I believe in a love that transcends this life. A love capable of miraculous, mysterious and sometimes mischievous miracles that defy the odds to say, “I am here, I am with you, I am love."
Posts from the ‘Precognition/Spiritual Experiences’ Category
I have been away so long, because for a while now I have been lost along the Way. Today, I found something I wrote a long time ago. It came back to me like a ray of light shining dimly through the nearly closed door into the dark room where I found myself once again. The door that swung ever-so-slowly shut while my back was turned, while my attention was elsewhere. Elsewhere in the past focused on pain and guilt, and in the future full of fear and dread; both in my personal life and reflected in the world at large. Reading my words from so long ago, I felt a faint knocking on my heart, a reminder that it is time to wake up again, to stand up, to turn and open the door once more. These are the words I read:
Imagine all of the world’s sacred texts each transcribed onto their own single, thin transparent page. Each page rendered lovingly in vivid colors in the elaborate calligraphy of an illuminated manuscript. Each one striving to reveal the divine to a particular people at a particular time in a particular place.
Now, envision each fragile, holy page carefully layered one atop another. Stacked and neatly aligned, they are then lifted up to the divine light. All earthly interpretations dissolve while areas of commonality blend and deepen, rise to the surface. Like a stained glass cathedral window, only beauty emerges.
You begin to experience the enlightened words as they wash over you. Love. Compassion. Mercy. Forgiveness. Unity. From many voices, one divine source shines down on you and you are held suspended in an indescribable abiding love that seems to expand beyond your capacity to contain it. So you don’t try to contain it anymore. That’s when surrender comes.
All illusion dissolves, the veil is lifted, and you are free once again to see the divinity. In the only place it resides. In the here and now.
The divinity in the everyday. Every day.
I searched through 20,000 of my photos to find a particular image for ending this blog, but I couldn’t find it. But here is the one I kept finding–so I relented. A big fist-bump from the universe. Rock on, it seems to say. You’ve got this. We’ve got this.
I was in my early twenties. The woman in the Palm Reader tent at the Renaissance Festival told me to make a fist, then she counted the creases near my pinky finger and announced I’d have five children! I forgave her in my thoughts, even as a pain stabbed my heart. She couldn’t have known of my recent miscarriage, let alone the years of infertility challenges I’d endured and would continue to endure for years to come. She didn’t know about the yearly surgeries to burn off wayward endometrial tissue that had migrated into places it shouldn’t be, causing pain and scarring. There would be eight or nine surgeries in all, over ten years before I finally told my husband, “No more.”
Years passed. A dream visitor with almond eyes and olive skin told me to be patient, that she would come one day to be my daughter. But she didn’t come, and I wasn’t patient. Then a call came late one Friday evening. I wasn’t home. The answering machine spoke with the voice of a woman named Dorothy from Anoka County Social Services. She said there was a blonde haired, blue-eyed girl, nearly 3 years old, who needed a family. She thought ours would be perfect.
When we picked her up a month later, she gently patted her foster-mother’s tearful face, telling her it would be all right as I reached for her, my own face covered in tears, and carried her away. She stuck to me like glue. One day as she trailed me into the bathroom, yet again I said, “Honey, mommy is going to take a shower, can you give me a little privacy?” “Sure!” she said, and marched out the door. I was surprised but pleased with how easy that was and stepped into the shower. The curtain opened soon after and her little blonde head poked in, “Mom, I looked all over for a little privacy, but I couldn’t find it anywhere!”
Two years sped by, and another phone call. This time we were home to answer the call. I yelled for my husband to pick up the other phone as the adoption agency told us there was an 8-week-old baby boy waiting for a family. Could we pick him up tomorrow afternoon at 1PM? YES! A quick run to Target for what we thought a baby might need, and he was ours. A few nights he slept in a drawer until we could set up the crib. He was serious, and stoic, and perfect.
