Pondering the Pavement

October 1, 2017

Giving Notice

“What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate.”
Strother Martin (The Captain in Cool Hand Luke)

 

34006400_sI STARED AT MY PHONE with the same look of disgust one has whenever they discover Great Aunt Belva’s bursitis has cleared up and she’d be attending Thanksgiving dinner after all. The warm glow of the screen was a direct contradiction to the coldness contained within the incoming text message. I grimaced and shook my head. “Well, shit,” was the best my college educated brain could muster. Southwest decided to cancel our outgoing flight to San Francisco. It wasn’t delayed. Oh, no. It was cancelled, killed off like an un-credited red shirt crew member on Star Trek. A tad over-dramatic, sure, but I tend to take cancellations personally.

For example, my family, with my 6 year old self in tow, were vacationing once upon a time. I honestly don’t remember where. I want to say Hershey, Pennsylvania, but I’m not sure if I’m right or my obsessive love of chocolate is in need of some self-serving attention. I may not recall the exact locale of this summer spree so long ago, but I DO recall it was quite popular. I know this because we drove from Motel to Motel to get a room with no success. Every place was booked. Just like in biblical times, there was no room at the Holiday Inn. I was devastated by this. I began crying uncontrollably (some of you have seen this same reaction when I’m told Pumpkin Cheesecake is out of season). “Nobody wants us!” I screamed. My mother & grandparents found my emotional state very amusing. They laughed and laughed at the time. They continued to hoot & cackle uproariously as this tale was retold over and over again through the years. I’d like to take a moment and point out they’re all dead. Hey! Who’s laughin’ NOW?

But I digress.

I clicked the link Southwest provided in order to better handle this situation. Of course, the link and my phone didn’t get along so that didn’t help. Technology is the Joker to My Batman, the Bluto to my Popeye, the Mrs. Wiggins to my Mr. Tudball. I was able to connect to their website and search for flights that would, unlike the unloving motel, want us aboard. There was one just after 9am but we’d have to go via Las Vegas on a 3 hour jaunt. And we ALL know how well 3 hour tours work out. The next, leaving at 9:20, was a direct flight, just as the first had been. Noting this as completely doable, I sent a text to my travel companion. I simply lamented, “Our flight has been CANCELLED!”

She promptly replied, “Yep, me too. Wanna take the 9:20?” Great minds, blah blah blah. “I’m on my way to the airport now,” she added.

I ran to the desk—OK, ‘ran’ isn’t exactly the verb for the situation. Anyone who knows me understands I only run when there is a sale on Hawaiian shirts or whenever I’m strolling downhill and gravity just takes over. Let’s just say I enthusiastically meandered to the ticket counter with great determination. I managed to change my ticket. However, I no longer had my precious “A” Boarding Pass. I was now a lowly “C”. Which meant I would not, by any stretch of the imagination, get my beloved window seat. SIGH. A big guy in a middle or aisle seat is just pushing against the laws of nature. Doesn’t your heart just ache for me? Or, at least, your lower lumbar?

I made my way back to where I had been sitting only to find someone, who does NOT make me the center of their Universe, had taken my seat. Well, La-Tee-Dah. After scanning the terminal, I realized there were no seats welcoming me and my mass (NOT a typo), so I plopped down on the floor, using the wall barrier of an overpriced airport eatery as a back support. In my mind’s eye, I resembled a fat cat having a sudden nap attack. No big whoop. I had things to do. I can sit pretty much anywhere. I pulled out my ever-present notepad (yes, I’m THAT old school) and glanced at the chicken-scratch scrawl splattered throughout a few pages. Website, Facebook, Twitter, several names (some decorated with asterisks) and numbers. I was convinced this list was missing something but I had no clue what it was. “Well, shit,” I muttered once more. Reminiscing of my old Alama Mater warms the cockles of my heart. Even at 7am.

We were heading off to San Francisco to attend a wedding of a friend of mine. Well, a friend AND client. I have read him, and the bulk of his inner-circle, for the better part of a decade. I’ve read him, his mom and step-dad, his sisters, college roommates, co-workers and virtually every woman he has ever dated. His fiancé has even sent clientele my way. Cousins, friends, random people at the supermarket, you name it. Since he’d finally found THE one (and since SHE has brought me work, too) I felt compelled to attend. Truth be told, my main reason for going was a chance to go to SF. We both adore it and grab any opportunity to spend time there. I’m not sure I would have attended if the wedding had taken place around the corner from my residence seeing as I am a bit of an antisocial sort. God, I hope Stu and Jess aren’t reading this…

LOVE YOU GUYS! WOULDN’T HAVE MISSED IT! (Good cover, Charles. Well played.)

You see, I was also using this trip as a way to relax after a pretty stressful few months. I had recently made a pretty big decision—one of great impact on not only myself but a few others, too. When I make these life altering choices, such as switching from Coke to RC, I tend to run away for awhile just to chill, to be at peace with the decision, and to wrap up anything I may have inadvertently overlooked. This wedding seemed like the ideal getaway. It gave me a chance to witness the beginning of something wonderful as I acknowledged the end of something else that, honestly, just wasn’t wonderful any more. At least not to me. After a surprisingly small amount of soul searching, I had made the decision to walk away from mediumship once and for all.

Truth be told, one cannot really quit being a medium. They’re still there tapping on your shoulder, poking your third eye. I was just finished with the two-way conversations. I’ve always said that once the ride stopped being fun then I was getting off of it. And I hadn’t had fun in quite some time. I’ve toyed with putting it on a back, cold burner in the past but never really brought myself to turn in my two week notice. Sometimes disgruntled frustration will rear it’s uckin’ fugly head and, honestly, that’s normal. It is a draining way to earn a living and, at times, it’s just overwhelming. But this instance was different. Something vital was truly missing.

The drive. The desire. The mindset. The… PASSION. They were all gone, absent from the roster.

* * *

In hindsight, major shifts usually come with a few warning signs. Collectively, we tend to miss them for the most part. Or, at best, we just refuse to add two & two. God knows numbers have never been my strong point. My idea of balancing my check book is to toss it to a trained seal and hope for the best. My “sign” was more like a pile of freeway markers hurled into one large pile of twisted metal highlighted with flickering glimpses of school bus yellow and interstate green. I found myself in a dilemma that I knew was coming but, God knows, I fought it off with great determination, devotion and denial.

My mother’s failing health hit a record low last December and I, as her one and only child, had to move back east to care for her. Five out of the following six months were spent chained to her hip in a town that holds nothing for me. I left when I was a young upstart of twenty assuming I knew everything. In all honestly, I knew only one thing: I wanted out of there. I could honestly feel parts of me dwindle away into nothingness whenever I would make my obligatory visits. Each and every time. It came to a point that I would get physically ill knowing I had to return. My only salvation was knowing the exact date and time I would get the hell out. I didn’t have that luxury this go around. I was stuck with an open-ended ticket. I felt like I was on standby for a seat on a crop-duster.

