Not very

Mural, Girl, Balloon, Heart, GraffitiI can’t remember when our last meeting was.  If you don’t know it’s going to be the last time, you don’t take particular note of it, I suppose.

I remember my last meeting with his mother.  It was in the hospice.  That meeting is easy to recall, because we were both all too aware that she’d have moved beyond her body within a few days.  We had a rather surreal conversation about this and that – mostly her plans for the funeral and what she wanted me to do to help care for her little boy.  I kept asking whether she was tired and would prefer me to leave and she kept saying, ‘No.  I don’t want you to go yet.’  But eventually she was tired and she did need to sleep and we hugged and cried a bit and said none of the things people usually say when they are parting: ‘See you soon’, ‘Keep in touch’, ‘Take care of yourself’.  It was an adieu moment, not an au revoir.

When I last saw her son – the little boy who had grown up to be a man and who had become just like one of my own children to me – he DID say, ‘See you soon.’  I distinctly remember that part, although I can’t quite remember where we were.  He was waving me off on a bus or a train or something.  He’d been anxious, awkward, twitchy – more so that I’d seen him before.  He’d kept wheeling around and looking suspiciously about him, as if he expected an assassin to come lurching out of the crowd.  He’d looked awful.  There was an unhealthy pallor to his skin and much of his hair had fallen out in untidy clumps.  Alopecia, he told me.  Stress, the doctor had told him.  It might grow back or it might not.

He didn’t see me soon, nor I him.  The months became years – probably six or seven.  I feel I should be able to remember.  Each time I suggested meeting, there was a flat ‘No.’  If I pestered for a reason, I’d get, ‘Can’t do it’ or ‘Too stressful.’

Last week, I suggested it again.  He’s been coming out, I feel, agonisingly slowly, of the deepest slough of despair, social anxiety and depression.  His texts and emails have been far more chatty and even shown flashes of the old sense of humour.  He accused me of being paranoid about something, adding, ‘And yes, I know that’s rich, coming from me.’

He didn’t say ‘No’.

True, he didn’t come anywhere close to saying ‘Yes’, but he was far more concerned that he wouldn’t be able to commit to a meeting until the day itself, and that as we live far apart, I might have a wasted journey to London.

I told him I love London – in small doses – and that I’d enjoy a day trip there in any case.  I told him I’d plan a trip to the British Museum, another old and much-loved friend.  I told him that if he felt able to join me, that would be great, but I’d have a great day in any case.

You don’t get sighs in texts, unless they’re intentionally written in those silly little arrow things (<sighs>) but I could feel his as he replied, ‘That’s up to you but I don’t want to get your hopes up.’
London, Lantern, Big Ben, RiverSo my coach ticket is booked.  Next Saturday I’ll begin the 3 hour trek to London.  I’ll be caught (as happened so often, when his mental state waxed and waned throughout his teens) somewhere between assuring myself that he’ll be there, in order to manifest the reality, and stoically preparing for a pleasant day wandering through the delights of the museum, just in case.

Whatever happens, though, I’m jubilant.  When I asked how likely he was to be there, he replied, ‘Not very.’  That’s a long way past ‘Not at all’.  There will be other chances, other days.  Just as his mother begged me, all those years ago, I’ve never given up on him, never thrown in the towel, and nor has he.  I’m proud of us both for that.

Dying to Understand

Fall, Autumn, Leaf, Brown, Green, Yellow“I hear Daisy has gone now,” I remarked to a friend.
Daisy was elderly and ill. She’d taken to her bed and had been refusing food for some time, so it wasn’t a surprise.
“Yes,” Ali replied, “and boy is she in for a shock!”
I looked up in surprise for a moment, then realised what she meant.
“You mean she didn’t believe there would be anything after life?”
“Exactly,” Ali smiled. “She was adamant that ‘she’ would die along with her body. End of. What must she be thinking now?”

Bison, Cave Of Altamira, Prehistoric ArtIt’s the third time recently that such an idea has been placed in my mind.  The first was when I read a highly praised and undeniably well-researched and well-argued book called The Mind in the Cave.  Its author, David Lewis-Williams, speaks eloquently and convincingly about the world view of our ancient ancestors – those who decorated caves and rocks with incredible images of animals, geometric shapes, figures who appear to be somewhere between animals and humans etc.  It’s a great book, but for me, there is one huge issue I’ll be bold enough to disagree on.  It’s what Professor Lewis-Williams terms ‘the brain/mind problem’.  Here’s the way he resolves it (and, I’d suggest, the reason a book that deals mainly with ‘altered states’ has been so well received in scientific circles):

Two things we do know are, one, that the brain/mind evolved, and two, that consciousness (as distinct from brain) is a notion, or sensation, created by electro-chemical activity in the ‘wiring’ of the brain.

