Stories of Spirit…Love, death & soul mates

February is a month that immediately brings love to our minds.  Valentine’s day dominates the short month with its proclamations of emotional commitment and adoration, it stirs the heartstrings of those of us lucky enough to be engaged in loving relationships and vomits feelings of loneliness and despair on the rest of us.

I am amongst the fortunate, as I have been happily married to my husband for 26 years this February.  I thank the powers that be every time I do Spirit Communication for someone who has lost their spouse, particularly when working with someone who was married much longer than my mear 26 years.

To know deep, true love is to experience one of the greatest treasures that exist in our reality.  When we find someone who’s wyrd flows & dances with the intricacies of our wyrd, we know what it is to have a soulmate.  Soulmates are not something reserved for ancient memories, other lifetimes, and reincarnation.  We can form new relationships as soulmates in any life we live in.  To be a soulmate is to share a deep personal connection, that goes beyond words, beyond emotions, it is a connection that remains when the body is no more.  It is a connection that waits and recreates itself, again and again, allowing us to know one another on deeper and deeper levels.

When our soulmate dies; whether we spent decades in this life together or days, we feel as if a part of our soul has also left this reality.  We find ourselves confused as if our internal compass no longer knows where to find home.  This loss never completely goes away, but it turns to something beautiful and melancholy over time, like a love song you enjoy listening to and crying.

In time, we find a new normal, in which we can make space for our Beloved Dead/soulmate.  This happens by creating patterns, and rituals that give us boundaries for communication.  Sacred space such as altars of remembrance are great ways to create healthy patterns with our dead.  Talking to the ones we love in spirit is normal and is a part of spiritual practices around the world.  When a soul crosses the veil (barrier between life & death), they can see & hear us quite clearly.  It is more difficult for us, in the living world to perceive the ones we love in spirit.  Repetition, such as always talking to our dead in the same location (the kitchen, near their altar, at the graveyard, etc.) makes it easier for us to feel our Beloved Dead.  They know to come to us at these places, and using the same locations creates an energetic pattern over time making communication easier.  Remember thought matters, therefore telling ourselves we communicate in the kitchen, makes the kitchen a good place to communicate.  For this reason, I recommend comfortable places, particularly the kind of spaces your soulmate would like to hang around.

It is often these bonds; the ones with deep feelings of intimate love, that create the most lasting spirit relationships.   These relationships are often so close that the living partner may take on some of the dead partner’s traits, beliefs or interests.  This is not limited to relationships with spirits we had spousal relationships, in fact hanging around with the same spirit for long periods of time is much like hanging around with a friend for a long period of time, we pick up each other’s habits.  I have seen this in my relationship with Adam (my doorman/spirit guide), in fact when I first submitted writing to my editor; while writing my book Jump Girl, my editor noted that my writing was good, but I wrote like a journalist.  Adam was a journalist!

Soulmates exist beyond death, and although we are not limited to one, when we do get the opportunity to have a life with one of these treasures of reality, we need to cherish it.  Remember to stare deeply at the one you love, do this often, allowing your senses to absorb all of who they are.  For these will someday be memories more precious than gold.  May we all be blessed with the ability to see each day as our last, so that we can savor that which is in front of us.

For those of you who have experienced the deep loss associated with losing a soulmate/partner, know that you are amongst the most fortunate in this world, to have experienced such beautiful love.  Your loss as deep as it may seem holds nothing to the light that shows in your memories.

spreading love-salicrow

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STORIES OF SPIRIT…Embracing the Darkness [the wheel of the year, hygge, and spirit honoring]

The first snow has settled on the forested hilltop, I call home, bringing with it feelings of slumber and deep knowing.  It calls to me to get comfortable; put on my sweater pants & neckwarmers, and begs me to go deep into my own being.  We, like all living things, are connected to the planet we live on, and her cycles have a great pull on our lives.  When we listen and flow with the current of nature we find balance and understanding.

I began acknowledging the effects of seasonal change on my life when I was in my early 20’s and started exploring Wicca and other Earth-based spiritual practices.  The rotation of the Wheel of the Year is a significant factor in most spiritual practices associated with nature, for such teachings recognize that we are part of our world, not separate from it.  This belief is a powerful one that makes us look at ourselves and the world around us differently.  It is a lens through which we can perceive that which is hidden, both in ourselves and in the environment.

