Annapurna is the Hindu goddess of food: The Mother Who Feeds

Annapurna is the Hindu goddess of food: The Mother Who Feeds.
"In this world, apart from our spiritual practice, there is no other place or power that we can rely on." Supreme Master Ching Hai

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The one where I "Just Say NO!" to the Red-Pot Ringers

Saw this bumper sticker today, on the back of what I lovingly, and probably inappropriately, call a "lez wagon." For the uninitiated, any hatchback Subaru is a "lez wagon." There are a ton of Subaru hatchbacks in the Pacific Northwest. A lot of them are driven by LGBT type of people, hence the nickname. One of them is driven by my very married girlfriend, who thinks it's hilarious that people think she's a lesbian because of her vehicle of choice. She has dared Mike to make good on his threat to put a rainbow sticker on the back when she's not looking.

Anyway, I have a great love for this group of people; I seem to be drawn to them for some reason. Mike is always saying: "If there is a gay person within a 100 mile radius, you will find them and make friends with them!" Not that it bothers him. I think he finds it amusing somehow. I just think that LGBT's are not only some of the most interesting people to talk to, but they have a love and tolerance developed by years of suffering that I haven't found in others. 

I think it's interesting that most every gay person I've met is such an awesome person. If I had been denied the right of marriage, ridiculed from a young age about  my sexuality, personality, stance, demeanor and/or mannerisms, I'd be a pretty pissed off cookie. Yet these people just exude love, tolerance and freedom. I think it's very cool.

The fact that this bumper sticker parrots an Obama for President sticker did not escape my notice. Same color, same general appearance. The President did two good things in his first term; 1: He repealed the "don't ask, don't tell" law that prohibited openly gay men and women from serving in our nation's military. Yay for that, because that was just a shitty, discriminatory law to begin with. Who wrote that anyway?? 2: He disavowed a federal law defining marriage as between "one man and one woman." That was HUGE for the LGBT community. But until May this year, he never came out and vocalized his endorsement for gay marriage. When he finally did, he was very careful, but succinct about his feelings on the matter. In an article from the New York Times, dated May 12, 2012, our President says the following:
"At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." He goes on to explain: "I had hesitated on gay marriage in part because I thought that civil unions would be sufficient. I was sensitive to the fact that for a lot of people, the word marriage was something that invokes a very powerful traditions and religious beliefs." President Obama also invoked his Christian faith in explaining his decision. "The thing at the root that we think about is, no only Chris sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it's the golden rule- you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated," he said. "And I think that's what we try to impart to our kids, and that's what motivates me as President."

Amen Mr. President. That's what it's all about. Tolerance, acceptance, and love. It is alright to hold beliefs because you are of a certain faith. But to force those beliefs on non-believers because you are in the position to do so is wrong, no matter which side of the fence you sit on. I am so happy that gay people can now legally commit themselves to one another. To legally say "I do!" with all of the benefits, commitments, and meaning that marriage holds. To legally have a say-so in all aspects of life. It's huge.

"So what does all of this have to do with the Salvation Army?" you're all thinking??! Where is she going with this? Well, let me tell you.

Those volunteers who stand outside grocery and department stores, ringing a bell during the Holidays to get you to drop your change in a bucket for the Salvation Army, probably do so because they believe it is a great community service opportunity. I do not disagree with that. What I do not condone, however, is the openly anti-gay stance that the Salvation Army takes in their doctrine. Like any other Bible-based religion, they believe homosexuality is wrong. They have had some overly zealous quack-a-doodles from their church, most recently this idiot, whose remarks, of course, were called "extremely regrettable" in an apology statement from the Salvation Army. 

Yeah, sure. It's only extremely regrettable when you bigots get caught and that's what has happened here. The dogma and ideology remain, and only when something goes viral on YouTube do you bother to apologize for your behaviour. 

So don't give these guys any of your spare change. In the name of the LGBT community, have some true Holiday compassion, and give to a more deserving charity, like The Point Foundation, who gives scholarships to at-risk LGBT youth. Or The Victory Institute, who support openly gay candidates for government office. 