Life as I knew it completely changed within a few daze (again, NOT a typo). Work on all levels came to a crashing halt. No cartooning, no mediumship which translated into no income. 25 hours of my 24 hour day were, like my flight, cancelled and rerouted. My daily routine, as well as my scattered social circles, were obliterated. I plummeted into the ground like a railroad spike. I honestly do not recall the last time I was SO drilled into the physical. My root chakra was so overworked it joined a Union in order to demand time-and-a-half.

Mom was a demanding woman. Always had been. She was insanely OCD. Every household chore had to follow a VERY specific formula. Her process of doing laundry had more steps than an instructional manual for the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. I would explain it to you but, honestly, you’d either end up crying or you’d black out from the sheer inability to comprehend it. I grew up with her so I was used to some of it. But you never EVER fully understand it. I’m willing to wager that it would leave Stephen Hawking with a blank stare followed by an electronic WTF. It got worse as she got older. And it got worse still when she became too ill to follow her own guidelines. If her bizarre rules were not followed verbatim, if a single item was moved from one end of a table to another, she erupted, spewing molten insults over the villagers below. She continued to bark out orders from her hospital bed throne, gripping her cane like a scepter, until the last 52 hours of her life. Then she just went to sleep.

While my entire life was being turned upside down as well as inside out, I sadly managed to forget something vital. My mother’s life was not only being uprooted like a tree in the path of a tornado, but it was also coming to an end… and she was scared.

During this five month mini-series, I continually turned down requests for readings. I was not in a frame of mind to tune a radio let alone tune into Spirit. They could have been standing around me with megaphones and I wasn’t in a state to hear them. The only Spirit Connection I had during that time was with my (late) grandmother. She kept making her presence known throughout my time served. She was opening doors, walking around the house at night, even coming to her daughter from time to time. I’ve been used to her hanging out in the house since she died when I was twelve, so this was nothing new to me. A door would pop open and I’d just wave. “Hey, Mamaw!” I’d exclaim without batting an eye.

Mom was questioning her own sanity whenever she would see her mother up and around the house. Frankly, I questioned her sanity when she first explained her laundry ritual to me, but that’s beside the point. (For the love of all that is Holy… she folded clothes before putting them in the dryer!) I explained that her mother’s baby girl was sick so, like any good parent, her mother was watching over her. While Mom did believe in my work as a medium, she never wanted anyone to know about it. She would be “SO embarrassed” if her friends found out. I made a point to mention it in her eulogy. Just sayin’.

Once she passed I had a realization: I hadn’t done a reading in nearly half a year and I did not miss it one iota. I was actually relieved that I wasn’t facing any readings. I was so immersed in the turmoil of the living chaos that the dead fell far beyond the wayside. It’s as if they slipped down between the front car seat and the gear console. You know it’s down there, wedged in with some stale french fries and a dime or two, but you just can’t reach it comfortably so to hell with it. Am I right (insert eye-roll here)? I told a friend and fellow medium of my sudden awareness on the matter. I added, “The only thing I DO miss is the income. If that’s all I miss then I shouldn’t be doing it.” Empty beer mug slammed on the table. I knew I was done.

In the immortal words of Sgt. Schulz, “I know NOTHING!”

KnowNothing

* * *

Kelsey arrived, with her long hair taking on a life of its own after wrestling with the wind and fury of running up an escalator. I instinctively grabbed her backpack as she headed toward the ticket counter. She, too, lost her “A” and had to trade it in for a “C”. She muttered, “Well, shit,” as she approached me and her backpack. Clearly we went to the same college. Her green eyes locked with my mood ring blues. “You know this means we won’t be there in time to have breakfast at Boudin.”

I just nodded. “Something inside of me just died.” I swear I could feel my eyes welling up.

We are creatures of habit, Kelsey and I. Traveling schedules are generally very well planned in painstaking detail. It is all laid out flawlessly in a heap of electronic paperwork. But when one of those strips of cyber paper gets yanked out as if in a game of Jenga, we tend to slightly topple over with little to no grace. Much to our combined chagrin, our second choice flight was delayed by he better part of an hour. Less time in SF is never acceptable to a couple of control freaks. We grieved the loss of our favorite breakfast. We mourned as our anally designed itinerary was methodically thrust in a wood chipper. The airline placed the blame for the delay on fog. We placed the blame on some yet unmasked super villain hell-bent on using our joy as a chew toy.

“We’re gonna be in the very back row,” I said matter-of-factly.

She just nodded. “Well, shit.” We really need to get matching school jerseys.

Well, my amazing psychic powers were not in force that day. We found ourselves wedged into the next to the last row. Yup. Good thing I’m getting outta this biz. Ahem. We spent the bulk of our barely 60 minute flight reshuffling as our TO-DO list became a TO-GO menu. Striking things off (so long Boudin and The Cartoon Museum), rearranging and reprioritizing others (Our Chinatown lunch knocked down from ‘Goal’ to ‘Sacrificial Lamb with Egg Roll’). Our New & Improved Plan 3.1 began with heading straight to the hotel to drop off our bags. Seems simple, right? It’s never simple, my friends. If I teach you anything let it be that simple twist of truth. We arrived in the lobby of the King George Hotel with equal amounts of dogged determination and debilitating defeat. We were yinging and yanging all over the friggin’ place. At first we were quite thrilled to see that there was only one person ahead of us at the front desk. Finally! Things were going to go smoothly! That sheet of hope was crumpled and chucked after 20 eternal minutes. Our fellow traveler before us was just not happy with ANYTHING. Add a malfunctioning computer into the equation and the only possible total is a negative number. Kelsey and I exchanged more glances than ugly Christmas sweaters at a Mid-Western K-Mart during any given holiday season. Absolutely NOTHING was going according to plan.

Well, OUR plan anyway. It seemed that another driving force had everything already laid out. And, as usual, I was the very last to know.

* * *

Once we left our bags with a most apologetic concierge, we ventured into the Streets of San Francisco. I feel compelled to make a Karl Malden reference at this point but I’m doing my best to be mature and hold back. Aren’t you proud? One item from Kelsey’s list managed to still cling to life. She is quite enamored with her Scottish ancestry (while my dad was more bewitched by Scotch in a bottle). Within spitting distance of the hotel—don’t ask how we know this to be an accurate measurement—is a store devoted to all things Scottish. I must confess I was quite crushed to never hear any of the employees shout, “If it’s not Scottish, it’s CRAP!” I contemplated bribing one of them to say it but opted against it. Once again, maturity won out. I’m not sure if I’m impressed with myself or just creeped out.

