Pondering the Pavement

October 5, 2016

Signs of the Father

“Oh, I believe in coincidences. I’ve just never seen one.”
Dannion Brinkley

I AM NOT, NOR WILL I EVER BE, A SOCIAL CREATURE. I’ve never been comfortable with any form of mingling. I’m more than just the brooding form huddled safely in the corner of a room. I prefer to just not show up at all. I’m that oddly placed dish of pickles on a dinner table. You don’t know why it’s there. Yet you pass it around to other equally disinterested guests, all the while knowing no one would miss it if it just wasn’t set out in the first place. I dodge most social functions with a Gold Medal Winning Flair. I can get out of just about any social situation with nearly zero effort. It comes naturally. For example, I once had three separate invitations to Thanksgiving dinner. I got out of all of them scot-free by explaining, “Oh, how thoughtful! But I’ve already been invited to dinner! Thank you so much for thinking of me.” Of course, I didn’t attend anyone’s dinner. I didn’t have to go through the motions of idle banter AND I didn’t have to share leftovers. Win / Win all the way around.

Even someone as expertly gifted at dodging social interaction as me gets painted into a redbaroncorner from time to time. The most recent of these losses came in the form of a wedding aboard The Queen Mary last June. Of course, when I initially received the invitation, my reaction was “Oh, HELL no!” But when I realized the wedding was taking place literally within walking distance of my home I figured I was pretty much screwed. Since the best man was traveling all the way from the east coast, I couldn’t really play the “It’s too far for me to travel” card. Curse you, Airline Travel! Curse you and your commercial conveeeeeeeenience!

Admittedly, my lack of interest in socializing was even lower than usual. My birth father, Everett, had passed away unexpectedly less than three months earlier. I was still dealing with the fallout from that, both emotionally and physically. As the executor of his estate, I had to juggle a wide array of things during that time including, but not limited to, his home & personal effects, fragile overblown egos, high-strung banshee-like emotional outbursts and why he had a plastic container filled with keys that fit absolutely NOTHING in his house. I had to push my own feelings aside (who knew I partook of such things?) and dive head-first into business mode. Which is, of course, a most clever way to not face the music (which, in my dad’s case, would be performed by a trio playing a mouth harp, a set of spoons and comb kazoo).

fullsizerender_1As is my custom in social situations, I rallied a friend to join me for the festivities. The key to surviving this sort of circumstance is to find an extrovert to ever-so-slightly mask your own preferred wallflower existence. However, I could not locate such a individual. Instead, I turned to my dear friend, Mona, who may never speak to me again after reading this. Mona is not just an extrovert. Oh, no. Mona is an extrovert on crack. To the tenth power. With a dash of caffeine. Twice. She gets super excited by anything and finds everyone just gosh darn fascinating:

“Oh, my God! Tell me MORE about your masking tape collection!”

Thanks to Mona and her Perky Persona, I have met people I would have never encountered, seen things that would have stayed hidden from my farsighted baby blues, and experienced situations that would have been passed on to someone else like the aforementioned dish of pickles. I personally prefer to watch such things unfold on TV but, hey, live a little, right?

We donned our gay apparel and made our way to The RMS Queen Mary, permanently dry-docked here in lovely Long Beach, California. Mona was fluttering around like an ADHD kid cut loose in a candy store while I was mostly uncomfortable and bewildered. You see, I was in a situation where I had to wear long pants. LONG PANTS! And, to add insult to injury, I was informed by some misinformed fashionista that Hawaiian shirts do NOT seem to be acceptable attire with a tuxedo. I was in a foreign land where no one spoke my language.

I should mention that Mona is also a medium (we travel in gaggles, you know?). So it shouldn’t come as a shock when I tell you things are bound to happen when you toss two mediums onto a haunted ship. I must admit that the vessel really is a playground for we sensitive sorts. It’s where energy & ectoplasm go on vacation. Mona and I have spent a lot of time aboard the Queen Mary over the years. Mona’s time on board has included taking several ghost tours, mediumship classes, and even photography field trips. In my case, however, I just get lost a lot and have a bitch of a time finding my way to an exit.

dscn0118Mona was dragging me all over the ship like a six-year-old on the search for Santa at Macy’s. She was excitedly pointing out different items of interest while I kept kicking myself for not leaving a trail of breadcrumbs through the corridors. Who’s to say if they would have been a device to find my way out again or just a convenient snack for later in the evening…

At one point during our meandering, we encountered a tall gentleman who is the acting Commodore on the ship. He was smartly dressed in white from head to toe. (FYI: When a medium encounters someone all in white our first inclination is to poke them with a finger to ensure that they’re real. That little stunt has helped me keep my Christmas card list at a VERY manageable level, let me tell ya…) Mona, as is her custom, squealed and hugged the Commodore. They exchanged pleasantries while I mentally marked all the EXIT signs within sight.

He was kind enough to chat a bit and even give us a tidbit of history of the ship—Lord knows I’m a sucker for sugar packet trivia—even though he was wrapping up his shift for the day. While he was talking I happened to glance at his name tag on his smartly pressed lapel: EVERETT. I chuckled to myself as I thought, “What a funny coincidence!”

Oh, Charles, you silly monkey. When will you learn?

