Pondering the Pavement

July 31, 2016

For the Laugh of Me

“Life is the ultimate joke and the Dead ‘get it’.”
Pretentiously Quoting Myself

AndersonCAF-editOn the afternoon of August 2, 2001, I was a blissfully ignorant sack of meat that didn’t bother to give a hoot (whole or half) about anything in this world or any other. I was living right smack-dab in the middle of Bliss-Town with a 90210 zip code. Then, later that night, I was drugged, rolled up into a carpet, stuffed in the trunk of an Eldorado and relocated to a place that I was convinced did not even exist. I didn’t end up with just egg on my face, but a whole omelet bar with all the fixin’s. But, of course, most of you already know that. If you don’t then you can just click here and catch up with the rest of the kids.

As the 15th Anniversary of my Boot to the Head into mediumship looms, I find myself waxing philosophically about it. Not so much the workings of it all or even the ponderings of how I got here. I’ve done that far too many times over the past decade and a half. Old news, ya know? I find myself focusing on the on-going WHY of it all.  Specifically, WHY do I do what I do? Talking to the Dead: what kind of person decides to do this sort of crazy thing? I assure you Madam Olga was never a Career Day participant when I was in high school. One day you’re just sitting there, chatting with Great Uncle Hugh, and then he just keels over. Anyone else would assume the dialogue would end as quickly as he did. But not me. Noooo way. I just  continue our conversation despite the fact that most assume Hugh was no longer in a position to be much of a conversationalist. Diving into discussions with the dearly departed does have its downside, lemme tell ya.

I suppose you can say the initial seeds were planted in the very beginning. Since childhood I have had an intense interest in death. No great news flash there. Some would probably term it as an “obsession.” While I can understand this judgment call, I am honestly not sure about the accuracy of it. One man’s obsession is another man’s Sunday afternoon. Admittedly, I’ve blurred the line separating “interest” and “obsession” so much that the Hubble would have difficulty getting it in focus.

My revered love of cemeteries is my go-to example of this fascination. I’m intrigued how individuals handle death. I’ve always wondered whose idea it was to dress the deceased in their “Sunday Best” and then throw a huge party for them on the one day their absence is an absolute guarantee. Why do people tend to whisper in funeral homes? It’s not like they’re gonna wake anyone up. It really makes me happy to see so many are turning away from the traditionally solemn funeral and embracing the idea of a true Celebration of Life. I love how some will include personal items in and around the casket or urn. No pun intended, but it does seem to bring the person to life. For example, my niece slipped a bottle of Pepsi into my birth mother’s coffin. My birth father’s box of ashes was crowned with a stylish pair of Minnie Mouse ears with DA-DA stitched on the back. Leigh was buried clasping a lapel pin emblazoned with the Bastard Nation logo. I like to envision some yet unborn archeologist of the distant future stumbling upon her crypt one day. The archeologist, upon unsealing it, will exclaim, “Now, THERE is one proud Bastard Goddess!

Memorials, I feel, should be made more personal. Do not rely on some cookie-cutter format with an “Insert Name Here” approach. I feel the same way about grieving. Death and grieving are very personal things and they should be treated, and respected, as such. Everyone handles them differently. Some linger and dwell while others boldly, while some think coldly, move forward. Mourning isn’t a race, people. We’re all going at our own pace. My readings over the years have taken on a life of their own (puns are just falling like rain, aren’t they?). They are, for the most part, made distinctive by the personal enhancements from Spirit. So, yea, it all tends to tie in together.

 

Family

(L-R) Lil’ Ol’ Me, Carletta (sister), Jay (brother-in-law), Markis (brother) & Fred (my family funeral fella)

There’s no doubt about it… I’ve always found the whole kit n’ caboodle pretty interesting. Not necessarily dinner-conversation interesting for most, but interesting just the same. I excitedly discovered, when my birth father passed, that I actually have a cousin who is a mortician. How remarkable is THAT? You have no idea how I wish someone would instate an annual “Take Your Cousin to Work Day.”

 

Cousin Fred makes ‘em up while I chat ‘em up. That’s a sit-com just screaming to happen, folks.

Our presents and futures are always affected by our pasts. The more you analyze your own the more you will uncover. Seemingly random recollections can, one day, bring forth a great epiphany. Attending my great grandmother’s funeral, when I was barely 2 years of age, stands out as one of my earliest memories. I can’t say I understood on a conscious level, but I assume there was a familiarity on a more subconscious one. Over the years I’ve heard how many commented on my being so well behaved during the funeral. I’ve been told I just sat on my mother’s lap, looking around with quiet curiosity. Things have changed, of course. I no longer behave OR sit on anyone’s lap. One would need major medical for the latter.

I have honestly met many-a-relative ‘round a casket—if not IN one—over the years. As a kid, I would stare at the Over-Dressed One on display with equal doses of morbid curiosity and imaginary terror. You see, I survived on a steady gluttonous diet of horror comics, movies and television shows at that age. Tales from the Crypt, The House on Haunted Hill and Dark Shadows were massive influences on my already overactive imagination.

As the adults would flock around the box, I would stand and stare at its contents. I would just stand there, my tiny hands grasping the side of the coffin, with my nose resting on the puffy, rippled material like a little morbid Kilroy. I would bide my time and, eventually, I would see it: an almost undetectable rise and fall of the chest! Young Kilroy’s eyes would widen as his grip would tighten. I would mentally scream “HE’S ALIVE!” (In my head I sounded exactly like Colin Clive, by the way.) This was very plausible to me. Hell, NO ONE at Collinwood EVER stayed buried so why would Late Great Uncle Hugh?

I was convinced the cadaver in question was still alive. And, of course, I was correct in that assumption… just not in the way that I thought. There were no catatonic zombies, armies of the undead or even a colony of vampires. They were very much alive—not flesh-and-blood alive, like you and me currently—but alive in their natural state. Energy. Light. Life-force. Spirit. However you wish to categorize it is fine. I’ve discovered The Other Side isn’t nearly as obsessed with labeling as we seem to be.

My imagination fueled me as a child and, in return, I sought out ways to stimulate it. It was an on-going vicious circle that even Mrs. Parker may have envied. I believe imagination is a key ingredient to successful mediumship. I’m not saying legitimate mediums make things up. Not by any sense of the absurd word. A vivid imagination is what allows your mind and common sense to just let go. This openness lets you welcome whatever passes by without judgment or rational thought. Of course, I had NO clue that all I was doing was adding more logs onto the roaring mediumship bonfire awaiting me. S’mores, anyone?

Time has taught me that this trail o’ mine was blueprinted quite some time ago. It was being built piecemeal over a period of several years and it’s STILL under construction. I was oblivious to it for the vast bulk of that time-frame. I was 40 when I realized there was a path in the first place! My construction crew, I assume, consists of Union laborers taking full advantage of their regulated breaks and work hours. Of course, as with most contractors, they never finish on time, let alone come in under budget. (I’ve just managed, in two short sentences, to completely alienate any union workers AND contractors who may be reading this. Note to Self: Hire a PR Manager.)

So, my background, my varied experiences & interests, have a bit to do with why I’m a medium. Tick that one off the list. So, what else? Someone recently said to me, “I bet there’s a lot of perks doing what you do.” Perks? Seriously? It’s not like mediumship comes with a benefit package. I’ll be honest, living a life as a medium does come at a cost. You can kiss what is perceived as normalcy goodbye. There is an alienation about this field so I hope you enjoy your own company. You have to often rely on the sound of your own voice to drown out the others echoing in your head at the most awkward of times. Predictability is predictably nonexistent. You will see things from such unusual angles that you’re life will begin resembling a Dali painting. You’ll even find yourself listening to someone who insists her cat is her reincarnated great grandmother who now advises her on her love life. (You have no idea how I wish I was actually making that one up…) It can be draining in all ways imaginable. And, after awhile, when you allow the voices in your head to speak over your heart—your higher self—you begin to doubt the blueprint, the contractors AND the architect.

It’s at that very moment, my friends, when one can expect to be the “soul” target of an onslaught of divinely guided cream pies. Thus proving that God IS the undisputed King of Slapstick.

Tossing the realistic reasons around like a cat with a ping pong ball is not only tiring, but monotonous. This leads to dwelling on the physical, or business, aspect of mediumship. How practical is this field, really? What about doing the things I WANT to do? I do not want to rely on romantic recommendations from Tabby Grammy to fill my thoughts, let alone my schedule. So, I began looking for answers. I devoted too much of my time to turning over rocks searching for a morsel of wisdom with subzero results. What’s funny about the whole thing is that my searching for the WHY had made me FORGET the why. That’s like

eating cheesecake as you work out on a treadmill.

(Mmmmmm… cheesecake… Oops. Sorry ‘bout that. Focus, Charles, focus…)

Tidbits of wisdom can be found everywhere you choose to actually look AND listen. But you can look with such scrutiny that you don’t see a damn thing. The whole “forest / trees” scenario, ya know? Sometimes—or, in my case—MOST of the time wisdom is hurled at me through the words of another. Why? Because figuring it out all by myself is obviously just too damn difficult. One of my favorite quotes is “For when the disciple is ready the Master is ready also.” Another is, “Seek and ye shall find.” And, finally, the be all and end all, “Two people kissing always look like fish.”

DoctorIsOutI do not, by any means, consider myself a Master. Mediumship, like life, is just one gigantic learning curve and we’re all cruising on it. I’ve taught some psychic & mediumship development classes over the years. Reluctantly, of course, but I’ve done it just the same. Teaching is not a suit I prefer to don, even though it does pop up in my wardrobe with an unsettling frequency. Like anyone else, I find myself going through the motions instead of being aware of each and every step. Instead of paying attention, I’m paying no mind to my inner and outer surroundings. I start feeling comfortable where I am in the scheme of things. Too comfortable. I end up being far too complacent in my little You-Are-Here Map. The dotted lines direct me to the rest room, any fine establishment that serves cheesecake and the Hawaiian Shirt Depot. No need to stray from what works, right? I still manage to get lost even when the dashed lines are clearly sprawled out before me. Sometimes I do it by simply standing still. Now there’s a skill I need to tag onto my resume

In the midst of my chasing my own tail from the cozy comfort of a Barcalounger, my most recent Master showed up in the form of one of my current students. Talk about adding insult to injury! He really is a very gifted medium and channel. Well, he is once he gets his own head out of the way (thank God that’s NEVER the case with me… Ohhh! Lightening!). The arrow hits the bullseye and he does great… for awhile. Then he thinks and the next arrow wedges into the hillside. Eventually, he spills his quiver on the ground and stifled mayhem ensues. The battle between what the mind THINKS and what the soul KNOWS rages onward ever onward. I’ve told him time and time again, “You can do this!”

After relaying a rather amazing experience he had with Spirit—one that exhibited so many “coincidences” that he could open up his own museum—he wrote, “So I just wanted your opinion Charles… Is this spirit stuff real?  I’m not sure if I’m fully convinced yet.” At that point my head tilted to the right as my left eyebrow rose in silent sarcasm. He continued, “You NOW have the right to SMACK me during circle if I’m showing doubt or not giving the information coming to me. My guidance approves.” Before I could begin oiling up my boxing gloves he allowed Spirit to work through him just a little bit more. “I feel I just have to do my homework and be available for Spirit to work through me,” he realized. “It’s not about ME trying to be a great medium… you may have to remind me of this from time to time…”

“So, he CAN do this,” I gloated to no one in particular. Then it hit me. The little dweeb—grumbled with love—not only was handed an amazing slice of proof from Spirit for his own doubting ways, BUT they also used him to deliver a much needed sucker punch to me as well. It was even conveyed in my usual irreverent tongue-in-cheek manner. Well, goodie for them.

See? There’s always reinforced construction taking place in the background. Seeking & Finding. This is much better than the usual Cease & Desist requests that I get, but I digress. It had been right there in front of me, mostly clear as day. I just refused to admit it was there all along. I caved to the voices of doubt. I gave in to the fears, and what happened? Spirit provided me with yet another array of Spiritual Wedgies and Purple Nurples.

The reason I’m a medium? The reason I allow my life to be purposely flipped upside down? The reason why I choose, every single day, to walk a path that is the equivalent of playing hopscotch in a minefield? The reason I do this work? It’s simple: because I can.

Because. I. Can.

33254357 - typewriter with special buttons, because i can

Honestly, I’ve never been a purveyor of normalcy. I naturally keep as many people as I can at a very comfortable distance that would overload any GPS. And routine has never been my forte. New perspectives keep an artist interested as well as interesting, don’t you think? And, frankly, hearing tales of a reincarnated grand-ma-ma speaking amore through a feline is bound to make anybody’s day.

I had allowed myself to shorten my naturally short-sightedness. When in doubt we tend to return to what is familiar. The same spoke, even after all these years, comes back up every now and again. Why? Is it because I haven’t finished this lesson yet? Or is it because I’m digging my nails into a piece of driftwood because I’m afraid I’ll drown if I let go? Fear of the unknown is a pretty funny affliction for a guy who talks to the dead.

This is where the last quote comes into play. Andy Warhol was right. Two people kissing DO tend to look like fish. But what are you actually seeing? Are you seeing a couple of mackerels making out or are you seeing a physical representation of love? Perception is the key. It can go either way but what does your natural intuition tell you? Trust what you receive. Trust what you perceive. Trust Spirit. Trust yourself. And trust the experience. I’ve thought, all along, that I keep repeating this serial doubt because I’m not finished with the lesson. That’s the easy way out. What it boils down to is that I’m afraid to let go and trust (yet again). Well, I WAS. My anniversary gift to myself this year is making a conscious effort to let go of that driftwood and trust the waves are taking me where I need—and want—to go.

To each of you reading this, I thank you for not only trusting my connection with Spirit, but for entrusting me with the responsibility that goes with it. I am grateful for being able to do what I do. I am blessed to hopefully help you see or sense something that will bring you comfort, understanding, peace and a solid dose of healing laughter. I assure you, and myself, that I will continue to do what I do because I can for as long as I can. And, more than anything, thanks for sharing the joke with me. Laughter doesn’t just lift the spirits, ya know? It lifts ALL Spirits.

So, two dead guys walk into a bar…

FiliusHeadstone_100

Photo by Alexander Drecun © 2016

 

Copyright © 2016, Charles A. Filius, All Rights Reserved

April 8, 2016

Heaven’s Kitchen

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfilius @ 12:11 am
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I’ve been trying to come up with a way to describe our dad. My mind reels at the wide array of adjectives swirling through my head. Do you know what I’ve discovered? It’s not an easy task to just “sum up a person.”  Summarizing our dad is like saying the Himalayas are just a couple of hills. When I was a kid, Reader’s Digest—the IDEAL publication for those with ADHD—ran a regular feature entitled, “The Most Unforgettable Person I Ever Met.” Well, let me tell you, if Everett Kitchen is ANYTHING, it is ‘unforgettable.’ His warmth is an inferno. His generosity extends beyond a vanishing point on the far horizon. I could go on and on about his loyalty, his genuine heart, his devotion to family and friends, his sense of humor. All of the traits that we already know so well, and are already missing.

There are several things I will miss, of course. His hugs, for example. He would just engulf you in those massive arms of his. You’d struggle, but only in jest. Once there, you just didn’t want to leave because you were home. Another thing is his “seal of approval.” I’m sure we’ve all heard it at one point or another.

Jpeg

Everett “Kitch” Kitchen (1938 – 2016)

Someone would ask, “Hey, Kitch, how’s that bowl of chili?”

He’d answer excitedly, “WOOT! I mean to tell ya!”

 “Is this OK?”

“Woot! I mean to tell ya!”

“Isn’t that funny, Kitch?”

“Woot! I mean to tell ya!”

He is his own man with his own style.

His surname couldn’t be any more appropriate. Seriously, what that man could do in a kitchen was something wedged between a miracle and a masterpiece. A stove and a spatula were his brushes while an empty plate and stomach were his canvases. As you can see, I’m quite the accomplished art collector… He did everything in his power to make sure no one left his home hungry. And, if he went to YOUR place, he’d bring the food to you or make it there himself. And, if by some freak of nature, you DID go away hungry… well, it was your own damn fault.

