spirit comes in feathers

A few nights ago, I got a text message from Brad, my friend Brenda Baker’s son. If you don’t know her or if you’ve not read of her here before, Brenda is my dear friend who died of bile duct cancer on May 9 of this year. She’s been very much present ever since, so when Brad said, “I have an interesting bird story if you have time,” how could I refuse? I called him up.

The interesting story he wanted to share was really pretty crazy, yet his voice sounded light and happy. Brad was sitting in the office in the front of his house ~ which used to be Brenda’s house ~ the night of Thanksgiving. It was nearing midnight and he was doing something online with lights off and the blinds closed. Suddenly, *POW!* something hit the window, hard, just a foot or two away from where Brad was sitting. It was startling, to put it mildly. The house sits at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac. Having spent months and months in the front bedroom of that house in the last year of Brenda’s illness, I can attest to the fact that after 7 or 8 pm, 50th Drive is a ghost town

Being a young man and smart, Brad thought it best to investigate, but first he picked up a pistol just in case. What, after all, would be banging on the window on a quiet street at midnight? Brad opened the front door a few inches, peeked out, and was instantly overwhelmed by the onslaught of heavy feathered body and wildly flapping wings. A “really big” bird hurtled through the few inches of opening and shot into the house.

A bird in the house is a long-time nightmare of mine and Brad was just as unenthused as I’d have been. He was stunned to see the big thing flying erratically around the great room, finally coming to rest on the far wall, where it clung to the smooth stucco before slipping down behind the television. Brad couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing, so he rushed to look and, yes indeed, there were dark little bird eyes shining up at him in the dim light.

Though I don’t want one in the house, I am an avid bird person and I had to know what kind of avian critter would exhibit such odd behavior. There are mourning doves by the hundreds in Brenda’s neighborhood but they rarely fly at night. The two most common nightflying birds, owls and bats, are easy to identify and Brad knew it wasn’t one of those. As I quizzed him about the bird’s appearance, he just repeated, “it was big, really big.”

And so commenced the extraction, with Brad thinking all the while, “Mom, really? Did you do this??” As a show of “I’m here!” it’s funny, extraordinary, and it fits with two other instances in which Brenda has sent somewhat irritating or alarming messages to her son. In each of those cases she later confirmed to our friends who are mediums that she did indeed make the lights dim in the kitchen (no, son, you don’t need an electrical overhaul. I just dropped in to say hi!) and sure enough popped the bathroom lightbulb off its base as cleanly as if it had been cut (ta-dah!).

Why would someone in spirit send a sign like this? It’s not every day a big bird knocks on the window, then rushes the front door the instant it’s opened. In Brad’s case, I wondered if it took that to get his attention. He wants to believe his mom’s with him. He feels her at times. But the random penny or butterfly or rainbow isn’t enough for him. Enter the big personality of Brenda on her cherished son’s first Thanksgiving without her, and the dramatic, wildly flapping evidence of “I am really here, son!” If she was trying to get his attention, it worked.

As soon as I heard this story, I recalled the experiences of two gifted mediums, Suzanne Giesemann and Susanne Wilson, both of whom work with Dr. Gary Schwartz, a prominent afterlife researcher at the University of Arizona. On two separate days, before they knew one another, both of these tested, highly evidential mediums received messages describing how spirit is able to use creatures in the natural world to get our attention.

No, that’s not your mother sprouting feathers and beak, hurling herself at the window and flapping through the front door. But it is your mother (your child, husband, sibling, beloved friend, all of our loved ones in spirit) using the creature to connect with you. The spirits told each of the Sus/zannes, on two separate days, we control the birds with their permission. It’s kind of like remote control. And the birds think it’s fun! (You can read more of that here, in Susanne Wilson’s book, Soul Smart, page 83.)

This blending of consciousness sounds like madness if we’re thinking that, as humans, we’re a cut above the average feathered creature. But the truth is, we are the creature and the creature is us. I am you, you are me, we are all The Divine, in its many incarnations, and knowing that ~ really knowing it, gut-and-heart level ~ is to know with certainty that there is no death, no separation, and thus no permanent loss of love.

