Life Lesson #583

I’ve always loved reading about the history of religion and its sacred, foundational elements. A couple years ago, I remember asking my mother for some old historical Christian literature.  I knew she probably had some, and I figured that it was probably only Catholic, but I really didn’t care.  She did find me a couple of very ancient looking books, including a more colorful one geared towards little kids that was actually written by a priest. Father Lovasik, S.V.D, compiled a rudimentary, informative book of saints that I was so excited to find.  And you know what, I actually managed to gain a few “life lessons” from this little, beat-up book, concerning morals and how to maintain them.

Here’s an excerpt:

Saint Louise De Marillac

March 15

Louise was born on August 15, 1591.  Her husband died thirteen years after their marriage, leaving Louise with a son. St. Vincent de Paul was her confessor.  He gathered groups of men and women to help the poor and the sick in each parish. With the help of Louise he began the Order of Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul to help poor and sick people.  They worked in the streets and hospitals. Louise was not well, yet she worked hard to help the poor and sick.  She was very kind and humble.  She said to her Sisters: “Be diligent in serving the poor.  Love the poor, honor them, my children, as you would honor Christ Himself.”

Louise died on March 15, 1660. Her community is one of the largest of the Orders of Sisters in the Catholic Church.

– pg. 11, Book of Saints Part 4. By Father Lovasik S.V.D. Publication date not available.

This was so beautiful, and so simple.  I just loved this little story, and I got so much out of it!  I am absolutely not saying that you need to be Catholic to appreciate this, or that you should be, I’m not trying to plug Catholicism by any means; I’m not even sure how I wholeheartedly feel about Catholicism at the end of the day.  And I know deep down in my heart that that’s okay. The reason I loved this little story is that it showed me that God is in all of us. It’s just yet another piece of evidence that shows us that the God of our understanding really does seem to be in all of us, and by learning that notion, it can totally assist you in your willingness to surrender to God.  Most importantly, however, it can actually make you a happier person.


When someone first told me that God exists in all of us, and “to do with that what I wish,” it was spellbinding.  It was a strong sentiment as I didn’t know exactly what to do with it, but the statement did sound promising to me.  Well, I’ve learned that you don’t have to do anything with that statement.  It’s so simple.  Knowing that God is everywhere, and there is even some God in all of US, well, it really restored my faith in humanity at a time when it was waning.

God bless you!

When I Surrendered

I have come to realize that religion plays a bigger role than we all realize in modern Western society.  Think about it, in the news, how often do we hear about controversies surrounding terrorism? In particular, we are constantly hearing about the stifling living conditions for women in the Middle East. These conditions originate from the tenets of Islam. To be honest, it is beyond my comprehension that an actual faith could justify the total suppression of women.  

For me, I was born Catholic.  I have my issues, even today, with the Catholic church.  However, there are some aspects of it that I do appreciate.  For example, I cherish the enthusiasm that Catholics demonstrate during the Easter Vigil. Moreover, I started thinking of this topic because of a compelling comment that someone made during an AA meeting I attended several years ago.  I’ll never forget it.


A young man, about my age probably, was talking about how he knew a young woman who had just given birth. She was recently married, and she wanted her entire family to start going to church, so they did.  This young man had mixed feelings about religion himself, like so many of us do.  I think it’s because we think that with everything we’ve been through, how could there possibly be a God that exists somewhere?  Well this man had this little epiphany thinking about this young woman. He explained how he proceeded to question himself. How does it make sense for him to question her choice to go to church?  She seems to be doing okay in life!  Even I thought like he did too at one point in my life. I was very cynical and discouraged.  However, with more recovery time under my belt, I’ve come to realize that long before the drugs and alcohol happened, I was still an addict-in-training. I hadn’t ever really surrendered to God.  I wasn’t availing myself to communication with God.  I memorized my “Our Father,” “Hail Mary,” “Nicene Creed,” and I was an altar boy for 11 years.  I thought I was scoring big in Mr. God’s grade book.  It wasn’t until my addiction, ironically enough, that I realized that it doesn’t and it never worked that way, and I was doing it all wrong.

Spirituality is not just some new aspect that you build into your life. No, not at all. It is about the love you have for Source, which creates the love you have for everything else, whether it be fellow human beings, the Earth, or even yourself. Remember to live by the will of Source.

Blessings to you!

Apprehension

While attending an AA meeting roughly seven years ago, a fellow member had inspired me to write my own prayers.  It was such a beautiful idea.  When she told me that she was writing her own prayers, as a way to enhance personal rehabilitation, I thought that it was a stroke of genius. It was also during a time when I really felt like my entire prayer life was close to non-existent.