Kitch brought a lot to the table, both literally and figuratively. Whether it is the dinner table or to whatever relationship you had with him. Parent. Family. Friend. Co-worker. Partner in Crime. It didn’t matter because any table setting with him was as beautiful as it was memorable. It overflowed with all and more than you needed, let alone expected. And, if by some random hiccup in the Universe, you couldn’t find what you wanted, then he’d find a way to get it for you.

017He was a father and an unconventional one at that.  He didn’t raise us as a traditional Ward Cleaver sort. But his love for all of us was never hidden or denied. He bubbled over with love and pride for his kids. He was always willing to offer a helping hand, a kind word, a flick on the back of the head if we’d wander too far off the expected path. He gave us room to breathe, to falter, to experience life as WE saw it and to learn from our successes as well as our failures. He always encouraged each of us to stand and evolve on our own, and that included falling as well. He graciously and generously offered advice, encouragement, and unending love. He also had absolutely no problem serving up his completely unedited opinions. His views, like his love, were given freely, without hesitation or reserve, whether you wanted it or not. If you asked him a question you’d better be willing to hear the answer!

I am an adoptee. My birth mother was not in a position to care for me properly. She felt I would have a better chance if she put me up for adoption. My mom who raised me, who is a hair shy of 93 and feisty as ever, has always been upfront with me about my adoption. She was very supportive when I began my search for my biological families—my roots—over 30 years ago (By the way, I began my search when I was 8…). I was 33 years old when I spoke to Everett the very first time. I first spoke to my birth-mother three weeks earlier. I was welcomed by her, and her family, with open arms. However, I honestly believed I would NOT have a relationship with my birth-father. I expected to be denied and turned away. In my experiences, birth fathers are more likely to shun the whole idea while birth mother’s are pretty much the opposite. I had a great reunion with my birth mother so I certainly did not expect lightening to strike twice.

Kitch proved to be the wild card. Lightening struck with a blinding intensity and started a fire that burns brilliantly to this day and beyond. Way to go, Dad…

The first five minutes of our initial phone conversation were cordial. Friendly, but understandably guarded. I explained I didn’t want anything other than some answers, a peek into on my own history. He told me that he would be happy to tell me what he could.

He then asked, “What’s your blood type?”

I fully understood why he asked. We did not have the luxury of having Maury Povich exclaiming, “Everett! You ARE the father!”

Well, he asked so, being the naturally born smart-mouth that I am—thanks, Dad—I simply replied, “My blood type? Red.”

Then we both howled in laughter. This disruption of the sound barrier was immediately met with our abrupt silence. For the first time in my life I heard my laugh echo back at me.

If you know Kitch, you know THE LAUGH. That garish, glass shattering cackle that has been known to make babies cry and land masses shift.

After a moment of silence Kitch said, “This is real, isn’t it?”

I merely answered, “Yea. I guess it is.”

That ended any discussion of blood type right then and there. Paternity proven through laughter. IN YOUR FACE, MAURY!

04_FamilySo, yes, I have the laugh. My brother, Markis, has the laugh. My sister, Carletta, has THE LAUGH. Hearing this laugh spew upward and outward from someone standing a petite five-foot-four is, honestly, just plain spooky!

I don’t mean to stand here and tell you he was perfect. He wasn’t and he’d be the first to admit it. He didn’t even meander in a suburb of the gated community of perfection. He was bull-headed. The man took stubborn to a height that any accomplished mountain climber would covet. He was a cut of the ‘my way or no way’ jib.

On my first visit to his home in Colorado, he had the gall to announce to this City Boy, “We get up at 4 o’clock in the morning around here.”

I replied, “Good to know. When I get up at 10 be sure you tell me all about it.”

See? I got a little more than just his laugh.

If he didn’t like something, whether it be a situation or tuna, he’d let you know about it. He wouldn’t shirk away from his opinion and he respected anyone who did the same. He shot from the hip and ricochets be damned. He told me, more than once, “I always speak my mind… when I can find it.”

He had zero tolerance for anyone who wallowed in their own self-pity. “If you aren’t willing to help yourself,” he said, “how can you face yourself in the mirror?”

I looked at him and said, “I sold my mirrors. They were defective.”

Once again, that laugh echoed in stereo.

He didn’t believe in regrets. Instead, he preferred to own up to what was, focus on what is, and look forward to what may be. An eternal optimist wrapped in a tortilla of sarcasm. Again, unforgettable.

He was a giver. He didn’t ask for anything other than honesty and love in return. He received so much more joy when giving to another than getting a glamorous holiday gift himself.

IMG_1812

In order of appearance: Carletta, Sandra, Charles and Markis.

Honestly, if I had to sum him up, I’d have to say our father is about laughter. He instilled that in all of us. He is about joy. He is about giving. And, I mean to tell ya, he is about food! Preparing AND eating! He is about bringing people together. The turnout today surely proves that. He even managed to wrangle his kids together for the very first time. Talk about being a control freak!

His passing has been such a shock to each and every one of us. How someone so full of life—even BIGGER than life—can be gone so quickly is just a mystery. We’re all still trying to wrap our minds around referring to him in the past tense. My sister, Carletta, summed it up best a few days ago. She stepped groggily out of her bedroom one morning and said, “Do you know what I was supposed to be doing today?”

“What’s that?” I asked.

She simply said, “Not this.”

Boy, Sis, ya got that right.

It’s only fitting that Dad passed ON  April Fool’s Day. If anyone would appreciate the humor it that, it would be him. The real kicker for me is that the very next day, April 2nd, marked the 22nd anniversary of the very first time he and I spoke. The first time I ever heard OUR laugh.

Because of my work as a medium, I know that life never truly ends, that we don’t really die. We simply move on. With that in mind, someone recently asked me, “Where do you think he is now?” Honestly, this is how I picture it: Dad makes his way through a field of billowing clouds of dry ice like we see in so many Hollywood movies. After walking for awhile he finally sees a glowing light off in the distance. Instinctively, he begins to walk toward it. As he draws near the light he is is immediately greeted by a multitude of hyperactive drooling black labs. Amidst the jumping, licking and yelps of excitement, they manage to lead him to this massive set of pearly gates. The gates open effortlessly because they have WD-40 over there. The opening gates resemble what can only be described as large arms reaching out for a loving, long overdue embrace. The kind that he, himself, always gave. As Kitch’s brown eyes adjust to the intense bright light, he finds himself standing in His presence.

The Big Guy standing before The Bigger Guy.

So, Kitch just flashes that crooked smile of his, and simply drawls, “So, did I do OK?”

And God, in whatever form you see Him, in whatever way you believe, looks at Kitch, reflecting that same crooked smile that He, Himself, created, and exclaims, “Woot! I mean to tell ya!”

We love you, Dad.

Eulogy Delivered Thursday, April 7, 2016
Wayne, WV

February 12, 2016

Speak It, Teach It

AlgebraI helm a weekly mediumship development circle every Sunday in Signal Hill. Some of you are, in all probability, scratching your head over this one. If you know me, you also know that teaching is not one of my favorite pastimes. Teaching ranks right down there with holiday family dinners, raisins and Country Caterwauling that some insist is music. I’ve always assumed my dislike for teaching stems from my lifelong loathing of school in general. I often feel like the character in the Far Side cartoon asking his teacher, “Mr. Osborne, may I be excused? My brain is full.” I was bored to tears the vast majority of the time back in my school days. And it wasn’t because I was some unearthly genius, either. Good heavens, no. I just resented anyone telling me what to do. (A delightful quirk that I clutch onto with a stubborn death grip to this very day.) Even then I knew the path my life would be taking. I was going to be a cartoonist and that journey would not involve algebra or geometry. I guess you could say, upon reflection, that little snippet was one of my earliest psychic predictions. Move over, Psychic Twins, there’s a new Criswell on the block.

I’ll let you know if Terry and Linda ever speak to me again after that comment…

So, why on earth (or any other plane of existence you prefer) did I decide to take on this class? That’s a damn fine question. Honestly, I did it out of sheer boredom. I was looking to shake things up, do something different, so I put that desire out there to my Guides. When will I ever learn? Once again, Robert and the Gang opted to take me at my word and toss me in head first. Way to go, Guys and Gals. The class had originally been taught by someone else, but he moved out of the area. A couple of his students approached me and asked if I would be interested in stepping in as their new teacher. Great Googly Moogly, what were they thinking? SERIOUSLY? That’s like putting me in charge of the dessert cart. You just know nothing good is going to come from it.

When I teach, I like to push the envelope, test new ideas, take students down unfamiliar pathways. It’s fun to dive into the deep end of the pool without an inflatable clown-character raft. Not knowing what will happen is a great spiritual aphrodisiac.

My personal theory is that your connection with your own Spirit Guides is singularly the most important aspect of this work. The stronger the communication, the personal connection, the clearer the corridor. This connection can take you to uncharted places with unbridled passion. The more I discover, the more I want to know. The more I know, the more I want to share with anyone within a somewhat interested earshot. I’m not one for rambling lectures. The learning—the excitement—is in the doing, not in the humdrum listening and waiting.

So, to keep things lively, I’ve opened the door to channeling for my band of students. I’ve shown them exercises in meeting with their Spirit Guides—hobnobbing with them if you will—and even their Higher Selves. I’ve taken them to the next stage of conversing with them through Automatic Writing (a true passion for me). Channeling seemed like the logical next step along the way. This builds trust as well as comfort in your connection to your Spiritual Peeps, your Crew. I assure you that channeling is NOT for everyone. But it will allow you to better feel, and understand, the energy of your own Guides. This comes in especially handy for those times when you think, “I can’t feel my Guides around me! Where are they?” We all do it from time to time. Trust me on this. You will, by merely raising your own sensitivity and awareness, find that statement will all but completely vanish from your daily diatribe. And how cool would THAT be?

I know what you’re saying… “Hey, Charles, it sure sounds like you’re teaching right now!” Yeah, whatEVER. I’m doing it at two in the morning while nibbling on a cold frosted strawberry Pop-Tart and sipping an ice-cold glass of milk. My class, my rules.

The class had some major breakthroughs this past week. I was extremely proud of my students and their accomplishments (Pop-Tarts would have improved the experience but, hey, you can’t have everything). Some very intense messages, emotionally as well as philosophically, came through each student. There’s nothing like a good dose of self awareness to wake you up in the middle of the afternoon. Normally, I will go into channel first in order to set the tone of the exercise. It is also good for students who have never experienced anything like this to see a bit of the possibilities lying ahead for them. Last week, however, I was told in no uncertain terms, I had to wait until the end. While unhappy about being told what to do, I begrudgingly admitted that They are always right. Just like my editor, but I digress… So, like a good whipping boy, I waited.

When I channel, privately or in public demonstrations, I discover there is a protocol. Robert always opens and closes the session. He has a ritual that he has gone through since day one. Then he will move onto whatever topic he deems necessary for those in attendance. Once he takes care of his agenda others may, from time to time, pop in for more commentary. It is interesting to hear the view points of the others. They merely offer their take, their spin, on Robert’s initial message. Once they are finished Robert will pop back in with a quick summation or message and then off they go. Robert, and Robert alone, always opens the floor for a Q&A when I am giving a public channeling demonstration. He doesn’t bother with personal questions (“Should I move to another town,” etc). He is looking for questions of a Universal, a more spiritual, nature. “If you broaden your mind you will surely enhance your intentions,” Robert says, “Imagine the possibilities within THAT!” The ONLY time this protocol was broken was during a demo at The Owl’s Lantern in Fullerton, CA, a few years ago. Robert had taken a couple of inquiries from those in attendance, as is his custom. Then one woman asked a question and, much to everyone’s surprise, Robert stepped aside and allowed Dondi to speak! This was the first and, as of this date, the only time that has occurred.

A little background on Dondi. He is a three-dimensional version of the comic strip character by Irwin Hasen. He is about 5 or 6 years of age. His love of life is contagious. It’s really fitting because I am a cartoonist, as you know, AND I’m an adoptee. The whole package is once again wrapped up neatly and beautifully. Realizing that my Joy Guide is a 5 year old REALLY explains a lot about me, doesn’t it?

Anyway… Dondi answered her question and then Robert returned to continue. I later discovered that the woman who asked the question had a daughter whose name is Dondi AND she was named after the comic strip character! So, once again, proof that the interaction is never random. There’s always a reason. ALWAYS. We may not get it at the time but, trust me, one day it will all come together.

You’re wondering what Robert had to say this past Sunday, aren’t you? Well, speculate no more, for here are Their words. Happy mulling!

 

ROBERT

“I am here, Charles. I am Robert. I will answer your questions at this time. I am here, on your right, as always.

“Lovely to see you. More lovely to see your experiences today. Intoxicating, isn’t it? This is to be understandable. For some, it is very new. And, with the newness, comes intensity, fascination, sadness. But not [sadness] in a sorrowful way. Perhaps a sadness of what you may have missed by not pursuing this communiqué sooner. A sadness for missing emotion of the heart. Sadness of not really believing… not mentioning any names. (Whispers) Is Kevin listening? (loudly) HAHA!

[FYI: Kevin and I are both life-long members of The Bull-Headed Skeptics Club. We have a secret handshake and everything.]

“Your ways are not foreign to us [Kevin]. If you had to work with this (pointing to self) you would understand. HAHA! It is true. He HAS driven me to drink. HAHA!

“Right now, the levity felt in your hearts, in your consciousness… do you feel that? (Snaps fingers 5 times) The guards come down so you may see. And what you see, my friends, is but merely the beginning. If you never do this again you will always have this experience. But, since you have touched it, taken it, you want to try it again, don’t you? Again… intoxicating. Allow the excitement, the wonder, the curiosity to lead you, entice you and, most importantly, BE you.

“Your soul craves the connection of ‘home’. The body knows it is home but you understand, now, the duality. What you see is not always what you get. For what you are seeing is always a little more complicated. Look beyond what SEEMS in order to see what IS.”

 

PAMELA

“Oh, he’s not going to be happy that I’m here. (Long sigh, as if exhaling smoke)

“Hello, my friends. I… am… Pamela. I am, as my host would say, a bit of a smart ass. But would you expect anything else? (Whispers) I don’t think so.

“Robert speaks of what is seen, what is felt, what is processed (she pronounced it as PRO-cessed). *I* understand the individual versions of what your eyes, what your mind, tells you. Rebeka, Love, first word that comes to your mind when I say the word, ‘Radio’?”

Rebeka: Frequency.

“Shawn… same question.”

Shawn: Transmission.

“Two different answers! Which is correct? Both! ‘Frequency’ for Rebeka, ‘Transmission’ for Shawn. Each of you has a set of, shall we say, encyclopedias in one’s mind, in one’s heart. Rely on these. Rely on these.

“One continually asks for a sign. We are not in the billboard business! But… but… beyond the billboards you seek—or THINK you should see—that is where the signs ARE. That is where the signs are. If you do not understand what you are feeling, focus on what you are seeing. How does THAT make you FEEL? And your answers can be there. It will not always be black and white. WHY? Because you have to work through it. THROUGH IT.

“Why? Why not? Think about that. WHY NOT? To desire knowledge, to crave knowledge, you must first dive into it. Play with it. And let it be whatever it needs to be for you. Each of you.”

 

ROBERT

“I am Robert. With our collective hearts, our collective thoughts, our collective intentions, and, of course, our collective love, you are thanked, you are appreciated. And, until next time, I am done.”

 

With those three little words—I AM DONE—Robert was “gone”. I know he wasn’t truly gone but his focus, his energy, was hurled back from hence it came. I always feel an odd emptiness when he has stepped back. I mean I’m plugged into this intense generator when, all of a sudden, the power source is shut off faster than he can snap my fingers. What never ceases to amaze me is the depth of Their brevity. The messages are always deceivingly short. But, if you re-read them, over and over, you’ll discover such complexity and influence within the few sentences that have been given. I’m always left in a state of awe. I know my own words. I know the pattern and rhythm of my own speech. I stare at the messages given and my first thought is always, “That is NOT me!”

