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“It’s the stuff God hits your ass with, when he doesn’t want to kill ya, he just wants to slow ya down.” -Richard Pryor on MS

Leanne_Spiritual_Heart.341200433_stdI believe that people take on catastrophic challenges for different reasons, because in our deepest Being, we want to wake up; we want to evolve and we want to effect the collective evolution of humanity. That is not small potatoes. Otherwise, the Universe would be seen as an uncompromising, sadistic force, which I do not, cannot and will not ever believe; that is too antithetical to what I feel in my heart. Without my cumulative felt-perceptions nurtured over many decades and perhaps many lifetimes, I might have the consciousness of a chickpea, not meaning to disparage a chickpea. Sorry Rumi.

My belief system has been nurtured by my evolving love for myself and humanity. How could this curriculum be for anything but my betterment? When I feel moved to look deeper into the etiology of the illness I feel like an investigator looking for clues. Either we volunteer for these rigorous curricula or they are arbitrary, the latter of which I don’t believe for a minute given the outcomes I have witnessed and experienced. I also believe that we set up reminders along the way when we might be deviating from our chosen course. At these points, like breadcrumbs along the path, we face crossroads where free choice can be exercised to alter the trajectory.

I can remember making choices during my life that, in retrospect, were not in my best interest. Rather than seeing these choices as failures or even tests that would imply right or wrong, I see these moments as opportunities for my Soul to catch my attention. Based on the curricula chosen by the Soul, these nudges are instructive and they become louder and louder when ignored.

Working on surrendering my egoic willfulness, I suspect that I created a failsafe plan to get my attention that would not allow for error. Early in the illness, I felt punished and ashamed. Now I understand that the opposite is really true. Because I am a courageous soul with fierce determination, I set out a curriculum where surrender was the only option.

I can remember example after example of times in my life when I deferred my own judgment to other people’s opinions. I can remember denying my own intuitions and desires to meet other people’s needs. The most representative example of this self injurious behavior was after a marital separation where I was left emotionally devastated. It took two days to get myself out of bed and back to work, after six weeks of singing Amazing Grace for an hour each day while driving over the causeway to New Orleans, I gradually brought my life back to a place of joyful homeostasis. I began to dream of finding a small house for myself and the children that was only mine.

When my husband sensed my joy he requested  a reconciliation, I pivoted away from my dream to reconcile. I began having anxiety attacks like I had never experienced. I remember being unable to leave the car, but still I ignored them. In retrospect, these felt like wake-up calls that I systematically ignored. What could my soul do, but make the alarms louder? That was when the symptoms were beginning. But it is never just one incident; there are often many unheeded calls. Remember, the illnesses or injuries are not punishments. They are sacred breadcrumbs to assist your return to your chosen path.

Around this time the symptoms had begun. Instead of abandoning my dream, I needed to turn toward my dream, to empower it, to empower myself. Only in retrospect do it realize the significance of ignoring the prompting from my soul. I gave my soul no choice but to intensify the constriction. This was a loving gesture, like a parent creating instructive containment to assure healthy development in their child. There is no judgment regarding the required curriculum on a Soul level. Challenges and resulting behaviors are met with neutrality. What is most important is the return to a deeper sense of self-love. “God does not want to kill ya, just slow ya down.”

People design specific karmic lessons during their pre-birth planning to focus on developing particular traits, i.e. self-esteem, generosity, compassion, becoming more self-referential during their mortal lifetimes. I believe that becoming self-referential was central to my learning and being willful was in the way of making better choices that would deepen self trust. Okay, enter progressive degenerative illness  to affirm to my ego that my soul is in charge. From the perspective of this singular life, it seems like a big deal, but from the scope of thousands of lifetimes it is a mere speck in the bigger picture.

The hope and promise of a life fully lived brings with it the perspective of seeing our lives from the bigger picture perspective. With this understanding, suffering can be greatly reduced and deep joy and satisfaction attained from the knowing that we have done our best. It is for this intended outcome that I continue to log my Journey.

