Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘unconditional love’

Diagonally Parked

Do you ever feel like you are diagonally parked in a parallel universe? You know, the feeling that you just don’t quite fit neatly in a package like other people seem to do? The image I get is like trying to fit a gift in a box so you can wrap it in beautiful wrapping paper and some pieces and parts just won’t quite stay put. I think many of us have these feelings from time to time. I know of only one person that I have met in my entire life that hasn’t appeared to feel that way. I have always thought of her as an angel on earth. Her gratitude and happiness for just being alive is a gift that just keeps on giving to all of us who are around her. For the rest of us, however, it just feels, at times, like something is missing or lacking in our lives. We just don’t feel like we totally fit. We have heard the statement before, ‘ is that all there is’ when referring to our life on this earth plane.Could we be searching for a higher purpose and deeper understanding for our lives?

Recently, I finished two books on NDE’s (near death experiences). Both were written by medical doctors – one an orthopedic surgeon and the other by a
neurosurgeon. Both had experiences – one drown – and the other contracted gram-negative E. coli bacterial meningitis and was in a coma for 7 days. All medical personnel involved in their cases said they would never survive and if they did would be in a vegetative state. Yet, they not only survived but thrived and committed themselves to sharing with us what they saw on the other side.

When we read about their life experiences, it is gripping, a bit overwhelming but, most importantly, reassuring that we are more than the sum of our individual physical parts. We were made in love, for love and about love. I’m talking here about the unconditional type of love that says I am valued, loved and purposeful because I AM? You know the type of love I am talking about, it can be seen in the eyes of a mother who looks at her child. We realize from this perspective of love that there is a purpose for our life that is bigger than ourselves, bigger, in fact, than we can ever imagine. When we read accounts of people who have been given the chance to see the other side we realize that there truly is a reason for all things that happen to us and that nothing happens by mere accident. The Universal Energy/God simply doesn’t make mistakes. When we finally get it, we can breath deeply and live in the belief, the knowing that, ‘All is as it should be.’

The two doctors who wrote these books have demonstrated such courage. They have willingly faced their own medical community knowing that this type of sharing would be discounted by many, if not all, of their colleagues. They were willing to risk their reputation, friends even income to share their life altering experiences. They felt compelled to write their stories in order to help all of us realize the importance of unconditional love and the significance of the life source from which we originate. I thank them for their efforts. It will help many realize that they are not diagonally parked in a parallel universe but are simply seeking a higher truth for their lives and deeper knowing that we are all connected.

For those of you who would like to read these remarkable stories, the titles are To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD and Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, MD.

Have a great few days!

Unlocking Your Potential

To learn to live in unconditional love is the reason we are experiencing life in this incarnation. To achieve this type of love we need to be able to truly accept, understand and appreciate ourselves and others. When you think about it, that’s a tall order. It means not only being totally comfortable in our own skin but to allow others to be comfortable in theirs as well. How is this possible to achieve? When we accept that we all have more in common than we may first think, it opens up our thinking.

1. We are all motivated by acceptance and love
2. We all experience fear from time to time.
3. We have all chosen this lifetime to live through our unique life challenges.
4. Most importantly, we share the same source of our existence.

When we accept these commonalities, it allows us to see ourselves and others through different lenses. It may take an entire lifetime to realize that learning to love yourself and others in a nonjudgmental way is the most important thing we can do. That’s okay. It is a huge lesson.

What opinions do you have about your life experiences to date? We have all lived through tough times and life altering experiences, many in fact, that took our breath away with the pain. Trust me on this one, no one goes through life unscathed.

The question is can we regroup and as the lyrics of the song go, ‘pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.’ Or are we in the blame game, angry that life happened to us when we weren’t expecting it. Anger, blame and fear are debilitating and the direct opposite of unconditional love.

Challenge yourself to examine a life altering experience that appeared so unfair to find the lesson in it. It will necessitate that you stop thinking about the ‘what if’ or ‘why me’ and analyze it from the perspective of what was the most difficult thing to accept from it. There is the lesson, staring you right in the face. Every experience offers us a chance to grow from it as we embrace ourselves and others with unconditional love and faith in tomorrow.

