Kinda excited this morning. I got up, fed the kitties, grabbed some coffee and logged on to see that my new book was uploaded to Amazon overnight!
This was one of those “aha” moments; over my time as a reader, I’ve gotten the same 25-30 questions hundreds of times. Each. So I decided to share my take on the whole afterlife thang in one place.
Among the questions I tackle:
-What happens at the exact moment of death? What does it feel like?
-“Where” is the Other Side?
-Will I have to deal with people I couldn’t stand in life?
-What happens in a seance?
-Are spirits watching me….in a creepy way?
-How does a medium work? (Bonus info: the one thing a medium might say that should make you run….)
-Are pets with us, or in a different locale?
-What happens to suicides?
That’s just a taste. Frankly, as I started to write, the book took on a whole life of its own. No pun intended.
At any rate, I think this is just the ticket for anyone who’s grieving…who has grieved…who will grieve. Anyone who’s curious or maybe a wee bit freaked out over the thought of shuffling off this mortal coil one day. I’ve found that, during an actual reading, the info has brought a lot of comfort to my clients. I hope the vibe continues.
I love Facebook, mainly for the way it helps us reconnect with people from our past – like my college roommate. She posted something today that made me recall how frikkin’ smart she always was – even if most of the time, we couldn’t see it through all the pot smoke and Southern Comfort haze polluting the dorm.
Here’s what she had to say about the upcoming holiday shopping frenzy:
“Just had a radical thought. Apologies to all the retailers out there, but who among us needs more stuff? Hmmmm? What if this year, instead of giving ANY gifts, we funded people’s dreams? What if we asked the people on our gift list, “What do you dream about doing/becoming?” And then, what if we took whatever we were going to spend on whatever THING they probably don’t need (even if they think they want it) and spent that on making something less tangible, but likely more valuable, come true? Wouldn’t that be amazing? “
Yes. Yes, it would. But it put me in mind of something that comes up with many of my clients: they don’t know what their dream is anymore. Or they’re afraid to express it. The litany I hear is a mashup of, “It’s too late/I have too many responsibilities/it’s stupid…” But the thing is, it’s your DUTY to recapture some part of that dream and make it happen to whatever extent you can.
Choosing to get on the wild ride that is human life is a big deal. The souls that agree to step back into human form are opting for a major opportunity to not only grow themselves, but to help other souls grow by their influence. It’s like throwing a pebble into a pond: the ripples move outward.
The dream(s) you came into this life with are part of your homework as a soul. If you can’t quite recall them, think back to the things you liked to do as a child. I was insane for ballet, and bugged my parents for lessons. Hips and boobs and being 5’9” kinda killed the goal of being a professional, but my love for the art form has continued. I’ve shared my knowledge and love of various ballets and dancers with younger enthusiasts, and like to think I’m sort of paying it forward.
So while becoming a pro singer, football star or veterinarian may be out of the cards, there are always ways to dabble. Drill down to the core of what you love: if you can’t go to vet school, you could do animal rescue work. If you never made it to the major leagues, you can coach Little League. Ask your spirit guides to give you some direction. They live for this stuff.
The dreams you have are the carry-on bags from your journey from the Other Side. They hold the seeds to your happiness and spiritual evolution. And the people who are also touched by those dreams grow in ways you can’t even imagine.
So this season, give thanks for the impossible notions you came into this life with. Take a moment to dust them off, look at them — then dare to make them happen.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” — awesome quote I just heard on a TV commercial
‘My dog, I swear, he’s almost human.” When he can bring in the garbage cans or do my taxes, get back to me. But in the meantime, I’ve had several clients ask if their pet will ever reincarnate as a person.
My answer would be, Why would he want to? When you can have someone attend to your every need and never have to make a decision about what to wear in the morning?
There are many thoughts on the subject of reincarnation and whether we “cross pollinate” into other species. One religion, Jainism, won’t even step on an ant for fear a formerly human soul is living in that tiny body. I guess we’ll find out for ourselves one day. In which case, I’m getting rid of the ant traps right now. But in the meantime, here’s how I see reincarnation with our critters.