Ngc 3603, Nebula, Space, StarsThe second was a recent BBC documentary following three ageing British astronomers on a journey to recapture some of the finest moments of their younger days, when they had held eminent positions in observatories in the US, in the post Sputnik race-for-space of the mid-twentieth century.  They were lovely guys and all had enjoyed happy and successful lives.  Now, though, one was terminally ill and the others were in, shall we say, the late autumn of their lives.  Unsurprisingly, as they trekked through the mountains, the discussion turned to death.  One, despite his scientific training, clung to the Christian faith.  He admitted he didn’t see much logic in it, but still felt comforted by the God he’d been brought up to believe in and the idea that there would be an afterlife.  He mused, rather sadly though, that there probably wasn’t any need for astronomers in Heaven.  His colleagues seemed to adhere more to Daisy’s view, and that, presumably, of Professor Lewis-Williams.  When their bodies and brains died, so would their consciousness.  That – obviously, in their minds – meant no further existence.  As an 11-year-old I once taught commented, “I don’t think there’s anything after we die; it’s a bit sad really.”

Angel, Cherub, Stone, Angel WingsIt is a bit sad.  Has humanity, throughout its entire existence, had to make an unpleasant choice between, a. trying hard to hold faith in a religion that often seems illogical and unlikely, or b. accepting that our brains are so great, they can almost have us believing, sometimes, that there is something beyond this existence, although they know that not to be true?

What a terribly bleak choice.  When faced with it – many years ago – I didn’t like either of the options.  That’s why I’ve been on this fascinating journey, the one I’ve attempted imperfectly to document in this blog.  I believe now that I have proof that our consciousness exists above and beyond our physical bodies, however complex and impressive the ‘wiring’ of the brain may be.  I believe that there is no need to die in order to understand what is often called ‘God’ and that an ‘afterlife’ is not a possibility, but a given.  More than that, I believe we are here, right now, to explore this very issue, so that we no longer need to be sad or scared, hopeful or doubtful about death.

As Koimul so eloquently puts it: THIS IS THE GREAT EXPERIMENT.  IT IS TO LIVE IN YOUR EARTHLY BODY YET SEE INTO THE ETERNAL.

 

 

The ‘Why?’ is sorted (probably)

BLW The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well here’s a start.

Maybe this is the introduction.  Very much a first draft, but feedback would be welcome.

Apologies for the western slant. Perhaps it will not hold so true for readers with other cultural references (but I’d be fascinated to know how much of it does…).

So in place of a proper blog post this week, please accept and comment, if you wish, on this extract, while I get back to the matter of the book.

Why am I writing this book?

Because for many centuries people have been persuaded by religious leaders that, one way and another, they’ve failed miserably at being human, which means that a very nasty afterlife awaits them (unless of course they are either incredibly saintly and prepared to die to prove it, or obscenely rich and able to buy their way into Heaven via generous gifts to said religious leaders).

Because over the last few generations humans have largely stopped believing the Hell story and more-or-less let go of the Heaven one too.  They’ve settled for the RIP version, where we just doze off for eternity.  It doesn’t sound great, but is at least preferable to the Day of Judgement, when all those skeletons in the cupboard could begin rattling nastily.

Because given that there doesn’t seem a lot to look forward to, humans have invested a massive amount of time, energy and money into trying to cling on to life – to staying human for as long as possible.

Because the current attitude towards death is deeply weird.  On the one hand, we fill our television channels with police dramas, hospital dramas, whodunits and tales of autopsies, with news reports of starvation, wars, fatal accidents and murder.  We play video games in which killing is not only commonplace, but usually the entire point.  We conduct wars in which the technology enables ‘push button death’ with any emotional attachment carefully removed; a soldier no longer needs to see the whites of his opponent’s eyes in order to kill him.  WMDs and IEDs abound.  And yet… Death is a taboo.  We avoid discussing it wherever possible. We change the subject with a nervous laugh.  “Yes, well, shall we talk about something a bit more cheerful?”

