Warning: Changes Are Ahead

What is the purpose of the yellow light at a traffic signal? There are two classic schools of thought, right?

“Go real fast!”
“Slow down!”

Honestly, though, the yellow light is a warning that a red light is imminent? What you do with that information depends on a lot of things; your personality, where you’re headed and why, how far from the light you are, etc.

The purpose of a yellow light is to warn you that things are about to change. It’s to prevent you from being surprised by a hard stop. If you’re paying attention, you won’t have to slam on the brakes at the last moment. If you’re close to the intersection, you’ll hurry up to get through and not be in the intersection when cross traffic gets there.

I think we get a yellow light in our lives from time to time as well. If we’re paying attention, we’ll get a warning that things are about to change suddenly and, hopefully, make some decisions based on our own needs and desires.

We meet people that change our lives for worse or for better. We get test results that make us think about the future and start plans. Our bodies slow down, ache and take longer to recover, making us realize that the ultimate red light may be just around the corner, prompting us to do the things we’ve wanted to do or say the things we need to say.

Don’t let the red light take you by surprise. Pay attention to your surroundings and the road ahead. See the warnings, not as a hindrance or a burden, but a reminder that we don’t have all the time in the world. Create the thing, go see the place, repair the relationship. There’s so much to do.

Study Doesn’t Make You Fearless


Photo by Bram. on Unsplash

I’ve uttered it myself.

“There are a lot of smart people that believe…”

“Smarter people than me have studied this and they believe…”

But something occurred to me this morning. Intelligence and study alone do not free anyone from fear.

Humans are naturally fearful. It’s what has kept us alive in the past. We’re born into this world terrified. Screaming and afraid, we are comforted by those that are tasked with caring for us. From the people around us, we slowly and steadily learn that there is some love and safety in this world, hopefully. We learn about friends, puppies, tacos, and Disneyland.

Fear is still our instinct and what we learn about this world helps us navigate it safely. Things do come along to change our minds though. We thought that person was safe but learned otherwise. We thought we could trust that doctor. We thought cookies were a great breakfast. We learn as we go.

The biggest fear is something that happens to every single one of us, death and what comes after. We can speculate, but we cannot know for sure and that generates a metric crap-ton of fear. In response, we grab on to ideas, religions, spiritual guidance, and study the past thinkers as much as we possibly can. Once we get an idea that soothes us, we hold it in a death grip (pun intended).

We can’t abolish fear from our lives, but we can be aware of it and how it affects our thinking. I don’t know what will happen. I can’t know. Instead of holding on to my imaginary life raft, I let it go and live the experience. I talk to others. I love all I can. I accept other people’s points of view as theirs alone.

I personally find comfort in knowing deep down that I’m not alone, there is no one on earth that knows for sure what will happen. Instead of hiding from fear, I acknowledge it.

“There you are fear. How are you doing today? Do you need a cookie? Let’s go for a walk together.”

What Are Dreams Anyway?

I’ve always been a very vivid dreamer, but last night really took the cake. It’s been a long time since anyone had to wake me up because I was thrashing or crying in my sleep. Last night, even after my husband shook me awake and turned on the light, I continued to cry. Every time I closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep, the images returned and my sobs continued. After a few minutes, I decided to get up and get a drink of water but when I came into the kitchen, where my dream was, it hit me again. I sat on the floor and sobbed for a few more minutes. It’s been a long, long time since a dream has held me that long.

I’d been dreaming about arguing with my son and his girlfriend. She had brought more friends over late in the evening and I really didn’t want all those people in my house. I just wanted to be alone, but when I told them to leave they couldn’t because it was pouring rain and the road was flooded.
When we came back into the kitchen, my Grandma was there. She was just standing there in the kitchen in a white shirt and pants, not smiling, not looking at anything. I looked at my husband who was standing next to me as if to ask if he saw her. When I looked back at her, she didn’t move or say anything. She looked more like she didn’t know she was there.

I reached out to touch her and could feel her. That’s when I fell to my knees in front of her and put my arms around her waist, like I did when I was little. I buried my face in her body and smelled her and started to cry. Nothing was said, just felt. I missed her so much. I wanted her to come back.
That’s when my husband shook me awake.