Anyone who’s owned a pet knows how special animals are. I feel they’re far more spiritually advanced than we are: consider any dog who’s been neglected or abused, and how they still give their crapwad owner a tail wag (yeah, I can’t watch those ASPCA TV commercials either).
Animals have a near-endless supply of understanding and forgiveness. They view the world simply. All they ask for is a warm place to sleep, a steady supply of treats and kibble and someone to love. And for that reason, they are a furry example of how to live gracefully. No surprise that science shows that pets help our health, or how the sight of a puppy coming to visit makes a cancer patient smile.
The four-legged/winged/scaled creatures in our world are reminders to chill out, appreciate nature, be kind and happy. So, no, I don’t think our animals are going to opt for demotion to a human state. They have plenty of important work to do. In between belly rubs, that is.
(And their work doesn’t stop once they’ve crossed over. I wrote about that here.)
And just a note on pets reincarnating as another pet: it MAY happen, but its unfair to put that burden on either the new pet or the spirit of the deceased one. Treasure them as individuals and allow them to work their magic on your life. Remember, I’m always here to help you connect with a pet, living or dead. Read about my Animal Communication services here.
I was recently asked, “How can I better connect with my guides and channel my higher self?” Or something like that.
Quick refresher course: each of us has a spirit guide, there to help us stay on track with the life plan the two of you designed before we incarnated. You both set certain goals together to help you with your spiritual growth. Unfortunately, the minute we’re born, that plan gets fuzzy in our human brain. It’s like trying to recall a dream.
Working with your guide involves regular meditation. That’s the space between the worlds where the two of you can meet. Meditation helps you become aware of your guide’s unique presence. The energy changes; you may “feel” them, or hear their voice.
By regularly connecting with your guide, you make it easier to sense them in everyday life. It’s like when you call up a trusted friend to talk over a problem; you need to know their number first.
So make it a point to meditate on a regular basis, and to invite your guide to connect with you, just to hang out together.
This is also just common courtesy; don’t you hate those friends that only talk to you when they need something? Don’t be that person.
Your guide’s job is not to make troubles magically disappear; but they will give you the tools and inspiration to navigate them more effectively. They are a great resource when you’re struggling with a decision or problem.
Your guide’s help comes in the form of new ideas, helpful people, little intuitive “nudges,” information that you run across online, a dream. Your job is to pay attention and act on this wisdom. The more you do this, the easier it becomes to access this wonderful source of help. And the smoother your journey becomes.
The process of regularly connecting to your guide also strengthens your awareness of what lies beyond our everyday headaches. It provides an uber-reality check that puts it all in perspective and reminds us that we are all just souls having a human experience.
“Is my dead grandmother/father/beagle my guardian angel?” I get this question a lot during a session. And the answer is…
Basically, we have three kinds of spirit entities around us: spirit guides, angels and those who’ve crossed over. At different times, and in different ways, they are there for us. Let me break it down:
A spirit guide is someone who has been in human form at least once. They are assigned to us before we incarnate, sort of as a spiritual bodyguard. We sit with them, drawing on a big whiteboard all the things we hope to accomplish or experience in the upcoming life. Their role is to remain on the other side of the veil, helping us to stick to our plan.
Of course, once we’re physically born, we have a hard time remembering The Plan. We get distracted and diverted, but our guide is always there. We just need to ask them to help set us back on the right road. They will put a helpful person in our way, make us notice a particular job listing or an article about a new medical treatment. They want us to succeed; I think of them kind of as the Ultimate Life Coach.
Throughout our time on Earth, we have different guides who help us with many specific things – our health, our parenting skills, our job search. Those guides come and go, but there’s always one main guide who sticks with us from our slap-on-the-butt-and-bawling entry point to our return over the veil. Here’s a way to meet yours.
While spirit guides have had the human experience, a guardian angel hasn’t. Angels are a different breed altogether and possess some truly bad ass energies and powers.
In the Christian tradition, there are nine categories of angels. Seraphim are those closest to God, followed by Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and finally, Angels.
