Oops! It appears that you have disabled your Javascript. In order for you to see this page as it is meant to appear, we ask that you please re-enable your Javascript!

Category: Engaging the Magic

More Light

More Light

Yesterday morning, I was driving to a Reiki training an hour away feeling agitated and anxious, which is not how I wanted to arrive at the training. I needed to get an important message to my daughter before going into the all-day event. I hoped I would calm down before I arrived at my destination and practiced feeling the emotional energy in my body, allowing the uncomfortable feelings, generating compassion, and choosing better feeling thoughts (which included feeling grateful for all the tools I have in my healing toolbox). I found it interesting that peace blanketed me, just like that, as I crossed the Twin Bridges over the Mohawk River.

I’ve loved Kahlil Gibran’s writings ever since a friend introduced me to The Prophet at age 22 – the age my daughter is now. As I continued driving in a more peaceful state now, a few lines from The Prophet (“On Children”) came to mind out of the blue:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

That was a significant poem to me – so much so that we had our parents take turns reading lines from it during my first wedding ceremony. I was 25, and my parents weren’t thrilled with my choice of a husband. They had lots of opinions about how I should live my life – because they cared about me. But it really bothered me that they weren’t able to trust me to make my own choices and even mistakes and seemed to believe they knew better than I how to live my life. Hence, the poem at the wedding.

Twenty-five years later, it was still relevant as I drove to the Reiki training. I had been able to give my daughter the message, and she was able to adjust her plans accordingly. I wished I could do more and wondered if I should turn the car around and spend the day with her. But the poem helped me to realize that I had done my part, and I needed to trust her journey…and go to my training.

When I arrived at the training, I put my stuff down and went into the restroom. What do you think was hanging on the wall next to the mirror in the bathroom? The very same Kahlil Gibran words that came to me in the car!!

Instant tears. I had to pull myself together for a moment before returning to the room.

That synchronicity was the first special gift of what ended up being a very powerful day. I went into the training with no expectations. I hadn’t even received a Reiki session prior to the training and was there simply because I felt guided and followed my intuition. Something very intense happened to me during the attunement ceremony after I accepted the possibility that I might not feel anything at all, and tears kept streaming down my face. I felt a little disoriented as I walked out of the building and into the warm, sunny day for lunch break. Something really big had shifted in me. I knew intuitively that I had said yes to healing myself so I could be a better healer for others. It felt like I had made a deep, inner vow.

During the afternoon, we paired up to give and receive a full Reiki session to a partner. I worked with a highly intuitive practitioner who was there as a helper. At the end of the session, she shared with me what came to her as she flowed Reiki (universal life force energy) to me. She described an image of a willful, young girl and a bicycle that I knew referred to my daughter. A voice was singing the “Hush, Little Baby” lullaby. The woman asked if there’s a message she can give me, and the voice replied, “Just tell her we’re with her.” She asked me if that means anything to me, and it was the third time I was moved to tears.

My daughter has been dreaming of her deceased grandparents a lot over the past few months, and I feel that they are with her. And that brings me comfort.

Sometimes we just don’t know what people are dealing with in their personal lives. My daughter has been going through a very challenging time lately, in which she was living in an environment that was very wrong for her and felt powerless to get out. She didn’t even have a car. Now she is out, thank God. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you are able to remove yourself from toxic relationships and turn your life around, and she is motivated to do just that. One thing I’ve learned from my 50 years on this planet is that if you are living in a way that is not in alignment with who you really are and what your soul wants, the signals will keep getting stronger until you can’t ignore them any longer and are forced into action. Sometimes something that seems like a great misfortune saves you from something even worse.

I think of the Zen story of the farmer’s luck, which I’ve probably referenced before because it’s one of my favorites:

One day, a farmer’s horse ran away, and when the neighbors heard the news, they sympathized saying, “Such bad luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe.”

The following day, the horse returned to the farmer along with three other horses, and the neighbors exclaimed, “How wonderful!” The farmer replied, “Maybe.”

The next day, the farmer’s son broke his leg when he was trying to ride one of the untamed horses. Again, the neighbors offered sympathy for the family’s bad luck. And again, the farmer replied, “Maybe.”

The following day, military officials came to the town to draft young men but passed over the farmer’s son because his leg was broken. The neighbors offered congratulations, and the farmer replied, “Maybe.”

