spirit

46. MEDICINE WHEELS AND SACRED SPACES

Excerpt from “My Lovedance”

Like many on their journey, I turned to the writing of others to learn more about myself. In the 90’s I was fascinated by Native American spirituality and read most of Mary Summer Rain’s books in which she is mentored by a Native American elder…a grandmother of great wisdom. I am grateful the author shared her path. So much so that I share mine with you now.

So I created a Medicine Wheel garden in our side yard. I divided the eight sections with rocks and planted each section with the same types of flowers and herbs. In each I placed sacred items representing my path on the medicine wheel. And the garden grew so lovely, except in those areas that I needed to work on—self-esteem and relationships. Another message from Mother Earth to me.

When we moved here I longed for another Medicine Wheel. We created garden spaces, beautiful outdoor rooms lush with plants. The herb garden, my patients pass through to get to the office, grew lush and vibrant in less than six weeks. My husband and I have very green thumbs. I plant intuitively and he puts in the watering and keeps the critters under control. Well, he and the cat keep the critters under control.

In the north section of our property is our horse corral. The barn was built shortly after the house in the 50’s, so there’s horse energy in the place of wisdom. Though I find my horse most wise indeed, I still envisioned a Medicine Wheel under the sprawling oak in the north corner. There I would seek wisdom from the land, from Gaia herself.

We had perfect rocks for the Medicine Wheel. Dug up by the pool builders, these smooth golden boulders would mark the directions elegantly. But Steve had parked the horse trailer under the oak. How I longed for another Medicine Wheel…

And one day, the oak split and crushed the trailer that was parked in the spot designated for my Medicine Wheel. That’s what I get for wanting something badly enough. It comes to me. I don’t miss the horse trailer, but I sure do love my Medicine Wheel. And so does my horse ☺

Shane treats the Medicine Wheel as sacred, at least she seems to. I never find manure within the circle. The old gelding that died last fall wasn’t as respectful. Yet a few years ago, we were watching the Fourth of July firework display when the horses spooked and ran into the circle of rocks, then turned and calmly watched the fireworks with us.

In the morning after I feed and pick up manure, I seek refuge in my Medicine Wheel. I sit on the Eastern rock and meditate. Usually the animals join me. Fortunately, the rock is big enough for me, a cat in my lap, a dog by my side and a pygmy goat. The horse doesn’t try to get into my lap like the goat, but she hovers. It’s awesome to be surrounded by my beloved animals.

It’s important for my soul growth to create sacred spaces. I recommend it to my patients when they begin their journey or are feeling lost. Create a sacred space. Somewhere in your home or outside in the garden, set aside a spot for you to connect to your Higher Self. Outside I have my Medicine Wheel. Inside I have My Altar.

45. SACRED FEMININE CONNECTIONS

Excerpt from “My Lovedance”

I alone chose Cat as the Druid oracle of my Intuition. Cat is aware of the spirit world. That I am. Cat observes without judgment. This, I’ll have to work on.

In 2003, I was given the Native American Medicine Cards as a gift and promptly chose my nine animal totems. Was I shocked! I had thought of myself as strong almost masculine in my ability to achieve. Yet I chose very feminine cards. Even my masculine side was represented by Spider which the Native Americans refer to as Grandmother Spider, the one who weaves our reality.

And Steve chose very masculine cards like Wolf and Mountain Lion. While I showed the world my tough side, Steve had no qualms revealing his softer side. The friend who gifted me with the cards was not surprised by my totems. “The world perceives you as very feminine, in spite of your masculine stance.”

The veil had been lifted. And from then on I knew myself as an embodiment of the Sacred Feminine. Writing LoveDance® allowed me to live freely as Woman. As the Divine Daughter, I danced my heart through the free expression of my emotion. And over time, I have come to cherish my Divine Mother Self. Now entering menopause, I hope to know myself as the Divine Grandmother.
The Change doesn’t come quickly. It is a process. I recognized this after reading Women Who Run With the Wolves.

April 5, 2009
I am undergoing a transformation. I am entering the change…and it is truly changing my life. My relationship with my sisters is improved. And although I rarely write, rarely blog, rarely market, all the old seeds are coming to fruit.

Dreams are lucid, exploring my inner psyche. I am being initiated into the grandmother’s council and I love it.

