Sometimes We Just Know

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I went to one of my favorite places a few days ago with a dear friend who came out from the East Coast to visit me. I live in Sedona, Arizona, a place that is surrounded by vortexes, swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from the surface of the earth. If you are sensitive, you may feel it as a vibration that seems to be coming from inside your body. Even if you are not at one of the vortex sites, even if you can’t detect it, this subtle energy will still have an effect on you, and it may manifest in any number of ways. You may feel better, in general. Calmer. You may have a vision. People who are seeking a deeper spiritual life seem to be called here. I know I was.

This is a place where the air resounds with stories of the ancient ones, Native Americans who made this their home, a place where the beauty of the earth, the colorful rock formations, and the immense sky give the word “awesome” a more sacred meaning.

Back to one of my favorite places – it is a great divide in the earth, or a canyon. It is sometimes called the Canyon of the Holy Beings. You have to make your way over its top, and down through an arroyo of stones to get to a high overlook, where the Verde River can be seen below and the canyon wall on the far side can be seen in its entirety. It is not an easy walk, but the reward is great, for it is in the far canyon wall where the Holy Beings reside. You can see them in the formations, standing side by side, silent and still, as they have for millions of years. My friend and I went there with a shaman as our guide. How lucky can you get?

The Hopis, who lived here, (their name means “peaceful people”) believed that a spirit resided in each stone. Other Native Peoples believed that spirits resided not only in the stones, but in the trees, and in the plants that grow from the earth’s floor. They believed that the plants revealed their medicinal properties to them. And the plants were used – effectively – as balms for injuries and cures for illnesses.

With great technological prowess, we have invented instruments that can measure magnetic energy. We have “discovered” that plants are capable of generating electrical impulses that work like the nerve cells of animals. We can measure and record their reactions to life around them. Every day we are “discovering” plants that possess amazing curative powers. Science and technology have provided us with “evidence” of the existence of all manner of unseen, unheard things. But Native Peoples and other peoples from back of beyond history knew many of these things naturally. Unfettered by doubt and shiny technologies, they had the gift of perception. I think we all have it. Gifts like these are never the province of a select few. A gift from the Universe is a gift from the Universe, and this one belongs to all of us.

Since God knows when, we humans have known that there was something in us, something about us, that was more than we could see or touch, something we may call Spirit. We could feel it; it was present within us so powerfully that we downloaded it into our religions, our philosophies, and our practices.  We could feel that…something… that life that is more than, greater than the body. We can feel that something that lives in the stones, and the trees, and the plants, and in our hearts, something that tells us the great truth that Nobody’s Gone for Good and that life is all there is. Some of us have seen or received evidence of this truth. Some of us need no evidence to believe it. Sometimes, we just know it.

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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 www.themessenger.space.

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Just a Little Bit Out of the Ordinary

I don’t mind the mysterious. I don’t mind the inexplicable. I’m used to it. Something inexplicable happens almost every day. If you have the eyes to see it, that is.

My daughter Michaela is visiting me in Sedona. I’ve been here not quite a month, so I’m not really settled in yet. My spare room (also my office) is not put together. And there are boxes I’ve still not unpacked.  Michaela came out to do some writing, to get away from the energy of New York, seek a retreat, and perhaps experience a new energy.  Every morning, we’d start our day with meditation, and every evening we’d quit our work, get out of the house, hike a trail, and emerge our souls into the sacred beauty of the red rocks. Every evening, we’d look for a beautiful place to see the sunset. That’s not hard to do here.

Tonight was exceptional. Tonight we didn’t hike. We took a scenic drive. And when I say a scenic drive, I mean a scenic drive. Scenic is such an inadequate word. We took a drive into one of God’s masterpieces. We watched the sun do marvelous things to the sky, and to the rocks, and came back filled to the brim with gratitude and awe. As it began to get dark, and we got closer to home, we noticed a big, gorgeous pink cloud, an aftermath of the sunset. Of course, you can’t capture the real colors with a phone camera. But this is a bit what it looked like. Picture the cloud really pink.

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Michaela, who had been taking photographs all along the ride, took the one above and another right behind it. Just a note: we were in my car with the top down, so it wasn’t taken through a window. When we got home, she started reviewing the photographs of our drive and the sunset. “Mommy,” she said, “Look at this! What is that?”

