This morning I had a lengthy conversation with a fellow gym rat. Not that I’m much of a rat…more of a mouse, really. But still. Anyway, seems a dear friend of his from the past, someone he’d lost touch with the last few years yet someone he’d appreciated and revered, had died. This guy at the gym, let’s call him Stew, was obviously experiencing sadness, and disappointment in himself for not having stayed in contact because “now it’s too late.”
As an intuitive medium, I was already connecting with Stew’s friend “Jim,” seeing him in my mind’s eye as the powerfully built former linebacker I would soon discover he was (from Stew’s later description), and a man with a heart of gold. Although Stew knows that I “talk to dead people,” we’d never gotten into it before during our brief convos passing from Stairmaster to elliptical. You know, friendly at the gym, but not that friendly. His discomfort (okay, fine, skepticism), apparent by the immediate sliding away of the eyes whenever the topic of my “work” came up, was clear enough. And, since I wasn’t there to disturb his chi or anything, I’d always let it go. But now, Stew had tears in his eyes and I wanted to help. Jim was asking me to help.
I figured, well, what the heck. Spirit never steers me wrong. I had nothing to lose. Oh so gently I posited to Stew that it might help to know that Jim was feeling pretty good on the Other Side, at ease. That he knows his family misses him, but his death was in perfect timing and easier for everyone than it would have been had he hung around any longer. That his soul had agreed to this journey. That Stew might want to think about writing a note to Jim’s wife to express his love for this kind-hearted man who thought as highly of Stew as Stew did of him.
This afternoon as I sat at my desk waiting for a client to arrive, I kept thinking about Stew and Jim and about the delicate space that exists around sharing when you aren’t at all sure how your sharing will be received. When my phone pinged I was only a little surprised to see a text from Stew, although we aren’t texting buddies, and in fact had never exchanged more than phone numbers. Still, I felt as if I’d been waiting for the message. Attached were two images, one of Jim as a young sportsman and one of him a couple of years prior to his recent passing. Stew, without admitting to any kind of belief around Spirit, had found a way to let me know, and let Jim know, that connecting with me had connected him to Jim…and that the connection had transmuted some of the ache he’d been holding due to his own guilt over letting the friendship fall by the wayside into a less troubled space. And Spirit, in this case Jim, was assuring me I’d done the right thing by speaking up with love in my heart.
I call this a mini-miracle. I know, I know. Many might, even reasonably, disagree. I mean, what’s so miraculous about someone who absolutely positively doesn’t believe in “stuff like that” feeling potentially comforted by something someone like me or you says? Someone who, just perhaps, understands loss, death, dying, and matters of Spirit and is willing to express that in a moment of need. I’ll tell you. But in order to do that, I first need to humbly offer my own take on miracles after years of thinking there could not possibly be such a thing because my life was such a mess.
Turns out that, like everything else, it’s all a matter of perspective. I never saw miracles because I didn’t believe in them. I didn’t believe in them because I had a definition of what they were that couldn’t possibly be supported by “real life.” The definition went something like this: According to some hazy world view, miracles were things that couldn’t possibly happen to me, but have happened to others—especially in religious contexts, like fleeing Egypt and surviving in the desert or seeing a statue bleed. When I was pregnant, I felt the closest I’d ever gotten to a miracle when I felt life stirring in my womb. Thing is, you don’t get too much slack for calling these kinds of things miracles. It’s all the other stuff that gets you into trouble. You know, when so many things in your life feel like a miracle that, well, your whole life feels like one giant miracle. When even the “bad” stuff feels like miraculous opportunities to practice conscious awareness. To the point where people around you get tired of hearing about it.
It really started for me when my life did a one-eighty after my husband died. It took a while (understatement of the century) before I realized what a miracle it was that I’d actually gone on living. Then, when he started talking to me from the Other Side, the miracle was the gift of communication with my deceased soul mate—and soon after, many other spirits. When I started playing flute again after many years of silence based on his (loud) edict to “buy a new flute and play spirit-guided music,” it was the miracle of joy I felt that I thought I’d never feel again.
What I’m trying to say is that miracles are in the eye of the beholder—or the definition of the beholder. Which is why talking to Stew and Jim felt like such a miracle to me.
This morning, two days after our first conversation about Jim, Stew put down the weights in his hands to talk to me, to tell me how much better he was feeling after our talk, and that he’d found Jim’s address. He was writing a letter to Jim’s wife to express not only sympathy, but to share his love for his old friend. So, yes, I’d call it miraculous.
