Some people are worried about me thinking I am depressed (I looked up the symptoms of depression, I am not depressed). Some are worried because my view of life has changed.  I no longer see this life, this physical existence, these few years, as of primary importance. Do not worry.  I feel like I am waking up, waking up to the true reality.  Yes, I need to focus on this world, too and that will come, but for now this is where my journey has led me and I’m in the right place.

For many years I suffered from an intense fear of death, particularly sudden death, particularly sudden death related to the heart.  Due to that fear I did everything I could to deal with it and studying Near Death Experiences was the one thing that helped me more than anything. While I want to be a person of faith, reading about what happened 2,000 years ago in the Middle East just doesn’t cut it for me. I need to know what is happening now. I want to experience for myself.  The closest thing to that has been studying other people’s NDEs and OOBEs.  With Shayna’s passing, death has come as close as it could possibly come to me without taking me and it’s given my whole life a new focus.  People who have had NDEs sometimes have trouble adjusting to this world when they come back. I feel like I have figuratively had an NDE.

A couple of weeks ago I met a woman who has had not one but several Near Death Experiences (we met on Facebook). She actually lives close by. i hope to meet her face to face in the coming weeks.  She has written some of the best accounts I have seen including the one I’m about to share with you with her permission.  When I read this and think of this for Shayna, it gives me peace.  When I read this and think of it for me, it makes the cares of this world just fade away.  

This is by Penny Brooks Wilson.  Please do not copy it or post anywhere else.  Penny gave me permission to post it here and I’m sure it will be included in her book (that you need to write Penny).

Written After Near Death Experience in September 2014

I was with the Spirit of God, and I knew Him.  I knew Him in a sense that was physical, spiritual, and mental.  When I knew Him in that depth He was indescribable.  He held no form, or gender, or name.  There was no embodiment, for what could hold Him?  What could contain the eternal? The vast white light of His penetrating energy could not be stopped.  It couldn’t be dimmed.  It touched me and then went deeper; beneath my physical self, of whom there was only a perception and not a true physical form.  I was defined in that space by my own special and unique energy. His vast white presence soaked into every part of me.  It dove deep into my middle and stole my breath, of which I had no need as I was filled with the light.  I laid myself bare to this energy, letting it fill every void, every hurt, every longing.  It took up all of those spaces, but didn’t diminish me in any way.  For the white energy of God does not take from us, only gives, filling us to overflowing. The radiant light moved with powerful intent toward all parts of me.  It surrounded and infused each cell, filling my body with this intense warmth and vibration that was an indescribable joy to my ears, my skin, and my spirit.  All of me remained intact, that is, all of me that was of benefit to me; while that which was not of benefit seemed to never have been.  I couldn’t recall those parts and I had no desire to try to bring them forth to my understanding.  As I floated in this white light, I could feel it permeating me to the tiniest cell, wrapping within me like some sort of cloak; though the energy was not harnessed within the garment.  It filled me to overflowing.  I relaxed my head back, not wanting to feel burdened by the weight of it, and at that moment the white light moved into my neck, so warm, causing me to want to curl my physicality inward so that I could experience it all the more. From my neck it moved up through my jaw and into my mouth, lighting my tongue with the most pleasing of melodies as it pushed further up.  I wanted to keep my eyes closed, to try and contain the light so that it might not escape, but that was in folly.  My eyelids couldn’t contain the light of the Creator.  The light shone straight through them to the outside, reflecting off the light that surrounded me and then racing back into me.The warm white energy ascended up my forehead and into my skull, buzzing around my brain and warming it with the most pleasing sensations, creating in my head this sense of floating and weightlessness.  Then, the light proceeded to enter each curve of my brain, flowing through as though traveling an expansive winding river.  It lit up parts of my mind and intellect and created within me this “knowing” which made all things clear.The situations that I had found torment over in my time on the other side of Heaven were brought to my memory.  The dread and sadness that had indwelt me over those things was immediately gone.  The truths became peaceful and clear in my mind.  No words were spoken.  There were no explanations given to erase the hurts and disappointments, just this deep internal knowing that the truths of those matters had not been what I had believed them to be. I had tried for so long to fit those trials into some sort of framework so that I could understand them, not realizing that my understanding wouldn’t come through my own beliefs or ideas, but through this white light that filled me on this side, the “Side of the Spirits”.  The weight of each of those pains was gone from me, and the peace of God replaced them; like a warm hug from father to child, assuring that all is well.  I immediately felt safe and I gave myself completely to the light.  It held my entire existence; no effort from me was required.  I was suspended and fully supported in the vibrations of light that surrounded, encircled, and filled me.  The light flooded out of me; exuding from my bones, pouring out of each strand of hair, even my eyelashes were aglow with His light and vibration.  Then suddenly, it felt as though the energy of God were a huge magnet, drawing me back to His core, where I had belonged all along.  I allowed myself to move closer and closer to His center.  Then suddenly, it was no longer external.  It became internal; as though I were this vast, deep, endless, bright light with its source at the deepest part of my being. The light was drawing me to God’s fingerprints on my DNA.  Pulling me in through the spirals.  I could feel them sliding around and over me, like gentle caresses from a loved one.  I was moving with great speed toward the core of my existence when suddenly I was stopped; and I knew that I couldn’t continue on that path, not yet. I longed to violate that truth within myself.  I wanted to stay.  I wanted to make it to the spark of my existence, but it was not to be.  Then I remembered that it was a decision that I had already made; before I had ever gotten to the point of making it, as though it were preordained, though that isn’t the right word as the decision was of my own choosing. I felt the light dissipating and I became so fretful, like a child weeping inconsolably.  I cried out to God, “Please, please, grant me at least the memory of this!  Let me store within myself this time with You so that I will never forget.  I feel I will lose all hope if I cannot at least have that.”  Then I was back; the memory of my time with Him held deeply within.- copyright 2014- Penny Brooks Wilson