We meandered a bit (translation: we were searching for food because our journeys are always about The Food). After stuffing our collective faces at a Chinese Restaurant boasting of New Management, we happened upon a Museum dedicated to the Deity known as Dr. Seuss. Well, needless to say, this cartoonist was elated beyond doodles and words. My love of cartooning as well as reading was greatly influenced by Theodore Geisel. Hop On Pop was the very first book I even checked out of a library. I’m not sure why something that seemingly trivial has always stuck with me. Passions tend to do that, don’t they? Revisiting a lifelong passion is always amazingly fulfilling. Reconnections like that remind us what life is all about, ya know?

Well, if I didn’t then, I sure as shit know now… but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

AngelHatAs our souls returned to the sidewalks, we found ourselves stumbling upon an impression of an Angel in the sidewalk. It was intentionally placed there. This was not a freak image like Elvis on a scorched waffle. The simple silhouette depicted an angelic figure holding something in its hand. A candle? A stick? A flashlight? A souvenir of the Washington Monument? I assumed it was a candle—fitting for an Angel—but the Washington Monument image was WAY funnier. I tossed my cap on the ground next to it and snapped the image you see before you. I turned around after retrieving my hat and my eye caught a glimpse of an awning jutting out from the building before us. I did a slight double-take as I read the lettering on the awning: Raphael House. “Cute,” I thought to myself. “An Angel reference.” I shrugged it off.

Kelsey suddenly said, “Raphael House?” She paused. “I guess that’s the Angel.”

“Oh, yea, drive it home Guys,” I thought to myself. Then I said aloud, “Yup. Mystery solved!” And we went on our merry way. With a few more blocks behind us, we wound up standing beneath a breathtaking mural encasing the side of an 8-story building. It was an illustration of a tiger, dissected, as it’s skeletal structure was separating from its exterior form. It was unusual, but very powerful. It was as if the inner being—the core strength—had a life force of its own. It needed to get out and make itself known. We both stood there, in the middle of the sidewalk, just gawking at it like a couple of tourists who had never seen anything taller than a two-story barn in their lives.

Kelsey brought me back to the present, as is her custom, by crying out, “Hey! Look over there!” I turned from the sprawling tiger, my gaze following her pointing finger. Across the street, on the corner, was a small store. A sign simply read, “Irish Castle Shop.” Before I could say anything, she said, “Let’s check it out!”

TigerMural“I thought you were Scottish, not Irish,” I pointlessly pointed out.

“I like to see how the less fortunate live!” she laughed as she dashed across the street. Great. Dashing. Thank God it was a ever-so-subtle downhill grade. As we entered, she said, “We’ll just look around for a few minutes.” I reminded her of that when we emerged 2 ½ hours later.

A dark-haired woman raised her head from behind a glass display case and welcomed us to the store. Her Irish brogue was quite apparent, as was the genuine warmth behind her smile. “I’m Gráinne,” she said. “Looking for anything in particular?” My response was simply thrusting a thumb in Kelsey’s direction.

“No,” Kelsey said. “We’re just looking!” Then she let out a squeal and practically ran to a display case containing some very ornate Champagne Flutes. Being well-versed in shopping with Kelsey, I knew just what to do: I found the nearest seat and made it my home away from home. Our hostess, sensing a sale, scurried to Kelsey with the keys toHappyBirthdayGift the display case being steamed up by Kelsey’s breath. I just laughed to myself, as is my custom in most situations, and leaned back on my newfound stool. This repose was short-lived. My eyes fell upon a wrapped gift on the counter before me. Attached to it was a card. Scrawled on the envelope were these simple, heartfelt words: “To Charlie. Happy Birthday!” I just shook my head as I muttered THE dumbest words in the Universe: “What a coincidence!”

Flippin’ idiot.

As the gals chatted and chattered on about All Things Irish, I just scanned the wall before me. It’s sort of like going through someone’s medicine cabinet but without leaving fingerprints. On the very top shelf I spotted a framed photo of a man. Next to the photograph was a simple sign reading, “Rest In Peace Gabriel. You Will Be Missed.”

Gabriel? Oh, come on, SERIOUSLY? As if my personal connection to the name wasn’t enough, it has to be two of the four Arch Angels that I call in whenever I prepare for a reading? They were bullying me around one last time. My Guides were politely (yea, right) poking me, antagonizing me just once more. “Don’t waste your time,” I thought to myself. My mind was made up… and so was theirs, obviously. I assumed Gabriel had been an employee or perhaps a loyal customer. I offered a soft blessing to him and those left behind and that was that. Uh-huh. Sure it was.

At this point, Kelsey and Gráinne returned to the counter in front of me. Gráinne carried the flutes with tenderness while Kelsey clutched her credit card with a grip guaranteed to obliterate circulation. Gráinne pointed at me and said, “You’re a very patient man! That’s a beautiful trait!”

I just said, “This isn’t my first rodeo with her shopping.” We laughed. Hardeeharhar.

Then she said, “You remind me of my son, Michael.”

Michael, too? Three outta four. Jeez, just drop it, Guys…

“He’s a good son, my boy,” she continued. “I’m sure you are, too.”

“On the advice of my attorney I refuse to comment,” I said.

“I’ve had to rely on him quite a bit since my husband died,” she said as she carefully wrapped the flutes in tissue paper. She looked up and gestured at the framed photo atop the bookcase. “I do miss my Gabriel, so.” She paused for a moment, a subtle smile easing across her lips. Then she said, “But I know he’s still here with me.”

GabrielPhotoWithout missing a beat, I quipped, “There’s no doubt in my mind.”

She added, “We really don’t die, you know?”

Kelsey shot me a cursory glance which I opted to semi-ignore. “I agree,” was all I could muster.

Gráinne finished with her wrapping. She looked up at me, gesturing to her head, and said, “What is a ‘Ghost Host’?”

I removed my well-worn cap and turned it around so she could see the logo for The Haunted Mansion embroidered on the back. “It’s from Disneyland. One of my favorite rides.”

“Oh!” she half-laughed. “I thought maybe you were REALLY a ‘Ghost Host’!”

I thought, “Oh, what the hell?” So I said very matter-of-factly, “Technically, I am. I’m a Medium.”

Her eyes widened, her jaw slacked a tinge, as she put her chubby hands on her hips. “Are you, now?”

Before I could even inhale, Kelsey’s head began bobbing up and down as if her neck muscles had snapped lose. “Oh, yea, he IS!” She really emphasized the present tense. Clever girl.

Gráinne leaned on the counter. Her voice softened, the gregariousness was gone. She asked the question I have heard, in all probability, the most during my career: “Is Gabriel OK?”

I smiled. “Of course he is. There’s no pain of any kind. He is surrounded by, and always emits, pure unconditional love.” Her eyes began to well up so I added, “For what it’s worth, I’ve never had anyone come through and say, ‘Man, this just sucks!’”

