Posts tagged: afterlife

Summer So Far

Ye gods! I just realized that the last time I posted on my blog was MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND!

I am a blog loser.

Well, I won’t beat myself up too much. It’s been a busy summer. I hit the ground running in June when my boys wrapped up their school year, and I traveled to Pennsylvania to teach a Tarot workshop for my good friend Gloria at her beautiful Spirit Education Center and Sanctuary. When I came home, I was ready to party with my theatre friends to celebrate the end of another successful community theatre season here in Cincinnati. By that time, it was July, and I celebrated my birthday with good friends in Columbus, Ohio. Here’s a glimpse of the festivities:

Yummy cake batter-flavored martinis created by my friend Jonathan. And  my husband baked a yellow cake with homemade caramel icing. I know, you’re jealous!

Once my birthday was over, it was time to pack and head to beautiful Lily Dale, New York to teach some workshops. I never tire of walking the lovely grounds there, working for Spirit at the outdoor message services, and meeting new people to share ideas and experiences. If you are at all interested in metaphysics, you should definitely plan a trip to Lily Dale for a future summer holiday. Here are some photos that might capture your interest:

The welcoming gate sign at the entrance to Lily Dale.

The Lily Dale Auditorium, where many famous speakers and mediums have addressed crowds.

The lovely Healing Temple, a space filled with amazing peaceful healing vibrations.

A gorgeous view of the lake from the Lily Dale grounds.

One of the gorgeous Victorian homes on the grounds. Need a new place to live?

While in Lily Dale, I also got to meet up with one of my best buddies, my dear friend, fellow author Char Chaffin. Without Char, my novel Merlyn’s Raven would not have seen the light of day. Here we are together for breakfast:

Photo taken by Char’s wonderful husband, Don, who was good enough to share his wife with me that morning. 

My workshops were well-received, and I truly enjoyed my time at Lily Dale. Coming home just last week, I celebrated my 22nd wedding anniversary with my husband. And now I realize it’s time to get back in the swing of things here at home. Only a few more weeks of summer remain until my boys go back to school. Time moves so fast, and we are left with our jaws hanging open, saying, “When did that happen?”

I have quite a few more things on my plate this summer. I am offering a one-day Tarot class on Saturday, August 4 at my office. I am starting a 6-week Mediumship Development class for beginners on Wednesday, August 8. On Saturday, August 18, I will go to Camp Chesterfield in Indiana to teach a 3-hour workshop on Protection. Lexington, Kentucky is my last destination of the summer, when I travel to Patti Starr’s Mystical Paranormal Fair on Saturday, August 25 for a book signing and gallery-style message event. Details for all of these events are available at the websites tagged above or on my website’s events calendar. If you are in the neighborhood and so inclined, I hope you’ll join me for some summer fun.

So now, I’ve got to wrap up this blog. My boys are learning to drive this summer, and it’s time to leave for our dental check-ups. The Universe continues to bless me with plenty to keep me busy. I hope you find the blessings in your everyday life, too.

See you soon!

 

“See Ya In Another Life, Brother”

desmond-lost-finale

By now, most people who care about it have seen the series finale of the television show Lost. If the buzz I’ve heard around the Internet is any indication, people feel two ways about the ending: they either loved it, or they hated it. I unabashedly fall into the camp of those who loved it, and I’ll tell you exactly why if you indulge me and keep reading.

I came to Lost much later than most fans of the show. I’d heard a lot about it over the years, but I didn’t want to invest in another television show. I’m the kind of person who gets attached to T.V. shows pretty easily if I like the characters, but watching a weekly program is a huge time commitment, not to mention the level of emotional investment I usually tend to make. When Lost started, I wasn’t prepared to do that, and as the show continued on in subsequent seasons, I knew I’d have to start back at the beginning if I wanted to make heads or tails out of the island mythology. But I had a lot of friends who watched the program and would chat about it, and I started to feel a bit left out. Was I really missing something spectacular? It sure sounded like I was. So, last summer, at the beginning of June, I rented season one of Lost from Netflix. I knew that the upcoming season six would be its last on network television, and I wanted to get caught up on the show before it began airing its final episodes in January, 2010. My intention was to watch the show by myself–but when I saw the pilot episode, that quickly changed.

jack-lost-pilot

I was so visually and emotionally impressed with the first episode of Lost that I said to my husband and twin teenaged sons, “I think you guys would really like this show. Do you want to watch it with me?” Thus began a family odyssey last summer, where we watched the whole mystery of the plane crash, the island, and its inhabitants unfold over five seasons. We viewed all five years of the show by the end of 2009, and we were all definitely ready to invest in the final season when it began in January.