It’s a little like the military, with each category having specific purposes and roles. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll stick to garden variety angels.
Your basic Angel is the closest to humankind. Their role is to protect, guide and inspire us. The powers of a guardian angel are truly wondrous; they’re the ones you hear of showing up at crash scenes or natural disasters. So unless your grandma has super-powers, she’s not technically your guardian angel.
Grandma CAN, however, assist you, sort of like a spirit guide, by sending you information, people or other forms of assistance. Unlike a spirit guide, she’s not waiting around, filing her nails and waiting for your call; our loved ones are busy living their spirit life; they hear you when you need them, but aren’t investing all their time in what’s happening over here. I mean, when Nana was alive and moved to Florida, she spent her days playing canasta and working in her yard; she looked forward to your weekly call, but didn’t build her life around it, right? Well, hopefully not. Same with life on the Other Side.
Outside of serious danger, where a guardian angel will step in to help in whatever way they can, the one thing all invisible helpers generally require is…a request. As humans, we’ve been granted free will. If we need help, we need to ask for it. They can’t just butt in, uninvited.
And in that regard, that’s one thing that’s different from most living people we know, amIright?
I’d love to hear your experiences with angels, guides or someone on the Other Side. Share in the Comments. And head over to my website, whenevs.
We’re hitting the Memorial Day weekend, and although its become associated with barbecues, beer and that scary moment when you display your winter-white legs in shorts for the first time, it really IS about “memorial” — as in, remembering those who’ve passed on in service to our country.
Whether you’ve lost a military family member — or any family member or friend — I want you to know that they will probably be at that barbecue with you. When someone crosses over, it does not mean that they cease to be involved or aware of life on this side of the veil. To the contrary: they’re still keeping an eye out for us.
To me, crossing over is like graduating from high school. You may be heading to college, but you’re still in touch with those kids a grade or two behind. If those “kids” are family members, you want to keep in the loop, maybe not quite as much as when you were alive — but still.
You’d be surprised at how many times a spirit has let me know that they were at a special birthday or graduation. They know about a new grandchild — or even the new addition you put on the house. The point is, they keep in touch. It’s like they’re checking your Facebook page. So you might want to keep the sketchier “selfies” off of it. Just a suggestion.
Anyway, those who we are deeply linked to, either by blood or circumstance, remain in our karmic phone book. They are busy with new experiences on spirit-side, but they don’t forget us. In fact, they’re closer than we think.
Most of us think that death takes us to a place far, far away; but in reality, they’ve just switched into a higher energy form. They move so fast that we can’t see them. Hey, Star Trek fans. ‘Memba that episode where Kirk is “sped up” by some alien chick? Here’s a refresher:
That’s kind of like how it is for our loved ones on the Other Side. They resonate at a level that we don’t easily experience; dimensionally, they live about three feet off of our ground.
For them to “appear” to us is not easy. They must slow down their vibration, which takes some doing. As a medium, I need to raise mine as they lower theirs — and then we meet somewhere in the middle, energetically speaking. When they show themselves to a non-medium, the process is even harder, so be super-grateful for that gift.
Because the process is tricky is one reason you may not see a loved one soon after their passing. They’re getting used to their new state; its like falling asleep as plain old dumpy you and waking up as Angelina Jolie. Takes some getting used to. That bit of down time is good for us, as it lets us adjust to this life without that person. Not fun, not easy, but necessary for our growth. Wanting to “see” them again is a natural response, but being too desperate and needy isn’t good for them or you.
Grief is a powerful teacher. And understanding that our loved ones continue to live on, albeit in a different form, takes time. Just know that they are as close as your thoughts and memories.
The other night I dreamt I was about to go on stage in front of thousands of people, to play bass with the Stones. Only I don’t know how to play. And unlike flying or breathing underwater, I didn’t know how to do it in the dream, either. Here I was gonna be standing next to Charlie Watts, a frikkin’ awesome drummer and one of my heroes. And I’m clueless. Clue. Less. It still gives me the willies when I recall it.