Because where there was grief, there was now loving acceptance. Where there was a lack of resolution, there was now comfort. Where there was guilt, there was now a sense of life’s precarious nature and an appreciation to live life to its fullest. Where there was tightness, an opening of the heart had appeared.
Do you agree that a miracle by any other name is still a miracle? Or is a cigar just a cigar?
You tell me.
This article is also posted on MEDIUM.COM and EDENMAGAZINE.COM and in Sherri Cortland's WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY NEWSLETTER--all fantastic resources!
It’s taken years to even begin to get accustomed to knowing the difference between acting on my thoughts and following guidance. What I now call my Intuitive Guidance System, or IGS. So when I ask a deliberate question and get—you guessed it—a whole lot of nothing, well, it feels like something’s gone awry. Like in a really big way.
This is what happened last night. I’d headed back to the Oregon Coast to do one of my metaphysical Afterlife Meetups, which had begun several years ago in the tiny coastal town where I lived with my husband and after he made his transition to the Great Beyond. After moving to Washington State a few months ago, it felt like it was time to head back, to see as many as I could in my beloved community, and maybe even put a little bit of a period at the end of that decade’s sentence. I asked my team in the Great Up There to support me in whatever way was in the best interest of everyone: me, all the participants, the friend with whom I was staying, Source, the drivers on the road…you get the picture. I also asked for some suggestions—a good solid download would be nice—on what to talk about. I mean, I assumed I’d be doing some mediumship because that was always in the cards (so to speak), but what would I talk about? What did I have to say that might be inspirational, that might get minds, bodies, and souls up and doing a little jig?
I asked the week before. Then every day up through my landing at my friend’s house the night before go time. At that point, only the tiniest of little red flags was only beginning to show up on the horizon. As I unpacked my suitcase, I wondered why a room full of people would show up (sans masks for the first gathering of its kind in over two years, I might add) if I had nothing to say?
I was sharing that fact with my friend and expressing that I was still waiting—patiently, I thought, IMHO. She only laughed and said, “It’ll come to you. It always does. You just have to trust it.”
Duh. I sighed. Maybe it was a good time to send up a little white flag instead?
It’s like the old Gerry Seinfeld show: a show about, you guessed it, nothing. And yet, it turns out, nothing can not only end up the basis of a gazillion or so seasons of one of the greatest shows ever, but the basis of, you guessed it, everything.
The way having “nothing” to talk about until the last minute can reveal exactly what’s been on your mind or in your heart or soul.
Or maybe how it can reveal your ego side, the one that’s screaming, “I’m not good enough. What am I doing here? I thought I had something worthwhile to share?” …And demand you look at it.
Or how there’s more in the “nothingness” than you could ever have imagined.
Maybe it’s even where, if you settle in, your mind takes a break and your spirit gets to shine. Where, if you’re willing, you can find and trust—your true, highest, Self. And where, if your IGS is invited to steer the car for you, you can actually relish the ride.
This article is a reprint of an article published in the Eden Magazine and Sherri Cortland's Windows of Opportunity Newsletter.
First, let’s set the scene. Sherri Cortland (the amazing author and coach) is my guest speaker for tonight’s online Afterlife Meetup. I’ve been hosting meetups like these for several years, the last two on zoom, where I offer mediumship, meditation, and guided music. Sherri and I had met right up through the day before, and had fully agreed on our intention, presentation, and zoom-related elements. Everything should go off without a hitch.
Yeah. That’s what I said.
It seems the Spirit World had a different idea entirely. No matter how many links I sent, Sherri couldn’t seem to join the meeting. No matter which computer she tried, she couldn’t access the class. Finally, using her phone, she made it in, but couldn’t see any of the participants other than me. She couldn’t share her PPT presentation, nor could she play the flute music I’d sent her as background for her meditation.
Fortunately, given our knowledge of the perfection of the universe — even when it feels as if we’re being thrown overboard without a life preserver — we plowed ahead, and Sherri facilitated all of us, sight unseen, through layers of guided chakra meditation and automatic writing, her tools for direct communication with Spirit. And we all LOVED it. Especially me.