With compassion for my daughter and for other women in similar situations, I offer a reminder to refrain from passing judgment on others when you have no knowledge whatsoever of the context, relationships, personalities, miscommunications, intentions, etc. behind a soundbite of information. Before jumping to conclusions, try walking a mile in someone’s shoes. Things are not always as they appear. As for me, I’m beaming strength, light, and so much love into a world that seems to need it now more than ever. A world in which many people are quick to jump to conclusions that serve their personal or political agendas and to create divisive characterizations that somehow make them feel safer and better about themselves…at someone else’s expense.  A world in which people are guilty until proven innocent rather than the opposite. Into that world, I send light.

And you know what’s great about that? More light. Just as the trees are putting out new leaves to collect sunlight, more light equals more growth. This, friends, is the growing season.

© 2017 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this article, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness teacher whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

So Many Disguises

So Many Disguises

Although my mom is on my mind every single day, two days before Mother’s Day, I woke up thinking of my dad, whose presence I’ve felt quite a bit lately.

I’ve been staying on the Massachusetts North Shore for the past few days, and yesterday I visited Fort Sewall, a historic point of interest overlooking Marblehead Harbor. I hadn’t been to Fort Sewall in nearly three years and felt drawn there for some reason. Actually, a photographer I conversed with on the beach the previous night told me he shoots there a lot, so the seed was planted.

I entered the park a few steps in front of an elderly man who instantly reminded me of my dad. Perhaps it was something about his pace or energy. I guessed he was about the age my dad was when he died last fall. I stopped to photograph a picturesque view, walked a few more yards, then stopped to admire the view of the lighthouse across the harbor. That’s when the man approached me with a friendly greeting and started talking about how much he loves this place. He kept exclaiming, “I just love it here!” He said that he sometimes comes to this seaside park and sits on the bench for hours, and when he’s there, he doesn’t  have any thoughts in his head at all. Nothing bothers him. I replied that the richness of the sights, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, the refreshing breeze, and the smell of the sea take you out of your mind and your thoughts, and he agreed.

I noticed he was wearing a blue 2013 World Series jacket and wondered if the Red Sox were in the Series that year. Baseball was my dad’s great love, and the jacket reminded me of him. He was also wearing an Air Force baseball cap. We stood together in that spot for a good 45 minutes, sometimes for long moments of silence as we appreciated the fullness of the experience and all the sensory impressions. Again, he exclaimed, “I just love it here! It’s like heaven.”

He talked about how he used to go out on a boat lobster diving and spent a lot of time on the water. One thing was sure: This man was in his personal paradise, and I appreciated being there with him. His joy intensified my own.

Eventually, I told him I should get going, and he asked if I wanted to see a picture of his “pride and joy.” Then he reached into his wallet and took out a picture of a bottle of Pride furniture wax next to a bottle of Joy dishwashing detergent. Not what I expected, I laughed and appreciated his sweet sense of humor. He told me he was at an 85th birthday party, and that joke was a big hit with the older ladies. I imagined him bringing a smile to many faces with his joke and found it lovable. Somehow, it reminded me of my dad’s sweetness and sense of humor.

I said goodbye about five times before we finally headed back toward our cars. We walked together out of the park, and I paused again to take a picture. He commented about what a nice camera I have, and I explained that my dad passed away in October, and I received some money that I used to upgrade my camera for my photography business. I explained that although I’d rather my dad were still around, I am grateful for the camera.

When we were nearly at the parking area, I stopped at a railing along the road to take a couple more pictures. To our right were some steps that went into the water, and he told me you can get fresh lobster right from the boat when it pulls up there. Before parting, we both said how good it was to see each other. As those words came out of my mouth, I realized it was odd to say “see” instead of  “meet”. And yet, we both did.

I drove away thinking of my dad and feeling grateful to have interacted with someone who reminded me of him.

When I got back to where I was staying, I Googled “2013 World Series” and confirmed that the Red Sox won the championship that year. That was my dad’s favorite team. Although you could expect a 2013 World Series jacket wouldn’t be uncommon in this neck of the woods 18 miles north of Boston, it was the first one I noticed.

This morning, I woke up thinking of my interaction with the elderly man – and his Air Force hat, in particular. I couldn’t remember: Was my dad in the Air Force? I pulled up his obituary online, and sure enough: He served in the Air Force reserve. At that moment, I felt that what I experienced wasn’t just a random interaction. It was a spiritual encounter. I connected with my dad’s essence through that friendly stranger.

About a year after my mom passed away, my dad and I were sitting in his car in the driveway, and before driving to wherever we were headed, he told me about a book he was reading that referenced some unexplained occurrences family members reported following the death of a loved one, who was a famous historic figure. Although my dad was not inclined toward the supernatural, he was excited to tell me about it. It seemed he found this particular account convincing. In general, I think he really wanted to believe and seemed visibly touched when I told him about different experiences I’d had after my mom – his beloved wife of 50 years – passed away. I sensed strongly that she was trying to communicate with him, but he wasn’t picking up the cosmic telephone because he didn’t hear it ring.

