“At the end of this journey, we will be embraced by an indescribably loving light.”
“If we are meant to return, we are permitted to see this light only briefly. If this is the end of our earthly journey, however, we will experience understanding without judgement as we stand in the light, and will come to understand that life on earth was nothing more than a school.”
“We will be shown our life from the first to last day and will re-experience every thought we had, every deed we did, and every word we spoke. In the light of unconditional love and non-judgement, we will come to understand the consequences resulting from those thoughts, words and deeds, and recognize how many opportunities we missed to grow.”
~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD
The past few days, I’ve been working on a blog I was calling The Dirty Life/On the Land..return to Reality….. I was writing about The Dirty Life, this great book I just read on farming and I was also writing about our life here..living off the grid in northern New Mexico.
But the blog wasn’t exactly coming together and if something I write doesn’t come together easily, I usually don’t publish it. I just looked and I have 63 unpublished posts dating back over the past 2and 1/2 years
Then yesterday morning I got an email from my friend, Irene in Virginia. She was at Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville and she sent me this:
One of the offerings made me think of you, “Capturing Spirits: Mediums, Séances & Photography. Stefan Bechtel, Lawrence Staines (coauthors, Through a Glass Darkly), and Peter Manseau (The Apparitionists) share their ghostly tales of spirit photographers and the bold-faced names who followed them, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Mary Lincoln.
I recall the photo you captured of Jason and his dad where he looks like he has wings
Irene’s message reminded me of a lot of so called ‘paranormal’ experiences I’ve had-some that I’ve never really talked about-and I decided to give up on ‘the Land’ blog for a while and look to the higher……which is always there but sometimes I forget.
When I was working with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and doing her 5 day Life, Death and Transition workshops, I was much more in touch, in tune but back in the world, focused on survival, my priorities changed.
I think because the workshops were so intense, they opened up a space in me and afterwords I was able to see auras. It wasn’t any effort I made or anything I could make happen.
It just happened, especially when I was interviewing someone for a film or photo/oral history project.
I was in a whole different space in those workshops and afterwards, probably because the workshops were dealing with what really matters–life and death, how short our time is here and how we should spend it.
After my first workshop which was held at the Old Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside California, I came back changed. I had experienced extreme peace and freedom from the ever present and overwhelming fear that I live with and I went through a period where I had no thoughts and no sense of time.
It was a peaceful place to be but I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I was seeing a fairly enlightened therapist at the time and he suggested if I wanted to return to my former ‘state of mind’, there were a few things I could do: I could drink a beer or visit my parents. I think I drank a few beers and I was back to how I was before.
Table-turning (also known as table-tapping, table-tipping or table-tilting) is a type of séance in which participants sit around a table, place their hands on it, and wait for rotations. The table was purportedly made to serve as a means of communicating
with the spirits; the alphabet would be slowly called over and the table would tilt at the appropriate letter, thus spelling out words and sentences.
The third Life Death and Transition workshop I went to with Elisabeth was in Kamloops BC. After the workshop, I was planning to visit a college friend in San Diego. and Elisabeth suggested that while I was there, I should visit a friend of hers.
Elisabeth’s friend appeared to be the quintessential grandmother living in the quintessential grandmother type house with little bowls of foiled wrapped chocolates on every table in her living room.
And she was a table tipper with people like Shirley MacLaine coming to see her.
My friend that I was visiting was very suspicious and nervous about the whole thing but she had recently lost a child and she decided to be included in the table tipping session.
The grandmother along with about 5 other people, sat around a very large, very heavy kitchen table and when we placed our hands lightly on the table top, the table started to move. We were able to questions and the table tapped out messages and it didn’t seem weird or frightening to me at all… just a nice connection with another realm of existence.
After participating in several of Elisabeth’s workshops, I founded a non profit called AIDS Care and Assistance/Rites of Passage. Our mission was to provide care for terminally ill people, specifically people with AIDS and it was hard work- the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in Austin, Texas and all the patients we provided care for were dying.
The Hoot Owl/I’ll Fly Away
I remember a man named Ned who was in the very last stages of AIDS and how he excitedly told me that his father was coming to visit in 2 weeks. I knew that his father had died years before but I didn’t try to correct him and in exactly 2 weeks he died…his father had come.
Working with parents of children who died, I heard many beautiful stories.
Some of the most powerful of these are included in our documentary, Turning Toward the Morning.
One family we were very closely involved with was the Briggs family- Jim, Gerri and Jason. Jason died of AIDS at age 2 [see The Angel Picture above] and his father Jim died 2 years later.
Jim’s mother, Mimi had done a lot of research on near death and after death experiences and the week before Jim died, she had a talk with him. She asked him to send her some sort of sign so she would know he was alright. Humoring her, he told her he would appear as a hawk. “Oh Jim” Mimi said ” I can’t tell a hawk from a buzzard.” “OK” he said “I’ll come as an owl.” [I kept in very close touch with this family but I did not hear this story until weeks after Jim had died.]
In those days, I lived far out in the Texas Hill Country and it was one night very late, only a few days since Jim had died when I woke up with a jolt, hearing an unusual sound I had never heard before. A large pen for my 3 dogs, surrounded my trailer and when I went out to check on the dogs,there was a huge owl perched on the fence…and it seemed to be laughing.