I know there are plenty of people out there who think that the mysteries of the island were not explained in a plausible, satisfactory way. I am not one of those people. Quite frankly, I never really cared much about why Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on the island. Although the smoke monster and the polar bear were kind of interesting and frightening, I never really cared why they were strange anomalies on the island. Although the Others and the fights between the different factions of people made for intriguing story lines (sometimes, and sometimes for tedious ones), it never really mattered to me why or how those Others got to the island. All I cared about was the fate of the passengers who crashed, the ones I was introduced to in that pilot episode, the ones who made indelible imprints on my heart.

charlie-claire-lost-finale

Yes, some of the characters bugged me (Shannon), and some of their story lines didn’t make any sense (what was all that about Walt being psychic or something?) And yes, I am in the camp of “Why were some of those characters in the finale and some weren’t?” (Michael and Walt were noticeably absent, but Penny, who’d never even been on the island, was there.) Be that as it may, I can look past that, because the finale was so, so good in so many ways. Mostly, to me, a Spiritualist and a medium, it was incredibly emotionally and spiritually fulfilling, which is why I loved it so much.

jin-sun-lost

The beauty of the Lost finale lies in the relationships between the main characters. One by one, in their alternate reality off the island, the characters “wake up” to the reality of their lives on the island and the importance of the people that shared those experiences. The emotional intensity of the scenes between Jin and Sun, Charlie and Claire, and especially Sawyer and Juliet were some of the best moments of television I’ve ever witnessed.

sawyer-juliet-lost

Sure, the flashbacks helped, but what mattered were the connections re-made by the ones experiencing them. And as far as I’m concerned, Terry O’Quinn deserves another Emmy award for his portrayal of John Locke. His post-surgery scene with Jack was breathtaking.

105055_0223

And wasn’t that always what Lost came down to in the end? The struggle between faith, represented in earlier seasons by John Locke, and science, represented by Dr. Jack Shepherd? I think this is a huge part of the importance of Lost, but to me, the show’s message can be summed up even more simply. It’s a show about love. We see that in the finale as we watch all of the characters come together in a better understanding of themselves and each other while in the alternate reality. And we see that in Jack’s heroic actions on the island itself as he attempts to destroy the Man in Black (now walking around in Locke’s body) and to restore The Light that the island keeps on behalf of the whole universe.

Much has been made of the alternate reality timeline that has been running since the beginning of season six and plays such an important part in the final moments of the show. It’s obvious to me that the alternate reality is a level of the afterlife where, as Christian Shepherd tells his son Jack, there is “no time.” He explains it’s a place that the survivors of the plane crash made after they died so that they could all remember, let go, and move on, together. Did they all die in the plane crash, as some people seem to think, deeming the whole six seasons of Lost a kind of purgatory (or, as Richard called it, “hell”)? No. As we’ve been told many times on Lost, what happened, happened. Everyone died. They just did it at different times: some on the island (like Boone and Shannon and Libby, and, in the heart-breaking way it played out, Jack), some off the island after they’d made their final escape at a time in the future we don’t see (Kate, Sawyer, and presumably Desmond, since Hurley and Ben decided their first order of business as the new island caretakers was to get him back to Penny and their son). For me, this was a beautiful and inspiring idea on the part of the writers, an idea that highlighted once again the importance of our relationships. No matter what our actions in life (Jack’s heroics, Locke’s spiritual growth, Ben’s despicable actions and his subsequent turn-around), what carries the most weight are our connections to the people in our lives. These are the members of our soul group, the ones with whom we learn our most important and valuable life lessons. The survivors of Oceanic 815 and many of the other folks who interacted with them are members of a soul group, and they needed each other for their spiritual evolvement and growth to take place. What a beautiful message!

I’ll admit it: I cried buckets throughout the finale. I never realized how much I cared about Jack until he was mortally wounded, and he and Kate were forced to admit their true love for each other.

jack-hurley-kate-lost-finale

The scenes between Hurley and Jack were very touching as well, as were the interactions between Ben and Hurley. Hurley always was the voice of the viewer on Lost, asking the questions we wanted to ask and voicing our frustrations and our fears. How appropriate that gentle, loving Hurley ends up the caretaker of The Light when Jack completes his final earthly mission. And how wonderful that he can forgive Ben all of his faults and ask him to help with the protection of the island, allowing Ben to finally find some measure of redemption and honor, which is all he really ever wanted in the first place.

ben-hurley-lost1

Of course, being human, I was a little disappointed in a couple of things about the finale. I have a hard time believing that Sayid’s relationship with Shannon was more important than the one he shared with Nadia. But perhaps I’m being narrow-minded. Maybe Sayid’s relationship with Shannon was critical to his spiritual evolution, and this was why they were reunited in the afterlife as opposed to him being reunited with Nadia. I’ll have to live with it, I suppose, but I wanted more for Sayid, one of my favorite characters on the show and one who tried so hard to shake off the restraints of his questionable past.