Within two minutes of pulling out of the driveway, we drove past the recreational field where my dad used to coach baseball, and we saw my mom pull out of the parking lot right in front of us, in her car! I exclaimed, “That’s Mom!”” He had seen her, too. But it was something that seemed at the same time completely matter-of-fact and too unbelievable to comprehend – the kind of thing that makes you cock your head and look perplexed, but then you return to what you were doing and perhaps convince yourself you didn’t actually see what you thought you did, only to wake up in the middle of the night or in a quiet moment thinking about it and realizing that you experienced something otherworldly.

I have come to believe that our loved ones never really leave us and communicate with us through many different disguises and messengers.

There is an elderly man who is a regular patron at the library where I work. He, too, reminds me of my dad. He is from the same era, presumably has similar attitudes and values, and I have a special place in my heart for him. One day, he fell asleep at a table and really reminded me of my dad, who fell asleep all the time when he was sitting down! I feel happy when I see this man. I am glad he is in this world.

One morning, I was at work, and this man popped into my mind along with something about a hospital. Later that morning, he came in the library, and although my prior interactions with him had been limited to smiling, waving, and wishing each other a nice day, this time he stopped to talk with me. He told me that he had been in the V.A. hospital all morning and that his doctor wanted him to have an operation that he didn’t want to have and is refusing to have it until he feels he really needs it. I’d had several conversations like that with my dad!

There’s one more time in the past week when I felt my dad’s presence. I recently decided it was time to buy a new bed because the hand-me-down bed I had been sleeping on wasn’t working for me. I looked online and found a really great, eco-friendly futon mattress and a beautiful oak frame for it. It was exactly what I wanted. Very zen.

After putting the bed together and making it up with new sheets, I was so happy because the bedroom looked and felt amazing. I couldn’t wait to sleep in it that night. I was in the kitchen and wished my parents were around to see how happy I was because I was able to use some of the money I inherited from them to buy a wonderful, new bed. I imagined my mom would be thrilled that I got something nice for myself. That’s what she always wanted for me! But I imagined my dad shaking his head and grimacing at the cost. I smiled, remembering what a penny-pincher he was.

Then I felt a very strong and clear sensation, as if someone were standing right behind me, followed by a prickly sensation in my lower back, as if l was being hugged around my waist. It was so strong and clear! I sensed it was one of my parents and got the feeling it was my dad and that he showed up to say that he approves and is happy for me.

My sister and I were texting a few days ago, and she said she hadn’t received any signs or felt our dad’s presence lately. That reminded me of what I experienced in the kitchen the night before. Experiences like that have become so commonplace that I sometimes forget to share them.

I don’t know how it works, but I’m grateful that it does.

© 2017 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this article, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness teacher whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

 

Clock Works (Like a Telephone)

Clock Works (Like a Telephone)

There have been some mighty strange goings-on in my world since my dad died three weeks ago. I’m writing this just in time for Halloween, although the timing was not at all intentional. Until this morning, I thought I’d keep my experiences to myself, but after talking with some friends and tuning in to my intuition, I decided to share them in as straightforward a manner as possible so you can draw your own conclusions. Be sure to read all the way to the end! 

1. Technical Difficulties

There have been a plethora of problems with electronics. Three different keys to two different cars haven’t worked at certain times, and I’ve had phone connection issues that I hadn’t experienced before. While creating the photo slideshow for my dad’s funeral services, I experienced a series of at least 20 bizarre technical glitches that I’d never encountered before. And last week, this very blog sent out a post from several months ago to email subscribers without any action on my part. I didn’t even know it was possible to resend an old post and was surprised to see it in my inbox!

2. Lights Out

My daughter and son were in town for my dad’s funeral two weeks ago, and after the service, we met at my house before they went their separate ways, back to Georgia and the NYC area. As they were leaving, I turned on the light on the side of the house so they could see better as they drove away. I went to bed just before 10:00 and fell asleep instantly. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I glanced at my phone to see what time it was and noticed a text my husband sent at 10:22 PM asking me to turn out that light because he was sleeping in the RV, and the light was bothering him. So I went downstairs to turn off the light but saw that it was already off. I assumed he had come inside and turned it off himself. The next morning, I asked him about it and explained that I didn’t receive his text until the middle of the night. He was really surprised because no sooner had he sent that text, and the light went out. It went out so immediately that he found it odd because he wasn’t even sure he’d had time to hit “send”. I also found it odd but didn’t want to jump to conclusions and suspected the lightbulb might have blown out at an uncanny time. So I went over to the light switch and was surprised to find it in the “off” position. As soon as I flipped the switch, the light went on – so it hadn’t burned out after all. It just happened to turn off at the exact moment when Jack requested that I turn it off.