The wedding was held outside on the stern of the ship. Despite no one wanting to do The Wave with me as the bride walked down the aisle, the ceremony went off without a hitch—acknowledge pun at your own discretion. All seemed right with the world as we thankfully moved inside for the reception. The groom, who is a writer among other trades, devised a deliciously unique literary theme for the reception. Each party had to search for their place card in a library Dewey Decimal card file. The names of the guests would be at the top, last name first, of course. Below the name one finds the title of a book. This tells you at what table you will be seated. Our table happened to be the Dracula Table (and it did not suck!). We made our way to our table to see the book Dracula by Bram Stoker prominently displayed as part of the centerpiece. Behind the main event was a stack of other seemingly random books. There was a Frankenstein table, a Wizard of Oz table, etc. From my point of view, the setup was nothing short of Nerdy Nirvana.  Of course, the risk of possible paper cuts looming over our fingertips added a flair of exhilaration to the festivities.

dscn0121The best man and his wife sat at our table. Bob and I have been close friends for nearly 40 years. That makes his wife, Shannon, my friend by default, like a step-sibling. Both of them are writers, and more, just like the groom. At one point, she sat down next to me and started talking to me like some kind of normal person. Very weird if you ask me. She said, “Remember those old photos you sent to me?”

I blanked for a moment as I searched my memory banks. All I came up with was some loose change and a green Lego. I shook my head. “Noooo…” was all I could muster.

“You sent me some old black and white snapshots,” she continued, her hand delicately cradling a wine glass. “You found them and thought I’d find them interesting.”

Then it dawned on me. There were several shots of some unknown small town and they were stapled together in one corner. The cars captured in the images clearly eluded to the 1950’s, the era of The Fonz. I had unearthed them while cleaning out one of my mother’s closets. She had no idea why she had them or even where they were taken. Shannon is very interested in West Virginia history so I figured she’d get a kick out of them. Passing the buck for the cost of a couple postage stamps. What will I think of next?

She said, “Well, I’m using one of them in a book I’m writing so you get a photo credit.”

“And I thought I’d never amount to anything!” I replied. She laughed, having no idea I was not even remotely kidding. “Do you have any idea where those pictures were taken? Or are you just using them as generic filler?”

She looked up at me as she sipped her wine. “Yea,” she said. “They were taken in Everettville, West Virginia.”

If I had been the one drinking I would have done a spit take that Danny Thomas would envy. EVERETTVILLE? SERIOUSLY?

Jpeg

A little while later, as Mona was running around befriending everyone on Facebook, I decided to look through the other stray books piled on our table. The ultimate wallflower looking for a book to read at a wedding reception. Jeez… how sad is THAT? I picked the first one up and opened it. I found the name of the previous owner along with a date: Carol Lundly, April 22, 1972. Everett’s youngest sister goes by her middle name, Maxine, but her first name is actually Carol. And April 22nd?  That just happens to be the month and day that I met my birthfather face-to-face for the very first time. I hurried and picked up the next book. The name scrawled inside of it was ‘Helen’, which is the first name of Everett’s oldest sister.

I just sat back in my chair and began to laugh. FYI: No one thinks twice about it if you’re sitting alone and laughing at a table scattered with empty wine glasses. By this time Mona had rejoined Dracula’s Lair. I explained all of the connections to my dad that had popped up throughout the day. She just sat there, smugly grinning. Then I committed the ultimate sin. I asked another medium, “Do you really think it means anything?”

Mona may be tiny but she moves quickly. Her hand slapped the back of my head in a rapid cadence that gave passersby the impression they were hearing The Gettysburg Address in Morse Code. Then, in that angelic little voice of hers, she shrieked, “Do ya THINK?”

Mona’s known for her sensitivity.

Or so I’m told. Ahem.

Leave it to my dad, who collected wives like some people collect stamps, to make his presence known at a wedding. What else should I expect from a man who dared pass away on April Fool’s Day?

If someone had come to me with this exact same story, I would be alongside Mona screaming, “DO YA THINK?” No questions asked. But when it comes to my own signs, my own connections, I end up doubting every single time. Why? I’m always leery that I’m reading too much into something. I don’t want my vivid imagination to run away with me. I don’t want my experiences to be simply ‘wishful thinking.’ That’s one of the reasons my Crew tends to go over the top and slap me around. They want to make sure they have my full attention. The other reason is that they just enjoy abusing me. I think I’m their cardio workout.

The lesson? Simple: acknowledge the signs, the feelings, that you get. Even a simple “coincidence” can be your loved one’s way of reaching out. Give your peeps a shout-out, a thumbs-up, for a job very well done. And know that your loved ones NEVER forget. They NEVER stop loving you. And, most importantly, they NEVER die.

Thanks, Dad, for the reminder… and so much more.

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With my brother, Markis, and our dad in Las Vegas, 2011. The timing of my writing this entry is most fitting as today, October 5, is his 78th birthday. Well, how about that?

Copyright © 2016, Charles A. Filius

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July 31, 2016

For the Laugh of Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Family

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

eating cheesecake as you work out on a treadmill.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because. I. Can.

33254357 - typewriter with special buttons, because i can

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

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

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

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

So, two dead guys walk into a bar…

FiliusHeadstone_100

Photo by Alexander Drecun © 2016

 

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

July 14, 2015

The Eagle Has Landed (Part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What message do you have for me?

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

I worry about taking pride in my abilities.

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

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

“But is that the MAIN reason?”

No.

“There, my friend, is your answer.”

It’s hard to let go of insecurities.

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

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

Simply put: Friday could not get here fast enough.

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

Heather laughed. Thankfully.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so it began…

* * *

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

–Robert

04_eagle

*”People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield

Copyright © 2015, Charles A. Filius

July 3, 2015

The Eagle Has Landed (Part 1)

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


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

– Robert

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I asked, “What does THAT mean?”

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s that infernal “F” word again.

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

There. I said it. Happy now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You have no idea,” I said dryly.

“Where are you headed?”

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

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

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

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

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

She said, “Oh, really?”

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

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

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

moving2To Be Continued…

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