The Well

Life can turn on a dime. In one split second, a single event can send you crashing through the surface of your life into what I think of as a deep well, wherein lies the truths you never sought and never needed to find. That is what happened to me when my son died. It was something so shocking, so demolishing, that everything that lived on the surface of my life and my mind was reduced to rubble. There was nowhere to go except into the well.  Or die. It was that simple.

There is a line from the movie, the Shawshank Redemption, when the character Andy Dufresne says to his fellow prisoner Red: “I guess it comes down to a simple choice: Get busy living, or get busy dying.” I made the choice to get busy living, although I don’t know how or why. The choice did not come from the surface of my mind; it was capable of nothing more than contemplating suicide. The choice to live had to have come from my soul. Perhaps that is the well. Within that well is the part of us that knows better, the part that knows that dying is nothing more than a delay, and that the plunge into the well will come sooner or later. I believe that we are destined to know why we are here, that we are more than the busy creatures who are consumed with accumulating stature and possessions. I believe that we are destined to know who we really are: the perfect, stardust children of God.

I never stopped to think about the possibility that there was that well within me, that something bigger and deeper and wider was going on behind and beneath my daily rituals. I simply didn’t stop.  It took my son’s death to stop me. It took away everything that was small and trite and everything that glittered like gold. It took away my control. It took away my illusion of control. It stripped me clean of all ornaments and accessories, and left me in the well, naked and empty-handed.

That was thirty-eight years ago, and I can still feel the shock. But what has come of that shock, that plunge into the well? Nothing more than an awareness. An awakening. The ability to stop or to be stopped and ask, “What does this mean, and how is it meant to help me?” Eddie’s death gave me that.  It gave me the well. It gave me the understanding that every soul decides when its purpose in any lifetime has been fulfilled. The timing of Eddie’s passing into spirit was his, not mine.

Not everyone is stopped by something as devastating as the loss of a child, thank God. But we will all be shaken awake by the Hand of Something Loving, so that we will know that life is more than the perceptions we receive from our daily work and striving. It may be a health crisis, or the loss of a job. It may be getting a job. A broken leg. It may be winning the lottery. It may be getting married or getting divorced. And yes, it may be the death of a loved one. At some point, we will be stopped, and we will learn something, hopefully in this lifetime.

And there is joy in that. There is joy in the knowledge, the surety that there really is a reason for everything, that there is an answer to every pressing question. Oh, but it takes work. Nothing this valuable is free.  It takes time to discover our truths. It takes concentration and persistence. It takes determination. As for me, I have to commit to prayer and meditation. I have to read the works of great teachers. I have to hear my intuitive voice and trust it. I have to hang around my spiritual buddies who work with energy, people who understand that underlying everything is Love.

I am in the middle of a lesson right now. There is a strain of flu that is going around Sedona, knocking down my friends. I, who am never sick and like to brag about it, got knocked down as well. It was at its worst two weeks ago (I didn’t write my blog because I was down with what thought was a bad cold), but the thing about this strain of flu is that it sticks around, and while you may not be totally bedridden, you can suddenly feel lightheaded, sick, and tired. For some it lasts three weeks or more. I’m in my third week now and frustrated because my body wants to sleep at odd hours and it won’t obey my commands to go, go, go. Some days I feel normal and others, like today, I feel frustrated because the tiredness and general malaise is back.  Some of my spiritual buddies out here feel that it is a cleansing. Perhaps they’re right. Whatever it is, it has stopped me. But it has made me remember that there is something bigger going on. Always.

Maybe what’s going on is nothing more than a little gift of time. Maybe the Universe is saying, time to rest, daughter. Maybe it’s time to lay back on your pillow and look out the window at that fabulous blue Arizona sky with its white, cottony clouds. Maybe it’s time to remember how good sweaters feel and how good chicken noodle soup tastes – like it used to when you were sick and your mother gave it to you. Maybe you need to take some time away from the dismal news to watch a good movie in the middle of the afternoon, or pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Maybe, when you’re used to getting up early, you need to turn over and go back to sleep and have a beautiful dream. Maybe you need a tad more compassion for your friends that are down. Maybe it’s time to be grateful for the wonderful health you enjoy most of the time. Maybe…oh, well, you get the point.