woowoo-2

3. Swirling Mist

My dad passed away in the morning. That evening when I was at my parents’ house with one other person, we saw a swirl of mist traveling around the kitchen, followed by a significant drop in temperature in the room we were sitting in. At the funeral service at the church a week later, something caught my eye as I greeted the continuous line of people coming to pay their respects. Again, I saw a white mist moving around high above us. It was an overcast/rainy afternoon, and it wasn’t caused by sunlight coming through the windows.

4. Aloha

My parents loved to travel during their 50 years of marriage and especially enjoyed vacationing in the Hawaiian Islands. There is an “aloha” ornament hanging next to their front door, which has been there for as long as I can remember. One morning last week when I was meeting an old friend at the house for official business, I arrived to find “aloha” on the welcome mat in front of the door. The hook was still hanging next to the door, and when I examined it, I realized there was no way the “aloha” piece could have been knocked to the ground by the wind or even a person (and certainly not an animal) because it was in a very sheltered, recessed spot, and the hook itself was angled upward enough so that the ornament wouldn’t fall off. The only way “aloha” could have ended up face-up on the welcome mat between the time I left the house the night before and arrived early the next morning is if someone had removed it from the hook and physically placed it in front of the door. The person I was meeting was someone my mom adored, and it felt like she and/or my dad were saying hello and expressing approval of him being our realtor.

woowoo-1

5. Clock Works

Last night’s experience took the cake.  After spending the whole day at my parents’ house with my sister, I was alone there in the evening finishing up some work on my laptop at the dining room table. The chair I was sitting in had become uncomfortable, so I decided to move to the couch in the living room. When I sat down on the couch, I looked at my dad’s empty chair – the chair he always sat in – and said out loud sadly, “There’s no more dad here to talk to.”

Just then, the grandfather clock – which hadn’t worked in years – made a soft chiming sound from across the room. It was not on the hour (6:05 – not the correct time), and I hadn’t heard that clock all day or for a really long time – months or even years, for that matter. The chime sent chills down my spine. Alarmed, I texted two close relatives, and right after sending my text, the clock chimed again. Then I noticed my cell phone battery was getting low, so I got up to retrieve my phone charger, and when I walked through the kitchen, I heard a fast ticking sound that I hadn’t heard before then. It sounded like it was coming from the direction of the cuckoo clock in the family room, and when I went closer, I realized the cuckoo clock – which hadn’t worked in decades – was ticking! Again, this was a clock that had been dormant for a long time, and it just started ticking all of a sudden. At this point I was quite spooked! Not just one, but two clocks had come alive simultaneously!

clockcollage

Even though I was startled and shaking, I sat back down on the couch to see if I could become still enough to pick up on any messages that might be trying to come through. I said, “OK, you have my attention!” and became still and silent, imagining white light surrounding me and filling the room. Then I heard my dad’s voice talk to me inside my head. He sounded happy and spoke in the voice he used when he was relaying a funny story or a story of something peculiar that had happened to him (like when my mom’s grandfather came to him in a dream shortly after he died, and when my mom came to him in a dream some time after she died). He said he was with my mom…AND THEN THE CUCKOO CLOCK CUCKOOED FROM THE FAMILY ROOM!!!!

It seemed he wanted me to pass along a message to my sister, who was at his bedside constantly for the last 14 or so hours of his life and was quite shaken by the whole experience. I said out loud to confirm, “So you want me to tell her…” And then the cuckoo clock cuckooed again!

At that point, my shaking hands texted another relative to ask if she’d experienced anything at the house, and she texted me back, saying she had experienced something with the cuckoo clock and her cell phone playing a tune (ringtone) she’d never heard it play before when she sat in my dad’s chair, which really freaked her out.

So it wasn’t just me.

Even though I still felt alarmed, I had to laugh because it was comforting to feel that my parents were there with me and to think of how entertaining it must be to make the clocks go off. It seemed to me that making the clocks sound was like making the telephone ring and wondering if somebody would pick up and answer at the other end. And I did.

I continued to have a conversation with my dad in which I told him that I’ll do my best to listen if he tries to get in touch with me and that dreams are usually a good way to communicate if he knows how to do that. Then I told him that I’m going to get going now…and the cuckoo clock cuckooed again!