The last few days have been particularly tough.  As we knew would happen, the calls and visits and cards have slowed down.  The meals that people were bringing have stopped.  People are returning to their lives. Ty and I are facing our new normal that we did not choose.  My friends keep asking “How are you?” I’m tired of telling them the truth. They’re probably tired of hearing it.  People want to hear I’m making progress, doing better, hanging in there. The truth is none of that is really true.  I’m surviving.  Just surviving.  Some days, some moments I have a long term view. Some days, some moments I am spiritually minded.  Some days, some moments I am thinking about what Shayna has gained and the amazing experiences she is having.  But other days, other moments I am thinking about how much I miss her now. Other days, other moments, I am carnally minded. Other days, others moments, I’m thinking about what I lost, not what Shayna has gained.  The struggle between the two mindsets is exhausting. I am trying to feed one while starving the other.  I am immersing myself in material that feeds one, I take at least an hour and a half every day just for mental health. But, I’m sick of them fighting in my head for space.  It’s wearing me out.  I just want it to be over.  They keep wrestling around in there destroying all the furniture and not letting me have a moment’s peace.

Yesterday, I was on a second walk.  I didn’t need the steps to make my daily goal and God knows I don’t need to lose any more weight, but walking is a way of burning off excess energy (anger/frustration).  So, I decided to get in a mile and a half while Ty was out with friends. As I walked, I got this message from a girl who knows Shayna.

I meant to message you yesterday when this particular incident occurred but didn’t get the chance to. Shayna was on my heart a lot yesterday, as she always is, and I was wrestling with God with my heartbreak and anger. I had a particularly down day and was really looking for something that would lighten my spirit. As I was cutting the grass Wiz Khalifa’s song “See You Again” came into my head and I began to sing it. Since Shayna’s celebration service I have sort of dubbed it her song and whenever I hear it, it brings me to tears thinking of her. As I sang it a feather fell down at my feet. I looked up to see if I could see the bird it came from and I couldn’t. Maybe this means nothing to you but it really touched me and made me feel Shayna was close by. I just felt on my heart the need to share this with you, in the hopes it lightens your spirit, if only for a second. Thinking and praying for you all often!

It reminded me that Shayna’s passing isn’t just impacting Ty and Kayla and me.  It’s not just my family that is dealing with it.  People I had no idea would be so moved by it are being moved.  I’m trying so hard to see the good in this.  I’m glad that other people are getting signs like this though, little things that are helping them make it through. I cannot tell you how many people have sent me pictures of feathers or found a dime when thinking about Shayna.  I’m glad for those small comforts.