I don’t believe that you must drop to your knees from bed to pray every single morning in order to be a “good” little spiritual person.  We know there is no such thing as this.  With praying, you don’t have to necessarily kneel bedside with your hands crossed and your head facing down in order to be deemed good.  I’ve learned, on my path to a life of recovery, that it really is about the journey and everything we do (and create) while on that path. I believe that if we make an honest effort to silently recite prayers in our heads during the day, for example, then that means we were maintaining our prayer lives.  We would know it deep down inside of ourselves.

So, without further ado, this is the first prayer I ever wrote for myself.

Apprehension Prayer

God, please watch over me
As I enter into this pursuit.

I pray
That the experience
Will teach me,
intrigue me,
but most of all,
I pray that the experience
Will prove a journey worthwhile-

A benchmark for strength.

And so the opportunity that comes

Reflects the light of a spark,

Imbued by the wands of a dream

And I shall never ever forget
That by the end of it all,
Thy will be done.

Music for the Soul

I am crazy about music.  Whether I am listening to it, singing it, writing it, sharing it, strumming along, or just meditating, I love music. I think more and more people these days are owning up to the fact that they use music to relieve stress.  It’s just such a wonderful part of life.  I mean, there is so much space for our spirituality within the realm of music, as well, and I think that’s the secret to music’s grand scale appeal.

With the steps, it took me forever to even approach the 11th step. I still had so much anxiety resulting in a very noisy mind. I never knew how to meditate.  Well, that was how I used to phrase it.  I thought that there was this strict procedure behind meditating.  I always thought it had something to do with sitting cross-legged, having my arms stretched out, with my palms on my knees facing upward, along with my middle finger and thumb touching, almost in a replicating a frozen snapping motion.  It was that stereotypical, almost comical way of meditating that I’d seen on loads of T.V. shows and sitcoms for years growing up that put those thoughts into my head.  So, I think that is why I never approached meditation, nor did I have any faith in it “working” for me.

However, I’ve come to discover a few important concepts.  Meditating is just like praying.  You keep doing it. You keep working at it.  It’s simply for your own benefit, and there truly is no “written in stone” way of doing it. In my view, meditating is any mental AND physical way of centering your thoughts on what you wish them to be centered or focused on.  So, that’s why I find music to be such a wonderful accompaniment during this process. It was during my home group AA meeting several weeks back when I learned about this rather liberating approach towards meditation.

Now, I no longer have to dread doing it when someone suggests it to me in times of distress, for instance, since I’ve probably been doing it for all of my adult life!  I was even using this same technique in middle school and high school.  I think it served as an instinctive survival technique for me. I’ve always been able to completely zone out, close my eyes, put my headphones in, and listen to really compelling music that captures my emotions, affirming where I am at in that moment.  And that is how I enjoy meditating.  I enjoy soaking up the “now” through meditative affirmations that consist of exactly what I just described.  It keeps me grounded, since, and this should be obvious if you’ve been reading my blog, I’m certainly out there basically most of the time!

God bless you!

LOOKING BACK: Hank’s PASSING

I want to start including some of my journal entries from over the years, as I think it can be very healing and beneficial to honor the past, for the sake of growth and learning.

From January 22, 2015

I’m about to attend a wake for a cousin by marriage who just passed this week.  I really just, I cannot even fathom his death.  I have to share a quick run-down of the story surrounding his death because it is so shocking.  During the first week of December, we found out that he was experiencing some worsening back pain.  Painful, yes, but just back pain.  One night, the 6th, to be exact, he went into the ER.  After doing an X-ray, doctors saw he actually had a very large tumor in/around/near his spinal cord (that part I’m still not very sure of).  A couple days after the 6th of December, bear in mind, he was officially diagnosed with Stage 4 advanced cancer that had basically invaded almost every major organ in his body.  And, what, six weeks later, he’s gone.  He’s left behind a wife of over eight years and a two-year old daughter.  This is so heartbreaking.


I cannot even fathom this.  I’m blown away, still.  When I get to where the wake is in a little bit, I am sure I’ll be a little bit nervous to see his wife, my cousin.  I always feel a little worried in situations like this.  I know many people do; it probably sounds trite.  I think, even though we’re all human beings and we all communicate in the same tongue, basically, the more emotion that an event asks of us, the harder it seems.  I suppose it all comes down to the fact that we human beings love pride and, as a result of this mindset, we don’t like to appear vulnerable — even at a wake sometimes.  Nonetheless, I’m going to say hello to his wife, hug her, kiss her, and just be that extra body with a fresh set of shoulders for her to cry on should she need them.  It may sound trite, but I certainly don’t think that I need to have some magical, poetic statement stashed up in my brain, ready to whisper to her.  I just need to be there, for her, and for him.

