yet, underneath all that, I knew I had to, I had no choice. I have several very important reasons why failure is not an option, why the ongoing struggle must continue no matter what, and they are and have been constant for many years now, but I will admit it becomes harder and harder each time I feel knocked to the ground again.

Last Christmas I was in a state of total overwhelm.  I was trying to pack, look for a new place to live (at Christmas of all times), continue to work in a cramped space and get everything ready to produce that once a year treat, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, lots of love and of course gifts.  There were difficulties with getting money paid which was owing to us, knowing that if it didn’t make it in time it wasn’t going to come through until well into the New Year.  The fact that it was a substantial amount, dragging on for months, didn’t make the situation easier to handle.   It was not an auspicious way to bring the New Year in, but I managed to keep that from everyone and we had a fabulous day. I simply collapsed after they left. A four-hour visit after a marathon effort – who decides if it’s worth the effort? Broke and needing to move, not able to physically move much, I questioned my sanity on a daily basis. Of course, there is much more to this story, many more things which added to the mounting stress, and there were times I felt I would have sold my soul to have someone to talk to. It’s all the other “stuff” left unsaid which pushed me to the brink.

image from christmas.lovetoknow.com The ultimate indulgence. I wonder what it is really like?

Of course, as my doctor warned me, stress and tension are no good for me – or anyone else, and my back was telling me just that, thanks to the car accidents I had  been involved in.  Movement of any kind was agonising, bands of intense pain lanced through me each time I moved. Even trying to rest in bed was impossible, since stillness simply allowed the muscles to seize completely. I questioned the sanity of continuing the struggle, disgusted with my ‘failure’ to overcome this obstacle, so I continually searched for some enlightenment or explanation which might help.  I was lost in a dense forest, dark and lonely and desperate for answers. I was drowning under the weight of the circumstances and exhausted from fighting to find a way forward.

image from deborahswift.blogspot.com It’s not the night which is dark, it’s the despair in your soul. The despair comes from the deep longing to find that light at the end of the tunnel.

I was planning my wedding, struggling with unpacking, trying to work and get all the arrangements in place for May. I had chosen my mothers birthday since she had passed away and I knew it would bring her closer to me at that time.  It is still a raw wound, one I have no idea how to begin to heal, my mother, my best friend, and when I believed I had finally found my corner of heaven she wasn’t here to share it with. Oh, I know, in spirit they were here, but their physical presence, the ability to talk things through with them….Time, a great healer I am told, is scant comfort.

Perhaps I’m too stubborn by nature but failure was not an option and I had no-one I could call on to help. In this day and age it seems strange to admit that. It was a beautiful day. My dress was all I could have hoped for, my daughter, as my attendant was beautiful and my son gave me away – looking so strong and tall. The groom and his son (best man) were just as resplendent, but then I am biased. It was the only highlight of my year.

Avalon Gardens

So what happened after that?  The ongoing struggle financially began to erode my self-confidence and despair crept in.  I found  the blog of someone I admire greatly and I took it to be a sign, the one I had been asking for. It became a challenge to read her blogs every day. How on earth did she manage to write every day I wondered when some days I couldn’t string together two coherent thoughts?

Some days I found it hard to get myself together before mid afternoon. What incentive was there to do otherwise?  I thought no-one would want to read my “dark and twisty’ thoughts, and they were all that consumed me, all that I could see.  I followed a gratitude challenge and kept going.  It had started to life that dark cloud and I was  grateful for all it was teaching me, mindfulness, being present, unconditional love, amazing insights each day. A way out of the dark labyrinth I thought.

I started blogging a long time later. It began as a challenge for me, since I didn’t believe I could do it, and ironically, I didn’t think anyone else would want to hear what I was saying.  I needed an outlet for what I was thinking and feeling. I was tired of the never-ending struggle to sleep, wake, find that motivation to do something, even an interest in doing something.  I needed to feel what I was doing was making a small difference somewhere, in some small way. It was an attempt to find the light inside me and share it with others. I’m not sure if I have been successful with that yet.

image from bloggergeeze.com The urge to blog

Christmas is so difficult. My father passed away on January 2nd and that last Christmas was so hard. Sitting by his bedside, alone at the end was something I will never forget.  Then, the cycle repeated with my mother and my last anchor was gone. Now, I had to be the sole “stanchion” in my family, for the sake of my children and my brothers. The cracks appeared. I could see them, feel them, but I had become very good at “painting on my face” and putting on a good front, papering over the cracks.  I was told I was “unemotional and cold” because I couldn’t cry at her funeral. My tears were dammed up inside.  They still are in large part. Perhaps the truth is that the dam is finally breaking under the strain.

