The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…

Archive for the month “December, 2019”

Annual Holiday Break

Dear Readers,

I’m taking my annual December hiatus, not so much because I’m busy this year but because I assume everyone else is!  I’m sure you’re all bustling about,  going to parties,  shopping for gifts. traveling to be with family.  Rather than have the blog get lost in the shuffle,  I’ll pick up again in January, with some new stories.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season.  Pray for peace.  We could all use some!

And hey, if you need to buy someone a gift,  please consider my book.  There must be SOMEONE on your list who’d enjoy it! (hint, hint!)

-Adrienne

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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

Reiki and the Power of Ritual

Dear Readers,

Now we have finished Level 2 Reiki, and by the time you read this,  will already be well into the Advanced level.  We’re both enjoying the class — it’s the same students (and teacher, of course), all moving through the course together.  It’s a nice friendly group and a pleasant way to spend a Monday evening. Has it rocked my world?  Not particularly.

I still don’t believe there’s anything especially mystical about it (or about the special symbols or “incantations” we use).  I’ve just read of another similar program called “Healing Touch” which does not use any signs or words, requires no initiation, and seems to be equally as effective.  But Reiki is older and has that air of eastern mysticism to it which I imagine is a big part of its appeal.

Hubby and I have been “Reiki-izing” each other’s minor aches and pains, and it does seem to help.  I can’t say, however, whether the laying on of hands is having a genuine physiological effect or whether it’s purely the placebo effect.  But in the end, does it matter?

I’ve also found a new meditative tool.  Years ago, in Istanbul, we bought a beautiful hand-painted illumination encircling some Islamic calligraphy. (We bought it from the artist, herself.  She did the painting and a friend did the interior calligraphy.)  She explained that there are many names for God/Allah., and this particular one meant “Love.”  It was a gift for my mother-in-law, and when she passed away last year,  it came back to us.   It’s now in the “yoga corner” of our living room, and I’ve been using it as my drishti (focal point), especially for the balancing asanas.  But recently,  as I’ve been looking at it, I’ve started to perceive it as a cross section of a Reiki conduit, through which the energy flows.  The white part in the center is a channel filled with love.  As I focus on it,  I visualize this channel running through me; I am empty of everything except love and positive energy.

Truthfully, I feel kind of silly and woo-woo even admitting this,  but really it’s just a way for me to focus my intention; a way of blanking my mind to everything except this loving energy.

My yoga corner.

Doing this has given me new perspectives on the power of ritual in people’s lives.

As regular readers know, I consider myself a skeptic.  (I know,  I know.  “Quite the assertion coming from someone who claims to channel dead people!”)  I don’t believe in anyone’s idea of a traditional God. I believe there is something greater than us out there, but I have no idea what it is. (I do, however, have strong feelings about what it is NOT. For example, an entity that hates LGBTQ people.)   I have never had use for formalized, organized religion, not even as a kid.  (For me, the search for answers is my own personal religion.)   I admit, I’ve been known to look askance at those to adhere to ritual and rules, mainly because it’s always seemed to me a form of magical thinking (and I certainly do not believe in that!)

I try to consider everything with an open mind, without automatically accepting standard explanations  Sometimes science can “explain away” spiritual phenomena (such as this interesting theory of the Passover story.)  Sometimes the spiritual explains things that science cannot (i.e. placebo effect, meditation, the proven efficacy of prayer over distance.)  And sometimes,  they seem to give credence and weight to each other (i.e. quantum entanglement,  double slit experiment, “gut” feelings.)

I have come to understand, however, that ritual as a meditative process can be very effective.  I don’t believe that praying, lighting candles, reciting the rosary, davvening, prostrating oneself several times a day, etc. is going to put anyone into a nonexistent God’s good graces.  However,  if done in the right frame of mind,  it’s a form of self-hypnosis or meditation, helpful for putting the pray-er more deeply in touch with their own subconscious; perhaps even with the collective unconscious.  If one seeks answers or guidance in such a state,  answers will often appear.  From where do they come?

Is God talking to them?  Is it their own unconscious responding?  Are they tapping in to the collective unconscious?  Or, really, are they all one and the same?

Freddy the Farmhand

Originally posted:  4/21/14

 

Freddy (I got his name, and I see him in overalls, farm work clothes.  I’m standing with him in the hayloft of a barn)

I was rather dim-witted then; functionally retarded you could say. This absolved me of having to think. I went through this life only feeling, without the wits to understand or analyze. My brain was a dull instrument, not sharp enough to dissect the motivations of others. I was never able to understand why others wanted to hurt me or treat me badly. Often, I mistook their mocking laughter for friendship and acceptance.

One afternoon, the younger boys were teasing me. One of them pushed me out of the hayloft into those large bales of hay down there. He didn’t mean to hurt me. He was just needling me. It should have been a soft landing, but I fell on a sharp piece of baling wire and it pierced my thigh.  I cleaned the wound with soap and water, and wrapped it in bandages I tore from an old work shirt. Of course, it needed more medical attention than that. It became infected and it hurt badly, but I hid it from everyone because I didn’t want to get the boys in trouble. I wanted them to like me. The boss or the doctor would have asked how it happened, and I would be compelled to tell them because I didn’t know how to lie.

I didn’t understand how serious the infection had become. Even when the pain became almost unbearable and I was raging with fever, I said nothing. And nobody paid enough attention to me to notice my condition.

Eventually the wound became septic and my illness could no longer be concealed. By the time I received proper medical attention, it was too late. I died a few weeks later. I was 26.