If They can provide words through me that are not my own, then they can just as easily push, poke and prod me into other things that are not necessarily my own preferred actions, such as teaching. It isn’t fully me at the podium. I know that. But, if I truly did not want to teach, I would not be doing it (as much as I hate to admit it). I have had, from the onset, this simple philosophy regarding mediumship: I will quit the instant it stops being fun. The same can be said about teaching, too, I suppose. I like to push my students out of their comfort zone because I know they’ll learn from the experience. My Guides enjoy doing the exact same thing to me. What a friggin’ shock.

The lesson here? You need to embrace each and every part of yourself. The dark and the light, the cozy and the discomfort, the chocolate and the broccoli. It’s all there for a reason. As Pamela asked, “How does THAT make you FEEL?” Mull it over, kids. Class dismissed.

Copyright © 2016, Charles A Filius, All Rights Reserved

January 5, 2016

Playing with Mediumship

11613010_sHaving grown up as an only child, my so-called social life consisted of mingling and hobnobbing my toys. As any only child will attest, you are always on a constant search for new-fangled ways to entertain yourself. Personally, I became very adept at playing most board games as a lone player. I could objectively play games of chess, Monopoly, Life—even Sorry—against myself. I’ve always had a strong love of board games simply because they involve two of my favorite pastimes: concentrating and sitting. Sitting is underrated. It really is. Die-hard sitting takes commitment and determination. Ask anyone with ADHD. One day I will have a pillow embroidered with these soulful words:

“If It Shan’t Be Done Whilst Sitting
Then ‘Tis Not Worth Doing!”

Despite my adoration of those geniuses at Milton Bradley, my favorite toy of all time was my odds-and-ends assortment of various plastic figures. I had accumulated, over time and by no intended purpose, a green draw-string bag filled to the brim with an ill-fitted bevy of cowboys, Indians, astronauts, soldiers and even Presidents. Yes, you read that correctly. I had John Adams and Abe Lincoln in full living color and a plain white Dwight Eisenhower (accurately depicted, I do believe). They stood approximately 2 ½” in height. I have no vivid recollection of how they came to be a part of my collection. They were just always there. Eisenhower’s head was lopsided because, early on, I discovered that I could write on the sidewalk using his Presidential cranium like a piece of chalk. Clearly, I did not like Ike.

I would spend long hours, day after day, immersed in the world I created with my plastic playmates. Each one had a name and a very specific role in our world. There was a band of heroes led by The Professor (an old west doctor holding a medical bag). He was assisted by Alex and Jane (both being Native American figures, red and blue respectively) and Hans (a confederate soldier separated from his regiment when he was caught up in the aftermath of a time machine the Professor had invented—who hasn’t had THAT happen at some point?). A reoccurring character was a Viking named Thor (I pride myself on the originality of names). He was another victim of one of the Professor’s time machine mishaps. Later plots revealed that Thor and Hans had actually been brothers in a previous life. They fought various Batman-Inspired villains such as The Evil Bozo (where DO I come up with these brilliant names anyway?). He was a bendable Gumby-Like Bozo the Clown who had his arms torn off in some freak undisclosed accident. This once beloved circus clown was now engulfed by his hatred of the world. Quite the diabolical mastermind, lemme tell ya.

The point? Each and every one of them was as real as any flesh and blood person in my life. I could retreat myself into them and their plane of reality effortlessly. Some would say that action was a defense mechanism, that I was hiding from something and ignoring reality. I’m sure there is some truth to that notion—what 7 year old doesn’t get their reality and imagination mixed together? Looking back through my trusty Hind-Sight X-Ray Specs, I can “see” how my frolicking imagination was preparing me for my future, both at the drawing board and on the platform.

First is the unfaltering believability of it all. I didn’t think my toys were alive and real. I KNEW it. There wasn’t a doubt in my little, open mind of this. Do you remember your favorite childhood toy? Your doll, teddy bear or train were each a part of your posse. They were your peeps! They had your back! How many of us curled up with our favorite stuffed animal at night KNOWING we would be safe as we slumbered? Our toys were really our first experiences in having faith, the all-knowing sense that it “is”.

Second is the open unobstructed dialogue. I did not just talk FOR my toys, I talked TO them. They heard me and would speak with me in return. The Professor and crew had their own distinct voices and personalities so I could easily tell one from another. I knew how each would react to any given situation. I knew their strong points and weaknesses. I definitely knew one from another.

Finally, I would merely allow the adventure to unfold before me in whatever way it needed. I gave up control of the moment and allowed it to just be what it is. This simple act enables the enjoyment while eradicating the expectations. I discovered that relinquishing control is liberating. Quite the statement for an adult diagnosed as an Early On-Set Control Freak.

In cartooning, my truest love, I have to believe in the characters that I draw. In order for them to make sense to the reader, they MUST make sense to me. They. Are. Real. Then comes the dialogue between creator and character, then character to character, and ultimately character to reader. But, in order for the reader to “hear” them, the initial connection from the creator is an absolute must. In the end I simply let the cartoon draw itself. I may have an initial idea of where it SHOULD be going but, more times than not, I find it going in some other direction. The work always speaks loudly and comfortably on its very own when I allow that to happen.

Nearly verbatim, the same philosophies can be said about mediumship. I truly KNOW the connection is real. I trust The Creator and the connection within. Those in Spirit are as much alive as my toys of yore and my current creations sprawled crossways over Bristol. Once that initial realization is embraced, I latch myself onto the dialogue. Whether it is between me and a Spirit Guide or a “Deceased” Loved One, the exchange, in whatever form it is in, is vital. I allow them to speak their minds, their souls, as they “see” fit. And, finally, I just toss up my hands and do my best to release the control to “Upper Management”. I watch AND listen as it is merely played out.

A trail of breadcrumbs is sprinkled before us from the onset. There are times when the path is crystal freakin’ clear—but rarely. Most of the time it’s a blissful blur of wonder and (alleged) confusion. However, on those cool summer nights of reflection we are given the reward of reasoning. Out of the blue it suddenly makes sense. We finally find the reason ‘why’ dancing right in front of us in a well-choreographed Busby Berkley Extravaganza. “Now I understand,” you’ll say as a smile of knowing, of faith, spreads across your lips.

Make a point, when that AH-HA Moment strikes, to offer your appreciation to all parties involved. The medium and the cartoonist in me are certainly grateful to that imaginative little boy from not so long ago. His daring diversions cast a firm foundation through his misinterpreted monkey business. Through his unplanned playing, I was led to a life of wonder, joy and continual healing laughter. It is misunderstood by some but it has never been, nor will it ever be, misGUIDEd.

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The Professor & Crew join forces to battle The Evil Bozo one more time…

 

 Copyright © 2016, Charles A Filius, All Rights Reserved

November 21, 2015

Gabriel’s Return

GabeDanielleApplesI’ve easily read thousands of people over my years as a working medium. And, by sheer logic, I’ve connected with even more spirits. For the most part the souls I’ve encountered—both of the pulse-steady and pulse-impaired variety—have melted into one colossal blob. It’s nothing personal, I assure you. Seriously, do you remember each and every person, upright or not, that you encounter?

I always explain to my sitters that I rarely retain any information brought forth in a reading. It’s the difference between telling your own story as opposed to telling the tale of another. You recall the vivid details of your own life but only bits and pieces of the tale of another. Some highlights will stand out along the way. Something that strikes your funny bone, makes your stomach turn or even makes the hair on your neck stand on end, turn white and then fall out. Our lives are the Main Feature while everyone else’s is merely a pre-matinee trailer. I bet THAT realization makes you feel so gosh-darn special.

Don’t let this worry you. The vast majority of the ones I remember are because it’s something really funny, weird or, honestly, just plain stupid. What’s that? You want an example? Well, OK, if you insist…

I vividly recall a time when I informed a sitter, “Your father is here.”

She immediately jumped in feet first to correct me. “No, he’s not!” she exclaimed. “He’s dead!”

After a very well-timed pause, I said dryly, “How closely did you read my business card?” Trust me when I tell you she turned a shade of red that I will never forget.

I once connected with a man who passed tragically at only 50. He was engaged and already to start another chapter in his life as a married man. I felt a huge slam in my chest, the sign given to indicate a massive heart attack. I relayed this information to his fiancé. She exclaimed, “Oh, yes, he DID have a heart attack! He was sitting on the toilet and just fell over dead!”

I heard the Spirit say, “Oh, great. You had to tell him THAT, didn’t you?” At the end of the session he showed me an innocent looking item—I won’t say what—indicating it was something he loved and it meant a lot to him. I was clueless as to what he was really saying. She screamed, “Oh, my GOD! I can’t believe he’d bring THAT up!” She was laughing so hard I thought she was going to have her own coronary. The mysterious item in question, while a commonplace thing, is also slang for a very specific sex act. One, I then discovered, was a favorite in his repertoire. As she calmed herself down, her late fiancé said, “That’ll teach her to tell people I died taking a crap.” I’m not forgetting that one no matter how much I try.

So, as you can see, some stick out in my mind. There are also a few who make quite an impact on me. Not only on my career as a medium, but simply as a human being. They go beyond the call of duty to remind us of the strength of unconditional and unending love.

I have had those in Spirit assist me in readings for individuals they didn’t even know in life. They have helped the other spirits make a better connection with me. They have shown up to serve as an example of what another soul was truly about in their own life. In essence, I help them and they help me. And, of course, all connections originate from one place and for one purpose: Love.

Out of all of the Spirits I have happily encountered, I have to say that a man by the name of Gabriel has claimed a secure spot in the top five. Look up “determination” in Webster’s and you will likely find “See Gabriel” as the singular definition.

I first encountered Gabriel on a flight to Wisconsin in 2014. He literally stalked me across half the country, making his presence unmistakable time and time again. He kept piling it on until I finally found myself with his fiancé, Danielle, and her mother at one of my group demonstrations. I wrote about it all so others could absorb the experience and his powerful message. You can refresh your memory by clicking here to read it once again.

* * *

I am often directed by Spirit to purchase small trinkets and bring them to my group demonstrations. I never know who will receive the item. It is soul-ly up to “them”. I’m Spirit’s Vanna White. They turn on the light and I just reveal the letter. Fortunately, Spirit makes this very affordable by leading me to area Thrift Shops or homes of vacationing families who don’t bother turning on their security systems. They send me off on these little scavenger hunts in my hometown as well as cities and centers where I am traveling. I merely walk into the brick and mortar building and wander around until something strikes me. I am not sure how I know what to pick up. I can’t describe it any better than saying, “I just know.” I don’t get anything clairsentiently or clairvoyantly. It’s a feeling of all knowing that I personally refer to as “Clair-YuhHuh.”

My annual trek to Wisconsin has made me quite familiar with the Dime and Dollar Thrift Store, a fun little shop in Stevens Point. I know the lay of the land quite well now. If my cast-in-stone routine was any more predictable, the world would use it, and not the sun, to check their clocks. My normal route takes me through the glass door and passed the display case doubling as a checkout counter on the right. My first stop is a rack of bric-a-brac on the left. I circle it with the same dogged determination as I hover over a bin of chocolate pudding at any semi-respectful buffet.  Something will just grab my attention and I grab it in return. It’s almost as if it flashes at me, like one of those Instamatic Camera Cubes from the 70’s. I then circle off to the right to graze through any CD’s that have, for any range of reasons, found themselves there. Retreating to the back room, I swoop down on every book I can find strewn over a span of several mismatched bookshelves. Then I flip through a bin of LP’s just so I can feel really old. A walk on the wild geriatric side will bring you right back to earth whenever you’re feeling exceptionally good about yourself.

With the Bay City Rollers echoing in my head, I will meander through small electronics and kitchen accessories. Then I wrap everything up looking through a hodgepodge of tumblers and coffee mugs. I see everything from #1 TEACHER to DOLLYWOOD OR BUST spewing before me like a marquee on crack. I will then take my haul, no more than 2 or 3 items, and amble my way back to the checkout counter. A couple bucks later and I’m the temporary caretaker of the bounty until each is passed on to the intended recipient.

My latest sparing shopping spree, however, paid no attention to my well-crafted routine. Upon entering, I made an immediate sharp left and found myself immersed in a jungle of book bags, clothing and doilies. I was in foreign territory. Clothing? Really? If you know me then you know my sense of fashion makes no sense. I own two pairs of shoes for crying out loud. TWO. And I cannot, for the life of me, fathom why anyone would EVER need a third. I buy a pair of sneakers. I wear them every day so they last about a year and a few months. When they show their signs of wear-and-tear, I buy an identical pair to replace them. I own four denim long-sleeve shirts. They’re identical. Variety is not in my spice rack, lemme tell ya.

So, completely out of my element, wondering if I need a passport, I took a 360 degree view of my surroundings. I figured I was there for a reason so off I trudged into the sea of racks and hangers. Turning a corner, I spied a backpack on the floor leaning against a chrome set of shelves. This grabbed my attention because my own needs replacing. I picked it up and gave it a once-over. I placed it back on the floor while making a mental note to ponder the purchase prior to my departure.

I returned to my traditional pathway and, indeed, was lead to two items along the way. Remaining true to myself, I sought out the backpack once more. I placed my soon to be purchased items on a shelf in front of me, paying no attention to its contents, and turned my focus on the backpack once more. I picked it up and inspected it with more scrutiny. The bubble of my initial inspection burst with a deafening dose of disappointment within a few seconds. Holes, frayed straps and a cracked coating joined in a rousing harmonious chorus of the “Don’t Buy ‘Dis, Dufus” Boogie.

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I shrugged as I bent down to return it to the floor once again. In mid-bend I glanced up to see a stack of well-worn satchels staring me down. I dropped the backpack as my jaw fell open. My eyes widened as I remained frozen in the hunched over position. I then uttered the only thing an enlightened sort like myself can in a moment like this… “Well, son of a bitch.” Emblazoned in black marker across the side of a bag was the name GABRIEL. I straightened up and just laughed aloud. Of all the bags in the stack of 10 or more, only ONE had a name written on it.

Jpeg

I knew Danielle was planning to attend my second group demo the next evening. I loved the fact that I already had a story for her. Sometimes Spirit just makes my job all the easier with stunts like this! I snapped a photo of the bag as I said, “Thanks, Gabe!” I then retrieved my other items from the shelf above my head. It was only then that I realized that I had placed them on top of a large crystal dish. Not just any dish, you know? It was in the shape of a heart. I picked it up and gazed into it, slack jawed. Then I heard Gabe say, in a most serious tone, “Give it to her with my love and my blessing.”

I shook my head in wonder. No matter how many times I experience moments like this, I am always blown away. There’s nothing routine about this! I nodded and said, “You got it, dude.” My California Surfer Guide sneaks out from time to time…

I take my responsibility to Spirit very seriously. Unlike many mediums, however, I manage to have a lot of fun with it. I gave Gabriel my word and that IS my bond. If my tongue happens to be firmly planted in my cheek while I carry out my welcomed obligation, then so be it. (Cue diabolical twirling of my mustache) Little did I know at the time, but I was going to have to really work a bit to pull this one off. I hate when They make me sweat.

Saturday came and went. The sold out demo was a rousing success. An evening of both healing laughter and tears brought everyone together. There was only one little hiccup in this otherwise perfect evening: Danielle was a no-show. I was quite perplexed, as was Gabriel, I’m sure. Danielle’s punctuality was never questioned. If she said she was going to be there, she was going to be there. She may burst through the door at the last second but, by Golly, she was THERE. But not this time. Once I returned to my lodging, I emailed her just to ensure all was well. The email went unanswered. So, I lugged her heart to my next group demonstration. Again, she didn’t show up. I drove to my home away from home, entered my room and was immediately greeted by Gabriel’s tell-tale cigarette smoke. “Dude,” I said aloud, “Get her here! I don’t know what to do!” The smoke dissipated and I finally calmed myself enough to catch some Z’s.

