The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…

The Weirdness Begins

first published April 9,  2014

Fog 5 _ Another selection from Queensbury churchyard – Tim Green

One afternoon,  not long after I gave up my quest for astral travel, I was working at my desk when a very unusual foreign last name popped into my head. I’d never heard it before and had no idea where it came from, or what it meant.  Since I was already at my computer, I Googled it.

There was only one person with that name —  a doctor/teacher of metaphysics in Washington state.   How odd that of all the names I might have made up,   I was directed to somebody who could possibly help me on my spiritual quest.  In fact,  she offered an on-line course on Metaphysics at a cost of $250.  It was money perhaps better spent on more practical things, but both my husband and I agreed that her name came to me for a reason,  so I signed up. [As of this writing, I have spoken to her and have her course material, but have not yet had time to begin the work. **]

The next morning,  lying in bed, another name popped into my head. It was not a particularly unusual name, but it came to me with an uncommon spelling.  I Googled her as well. The first thing that came up were a couple of old Amazon reviews she’d written for books on spiritual healing and life after death.   “Hmmm,” I thought, “another nudge in this direction.”

I was curious about the reviewer, herself, so I did a bit more research, and quickly managed to track her down.   She died in 2010, in Phoenix, after a long illness. (If she were still alive, she would have been just a couple of years older than I am.)    The thought did occur to me that this person, who had obviously been reading books on the afterlife as she was dying,  might be sending me a message.   But such an assumption was pretty “woo-woo” and I was not yet willing to ascribe anything more to it than bizarre coincidence or perhaps a random psychic thought.

I’ve had many psychic experiences in my life;  known things about people or future events which I had no rational way of knowing except by extra-sensory perception. But as with the OBEs,  I’ve never be able to control my clairvoyant thoughts, nor do I know in the moment of thinking them if I’m receiving them telepathically or if I’m just making them up.  They feel the same in my head.   It’s not until they are later proven to be true, that I am able to identify them as having been received via ESP.   Perhaps this is just a matter of practice, awareness, training and trust in my own instincts.

The following day, I got another name, this one even more unusual. (I am not including the names here out of respect for the families of the deceased. Besides, what would it prove?)    A quick search brought up several pages of recent obits. She was an elderly woman, from West Orange, NJ. She’d been quite active in local charities, hence the many write-ups about her passing. She’d died two months previous.

OK….NOW I’m starting to feel that something strange may be happening.

Over the next few days, other names popped into my head – most of them too unusual to have been merely made up on the spot.   (Not all names were unusual, but I ignored the ones that were not. What would be the point of looking up a common name? There would be too many of them to sort through. How could I know if I’d found the right person – assuming there was a right person to find?)

Over the course of a week, I received maybe six or seven distinctive names, all of which I looked up. Every single time searched, the very first thing that came up was an obit; most of them were deceased fairly recently.

Initially, this was intriguing in its strangeness. After a while, however,  it became kind of annoying.  What kind of a lame psychic power is this?  I could get the same names by reading obits in the newspaper. I hardly needed all this random info cluttering up my psychic airwaves!

I decided to have a stern talk to “them” (whoever “they” were.)     “Enough already! What am I supposed to do with this information? Should I call up your family and tell them you talked to me? And what am I supposed to say?”

Obviously that would have been pointless and cruel,  so what good were the names and obits?

After that, I got a couple more names but refused to look them up.   Take that, dead people!!  “If you want to use my brain,” I told them,  “you’re going to have to use it for something more interesting than this, because I’m not playing this game any more!”

I guess “they” got my message, because the names stopped and  sure enough,  something a lot more interesting started to happen…

 


**Update:  Eventually, I did start to read the material but I found it so poorly written as to be impenetrable.  I did speak to her a couple of times, but she seemed condescending and unhelpful.   In the end,  I continued to do my own  research, reading on a wide range of subject as varied as scientific research on reincarnation, astral projection,  quantum physics,  the biology of the brain,  spirituality, philosophy, etc.

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Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Imagine What I Could Save on Airfare!

First post of this blog, originally published August 23, 2014

Astral-Travel

 

About six months ago, I picked up working on a novel I’d started writing about ten years ago. In it, the main character has spontaneous Out of Body Experiences (OBEs).  In order to write about them in more depth and with greater understanding, I began to research the subject.

