Today is the last day of the year. In our culture, we make certain days more significant than others. We set expectations for these 24 hour periods like they are special. In reality, each of them is exactly like any other day of the year. Ironically, what they have in common is that they are each unique.  Yet, we place expectations on them depending on where they fall on the calendar. Yet, Christmas is supposed to be like this.  New Year’s is supposed to be like that.

I saw so many parents talking about how much they dreaded Christmas that it triggered me to look at Christmas differently this year. I had that same dread. I purposely lowered expectations, not allowing myself to be disappointed because this Christmas wouldn’t be like Christmases in the past. And, to my pleasant surprise, it worked. Christmas was not so bad. It was actually somewhat pleasant because I took it for what it was, a day to hang out with Kayla and Tywana and enjoy our time together. Four days later, I had the Christmas celebration with the parents. Again, I reset my expectations, and I got through it with minimal pain and discomfort.

For many of us parents, New Year’s Day is even worse than Christmas. New Years is a time of beginnings. Society tells us we are supposed to look forward to the upcoming year. If we are still connected to our child in the past, we will feel that we are putting another year of distance between them and us. Starting another year without our child is a milestone we don’t want to pass. We want to hold onto the past. It makes it impossible to look forward with any desire for the future. If our child stopped existing on the day their body died, it’s as if we left them there and we are continuing forward. Each year they get farther and farther behind, in our rearview mirror.  Living my life looking back has been hell. I’m choosing another way. 

Therefore, I’m going to choose to look at this end of the year differently. I’m celebrating the close of 2018. 2018 has been a rough year. But, I endured. It’s been three and a half years since Shayna passed. That’s a lot of distance. I woke up this morning and congratulated myself on my journey. My God, three and a half years ago I could not anticipate getting up the next day, let alone surviving for one thousand two hundred and eighty-six days. To have made it this far is an accomplishment. When I raise that glass of champagne at midnight, I will gladly leave 2018 in the past. Good riddance.

Shayna walks with me. I didn’t leave her in 2015. Every day I know this more and more because I actively work to reinforce this truth, via my meditations, my reading, my studying, on my walks. The world tells me that my child died. I know that she simply made the transition I will make sooner than I did. She sits right here beside me on the other side of a thin veil. I refuse to leave Shayna behind in June of 2015. As time passes rather than look backward and see her fading into my past, I carry her with me, and I chooses to look forward. I long for the day when we are reunited. I rehearse that day in my meditations, meeting with her and other passed loved ones in a place in my mind. And, every day that passes brings me one day closer to her.

Adios 2018. Bring on 2019. I ‘m going to do everything I can in the coming year to fulfill my mission and to make Shayna proud of me. 

It’s Christmas Day. It’s the fourth Christmas since Shayna passed. I dread Christmas now. Being an adult at Christmas time was only stressful before the girls came along. Then, it had the magic again for several years as we bought for them, watched their eyes light up when they saw their presents, the wonder on their faces as they saw the notes from Santa, and Shayna’s passion for Christmas. But, for the last four years, Christmas is a day I would just as soon skip. Trying to decide what to buy for Tywana is something I’ve given up on. She buys for herself year round. When she goes Christmas shopping for others, it’s one present for them, one present for Tywana. She bought herself a Fitbit over Black Friday weekend, accessories for it since then, new earrings, pajamas when she was shopping for Kayla, etc. So, we’ve agreed I don’t buy for her. Kayla wanted cash for Christmas this year to help fund her trip to Mexico. So, our gifts for her were somewhat limited. I’ll have to buy something for gift exchanges with my family- people who have too much already. It’ll be gift cards for the parents again.

Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, Thomas John once again generously donated his time to our parents. Thomas sat for over an hour doing readings for over 100 parents who were missing their kids. As always, Thomas brought through absolutely astounding evidence. Many tears fell as parents heard from their kids validating that not only do they still live, they are active in our lives and aware of what we are doing. We went to bed at midnight. Last night was a full moon. When the moon is out, I’ll say goodnight to Shayna while looking at the moon. Last night I said Merry Christmas to Shayna as I looked at the moon glowing through the light cloud cover. I shed a few tears missing having my baby here to make Christmas exciting. As much as Shayna loved the thrill of Christmas, I know she’s not missing anything where she is. I know she’s fine. I know she’s having more fun than I am.