I know where that particular dream came from: reading an article about the band in Rolling Stone earlier. But there are other dreams that offer up more than just a psychedelic rehash of the day.
Like those wonderful ones where you encounter someone you’ve lost and they look wonderful. They practically shine. And you know – you just know –that they’ve visited you from the Other Side. Or the one where you get a “preview” of something that’s about to happen. This is where dreams serve a really useful purpose, to “download” info from other dimensions. Our conscious brain is in “sleep” mode – literally – so we can access different channels.
You may not think you dream, but you do. It’s a vital physical function; in fact, I think I read somewhere that, when test subjects were prevented from dreaming (as in, being woken up repeatedly), they got really sick. Umm, for the record? I would cut a bitch if someone did that to me. Anyway, the point is you do indeed dream — you just aren’t so hot on remembering them.
Dreaming is where we work stuff out on the physical plane, but more importantly, its where we access higher dimensions. Training yourself to remember what you learn in Dreamland is not as hard as you might think.
First, keep a notebook and pen by your bed. Second, set your intention to start remembering your dreams As you drift off, tell yourself that you WILL recall what you’ve experienced in the dream state. If you wake up in the middle of the night from a dream, jot down what you remember. Do NOT tell yourself that you’ll do it in the morning. Trust me, you probably won’t. So roll over, turn on the light for 10 seconds and scrawl it down. Just like Jerry Seinfeld with his awesome idea for a joke…..which he then couldn’t read.
When you first wake up from a dream, try not to move. This will keep you in that state between the worlds where it will be easier to consciously recall what you’ve experienced. Once you’ve captured a theme, image, whatever jot it in your notebook.
If something really stands out, ask yourself what it means – then go with the first impression or thought that you get. Don’t overthink it. Stay in that muted place where things flow without a lot of intellect behind them. Dreams reach us on a very subtle level; use more of your gut to interpret them, and less your brain.
There are some great dream interpretation books ( I like Mary Summer Rain’s Guide to Dream Symbols) and sites out there, but don’t discount what your own bad self tells you.
Once you’ve built up your recall muscle, you can direct your dreams towards something specific. For example, you can invite a deceased loved one to visit you in the dream state. Don’t force this; they have things going on on the Other Side. They don’t sit around, flipping through Us magazine, waiting for your call. Make the invitation, then let it go. Trying too hard blocks the energy.
You can also ask your Spirit Guides to provide an answer to a question by way of your dreams. Even if you don’t know who your guide(s) is, simply throw up a request for information. You can assign them a name if you want, or just say, “Yo, Guides – I need some help here with (fill in the blank).” They don’t stand on formality. Then see what they send you. And don’t be surprised if the answer/info you get is different than what you expect. Receive it with grace and say “thank you.”
One note – don’t get frustrated if you don’t get anywhere in remembering your dreams. Keep setting the intention, and eventually you will.
There’s an old folk trick to help the dream recall process along. Place a glass of water by your bed. When you first wake up, drink it down to help remember. Or to get the stank morning breath out of your mouth. In the meantime, enjoy a blast from my 80s past. And the exquisite Annie Lennox. In my dreams, I have her voice. In real life, my singing voice is closer to Linda McCartney’s.
Quick review: before we incarnate, we make a deal with a fellow spirit. For our part, we agree to take on the hairy experience of human life – which is jampacked with experiences and relationships designed to help our soul evolve. For their part, they stay on the other side, keeping an eye on our progress and helping us stay on track.
Whether we know they’re there or not, they do their best to offer opportunities, new people, coincidences and info that — if we pay attention — can help us keep moving in the right direction. (This is a super-short overview of the subject. A couple of great books on the subject are Ask Your Guides by Sonia Choquette and Spirit Guides by Iris Belhayes and Molly Sullivan). Moving on.
This particular spirit guide is the big kahuna; there will be other guides whom you can call on when you need help with something specific. For example, a “doctor” guide can assist with a health issue, or a “parenting” guide with kids. They come and go, but your main guide is always there.