I took a couple of days off from my rigorous schedule to visit a dear (live) friend near Chicago. While there, I received an email from Danielle. Way to go, Gabe! Something came up at the last minute and she was unable to attend. She asked for info on my other appearances and events. She assured me that she would attend one of them.

Again, she was as visible as Big Foot. And, yes, I found myself accosted by cigarette smoke. Oh, joy. The dead are, if anything, determined…and dead. After my final group gathering, on November 3, I sent her a text asking if she could meet me for breakfast the next morning. I told her I only had one day left in town and it was imperative that I see her. I didn’t tell her, but I really didn’t want to continue my journey with this Pig-Pen cloud of smoke hovering over me the whole time. She promptly agreed to our getting together over syrup and powdered sugar at ten the next morning. I had reached the end of my patience with Gabriel’s second-world-second-hand smoke. I guess you can say I just couldn’t HACK it.

Ahem.

I snagged a table in the back of the South Point Restaurant. I love this local diner. You get a gluttonous mound of food nearly obliterating your plate from view for a price that makes you look for the Fonz in the corner. They’ve also dedicated an entire wall to the miracle of bacon. I’m on board with anyone who worships Meat Candy.

Danielle dashed in with her twinkling eyes and a smile that can make you forget ANYTHING has ever been wrong in this, or any, life. After a hug and a laugh, we scanned the menus and placed our orders (both of which would piss off any cardiologist worth their weight in lard). Once the formalities were cast aside, and I knew we wouldn’t be interrupted by a waitress hell-bent on refilling any and all containers on our table, I proceeded to the heart of the matter. I ran through the whole story. My trek to the Dime and Dollar, my diverted route inside, the backpack. Everything. Her doe-like eyes widened even more when I showed her the photo of Gabriel’s bag (I honestly didn’t think they COULD get any wider!). Then I saw the very same windows of her soul glisten slightly when I handed her the crystal heart. I didn’t permit my gaze to linger beyond a cursory glance. That was their moment, just between them.

GabeDanielle01aShe sat there, looking at it, running her fingers around the edge, retracing the shape in her own heart. Then she smiled. She looked up at me and said, “You have NO idea what this means.” She nodded her head slightly. “You see, I collect cut crystal exactly like this. And, in my whole collection, I don’t have anything like this one.” She held it up with her right hand and waved it slightly. “I understand the message, too. His telling me he gives his blessing…you see, I met someone. I met him ON Valentine’s Day.” She smiled again. “I’ve always said I knew Gabe sent him to me. It ALL makes sense.” She returned her smiling eyes to the crystal heart and, for a moment, to Gabriel. And I haven’t smelled his smoke since.

Again, we don’t die. And, logic tells us, that if WE don’t die then our love certainly can’t, either. For whatever reason, Gabriel chose me. He sought me out and entrusted me, of all people, to help him help his lady love. He has an open-door policy with me. This sort of access is my equivalent of joining the Five-Timer’s Club on SNL. He has joined the ranks of other Spirits that I hold near and dear. I’ve never met any of them in the physical but I sure feel like I know them now. Gabriel is now hobnobbing with Jason, Alex, David and, my forever #1 gal, Dana. They have all allowed me to observe such perfect examples of unending love and I am grateful beyond words. And I cannot think of a better time to acknowledge that gratitude as Thanksgiving approaches.

Take a moment to acknowledge the loves in your life, both here and there. They never leave us. As long as there is love there is that eternal connection. Send them your prayers, your gratitude, your hugs, your laughter, your high-fives. Express it in any way you want and it IS received with open arms and crystal hearts.

It’s an honor, Gabe. Truly an honor. And I thank you.

 

Copyright © 2015 C A Filius, All Rights Reserved

October 3, 2015

It’s All in the Cards

Copyright Thomas Coyle

Copyright Thomas Coyle

* * *

“A deck of cards fans out. You do the same, you know?
Your aura, your energy, fans out to others.
The people will reach in and pull out what they need from you.
But always remember this: what they take is only what YOU freely give.”
– Pamela

* * *

Of all of the inquiries I receive, I have to say that the topic of Spirit Guides is in the top three. I have a very strong, and obvious, working relationship (or on-going feud, depending on the day) with my ensemble of enlightened ectoplasm. I’ve been fortunate enough to have connected clearly with them from the very beginning. While it seemed like a grand idea at the time, I’m willing to bet they’re kicking themselves now. Some of my Guides tend to be more prominent than the others. You know this just by skimming over my Facebook page or thumbing through my book, DAILIES. Some just seem more talkative. So I thought I would begin writing about some of my ‘lesser known’ Guides. They all assist me in my readings, meditations, writings—not to mention that daily routine you hear so much about—so I don’t want to give the impression that some are more important than others. There’s no Warren G. Harding or Chester Alan Arthur in my line up. Each stands out in their own way with their own Divine Purpose. The one common denominator is they have all improved on their golf swing whacking their clubs up against my cement abutment of a skull. God love ‘em.

In April, 1909, Pamela Coleman Smith was commissioned by A.E. Waite to design arguably the most recognizable tarot deck in history: The Rider-Waite-Smith Deck (now known as The Rider-Waite Deck). At the time it consisted of 80 drawings and by 1911 black and white prints would appear with Waite’s book entitled The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. Thus ends the lesson.

IN MY EARLY DAYS OF DEVELOPMENT, I was introduced to a new Spirit Guide by the name of Pamela. She was my fifth spiritual sidekick right after Christopher, my Tibetan Monk with ADHD (Ya can’t make this stuff up, people). Pamela gave me a swift glimpse of her physical appearance, like Christopher, in the very beginning. I saw a young woman with olive skin, dark eyes & hair, with full lips. She was dressed, in my best description, like a gypsy. I almost expected her to conjure up Larry Talbot (note the seasonal, nerdy reference). I’m also convinced she is an avid smoker but she denies it. She insists she is a reformed smoker. Oh, c’mon, Pamie. You can’t be helped until you’re honest with yourself first. Ahem.

She informed me that her role was to help me learn the Tarot. I knew nothing of the cards at the time and just accepted it for what it was. Our relationship began as a shipwreck beaten on the rocks and escalated rapidly downhill at a heart-skipping pace. Tarot and I did NOT get along from the git-go. The deck and I just didn’t mesh. I would stare at the cards and they simply stared right back at me. It was about as uncomfortable as an obligatory holiday family dinner.

Poor Pamela’s pet project was pretty much a pratfall. Of course, in those early days of my development, Pamela was still a wide-eyed entity chock full of determination and hope. Now, thanks to me, she’s bitter, broken and buzzing about bygone days of bliss. But she stays because she either has no place else to go or she’s a masochist. Probably a little bit of both.

Yeaaaaa… she’s gonna slap me down a rabbit hole for that one.

At one point along the way I found out about the artist of the Tarot, Pamela Coleman Smith. Needless to say, my jaw came crashing down on the tile. Could MY Spirit Guide be THE Pamela? I have to admit I was both impressed and intimidated. It seemed for a moment that Spirit had brought out the Big Guns. I had a sudden feeling I needed to really toe the line. And nothing creeps me out more than obligation. I put it out there and, in an automatic writing session, she answered my question. In her already familiar, snarky tone she wrote, “No, but I had you going there for a minute, didn’t I?” It was at that point that I proposed marriage, as is my custom in such situations.

Her moniker provided me with an amazing validation. Of all the names I could have been given, I receive the very name of THE illustrator of THE Tarot Deck. Coincidence? Not by a long shot. The odds are just too high for that to even be considered.

She is brutally direct and she refuses to put up with my crap. She calls me on it all the time and, honestly, I’m grateful that she does. I can’t get away with anything with her. Excuses are unacceptable, end of story. I recall, once upon a time, when I attempted to take a beginners Tarot class in Anaheim. The class description boasted it was for fledgling amateurs who didn’t know squat about the Tarot. LIES! ALL LIES! It seemed to me that everyone in that class, minus myself of course, had been reading the Tarot prior to leaving the womb. While I was only comfortable with knowing which side of the card to have face-up, everyone else was tapping into the deep corners of the Universe and revealing the secrets of life to any and all.

“I got a rock.” – Charlie Brown

It was a four week class and I lasted two of them. After that first night I was enraged. I stormed out of the building like a rabid dog. I was storming down the street toward my car, ranting and raving the whole time. I went on and on about what a joke this was, how I was too stupid to understand this undecipherable language, and on and on and on. When I FINALLY had to pause to take a breath, I heard Pamela oh-so-very-clearly ask, “Are you through?”

I hate when a woman asks me that.

Undeterred in my own lavish self-pity, I screamed, “How can I expect to see anything hidden in a damn card when I can’t even see YOU?”

Keep in mind this conversation was out-loud on a busy, bustling street around nine o’clock at night. Of course, it IS Southern California so passers-by were assuming I was either talking on a hands-free phone or I was schizophrenic. Both are equally common out here and, for the record, I lean more toward the latter of the two.

Pamela, in her already familiar Angelic tone oozing with love, replied, “Don’t give me that whinny ‘I can’t see you’ shit. Do you want to do this or not?”

Yes, dear.

Pamela realized that this relationship was just not working. I’m no stranger to that, but that’s beside the point. So, like any adaptable enlightened being, she switched gears. She began working with my understanding of symbolism in general. My readings are often a rapid-fire bombardment of images, one after another, like psychic flashcards. It’s a quick form of shorthand that is designed to keep my physical mind happy to have a puzzle to solve while my connection to Spirit gets to jump over the fence of so-called reality in order to ‘hear’ the true message. After that slap in the back of my noggin, the clarity of the symbols has been staggering. It was as if I had learned a new language almost overnight. I don’t know how she did it—what wires she crossed—but, by gum by golly, it worked. I find myself connecting dots that don’t seem to be related…until I discover that missing key. Once that key turns in the lock a whole new level of understanding is revealed to all parties involved. And, honestly, it’s a trip.

She has also helped greatly with my seemingly natural connection to oracle cards. Why I can’t relate to the Tarot is beyond me. I’m sure it’s my own mental block at this point (a polite expression for ‘bull-headed flibbertigibbet’). I’ve just accepted it for whatever it is. I suppose I should give Pamela credit for the Oracle Connection, but the last thing I want to do is to give my Entourage a reason to feel good about Themselves.

Pamela is the one who prompted me to officially offer Oracle Card readings in addition to my regular sessions. Prompted, by the by, is a refined euphemism for ‘bullying’, in case you’re wondering. She is also the Mastermind behind my occasional “Card of the Day” postings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (for the 9 of you who follow all three venues). On occasion, whenever she is feeling like banging her head against a cement barrier, she attempts to sneak a Tarot lesson or two in the mix. And, as expected, it’s never really met with great verve.

I bought a Rider-Waite deck several years ago. Even after discovering my ineptitude with the cards, I kept them around like that odd uncle that no one really understands but, yet, you find comforting to invite to Christmas dinner, even if only for comedic relief. That’s MY goal in life, BTW. I placed the deck of cards in a wooden box and kept it on my altar. A photo of Pamela Coleman Smith stands guard on top of it. I like to have little trinkets, if you will, to represent my Guides on my altar. I don’t have items for all of them—yet—but I’ve found things for a little over half. It helps, in my mind’s eye, to solidify their presence in a physical sense.

Over the years, and throughout a handful of relocations crisscrossing the country, they ended up packed away in a box in my storage unit. It’s a wonder Pamela even continued speaking to me after that shun. A few months ago, while rummaging through my mountains of yard sale fodder, I unearthed the deck. Something told me to bring them home. So, after a hiatus, they’re residing once more on the altar, hopefully collecting more energy than dust.

September 18th of this year marked the 64th anniversary of the passing of Pamela Coleman Smith. I wanted to post something on my Facebook page about her. So, I simply did some snooping on line and found an intriguing illustration that was part of an art exhibit in New York in 1907.

She inscribed it to Alfred Stieglitz, the owner of the museum where her exhibit was held. She wrote:

“To one who appreciates what this means.”
With good wishes from Pamela Coleman Smith.
January 24, 1907.

She wrote it on MY birth date in 1907. It was written 54 years to the day before I was born and I “coincidentally” found it 54 years later. There I am, smack-dab in the middle of things. Again, “To one who appreciates what this means.” Those words vibrated more deeply within me than a tuning fork in an earthquake. When my peeps want to make their presence known they don’t hold back.

A couple of days later, I was preparing to post one of my CARD OF THE DAY messages.  I couldn’t quite decide which deck to use. I picked up a couple and my energy flat lined. Nothing there. Then I was drawn to the Daily Guidance from your Angels Oracle Deck. I shuffled for quite awhile. Finally, a card flew out…

“PERFECT TIMING. Now is the perfect moment for you to act on your inspirations. The doors are open, while you walk through them with us by your side. Don’t delay or procrastinate, as all of the ingredients are ripe for your success. Everything and everyone is on your side, supporting your positive outcome.”

That resonated strongly within me and, by the response to it, several felt the same way. Excellent! Time to clock out early and grab a Corona! Of course, it didn’t quite go that way. It never does.

Craig, a friend in Florida, emailed me:

Okay, so I pulled a card, too. Just because you did.  MOM, CRAIG IS COPYING ME AGAIN! (Note: You can clearly see why we get along)

The Six of Wands. Generally speaking, when the Six of Wands appears in a reading, the querent will find that obstacles will be overcome with ease and advancement in their life will occur quickly. They seem blessed at this time, with people praising them and offering them golden opportunities.

This reminds us that when we believe in ourselves and have confidence in our own abilities and character, we have already won the hardest part of the battle.

The message goes hand in hand with the Oracle Card I had drawn as well as what is going on within my own life at the moment. Once I saw his email I was “told” to draw a card from MY Rider-Waite deck. Again, I have not touched this deck in YEARS. That deck was boxed up when I left Arizona in 2009, untouched and nearly forgotten. So, I pushed Pamela’s picture aside, blew dust off the box (my maid hasn’t shown up to work since I politely pointed out the fact that she just doesn’t exist) and opened it. I slid the deck out of its cardboard packaging and into the palm of my hand. Care to take a guess as to what card was facing me when I slipped the deck out of the box?

The real kicker? I’m a six in Numerology.

Then IT happened. My beloved cohort, my partner in crime, my twin from another mother popped in for a visit: DOUBT. Seriously, people, what is wrong with me? If They club me over the head any harder my dome will pop like a ripe gourd on a hot summer day. (My apologies if you happen to be eating right now) Whenever I teach I always pound TRUST into the brains of my students. I all but beat them with the word. (Hurt me, beat me, teach me trust!) Trust what you get, what you feel, what you hear and sense. Then I turn around and pull this stupid stunt?

“Idiot.” – Michelle

I can talk myself out of nearly anything. It’s a gift, really. A useless one, like an alarm clock for an insomniac, but a gift just the same. I can easily accept the many amazing experiences of other people. But, when it comes to my own, I have to chew that jerky just a little too much, beat that dead horse long after its drawn its final breath. I actually spent more time than I’m willing to admit trying to convince myself that the chances of two people across the country from one another drawing the exact same card is an hourly occurrence. Keep in mind I consider watching reruns of The Love Boat to be quality time so I’m not much of a gauge. My favorite expressions with my Guides seem to be, “This can’t be real” and “What does all of this mean?”

My Guides have a couple favorite expressions for me, too. But it contains far too many expletives to share here.

On my way home from running errands the next morning, all snugly wrapped up in my big, ol’ burrito of doubt, a car zipped out in front of me as if driven by Speed Racer. Once the driver secured his place at the head of the line, he then felt compelled to drive at a speed that can only be represented as a negative number. I’m grumbling the whole time, of course. We were coasting along through the streets of Long Beach at a rate that would make The Poky Little Puppy seem like The Flash. As I shot death rays out of my eyes, I realized the car had a vanity tag. I had to blink a time or two in disbelief as my jaw began swaying in the breeze.