But a marriage neglected because of a singular focus on infertility for more than a decade soon unraveled. Dark days followed as relationship problems, long ignored, were not cured by parenthood. It will take years, coming out of that darkness, to see transformation and light. A new relationship. A chance to change, to do better, to be better.
I am in the midst of the adoption process again, with my newly beloved, when we are surprised by a pregnancy that was thought to be impossible. At 39 I am suddenly pregnant with that almond-eyed, olive skinned child who had admonished me to be patient 15 years before. She is a beautiful combination of my Chinese-American husband and me. On a summer morning a few years later, I will awaken with a start! Opening my eyes I will see her in bed next to me, smiling. “The angels came and wanted to talk to you again, but I said, ‘NO!’ and so they put you on the heaven slide and you went ‘PLOP!’ back into your body!” she will say to me. Yes, talks with angels in my dreams happen often.
But, my new husband and I, we are still on that adoption journey we began before the surprise pregnancy, and we see his little face staring out at us from the waiting child website for Korea. Yes, this is him, we know it immediately. We travel to Korea to get him. His foster sister has added red highlights to his black hair, just like hers. He has been well loved in the year he has spent with them, and he grieves deeply for months after he comes home with us. We understand his pain. We take turns holding him through his sorrow and love him into this new family.
Are you keeping count? Yes. Four children so far.
We are content with our big, diverse family. Sewn together through serendipity and love. I am 45 years old. I settle into the parenting role I always wanted, all those years ago when I thought it would never happen. My children are 18, 14, 6 and 3 years old.
Then one night, on a solitary weekend retreat, I dream again. This time it’s about beets. I dream my body needs iron, craves it. In my dream, I am feeding something inside of me that is ravenous for beets. All through that surprise pregnancy, I crave beets. Our daughter is born just three months shy of my 46th birthday. A second miracle by all common-sense standards. She is funny, outgoing and bright, and a never ending source of quotable conversation. One day she is playing at the toy kitchen in my home office on the porch. She has her apron on, and a doll on her hip as she says in an exasperated tone, “I should not have married Justin Bieber, he never does any work around the house!” Another morning I wake to her standing next to my bed, staring straight into my bleary eyes. “I think heaven is different for everyone,” she whispers, “For some people it’s like a beautiful meadow, or like Candyland. For me it would be just like my life, right now, here with my family.”
Yes. Heaven on earth. Happy Mother’s Day.
Mammaste~Divinity in the Everyday.
They mentioned that it was a private adoption, but they knew a little bit about the background of the adoptive parents and their first names, all of which they shared with me. It felt like a bolt of electricity had just shot through me. I was shocked by what I’d just heard. “I know them,” I gasped.
I will never know if I would have gone through with ending my life that night, or if it was just a step I was taking in testing this option . . . moving closer to it to see if it still felt like the answer. I will never know because I have never felt that way again. . .
Drowning is truly a quiet affair. My arms stretched out at my sides, my head tilted back seeing only sky as I tried to keep my mouth and nose above the waves. I couldn’t make a sound, nor could I wave my arms. When I tried, I would immediately go under. All around me, even brushing against me, people were splashing and screaming and laughing, oblivious to my struggle. Finally, exhausted, I gave up and lowered my chin.
Last night around 11PM I quickly climbed outside my second-story bedroom window onto the roof that sits above the kitchen addition. The roof is narrow and flat and covered in rubber. I was in a hurry to shoot the full moon before it moved behind a stand of tall trees on its trajectory across the night sky. I am a 55-year-old woman with dimensions incompatible with squeezing through a small opening in a big hurry. I barked my shin on the way out, bumped my head and cursed that moon. Rushing and grumbling, I impatiently set up my tripod and took a few quick photos only to find that my camera settings were off. As I anxiously readjusted the ISO and F-Stop, that beautiful annoying moon slipped behind the treetops and hid from my view.
