Posted in adventure, family, Holidays, inner peace, kids, Life, living, mindfulness, parenting, random, travel

Quick Post

As I wait for Cam to thoroughly wet her hair in the shower so that I can come and wash it for her (we are working towards her doing it on her own, but if I want her to smell like a human child rather than a wet dog, for now, the work must be done by me), I thought I would drop by with a few tidbits. Yes, it takes her that long to get her hair wet. Don’t get me started on how frustrating it is, raising a child who has two speeds- slow, and stopped. She gets that from her dad, for sure.

Anyway, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it recently, but my trip to Maine is almost upon me! We leave Friday afternoon for an overnight in the city, and fly out of SF early Saturday morning. This will be Cam’s first flight ever, so I’m a little nervous about that- I sincerely hope it doesn’t freak her out. I’m not much of a brave flyer myself, so if she falls apart, I’m in trouble. Actually, I’ll probably find myself becoming very calm if she is upset, as mothers often do, but still…I hope she loves it. That would be ideal.

I left my house exactly twice this weekend, and on one of the outings, I braved the bathing suit section at Target. I did what I always do, despite my many promises to never do it again, and bought a bathing suit, a pair of shorts, and a top, without trying any of them on. This is such a bad idea. Especially when you factor in the part where it is nearly impossible to get me to Target in the first place, let alone to go back and return or exchange something. Anyway, the shopping Gods were smiling on me this time. The suit not only fits, but it’s super flattering, and the shorts and top worked out well, too. So, after my stuff, Cam’s ton of new stuff (she’s grown yet another size in the past few months), dog food, cat food, and travel size items to take with us, I was out about three hundred dollars. Not that I expected anything less.

I’m getting excited about this trip! I’m meeting my mom there, and we should have a great time, fingers crossed. I cannot wait to see Maine, finally! I just wish I could skip the flights and be there without all the hassle.

Anyway, the last thing…I did something kind of weird yesterday. I got in bed in the afternoon, right after a bath, and I made a conscious decision to do absolutely nothing. I mean, no TV, no music, no phone, no ANYTHING. I wasn’t even trying to meditate. I honestly can’t remember the last time I spent 15 minutes in utter, total stillness. The things your mind will do when you give it no material to work with! My God! My thoughts were doing the River Dance, the Can-Can, and all sorts of acrobatics trying to get my attention. I just tried to stay out of it. It’s not easy to do nothing.

Eventually though, for probably less than a minute, I experienced complete and total silence. The house was silent, my thoughts were silent…did you know that silence actually has a sound? It is almost like the low hum of electricity, except it’s in your ears. I don’t know why I wanted to do that- I wasn’t trying to accomplish anything. It’s just…it isn’t often that I’m not trying to accomplish something, even if it’s just watching a show on TV. I just wanted to see if I could do it, I guess. Wanted to know if I could sit with myself, how it would feel.

It felt nice. You should try it sometime.

Okay, I better go see what she is doing. This is ridiculous.

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Posted in adventure, faith, happiness, inner peace, Life, magic, meditation, Musings, People, random, spirituality

The Walk

I just glanced at my phone and realized that it is already the last day of the month. It struck me that I am ending this month as a completely different person than the one I was when it started. Well, pretty different, anyway.

I never imagined that having a past life regression would begin a chain of events that would change everything for me. I honestly just thought it would be a really cool experience. Now here I am, getting lost in books about hypnosis and where our souls go between lives, learning about how to do hypnosis myself, thinking very seriously about going back to school in the fall for massage therapy…it seems like a legit way to start out a journey into healing others, don’t you agree? I would not stop there, of course, but something about it has always appealed to me. My browser history is filled with questions for google like “What does a spiritual awakening feel like?” “What is the ego?” or “What happens when you become aware of your ego?”. To be fair, there are also things like “45 easy, healthy, sheet pan dinners” and “Weather in Salem in June”, so it’s not ALL related to spiritual stuff. It’s all about balance.