Want a good laugh? PAMIE C, in Numerology, is an 11. A big “thumbs up” from my Guides.

“Holy—” was all I managed to say before I burst out laughing. Staring back at me from the back-end of a car—in big, bold, DMV lettering—was a license plate boasting the name, ‘PAMIE C’. Whenever I’m pissed at Pamela I always call her “Pamie.” And “C”… well, that’s so self-explanatory that even I get it. Once the realization slapped the doubt outta me, the damn car sped up. “Oh, that’s just great!” I screamed to no one in particular. “He decides to run amok NOW?” I chased it down, like a deranged stalker, in order to snap a quick shot. The car went off in a different direction at the very next intersection after I took the picture. I have to admit I don’t blame the guy. If I saw a man in my rearview mirror laughing like a maniac and snapping pictures, I’d drive like a bat outta hell, too.

Keep that little tidbit in mind the next time you’re stuck behind a slow driver.

It looks like I need to rethink my expressions. ‘This can’t be real’ has become, ‘This IS real.’ As to what it all means… well, that’s the juicy one. It means several things. First of all, it means I need to practice what I preach and teach: TRUST. My Guides always let me know they are there, working in the background, just doing what they do. I know they are—I can feel them—but the physical reminders are always the ones that truly blow me away. It’s the same for you, you know? Trust that your Guides are right there, by your side, supporting you at every turn. You don’t really need to know their names. I know, in my heart of hearts, that the names they give me are just to appease my silly mortal mind. Call them what you will. If a name pops into your head out of allegedly nowhere, then go with it. Or just call ‘em, ‘Hey, You!’ They’ll still answer.

You must understand that they cannot make your decisions for you. We’re here living a physical life for a variety of reasons. Actually living that life is in the forefront. We make choices and we live through them the best we can. For example, I choose to be a blockhead. I do that of my own free to reasonably priced will. But my Entourage continues strengthening Their connection with me and They do their best to chisel away at my cement-lined stubbornness…and thank God they do. Thanks to Them, I have been blessed to be a part of something for the past 14 years that can only be described as miraculous.

What is Pamela up to? What message is she sending me? I honestly do not know. First and foremost, she is making her presence and participation in my life blatantly obvious. Perhaps my wanting to bring attention to her namesake on the anniversary of her passing brought it all on. Or maybe I was supposed to honor Miss Smith in my own way so Pamela could wave me down with her semaphore flags. The chicken or the egg? Who knows? I have to TRUST that it’s OK that I do not know. There’s always a reason. Always. So, again, what does all of this mean? It also means that despite my faults and flaws, my peeps won’t give up on me, my destiny, my path, my work… my very being. If THEY aren’t about to give up on me then it would be rude if I did not return the favor. I will simply continue through the clouded confusion of, as the Guide of a client of mine says, ‘this glorious life.’

Thank you, Pamela, may I have another?

* * *

“You cannot take the hand of another without extending yours as well.
In order to be a part of the chain—the link—you must take part in the chain.”

– Pamela

* * *

Copyright © 2015, Charles A. Filius. All Rights Reserved.

September 3, 2015

Love Lives

Filed under: Inspirational,life after death,mediumship — cfilius @ 4:59 pm
Tags: , ,

26480429_s“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” — Mother Teresa

I am the first to admit I have a lot of odd idiosyncrasies. No shock there, right? I cannot pour milk over my bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats until I turn all of the little morsels frosting-side-up. I hate bare walls. Always have. So I have framed pieces of art and photographs plastered all over mine. What’s so weird about that? They must be exactly 72” from the floor. And, for the record, they’re equidistantly spaced. I tend to have a wee bit of an obsession with order. Yet, whenever I am working on a book, whether writing or illustrating, I never, EVER, work in sequence. I’m a walking paradox, yet I have no boat, let alone two. (Think about that one and get back to me…) Upon reflection, each and every one of those peculiarities makes my talking to the dead seem pretty gosh-darn normal.

One item from my collection of quirks does tend to leap out off the psychiatrist’s pad, though. Every night, when I first go to bed, I always say, “I love you” aloud. No idea why, really. I don’t know why it started or how. I’m not even sure when. It’s just there. I don’t even have a clue as to whom I’m saying it. I could be saying it to God or Spirit, depending on your preferred terminology. Perhaps I’m saying it to a lover, past, present and/or future. Maybe I’m saying it to myself. No clue. Yet, every night, as my head and pillow become one, I blurt it out. No rhyme or reason, yet it feels out of place if I don’t.

Those three little words can have a massive impact, especially if whispered at the right time. Those words can ring through long corridors in your mind for decades. My dear friend, Leigh, and I always ended every conversation with those words. And, of course, when we were together, we did not go to bed without saying them just one more time. So, I can take great comfort and joy in the fact that our last words to one another, just one lone week before her abrupt passing, were “I love you.”

My beloved Aunt Ruth’s last act of coherence, just before she slipped away nearly a year ago, was telling each of us sitting with her those same magical words. Trust me when I tell you that is a moment in time that her son, daughter-in-law, sister and slightly anal-retentive nephew will never forget. And, of course, we returned those very same words in kind. You can’t ask for a whole lot more, you know?

To this day, some thirty-odd years later, I can still vividly recall the euphoria of exchanging those words with my first real girlfriend for the very first time. Giddiness isn’t the same without a big goofy grin implanted on your face for days on end, you know? I hope she can still reflect back on that time with the same soft-hearted mindset as I do. However, she’s pretty old now and probably senile. (God, I hope Dar’s not reading this…with her trifocals. Oh, yeah, I’m a dead man now!)

Of course, keep in mind I offer those same three words to a wide variety of people in my life: the waitress who brings me cheesecake, the pizza delivery guy, anyone who gives me cookies (unless they contain raisins or coconut). The list is quite long. Hell, I propose marriage to anyone who pulls their car out of a spot so I can park there. I just toss those ‘I love you’s’ around all willy-nilly like fertilizer. There’s an image for you. Of course, if you think about it, that reflection is quite right. Sharing an ‘I love you’ in hopes it will take root and flourish, spreading like wild flowers in the wind. Makes sense to me. But, then again, so does hanging things on a wall exactly six feet from the floorboards. I’m not really a good gauge for some things.

There are two things I truly adore when connecting with the energy of someone who has crossed over to the other side. The first is whenever they embarrass the sitter. Yes, I said it. I get the biggest kick out of it. They will, with great regularity, bring up some hysterically funny incident that the sitter (almost) wishes time would forget. The look of shock followed by red-faced embarrassment is priceless. But what REALLY puts the icing on the cake is the smile that follows. A smile of recollection, reconnection and reassurance. Of course, the dead guy gets the biggest laugh out of it. I mean, seriously, what are you going to do to ‘em? They’re dead for cryin’ out loud!

The second item on my two-item list is the insistence of the love between the one in spirit and the one sitting before me. Sure, when you get a message, you expect the classic, “I love you”. It’s a nearly worn out cliché. In all honesty, this Universal Message never gets old. Each of you knows it so why roll your eyes and deny it? Each and every Spirit that comes through is doing so out of love for you. Whether they say, “I love you!” or if they discuss the latest remodeling of your kitchen. Their very presence in your life, both then and now, is out of love. Eat your heart out, Hallmark. While you insist on a lone day in February, Spirit offers it 24/7 for a full 365. Hell of a marketing campaign if you ask me.

Oh, yeah, I hear you. “How is talking about my kitchen a sign of love?” Simple, ya big doofus. By talking about your kitchen they’re telling you that they are still active in your life. They are letting you know that they’re there for the big and the mundane, the highs and the lows, and everything else in-between, just as in their physical life. Some say “I love you” in different ways. Words, actions, thoughts… most commonly it’s a combination of those and more. A peck on the cheek, a tousle of your hair, a hug, a spin across the dance floor, preparing your favorite meal… the list goes on and on.

How do YOU let someone know you love them? Hmm? How do YOU let others know you care? Take a moment and think about it. For example, my uncle and I merely had to shake hands while placing our free hand on the shoulder of the other. That’s all we needed. He’s been gone now for 30 years and, let me tell you, I still miss those handshakes from time to time. There was so much wrapped in those simple actions. It was a genuine fondness, friendship and love. I know he’s still with me—that won’t change—but, every now and again, the physical side longs for what was. And that’s perfectly normal. You can’t risk losing the connection to your physical side, even the part that brings up tears. It’s all connected so allow it to flow. What is sad today can lead to happiness tomorrow.

The love of, and for, your loved ones is still with you. Why? Because THEY are still with you. Sure, it’s not the way we prefer or are even accustomed to, but they’re still with us. Love does not die, love does not fade or go away. It lives, it thrives and it never asks why. I’ll remember that the next time someone brings me a slab of cheesecake.

I would love to exchange an ‘I love you’ with Leigh again. I would cherish hearing Aunt Ruth say, “I love you, honey” just once more. I’d like the chance to tell Dar that I love her, for the sake of honoring the moment that was, without her slapping me in the back of the head with her trifocals. And, I can—and do—each night when I go to bed. I release those positive words into the ethers knowing they will, somehow, find their way to the souls who need it most, myself included.

In case you don’t hear it tonight, I love you.

“Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” – Franklin P. Jones

Copyright © 2015, Charles A. Filius

July 14, 2015

The Eagle Has Landed (Part 2)

[The conclusion of my own tale of discovery in honor of the upcoming 14th anniversary of my spiritual journey]

Despite the deluge of self validations being strewn about, I was still no closer to solving this mysterious eagle reference. I was, of course, getting quite frustrated over the whole thing. Have you, by chance, picked up on the fact that I’m just not patient? Rumor has it that patience is a virtue. I’m OK with that theory providing that the virtue comes ‘round the mountain quickly. Needless to say I keep my guides quite busy hurling debris at me every few minutes. I like to think of myself as their personal workout regime.

I gave the menu at Denny’s a quick once-over to make sure they didn’t offer a ‘Batter Dipped Eagle’ luncheon special. No such luck. Obviously I wasn’t supposed to get all of my answers at America’s Favorite Diner. It’s a good thing that I didn’t because there’s was a Denny’s just around the corner from where I lived at the time. I would have been ticked having spent all that time and money traveling to Sedona for a blue plate special of perception when I could have just walked down the block. I will admit, however, that the timing of Heather’s call had truly convinced me that I was supposed to be in Sedona. Lord, but I’m easy.

EvaCassidyAlbumLater that evening I hopped in my rental and headed out to a grocery store. I was craving cantaloupe. Hey, it happens. I like healthy food if it tastes good! On a whim I had this desire to listen to a CD entitled “Live at Blues Alley” by Eva Cassidy. Eva was a extraordinarily gifted singer from the Washington, DC, area who left this world far too soon. She possessed a voice that can literally bring me to my knees. I’m not much of a fan of music in general; I listen to very little. But Eva is different. Her voice touches my soul—it hits home—pure and simple. Without thinking I slid the silver disk into the CD player and found myself chuckling over the first track: “Cheek to Cheek”. I’m on a spiritual pilgrimage and I’m hearing the voice of an angel singing “Heaven…I’m in heaven…”. Ya gotta love it. The second track, entitled “Stormy Monday”, began playing and I didn’t think anything about it at first. Suddenly, as I’m sitting at a traffic light, ONE lyric jumped out at me: “The eagle flies on Friday.” I just stared at the console and at that moment I knew Heather would have the key to this grating eagle reference. She had, just a few hours earlier, changed our clandestine meeting from Thursday to Friday. Was this divine intervention or just my desire to dump the responsibility in Heather’s lap? To be honest, either solution worked very well for me at that point.

As I pulled into the parking lot of the market, still chuckling in awe over “the eagle will fly on Friday”, another track had started. This one was entitled “People Get Ready.” It starts with these lyrics:

“People get ready
There’s a train a comin’

You don’t need no baggage
Just get on board
All you need is faith

To hear the diesel hummin’
You don’t need no ticket
Just thank the Lord.” *

The instant the second line was sung a train whizzed by along the track directly across the road blowing its whistle. I started to laugh and just muttered, “smart ass” to the cosmos. “Oh, yea,” I thought shaking my head, “I’m gonna pay for that one later.”

While in this grocery store I found a section displaying a wide selection of religious candles. Saint Francis and Mother Teresa stuffed right in there between Spam and Mrs. Butterworth. How handy. Save your soul, grab a bite, and you’re on your way. You have to love the convenience of it all. And, low and behold, amidst these candles encased in what resembled tall and skinny drinking glasses, was one for my pal, the Archangel Michael. It was only 99 cents. I figured Mikey was worth a buck so I put it in my basket next to my cantaloupe and Caesar salad… the whole time praying I would not somehow get them confused at the peak of my feeding frenzy.

Thursday night I went through my meditations and this time had success. In addition to calling in my usual entourage, I asked to speak directly with the Archangel Michael. Why not, right? You never know until you try. Within moments I felt a very strong energy around me; it was a force unlike any I have experienced so far. It was very strong, even authoritative. Not threatening by any means but I was given a feeling of a higher presence that had a definite purpose. Most importantly it was absolutely not Robert, my Master Guide (or any other member of my spiritual entourage for that matter). There was definitely a new kid on the block. I was immediately lead to my laptop. While I normally take pen in hand to transcribe these messages from upon high, I knew that this had to be typed. The energy was too strong for my mere hand. There was no way my penmanship could keep up with this intensity while still remaining legible. I sat down at the keyboard and this is the conversation that flowed like wildfire from my fingertips:

What message do you have for me?

“I come in love, understanding, benevolence, trust and truth. Be steadfast in your faith, Charles. It will not let you down. On a wing and a prayer you are perched and shall not fall. It is God’s love that never falters. It is your love that He seeks. You have offered it to Him unconditionally and he is stronger for it. Yes, God ‘needs’ your Love. You were made in God’s own image–does He not feel as you? Do you not need the love of others? Of yourself? God is no different. You have not quite grasped the concept of ‘Your God Self’. God IS within you and you are within God. Between heaven and earth is the almighty love of God and Man, permanently binding them together as one. Do not ignore the greatness within you for God has never ignored it. Accept it, Charles! Own it! Be the man that you are, not the man you THINK you are. Your reality is within your hands. Allow it to breathe and thrive. Like a butterfly let it soar swiftly, elegantly and with beauty. Open your palm, Charles, and release the butterfly from its cocoon. You are protected, you are growing. THAT is what you FEEL, Charles. What you perceive as doubt is CHANGE. You do not yet fully understand what is happening so you ‘naturally’ fear. You must admonish the fear; beseech it to leave you and, in its place, you will find God’s unconditional love. Within that love you will find AND understand the truth. The truth being YOU; not an illusion but the real thing.”

I worry about taking pride in my abilities.

“It is not a sin to be proud. Are you using your abilities for personal gain? Are you using them to mislead others?”

If I do this for a living I will be gaining from it.

“But is that the MAIN reason?”

No.

“There, my friend, is your answer.”

It’s hard to let go of insecurities.

“Insecurities are not truths. The truth is within the light. If you walk into a darkened room you are unsure of what lies ahead, correct? Once you turn the light on you know where to step. The trick is finding the light switch. YOU have found that switch, Charles. It’s in the same place each time you step into the room. Why do you ignore its very existence yet dwell on the existence of non-truths? Old habits die hard BUT they are replaced by the reality of God within you, your life, your surroundings…need I go on? God IS everywhere, Charles. Even in that darkened room you enter with such trepidation. Reach inside, turn on the light, walk where you know you should tread. The furniture may be moved but the path will always be seen. Have faith. As the staff in your hand steadies you over the rough terrain, so shall your faith. The journey will grow within you but shall always be clearly marked. OPEN YOUR EYES! Trust in yourself and KNOW God will never falter or leave your side. Be one with God as you go with God. In peace, in strife, God is there.”