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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

Gen

Originally published  April 18, 2014

 Woke up this morning with a “story” in my head, demanding to get out. I “wasn’t allowed” to eat or get dressed or turn on my computer until I’d written this down, long-hand, in the notebook beside my bed.  I’m still not sure if I’m “writing” or “channeling” them. Either way, I have decided to keep a journal as they come to me.

The nature of the stories is changing. Previously,  I was shown a scene and was imparted with information about how the person died.   Now, I am getting feelings and translating them into words.

Most of these “narrators” do not tell me their names, and I don’t ask.  I like the idea that they could have lived almost anywhere in the worldThis makes their stories more universal.  However,  going forward,  in order to be able to distinguish  one narrator from another,   I have given each a one or two syllable name.  I have made the names purposefully vague and cryptic so they do not imply any geography or ethnicity.   They are indicative of nothing.  Please do not read anything into them.

From time to time, however, I am given a name or other identifying information. In those cases,  I include that with their story.

*******

argueing couple

Gen 

I debated writing down my feelings when he finally left me and the boys, but by that point, I had no feelings left.

I suppose if I felt anything, it was relief. I was exhausted from trying to make it work. Years and years of forgiveness and sacrificing my own needs to the needs of the relationship. I knew it was going to be a long, hard slog, raising two young boys on my own, but at least we’d all be pulling as one unit, in the same direction,   instead of working against each other, draining each other of happiness, sucking each other dry.

In the long run, the boys would be happier, too.  Br was an angry and selfish man. The boys saw him in the clear pure way that children always see the obvious truth. Their dad was an insecure bully and though the kids had no respect for him, he was their father and he still had the power to hurt them. He wasn’t worthy of their respect, but they still wanted his. They thought, in their innocent way, that if he could just stop the anger in his head long enough to really see them for the terrific little people they were, he’d realize what he stood to lose. Then he’d change and everything would be OK.

Maybe I hoped for that, too.

Br  was very good with words. He was a real poet when it came to asking for forgiveness. An irresistible force. But no matter how many times he promised to do better for us, no matter how many times I reached deeper into my soul to find a little more love for him, he would invariably disappoint us and hurt us again.

It was better apart. He would no longer have to face, on a daily basis, what an utter failure he was as a husband, as a father, as a functional human being. He just didn’t have the energy any more to try and be someone better.  I thought my love, our love, would be enough to change him,  but none of it did any good.

The kindest, most loving thing he ever did was to leave us so we could forge the bonds of love, stronger, among the three of us.

And so we did. We were bound in a way that I suppose many single-parent families are.

I could now devote my full emotional attention to my boys. They’d always craved more of me. They were happy and relieved to finally have it. They healed me, they did, with their humor and insight and childlike wisdom that so often brought things into perspective when I felt as if I were spinning out of control.

When my youngest was in the second grade, I forgot to attend his school play.  I knew it was coming up, but forgot about it the day of.  I was overwhelmed at work. I’d been working 12 hr days for the previous few weeks and had barely gotten to see the kids. My mom sometimes watched them. Some nights, they went home with friends. Sometimes I paid for a babysitter — a girl who lived down the street.

When I came home that evening and realized what I’d done, I was horrified, sick and full of shame. I could barely look at myself in the mirror.

The play was on a Friday afternoon. Saturday morning, I came down to breakfast, eyes swollen from crying at the mess I was making raising my kids; feeling sorry for myself because of all the pressure on me.

I sat my baby down with the intention of begging forgiveness, as his daddy had done of me so many times. It was a scene that my kids had witnessed too often in their short lives.

“I’m soooo sorry, baby…” I began.

And in the sweetest, most loving voice, that little boy said to me, “It’s OK, Mommy. I know you feel bad about my play. I know you are worried that I think you don’t love me, but I do know how much you love us because I can see how hard you work to take care of us. A school play is just one day but a job is every day.”

I can barely describe the relief and love I felt at that moment! Just seven years old and he already had more love, more understanding, more wisdom than most adults.

Maybe that’s a stereotype – kids of divorced parents growing up, emotionally, very quickly.  It’s a kind of Hollywood trope that such kids are preternaturally wise beyond their years. But it does seem to happen that way in real life quite a lot. Now I know the reason why.

They are literally old souls, or perhaps more accurately “more connected souls”,  born to people like me who need some spiritual guidance. They are the spiritual adult to their biological parent.

In those days, I had no time to think about spiritual matters. I was working long hours, topped off by parental responsibilities. In the very early days, there was the additional stress and nastiness of a messy divorce.

Br had started drinking again, in earnest now and without brakes. When we were together, he would fall off the wagon from time to time, and that was bad enough, but now he wasn’t even trying to stay sober. On several occasions, he didn’t make it to the lawyer’s office for meetings. When he did, he was usually at least partly drunk or hung over.

Whereas in the past, I might have tried to reach in and “save” him or at least make the effort to understand the psychic pain he was trying to self-medicate away, I no longer felt him as a part of me. He wasn’t my emotional responsibility anymore. If he drank himself to an early grave, I wasn’t even sure I’d feel sorry.  I simply had no emotional energy left for him. He’d frittered away all my concern and love for him.  If and when he ever needed it again, there would be nothing left in reserve.

Ironically, when I died years later, he was still alive, albeit not doing so well. The boys were already grown. My oldest was married with a new baby girl, who I was so happy to get to meet before I passed.

My husband came to my funeral and sat in the back. He was sober then, but years of alcoholism had taken their toll. He looked 87 not 57.

Our youngest child was the first to speak to him.  He was moved by his father’s genuine tears.

“Your mother was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he told him. “but I wasn’t good enough for her. I had to leave, otherwise I would have destroyed all of you.”

He was right of course, and I was glad that he understood it.   My boy nodded and gave his dad a hug, because he knew it, too.

 

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

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