We've heard the phrase, "strength in numbers", we've tested the claim. Ever ask a friend to help you move? Assuming the execution was timely and organized, I bet the job was finished sooner and smoother with more muscle behind it?
In the context of my work, for every one living person in my office, there have sometimes been a very full house - going back, way back, way way back, in ancestry - connecting deceased relatives and tribes, showing up to make sure the message, teaching, support, transmission, lineage, humor and healing gets to the heart of the living - (as well as amongst themselves.) To this end, every session is unique and educational. My time with Judith, for instance, yielded profound insight to the virtuous and transformative practice of Forgiveness.
Judith sought insight and understanding for decisions of her past and choices she had to make. Though as evidenced by the deceased male relative of hers that stood right behind me waiting for Judith to arrive, it was clear there was a shared intention to connect to deeper aspects of her and her husband's combined family legacy.
While my service was to Judith and her family, I was about to be blown away.
The decedent and I felt very comfortable and respectful of each other. I understood he was an elder and Jewish. While relaying copious information about him to Judith, all of which she recognized, she casually asked me what he name was.
"I don't always 'get' names, (but) I'll ask." I said.
I turned my body toward the decedent behind me. Before I could formulate the question in my mind, he gently spoke his name in my ear.
"Yaakov", he said/I heard.
Poised, elegant and modest, his communication was exceptionally clear.
"Yaakov", I repeated.
"Yes!", she exclaimed.
Though she could 'feel' him there, hearing his name spoken aloud opened the next phase.
Yaakov and I were about to get very friendly. We would shift from dialoging with each other to defying modern laws of physics and share space together. Judith's grandfather and I were about to merge. (And you can bet your sweet peaches I don't do this with just anyone!)
Our frames weren't too different from each other, though his fingers and thumbs were longer and the his palms larger. I wore not merely his clothes - a dark suit, black leather shoes, white shirt, dark woolen hat, I also 'wore' his body, to keep things simple. We were superimposed. We were intimate.
As I looked down at my body to also see his, I began to study the hairs on his wrist, the color of his skin and contour of his veins. When I turned my/his palm to face upward, the sleeve was rolled up exposing a faded, blue, tattoo of a number. Its origin didn't need explanation and Yaakov knew this. I understood the tattoo was the entry number assigned to him when he was placed in a Nazi concentration camp. He and I were silent as I continued to explore his body for all he wanted me to know and understand. There had to be a very good reason we were merged this way.
I told Judith what I was experiencing. She took the information in stride and confirmed her knowledge of these events in her family and remembered the tattoo on his arm.
Yaakov began to walk me through his memories. He showed me his relatives and who they were as people. He showed me how they once lived normal lives. He showed me the turning of events, the camps, where they were forced to live. We were joined by his family. I was shown where many, many, many people were executed. From a distance, I was shown the barbaric gas chambers, but one step closer set in motion a legion of loving people to block the door with their compassion. This was their dignified way of letting me know that I didn't need to go further. They knew I was with them. There wasn't anything to prove.
Still merged, Yaakov and I, returned our attention to his living relative. I told her what there was to tell.
Suddenly I heard the unmistakable sound of traditional coo-coo clocks and heard German language being spoken. New people were arriving. I told Judith.
"That's my husband's family" she said.
I had confirmation from her husband's deceased family this was true.
Making zero assumptions, I listened closely to the nuances of the accent. Were they Swiss, Austrian, German? With my question, I was shown different flags indicating more than one country was represented or involved. I saw strong famers hands raise beer steins filled with golden brews and heard music playing, laughter and more coo-coo clocks.
["Coo-coo clock" could be a pun. They could be 'coo-coo' or eccentric; they could be involved with coo-coo clocks, this could be to set the scene for the culture to get me to understand them better. This could mean all of the aforementioned. Though subtle, there was an emphasis on coo-coo clock. I'd have to investigate this more closely.]
I relayed all that was presenting to me live time to Judith. Fortunately she recognized the multiple meanings of the coo-cook clocks. When all the this was acknowledged, I relayed the next thing that I was shown: a swastika.
Just to be clear, it wasn't the original sacred symbol used for thousands of years in Hinduism and other ancient cultures, but the perverted version used by the Nazi Party. Some of her husband's deceased relatives were active in the Nazi Party.
At this time, Yaakov and I shifted our relationship. We were still very much connected through love, though we both needed to assume a different position for what was coming. This conversation was just getting started. Time to roll up my sleeves.
This concludes part I of II. Stay tuned for part II of II.
Every culture has expectations regarding its customs. What maybe considered the social norm in one setting may unintentionally be perceived as offensive or insulting in another. With this so ingrained, and considering I began in childhood, it took a while before I adopted the 'no editing' policy in my practice. I experienced an intensive trial-by-fire training, to become fearless with my faith and integrity.
