A Whole New Light

It’s August, and I start my days on the back porch with a cup of coffee. It’s quiet in the early morning; the only sound is of cicadas and birds singing. I love listening to them. I love summer. In the last few days, though, I’ve noticed a subtle change in the air. Fall is coming and I can feel it. Crickets rule the night, a sure sign of the end of summer, and I feel a little melancholy.

My husband Bill passed six years ago this week. I felt it this year, more than usual. His sister passed in a year ago in July. I miss them.

The earth’s axle is tilting the Northern Hemisphere away from the sun, and I’m not looking forward to staring winter in the face. I thought I’d be in Sedona by now, where winter is gentler and bathed in sunlight, where snow on red rocks looks like powdered sugar. I keep my house shipshape, whether I feel like it or not. Realtors bring people through again and again. I’m living in a fish bowl, but no buyer has shown up. As I said, I’m feeling a little melancholy, and I know why. It’s not because summer is ending. It’s not because I miss Bill. It’s not because I can’t move out of the house we lived in together. It’s because I am not living in the Now. I am not, as Eckhart Tolle says, “saying yes to what is.” I am letting the past and the future rob me of whatever joy there is in today. The thing is, I know better. I just can’t seem to snap out of it.

So tonight, as I was writing this, I decided to forgive myself for not being present. And a miracle happened. I became immediately present. This small act of kindness toward my own soul came with a reward: Gratitude. I remembered the parents I met two Sundays ago, when I signed books at the Arlington Metaphysical Chapel, parents who had lost their children, the father with tears in his eyes who told me his son’s name, and how I wrote In memory of Matt, in his copy. I remembered how my daughter Michaela and my granddaughter Elenni came all the way from New York to be with me, how my daughter Niki brought her friends to meet me. I remembered the notes of love and pride from my daughter Debbie and granddaughter Celine who live in California. Sean, my stepson, Shari, my daughter-in-law, and her daughters Maggie, Katie, and Abigail came to be with me – Bill’s children and grandchildren. I remembered seeing dear friends I hadn’t seen for a long time.  I was surrounded by love.

me and Anne Banville

And I remembered that as the earth’s axle tilts my part of the world away from the sun, it tilts those in the other half of the world toward it. The Southern Hemisphere is heading into spring and summer, and I am headed into fall and winter. And it is all right. We will revolve around the same sun, and we will go around it again, and again, and again, sometimes tilting toward it, sometimes tilting away from it. And it will be all right.

Finally, I end this day with another gift. Instead of going out for the night as he usually does around this time, Dorian has curled up in the chair by my desk, to keep me company. It is possible that he dreams of winter in a whole new light.

Dorian on Porch



 The Messenger IMG_0416


Get The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney at http://www.Amazon.com







Spending Time with Tulips

red tulips


I have a confession to make. I’m not always conscious of my miraculous state of being. This morning (Saturday) was a perfect example. My realtor had arranged an Open House (my house is for sale) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  At 6:30, I was scrubbing last night’s rain and its detritus off the deck, which I had unwisely painted white. After that, there was more vigorous scrubbing, the front porch this time, which is also, unfortunately, white. After a second, gorgeous cup of coffee, I was putting a crisp, white quilt on the bed and arranging red and magenta tulips to place in the bay window of my living room. At 9:30, the young man who mows my lawn was at the front door, and I paid him ten dollars extra for lifting some heavy flower pots onto the deck and disposing of a little squirrel that was lying on its side, seemingly asleep and sadly alone in the grass, a victim of a force of nature that I’d hoped was not my cat. By 10:30, having put all signs of normal life out of sight and wiping down what seemed to be every surface in my house, I was sitting in my living room, chatting with my realtor, a pleasant, efficient lady with blonde hair who was just getting over pneumonia.

Not once in all that time did I stop to feel or to sit – even briefly – in the sun. What made this such an odious crime was that I, along with everybody else on the East Coast, had seen so little of it for such a long time. On Saturday morning, the sun was in the sky, while I was in the pursuit of perfection. That is true unconsciousness.

Between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., five people came to visit. No one made an offer. My house has been on the market for two years. This was not my first Open House. I felt, to say the least, disheartened and tired of hoping.

But I was not left there. As it always happens, I was rescued. A female mallard waddled into my freshly mowed back yard. I went out and clapped my hands to shoo her away. “Don’t you know a cat lives here?” I said. She looked at me unafraid, turned and waddled away, as if to say, “Oh, I know. He’s somewhere, but he’s not here, not now.” She headed back to the river, a little swagger in her waddle, her message to me clear. She seemed so rightly placed in the sun and the warmth of the day, so unconcerned with perfection (or the cat who was sleeping in his own little patch of sunlight on the other side of the house). She was intent on life alone.

Life in that day was so beautiful, so rare. Nothing was required from me but to notice it, and when I did, gratitude was quick to follow. It is the natural aftermath of consciousness. As is hope. I began to feel sure that on the perfect day, someone will walk into my house, and they will be home, and on another perfect day, I will walk into a house in Sedona, and I will be home. Today, I must assume that both of us are rightly placed, as is the little duck, my cat, and yes, the squirrel. We are all here, in life, together.

As the sun got lower in the sky, I came in and sat down to spend time with the tulips. I was conscious, awake, and grateful for the great gift of life that was everywhere. It took me a while, but I got there.


The Messenger is all about this – consciousness, gratitude, hope, and the sacredness of life. It is about death, yes, but also about the teacher who opened my eyes, who taught me to notice life, and to know it for the gift it is. At the moment, it is still in the hands (one of which is recovering from surgery) of the artist who is doing the cover. See you next Sunday.