But it’s the content of my life that is most different. The thoughts I think, the new awareness I have of those thoughts. Thankfully, the initial rush of it all has slowed down to a bearable rate, for the most part- for a while there, I felt like I was barely hanging on as my thoughts exploded in my brain. Did I tell you that when I went to see my therapist, she started asking me suspicious questions like “How is your sleep?” and “Are you eating?” and finally, “Would you say you are having racing thoughts?”. I started laughing and said “Cori! I’m not manic, for Pete’s sake!” She admitted later, on our walk back out of the office, that she knew I would know what she was getting at since I work in the medical field, but she had to ask. I admitted that I would have to categorize my thoughts as racing, but I didn’t feel they were racing in a manic way. And I was still eating and sleeping just fine, thank you.

Either way, the thinking has slowed down. My morning prayer and meditation has become the most beautiful communion with…whatever is out there. I am a big sucker for ritual, and I light my candles each morning, light my incense, and sit down on my big red cushion to settle in. For several days in a row now, I have slipped into deep meditation in the middle of my prayers, and this is very new to me. I have always done guided meditations, and I still do, but I no longer believe it is necessary for me- just nice. Especially if there is a particular thing I want help with, guided meditations are wonderful. But finding I can access that meditative state without guidance, and without even trying- wow! It’s incredible, and easy and natural. I also have this experience of energy flowing through me during meditation that is so intense, it’s almost uncomfortable. I have to try very hard not to shy away from it, but to open to it instead. It’s not something I can explain, but it is intense. I just remind myself that none of this is bad, or scary, or dangerous, and try to relax into it. It is just unfamiliar to me- these are they types of things I would normally scoff at when reading books about other people’s spiritual experiences, and now it’s kind of happening to me, in real life.

But it follows me off of the cushion and into the rest of my day as well. Yesterday, I took a break from work and decided to take Lucy on a quick walk, as we often do. I grabbed her leash and my sunglasses and headed out the door, and from the minute I left the house, it seemed like all my senses were wide open and time almost slowed down- it was the craziest thing. The same walk I’ve taken hundreds of times was completely different. I was aware of the feeling of warmth on my legs from the sun. I could smell every flower and green thing that grew along the way. The colors of every plant, every flower, every leaf, seemed a hundred times more vivid than normal. I could see the bay off in the distance, the white buildings along the curving edge of the ocean, the white sail of a sailboat bobbing along. In the other direction, I could see the rolling hills and the lingering clouds that nestled into the dips of the higher mountains. This vista I had seen several times a day for four years appeared as if brand new to me! I stopped to watch three small birds chase each other from a nearby house to just over my head and then back again. They swooped joyfully and glided and dipped, and I just stood there, smiling like an idiot, watching them. One of them got very, very close to me many times, as if it knew how much I enjoyed watching them and was just showing off. As I rounded the corner to head back down the hill towards my house, I could smell the ocean in the cool air as it blew across my face, and still feel the warmth of the sun on the backs of my legs, I could see all the beauty I described above stretching out all around me, and I just drank it all in. I enjoyed every step I took on the way home, not rushing, just taking it in. I even stopped to smell a big pink rose that hung over the fence of someones yard. Only 15 minutes, but 15 minutes of pure bliss. How often do we get that? I don’t know about you, but for me, not often.

I arrived home with the crazy idea that if I keep heading down this path I find myself on, those moments will grow. If I keep looking for these moments, I will continue to find them. And this idea is pure relief to me. The idea that I can stop participating in the chaos and bullshit around me and connect with something better, something real and beautiful and worthwhile…I mean, it makes me want to cry.

There is so much more I want to share, but here we are, a thousand words in. I’ll save what’s next for another day. Have a beautiful day, and remember, wherever you are, whatever you find yourself caught up in- if it doesn’t feel good to you, there’s another way. It’s probably right in front of you, and you can’t see it. Keep looking.

Posted in adventure, advice, Goals, happiness, inner peace, Life, Mental Health, misinformation, Musings, People

Question Everything

question everything

I’m about to do something I don’t do very often, and that is come at you with some frank instructions. I normally shy away from this, because who am I to think that I am the authority on anything? The answer? I’m not, and I don’t.