She let out a genuine laugh which erased her tension almost immediately. “It’s funny you worded it that way. About his giving off unconditional love…” She wiped away a bit of a tear but her smile was steadfast. “That describes my Gabriel perfectly.” She tilted her head a bit. “Is he here now?”

“I’m sure he is. I’m not really tuned in at the moment. But I’m sure he’s watching over you.” Sort of the canned mediumship answer. But that certainly doesn’t make it any less true. I honestly believe our deceased loved ones are just within a law or two of being branded stalkers.

Our brief chat seemed to ease her and, I admit, that made me happy. As she began to find a bag large enough to cradle the crystal glasses, I made my way to the restroom. Good exit strategy on my part. Or so I thought. As I was washing my hands I put it out to that Wacky Universe of Ours that if Gabriel had any messages for his wife then I would be happy to help. You know, sort of my Swan Song. Oh, Sweet Tea Jesus… when will I learn? I was immediately hit by this intensely insistent presence. Be careful of what you ask for… Clearly, the lesson of The Monkey’s Paw had eluded me.

When I returned, I found the Irish Lass and the Irish Lass Wannabe, looking over some children’s books in yet another display case. My stool still stood alone, I’m sure dreading the return of my mass (not a typo). I plopped back down only to find my attention drawn to a rack of custom made greeting cards to my left. One card in particular bore the image of what looked like a policeman’s badge. I could not, no matter how much I tried, tear my gaze from it. I just gave in and allowed it to happen…

“Was Gabriel a Police Officer? Or was his role that of being a Peace Keeper?”

The Lassies looked up in unison. “Peace Keeper,” Gráinne said.

My eyes were still locked on the card. “He has a strong sense of justice, what is right.”

“Oh, yes,” she replied. She slowly straightened up and made her way around to my side of the room.

“The numbers two and five are both significant for him.”

“He was known as Two Feather to everyone,” she said in a chocked voice. “And he died on January 5th.” She moved behind the counter and stood beneath her beloved’s picture. Gabriel was both literally and figuratively watching over her.

“I don’t understand this,” I said. “And I’m not supposed to… but he takes partial responsibility for his passing. He says, though, that he didn’t TAKE his own life. But he admits to it being a case of circumstance, being in the wrong place at the wrong time… but his death makes sense in a strange way…” I scratched my head. “I don’t get that at all.”

His wife, however, completely understood. You see, Gabriel the Peace Keeper, had been murdered—stabbed—as he stepped forward to protect another person. That revelation silenced the showroom. We gazed at one another in silence for a moment. “He was always taking care of everyone else,” she whispered. He would see a woman sitting alone at a bus stop at night and he’d just sit with her, just to make sure she was safe.”

I sighed, “He tells me that while he was a large man it is YOU who fills the room, with your personality, your love of life…”

She smiled and nodded, “He could intimidate people just because of his size.” She raised her arms as if to mimic his form. Then she jutted a thumb at herself, “But I ran the roost!” Then she just laughed. She dropped her head for a moment. Then she looked up at me, with her smiling Irish eyes. “He’s my heart,” is all she said but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a more powerful statement. “Is he really OK?”

I smiled. “Yes, he is. And he credits your love for him—WITH him—for that. You keep saying he saved you but it is you who saved him.”

She began to cry uncontrollably as she leaned onto the countertop. Instinctively, I placed both of my hands over her right hand and Kelsey, who looked like a raccoon at this point, held onto Gráinne’s left. “I miss him so!” Gráinne cried. “I want him back! I want him home!”

I squeezed her hand tightly, holding back my own tears, and said, “Honey, he IS home.”

She stopped crying almost immediately. She gently bit her lower lip. “I have a friend who does what you do,” she quietly admitted. “And she told me the exact same thing.” I could sense Gabriel’s strong hands on her shoulders as she began to smile—truly smile—once more. “He really is alright.” It wasn’t a question this time. It was a statement of incontestable fact. “Thank you,” she quietly whispered.

“My pleasure, my honor,” I replied.

As we prepared to leave, Gráinne gave us both a massive bear hug. “I was blessed to have both of you walk in here today,” she said. “Thank you. Thank you both! I just know Gabriel sent you to me!”

“After encountering him,” I said, “I don’t doubt you a single bit! That man could move mountains!”

“Because he was one!” she laughed.

We bid our goodbyes as Kelsey retrieved all three of her packages. As we stepped out into the street I instinctively reached for one of her bags. “Let me take that,” I said.

Her grip tightened as she shook her head. “I need to hold onto something,” she said as mascara trails decorated her cheeks. “That was…just…wow.”

I nodded as we walked in silence for a couple blocks. Then I said, “None of this would have happened if our flight hadn’t been cancelled.”

“I was thinking the same thing.” There wasn’t a shred of doubt in her voice.

“I’d forgotten,” I said to no one in particular. It’s a good thing Kelsey was with me or it would have seemed like I was one of those people who walk the streets talking to themselves.

“Forgotten what?”

“I’d forgotten WHY I do this. God forgive me, but I really forgot.” I took off my cap, ran my fingers through my already tousled hair, then slipped it back on. A nervous reaction equivalent to digging a hole and filling it back up. “I was so caught up in all of my crap, and Mom’s, that I’d forgotten. I never thought that would happen.” We continued to walk. I just shook my head, “I can’t quit, can I?” I’m not sure if I was asking Kelsey, myself or The Universe. It doesn’t really matter since Kelsey was the one who answered first.

“No,” she said. “No, you can’t. It wouldn’t be fair.”

I stopped and looked at her with a puzzled look on my face. My facial expression was very similar to the one I give when I’m told, “There’s no more whipped cream!”

“It wouldn’t be fair to Gráinne or Gabriel or anyone, I guess,” she said.

I gave her a quick hug and said the only thing I could say, “Well, shit.” We began walking back to our hotel, assuming everything was finally going to get back to normal. I’d like to point out that ‘normalcy’ is something I instinctively evade, much in the same way I steer a wide clearance of salad at an All You Can Eat Buffet. To better understand this epic saga, you need to keep in mind that this was only the first day of our journey. Hell, the sun hadn’t even set! yet! There were two more days ahead. As The Carpenter’s remind us, “We’ve only just begun…”

IMG_1307

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

Copyright © 2017, Charles A. Filius

 

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June 30, 2017

April’s Ours, Her Words Empower

“April is a promise that May is bound to keep.” – Hal Borland

While mediumship is a large part of my life (oh, THAT’S funny!), it isn’t really my favorite avenue of spiritual work. Don’t get me wrong—it certainly has a high ranking. It is undoubtedly powerfully healing for ALL parties involved. It’s significance is undeniable. It’s not for everyone, of course. You either get it or you miss it completely. Mediumship does not have a single gray area let alone fifty. Ahem.