Because when we hear that someone is terminally ill, we don’t know what to say.  When friends are bereaved, we don’t have ways to comfort them.  We maybe send a card with a bunch of white flowers or a vaguely ecclesiastical-looking gateway on it and tell them we hope they’re getting over it now and that, after all, life must go on.

Because those who feel the need to know that something conscious remains of those they have lost will turn to mediums and spiritualists who, apparently, have polite queues of departed souls waiting to reveal themselves as someone on the mother’s side who had a problem with her knees or a military man who smoked and had breathing problems. Not, please understand, that I’m suggesting the mediums themselves are charlatans.  It just seems strange that Great Uncle Cedric should be hanging about for eternity, waiting to reveal his penchant for growing prize vegetables to a great niece who had been hoping desperately for news of her recently departed mother.

I’m writing this book because none of the above sounds particularly healthy to me.  Death casts a long shadow, and I’d prefer it not to.  I’d prefer ‘life’ to be something wider, richer and stronger than inhabiting a physical body for a while.  I’d like it to encompass what came before and what comes after, with death as simply one of the transitional states that lies within it.

The Muse Refuses

Blarney Stone, County Cork, Ireland

Blarney Stone, County Cork, Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does every writer have a muse?  I like to think so.  There are times when inspiration comes – the drawing in of a breath (that’s what inspiration is, after all)  – and my writing flows with words that come through rather than from me.  He’s called Liam, my muse – of Irish extraction, I believe.  I suspect he’s one of my ancestors on the Celtic side of the family, one who has kissed the Blarney Stone.

If you’re imagining a lovely, jovial gent who sits at my shoulder, muttering ideas in a gentle, lilting, Terry Woganish way, though, forget it.  He can be harsh, uncompromising and – as I discovered this week – utterly ruthless.

It all started when I decided to begin work on the new book:  working title ‘After Life’.

In my sixty-something years, I’ve had perhaps more than my fair share of encounters with people in and around the After Life experience.  By that I mean people who were ‘dying’, bereaved and – in one or two cases – already departed.  I’d written quite extensively about it in various places and from various angles.  All these writings were safely stashed on my computer, in neat little Word files.  So surely, I reasoned, if I loaded all these into a master file, did a bit of editing to bring them together and fiddled around with the style, I’d be well on the way to finishing the book.

Liam, however, was not (forgive me) a-mused.

He started with the gentle mumblings in my ear…

This is old stuff.  You can do better.  Draw on all those experiences, but not the words…

On he nagged, and I wasn’t listening.  Believe me, it doesn’t do to ignore your muse.

On Wednesday, I went to open a document.  A mysterious dialogue box appeared.  I clicked to ignore it and with an insolent ping, Word vanished.  I tried again.  Same box.  This time I tried opening it.  Another ping.  Another blank screen.

My computer skills extend to, ‘If it isn’t doing what you want, turn off, count to 20 and try again.’  I tried that.  Much bigger, scarier dialogue box told me I had a critical error.

I won’t bore you with the range of things that went wrong that afternoon.  Suffice it to say, the machine was finally reduced to a gibbering wreck which, when turned on, insisted I was a ‘guest’ on my own computer and did some pathetic little loop of rebooting a few meaningless files continually until I switched off the power.

Phone call to techie son.  Deep sighs from the other end of the phone line, followed by very calm instructions about what to hold down when and so forth.  Nothing changed.  He gave up eventually and told me to get it fixed.  Or sling it.

Long consultation with lovely Paul-from-the-computer-shop.  He might be able to fix it, he said, but it would mean <lots of long words>.  He’d probably be able to extract most of the files.  It was up to me whether I gave it a try or bought a new computer.

A tiny but rather wonderful thought was beginning to creep into my mind (inspired, of course…)

I’m a hoarder, you see.  Everything I write, I keep.  That poor old machine had every lesson I’d planned for classes and private students, going back a decade or more.  It had more half-written books than I could remember.  It had a mysterious file called ‘thoughts and messages’ and of course, it had all those scattered pieces of writing I’d been trying to cobble together for After Life, lodged with me useless.

English: Oilseed rape crop, near Cerney Wick T...

I crawled off to bed, exhausted, battered, yet wondering.  I was prompted to draw an oracle card – something I barely ever do these days.  Clear Your Space it told me.

Next morning, my head was clear.  I ordered a new computer, disconnected the old one and stowed it behind the sofa.  Yes, I could have taken it down to Paul, to get the files out, but my muse had inspired me.  I would try, I decided, to start from scratch.