We’re all loved, dear friends. And everything we need is in the well.

***

Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.amazon.com. For a signed copy, go to www.themessenger.space.

 

 

 

Dorian and Charley

I’m lucky. No, it’s more than that. I’m blessed to live in a place that people like to visit. No, it’s more than that. People love to come here. It’s Sedona.

My friend Christine came to visit last night. She’s driving across country, in a big jeep that’s ingeniously tricked out, with her dog Charley. Does this ring a bell? Christine’s dream was to relive John Steinbeck’s motor journey, chronicled in one of his most beloved books, Travels With Charley. Steinbeck wanted to “reconnect with America.” While I’m sure this trip (she started in Maryland near where I used to live, visited her parents in Frederick, Maryland and Wilmington, North Carolina, and then started out for California) has reconnected Christine with America, it has also reconnected her with herself. That’s the kind of reflective person Christine is. She named her dog Charley with this adventure in mind. And she’s not just on a motor trip. She’s moving. She’s taking up a whole new life in California. Brave? You bet. Courageous? Yes. But more than that, Christine has said yes to that Marvelous Force within us that tells us to live, live, live— because life is beautiful and more abundant than we can imagine.

This young woman has seen more of the marvels of her country in a few weeks than most of us will see in a lifetime. This is a big, beautiful country with spacious skies and a wealth of national parks and monuments (God willing they will stay that way). She came to Sedona from one of the marvels of the world– the Grand Canyon. Her destination is Santa Cruz – maybe. I say that because Christine is following her spirit; she is surrendering to life as it presents itself.  Her journey is not an impulsive spree. It’s beautifully thought out and carefully executed, one day at a time. She has learned that you can follow your spirit without living dangerously or foolishly, that you can live with your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground. I fully expect her to find what she is looking for—a place on a mountain beneath a giant redwood tree. Why not?

This adventure is close to my heart, having made a journey of my own, and having embarked upon a life of surrender as well. Like Christine, I pulled up roots, and came out to Arizona with my cat, Dorian Gray.

Which brings me to today’s sermon. Are you smiling? Today it’s not about me and Christine—it’s about Dorian and Charley. Dorian is a loner. He’s never lived with another cat. He’s certainly never lived with a dog. He is king of the house, and king of me. And then, there is Charley. Charley is the most laid-back, coolest dog I’ve ever met. Charley has seen America with Christine as if he were born to it (and I personally believe he was). But he’s not small. He’s a border collie mix. So…Christine and I were wondering if she was going to be able to sleep in my spare room or if she’d have to sleep in her jeep. Because of Dorian.

We introduced them carefully, and waited for the worst. We underestimated these animals. They took stock of one another, no war broke out, and at one point, Dorian joined Charley on the bed. Dorian, who doesn’t know what it is to peacefully co-exist with another animal, joined Charley on the bed.

I’m not going to say that they became best friends. But what they showed each other was respect. The benefit of the doubt. And space.

What if human beings were able to meet each other on this sacred ground? Can you imagine what this world would be like? Dogs and cats. Men and women. The powerful and the vulnerable. What if we could put aside our hard-wired fear, our stereotypes, our prejudices, our need to dominate, and just…trust that the next person we meet who is not like ourselves, the next person we may be predisposed to dislike, is just…another soul who, on the inside, is identical to our own?

Here’s to Dorian and Charley. An example to us all.