I woke up early and thought about “Christmas Day.” I decided to skip my walk today. I got dressed in the dark and went downstairs. I did a meditation that Susanne Wilson recorded, one designed to connect with a loved one on the other side. Shayna came to me in the meditation, and we had a nice visit as the tears rolled down my face. Better to get them all out before Tywana and Kayla got up.

I started to think about how Christmas has changed for so many. The parents on Helping Parents Heal were making posts, missing their kids. Many of the parents who had readings were thanking Thomas and coming through with more validations as they thought about what he had said, and it started to make sense to them.

I have to have an aside here. Last week, we had a meeting in which our featured speaker couldn’t make it. My buddy Jake Samoyedny filled in at the last minute. One of the mothers on the call had just had a reading with Jake. He had told her that she would get a visit from her son in an airport over Christmas. She was upset because her Christman travel plans had been canceled. So, Jake’s prediction could not come true. Then, two days ago, a relative passed suddenly. On the 23rd of December, she found out she would have to travel on Christmas Eve. As she sat in the airport, across the way, about 40′ away, she spotted someone who looked just like her son who is deceased. He was looking in her direction, but too far away to be making eye contact with her specifically. As he stood there drinking from her water bottle, he smiled. She began recording. Then, she whispered, “Smile again.” , at that moment, even though there is no way he could have heard her, he smiled in her direction. I know this is true because she captured it on video.

Yesterday, in the reading, Thomas told a mother that she had gone skiing in New Hampshire. She said, “Yes, I have been skiing.” Most mediums would have taken this. Thomas said, “Was it in New Hampshire?” She had to think about it. She confirmed it was New Hampshire. Amazing. Thomas brought through other pieces of evidence for her and others. People wonder if Thomas looks things up because he is so accurate. Well, there were over 100 people on this call. I saw him do similar things on a Facebook Live earlier in the day with 1,000 people on.  He has no idea who will be on. He brings up things that would never have been recorded anywhere. This morning, however, the mother posted this. “I received another Christmas gift from heaven, this morning. When the alarm woke me up, this morning, the DJ said be caller 10 to win ski tickets. I just kept getting through, until I won! Thank you Robbie for coming through yesterday, and for the ski tickets today!!!”

As I read the parents posting about missing their kids, and I thought about how much I miss Shayna, I started remembering that the Christmases of little kids excitingly opening toys were long gone for me before Shayna passed. As teenagers, the girls had started sleeping in on Christmas mornings. There were fewer and fewer toys for me to play with. I thought about my sister-in-law spending her first Christmas without her boys there. Two are in London; one got married this year. Our neighbor’s 23-year-old daughter is spending her first Christmas away, with her boyfriend. These are natural progressions. Our kids leaving us early to head back Home is an abrupt change. But, Christmas changes over the years, regardless. The magic of being a child is replaced by stress as we become adults. The joy of seeing your kids on Christmas mornings turns into waiting for your teenagers to finally roll out of bed in the afternoon and morphs into waiting for grandchildren to bring the magic back.

It’s time for a change in expectations. I think it was the year before Shayna passed that we started going to a movie on Christmas Day. A couple of years ago, we dropped the tradition of “bird” (Cornish hens) on Christmas. This is Kayla’s last year in her undergraduate program. Maybe next year it’s time to start traveling again on Christmas. We stopped traveling the year Tywana was pregnant with Shayna.

Grief happens when our expectations are not aligned with reality. The bigger the gap, the more profound the grief. Since we can’t change reality (at least not readily or easily), it makes sense to adjust expectations. I’m trying to view Christmas as just a day. Expecting every Christmas to be amazing simply isn’t realistic. As I type this, Kayla and Tywana are working on a crossword puzzle, and my mother-in-law sits at the kitchen table making a visit from the retirement home. She’s repeating her mantra “There’s no place like home.” Since she moved into the retirement home, that’s all we hear from her. She lives in Disappointment City. Kayla and Tywana are trying to talk her out of it. I’m trying to learn from her.