The Wheel of the Year is a cycle of seasonal holidays observed by most pagans.  It consists of 4 quarter dates, marked by the Solstices & Equinoxes, and 4 cross-quarter dates that note the halfway points between. 

We are fast approaching on one of these markers on the Wheel of the Year-Samhain/Halloween.  Halloween which is known as Samhain in the Celtic traditions, Alfablot (sacrifice to the elves) in Old Norse, and Día de Muertos/Day of the Dead in Hispanic culture, and All Saints Day to the Catholics.  All of these celebrations take place within a period of 3 days; October 31st-November 2nd and they are all associated with honoring the dead (note-All Saints day is about honoring dead Saints in particular).  Coincidence?  I think not…

Until modern times people had to live in close relationship with the Earth, as we were more likely to have healthier livestock and fuller harvests if we knew a thing or two about the cycles of the planets.  This relationship also allowed us to refocus and renew our own spirits, for slowing down in winter gave us time to be crafty and cunning, to tell stories around the fire and to reconnect with our families.  These cycles were not limited to those who experienced the drastic seasonal changes of the North, for all places cycle…

Knowing the cycle nature takes in our area is vital to mental balance.  In the North, the darkness of Winter can be hard for many; Seasonal-affective disorder is a thing.  It is particularly hard if we create unreasonable goals for ourselves in the winter months.  This is not a call to full-on hibernation, it is instead a notice to be kind to yourself, to recognize that your body wants to move slower in the dark season.  To take it as an invitation to sit around the coffee shop and chat with friends on your day off, instead of tackling a major project.  It is a suggestion to pick up a handcraft such as knitting or crochet and become productive in a way that lets your mind wander and dream…for the Winter months are for dreaming and planning.  It is also a reminder that when we connect to the season we do not seek to avoid it.  The Norwegian people have this one down…they call it Hygge!

Hygge {Hue-gah}-The feeling of comfort and cozy, with friends or alone.  It is about embracing the unique aspects of the Winter.

For those of you wondering why the fuck I am talking about Winter when it isn’t even Halloween yet, don’t worry…I am getting there.  Halloween in Vermont very often comes with snow, those of us who live in the North are familiar with the need to incorporate Winter Jackets into our kids Halloween costumes.  (A few years ago, my granddaughter went as a Vermont Wonder Woman, which means she had a jacket under her outfit and a Winter hat instead of a circlet).  Therefore Hygge/embracing the Winter season is important to us now, for Winter is certain to embrace us.

Samhain/Halloween has changed a lot for me over the years.  I am still in love with costumes and the mirth associated with the season, but as my spiritual practices have evolved, my reverence for the Dead and the Otherworld has become paramount in my celebrations.  I take the time to remember my Beloved Dead (friends, family, loved ones and ancestors) at this time.  When I pull out my box of Halloween decorations, I find resting on top, pictures of my loved ones in Spirit.  I pull them out lovingly and give them a place of honor in my home.  My home becomes a place of memories as I go about my daily life.  I place most of the photos in my kitchen, as that is where my working altar is.  Here along the window sills, and upon my altar I place photos of the ones I love…a picture of Adam walking along the ocean, my father in his Marine dress uniform, the high school photo of my grandmother Eulalie, Grammy Brown when she was most likely my age, my grandfather sitting in the backyard, my friend Mike with his mouth wide open in laughter, my husbands grandparents whom I loved like my own (particularly Grammy Bickford), and my Aunt Sissy & I hugging the last time I saw her.

You can choose to live this way.  It is not a religious thing, it does not require you to say any vows or swear allegiance, it is simply a choice to be connected.  Something we could all use in these times of change.  Hell being more connected to our world, naturally makes us more compassionate and concerned with what’s going on, but it also gives us a sense of belonging…

Here is a how-to on embracing the season & honoring your Beloved Dead-

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What you will need- pictures of your Beloved Dead (friends, family, loved ones, ancestors), memorabilia-trinkets that help us remember, religious or spiritual items if you choose, any candle

*choose a space to display your photos and memorabilia-this can be one shelf or throughout your home, it does help to have them somewhat contained, so my suggestion is to keep it to one room.  I choose the kitchen, as it is where I keep my working altar.