Everything happens for a reason – a purpose. If you find yourself in a negative mindset at first, thinking ‘why me’ just give yourself a little time for the rawness of the hurt to pass. You are a spiritual being, true, but you have both the gift and burden of living this spirituality in a human form with human emotions. Just don’t let yourself get stuck. Talk to a friend, family member or counselor to help yourself regain your footing. Think to yourself, ‘I know there was a purpose for … and I will seek to understand and learn from it.

Unconditional love is the way to unlock our true potential. After all, our thoughts truly are our keys to life. Positive thoughts open doors and negative thoughts close them. We are each on our own individual path to knowing a higher truth and embracing unconditional love. When we believe this, it lets us take a deep breath and ‘allow’ the experiences to help us become better human beings. We then remember with gratitude “All is as it should be.”

Have a great few days!

Developing Plan B

The beloved Theodor Seuss Geisel, affectionally known simply as Dr. Seuss wrote a book in 1990 that has become a classic. It is entitled, Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” Although it has become the perfect gift to give others when they graduate from nursery school to graduate school, the thoughts and lessons are timeless, ageless and worth considering.

The book refers to the bang-ups and hang-ups we all experience in life and talks about the difficulty of ‘un-slumping’ ourselves when we meet a road block. The challenge of choosing the next path in our lives can be daunting even paralyzingly at times. All of a sudden (or so it seems) life has changed course and you are left questioning, ” What do I do next?” This is especially true for those of us who have experienced a major change in our lives, especially a loss. At first, time seems to stand still, then evolves into a slow drag stage. Sooner than we may be ready, life begins to resume at full pace – at least for the rest of the world. We are left wondering, does anyone remember that I lost a loved one who is irreplaceable to me? Do they see the bleeding of my heart? You think to yourself, my head knows what happened but when will my heart accept it?

Developing a Plan B for your life may take every once of energy you have and leave you breathless just putting pencil to paper but it is absolutely critical to do so. Plan B can become your life line – your reason to get out of bed in the morning. You may wonder, when will I shake this? Is there something wrong with me? Followed, of course, by the thought will I ever be the same again?

There is nothing wrong with you when you react like this to loss. You are gradually accepting that the change – the loss is real and no amount of wishing or hoping will change the fact that your heart is broken. It will take time and the loving support of others to help you regain your footing. It may take a lifetime – be patient with yourself. Beyond family and friends a talented grief counselor can help. Maybe that is why God/Universal Energy put these folks in our lives, to help us stand when we can not find the strength or will to do so for ourselves. Yes, your life will be unalterably changed but not stopped, not frozen in time. You will dig out of the hole you may be in and gradually see the light at the end of the tunnel. You may think you are slipping back into the morass of ‘why’ from time to time. It’s okay – you are okay. Remember, as my son said in my book, our lives are like a photo album with pages that are left blank. They will be filled in over time.

So what is the good news? You have memories to last forever. You were given the gift of unconditional love for another. No one can ever take that away from you. The depth of your loss is directly proportionate to the depth of your love. You loved deeply and well and have been forever changed by it. Deeper as a person, a little less quick to jump to conclusions and more aware of the magnificence and delicate nature of life.

You will be ready to help the next person who crosses your path when they experience a major life change or loss and will serve as a model of survival. Granted, you may be a little battered and bruised but upright nonetheless. When you run across someone that seems to believe there is an acceptable or normal amount of time for grieving you will think to yourself that they have a very important lesson yet to learn. Yet, you will be ready to help them when they experience a loss. Why? Because you have survived a major life change – or loss – and your loved one would want you to ‘pay your lessons forward.’ The Universe is about learning our lessons, being grateful for love and becoming more aware of the significance of our individual purpose.

Have a happyThanksgiving!