Being mostly clairsentient, I don’t think of myself as someone who does “automatic writing.” And yet, here I sit yet again, having the words flow through my fingers as if they were written already and I’m just typing them into the computer. As if I’m hearing them for the first, and yet not at all the first, time. Before I do a mediumship session with a client, I sit quietly and write down all the things that come to me, no matter how strange, unsettling, or crazy they may appear to be. I get song lyrics, names, visuals of all sorts of things that don’t make sense to me, but always, in some shape or form, make sense to the client. I’ve had to learn to trust that in order for me to receive validation, I have to have the courage to speak the information out loud. Not an easy thing to do until you keep doing it…and doing it…and doing it.
At the meetup with Sherri, after listening to her incredibly articulate explanation of how auto-writing works and we’d watched as she demonstrated her process first-hand (pun sort of intended), we got to give it a try ourselves.
What I didn’t expect is what happened, of course. Not only did I receive information in the same way I do prior to seeing a client where words, thoughts, and pictures come through my pen, but Jeremy, one of Sherri’s Spirit Guides, made his presence known. I argued with him that he was Sherri’s not mine, but he insisted he was “on loan.” Five minutes later I had words like “speckled hen” and “thumbtack,” along with a very loving message reminding us all to know how magical we are. To know and own our own magic and share it with the world.
I don’t know about you, but it was the speckled hen-and-thumbtack thing that really got my attention. Not that it made any sense at the time. But, like I said, the stranger the information, the more certain it is that it means something important. In this case, to my new client today, who had just lost her husband. The look on her face when I mentioned the hens (she works in a gift store with lots of ceramic hens) was sheer incredulousness, but when I got to thumbtacks (her husband used to tack endless notes up on the wall to himself), and there’s no way to describe her reaction.
The upshot? Use automatic writing. Use meditation. Use any tool that feels good.
Just keep doing it.
(As always, if you're interested in a personal reading, customized healing music, or grief counseling, I'd love to hear from you!)
This is reposted with permission from Phoenix's newsletter of the same date.
“I just want to see my angels! All I do is sometimes get a color or a knowing. But I want more!” Lisa was just beginning her journey with meditation. She knew it would help her open up to her inner guidance. And she was very specific about HOW she wanted to receive her guidance. “Why can’t I see things the way other people do? What’s the matter with me that I can’t have those glorious beings show themselves and have incredible conversations with them that I’ll remember? All I get is a basic simple knowing, feeling, or color, but not the technicolor everyone else seems to have!” Her face got fierce, her mouth was tight, her shoulders hunched, her eyes bright with almost tears. She was definitely not in a good place.
I get it. So much of our world is visual. Movies are getting more mesmerizing with their breathtaking scenes, nature paints colors on the sky and water, and fashion design is consumed with vitality and vibrancy. Color affects our emotions. Having a vibrant meditation makes us feel more alive, more connected. A strong visual makes us believe we are closer to the divine because our senses are engaged. The problem is not everyone is visual when it comes to meditation. We have the expectation we will be visual because our external world is. But our internal world is a different story. To live in our external world, we rely on the senses that will help us the most, for our safety. If we were cavemen, we’d be relying primarily on our sight and our hearing, and possibly our sense of smell. That way we SEE, HEAR, and KNOW the sabertooth tiger when it stalks us.
When we move our awareness to our internal world, where our connection to the divine is, we rely on our additional senses which are more subtle. The sense of knowing, the sense of feeling with emotion or feeling with our skin, the sense of language without words. These subtle senses are the hardest to trust because we don’t have an external validation for them, right away. We can feel there’s a sabertooth tiger nearby but if we don’t see one, how do we know for sure?
These subtle senses are lesser developed in us because our external world doesn’t rely on them. Yet they’re more powerful than our overt senses. After all, this is why camouflage was created. To disguise the visual and confuse the hunter. Your subtle senses, because they’re going to the heart of the matter, are never confused and easily see through disguises.
When beginning meditation (or even if you are an advanced student!) it’s easy to think that ‘nothing is happening’ when you don’t have a techni-color vision. But let’s face it, the journey of meditation is a journey. It’s an inward journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. Meditation shows us where we are right now. And meditation, if we allow, will help us to accept ourselves where we are.
Knowing this is a journey, and each step on our path gets us closer to our destination. After working with me a few times, Lisa was in a different place in her journey. “This really helped me to get out of my own way and stop telling the divine HOW to connect with me. Instead I now open and receive my guidance.”
Phoenix Rising Star, Founder and Director, The Healing Angel Protocol™, Free Resource: Activate your True Purpose as a Healer.
