Musical Chairs

Several years ago when I was in the social work field I had a conversation with a co-worker and she shared a story about one of her clients who recently departed our world. We were talking about doing volunteer hospice work if we had money to spare. I told her I was fascinated by the end of life and folks transitioning, especially those who are ready. And for those who struggled, they allowed me to just sit in sacred space and hold their hands. These were precious and priceless moments in my life.

She said one day she went to visit her client and she asked her how she was handling her ending?
Her sweet elderly woman, who had been a missionary for many years, a woman of huge amount of faith, said…“I’m moving from one chair to another. Is that not okay?”

I stared at my co-worker. My eyes began to water. That was such an insightful and beautiful analogy of end-of-life transition. I got chills. From that statement I knew she was a woman who had lived with grace.

I feel life is like that: moving from chair to chair trying to find the most comfortable one.

It takes pure divine “knowing” to accept all of it. It’s in the simple awareness that we are just moving from one form of matter into another.

The joy of life is to continue moving from chair to chair while finding the magic of what it holds for our spirit. The trick is finding the greatest chair while playing music and enjoying it as long as possible in complete love and acceptance with a lovely view.

Never Too Late

I visited my elderly client who is under hospice care this morning. She was asleep in a wheelchair in the hall of the facility. I grabbed another wheelchair and sat in front of her.

She woke to my touch. “Hello, darling! How are you?”

Disoriented she looked at me and said that she was okay but didn’t like where she was at. She went on to complain until I smiled and asked her a few questions. She nodded then and agreed it wasn’t so bad. Her dementia has progressed significantly the last month as she is transitioning. She even said she was waiting for me but she has no clue who I am.

“Tell me something new, my love?” I asked.

“I was at a concert yesterday. The entire day. They played black people music.” Her blue eyes opened widely.

“What’s black people music?” I asked waiting for some logical answer. She has been a racist all of her life and extremely feisty. She’s been verbal about it. But today I saw change.

“You know…black music!”

“You mean, like soul music….Music that gets into your soul and makes you move with the best beat?”

“I guess. They asked me if I wanted to stay and I told them I was happy to. I needed that music.” In the midst of her delusion “they” are people of authority. She continued explaining how the music made her feel. She kept sighing and sharing the lightness in her body.

It was absolutely delightful to witness this. Her story was fascinating.

I got off the wheelchair and dropped to my knees in front of her. She touched my cheek. I rubbed her hands. I kissed her soft skin.

“Oh sweetheart, I feel that’s heaven. Don’t you? There must be soul music up there. I like to believe that there is the sound of black people jazzy music in the afterlife. I want to believe there is some Louisiana symphony that makes you come alive….”

She interrupted me, “Yessss! I want that. I want to dance to black people music in heaven. Oh yesss!” Her eyes tearing with such loving awareness. It was pure yumminess. And a gift of awareness for me.

Folks, it’s never too late to have a change of heart. It’s never too late to change your ways. It’s never too late to accept the world and rejoice in diversity. Ohmygosh….to witness this woman transform before her death and allow herself the acknowledgment of equality is huge. She’s 85. It’s never ever too late.

I walked out listening to the sounds of soul music from heaven. She’s ready to go home. I hear the trumpets playing….

~m.a.p.

Letting Go

This morning I visited an elderly client with dementia who is very sick at the hospital. She’s dying. When I walked in she smiled. I asked her if she knew who I was.

She said, “Of course. I’ve been waiting for you. I’m your favorite. I’ve never been anyone’s favorite before.”

I smiled and hugged her, kissing her forehead, “Yes you are, darling. You are my favorite.”

I sat next to her and held her hand. We spoke of many intimate things. I asked if she had regrets, if she needed to forgive anyone? For all humanitarian concerns she has not been a good person. I didn’t know her until a few months ago, but I know part of her history. I see an elderly woman, weighing less than 75 lbs. but in her life she created a lot of hurt, chaos and destruction. But, lying in that bed, she’s a little elderly soul ready to transition.

“I do have regrets. I’ve been a nasty woman. I have done horrific acts!” Her eyes watered.