***

Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney.  Find it at www.amazon.com. For a signed copy, go to www.themessenger.space

I Don’t Have to Know Anything

There was a time when I’d never admit that I didn’t know something. I had a job that paid me to know things. I worked in Washington, D.C. and my job was to keep an eye on things there that would affect the people who hired me. I’d go to board meetings, give a well-prepared report, and then fend off the questions of highly educated men who prided themselves on knowing things too. Sometimes, I’d be asked a random question about an obscure issue, just so (I suspected) the questioner would seem to be the smartest person in the room. Not that the group wasn’t great and didn’t do great work – it did. But there were times when they played this little game. I’d never admit I didn’t know the answer to the far out question. I’d always say, “I’ll look into it and get back to you.” Still, that was some kind of defeat, a public little humiliation in front of my boss and the rest of the staff. I’d stew about it for days. I worked hard and didn’t deserve the game men played with me and not with my male colleagues. There were also times when I was challenged and responded grandly. My ego would rejoice for days, remembering how my questioner was silenced. What they were doing was obvious, of course, to all except me. My ego didn’t know it was a game. It thought it was war.

Why did I find it so difficult to admit I didn’t know something and why did it feel so good when I was victorious? It was because I was operating on a different scale, in a different mind-set. I was in bondage to my ego. Oh, how good it is, how liberating, to be free from the bondage of self! Of course, I was younger then. I didn’t have a fully developed set of self esteem buttons, or the experience of a psychic shift. I didn’t know how little any of us really knows. I didn’t know that to say, “I don’t know” is, when it is true, the best and the wisest of all answers.

There is an old Yiddish proverb: Man plans and God laughs. When we get up each day, we don’t know what is going to happen. It rains on our picnic. Our flight is canceled. You’re sure you know what the votes will be in the Senate when the bill comes up, but somebody plays golf with somebody else the day before, makes a deal, and the vote is changed. And you’re wrong.

Somebody you love dies unexpectedly, somebody who should have outlived you.

That’s what happened to me. That is when my big shift occurred. All shifts are not that traumatic and devastating. The signal to think again about what you know may be gentler. You may just get up one morning and realize that You Are Not In Possession Of All The Information In The Universe.

If your shift away from self is traumatic, it may take awhile for this to sink in, a while for the upheaval to settle. It took me years of reading, of studying spiritual teachers, of praying and meditating, and of practicing a new way of life – a life of surrender to Something besides myself and my perceived abilities.

If this sounds a little sad and defeating – it isn’t. It is the way to peace. It is the way to joy. If nothing else, it is a relief not to have to know everything. It is even more liberating to know nothing – to get up each day and surrender to an  all-knowing, loving God. Some people call it “going with the flow.” Some people say it is surrendering to the reality of life. It is probably all of that – I don’t know.

How do I know it’s the way to peace and joy? Because that is what I experience when I let go of my hold on what I think I know, what I think I can control, and let a wiser, kinder, more compassionate Being lead me into the events of my day. What was I thinking to assume that I knew what was best for me?

Have you ever said – “Wow – this turned out so much better than I thought it would?” Or – “Gosh- I never even thought of that! This is so much better.”  When that something much better happens, you can be sure that some Loving Power has taken it out of your hands, out of your plans, and given you something more wonderful than you could have invented.

And then, there are the things that you may never know, like why somebody you love dies. Or maybe you will. Maybe you will find in your searching that that soul was finished what it came to do, and that its time to go was not your decision to make, but theirs. Maybe you will find that that event changed you in ways you could never have imagined. Maybe you will find your own soul, your own spirit, in the darkest of nights when the things of this world bring you to your knees. And your soul, your spirit, will show you a new day, a new light, a new way of being. Maybe you will find peace and joy, knowing that you are cared for and loved beyond your imagination. Maybe you will understand that you, as your earth-bound, human self, do not have to know anything. Maybe all you will have to do is be aware of what is happening and understand that it is all for you, and that you are Beloved.

Maybe the missed plane crashed. I know somebody for whom that happened. Maybe your inside picnic turned out to be more fun than you thought it would. Maybe it brought you closer to someone.  Maybe answering, “I don’t know” to a question is kinder to the questioner and wiser and more encouraging to those who may be watching, who also don’t know everything. Maybe recognizing that there is a Power that guides us and provides for us is the way to peace and joy.

It works for me.