Learn some love and tolerance, and remember, what you give comes back to you. Eventually. It's called Karma. I believe it, and I also believe that our whole purpose here on this planet is to learn to love. Unconditionally. Give it a try!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Sign on our Door

Doggie Rules

1.  Please ring doorbell or text/call to ascertain if dog is on-leash or being forcibly restrained BEFORE ENTERING!!
2.  DO NOT open door or screen door unless one of us is there and the dog is secured.
3.  If we are not home, enter through garage. Be prepared to chase dog in case teenagers left the inner door open.
4.  If dog escapes because you ignored rules #1, 2 and 3, you are responsible to catch said dog and return her safely to us. Enjoy your five-mile sprint and obstacle course.
5.  If dog escapes and you are running, know that no one will help you catch her because she looks like a fox in pursuit of prey. Be prepared for the possibility of buckshot or gunfire aimed at you or “fox” in flight.
6.  If, by some miracle, you gain entry to our home without any of the aforementioned mishaps, please do not respond to our darling Shiba Inu, who will be jumping up on you by way of greeting. Please ignore dog until she is calm or until one of us gives you leave to worship her highness properly.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's been a while...

Well, I knew 2012 was going to fly by in a blur, but it is pathetic that I haven't posted since Valentine's day. Ironically, I started clinicals for the year shortly after that post, and have been at it ever since, hence the lack of entries.

I've accomplished hundreds of hours of clinical this year, and have covered family practice, gynecology, pediatrics, geriatrics, and have a specialty ENT internship coming up. It's been fascinating, scary and wonderful, all at the same time. There have also been moments (more than a few) when I've questioned my sanity. I am very good at being a surgical nurse. I know my shit. So WHY?? Why am I putting myself through this? To feel like a total fraud/amateur? Because it's not fun to go back to being a learner, and they warned us all about this when we started. Apparently I didn't listen or didn't believe. Now I do; a little too late to save myself from the anguish of not being the best at something. I like being good at what I do, and it terrifies me that I will leave this Master's program knowing only 10% of what I need to know to take care of patients. TEN PERCENT!! I wouldn't want to be one of the patients that I'm figuring out the other 90% on. No way! But that's how they send us out; to figure out the rest of it. It's called "practicing medicine."

This is where faith comes in. And you all know I'm not a believer in God/Buddah/Jesus/Allah, what-EVER!  So how am I going to make it through this new life I've created for myself? I have no idea. I'm still figuring it out. I have to have faith in myself, meditation, good Karma and positive energy, and see where it takes me. I have the basics; now I just need to figure out how to make my dreams come true.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hosting the Archangels

My sister sent me an email asking me if I wanted to host the archangels this week. I had never heard of it, but apparently it's something well known to Spiritualists, Christians, Wiccans, Jews, pretty much everyone except the pasty white of the Mormon faith, which is probably why the concept is so foreign to me. (Or maybe it's the fact that the Mormons never referred to them as archangels, but rather that they believe that archangel Michael was also the first man, Adam (D&C 128:20-21) and that the angel Gabriel is Noah. The angel identified as Raphael by other Christian traditions is also recognized as an angel of significant standing in LDS scripture.)

So the ritual begins by creating some sort of special place in your clean house. (Okay, I dusted, does that count?) An alter if you will. Upon this shelf, alter (or the top of my organ, such as it is) you place a white flower (I found a Jasmine in full bloom... bonus!) a white candle, and an apple. I also gussied it up with a white doily.

Next you write three wishes on a piece of paper. One for yourself, one for your family, and one for Mother Earth. You put those in an envelope and place them next to the candle. You can also write a question on another piece of paper and put it in a separate envelope. At 10:30 the first night, you light the candle and then open your front door to usher in the archangels. There's a script, but basically you just thank them for their presence and treat them like an honored guest. They stay five days, then you thank them and let them out at 10:30 on the fifth night.

My sister has an indigo child. This child did not appreciate the presence of the archangels, and my sister warned me that they caused nothing but upheaval and strife the whole week she hosted. But she blames that on my niece. We'll see what happens this week.

Some background:  The archangels, according to Wikipedia are the highest of the high of celestial beings. They have many different names, depending on which religion you are, but the most common three are Michael, Rafael, and Gabriel. This picture is supposed to be of Michael, slaying Satan. Well, I don't believe in Satan perse, but I do believe in evil energy. So perhaps the gentlemen will keep us free from that this week. I wonder if there are female archangels? If there are, I suppose the patriarchal men who wrote the bible never bothered to mention them.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sharing is Caring

It's taken me ten years to walk the path out of Mormonism. I've blogged about the experience here recently, but up to that point the pain and agony of the journey was shared with very few people.