*Keep the photos up as long as you like, but I recommend at least the 3 days before and after Samhain/Halloween.

*During the time you have the photos up, talk about your Beloved Dead, tell stories of them, sing their favorite songs, drink their favorite beverages, eat their favorite foods, REMEMBER THEM…this is the greatest honor we can give to our Spirits, the gift of remembrance.

*Remember the Hygge of the situation, embrace the dark season and the places in our memory it takes us.  Be comfortable while you remember and honor, cuddle up on your couch and watch an old Halloween special, remembering your childhood when your mother/father/grandparent sat with you as you sat fascinated by the magic of the season.

*Light a candle on your altar, or in the room, you have your photos set up whenever you are able.  This is a symbol to your Beloved Dead that you are calling out to them.

Remember that everyone has the ability to feel their Beloved Dead, like a candle flame in the darkness your Spirits, can use to find you.  Although the ways they communicate with you may be subtle…dreams, songs, birds, knowing, feeling, smelling, they are trying.  If you are seeking deep connection with your Dead I suggest reaching out to a Medium https://www.salicrow.com/, for we are more like Light Houses; giving off a much broader span of light and attracting more spirits, making communication easier.

Whether you choose to connect with your Beloved Dead this season or not, I highly suggest welcoming Hygge into your life.  Savor and enjoy every moment, the cold rainy days & the snowy blustery days as well.  Our environment stirs up emotion in us and helps us to better understand ourselves.  My other suggestion is to get yourself good winter gear.  Be warm, you will like it better!

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Best Friends with my Spirit Guide [soul-friends]

My book has been out for 3 weeks now, and people are starting to share their experience of reading it, with me.  Most of the feedback has been in regards to similar personal psychic experiences people have had, and how they gained intuitive insight from reading how I navigated my own Psychic development.  The other sharing I have experienced is that people recognizing the people & places in my story.  This is not all that unusual as I have lived within an hour radius of the Connecticut River for the entirety of my life (minus a few months in Maryland here and there).  Vermont & New Hampshire are my home; particularly the areas of the Northeast Kingdom, and the White Mountains.

Last week one of my community friends brought up Adam when she spoke of my book and how the reading of my relationship with him affected her.  She recognized Adam, she remembered him, she loved him and as she spoke of him tears welled up in her eyes.  At that moment I could feel Adam standing in my space, I looked at the tears in her eyes and I could feel his heart filled with love.  This, of course, made me want to reciprocate with tears of my own.

I changed some names in my book, but not Adams, he insisted that his name and story be mentioned, after all, Adam’s story and my story have been woven together for the last 15 years.  Anyone who has ever done a Seance with me knows who he is.  For those of you who have not, Adam is my doorman; the spirit guide who holds the job of watching my back and organizing traffic in the spirit world.  I call him my doorman because I use to own a bar, and the job is pretty similar.  He decides who come in, who is not welcome and delivers messages for spirits who need a bit of help communicating with me.  Although I knew him briefly in life, our friendship is something that has developed after his death.  I love Adam and consider him one of my dearest friends.

When my friend spoke of Adam she mentioned how tragic it was that his life was cut short.  I understood what she meant for he was a remarkable soul, but I couldn’t help but smile.  My immediate response was to say “He still is making a difference, he is still working toward a goal.”  I often refer to Adam as the ‘hardest working spirit I have ever met”.  He goes to work with me every time I do Spirit Communication, which means he is working a full-time job in the afterlife. Like me he is a healer, helping people to find peace in knowing that their Beloved Dead are ok.

Adam has taught me so much in the years we have been connected.  But the most important lesson he has taught me is that older spirits, ones who have been around for awhile, often continue their work between death.  He has shown me the dedication that spirit guides can carry and how much they are willing to be present in the world of the living. They care about what’s happening here, and the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is getting thinner.

I appreciate all the feedback, and love hearing your experiences through reading it.  I hope that you are all fortunate enough to gain the peace of connecting with your Beloved Dead.