But I think this is valuable. My instruction is simple: Question Everything. Everything you’ve been conditioned to think, everything you believe, everything you just assume to be true.

This society we live in loves nothing more than it loves slapping labels and rules on things. It is a phenomenon that has invaded every single particle of our lives, from the way we “should” be setting up our lives, to the way we define success, to the proper way to THINK, even. Our very thoughts are subject to the opinions of others, if we dare share them honestly. And for the most part, we accept what we are given. Life is hard enough as it is without trying to buck the constraints of society, of all…THAT, right? It’s true.

But…maybe, one day, your perspective shifts out of the blue. Maybe you suddenly find yourself wondering “what if that isn’t true for me?” I would just like to encourage you to follow that thread. Maybe you grew up hearing you were lazy, or that you weren’t living up to your potential. Maybe you hate your job with every fiber of your being but you are terrified to make a change because you have been conditioned to place security in the same spot as happiness. Perhaps you were raised with religion and now you fear God, and it makes your life hard. There are more ways that we harbor ideas about life and ourselves than I could ever possibly list, but if you have a moment of clarity, where you think “wait a minute…is that even real?” It is worth examining.

No one gets to decide who you are except for you. No one can tell you how to think, or who to be, or which direction to go. No one can dictate to you how God shows up (or doesn’t) in your life. And, for Pete’s sake, society should not get the final say on how much we count in the world. Be who you want to be, who you REALLY are. If you don’t even know who that is, this is a really good time to figure it out. This world needs people who are living their truth, straight from their heart. And if that’s too weird for the masses, well…fuck the masses, then. They’ll figure it out eventually, or they won’t. Just take some time to examine what goes on in your own head- I think you’ll be surprised to find that a lot of the “truths” you discover might not only be questionable…they might not even be yours to begin with.

It’s worth a look. You deserve the opportunity to live your precious life in a way that is perfect for you. Only you can say what that is.

 

Posted in adventure, happiness, inner peace, Life, Musings, spirit, spirituality

Back to Earth

What a crazy, strange, and indescribable past two weeks it has been. I mean, really- I have done my very best to put into words the experiences and feelings I have been having recently, and I know that I haven’t even come close to doing it justice. I have added at least five or six unpublishable posts to my “drafts” folder here, mostly because they sound like the ramblings of a mad woman.

Finally, it occurred to me, in the midst of my utter frustration yesterday, when failing again to convey what it is I am trying to share with you all…maybe I’m not really supposed to. Maybe parts of this experience are meant just for me, and the reason I can’t outline them adequately is because that’s not what this is for. Perhaps, sometime down the road, if and when I have integrated some of what I’ve been shown into my life and seen some change because of it, then I will be able to. Maybe I never will. Either thing is okay.

What I can share for sure is this- life does not end at death. We go on. Where we go after is a bit of a mystery, but who we are, our souls, continue. And while that is fascinating and wonderful, and such a relief…the fact remains that I am experiencing THIS life in THIS body as THIS person currently known as Courtney. So, where do I go next?

Well, one of the things I know for sure is that I must do my very best to fill this life with as much joy and love and fun as I can. This sounds like it should be easy, right? But I have all these bad habits and barriers I’ve built up over time…ideas about who I am that need to be dealt with. It will not be an overnight process, but at least I can see the next few steps I need to take. That’s really all we ever need to see- the next few steps.

Today, I am going to try very hard not to judge myself for where I am at right now. I am where I am, and there’s no point in being mad about it or bothering with regret. I am going to clean out my fridge and fill it back up with healthy foods- I know this sounds trivial, but nourishing this body I’ve been given seems important to me. I’m going to take my daughter and my dog for a walk on the beach. I’m going to leave my phone in the car. I’m going to invest myself fully in the present moment, and try very hard to not think about tomorrow or yesterday.

Knowing that our souls are eternal does not diminish the fact that all that truly matters in this lifetime is right now, right where we are. Everything else can be dealt with in its time.

So, here’s to living in the moment. Let tomorrow be dealt with when it gets here.