When I stood up to leave, the (landline) phone rang, and I was afraid to answer it! But I did. Nobody was on the line when I answered. No clicks or anything. Just silence. I said hello at least three times before hanging up. I had been at the house for more than eight hours, and the phone hadn’t rung a single time until that moment when I got up to leave.

After leaving the house, I called my daughter to share the experience with her, and she reminded me that the only other time she’d heard the cuckoo clock sound was right after my mom passed away. I’d forgotten about that. But at the time, it seemed like a big deal.

At this point, I want to clarify that I don’t drink or do any drugs. (I don’t even drink coffee!) I don’t have a psychiatric diagnosis and am not committed to the notion that hearing my dad’s voice inside my head was actual after-death communication with a deceased loved one, although that might be the personal meaning I ultimately derive from it. It could be me working things out inside my own head. Conversations with my higher self. Wishful thinking. Or…who knows what? The way I see it, if you can arrive at some kind of resolution, answer, or insight that truly feels right in your heart and leaves you feeling at peace, it doesn’t matter where it came from. It is part of your healing and growth. I can’t claim to fully understand what I experienced. I certainly know what it felt like and am open to other explanations and possibilities. But in the end, the meaning I make of it is my own, and all I know for sure is that it’s part of my experience and that it left me with a sense of hope, comfort, and peace once I got over the initial shock.

6. Dream Time

On the morning of that same day, I had an intriguing dream in which I was standing on a bridge and was drawn to stunning orange foliage on trees across the river. Then I noticed the trees moving together in a strange way: First the branches stretched out to the sides and then moved upwards so the foliage was a little higher up from the ground. The trees went through the same movements a couple more times, and each time the leaves traveled higher up toward the sky.

When I woke up from that dream, I felt a little peculiar. I recalled three other dreams I’d had of nature acting in a bizarre way that captured my attention and felt that something was attempting to get through to me. I sensed it might have had something to do with my dad. It wasn’t until I told my sister about the dream later in the day that I realized I was standing on a bridge in the dream. The dreams I’ve had of contact with deceased loved ones always have some kind of boundary like that.

So when I had the experience with the clocks later that day, the dream felt even more significant to me. I told a couple of friends about my experience and explained, “Well, it’s the time of year when the veil is thin” and recalled writing an article with that title last year at this time. This morning, I pulled up that post and was astounded to read about a similar dream that also began when I noticed beautiful autumn trees.

To be honest, I wasn’t really thinking of sharing these experiences until I read that post from last year and remembered that sharing my experiences is something I need to keep finding the courage to do without worrying about being judged because that kind of sharing is my path. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions and theories, and I’m just sharing my experiences without any embellishments or exaggerations, in case it’s helpful to anyone. I’ll let you decide what to make of them.

© 2016 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this article, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness teacher whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York.

What Did She Say to the Flowers?

What Did She Say to the Flowers?

For as long as I can remember – even as a young girl – my mother was a gardener. She wasn’t an outdoor person like I am, but she loved her gardens. For years after we moved out of the house where we spent the first 13 years of my life, whenever we’d drive by the old house, she’d wonder how her gardens were doing. Wherever she once had a garden was holy ground.

My mom tended her flower gardens with great care until the final spring of her life, when she was too weak. I’m grateful she kept a garden because it presented me with a wonderful birthday gift yesterday, nearly two years after she passed on. Normally, the garden is buried beneath a blanket of snow on my birthday, but not this year. This year, the bare ground greeted me with tiny, purple flowers.

Moms Garden-1

What did she say to the flowers to awaken them from their winter slumber just in time for my birthday? And what made me notice the tiny, purple blooms after paying no attention to the garden since the parsley was overcome by frost last fall?

Two years ago, as my mom withered from pancreatic cancer, there was no telling how long she’d stay alive. I hoped she’d at least be able to see the first flowers come up. I looked for any signs of them and began to share the “flower report” with her as soon as I noticed any indications, beginning with the first daffodil shoots outside my classroom windows. When she was too weak to walk around the neighborhood, I told her about the neighbors’ tulips, which meant hers would bloom soon, too. When she was too weak to walk around the yard, I photographed her perennials so she could see how they were coming along. Seeing pictures of flowers made her smile.

We made the most of lilac season that year. I showed her pictures of the first buds on the lilac tree in my yard and hoped they would hurry up and bloom so she could experience them one last time…which she did. I kept her well stocked with lilacs that May – the last month of her life. I put them up to her nose so she could smell their sweet fragrance and kept vases of fresh lilacs close to her to lift her spirits. It was the best I could do.

