Posts Tagged ‘Transitions’

For My Cousin, Erin

My 36-year-old cousin, Erin, transitioned yesterday after a long, winding journey with cancer. On September 28, I received a handknit scarf from her with instructions to view any imperfections through the eyes of love, and as proof that it was handmade with love in every stitch. As much as I hoped she’d pull through, I had made a special point to see her on our January 2012 trip to Pennsylvania for my paternal grandmother’s 100th birthday party. David got to meet Erin and her new husband, Mark and her little girl, Isabel. We all had a heartfelt visit at my sister’s house with my two nephews.

I’m grateful for the chance to have hugged Erin again in the physical, saddened by her path of primarily traditional medicine, and honored to have known her for all of her short life. So many memories! She was my closest cousin, and we spent many weekends together growing up, as well as Facebook time, emails, texts and visits on both coasts.

After many months of texts addressing her fears, hopes, potential opportunities and adventures on this side or the other side of the veil, during this past week I urged her to find and receive her peace in whatever form that took. She’s an incredible soul, and her journey continues as she celebrates her expansion beyond physical limitations — even while those left behind will miss her humor, huge heart and love. Actually, we still have that. She lives on, and I know that in this cosmic window of decision time, she has finally found and claimed her peace.

When I learned of her passing, this haunting song by Lizzie West returned to me from many years ago. I offer it now in honor of Erin and for anyone else who’s had a loved one transition. I had texted Erin before receiving the scarf, “I support you in whatever adventure u choose, wherever and however that looks. Just sent u a card to that effect. 🙂 I love you and know more than most that life continues beyond ‘death.’ Life is a beautiful adventure however long or short. I have walked with many in your position. Some stay, some go, but the adventure continues for them. Important thing is to allow yourself to feel and embrace the peace. I love u!”

The song, “Prayer,” that ran through my mind when I read my aunt’s email sings: “Do not stand at my grave and cry…” Even though I know she’s finally decided and at peace, and I know how to communicate with those who’ve passed, I’m crying. I love you, Erin! We will miss you.


“Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that flow
I am the sunlight on my own grave

I am a gentle autumn rain
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight

do not stand at my grave and cry
do not stand at my grave and cry
do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there I did not die

man as yet is half grown
Even his flower stem has not appeared yet
Hes all leaves and roots without a sign of stem in sight
Blossoming means establishing a new pure relationship with the cosmos
It is the sign of heaven.
Its the sign of a cobra.
Its the sign of a man who knows himself royally.
Crowned with the sun.
His feet gripping the earth as he goes.
We have arrived.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there I did not die.
I am not there I did not die.”

based on the poem “Do not stand at my grave and weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Prayer, Meditation and Healing Retreat

Perhaps it’s fitting that I’m listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon while typing the first entry after a long hiatus. Indeed, I feel like I’m still on the Dark Side of the Moon, but so many people have privately written me for an update that I decided to post one here, mid-journey.

First of all: I am fine! Thank you all for your concern. I do appreciate it, but you don’t need to worry. Intense though it is, I have enjoyed my contemplation, journaling and daydreaming. Yes, I have still been offering Intuitive and Coaching Sessions during my blogging and newsletter break. Because I have spent the past month in deep prayer, meditation and personal healing, the sessions themselves have gone even deeper than usual.

So what have I been doing and why? Well, the short version is that something shifted for me when my computer crashed in Mendocino. Then I went on a Halloween Writer’s Retreat at Bodega Bay to kick off my participation in the 11th annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal? Write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. After October’s research, I thought NaNoWriMo would help me plow through Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar (Book 2).

For two weeks, it did just that! I reached 21,700 words of multilayered text with tons of symbols, fun dialogue, intrigue … things seemed great. And then … I hit a wall. As an English Major, I’ve always had a bit of a pet peeve when a fictional work obviously contains things that should have remained in journal form. When my own personal processing began to infiltrate the novel, I opted to journal directly, thinking a page or two would get me back on track. Well, 30,000 words later, I have still not returned to Schizandra and the Peruvian Jaguar!