For obvious reasons, I don't give my life history/struggles to the world. But this week I came to the realization that not only am I better for having gone through that painful experience, but others can benefit from it.

A friend of mine reached out to me this week, seeking my advice for a friend of his who is walking a similar life-path as I've walked. I shared my story, gave him my take on how he should handle his friend, and hoped for the best.

I was so grateful and humbled by the follow up on this situation. Not only was I able to help my friend put aside some of his pre-conceived ideas about how to help his friend, but he was able to use my story to re-think how he wanted to support and love this friend through his decision, rather than fight him and try to change his mind.

As he put it: "Your email was literally the thing that allowed things to click in my brain in such a way that I finally "got it." 

 I always said: "If I only help one person by sharing, then I will feel that something good came of doing so." This week, one person has been helped. I feel grateful for the blessing of written expression, and for the ability to touch a life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

As Promised: What the Medium said

So I hooked up with the Reverend Ed Conklin, PhD at Cassadaga Spiritualist camp. Read more on Dr. Conklin here:

His card was the one I Rekei'd off the shelf. It had a nice warm glow about it. I then checked the "Mediums available today" board, and there he was! I placed a call to him, he picked right up, and in 10 minutes I was standing in his living room.  He welcomed me with a hearty handshake, and then escorted me into his reading room, which I was delighted to see was full of American Indian artifacts and other spiritual talismans.

He showed me where there was paper and pen, should I desire to take notes, and then explained to me how his mediumship worked, buy telling me that he hears and sees spirits who wish to commune with the person there for a reading. Without further ado, we began.

The first thing he said was that he had an "older woman" there, someone who could have been a grandmother type figure to me, and someone who had taught me a lot. At first I thought he was talking about Laurel, even though she was only 7 years older than me. But he then said: "Well, she says you're rather under dressed for the occasion! I see stiletto heals and bright red lipstick, and a peaches and cream complexion." Right away I know this is Grandma Nina, Mike's paternal grandmother. I've been trying to connect with her for years, since she died, to no avail.

Ed: "Who is the "R" name?"
Me: "That could be two different people."
Ed: "Which one is the cabbage head? Who doesn't listen to advice, and is lost?" (HER words, not mine:)
Me: "Well, that'd be my son Renn."
Ed: "She was very close to him; loved him very much and she's concerned about his life-path."
(I'm thinking, yeah, so am I!) But I say: "Yes, he's had some rough times, and doesn't seem to know what he wants to do with his life."
Ed: "She says you need to tell him she's not happy with his path, and you need to spend more time with him. He's smart and bright, he lacks direction."

Okay, so thing #1 is dead on.

Ed: "Next I have," pauses, clutching his chest, "Wow, this person! She loved you so much! WOW!"
Me: "Yes, go on."
Ed: "They don't usually do this type of thing..."
Me: "What's she doing?"
Ed: "Putting herself through me."
Me: "I know exactly who that is. That is my friend Laurel, who passed away 10 years ago. She has been channeled twice by two good friends of mine. They both had the same reaction to her that you're having."
Ed: "She loves you so much! She's very excited for you this year. She says that you will find your peace when you've accomplished what you have in store this year.  Are you going somewhere?"
Me: "In a manner of speaking."
Ed: "She says you will have success."

Cool beans. Maybe I'll graduate in December after all!

Ed: "Now this next person, okay, what is THAT? Um, all I'm seeing is a pair of dentures going in and out in and out of someone's mouth! And what is that sound??"
Me: "This is my Grandmother Joyce. We used to ask her to flip her dentures in and out for fun when we were kids. (I'm kind of freaking out here, because this is VERY specific...
Ed: "That sound. It's odd, is that her laugh?
Me, making the clucking sound my Grandmother used to make when she was upset with us. "Is that the sound you're hearing?"
Ed: "Yes. Very odd."
Me: "Why is she upset with me?"
Ed: "She is worried you don't take care of yourself."

No shit Grandma. Do you think I might have some stress??!  So I tell him to thank her for me, and I promise to try harder to do things for myself (like meditate, vacation, and definitely come back to this totally cool place!!)