***

Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.amazon.com or, for a signed copy, at www.themessenger.space.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks

Today was a good day.  Sometimes I forget just how wonderful it is just to be able to say that. I’ve had days that weren’t good, days that were dark and sad, days that were lonely.  But today wasn’t one of them.  It was a chilly, cloudy morning here in Sedona, but by noontime, that reliable Arizona sunshine came out in full force, warmed things up, and made the budding trees and new shoots of grass shine like new.  As if they weren’t already!  That alone made it a good day. But that wasn’t all.  I had coffee with friends, then took a drive through magnificent Boynton Canyon to one of the most beautiful resort/spas in the world and bought my daughter a birthday present. She likes things from spas that smell nice. (I bought a lotion for myself, too!) Walking back to the car, the smell of pinion pines and juniper perfumed the air. There isn’t a spa scent in the world that can match that.

The roads were lined with parked cars, where visitors had stopped to stare at the textured, sculpted walls of red rock.  The tourists have started to descend upon us, and the trails are filled with hikers. The people who’ve lived here awhile complain about the “crowds,” but I don’t mind them at all. I used to be one of those visitors, struck and mesmerized by the beauty of this sacred place. It doesn’t belong to us just because we live here. It belongs to everyone. Besides, we can go hiking during the week, and have the place to ourselves. There is nothing like the silence in a canyon.

Throughout this wonderful day, I thought about my father, as he sat at the head of the dinner table. After a prayer of Thanksgiving, he’d say to my mother, “Just look, Precious (yes, that was my mother’s name). We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and all my children are here.”  How simple that was. How miraculous. The older I grow, the deeper his meaning becomes. We lived a simple life, in the household of a policeman. My mother stayed home to care for us, and for him. Some people would say we were poor. But not my father. He knew what real riches were.  We didn’t have everything we wanted, but we were loved, truly and unconditionally.

I am aware, like my father, that I have a roof over my head and food on the table. My children are healthy and safe, my grandchildren are thriving, and even my cat is beginning to heal (see last week’s blog). I am healthy. I am blessed. And I am living my dream, at last.

There are people in the world tonight who are sleeping outdoors in the cold. There are people who will go to bed hungry, unloved, and lonely. I ask God’s blessings to come to them.  I know that I have had lives like that, and for whatever reason, I am on a different path this time around. I have different lessons to learn. My soul has brought me here and tonight, I am filled with astonishment and gratitude.

That’s all I have this week, dear readers, but that’s quite enough.

***

Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.amazon.com. For a signed copy, go to www.themessenger.space.

A Gentle Lesson

Like many writers, I’m daunted by the blank screen. When Saturday night rolls around, I’m always convinced that I won’t have a thing to write about. But when you embark on the spiritual path, there is always something nearby that is waiting to teach you. The soul doesn’t like rest.

This week, the lesson concerned my cat, Dorian Gray. Dorian was Bill’s cat. When we adopted him – to scare away mice – I thought he’d be my cat. Bill didn’t especially like cats, but Dorian won his heart. They watched football together.  They took naps together.

They bird-watched together.

 

When Bill passed away, Dorian became my little buddy, the little animal soul who stayed to keep me company.  As animals do, he lightened my darkest days.

I think that Dorian is psychically attuned to me. When he stays out past my comfort zone, I go to the window and whisper, “Come home, now, Dorian.” In a few minutes he appears. Every time. We moved to Arizona a few months ago, and Dorian had to get used to new territory, which he did, and new dangers – coyotes and bobcats.  He spends a lot of time in his safe spot – on top of my car. If he’s at a neighbor’s a few doors away, and he sees me, he comes running.  He’s my little buddy. He’s something to take care of. Something to love. Something of Bill’s. So, when Dorian gets sick, I get sick too, in my heart. He’s twelve years old now, and I’m always on alert for anything that might go wrong with him.