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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

Vector illustration of a man in jailI watched a powerful documentary titled Serving Life, narrated by Forest Whitaker. It was filmed in Angola prison, one of the most violent prisons in the US. The Warden decreased the violence by 70% by infusing humanity into convicted murderers and sex offenders. He instituted a hospice program where the felons, acting as surrogate families, took care of each other through their final passage. Their lives were no longer focused on the life they took, but the life they served making his transition.

The closest I got to Angola penitentiary was hiking outside the prison. I have always had a difficult time being in the dense, impacted energy of prisons. I had a student intern who was placed at a local prison. My denial regarding sociopathic personality disorders rendered me vulnerable to their manipulation; prisons were not safe to my psyche. My student introduced me to interesting personalities within that particular system. One such sociopath would wait for a person to walk by his prison cell and ejaculate through the keyhole. His aim was impeccable and a message was clearly delivered. I was out of my element within the prison walls.

It would be a few years before I became initiated to finally accept the intransigence of the sociopathic personality disorder. This excruciating process was described in a previous blog entry titled Dancing With the Devil.

My first male psychotherapist named Ken had spent many years in a maximum security prison until he had systematically taken down the internal walls around his heart and the prison system could not spit him out fast enough. A certain energetic frequency needs to be maintained internally, in order for the external walls to be maintained. Once his vibration raised, his environment needed to change to attain a new equilibrium. It is merely physics.

We create self-imposed prisons based on our internal beliefs and thoughts, which is what determines our energetic frequencies. As we clear the clutter around our minds and hearts, liberation is achieved. From what I have read, which resonates through my Being, we will merge into Unity once we all heal and evolve. The ramifications of this Truth are profound, if we can grasp the reality as our own. It means we all need to help each other. No one can be left behind.

The ones who have lost their way and exhibited predatory behavior are also included in this Whole. When I see the work being done in Angola, the “bloodiest prison in America,”  I can see, without equivocation, that this is possible.

“One world is dying, and another is being born. Let us attend to both with compassion.” Marianne WilliamsonDan-and-Terri-in-MauiSMALL

Terri Daniel became a friend in 2011 after I read her fascinating journey with her son Daniel. At ten, Daniel was diagnosed with a rare neurological illness, much like ALS. Terri was his primary caregiver for the remaining six years of his life. For the last two Daniel could not speak. Terri learned to communicate with Daniel telepathically, so that after he transitioned at sixteen, the communication resumed and they have now written three books together.

Their first book, Swan In Heaven affirmed a revolution in me that was well underway, internally. Daniel disseminated profound teachings, one of which has informed much of my understanding of my process of late. Daniel described a “mirror image” process, where when one dies and their breathing diminishes, on the other side the diminished breath manifests as light. So as the breath from the human body dissipates, the light gets stronger in Spirit, “until the last breath closes one door and opens the other.” I have realized that as my functioning decreases in this denser form, my Light is increasing in function and Beingness. For me, the apt metaphor is one of being birthed. The only experience I can compare this to what is watching a filly being born on our horse farm in Louisiana. With each contraction, the filly was more a part of our realm.

My respiration is greatly diminished, but my Spirit is getting stronger every day. The home health nurse is always astonished at the shallowness of my breath. Also, living at 8000 feet altitude diminishes my breath even further. The introduction of any errant bug can be the catalyst for my transition at any moment. Living on the edge has its challenges and its rewards. The more I reflect on the latter, the more regenerative and joyful my life is.

Moving toward one’s end-of-life can be traversed abruptly or slowly. Some people believe how one proceeds is predetermined prior to incarnating. How free will can interplay with this predetermination can alter the trajectory. We are just beginning to understand what can be called the last frontier.

