Sunday, February 28, 2010

A season and a reason - part 2

This is a continuation of my last post, so if you're just joining in, it might make more sense to you if you read my previous post before beginning this one...

At first my relationship with Celia was stilted and uncomfortable. I'd visit and we'd just kind of sit there unless the weather was good and I could take her in a wheelchair around the grounds. She shared her room with a lady named Mary. Mary had a close family and lots of visitors and it wasn't long before Celia got a little jealous of all the attention Mary was receiving. My visits became important to Celia and if Mary tried to chat with me when I arrived, Celia made it very clear who's visitor I was!

Over time I learned that Celia had lost her left eye to cancer and that the bandages on her right leg helped support a bone that had never healed properly - the result of one of her many beatings. Still, she talked incessantly about her husband, Bert, and how she missed him. " 'E never come to see me!" she'd wail in her deep French accent, her heart clearly broken. I asked her about the abuse she had suffered at his hands all those years, but she simply shrugged and explained that while she worked as a waitress in a greasy diner, he laboured on the fishing boats and was gone for weeks at time. When he got home, they liked to drink and fight and many times she had deliberately provoked him. They had no children and she had never complained about their lifestyle - it was Social Services that took her away and hid her from him, she hadn't wanted to go.

I really couldn't argue with her or tell her she was wrong. It was her life, her plan and now here she was, spending her final days alone with a stranger who had been foisted upon her. I spoke to the volunteer coordinator about Celia's loneliness, but only Social Services could authorize permission for Celia's husband to visit.

By now I had settled into a new routine at home, started a full time job and my sister Deb had moved into my spare room to help out with my 2 girls while my husband was away at sea. I fell into visiting Celia twice most weeks. Sometimes I'd bring my sister along and we'd pop in on our way out shopping, but I'd usually come by on Sunday afternoon for an hour or so and always at 7:00 on Thursday nights to watch The Littlest Hobo with her (this was a half hour show about a German Shepherd that wandered into people's lives making a difference and moving on. At the time, I didn't see the connection to my relationship with Celia). Celia loved that show and that German Shepherd dog. "That's some smart dog!" she'd exclaim in her thick French accent, "I just love that leetle Hobo!"

One Sunday afternoon when I walked into Celia and Mary's room, I was surprised to see an elderly man sitting in the chair next to Celia's bed, holding tightly to her hand. Celia happily introduced me to her husband, Bert, a frail little man in a threadbare suit. He had finally found her, she gushed, and his nephew had brought him to visit. As long as he behaved, he had permission to see her every Sunday. My feelings about Celia and Bert's life together were unimportant - it wasn't for me to judge. I was simply happy that they were reunited, if that's what she wanted. Now my visits fell to only once a week, our regular Thursday night date with "Leetle Hobo".

Christmas came and I brought Celia a card and a gift. She opened the package and held tightly to the bangle bracelet, so happy to have it, but a little embarrassed that she had nothing for me. I kissed her forehead and assured her it was fine, but I thought at the time she was looking pale. I gave Mary my phone number and told her to call me if Celia should need anything.

Just a few nights later my phone rang and it was Mary. Celia had become ill and the amublance had come and taken her to the hospital. I thanked Mary for calling and made plans to stop at the hospital on my way home from work the very next night.

To be continued....

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A season and a reason - part 1

There is a saying out there that people who come into your life for a season always do so for a reason. Sometimes the reason is obvious right away, sometimes it takes years to understand. My next couple of posts are dedicated to a small white haired lady named Celia, who I only knew for a season...

In 1988 my military husband was posted to a new city, so we pulled up roots and moved on down the road. I was a stay-at-home mom and with my youngest child heading off to her first year of school, I found myself with time on my hands. Just up the hill from our new house was a large seniors complex (at that time we called them nursing homes) and I decided that since it was so handy, I'd see if they could use a volunteer. I thought maybe I could help them with some of the little events they organized for the residents, you know, birthday parties, sing alongs, bingo nights.

I made an appointment and met with the volunteer coordinator. She told me that they did need volunteers, but that she had something quite different in mind for me than just helping with birthday parties. She explaned that a few days earlier, Social Services had removed an elderly woman from an abusive situation and brought her in for protection. She had been discovered living in squalor in a run down tenament house, battered and bruised from beatings admistered by her husband of 40 years. The woman had no one - no children, no siblings, no family, other than the abusive husband and she was lonely and afraid. Would I consider being her special friend?