So, once again, what happened to the fairytale?  So much and since it’s not just “my story” it makes it difficult knowing what to write. There is so much it would be another blog in itself.  Although it is a part of why I’ve lost my tenuous grasp on who I am and why I’m here. Whatever the reason I’ve slipped, my roller coaster has fallen off its rails and the forest has enmeshed me in its thorny bushes and if I cry I’m not sure I can stop.

Sometimes, honest people are hard to find, especially in the finance game.  Licensees can be pariahs and this one is withholding thousands of dollars. Money which was earned after a lot of hard work, money they take 10% off the top of and then almost $2000 a month for the privilege of being under their license. Why? Because they can under a pretext and here we are again, after a hard years exhausting work,  “on the bones of our asses” trying to find money just to pretend Christmas is still Christmas.  I’m not sure if we will even have anywhere to live after the next couple of weeks. I’m tired of the never ending struggle.

image from proactiveinvestors.com.au

I desperately need to hear another voice, someone to let me know I’m not really insane, we will “make it through the night”, but I’m terribly good at scaring people off.  I’m even better at not asking for help, a lesson someone taught me many years ago when I was young and impressionable and found that asking for help gave them the power to use that to hurt you more deeply that you thought possible.  Of course, the one person who matters most I can’t ask. Well I can and have but I knew the answer before it came.  I need an outside perspective, but is that possible? I don’t know the answer to that any longer either.

image from funnycutestuff.com Everyone needs a hug

At the end of the day we must, I must, believe in something. I choose to believe this!  And this is the closest I can come to my tenuous hold on life. I crave to feel the warmth and love from “my puppy”, to love unconditionally, who will always be there, always loving and never hurting. My last dog passed away at age 17 and a half.

My logical self is telling me this is the wrong time to post this. My heart tells me I have to. I apologise for the hopelessness I feel flowing from these words.  I hope someone out there is listening.

Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.  Karl Von Clausewitz

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bureau with drawers open

image courtesy of dollshousespastandpresent.com

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“When they talk of ghosts of the dead who wander in the night with things still undone in life, they approximate my subjective experience of this life.
Jack Henry Abbott

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As strange as it may sound, the first physical evidence of my other worldly visitor came one sunny day when I was at home alone.  I was studying for exams and it was very quiet – without my brothers around! I was sitting in the lounge, surrounded by my books when I thought I heard a noise upstairs. At first I put it down to the neighbour moving things around, but a check revealed the neighbours were out.  Ten minutes later there was another sound, louder and longer, the sound of furniture being pushed across the floor, coming from my parent bedroom.  You simply cannot mistake the sound of a heavy bureau being pushed across the floor.

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I stopped, listened intently and was about to begin studying again when I heard one of the drawers being opened. This particular bureau was quite old and the drawers had swollen,whch meant they squealed loudly when they were opened and closed. This had now become something I was feeling decidedly ‘not amused’ about. Not only were strange and unexplainable noises coming from directly overhead but there was no-one within cooee who was at home or expected home any time soon.  Then there was a flurry of drawers opening and closing in rapid succession!

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Books closed and held tightly I sat there staring towards the ceiling. I have no idea what I was expecting to see, thankfully nothing.  Quiet ensued. I was just beginning to persuade myself that I had imagined the entire episode when the cutlery in the kitchen bureau, directly behind me suddenly rattled as though someone was rifling through them. OH NO!   I was not impressed. I couldn’t decide if I was outflanked or trapped.  The only way out was through the kitchen, right where the kitchen bureau was. This was developing into a Laurel and Hardy comedy, only I wasn’t laughing.  Over heated imagination? No-one would ever convince me of that.

someone getting a fright

image courtesy of jigsawslair.blogspot.com

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Heartbeat returning to near normal and determined to remain inside to continue studying, I had just laid out my books again when I heard the unmistakable sound of footsteps, footsteps laboriously coming down the stairs from our bedrooms. My eyes glued to the door into the lounge as I grabbed my books as quietly as I could. Why? I have no idea, my visitor knew I was there so who was I kidding?  The footsteps continued slowly as I counted the steps down.  At the bottom there was a pause. As the door suddenly creaked open I was rushing madly for the kitchen door. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the garden studying, alternately watching the upstairs windows and the kitchen door.  Whilst I saw him in my brothers window looking out I thankfully didn’t hear any further noises downstairs or near the door.