Exploring my feelings surrounding this transition can bring varying degrees of fear and panic, until I realize everybody does it. We are all birthed into this physical existence, like the filly and we are all birthed out. They are the most natural processes. If you believe in reincarnation, which I do, I have probably done it hundreds, maybe thousands of times. Amnesia, chosen on a soul level, makes it seem new every time, allowing the teachings to be integrated on a deep level.

Thinking about who and what I am leaving brings tremendous grief in the limited knowing sphere. I completely believe that we really don’t go anywhere, we just vibrate at a higher frequency, making it harder to perceive. I told my children they will just have to learn to listen better. Terri learned to listen to Danny better. Imagining where I am going, seems adventurous. I have had a vision from long ago of an amphitheater on an ocean that feels familiar. I know this is a sacred place beyond this frequency. I just know it. I have always felt there will be a great celebration when I cross over and there will be much support, as I will continue to be a support for my loved ones, family and friends.

When I remember to focus on my destination, I become joyful. I am thankful for the sacred trailblazers who are compassionate enough to show us the Way.

“Never doubt the softness of this Love’s strength to pass through any obstacle…” -Kathryn Brady

8a660b37da8f23013bbaa08422973223Recently, I texted my brother, letting him know I had an injury. Being 2000 miles away, I believe it is important to keep in touch with my loved ones. This illness renders my physical existence precarious to say the least. One injury, one errant bug could easily take me out. I would rather they not be surprised.

When I told him about the injury, I added our predictable Jaffe humor, “you cannot keep a good woman down, especially a descendent of Beatrice.” My mother, Beatrice, was a complicated woman, born in the Bronx in 1924 to a family with immigrant parents and all male siblings. Her relationship with her mother was not very strong from what I have heard. My mother had been a tomboy. I remember seeing a photograph of her as a small child with a broken arm after she had fallen out of a window in the Bronx. I probably had more in common with this young girl than I ever realized and I am realizing it more and more as I am maturing and that it is not a detriment.

My relationship with my mother was extremely conflicted. Perhaps she was less comfortable with girls and women than boys and men. I remember overhearing her when I was young saying she cared for her daughter, but her sons, she adored. I remember not being devastated by hearing this, but feeling affirmed, because I already knew this. My mother was not subtle, you pretty much knew where you stood with her.

In all fairness, the package I represented to her was challenging to say the least. I was an emotional, overly-sensitive, dependent child with more demands than my mother could meet at thirty years old with three children and a marriage that overwhelmed her. My mother was the glue of the family, the liaison who brought all of the factions in her family together. My mother was loved in the family and the community.

The older I get, the closer I feel to my mother and I believe she feels the same way. The greatest gift I ever gave her was a daughter. When Casey was born by cesarean section, I was awake during surgery, but given a general anesthetic afterword. I’m sure I infected the anesthesiologist with my fears. That is the only way I can understand the circumstances. Being out of it, Casey was placed in an incubator for two days. When I found this out, I immediately sent for my mother. She was running errands when she got my message, packed her bag, left a note for my father and ran to the airport. This effort set the scene for a relationship with her granddaughter that brought deep redemption to her life. She was able to do for Casey, what she could never have done for me. I am tremendously grateful for this relationship, of which I was a mere bystander.

At a certain point in my emotional and spiritual development, I realized that on a soul level I must have chosen my mother. The thought was particularly difficult to grapple with, but being a believer in the process, I reflected on. Over the next few years, it started to occur to me that one of my mother’s greatest strengths was that she was incredibly strong in a forceful and effective sense. Recognizing that power is a central issue in my development, it made perfect sense that I chose her to model this. She was not a nurturing mother and I also recognize the curriculum of opposites. When a soul is wanting to learn self-love, they often choose parents who are incapable of providing this quality externally, so the person needs to find it internally.

After years of resenting my mother for not being who I wanted her to be, I can finally love her for who she is/was. In that way, she can be much more of who she truly is, for which I am tremendously grateful.

I find that as I become more me, she is becoming more her; after sixty years I can finally in my heart let her become Beatrice.