My true spiritual fascination is channeling. It lures me in like an All You Can Stuff In Yo’ Face Buffet. I love doing Automatic Writing. I even enjoy teaching it—and we ALL know how I feel about THAT! The unparalleled insight that flows from the pen captivates me. It’s very hard to stop once I start… just like the buffet.

I find direct voice channeling to be the ultimate voyage. I am very fortunate to have a strong, fluid connection with my own Guides. They have my blessing to drop kick my endearing obstinance to the curb and smoothly slip into the driver’s seat. Like mediumship, channeling is certainly not for everyone. But, then again, neither am I. This is probably the foremost explanation as to why I am so comfortable with allowing it to occur.

Every now and again I am fortunate enough to have a student whose passion for channeling rivals my own. An inquisitive nature always wins out over hesitation.

“Sometimes the best answer is ‘Why the hell not?’” – Unknown

One such individual is April Torres. I first met her when she came to me for a reading at the LBWS Fair in Long Beach, CA, a few years back. She later took my Automatic Writing Class and, despite any good judgment she may have had at one time, she opted to join my weekly Development Circle. I can only assume there were no responsible adults in her life at that time to warn her of this silly choice. The class unanimously felt, after her first gathering with us, she was definitely more than just one of us. She was OURS. She fit flawlessly like bacon on, well, anything. April possesses a natural light that draws Spirit in like tourists to a souvenir stand in the Poconos. Her style of channeling, whether in writing or speaking, naturally flows with ease & grace, peace & humility, warmth & frank familiarity. It is truly a joy to experience.

April is an absolute natural at doing something that IS natural. Most, sadly, just don’t believe it really is within us on some level. That’s why it’s up to those of us who know better to share our knowledge and ‘Their’ truth. Someone’s always bound to listen. April slips unassumingly into channel, with no visual effort. Her already gentle voice gets even more soothing as her demeanor takes on a knowledgeable composure. Her eyes close as one hand raises, gesturing gently, as if adding visual punctuation to the profound statements emitting from within. I honestly do not know which intrigues me more: the audible words or their visual counterpart.

In our weekly development circle, a visit from April’s Spirit Guide, Ivan, is always an enlightened highlight. Ivan’s manner of speaking seems more conversational than anything else. It has an easy, oh-by-the-way manner to it. But, before you know it, you realize you’re being given teachings & insight that will truly stay with (and within) you.

“The one human frailty is lack of courage. When that is changed—permanently within each person—there is no unlearning what has been learned. This is a way to navigate forward. Confidence is built over time. The encouragement of your fellow beings may be the one greatest contribution that you will make in this life. Sometimes the distillation of the events will show a person this essence of what they came to correct. Not everybody will be interested, willing or able to hear in THIS lifetime what will move them forward. Have no expectations of being always able to change the course of someone’s life. That is THEIRS to change! You are merely a vehicle, you are merely a conduit—a medium so-to-speak—and this is enough.” – Ivan

Yup. There’s no doubt about it. April is a natural. She also lays claim to another astonishing gift: art. She wielded her brushes at Disney for 18 years where she was bestowed with the title of The Head Princess Artist. However, she is not one to speak of her accomplishments. She is pretty closed lipped on things like that. She’s far more interested in listening to others. She’s also intrigued by what she can possibly absorb from the experience. She is, from my perspective, an observer. She doesn’t even get too outwardly excited when it comes to Ivan’s powerful phrasings. She just quietly smiles and says, “Yea, Ivan shows me some pretty cool things.” She just leaves it at that. Whether with the strokes of brushes, or the flair of words, she is a natural artist of the eyes and the soul.

The only unnatural aspect about her is her affliction with lung cancer. An affliction that April fought with graceful tenacity. Her uncooperative health does, from time to time, prevent her from attending our weekly class. I often remind her that she could just mail me my weekly $20 fee if it gives her a sense of normalcy. She just laughs and laughs. She thinks I was kidding. How precious is THAT? When she’s not with us we include a group healing in our curriculum. Upon her return, we always inquire how she is feeling. As is her manner, she flashes her gentle smile and simply says, “I’m doing good. It’s all good.”

AprilTorres01On the 29th of her namesake month, it was no longer ‘good’. April walked away from her brave battle, stepping into the next stage of never-ending life. She’s still pursuing her passions in a place of perfection. She is experiencing first hand all she has relayed to so many for so long. The words that leap out at my heart in that sentence are, of course, ‘so long.’ It’s always hard to bid a friend farewell…even when you know you’ll see one another, in some form, again.

At the risk of sounding like a well-ironed cliché, I have to admit that I found myself learning a lot from April. Even more, I’m afraid, than I taught her. Oops. I gotta be careful…she may one day come through to me demanding HER twenty bucks!

This work has proven to me, time and time again, that we do not end. We keep going on and on and on some more. In my soul I know April is just fine. She is whole. She is happy. She is breathing life & love into those remaining here. She has also once again embraced those who trod the path of stars before her own trek home. And she finally got to meet Ivan, soul-to-soul, heart-to-heart, being-to-being. I honestly haven’t a clue whether April or Ivan would have been the most excited about that reunion. I have to admit I am the weensiest bit envious. Not because I want to “return to Spirit”—I like the cheesecake here WAY too much! But I would have loved to have witnessed it. I hope it’s made available on Netflix soon. Until the day when it comes up in my queue, I guess I will just have to speculate how it all went down…

After a long overdue hug, I envision April waving Ivan to a seat. She then places a clean celestial canvas on the easel before her. With a palate of unfathomable colors in one hand and a brush expertly cradled in the other, she flashes Ivan her gentle smile. And, with a self-assured twinkle in her eye, April’s brush dashes across the canvas, scattering a trail of stars as bright and infinite as her soul. “Now, Ivan,” she says softly, “I’d like to show YOU something…”

“Wandering through a wasteland of old souls who are in need of assistance seems overwhelming at times but fortitude of humor is the vehicle for this necessary journey and is perfectly in line with the assignment.” – Ivan

(This is a validating personal message I was blessed to receive from Ivan, through April, in 2015)

*  *  *

The “April Ann Torres Fine Arts Fund” has been established in her memory. Donations may be made to: “The Foundation for Los Angeles Community Colleges” in the name of the April Ann Torres Fine Arts Fund. Please mail checks to:

Foundation for Los Angeles Community Colleges
ATTN: April Ann Torres Fine Arts Fund
9th floor
770 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles 90017

You can also donate online by clicking here:
https://www.giveffect.com/campaigns/4290-april-ann-torres-fine-arts-fund?ref=1&uid=67509

 

 

December 1, 2016

The Magnitude of Gratitude

“Thanksgiving is an emotional time.
People travel thousands of miles to be with people they see only once a year.
And then discover once a year is way too often.”
— Johnny Carson

49339309 - thank you comic bubble retro text pop art styleThis Thanksgiving didn’t stand out over any other—at least on the surface. I spent it by myself, which is ALWAYS my preference. Yes, I am a loner, as most of you know. But the main reason for this holiday isolation of mine is two-fold. First: I don’t have to share leftovers with anyone. Those turkey milkshakes are ALL mine, baby! Secondly: I don’t have to bathe. It’s a Win/Win all around. Sure, I made a few obligatory calls to family (curse you Alexander Graham Bell for this disruption in my expert flow of pie consumption!). The calls were well-timed so all were about to sit down to eat their own gluttonous meals. Therefore, the calls were short, concise, over & done so I could get back to adding even more whipped cream to the pile atop what I had already dubbed “Mt. Pun’kinPie.”