All in all, I have a wonderful life. I am living my dream in Sedona, Arizona. It’s nestled in monumental red rock formations and so beautiful I can’t describe it. It’s like living in the Grand Canyon. I’m retired and my time is my own. My job is to write my next book, and I can’t think of anything more wonderful than that. I’m healthy. I’ve made lots of new friends. The weather is spectacular right now. The desert is flowering, and it looks like my version of Heaven.

But. I found a way to be unhappy. Last week, Dorian stopped eating, stopped going outside, and just looked…sad.  I started to worry. I started to imagine the worst. And right then, in my little piece of Paradise, I changed back into the person I thought I had left behind – the one who worried and was always anxious, even after the Universe had lifted me out of grief, despair, and loss, into another state of being. Ah…but as I said, the soul doesn’t like rest. It wants to grow, to continue with the lessons, and as soon as I get comfortable it shows up – in my face.

Dorian doesn’t have anything serious. He does have acne (don’t laugh) on his chin. It’s infected and it’s painful, and it hurts to move his mouth, which is why he stopped eating. The vet cleaned it up and gave me some pads to wipe his chin with every day. And Dorian’s been really good about it. He holds his little chin up for me and I gently wipe it, but last night, when I wiped it, there was blood on the pad. And not a little either. Cats don’t like to show pain. It’s a survival mechanism. Dorian didn’t howl or pull away. But he stayed away from me. He didn’t sleep in my bed like he usually does. He didn’t eat dinner or breakfast. And I cried. I cried because I hurt him, an innocent little animal. I didn’t mean to, but I hurt him anyway. As long as I cried, and hovered, and apologized, Dorian stayed away from me.

And the Universe stepped in with the lesson. In one of the books I was reading, there was a statement that stood out and wouldn’t leave me alone:  It is your thoughts alone that cause you pain. The more I thought about it, the more powerful this idea became. And the more difficult. But there it was.

My situation isn’t dire, but I was feeling more pain than I needed to. I decided to stop indulging in self-pity and fear of losing my little buddy, because that’s all it was. When I stopped my melodrama, Dorian changed. He came in from outside. ( He always cries to come in when I am exactly fifteen minutes into my meditation.) He ate a little. He joined me in the room where I write and fell asleep on the couch, attuned to my “better” energy. His chin has stopped bleeding, and we’re back. We’re friends again. All I have to say to the Universe is…thank you once again. This was a gentle lesson, but I’ll need it again someday.

Have beautiful, joyful thoughts this week, dear readers.

***

Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.amazon.com. For a signed copy, go to www.themessenger.space.

Spring Always Comes

I went to a women’s luncheon last week, and the entertainment was provided by a lovely woman from England. She stood there, petite and serene, alone with her guitar, and sang a little melody called “Spring Always Comes.”  I suppose all my friends on the East Coast could use a little encouragement like that right now.

Here in the Southwest, spring is already here, although it doesn’t arrive officially until Monday. The trees are in bloom, the sun is warm, and today there was a perfect, gentle breeze that seemed to kiss the new life around it – the blooming irises, the cherry blossoms, and people like me, who felt renewed and young.

I get messages from the Universe (my readers know that), but I’m getting better at noticing them when they appear. That little song was one of them. It must be, because I can’t get it out of my head. The more I say it, the more I think about it, the more it resounds with truth: Spring Always Comes.

Seeds germinate in the harshest of conditions, in drought and in drowning water. Trees withstand unrelenting cold and wind, appearing to all but those who know better, as dead. We humans see this return to life every year and yet, so many of us still cannot believe that an all-knowing, all-loving God would grant us, His children, the same ongoing cycle of life.

As for me, I do not believe in death. I believe only in life. I believe that Spring Always Comes, and that is why I listen for the voices of the ones I love who have gone on to another spring – my son Eddie, my husband Bill, my mother, my father. And why should they not speak to me? Shall I not speak to my children when I leave this pasture? Shall I not try to let them know that I am alive and renewed in another springtime?