I’m looking for things to be grateful for. The sun is shining (a Christmas miracle in itself). Kayla is home and will be for a couple of more weeks. I have a ribeye roast in the sous vide. My friend sent a nice bottle of bourbon for Christmas. And, every day is one day closer to seeing Shayna again. No two Christmases are ever the same. I will never have the Christmas where I put together the dollhouse for the girls or the Christmas where Shayna got the keyboard and her face lit up the room.  I’m glad to have had the magical Christmases I had with the girls. Tonight, we’ll have a quiet dinner with Tywana’s mother. I’ll have a bourbon or two. And, I have another day with Tywana and Kayla. This one I will accept as it is. 

Yesterday, a mother wrote into one of the groups I run telling us about a sign she had gotten from her daughter. She was having a bad day, triggered by a memory of her daughter, and needed a fix of fast food to comfort herself. She pulled into her favorite fast food restaurant. When she goes to this restaurant, she doesn’t go inside. She does the drive-through. She pulled up the drive through and it was shut down. After the day she was having, triggered by memories of her daughter, she really didn’t want to go inside. But, she went inside. When she got inside, she saw a young man carrying a cellphone with a pink case. The very pink case her daughter had on her cellphone.  It, of course, made her immediately think of her daughter. But, she could not trust it was a sign. She came to our group and posted to ask. “Is this a sign?”. 

Ponder this. After the trigger that set her off, something made her think to go to her favorite fast food restaurant on the day the drive through happened to be shut down. At the time she got to the restaurant, this young man shows up with a phone, pulls it out, and it has a pink case.  It’s a pink case with flowers and owls on it. What are the odds? It sounds like an unusual case to me. And a boy was carrying it. For all of us it was obvious it was a sign. She knew it was a sign. Yet, she questioned.  We want signs. But, when we get them we try to rationalize them away.

I am as guilty of this as anyone. There is a house at the end of a cul-de-sac I walk twice a day every day. The house has two lights on the garage. One of the lights flickers off an on periodically. Mostly it’s on. But, sometimes, just as I’m coming up the hill to the house, it will turn off and turn back on. It doesn’t happen every day. I wondered if this was a sign. Then, I started trying to figure it out. “Is the light bulb going out?” Well, if it is, it’s been going out for weeks; and some days it’s on steady. “Are the lights on a sensor? I walk a lot of times just as the sun is coming up. Maybe it’s that in-between time that’s causing the sensor to think it’s dark/it’s light/it’s dark.” Well, it’s not always right at dawn when I walk and it’s consistently only one light that does this. It’s only the light on the right side. Finally, I’ve decided to take it as a sign and I say “Thank you, Shayna.” when it happens. I tell my story to the mother to help her have confidence in her sign. 

This morning as I turn to make the climb up the hill to the house, I look up and the light is shining brightly, no signs of flickering. It’s about a minute walk from the time I make the turn until I reach the top of the hill where the house is. My eye is on the light the entire time. It looks like it’s not going to go out today.  Just as I’m cresting the hill, I look at the light and I say “Good morning, sweetie. I love you.” At that moment, the light goes off for one second and right back on.

Today, I attended a mediumship demonstration by my friend Kat Baillie. For two hours, with no compensation, she sat and delivered messages to parents desperate to hear from their children in these days immediately before Christmas. When I hear people say mediums are doing the Devil’s work, I wonder if any of those people have ever met anyone doing this work or seen them work. I watched the faces of parents as they change from deep grief to even a few smiles when their children deliver messages through Kat.

One of the validations in particular stood out for me, probably because I was able to get a visual. Kat tells a mother about an image she’s getting of a picture of angel wings, not an angel, just angel wings.  Kat describes it as colorful. The mother looks a little confused. Then, an expression of recognition washes over her face.

Thank you to Kat Baillie today for making reference to the Angel wings that my daughter was speaking about. On any given day, this would mean absolutely nothing to me as I don’t associate Angels with (my daughter) or see feathers routinely or anything like that. But Kat was saying it was just Angel wings (not an Angel) and there was GOLD around it. I just received this painting yesterday from a friend of my daughter’s (whom I have never met, and my daughter passed over 4 years ago!) I didn’t recall all the gold around it. It was only the second time this girl had ever contacted me so it was particularly neat that Kat picked up on this message today. By the way, no other medium has ever mentioned Angel wings so this is really significant evidence for me.