I'm an intuitive, a multidimensional healer, an empath, to say I feel things intimately is an understatement as well as it is unintentionally vague. It sounds romantic without my meaning it to, nor do I intend for sentimentality. By sharing this case, it is my hope that you'll begin to see why 'telling it like it is', is important. On to it!
* * * * * *
They functioned as human crutches, the two friends that escorted an shell-shocked Alice to my office. Alice was trembling, her skin was ashen, her eyes were wet and glassy, she was not deeply connected to her body or her emotions. Her friends spoke up, "Her husband just died." That felt true. The decedent showed up immediately upon the reference, yet there was something there I didn't trust, that I didn't buy into.
"Please sit down" I invited, and on this rare occasion, I asked the other women to remain. There was something for them to understand too. The decedent also sat down, though noticeably not beside or not close to the widow.
Just then, my heart seized up with searing pain so immense that I lurched forward in my chair. There wasn't anything cool about it. Though all of what I needed to know and relay about Alice's husband was evident.
"Your husband is here." I said, "He is telling me he died suddenly of a (massive) heart attack."
The woman wailed, "Yes!"
In spite of their tears, there is still a dishonest feeling.
"Your husband was an asshole!" I declared.
"Uhhhh!" The three woman gasped!
Alice's friends looked at Alice with anticipation wondering how she would respond to what I just said. I looked at Alice with recognition, my energy inviting her to bring it all to the table.
(3, 2, 1...)
As the pain was leaving my chest, Alice's pale skin began to regain color. Her glassy eyes started to refocus. The grip on her friends' relinquished. The question mark on her brow became determining and her voice took on an entirely new tenor, "He was an asshole!" she asserted.
(Houston we have lift off!)
With those powerful words of recognition, came a massive energetic shift. The illusion that was inflated and sustained from the story around the sudden death of her husband, though a shocking event, could dissolve.
By acknowledging what was true, reflecting on how her husband actually behaved in life and how he treated her, Alice's healing began.
Her friend's were also touched as the spell was broken. This begot a deeper process and each of them received important recognizable messages and healing during that session.
It was a powerful and educational experience, also for me.
From my brief meeting with the decedent, I understood he was neither kind or gentle, though he did one very important thing: he took ownership of his behavior and tried to make reparations. Through his passing, he was confronted by how he treated people, especially Alice. His concerted efforts to guide Alice to me, knowing I would tell it like it is, so that he could let Alice know about his newfound realizations, was one of his tasks. He was directed to begin to make amends, to give her confirmation, to acknowledge wrong-doing. In doing so he would ignite his own humbling and lengthy healing process and give Alice something he could not or would not give her in life: freedom.
As for Alice, she wouldn't have recognized a spirit that arrived with flowers and chocolates and words of affection, because that isn't who her husband was in life. It didn't mean she didn't mourn, or that her shock wasn't real, but it did mean that by accepting him for who he was to her, and the nature of their marriage, she could let him go and move on.
Divorce can be emotionally and financially stressful, especially for those that lost sight of the friendship that brought them together in them first place. Sometimes one or both parties can let their pain body uncharacteristically lash out in lieu of non-violent communication or even a respectable argument. If that is the meter the relationship leading to divorce, things can get petty, nasty and vindictive. The supportive family members surrounding the divorcing couple have their feelings, desires, concerns and opinions too – even when they are deceased.
Meet Marilyn, an articulate, poised, warm-spirited professional woman. As she was positioning herself on the chair in my office, her deceased father was making himself known to me. His excitement for the opportunity to communicate with his daughter was intensifying by the millisecond as he waited for his moment to interject.
This was a new experience for Marilyn. She was open, relaxed and paying attention. She recognized all the symbolic and literal information that was coming through. A significant shift in energy occurred when the topic of her relationship with ex-husband and divorce proceedings presented.
At this point, her father moved in close and really put me to work. Looking out for his daughter, he expressed his concerns, especially as it pertained to his former son-in-law's behavior. Unfortunately, the ex-husband was a man that forgot he once loved the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Those close to Marilyn could see that.
While Marilyn’s father let his feelings known, my guides pulled a memory from my own life to help me connect with 'one more thing' he wanted to express to his daughter. Though still in my office, with my arse in the chair, I was also inside a living memory:
I am sitting in my junior high school social studies class. We're discussing the American Civil War (1861 to 1865). Our teacher, Mr. Dixon, warms through sharing a personal appreciation for this era. He's saying he was born and raised in a border state. As a boy, he often went hiking. One summer he happened upon a cave that contained relics from the war. The prize find therein was a sword. "I cleaned and polished it..." he's saying. As he is saying this, I'm seeing the sword, respectfully displayed in his hands…
Another shift. The classroom is gone. Mr. Dixon is 'replaced' by the deceased father. The father is holding the sword, and he is very happy. Immediately I voice to Marilyn, "Your father says he is very happy you got the sword back! He's showing me a sword from the Civil War and he says he is very happy you got the sword back!"