The notion of astral projection has long fascinated me. Imagine! Being able to leave your body at will and travel anywhere in the world you want to go!   Screw you, American Airlines, with your $25 per bag handling fee!

Over my lifetime, I’ve had several extremely detailed dreams in which I visited places which seemed and felt entirely real.   In a few cases, I later found myself in these places and recognized them from my dreams.  Had they been spontaneous OBEs?

Back in junior high, I dreamed about a lake in the mountains. Overhead,  was an impossibly clear, high,  cerulean sky. Lavender-colored mountains, ringed with mossy green,  spilled into the purest aqua water!  The colors were so vivid, they were surreal; I’d even say emotional.  When I awoke  I felt compelled to sketch it out, in full color pastel chalks (which didn’t at all do it  justice. No artist’s medium could have captured the intensity.)  My drawing remained in my desk drawer for years as a “snapshot” of my trip.  (It may even still be with my old papers.)  I felt I had absolutely been there and seen it with my own eyes, even though I didn’t believe such a perfectly beautiful, beautifully perfect place could actually exist on this planet.

After college, I traveled for eight months around Europe and lived for a while with a man in Athens.  When I got home, we remained in touch, sending letters back and forth across the Atlantic (this was long before email.)   Initially, the letters were weekly, then dwindled in frequency to monthly,  until finally, it had been nearly nine months since I’d heard from him.

One night, in a dream, I went to visit him in the tiny apartment in the Ano Ilisia section where we’d lived together.  I was “informed by neighbors”  he no longer lived there;  that he’d moved to a different neighborhood – an area where several of his friends lived and which we’d visited together on a couple of occasions.   I “flew” to the new neighb and tried to find him, without luck.

The very next day, I received a letter from him telling me he’d moved from Ano Ilisia to a new apartment, in the very area where I’d been looking for him in my dream!

In my mid-30’s, I traveled for a while in Tibet.   Most of the roads there are carved into the sides of mountains, with  a precipitous drop off the other  side.   One afternoon,  the bus I was traveling on came to a stop behind a long line of traffic. Way ahead of us, a truck had fallen halfway off the mountain. Other drivers (who seemed used to this kind of thing) had attached thick ropes to it, and were attempting to pull it back onto the road before it tumbled into the abyss.

Clearly, this was going to take several hours, so I (and others) got out of the bus to stretch our legs and have a little walk-about.  And there, just ahead, around a bend, was my lake, just as I’d pictured it!  In the thin air of the high altitude,  the colors shimmered with the same intense clarity they had in my dream! It was very literally, a mystical experience because of the dream, because of my own journey, because of where I was (in the Himalaya, for dog’s sake!!!) and because of the incredible intensity of the color.   The intensity was made even more jarring and poignant, by my having just spent half a week bouncing across the bleak, colorless landscape of the Tibetan plain. This lake was like a miraculous view of heaven; as if I’d been blind and suddenly was able to see again!

yamdrok-lake-tibet-scenery

I have always accepted these and other similar dreams as spontaneous OBEs but of course, I had no control over my itinerary.

At various times in my life, I’d made half-hearted attempts at astral projection without success, but finally, I felt I was spiritually mature enough to re-tackle my goal.

I read books and articles,  visited websites,  and I listened to recordings embedded with binaural tones at specific frequencies which were supposed to facilitate OBEs.  I spent many hours, over the course of a couple of months, attempting to fling my consciousness out of my corporeal form and into the ether.   I usually got as far as the pre-flight indicators — vibrations along my entire body; heart palpitations; a sense that my limbs were in different positions than they physically were —  but I don’t believe I ever achieved lift off.   Anything I saw or felt in that condition could easily have been explained as a fantasy or a dream or self-hypnosis.

On several occasions, while listening those recordings, it felt as if my conscious mind were separating from my body, but I could never get it to go anywhere.  Every time I tried to turn around and look back at myself on the bed, I still felt my consciousness inside my own head.   (No doubt I wasn’t separating at all but just in an hypnotic state.)