This has been the week from hell, again. Two steps forward and one step back seems the way it goes or maybe it’s 1-1/2 steps forward and one step back. I’ve just completed Joe Dispenza’s book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” and while I knew it wouldn’t be easy, I was fully expecting for life to throw more challenges at me just as I’m trying to incorporate these new habits into my life- being grateful, expecting the best, knowing the Universe is working with me, etc. All of these are major changes from the way I have been programmed. If things were going well, it’d be challenging enough.

I feel like things are opening up. There’s the metaphor, the light at the end of the tunnel. This is more like a bunch of lights, pinpricks, against a dark background. I can see them out there and they might be getting closer. I have many opportunities in the embryonic stage. Some are public, some soon to be announced. Surely, from all of these one or more will emerge as successful. So, meantime, I try to wait patiently, putting my intention out there and trusting that it will be delivered in ways that are surprising to me. This is what Dr. Dispenza teaches. Every time one of these pops up seemingly out of nowhere, I wonder “Will this be the one?” 

This week one of the organizations I volunteer for has made a couple of decisions that I disagree with, one I strongly disagree with. This decision has already broken one heart. It will break another. I work with the groups I work with because we’re supposed to be spiritual. We’re supposed to be about healing and forgiveness and grace. We are supposed to know that Earth is a school and that we all make mistakes. But, when you get more than a few people in an organization, and when you get lawyers and money involved, all the spiritual stuff goes right out of the window. For an example, see just about any church. Many years ago I became good friends with a pastor on staff at the Vineyard. When I learned his annual objectives and goals were as rigid as any I had working for IBM, I realized that even most churches are just businesses. So, I shouldn’t be surprised by this decision. I’m not. I’m disappointed. 

Finances aren’t getting any better. I’m taking on part-time, entry-level work to close the gap. It’s not what I pictured myself doing at 57 years old. But, I’ll do what it takes. Ego won’t keep me from doing whatever it takes. The work isn’t grueling. I can do it from home. I’m grateful for that. Yet, I’d rather be doing my own thing. And that leads to some of the frustration. People keep telling me I should do my own thing. I should write a book. As a friend said last night “need to put you in the spotlight, not behind the camera.” I love the encouragement. I’m working on making that happen. Right now, those opportunities, those points of light are still distant, they are faint, but they’re out there.

Last night as I closed my eyes, I was exhausted but I could not sleep. I think I got a total of about three hours. Everything that is going wrong kept swirling in my head. I couldn’t make it stop. I went within to meet with my Team. I told them, “Take me now. A stroke would be good. I don’t want to do this anymore”. Their response “This is an opportunity. You wanted to learn. This is your chance to learn. What’s going well for you?” Well, I’ve developed this tool of knowing how to turn within. I’m grateful that I’ve learned how to cope. I was knocked way off center earlier this evening. But, I’m focused now. I’m healthy. I have a warm bed to sleep in. I have enough to make it through tomorrow and many tomorrows. I have friends who care. I have skills. I’ve shown I can easily get work if I really need to. I’m not doing what I want but I’ve landed several jobs in the last couple of months. Baby step. I agreed to stay. They told me to hang in a little longer. It will get better. That reminds me of a dream I had last week. I was with Tywana and Kayla, sitting around a table. Shayna was there in spirit. I could see her. Then, I was lying down. She took her finger, opened an incision in my chest, reached in and touched my heart. She asked me if I was ready to come Home. I looked at Tywana and Kayla and reluctantly said “Not now.” Then, I was awake.

I woke up this morning with not a single circumstance changed. But, as I was thinking about one of my jobs, creating memes, I came up with this image that I created to be the featured image of this post. When there is no way, make a way. I’ll keep inventing and reinventing ways forward until I break through whatever tries to stand in my way.

A few days before Shayna dropped in on Suzanne Giesemann and I saw the demonstration with Isabella Johnson, I did a test reading with a medium. The reading was very good with several pieces of evidence that I found to be absolutely amazing. Here is one I can show you with a visual.

The set up is the medium knew my first name and that I would be contacting her via Skype at 2 PM. I had her Skype address. She had no other information on me. It was a one hour reading.

During the reading, The medium mentioned a picture of Shayna that is one of Shayna’s favorites. She said Shayna is holding a “small animal”. She also mentioned a photo that I “salute” every day (the medium is Irish).

Just outside of my bedroom door, in the upstairs hallway is a canvas photograph of Shayna holding Stevie. We didn’t know at the time that this was taken a few weeks before she would make her transition. There is another picture in the foyer, above the stairs, that is the first thing I see when I open my bedroom door in the morning. When I leave the bedroom, I start each day by telling Shayna “Good morning” and I blow her a kiss.