And then ‘it’ was gone. I asked a couple of times just who I was talking to and I was answered by silence. I know, in my heart, it was the Archangel Michael. I asked to speak with him therefore my faith tells me that is exactly what happened. Once I added Michael to my collection of spiritual connections I felt compelled to ask the hotel management for a special group rate for my room.

Simply put: Friday could not get here fast enough.

* * *

Sedona RocksI drove into Sedona along AZ 89A taking in the breathtaking scenery. I stopped frequently at various ‘scenic overlooks’ along the route. As I was pulling out of the first tourist trap overlook I found myself behind a green SUV (like Elvis they are everywhere!). Painted on the back of that vehicle was a dream catcher with a soaring eagle in the middle of it. When I pulled out into the regular flow of traffic I saw the shadow of an eagle flying overhead cross the pavement before me. Slap me in the face again, why don’cha?

I met Heather at a Mexican Restaurant in the heart of the tourism that is Sedona. After proper introductions (which, among artistic types, can really be just about anything) we sat down and she immediately began discussing the tarot. Thankfully I was donning my blue sunglasses (a must for any fashionable medium don’cha know) so she couldn’t see my eyes widening to the size of half dollars. I said nothing but I was thinking “Well, son of a bitch”.

I’m widely known for my Mastery of the English Language. Yuh-huh, I shor is…

I have a major blockage to the tarot. I’ve attempted ‘fiddling’ with them, for lack of a better term, with no success. I run into walls and obstacles over and over again. I can’t grasp them—or so I want to think. I would have more luck if I tried to read lint. One of my guides, Pamela, is here, she claims, to help me with the tarot. As I see it dear old Pamela needs to sit down for a long one-on-one with Saint Jude for this little miracle to transpire. My learning the tarot is about as hopeless as finding a Hooter’s in the middle of the desert. (And I have looked!) Oddly, as I run like a madman from the tarot, I find it being thrust in my face with more regularity than the best of bran could offer. I have insisted, time and time again, that I can’t read the damn cards! And yet I have two decks, six books on the subject and even an Angel Oracle Card deck. Oh, yea, I’m ‘running’ from it all right. And here’s Heather, a total stranger, talking about those infernal cards the instant we meet. My guides must take turns driving yet another spike into my cranium.

Amidst her structured speech she suddenly stopped and explained, “When I went to bed last night I just knew I had to talk to you about the tarot.” I just laughed. I explained the whole ‘tarot blockage’ that I have and how I seem to be the only one who sees this impasse. I added, “My guides keep bringing it back into my life. Now, if they could just bring me a Hooter’s cheerleader, I’d be fine.”

Heather laughed. Thankfully.

Later in the conversation she said, “You know, just before I read your email about the eagles, I was having these random thoughts about eagles. Isn’t that weird?” Before I could respond a flash of realization swept across her face. “Have you been to the Chapel of the Holy Cross?”

I shook my head. “Never heard of it,” I said.

She went on to explain that it was a chapel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built into the rocks overlooking Sedona. She leaned into me and said, “There is a rock formation up there that looks exactly like a giant eagle head.” You know how you can look at some formations and say, ‘oh yea that could be an eagle or it could be a Buick’? That’s not the case with this one. It really looks like an eagle!” She emphasized each syllable of that last sentence with a series of rapid-fire pokes in my upper arm. She then leaned back and said matter-of-factually, “You have to go there.” So, of course, since I have no will power of my own I caved and readily agreed to visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross later that day.

After meandering through a few art galleries, Heather and I parted company and I headed back to my Ranger. As I entered the sparsely populated parking lot I stopped dead in my tracks. Parked a measly four empty spaces away from my vehicle 05_hooterswas a Hooter’s Calendar truck with photos of Hooter’s girls plastered all over it. My jaw fell open, swaying in the desert breeze. If my eyes had grown any wider they would have merged together to give me that dashing Cyclops look that any unibrow would envy. Then, as is my custom, I dropped to my knees laughing in hysterics. Are my guides on top of things, or what? Now where did I put that tarot deck…?

Along the road leading out of Sedona, and toward the Chapel of the Holy Cross, there is an art gallery that has a massive sculpture of an eagle erected outside of the building. Suddenly eagles were everywhere! I made a left onto Chapel Road, parked the gray Ranger, and proceeded to hike up the path to the church overlooking the panoramic scenery below. Along the pathway up to the church there is a statue depicting St. Francis of Assisi, another saint that has been connected with me by other mediums. Yet another indication I was, indeed, on the right path. But why did it have to be so steep? I think all paths should have moving sidewalks and/or escalators. But that’s just me.

Once I reached the top (still bewildered why I hadn’t melted like the Wicked Witch of the West) I found myself being physically turned clockwise until I was facing a stone eagle head which overlooked the back of the chapel. I was immediately bombarded by a massive surge of energy that led me to a small wall. I was physically turned around, and ‘pushed’ gently down to a sitting position. Then I heard “Shhhhhhh.” I tried to ‘listen’ when a gaggle of tourists approached chattering about the heat, their bunions, the hilarity of their recently purchased I’M WITH STUPID t-shirts and other such topics of disinterest. I got up and walked inside the sanctuary seating myself in the last of the seven benches masquerading as pews. Of course the benches were out of the sunlight so I was happy. I would have sat on a pile of rattle snakes as long as they weren’t in the heat. I had lived in the Washington, DC, area for ten years so I’m immune to the bite of poisonous snakes. Enlightenment AND political commentary wrapped up in one saucy burrito? What a bargain!

06_chapelThere was a small group of individuals sitting in the sanctuary. Some kneeling, some sitting in quiet reflection and others just damned thrilled to be out of the sunlight. It was like I was sitting between a colony of Christians and a roving band of vampires. A description, I believe, that can adequately sum up any family reunion. A variety of hymns were playing over the internal PA system. I calmed and centered myself, closed my eyes, took three deep breaths and heard, “What are you going to write?” I was confused by this comment. Again, “What are you going to write?”

I replied, “I don’t know what you mean.”

Again, but this time far more insistent, “What are you going to write?”

I thought for a moment. I had no idea there would be a pop quiz on this trip. I was the one always asking questions and now the tables were turned. I was paying the price for the manifestation of the Hooter’s truck. “I guess something that will help others learn…” I uttered without an ounce of conviction.

“RIGHT!” I ‘heard’… or dare I say, ‘felt’? “In order to teach you must learn more, open your mind to more possibilities.” Then ‘he’ went on to give me a ‘polite’ lecture on Christianity. I have this habit of butchering the religion at every turn. I never liked it much and I tend to rag on it a lot. “There is nothing wrong with Christianity,” I was told. “The problem lies within the malpractioners of it. Remember that.” Of course, I had to admit he was right. “In order to teach you must free your mind of unnecessary baggage and weight for that will only limit you. Prejudice and ignorance have no place in the classroom. Do not forget ‘life’ is a classroom.”

I asked, “OK. Who ARE you?” Here I am being handed profound information and I’m wondering who’s talking to me. Am I a butthead or what?

“I am known as The One Who Soars with Eagles.”

“But what is your name?” Refer to the ‘butthead’ remark above.

“You would not be able to pronounce it,” he replied. He was not being condescending by any means. He was very matter-of-fact and I believed him. After a slight pause he then said simply, “Go in peace.”

Just as I was reeling from that experience I suddenly ‘knew’ the title of my book: ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’. Well, go figure. Once that dawned on me the PA began blaring another hymn in the Heaven’s Top 40: “The Old Rugged Cross”. This hymn “coincidentally” was my favorite when I was a kid. I admit that was pretty cool although I was more impressed with the Hooter’s truck. Once again please reference the earlier ‘butthead’ statement.

I left Sedona not as a new man but as an awakened man. As I pulled out of the chapel I saw an eagle flying high in the south western sky, just swooping down, left and right, going with the wind. It looked random but yet, at the same time, meticulous, refined and with self-assured purpose. I pulled off the road, put the truck in park, and just watched this majestic creature dancing in the sky. Many people sped by me, either immune or indifferent to their surroundings, as I absorbed every movement of this seemingly private viewing. “Thank you,” I whispered to no one in particular as I leaned on the steering wheel and just gazed, smiling, ever upward.

And so it began…

* * *

“Remember, as a child, you had to crane your neck to look up to the adults, the sky, the trees, the table top. As the years pass you grew and you found yourself not having to crane your neck as much. You are growing spiritually and you do not have to crane your neck as much as you did when you started. You are constantly growing. Like a flower reaching for the sun, bask in the warmth and love of the light and grow as high as only your own limitations will take you. Believe in limitless possibilities for then you will be soaring with the eagles.”

–Robert

04_eagle

*”People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield

Copyright © 2015, Charles A. Filius

July 3, 2015

The Eagle Has Landed (Part 1)

[As the 14th anniversary of my spiritual journey approaches next month,
I have opted to write about one of those early, faith-altering moments of mine. Enjoy the Enlightenment!]


“Have faith. For faith will carry you above the clouds of doubt and despair
providing a view that is more breathtaking than that of the highest eagle.”

– Robert

 

Perception is everything. If you don’t believe me just let your eyes dance over the brilliantly mind-numbing artwork of E. C. Escher. Sometimes it’s enough to drive you to drink. Is the glass half empty or half full? Or, in my case, it’s simply not what I want because I am craving a cheeseburger. Yup, it’s all a matter of perception. For example: there is an enormous difference between ‘waking up on your own’ and ‘being awakened’. Light sleepers have it easy. It doesn’t take much to get them to a waking state. A simple nudge will suffice. A slight shake of the shoulder or even a polite clearing of the throat will do the trick. Then there are people like me: the ones who can sleep through a hurricane while a marching band storms through the room blasting any given high school ‘fight song’ and not even flinch. To get me out of my hibernation I have to be bombarded with noise. Not once or twice but a multitude of times. It’s the same process used to rouse me spiritually as well. Lately I’ve had my guides working overtime with chisels and mallets on my skull. They’ve been pounding day in and day out until I finally ‘heard’ them. They’re either a relentless and devoted crew or they get paid a lot for overtime.

I had spent the first seven months of 2003 attending Psychic and Mediumship Development classes in Port Charlotte, Florida. Under the watchful eye of several skilled teachers, I discovered—along with my fellow ‘classmates of life’—that my own abilities ran far deeper than I ever imagined. More importantly, I discovered the normalcy in what I do. We, as a whole, are psychic. It’s not a matter of tapping into it as much as it is allowing yourself to tap into it and accepting it as a part of who and why you are. It’s also great fun at parties and it keeps you entertained when the cable is out. Think of it as shadow puppets but without the physical exertion.

On the Saturday evening after our first class of the month it was customary for one of the instructors to host a group platform demonstration. This is a group reading before an audience of individuals nestling into overactive anticipation of hope and curiosity. The intimate group varies in size and can last anywhere from two to three hours (depending on the chattiness of the Spirits who join us for the evening’s brouhaha). The one thing that is totally predictable with these school sessions is that the medium always picks up on my Spirit Guides. It’s practically a tradition worthy of depiction by Norman Rockwell. While others are being comforted by their great Uncle Hector and Cousin Penelope, I’m getting descriptions of my spiritual entourage. Don’t get me wrong: I have found a lot of comfort and validation in these readings. First and foremost, these experiences have proven to me that I am not schizophrenic. Being bombarded by a deluge of various energies and personalities is overwhelming when you’re not accustomed to the idea. I have to admit that I was questioning my own sanity in the beginning. My first contact with my spirit guides was the equivalent of walking into a bar where everybody really does know your name.

This particular Saturday night was certainly no different. The medium paused in front of me and said, “I hate to do this but I’m seeing another guide.” He took a deep breath as he said, “He’s a Native American.” I was told he was sitting on a rock overlooking the desert facing west. I chuckled and told him that I was planning a trip to Sedona, Arizona, later that month. I had not mentioned this trip to anyone. Well, no one on the physical plane anyway. The woman next to me started laughing. She was wearing a T-Shirt that read “SEDONA” in big bold block lettering. He also described, in great detail, a building that I would find while in Sedona. He said it was vital that I visit this place known only in his vision at this point. He described a large A-Frame log building with a green roof. The front would have very large windows—practically all glass. And there would be a lot of green surrounding it. He said I ‘needed’ to go there. Travel advice from the dead. Who knew?

01_cabinI did some snooping on the Internet later that night and, low and behold, I found the building described to me. It was a place called “Michael’s Vision” which was inspired by the Archangel Michael. I have a special connection to Michael (which is another story unto itself) so it all fell into place. I like to think of Archangel Michael as my personal archangel and I just happen to be generous enough to share him with the rest of the world. I also like to think that Michael pretends to find me funny. Yeaaaaaah. Sure he does.

I downloaded the photo from the website and showed it to the medium in residence the next morning. The first words out of his mouth were, “Are you going to buy that place?” I didn’t tell him but the property was indeed up for sale. Location! Location! Location!

Just prior to my trip to Sedona one of my guides, Oliver—who is usually a man of few words—chimed in with one lone simple sentence that ended up dominating my every thought for over a week: “Eagles. Go with the eagles.”

I asked, “What does THAT mean?”

He replied dryly, “You’ll find out.” I couldn’t see him, of course, but I just knew he was smirking. Well, yee-haw, Katie bar the door ‘cuz we’re gonna have some fun now (said in my best trailer trash accent)!

* * *

I arrived in Sedona late on a hot Tuesday night in late July with nothing more than bewildered anticipation and a bottle of sun block. I didn’t know what to expect and, frankly, I liked that idea. I’ve always hated planning and structure. I find the surrealistically whimsical approach to be best for me. Reality just bogs me down. Why balance my checkbook when I can create? Of course I was keeping an eye peeled for ANY references to eagles. I figured I would either find some earth shattering revelation connected to eagles or I would discover that Oliver has one perverse sense of humor. At that point in time both seemed utterly plausible.

Wednesday morning was spent at The Angel Valley Ranch in Sedona, which is home to the creator of “Michael’s Vision” described earlier. My connection to the Archangel Michael took me to that place. I found myself quietly surrounded by the watchful protection of Michael for quite some time now and I’m always excited when other connections to him present themselves. Since Angel Valley was dropped in my lap and who am I to say ‘no’? I was raised better than that and my Momma didn’t raise no dummies. My grandparent’s helped.

My guide on the ranch was the man who put the whole thing together and his name is—as hard as this may be to believe—Michael. Well, go figure. Michael, a slender man matching my 6’ stature, has a very calming presence about him. It’s as if he is ‘tranquility’ personified. He didn’t even seem upset that I was nearly 30 minutes late. My tardiness was a result of my inability to find my own ass without a detailed map. I could get lost in a phone booth. Upon my arrival, and after introductions were made, we began walking. I assumed he knew where we were going so I blindly followed…the whole time mulling over whether I should leave a trail of bread crumbs.

I said to him, “I don’t recall the last time I heard this much quiet.”

“You don’t have that in California,” he said. It wasn’t a question. It was a statement of fact that was based, I later found out, on personal experience.

“No, there isn’t,” I replied. “My idea of a quiet evening is when I don’t have to listen to my neighbor’s car alarm.”

He smiled. “And yet you’re still there.” He led us to the left toward a small bridge. “You’re the one in control, Charles.”

“I like California,” I said, “but I feel I need a change.”

Again, he said matter-of-factly, “You’re the one in charge.” Then, out of the blue, Michael asked me, “What do you want, Charles?”

Silly mortal that I am, I replied, “I want to find out what’s next in my spiritual growth.”

Michael was kind enough to not laugh outwardly at me. We walked to a circle of rocks beneath a tree near the bridge and a stream. The tree seemed to envelope us within its limbs, like a mother protecting her young. We headed for a small circle of rocks near its trunk. He asked me to sit on a rock that ‘spoke’ to me. After pushing images of Jim Henson’s ‘Fraggle Rock’ out of my mind I did so and he sat on my right at a 90 degree angle. We sat for about an hour-and-a-half ‘just talking’. It was honestly better than any therapy that I’d ever had (and trust me that’s been a LOT—not wanting to brag). After a while he asked me again, “What do you want?” He made me really think that time. After a pause I was surprised to find myself answering, “I want to feel.” Michael smiled and said, “Now we’re getting somewhere.”