So here I am, typing on my new machine with something akin to amnesia.

The book, if it happens, will be written as the muse intended.  May I be truly inspired.

Thinner than blood?

Blood, they say, is thicker than water.  Maybe so.  Sometimes, though, the thinner, more watery relationships can show a surprising strength and tenacity.  Ours has.

Wondering what might have happened if… is a fairly pointless occupation, but I do sometimes find myself considering how my life and William’s would have been, had he not, at the tender age of six, joined the class I was teaching and had his mother not, almost immediately after that, developed breast cancer and slowly and sadly passed over just a few years later.

Regardless of what might have been, those things all happened.  I believe that’s the way all three of us – at soul level – planned it.

I was destined to devote many years of my working life to helping children with speech and language difficulties and autistic spectrum perception communicate with the rest of us, and many more years helping this one boy in particular.

Scrutinizing facial expressions

William was a child with a formidable intellect, an enhanced sensitivity which made ‘normal’ sounds, tastes or smells virtually unbearable, a gift for strategy bordering on brilliance (he was the school chess champion at 7, thrashing talented 11-year-old opponents – and me! – with consummate ease), marked telepathic skills, a smile that would melt the hardest heart and hardly any comprehensible spoken language.  While he would spend endless hours contemplating life, the universe and everything, watching Star Trek and devising codes and cyphers, he was totally baffled by everyday life and found other children particularly puzzling.  He couldn’t read facial expressions or tones of voice.  He could follow only the simplest of verbal instructions and idioms or sarcasm threw him into a meltdown.

I was fascinated – totally hooked – by this intriguing little kid, long before the tragedies in his life threw us together.

I did my best.  I befriended and supported his mum, did what I could to help the family – taking the children out to give the parents some time together or sitting with the mum so that Dad and the boys could have some afternoons doing normal family stuff together.  My head teacher came and read stories to the class once a week, so that I could give William some individual time to draw pictures, talk through his fears, his nightmares, his frustrations and fury.  A strong bond started to form between us.  Inasmuch as he could trust anyone in those days when his world was falling apart, he trusted me.

Later I’d visit his mum at the hospice.  We talked through what was to come and she begged me to stay in touch with him and keep caring and helping him after she’d gone and after he’d left my class.  I promised.

Teen, Teenager, Boy, Teens, MaleCaring was never a problem.  Helping often was.  There were times in the years that followed when we got along amazingly well together.  We shared many interests – chess, train journeys, a fascination with cosmology, time travel, past lives and the like.  There were times when he retreated totally and refused to speak to me.  There were times when he wanted to talk on the phone for hours every night.  There were dodgy mates and dangerous situations.  Adolescence is something of a tightrope for even the most well-adjusted boy.  Add in difficulties reading social situations and hidden motives, family rifts (he didn’t get along well with his new step-mother), childhood trauma and residual speech difficulties and you have a drug-pusher’s dream client, a bully’s perfect victim and someone guaranteed to swell the coffers of the local off-licence.

Falkensteiner Cave, Cave, Caves PortalI carried on doing my best.  I made it plain that I’d be there, whatever happened, and somehow – even when I’d more or less given up all hope – he’d eventually drift back into my life, start to share his amazing and original ideas with me again, and I would keep them safe.  There would be strange predictions about the future, diagrams of the cosmos, theories about anything from life after death to interdimensional portals.  I kept them in old journals, on scraps of paper and in all manner of files on my hard drive.  It felt important.

What happened to William, and all those words, will follow.

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

Morning Glory – Memento Mori

IMG_20150816_092603William Wordsworth may have famously wept to see daffodils ‘fade away so soon’.  Lucky he didn’t grow morning glory.

This is the first time I’ve grown them – nursing the tiny seedlings, transplanting to pots and finally planting them outside.  All that messing around for plants that will vanish at the first frosts, never to return.  I don’t normally bother with annual plants, but that perfect blue drew me, and there was a bare archway in the garden in need of some cover.

The flowers, when they finally appeared, were certainly worth the effort.  They are perfect, stunning, beautiful, and very brief.

IMG_20150913_090045All through August, and still now in September I’ve opened the bedroom curtains each morning, eager to see how many flowers have appeared.  Sometimes only one or two, sometimes ten or more.  After breakfast I’m outside peering into the flowers, drinking in their incredible colour and feeling such gratitude for their presence.  By lunchtime, though, they are fading fast.  Visitors who arrive at two or three in the afternoon are told, “Oh if only you’d come an hour or two earlier, you would have seen them.”

