This blog is going to be about some religious or spiritual themes, which can be a touchy subject. If it's something you are not fond of skip it. I rarely ever talk about this topic but something happened recently that affected me.
My parents met as teens, and by the time they were 17 they were getting married with a baby on the way. That was my older sister; I was born the day before my mom's 19th birthday, and my dad turned 19 shortly after. They came from different religious backgrounds, one Lutheran and one Catholic, but until I was about 3 years old, we went to a Catholic church. I don't remember much about it, but I remember my dad saying he had to get out because they were making him feel guilty for not giving the church 10% of his wage. He was the only one who worked, he had a decent job at a window factory, but with the medical complications my mother had in labor (of both of us) and paying for a brand new house, we did not have 10% to give. So we left the church. My dad would try to tell us that He is wherever you are, not just in some building and not just on a few select days during the year. We didn't talk about religion much, and as I grew, I only very rarely wondered about it. My Dad would try to 'preach' to us when he was drunk or on Christmas Day, sometimes both were the case at once, and because of the circumstance, my sister and I would just roll our eyes. By the time I got to sixth grade and met my best friend, Penny, her cynicism rubbed off on me and her brief "Some guy lives in the clouds and makes magic so everyone can have a happy life" kind of explanation made me proudly proclaim that I was atheist. I didn't even fully know what that meant, but my being a practical person, I was more prone to believe the scientific explanation of how and why we were here. My parents didn't force me to go to church for holidays very much, and when they did, I would have my sister and cousins around me to distract me. We almost always got shushed too many times to count. Because I wasn't around it, it wasn't relevant to me.
After I got my Associate's Degree and moved to Green Bay, I ended up meeting the man I would later marry. He was, at the time, Rastafarian, and he took my breath away. I learned what I could about the religion, taking away parts that really spoke to me. For instance, my husband told me when we met, that he prefers women who do not wear makeup because wearing makeup is like saying your creator didn't do a good enough job. I grew dreadlocks and stopped shaving, I bought into the whole thing as much as I could. It felt somehow good to have something that made me feel protected and even included. As we began our own family, time for things like reading and learning slipped away, and I went back into my comfort mode of not really spending time or energy on faith. There were plenty of times when I felt lost and struggled with tough feelings and wished I'd had guidance, but somehow after so much time had passed, I didn't feel comfort from someone else's faith. That's how it felt, like I latched onto someone else's faith but it wasn't really in me.
In my pursuit of my Bachelor's Degree, just a couple years ago, I took a class called The Philosophy of Happiness. It was about how 4 Eastern philosophies defined happiness and what it takes to achieve it. When I started reading the writings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I was opened up in a way that nothing had opened me before. I didn't know anyone else who was Buddhist or even knew anything about it. By that time, my husband had been going through his own spiritual journey, studying heavy ancient texts and learning about the mystery cults and ancient Egyptian studies. It's pretty safe to say that we have very open minds where spirituality is concerned. For me, it has to be something that speaks to me. The fact that Buddhism, as I understand it, does not have a deity, but focuses on cultivating our own selves to the greater good of everyone, it spoke to me. It chose me. I have meditated in the simplest form, and had uncovered information and found answers to questions that have helped me move forward. I don't pretend to be great at meditation, I don't go into the astral plane or have out-of-body experiences, it is more like a semi-dream state where I am able to ask questions and get answers either in pictures or imagining a figure there speaking with me, sometimes a monk, sometimes a shadow or a homeless person. I don't choose it, I just let my mind be open. I haven't meditated in a long time, and when I used to, I was always asking questions about my weight and the things in my childhood that were holding me back. Then, as I finished up my Bachelor's Degree, I found myself picking up self-help books to help me stop fighting myself with dieting. Among them was the book "It Didn't Start with You" by Mark Wolynn. This book has been equally challenging and rewarding, making me think about my ancestors and the traumas my family has gone through. The reason it matters is because science has proven that emotional footprints are left in our DNA and passed down for generations. For instance, if there was a family trauma, say a death of a son or sibling, and the family doesn't deal with it, the next generation continues to carry that trauma, and the next as well. For instance, my mother and his siblings were subjected to physical and verbal abuse (and maybe sexual abuse, though I don't have the whole story because her family never talks about anything). It was the big, dark secret that no one ever talked about. Long after my parents were divorced and I was an adult my sister relayed what my dad shared with her about my mother's past. It wasn't pretty. She never talked about it, but it was clear that she was not a very happy person. She passed on a bit of her inherited darkness, not just from her own experience, but that of my grandmother. Anyway, this book opened up that dark door of examining the things in my family history that I react to by rote, things that revolve around guilt and shame and feeling like sharing emotions is bad or a sign of weakness. I can't read it too often or for too long at a time because it can be emotionally draining. I mention this book because I feel like it was instrumental in what happened to me a few days ago, even though it has been a few months since I have read any pages in that book.