Of course, the process of working with guides is way easier if we can recognize them and consciously develop a relationship. Here’s a way to meet your guy…or gal.
MEDITATION TO MEET YOUR MAIN SPIRIT GUIDE
Start by placing a notepad nearby to jot down your experience afterwards. Close your eyes and take a few deep centering breaths. Envision yourself surrounded by protective white light. You are completely relaxed and safe in this space.
Now see a beautiful garden path. You’re surrounded by lush greenery and flowers. The path slopes gently downwards into a wood. Walk along this path, enjoying the scenery as you go down, down, down.
You see a cottage in the distance. Continue walking downwards on the path, drawing nearer to it.
You arrive at the cottage. Notice how it looks. Notice the doors and windows. There’s a charming brass knocker on the door. Lift it and hear it fall, announcing your arrival. Now open the door and step inside.
There’s a gentle fire burning in the fireplace. There are two comfy, overstuffed chairs in front of it. One is for you. And the other is for your guide. Who is sitting there? What do they look like? What are they wearing? Keep in mind, they may surprise you. You may expect them to be in long white robes, but be open. I had one guide show himself as a white man wearing buckskin — he had been a woodsman in a previous life, kind of a “Jeremiah Johnson.” The point is to go with what you first see.
Now ask your guide their name. Again, the name may surprise you. When I first did this exercise, my guide said his name was something like “Rael.” Well, that is just waaay too out there for me, so I asked if I could call him “Ray” instead. Now he shows up wearing a pair of sunglasses like Ray Charles. That works with my sense of humor.
OK, so now you’re sitting in your chair with your guide. Ask him if he has a message for you. It may be short. Ask him how he will identify himself in your daily life. With “Ray,” I know he’s around when any Ray Charles music comes up on my iPod. In your case, maybe your guide will let you know they’re there through a symbol, a feeling (like tingles or cold chills) even a smell. Again, stay open and go with the first thing that hits you.
Tell your guide that you appreciate them being there for you and that you want to work more closely with them as you move forward. This cottage will be a place you can meet in future meditations. This is also where you will be introduced by your guide to any other spirit helpers.
Now, its time to leave. Say goodbye to your guide and exit the cottage. The path stretches out before you, sloping gently upwards. Walk along this path, feeling the warmth and love you experienced being with your guide.
Continue walking upwards, gently upwards. You feel yourself coming back to the here and now. When you’re ready, open your eyes and return to the present. Jot down your impressions, messages and insights. And — this is important — stay alert for any sign of your guide in your everyday life, and thank them for their presence.
You don’t have to go into a meditation every time you need help (good if you happen to be driving)– just ask. But it’s a good practice to regularly spend time meditating and building a relationship with your spirit guide. It will make it easier to interact with them, but mostly, it’s just good manners. You know those “friends” who only call when they need something? Don’t be one of them.
To me, spirit guides are a wonderful resource for navigating the ups and downs of life. Like factory air conditioning and OnStar, they come standard with our life. Why not use them to make yours run smoother?
Ever have an encounter with a guide? Spill it in the comments!
Recently, I read a woman who lost her son a few years ago. I can’t even imagine that kind of pain. So I was not at all surprised when she asked if there was a chance that he might reincarnate while she was still alive, and they might connect again. Let’s discuss.
Reincarnation fascinates me. And it makes total sense to my hyper-logical brain. I just can’t believe that everything that makes a person who they are just goes away when they die. The force of personality is not organic, like a piece of old bread. It’s much more than that.
Physics tells us that energy cannot die, it can only turn into something (or someone) else. So I believe that when we pass, our spirit-energy goes to the Summerland to take stock and reassess. It’s like the Mother of all Debriefings.
Let me break it down: you spend some time there, looking over what you learned in your time on Earth. You hang with your ancestors. You get really good at badminton or origami (even if you couldn’t fold a newspaper to save your life, when you HAD a life). Then you decide to return to Planet Earth, bringing back some memory of what you learned the last go-round.