I turned myself off physically years ago. I became an extremely cerebral being at a very young age. For example, I don’t FEEL that I’m in love. I KNOW I am in love. I don’t FEEL tired. I KNOW I’m tired. Get it? There is a simple variation of the descriptions—replacing one word for another—but it is a massive difference. At the risk of repeating myself: perception is everything. It’s also one of the few things that I simply do not think about. Physical emotions get in the way. Thoughts are far more logical. Not to mention far more satisfying.

Michael and I discussed the importance of the opening of the charkas, especially the heart. This is, of course, one of the two that I feel I have the most difficulties. I’ve noticed that even during chakra meditations my mind will wander off during the exercise covering the heart chakra: My conscious and subconscious working together to avoid that little demon. Nothing like teamwork, eh? When it’s time to work on the heart chakra my mind goes off into an infomercial for the ‘Amazing Space-Age Insta-Juicer 2000 Buttering Wand and Candle Maker’ (or something equally intriguing) then returns in time for the throat chakra exercise.

“What excites you?” he asked. “What do you really love to do?”

“Obviously, I like drawing…” I began to say.

“Not ‘like’. Listen to me: ‘what do you really love to do?’ See what I’m saying?” I nodded as he began telling me his own personal story. How he realized that he didn’t really have anything in his life that ‘excited’ him. Once he realized this he ventured out on a cross-country trek. With what little he owned in his car and seven dollars in his pocket he drove from California to Pennsylvania. When he arrived in The Keystone State he had thirty-two dollars in his pocket…and a lot more faith. One tale in particular stuck with me: as he was driving through one state he noticed he was not only nearly out of gas but in the middle of nowhere, population zero. He kept saying to himself, ‘I need money. I need money. Where am I going to get money?’ Finally, he said he heard a ‘chorus of angels’ say to him, “You dummy! You don’t need money! What you need is gas!”

Again, it’s all a matter of perception. I have to admit I’m a bit jealous. I really would love to have a chorus of angels call me a dummy.

He realized they were right. Once he made peace with that idea he came upon a farm house just off the road. He said he considered it a miracle. He pulled into the road leading to the home and prayed for ‘the kindness of strangers’. The farmer had seen him turn onto his property and was waiting for him. Michael explained he was almost out of gas and definitely out of money and hoped that the man could spare him a couple gallons so he could continue his journey. Without hesitation the man began filling the fuel tank from his own supply. After a few minutes of friendly banter the man asked Michael, “What does your gauge say now?” The tank was full. The man said, “Now that didn’t take long, did it?”

“Like I told you, Charles, you’re the one in charge,” Michael said. “There comes a time in your life when you need to change patterns. You must want this. I faced that moment myself and I just told the universe ‘I’m done!’ and I meant it. When you accept that you are at that place in your life the Universe will work with you and in the time frame you desire. Do you want to change in a week? A month? A year? It’s up to you.” He smiled knowingly. “Finding what it is that truly excites you is part of that change. Find it and do it. Stop saying what you think people want you to say and say what you feel.”

There’s that infernal “F” word again.

And then that bastard had the nerve to ask just one more time: “What do you want?” I briefly considered knocking him in the head with a Twinkie and running for my car in a flurry of dust and gravel. However, my disdain for physical exertion, combined with my overall almost religious devotion to mass produced cream-filled pastry, prevented me from taking that blasphemous route. So I had no option but to tell the truth. I said, “I want to own what I feel.”

There. I said it. Happy now?

Michael sent me out on my own to ‘just go where your excitement takes you.’ No expectations, no rules to go by. Just do…whatever. As I started off on my odd quest Michael asked, “What brought you here?” Without thinking I replied, “I’m here on a wing and a prayer.” He smiled and said, “That’s all you really need.”

After climbing to the top of a hill I was most pleased to see that I could appreciate the beauty all around me before dying of a massive combination heat stroke and coronary. I decided to do some breathing exercises and meditations. I then announced to the Universe that upon completion of this exercise I would have a better insight to this eagle ‘dilemma’. Once the exercises had concluded I opened my eyes and what did I see but an AIRBORNE EXPRESS van driving through the valley below. As is my custom in these situations, I simply burst out laughing.

02_creekAfter traipsing around in 108 degree heat I found a most inviting creek. Without rationalizing in any way, I wandered out into the middle of it, beneath a waterfall, and plopped myself down in it. It was WONDERFUL! I just sat there for about an hour just letting the waterfall soak me from head to toe. So, as this ‘city boy’ was communing with nature he was totally unaware that the contents of his back pack were being ruined. This included his small art portfolio that he had placed in there and had conveniently forgotten about its existence. Twelve years of work GONE.

The screaming that came with the discovery of this mistake later in the day has been rumored to set off seismographs in a 550 mile radius. Tides altered. Animals ran from the forest in a panic. Natives in the mountains made up songs about it. A group of tourists were lost in an avalanche in the Grand Canyon. However, they were all lawyers so no one really noticed, or cared, that they were missing.

Was this a sign that I would NOT be moving to Sedona? Was it a sign to say that I was there to grow spiritually and not focus on my artwork? Perhaps it was meant as more proof that I need to change everything. Or it could be just my own obliviousness to the reality that I’ve created around me. A friend of mine told me ‘Sometimes we have to throw out what we think we know in order to really learn something.’ You know what I learned? I learned that I was pissed! How’s that for a friggin’ life lesson?

I tried meditating Wednesday night but had no success. My mind was everywhere… except where it should have been. My first full day in Sedona had proven to be, for the most part, a major disaster (or so I thought at that moment in time). I had HVincentoriginally planned to have lunch with a woman named Heather that afternoon. She is a fellow artist and psychic who also happens to be the niece of the very first psychic I ever met. I had been talking with Heather’s Aunt Donna for a decade yet she NEVER had the urge to speak of Heather until I had made my plans to visit Sedona. The fact that I had an interest in psychic phenomenon coupled with my being an artist was never enough for Donna to drag Heather into the conversation. But, once I made the plans, Donna just couldn’t shut up about Heather. I couldn’t just shrug it off as a mere coincidence.

However, as things were going from bad to worse, Heather and I did not get together as planned. I spent more time than originally planned at the ranch so, by the time I called her Wednesday evening, she seemed ‘disinterested’. She said she would call me back later that night and we’d finalize plans for the next afternoon. The phone did not ring again the rest of the night.

The next morning I was livid. Tossing aside the wealth of self reflection I had attained at the Ranch on Wednesday I was considering this trip to be nothing short of a farce. I was disgusted beyond belief. My life’s work was ruined. Heather, who I thought would be a great connection for me, was a no-show. I was spending money that I did not have. I exclaimed, “SCREW IT” (in far more descriptive terms than I care to post here) and decided right then and there that I was going home. If I could not get my ticket changed at no charge I was going to just live at the airport until Saturday and sulk.

“Pity Party of One? Your table is ready!”

I’d had it. I was walking away and not looking back. The instant I made that poorly chosen mock-decision the telephone rang. It was Heather apologizing for not getting back to me the night before and asking if we could meet on Friday instead of Thursday. I took a deep breath, kicked myself for doubting and enthusiastically agreed. I hung up the phone and just muttered to anyone within earshot, “Well, I guess you told me, huh?”

There’s no way to prove it, of course, but I’m convinced Archangel Michael was, at that very moment, muttering something along the lines of, “Neener neener boo boo.” Remember that whole “I like to think Michael finds me funny” comment earlier? I hope he does, too.

I walked down the street to a local Denny’s for lunch. It would be rather absurd to walk down the street to a non-local Denny’s wouldn’t it? “I’m going to Albuquerque for a bite. See you on Thursday!” It just doesn’t work. I was served by a lovely young lady named Brooke who was in possession of one of the most radiant smiles I’ve ever seen. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with apple sauce instead of fries. Brooke asked, “Are you on that weird Atkins Diet?” I looked at her, shaking my head ‘no’, totally bewildered how anyone can accuse me of being on any kind of diet. She said, “A lot of people come in here that are on the Atkins Diet and they will get applesauce instead of fries. Then they will eat the burger but not the bread, ya know?”

I smiled and said, “I just happen to really like applesauce.”

She smiled and said, “Well that’s a better excuse than being on Atkins! That’s just wrong!” I had to admit I agreed with her. Then she asked, “Are you traveling?”

“You have no idea,” I said dryly.

“Where are you headed?”

“Here.” I paused for a moment. “Sedona. Not Denny’s.” Sometimes it’s best to clarify.

She laughed and asked, “Where are you from?”

Chatty little thing, isn’t she? I told her I was currently hailing from southern California where everything should be stamped AS SEEN ON TV.

“That’s funny. Most people leave here to visit there instead of the other way around. What brought you here?”

My first instinct was to say “an airplane” but opted against it. I thought, “oh what the hell?” and I said, “You could say I’m here on a spiritual pilgrimage. No real rhyme or reason. I’m just traveling on a wing and a prayer.”

She said, “Oh, really?”

Then I decided to ‘go for broke’. I said, “I’ve discovered I have this wacky ability to talk to the dead.” I paused. “They talk to me, I talk to them, and wackiness ensues.” I looked at her fully expecting her to scream “HERETIC” at the top of her lungs while dousing me in holy water. I had a straw poised for action just in case. I was parched.

She flashed that smile and said, “Oh, I understand. My whole family is like that.”

I was dumbfounded. I’ve had several friends who have packed up their old kit bag and got out of Dodge when they found out I was getting into mediumship. I’ve even had one in particular tell me that she was afraid I was losing my mind. She went on to tell me she would do ‘anything’ within her power to get me help if it got ‘out of hand’. And here was a total stranger telling me it was as normal as ordering applesauce in place of fries. Sometimes you just have to change your diet. Replacing fries with applesauce doesn’t take away from the meal as a whole but merely changes it. The nutrition is there—even enhanced—and it just takes some time to stop craving the fries. You don’t have to stop eating all together. Just alter your diet. As Michael told me: “I’m done!” I never knew wisdom could be found in a Denny’s. Gum under the tables, sure, but not insight.

moving2To Be Continued…

June 15, 2015

The Blue Set Me Free

Filed under: Uncategorized — cfilius @ 3:47 am

MeetYou“I ask that you look within yourself for the strength and focus you are seeking. It is said that the best way to hide something is within plain view. I assure you this is the case with you. It is right there before your eyes, within your heart.”

— Robert

We often focus on all of the huge monstrosities of life but, when push comes to shove, we always come back to the things we think should be insignificant. Have you noticed that thinking generally leads to trouble? We can fail to remember some remarkable things but find ourselves focusing on that playmate unseen since the second grade. Why is that? I think that on some subterranean level we know that the big things are, indeed, made up of all those small things. When I hear from a Spirit I find that their ‘regrets’, for lack of a better word, are not those of overwhelming tsunamis. I have yet to have someone relate to me something along the lines of, “I wish I had ignored more people” or “I sure wish I had six cars instead of the four” or even “I so wish I had spent even more time at the office and less time with my family.” What I am told is that they wish they had truly stopped and smelled the roses along the way or that they had spent more time being aware of those around them. Sounds like something out of Jacob Marley’s mouth, doesn’t it? Let me tell you there’s a lot of truth within the quill of Charles Dickens. I have been told, on more than one occasion, how they wish they had taken the time to simply smile and greet a total stranger while passing on the street.

Once I hit the infamous “Big-Four-Oh” I have made a point, each year, to take a trip to mark my birthday. I’ve never been one to acknowledge my birthday in the past. As a child I would literally run and hide in a closet while the party-goers caterwauled an ear-splitting rendition of “Happy Birthday to You”. It didn’t matter if it was my birthday or someone else’s. The song would get my feet moving and my heart pumping. Is it because I’m an adoptee and my birthday somehow reminds my subconscious of the ultimate personal rejection? Or is it because I’m just plain weird? I’m sure the therapists reading this are just salivating over the prospect of writing a thesis on me and my phobias.

I had decided to celebrate my 45th in The Emerald City of Seattle for a few days stretching over the day my peephole was opened, as Mr. Vonnegut would say. However, my plans were sidetracked by a sudden and unplanned illness so I had to postpone my flight. I was infuriated at the prospect of being stuck at home for my birthday. After all, this was the obviously larger-but-never-gets-the-same-press “Damn-Big-Four-Five”. With notoriety like that under my belt I had no intention of celebrating at the local IHOP. I don’t have anything against IHOP. It’s just this isn’t the venue to write about my obsessive, bordering on the perverse, love of Boysenberry Syrup.

I boarded a train bound for Santa Barbara and, from there, planned on renting a car for a two-and-a-half hour tool up the highway to Morro Bay. I’d never been there so, what the heck? Different scenery, different attitude, and all that hype. But there was a method to my seemingly aloof madness. All the best divine madness has a basis; an epicenter. Just 30 minutes further north from the coastal paradise of Morro Bay is the quiet little town of Cambria. And it was there, not Morro Bay, that I had marked the true X on my map.

Cambria was where she had lived. Her turf. Sherlock Holmes referred to Irene Adler as The Woman. A title that was given by Mr. Holmes out of intellectual respect for Miss Adler as well as personal emotional heartbreak. My Irene Adler went by the name of Michelle. Yes, her. The woman. The nightmare. The train wreck in stilettos. I had one last bit of business with her and the time for the stockholders meeting had arrived. I dared tell no one what I was doing because I knew I would get a series of lectures accented with an avalanche of rolling eyes. This was for me and, I assume, for her as well. OK. Who am I trying to kid? It was all about me. By the way, if anyone would appreciate this narcissistic streak it would have been Michelle.

The Amtrak ride to Santa Barbara was uneventful which was fine by me. The sprawling Pacific stalked me on my left most of the way up only to be obliterated from time to time by various islands of billboards and warehouses embellished in graffiti. I dozed, as is my custom, so my visual memories of the ride were almost a panoramic Morse code of images and sounds. After retrieving my suitcase—I was the only passenger who checked luggage (a tribute to my own divine laziness)—I embarked on the quarter-mile stroll to the car rental agency. I take great pride in my ability to correctly select the car I will be given nearly every-single-time. My slate blue eyes scanned the lot and fixated on a small red sedan off to the left. “That’s it,” I thought to myself. And I smiled smugly knowing that “Super Psychic” had done it once again.

I was knocked down a few pegs within seconds of entering the sparsely furnished lobby of the rental agency. The clerk behind the counter, who couldn’t possibly try harder if his life depended on it, slammed a lone key attached to a plastic tag onto the counter encased in genuine fake paneling. I saw the word WHITE staring up at me from within the cozy rectangular key chain. The Universe: 1. Psychic Boy: El Zippo. Upon further examination I discovered that I would be, for the next three days anyway, the proud legal guardian of a Chevrolet Cobalt. Cobalt: as in the color. Leave it to me to get my hands on a white car named after a shade of blue. It’s sad that I find little snippets of information like that even remotely interesting or amusing. Just take my word for it when I tell you that it is a vital sliver of this tale.

* * *

I entered the city limits of Cambria just after eleven on the morning of my 45th birthday. After some thought I’ve decided that there’s no better time to seek a rebirth than on your own birthday. The best thing about that idea is that I won’t have to remember a different date in order to celebrate. Enlightenment and ease make great bedfellows. This is the same logic used when a man insists his upcoming wedding be on Valentine’s Day: the chances of forgetting are virtually nil. Laziness cleverly described as romance. You’ve got to love that logic.

I was actually somewhat stunned to find that Cambria is quite a rural community. From the way Michelle had described it I was expecting anything but what I found. Finding that this upper crust snob was actually living within walking distance of cows was nothing short of astonishing. If she were still alive I would have called and heckled her. Well, actually, I’m pretty cheap. I would have just sent a post card.