From what little I know, I think the concept of angels is pretty well-accepted. Where it gets a little murky is in what it represents or the purpose of angels. Some explanations I have seen are that a loved one is watching over us, or that from before our own conception, there is already an angel or group of angels assigned to watch over us and guide us. In some cultures or religions, our ancestors who have passed send us messages through visions or through deep focus and guide us. In that manner, there is a fine line between what is comfortably coined as 'paranormal' and religious. My family had a number of strange things happen to us in the house where I grew up, including both my sister and I, at separate times in our lives, having something sit on the bed with us while we were sleeping. She felt she could see two things in the room with her, I couldn't see anything, but felt the bed moving. Sometimes I felt like my cat had plunked itself next to me when she was not in the room, or feeling like the entire foot of my bed was being compressed as if someone were sitting on the end of the bed. It was very unsettling to me until I heard a psychic explain that when that happens it is typically our spirit guide trying to get our attention or checking up on us to make sure we're OK. I have always taken psychics with a huge grain of salt, but it did make me feel better to think that it was really something positive trying to reach out to me for wholesome, good reasons. I didn't buy into the whole white-light-winged-angel idea of a guide, but I sort of kept that idea with me, as this type of bed movement thing happened to me a handful of times throughout my adult life. It's not too far-fetched to think of someone having energy after they've gone, or someone wanting to protect us or warn us. Those who have loved ones who've passed often visit their grave site, have conversations with them, and leave gifts, even imagine them there going through their day with them. Now just imagine that you are having that type of relationship with an energy you are not familiar with.
A nights ago, after a nice relaxing bath, I was sitting on my bed putting lotion on and someone came and sat on my bed behind me. I was very startled at first, I could catch a glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye. It was not a white-light-glowing-angel type thing, but a darker figure. There were no words. I sat there, petrified and she moved only slightly. I did not dare look at her, but in my mind I already formed her image. Even though she was not warm or light, I knew she was there to bring me a message, but I also knew she wasn't going to speak or tell me what it was that I was supposed to do. How do spirit guides and angels give us their message? Through signs. I know it takes patience but I asked for a sign before I went to bed last night and received a small sign that is only a tiny clue to something else. My husband, who has already delved way deeper into this kind of thing than I ever will, said that I was only able to see her because my mind is in a place where I am opening, awakening, and that a big change is about to happen. He did a Tarot reading and it said a very similar thing, that I am opening and that I will face many emotions that will help me grow and change. I am looking for signs everywhere, looking for meaning. I have been seeing so many birds lately, crows and now for the second time in a week, dead sparrows in my path. I don't have the background to interpret any of it so I have to rely on the internet or my husband, who has a library of books that cover things my brain can't comprehend or doesn't have the patience to try. So I feel that, even though I've only seen her once (my husband says they don't often make themselves seen except if they really need your attention) I feel like she's with me and I so desperately want to ask who needs my help, is it for me or for someone else? Is my mother ill? Is my grandmother wanting to be remembered? Does Lisa need me to mourn her so she can move on?
So, for me, one who loves to communicate and talk, it is so difficult to try and wait and interpret signs. One thing is for sure, it has taken my mind off the whole weight issue, as this seems so much bigger than a silly thing like fat. I won't share every sign or detail, as I don't generally like to talk about such things in any great depth, but I just wanted to share because I feel so shocked and amazed that I actually have and feel my guide around me and I think whatever wisdom it will share is going to be profoundly healing and helpful. Change does scare me sometimes, but I think I am at a place in my life where I am ready to accept it and invite it in. Whether or not you think I'm nuts, thanks for reading. If you have had a similar thing happen, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!