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…The Power of Intention & Community Kindness

A couple of nights ago I reached a breaking point, in which I found myself sobbing uncontrollably like a toddler behind my steering wheel as I sat in my driveway, my emotions were so overpowering that my husband had to take my coat off me when I got in the house and hand me a cup of tea.  I was not crying out of despair, I was crying as an emotional release; letting go of all the backed up fear, and chaos that I had been wading through the last few weeks.  The catalyst for my emotional warble was receiving back to back hugs from 3 of the most solid people I know.

Many of you know that my sister and her family have been going through a lot…illness, surgeries, near death experiences, infections, ambulance rides to Dartmouth, and emergency surgeries.  While most of the acute issues have been experienced in the last month, the journey has been much longer than that.  Now that the water seems to be clearing and we can see the shore, I find that the heaviness of emotion; particularly fear, is too much to carry any longer.  It is no longer needed, yet it still must be released.

Being Psychic does not mean you never experience fear.  In fact, fear is something that can blind Psychic sight.   If the fear is strong enough a Psychic can actually generate false answers for themselves.  I did this once when I was much younger.  My husband; who is pretty good about communication and being on time, was suppose to meet me after work.  When he didn’t show up, I was surprised.  When he still wasn’t home by the time we were supposed to be meeting friends, I became alarmed.  The later he was, the more I became convinced something had happened to him.  When I looked at my cards, they quickly confirmed my fears, and by the time he rolled into the driveway I was running across the yard crying, as I had believed him dead on the side of the road somewhere. In reality, he had a beer with the people he was doing work for at the end of the day and had no cell reception.  Because of this experience, I learned how important it was to center myself before searching for psychic information.  But from time to time I need to be reminded.

When my sister called me to say that both she and her son were facing life-threatening situation her crying triggered me.  We are so deeply connected, that even though we have a year and a half between us, we consider ourselves twins.  After getting off the phone with her  I found myself floundering, in a quick and powerful spot of fear.  It wasn’t until my husband said to me “Have you looked at your cards?” that I even considered scrying.  Moments after being reminded I was able to calm and center and know that all would be well.  That being said my body still experienced an adrenaline dump, it had gone into fight or flight mode before I was able to center.  This type of energy does not simply dissipate, it requires a release.   When we do not release this emotional sludge it affects our health and well being.

Most people go through a crisis like a horse with blinders on; focusing on that which must be done, the goal at hand.  We deny ourselves the luxury of wading in our emotions for there is no room for them.  When the crisis is over it is not uncommon to find ourselves exhausted, and emotionally sensitive.  This is because our vessel is full.  We can not just go on with our lives, we must first release our burden and fears.  This must be done for true healing to begin.  Whether we are the one experiencing the trauma or the support for others going through it, the emotional heaviness of the situation must be addressed.  My release often comes in the form of tears.  In fact, whether I am happy, sad or angry tears are likely to show up.

This read is about community, intention, and kindness so I will spin you back up to my opening paragraph…The catalyst for my emotional warble was receiving back to back hugs from 3 of the most solid people I know.  

I had not had a day off in almost a month, that I was not in a hospital holding space for surgery, sitting with my sister as she recuperated or going with her to a doctors appointment.  The emotional roller coaster of the month had finally seemed to slow and I was looking forward to time off when my husband got sick.  As we run a cafe/wellness center someone had to take his shifts and that someone ended up being me.  After the second day of doing his job and my job, I was truly feeling beat.  At the end of the day, I hoped that no one would show up for my sound meditation class, as I really wanted to go home.

The first person to show up was a friend of mine who is solid as the earth and has blood that runs a bit gnomish.  I told her if it was just her and I that I was going to cancel, then another of my regulars came in; who lives on a family farm and is a solid, salt of the Earth kind of person.  I decided to cancel and the three of us just stood around talking for a moment, me giving them the update on my sisters family.  Then my farm-guy, plow-man neighbor came in, another solid, reliable, kind person.  When I explained we were closed and he walked over and gave me a hug.  Then came another from my salt of the Earth woman, and then finally from Gnomie.

I was OK, until about 5 minutes into my drive and then it hit me.  I think it was their solidness, that reminded me of all the love and support our family has received during this stressful time.  Their hugs represented all of the prayers, reiki, and love that people had shared.  I was overcome with how lucky I am to live in such a community, where people genuinely care about one another.  All too often we are shown the terrible things that human beings are capable of.  It is so refreshing to be reminded of the beauty and kindness that we are also capable of.