I patted her hand with mine. “I know what we can do today. We can forgive together. We can hold each other in grace and let go of things. Do you want to let go of all that?”

“Oh, I do. I just don’t know how to.” She laid her head back on the pillow and closed her eyes. I held my tears inside hoping not to show how her brokenness felt in my chest.

So we sat there in silence for a bit. I moved to her bed and sat at her feet rubbing her legs. I waited. Eventually she broke the silence letting me know that life was hard and she was ready to go. I told her I saw her. I felt her. I knew her pain. I told her that I loved her for who she was at that moment. I didn’t care what she did before this time. She said that this was why she liked me…why she was waiting on me. (I don’t know who she thought I was or who she was waiting on but we had an appointment with Source).

I asked her if I could take a picture of her hand because it reminded me so much of my mother’s. That touched her to tears. She asked about my mother. I told her the good parts… the memories that have allowed me to be a good mother myself, the bits and pieces of compassion and love…. She smiled and thanked me.

Together we held each other until I had to leave. She thanked me. She held my embrace and I told her if she had to “leave” that I would remember her for her honesty and her ability to show up in my presence.

Because, really, isn’t that what we all want to be remembered for…to show up through love. What was done yesterday will not fill us today. Allow divinity to heal those wounds. Start new. I love you.

Playing Musical Chairs

Yesterday my wonderful co-worker shared a story about one of her clients who recently departed our world. We were talking about doing volunteer hospice work if we had money to spare. I told her I was fascinated by the end of life and folks transitioning, especially those who are ready. And those who struggled allowed me to just sit in sacred space and hold their hands.

She said one day she went to visit her client and she asked her how she was handling her ending?

Her sweet elderly woman, who had been a missionary for many years, a woman of huge amount of faith, said…“I’m moving from one chair to another. Is that not okay?”

I stared at my co-worker. My eyes began to water. That was such an insightful and beautiful analogy of end-of-life transition. I got chills. From that statement I knew she was a woman who had lived on grace.

I feel life is like that: moving from chair to chair trying to find the most comfortable one.

It takes pure divine “knowing” to accept what all of this is about. It’s in the simple awareness that we are just moving from one form of matter into another.

The joy of life is to continue moving from chair to chair while finding the magic of what it holds for the spirit. The trick is finding the greatest chair while playing your music and enjoying it as long as possible in complete love and joy. ~m.a.p.

Beginning Anew

Today is my birthday. Not the day I came into this world almost 50 years ago. It’s my fourth year of a new birth that changed me. It’s a day that seems significant to me like someone who celebrates being sober and clean. It will forever be the pause that caused a huge awareness. I learned to live.

The lessons I learned from DEATH are just as intense and valuable as the ones I am learning from LIFE. I am not the same person I was six months ago. I am not the same person I was when I returned from the ultimate space of LOVE. I continue to expand from this experience as intensely as I learn from living. Every single day!

I cannot tell you what to do. I cannot tell you how to live. My experience is mine to grow and expand for the evolution of my soul. We all have experiences. In the journey of life we have mile markers that forever shift us. You are the only one who knows what you need. I can only share with you what I live through my spirituality and my humanness. The truth is I have nothing to give you. I can share glimpses of stories from others and how to gift them with love.

And all I know is that love will forever move me.

After my awakening, from a brief moment of death, I promised myself that I would love as profoundly as I felt loved in that moment. I swore I would bring that sense of divinity back and it’s been a constant reminder that in one second life can change. Our thoughts and beliefs can be altered.

Do yourself a favor and live like if you are dying. It won’t matter what you did a year ago, tomorrow or in ten years. I will forever be grateful for the guidance and the knowing that all I am and forever will be is the embodiment of true love. In the end that is truly all that matters…to me.

Have a blessed day. Be good with yourself. No matter what you do give from your heart. Love is always the answer. Mucho love to all.