This is the conversation I had with the medium the day after the reading.

This is going to be a bit complex, but try to follow along, because this is how Spirit works. Things we think are random, things we think are our own independent thoughts, are not random. They are not solely our thoughts. Things are put into our heads, prompts or nudges if you will. If we act on them, with no idea why we are doing it, magic can happen.

Today, I receive an email from Suzanne Giesemann introducing me to a woman who has written to Suzanne. This woman’s middle name is Elaine (same as Shayna’s different spelling). The woman has written Suzanne telling her a story about a painting associated with her name, which she happens to know means “Shining Light”. Suzanne forwarded the email to me saying she felt like it was a setup from Spirit. I read the email and write the woman back introducing myself to her and telling her about our Shayna Elayne whose name means Beautiful Shining Light. At the time, I kind of wonder why Suzanne feels like this is a setup.  The woman shares a middle name with our daughter. But, it’s not a terribly unusual name. It is unusual that someone would know what the name means. Suzanne knows the meaning of Shayna’s name from our conversations.

It’s always nice to hear from Suzanne. And, I leave it at that. Tywana replies to the email filling in some more information. The woman got the painting that prompted the original email in Jamaica. We honeymooned in Jamaica.  Interesting… The woman sent Suzanne a photo of the painting, and Suzanne pulled up a photo she had of Shayna to see if they looked anything alike. While she was looking at Shayna’s photo, Suzanne felt Shayna drop in on her. She immediately texted Ty to ask why Shayna would be talking about something that sounded like “Tweedledee” or “doodling.” When she comes back to her computer, the image of the sacred geometry that she saw when Shayna showed her the Happy Thought Bubble is up on her screen. Shayna then tells her something about one of us digging in the dirt. It’s December in Ohio. There’s not a lot of digging in the dirt going on right now, maybe in Florida where Suzanne lives. We think about it for a moment then remember that Tywana dug a flat spot in the landscaping out front so that the penguin she put out for Shayna wouldn’t fall over. The texts are going back and forth, and Suzanne asks if someone has had a thyroid issue.  Kayla was recently tested for a thyroid issue (test was negative). Shayna’s dropping evidence. Suzanne asks if someone has been doodling. I’ve been using an app called Doodle and Kayla often doodles. The first two are amazing evidence. The doodling maybe not so much. Then, Suzanne asks if there is a crack in the Happy Thought Bubble.  Well, no. Not that we know of. Interestingly enough about two days ago as we stood in the kitchen, the bubble was swaying back and forth. There was nothing that should have been making it move. There was no breeze. It’s December. The windows are closed. The dishwasher wasn’t running. It hangs right above our sink. We’ve never noticed it doing that before. The Happy Thought Bubble has made a lasting connection between Shayna and Suzanne. It keeps coming up.

I examine the bubble as it hangs there. It’s blown class with a pattern that kind of appears like cracks all over it. They aren’t cracks though. We’re trying to make this fit. But, there aren’t any cracks. However, as I’m looking at it, I notice how dusty it is. I take it down to dust it. Just as I take it down, Suzanne texts “Is there a small hairline crack at the top, where the string attaches?” Well, it’s in my hand now, I take a look. Again, I don’t see a crack. Then, wait… There it is, a tiny hairline crack maybe an eighth to a quarter inch long. It’s so faint, that I’m not sure if it’s a crack or just the way the light is hitting the glass. I put my thumbnail in it to feel it. It’s a crack! No one knew that crack was there. We certainly didn’t notice it and wouldn’t have noticed it. I tried to capture a picture of it, but it’s barely visible on the picture. Then, Suzanne delivers the main message: “I love you, Mommy”. The evidence is there to let us know that it’s really Shayna. The message is love.

After we text the picture of the penguin in the front yard to Suzanne, she texts us back with a picture of a penguin in her house. We find out that Suzanne loves penguins. No wonder Shayna loves to drop in on her.