Ed: "Now I see two older men, grandpa's perhaps? They have a deer."
Me: "A DEER?"
Ed: "Yes, did someone hunt?"
Me: "Um. Not sure. I know my husband's grandfather Howard fished... not sure about Grandpa Doug."
Ed: "They are showing me a liver."
Me: "!! Like an ORGAN?"
Ed: "Yes, one of them has it in the one hand, and he is holding a deer strung on a pole with the other hand. The two of them have it on a pole between them."
Me: "Weird, okay."
Ed: "Who is MIKE?"
Me: choking on my own spit... "My husband."
Ed: "They are concerned about his recent diagnosis.... does he have liver problems?"
Me: "Yes."
Ed: "They say he will get past this diagnosis, and live a long life."
Me: "Yes, he's always worried he'll die young. Both his Grandpa's died fairly young."

Okay, so that's interesting that they're worried about Mike. I wasn't afraid he would die, but I was concerned about his health problems. Good to know they understand how he feels.

At this point, Ed starts describing a Native American spirit, who is "elbowing his way to the front." Someone who keeps insisting that he's tied to me. I know right away who this jackass is, and I am PISSED! This person proceeded to jack the last 15 minutes of my session, insisting that he be paid a tribute.

Ed: "Ooh, he's a prankster!"
Me: "Tell me about it. Ask the jerk what in the hell it is he wants, because I've been asking him that for years, and he won't tell me."
Ed: "Your friend is jumping up and down."
Me: "That's because I told her about him waking me up at night, staring me in the face. He scared the crap out of me for years.
Ed: "He says he's connected to you."
Me: "There is no Native American in my family; I have researched my genealogy back to the 1600's."
Ed: "He's very insistent that he is tied to you."
Me: "Ask him if he's tied to my property."
Ed: "Tied how?"
Me: "Ask him if he's buried on it," (this has been my suspicion for years.)

So at this point Ed proceeds to ask this guy if indeed he is buried on or near my property. He then describes perfectly the ten acres that bump up to our property from the back side, which are privately owned by the same family, and have been owned by them since 1965.

Ed: "He died in some sort of a fight. He died defending himself on that property."
Me: "Again, ask him what he wants!"
Ed: after some time, "He won't say."
Me: "EXACTLY! I'm totally pissed at him. Tell him that!"
Ed: "I wouldn't advise that. I think he needs your blessings."

He then told me how I could try and send the guy some peace, and love light. I've tried it since, and so far he hasn't shown back up at my house. However, I ran a magazine over to my neighbor, who is highly clairvoyant, and who has channeled Laurel once before, and I casually mentioned my visit to Cassadaga. During the course of this conversation, I find out that Mr. Native American, who has not bothered me for 10 years, and who I thought was long gone after Laurel died, has indeed, not left the area! He's been hanging out at Diane's these past 10 years! Both of her kids have seen him, and she said he was particularly troublesome the last week of December. She was in tears because she was about to call her pastor to come and do an exorcism! She said, amazingly enough, that the past week had been very quiet. This coincided with my sending him out a blessing during my meditation. I encouraged her to do the same thing, and so hopefully this restless spirit will find his leave of this earthly plane!

This is exactly why people say to never discount anything that happens in a reading. I didn't need to hear about my Native American spirit from the past, DIANE DID!! It's very cool when you realize that something is truly real for a reason.

At any rate, other than another hint from Laurel that I would "take the long way home from somewhere distant in June," the reading pretty much finished with Native American jacking the last of my time. If you ever get a chance to go to Cassadaga, partake fully of the coolness there, and maybe try your hand at a reading! Totally worth it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Defining Spiritualism

I recently visited my best friend in Florida. Though I've been to Florida many times, I'd never heard of a place called Cassadaga, let alone journeyed there. However, Teresa, my best friend, has felt a pull there for the past year, and knew that she had to go there, but only with me.

Teresa and I are both conduits of sorts. Yes, I can hear you all now, screaming: "I see dead people!"  But that's not really it. We both have been blessed with the ability to interact with those who have passed on, and for both of us it is such a natural part of our lives that we seldom question it. It's kind of like knowing you have toes on your feet without looking down to verify it.

But even with my vast history of interactions with the spirit world, nothing prepared me for our trip to Cassadaga. We started out on our 90 minute drive on a cloudy, cool day: January 2, 2012.  Within 30 minutes we had moved away from the coast far enough that we began to see sun peeking through the marine layer, and by the time we reached the dusty little town of Cassadaga, there was nothing but blue sky as far as the eye could see.