What I was expecting —  what I wanted –– was for my mind to travel at will, with control.  I wanted to visit a place far from home and witness things  which could later be verified (as had happened during my spontaneous travels).  Although I very much wanted to have a “real”  OBE,  my criterion for judging whether I’d actually had one was (and continues to be) very high.  If my experience  can be explained in a simple, logical, scientific or psychological way,  I am always inclined to accept this versus some mystical justification.  Still, I was always hoping for the mystical; hoping to have an experience which I could not explain in another way.

After a couple of months without lift-off, I gave up further attempts at OBE.  I assumed that would be the end of it.

But then some strange things began to happen…

 

_____

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

We’ve Come Full Circle Again…

Dear Readers,

For the moment, we’ve come to the end of the new and repeated stories,  and thus he next post will begin the cycle again.  I’m hoping to continue channeling more tales from the other side and those will be posted as they come to me, interspersed with the repeats,  as well as continuing reports on my Reiki studies,  and some fascinating scientific/philosophical studies in which physics give credence to spiritual concepts (and even to the  “woo-woo”).  In many cases science backs up, or at least offers possible explanations for what skeptics might think of as “New Age nonsense.”   So, please stay tuned.

If you joined this blog fairly recently,  I think/hope you will find the genesis of this project quite interesting.  (If you’ve read this before,  hang in there… it’ll only be few posts before I post new content.)

Thanks, as always, for your continued support.

-Adrienne

 

Buy the book!

The holidays are coming.  Maybe you know someone who’d enjoy this book? (hint, hint.)

 
If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Le Scandal

Originally published April 7, 2015

 

frenchscandals

Pila

I was on a trajectory to a perfectly normal life. I was mostly good, though sometimes a bit naughty. There were times I was full of certainty and promise and other times I was crippled by misgivings and frozen by doubt.   Sometimes, I felt myself to be invincible; other times, I felt vulnerable and bare. In other words, I was perfectly normal.

And then the scandal.  I was only a peripheral player. There was no reason for me to have been brought into it at all, but the silver ball of fate landed in my number. I was in the right place at the wrong time.

Soon, everyone had an opinion about me, most of them bad. Any why? I’d done nothing so different that many others did before and after me. Except others don’t get caught in such a spectacular way.

After that, my life was never the same. The press hounded me.  When that finally abated,  many still whispered about me. My name was synonymous with my shame, and I would never be free of the taint.

I tried my best to rise above it; to develop a philosophical attitude. I managed a fair degree of success in no longer caring what the strangers thought or said about me, but I never was able to get over that initial punch in the solar plexus when I’d be recognized in a social setting and the murmur  of whispers and surreptitious glances would begin afresh.

I went on with my life. What else could I do?  I would not hide. Pourquoi? I was not a criminal! More than one person suggested I change my name. I refused, on principle. None of those who threw hypothetical stones at me were without plenty of sins of their own.

I lived a much smaller life than I had before. My friends and family closed ranks and kept me sheltered from the gossip and petty ill will of others.

Eventually, the public forgot. My transgression was too far in the past for anyone to care about it. There were far more intriguing sinners to star in the morality plays of the self-righteous.

And slowly, I started to live again.  But those were decades I would never get back.

I won’t say those years were wasted but it took me a long time to appreciate all I learned from the derailing of my life.   I am learning, still.

 

_____
Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Blown Away

Devastation after Hurricane Dorian, Bahamas, 2019

NEW!

Sama

It was going to be gigantic. Overwhelming. Massively destructive. They told us to seek safer ground.  Most people did. But I lived with my mother who was old and sick and infirm. She could not be moved.

She begged me to leave her behind and seek safety.  She didn’t have much longer to live even under the best conditions. She knew she would not survive, but alone I might stand a chance. But I would not. I could not.  I could not bear the thought of her spending her last hours terrified and alone.  And to be honest, my decision to stay was not totally out of selflessness. I, myself, was terrified and I did not want to ride it out in unfamiliar surroundings among strangers. If I was going to die – and I was fairly certain we both would — we would go together. She was with me when I came in to the world and there was a certain poetry to her being there when I left it.

And so I prepared our small house as best I could for the coming onslaught. Together we prayed that God and Mother Nature would spare us.