I type this on a new computer. The old died, like so much passing in my life…Sara, Auntie, Karen …death leads to birth. The winds of change clear the way for the new.

Most profound of all is my ability to instantly manifest. What I think becomes. If I desire something greatly enough, it manifests. I have had little need to confront my worries as they absolve before me. I am in the state of realization. Becoming the Magdalen, the way to the divine.

The polarity of good and evil does not exist in my world. All is of joy. All is of love. All is well. Lessons cloaked in distasteful garb are often the most profound. Rarely is it difficult now. I move into my sage-hood with ease.

Estes relates stories as a means to understand the psyche. I see great connection with LoveDance® and her rendition of the archetypal stories. I naturally wrote into the story the maiden, the child-self, the queen/bride, the king/groom, the mage and the gardener. Perhaps this is why the book touches so many on such a deep level. Story heals souls.

I am so very well, so very blessed. Gratitude has become a way of life. Love is my essence. The world is opening to receive me and I am prepared to bare all to be Joy.

And here in this book, I bare all and you, my reader, are open to receive. Tonight I shall take the role of Crone in the triad that serves our women’s circle. A practice run as sage or the beginning of the next phase of my life…hmmm…

43. CAUSE WE’RE ITALIAN

Excerpt from “My Lovedance”

A few days before Steve’s Gran died, she was expressing her gratitude: “I’m so fortunate to have my family taking care of me.” My mother-in-law responded, “Of course, Mom, it’s what families do.” Gran smiled, “It’s because we’re Italian.”

My mother-in-law gently explained that they are not Italian. (In fact very Anglo-Saxon. The family name is Jones!) Now I’m from an Italian American family and Gran spent an awful lot of time with us…I do believe Italian rubbed off on her. How could it not? We spent most of the time in the kitchen cooking. The rest of the time in the garden enjoying a cup of coffee. Gran loved her coffee. While she was here, I never drank so much in my life! “Come, Debbie, have a cup of coffee with me.” She would ask late in the afternoon. “Oh, and maybe we can have those cookies we made the other day. Just a couple. We don’t want to spoil our dinner.” How could I refuse? It was precious time spent with an amazing woman…my only grandma.

Italians pass the time playing cards. Gran never played cards before, but she learned fast. Her youngest daughter was surprised, “Mother doesn’t play cards!” Gran was brought up in the Reformed Church of the Latter Day Saints…no card playing allowed, no dancing, no drinking, no swearing. Well, in our house Gran played Gin-Rummy, enjoyed “just a sip” of Steve’s homemade wine and no, not a virgin margarita, but a real one “you know I love the salted rim!” and once we were having a frank discussion after dinner about the consequences of proposition 8 and Gran got upset, “It’s no one’s damn business who people love!” Oh yes, and she and I would dance. Foregoing the walker, I would hold her tightly in my arms and we’d sway to the music.

When Kyra would come home, we would all be in the kitchen making something delicious. My Mom would join us—she runs my practice which is right here on our property so I could be home for the kids and then for Gran—four generations making fig jam, stuffing zucchinis, preparing yet another meal. Mom would squeeze Gran and give her a kiss. “It’s not a kitchen without a grandma in it!” Just as Gran took me in as her granddaughter, she treated my mother as a daughter.

Gran had enough love for all of us and more. Years ago, she “adopted” a young black man who reveres her. And her Hispanic caretaker came to the hospital in February, laid her head next to Gran’s and wept. She stayed hours petting and fussing over Gran.

Gran worked in the Farmers Market for thirty something years making friends with Jewish, Asian, Hispanic and Blacks. She did not see race or color or religion or sexual preference. Gran only saw people. And she was always delighted to meet them, all of them…and perhaps share a cup of coffee?

Steve and I were reminiscing. I know you tend to elevate the dead, forgetting their worldly transgressions and focusing on the good. But no need to embellish Gran. Like Steve said, “She was always genuinely glad to be see me, accepted me completely and my presence brought her joy.” Gran treated all of us like this…in her presence our truth shone…because she really “saw” us…she looked past the shadows and embraced the light in each of us…

Steve believes karma is incurred over your lifetime. He’s spent his consciously banking good karma. Gran didn’t know much about karma…but her bank was full. I believe karma can be imprinted. My research shows it begins in the womb…remember the Red Cord…yet I have been branded by Gran. She has imprinted me to the roots of my soul.