I replied back to her and told her that we were blessed to have had Shayna in our lives for the time we did and that we will see her again.  She replied:

She truly was! I can honestly say she was a truly inspirational piece in my life and even though I was 5 years her senior, I looked up to her for her wisdom and love for life. She’s truly missed and I can’t wait to see her again!

Today I spent the day ripping and sawing and killing honeysuckle in the back yard.  Five hours of total mayhem and destruction and sweating with the ultimate man tool- a sawzall.  I’m gonna be sore tomorrow, but it was worth it. 

So, two months into this new part of my journey.  Has there been any progress? I’m not sure.  I do know I am tired of the struggle though.

We were driving back from church today and the album playing from my iPhone ended. The Bluetooth system in my car will then start playing from my library of 14,000 songs in alphabetical order by song title, but the first song seems to be selected randomly. Today, Michael Bolton’s version of Time Love and Tenderness was first up.

Of course we were talking about Shayna. She had just discovered Michael Bolton from the TV car ads and liked his voice.

The lyrics are:

So you say that you can’t go on
Love left you cryin’
And you say all your hope is gone
And what’s the use in tryin’
What you need is to have some faith
Shake off those sad blues
Get yourself a new view

Oh, nothing is a sad as it seems, you know
‘Cause someday you’ll laugh at the heartache
Someday, you’ll laugh at the pain
Somehow you’ll get through the heartache
Somehow you can get through the rain

When love puts you through the fire
When love puts you through the test
Nothing cures a broken heart
Like time, love and tenderness
When you think your world is over
Baby just remember this
Nothing heals a broken heart
Like time, love and tenderness
Time, love and tenderness

I understand how you’re feeling now
And what you’ve been through
But your world’s gonna turn around
So baby don’t you be blue
All it takes is a little time
To make it better
The hurt won’t last forever

Oh, all the tears are gonna dry you know
‘Cause someday you’ll laugh at the heartache
Someday you’ll laugh at the pain
You may be down on your luck
But baby that old luck’s gonna change

I know the title of this post may be alarming to some. I thought about dialing it back, but first of all this is my journal and you have to be true to your journal. Second, I made a commitment to keep it real for the sake of anyone reading that this might help.

This is a line from an Evanescence song about suicide. It’s a song that is really anti-suicide as the girl singing it is bleeding out and wondering if she’s done the right thing, can she find forgiveness? The line comes in in a disturbing demonic voice. Sometimes, when I’m in a funk, a line from a song will play on repeat in my head for days or weeks at a time. It’s been “I Don’t Care Anymore” from Phil Collins at times. Now it’s “I Want To Die”- just that line from Tourniquet.

Yesterday was a tough day for me. The weird thing is wasn’t the normal griefburst thing. I think I hardly cried yesterday. I was just in a general funk.  Just done. Just beat. Just tired.  I just don’t want to do this anymore. Today is the same.  I thought about titling the post “Black Friday” since today is Friday.  Now, in case you’re still the least bit concerned about me, this song that keeps coming back to me is ANTI-suicide. I have no intention of hurting myself now or ever.  In spite of the Theme from MASH, suicide is not painless.  Suicide doesn’t end the pain, it only transfers it to someone else. 

“I tried to kill the pain
But only brought more
(So much more)I lay dying and I’m pouring
Crimson regret and betrayal”- Evanescence- Tourniquet

I recently wrote that I believe that all things that happen here are for our ultimate good. I still believe that. I believe that I have a mission.  Nico referred to this planet as Top Gun School.  I have no intention of flunking out.  I still have Ty and Kayla to live for.  My friend John reminds me (he was concerned about me) that suicide brings on karma that I don’t want.  Hey, guys I’m not going anywhere before my time. Jesus said that by worrying we could not add one day to our life (assuming we all want to add days).  My desire for what is on the other side will not take one day from my appointed time. That doesn’t mean I can’t have a desire for the mission to be over.

Shayna loved Christmas and birthdays.  From the moment Christmas was over, she was counting the days until the next Christmas.  I’ve been listening and reading a lot of NDEs’ lately. The day I finally cross over seems like Christmas to me. I can’t wait to open that present.  It’s the next big thing to look forward to in my life. At 54 I feel like my best days are behind me.  The excitement of meeting Ty, courting her, the honeymoon, having Kayla and closing our circle with Shayna are in the past. The days of homeschooling, family vacations, watching them do all of their firsts are in the past.  With Shayna I was still “Daddy”.  I’m Dad to Kayla.  The business has been built. It’s been a struggle and remains one.  The house has been remodeled. That’s all done.  The trees I planted when we moved in are dying. The swing set is gone. Yeah. I’m looking forward to going home.