How does it work for Brenda to take over a bird and send a message to Brad? The quantum physicists would suggest it’s a matter of intention. Brad’s grieving, Brenda knows it, and the wish to comfort him manifests in feathers and raps sharply at the window. Message delivered and, in this case, received.

There’s one mind, one energy of love in the entirety of what we think of as the universe and beyond. It is infinite, everywhere present in all things, always. Separation is not possible except in our humanness. It’s why our minds can be trained to get out of the way so the consciousness of a living being can connect with the consciousness of one we think of as dead. Mediumship is simply expanding consciousness beyond what we think is real ~ these human suits we wear, our busy little brains ~ and joining with all that is.

So oneness, consciousness, whatever. It sounds nice in theory, but can we trust it? Since Brenda departed in May, her friends and loved ones have been getting signs from her and having those messages regularly confirmed by Brenda with evidence that she was behind them. Though I was sure that this crazy bird was sent by my friend, I wanted certainty, so I texted Suzanne. She’s the most skilled medium I know and she connects with Brenda regularly. “When you get a chance, Brad had a really bizarre encounter with a bird. I think it was Brenda but maybe you could ask? I’ll tell you the details after.”

That wasn’t the time for a confirmation. Nothing came through from Brenda. I told Brad to trust his gut and I was, for once, trusting mine too. That was my message in this, when you know, you know. I knew without doubt it was her. And then today, an email from Suzanne. Brenda turned up to affirm that she did indeed send that bird.

Suzanne said, “She had me laughing out loud as she took credit for the bird and showed me the remote control.  She acted silly and apologized for just getting the hang of it … She showed me it was as if her guidance of the remote control had gone a little crazy and the poor bird ended up behind the television.  All the while Brenda is loving that it’s working, but a bit freaked out that the bird has crash-landed behind the TV.”

This made me laugh out loud, because Brenda and I used to talk about the birds and the concept of directing them by remote. We’d mimic holding remote controls in our hands, driving birds into walls, windows, cars. Oops! It was a source of much hilarity in the year before she became ill. That she was having trouble getting the hang of it also echoes a statement she made a day or two after she quit breathing. Though a student of mediumship in life, she found communicating from the other side a bit of a strain. “It’s as hard to learn communication here as mediumship was over there.” Clearly she’s mastered it now, but this new thing of driving birds? She hasn’t exactly nailed it. Not so far.

And yet the love that flew through that door was felt. I heard a tone in Brad’s voice that I’ve not heard since before Brenda got sick. It makes me weepy to think about it now. There is such a gift in knowing our loved ones continue. It doesn’t entirely remove the pain of loss, but it helps. It’s a promise. “I’m still right here, still with you.” That sound ~ of hope, of coming to believe that she’s not truly gone ~ I’ll hear that tone in his voice forever. It resonates deep in my soul. It’s the sound of love and trust, of a broken heart beginning to mend.

We are so very deeply loved. That will sound like a cliche until we actually get it, way down deep. And usually, when that happens, the very thought makes the heart swell and the eyes get teary. The love that is Everything revels in the wonder and beauty of all of us. We are constructed of that Love and we ~  you, me, all of us, even that fat flapping bird ~ are the direct result of Love expressing itself with so much joy it can’t be contained. It’s a wonderful, mysterious, magical world. Trust that. Let it settle in. I hope your heart expands. I hope your eyes leak.

excitations of love

img_6436

What if the universe is a hologram? What if everything that now exists or ever did can be called into presence given sufficient attention? According to the physicists, attention affects our reality. We’ve all experienced this to one degree or another. Buy a hot pink car because you’ve never seen one and suddenly they’re everywhere. That’s one small example.

But was given more meaningful example of this magic two years ago when I realized I didn’t know my maternal grandmother’s last name. I googled, then fell down one of those internet rabbit holes which are the curse of the curious. And suddenly there was a great grandfather I’d never heard of.