Soul Connections

This morning I went to visit some clients at several facilities. Most are elderly folks in those places. After seeing a sweet client, a woman in a wheelchair in the hall grabbed my hand and asked if I would visit with her. She mumbled the words a bit incoherently. She said she never gets anyone to visit. She was a bit disoriented and asked if I would sit with her. I believe her name was Janet but she kind of stumbled through it under her breath. So I rolled her down to the nearest place to sit with her. We really just sat there. She didn’t say much but I took her hand and held it in mine. Her eyes looked up at me with tears. I felt the desire to cry with her but held it tightly in my chest. I rubbed her fragile hands against mine. She smiled, I smiled. She just wanted to be acknowledged. She didn’t need anything else but to feel wanted for a few minutes. Stories formulated in that instance as I envisioned her forty years younger, dancing and caring for others.

This is life at the frail moments of vulnerability. I tried to get going but she pulled me back down so I sat for a bit longer. I shared about the sun and how lovely the day was. I asked if she wanted to sit by the window. She nodded no. I told her it was a delightful surprise to meet her. She sobbed a little more. I got up from my chair and got on my knees to see her face. She is lovely. She is precious. I told her this while pulling her chin gently up so her eyes could meet mine. I needed her to feel the awareness of one soul to another meeting for the first time.

Even with dementia souls recognize one another. They are more keen to it because they don’t have all the other static thoughts. I don’t know her history. I don’t know who she is. That really doesn’t matter. What truly is of great importance is to cherish a moment with another who will see you, feel you, and know that you are being loved.

Today…tomorrow…whenever you can, give your soul a gift of truly sitting with a stranger and listen to a story or just hold their hand. I came out of there walking to the car, seeing the mountains in the distance and sobbed. I sobbed for her, for my client who is deteriorating, for all those who sit in wheelchairs or lie alone in a bed waiting for death to arrive. And, then just like that two dragonflies flew around me. Life and its magic. It’s truly a gift and privilege to be here for as long as I need to be. And I promise myself that if I can serve one person every day with kind words or a smile I will do it until I am no longer able to.

Choose Your Journey Into Love

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I recently read Kerry Egan’s book, On Living. Egan is a hospice chaplain and her insightful stories of her patients and the things that are important in our life is magnificent. Actually that word is an understatement. I was glued to each word, paragraph and page. It made me gasp several times with awareness, heartache and joy. This little glimpse into ordinary lives, with extraordinary stories, will remind you why we are here and how not to take things for granted.

Having been around folks with dementia, terminal illnesses, dying individuals of all kinds, I understand that the transition from this world is always challenging. The five plus years of owning a motel/retreat center allowed me to visit with some incredible folks from all walks of life. I witnessed the essence of the human spirit. I noticed that every single person can have four basic experiences in those lonely moments when they know death is near: Regrets, Nostalgia, Fear, and Shame. I have witnessed it over and over. Life becomes a delicate dance with the unknown and time seems to never be on their side.

I’ve heard stories from family members, friends, and strangers. The dying, most times, isolate experiences in order to leave a legacy behind. They magnify events. They idolize others. They share secrets on their dying moments in hope of being released from shame and humiliation. They want to be heard and understood and forgiven. We all want to be acknowledged for our lives. At the end of the journey we want to know that we mattered. We want to believe we did the best we could without hurting our loved ones. We want to be loved. We want to know that someone will miss us because we were important.

Throughout the book the author takes you on a small voyage into the lives of some beautiful souls in her care. She shares her own shame and guilt from an experience that changed her life. She is able to take the reader through a mirage of emotions that is recognizable to all. I don’t care what your belief system entails, this book will touch a part of your truth and humanity.

The human spirit is absolutely beautiful. The things we hold and treasure; the events that change us; the things that bring us joy and sorrow; the greatest loves that touched us; the regrets for not moving past fear…and so on…create the composition of who we are. We, as spiritual beings, are created from a source so bright but we forget to shine. The things we hold inside are the things that keep us prisoners or in some cases allow us to fly freely. It all depends on the type of life you have lived.

I love this passage:

“What if the thing you consider to be your greatest accomplishment is not seen that way by anyone else? What if the thing you are proudest of is also the thing that you are most ashamed of? What if your great love is also your deepest secret?

People keep secrets in a desperate and often ultimately futile attempt to protect themselves or the people they love. They thing that the secret will be a bulwark against rejection and public humiliation, and so they carry it, no matter the weight. In so many cases, people keep secrets and even lie to each other out of love, and not malice.