When the family made plans for the funeral, I called my mother-in-law and told her “Mom said the Italian side of the family is cooking! Oh, and we don’t do petit fours.” She laughed and told her sister. I could hear Auntie in the background. “Thank goodness, I love tomato, mozzarella and basil.”
I’ve entitled the menu—Gran’s Day—the day we gathered to celebrate her life: Bruschetta, melon and prosciutto, marinated grilled veggies, olives, of course lots of bread to dip in Mom’s sauce…she’s doing most of the cooking. I’m the baker in the family… Gran loved my holiday cookies and they go so very well with a cup of coffee.

Mom comes up behind me and gives me a hug and a kiss on the back of my neck, “Someday you’ll do this for me.”

There are no tears as we connect in the kitchen—Gran joins us—to reminisce and to prepare delicious food, lots of it… It’s what family does…because we’re Italian.

39. IN THE BEGINNING I WAS CATHOLIC

Excerpt from “My Lovedance”

I was born Roman Catholic. My mother is full blooded Italian. My father is Heinz 57—a blend of English, Irish, Welsh, and maybe a little African because us girls got our bottoms from somewhere more exotic. And there is that old photo of my great-great-great grandparents with seven or eight children and one is black. Who knows?

So we were Catholic. Well, all except Dad. He wasn’t anything of the religious persuasion. Dad believes in what is right in front of him. Not a spiritual person, but his doubt allowed me at least to be open to other possibilities. He wonders why I am so different than my sisters. I believe it was a combination of my mother’s faith and his doubt.

Mom and Dad eloped in March of 1960. She thought she was pregnant with me. She wasn’t. I came the next year. She feels she cheated herself out of a big Italian wedding, but she did get Dad to the local priest. And he took lessons so they could be married in the church. By that time she WAS pregnant with me—very, very pregnant. She tells the story that the priest liked to imbibe and in his drunken state whispered to Dad that he didn’t have to go through with this to which Mom exclaimed, “Father, I’m the Catholic!”

Philadelphia, 1961

So we were all duly christened. I still have my tiny christening gown. And I went to catechism. I loved school, so the classes were nice enough. The church was very pretty. Our Lady of Perpetual Help. A lovely statue of the Virgin Mary all dressed in light blue graced the church. She was very pretty and her baby—Jesus—was very sweet. I loved dressing up in my frilly frocks, hats and gloves and on special holidays, I had a little purse. And every mass, we would get up and down and up and down while the priest chanted in Latin, and then there would be a special moment when all the adults and the big kids got up and reverently made their way to the front of the church and then the priest would give them a cookie!

I really wanted to be part of the church. And you had to learn about being Catholic in order to partake in holy communion. That’s what they called the cookie. I found out later it was a wafer-thin cracker that tasted like sour grape juice and stuck to roof of your mouth if you tried to talk which was why you had to be quiet.

The nuns were very strict. And they didn’t like me asking questions.

“Why do I need to be bad in order to talk to the priest?” I was having trouble figuring out what I was going to confess.
“Why does the priest have to talk to God for me?” I talked to God directly and He talked to me. And the one they called His Son, well, he was my playmate.

But in order to partake in your first communion, you had to go to confession, which meant you had to tell the priest something you did wrong. I wracked my little brain for something. Then right before my first confession, I did it. I was bad. I gave my little sister less than half of the cookie I had saved from Brownies. I did it on purpose which is a greater sin, but I had to tell that priest something!

Finally, I got to receive holy communion. And Mommy was so happy and my grandparents made such a fuss. And then I don’t remember going to church too often after that. Just Easter and Christmas.

It was because of Dad. He didn’t like us to be away so long every Sunday. That was his day with us and he wasn’t going to share us with God. By the time, we were teenagers, he wasn’t so possessive as long as church didn’t interfere with dinner and especially Monday night football. Which was a bit of a problem for us as Mormons because Monday night is Family Home Evening and it’s hard to have lessons with the TV blaring. It was harder on us to be Mormon than Catholic. It’s not just because Catholics understand football. It’s because Mormons feel sorry for a family without the priesthood in the house. And Dad wasn’t joining!