Be the Change

Tuesday was an important day for citizens in the U.S. We had the opportunity and responsibility to go to the polls and vote for the person we chose to represent us as president of our country for the next four years. We studied the issues and made an informed decision. Regardless of our choice of candidate, we knew that our voice is important. We were given this time in history and have earned the privilege to be counted.

Mahatma Gandi made a powerful statement when he said, ” Be the change you want to see in the world.” It has been a long political season that has divided some and united others. The devastating hurricane on the east coast has caused so many to experience the loss of family, friends and possessions. As they struggle to rebuild and cope with their tremendous losses our hearts go out to them. For many it will take the rest of their lifetime to recover. The Red Cross is receiving millions of dollars in donations to help these people exist as they live through the aftermath of the worst storm in their history. Once again, Americans have put aside their political differences to help those in need. We are a generous people who see hurt and loss and want to fix it.

As the votes are counted and the winner announced we will put our differences behind us and move forward, together, to be the change we envision. We are strong, resilient people who care about each other. On the outside we may resemble a nation of differences but underneath our hearts beat and veins bleed as one. We will survive and thrive by being the positive change for this world that Mahatma Gandi was referring to because we see a cause greater than ourselves. Time is on our side when we remember that everything happens for a purpose and all is as it should be. The Universe does not make mistakes but gives us the opportunity to learn our lessons in our own time frame through love and deeper understanding of the tremendous gifts we have been given. We are grateful to be living in a country that values our opinions and consistently supports those who are in greater need. It is all about love of self and others.

An unknown author referring to time wrote,

Time is
Too slow for those who wait
Too swift for those who fear,
Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice;
But for those who love
Time is eternity.

Have a great few days!

A Flower Grew Overnight

Yesterday was ‘Octoberfest’ in Sun City Grand located in Surprise, Arizona and I had rented a table to display my book, Just Behind the Door. I knew it would be a long day but a good one since I would have the opportunity to connect heart to heart with people who had experienced a loss. The eyes of a person are the window to their soul and just looking at the eyes of those who came up to the table let me know where they were on the grief scale toward ultimate healing. Some, after 5 or 7 years were still stuck in the cycle of ‘why did this have to happen.’ Anger, denial and disbelief can be paralyzing emotions. They can freeze frame your life and cause you to become simply a shadow of the person you once were. One woman gently guided her friend over to my table and said, ” You need to talk with her.” What an act of unconditional love and concern for her friend, I thought to myself.

When we are finally able to heal and accept the loss that has happened in our lives and realize that the Universe doesn’t make mistakes, it opens up a deeper level of seeing and knowing. A level of peace envelopes us and we are able to continue on with our own life lessons.

A follow up from someone I talked with yesterday appeared on my email this morning. A gentleman had lost his wife in a traffic accident. They were simply walking, enjoying the experience when hit by a car. In an instant, it changed their lives forever. This spring he went out to water some rose bushes and he said in his email, “I looked down and saw in the hot, dry, barren soil next to the roses a most beautiful white (petunia or pansy) flower with a pink and purple “butterfly” design in the center. It was on a small plant about 3 inches high… We had never planted this type of flower in our garden before… Just the day before I had tended to this tiny garden patch and I never saw any plant like this there. In amazement I asked myself, ‘how did this plant get there …and overnight!”

He took a picture of the plant and forwarded it to friends, had it framed and was gracious enough to send the picture on to me with his email. He accepted the sign with gratitude and love which opened his level of consciousness to receive even more of these messages that are heaven sent. I have had similar experiences and know that birds, the wind, and other environmental factors carry seeds from one location to another. However, when a plant appears overnight (and in this desert environment) to me, it is a sign from our loved one that they are thinking about us and wanting us to live our lives to the fullest.

As we recognize these signs with gratitude we allow ourselves to become more in tune to seeing these messages from our loved ones as a reassurance that, all is as it should be. The psychic, John Holland was taking about messages Friday on a webcast. He emphasized, once again, that the more open and accepting of the belief that it is possible for our loved ones to give us signs from the other side the more you will receive.