Now that she is without a human voice, she speaks to me through flowers – and music – because they are what she loved. To see the year’s first flowers in her garden on my birthday was no small thing.

Moms Garden-3

There’s a plaque in my mom’s garden that reads, “Love grows here.” It’s true. Love continues to grow, even after she has passed beyond this world. All the love she put into her garden carries on.

So plant a garden, however you can, if you are so inclined. Plant a garden that will continue to bloom even after you are gone, and fill your loved ones’ hearts with gladness.

Moms Garden-2

© 2016 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this blog post, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness mentor whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York. 

Birth Stories

Birth Stories

Over the weekend and for the first time in my life, I had the privilege of being present for the duration of a labor that was not my own. After a marathon labor of nearly 60 hours, my daughter gave birth to 7 lb., 10 oz. Ava at 11:50am on Saturday, January 23. It was an awesome experience, and I am excited to share some magic moments and a few gems of life wisdom I unearthed in the course of witnessing and participating in the powerful process! Even if the topic of childbirth doesn’t interest you, I hope you will stay with me because the end is quite amazing – as in goosebumps.

It’s interesting: A while back, Jasmine asked family and friends to predict when Ava would be born. I predicted the 23rd. When her water broke in the wee morning hours of the 21st, I joked that the baby is so considerate and wants to come before the snowstorm that was forecasted for the weekend. When the sun rose outside the hospital room on the 22nd, Jazz was sitting on a birth ball managing contractions, and I thought, “Today’s the day!”

IMG_5192f1bw

But then I remembered it was the 22nd, and I knew today couldn’t possibly be the day because Ava’s birthday is the 23rd. It didn’t really have anything to do with my prediction at that point. It felt more like a well-established fact – as if we’d already celebrated birthdays with her, and her birthday was written on my calendar clear as day…and it was the 23rd. But how could that be? Labor couldn’t possibly last that long! Today was the day, right? It had to be. But no, it couldn’t be since her birthday was the 23rd! Anyway, it turns out my prediction and intuition were accurate, but I decided not to share my certainty with Jasmine until the day was done!

From the very beginning, Jasmine’s labor did not go according to expectations. Weeks ago, one of her midwives advised her to think of her birth plan as a wish list – for you cannot control the labor experience, only the way you respond to whatever cards nature deals. That turned out to be excellent, relevant advice – for labor and life in general!

Since her water broke ahead of time, labor needed to be encouraged to reduce the baby’s risk of infection. She was admitted to the hospital 17 hours later for a possible induction the following morning if contractions weren’t coming regularly at that point. By mid-afternoon, her cervix was still only 2cm dilated, which was unbearably discouraging after all that time and all those contractions. Although I’d long forgotten the physical pain of childbirth, I could feel her emotional pain completely because I experienced the same news during my own labor. The difference was that I wasn’t as exhausted as she was at that point and had the physical and mental strength (from my meditation practice?) and pain tolerance to continue focusing on one contraction at a time. I felt so powerless when she hit this wall and wished I could transfer the inner strength I found during my labors, to give her a boost! It took quite a while for her to get into hard, productive, “active” labor, and by that time she was exhausted from two sleepless nights, very anxious about the pain, and absolutely discouraged about her body’s ability to give birth naturally.

IMG_5203fbw

She had approached labor aware of her low pain tolerance and expected she would need some pain relief. However, she was dead set against having an epidural because she had a great fear of any kind of needle going into her back. But it turned out that what she was most afraid of and determined to resist ended up being the saving grace that allowed her to relax, get some sleep, regain her strength, and ultimately push out her baby. It was inspiring to witness her being empowered by facing her fear! How often does fear cut us off from possibilities that might be exactly what we need to take us to the next level?

But Jasmine did not consent to an epidural right away. It took some time. Back when I was birthing my babies, I was committed to delivering “naturally” without any pain relief and even gave birth to my second child at home. However, even I hoped she would consider having an epidural, and it was because I knew Jazz and trusted her midwife, Lisa, implicitly. As Lisa explained the options and likely scenarios given her understanding of my daughter as a unique individual, she took on a transcendent glow as if she were an angel on earth. It’s as if the light was coming through her eyes and words, and her energy felt like pure love. Her message was: I believe in you. I believe in your body’s ability to do this. I believe in your ability to do what is right for you. Here is some information based on my extensive experience that I hope you will consider. And I believe in you. She didn’t push Jasmine into having an epidural. She shared information in a loving, patient manner then gave her time to decide what she wanted to do so she could have as much control as possible over her labor experience. In fact, it wasn’t until several hours later, after Lisa went off duty and Caren had taken over, that Jasmine opted for an epidural.