We first felt the ominous change in the air. We’d been through hurricanes before and we knew how they went.  Soon the wind started.  Just gusts at first, which pounded at our shutters and against our door,  shaking and rattling them ferociously. Soon, the rainy gusts became a steady, howling force, beating our sturdy but old house. Our home had survived other storms over the years, but none as fierce as this one. It was not built for a barrage such as this.

The lights sputtered and died. This much was expected. I lit the kerosene lamp

My mother was not afraid, not for herself. She had already made peace with her Maker. She was ready to die and had been for months.  But I was more afraid than I’d ever been in my life.  I crawled into bed with her, and wrapped my arms around her, clinging to her now-frail body as I had when I was frightened or upset as a young child.  She held me in her arms, and soothed me as she did so many years before.

We lay like that for many hours.  Most of a day.  We talked about our lives.  We remembered my father, who had died many years before, and whom we both still missed terribly.  We remembered long past birthday parties.  We remembered Christmases and graduations and weddings. We remembered old friends, and family, and neighbors. We were grateful we had had so much joy and happiness.

After a time, exhausted from stress and fear, I drifted in and out of sleep, only to be startled awake by the sound of a tree being ripped from the ground or of detritus being flung by the wind against the outer walls of the house. I didn’t know if it sounded worse than it actually was or if it was worse than it sounded.  I dared not peek outside to check.

I was half awake/half asleep when with a roar and a groan, the wind ripped the roof clear off the house. I nearly jumped out of my skin. Suddenly, death was no longer hypothetical.  I knew at that moment we would not survive; that the end was very near.  I was shaking with terror but Mother was calm and at peace. She held me as tightly as her weak limbs would allow, and sang to me the songs she used to sing when I was a very young.  Her breath was weak, but she never stopped singing.  She stroked my hair, and sang.  She kissed my head, and sang.  She rocked me, and sang. She called me all the pet names she had called me as a girl, and sang.  She told me she loved me, and sang.

It wasn’t much longer before we were blown away. It happened fast and I don’t remember exactly the specific cause of our end, but it seemed that in the next instant, Mother and I were floating above the devastation, together, without fear.

Donate to Hurricane Dorian hurricane relief

 

——-

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

A Gentle, Invisible Force

First published August 16, 2016

Vintage-Little-Girl

 

San

I first met her on my first day of school and she was there when I died, but I barely knew her.  Our lives crisscrossed each other like strands of DNA.  Though we rarely interacted in any deeply personal way,  we applied a kind of subtle gravitation force upon each other.

In school, she was the pretty one.  The smart one.  The one who never let her emotions get the better of her, even when, as puberty hit,  the rest of us were turning into mad witches.  She remained always cool and aloof.   Although popular with a select crowd, she was never mean or condescending to others.  She was naturally intimidating but she was never unkind.

I, for one, did not think of her as an individual.  To me, she was an icon.  The epitome of all I wanted to be, and which I knew I would never become.  I tried to emulate her style, her grace,  but she always did it better, easier.

When we were about nine, I developed a very secret crush on a boy in our class and carried a torch for him all through school.  I dared not share my feelings with anyone lest they laugh at me.  It was obvious he would never feel the same about me.  He barely noticed me.  I was beneath him in every way.

When we were 12,  they discovered each other and became inseparable. I wasn’t jealous.  It made sense that the perfect girl would end up with the perfect boy.  Rather than envy, I felt curiosity.  What would it be like to be that confident?  To be the kind of woman who could attract a fine man?

After graduation, we all went our separate ways and I didn’t think about her much, except still, perhaps as a standard by which to judge myself.

Many years later, coincidentally, our children went to school together.  We would nod a polite hello to each other, or perhaps converse casually about upcoming events. I hated to admit it to myself, but I was still intimidated by her.  I always felt bad about myself when I saw her.  She reminded me, through no fault of her own, that I was “less than.”  Still, I felt no animosity for her. It wasn’t her fault that I felt as I did. She wasn’t doing anything wrong. She was just living her life, being perfect.

Her house was nicer than ours.  Her children, better behaved.  Her husband, more successful.   But she never noticed the envy of others.  She did not act superior.  She simply was,  by any measure I could think of, superior

I never sought her friendship nor she, mine.