We are, after all, simply energy and we know that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only changed in form. The physical body may be gone but their soul energy remains. No wonder, then that our loved ones on the other side can send us these messages. They may be pennies, butterflies, flowers or many other things but they are meant for us. Enjoy your next ‘a ha’ when you see it – it is a gift from your loved one just for you.

Have a great few days!

Oprah hits a home run!

Every once in a while something comes along that you feel compelled to share with others. It happened to me this Sunday morning. I was reading my Oprah Magazine and saw an advertisement for the Emmy award-winning series, Super Soul Sunday. The clever title got my attention but what really drew me in was the statement, ” Designed to help viewers awaken to their best selves.” That was my goal in writing my book and remains my goal in blogging twice weekly. Helping people continue on with their life after the death of a child, spouse, or through the painful experiences of divorce, separation, and suicide is something I can do – because I have walked in those shoes. To me, this series is totally designed around positive energy and purposeful living. It’s like a very special gift that will just keep on giving.

Oprah not only talks with well known speakers on spiritualism but includes the “average” person on the street who has lost a loved one. It makes the series even that more meaningful. I heard people saying things such as: listen to the voice within you, look for the message in every problem, grief is an expression of how well you loved, and, of course, our lives are all about learning to love ourselves and others unconditionally.

For those of you who have read my book and follow my blogs you will know what I mean when I say that watching her first program in this series caused me to feel that I had found my true north after studying the topic of unconditional love and loss since the ’70’s.

I would urge you to google or tune in to the OWN network on Sundays at 10 A.M. central/11 A.M. We all need ” a little help from our friends” from time to time. Give yourself a gift next Sunday and sit down, breath deeply and listen. It will bring you a sense of peace. I know that I will watching. The program is exceptional and has the potential to help so many people realize how they can make it through the difficulties and losses in their lives in one piece. We may be wounded from our experiences but do not need to be stopped in this amazing and challenging life journey that each of us has chosen.

Let me know what you think after watching!

Loss Comes in Many Forms

Many times we think of loss in terms of death or divorce.  However, as we age we experience a loss of physical, mental and emotional capacity. We aren’t quite as fast as we used to be.  What happened?  Just last year I could do…(fill in the blank). What happened was simply life. These changes are difficult for us to accept and difficult for others as well.

As a Hospice volunteer, I see the full range of loss. Regardless of the type of loss, there are predictable human needs. Everyone wants to be appreciated and treated with respect. From time to time we all experience unease about the future. Most importantly, we all need unconditional love and support from our friends and family.

Our journeys – our challenges – are unique, but our human need for meaningful connection is the thread that holds our lives like a beautiful tapestry – together.

An excellent book on the topic of loss in reference to dementia is “I Will Never Forget” by Elaine Pereira. It is a daughter’s story about her mother’s arduous and humorous journey. Please read and/or recommend it to others. You will be helping others – one person at a time.

All is as it should be.  Have a great few days!

Cherish the Memories

When someone we love leaves us, whether it is a temporary or permanent loss, often our heart aches, we miss them, and want them back. We may know it is unreasonable in our minds but our hearts keep thinking, “If, only …” In my book, Just Behind the Door, there is a poem I included that I had read in the newspaper years ago. Since the author was anonymous, I took the liberty of making a few changes. While meeting with people recently, I had many people comment about the impact the poem has had on them. Hopefully, it will speak to you as well.

You can shed tears that she is gone or you can smile because she lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she will be back, or you can open your eyes and see all that she left for you.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her or it can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live in the yesterdays or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember only that she is gone or you can cherish the memories and let her live on in your heart.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what she would want you to do, smile, open your eyes, and truly live.
You can grieve that she is gone or you can remember that she will always be with you.

Our loved ones both here and on the other side are just a loving thought away. Unconditional love works that way. It is the Alpha and Omega of the Universe.

If you know of someone who is struggling with a separation or loss please consider passing this poem and website on to them. Your positive thought and energy may help them just when they need it the most.