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Same cloud, but something interesting showed up. You can see it right in the middle of the photograph, something that seems to reach from the sky into the ground, or from the ground into the sky. Is it a totem? Is it some kind of energy? We are in the middle of energy vortexes here, but I’ve never actually seen evidence of it except in gnarling, twisted tree trunks. I’ve felt it, but never seen it. Whatever this is, it is lovely, and I am pleased to share it with you, dear readers.

I’ve come to accept all of God’s gifts, whatever they may be, and I’ve tried to recognize these gifts, large and small, whenever they come into my consciousness.  I do have to ask you, my dear friends, if any of you have a technical explanation for this image, please don’t tell me. Some parts of life should be whimsical, spiritual, inexplicable, mysterious and mystical. There is enough hard reality around, these days, don’t you think? Remember, this, too, is reality. It’s just a little bit out of the ordinary.

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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 www.themessenger.space.

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Showing Up

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I am meeting the people in Sedona I thought I would meet. Kindred souls. For instance, there is the lady shaman, who talks to animals. I asked her to help me with my cat, Dorian Gray, who isn’t terribly happy about our situation. Back in Maryland, where I came from, Dorian was a free-range cat. He came and went as he pleased, and gladly suffered the price of freedom (wounds from captive prey and subsequent shots from the vet). He was king of the neighborhood.

Dorian is confined now to a two-bedroom condo with a small patio out back,  newly screened in. And here’s the thing: he howls. His howling is loud and other-worldly, awful and weird. I’m always afraid the neighbors are going to call the police, fearing someone is being murdered. He starts out of my sight, in another room. (The middle of the night is the worst!) As soon as I appear, he stops and meows like a normal cat. Luckily for me, he did this during the shaman’s visit. “He’s having a temper tantrum,” she said. Whew. I thought he was suffering some awful psychic pain. Dorian is, after all, eating well, eliminating VERY well, and in between yowls, playing with rubber bands and a fishing rod with a mouse on the end. The shaman looked at him and said, “There’s a new sheriff in town now, Dorian.”  The bottom line is, she’s going to work with him. And me. I need as much work as Dorian does. The fact is that I have spoiled him. A good cat whisperer, like any other whisperer, knows that there is as much work to do with the “mommies” as with the animals. And so I am presented with another occasion to look to myself, to admit my part in this play, and to remedy it. I have to show up for duty.

But I have a new friend. The shaman and I talked for hours. She told me stories about herself and her practice of healing, and I told her my story, of channeling my spirit guide, Lukhamen, and how that whole experience saved my life after the death of my son. They call Sedona the Mecca of Spirituality, a place where these kinds of conversations are not extraordinary. I knew that before I moved here. This is why I am here, to meet and connect with people who have had similar life experiences. To be encouraged. To experience more. To write the second book.

This morning, I met a woman who was in grief. A sister she’d raised like a daughter had just lost her husband in a car accident, and her heart was broken for this sister, and for herself. She had, after all, lost her brother-in-law. I shared my story with her, telling her of the loss of my son and my husband. Afterwards, she turned a face full of pain to me and asked so innocently, “What can I do to help my sister?” She had said before that she had assigned herself the jobs of filling her sister’s dishwasher and taking out the garbage. “Just be with her,” I said. “Just be there. Fill the dishwasher and take out the garbage. Just being with her will be enough.” She thanked me with relief and tears in her eyes. Just keep showing up, I guess I was saying.

I had my own moment of loss on Thursday. It was the seventh anniversary of my husband Bill’s passing over. And I remembered the wise, loving people who surrounded me afterwards. Our children, of course, and dear friends. And what they did and what they said was perfect. They were just there. And in the making of food and talking about ordinary things, there was perfect love. Someone came and filled my house with flowers. She didn’t say anything, just came with flowers and vases and put them all over. I will never forget that, Nancy. A friend came all the way from Brussels and just sat with me on the porch, rearranging flower pots to give our guests more sitting room. Ordinary things. But staying close. That’s what we need. Just the physical presence of love. Just the sight of the faces we love. There is no cure for grief, except time. There is loss, and there is that space. But, in time, some of us come to realize that there is no death. There is only life. And that, in those times of loss and pain, showing up is an act of perfect love.

Yes, I am in Sedona, that magical, sacred place among the red rocks, and wonderful things have already started to happen. I have a new friend, a shaman who knows that there is no death. She came to help my cat and stayed to help me. On Monday, I will visit my other shaman friend, the one who pulled grief from me six years ago. I am going to retrieve two beautiful rocks he found for me in the desert, one white, one black. He said he would save them for me until I had a place here. Now they have a home.

I still have boxes to unpack and pictures to hang, but there is no doubt that I am where I belong. All I had to do was show up.