Eventually, our children moved to different schools and once again, she was out of my life.  Another decade passed,  and then we met again,  this time working for an organization.  She had all the right social connections and so rose quickly to the top.  I remained firmly in the middle.  We ran into each other from time to time, and as always,  chatted politely though never vapidly.  Short, intelligent conversations about current events or organizational issues.  I felt flattered that she took me as her equal.

After a few years,  I moved on from that organization, while she remained and rose higher still.  Meanwhile, I occupied myself with other things.

Many years later,  we met again at the home of some old school friends.  Her position in the organization had been terminated. Her husband had left her for a younger woman.  She was forced to sell her beautiful home.  She revealed these turns of event matter-of-factly, still hiding behind her impenetrable facade, emotionally aloof as always.

That night,  when I went home,  I looked at my life and I felt grateful.  I was happy and I was loved, and those were the most important things.  Why should I be jealous of her when I had everything I needed right here?

After that,  I removed her from her high pedestal and placed her on a lower shelf.  I no longer compared myself to her version of perfection.  I realized I was perfect in my own way, and I was OK with that.   We are all good at something.  I didn’t have to be good at her thing. I only had to be the best I could be at my own.  This was the beginning of my self-acceptance.

In and out,  again and again, over the years,  we would encounter each other in casual ways.  Never friends but eventually friendly enough by virtue of our long history, to catch up on the essentials of our lives –  for example, the deaths of our parents, the births of our grandchildren,  her eventual happy remarriage.

I came to know her better, although never well. I began to understand that the woman I thought she was had existed only in my imagination.  She wasn’t aloof.  She was painfully shy.  She cultivated her friends carefully and so didn’t have many. She curated her facade meticulously but she was far more fragile than she ever appeared.  With these realizations, I stopped judging my perceived faults and the perceived faults of others, by a false standard of perfection.  I began to notice what was right about people instead of what was wrong with them. These lessons informed my life and my relationships.

Many years passed without us crossing paths.  I hadn’t given her more than a fleeting thought in years.  But then, in our late years, we found ourselves in the same home for the aged, both widowed, both great-grandmothers. Only we, of all those others in that place, shared a history that went back to childhood. Only we, remembered all those places and people, long gone. And what we didn’t remember, the other often filled in.   And so we talked.  And talked.  And talked.  The separation that had always been between us fell away.  We were too old to care about hiding our feelings, protecting our faces to each other.

One day, I told her how I’d envious I’d been of her in school, and for many years after; how I’d judged myself against her, and finally, eventually,  I felt myself perfectly equal.  Better in some ways, worse in others.

And what she confessed to me made me rethink my entire life.

She told me she’d always been envious of me!  (Even in my dotage, I was shocked!)  She was envious that I did not live in fear of the judgment of others.  Even as children, she admired my ability to make friends easily.  She felt compelled to always behave in a certain way – quiet, dignified.  She admired my willingness to make a joke at my own expense. She felt constrained by having to pay attention to detail.  She admired my ability to roll with the waves, make the best of whatever came along.  Her shyness was crippling. She recognized that many took this for aloofness, but still, she could never overcome it.   She admired my ability to easily engage others in conversation.  She rarely felt as if people saw her as she was.  She did not feel known.  She wished she could be casual and easy with people, let down her guard, and not be afraid to let them see her.  She thought I was brave, not caring about perfection.

Oh, the irony of that!

She sat at my bedside the day I died.  I’d been unconscious for nearly a week, and she sat with me every afternoon for a few hours after lunch, in silence, just thinking about all the things that had happened to both of us over the years; how our lives had been so different. Yet here we were at the end,  in the same place, in the same situation.

I understand now that there are people who remain on the periphery of our lives, but who nevertheless affect us deeply, and whom we affect in return, often unawares.  They may meet us upon our journey as merely a pebble in the shoe or a jug of water when we are thirsty.  They might be the shade of the trees overhead, which we barely consider until we walk must through a desert with the sun beating down upon our head. They may be a vulture in that desert. They may be an oasis.  Or they may be the shepherd dog who nudges us back onto the path. They may be the fruit of wisdom, which we come upon at the moment of peak ripeness.