Unidentified Morning Glory Wilted 2000px

All that remains is a crumpled stump of a flower, the petals turned in on themselves, as if ashamed of the toll time has taken on their beauty.

It’s an absurdly short life, isn’t it?  Half a day of glory and they’re gone.  Certainly there are more blooms to replace them the following morning, but still there’s something curiously poignant in the energy and perfection crammed into those short lives.

A bit like us, really…

I always rather liked the idea of adding memento mori  to portraits – the skulls, fading flowers, clocks or hour glasses placed on a side table or held in a hand, to remind the wealthy sitter that ‘this, too, shall pass’, that the fine body and sumptuous clothes are a temporary casing with a limited future.

Gloomy?  Perhaps you’ll see it that way.  To me it seems just fine.  I’m here, in this particular body and life for a few brief decades before moving on.  I don’t measure my value in quantity of years, but in quality of life.

So my morning meditation with my morning glory flowers is a mixture of gratitude for the beauty and perfection of this short life, of determination to make the most of every day – every half day, even – and a calm assurance that there will be countless more flowerings of consciousness to come.

The Matter of Life and Death

Facebook logo

I’ll call her Cherry.  Mutual friends will understand why.

And yes, the manner in which I discovered the news was – when you come to think about it – an inevitable product of the world we live in.

Cherry and I began teaching at the same school on the same day.  We also, by some odd quirk of fate, gratefully accepted a voluntary redundancy package some seventeen years later and left on the same day too.

It was a small school, with a small staff, so we saw plenty of each other and got along just fine.  The word ‘colleague’ sounds rather harsh and impersonal but I can’t say we were ever friends as such.  I knew her kids by sight and a little about her life, and she knew much the same about me.  I knew nothing of her dreams and fears, her aspirations and beliefs, as colleagues usually don’t.

Cherry tree blossoms

Cherry tree blossoms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we left work I moved out of the area.  She stayed.  Unsurprisingly we lost touch.  That was until, quite out of the blue, I received a Facebook friend request from her.
‘How nice,’ I thought and happily accepted.

So for the last few years, Cherry and I have ‘met’ via Facebook.  I’ve ‘liked’ many of her posts with a trite little thumbs up symbol.  She’s ‘liked’ many of mine in the same way.  I noticed, but never spoke about, the fact that we had far more interests and ideas in common than I’d ever realised when we used to see one another every day.

Around New Year, Cherry stopped liking my posts.  She also stopped adding her own quirky interesting pictures and videos.  I have to confess I barely noticed.

And then, a couple of days ago, I flicked Facebook on and noticed a red 1 next to the little speech bubble icon.  Someone had messaged me.

With hardly a thought, I opened the message.  The name of the sender was unfamiliar at first, despite the ‘Hi Jan’ greeting.  As I read on, I discovered that it was Cherry’s daughter.  She apologised profusely for informing me via Facebook, but it was the only contact she had – and she wanted me to know that Cherry had died the day before.

Cherry.

Dead.

I had no idea of the circumstances, and it certainly wasn’t appropriate to send back a string of questions.  I sent a short message of thanks to the daughter and sympathy to the family and switched off.

Every day we receive news of cyber deaths; personalities we never met but felt we knew have photos and obituaries posted up on social media and we react according to the degree of vicarious attachment we felt to those people.  This was my first personal cyber death announcement and it shocked me to the core.

You see I had no context for Cherry to be dead in.  Accident?  Illness?  Quick or lingering?  Painless or agonising?  I couldn’t know.  Cherry had simply ceased to be a human being and THAT was the thought that stayed with me.

For the next two days, she was seldom out of my thoughts.  I’m not afraid of death.  I have complete and total belief in the eternal, undying nature of our greater selves and the transitory nature of incarnation – a game we play for a few 3D decades to gain experience, interact physically with others, bring Love to our corporeal existence and expand the Cosmos.  I’m free of any fear of divine retribution or judgement.  I knew that Cherry, in terms of her own essence, was still very much alive and aware.

What was affecting me – in a way I would never have expected – was the thought that as I went about my everyday, mundane tasks, she was not.  I cleaned my teeth.  She didn’t.  I went shopping.  She didn’t.  I relaxed with a cup of tea.  She didn’t.  All of these taken-for-granted earthly experiences had been Cherry’s to share.  Now they weren’t.  I’ve had many encounters with death, but none has affected me this way.