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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 www.themessenger.space.

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Improbable But True

I am thinking tonight about the monarch butterfly who makes a migratory journey of about 3,000 miles from the north to get to California and Mexico before the winter sets in. I have often wondered about that great effort. At best, it is highly improbable.  And yet, every year, it happens. I have made my own migration to a place in the sun before the winter comes. The butterflies will not leave until the fall. I am a little ahead of them. My journey was long and arduous, and there were times when it seemed improbable. And yet it happened.

No one knows why or how the butterflies know exactly where to go. Each migration, each generation of butterflies makes the journey for the first time. And so it has been with me. I don’t know why I was drawn here, but I was – and as as the monarchs are drawn to their places in the sun, my journey to Sedona seemed like a force of nature.

I have been told that I have lived here in a previous life. I know that I found healing from grief here. But I don’t really know why I was drawn here – why here, why now. It doesn’t really matter. I have decided to accept it as a gift from the Universe.

And now that I am here, and most of the boxes are gone, and my little abode looks more like a house than a warehouse, a great peace has descended upon us – Dorian Gray and me. Even he – Dorian -my cat – has settled down, something I thought would never happen.  A creature of the night, used to roaming wherever he chose, he is now living inside with me. He fought it for a few nights, and neither of us slept, and as improbable as it is, it looks as if he knows that we are supposed to be here. Maybe he, too, has accepted this gift from the Universe. He is safe here, every night.

As I sit here in the quiet, I hear thunder and rain is falling outside. It is the monsoon season here. Rain in the desert for two months. Improbable. But it is happening anyway. Sun every day. And rain every day.

The improbable happens. And I will accept each improbable gift from a benevolent, loving Universe. May you, dear friends, find your own improbable gifts. They are there, as surely as there is rain in the desert, and as surely as the butterflies will be in California and Mexico before winter sets in.

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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 www.themessenger.space.

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Connections

 “We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson, American Astrophysicist

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Before I get started, I want to make an amend. A few blogs ago, (Letter From Sedona: The Great White Dog) I wrote about the Shaman’s Cave in Sedona, Arizona and used a beautiful photograph:

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It was taken by a photographic artist named Bill Caldwell. Trouble is, I didn’t give him credit for it. He evidently found my blog, found his photo, and wrote to me. (If you want to see more of his work, visit his web site at www.abeautifulsky.com.)

Bill lives in Arizona, near Sedona. I wrote back, told him I would give him credit in my next blog. (Here we are, and thank you, Bill.) I asked him if he knew Clay, the shaman whose soul searching gift I discovered the first time I went to Sedona. No, he said, since he had moved to Arizona from the East about a year ago. The next note I got from Bill was telling me he had found Clay and had scheduled a retreat with him. So now, I am connected to Bill and Bill is connected to Clay.

That reminded me of two other connections. My acupuncturist and meditation teacher, David, lived on the same street I lived on in Washington, D.C.  In the seventies. When I lived there. In the next block. We probably passed each other more than once. We didn’t actually meet until last year, when both of us were living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Clay lived in Germantown, a section of Philadelphia. When I lived there. In the sixties. We might have passed each other on the street. We didn’t meet until 2009, in Sedona, Arizona.

Both of these beautiful human beings changed my life. They have a bit of magic about them. They have helped me heal in so many ways. They have given generously of their wisdom, increasing my own. How is it we came so close to one another in years past, but never stopped to speak, never met? I’m sure it was because I was not ready. Neither were they. We all had to live a little longer, learn a lot more.

There is a saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I can believe that. It is how my book came to be written. I was at the lowest point in my life when I made another improbable connection. In desperation, I reached deeply into a realm of consciousness I did not know existed, and a teacher appeared. His name was Lukhamen. He, too, changed my life. He told me his story and gave me hope and a reason to live. Our paths had crossed before, Lukhamen’s and mine. The first time was in Egypt, two hundred years after the death of Christ. When he came as a Spirit Guide to be my teacher, it was in Washington, D.C. some seventeen hundred years later.

Some connections just take a bit longer. They may require a little more faith, and the willingness to accept things we cannot prove. But our teachers are there. When we are ready.

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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney.

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Click here to find it: www.Amazon.com

Here. Now.

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We are exactly where we need to be right now. That’s the message in my daily meditations book for the first of January. I try to start my day with readings from this little book. It sets the tone for the day and gets the jumbled thoughts in my head a little more, as they say in some circles, prioritized. My mind won’t organize itself. I need help.