Rest in the peace + love, Hank.

God bless you.

The Concept of Denial

One time several years ago, at a more memorable Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, the chair decided to read one of the patient-penned stories towards the end of the Big Book (an alcoholic’s de facto Bible essentially).  It was actually quite bracing for me as I’ve yet to come across an AA group or person from the program that places a considerable emphasis on “those stories at the end.”  Since they are just personal accounts (just), I think many folks view them as “not important.”  However, when the main speaker of our group had been absent a few weeks prior to this meeting due to illness, the fill-in facilitator went ahead with a round-table style reading of the short story, Crossing the River of Denial.  I have to honestly admit, I’d never looked at this story in-depth until then.  I’m actually really glad we did!


It is a story of two alcoholic people married to each other.  They are in denial of being alcoholics, but they do accuse the other person of “having a problem.”  Sounds trite to us at this point, doesn’t it?  What’s so great and unique about this little story is it is basically told from both of their perspectives, back-and-forth, quickly, with no notice.  This rather inadvertent literary effect complements the dysfunctional, hectic nature of the man and woman’s relationship.  I loved everything about this one really because as you read along through it, you discover that they each realize they’re alcoholic themselves.  That’s always compelling for another addict of any kind to hear about.

However, the most crucial, pertinent aspect of this story has to be the text written underneath the title (which I’ll share), since I strongly feel that this is how we all end up telling ourselves officially that we have dealt with this sickness.

“She finally realized that when she enjoyed her drinking, she couldn’t control it, and when she controlled it, she couldn’t enjoy it.”
– pg. 328, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Original copyright 1939.

What an amazing quote.  I think this says it all, precisely in fact.  The last part of it there, it truly is kind of a different way to regard our situations.  We seldom mix the thoughts of control and alcohol & drug use together since we know it almost never happens…or happened.  Why? Because we always wanted to enjoy ourselves. We always wanted to be happy.  We always wanted to numb that pain. Conversely, the reason I share this on a spiritually-themed blog is that I have found, from this moment and others, that the more honest we become with ourselves (about ourselves), is truly the way to existing as a more spiritual person. Of course, there is no official criteria for spiritual consciousness, but that’s because the path to existing as a “spiritual” person is a real journey, filled with unique experiences, struggles, traumas, and blessings. I believe that when we acknowledge every single thing to which we’ve been exposed in our lives, with respect to our own thoughts, emotions, and intuition, it is then that we attain spirituality. If it can be attained. But it is a journey.

There’s no denying that.

A Cycle of Gratitude

I am always so grateful to give readings. Honestly, since it makes me feel happy and excited being of service to others in this way, I am most certainly grateful. I have many private moments, sitting in the quiet, just thanking God for enabling these beautiful opportunities. I always felt that being a psychic and a medium was a creative and colorful way to help others and that makes me even happier (and more grateful).

I did want to share a wonderful story, though. It’s truly beautiful and it proves why doing this work is worthwhile and immensely rewarding. So, right now, there are lots of projects in the works. My virtual events will always be happening because I love doing it and it’s a major part of how I connect to the rest of the world. If I didn’t have my online platform, I wouldn’t have been able to amass clients from all over the country and even world. But lately, I’ve been doing more in-person events. I am actually reading live at a couple different crystal/gift shops throughout southern Maine.

A couple days ago, I was looking around a crystal store called Leapin’ Lizards in Freeport, Maine while in between readings. All of a sudden a woman came up to me, asking if I’d remembered her. So, I did feel bad because, where I do so many readings, I honestly didn’t remember. She went on to explain that I’d given her a reading several months ago in Portland.

She then proceeded to pull out a book from her purse, and told me that, when we’d had our session, I brought her grandmother through, and she said, through me, that her grandmother was encouraging her to finally finish writing (and to publish) the book! And I felt, intuitively, that it was one of her dreams. Well, with her own book displayed in both hands, proudly, she wanted to graciously thank me because she explained that I gave her the push she needed to actually make her biggest dream come true.

Wow… What a beautiful, amazing, and incredibly humbling moment. I was so flattered and of course, I was blushing. I did make sure to tell her though, that I really didn’t do a thing. It was she that thought of those words, and wrote them down, and then released them. She made this dream a reality. I had nothing at all to do with it. But honestly, this was an amazing display of how gratitude really can come in cycles, and very often does.

