God, Me and Redwoods

DSC_9682I woke up feeling like the day ahead would be a good one. I was excited about taking a day trip to Muir Woods with John. After breakfast I headed upstairs to shower. As I looked down at my feet, my toenails looked blue and I started to think, “What is wrong with me? Is it something bad? I don’t want to go to the doctors. I hate going to the doctors. Am I feeling ok?” As these fearful thoughts started washing over me, the anxiety starts to build.

I try to talk myself out of the fear by telling myself I am just cold. I am fine…STOP worrying. I can’t allow these feelings to dictate the remainder of my day.

As I get myself together and prepare to leave, the feelings of fear and anxiety linger. Still, I think there is hope. We are going to spend an afternoon with the towering redwoods. Nature is calming and peaceful.

We arrived after a long drive. If you haven’t been to the park before, you need to arrive early just to get a parking spot. That was not the case. My fear and anxiety slowed me down so we did not arrive until the late morning. Parking spaces were hard to come by so John dropped me off while he found a spot.

We eventually met up and we found our way to the beginning of the trail, our Nikon cameras hanging from our necks. We encountered these massive redwood trees that lined either side of the walkway like great guardians of the forest. Standing beside one of these towering trees made the world seem bigger beyond imagination and I was just a tiny part of it all.

DSC_9656As we moved forward through the park we came upon a stair case that lead to a stunning view, or so we were told. We decided to forge ahead. I was determined to quiet the fear and anxiety that was still occupying so much of my being. With each step upward, I tried to distract myself from my fear by focusing on the beauty around me. I paused for a few moments to take pictures of tiny little red mushrooms. They reminded me of a place where fairies would live. I took another step but each one was a challenge because I was hyper aware of every twinge and ache in my body.

I am afraid of heights and the path seemed to get more narrow the further we went. It was uneven and there were no railings to prevent a person from falling down the side if they misstepped. I made every effort not to allow this to add to the already looming feelings within me. I was cold and the tension in my jaw and the fluttering feelings in my stomach made my heart race. Despite it all, I kept moving.

With each person that passed us on their way down I asked, “ Are we close to the top yet?” They would tell me no. My wonderful and understanding husband gave me an out: he said we could turn around before we reached the top. I felt relieved and took him up on the offer. The hike down was just as challenging as the hike up.

When we reached the bottom, our journey took us further in to the forest. We only went as far as the second bridge and turned back. “Turkey’s in the straw after all.” That is what we say when our dog Milkbone is home alone. We took a few more photos and stopped at the gift shop where we spent more than we planned. We each picked out a box made from redwood and I found a Bigfoot carved out of redwood. John loves and fears Bigfoot at the same time.

We arrived home exhausted. We both had headaches and were quite dirty from hiking through the woods. For me, this day was only the first of many challenging days that followed.

Besides having nightmares, I was waking up in the middle of the night half out of my footie pajamas and feeling like someone was standing over me. I was having waves of panic.

I had moments of feeling good despite a constant feeling of being out of balance. Out of no where, panic would rise up and blind side me as if I was standing in the ocean and waves were hitting me from behind and knocking me over.

I felt like Eeyore: sad, alone and absolutely useless. I felt as if I was just wasting my life away. I couldn’t shake off these feelings.

My body was constricting and the tension in my jaw was unbearable. I was not able to leave the house or be around other people. I wanted to hide. I felt like I was Wily Coyote, the heaviness at the top of my head felt like an anvil was dropped on me.

I felt as if I was stuck – as if I could not move forward. Then there was this energy that was pulling me forward or maybe it was my own desire to pull myself out of this tornado of uncertainty. Nothing was soothing or comforting. I couldn’t figure out what was standing in my way. Was I standing in my own way? Did I have negative energy in my space that needed to be cleared? Was the earth energy changing and I could feel it? I didn’t know.

After an exhausting week of few highs and many lows, it was Sunday and time for church. I attend 8:30 mass every Sunday at St. Joseph’s Parish in Pinole, CA.  When I got out of bed that morning, I felt really good. Wow, I haven’t felt like this all week! What changed? Who knows! I was ready to stay positive and go to church (and then Costco).

John came with me but sat in the car as he worked on his blog. I got in there and the usual happened. The procession in, the introductory rites, liturgy, first reading, Responsorial Psalm second reading, alleluia, Gospel, and the moment I was struck by: the Homily.