This is not depression.  I have not lost interest in normal activities. I’m not having trouble controlling my thoughts.  I’ve got as good a handle on my thought as I have ever had.  I’m sleeping fine- not too much, not too little. I go to bed around 11 and up between 6:30 and 7:30.  I’m doing everything I need to do here to maintain this body that I really don’t want to be in.  Actually more than ever.  I did my 4.5 miles yesterday morning.  I walk between 6-13 miles a day. I take my meditation.  I meditate at least once a day for 25 minutes.  I’m down to my college weight (intentionally)  I take my medications.  Ty and I even went to a Oneness Blessing last night.  I am so proud of all she has been doing to heal through this. The Oneness Blessing (Deeksha) was her find.  It was good, but I think I’m too deeply wounded for one shot to take.

Maybe this is just a normal phase of grief. They tell me it is, but it’s where I am on Day 65. Ty has a full day on the calendar today, a little pampering of herself, golf with friends and going out with a friend to celebrate her birthday.   Funny, she’s playing more golf than me these days (it’s easy to beat zero).   I’m happy for her.  I don’t have many real life, physical friends.  She does.  I have amazing support from long distance, but it’s as if the depth of my relationships is inversely proportional to the physical distance people are from me.  Today I’ll do some stuff that I need to maintain the 3D, knock our some work.  Then, I’ll have some Brian-time. 

I am standing on the deck. The dogs are in the back yard doing their dog thing when I spot a hummingbird approach the feeder we put up several days ago. No, wait, there are two hummingbirds. They feed only for a second or so then they fly off and start to do this hummingbird dogfight. They are looping around each other moving rapidly from the feeder on my left across to my right. From about 20 feet in front of where I was facing to just behind me and to my right. They must not see me because suddenly they are both headed right for my face. I duck and gasp as they pass six inches to a foot away from me. Now they move back to my left and just behind me. One stops and hovers not two feet from me and just stares at me as I stare at him. This goes on for about five to ten seconds. They come back together, go to the hanging plant on the deck where I am, feed for another ten seconds or so, then they fly off together.

I have lunch with my friend Todd who has been inviting us to attend Garden Park Unity Church for a while. Ty and I finally went on Sunday and we missed him.  Todd’s been on a quest too, but we don’t talk all that often. Over lunch we each share some of our wilder thoughts about this existence.  Man, I wish Todd could meet Nico. Todd is telling me some of the same stuff Nico has told me.  

I’ve been calling myself a hopeful skeptic, but the realization hits me, I’m Doubting Thomas. I believe what I’ve been studying.  I have a large degree of confidence in it.  What I don’t have is certainty.  Is it wrong to want certainty? I want to stick my fingers in the wounds. I want to have the experiences others have had that have led to knowing rather than believing.  I want know- experientially.  Is that possible for me, just an ordinary guy?

Fast forward to the next day- my daily Podcast today is by a guy who says he started out not as a skeptic, but as someone trying to prove ESP, etc. was baloney. The more he studied the evidence the more convinced he became. So much so that he has now written three books and come up with a rating scale for the probable veracity of individual spiritual encounters or reincarnation stories. He rates them on a scale and he has published them 1-40 on a website. He says when asked why he believes in an afterlife, he tells people he doesn’t believe, he knows.  Aha!  That is what I want.  I have lunch with Nico.  I ask him for advice. What should my next step be?  Healing,  Meditation class(es), yoga, hypnosis?   What?  Nico looks at me and simply asks “Why?  What are you trying to accomplish?”  I tell him I’m a believer, but I want to be a knower.  Surely he senses the desperation in me, the frantic running from here to there.  He reminds me this journey isn’t so much about getting more stuffed into my mind as it is about letting go and letting it happen.  More isn’t necessarily better. Faster isn’t necessarily better.  Take your time and let it happen.  This is something I am really bad at

What I have become confident about is it will all be “OK”.   “Bad” things will happen but I have a trust in the universe/God/Source whatever that what happens was meant to happen.  I don’t see the universe as a bad place anymore. I don’t even see it as a neutral place. It’s all working out for our good.   It’s ironic that I finally believe that after Shayna’s passing, but frankly it’s the only way I can cope with her passing.  It took the ultimate bad thing, the worst thing I could possibly imagine, to get me to believe that.  If I believed that her passing were meaningless and that this life is all there is, well, I just can’t go there. There has to be some deeper meaning, there has to be some redemption.  