Our Wheels of Energy

The human body has 7 major Chakras:

Root Chakra – Base of spine
Sacral Chakra – Lower abdomen
Solar-Plexus Chakra – Navel
Heart Chakra – Center of chest
Throat Chakra – Throat
Third Eye Chakra – Center of forehead
Crown Chakra – Top of head

The idea of balancing a chakra is only addressing part of the picture: Each chakra part of a system that functions as a whole. If we look at how chakras work, we see that they have a dynamic connection with each other and interact energetically. Therefore, when doing chakra balancing, it’s not only important to consider each chakra, but also the neighboring centers, and the energy through the whole system.

The purpose of chakra balancing is to support a balanced flow that will sustain our overall level of energy. In our everyday life, we are subjected to a number of activities, sources of stress and demands that result in fluctuations in our energy level. Some may feel draining, others fulfilling or nourishing. Furthermore, past events and experiences often leave a long lasting influence on how we feel and are in the world, therefore influencing how we manage our energy day-to-day.

The most common, approachable, and effective way to balance out the chakras, especially at the same time, is via meditation. Meditation, for some individuals, can seem impossible. I feel this way quite often, to be completely honest. Our minds are always racing in this “dog-eat-dog” world we live in today. This is exactly why there are many people that suffer from chronic forms of anxiety and even clinical depression. I will tell clients with whom I work that, if you feel you can’t meditate, per se, then try focusing on meditative activities. Try going for quiet and relaxing walks, soaking up sunshine and becoming one with the nature and all its beauty. Find a comfortable place to sit, grab a good book, and make yourself a soothing cup of tea, if that’s what you like. It’s all about holding space for yourself- making yourself feel good and becoming one with your thoughts and energy. Be good to yourself. Even a brisk jog would give our souls the cleansing relief that we all need.

There is a major part of me that tries to be practical, as I feel it is necessary to stay balanced, even spiritually. The realistic, practical side of our brains is a key component of living in these human bodies. That’s not at all to say that we can wholly embrace our spiritual convictions. However, I believe, and I know some folks in this field would be angry with me for saying this, but acclimating ourselves with the “human condition” also enables us to embrace our intuition, just as much as the faith in our “soul-selves.” With intuition, I contend that we use all parts of ourselves to activate this wonderful faculty. This really stays true to my beliefs surrounding oneness. I don’t think of each one of us as a “mind, body, and spirit.” No, we are all one spiritual entity. God made us who and what we are, and he gave each and every one of us wills that matched His own.

  1. Sit down in a comfortable, agreeable position. Make sure to maintain a good posture, thus straightening out your back.
  2. Allow your breathing to become deeper and try to feel yourself come into the present moment.
  3. Begin to focus on the feeling of your chest rising and falling. When you mind wanders, bring it back to the breath. Be kind to yourself and return to your breath without judgement.
  4. Start to notice how the parts of your body work together harmoniously, with the breath keeping it all functioning.
  5. Focus on each of the 7 chakras, starting with the root chakra in your lower back. Try to imagine a spiral of glowing energy, and picture it getting brighter with each breath.
  6. Work your way up to the sacral chakra just above the pubic bone. Imagine it as a glowing wheel of energy.
  7. Move to the solar plexus chakra, right above the center of your stomach. Visualize this spot just lighting up.
  8. Turn your attention to your heart chakra, the throat chakra, and the third eye chakra on your forehead, and finally the crown chakra on the top of your head. Spend as much time as you need nourishing each chakra with the breath.
  9. Finally, imagine all the chakras working together in harmony. Each chakra should feel bright and energized.
  10. Gently open your eyes and spend a few minutes paying attention to your body and its systems.


A Prayer for Politics

Ever since I started writing my own prayers, I quickly realized that I could craft little devotions that would speak of absolutely any subject or idea that I wanted!  There are no rules.  To be honest, I always viewed prayers as a heart-to-heart correspondence between me and my God; I have confidence in knowing that I can reach out to my higher power in any way I wish, and about anything that I wish.  I really feel that that is what is so beautiful and alluring about prayer, especially when you write one yourself, and then revisit it, for whatever reason!

This is another one of my prayers, and I actually wrote this on the evening of November 4th, 2014, which was Election Day.  Do you want a good example of anything in a prayer?

“Political Prayer 11/4/14”

Tonight,

I pray for the leaders
That my home country has
selected
To guide us,
To protect us from sinister acts
And notions

And no matter how they
Express
The morals that we all
Share

I pray for them, their health,
Their loved ones,
And their ability to find
God.
Amen.

God bless you.