—-

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Reiki Update

An update Reiki:

Hubby and I have now finished Level 1 where, according to the teacher, we are only channeling 10% of what we will be able to channel by the end of the second level.

My jury is still out on whether Reiki something special unto itself or just a codified ritual of helpful techniques.  Does it help people feel better? I believe it does but I don’t believe it’s because of any mystical transference of energy (as I think many practitioners would have us believe.)

It’s a long-established fact that human touch is healing.  A long time ago, I read that if a person is going into shock, aside from getting them out of immediate danger (i.e. stemming blood loss), the best thing you can do is to touch them, to ground them.  This information has come in handy more than once.

The placebo effect is another proven phenomenon. If you believe you are being healed, either by yourself or by another, very often the body will heal itself.   Even just visualizing being healed or getting better has a strong positive effect.  I know this to be true from my own experience.  I have healed myself countless times.

A few years ago, I had a pain in my mid-back for several weeks. It made it impossible for me to sit at my desk and work for more than fifteen minutes at a time.  It was quite debilitating. I had a couple of appointments with my chiropractor, which did not help, until he figured out it was referred pain from a pinched nerve in my neck.  I made an appointment with a “real” doctor, and had an MRI, but the truth is,  as soon he told me the cause and the location of the problem,  I was able to heal myself.  I visualized the nerve as a strand of dental floss and the nerve sheath as a bubble-tea straw – plenty of room for the nerve, no compression at all.  Overnight, this month-long pain was gone. (But I had to know the SOURCE of the problem in order to visualize the cure.)

I’ve had other similar experiences – enough of them to believe with every fiber of my being that self-healing is possible, but it’s essential to believe that it’s possible. This belief is reinforced with each success.

So, there’s that aspect of Reiki as well.  If the practitioner and the client truly believe that it’s helping, it will help.

Another established medical truth is that stress can exacerbate existing physical symptoms and even cause new problems out of the blue. When we are tense, we clench our muscles.  When we constantly clench the same muscles in the same way, this often leads to other problems even in other parts of the body.   When we are stressed, our bodies produce cortisol and adrenaline, the so-called “fight or flight” hormones. These hormones have a negative effect on our immune system.  (This is a very simplified explanation.)  Ergo, DE-stressing can alleviate or mitigate symptoms.  That’s why yoga and meditation are so effective at boosting the immune system, among other things.

Stress can also cause an increase in stomach acid which ultimately has a negative effect on the gut biome, which regulates all kinds of things, including mood (so scientists now believe.)

So when another person,  who is calm, attentive, and confident focuses loving attention on us,  it brings down our stress levels and reduces cortisol and adrenaline in our system, and has other positive effects on our bodies.

These days, many hospitals have added Reiki departments because patients are asking for it, and it seems to work.  But I believe it works for all the reasons I stated above.  Imagine a person about to have a major surgery or recuperating from a serious illness.  They are likely scared, worried, stressed.  Their heart rate is elevated. Their cortisol and adrenaline levels are up.  They are not breathing as deeply as they could, and thus are not fully oxygenating their cells.   Doctors and nurses and orderlies rush all around them, rarely taking a lot of time with them.  But then a person (maybe a volunteer) comes to the bedside and offers fifteen, twenty minutes of healing touch founded in a deep desire to help the patient feel better.  You can easily imagine how calming that would be.

I am not one for praying but I imagine if someone (say a member of the clergy, or a member of one’s house of worship) came to a hospital bedside and with the same intentions, and prayed with the patient, it would work just as well.

The teacher says that studies have proven that Reiki (and in fact intentions) can change the molecular structure of our cells.  I have seen similar studies with water and formation of ice crystals but I am not sure they were done under the strictest scientific standards.

Don’t get me wrong… I WANT to believe, but I need to see evidence.

We shall see if either I or my husband find anything more substantial than this as we continue to learn, and if so, I will report back to you.  We begin Level II in two weeks.  (I am enjoying the class.  The teacher is terrific and I really like the other students.)

But even if it’s no more than this,  learning to “channel” calm, healing energy into oneself or another person is a good skill to have.