Hello grandpa Charles! It was quite a surprise to see a photo of this man standing next to my grandfather, a young face I recognized right away. Two days later I had a reading with the wonderful spiritual artist and medium, Valerie Kwietniak. In that reading, Valerie felt the presence of a male and with further discussion, it became clear that it was my great grandfather.

Let me say again: I knew nothing of him, yet there he was, showing up in a reading. Was he called into being by my attention? It seemed very strange.

About a year later, my friend Sandy Soulsister, another gifted medium, offered to do a Zoom reading for me to see if we could make contact with some of the more than two dozen children I’d cared for who’d been killed. In particular, two teenage boys, Rico and Adrian, had never left my heart or my thoughts though they’d been gone since their violent deaths in the early ’90s.

The reading was a great success. Both of my boys came forward with evidence, messages, and so much love. And then, nearing the end of our time together, there was an excitation — a swirl of energy — and suddenly bubbles and orbs and prisms and sparkles were everywhere. Sandy said, “Lynette! Are you blowing bubbles?” Shocked, I looked more closely at the screen and I could see them too.

What looked like bubbles were orbs which zoomed across the screen and ascended en masse in a curtain. Then there were prisms of light and tiny sparkles darting out of the bookcase behind my chair. At one point, my eyes were drawn to the space just past my screen — in my real life room — where one twisting prism flashed before me and was gone.

Were these excitations of the pure love that we are? The energy in that two minute light show felt like it. Were all of those little lights conjured up by the children I had cared for after their deaths and before, then sent to express love or possibly gratitude? That astonishing reading created as many questions as any I’ve ever had, but one thing was certain: the bonds of compassion and love and caring that connected me to those dead children years ago still exist.

My friend Brenda has said, “I am Brenda for you because that’s how you recognize me. But that’s not who I am.” When called upon by her many friends, the Awareness picks up that old suit of Brenda clothes (which carries with it the story of her life), shakes it out, steps inside, and voilà! Brenda is present once again for those who know and love her. She’ll be that for as long as we need her to be.

In fact, Brenda is and always will be present in her true form. There is only One of us in this universe, in all of existence. We are all aspects of that magnificence. All of us. As teacher and evidential medium Suzanne Giesemann has recently and beautifully described it, we are the effervescent bubbles of an irrepressible love. Pure joy, an exquisite love so divine it can’t be contained, and thus it creates, and in the creation — that excitation — we come into being.

She describes us as shiny little bubbles reflecting to those around us a story: dancing, playing, experiencing one another and ourselves in all of the aspects of our humanness. We’re living right now what we think of as real life, and while it is very, very real in this instant, in the end it appears to be little more than a lucid dream shared by those of us who still breathe. My Brenda’s first words: “I just woke up! They really are people suits.”

Someone else I know (a trustworthy, highly ethical medium) who’s channeled Jesus was told by that presence, “you know me as the Nazarene so that is how I come to you. But that is not who I am now.” What? How could Jesus not be Jesus anymore???

But truly, how could any of our loved ones disappear? It’s a constant fear of grieving people. What if they won’t come to me, my dear ones? What if they’re gone forever?
Many grief stricken people have found comfort in the book, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, in which Annie Kagan describes how she learned to connect with her bad boy brother in marathon meditation sessions. But quite a number of those same folk are driven to throw it across the room when, as the story unfolds, Billy’s presence begins fading as he reunites with Source. (Spoiler alert: he returns, rising out of the holographic ether. It’s a great book.)

I read it that way too the first time. It was as if Billy were being wiped out, erased. In reading those words, I was wrecked to think that Mike, my soulmate, the love of my life, could disappear. In fact, in being absorbed by the Universe, Billy was being revealed for what he really is: That, the One, All That Is, Awareness.
You are that. Me too. We all are.