Fr. John Direen spoke about the readings that morning. The transfiguration of Jesus. The reading, in a nut shell, speaks about Jesus being on a mountain with two of his disciples. The disciples see Jesus speaking to Moses and Elijah, who came long before him. The disciples offered to set up tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. They were trying to avoid Jesus’ fate of the cross.

The skies got grey and stormy and this great voice spoke to the disciples from Heaven as Moses and Elijah disappeared. The disciples were afraid. God spoke to them telling them to not be afraid because Jesus’ purpose was to reach the cross.

The point Fr. John was making about the readings is that we are in Lent and we are all in our own transfiguration. By fasting through Lent and giving up the things we love, like foods that we love and may not be good for us, we are transforming. We take those things that do not serve us anymore and release them so we can move forward like Jesus.

It hit me: last week was my higher self knowing I had to let go of fears, anger, hurt and all those things so I could be who I am suppose to be. Once this happened then it was time for me to move forward.

I feel as if I have been holding myself back by focusing too much of my energy on those things that I have no control over or can not change. As soon as I am able to “let go and let God”, then I will be able to fulfill my purpose on this earth.

It was like the past week made perfect sense to me. All the struggles of the week were making sense. It’s like a light bulb went off in my head. God answered my prayers when I was ready for the answer. Last week was His way of preparing me so I could understand what he was saying to me.

Even though I have made these connections for myself I am still learning how to have self love and self compassion. How to truly let go of the limiting thoughts, beliefs and programming. It is hard work but work I am willing to do.

God is good! God is grand!

What does it all mean?

Every thing around me is clean and white. Even the air around me seem to have have a sparkle to it. It was a bright comfortable day. Not too cold and not too warm. It seemed like paradise.

As John and I enter into the community in search of the Leader I encounter a women who is holding a baby. I asked her if she was the one I was looking for. She looked at me like she didn’t know how to answer the question. She was very indecisive. I got frustrated with her and was like well are you or aren’t you? As I walked away I rolled my eyes at her. Although, I knew the person I was looking for was male.

We walked away and sat on a wall near the pool. As I sat there, I knew my appearance was not as clean and white as my surroundings. I seemed dirty like the red dirt from Sedona. A man and women approached me and said they liked the puka shells I was wearing. I gave them a shaka and said Aloha! Then I thought, “I don’t wear puka shells, John does”.

We got up and walked around the pool and there were people all around, some were in the pool. As I stood at the end of the pool with John on my left, there was a man to my right that was wearing a grey suit. He jumped into the pool like a child on the first day of summer. I got the impression that the people in this community didn’t care about material things they cared more about feeling joy and being part of this family.

I looked toward the left corner of the pool and I saw the man I was looking for. He was in a bathing suit laughing and enjoying himself. I walked to where he was as he was getting out of the pool.

John and I followed him into his office. The office was more long than wide and to enter, you had to walk through this beautiful arch. It was all open and made of stone. There was a desk on one side and across from the desk was a platform with a sofa. John and I sat on the sofa. Next to his desk was another sofa and my parents were sitting there. My Mom on the right closest to the desk and my Dad sat next to her. She had this sheer red ribbon in her hand and it looked like she was making a bow.

The Leader asked us a question. He asked, “How many arms should we have?”

My Dad said he was going to ask the same question. John sat there like he didn’t know how to answer. My Mom said that having two arms was sufficient because she was able to make dresses to sell and that was her purpose for being here.

Somehow the sofa we were sitting on tipped backwards and we fell to the floor. I landed more on my feet and John flipped on his back and his feet went over his head and hit the wall. I was laughing and I woke up laughing.

I remembered being in this place before in a dream. I remember kneeling and praying. I knew the first time I had this dream that if I left I would change and not be able to come back. As I had the dream again I felt like I didn’t belong there anymore.

What does it all mean?

An Intuitive Healer in the Making

When I started working with my mentor almost three years ago, I was a complete mess. I was having panic attacks almost every day and I felt as if I had this massive tornado churning inside me. I was in turmoil. Since then, I have made tremendous strides learning techniques that have allowed me to become more confident and less afraid. More importantly, she said it was okay that I still felt like I needed assistance. I was unique, just like everyone else, and I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone. I thought about this when John and I had dinner with a good friend a few weeks ago.