It was still bothering me last night, when I was fortunate enough to join a meditation channelled by a friend in the US via Skype.  Before the main meditation took place, her Guides turned to me and asked whether I had anything troubling me.  Rumbled.  So I told my little story and explained that I couldn’t understand why this was bothering me so deeply.

“Let’s breathe together while we find your answer,” they said, through my friend’s voice.

To my surprise and delight, they made contact with Cherry.  She wanted me to know she was fine.  But I already knew that.  Then they explained that although we’d not had a close relationship, there was still a connection.
“When you dream or leave your body in other ways,” they said, “you make contracts and agreements with others.  You and this colleague made an agreement that when she died, she would use her death to show you what an amazing, wonderful, precious experience life on this planet is.”

What a gift that was.

Thank you, Cherry.  I hope very much that – unknown to my conscious self, perhaps – I was at some time able to give sudden, special insights to you in return.

I wish you well on your cosmic journey from here on and congratulate you on completing another round of corporeal experience.  I’ll welcome that transition when it comes to me, but meanwhile – thanks to your gift – I’ll value these everyday physical experiences and feel profound gratitude for being human.

 

 

 

Suffering?

Refugee camp for Rwandans located in what is n...

A day or so ago, I had the following request from somebody I know and respect greatly:

“If you have ever wondered why there is so much suffering in the world and felt overwhelmed by it I would love to know how you moved on from that.”

This lady is going through a great deal of suffering of her own at the moment.  I’m awed that she has the time and energy to concern herself about the world’s suffering, when she already has plenty to contend with.  The least I can do is to offer her my own response and, given the news items and social media posts we are all seeing at the moment, I thought there might be a wider audience for my reply.

So what follows is very much my personal truth.  I’m not suggesting that anyone else should believe it or follow it, but if anything here feels right to you, by all means feel free to adopt whatever sounds helpful.

To start with, this is what I DON’T believe:

  • I don’t believe in The Devil or any of the ‘forces of evil’ humanity has enjoyed blaming for its problems through the ages.
  • I don’t believe in a vengeful or ‘just’ God who behaves like the worst sort of patriarchal Victorian father, setting up an impossibly high standard of expectations and punishing us for our sins when we fail to live up to them.
  • In fact I don’t believe in sin.
  • I don’t believe in Karma. In my truth, we are not here to atone for things we or the ancestors did ‘wrong’ either in this life or another.
  • I don’t believe humanity is intrinsically bad, wicked, cruel or evil.

Now for what I DO believe:

  • I believe that everyone – each single human being – does what feels and seems right to them, given their situation at the time.  If they are coming from a position of love, they will give, share, help and benefit the world around them in whatever way they choose.  If they are coming from a place of fear or want, they may bully, torture, attack or destroy; they may seek scapegoats (racial minorities, politicians, corporations, the rich, the poor…) to vent their anger and frustration on; they may believe themselves to be powerless and controlled by forces beyond their control.
  • I believe we create our own reality.  Yes, I’m still struggling with this one.  My ego keeps telling me there’s a solid, unchanging basic world here and I’m just a bit-part player who can’t do that much to change things.  Other sources tell me otherwise.  They tell me the keyboard I’m typing on is almost entirely empty space.  They tell me I have complete control over the world I’m living in and that I use my own energy – the power that comes from my thoughts and emotions – to create it.
  • I believe that every atom in the cosmos is a tiny holographic part of GOD.  That makes the universe a living, expanding, creative, vibrant web of which you and I and everyone and everything else out there is a vital and perfect part.
  • So yes, I believe that we – individually and collectively – have tremendous power and are able to form our own reality, by focussing our energy where we choose.
  • I believe that ‘I’ (in the eternal soul sense) chose to be born and to have this particular life, with all its attendant heartbreaks, terrors and difficulties, because that’s what being a human is all about – just like the computer game I used as an analogy in my book.  We all select a storyline beset with puzzles, problems and difficulties in order to find ways to solve and overcome them, to bring love to them and to expand as the divine beings that we really are.  The bigger the problems, the greater the opportunities for growth and expansion – for ‘spreading the love’ if you like.  As Kahlil Gibran said, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
  • I believe I’m not acting alone; there is infinite help available from the cosmos.  Whether we call this help god, goddess, saints, angels, spirit, guides, nature or muse is irrelevant.  We can interpret and visualise it any way we like, but it is real and there for us, always and all ways.
  • I believe this is tough to grasp and work with, because we’ve just emerged from around 2500 years of giving our power away and expecting others to solve the world’s (and our) problems, while we sit subserviently and wring our hands in despair.