Posted in adventure, anxiety, faith, happiness, inner peace, Life, love, meditation, Mental Health, Musings, People, spirit, spirituality

Turning Toward the Pain

If you have been following along on this scribbled down leg of my life’s journey with me, then you know that I have been through some STUFF. Since I started this relationship with WordPress years ago, I have shared my stories of addiction, recovery, relapse, and more recently, my exit from recovery. I have talked about guilt, shame, parenting fails, anxiety, depression, and probably a trillion other things I couldn’t possibly remember right now. I have talked about God, about my spiritual life, about my desire to evolve, be better, do better. I write a lot about the times I get up, and I probably write a lot more about the times when I feel knocked down. These are the things I need to speak from my heart more urgently. These are the things I feel called to share.

If you have ever thought “Man, this poor girl can’t catch a break- it’s always something!” I want to be clear that there are always times when I could choose to take a time-out. There are probably months worth of posts where I have been gliding along, feeling peaceful, overflowing with gratitude. But it is my nature to seek. I feel in my soul the urge to grow and change and untangle the knots of who I am. It is inherently part of what makes me me.

This latest little series of posts is no different- although, of course, it is different than anything else I have been through. It’s just a new set of interesting things I am sorting through and figuring out. I am not lost, I am not in over my head, I am not losing my hold on reality. I do not need to be fixed. I am not broken. To the contrary, I am strong, resilient, capable, and independent to a fault.

On that note, I want to tell you that it is entirely possible to be strong, resilient, capable and independent, and still be a walking vessel for fear. I am still afraid, all the time, about things I can’t control. Most, if not all, of them are made up scenarios in my head that I dream up to torture myself. Why do I do this? I couldn’t say. Perhaps I spend too much time alone and have a bit too much going on in the imagination department. If my life were a TV show,  the scenes unfolding in my head would be hilarious. Unfortunately, this is real life, and they aren’t funny in the moment.

I am going through a little phase of this right now. My anxiety is flaring up, my imagination is firing on all cylinders, and the fear is revving its engine, just waiting to tear off down the track, dragging me behind it. And you know what? WHATEVER.

That’s the word I’ve chosen to deal with all of it. WHATEVER. Okay, brain, fine, do your worst. I’m just gonna hang on and let this thing play itself out. I can survive it. I’ve done it a million times before. I have done therapy, read books, reasoned with myself, tried distraction, prayer, meditation…you name it. So, fine. If I insist on continuing this way, then whatever. I accept it.

No, you know what? I more than accept it. This feeling in the pit of my stomach, the harbinger of nerves to come? I embrace it. This feeling comes from a place of deep, if misguided, love. And how lucky am I to love so much that sometimes it hurts me? I wish that my relationship with love didn’t hold so much fear, but right now it does, and while I am working on a solution, I want to take a moment to acknowledge how brave my spirit must be…to be so afraid, and still be able to love the way I do. At least when it comes to my children, I am an open channel of never-ending love, and it is terrifying, but it is also the best, most beautiful part of my life.

So today, rather than admonish myself for my inconvenient feelings, I am going to turn towards them. Turn towards the pain and the fear, and say “I see you. I get it. I understand why you keep showing up.” Maybe I just need to learn to sit with it, instead of always running away. Show my fear, and the pain it causes, some tenderness and understanding, because it’s a part of me, and it comes from a place in me that is hurting. I am not broken. But there are depths I have not explored and places inside that I keep locked away, even from myself. I’m getting closer, all the time, to letting the light in.

I think it’s pretty human to want to get away from things that don’t feel good. Whether it’s a bad pair of shoes, or feelings that make us uneasy or cause us distress- pain, fear, worry, jealousy, anger, sadness. We always want the sunny ones, but the darker ones we feel the need to change, resolve, hide, analyze, fix. But there is value in the painful stuff. There’s a reason, and there’s growth there…painful feelings are trying to tell us something we need to hear. Sometimes it’s just hard to listen because we can’t be still with them. I’m going to try really hard to listen this time.