Mom was a joiner. She loved community in any form and the Catholic Church provided community for its parishioners. And when we could no longer go to mass easily (we moved even farther from church when I was in sixth grade) the Mormon church provided the community she desired. Plus she wasn’t letting her daughters alone with those darn missionaries—law of chastity or not!

38. LEAVING THE CHURCH

Excerpt from “My Lovedance”

Judgment made me leave the church. It happened about nine years after baptism. I was in grad school, commuting to UCLA three days a week for class and to work the weekend night shifts at the medical center. Steve was a police officer for the city of Santa Barbara. We lived in Ventura. We didn’t get to see much of each other…working opposite shifts to be home with our two-year-old son.

I asked my husband how he felt about my becoming a nurse practitioner. With a master’s degree as an advanced practice nurse, I would be out earning him. And our school counselors had been counseling the grad students on the possibility of marital instability. Steve wasn’t very communicative then.

It was stressful. We had been together for eight years…never having explored any other possibilities…just following my plan. College, marriage, house, baby…in that order. Now grad school, a career shift, then another baby…too planned. Too idealistic. My fairytale life needed to get a reality check. Right before the semester started I knew we needed a break.

So we agreed to keep our son at the condo. I would stay with Steve’s Gran who lived closer to UCLA when he was with Jarys and he would rent a room in Santa Barbara when I was with Jarys. Because of our shift work, we still needed childcare. The next morning, I brought Jarys to the sitter—a nice lady from the Mormon church who ran a home daycare. When I announced the change in our schedules, she promptly handed my son back to me. “I won’t be party to adultery.”

I was shocked. Granted I had taken off my wedding ring and we had agreed that whatever happened during this “break” would be a learning experience for both of us. But we hadn’t done anything yet. I asked if she could recommend anyone else to watch my son. She couldn’t recommend anyone outside of the church.

That was it. My last moment of being Mormon. Without the church to depend on,
then what?

Feeling very much lost, I took Jarys with me to class. He was very good. My professors were understanding. And thankfully, his great grandmother was delighted to have him. When Steve needed to work, my father was the one we depended on. He had just moved to Ventura. We were back to depending on family. And Jarys. Well, he still remembers those great times he spent with his grandparents!

37. BEING MORMON

Excerpt from “My Lovedance”

Yes, I was Mormon as a teenager. And yes, we were married in the Mormon temple. And my friend’s family was Mormon. And one of my sisters is still Mormon.

Being Mormon was my idea. It least that’s how I remember it. Going into high school was difficult enough, but having to watch over my sisters, well, that was nearly impossible. The only church at the time with an active youth group was Mormon. And they preached no alcohol, no drugs, no sex before marriage. Great! If I could figure out how to get my sisters into that Mormon youth group, well, they would be a better influence than the influence of the sex, drugs and rock and roll crowd.

So I invited the Mormon missionaries to the house. It was a no-brainer. They were handsome young men in suits. My sisters were 11 and 13 and very fond of handsome young men. And one was IN LOVE with Donny Osmond. Her side of the room was purple and plastered with the teen idol. Like I said…a no-brainer.

And we were baptized. Me, my three sisters, and my mother. My father thought we were nuts. He hadn’t succumbed to the Catholic pressure and now we were switching teams. My mother joined to keep an eye on us. Well, she didn’t just join, she kind of took over. Led the young woman’s group…really, kept her eye on us.

And it worked! No one got pregnant before marriage. No one got in trouble with drugs or alcohol and not with the law. And I no longer had to be the shepherdess of my sisters. Thank goodness.

Now being a good student, I took Mormonism seriously at the time. I read the book of Mormon, their Doctrines and Covenants, and the bible (for the first time, since Catholics don’t have bibles, at least we didn’t).

The good thing about being Mormon was the sisterhood. The bad thing was the patriarchy.

I had the same issue with Mormonism as I had with Catholicism. I needed no man to intervene on my behalf. Why couldn’t women hold the priesthood? At that time, black men couldn’t hold the priesthood either. Which wasn’t fair in my eyes, rather prejudice, I felt. I’m not sure why, something to do with Jesus being white…but I knew that was wrong…cause in spite of their pictures…Jesus was brown, way darker than any of us. At least the Jesus who had been visiting me since I was little was really dark.