English: Job's Sons and Daughters Overwhelmed ...

Several people have asked me recently why I don’t feel bitter towards those in my life who have caused me suffering on a personal level.  It’s because I know that at some level, I consciously drew those experiences to myself.  They didn’t feel good at the time; they hurt like mad.  It’s those experiences, though, and the ways I finally found to work through them, which have made me the person I am today.  And I haven’t finished growing yet.

So to answer the lady’s question (finally!) I do see the suffering in the world and yes, I could easily become overwhelmed by it, on a personal and a global level.  However I can make choices as to where I put my energy.  I choose to put it into feeling positive, because that helps to ‘grow’ more positivity.  I choose, in my very small way, to spread hope and light and love, because – according to my truth – I am a holographic spark of God and that means I am powerful enough to change the world.  So, of course, are you.

 

PS  A dear and wise friend reminded me yesterday of Anita Moorjani’s amazing story.  In case anyone reading this is interested, click here for her Ted Talk: Dying to Live.  It explains with far more eloquence than I can muster the relationship between life and suffering.

 

Death Becomes Me

Paradise: Ascent of the Blessed

I don’t remember dying, or even almost dying.

In fact, so far as I can recall, I’ve been remarkably healthy throughout this lifetime.

Nonetheless, I must have had some sort of NDE, some moment where my life was hanging in the balance, because I wrote the words that follow, and I know them to be a true and accurate reflection of what happened in that moment beyond this physical life.

Knowing that has, naturally, made a tremendous difference to me.  I have no fear of death – not the slightest qualm.  Certainly I would prefer a peaceful, painless transition; who wouldn’t?  But I know that even a death as protracted and incomprehensible as my mother suffered earlier this year has it’s part to play in filling the ‘button box’ of experience.

And that is the second gift these words have made to me – a comfortable certainty that every experience, no matter how it makes me feel in the moment of its genesis, is filling that box and providing me with the raw material that will be of unimaginable value as I move into Oneness.

One day, I feel sure, I’ll include this passage in a book.  But for now, let me share it with you, in the hope that some readers may be as comforted and encouraged by this gentle transition to the next stage as I have been.

Let me also wish you an eventful New Year, brimming over with experience!

I am newly here.  I arrived – when?  Grandfather is here.  He smiles a smile of infinite patience.  Into my mind he places a thought.  It grows there, gently.  It grows like the seedlings he coaxed into life on his allotment back in my childhood.  They grew into flowers for my grandmother or food for our plates.  The thought grows on.

At last I pick it and it becomes mine.  I am newly here.  I know this because I don’t yet understand. 

 He smiles again.  I am right.  He will take me.  Does he touch my arm?  I can’t be sure, but I feel he is guiding me.  There is some pressure drifting me in one direction rather than any other.

 I am gradually growing used to the Light.  As I continue to move forwards, the vibration becomes easier to accept.  A new face almost moves into focus, then blends again with the light, but it is there.  Soon I will see it more clearly.  It smiles.  This smile I know so well.  Now I can make out other figures and some kind of landscape.  There are trees, I think, and maybe a lake.

 We are not walking, but moving as I did in a dream once.  We glide above the ground.  There is contact with it, but only to take soundings, as it were.  It is here as a reference point, but we move independently.  I would be amazed, if I were still capable of amazement; but I am not.

 Grandfather dissolves into the Light and I know he must be elsewhere and I must be here.  I expect to feel panic or fear, but there is none.  The others have merged into the brightness, too.

 I sit beneath a tree.  There is something like grass growing here, and impossibly bright flowers.  As I examine them, they vibrate.  They create sounds.  I feel I have heard these sounds long ago.  I feel that I am home.

 Slowly, softly, in time with my slow and dream-laden thoughts, images appear before me.  I can control their speed and clarity; I can look more closely or move on through them, as I wish.  They tell a story – they tell my life.

 A voice speaks into my heart.  “Take anything you need.  Reject anything that no longer serves you.  It is yours to do with as you will.  You have earned it all.”

buttons

 So, just as I used to with my grandmother’s button box, I tip the many-coloured contents of my life onto the ground.  I run my hands through them; gathering the treasured ones, discarding those I have no use for, pondering on some I may or may not choose.  Finally, I have made my selection.  I hold my treasures in my hands.  They glow with an energy that dazzles me and then, as I watch beyond wonder, they blend into me.  I feel myself grow richer, stronger and wiser as they seep into my very essence.

