*Disclaimer: This post discusses mediumship and spirituality outside of traditional Christianity. If you are offended, please stop reading now.*
Hey baby boy! It’s been a long time since I wrote to you. I started a few times, but for some reason the letters never quite took off. But I’ve recently had a few very life-altering revelations and experiences that I know you ordained and coordinated in perfect time, so I thought I’d get my thoughts about them into writing. Maybe someone else can benefit from reading them as much as I do from writing them.
A whole month of 2019 has already come and gone. January is often viewed as a new beginning, a fresh start, a clean slate. It was especially so for me this year. I found myself restless after a couple of months of struggle masquerading as “fine” and “good.” I was holding a lot of things inside, hanging on to worry and frustration like a life preserver in the ocean. I was tense and closed. I thought endlessly about the future. I brushed off my internal conflict, yet allowed it to become external conflict at the same time. This is how I found myself at the beginning of the year, in quite a state of struggle and conflict. Thankfully, you and God gave me some very welcome direction.
On an early January Tuesday, I had an amazing picnic with a good friend of mine who’s studying to become an herbalist. We sat under a beautiful oak tree in a beautiful park on a beautiful day. It was clear that she’s found her passion and her calling. She radiated positivity and fulfillment. She told me about how she’s learning that all plants have gifts to give us. She also told me about the powerful medicines she’s learning to make that harness those gifts and heal us in many different ways. She told me a very personal story of how she came to understand the protective, nurturing, and calming nature of oak trees and how that experience had brought peace and confirmation to many circumstances in her life, from understanding of self to marriage to parenting to career. I’ve known this amazing woman for a long time, but this version of my friend is the very best I’ve ever seen. She seems centered and balanced and whole. It was a blessing to spend my lunch with her and feel her peaceful vibrations and energy. As we left our lunch, she told me to find an oak tree and spend some quiet moments under its protective branches and just see what came from it. I have no doubts that this was an ordained meeting and that I was meant to hear my sweet friend’s words that day because of what happened next.
Two days later, on a cool Thursday night, I wasn’t thinking about sitting under any oak trees, but I did mention to Daddy that it would be a nice night to have a fire in our fire pit in the back yard. It was cool and clear and a couple of hours spent outside by the fire and listening to music seemed like exactly what the night called for. Dad agreed and built us a cheerful blaze. I got a blanket and chairs and settled in while he went inside to prep some dinner he’d decided to cook on the open flame. So there I was, by myself for a few moments beside our little fire pit….under our biggest oak tree. And it was there, under those huge protecting arms, that I had a both a life-changing moment of self-discovery and a confirmation of my path. Words probably won’t do it justice, but let me try to describe it.
In the space of an instant that also somehow felt like hours, I realized that my drive toward perfectionism (wherever it comes from, it’s been there for as long as I can remember) is the thing that makes me skew conversations and comments into criticism when they usually aren’t meant to be critical. Here’s a hypothetical example: Someone says, “Ew Charlie, you stink, you need a bath.” My perfectionism translates this to, “Ew Katie, you haven’t been taking care of your dog. He’s smelly and you do a bad job of being a dog mom.” Reading this in black and white, it seems absurd. And yet it’s how I’ve functioned for some 36 years. Sitting under the oak tree, I realized this connection between perfectionism and taking things personally. And that, sweet boy, was life changing. I know damn well I’m not perfect. I have never been. I will never be. What exactly am I striving for? An unattainable goal? There’s no point in that. All I can do is my best, and my best is good enough. It won’t be perfect. My dog will probably stink sometimes. And that’s okay. I have a sign on my quote wall that says, “Let whatever you do today be enough.” And since my OTE (Oak Tree Experience), it’s been much easier to not take things personally and to recognize that I can let go of perfectionism.
Following that glorious and freedom-giving moment of self clarity, I felt Spirit move through me in a powerful way. I felt a rush of emotion. A peace. A calm. A euphoria. Happiness and love and brightness and comfort and wellbeing rushed into and through me. In that moment, I knew two things for certain:
I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Everything is going to be okay.
It was as if a veil fell from my eyes. As though the fog lifted. There’s a lyric in the song “Better Place,” by Rachel Platten that says, “It feels like I’ve opened my eyes again, and the colors are golden and bright again…” and that’s the feeling I had and still have. I’m seeing my world and my life in a brand new light. And it’s. awesome.
Since my OTE, I’ve felt more open to learning things that can benefit me and help me grow. I’ve listened to quite a few books on CD while driving back and forth across the bridge for work. One is called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s worth the time spent listening or reading, but its basic idea is that our belief systems consist of agreements we make with ourselves. If we enter into an agreement about something, we believe it, and it therefore becomes part of our worldview. Here’s an example the author gives: A young child is singing loudly and incessantly. Her mother isn’t feeling well, and the volume of her little one’s singing is making her headache worse. She asks her to stop a few times, but the child persists. Finally, out of frustration, the mother snaps, “STOP SINGING, YOU HAVE AN UGLY VOICE!” Her daughter hears and believes these words, therefore entering into an agreement that she has an ugly voice and shouldn’t sing. She carries this agreement with her into her adulthood, always believing that she shouldn’t sing. Mr. Ruiz explains that our worldviews are made up of many such agreements based on the teachings of our parents, the influence of our peers, religion, schooling, media, our culture, and other societal rules. He also asserts that there are really only four agreements that we need in order to experience freedom in life. Those agreements are:
- Be impeccable with your word (Say what you mean. Be truthful. If you say you’ll do something, do it.).