And why would God grant me only one spring? I believe that I have lived before, many, many times. I have evidence of at least one former life. I wrote a book about it. Haven’t we all felt that that one lifetime is not long enough? It isn’t. One lifetime is not long enough.  We have so much to learn!  Can we learn true compassion, can we learn complete and utter forgiveness in one stumbling, error-filled life? We are all capable of it, but it takes…time. Times.

If we are vigilant and willing, we accept our lessons as gifts, one gift at a time. This lifetime has been a full one for me. I have learned from death that there is no death. I have learned that whatever energy I project onto the world or onto another I project onto myself, whether it is positive or negative. I have forgiven someone in this lifetime I thought I could never forgive, and as the result of that forgiveness, a tinnitus in my ear and a pain in my head for which no doctor or expert could find a cause…went away. It went away finally when I realized I had to forgive more than the blows I had received from this person in this lifetime. I learned the meaning of the admonition in Scripture to forgive “seventy times seven.” For me, it meant forgiveness for every lifetime I suffered a blow to the head at the hands of this same person, the signal to me being the pain in the same spot in my head, the ringing in my ears that wouldn’t go away. I had to forgive the blows that even caused death. Can we learn to forgive seventy times seven in one lifetime? It took me until now, until this lifetime to do it.

And so, Ultimate Love gives us spring, after spring, after spring, to grow, to experience winter, to reawaken, to be born anew, to learn that that we can become the true, perfect beings that we are, the beings that we started out to be, before …ah, but that’s another thing altogether.

If you are still digging out of the snow, if it is still cold and damp, if it’s dark, be assured, be happy, because Spring Always Comes. Always.

***

Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.amazon.com. For a signed copy, go to www.themessenger.space.

 

 

 

 

No Beating Around the Bush

There are so many things that happen in this world that we can’t explain. I wrote a whole book about it. In The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide, I recall the events following my son’s death. Oh, heck. Let me just say it out loud right here – I began to communicate with a spirit. There. Most people who know me or who have followed this blog for a while will not be shocked. They’ve had a couple of years of hearing from their friend or former colleague who reached out in desperation and touched something not of this world. If I incur any new readers this week, here it is: I communicate with a spirit. His name is Lukhamen.

I spent over forty-two years in Washington, D.C. and three in the foreign service, where I learned to tolerate  – and use – language that was, to be kind, obtuse. Politicians and bureaucrats (present presidential company excepted – I’m talking about professionals), almost always issue official papers written in high-sounding gobbledygook. What comes out is, a great deal of the time, impossible to understand unless you are a lawyer or unless you’ve learned the language over time, like I did. Have you ever tried to read the Federal Register or the Tax Code? Also, if you listen to a lot of speeches (like I did), you’ll realize that sometimes what comes out is just…nothing. It just sounds like something. Part of this culture is to preserve the mystique of the office – keep it – and their denizens- in an intellectual ivory tower, out of reach, above and beyond question. There is no real reason why laws and regulations can’t be written in plain but careful, understandable English. If everybody understood everything they read or heard from their representatives, the folks in D.C. and in state capitols would have a lot more to answer for than they do now. And I’m just talking about the ordinary stuff of yesteryear – not the torrent of reckless, feckless declarations that now bombards us.

It’s risky to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It was like that for me when I decided to publish a book about a spiritual experience that some people might see as scary, blasphemous, stupid, or crazy. I was afraid of what my friends would think of me. Luckily, I was pretty much retired and my job and my reputation weren’t on the line. But my friendships and relationships were. Oh, but I underestimated them.

Happily, and to my great surprise and everlasting gratitude, my friends and family embraced me, loved me, and read my book without judgement. Of course, even after almost two years, it still hasn’t gone out into the world. Who knows what awaits me there? My net was cast close to home, and I haven’t really tried to get it “out there.” I, like a lot of authors and artists I know, hate to sell. Hate it. That probably isn’t our job anyway. Our job is to write or paint, or do whatever it is we do, and hire somebody who knows what they’re doing to do their job, but I haven’t even done that.