Oh, and another thing about Mormonism. I didn’t believe in the whole save yourself for marriage thing. I saved myself for my soul mate. Once I found him, well, we were sixteen and seventeen, spilling over with hormones, and we loved each other. I was saved…by love. My torturer was anorexia and reconnecting to love saved me. Thank God for Steve!

But I still wanted to get married in the temple. Why? Because I liked the idea of being sealed for eternity. It seemed like we had searched forever to find each other. Perhaps a sacred marriage ceremony would insure we wouldn’t get separated again.

So Steve joined the Mormon church. As he says, “I wanted you. And would do anything to make you happy.’ And that’s what I thought would make me happy at the time.

The church felt like we had community. And then we moved away. But being Mormon meant instant community wherever you are. So we found a stake center. That’s what Mormons call the place they meet. Mormon temples are for sacred ceremonies like marriages and baptisms for the dead. Yes, the dead are baptized and then married. That’s why the Mormons are so into genealogy…to find their ancestors and seal them all into one great big Mormon heaven. Now that’s how I remember being Mormon.

36. THIS IS NOT MY GOD

Excerpt from “My Lovedance”

In the summer of 2002 as our eldest prepared for college, our daughter prepared to enter high school. She had some heavy reading assignments for her honors English class. Fortunately, our eldest was an avid reader of the classics so we had the books she needed. One on Greek and Roman mythology and the other, a King James version of the Bible.

And Jarys had read them both as well the Wiccan handbook, books on Native American spirituality, books on Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, interpretations of the Dead Sea Scrolls, well, pretty much all the theological books in our library.
Unlike her sibling, Kyra was not much of a reader, but she had no trouble with the mythology. Yet halfway through the book of Genesis, she stated, “This is not my God!”

“What do you mean?” I asked, serving dinner.

“The god in this book is a very mean and judgmental god. I like the Greek gods better.”

Jarys tried to explain that the reason her teacher had assigned this reading material is that these works have greatly influenced western civilization.

“No one believes in the Greek and Roman gods anymore, but who believes in this god?” She held up the bible.

“Christians and the part you’re reading is also in the Jewish scriptures.” Her sibling explained. “Just think of it as a story book. At the end of the Christian version, there’s a tragic hero.”

“What happens?”

“He’s killed.”

Now she was getting upset. “That’s how this ends? I hate stories with sad endings.

“Oh, there’s a sequel. He’s supposed to come back and save all the people who believe in him.”

“Come back. You mean reincarnated?”

Jarys laughed. “Oh no, there’s no reincarnation in that book. That’s Buddhism and Hinduism.”

She shook her head sadly, “I don’t get it. Why are there so many religions?”

“Because there are so many different cultures and each has a different way to explain life and death.”

She nodded. “You’re going to make a good teacher, Jarys.”

“Thanks.” They said and buried their head in a book.

35. DO YOU PRACTICE WICCA?

Excerpt from “My Lovedance”

Part Five
BOXING SPIRITUALITY

My friend is at it again. She called with yet another probing question. “Do you practice Wicca?”

Hmm. I wasn’t sure what to say. “I wouldn’t call my ‘practice’ Wiccan. I hate to put my spirituality into a box.”

She clarified, “Well, I passed your book onto my daughter and she wondered about the symbol on the cover. It is a pentagram, isn’t’ it?”

Technically, yes. The star in the rose is five pointed. It came to me in a vision. I learned later that the pentagram was used by Wiccans. But to me it is sacred geometry. Mathematical proportions and symbols are very attractive to me. The energy of form speaks to my soul.

Back to Wicca. Years ago my husband was part of a police investigation. Some blood found in a park, ashes from fires set in geometric patterns. Before pursuing criminal charges, he felt strongly that what they were investigating was the residual of a pagan ritual. So he did his own investigation. And sure enough, he was right. And then stood up to protect the suspects’ right to freedom of religion under the Constitution.

Now it helped that he was friends with a young Wiccan. Not that he knew much about pagan practices. So she lent him a book—a Wiccan primer. And after studying it, he announced, “We might be pagan, Deb.”