I always go through my check list of gratitude in this current year and life. Again, it’s something I prefer to do on my own. It’s just my way. Once upon a time, I foolishly spent Thanksgiving with friends when I still lived back east. They actually went around the table exclaiming their thanks ALOUD for review (and, we all know, judgment). My turn brought forth a simple, yet sincere, “Microwave ovens.”

After a beautiful, blissful sliver of silence, someone took the bait and asked, “Why are you thankful for microwaves?”

“Because we’ll have a way to quickly reheat all of our food,” I said. “This ritual is taking far too long and the food is getting cold.”

No, I wasn’t invited back the following year, which was, of course, my plan all along. The best part is they gave me a leftover platter to take home. SCORE!

Admittedly, this year has been a roller-coaster of a ride. It has been quite the amusement park for many of us, I’m sure. Losses, gains and, my favorite, some good ol’ fashioned status-quos. I enjoy the even-keel days. There are so few of them anymore so I try to savor them, like that last morsel of stuffing on your fork at the end of a holiday meal.

I always joke (somewhat) that I am fortunate enough to meet some really awesome dead people. Their dispositions are always pleasant, joyful and refreshing (especially after dodging flying Nike shoes amidst a Black Friday Apocalypse). But I have to say, I am SO blessed to have some of THE greatest clients imaginable. I learn and experience SO much through them. Every now and then, someone will reach out with a simple message of appreciation, inspiration and even motivation. Interestingly, these “out of the blue” (wink-wink-nudge-nudge) missives arrive at just THE best time. Proving, once again, it IS all orchestrated. Sometimes we forget to tap our foot along with the music.

For example, I was recently feeling a bit unsure about my life’s path in general. Questioning it is scheduled regularly on my Google Calendar. It happens to us all so no big whoop, right? Well, as I snuggled oh-so-contentedly in my comforter made of equal parts down and doubt, I received this unsolicited email from a client:

“I’ll always know you are a refreshingly very frank, humorous, tender-hearted, innocently gifted and sensitive medium just trying to manage your world and talents in the best way you can, being of service to people, and following an honorable code and method.”

Needless to say, I’m most grateful for her kind words AND the ideal universal timing of their arrival.

While I’m on the subject, I am always appreciative of the exchanges within any reading, private or platform, that I am privileged to perform as well. Each and every one presents a learning opportunity for me. Even the ones that do not meet my fanatical standards. Spirit always, without fail, will pass along lessons of insight, love, healing, encouragement, understanding and, of course, laughter in whatever mixture they see fit. They demonstrate the brightest of lights in the deceptively darkest of times. The ultimate night-light. Those who sit before me will—more times than not—serve up a buffet of eye-opening coaching as well. Just hand me a spork and a Wet-Nap and I’m set for a fine-ass meal of enlightenment with a side of finely chopped slaw.

There is a unique mixture of gratitude and fascination when it comes to group platform readings. Group readings, in my experience, always have a theme to them. Forgiveness, suicides, loss of a child, guidance, misunderstandings—you name it. I once conducted a crowd filled with a cluster of spirits who LOVED to bake! Needless to say, everyone was starving by the end of that one! You’re wondering what could possibly be “learned” from a batch of bygone bakers, aren’t you? Well, try these on for size: a reminder to do something you love. Remembering the sweetness of life. Rising to the occasion. You’re the co-creator of your own destiny. The list of ingredients go on-and-on. See it as you wish. Make a point to serve up what is best for YOUR best.

Another no-brainer, which is great for us but not so much for a band of zombies with the cranial munchies.

There’s always something to be thankful for within the mechanics of the tidings Spirit allows me to share. I have to say, however, this recent Thanksgiving served up a refreshingly large reminder of gratitude. Not so much in what I do BUT those that I encounter along the other 364 daze of days. I had the pleasure of sharing a meal with a student/client/friend just two days prior to Let’s Wear Belt Buckles On Our Hats Day. She had just completed her first Spirit Guide class with yours truly. For some reason, this shattering of her eardrums didn’t deter her from swapping ideals over pancakes and scrambles in a public forum. Yea, it struck me as odd, too, but who can really understand women?

Oh, dear. That was a tangent, wasn’t it?

I have read her several times over the years. After awhile you do develop a bond, an understanding, with long-term clients. You get a better understanding of them as a person through their own actions & reactions to just about anything. People, living or living impaired, never cease to amaze me with their ability to surprise and astound. This oddly timed brunch was certainly no exception.

When you spend any time with any medium, ‘death’ is bound to pop up in idle chit-chat. It’s the nature of the beast. She and I have known one another long enough to just let the conversation flow where it needs to go. She told me of her own life, in and out of the realms of her own metaphysical interests and gifts. I always enjoy discovering new aspects of people. I already knew she had lost both of her parents by the age of 21. It just doesn’t seem right, does it? Someone so young should not have to face such losses. Events of that magnitude are bound to leave holes. Holes, I am sure, that are not easy to fill. Honestly, to unearth this piece of her background, the subject has to be broached. Otherwise, you’d never know it by merely observing. It’s masked in the same incognito way that you’ll never suspect which of my pockets is stuffed with cheesecake unless you really pay attention.

I lied. The cheesecake never lasts long enough to make it into a pocket. Curse those tangents…

browneyesonlyShe stared at her slowly shrinking stack of pancakes for a moment in silent reflection. Then she turned her deep, dark, doe-like eyes up at me. Her eyes met mine with a silent force that, quite frankly, pushed me back into my seat a bit. It was gentle, straightforward and purity at its finest. She didn’t just look AT me, you see. She looked right into me and I FELT it. You don’t forget gazes like that, you know? You rarely see them seeing you. She flashed her naturally easy smile and said, oh-so-simply, “I often see the loss of my parents as a great gift.” This was something I did NOT know about her. I’m sure the subtle raising of one eyebrow gave away both my bewilderment as well as my nerdish desire to one day channel Leonard Nimoy. She continued, “It was their loss that led me to my path of spirituality. It really did change EVERYTHING.” Her warm smile never wavered as she said, “I’m so grateful for that. Every day I am grateful.”