We met our friend at her hotel and decided to have dinner at a local restaurant. We talked about many things that evening but one moment stood out. It was when she started talking about how she was carrying this guilt for the passing of her father.

As she spoke about her father and the circumstances that surrounded his passing, I realized I was bitting my bottom lip and getting a twinge in my stomach. Then I thought, “That is what Theresa Caputo does” and I started chuckling.

As this was happening I could see an image of her father. It was not like I entered a trance or anything because I could see my friend, too. It was like a vision but one that only I could see.

Her dad was just standing there, holding a green leafy bouquet in his hands. Cartoon red hearts were coming from his mouth but his mouth was closed. In an instant I knew it was his way of telling her that he loved her more than anything in the world. That was the message that she needed to know.

As she sat and listened, I had so much love and compassion for her that I didn’t worry about being afraid to share. The information came so effortlessly that I didn’t have time to think about it. She was grateful for the healing message I had for her.

It made me realize my gifts will be there to support those who are in need of them. Do I get messages all the time? No. I can’t force a reading or a healing message for someone. Maybe, there will be a day the messages become more frequent. I guess we will have to wait and see.

This reinforces for me that my gifts are truly God given. My purpose is to use my gifts and abilities to serve others to give them peace.

The AH-HA moment!

After we are born, we rely on our parents to give us nourishing food, a warm place to live, comfy clothes and a safe environment. As we get older, we find our independence. We feel invincible and able to conquer the world. We no longer rely on our parents as much.

As a teenager I struggled with understanding my parents way of expressing love, compassion and generosity. There were times when they had my best interest in mind yet I felt as if they were smothering me. For instance, my friends would go to the movies and hang out but I wasn’t allowed to go. At the time, I felt they were trying to control me. I felt I wasn’t given the opportunity to grow and mature.

When we get to a certain age, something in our life changes. We get married, have kids, and soon find ourselves living across country. It’s only then that we start to realize how important our parents really are. Or at least I hope we do.

I come from the East coast – New England – and lived there with my parents for the first 35 years of my life. When I married my husband, I was whisked away to Wild Wonderful West Virginia. It was challenging for me because I had left everything I knew behind. From there we moved even further away to the middle of the Pacific ocean. Hawai`i was a tropical paradise but it wasn’t New England. Today, seven years later, we live near San Francisco still 2,400 miles from home.

At the end of January I had the opportunity to spend almost two weeks with my parents. It was just them and me. It didn’t take long for me to feel like a teenager again. I had made a comment about needing another suitcase if I bought too many souvenirs. Because I said this, my folks went out of their way to find me one. They spent the day driving me to the mall and to two different outlet malls. I tried again to tell them that I didn’t need another suitcase and it was only if I bought too much stuff. I began to feel like I wasn’t being heard.

My AH-HA moment arrived.

I was so busy thinking about myself that I didn’t even consider that they were trying to help me. Talk about feeling like a donkey.

There were a couple more situations like this during the two weeks but by the end of the vacation I understood that this trip was not about me. It was about them. I was so thankful to have the time to spend with them. What a precious gift. Although, it took me some time to realize how precious it was.

My dad is going to be 79 this year and my mom 76. I am so grateful they are still here and I can call them when I need them. They are not retired and they are so busy and they do so much for my family, myself and anyone else that may need help. They are the most selfless, loving, compassionate people I know. I can’t think of a finer example for their seven children and eleven  grandchildren.

People really need to consider how precious their parents and family are because they will not be around forever. Just ask someone who has lost a parent, sibling or family member. There is no greater gift in this world than your parents. Cherish every moment and talk to them. Find out what their life has been like. I’ll bet you’ll find it more interesting than you think.

P.S…You can always start researching your family genealogy and compile your research in a book for generations to come. Check out Families Across Time for helpful information on how to do this.

Is this you or someone you know?

Have you been around a family member, friend, or co-worker who was in such a good mood that you couldn’t help but be in a good mood, too? Or the opposite: they were in a rip roaring bad mood and by the time you walked away you were feeling the same way?

This is how most of my life has been.

I always felt like I was different than the rest of my family. Instead of having that strong will and understanding of who I was and what I wanted, I was the opposite. I was led by my emotions and feelings and relied less on my reasoning – like they did. People who knew me and met my family for the first time would look at me with that tilted head, like an animal does when they are unsure, and say, “Where did you come from? You are nothing like your family.” It made me feel like Cinderella… LOL! All kidding aside, the point is that I chose to turn inward yet tried to fit in.