People are always asking me, “Does the spirit world get teed off when I screw things up?”
We live in a society where most religious tenets prescribe to the idea of praying to an entity (most call it some form of “God”) for mercy, for forgiveness, to be delivered from pain, fear, etc. Which right away produces the concept that there is something inherently wrong about us. Which then assumes we need forgiveness for or at least protection from or resources to or freedom from….
The thing is, if we wipe all that judge-y stuff off the table, we’re left with an entirely new set of principles by which to live. Such as feeling the freedom to, feeling safe to, feeling encouraged by, etc. We are open to the myriad possibilities of living, and, hence, a different kind of life.
The first thing to realize is that the Spirit World is unconditionally loving—not a designated body designed to judge us, demoralize us, condemn us, or test us.
The Spirit World is here to love us. That’s right. That’s it. To support us by loving us. That’s the whole enchilada.
The second thing to know is that the Spirit World is not made of little humans running around thinking, feeling, and doing the way we are in all our human-ness. Spirit, by its very nature, is not human (duh). Which means anyone in spirit form (kind of oxymoronic when you consider “anyone” applies to humans) is now in the position of being ethereally, infinitely, suspended wherever, however, whenever, they want to be. Spirit is no longer chained down by the constraints we often feel as humans—things like self-denial, self-judgment, fear, physical dis-ease, stress, and so on. When humans “die” and enter the Spirit Realm, there is nothing by love, love, and more love. It’s almost disgusting how much love there is, what with all the support, caring, truth, freedom, and empowerment floating around up there just waiting for us to tune to its channel. To listen for instead of praying to the “powers that be.” Which, IMHO, are made up of our human selves, our higher selves, our legacy selves, and our pure Source energy self.
The thing to remember is that the Spirit World holds no space for things like anger or disappointment. It is too busy finding ways to help us. To orchestrate the ongoing symphony of our lives so we get to write it one note at a time. To see us, know us, and love us unconditionally for who we are: Spirit in human form brave enough to spend another lifetime here as “angels on vacation.”
What happens when your day starts with a big Arrrggghhh? You know, the one that feels nothing like peaceful or serenity now or the universe has my back. The one where everything you start doesn’t get finished because each task leads to another and another…and another until you don’t remember where you started, only that you’ve ended up in a giant wormhole.
Can you tell I’ve been having one of these days? That I’ve spent all morning going from the phone to websites, to online verification codes back to phone texts into manila folders and files and then to email? Well, I have. Which is why I’m sitting here typing this now. And why I’d like to share is what happened in between the Arrrggghhh! and this moment: The transition period.
First came the build-up: The DOING. The THINKING. The FIGURING OUT. “I have to find it, I have to figure out what to do, I need to get more information, I wish I were more organized, I should know how to do this.” In other words, all the judgment that says I should be more, know more, and do more.
Fortunately, at some point during this process, Sherri Cortland’s email showed up with her Windows of Opportunity newsletter to remind me of all the goodness in the world, and I smiled. Then I received a touching email of validation from a coaching client who said I’d changed her life. Wow. I realized my shoulders had been up to my ears only when I felt them descend. Then I got up and moved away from my files and my desk and my thoughts.
Oh, for the therapy of washing dishes! What a lovely mindless, yet productive way to push the reset button. After the dishes, I cleaned a bathroom. While I was cleaning the bathroom I thought about my BFF since childhood who I haven’t seen in three years and who’s coming to visit tomorrow. Which made me think about how happy I am to have painted the room where she’ll be staying, and feeling how grateful I am to have such loving, long-lasting friendship. At which point, I dipped back into my files (computer and hard)…and still could not find what I was looking for.
I stopped again when I found I was cursing out loud. This time, I ate an apple (yummy, nice and crunchy). I watched a youtube video (a tarot reading that promised only good news). And then it hit me. All I needed to do was email one person who’d have exactly what I needed at her fingertips.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know the feeling of the ah-ha moment that arrives when you’re in the shower or brushing your teeth or performing some other menial task because you’ve let that darn mind go for the moment and let in whatever needed to make itself known in the first place.
Walking my talk as a spiritual guide is paramount as I go about my daily life. What matters is the understanding that we never really get “there” because there is no “there.” There is only and ever the evolution of our conscious awareness, one day at a time…one moment to the next…one dish at a time.