Getting back to the book – I didn’t ask anyone to believe what I came to believe. I didn’t ask anyone to follow my path.  I just wrote down my experience. Nobody called me crazy. Nobody ridiculed me. Some people shared their metaphysical experiences with me, experiences they had never shared with anyone before. Some people said it helped them, which is why I wrote it in the first place.

Here’s why I’m bringing this all up. I’m working on the second book. It’s the sequel to The Messenger, and I am challenged by my writer’s group (and they are right on the mark) to explain this “miracle” of channeling a spirit guide in the first chapter. Right up front, before I begin to tell the rest of my guide’s story (the first part is told in the first book). In other words, I have to do in one chapter what it took a whole book to explain. So now, I have no choice. I have to tell it like it was, and quickly. I have to say what it was like to have contacted a spirit guide and how it was that he told me his story, and I have to do it in plain and understandable English.

I have agonized over this first chapter. I have written and re-written it, but I have just realized that I will either have to start all over again, or make sure that what I have written isn’t spiritual gobbledygook.  I know New Age people who speak only in their own terms, and their language is much like the politicians’ – obtuse and private. (Seems like no one is exempt from purposeful obfuscation.) I don’t have to worry about my guide’s story. He does that one. It’s mine I have to write with all the clarity and honesty I can muster. And feel the risk all over again.

Thank you, my dear friends, for your encouragement. If you want to send good thoughts my way, I’ll take that too.

***

Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.amazon.com or, for a signed copy, go to www.themessenger.space.

Happy Birthday, Billy

March first was my husband Bill’s birthday. We were together almost thirty years, married for twenty of those. Because we were together that long, I can see him in many ways, in many versions, and in many settings. He is gone now, but there is the full arc of his life with me from which I can pluck a memory. There’s the young, rakish fellow who first asked me out, the actor who changed faces and personalities with every role; there is the soft face of a father and a grandfather, the confident, solid face that kept me anchored when the seas got rough, and the loving, peaceful, blue-eyed visage that looked at me as he left this earth. I have never seen so much love as I saw in that last look.

Bill had been in and out of his body several times before he finally let go of his earthly bonds. I only had to look at him to know when he wasn’t there. He came back one last time to say goodbye, and in his eyes was something I’d never seen before. It was a love that, as Scripture says, passes all understanding. I think that love was a reflection of what he had seen, of where he had been, and it came back with him, mirrored in his eyes. It was…unearthly. What I mean to say is that it was, for wont of a better word, heavenly. It was as if he was trying to tell me that he had been to someplace wonderful, more wonderful than I could imagine. It was saying that he loved me and that he always would. It was all there, in that one, beautiful look. It was, truly, worth a thousand words. Of all the faces of Bill that I remember, that is the one comes to me most often.

I have felt him around me more these past few days. I just finished re-reading one of his favorite books. Bill loved the English novelist Nevil Shute, and had an entire collection of his books. In the days when we were dating, he would read them to me in a stately, gentle way, because that was the way Nevil Shute wrote and that was the way his stories touched Bill. When Bill passed away, I gave most of the collection to his youngest son, Patrick, but I kept four – my favorites. When I read them, I hear his voice caressing the words, savoring each syllable. That must be the most cherished wish of every writer – to be that reverently read and loved. If Heaven is what I think it is, Nevil Shute and Bill sit in an English garden from time to time, talking, a pot of tea on the table between them. What a lovely thought.

Bill was around me on Thursday, the day after his birthday, in a most practical way. I’m working on my taxes for the accountant – always a punishing exercise. He used to do this abhorrent chore for the both of us, but for the last six years, it has fallen to me.

But back to Thursday: we kept a bank account from which we drew checks only to pay estimated taxes. It simplified things. Just for the record, I’m pretty good about keeping things and putting them in the proper places. I started out my working life as a secretary, and it left me with some valuable skills. I never misplace important documents. I had two other checkbook registers from our old bank from which to work, but I could not, for the life of me, find the one that listed my paid estimated taxes for last year. I hadn’t, as a matter of fact, seen it in a while, since I moved and changed banks. But I have a rule. I keep one file each year for everything I am going to need in February and March, when I start to assemble tax data. The checkbook registers are always put there, along with everything else.