Marilyn became more animated and energetic than she had been. Now her personality was coming out! She explained, that her father was deeply fascinated by the American Civil War. One of his prized possessions from that period was a sword. Her ex-husband had had it and Marilyn worked very hard to get it back.
I confirmed how important it was for her to have that sword in her keeping. She may not give a hoot about war memorabilia or weapons of any kind, though it was important for her to hang on to this one... and in time it would become more evident why.
As we were winding down, Marilyn had a question about her family history. The response led her back home. "There's a diary…You have a diary that contains all of this information. It’s a diary, but not in a book... more like a collection of letters.... they were pen-pals? You have a box of letters in your closet?" Marilyn’s mind didn't take long to recognize the keepsake. I concluded: "What you are looking for is in those letters!"
After her session and visit with her father, Marilyn felt peace, validation and confidence. She said as much then, as well as the following day in an e-mail adding news she located the collection letters, in a box, in the closet – then spent the night reading them.
Within the pages of the 'diary' - an exquisite history of events meticulously constructed through the caring details of two loving pen-pals - she found, word for word, from the horse’s mouth, the information she was longing for. Closure.
At the time of this writing, I’d be hard-pressed to recite facts about General Robert E. Lee and General Ulysses S. Grant that were reiterated in Mr. Dixon’s social studies class. I can tell you that Lee and Grant had deeply conflicting ideas about how to treat people and that Grant, alongside President Lincoln, sought to abolish slavery. Beyond that, not much else.
What I do remember is how Mr. Dixon transformed before my eyes, when he recalled precious moments from his boyhood. It doesn’t mean I wasn't a 'good student' or that I wasn't paying attention, it just means I pay more attention to when people communicate what is valuable and meaningful to them.
And those values, as also communicated by Marilyn’s father, can sally forth.
Being the executor of a will - the person responsible for carrying out the requests of the decedent - can be very challenging, especially if bearer of that task is intimately involved. Its more than enough to cope with your own emotions and begin the rites of grief when someone transitions, let alone permit others the same grace; its altogether another thing to dive into rapid decision-making and organization of a life celebration, then shift focus and muster the strength and stamina required to be an executor. This is the time when friendships and hugs matter most.
I'd received Leah in my office a day or two before she returned for a second session. With a recently deceased relative, there was a lot going on in her family. Leah also had the massive role of executor in addition to her responsibility as a caretaker, provider and superwoman.
The thing of is, Leah she wasn't particularly chummy and affectionate with the decedent. In life, they spent most of their relationship with a respectful tolerance of each other, rather than a strong bond motivated by what did bring them together: a common loved-one.
Leah's first session was healing and insightful. The decedent showed up immediately with a brand of moxie that I imagine could put some people off. I, for one, appreciated her candor; It made for clear communication. In that space the two of them could work some very important things out. Her reason for returning soon thereafter was also highly cooperative and practical.
You see, the decedent was an elderly woman, a notorious pack rat that had lived in the same 5,500+ sq. ft (510.+ sq. m) house for decades. The combination of those attributes has but one result: an overwhelming amount of stuff.
Whose job is it to clean, sort through, dispatch items and find critical documents in that veritable labyrinth? The lone stoic overworked and emotionally taxed will executor.
It was nice to see Leah so soon. She look more human, less pale and energetically lighter, She was alleviated during the fist session from many of life's situational stressors, though a burning question remained...
Understanding the house of the decedent was filled with stacks of papers, magazines, stuff - like a George Carlin routine - stuff! it was easy to feel along with the near Sisyphean task - Leah wanted to know where the legal documents were. Before the question left Leah's lips, the decedent was answering.
"It's in a Tupperware container," I said.
The decedent was showing me her kitchen and her Tupperware container and where the Tupperware container was placed in the kitchen. I said as much to Leah. "She's showing me the kitchen and an old Tupperware container....It's in a Tupperware container in the kitchen."
To state the obvious: the important legal documents needed to move forward with the descendant's last wishes were not in a safe-deposit box, a home safe, a lock-box, with a lawyer, in a file cabinet, in any filing system, not in a desk drawer, not tucked away in a Torah.... They were in the kitchen in an old (circa late 70's early 80's line) Tupperware container.
Leah later confirmed to me that she found the hugely critical documents in Tupperware in the kitchen exactly where I was told to tell her she'd find them.
During her sessions, Leah also made peace with the decedent. She gleaned insight from some of the personality conflicts between the two and cultivated understanding and appreciation for why she was asked/chosen to be the executor. It was healing, an incredible step in personal growth and helped bring closure to a significant era.
To her own understanding and admission, Leah could have easily spent months of precious time, energy and resources, time away from family, career/income-earning, and pursuit of her own goals, while looking for a needle in a haystack while trying to determine what to do when things weren't so clearly laid out.
Within only two valuable sessions, and consequently two great meetings with the decedent, Leah was alleviated with a tremendous sense of mutual compassion and appreciation, and she was renewed with support to move forward with great ease, clarity and confidence.