This morning, when I walked into the kitchen for my coffee, it flooded over me again. I pushed it away and went to my corner of the couch to read. Every time I think back on it I feel that sob rise in my throat and tears stream down my face.

My Grandma was a big part of my life growing up. The cookie giver, the keeper of secrets, the holiday maker. We lived with her and my Grandpa on and off growing up. And in college, I spent a lot of time with her watching Star Trek and hockey games on TV. We didn’t always agree and we did have some pretty heated arguments, but at the bottom of it all was her love for me. I never doubted that she would always be on my side in the end.
In 2006, she suddenly passed away from Pancreatic Cancer. It felt as if one week she was fine and the next we were all gathered in her home, watching her slip away. I cannot imagine what she went through, and I cannot even fathom what my Grandpa must have felt having to stand by and helplessly watch. I was sad to lose her too soon, but not overwhelmed with grief. I remember feeling guilty about that. I remember sitting beside her and holding her hand, feeling her small frailness in my own rough hands. I remember talking to her cheerfully about what her Great-Grandsons were up to, how much they were growing. And I remember her last day, telling her how much I loved her and that she need not worry about us, that we would all be ok, that we’d take care of each other just like she would, and that we’d all see her again soon on the other side with Jesus. I believed that with my whole heart and still do, so I have never mourned her loss. I have always felt as if she had gone on a long trip that I couldn’t go on yet and that we’ll be reunited some day. There is nothing to be sad about.

What I have mourned is what has happened to my family since she passed on. It’s so strange. What I once thought was a tight knit extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins has fractured into a million pieces, as if we were all held together by her quiet strength and courage alone. We haven’t been the same since that day and that is what I feel I lost.

I have never before had such a vivid dream of my maternal Grandmother. In life, she was small, seemingly quiet and unimposing. She was the kind of woman that told you exactly how she felt about things and what she believed was right, without stepping on toes. It was so sweet the way she told you what was what that you wanted to comply because…well…she said so. I’ve never met anyone like her and suddenly I miss her more than I ever have.
Dreaming of her standing there in my kitchen with my family has shaken me. What was it? Why was she there? Was it a warning? Was she trying to tell me something I needed to know? Was she trying to wake me up to something I didn’t know was missing? Why does our subconscious work this way?

And the most upsetting part for me is that I wrote this yesterday and reading it over today, I still can’t hold back the tears.

For my readers, if you find this story touching or relevant to you in any way, please like and share. I hate to beg, but the only way my words can spread to others is by your social media efforts. Thanks for your help!

Metaphysical Shit

I had a few moments of clarity yesterday while I was talking to a friend online. I thought I’d take it and write something a bit more cohesive, but I really liked my train of thought and wanted to share it as is.

I can’t imagine our loved ones who have passed away, living on “the other side” aware of all our bullshit, passing their time waiting for us to arrive. I refuse.

I imagine that when we die we join the bigger meaning of time as a whole, so we can see all of it at once and understand as God does. We are moving in time, so we can’t fully understand what is going on. We make ourselves nuts trying. But when we die, we go to God (or step out of time).

Those that have gone before can see what we are, our whole lives, all at once. It’s comforting to me. They know what can, has, and will happen all at once and then we’re dead and join them at the same time. There is nothing hidden by the passage of time.

The “taking up into the air” that Jesus spoke of, in my opinion.

That’s the shit I sit and think about.

What next? We can’t really know. We are part of the physical, moving through time. We can’t see outside our own moment. We can’t really remember our physical past that clearly. How could we know the future?

Here’s where it gets even weirder.

You know why I think we are always trying to hold onto the past and plan out the future?

Because we are really are from something outside of time and space. Our soul knows it but our physical self is stuck and can’t see outside of it. I think Jesus knew something of the sort and tried to tell us but we keep putting it back into our physical frame of reference.

So…what to do with it? No idea. I keep trying to enjoy the physical world, love people, regardless of their shit, that “living in the moment” crap people talk about.