It was nowhere to be found. I turned the office upside down. I went through every possible file, more than once. I cleared my desk and put everything back. I looked in drawers and boxes. I was getting desperate. Just before I decided to tear my hair out, I went back to my desk one more time, lifted a file folder and…there it was, underneath. It’s notable because it is the last one I have with Bill’s handwriting on the front.

The register wasn’t lost. Of course it wasn’t. Nothing else, and I mean nothing else, among loads of tax-related papers was lost. I don’t LOSE these things. Bill moved it.

No, this isn’t crazy. I’ve had things like this happen to me before (I’ll bet some of you have too). Bill just wanted me to know that he was around, that’s all. He put it back. But he got my attention. For those of us who make a study of things metaphysical and ponder the workings of the spirit world, this is a common occurrence. A thing that is transported from one place to another or the appearance of an article from an unknown source is called an apport. Material things are de-materialized (you know, like on Star Trek) and materialized again.  The point is just to let us know that Spirit is around. That’s all. It’s nothing spooky. It’s just another act of love and remembrance. When it happens, we meta-physicians take it in our stride, smile, and say thank you.

Happy Birthday, Billy, and thanks for the visit. You know, I know, and I hope that my readers know by now, that Nobody’s Gone for Good.

billy-watching-over-me

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Read: The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.amazon.com or, for an autographed copy, visit www.themessenger.space.

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I’d Rather Be Happy

 

My husband Bill used to say, “I’d rather be happy than right.” I’ve had the great good fortune to have had teachers like my dear husband who entered my life, opened my mind, and changed the way I looked at the world. I could say I was lucky, but I know it’s more than that. I was blessed.

That mantra, “I’d rather be happy than right,” has given me a lot of peace. It also made a happy marriage. When I think about it, when I did win an argument with someone, when I was “right,” I don’t ever remember feeling good about it. Because it got me nothing.

Oh, I have opinions. I have viewpoints. I believe that racism is the ultimate ignorance. I think science will save our planet. I think people should love who they love. I believe that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.

But what I think the mantra teaches me is that nothing I believe should be used to make someone else feel small.

Not that I haven’t done it in my lifetime. I have. I am not perfect, but I am a lot better than I used to be. As I’ve grown older, I’m more likely to think before I say or do something that will do harm to another person’s spirit. We are fragile, we human beings. Our souls are perfect reflections of God, but in our conscious minds and our human bodies, we are bundles of ego, fear, and insecurities. It doesn’t take much to hurt us; that is, if we have the capacity to feel. Some of us, hurt once, carry it with us until the day we die. If the hurt is significant enough, a person may act or speak in awful ways. When I encounter such a person, do I need to add more to his or her burden?

I think my purpose here is to constantly strive to be more like the spirit I truly am, instead of the ego or the fear, or the insecurity that drives me to be “right.” All-knowing. Above others. As if.

It helps to be older. It really does. I don’t have the energy I used to have, the energy that drove me to conquer things, to be triumphant and righteous, to stand with my foot on the body of the giant, his head by the hair in one hand, my slingshot in the other. I need to rest more. Maybe that’s why some of us old people seem “wise.” The truth is, we’re just tired. Maybe God has blessed us with fatigue. Slowed us down.

Because we’re slower, we have a little more time to think before we act or attack. It gives us a minute to ponder the Buddhist admonition: Before speaking, ask yourself three questions: (1) Is it true? (2) Is it necessary? and (3) Is it kind?

An aversion to hurting other human beings doesn’t mean that I should stop living by the principles I have adopted. I will not be walked on. I will not turn my back when I see things or hear things that will hurt others.  But. My minute to ponder will give me a little more time to choose how and when I take my stand. If I have to take a stand, I want to take a stand against things, not people.

This is not an easy time to choose to be happy. But that’s the side I want to be on.

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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.amazon.com For an autographed copy, go to www.themessenger.space

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