What they may not realize is that in holding on so fiercely to what they see as shameful secrets, they’re actually strengthening that system of shame. Keeping a secret is like fertilizing a weed, and the family secrets that fertilize shame choke out love before it can even grow. The secrets themselves, instead of protecting anyone from shame, become a source of it instead. Shame is the enemy of love; it can never serve it.”

I read a lot of books, but this one touched me deeply. I love stories about the human spirit. I was inspired to reach into my own collective memories and find the stories from so many folks who have shared their journey with me. I feel a book being created.

May this new year allow you the freedom to let go of all that keeps you in a prison of emotional turmoil. May you find joy, wisdom, forgiveness and an exceptional amount of endless love. I see you…I feel you…I know a part of you because we are all interconnected through the Divine essence called Love.

See you on the other side. I love you!!!!

on-living

 

Find Joy in Your Life

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The absence of proof is not necessarily proof of any evidence. You want to hold certainty in your hands and it can’t be done. It’s not available. The proof of life is in living and being aware of your humanness.

Imagine: You lie dying on a bed. Do you speak about politics, religious indifference, race or cultural issues? Nope! You speak about loved ones. You tell stories of your lovers and spouses. You share about your childhood. You do not listen to this timeline full of sensational news. You don’t care what is happening out there. You want to know about places far and wide that you didn’t get to visit. You express your love of sunrises, fast cars, delicious food and beautiful company. You marvel at the journey, often with regret and other times with admiration. Politics, war, injustice and indifference do not matter at this time. They are not held captive in your presence.

Why? Why do we give so much energy to those things that will not reside in later years when we will be ready to transition into death?

Make your thoughts count. Create energetic moments that will transcend your existence when you are in your last breath. You are a creator of your reality. At the end of your life you will remember the first pretty girl you kissed, the puppy you got that Christmas, the horse ride you took in the trip, the way your child felt upon your chest…. You will not care how much money you owed or if you cleaned under the bed or if there is expired food in the pantry. Life is a precious commodity so use it for greatness. Make moments count so that when you are ready to embark into the light you will feel joy and not sorrow; love and not hatred, admiration and not regrets.

Go be happy. Fake it till you make it if you must. But, remember that you decide how you feel and react to everything that happens around you. Don’t keep waiting for a tomorrow that might never arrive.

Have a blessed day y’all! Mucho love!

Be Happy

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The absence of proof is not necessarily proof of any evidence. You want to hold certainty in your hands and it can’t be done. It’s not available. The proof of life is in living and being aware of your humanness.

Imagine: You lie dying on a bed. Do you speak about politics, religious indifferences, race or cultural issues? Nope!You speak about loved ones. You tell stories of your lovers and spouses. You share about your childhood. You do not listen to this timeline full of sensational news. You don’t care what is happening out there. You want to know about places far and wide that you didn’t get to visit. You express your love of sunrises, fast cars, delicious food and beautiful company. You marvel at the journey, often with regret and other times with admiration. Politics, war and indifferences do not matter at this time. They are not held captive in your presence. Why? Why do we give so much energy to those things that will not reside in later years when we will be ready to transition into death?

Make your thoughts count. Create energetic moments that will transcend your existence when you are in your last breath. You are a creator of your reality. At the end of your life you will remember the first pretty girl you kissed, the puppy you got that Christmas, the horse ride you took in the trip, the way your child felt upon your chest…. You will not care how much money you owe or if you cleaned under the bed or if there is expired food in the pantry. Life is a precious commodity so use it for greatness. Make moments count so that when you are ready to embark into the light you will feel joy and not sorrow; love and not hatred, admiration and not regrets.

Go be happy. Fake it till you make it if you must. But, remember that you decide how you feel and react to everything that happens around you. Don’t keep waiting for a tomorrow that might never arrive. Have a blessed day y’all!

5 Lessons Death Teaches About Living

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Death is a taboo. No one wants to discuss it or face it because the fear of it is greater than the reality. I remember reading some article years ago that when asked thousands of people what their biggest fear was they said “death: mine or someone near to me.” We have been taught to fear this type of death. But the fear of death is an illusion because it is only a transition. Now 2-1/2 years later I have woken to deeper lessons of dying that teach me to live fully.