The power of intention is an amazing thing that can be used for good or bad.  It is also something made stronger by group belief.  The more people believing in an outcome, the more likely it will come to be.  With this in mind, I encourage you to start monitoring your thoughts.  What goes through your mind on a regular basis, are the things you are thinking about what you want to see come to pass or what you fear?  If your mind wanders toward fear, hate, and anger, redirect it.  Give it a different focus. Focus on the good you want to see in the world…make it so!

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…Embracing the Stories of our Kin [the strength of ancestors and stories]

I woke up this morning thinking about Grammy Bickford, my husband’s grandmother.  Grammy was a tough old bird, with a whole lot of sass, and a deep well of love.  She was on my mind this morning as I was thinking of how hard this winter has been for many people…broken furnaces, car problems, emotional/mental exhaustion and brrr freakin’ cold.  I thought of Grammy like I do often in the winter, I thought of her stories of growing up in a logging camp, of snow blowing through the cracks in the walls and of walking to school with plastic bags around your socks to keep your feet dry.  I hear her voice telling stories of eating lard sandwiches and sharing a bed with her siblings for warmth.  She did not tell these stories with sorrow and pain.  She told them with laughter and a sense of victory, for she had overcome such battles.

When the world seems dark and filled with obstacles I think back on my ancestors and I am thankful for the coziness of my life.  Like Grammy Bickford, my own grandparents lived in a similar way.  I suppose it is why she instantly became kindred to my heart, she reminded me of my own grandmother, who was also a woman of great strength and love.  My life has always been one woven with the threads of my ancestors.  Their stories became my stories over time, and I found that by remembering their hardships and victories, I felt less alone when things were tough.  I knew that like them, I had within me the ability to find happiness and joy even when the world around me was challenging and filled with hardship.  I was more than my single vibration, I was part of a symphony.

I believe this year is going to be a powerful one of change and opportunity, but like all things, we must experience the good with the bad.  There will be hurdles to overcome and fucked up moments to navigate.  It is our mindset that truly determines our happiness in life.  Like Grammy Bickford and my grandmother, Grammy Brown, I choose to approach my obstacles with a bit of humor and an understanding that this too shall pass, that the moment I am in is simply a part of that which I am becoming.

In all of the grand stories of adventure, there are always hardships to endure, and obstacles to overcome.  Bilbo didn’t mosy off into the enchanted forest to frolick with singing elves.  He was not delivered on flying unicorn or magical chariot to the doors of dragon treasure.  He was not welcomed in by the dragon, given a pipe and welcomed to warm his feet by the fire.  He persevered, he endured; he laughed, he cried, he was dirty and hungry and yet what a fuckin story he had to tell in the end.  Life is about change, and change is never a straight shot to happy-ville.  It is a learning experience.  My husband likes to say “God does not care about your comfort, God cares about your character”.  I believe this to be true, for many of the most amazing people on this planet have become so while experiencing hardship.  Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela…there is a whole lot of struggle in those stories.  There is also a whole lot of beauty, kindness, and love.

I invite you to step into this year with the heart of an adventurer, viewing obstacles as an opportunity to become more.  When things do not go according to plan, look around and see what the universe is presenting to you.  What pieces of beauty and humor lie on your path while you are navigating the difficulties.  Who presents themselves to you as allies, what ancestors come forward in your mind and heart to share in your journey.  Remember, we can think thousands of thoughts at any given moment, what makes you think of them?  Perhaps it is because they are thinking of you.

Our story is woven together with the stories of those who came before us, and those who come after us.  Together our blood sings the story of our people.  The stories would be a hell of a lot more boring if everything always went according to plan, and we did nothing but sit around under a cabana with our feet in the sand drinking mimosas.  We need challenges to show us what we are capable of.  We need hurdles on the road so we can learn to problem solve, we need wild paths through the wilderness of life so we can learn to navigate the unknown.  We need magic and mystery, and we need companions so that the road seems less daunting.  Remember this when times are tough, look into the future and imagine with a grin, how you will tell the story of your adventures to those who follow.