Show Me the Place

 

leonard

first published Sept 25, 2015

(My annual Yom Kippur post)

A post from me: 

Today is  Yom Kippur. Although it’s been many decades since I observed the Day of Atonement in any traditional sense,  this year I spent all day listening  Leonard Cohen, who is, after all, a great rabbi.  Actually,  I listened to one song in particular  again…and again…and again, each time hearing it anew. The song, “Show Me The Place” is from the Old Ideas album.   I found myself moved more deeply than  any synagogue service or rabbi ever could.

LISTEN

The song addresses the struggle shared by so many of us; of trying to remain “in the light” while dealing with the necessary mundanities of real life – earning a living, having to interact with those who test our ability to forgive, to curb our anger at life’s indignities and injustices.

Most of Leonard Cohen’s work deals with his own quest for peace through love and spirituality; his struggle to overcome the depression, self-loathing, fear, cowardice, shame and sense of unworthiness which have plagued his entire life. His songs have always been filled with imagery of submission and slavery and supplication.

“Oh, take this longing from my tongue; whatever useless things these hands have done.”

        –Take This Longing  

I asked my father I said, ‘Father change my name’. The one I’m using now it’s covered up with fear and filth and cowardice and shame.”

     Lover, Lover, Lover.

In the 90s, he spent five years in a Buddhist monastery, where he eventually became an ordained monk. He credits this time of study and the Buddhist philosophy as having helped him greatly to understand his own pain and to ameliorate some of his emotional suffering.

By the late 90s, he was in a good place.  Then in his 60s, he had ample income from his music, and was able to devote his time to writing and recording, living a peaceful life of meditation and introspection,  writing about the things that moved him without financial worry, insulated from many real world distractions.

In 2004, he discovered that his long-time manager, a trusted family friend, had embezzled millions of dollars, draining even his retirement account. There were lawsuits and counter-suits aplenty. One  can imagine his state of mind at this time. Ripped from a life of relative peace,   and thrust into nasty legal battles and heavy financial obligations to others. He had to go back on tour; back to working for others, relinquishing his well-deserved freedom.  (“There were chains, so I hastened to behave.”)   It’s easy to imagine him overcome with very un-Buddhist-like feelings of anger, betrayal, frustration, even hatred which must have been difficult to assuage. He may well have lost the ability to keep his depression at bay.

All those years of living in the light, of letting go of ego,  and suddenly, all the lessons feel lost to him. He tries to hold on as best he can, but can only salvage a shred of light – “a particle, a wave.”

In this song of supplication, he is entreating God to tell him where to stand so he can regain the old perspective, so he may once again live in a state of grace.

It is a song of supreme sadness and pain. It put me in a tender, weepy state. Nevertheless, I’ve been listening to it on repeat for two days straight.

For me (and I know many of you readers), it’s a constant struggle to forgive those who need forgiveness most; to open my heart to those who hate or who have hurt me. I work every day to separate the needs of my ego from the path of my higher self.   Although I would be most content spending my days in spiritual contemplation, I must work to make a living, often forced to deal with people who fill me with some very UN-spiritual thoughts.

This song is a hymn to that struggle in all of us – to hold on to the Light in the face of darkness;  to truly live in the light and not just pay it lip service. I don’t always win that battle, and the losses are always filled with pain.

Show me the place, where you want your slave to go
Show me the place, I’ve forgotten I don’t know
Show me the place where my head is bending low
Show me the place, where you want your slave to go

Show me the place, help me roll away the stone
Show me the place, I can’t move this thing alone
Show me the place where the word became a man
Show me the place where the suffering began

The troubles came I saved what I could save
A shred of light, a particle a wave
But there were chains so I hastened to behave
There were chains so I loved you like a slave

Show me the place, where you want your slave to go
Show me the place, I’ve forgotten I don’t know
Show me the place, where my head is bending low
Show me the place, where you want your slave to go

The troubles came I saved what I could save
A shred of light, a particle a wave
But there were chains so I hastened to behave
There were chains so I loved you like a slave

Show me the place
Show me the place
Show me the place

Show me the place, help me roll away the stone
Show me the place, I can’t move this thing alone
Show me the place where the word became a man
Show me the place where the suffering began

 

yom-kippur-prayer


FYI,  Leonard has a new album out next week.  Click to order.