Did you follow all of that? This woman we’ve never met and who had no idea we exist, had the nudge to email Suzanne with a story about a painting she found in Jamaica and later learned was associated with her middle name, Elaine. After a couple of days, she goes with the nudge and emails Suzanne. Suzanne, not knowing exactly why, copies us on the email. Shayna somehow manipulated Suzanne’s computer to bring up the image that reminds Suzanne of the Happy Thought Bubble again. We also found out is that Suzanne was just coming off of teaching a workshop. After her workshops, she takes some down time because the high energy leaves her with a bit of a spiritual hangover. She’s not looking to plug into Spirit at that time. But, Shayna wanted to get that message through. Suzanne follows the prompts, Shayna drops in some evidence saying “This is me, for sure. And I know what is going on with my family. I even know what they don’t know.” – about the crack.

Once again, we are blown away. Tywana’s crying tears of joy. For some reason, this continues to surprise us even though it happens over and over and over again.

This evening we have a Helping Parents Heal meeting. Our guest is Isabella Johnson- the Soul Reading Medium.  Isabella has helped dozens of our Helping Parents Heal parents giving readings that have been off the charts good. She is certified by Mark Ireland and I was one of her test subjects for her certification. Isabella is a natural-born fourth generation medium who actually sees people in spirit. She says she sees them more clearly than she does people in bodies. She volunteered with another group last night that I sat in on. So, today, I’m seeing her for the second night in a row.

Isabella starts her presentation/demonstration by telling us about her life and what has led us to this point. I don’t know how much of this she shares publicly. And it’s a closed group. So, I’m going to respect her privacy. But, we find out that she is a Shining Light Parent, with a daughter in spirit. We find out that she has had a Near Death Experience. This makes her so much more relatable to us as we learn of her doubts before her Near Death Experience, even with the amazing abilities she was born with. She comforts parents who have been told that people sometimes have a choice as to whether they can return after their bodies have “died”. The choice offered to some NDErs tortures many parents who think their children chose to stay in “Heaven” rather than return. They are devastated thinking their children chose “death” over coming back. Isabella tells us that even though she had small children at the time, she would have chosen to stay. I’ve heard several mothers say this same thing. There is no blame for those who might choose to stay and we should not feel a whit of guilt that our child may have made that choice (and may not have). After giving us general messages of comfort and hope for about several minutes, Isabella starts in on the readings, giving us detailed messages from our children which are always “I love you. I’m so proud of you.”, etc. But, she delivers evidence with each message so we know it’s our child speaking.

When she’s bringing my friend Heather’s son through, after describing Ace to a T, she asks Heather if she found a spider. There’s a confused look for just a second, then the recognition hits her. Heather starts digging around saying “Hold on”.  Heather was packing for a trip she would be taking the next day. She felt compelled to remove a brooch from a coat of her grandmother’s and put it on her purse. Heather lives in a part of California where they rarely need winter coats. So, she had to go to a storage closet to get the brooch.  The brooch is… wait for it… a spider brooch (image below).

This is just one of the astounding things Isabella brought up. People are completely floored when Heather holds the spider brooch up to the screen.


For those skeptical of mediumship, as to whether it’s real or not, I challenge you to explain Suzanne’s knowledge of Tywana digging in the dirt (in Ohio in winter) or the crack in the Happy Thought Bubble. How could Isabella have any knowledge of the brooch Heather had found that very day? If you’re wondering whether synchronicities happen, think of the series of events that led to Suzanne being open enough for Shayna to drop in on Suzanne that day. Shayna knew we needed to hear from her and she found a way to get the message through.

I’ve had people tell me that mediumship is dangerous. I dare them to spend some time talking to someone like Isabella or Suzanne. They live in service to Spirit. They live to heal. When I wrote to Isabella thanking her for the messages of hope she thanked me for the opportunity because, since her NDE, just like Peter Panagore, she has dedicated her life to bringing messages of healing to people to make this journey just a little easier.