It was near midnight as I stood high above the earth, irked at the moon. Then I noticed how quiet the world was. How the air was soft and cool and the black rubber roof, still holding the heat from the day’s sunshine, was warm beneath my bare feet. I could see the neighborhood houses had closed their eyes, save for a few lighted windows winking at me through branches moving in the breeze.
Behind me, in the home I was leaning up against with one shoulder, my husband and children slept. Our big, sweet, retriever dog Baloo had followed me to the window. Looking confused as I squeezed through the narrow opening, he’d cocked his head from side to side, and was watching me still. With a heavy sigh I heard him plop down below the windowsill inside to wait for me. I took a deep, contented breath and did the same on the other side of the wall. And there I sat, like a happy gargoyle perched on the roof, inhaling the silence, waiting on the moon.
By the time she sauntered into a gap between the trees about 30 minutes later, I was calm and ready. I had a heart filled with love. Love of this home, this family, this neighborhood, the sleeping people, this night, this moon. I stood and put my eye to the viewfinder and seeing her full in the frame I said, “Well, there you are. Took your sweet time, I see.” She smiled and said, “Cheese!” as I clicked the shutter.
There is so much divinity in the everyday.
The world shines about me,
luminous as the moon
smiling like a rose,
and a sweet benediction flows
through everything existing.
How beautiful life is.
Hamza El Din
When publishing an essay here on my blog, or posting a photo, a favorite saying or a funny story on Facebook I imagine myself writing them on real paper. I smile as I see myself rolling them up tightly and slipping them into the narrow opening of a virtual bottle. As they push past the neck and into the open space below, I see them unfurl in my mind’s eye and I mentally seal the bottle and toss it out into this undulating, big blue internet ocean with the click of my mouse.
My messages are nearly always love letters. They are written to myself too, because the simple act of bearing witness publicly to the beauty I see around me is good for me, and that is enough. But early on I used to wonder, when my message in a bottle rolls up on someone else’s distant shore does it arrive at just the right time? Does it touch them? Does it make a positive difference in their day? Does it matter to anyone else?
I don’t wonder any more. Here and there people send me little love notes back. They tell me that my bottle reached them. Something I wrote, or a picture I took spoke to them. They write to me saying I sent just the right message at just the right moment to just the right person. Love notes like this one:
“Dear Lori ~
You need to know how Mammaste touches peoples lives on the most basic level so I write to you now. There are so many days when a beautiful photograph you take or a story you tell, like your daughter making her father turn the car around so she could snap a photo of a heart in nature, warms my heart. Today was exceptional though. Your post about today being a gift & a blessing shook me to the core on a day where putting one foot in front of the other was nearly impossible. Your loving words from the heart of a mother inspired me to START my day. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude.
Leslie McAfee Richter” (Used with permission)
There have been many others too. For each and every one, my heart is warmed in reading them, and I am grateful. They are little love notes rolling up on my sandy shore. I want you to know your messages have reached me. I know you, like me, have been moved by the words of others on social media, and on blogs, and watching videos that make us laugh and cry and amazing TED Talks on beauty and bravery and vulnerability, and the list goes on. We may not write a response every time. But we are moved just the same, and we are changed for the better.
A funny thing happened as I was crafting this essay. I noticed a Private message on my Facebook tab. When I opened it, it read:
“I love you. Enjoy the evening sun . . . I just had the feeling rush over me so I took advantage of telling you via this modern age contraption.”
It was from my dear friend Jane just down the street!
We can shape this ‘modern age contraption’ that is the internet into anything we want it to be. Why not a vehicle to transport our love letters to humanity, to the world?
Divinity in the Everyday
This 'Way' of being in the world, of seeing the world as inherently good, of life as ultimately hopeful, and beautiful and sacred, is an exercise in flexing my ‘intention’ muscle every day. This loving outlook is an awareness I cultivate consciously. It is my spiritual practice of divine perspective. It is an intention of being a non-judgmental observer of myself and others. It involves, much of the time, my being unreasonably optimistic.