Anybody who knows me knows that I am going to live in Sedona, Arizona. Eventually. It is calling me. And I want to be there now. In the high desert. But I am exactly where I need to be right now. Here. In wet country. In the place where it has rained for two weeks, where the moss on the side of my house is a green patina that screams Wash me, I’m rotting! Where damp pine needles clog my flower beds and pile up around trees and bushes and harbor God-knows-what underneath. Where I am looking at the sun today for the first time in a long time. But I am exactly where I need to be right now. This is a hard concept to accept fully and embrace joyously. I’m not there yet. Like so many other humans, I want what I want now. I want to eat candy. Cookies. I want to go back to caffeine. I want a sandwich with white bread. And cheesecake. I want to watch television all day and not go out into the cold to walk. I want to be in a dry house in Sedona with a fireplace. I want to climb red rocks into vortexes and feel spiritual energy all around me, in a place where channeling is something many people do and not think it odd.

Yet, the hard truth of this spiritual principle reminds me that what I want is not necessarily what is right for me. The truth is that if I eat what I want, the wonderful robust health that I now enjoy is not going to last. If I don’t walk, I soon will be unable to walk. The thing is, the laws of physics, biology, and spirit are pretty much irrefutable. You do one thing, and something will happen. You do another, and another thing is going to happen. And that’s that.

But then, there is this thing called Grace. It helps me understand the principle that I am exactly where I need to be right now. It gently leads me to that page in the book. It helps me to see that I was here when my daughters and my granddaughter drove for hours to see me at Christmas. It helps me to remember how they brought laughter and light and so much love into my house, and how we included a daughter and granddaughter in Los Angeles, thanks to smart phones and face time. I was here when my daughter-in-law invited me to a beautiful New Year’s Day brunch, where I could be together in a beautiful house with my step-children and their children. I was there when my step-daughter cried because we didn’t see each other often enough, when she told me that she loved me and how important I was to her. I was there when my daughter-in-law bought ten copies of my book, asking me to sign them to give as gifts to her friends. I was there when her college-freshman daughter told me she never knew that Grand-mama was such a good writer. I was there to laugh at my step-son’s funny remarks. He is so like his father, who knew how to make me laugh. He brought him back to me. I was where I needed to be so that love could surround me.

And I am here now, where my ninety-seven year old aunt is ten minutes away. She is a little frailer every day, and no one knows the day or the hour when she will need me to come running. Here. I am here where sweet, calm friends help me through the days. I am here with my writing group, talented, generous authors that I trust and for whom I have so much affection. I am here by a beautiful river.

I do not have to understand everything. I do not have to know the future. I only have to recognize the truth when it is put before me, and yesterday and today it is this: I am exactly where I need to be right now.

***

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

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Letter from Sedona: Au Revoir

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For the past three days, I have attended an intensive all day workshop. I’ve listened to the teachings of a scholarly intuitive, a man who has spent a lifetime devoted to the spiritual path. I’ve been fascinated, inspired, overwhelmed at times, and secure in the knowledge that I am only absorbing bits and pieces of the tremendous story of man and God that he has woven so beautifully. While I will not remember much of it (and he has assured us that we will not), the overall message has been simple: we are not separate from God.

As I write this, I am recalling the words of Maya Angelou, the writer and poet, who said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The hours of history, metaphysics, religious concepts, and inspiration all boil down to that. And how I feel is peaceful and joyful, as if everything is going to be all right, no matter how things may look at any given time. I’ve had a glimpse of a very big picture, and it has made me feel safe.

Two more days of the workshop, and I will say au revoir to Sedona on Tuesday, but not goodbye, for this is my home now.  Some people are called to places on this earth for reasons that are not clear, but right. Some are born in the “right” place, never leave, and never want to leave. Some find their way, and know when they have arrived. Some have lived there in a former life and are drawn back because life was good and happy. The earth knows you when you come home.

I have lived most of this life on the East Coast of the United States. The connection to Sedona came as I was nearing completion of my book, The Messenger. It was also right after my husband Bill passed over, six years ago. Did he send me here to be healed?  Perhaps. Did he lead me to the shaman who pulled grief out of me? I like to think so. But I have come to the peaceful conclusion that I do not have to know everything. I do believe that no matter what is happening at any given time, there is a Divine Order to things and all is well. I know that my second book is to be written here, where the energy is full of light. It doesn’t matter how I know or why I know. I just know how it makes me feel.

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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It is available at http://www.amazon.com and at the News Center in Easton, MD.