- Don’t take anything personally (The words and actions of others come from them, and are not caused by you.).
- Don’t make assumptions (Always be sure you understand. Assuming is risky in all circumstances).
- Always do your best (There will be times when you aren’t impeccable with your word, or you take something personally, or you make an assumption. But if you always do your best with the agreements and with all things in life, you’ve done all you can do.)
*(indicates my interpretation)*
I’ve also listened to a few teachings from a Buddhist nun named Pema Chodron that have allowed me to understand that our emotions are simply raw energy. It is okay to feel them and abide in them, but by practicing meditation and other techniques, we can simply feel this energy, move through it, and let it go. We can avoid escalating it into arguments or tears or depression or addiction or anxiety or isolation or physical symptoms. Here’s a real life example: If someone says something to me that makes me feel hurt or angry or criticized (remember me talking about how my perfectionism often makes me feel criticized?), I can feel that energy, breathe into it and through it, and let it go. I don’t have to “bite the hook,” meaning I don’t have to raise my hackles, get defensive, shout, cry, withdraw, give the silent treatment, or any of the other reactions I might have to feeling that energy. I can simply feel it and move on.
I’m finding that the teachings of these two individuals fit together like a hand and glove. By using mindfulness and meditation to avoid escalating the raw energy of my feelings, I’ve also accomplished the four agreements. I did my best to avoid taking something personally and I’ve not made assumptions about what the other person might have meant by what they said. Then, I’m able to respond by being impeccable with my word and speaking the truth about how I feel without the dramatic intensification of my feelings that usually leads to the suffering of both parties. Hooray! Seems like a winning combination to me!
I also felt led to visit a local spiritual campus (church). I’m so thankful that God and you prompted me to go, because what I discovered was a place where I felt completely comfortable and welcomed, where others share my views, and where I can continue to grow and be nurtured.
Like I said before, 2019 has started off with a bang for me as far as my personal growth. I’ve been feeling such freedom and such a renewal of energy and lightness of spirit. I’m so thankful for that. The one day that I woke up and didn’t feel that change within my spirit happened last week on your birthday. I woke up crying. I felt myself in the shadow of the dark forest, not all the way in it, but just on the edge. I tried to work. I couldn’t. I tried to concentrate. I couldn’t. I tried to be happy. I couldn’t. It was just too overwhelming. So I called off of work and did things that brought me comfort. I looked at your pictures, I picked up your flowers, I listened to music, I went to the library, I drove around.
At some point during the day, I thumbed through the booklet of events I had brought home from my first visit to the church I mentioned. In the very back, I saw that the small bookstore on the campus was hosting a medium that very day. I’ve been to two group readings with other mediums. I didn’t get a message from you during those group readings (which was okay!), but I thought it would be comforting to hear from you on a day when I was feeling so sad and missing you so much. So I made an appointment for a 15 minute private reading for later that afternoon. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as it turned out, meeting Janie and hearing your message was exactly what I needed.
When it was my turn, Janie stepped out from her small, curtained area of the bookstore and immediately enfolded me in a warm, comforting hug. She looked right into my eyes and said, “I can tell you’re suffering today. Let’s go work on that.” We stepped into her “office” and she asked me what was going on with me that day. I explained that it was your birthday and that I was just feeling miserable. She asked me your name and how old you were when you left. Those were the only two pieces of information I gave her. This is what she told me:
I saw Carter come in with you today. He’s on your left side. He looks just like you! He has your eyes and your smile, and he’s telling me that he also has your personality (I can tell that how you’re feeling today isn’t your normal self). He’s telling me that he’s your mini-me! Carter was never meant to stay here for a long time. He was always meant to be here for a short period. He was actually supposed to cross over while you were pregnant, but he refused. He knew that you needed to be able to physically hold him. When he arrived, it was early and he was sick for a while. But he fought so hard to stay here because the two of you share such an incredible bond. He knows it was so hard that he had to leave. It was hard for him too, because of that incredible bond. He wants you to know that he came here to teach you things that you otherwise wouldn’t have learned. He wants you to know that he’s always with you. He hears you talking to him, and he talks back. He’s showing me that you have a small piece of countertop to the right of your kitchen sink. He sits here when you’re in the kitchen. He’s showing me that you have a desk, not in your bedroom, but in some other dedicated office space where you work. He sits on your desk, next to your cup when you’re working. At night, he sits at the end of your bed and touches your right foot to help you sleep. He knows that you hurt. But he wants you to let go of the pain. You’ve learned so many of the lessons he was sent to teach you, and now it’s time to set the pain free so that you can take those lessons into the full, abundant life that’s waiting for you. Carter will be with you forever, through all the generations that come from you and your husband. He will be the guardian angel to your family until the end of time. And when you cross over (which I see happening for you at age 92), he’ll be the one to welcome you home.
At the end of my time with Janie, she said, “Thank your boy for bringing you here today.”
Thank you, sweet baby. Those comforting words you passed to me through her uplifted me and brought me peace. I went home and Daddy, Shakhi, and I rode to our special place by the water to toss your flowers. We remembered the blessing of having you, reflected on the lessons you taught and continue to teach us, and marveled at just how far we’ve come since February 4, 2017.
Thanks to you, I’m able to look expectantly forward to the future with the blessed knowledge that
I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
And everything is gonna be okay.
And that, my precious son, is all I need to know. I kiss you, my mini-me.
Love you forever,