Jesus tried to tell us but telling humans what waits for them outside of their reality is like trying to explain what color is to a blind person. It’s impossible unless we use our imagination.

I feel like we missed the point of just about everything He said.

That whole “the grass is greener” thing? It just isn’t. We know that. The better job. The better house. The better anything. Forget it. Unless your life is really shit. But then, how can we ever really know? I go round and round.

Death and all that comes after is outside our understanding and frame of reference. No one can explain it. It has absolutely nothing to do with the life we have now. But then why was this life created? No idea. Can’t know that either, I guess.

What about being with those you love in heaven? Are we some kind of ant farm, or what?

Everything we understand now, like marriage, procreation, today, tomorrow, money, fairness, will be gone. We won’t care or we’ll understand what was actually going on and move on to something else.

I don’t think it’s as simple as comparing it to something we create, like a game or toy.

I believe we are created for something beyond what we can really experience where we are. I don’t know how or why. From my experience on this earth, I just feel it. Too many things make sense when you step back a bit and look at them honestly, too many things are connected and deeper than we first experience.

To me, it’s like this: You can’t explain color to a person blind from birth. He’ll take his imagination and try but he won’t really understand until he can see himself. That’s where we are. Blind. My hope, what I believe from all the spirituality crap I’ve read and tired to understand, is that when we leave this physical place, we’ll be able to see the reality of God, whatever that is.

For now, I keep loving what I have, opening my heart to hear more than words, using my imagination to wonder, and not holding on to anything too tightly because none of us gets out alive.

What’s the purpose? What would God make it so difficult to know Him or living so painful?

I don’t have answer to that. Anyone that does is selling something. I do know that when I began to quiet my mind, spend time meditating, praying, and learning to focus, things were clearer, just out of reach but clearer. I found acceptance of what is. That there is not happy with out sad. There is no joy without pain. They are two sides of the same coin.

Eight years on anti-anxiety medication taught me that part. When I was on them, I wasn’t sad anymore, but I wasn’t happy either. I was neutral. It was not a healthy place to be. There was no growth, nothing got better. It just stagnated.

And then this morning, I came across this in my morning reading:

From the book “Depression is a Choice” by A.B. Curtis: “Nathaniel Hawthorne, in The Marble Faun, posits that sorrow may be ‘merely an element of human education, through which we struggle to a higher and purer state than we could otherwise have attained.’ He suggests that we travel ‘in a circle, as all things heavenly and earthly do,’ in and out of sin and sorrow, and thus return to our original self ‘with an inestimable treasure of improvement won from an experience of pain…bringing a simple and imperfect nature to a point of feeling and intelligence which it could have reached under no other discipline.’”

That doesn’t give us license to inflict pain on others. That’s just cruelty. There are so many painful things in this world naturally without intentional cruelty. Making sure your child learns not to do something by inflicting pain, is not helpful. Helping your child through the natural pain of a choice is.

So here I sit, working through my own anxiety, trying to learn patience. It never ends…well..until you die. Or does it?

Sexy Vampires

20181115_134928I loved vampires as a teenager and well into my twenties. They were just so damn sexy. I read every book about them, watched every movie. I saw this book on the shelf at our used bookstore a week back and thought, yes…I need to revisit this one! I devored it.

It was still a pretty good story. I did very much get sucked (yep, I said it) into it. I brought the movie up on Netflix but only got about fifteen minutes into it before turning it off in disgust. I wasn’t happy with their choice of actors back then either.

I did get something interesting this time. I learned something about vampires. They’re dead. I know! You didn’t know that? Of course they are! But here’s the thing. Louis never let go of being alive, of being human. He thought he was ready to die. I guess they all thought that and eventually came to terms with it in one way or another, or died.

Vampires are dead. They are dead things and don’t change. They don’t grow. They don’t add to the living world. They only feed off the living to stay the same.

It’s tragic. How could we want that? We love vampires because they live forever, they have power over others. But at what cost? The fact that we die, that our time is limited, is what makes being human so wonderful. We have to spend our time wisely. We have to work to stay alive.

I’m not so in love with vampires any more. They aren’t half as sexy as they used to be. Maybe I’ve grown and left them behind.