sayid-shannon-lost

I also found myself wondering about the nature of Jack’s relationship with his son, David, in the afterlife they all created. What did this mean? Was this Jack’s way of trying to work out his own issues with his father before he moved on to a higher plane of the Other Side? Was David some other member of Jack’s soul group who stayed behind (like Ben) when Jack moved forward and beyond with his friends from the island?  I don’t know that I’ll ever get an explanation for this, but that’s OK. The mysteries of the Universe sometimes remain that way.

jacks-son-david-lost

Naturally, I’d love to know what happened to Sawyer, Kate, Claire, Miles, Lapidus, and especially Richard in the interim between their leaving the island and the time they all actually passed on to Spirit. What must 19th century Richard think about the modern world he finds himself in? (Is that a Lost spin-off in the making?) I’d love to know how Hurley and Ben get Desmond off the island and back to Penny (again, this might make an intriguing extra episode!) But these are minor questions that don’t really need answers. It’s gratifying to know that eventually, when they’re all ready, they find their way to the people who mean the most to them.

120169_470

By far, the scene in the church between Christian and Jack at the end of the episode was incredibly rich and emotional for me. Jack’s transformation and final understanding was incredible to watch (kudos to Matthew Fox for his work in this entire episode), and Christian’s explanations to his son’s questions were especially fulfilling to this Spiritualist medium. I also truly appreciated the set decoration touch of having a stained glass window behind the two that represented many of the world’s most prominent religions. The beauty and the immense understanding offered in the afterlife are available to everyone, no matter what faith they embraced during their physical lifetimes. By the end of Lost, Jack had become a man of faith. Yet his connection to his soul group was critical to his spiritual progression, and none of them could move on without the others–thus, the wonderful scene in the church where they’re all reunited in understanding and love once more.

jack-vincent-lost

Jack’s final scene in Lost brings the whole story full circle in an amazing way. Lying on his back in the bamboo field, bleeding out, he assumes the same position where we first saw him in the pilot episode. He accepts his death and his role in the fate of the island. As he does, Vincent runs in, just as he did when Jack first awoke after the plane crash. This time, though, Vincent lies next to Jack, a beautiful moment of power and compassion as Jack takes his final breaths. He sees the airplane fly over head, the one carrying Sawyer, Miles, Claire, Richard, Lapidus, and Jack’s true love, Kate, and he knows that he’s saved them. He smiles, reassured that he’s fulfilled his destiny. And, as the first episode of Lost began with a shot of Jack’s eye opening up, the last episode ends with a shot of Jack’s eye closing forever.

Well, until he reaches that point of understanding in the afterlife, which has been happening throughout the whole episode.

For me, this episode of Lost fulfilled my hopes for a powerful, provocative, and happy ending for the members of Oceanic Flight 815. What could possibly be better than reuniting with your true loves and your friends in a beautiful place after the hard toil, frustration, and challenge of this physical lifetime? To me, the castaways of the mysterious island deserve this fate. They’ve been through hell on earth, and they’ve found a little piece of heaven on the Other Side.

When we first met Desmond, he said something strange to Jack as they parted: “See ya in another life, brother.” He was certainly right, after all.

AP on TV Lost Reaction

Thank you, Lost. You’ve entertained my family and helped us grow closer by discussing you and your weird, quirky story lines. You’ve helped me to explain commitment and violence to my sons, thus making our communication with each other stronger and better.  You’ve filled my life with adventure and love, and you’ve ended by giving me hope and inspiration. And you delivered, by far, the best television finale I’ve ever seen.

Pets and the Afterlife

Pets are an important part of our lives as human beings. They teach us many lessons, the most important, I think, being unconditional love. For me, there’s nothing better than coming home after a lousy day to see my little dachshund, Kip, waiting at the door, bouncing up and down with excitement, wagging his tail, deliriously glad to see me. He’s a joy to have around, and I can’t imagine my life without him.

kip-and-rose

Kip isn’t my first pet. I had many, many, many goldfish as a child, won at church festivals and doomed to the fate of the toilet flush days after they arrived. My brother and I had gerbils, too, and I can remember releasing them to run rampant throughout the house whenever my parents weren’t around. My mother, however, could not be fooled–she’d often find their pellets behind or under the sofa, which did not earn those little guys points in her book, especially when she’d been up half the night, listening to them gnaw away on cardboard toilet paper rolls. Even though I enjoyed these pets, I longed for a dog throughout my childhood. My parents finally relented, and we got Spencer, part Welsh Corgi, part who-knew-what, when I was a senior in high school. He was a good dog, but he couldn’t come to college with me, and he really was more my mom’s pet than mine, although she was loathe to admit it. Still, there was an emptiness in me that I knew was reserved for a dog.