Feeling less than okay is okay. Today I give myself permission to feel my feelings without judging them or trying to change them, with no expectation of a different outcome. I just want to see how it feels to do something different. I want to see where this path leads.

Posted in adventure, happiness, inner peace, Learning, Life, manifestation, Musings, People, spirit, spirituality, Uncategorized

Two Days Later

It’s been two days since my regression, and…I thought it was all over with. Cool experience, some doubting that experience, gleaned some interesting insights, obviously cannot stop thinking about it.

But life goes on right? Went back to work yesterday, had the longest, most painfully awful day…I couldn’t tell you why it felt that way if I tried, but I felt that I was genuinely suffering. Forced myself to run some errands last night, battled with myself the whole way through. Made a nice dinner for Cam and I, stressing throughout the process. Sat down feeling resentful and unappreciated and…just mad. Woke up this morning, rushed through our routine feeling like a frazzled drill sergeant-‘why is she so slow?!’ ‘why does she pull this crap every day?’ ‘I’m so SICK of this shit!’- Basically my internal monologue. Pleasant, right?

I’m honestly in tears right now, writing this out. Because it hit me, like a two-ton weight just now, that I AM DOING IT AGAIN. Just like HER. Petulant, spoiled, determined to grouse and complain and never, ever feel like anything is good enough. I know how crazy this whole thing sounds- I mean, it has to, right? But it feels so, so important and real and obvious to me right now. The clarity with which I am suddenly seeing the parallels…well, I guess I couldn’t have possibly seen them prior to the regression, of course, but seeing it now…wow.

I know I struggle with gratitude. I connect with it at times, but other times- long, bleak stretches of time- I can’t get there. I have an incredible life. I’m not even going to go into all the ways that it is so good, because I don’t want to get bogged down in making a list that I’ve made a hundred times before. It doesn’t even matter. What matters is that I know it, and that I feel it, and that I realize what a goddamn miracle I am. I stacked the odds against myself right out of the gate- I did everything I could do to make my life hard, and I fought myself- not anyone else, ME- to get back on track again.

I have been on the receiving end of more chances, more forgiveness, more blessings and grace and luck than anyone will ever know. I don’t know why, I have no answer for that. But I know that it is true. So how in the HELL am I still sitting here, complaining? Feeling mad? Hating my job that has given me a life I could not have dreamed up because my mind wasn’t capable of thinking that abundantly. Stomping my way through Target on my strong, capable, healthy legs, mad that my beautiful, curious, funny child won’t stop bothering me. Upset because…because why? Just what is it that I want? What is it that is wrong?

I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that. Probably because there isn’t one. There is not one good reason for me to be anything other than content. And right now I am feeling really ashamed of myself. Or maybe that’s not right, either. I think I just feel sad for myself. That I let myself wind up here. After seeing that other life…another blessed woman, another person who couldn’t be pleased. I know how that story ended. I don’t want this story to go that way.

My buddy Cinamon sent me a text last night, after reading my last post. She wanted to know if I thought my life would change now that I had seen what I’d seen. My immediate reaction was “NO.” I didn’t say that, but it’s what I thought. “I don’t need to change, I can’t change, why would I change?” were the defensive, knee-jerk reaction answers that bubbled up. But it isn’t true. I can change, and I HAVE to change, or my life will be sour and empty and sad. I am sure this sounds super melodramatic, but I promise you, it is the truth. You know me here, what I write, what I choose to share. Or even if we are friends in real life, there’s a good chance you have very little idea what my inner life is like. I have made a hobby of dissatisfaction, and I’m so…difficult. Even with myself. The closer you are to me, the more you know I speak the truth. And it’s such a waste of time. It’s so dumb.

I have no idea how to stop being this way. I am pretty sure it’s not just going to go away without a bit of a struggle. But I can’t unsee what my soul chose to show me, and I can’t un-know the truths that are being revealed. I asked for this, I prayed for it, even. It was given to me for a reason…so that maybe I could have a chance to do better this time around. I sure didn’t expect for all of this to come up, but here it is. I guess I have some work to do.