Ultimately people want to fit in, right?

Until 3 years ago, I didn’t have the tools or language to understand what I was feeling or sensing. I couldn’t explain to those around me the intensity of my emotions and how those emotions translated physically. Before 3 years ago, I didn’t understand that my abilities affected my daily life and affected those around me. What happened 3 years ago? You’ll have to continue reading my post to find out. What I can tell you is that up to that point, I didn’t know that I was an empath.

It’s not always easy to define the term empath but I did locate a great definition on the Internet that does just that:

“Being an empath is when you are affected by other people’s energies, and have an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others.  Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods. Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions.  Empaths can perceive physical sensitivities and spiritual urges, as well as just knowing the motivations and intentions of other people.  You are always open, so to speak, to process other people’s feelings and energy, which means that you really feel, and in many cases take on the emotions of others. Many empaths experience things like chronic fatigue, environmental sensitivities, or unexplained aches and pains daily.  These are all things that are more likely to be contributed to outside influences and not so much yourself at all.  Essentially you are walking around in this world with all of the accumulated karma, emotions, and energy from others.”

30 traits of an Empath (How to know if you’re an Empath) http://themindunleashed.org/2013/10/30-traits-of-empath.html  By: Christel Broederlow

To make it clear I will refer to myself as a sensitive and not an empath because I feel people can relate to the word sensitive more so. In addition what my abilities encompass is more than just being an empath and sensitive seems to cover it all.

I personally believe society dictates that sensitivity is a weakness. Vulnerability is challenging and hard to process because it can be overwhelming. I have experienced those who became angry with me because of my sensitivity. They became frustrated and angry, turning their focus from themselves to me. They made me feel inferior or were dismissive. I now understand why some people reacted in this way. Think about it, how many people in your life do you feel safe enough to be vulnerable in front of? I’ll bet not too many.

Most of my life people told me that I was too sensitive, a “baby”, over emotional, a pain in the butt, hyperactive, annoying. Each and every one of those labels where presented in a negative way. I truly believe they did not know how to be around someone who was so openly vulnerable.

When I was over tired, backed into a corner, or felt threatened, my “sensitivity” would bubble up to the surface. I would get crazy mad and scream and yell. I felt like a Drama Queen! There were times I would cry uncontrollably and I’d hear “Big Baby” or “your being over emotional!” If I was excited about something, I would bounce off the walls. I’d then be labeled “Hyperactive” or “Pain in the butt!” Those around me found these very expressive outbursts annoying. I can only speculate they felt as if they were in the middle of a tornado. Oh boy, can you imagine?

In addition to the sensitivity, I was blessed with ADD/ADHD as a child and adult. What this means for me is that food containing artificial coloring, flavoring, preservatives, flavor enhancers – like Monosodium-glutamate – would amplify my mood. If I was in a good mood, I would be in a hyper good mood. If I was in a bad mood, I would be in a explosively bad mood. Anger would come out in a nasty way and you would not want to be in my path. Sadness? Forget it. I would be a weeping willow all day.

I am grateful my parents refrained from putting me on medication as a child. Instead, they chose to put me on Dr. Feingold’s diet program. When I was 5 or 6 and in school the teachers felt I was too disruptive in class. My mother found Dr. Feingold’s cook book and put me on his diet. While following the Feingold program I was calmer, more focused, and my temperament evened out. That was my way of eating until I turned 18. I decided I didn’t need the diet anymore. Who was I was kidding? I was too focused on what I was missing and not what was in my best interest. Needless to say, I follow Dr. Feingold’s suggestions today. You can find his information and findings at this link. http://www.feingold.org.

Do you know anyone that’s like me? If you do, you may want to show some compassion, patience and understanding. Some people are just more sensitive than others. I feel there is no need to resort to pills to deal with the symptoms of ADD/ADHD or being a sensitive. Instead, we should educate ourselves. After I learned that I was an empath, I was able to learn more about it. Learning allowed me to come to terms with what I was feeling and build a network of support. Food, another thing that affected my life, can be easily changed. When combining the two, those pain in the neck, hyperactive or Drama Queen children and young adults become more understandable.

Take the time and research. You’ll be surprised at what you learn.

Is it a dream or is it real?