 “It is well done,” says the voice.  “Rest now in justice.  You have my blessing.”

The sleep is deep and healing.  I awake to full remembrance.  I awake to clarity.

For more of my musings on life, death and everything in between, see LIFE: A PLAYER’S GUIDE

Available in paperback and Kindle editions

Available in paperback and Kindle editions

Darth Vader enters my Reality Field

Photograph of "an unusual atmospheric occ...

It’s all coming together – as indeed it should.

Two themes have been running through my recent posts: my unexpected ability to communicate with a friend who had passed over, and the ability we have to create our own reality.

The two are clearly linked; if we believe something, then it lies within our ‘reality field’.  If it’s within that field, we can access it.  If not, we can’t see or otherwise sense it – it doesn’t exist for us.

That explains why some people can see UFOs, angels or fairies while others can’t. It explains why some people can levitate or live for years without food.  It explains why some people can communicate with those beyond the veil by holding a dowsing pendulum over a board with the alphabet printed on it (or, as I do nowadays – over a computer keyboard)…

Last month, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my elderly, severely disabled mother died.  I’d had to make the choice between sending her to hospital or allowing her to leave quietly in the comfort and familiarity of her lovely, nurturing nursing home.

Rationally, I knew I’d made the right choice; emotionally, I couldn’t be certain.  Maybe that wasn’t what she had wanted.  Maybe she had more to do here…

Gradually it dawned on me (I can be very slow sometimes) that if I was able to hold a conversation with the departed mother of a young boy, in order to bring him peace (see previous post), I should be able to use my pendulum to contact my own mum.

A séance

It wouldn’t be within most people’s reality field, perhaps, but it was there in mine.  So feeling like a character at a séance in some grainy old black and white movie, I sat down at my computer, held my pendulum in one hand and typed:

Mum, are you there?

Immediately the crystal started to twitch.  Calmly and smoothly it moved to Y…E…S then circled in neutral position.

That was easy.

So I asked some questions.  The replies flowed effortlessly and clearly.  I’d apparently done the right thing by letting her go.

She’d been using the dementia ‘TO LEAVE THIS CARE ASIDE AND RE DO THINGS I HAD MISSED’.

She was able to tell me some of the things I’d said during those last days at her bedside and she told me she approved of the funeral plans – even thanked me for it.

That all felt great.

Next I asked whether she had any message for my brother.  Predictably, she said he was working too hard and should take more time out to be with his wife.

Predictably!  That was my problem – it was all too predictable!  I was allowing those nagging doubts to start encroaching on my reality field:
Was I imposing what I’d like her to say on my pendulum?  Was it picking up my expectations rather than her words?

So I did what I always do when such doubts start to emerge – I asked for proof.  Could she, I asked, give me a message that would be meaningful to herself and my brother, but not to me?

The response was smooth and instant: V..A..D..E..R

Vader??  Well it certainly meant nothing to me, but I duly passed the whole message on to him and waited.

He picked my email up when he woke in Hong Kong, the following morning.  Later in the day, he sent me this response:

Having read this message quite early this morning, I carried on and got ready for a production meeting we were having in town for an event this week. The Vader reference from Mum I thought was going to be a sign for me to see, as I had no memory of Mum and I discussing the intricacies of Jedi ways or indeed Lord Vader himself! Eddie Izzard’s wonderful sketch about Darth Vader turning up in the Death Star canteen went through my mind but again I never remember sharing it with Mum!

Hong Kong Victoria Harbour Pano View from ICC

I got on the train and went to my meeting. I arrived for the meeting which was being held in an amazing meeting room on top of the highest hotel in the world, The Ritz Carlton. It is often in cloud but today the clouds were passing quickly so every few moments they unveiled a stunning view of Hong Kong Harbour. ‘It’s a bit like heaven here sometimes with all the clouds’ said the lady who showed me to the meeting room.

Star Wars - Darth Vader

The meeting started just after 10.  J_ the video man arrived late. He entered the room, apologised and sat next to me. I looked across as he placed his Mac Book Air on the table. On the top of his computer he had a large stencil of Darth Vader…………Hello Mum!

 

 

 

For more information on ‘reality fields’ and creating your own reality, see LIFE: A PLAYER’S GUIDE