Billy didn’t disappear. He dropped the charade that he was Billy. Yet those we love in spirit will always show up for us in the way that we know them. Eventually, when there’s no one left in this dream who remembers that particular excitation of love, maybe that energetic wrinkle of the universe is ironed out. Maybe it’s a kind of cosmic housekeeping. Imagine if all of the thought-bubble-energies of every living thing which had ever existed were still actively vibrating? It could get awfully busy and cluttered.

And yet, as evidenced by my great grandfather, and by those nearly two dozen dead children called forth by Sandy, by Brenda’s wisdom and the words of the Nazarene, and by Annie Kagan’s brother, Billy Fingers, once the thought or the request is sent out into the ether, the energy of it calls upon the One to don that old suit of clothes, that story, and make an appearance. Thus there’s Brenda. There’s Mike. The great grandfather I’d never even heard of. There are all of the stories we know in this time and place of our lives present once again.

There’s such comfort in this certainty: they will always be available when the stories of us need the stories of them to keep moving forward, to heal from grief, to feel the love again of those we’ve lost.

The universe is a hologram. It’s all there, ready and waiting for a spark of energy — a thought — to create; for some aspect of the One to shine forth. We’ll all go Home one day, dropping our costumes, waking up from the dream, and then we’ll finally see our Self as the blindingly beautiful One that we are.

You are blindingly beautiful right now. This instant. I see you. I hope you see you too.

With love, Lynette

*And here’s a little magic with this post: I’d started half a dozen pieces and nothing seemed right coming on the heels of the grand Emergence2018 conference in Salt Lake City. I have been thinking about this disappearing thing ever since seeing the movie Coco. There is such a lesson in that film but it’s always seemed a little backward: disappearing after we die is a very good thing, not the sad event depicted in Coco. Having coffee with friends Monday afternoon, I looked up to see this in the window. Question answered: write about (never) disappearing. Write that all is always well. Because it is.

img_6425

I see you, beautiful light

Over the two days my friend Brenda was dying, three times she looked at me with eyes which were not hers. There was something huge in them. It was a vision of the greater Brenda: it was rich and velvety, with a fathomless depth that was riveting. That immense presence, the real Brenda momentarily revealed, was fully aware and alive even as her body was letting go. In her eyes, I could see the truth of what had been living out the Brenda story for the 64 years she experienced this world. I could feel — for an instant — the astonishing love of which she was made.

The first time I saw eyes like that was a week before my husband died. Coming out of a coma in ICU, Mike looked up and over my shoulder as I leaned over his bed in the middle of the night. Sounding very disappointed, he said, “oh honey, the door just closed. And Pat was here. Where did he go?” Mike’s brother Pat had died by suicide at Christmas thirteen years before. Where did Pat go? He went back to his real life, back through that door which briefly connected the two worlds, closing it behind him. “The door just closed.”

It was only a few days later, while still in the hospital, that Mike looked at me over breakfast and matter of factly said, “I’m going to die.” I suspect his brother had given him that news the night of his visit. “Hey bro. You’re coming with us. Not right now, but soon.” Mike never talked about dying, not ever. When he looked at me after this shocking pronouncement, he had those eyes. I saw the being beyond the Mike suit, the vastness of who he really was inside the husband costume he wore in life. Those eyes told me it was true and it broke my heart. Five days later, he was gone.

Christmas of 2012, a few days before my father’s death, I was leaving his room at the nursing home. Cursed with vascular dementia, daddy didn’t recognize me anymore. Yet as I bent over to say goodbye, he clearly said, “just a minute.” Then he turned his head, looked up to the corner of the room, held up his hand and said, “Stop talking! I am saying goodbye to Lynette. Come back in 30 minutes.” When he turned back to me, there it was in his eyes. The luminous presence of love and all-that-is-ness which I’d witnessed in Mike just three months before. I have no doubt he was communing with spirit in that instant. He’d scarcely been lucid for weeks and suddenly he was there, sounding like he always did. For a moment, his soul came to the fore and I really saw him. My sweet, loving father was revealed for the divine being he really was.