I didn’t know when I was lucky
Discontented feeling bad
Filled with envy
For possessions other people had
I found my pride had always hurt me
Fought the world to gain control
Not realising
I was sitting on a beach of gold
Oh lord I’m a poor man
With all the riches I can hold
I’m a beggar
And I’m sitting on a beach of gold
The problems I encountered
Gave me strength helped me sustain
To know the pleasure
First I had to cure the pain
When I was searching for solutions
I found the answer lay in me
I’m a drifter
But I’m drifting on a silver sea
I didn’t have courage
My life was as dark as night
When alone in the darkness
I saw the brightest light
Let the light shine down
– Mike and the Mechanics- Beggar On A Beach of Gold
I haven’t written much lately. Today is the first day of December. Twenty days till the solstice. It’s been dark, gray, cold, rainy, snowy- you know, Ohio in the fall. I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger. The part-time gig working for one of the mediums I know, preparing for the holidays at Treasured Locks, volunteering for the SoulPhone, Greater Reality Living and Helping Parents Heal, interviewing for another gig with the seminary, helping an author finish the draft of his manuscript by co-leading a focus group. It’s a lot. And this week I launched another business venture that I’ll be announcing soon.

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a Hay House podcast by Joe Dispenza. He was talking about his book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”.  The talk resonated with me, and I was strongly considering buying the book and taking a genuine shot at completely changing my personality. That’s when my buddy Nico announced he was in town for a few days and invited me to lunch. I always enjoy my time with Nico. We met after Shayna’s passing when a friend introduced us because of Nico’s unique connection with Spirit. Nico went on a spiritual journey after the passing of his mother, leaving his corporate job and following his passion around the world for the last three plus years. We don’t talk sports or weather. It’s all soul talk. We think maybe we were monks together somewhere in a past life. Nico’s excited about a new program he’s about to launch to help people change their personalities (or as he might put it, ditch their personalities). He’s done it with a few people with great results. I mentioned to him that I was just about to buy Joe Dispenza’s book because it seems to line up precisely with what Nico is doing. I tell Nico how I’m suffering and I’m tired of it. He asks me if I’m ready to give it up. I am.  This conversation prompts me to go ahead and buy the book- I get it on Audible and start to listen.

I’ve been listening to the book for the last couple of weeks. I’m absorbing the principles and recognizing how I’ve been sabotaging my life, feeling unworthy and subconsciously limiting myself. I continue to try and try new things, but always with the backdrop of feeling they won’t take off. I’ll continually struggle in survival mode. The book puts a new spin on the law of attraction which I’ve always wrestled with because it makes no sense to me. But, so many people I know believe in it, I keep coming back to it, trying to understand how it works. And, more importantly, how do I make it work in my life. You see, if you get “bad” stuff from the universe, you come to expect “bad” stuff. So, what does the Universe do? Give you more bad stuff? How do I break the cycle? This is the first book I’ve heard of that teaches how.

Earlier this week, as I’m absorbing the principles of the book and into the last chapters, my new business partner approaches me with a proposal. I’ve had many business partners in the past. Other than Tywana, they’ve all let me down. One has taken me for thousands of dollars. All talk grandiose plans and lose interest. As I was in my account buying the domain name for this new business, I came across the domain name I purchased for the last venture I discussed with someone. We had big plans that went nowhere. My natural inclination, the habit of being me, says this venture will be more of the same. We’ll make big plans. And, nothing will happen. I see the past repeating itself. But, here’s what’s different. I caught it. I recognized this is the habit of being me. And, I decide to think differently. This time it will be different. This partner is one of the few people I know who has more energy and ideas than I do. I’m having trouble keeping up with her in just these few early days. She’s action-oriented. Things will happen. We will make them happen. This will be different. I will go forward believing this is the manifestation of the intention I’ve been putting out since that meeting with Nico and since starting the Habit of Being Me book.

Yesterday, I finished the last chapter of the book. As the book came to a close, I reminded myself that a “self-help” book is no good if you just read it. You have to put it into action. I take some time reinforcing the principles of the book in my head, in silence, as I walk. I envision the future I want to have. I want to be out of Ohio within two years- no more winters for me. I want to get Treasured Locks to the point where it’s more healthy. I want to earn enough money to pay off a car in two years. I want to put my skills to use helping other people- and get paid for it. I put all of this out to the Universe and, as Joe instructs, I don’t tell the Universe how to deliver. It’s up to the Universe to figure out how to deliver.

As I’m affirming all of this, the thought comes that 2019 is going to be my year. I’m looking forward to many positive changes in the new year. I think 2019, that will be Shayna’s 19th birthday. Since I still have some time before my walk is over, I decide to listen to Steely Dan’s Hey Nineteen. As I pull it up on my iPhone, I notice it was released in 1980, the year I was 19. Interesting coincidence. Hey Nineteen came out when I was 19. Shayna’s 19th birthday is 2019. And, I’m declaring 2019 as my year.