We are co-creators of reality…how will you create your story?

spreading love-salicrow

 

 

Stories of Spirit…The Holidays [boundaries, new traditions & self care]

I love the holiday season.  I love the lights, the music, and the holiday cheer.  I do not like expectations, over-doing, and giving for the sake of ‘have to’.  I gave all of that up a long time ago.

About 15 years ago I had a major opening to Spirit which I refer to as ‘the November Incident’.  It was so all-consuming that it takes up two chapters in my book Jump Girl, the initiation, and art of a Spirit Speaker.  (release date-2/13/2018).

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/562306/jump-girl-by-salicrow/9781623171926/

During the November Incident, the world of spirit opened to me so intensely that I had a hard time keeping up with my daily life; let alone performing the holiday magic I had done for so many years.  I even struggled with being present at my favorite holiday party; spending 15 minutes locked in the bathroom, trying to regain a sense of center.

Now, I understand that the shamanic opening I experienced during the November Incident is far outside of the normal range.  But all the same, it taught me that I like many people do way too much during the holiday season.  We run around in a hubbub of ribbons, candy and shopping centers, filling our obligatory list of buying, visiting and celebration.  But the pace that most of us keep at this time, and the to-do list we create for ourselves has a tendency to suck any holiday spirit we may have from our tired, over-stimulated souls.

During the November Incident, I was forced to slow down.  I did not have the mental capacity, nor the physical energy for hours of shopping, nor did I have the focus to withstand hours of holiday parties I didn’t really want to be at.  Instead, I chose to slow down, do less, spend less, and be more present.  The functions I did attend, I did because I wanted to.  The gifts I gave came from my heart.  I stopped the bullshit of ‘I need to have something for everyone’, and chose instead to give of myself.

Many years have passed since Spirit ripped the veil from my sight, but the holiday traditions I chose at my time of opening are the ones I continue today.  I have stepped away from shopping malls, and ridiculous baking list, instead choosing to spend time with people I love.  I send Yule cards instead of buying gifts, some are real with my handwritten blessings inscribed on paper, some of virtual, but they all mean something.  My gift giving list has been greatly reduced, as I feel we all have way too much as it is, and no one needs me to buy them a cheese slicer with matching knife set.

My opening gave me permission to stop doing.  I was able to step back from the obligation that the holiday season has become and found in it the feeling of happiness, and celebration I knew as a child.  I love coffee dates with old friends, holiday music playing on the radio, and I love the lights & greenery.  I do not want presents, and specifically ask my children and family members not to give me gifts, unless they felt a deep calling to do so.  To my children and grandchildren, I give gifts of things they need, like tires, car batteries, bed sheets, and socks.  When it comes to toys I choose wisely, I ask myself if they will still enjoy it after the ribbons, bows, paper, and sugar have worn off.

When approaching the holidays this year I suggest you ask yourself a few questions.  “Do I want to do this?”,  “Will my item be appreciated, or am I just buying for the sake of giving?”, “What do I need?”  “What do the people on my list need?”, “How do I want to celebrate this year?”

Traditions are not just something from the past that we must recreate.  They all came from somewhere, at some point they were new, fun and worth repeating.  Which means we can create new traditions now, traditions that fit our lifestyle and beliefs.  We can choose to have a tree or decorate a houseplant.  We can choose to not decorate at all.  We can choose to eat pizza for Christmas dinner instead of holiday hams and hours of cooking.  We can designate a pajama holiday instead of a fancy dress event.  We can choose to be happy for the holidays instead of overstressed, sugar bombed and broke.

My work with the Beloved Dead has shown me that we do not give a flying-fuck what we got for Christmas from Grandma when we were 8.  What we remember is the house filled with laughter, the smell of yummy food, and the feeling of love.  We remember emotions, events, and silly stories.  So go out and make memories that feel good.  Stop doing what others expect, create new boundaries that keep you happy and healthy during the holiday season, and remember to spread love.  It’s what it’s all about folks.

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…The Sacrifice of War (remembering my father)

Today is Veterans Day and I am thinking of my father.  His whole life or at least the life that I was witness to was enveloped around his service in Vietnam.  His thoughts, actions, and values were reflective of this pivotal time in his life, and his physical limitations were created by it.  He carried a pride that had been drilled into him by boot camp sergeants and fellow soldiers, in the essence of his being he was a Marine.