With directions gripped firmly in one hand and the steering wheel of my misnamed white rental car in the other I drove straight to her former home. I have no idea why I needed to see this house. I felt the overwhelming urge to see some physical representation of her brevity here on earth. I wanted to see, once and for all, the place she had spent so much time with me (via the telephone or computer). Is it possible to return to an unknown home? I couldn’t figure out why but, for one of the few times in my life, I really didn’t care about the ‘why’ of it all. ‘Why’ suddenly became replaced with ‘Why Not’. What a kick. Rebirth brings on change whether it is big or small. Come to think of it there is no such thing as a ‘small’ change. Change takes courage, desire and determination (none of which deserves any form of mockery). Any type of change is definitely anything but small. Remember, my friends, ‘small’ is never to be confused with ‘insignificant’.

I found the home with ease. This is, of course, quite a surprise, since I get lost more frequently than an amnesiac. Even with directions I can still get lost. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, honestly. So I just do both. It keeps people talking… I parked the white Cobalt across the street, slowly stepped out of the car, then just stood there and stared. I began to slowly shake my head in disbelief as a half-laugh fell from my throat. The first thing that caught my eye was the front door of the house.

The cobalt blue front door.

* * *

I spent, at best, ten minutes there. I figured I should leave so the neighbors wouldn’t call the police thinking I was casing the joint for a future burglary. I tried to imagine Michelle pulling into her driveway and sitting on her deck like any normal person. But I suspect that there were more fireworks going on in that house than on the Mall in DC on the Fourth of July. Normalcy, in her home, as in her life, was probably quite the rarity. It was difficult to view a home that I was, at one time, planning to share with the woman I loved. If things had worked out—if she had actually been the person she pretended to be with me—that would have been where I would be parking my car. I would have been sitting with her on that unspectacular deck under the stars. My life—our lives—would have been completely different. Yes, when I first heard of this home in 1997, I fully intended to be standing before it but not as I am at this writing. I barely remember the person I thought I was going to be at that time and place. But he did, and on some level, still does exist. And the time had come for him and me to meet once more and then, for the last time, part company. There is no animosity between the two of us. Why would there be? But we do share the regret of what had been promised and knowing now, full well, that it would have never turned out that way.

I silently bid her farewell, returned to my temporary car, and left. I left the memories and the realities of her waded in a ball dropped on her former doorstep. I left her energy and her memory behind… I left the illusion of us behind… I left her behind. Or so I thought. It was barely twelve noon and the day had only just begun.

* * *

As I drove away with Michelle Estates diminishing in my rear view mirror I found myself muttering, “OK, now what?” (When will I ever learn?) Before I could give myself a chance to answer—yes I admittedly not only talk to myself but often consult myself on a great many topics—I made an abrupt left turn off the Cabrillo Highway and headed straight into downtown Cambria. Once again the classic ‘why’ had been replaced with the Perry Como Mellow ‘why not’. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the bulk of downtown consists of antique stores or, as I like to call them, ‘Expensive Flea Markets’. I pulled into a parking lot of one of these fine touristy establishments and waltzed inside. I was immediately enthralled with more useless junk than I could ever imagine. I was in nirvana. I wanted to own virtually every single item within my sight. It really would be pointless for me to win the lottery because I’d blow the bulk of my wealth on inane bobbles. Case in point: I spent nearly 30 minutes talking myself out of buying a walking stick that was made of a pool cue. The handle was an 8 ball. I have absolutely no use for that monstrosity but, ya know what? I almost bought it. This is a perfect example when ‘why not’ is not the best attitude!

WimpyBankInstead, my eye was caught by a piggy bank of all things. I was drawn to it as if it owned me. It stands eight inches in height and weighs nearly five pounds. What is this antiquity that screamed ‘take me home with you’ at the top of its imaginary lungs? Wimpy. Yes, Wimpy, of “Popeye” fame. As a small child my grandmother—Mamaw as all three of her grandchildren called her—dubbed me ‘Wimpy’ because of my cult-like devotion to the almighty hamburger. “I will gladly pay you Tuesday yadda-yadda-yadda…” The instant I saw the bank I just laughed. The same giggle one expects from a child or the Pillsbury Doughboy. After the morning’s excursion into the memory of Michelle I needed a boost and Wimpy certainly provided just that. The instant I saw it I felt as if it was already mine. Of course, since the proprietor would probably not go along with my instinct, I felt it was best if I paid the $32.50 plus tax. In all honesty it was this purchase, and not my common sense, that prevented me from swaggering out twirling a pool cue cane in my chubby hand.

Wimpy called shotgun as I slid under the steering wheel. For a brief moment, as I snapped my seat belt, I thought that maybe Mamaw had her hand in my newly found treasure. I shook my head and laughed, as is my custom in most cases, and shrugged it off. Despite my working with Spirit I still have a hard time believing that they will take time out of their daily schedule and mess with us in the oddest of places, such as when we wander through an antique store. When will I learn? (My Guides have asked that very question countless times…)

So, off I went, with Wimpy at my side. I swear I fully intended to leave town at that point. But that thought burst into flames when I saw a sign with one word printed upon it; one word that could make me salivate in a Pavlovian response that only rivaled my love of mass produced cream-filled pastry. The word was “Cemetery”. Without even a flash of hesitation I turned the car up the winding hillside road leading to the structured resting place of several unknown souls (well, to me anyway). Another why/why not moment.

If you even vaguely know me you know that I’ve always adored cemeteries. As a small child I would want to stop at every single one that we would pass in the car and, of course, cry if they would not do so. It goes without saying that I cried in the car a lot. I feel a history beneath my feet as I walk through the rows of stones bearing names, dates and messages. I find it nothing short of totally fascinating and, interestingly enough, calming. Calming to my body, my mind, my soul.

Congratulations, Charles. You’ve just become a psychiatrist’s wet dream.

* * *

I parked the Chevy Cobalt beneath the spreading limbs of one of those tree things that nature-folk seem to go ga-ga over. Maple, oak, Norwegian moss dangler—I have no clue what kind it is. It was big and leafy; that about covers it. It’s a good thing that Euell Gibbons isn’t one of my guides. He would have torn a hole through the veil and bonked me over the head with a box of Grape Nuts for that.

As I got out of the car I was mesmerized at the beauty displayed before me. This was certainly a graveyard that was treated with great respect, love and honor. It’s not one of those generic cookie-cutter corpse farms. You know the kind? The ones where all the head stones are flat plaques so the minimum wage ‘landscaper’, who usually boasts a monosyllabic surname, can easily roll over them on his John Deere while guzzling a brewsky wedged in his beer helmet. The tombstones in the Cambria Cemetery range from old and ornate to stylish and new. Flat, upright, carved statues, you name it. And the flowers! Oh, the beautiful flowers! And so many of the graves were decorated with statues, windmills, personal belongings… Each individual resting place was an extension of not only the person laid to rest there but of their loved ones as well. It was moving. A lot of care went into this sacred place and it showed. Of all the beauty sensed and demonstrated in this small cemetery the one item of note that blew me away was that even the unknown graves were not forgotten. If a simple rock marked the resting place of one known but to God it was embellished with some flowers. Someone was making a point to honor the memory of these individuals, even if we had no conscious memories of them. Some were marked with a simplistic verse: “Lost in name but not in spirit.” Simply put: ‘wow’.

Mae HarrisonI was immediately pulled, harshly, to a small headstone off to my left. I learned a long time ago to just go with the flow in times like this. It was the resting place of a woman by the name of Mae Harrison. Mae had lived well into her 83rd year on this side of the veil. Neither the name nor the dates meant anything to me. But the other inscription on the simple marker stopped me in my tracks. Mae was forever honored with the title “Loving Mother & Mamaw”. Yes… Mamaw.

So, I was right. Mamaw had, indeed, directed me first to the metal Wimpy bank and now this cemetery, and then specifically to this grave just to let me know she was pulling the strings. What could I do but listen and watch? You know, I honestly believe I have spoken with Mamaw more now than when she was alive! I could feel her around me. The aroma of Murphy’s Oil Soap often accompanies my grandmother when she’s with me. Not this time, however. I only felt her. There were no parlor tricks or her usual barn-storming techniques she usually utilizes to snare attention. She was a bit of a ham in this world and, by golly, it’s only been enhanced on the other side. She wants to get her point across and she will not stop until she succeeds. However, I can honestly say, she comes through with complete love and support. There is no doubt about that. She’s been quite adamant about her desire to keep me on my spiritual path and she’ll stop at nothing to make sure I do what I’m supposed to do.

“OK, Mamaw,” I said aloud, “what do you want?”

I heard, or more accurately felt, “Talk to her.”

Talk to her? I thought I was talking to her! I looked around and then I knew. My reason for being there in the first place… Her. I took a deep breath, centered myself, and asked, “Michelle? Are you here?” And, low and behold, she, indeed, was there, just behind me and to my left. Ya know what? I think this was the first time the woman ever did something she was asked to do.

In my mind’s eye Michelle pointed to a tombstone ahead of me. “That’s me,” was all she said. I approached the marker and found this inscription:

“I am not gone
My soul lives on
But in a better place.”

 I nodded and smiled. “I understand,” I whispered. She then pulled me to another stone that read:

“A soaring spirit
A peaceful heart”

Then I ‘heard’ her say, “Now.”

I had written a memorial for her in a newsletter catering to an organization in which we both held lifetime memberships. I had written, in part, “She was a classic tortured soul who, I pray, has found the peace she dodged so readily here.” So, ‘now’, she has that peace I had written about. I could feel it, too. She was an intense woman—and some of that energy is still flowing strong—but there was a tranquility seeping through. She then directed me down the grassy hillside to a wonderfully decorated gravesite. This headstone bore the personal tender title of “My Beloved” and then this eloquent message:

“Surrounded by this light of God
In all his glory and grace.
Life was a grand adventure!”

 And then I heard her laugh. God, but she had the greatest laugh I have ever heard. It was loud, heartfelt and oh-so-very-real. That laugh was perhaps the most real thing about the girl. Yes, for her, life was truly a grand adventure. But, like an idiotic poster child for tom foolery, she made every action and thought a risk. Risks that she, more often times than not, lost. And it’s because of those foolish risks that she now rests in the terrain of Oklahoma. As beautiful as these ‘messages’ were I had to blow the whole thing by letting our friend, Mr. Doubt, creep in the picture. Could I be leading myself around and just finding meaning behind random epitaphs? After all, how many graveyards are void of anything spiritual or moving? Give me a break. This could, after all, be the result of my overactive imagination. Right? Of course, right.

“Idiot.”

Michelle would always call me an idiot when I would let my brain wander off in that kingdom of negative realism. For all of her shortcomings I will say that she had zero tolerance for self-pity or self-loathing in others. There was a tone that would emit from her; a sardonic pitch that was the audible embodiment of rolling your eyes. I don’t know how she did it. In one word she could speak volumes. Sort of in the same way that a southerner can add eight syllables to the word ‘shit’.

I was abruptly turned around as I heard, “Look!” At that moment I saw a bird resting on a bench. It was a bright surreal blue that nearly glowed. This bird was the brightest blue I had ever seen. As I took in this picture about 30 feet away from me, the bird soared into the air and was gone. I immediately hiked toward the bench, grass and sticks crunching beneath my feet. When I approached the small concrete bench I stopped—dare I say it?—dead in my tracks. The surface of the bench was covered in a wide variety of small, brightly colored stones.

Cobalt blue stones.

Right next to the bench was the final resting place of Dr. Henry Lee Wintz, Jr. According to the epitaph he also held the esteemed titles of ‘Farmer, Philosopher, and Writer”. It was one of the loveliest headstones I’ve ever seen. It depicted a large graphic representation of a tree on a hillside and it bore this quote:

“Life is fascinating
when one is conscious.”

—Lee Wintz,
Notes from the Hills, 2003

Wintz

I didn’t know what to say. I must have read that verse twenty times. It was her past and present summed up in seven words. At the risk of sounding redundant: ‘wow’.

But we weren’t done. Not but a long shot. Once again I found myself being directed to yet another spot. This time my energy was focused on the far end of this once small cemetery which, by now, seemed to be growing by leaps and bounds. Off in the distance I saw a grave that was more decorated than any I had seen. The only thing missing were search lights. So, still reeling from what I had just gone through, off I went to the adorned stone on the nearby horizon. When I reached our latest destination I felt my heart leap up into my throat. It was the grave of a baby; a sweet young boy who had passed away just days shy of 14 months of age. He had only been on this earth for this go around less than a year and a half but his family certainly went headfirst into truly celebrating his short but momentous life. Toys, flowers, personal items, and notes, among other things, were scattered about the plot of land. Nothing was held back. I could feel the joy and love despite the sorrow. How amazing! My eyes immediately went to the epitaph on the headstone that was larger than the child himself. But, of course, that is only in the physical sense. The stone read:

“They say it takes a MINUTE to find a special person.
An HOUR to appreciate them.
A DAY to love them.
But then an entire LIFETIME to forget them.”

I chuckled and said, “I see you haven’t lost your vanity over there, Michelle!”

I almost felt her slap me in the back of the head as she said, “That’s for youidiot!”

As I laughed—at her attitude or the absurdity of the overall experience—I noticed something else. Something that I had overlooked as I approached this message in marble. To the immediate right of the headstone was a simple yard ornament perched above the ground on a dowel rod; something you would see displayed in just about any average lawn or flower garden. It was a simple wooden bird. A simple brightly colored wooden bird. But it wasn’t just any color, you know?

It was a bright, brilliant blue.

Blue BirdMy laughter ceased almost instantaneously as the reality of the day hit me. And then I cried. Hard. Sure, I had cried when I lost Michelle so long ago. But that was over and done with by now. This was different. This was the first time I had actually cried since I had heard of her death. In her memorial I had written, “Personally, I am wrestling with exactly how I feel about her passing. I feel a need to grieve in some way but I am, at this writing, bewildered on how to go about it. There are no external tears.” Well, that reaction, or lack there of, had certainly changed. This cry came from my heart and soul. I cried a cry of understanding. A cry of joy. Even a cry of love. But, more than anything, it was a cry of forgiveness… and release.

I had been toying with the idea of including some of Michelle’s own words in this writing. I couldn’t make up my own mind as to whether or not it was a good idea. As I wrote the above paragraph I received my answer. Near the end of my typing the above text I heard a loud crash behind me. I turned around to find that a book had fallen off a table. My cat, Max, was sound asleep on my bed so I can’t blame him. There were no fans turned on and the windows were shut so I certainly can’t point my finger at a breeze. What makes this so interesting is that the book fell directly on a box that just happened to contain Michelle’s letters. Well, how about that? I opened the box and, right on top, I found the perfect words needed. Michelle was never lacking in personal commentary and I believe it’s safe to say she hasn’t changed. Well, at least not in that way.

I’ve learned a lot from her. And I’m quite stunned that I can say that with complete sincerity. When she left me I truly wanted to die. I was broken in a way that I had only experienced once before. I cursed her name as well as her memory. I wanted to literally forget everything about her—about us—just as she had obviously done. But now, with so much that has changed within my own mindset, I see the value of her in my life. I see the significance of the brevity of the good, the overwhelming tragedy of the bad and the ugliness of the soul searching. I see and understand that everything has a reason for being. Individuals walk in and out of our lives and none of them do so on a whim. Don’t try to figure it all out—the mystery is half the fun—but make sure you take the time to be aware of those around you. Smile at the total stranger and move on to the next. The supply never ends.

Happy Birthday, Michelle. I love you and, more importantly, I offer you a simple, yet eloquent, thank you.

* * *

“This is THE all-time, numero uno letter of all time. I have NEVER been spoken to like this. Almost makes me afraid I’ll disappoint you and lose you… There is nothing on the planet sexier than this letter. Nothing. Besides what it did to my soul, it actually affected me physically. I cannot elaborate on this detail without getting REALLY crass. Nuff said or your damn head won’t fit through the doorways…”                                

—Michelle
A letter to the author, 1997

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