I have taken a massive inventory of my life, with some surprising realizations. For example, I always considered myself a “blissoholic” and have lived in a way that encourages much bliss. I do believe I enjoy one of the funnest, free-est, highest vibe lives of anyone I know. In journaling and recording dreams, though, I discovered something I already knew but had glossed over: at my core, I would choose peace over bliss, and in choosing peace, I arrive at a grounded sense of bliss.

Grounding has presented the biggest challenge to me over the years. From childhood onward I’ve had no problem connecting with other dimensions. The veil is thin! It seems, however, that every 11 years, my veil gets even thinner.

Like clockwork, ever since my grandfather died when I was 3 years old, this 11 year cycle has cracked open my brain and offered me a conscious choice of crossroads. My grandfather was the most significant relationship in my life at that time. He taught me how to draw, and I remember drawing with him for hours, choosing art and him over any other option. When he died, something in me broke. I became aware of life after death, and I sometimes communicated with him, or felt his presence in my life. Every time I painted or drew, I thought of him and honored him. Art and spirit intertwined in a very childlike way.

When I was 14, my mother went through a series of major health crises that forced me to care for my family. Simultaneously, the metaphysical world opened itself in another quantum leap way. The things I saw terrified me and drove me to lead a secret life. I became a public atheist, but privately, I felt acutely aware of God in every moment of every day. I walked alone at night in the rain and would feel love pour over me with the water; I became aware of a bubble of protection around me, kind of a soft glow of comfort and safety; I delved into philosophy and classical literature trying to learn the inner workings of the universe. I just did so privately. When I was 17, my first boyfriend was shocked and dismayed to find that his atheist girlfriend’s journal contained 500 pages of love letters to God!

I gradually found ways to integrate the intellectual and mystic, opting in college to study Art History (especially Sacred Geometry) and write my honors thesis on Angels in Paradise Lost. Things continued to unfold at a reasonably normal pace until six months prior to my 25th birthday — another 11 year cycle — when a travelling sales job gave me tons of alone time for meditation and self awareness. Three days before my 25th birthday, life presented me another crossroads. I knew which one to choose, but I lacked courage. I couldn’t lead the double life that worked throughout the past 11 years, but I did not have the courage to choose the path I knew I needed to walk.

What happened? Anyone who’s read If I Only Had a Brain Injury or watched Maximize Your Brain Function, knows I suffered a brain injury that afternoon while stopped at a red light. The injury catapulted me into a more openly mystical way of living because it destroyed my rational side for 3-4 years. Fewer people know that I recited a John Donne poem only hours before that accident. Preparing for my imminent move to a doctoral program in English Literature, I often read poetry aloud, but I read this particular poem as a prayer and with intent:

Holy Sonnet 14

Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you

As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend

Your force to break, blow, burn and make me new,

I, like an usurped town, to another due,

Labor to admit you, but O, to no end;

Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,

But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,

But am betrothed unto your enemy,

Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;

Take me to you, imprison me, for I,

Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,

Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

A potent poem … and not one I recommend reading as a prayer! Nonetheless, it worked. Life quickly forced me onto an openly commited spiritual path, which has led me to today. I asked and I received. So many blessings arose from that single prayer that I cannot even imagine my life without it. The ripple effects of my own commitment have touched more people than I know. I’ve written 3 books, trained Reiki Master Teachers, traveled the West’s spiritual locations, supported a husband through his own healing and spiritual journey, just as he supported me. When I look at the last 11 years, I see that life ramped up in a major way.

And yet, that 11 cycle has reared its head again: an ouroborus, the snake that swallows its own tail. I don’t know where this new cycle will take me, but I feel the beginnings of a major change. I keep imagining myself painting doors with Sacred Geometry symbols. A friend synchronously offered me some extra doors to paint, so I may get my wish very soon. Beyond that, I keep seeing 11:11’s, 111’s, 33’s, 3:33’s and 7:11’s … angel messages to continue on the path, wherever it may lead. I’ll keep you posted on my journey. If the other 11 year cycles provide any indication, things will definitely shift in positive but surprising ways. Synchronicity continues to play a starring role. Mid-shift I don’t know all the crossroads presenting themselves this time, but I remain watchfully aware and grateful for all the love and support from my husband, friends, family, fellow Reiki Master Teachers and clients. It’s a beautiful life we get to create together and individually!

Many Blessings and Much Gratitude, Laura