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That was my one and only scary episode. I still saw him in my parents room and the cold became even more intense from there. So much so that my mother remarked on it. They never mentioned the bureau being moved so I cannot explain it, except to say that’s exactly what it sounded like and the picture in my head bore that out.  I felt his cold ethereal presence in my room on occasion when I couldn’t sleep, or if I suddenly woke, and at those times I feigned sleep.  He didn’t make me feel comfortable enough to let him know I was awake.  It was the same feeling I got when I was walking around Port Arthur many years later, where I know unimaginable horrors occurred.

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The epitaph to the story. I learned that the previous owner had been left by his family and he had become terminally ill. He had committed suicide in my parents bedroom.  Apparently the house had remained empty for a long time, several people had bought it but hadn’t stayed long before reselling it.  The rest of my family didn’t feel or sense the unhappy fellow, although Mum made some unusual comments many years later about feeling uncomfortable in her room at night, on occasions, and how cold the room became.   If I had known then what I know now it may have been a different story.  As trite as it sounds I know I was fortunate not to ‘come face to face’ with my spirit at that time. He was upset and angry and I was ill prepared to handle that.

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Perhaps I made a small difference though. I heard from the new owners several years later that they were extremely happy in the house and there were no unusual happenings any longer.  ( A small town and everyone knows the history of  what had happened there). That being so I’m grateful I may have been of some small help to him. I know I prayed for him many times.  Perhaps that was why he was drawn to me.  I’ll never really know. It was an interesting time, exciting, a little frightening and  very enlightening.  If it happened again I would know how to handle the situation instead I made it into a comedy of errors which amused my family for a long time.

Patrick Swazye Ghost
image courtesy of  justpressplay.net

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One of my favourite films which shows Patrick Swayze about to go into the light after he had finished protecting his wife. Beautiful!

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sunrise
Whatever you do or dream you can do – begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Until the middle of November we are in a time of working through old hurts, pain from the past, especially related to family issues, and I haven’t been immune to this process.  In case anyone is wondering how I know, I’ve felt mired in the past, immersed in sadness and making life unpleasant for my husband.

I’m presuming the later since he wouldn’t admit it. His response to my many apologies for my miserable attitude was simply, “I love you, I’m your husband and I want to be here for you”. Pretty cool, huh. I know I’m one very loved and lucky woman.
For myself it’s felt pretty uncomfortable.  I don’t know if I’ve managed to clear all the old hurts and sadness but I’ve certainly made a huge start.  Yesterday I started writing. It was going to be a small blog, I wasn’t in the right head space, or so I thought, to write anything larger.  Then my fingers started to run across the keyboard and my mind was in neutral.  I wasn’t thinking about what I was writing about. It felt as though it was being dredged from somewhere deep inside, a place which was full of pain and anguish and carefully hidden away from the world. My first taste of automatic writing.

ghost blog writer
image courtesy of  sem-group.net

I’m not really a sharer when it comes to those deep personal issues. Experience had taught me it wasn’t a good idea.  For most of my adult life I’ve very carefully crafted a vault, deep and wide, secured by unbreakable walls and locked in so many different ways without keys that I’d supposed no-one would be able to get in there and see what I was hiding there. Every hurt, every pain and disappointment, and every loss had been shoved, squished and poked in there and the lid battened down tight. I didn’t want to go there or look into that abyss so why would anyone else?

floating in the abyss
image courtesy of  ivonnemontijo.wordpress.com

However, for the past week or more I’ve floated in that self-same abyss during my sleepless nights and during my unwatched waking moments.   I’ve avoided answering the question of “what’s bothering you?” and tried to pretend all was well.  It appears my Higher Self had other ideas in mind. So I began  my blog and my fingers did the walking and talking.  When I had finished I knew, on some deep visceral level that it was time to let it out. It didn’t matter if anyone else read it, (except my husband),  but it was a huge release for me.

This morning I woke up in agony. Quite laughable really, but all it meant was the old pain was working its way out too. So much pain carried for so long, is it any wonder it felt so bad.  The cups of tea, lashings of hugs and love and I knew it was time to do this. I’ve really made a start to clear all that old and buried pain and agony out. I don’t need to hold onto it any longer. I’m in a safe place now and I have someone I trust to lean on and love me and let this horror loose and clear it to “the light”.

I feel lighter than I have for many years. Thank you Ray for loving me and providing a safe haven for me to “let go” and thank you Nicole Cody, for giving me so many tools and the courage to let the past go.  (The Full Moon Releasing and Becoming Ceremonies have been an unbelievable ‘key’).  Tomorrow is a brighter day, I know there are many more ‘releasings’ to happen but I know that I can do it now.  THAT, is a truly awesome feeling.

have a beautiful day
image courtesy of  mycommentspace.com

“If you paint in your mind a picture of bright and happy expectations, you put yourself into a condition conducive to your goal.
Norman Vincent Peale

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