That regression opened up something that wants to stay open. It’s not scary or anything, but it’s pretty fucking real.  Thoughts are popping into my head that are not the kinds of things I normally think…it’s like, my voice, but instructions: “Just do everything with love. Whatever it is, do it with love.” That’s a pretty good one. There are others, but I’ll wait. This is already a lot. If you made it through all this, bless you. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but I’ll definitely be sharing whatever it is.

Posted in adventure, inner peace, Life, meditation, Musings, People, relationships, spirituality

My Past Life Regression

It has now been about three hours since my regression, and it was recommended to me to write out the details, as I could probably remember far more than I was able to describe to Ann, the woman I went to for this experience. I’d like to mention that she is also an LMFT and has many years experience doing this…it wasn’t some roadside shack I went to, LOL!

You guys will have to forgive me if this isn’t as well thought out as I might normally write, but I have a ton of information in my brain wanting to come out, so bear with me.

The first thing you should know is that I have ALWAYS been interested in having a regression, and I have ALWAYS believed in reincarnation- even before I knew what that was, exactly. I was one of those creepy kids who could remember several of my past lives as a child, and it was natural as could be for me- I joke when I say “creepy kids” because I know for a fact there is nothing creepy about it in the slightest for the kid who is remembering. It’s as natural as picturing your bedroom when you are away from home, or your mother’s face when you are at school- just normal. Frustrating, though, when no one remembers what you are talking about except you- not even the people you know were there with you, albeit with different bodies than they have in this life. As a kid, you don’t question that odd fact, again, it just is what it is.

But I finally decided to seek out regression for myself in hopes of dealing with an issue that has been plaguing me in this lifetime. For whatever reason, when both of my daughters turned six, in their respective times, I developed a crippling, horrible anxiety about something terrible happening to them. Every illness, in my mind, was something terrible. Every moment they were out of my sight was torture. I was positive, deep in my heart, that some terrible fate was about to befall them. This lasted until my older daughter was 13, and then, poof! It was gone. Then my little one hit six, and it started all over again.

I found Ann Barham online, after doing a little research with Google. I was thrilled to find out she was only half an hour away from me, and even more excited when I realized I could just book an appointment with her simply because I wanted to. It wasn’t out of control expensive, there wasn’t a year long wait…I couldn’t believe it. I went ahead and read her book “The Past Life Perspective” prior to seeing her, and it was very interesting and informative…I highly recommend checking it out if you are so inclined. I told her, via email, what my issue was, and she agreed it was worth looking into.

Which leads me to today. You guys, I was so excited for days preceding this appointment. I was thrilled this morning. Then, as the time got closer, I started to get scared. What if it didn’t work on me? What if I couldn’t be hypnotized? I am, after all, a mega control freak (nifty side effect of my anxiety) so this wasn’t totally an unreasonable worry. I got to her home office thirty minutes early, and sat outside in my car, trying to get a hold of myself.

At 9:55 exactly, I rang her bell. She came out, brought me inside, and we chatted a bit while I filled out some paperwork. She explained the process to me, let me pick out a blankie (seriously) and had me get comfy on this awesome chaise lounge, and then it began. If you’ve ever done any guided meditation, that’s what the whole beginning process is like. There were plenty of moments when my panicked brain kept going “This isn’t working!”, but then I would focus back on her voice and find myself lulled again.

Finally, it was my turn…I’m going to be 1000% honest here and tell you that I really wondered at first if I was making it all up. She asked me to look at my feet, and I clearly saw pointy black leather boots on a pair of very dainty feet. They had hook and eye buttons, and they were standing in a dusty road. I was wearing a dress with many petticoats, a fitted bodice, and eyelet-looking sleeves. I could see my own face, with delicate features and curly blonde hair pulled up. I also had a hat on, though I didn’t mention that at the time.