You hope to move the needle on your soul’s evolution, by being smarter, wiser and more loving in this new life. It’s your chance to move up a grade, as it were. Eventually, you “graduate” and can decide to permanently hang on the sweet side, although many evolved souls are opting to return to help the rest of our sorry asses out.
That, to me, is how I understand reincarnation.
I’ve read that we used to come back every 200 years or so. But as our civilization has “sped up,” the process is much more frequent. So does that mean someone you love will return in your lifetime? Sometimes. But that doesn’t mean that they will necessarily show up in your neighborhood. They could be running a pedi-cab in Sri Lanka.
The other thing is, that when we reincarnate, we do bring some of the knowledge of our past lives with us. But we have a hard time remembering it – and the people that were there with us (another reason for not waiting around for them). I’m going to reference one of my favorite movies, Made In Heaven with Timothy Hutton and Kelly McGillis. It’s a great romantic film, but the way it depicts Heaven and returning to Earth is spot on. Check it out.
Anyway, we’re back to take on new experiences; to be burdened with the entire memory of our past lives would make our heads explode (not to mention, make it really hard to decide what to put on in the morning). So while there’s a certain spiritual “overlay” of what we’ve been through, as with all our lives, we have free will to use it moving forward. Or to completely forget it and go off the rails.
Here’s an example. Early in my spiritual development, I met a guy I was cah-razy for. Naturally, after I got home from our date at the bar, I used one of my new skills and did his numerology chart. Now, according to numerology, each of us has up to 11 Karmic Lessons to learn. In some lifetimes, we may only have one or two; in others, a boatload of them.
Anyway, I was stunned to see that Mr. Yummy had NO Karmic Lessons. Zero, zip, nada. This was a curious thing, because he turned out to be the biggest tool on the planet.
You would think someone with no Karmic Lessons in their chart would be really spiritual like Ghandi or Jesus. But you would be wrong. I was completely stumped, until I learned that, just because you come into this life with a clean slate doesn’t mean you exit with one.
There’s that pesky “free will” thing again. My hunk may have reincarnated after years of deep study in various medieval monasteries. But in this life, he clearly had abandoned any vows of celibacy and sobriety. And reading. If he was someone’s long lost sweet grandma that they hoped to see again, they were gonna be waaaaay disappointed.
One thing to keep in mind is, the experience of losing someone is part of our growth as humans. Grief is a powerful teacher. The understanding that we can and will connect with them in the spiritual realm is another lesson. To hang on to the hope that you’ll see someone again in the flesh keeps you from moving forward. Don’t put your life on hold for them.
There’s an old REM track that’s been making the rounds, in light of this Mayan prophecy of the world ending today: “It’s The End of The World As We Know It.”
Well, clearly, since I’m sitting here, listening to the sound of the dryer and my fingers clicking away on the laptop, the world has not stopped spinning. But I think that song title is still appropriate: it’s the end of the world AS WE KNOW IT.
The last couple months have really turned things upside down, especially Hurricane Sandy and the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, CT. Those two incidents alone have created a seismic shift in our thinking, about how we function as a society. We’ve had similar disasters, but this time, something has changed. We feel it. And I believe this is what the Mayans meant: we are passing into an age of enlightenment. We are taking another step on the path, collectively.
I read somewhere that we are passing out of the Iron Age — one that has been vicious, combative, filled with selfishness (Bernie Madoff, I’m looking at you). The Hindus refer to our current time as ‘the age of quarrel.”
Here’s a clip from a really-underrated movie, “The Devil’s Advocate,” in which Al Pacino — as the Devil — gives one of the great speeches ever. It kinda sums up where we’ve been:
Spoiler alert: in the movie, the Devil doesn’t get to take over the world. And now, in this new world, he doesn’t get to either. We are passing into an age that’s kinder, more interdependent, more spiritually aware.
For the last few days, I’ve sensed a personal shift. I’ve been cleaning out closets, getting rid of old stuff –literally. As we go through the long, dark winter, take some time to go within and help step up your game to meet the new energy of this beautiful new age we’ve just entered. Just like Dorothy did…