Well, shut my pie-hole. Talk about a powerful statement. I greatly admire anyone who can turn a negative into a positive. But this one really takes the cake, or the pancake as the case may be. I am a firm believer in the fact that all that we go through is what leads us to who and where we are today. It’s our individual choices that carve it in stone. Some choose a higher path, others take the tunnels leading to what they believe will be an expressway of sorts. Welcome to the Free Will Toll Road, fellow drivers. Turn on your headlights and make sure you’re reading the signage up ahead.

I can relate to the loss of parents, but in a totally different way. As an adoptee, I lost my parents before I even knew they existed. I lost my adoptive father through divorce and then death when I was 6. At age 33 I finally met my biological mother and father only to lose them after 18 and 22 years respectively. My Bastard Heritage certainly carved out a large part of who I am. It’s a huge part of me and I am proud! I’ve always said I was a bastard before being a bastard was cool. I believe it even helps me with aspects of my mediumship. I’ve always been a rather detached person for the most part. I connect that with my ability to easily push emotion aside in order to make the connections required for any session. However, unlike my lunch companion, I have always had a parental figure of some sort within reach. She had lost both of hers before I had even found the second string of my own. And here she was, unequivocally stating, that this double barreled loss has emerged as a blessing.

She filled the holes in her heart, her spirit. But not with sorrow or self-pity. Oh, no. She filled them with seedlings from which great trees and beautiful flowers have grown. Her intention was to fill the darkness with something reaching for, and living within, the Light.

If that’s not a lesson in gratitude, pal, then I don’t know what is. I am so thankful for such a powerful reminder as well as a chance to share it with each of you. Cherish and be thankful for it all: what was, what you’ve made it and where it will possibly lead you tomorrow. Losses are NOT permanent. Love IS permanent. When situations are getting you down keep reminding yourself that this, too, shall pass… just like a gravy boat.

Thanks for… well, you get the gist.

 

 “I want to say thank you to all the people
who walked into my life
and made it outstanding,
and all the people
who walked out of my life
and made it fantastic.”
– Author Unknown (but certainly appreciated!)

Copyright © 2016, Charles A. Filius

 

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.

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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

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

September 11, 2014

Even In the Darkest Times We Will Shine Through

Filed under: spirituality — cfilius @ 3:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

Copyright © 2001, Charles A. Filius

You will always remember where you were on that September morning more than a decade ago. That morning when all of our lives changed. The maddening range of emotions, the realization of the devastation, the quiet mourning both public and private.

As the anniversary approaches it is truly safe to say that emotions are running high. It’s hard not to experience the need to reflect on what has happened over the past decade, not only as citizens of the world but in our own personal lives as well. As I hear all of the stories regarding the events of 9/11 I can’t help but wonder about those that we are NOT hearing. We hear reports of the phone calls to loved ones with a final “I love you.” How do you sum up so much passion in a few short moments filled with uncertainty and fear? Why do we sometimes only return to a place of love when we face some form of finality?

What about those that did not get that last comforting message? Take a moment to think about the ones who, sadly, had cross words with a loved one prior to that morning or the individual whose last words were merely routine and indifferent. “Don’t forget to pick up milk on your way home.”

So many times we forget to let our loved ones know what they mean to us; how we cherish them in our lives and the fact their voice can be as sacred to us as their touch. How often do you whisk out of a room or end a telephone call with a habitual, “Later!” We assume we will be seeing that person again. September 11, 2001, made us realize that that isn’t always the case.

Not on this level of existence anyway…

This thought pattern lead me to a note written to me several years ago by a past love. Although written well over 20 years ago I find it most fitting considering the circumstances and I want to share it with you now. I hope she doesn’t mind…

“My soul needs to see you, to hear your words, feel your touch. It’s been a lifetime since we’ve exchanged voices. Come to me; find me and tell me you are thinking of me just one more time.”

Don’t let a lifetime pass between exchanges. Cherish those you love and make sure they know it. And, never, under any circumstance, ever lose your humanity.

God Bless the World. No Exceptions.

Peace.

 

 

“We think too much and feel too little.
More than machinery we need humanity.
More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.
Without those qualities life will be violent and all will be lost.”

– Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin

August 11, 2014

Picture This

Filed under: mediumship,New Age,Spirit Guides,spirituality,Uncategorized — cfilius @ 3:58 pm

MOST OF MY EXPERIENCES have begun with “…there I was, minding my own business when…” It is becoming my new age counterpart to “It was a dark and stormy night.” Of course, if you know me, you will realize that’s an ideal fit. So, here I sit, in the wee hours of a full moon, typing away atop my doghouse, projecting my thoughts for any eyes that care to peruse them.

I spent last Thursday freely wandering around LA, minding my own business (there it is!), when I dropped by an odd little shop on Melrose Avenue. It’s an eclectic storefront catering to a far different mindset nowhere near the K-Mart crowd. It’s the only place in town that I know of where you can purchase a tarot deck, a dog skull AND a Norman Rockwell print all under the same roof. And who among us hasn’t had all three of those juicy morsels on our shopping list at one time or another?

The reason for my being there was to purchase a business card holder that happens to look like XLMCardHoldera small coffin. Yes, you read that right. I want to entice clients to pick up a business card by pulling it out of a slot in the top of a mini-casket. It would be a perfect companion piece to the delicately carved set of wooden hands that I currently use. It’s a marvelous conversation starter—and sometimes stopper, depending on the timidity of the individual. Much to my chagrin, I was informed that the item I so desperately wanted was no longer in stock. Well, that’s a fine how-do-you-do. To appease my disappointment I wandered around the curiosity shop, sulking, in hopes of finding one lone stray that the shopkeeper had long forgotten.

No such luck. Curse their flawless knowledge of their own inventory.

I did happen upon a box of old photographs, however. I’m talking old, turn of the century stuff. Black and white, sepia tones, even tintypes. Well, I’m a sucker for such oddities, so I naturally soared right to them like a hummingbird to a symposium on nectar addictions. I reached into the tray of the first box and I randomly pulled out a photo. It didn’t take long for me to realize there was nothing random about it. I immediately did a double-take that would make Oliver Hardy proud. It was a photograph of a man wearing a dark three-piece suit. His tall, lanky frame is leaning against a tree, an arm draped through its fork, the other at his side, his hand clutching a bowler hat. You can see what appears to be a light colored mesh scarf of sorts draped over one of the limbs of the fork. He has a dark handlebar mustache, a prominent nose and intense, piercing eyes. The kind of eyes that can bore a hole right through you. His hair is parted in the middle and swept back on both sides. His face is square, his jaw firm. You can clearly see his pocket watch chain glistening in the light.