So, Nico says to slow down, take deep breaths and trust in the process. I am on the path, but it’s not a short path (and it seems like it’s decidedly uphill).  One step at a time, one day at a time and trust. :::: sigh :::::

Another day of the typical stuff. Morning cry, morning walk, work, meditation.  Ty and I figure out dinner.  

Sheila, our grief counselor from Companions On A Journey, comes over. We talk for almost two hours. Sheila has been a tremendous help, but we’re coming to the end of what she can do for us. She has been a great sounding board, she has given us things to consider, she has helped us set reasonable goals. What we realize though is that we have such a great support system, not to mention each other, that we really shouldn’t take any more of her time, at least not now.  We have been pounding the grief books and Podcasts, the afterlife stuff, going to different churches, walking, working out, talking to friends, journaling, blogging.  There’s only so much to be “done”.  

We thank Sheila for her service.  We’re taking the training wheels off now.

Today after my walk and my meditation I ask Ty if she wants to try out the new church that Lynn and Doug mentioned last night. Another friend attends it and he has invited me before. Neither of us is particularly wedded to Crossroads and even though the spiritualist church was OK, it was just OK. We decide to try Garden Park Unity. Ty has been listening to Unity Church podcasts and likes their message.

The church is about 200 people, perfect size IMO. I am not a fan of megachurches where nobody knows anyone’s name. Give me a place where the pastor might actually know who you are. Brian Tome stood on stage one week and said his friend and acquaintance circles were full, so if you were attending Crossroads, you had no shot of getting to know him. I admire his candor.

The church is full of a wonderful spirit. I thought he greeting time, where you shake hands, was going to go on forever. These people don’t just shake hands though. They hug. There is a time of meditation during the service. Like that. The kids march out to Sunday school, then later March back in to report what they learned. Like that. The message is about how we are each divine. Like that. Yeah, overall, we both like this place.

After church Ty suggests we go watch our friend Chuck play at a brunch he is playing at a Mexican restaurant. Normally our instinct is to rush home after church to our sleeping Shayna, but Shayna does not wait for us at home. We go to watch Chuck and are surprised to find Yvan is playing with him and Deb, his wife, is there as well. It’s a beautiful day and a beautiful patio he is playing on. The Bloody Marias are delicious. Of course though my thoughts turn to Shayna out of habit. Ty and I had checked in with each other on the way over. “How are you today?” We are each just kind of OK. We have the same thought as we head to the restaurant to see Chuck. We love seeing Chuck, but we’d rather see Shayna. As I sit on the patio and thoughts of Shayna start to flood in I realize this is not the time. If Shayna were alive, she’d be home in bed sleeping. She would not be here. The only difference between me having a good time, in this present moment, and being miserable is what I choose to think. If I stay in this moment, I’m sitting on a patio, sipping a nice drink listening to music being performed by a good friend. That’s what I choose to do. Meditation has helped me identify my thoughts, slow the thought train down, realize I am not my thoughts and have some control over what I choose to think.

After the music we come home and Ty does some work. Tiger is actually in contention in the golf tournament this weekend, so I’m interested in golf. I turn it on and Tiger quickly falls out of contention. So much for that. I decide to watch catch up on some television. Now is the time to let those thoughts come and come they do and they wipe me right out. I feel mentally exhausted, but we have been invited to dinner by friends. We are going to their house. Ty comes in the room and sees me lying flat on my back on the couch, not typical for me. She asks if I’m OK and offers me an out if I don’t want to go to dinner. No, I’ll go. It’s way too early for bed. I have to be somewhere, might as well be with friends. We go and we have a good time and conversation.

We return home and now we are both tired. It’s not the physical, it’s just mentally getting through these days where every single thing has to be done a new way. Reprogramming your brain is tough work. It’s two steps forward and one step back. We turn in early to read, grateful to have survived another day.