As I mentioned above, in the meantime when she was refusing the epidural, I felt powerless to help her push through her discouragement and exhaustion and had my own issues to face. It became clear to me that, as a helper, you can only do so much – especially if “doing” is focused on changing the person or situation. You can’t change others or do the work for them. They have to do it themselves. In addition, empathy can only go so far, and there comes a point when other tools become more useful. You become mindful of what is really needed in the situation and dig a little deeper in your toolbox. You let go of your desires and expectations for a person or situation to be different and trust the process. You discern when to step back and give someone a little space and when to lean in. It’s a lot like tending to a plant or garden. You have to work with what arises and know how much to water it when nature doesn’t deliver ideal circumstances.

So I learned something about myself in the role of helper or friend, and the shining midwife modeled so beautifully how to support and empower others without taking on responsibility that is rightfully theirs. It was something I needed to learn, which is why I believe she appeared so radiant to me. It was as if the Universe wanted me to take notice and really pay attention. (In the course of living our lives, I wonder how often we teach or give others what they are in need of, without even realizing it? How often do we act unwittingly as angels on earth?)

IMG_5208fbw

The long, tumultuous labor also spoke to me of the value of surrounding yourself with an excellent, trusted support network you can rely on when times get tough, and you feel confused and discouraged. People who will be honest with you and support you in making healthy, productive choices. People who value your work and truly believe in you and your ability to rise to the task and accomplish your goals.

During her third trimester, Jasmine’s growing unease with her obstetrical practice and the hospital in which she’d have to deliver resulted in her reaching out (by expressing her feelings to me), connecting with the right person (whom I referred her to), and finding a midwife practice that was a perfect fit for her and allowed her to deliver at the hospital she preferred above the rest. Acting on her intuition, she drew the right people and resources into her life, and the journey unfolded from there. So when she went into labor, she was surrounded by caregivers whom she trusted completely, who understood, honored, and believed in her, affirmed her ability to give birth, and empowered her to own her experience.

IMG_5199fbw

My favorite advice from the second midwife, Caren, is that we try out different positions and options and see what works. If something isn’t working, we try something else. You don’t stay stuck. You try all kinds of different things to see what works. If something works, you can go with it. But then you can try out something else, too. When something is not working for you or getting you where you want to go, don’t waste your time with it. Another nugget of life wisdom extracted from childbirth.

One night, I slept in the recliner next to my daughter’s bed, and it reminded me of being at my mom’s bedside when she was dying in a hospice house. It felt eerily similar. Once again, the door between worlds was swinging open, but instead of someone leaving, this time someone was entering. How refreshing to say hello instead of goodbye!

I’m saving the most incredible part for last. It happened a few minutes before Ava was born. During what would be the next to last contraction my daughter pushed through, I was holding up one of her legs while the baby’s father supported her other leg. All of a sudden, I felt my mom standing right behind me, as if she had her arms around my waist! Her presence was so strong that I even turned around to look behind me. Then I remembered that the psychic medium I saw in the spring said my mom was going to help the baby come into this world, from the other side. He said it was her spiritual mission! Shivers! So I focused on the warm light I felt coming from my mom’s presence and directed that energy to Jasmine. It seemed that doing this provided her with the extra oomph to push out Ava. The next contraction, I did it again, and Ava was born.

IMG_5243f

But there’s more!

My dad showed up at the hospital a couple of hours later, and as we walked back out to our cars, he reminded me that my mom worked in that same maternity ward when she was a nursing student back when my children were young. I had completely forgotten that until he mentioned it. Then I remembered her talking about how much she loved her maternity nursing experiences. My guess is that if she had completed the nursing program, she would have wanted to be a maternity nurse.

Have you seen the movie, Field of Dreams? In the movie, there is an elderly physician, Doc Graham, who had dedicated his life to caring for people. But when he was younger, he wanted to be a baseball player. On the same day in his youth, he both made his major league debut and retired from professional baseball without having the opportunity to face a major league pitcher. He went on to pursue his medical career and earned respect and admiration from the whole community. After he died, he returned to the “field of dreams” and seized the opportunity he’d missed out on during his life.

Similar to Doc Graham, my mom didn’t finish her nursing degree and therefore never became a nurse, which was a lifelong dream. She chose to continue in her established career and after retiring kept her dream alive by becoming a hospital volunteer. Perhaps she was able to fulfill her dream of being a nurse when her granddaughter was delivering her great-granddaughter in a room in the same unit where she did her student nursing. Perhaps she was in the room helping Ava to be born, from the other side. It’s such a lovely thought that brings on shivers and tears when I contemplate it. Maybe she had her chance after all. I’d really like to think she did and that she is sharing our joy.