I once talked to a 17-year-old mother who had held her hand over her child’s mouth and nose until the two year old ceased to breathe. She then took a shower, dried her hair, applied makeup, and, after once again checking her daughter, ambled slowly to the neighbor’s house where she called 911. “My daughter stopped breathing. Can I get an ambulance?”

Aside from the chilling lack of emotion in this confession, what I remember most about that interview was her eyes. They were flat, impenetrable. The phrase “no one home” is apt. We might say she looked inhuman, but I suspect in that place and time she was aware of only her humanness with not an inkling of her soul’s presence within. Obviously there was a deep disturbance within her human being. It wasn’t the first time she had hurt her child, but this time she’d gone too far.

When my mother vanished just before Christmas in 1969, the FBI, OSBI, and our state newspapers publicized her disappearance using a photo taken a few months before. My sisters and I detested that picture. In it, her eyes looked dead and tortured. There was nothing of our loving, kind, vivacious mother in them. The photo perfectly captured her state of being as it was when she disappeared, though. Deeply depressed and bereft of hope, in that state of human suffering her eyes were those of a stranger. Unrecognizable.

As awakening people we are encouraged to live our lives somewhere in the wide open space between fully human and fully spirit. A good balance in that mix is the goal, though these days I prefer to inhabit the spirit side as much as I can. It feels so delicious, I can’t help it. Who wouldn’t want to live that way? But mostly, we want to experience both. I shout sailor words at a motorist who runs a red light, then my heart swells with love and I rescue an injured animal or extend my hand and my heart to someone who’s hurting. The human experience is exactly this: the endless rhythm of flowing from one state of being to the next, experiencing all of it, our beautiful souls and our beautiful, flawed human selves.

We were pure spirit before we came so we’ve got that down. Our humanness, though, that’s another story. And it’s that experience which drew us back here. Given the vicissitudes of this life, its agonies and traumas, the very idea we’d choose to come here seems ludicrous, but our souls make no distinction among experiences. In spirit terms, it’s all good, the joys as well as the sorrows.

My friend, the talented medium, Sandy Soulsister, gave me a reading when she was just beginning her studies. The connection with my mother was crystal clear and deeply healing. Among many other notable messages — stories for another day — Sandy remarked several times on my mother’s eyes. “They are sparkling, her eyes. They’re so alive. She’s really drawing my attention to them again and again.” And a few minutes later, “she’s bringing me back to her eyes again, there’s something really important there. Do you understand this?”

It was what mediums call a super hit, a bell ringer. At that point Sandy could not have known the trauma of that last image of my mother the three of us carried for over forty years. Like all skilled mediums, Sandy maintained a clear channel, relaying the message without knowing how meaningful and healing it truly was. In spirit, my mother was free of her human state. The eyes she showed us were sparklingly alive, showing the truth of her.

Absent our human facades, our souls shine brightly. My mother, freed of the Audrey story, was once again who she was, a splendid being of love and light. I glimpsed that same awe-inspiring presence in Brenda, in Mike, and in my father. Because there is one energy inhabiting the universe, I know that the 17 year old who murdered her daughter also shines brightly at the soul level. With her humanness turned up full blast, I couldn’t see her in that interview but the fabric of her construction is love, just like every other one of us. Once we slip out of our human suits, who we are can’t be denied. That troubled young woman’s soul is in there, waiting to sparkle, waiting to be revealed in all of its majesty.

We are all that magnificence. Our humanness wants retribution for the dreadful things that happen here. Our souls know that all is well. The guides of my spiritual teacher, Suzanne Giesemann, tell us that no one comes here with the intention of hurting another, and yet it happens. Our challenge is to remember that there is light within each of us, no matter how unlikely that may seem.

Look at the eyes. Shoot, look in a mirror at your own eyes right now. Keep looking. Hold that gaze, hold it … there. Do you see? Inside each of us — inside of me, inside of you — just barely hidden (and at times deeply hidden), there is the magnificence of All That Is. You are that. All of us, every living creature in existence and beyond is that. Me too. And I see you, beautiful light.

IMG_6156