We all know that inhalation cannot exist without exhalation. No matter how much air you take in to stay under water for a certain length of time, for example, you still have to come up for more eventually. It’s the natural course of things. It’s life.
So what happens when we apply this as a metaphor for the way we handle our feelings about abundance and money?
That’s right…money. Even the word goes against our spiritual natures. Is it okay to live a spiritual life and treasure abundance at the same time? Is it possible to feel about money the way we feel about something so seemingly opposed—something like love?
Picture yourself on a big ship, on the upper deck. You are watching as luggage is being loaded onto the ship, one steamer trunk, one suitcase, at a time. You watch it coming in, spotting your own luggage on its way, with a sense that all is right with the world because you, and everyone else on the ship, will have everything you need when you need it, or you will be able to find whatever you need aboard. You relax, your shoulders relax; you prepare to have a safe and joyous journey, and…exhale.
Your journey is indeed a pleasant one, one where everything is easy and you lack for nothing, and now it is time to return to your place of origin. As the ship docks, you disembark and join all the other passengers to wait for your luggage, the same luggage you boarded with, to return to you once again. You breathe in…and then breathe out…when, once again, it arrives at your feet, back where it belongs.
Luggage in…luggage out. No worries that there will be any fewer belongings than you packed when you left home. In fact, there may even be more, things you picked up along the way, gifts you will have in your possession only briefly, as you plan to share them with loved ones and friends. As you disembark, you know all is well in your universe.
This analogy is based on an experience I had while meditating about three years ago, and is the reason I started calling money “Love Energy Units,” or LEUs. In my meditation I was on an old-fashioned steamer ship, similar to the one above, watching as sailors carried trunk after trunk of coins and jewels up to the ship. I watched as they kept coming, on and on and on. The trunks came up, they were parked behind me, and then were carried off again without any hiccups in the flow, simply the infinitely ongoing receiving and letting go. There was no need to “keep” any of it because it kept coming in. No need to fear lack because it kept coming in. No reason that I had to believe it was “mine,” and no reason to hold onto it in case there wouldn’t be enough in the future because no matter how much I, or anyone else, shared, it would keep coming in, in an endless flow.
…Just like breath.
Breathe out; another breath automatically flows in.
Share your love energy; more love energy automatically flows in your direction.
In honor of the brining in the new year of 2022, feel the energy of abundance as a form of the ever-infinite flow of loving Source and your experience. It’s very possible that the way you experience abundance will forever be transformed.
Heidi Connolly, February 1, 2022
Author of The Gateway Café (Book 1 of the Vacationing Angel Series)
HeidiConnolly.com / TheObitWriter.net / HarvardGirlEdits.com
I love the fact that Sherri Cortland's newsletter is called “Windows of Opportunity,” because it seems to me that metaphorical windows exist everywhere; it is up to me whether I choose to accept their invitation. To open them up and breathe in the fresh air. At least that’s what life has felt like to me the last couple of years.
Sure, there have been times — more than I’d prefer to admit — when I’ve considered pulling down the shades and hiding under the covers. When I’d rather have locked the windows down and turned my back to them because even the sun coming through the panes of glass felt painful. When fear and dismay and grief have gotten the better of me. If you can relate to these feelings at all, I would venture to say that we might not be the only ones.
In the midst of all the craziness, though, I wrote a novel, deepened relationships with loved ones near and far, established many new incredible connections across the world, spent lots of time in contemplation and meditation, and learned how to live in physical isolation without having it crush my spirit.
I started writing The Gateway Café on the first day of the lockdown in March of 2020. My sister, who spent several months with me later that year, loves to remind me how focused I became. How, when she’d ask if I wanted to watch a movie or do a puzzle or have dinner, I’d say, “Sure…in a little while….” And how, hours and hours later, I’d still be at my desk pouring over words like they were liquid gold. I did not expect to write a novel to address all the things I address in my intuitive coaching practice; nor did I believe I was capable. Sure, I’d rewritten many, many manuscripts in my years as an editor, but me? Surely, I had no story of my own to tell.
In essence, I did not want to make a mess of it. To fail. To be seen to be less than I hoped I was. To put myself out there…and be informed I was not worthy.
And yet, as Brené Brown says, vulnerability IS courage. Which, for me, means putting up the shade, unlocking the window, letting in the fresh air, and taking the risk to step up to and through the “gateway of life.”
If the clapping of metaphorical hands I hear is any indicator, it has all been worth it.