Really? We had been spending our Sabbath in nature for years. Teaching our children reverence for the earth, the trees, the rocks, the animals. We quietly celebrated the changing of the seasons…sending out holiday greetings to our friends of many different faiths…on the winter solstice. My spring equinox birthday naturally lent to celebration and the fall equinox corresponded with our son’s birth. On the summer solstice, we welcomed the hot long days of summer.

Nature was our church. Our temple grounds—the earth under our feet. The canopy of trees our cathedrals. We were nature based in our spirituality. We buried our pets with special reverence. We held communion with the ocean, dipped our feet in her healing waters, and thanked the powers that be for our bountiful life.

Yet we followed no particular religious dogma…not Wicca. Perhaps more Native American. Although we respect the great masters like the Buddha and Jesus Christ, we have no rules. Must spirituality be boxed in to be defined?

34. FEAR TRANSFORMED INTO JOY

Excerpt from “My Lovedance”

So now fresh from my reconnection with my higher self, I set my intentions to see the face of my fears. The time was ripe. And the universe presented the fruits of my labors.

In late August 2008, I got an urgent call. My mother-in-law was being taken by ambulance from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara. And she wanted me. Before she allowed the doctors to do anything, she wanted me there. I am her medical agent, the one responsible for following her end of life wishes, yet she was fully cognizant, just scared.

So I drove the 45 miles to the hospital knowing this was it. I would be facing one of my fears. As a nurse practitioner, I had been called upon by the family many times over the years for medical advice. It was assumed by my elders that I would be the one to take care of them. And frankly, after decades of providing care for others I did not want to end my life as a caretaker. Plus being a caretaker is hard physically, mentally and emotionally. I have counseled many suffering from depression, insomnia, anxiety, and utter exhaustion from long spans of care-taking.

I knew that it was time to take in Steve’s grandmother while his mother recuperated. And then we would take her. And I knew my husband would agree to whatever I decided and would do everything he could to help. And I also knew it would be me doing all the work.

So I stepped into the ER and stepped into my fear. The family gratefully released all to me. My mother-in-law only signed the emergency surgery release after I counseled with her. It was clear that Steve’s grandmother was not happy being handed over to his aunt and uncle. So once his mother was taken to the operating room, we offered to take Gran. There was little resistance.

Gran came home with us. She was delight, but not safe with her rickety cane on our hard wood floors. So we got her a four wheel drive walker and at 89 years old Gran became mobile again. My mother-in-law had been living with her for the past six years and slowly Gran lost her ability to be productive…or so we thought. To me she was more than willing, so I put her to work. Gran was delighted to help and we found her much more capable than her daughters had reported.

She helped fold clothes while watching Ellen every afternoon and in the evening helped me with dinner. When Steve finally brought his mother home from the hospital, she was surprised to see Gran cutting veggies. “She can’t use a knife! She’s on Coumadin!”

I smiled. “She’s been very careful and if she cuts herself, luckily I can stitch her up.”

Shortly after she arrived, Gran said, “Since my stroke, I can’t smell very well. So you’ll have to tell me if I need a bath.” A day or two later, I sniffed her and announced it was time. She balked a bit nervous to have me help her in and out of the bath. But I had the perfect set up. Our guest bath had a tiny soaking tub with a seat inside an enclosed shower. So I warmed up the bath, and helped her in. Then she sat down, “Uh, oh!”

“What?”

“You aren’t going to be able to get me up.” The seat was too low and her arthritic knees were higher than her hips.

“It’s ok, Gran. I’m a nurse. I know how to lift you.”

She shook her head, “You’re too little.”

“I’m strong, Gran, and Steve’s here if we need help…”

“Oh, no. I don’t want Stevie to help.” Great!

Ten minutes later, all parts of Gran were sparkling clean and I was soaked. After a failed attempt to lift her from the edge of the tub. I stripped off my sodden nightgown and climbed in with her. She laughed telling me that’s how her other daughter did it. I placed one knee between hers, squatted down, “one, two, three” and lifted Gran to her feet. She held me tight as I helped her over the edge of the tub and she didn’t let me go.

“It’s so nice to hold you like this,” she whispered. It was nice. “But there’s only three breasts between us!” She had had a mastectomy thirteen years before. I almost dropped her laughing!