The last two days have sucked pretty badly. Yesterday we had to drop Kayla off at college and return to an empty house. Today, we wake up and face the “new normal” that we didn’t ask for. Today is a struggle for both Ty and me.  This evening however, we have new friends coming over for drinks after dinner. One of the couple is someone Ty has known for many years, but they haven’t been in close contact. She has friended me on Facebook since Shayna’s passing and has been a tremendous help in seeing me through this.  I really only know her through Facebook, but I sense something special about her. She and her husband want to come over to share stories they have since his wife’s passing.  Ty and I are looking forward to their visits. I expect there will be a lot of tears, but when they get here, Lynn’s energy is just so high I can’t get down enough to bring any tears forth.

Wow, where to begin? Let’s just say we haven’t had any major signs in a while and I am disappointed I got nothing yesterday during Kayla’s move in. I saw a couple of butterflies then and I see a pair of dragonflies on my walk this morning, but Lynn has messaged me that Shayna has been in communication with her today and she can’t wait to tell us the details.  I’m looking forward to something, anything.

Lynn and Doug come in and Lynn starts right off with the story of her day, even before we can offer them a drink.  Lynn is a very intuitive person, so as she was at Kroger, she was standing in the aisle asking Shayna and Christie (her good friend she lost to brain cancer a few years ago) for guidance on what to purchase.  Lynn is bringing dessert tonight.  Lynn settles on some wonderfully gooey brownies and lemon bars which were also amazing.  Good choices, Shayna and Christie.  Lynn tell as she arrives home from the grocery, there on one of the three stepping stones up to her house is a feather which she has placed in a gift bag and put into a card she gives to us. Shayna was there visiting Lynn today.  Lynn was blown away by this feather being there in light of asking for Shayna for guidance and our scheduled (holy) appointment this evening.  

Then, out of the gift bag there are two more small jewelry bags each with a piece of jewelry in it. This is where the story really gets interesting.  Lynn’s daughter has a friend who makes jewelry. This girl is also an intuitive. Lynn has asked her to select some jewelry as a gift to Ty.  Lynn tells her that we have lost our daughter and she would like something appropriate. She tells her a few things about Shayna and then thinks “Oh wait.  Brian just published Shayna’s eulogy, I can forward that to her.” So, Lynn forwards the eulogy to her.  The girl has selected a pendant filled with crystals that each have meaning and properties that should be helpful to Ty.  The girl calls Lynn back, excited. She has read the obituary and sees the part where Kayla’s nickname for Shayna is “Duck” (or “Baby Duck”).  The girl says she was shopping for jewelry supplies and something told her to buy this small yellow duck charm. She had no idea why but she bought it. She adds it to the pendant.  Now, Lynn is convinced the pendant is not meant for Ty, but for Kayla.  It’s absolutely perfect.  The girl gives Lynn another pendant meant for Lynn. Can you guess what this pendant is?  It’s feathers with a Hamsa or Hand of Fatima (for protection).  Lynn decides this is perfect for Ty and Ty and I agree. These gifts could not be any more appropriate and we are all blown away by the synchronicity going on here. The girl buying the duck and the girl giving Lynn the feather pendant. Goosebumps all around.

We grab some drinks and head out to the deck. I have only met Lynn once or twice before and only seen her husband once, at Shayna’ celebration, but the conversation comes easy as if we have known each other for many years. They share stories with us about Christie, her passing and the things they have seen from her in the years since.  We share with them the stories of how Shayna has visited us.  It’s just so good to be around people with whom you can have real conversations and people who won’t think you’re nuts when you tell them what you believe and what you’ve seen.  Then, Lynn and Doug share with us a vision they had at Shayna’s celebration. I should say visions because even though they both saw the same thing, they did not tell each other about it until later on.  We talk about the Spirit that was in the room on the night of Shayna’s celebration. Maybe not everyone there felt it, but I know a lot of people did. We feel the Spirit with us on this night, too.  We talk about our loved ones, about seeing them again, about how they are still with us, still involved in our lives.  We envision Shayna sitting in one of the chairs with us now. If it’s true that their spirits are still right here with us, in a dimension we can’t easily detect we talk about how they are probably saying “Ooh, they’re getting it. They’re so close.”  I imagine how one day when I cross over, I’ll look in on this world and realize just how clueless I am right now.  I am loving this night.