 

Growing up the child of a wounded warrior, I knew the toll of war.  My father was missing an eye, a fancy piece of glass made to resemble an eye sat where it belonged.  As a child of four, I once accidentally witnessed my father cleaning his eye.  Walking into the living room to find him with his eye in his hand and the socket drooping on his face I was horrified.  I screamed and had to be comforted by my mother.  For days I was afraid of my father, not understanding what I had witnessed.   I have found myself revisiting this moment time and time again in my memory and can’t help but think how terrible it must have been for him, knowing that his appearance had scared his own child so.

Many of my father’s wounds were visible, the glass eye being the most noticeable.  He had physical markings to show that he had been damaged beyond repair, that war had taken a great toll on him.  But he also carried many deeper wounds that were not visible to the eye, wounds that affected how he saw himself and the world around him.  These hidden wounds were far more painful than the loss of an eye, for he was haunted by his actions and the things he saw during his time of war.

Mike Emory (my father’s mentor), Grammy Brown, My father Richard, his younger brothers Teddy & Eddy.

My father grew up very poor, raised by his grandmother in the deep North Woods of New Hampshire.  He lied about his age and joined the Marine Corp at 17 so that he could send money back home to take care of her and his younger brothers.  Having grown up wandering around the woods, his skills made him a natural for reconnaissance work.  This was what eventually took his life at 62.  He did not die from the grenade that had taken his eye and left him with shrapnel in his brain, in the end, it was the exposure to high levels of chemicals (agent orange) that destroyed his body.

He was thankful for the years he had between the grenade and his death, seeing them as borrowed years.  Years that allowed him to get married, have 3 children, and many adventures.  But those years between were not all good.  Along with the physical ailments the grenade had bestowed upon him, he also lived with nightmarish memories.  In trying to escape the thoughts that plagued him, he turned to alcohol and other substances for comfort.

redemption…re-connection after 13 years of not speaking.

My father’s story, in the end, was one of redemption.  He eventually found a path healing, after many losses and many bottles.  He lost his family to his own alcoholism and then found it again through sobriety.  He found a deep spiritual center inside of himself and embraced the gifts that were his birthright, seeing himself for what he had been all along, an intuitive medicine man.

Medicine Man

My Dad’s final goodbye

My experience growing up the child of a wounded veteran shaped me as it did my father.  Living with him, his addictions, and his pain, I gained a deep understanding of the hidden anquish anyone who has seen war experiences.  This exposure has led me to work with many veterans.  I have a great respect for the price they pay, and an understanding of the wounding they carry.  I do not think there are words deep enough to express how much respect I have for those who have served.  Whether I believe in the war they fight or not, I respect the soldier.  I know that there are many reasons why they enlist, choosing to fight for their country.  For some, it is a deep feeling of patriotism (something my father also had), but for many their choosing is much more practical.  They see military service as a way out of poverty, a way to provide a better life for themselves and the ones they love.  They take the gamble, rolling on their lives and mental stability, with hopes that they will be among the lucky.

I would like to take a moment to pause and send love and healing to all of our men and women who have experienced the service of war, and I ask you to join me.  Here is what you will need…

*a candle, *a flag or item that makes represents military service to you, * photos of your own loved ones who have served

Set up a small altar with the items of memorabilia & photos & light your candle.

Focus on your Heart Chakra, directly in the center of your chest.  Take deep even breathes through your nose.  With every inhalation imagine you are filling your chest cavity with love, with every exhalation imagine sending that love to everyone who has served in the military, starting with those close to you and expanding outward.

Do this for about 5 minutes then speak clearly out loud “Thank you for your sacrifice”, and blow out the candle.

Remember not all wounds are visible, not everyone is walking around with a glass eye or a prosthetic leg.  Most of the wounds of war are buried deep within.  Support your local VFW, and Veterans home.  Buy the red poppy from the guy sitting at the grocery store today.  Hell, donate more than is convenient, after all, we can not come close to matching the donation they made.  Remember to thank them, truly and deeply for they deserve our thanks.

I would personally like to thank the men and women who have served this countries military.  I have deep respect for the sacrifices you have made and understand the price it continues to ask of you.

spreading love-salicrow