That was Gran always finding delight in everything. I know it’s not easy accepting help especially if your role in life is to be of service. I hope I am a gracious patient and not a burden on my loved ones. But the stress of illness and the demeaning role of incapacitation can make the best of us turn sour. Yet Gran was a delight.

My mother-in-law was another story. I have yet to meet a medical professional who is a good let alone gracious patient and my mother-in-law is a retired nurse. She also had become one of those resentful caretakers that I didn’t want to emulate. So although my care-taking load more than doubled when Steve brought her home from the hospital, I was determined not to lose myself and took time every day for me.

Shortly after they arrived I got a call from Steve’s cousin. She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. When it rains it does pour. So I spent time counseling her, helping her to see the spiritual message of the dis-ease. I find that breast cancer patients are very good at taking care of others, but quite poor at self-care. Their body speaks to them through the dis-ease. “Time to nurse me please.” I think she got it. And so did I.

I was so busy during this time, that I did not record it. There is nearly a month missing in my journals yet it is burnt into my memory. And it happened again the very next year. And the second time, I took care of them both for months instead of weeks. Yet in spite of the incredible stress, I am left with such pleasant memories.

Every afternoon, after Ellen, Gran asked if I was free to have coffee with her. I was still seeing patients three days a week in my office which is on our property. My mother ran my practice and was in charge of keeping an eye on Gran while I was in with a patient. Gran would push her walker out onto the patio overlooking the herb garden and chat with the patients as they admired the flowers. And when the last one left, I would sit and have a cup of coffee with her.

And I learned how to sit and enjoy being. Gran loved the garden, the flowers, the hummingbirds that would visit us, the butterflies, even the jays that shooed the songbirds from the feeders and especially the antics of the squirrels as they scolded the cat and the crows. Gran took delight in being alive. And I took delight in being with her.

My fear of care-taking transformed into joyous service. I had written about joyous service in LoveDance® but for the first time, I got to experience it. The family thought I was a saint. My husband cannot thank me enough. Yet it was I who am ever grateful for the opportunity to serve in love and joy.

31. LIFE HAPPENS

Excerpt from “My Lovedance”

By the summer of 2008, I got reconnected to my old way of communicating with spirit. Something I called conversations with God as a kid transformed that summer into Q&A. I got a brand-new journal and dedicated it to conversations with my higher self and began on July 11th 2008 my divine Q&A…

Q: What do I release?
A: Your fear

I didn’t like that answer, so I asked the question differently…

Q: What do I sacrifice in my life to make room for abundance?
A: Your Fear

Hmm. My Higher Self was being evasive…

Q: What am I afraid of?
A: Not being good enough to complete your mission
Not being your truth
Not returning home
Being alone—separated
Leaving behind what you love…

Q: I must release all this??
A: Just the fear. The rest will fall into place. Have faith—easy for you. Do not be discouraged by others nor by life. All obstacles are tests that strengthen your character. Ask for help—you are surrounded by those willing to be of assistance if you but ask. Don’t push them away with your fear.

Wow! She really knew me!

Q: So much I know, but am not yet. When will I be?
A: You are complete—yihidra

Still no practical answers. Seems like spirit communicates in riddles. Same with my old gurus, not much was given in clear steps, but rather comfort in general. I tried again…

Q: Ok, so what human step must I take right now?
A: Be Joy. Love All. When the time is ripe you shall receive the full rich harvest.

Q: So the time is not yet right?
A: Ripe.

Q: Ripe?
A: The fall is the time to harvest.

Q: Hmm. What now?
A: Enjoy the time you have with your loved ones.

Q: But I love too much…
A: Not possible. You do take on too much. Others are not your responsibility. Free will is theirs. You are here to enlighten with the model of your life, your being. They may not wake up. They may not follow. They may choose darkness. Let them go…

And from then on, I was reconnected with my higher self.

Many more questions were answered. Yet the most unique aspect of this journal is my conversations with my Higher Self were the reflections upon looking at insights given in the past and living the present circumstance. For the Divine, there is no Time. Only the human me defines herself by the past, the present and the future, yet all exist in the Now.

My higher-self identified herself as …I am You. Divinely connected. Remembering all that was, all that is, all that will be. I am Timeless. You are me in earthbound form. I am you in heavenly connection.