So there I was, on that dusty road, and I was mad. I was mad because I’d married a man I thought I loved and followed him across the country from a life where I was very privileged, to a town where there was nothing. Here’s the thing to know about this lifetime as this woman- she was spoiled and petulant. I kept getting the impression of her stamping her foot, sulking and pouting like a child. When asked where they were, I immediately thought of Arizona, but also New Mexico, so…I just looked it up, and oddly enough, Arizona was called New Mexico Territory until 1863. That was a really cursory bit of research, so don’t quote me on that. Oh, I should mention that when asked the year, I thought 1860. So that kind of fits, sort of.

Ann asked me about my husband at that time, and I said that he was pleasant and really a happy guy, and that he didn’t respond much to my fits, which made me furious (this girl sounds like a peach, doesn’t she?). She asked me to look at him and see if he was anyone from my current life time, and I was shocked to feel sure that he was my little daughter, Camryn, now.  I wasn’t destined to stay long in that place, however. My husband died relatively soon after and I went home to the East Coast, back to my family.

I could see my family home very clearly, but it was like I was looking through the window in at the people inside. The only person I could see clearly was my father, who was a jolly, portly man who indulged me way too much. I was the apple of his eye. I sensed my mother there as well, but could not see her clearly. The house was of a well-to-do family, with a big window looking into the sitting room. There was a fire in the grate and art on the walls. I had pretty much everything I could have wanted, but I was not a happy or grateful person. When I returned home, I got the sense that I did not mourn my husband at all, but talked a lot about what I had been through.

Finally, we moved forward to a time when I met another man, a very tall man named James. We went on to marry, although I was considered a little old by then- I feel like I was maybe 27, definitely no more than 30. We had two children together, a girl and then a boy.  I felt that, with the birth of my children, I was a whole person for the first time in my life. I had a purpose outside of myself. I had a very clear picture of sitting on a chair in my bedroom with my small daughter, perhaps four or five, standing right in front of me, and the baby boy on my knee. I felt truly happy for the first time ever.

Of course, we needed to see why this life was the one I’d chosen to view, so she asked me to move forward to the next important event in this life. Sadly, it was a terrible one. My son had died, I believe from a fall where he struck his head very hard. I had been caring for him at the time, and I blamed myself. My husband also blamed me, or at least I thought he did. My daughter, who was six by this time, suddenly became my sole focus in that life…keeping her safe, while simultaneously keeping her at arms length, because I was terrified of losing her as well.

Now, I should mention again that I really wondered if I was making this all up right up to the time when my son died…that’s when I started bawling. To be honest with you, I cried the rest of the time, because I could see so clearly how broken-hearted that woman was, and how misguided her efforts were afterwards…the way her daughter felt so obligated to tread carefully with her mother’s fragility, how bound she felt to her, and how much she resented her at the same time.

I cried because I could see what a wonderful life it might have been, but I chose to close my heart and build up walls around it, to keep myself safe. I tried to control every move my daughter made to keep her safe. In the end, she married and left home, and for her it was probably a relief, but I went on to knock around in my beautiful home, with no real relationships to speak of. I was lonely and empty, and it was in some way by design.

There was a lot more stuff after that, but the overall message I received was that choosing not to love because you are afraid of being hurt does not make your life easier, it makes it hard and sad and lonely. Hiding behind walls keeps you separate. You cannot prevent or prepare for everything by trying to control it. Life unfolds the way it unfolds. You just have to relax, and step out from behind those walls, knowing that you do not need to do a single thing to deserve to be loved, and that it is safe to give love. It’s really the only thing that makes life worth living, honestly.

So, here’s the deal- was it real? I mean…the feelings I felt were absolutely real. I’m not much of a crier, and I honestly couldn’t stop the tears. And it was so strange…when we got to the part about the little boy dying, I thought “oh, that must be it!” but my mind immediately knew it had much more to do with how I treated the girl after he died. His death was awful, but the impact of it on my life and on hers was what was important for me to see.

So…I have no reason to believe it was just made up. I wasn’t famous or fancy or even pleasant, to be honest. I was a sad woman with a life I would never want for myself. And it was not at all what I thought I’d see- soooo completely different than anything I expected. I learned some important things in those two hours, more than I have even shared here. I think it was real. What do you think?