I get home and I’m working on my side gig, putting together some memes for my client. I Google images for John Lennon and come across this one.

I have no idea where this exists, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen it before. Last night Tywana and I are watching “God Friended Me” which is a television program all about this atheist getting prompts from a social media account called “God” and then finding these amazing synchronicities. The characters talk about Strawberry Fields in Central Park which is where this memorial exists. And, the camera pans down and there it is, the same image I saw earlier in the day. These are two small synchronicities in the day. But, they are big enough for me to take notice. I call these Easter eggs or God winks. Programmers hide Easter eggs in video games as little winks to the players. I believe the more we notice and acknowledge these, the more we get.

This morning in my meditation, I work on continuing to break the habit of being me. I start my meditation with one of my favorite Mike and the Mechanics songs, Beggar On A Beach Of Gold and I resolve to stop living in the shallows and get up on that beach of gold. Joe Dispenza says when you get up from meditation, you should be different from the person who sat down.  And, I am.
Are you out there now on empty
Feel you’ve nothing left to give
Sick of trying
Have you lost the will to live?
Don’t be drowning in the shallows
With the beach so near at hand
Hear the voice say
Stand up get up
And join me on the gilded sand
Come and join me on the beach
With all the riches I can hold
I’ve all the riches I can hold

Victor Zammit’s analogy about the afterlife hit home for me this weekend when Kayla came home to visit. We don’t talk as much as we used to. But, we look forward to those times when we do. We have a tradition of Brian/Kayla weekends dating back to when Tywana and Shayna would leave us for Shayna’s sports. While the four of us got along great, we have different relationships one-on-one. Choosing a movie with the four of us was virtually impossible. While Kayla and I would watch just about anything, Tywana would veto about 40% of the movies and Shayna another 40%. Tywana didn’t want anything too scary or with too much action. Shayna didn’t want anything remotely connected to any romance or anything shot before 2000. Kayla and I would breathe deep sighs while these two tried to find something we could all agree on. OTOH, when Kayla and I are together, I’ll say “How about this?” And, she says “That sounds good.” Kayla can appreciate a classic movie, a scary movie, a philosophical movie. We like movies that make us think and prompt discussion. So, I’ll keep a queue of movies just for those times when we are alone. This weekend we watched the classics Fatal Attraction and The Machinist, discussing the mental illness of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and what caused Michael Douglas to risk his nearly perfect marriage for a weekend fling. Then, we talked about the acting chops of Christian Bale who went from 173 pounds to 110 to play Trevor Reznik in The Machinist and the torture of mental illness brought on by extreme guilt.

Brian/Kayla weekends aren’t only about classic movies. We stay up late and discuss philosophy, child-rearing (she’s a nanny), politics, religion, the afterlife, and relationships among other topics. We both prefer to have a nice meal at home to going out. So, I make special dishes for her. We decided on scallops for Saturday. Instead, we had Korean BBQ for the first time for both of us on Saturday since Costco didn’t have scallops this weekend. She appreciates nicely spiced food. I froze some of the chili I made for the chili cookoff a couple of weeks ago, because I knew she’d appreciate the hot chorizo and chipotles that give it a little kick. Ty and my neighbors said it was so spicy. Ty could only eat a couple of spoonfuls. So, I kept the rest for when Kayla was coming home. Kayla and I had it along with cheddar & jalapeno cornbread. Afterward, I asked her to rate it on a spiciness scale. She said she’d give it a 4 or 5- not super spicy. That’s my girl. It reminded me of the time she was about two years old and my mischievous neighbor gave her some spicy potato chips. He expected her to spit them out. Instead, she asked for more. After the chili, we watched The Machinist and baked some chocolate chip cookies

I love Kayla’s sensitivity. She worries about me being alone. So, when she heard that Ty was leaving for a girls’ trip, she planned time to come spend the weekend, just the two of us. Ty thought she was joking about coming because Thanksgiving is in less than two weeks. Plus, she likes being with her old man, which makes me very happy. Ty and I always were parents first, but we also wanted to be friends with our girls. I’m so grateful for the bond between us.

Brian/Kayla weekend is over. She’s in the car on the way back to Toledo. This old man is happy. And, I get to see her again in just 10 days for Thanksgiving break. Yippee!