IMG_5285f

Below is our first three-generation picture and my favorite picture of my daughter and me after she gave birth.

12473741_1109726705706365_2873232838507742803_o

Had this picture been taken about five years ago, it could have been a five-generation picture. But I imagine my mom peeking over my shoulder and my grandmother smiling over Jasmine’s. They remain with us even if we can’t see them – and my grandmother’s last name is now Ava’s middle name.

And so the circle of life cycles on.

© 2016 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this blog post, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness mentor whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York. 

A Magical Walk in the Park

A Magical Walk in the Park

Today I want to share an intriguing snippet from a truly magical (yet utterly ordinary) day.

The magic moment happened when I was taking an afternoon walk after filling up a few water jugs at a spring in the park. As I waited for the jugs to fill, I sat in my car and read a few pages from a book I’ve been working my way through for the past few weeks. The passage was about the importance of being receptive to, rather than blocking, the well-being that flows in our direction and the role of emotions in gauging whether we are allowing or restricting that flow. It’s an idea I’ve really been focusing on and experimenting with lately.

It was cold outside, and I had been planning to exercise at the gym. However, something told me to take a walk in the park instead – and to strap on my camera gear. And for some reason, I found myself walking in the opposite direction from my usual route. As I walked, I thought about how amazing it is that, at this dark time of year, I feel so light! I felt wonderful and contemplated the importance of feeling what we desire as if it already were actualized. Regardless of what happens in the future, feeling good is a reward in and of itself and is well worth cultivating!

I gravitated toward the Gideon Putnam Hotel, where I captured a few images that had commanded my attention. Then my intuition nudged me to turn around and look behind me because there might be something even more incredible there that I’d miss with my back turned to it.

So I did, and here’s what greeted me:

IMG_4792f

Feel transformed. Those two words summarized as succinctly as possible exactly what I was experiencing and contemplating! The message felt unambiguously like a nod from the Universe confirming that I’m on the right track. I was dazzled! What are the chances of that happening – receiving such a clear “sign”?

I walked some more, energized and inspired by what had just happened. And eventually I felt compelled to write a love note in the snow about magical moments. The shadows make it a little hard to read the words in the photo below, but I wrote: “PAY ATTENTION. You might stumble upon Magic!”

IMG_4800f

Before I finished writing the word magic, a woman came along and read what I’d written so far and asked me what “you might stumble upon.” I told her, and then she wanted to know what it meant, so I explained it. It seemed like we were both open and receptive channels of communication at that moment and formed an instant connection. It turns out that we had several things in common. Like me, she recently had left a job that was very unhealthy for her and was looking for new work opportunities. We went on to talk about a book we both love, and she shared with me a simple, holistic remedy for an ailment familiar to both of us. I found it interesting that the remedy was something I intuitively have been practicing for several months now, but with an extra step that just might make a difference. From talking with her, I also was reminded to explore a healing modality that I had been curious about but hadn’t yet tapped into.

By the end of my walk, I felt so uplifted from receiving a sign, expressing love (which in turn might be a sign for someone else to discover), and what I imagine was a mutually beneficial interaction between this woman and me.

That’s what it feels like to be open to the flow of well-being. When you’re open and allowing it (and following intuition seems to be part of the equation), magic moments tend to arise! Or maybe they are constantly happening, but we don’t notice when we have our heads down or are otherwise impeding the flow.

The magical snippet I described above happened within the context of an absolutely magical 24-hour period of ordinary moments supercharged by what felt like being aligned with a higher vibrational frequency. That alignment seems to happen when I feel good and rested and walk around radiating love, feeling grateful for what I have, and envisioning hopeful dreams for the future. In that mind-space, the chance meetings, signs, inspirations, and possibilities that take shape leave me expecting life to be juicy and abundant. I feel connected to and supported by the universe, and such feelings enhance the present moment and shape the future. The bottom line is: It feels good! So when these moments come along, I drop everything and write about them, to remember what they feel like. And I share them, to remind you, too, of how extraordinary life can be when you engage the magic!

© 2016 Susan Meyer. All rights reserved. To use any or all of this blog post, include this exactly: Susan Meyer (SusanTaraMeyer.com) is a photographer, writer, clutter coach, feng shui consultant, and mindfulness mentor whose work is infused with a deep interest in the nature of mind and appreciation of the natural world. She lives on the Hudson River in Upstate New York. 

Page 2 of 512345

There's so much I want to share with you! Join my mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. And don't worry: I won't spam you or share your info with anyone!

You have Successfully Subscribed!