Lesson 1:  The hardest part of dying is waking up.

I traveled to a beautiful place. The light that embraced me felt like nothing here on earth. Makes you wonder why anyone would want to return, huh? I asked that question for many months…still continue to wonder in rough days. We return from that experience just because we must (it doesn’t help that someone is pulling your butt away from the light either). There’s no great mystery to it. There are moments in my days that seem to stop me for a bit and I return to that place of safety, love, and omnipotence. In waking up there is the melting of illusion. Life is a magical experience. Yet, most people take it for granted, bogged down with the control, anxiety, and fear of living the lengths and widths of such a fortitude. Waking up to death, is embracing life.

Lesson 2:  Your body is a great wardrobe.

For months after my near-death experience I had to re-size myself to fit into this skin. I still wake with an abundance of immensity from traveling the cosmos. There are less nights of dreaming, and more nights of visiting other realms. This began immediately after my experience. For a while this was a huge issue when I returned from the “beyond.” I didn’t fit into my body. There was this expansion and greatness that didn’t modify to what I knew was my physical body. I looked around me and saw everyone’s light so much larger than their costume. I kept asking myself, “How do I get inside and stay in there?” I stopped trying. I just went with it. Your body is the best outfit you will ever have. Treat it with kindness and love. Give it the consideration it deserves. Honor this amazing outfit that keeps you here. Your heart beats to keep you alive along with every organ in that outfit.  Love it!

Lesson 3:  Growth is marvelous; stagnation sucks; laughter is the teacher of all.

This doesn’t read like a lesson but I promise it is one of my favorites. I don’t know the problem anymore to anything. I know there are challenges that force me to deviate from my spiritual truth, but I do return quickly to this moment. I see the potential to the story, the event, the issue, and the whatever. I see the drama behind the words when someone is sharing with me the woes and stagnation. And, then I witness that turning those situations around and noticing the ridiculous insanity to them creates laughter. Growth is a conscious effort to move beyond what is not real. We all have the capacity to move past what doesn’t serve us, or causes us hurt. Nothing is easy. If it was then we would not learn from it at all. Let joy be your travel agent through these stories you keep reliving. Let those stories entertain you with endless possibilities.

Lesson 4: Love is the source.

It is the only source of the universe.  It is the only source of your BEing. Love is all. You want love? Look in the mirror. It starts with you. Forgive others. What they think of you is their own issues and a reflection of their own insecurities. Love is the beginning and end of all in you. The more you love and forgive, the easier this journey becomes.

Lesson 5:   Live now.

Don’t wait for the children to leave home, the parents to pass on, the retirement check to start rolling in, and the won’ts and can’ts that make absolutely no sense to the present moment. Live for today! Make a gratitude journal. Walk outside for five minutes. Be alone. Be with people. Laugh at yourself at least one time every hour. Look at the sky and its infinite wonders.  Look at yourself and your greatness. Live every moment with awareness that you are here on borrowed time.  You know that feeling when you go on vacation and everything is just perfectly special? When the moments are full of joy and just being away from your normal life is soothing? Well that’s the greatest privilege for living. Make your life a vacation. Be mindful of your experiences and what they are teaching you. You are on this journey expanding the evolution of your soul. Even in vacations there’s work to be done, but you don’t mind it, right? Play! Pick a childlike moment and return to it. Life is what you make of it.

I would be lying if I said that my life is peachy ALL the TIME. I still ride the emotional roller coaster of struggles and disappointments that then dip into man-made stories of doubt. If everything was enlightening all the time I wouldn’t stop and learn anything. The difference now is that I understand why those lessons appear in my path. I also desire to grasp and incorporate everything to the wholeness of me. I am grateful for visiting with deep emotions: anger, sorrow, joy, forgiveness, compassion and love (to name a few). I believed in magic before dying. Now I live it every day. You go do the same! Don’t wait to be in your last dying breathe to figure out that you have struggled for nothing.  Make today the first day of the rest of your life and enJOY!