Marie Ange Bertha Jacques 1913-1985
Marie Ange Bertha Jacques 1913-1985

Have you ever had a dream that felt so real? Maybe you dreamt about a loved one or a pet who had passed and when you woke up it felt more like a memory.

I have had several dreams like this.

My mémère (French for Grandmother) Jacques was everything to me. She was a tall women with brown permed hair. Her skin was like porcelain. Mémère had thick bottle-like glasses because she had cataracts. And she only wore dresses – or at least that’s what I remember. She had the warmest hugs, the sweetest French accent, and a most infectious giggle.

When speaking with a French Canadian who’s second language is English, they don’t say things the way we are used to hearing them. Mémère would pronounce “th”, as in thumb or thankful, more like a “t”. Thumb was more like tumb and thankful like tankful. I always loved that about her. She always carried Canadian mints – the peppermint and spearmint flavors. Her spearmint mints were pink so we called them Pepto Bismol mints.

Whenever she would call the house to talk to my mom, I would get so excited that I practically ripped the phone out of her hand. I was always excited to talk to mémère. I remember her coming out to dinner with our family and having her over the house during special occasions.

My most favorite memories were when she watched my younger brother and me at her house.

My uncles hunted and once killed a fox and had it stuffed and mounted. Whenever I would visit my mémère, I would sit in the small living room in the back of the house and hug the fox. When we weren’t watching TV we would sit at the kitchen table and play cards together. Mémère Jacques was so patient when we played cards. She’d often gave us a bowl of ice-cream. I loved her so very much. I miss her every day.

I remember the day she had passed. She had been very sick. I remember my sister staying with her to take care of her during her final days. On December 9, 1985, I was sitting in my 8th grade class doing my work. I looked up at the clock and the time read 3:00 p.m. I knew she had passed away. The story I was told is she had been in a coma for a while and my mother and the nurse were there when she had finally opened her eyes. The nurse told her to close her eyes and rest and then she passed.

It was a sad time but I know I didn’t fully understand it all. At that age I know I didn’t process the loss like an adult could. I remember not being sad right away. It was more like a happy feeling for her. I thought there was something wrong with me because I saw my family members crying from the loss.

It had been many years after her passing that I had this dream. I remember being in a kitchen. It was like a black and white scene that had a soft white haze. We were there along with my father’s mother who had passed three years earlier. They were teaching me how to boil potatoes. There were these huge pots on the stove, restaurant size, with boiling water. We were pealing potatoes to put in the pot. I remember thinking to myself, “is this real?” It felt real. The time that I spent with them they didn’t speak. They both just tended to their work.

After waking up from the dream I wanted to go back to sleep so I could be with them longer. I felt sad because I missed them so. I think it was her way of letting me know she is still with me even though she is no longer a part of the physical world.

What are your thoughts?

The dream of mist and dungeons

Yesterday I made my first dream post. I was not expecting people to respond with similar experiences. I was pleasantly surprised to know that there are other folks out there who may not have had the same dreams but a similar theme. It just reinforces the notion we are not alone out there. If you open yourself up you will find someone who can be empathetic to your situation.

Let see how many of you beautiful souls can relate to this dream.

This dream I had from high school and well after. It always started differently. A bit of background before I get into the dream itself. I went to a Catholic High School. On the third floor there was a classroom designated as a chapel. We would Mass in there but it was a classroom like all the rest.

I would be outside of my school and it would be in the middle of the night. The streets were quiet and I was there alone. I would enter the school through the front doors on Merrimack St.

I would climb the many stairs to the third floor. I would enter into the classroom we used for a chapel. It looked normal except for the white snowy mist that lingered on the ceiling.

There was a podium and there were words written on the front that were glowing a golden/orange color. There was a priest behind the podium yelling at me to read the words.

Before I could the mist  would quickly bust through the wall to the next classroom and disappear. (The next room used to be my homeroom part of my high school years. It was also where the biology teacher was).

As I entered into the room it looked like an old dungeon. With stone walls and there was an electric chair, stretching table and chains with handcuffs on the wall. When I looked ahead of me there was this wooden structure made of 2x4s. They were built into a wall of cubes. Beside this structure was a dark narrow hallway.

As I started to chase this mist through the wooden structure my parents would be walking down the dark narrow hallway calling my name. Then I would wake up.

There was only one time that I recall having this dream where I read the words on the podium. When I did so the mist disappeared.

May your dreams bring you peace and comfort and are always for your highest good.

Much Love and Hugs!