When Keith and I married, we decided after only a month that we wanted to get a dog. We found Eliot at a local pet store, small and alone, surrounded by kittens in the cages above and below him. He was a dachshund-chihuahua mix (with something else thrown in there, too), a little black bundle of joyful energy with one ear that laid close to his head and one that stuck up, like a jaunty, cock-eyed chapeau. We petted him in the store, and I knew instantly that he was the right one. Still, we didn’t take him home that day…and the next, a Monday, I went on my lunch hour and bought him without telling Keith. We’d talked about him all night, and I could think of nothing else. My husband called me at work to ask if we could go back and get him that night. I said, “It’s too late. I already bought him, and I’m bringing him home after work.” We named him after a favorite poet, T.S. Eliot, and we became a perfect little family. 

Eliot was a big part of our lives for many years. When our twin boys came along, he felt displaced, I’m sure, and he often seemed confused by the chaos and the noise the babies introduced into our lives. Even so, he never tried to bite them or did anything aggressive. He did bark a lot, though, which, coupled with a lack of sleep and a loud household, didn’t endear him to me for several years. I even considered finding him a new home, knowing he wasn’t happy with the new arrangements. We never could find the right person to take him, though, and so he stayed, weathering my boys’ early years and gradually, begrudgingly, getting used to them.

Eliot was 13 years old when we had to have him put to sleep. By that time, his eyesight was poor and his hearing even worse, but he still wanted to be a part of the family. He’d started having seizures, and he wasn’t eating much, instead trying to lie down but shaking all of the time. I couldn’t bear to see him suffer, and Keith and I decided the best thing for him was release. We had to do it sooner than we’d hoped, but we knew we made the right decision. It was hard to let him go, and even harder when, that night, I went into the bedroom, saw his little bed, and realized he wasn’t ever coming home again. I cried and cried; my heart truly did feel broken.

I think I missed his companionship most of all. In his later years, Eliot didn’t bark much (he couldn’t hear people coming and going), but he laid contentedly at my feet wherever I was in the house, and I appreciated his presence. He didn’t play anymore, but his personality, his stubbornness, his love of watching the squirrels in the yard, remained intact. When we made our final trip to the vet, even though he shook like a leaf and moved slowly, he tried to carry his leash in his mouth, anticipating a beloved car ride. He was, for lack of a better descriptor, a good dog.

Being without him left a hole in my life. I told my husband that I couldn’t live without another dog. A few weeks later, we went to a breeder a friend recommended and saw a beautiful, tiny dachshund pup along with his sisters and brother. He was the only red one–all of his siblings resembled his mother, a black and tan dog. But as soon as I held him against my chest, next to my heart, I knew it had been stolen away by this little creature with big, sad eyes and even bigger ears. We picked him up a couple of weeks later and brought him home, naming him Kipling after much debate amongst all of us in the household. He, too, is a good dog. He barks like a fool at anything and everything that goes on, and he’s quite sneaky about trying to lie on the couch. But anytime I need solace or warm legs, he’s there, my lovely lap companion. 

Why am I talking about pets today? Two of my good friends have had to face their pets’ end days recently. One of them had to put her beloved kitty to sleep just a couple of days ago. My other friend has a dear Great Dane that is nearing the end, and he fears having to make the decision to let him go. Sad times, and the grief we feel over the loss of a pet, these wonderful friends that stick with us through everything, is consuming and misunderstood by those who don’t have pets in their lives. 

People ask me all the time if pets cross over to the Other Side. Yes, they do, especially the ones that have been loved by someone in the physical world. They are cared for and played with in the afterlife after they make their transitions until we can get there to accompany them again. Pets even come through in readings, usually communicating through feelings and pictures what they need to say to the owners they’ve left behind. They will often visit their human counterparts from the Other Side and check up on them to make sure the house is still safe and that all is harmonious since they’ve crossed. I often see our dog, Eliot, in the evenings, lying near the couch or walking down the hallway. I only see him for a few moments, but it’s enough to reassure me that he’s still around, and he’s waiting for our reunion someday in the spirit world. 

That will be fun, I think. We can introduce him to Kip, and any other companion animals that we’ve had. We can all go for a long romp in the beautiful fields of Summerland. We’ll all be whole and complete again in every way, and the love we’ve had for each other will be amplified through the pervasive positive energy of the Other Side. 

So today, if you’ve got a pet, love him or her. Pet her, brush him, take her for a walk, give him a special treat. They all deserve it. 

Sending love and light to you and yours.

WordPress Themes