Until next time, please remember


Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

Happy Sunday! A few days ago I had the opportunity to give a book talk in Kalamazoo, Michigan at Kazoo Books. After an incredible article about my book came out in the Kalamazoo Gazette, 37 individuals showed up for the reading! I was so grateful for the people who came to hear about my memoir and beliefs in the power and energy of the Universe. The 3 major themes in the book are: energy can neither be created nor destroyed only changed in form; the importance of unconditional love in opening communication with our loved ones both here and on the other side; and that everything that happens in our lives involves a lesson to be learned. Everyone shared such heart warming stories about losing a loved one and their challenge in coping with the stages of loss that the whole room seemed to be elevated to a higher level of gentleness and peace. I was amazed to see the number of people who have not only experienced loss but are interested and willing to share their life journeys. People are eager to discuss and learn more about the concept of after death communication. In spiritualism there are two statements that are especially applicable here; ‘like attracts like’ and ‘when the student is ready the teacher comes along.’

As the events of their lives unfolded, I thought, once again, how important it is not to judge the lives or experiences of others. The greatest gift we can give to another human being is the gift of being present and listening with both our hearts and minds. Each of us has chosen our own unique journey on this earth. We have chosen to work on lessons that, at times, may seem so difficult to overcome. Sometimes we just need, a little help from our friends along the way.

We have not walked a mile in another person’s shoes and we really don’t understand, fully, what they went through. However, we can give them the precious gift of our time and unconditional acceptance as they take the next step in the healing process. How important it is to remember that each one of us does everything possible, with the knowledge we have AT THE TIME to work through our challenges in life. I don’t believe that we really make mistakes or grievous errors but rather do the very best we can, with the knowledge we have at the moment, to survive and eventually thrive. Given that thought, how could we ever judge another? Not likely!

Signs From Our Loved Ones

We know that when we ask our loved ones for a sign that they are with us, the signs come in various forms. It may be a phone call and their name shows up on caller ID, lights that flicker, something out of the ordinary happens in your life that only you and the person who has passed on would relate to – the signals are too varied to list all of them. When I just wanted reassurance that my son was close, I would ask him to send me a sign and I even specified the sign that I wanted, “Just show me a penny so that I know you are near,” I would think to myself. Within hours the pennies would start showing up. In my kitchen drawers (which I do clean out regularly) on my floor or carpet that I had just cleaned, in front of a chair that no one ever sits in, in my car and on and on. One day, I was at the car wash and was getting out of my car when the attendant asked me to move my car to another bay. No problem, I thought. As I opened the door to get out of my car once it was in the open bay, there is was – a penny. I naturally looked over to the first bay I had pulled into and there was no penny to be found. If a day is unusually challenging, sometimes I have found 4 or 5 pennies. It puts a smile on my face and I just say, “Thanks, Ronnie, I needed that!”

My daughter-in-law knows of this thing with pennies and recently sent me a poem about them. I googled the poem to be sure I gave the author proper credit. It turns out there was no known author. But imagine my surprise when I read a story from a man that said after his 18 year old son had died he was walking out of a store and started seeing pennies. Not just some – but many. In fact, he said by the time he picked them all up, filling both of his pockets, he had $6.00 worth of them. There were many other stories about the topic of signs on this website as well. Makes me realize how hard our loved ones are trying to get our attention and open the lines of communication with us. My son has proven to me that he always around. I am humbled and grateful for his unconditional love and ongoing communication.

The Angel and the Penny

I found another penny today
Just laying on the ground
But it’s not just a penny
This little coin I’ve found
That’s what my Grandma told me
She said angels toss them down
Oh, how I loved that story
She said when an angel misses you
They toss a penny down
Sometimes just to cheer you up,
To create a smile from a frown
So don’t pass by that penny
When you are feeling blue,
It may be a penny from heaven
That your loved one tossed to you!

Have a great few days and watch for signs from you loved one!

I have 2 book talks coming up for anyone that can attend: Kazoo Books, 2413 Parkview, Kalamazoo – 6:30 PM and Michigan News, 308 Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo – 5:00 PM