To say this town is small and hard to find would be an understatement. Even the Garmin got us lost. But eventually we pulled up in front of the book store, where a sign declared: Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. As soon as I stepped from the vehicle, my chest began to hum with a familiar buzz that I only feel when I'm being contacted by someone. Only this was like being surrounded by a million someones, and it was COOL! Probably the coolest thing I've ever experienced. I wanted to jump up and down like a 4-year-old! Teresa, on the other hand, had the most terrified look on her face I've ever seen, and was already starting to hyperventilate. I had to grab her hand and pull her inside before anyone noticed her having a panic attack on the city sidewalk. She needs to learn to guard herself, but hasn't yet mastered that skill, hence one of the reasons we'd made our little trek to start out 2012.

I've been having another weird-ass dream. I know, you all heard about the dirty bathroom dream. This one is a recurrent dream that I'm nursing someone else's baby, which is something I always wished I had enough courage to do when I was actually nursing one of my own.  I've always considered it to be the most wonderful thing to do for someone in need. However, this dream is rather unsettling to be dreaming when you are **ahem** beginning a new journey into menopause.

So I started in the "Books about Dreams" section, after depositing Teresa on a bench until she could catch her breath.  With a new volume in hand, I was soon tapped on the shoulder by the bookstore lady, who asked if she could be of assistance. I told her that I'd found what I was looking for in the book I was holding. She replied: "You also ought to consider having a reading while you're here."

HMMM.  That hadn't occurred to me, actually. I've always been a big fan of John Edward, (the medium, not the cheating, lying, fornicating, scumbag politician,) and I'd actually expressed an interest in seeing him live. Here was my chance to see if these medium people were real! The kindly bookstore lady directed me to a white board where I could choose from a list of available mediums. I opted to Reiki the business cards displayed at the bottom of the board instead, which were cards from all the mediums in town. I pulled a medium named Ed, who low and behold, was available for consult that day. Yeah, I'm kind of into my ability to do that! Anyway, I experienced a wonderful reading, which I will blog about later. The purpose of this blog today is to impart to you a little flyer that I picked up in the bookstore.

I've called myself a spiritualist for years, ever since I left the Mormon church, and started looking into alternative ways to connect with a higher power. I still hesitate to call it/she/him/them "god" because I'm not really sure what that means. However, this isn't the only area I've had a hard time defining. So I was thrilled to pick up a flyer called: What is Spiritualism?  It defines me almost to a tee, so I'm going to share it below:

What is Spiritualism?
"Spiritualism is a science, philosophy and religion:
  • a science because it investigates, analyzes, and classifies facts and manifestations of the spirit;
  • a philosophy because it studies the laws of nature both on the seen and unseen side of life and bases its conclusions upon present, observed facts;
  • a religion because it strives to understand and comply with the physical, mental and spiritual laws of nature, which are the laws of god.
Spiritualism's main focus is to promote an individual's personal experience with God.
Spiritualism is a religion that is not based on a relationship with a particular savior. It recognizes all prophets that h ave come to humankind throughout the ages, not setting one above the other. It is based upon the idea that we are all to form our own relationship with god, and to obtain guidance and accept responsibility for our actions based on our interaction with that personal guidance. We are able to have that instant and personal communication directly with God through no intermediary; hence the reason that we do not give anyone a fixed idea of God, only that there is a God. Any attempt to personalize the idea of God only limits the totality of that intelligence, which is the reason that Spiritualists sometimes refer to that idea of God as "infinite intelligence" or "infinite Spirit."

Spiritualism teaches survival of the personality after death, meaning that we still think of ourselves the same after death as during our physical life. This is proven by Mediumship, the bringing aback of loved ones in evidential form who have gone through the change called death. Belief in the survival of the personality also removes grieving when it is realized that our loved ones are still around us from time to time, are able to communicate with us and still care about us, and can be communicated with. Mediumship, when done in the true sense, will produce a real understanding of this existence and level of interaction to and from the spirit realm.

Spiritualists believe that the nature of mankind is to be good,  not evil. We do not believe in sin and repentance, only spiritual progression by natural law. Nor do we believe in vicarious atonement, which means we believe that you are responsible at all times for your actions,  here and hereafter, and must compensate in some fashion for them yourself, not through a savior of some kind.
Spiritualists feel that all religions can produce enlightenment, and believe that Jesus, as well as other saviors and prophets, was a real person.
Our feeling is that your purpose here is to evolve spiritually, and then use that to be of service to others as you continue to evolve."
Printed by Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association

So now, maybe after reading the above description, you all will understand where I'm coming from.

Or, you can shake your head and think I see dead people. The choice is yours.

Stay tuned for more on Cassadaga....