One of the most memorable things about Jim Briggs was his laugh. He had a great sense of humor even in the most difficult times and he always seemed to be laughing. And though I hadn’t known then that Jim had promised to appear as an owl, I KNEW it was a sign from him..he was still around, still laughing….always would be.
When I next talked to Jim’s mom, she told me that he had promised to come as an owl and she and other members of the family had seen the owl also, even in the town where they lived.
There are many, many more stories..and anyone who works with the dying-personally or professionally will hear them. I have head them from people of all ages, walks of life, cultures, believers and non believers, even from my stepmother who was a former Texas debutante and a lover of bridge, shopping, parties and vodka martinis…never interested at all in the spiritual side of life.
On a Friday, the day before she died, I talked to her on the phone. She had a form of lung cancer but she was doing really well and expected to live for several months. A big party had been planned for her the following week.
When I called her she said “I love you, I miss you, when are you coming to see me?” She was in Houston, I was in New Mexico so I said I’ll come Monday and she said “I won’t be here. I’m going to fly away.” And she died the next morning.
Fireflies and THE LIGHTS IN THE FRIDGE
As I’m writing this, I’m remembering so many stories and experiences that I had forgotten…stories hospice patients told me, stories I heard at Elisabeth’s workshops, experiences from my own life like a time when I was taking care of my young grandson who was seriously ill with bacterial pneumonia. Feeling so afraid and inadequate, not knowing what to do, suddenly there was the unmistakable scent of my dad’s pipe and I knew everything would OK.
My dad had died years before
…..Undeniable, Comforting…..Messages from another world
The years I lived in the Texas Hill Country were often very challenging and it was not an environment I felt comfortable in but there were 2 experiences I had during those times that helped restore my faith and gave me the strength to continue on.
As a child, I had pneumonia several times, leaving my lungs weakened and one summer in Texas I got a cold which got worse and worse to the point that I was having a lot of trouble breathing. It was a frightening feeling but even more frightening for me are doctors and hospitals. I didn’t always feel that way. but over the years……..
I was alone in my trailer, it was night and I could hardly breathe. I mixed up an Edgar Cayce remedy I had read about-I think it involved baking soda and something else made into some sort of tea. It tasted terrible but I drank it anyway and then I laid down on my bed …..and the room filled up with fireflies, hundreds of them it seemed. I tried to catch some and let them out so they wouldn’t die but it was impossible.
Even outside at night I had rarely seen fireflies-maybe two or three at most and I couldn’t imagine how so many of them could have gotten inside. But I knew they were bringing healing and in the morning there was no sign of them and I was almost well again.
Blue Balls in the Fridge
It was an extremely hot summer as the summers are in Texas, and I was living in an old trailer with no air conditioning and no money. MISERY!
I was sitting on a couch in my living room and I remembered that I hadn’t taken down the hummingbird feeders from out on the deck. if I didn’t take them down at night, the raccoons would hang by their feet from the roof, grab the feeders with their little hands and take them away.
So I gathered up the feeders and opened the door to the refrigerator where I kept them. The whole bottom section of the refrigerator was filed with beautiful blue balls. This is not possible..I’m seeing things. I shut the door and opened it again and they were still there-7 shining blue balls of light about the size of tennis balls.
This time I kept the door open and the balls floated out..slowly as if in a dance…like a ballet.
I sat back down on the couch and watched them..they floated into the living room and t
turning into a bright orange color, they formed themselves into crescent moons, seven of them stacked one on top of each other, hovering over a plant across from me.
I hadn’t had anything to drink, no drugs, no heat stroke…I felt like I would if I were watching a play…like they were giving me a private little performance maybe to cheer me up and remind me that I was not alone.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was very much in touch with her guides and she often quoted their poetic messages:
“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings.”
And she taught me how to be in touch with my spiritual guides/guardian angels and that has helped me so much with the fear and anxiety I live with. But bombarded by money problems, and the horrors of this world while exhausting myself just to keep going, I forgot what really matters. I just needed a reminder.
These 2 songs–one is a chant are also reminders….
Kirtana – Who You Really Are
Could there be more
to this life we call “mine”
than a journey through space
or a story line? –
More to life than the body can sense
than the mind can conclude
Does who we are begin with breath,
depend on form or end with death? –
Strip away these roles, these names
and tell me what remains
And who you really are,
who you really are
We measure success
by the things we accrue
or the bonds that we form,
or the deeds we do
But these too shall pass,
as hard as we try
to hold on to form; form will die
But inherent in this dance of form
Is the chance to see what’s yet unborn
And the choice to throw this chance away
And be caught up in the play
of who we think we are,
who we think we are
This is your lifetime; it could end at anytime.
Where is your attention?
Where is your prayer?
Where is your song?
In a fortunate life,
comes a call to be free
From the cycle of bondage and misidentity,
to wake from the dream
and finally realize
the truth of one’s being
before the body dies
So before the final scene is past,
see the screen on which it’s cast.
See what’s seeing this me and you.
And then you will see who… t
who you really are, who you really are
Who you really are, who we really are