Robert_150I gazed at him for a few moments in focused curiosity. Several years ago, I was given a description of my Master Guide, Robert, by two different—well technically, three—psychics. The first was Rita Berkowitz, the renowned psychic and spirit artist. The other was Terry & Linda Jamison, aka The Psychic Twins. The descriptions of Robert from these individuals were all but completely identical. I was told he was wearing a dark three piece suit, with a slim tie, of course. He was tall and thin. His nose was prominent and he sported a dark handlebar mustache and dark hair, parted in the middle and swept back. Both made a comment that he reminded them of an undertaker in the old west or the turn of the century. How ideal is THAT? The only difference was that Berkowitz said he had a square featured face and the Twins described his face as being long, oval shaped.

I have had glimpses, both physical and energetic, of all of my Spirit Guides with the exception of Robert. He’s the one I connect with the most and, oddly, he’s the one that is the biggest mystery. Whenever I inquire specifics about him, he merely replies, “That is not important.” When I badger him about it, like any big whiner baby, he simply says, “My past is of no significance to your path, your growth.” If I continue to hound him—and you KNOW I do—he just shuts up. Well, LA-DEE-FRIGGIN-DA.

But he had no problem showing himself off to Berkowitz and the Twins. OK, so they’re all prettier than me. But, c’mon! We work together! Throw me a bone, here, will ya?

As I stood in that shop on Melrose I was almost convinced I was holding that very bone in my hand. Of course, being the professional Doubting Thomas that I am, I started to shrug it off as a big ol’ coinky-dink. Hey, this type of attire, as well as fashion sense, was quite popular back in the day. I could have found any number of photos of men who resembled the one in this particular photograph. To appease my self-righteous arrogance, I quickly flipped through the other photos in the box. Low and behold, I did not come across a single photo of anyone looking like the fellow in the one I was clutching. I admit I was a bit surprised by my lack of discovery. I fanned the photo slightly, tapping its cardboard edge on the fingers of my left hand in an odd out-of-step rhythm. The sound was internally deafening while virtually inaudible to anyone else. “Weird,” was all I could mutter to myself. Without thinking—which really is pretty customary for me in most situations—I flipped the photo over. While having no scientific proof of this, I am all but convinced that my eyes suddenly resembled saucers that consumed the greater part of my face.

Robert_SignatureScrawled on the back of the photo was a name and nothing more: Robert King Brown.

In my natural, nearly deafening voice, I simply said, “Holy shit.” While not the most spiritual of quotes, I defy you to find one more honest or sincere.

Admittedly, I am not one who can just leave things alone. No matter how blatantly obvious something may be I have to dig just a little bit deeper. No worries. My people know that and I’m convinced that’s why I always uncover a few remaining gold nuggets from what most would think is a tapped vein. There are 15 letters in the gentleman’s name. That totals a six in numerology and, of course, I’m a six. Impressive? Sure. But the real kicker is that his full name in numerology totals an eleven. My Guides have used this number as a “thumbs up, it’s all good” sign from virtually day one. Eleven is a Master Number. It’s a biggie as many of you know. It’s all about spiritual enlightenment and the ability to make that enlightenment a reality in the material world. For example, materializing what may very well be a photographic representation of one’s own Spirit Guide.

I’ve preached this a thousand times, and I’m sure I will preach it until I can preach no more: Trust. This work is all about trust. Trusting what you receive, what you sense, what you are given. And then continuing by trusting yourself to deliver what you’ve received, sensed and, yes, been given. And the reason I scream it from the rooftops with such determination? Because, like so many, I am just not embracing my own message. “Do as I say, not as I do” is NOT a mantra to be flaunted. It’s about as de-motivational as you can get. It’s like a distorted reflection in a fun-house mirror. You do have the image but it’s no truer than the BS you cling to with false hope and misguided intentions.

I’ve made great pains to ensure I deliver what I’m seeing on the screen in my head. I do my best to not sugarcoat or edit. But often times I am bewildered by whatever is before me so I commit the ultimate sin: I think. Oh, when will I learn? Thinking will get you in trouble every time. When I am being shown a tacky orange and green ashtray then I need to just blurt it out. When I am insistently told to not give up on someone then, by jumpin’ Jehosaphat, do as they say. Stop questioning, start accepting and just trust. Let go of the how, and know there is always a reason. A reason, I may add, that may not make a lick of sense at the time…and that’s OK because you’re trusting that the outcome will be as it is supposed to be.

So, thank you, Robert. I am humbled by your efforts. I can only pray you are getting paid overtime for things like this. I hope this will help each of you to not only be more trusting of how your own system is wired, but how you honor each and every surge that runs through it. Are you truly acting on your own better judgments and instincts with people and situations? Or are you going through the motions the way you assume others would prefer? It takes time and that infernal patience thing you hear so much about in order to get into a state of trust. I know firsthand that when you stray away from that mindset you will probably get one humdinger of a slap in the back of the head in order to set your inner GPS due North.

Onward, ever onward.

Copyright © 2014, Charles A. Filius

March 27, 2014

On Your Road Again

Image“It doesn’t matter what you want if you do not actively seek it! A wish upon a falling star, the dropping of a coin in a wishing well in a picturesque grotto, the rubbing of a rabbit’s foot…all can be called symbolic but, in truth, it does not go beyond that! The falling star is beautiful to see, the tranquility of the grotto may bring you some peace, and the rabbit’s foot is soft and gentle to the touch. Ya know what? Big deal. These sensations are fleeting, momentary only. Pursuit, active participation, will enable you to walk your path.

“Totems, symbolic articles as well as rituals, are, of course, useful PROVIDING you do not soul-ly rely on them alone. Your dream will not come to your door—you must venture out and rap on a few doors yourself. Mingle with the Universe, exchange ideas and ideals. Learn from the stumbles as well as the solidity of assured footedness! Your destined goals can be enabled, as well as disabled, by active AND inactive participation. Care to venture as to which goes with which?

“Look outside right now—outside your window as well as outside yourself—and what do you truly see? Stepping outside of yourself and gazing impartially within takes time and nerve—no doubt about that. But do it! DO IT! Do it again and again and again for it never gets old. Each gaze can provide new insight aligned within each and every moment of each and every step as well as hesitation.

“You know what you are made of, what kind of person you are, what your true aspirations are as well as the perspiration that goes into it all. Some days of travel are far worse than others. That is a fact of all Life. But, do you choose to dwell on that OR embrace the obvious that the opposite is true as well? How many vacations have you taken—from a single day to several weeks—where SOMETHING has gone awry? But, overall, you look back on it with joyous smiles and the feeling of a good time had by all. It may not have seemed all that grand at the moment, but hindsight and reflection are great tools in achieving clarity.

“The negative, the frustrations, the struggles are temporary. They will soon be overhauled by positivity and purpose. Providing, of course, that YOU do something to motivate it, as well as yourself, onward ever onward.

“Do it, my Children, whatever IT may be to you. Continue along your journey so you can beckon others to follow their own convictions and drive with a simple, yet powerful, ‘Having a Wonderful Time! Wish You Were Here!’

– Thomas

Copyright 2014 © Charles A. Filius

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