We could go on talking all night. There is so much more to say, but some of us are old folks and it’s time to get to bed. 

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

As Ty and I were drifting off to sleep last night, I realized that this thing we are trying to do is an uphill climb. It’s swimming against the stream. We’re trying to figure out how to live without Shayna being here and, for me, at least if I am conformed to the behavior and customs of this world (the literal translation of this verse says “and be not conformed to this age”) I can’t do it.  If the reality is Shayna is simply gone, then I cannot go on.  I don’t want to go on. There is no point.  If we all just live here and disappear, well the pain isn’t worth the trip for me.  We are working hard to reprogram our brains.  I find it interesting that Paul uses the word “mind” here (in most translation), not spirit. We are trying to change the way we think. We are trying to reprogram our brains.  

Here is the kicker though. My Christian friends (and myself included for many, many years) read this is referring to “the world”, to non-believers. We Christians believe in life after death.  Universalists (which I have become) believe in life after death for all and paradise for all. Or so we say.  Let’s get real though. Most Christians are conformed to the world when it comes to the way we really behave and think about which is the more real reality. We don’t like to think about death.  We don’t give much thought to the “after life”.  It’s after life. When life is over, then we’ll worry about whatever that is.  When you think of being “in the spirit world” which world is more real? Is their world more real or ours?  Which world is more desirable? Would you rather have the world of adventure and pizza and ice cream and hugs or the world of “spirit”?  Being in the spirit world sounds, unreal, a dream state, maybe a nice place to visit, but who would want to live there? Ghosts are creepy. Spirits, stay where you are.  We don’t want you here.  This place is where the action is.  We all want to be here as long as humanly possible. When our loved ones pass over, they can barely send us a sign- maybe a feather or a hummingbird visit.  it’s not a real visit.  We can’t talk to them on the phone. We say we believe they are in heaven, but we really think they are gone from us and usually we are in no hurry to join them.

If I’m going to make the rest of my life work, I have to have a renewing of my mind.  I have to. I am fighting hard to throw off the behavior and customs of this world and, thank God, I think Ty is with me. I want to live as if I really believe the “spirit world” is reality. I want to live as if this is a temporary ride and these bodies are just vehicles (or cages) that house our spirits until we can become our true selves.  People live as though we are just a body. Some accept that we have a soul. Very few, very few, live as if we are a soul that has a body. That’s the world I want to see.  I want to see through spiritual eyes. I want to know that Shayna is now her true self. I want to know that she is feeling love like she’s never felt.  I want to know that the one thing certain in my future, my death, is going to a reunion beyond what I can even  imagine. I want to stop clinging to the things of this world and set my sights on what is eternal and real.

The other night we had some new friends over.  It was a glorious, spiritual evening (with beer and cigars and desserts and lots of cussing).  We just sat on the deck with the firepit on and talked. What made it spiritual though is all we talked about for four hours was the true reality of our world, who we really are, what it really important in life.  We talked bout how our loved ones are not “out there” somewhere. They are still here with us, still caring about this life, still involved, still watching over us.  We pictured Shayna sitting there in a chair next to us, just taking it in.  It was so good to talk with like-minded people who are helping us make this transformation from a carnal mind to a spiritual mind.  In fact, both told us about a vision each of them had had at Shayna’s celebration. Doug had never met Shayna.  Lynn didn’t really know her. Separately, they each had the same vision, which they did not share with each other until the next morning.  They were seeing through spiritual eyes.  

I woke up around five o’clock this morning. Three to five in the morning is when Spirit seems to want to talk to me. I think the meditation is helping to relax my mind, but I’m still trying too hard even in meditation.  Nico told me some things that might start happening in meditation and others have as well. I’ve been praying for my spirit guides and angels to have more say in my life and to reveal themselves to me.  But, I think maybe I’m looking for too much.  In the wee hours of the morning I can be alert, but relaxed and seem to be more open to messages. That’s when this verse came into my mind. That’s when I was told that Jesus would guide me.  Jesus has almost been ruined for me by Christianity. I’m getting the sense I need to get back to Jesus, the real Jesus.  Then this little piece of this song came into my mind.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace

So yeah. That happened.  I listened for a while as the messages came in, acknowledged the guidance then said good night and tried to get another hour or two of sleep.