Thank you for visiting.  If you enjoyed this post, please follow the blog and/or sign up to receive email posts. New posts every three days, and they are getting more and more interesting. I promise! Comments are welcome here or at https://www.facebook.com/livesofthedead.   If you know anyone who would enjoy or relate to this,  please forward and/or share on Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks!

 

 

—-

Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

originally published April 3, 2015

 

(Although written several years ago,  the moral of this story is excruciatingly apt for what’s going on now.)

alexmankiewicz.com-ostrich2

 

Ha

The writing was on the wall, plain enough to see for anyone who looked. I saw it, myself, but I could not believe what was written. All the signs were there. Danger increased every day. Mistrust festered. Hatred boiled just below the surface. You couldn’t help but feel it, but many of us were hoping it would burn itself out.  We could not believe it would get worse. Surely people would come to their senses!   After all, we were living in modern times, in a civilized place. So we thought. But then, doesn’t everyone believe they are living in a civilized place in modern times?

The lucky ones, the smart ones, they left while they still could. The earlier they heeded the signs, the more they were able to salvage of their lives. Others, like me, simply couldn’t believe it could get bad enough to warrant picking up our entire lives and fleeing; leaving behind everyone and everything we knew. Leaving behind our homes, our businesses, our jobs, our schools, our places of worship, our sense of belonging.

By the time things became desperate, there was no escaping. The slaughter had begun and there was no one and nothing to protect us. In that time of fear, what was most terrifying of all was seeing how quickly men become animals; how uncivilized they can be the defense of their civilization.

It’s natural to look at violence and war and cruelty that takes place far away or happened long before we were born, and think, “That was a different time; those were different people. It can’t happen here. We are better than that.”

I learned in the most cruel way, it is always dangerous to underestimate the brutality of humans.

Too many are of them are voids, easily raised to ire and led to violence by those who can fill their hearts with meaning.

artwork: http://www.alexmankiewicz.com

_____
Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

The Demons Inside

First published Aug 7, 2016

voices in head

Dor

Even as a child, I could not bear the weight of my own emotions.  I bore the brunt of everything with maximum intensity. It was both a gift and a curse. My attachments were obsessive. My pain, unbearable.  But my soul went deep.

I’d be angry then sad then joyful then angry and sad again, sometimes in the course of an hour. I had no control, and nobody ever taught me how just be.

Over time, I developed my own coping skills. Not all of them proved successful in the long term.

For example, I discovered that if I hurt myself physically, I could temporarily relocate the pain outside my head to a place where I could attend to it. To me, that felt like control.

My feelings clanged against the bars of my internal prison. When I immersed myself in loud noise,  when I  filled my head with sound (sometimes it was my own screaming), it drowned the sound of my own noisy emotions.

By the time I became an adult, there were treatments. While they helped dull the clatter,  they offered their own problems. My choice was:  anguish and fear (which were feelings at least),  or numbness.

Initially, the numbness was welcome. Imagine being pulled from a crazy, loud, verbally abusive family and dropped solo on a deserted island.  Oh, to have peace and quiet in my own head for the first time!  But it became quickly clear that this was a bargain with the devil. I missed my own mind,  as damaged as it was. I felt isolated, even from myself.  All my life, because of how I was, I’d interacted with the world in a certain way, and from that experience I’d learned all my lessons.  And then I wasn’t that person anymore and none of my lessons applied. I had no idea how to be in the world,  how to exist inside my own body.

And so I ran away from the treatments and the doctors and good-intentioned family members who wanted the best for me, but also for themselves.  As myself,  I disrupted all their lives.  As not myself,  I had no life.

I suffered,  not because of the voices or the feelings,  but because I didn’t know how to co-exist with them.  I never learned to make peace with them. It took enormous energy, which I didn’t often have, not to let them dictate my mood.  I would command them to stop, and sometimes,  for a while, they would.  Eventually however, I lost the strength and will to fight them.

I could have continued the treatments and lived what would have seemed,  from the outside, a normal life but I believed that was the cowardly way.  These were my demons to tame,  and if I lost the fight, at least I stood up to them.

In the end,  the demons did me in,  but I fought nobly and remained in possession of my soul to the end.


Buy the book!

If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have just started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey!
-Adrienne

 

image: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/image/5117230-1×1-700×700.jpg

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