This was way outside my comfort level. I hesitated and explained that I thought it was just too much to commit to - not at all what I had been thinking of when I offered my services. The volunteer coordinator sighed, "we really need someone", she said, "someone who's not associated with another resident here and has extra time for a very special person. Would you consider just stopping in to meet her before you make your final decision?" Feeling a little trapped, I reluctantly agreed.

Somewhat apprehensively, I walked into Celia's room. She was a tiny little lady with snow white hair cut just above her shoulders. What struck me right away was the large patch of white gauze taped across her left cheek completely covering her eye. She was dwarfed by the big recliner she sat in, both legs elevated, but the right one wrapped in bandaging. I could see fear and confusion in the one bright eye that assessed me when the volunteer coordinator introduced us. "I don't want to be here," Celia told me in no uncertain terms. I was surprised by the heavy French accent and wondered absently where she was originally from. "When can I go back to Clyde Street?" she demanded.

The volunteer coordinator sat down so she could speak to Celia at eye level and took the older lady's hand. "You have to stay here for a while, Celia. Beverly has come to visit you today, you're not alone" With that, the coordinator stood and left the room, leaving me to sink or swim. Always able to take control of an unconformatable situation and put people at ease, I opened our conversation by commenting on her French accent and asking her where she was from. Celia was hesitant and sometimes combative, but we managed to chat for 15 minutes or so.

The volunteer coordinator was waiting when I came into the hallway. "Well?" she asked.

"Ok," I said, not at all sure why I was doing this, "I'll try it".

To be continued....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Affinity for times and events

In addition to the affinity for certain buildings that may appear often in your dreams, you'll also find yourself very drawn to some historical times or events, but be totally disinterested in others. You may also bring little idiosyncrasies into this life from times past. For instance I'm deathly afraid of bears to the point that I can't take a walk in a park or woodland without checking constantly for places to escape should a bear suddenly appear. I literally worry about bears the entire time I'm in the woods, even if it's a city park. I believe this to be tied to a past life dream I experienced in which I was killed by a bear (see November 1, 2009 post "More on reincarnation" for a description of the dream). My sister instinctively hides or ducks in terror when an aircraft unexpectedly roars by overhead - perhaps a throwback to the air raids of the Second World War. Sometimes our little quirks are caused by something that happened in this life, but sometimes there are no rational causes that we're aware of. In those cases, reincarnation may be the reason. I'll bet you can think of at least one irrational fear or idiosyncrasy that you're carrying today. It may very well be that you've brought it from another incarnation.

You'll probably also find yourself drawn to certain periods in time. Maybe you can't read enough about the ancient Egyptians, or you've always wanted to visit that area of the world. You might feel a strong kinship to the peoples of South America, but be totally apathetic about the Nordic races. You may even see an artifact or location while watching tv or a movie and know immediately where and/or what it is. All of these little affinities are clues about your past. Tiny reminders of lifetimes that are so impressed into your psyche that you still remember them fondly (or perhaps with fear) today. If you can connect some of these affinities to vivid dreams you've had, you could very well be experiencing a glimpse of another lifetime.

Keep in mind that in most of your lifetimes you've had a plain and unremarkable existence in terms of history. There was only one Napolean, one Marie Antoinette and one Queen Victoria. The vast majority of the world was and is made of up of people living simple and often hard existences on their long journey of learning. Don't be afraid to realize that you've been a poor labourer in industrial Europe or a simple fisherman in a nameless coastal town. Begin to get in touch with your past by connecting what's in your dreams to what's in your life and never be afraid of who you may have been.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


You may not have conscious memories of your past lives, but you will experience a definite affinity with many people and places along your path. You'll meet and interact with hundreds of people throughout your lifetime, but occasionally you'll meet someone new and recognize immediately another soul who has travelled closely with you in other lives. Sometimes it's a lover, sometimes a true friend, sometimes an enemy, but whichever the case, you know it instinctively at the gut level as soon as you meet.

The same is true of places, times and events. These memories are contained deep within your psyche and can't be explained by current life events. For instance, it's common to dream repeatedly about places you've never been in your current physical life. Perhaps there's a house or a city that forms the back-drop for many of your dreams, but in waking life you have no idea where it is. I once had a very good friend with whom I shared many similarities, however we had very different views of religion. She was a very traditional Baptist and we got along fine as long as we didn't discuss reincarnation or anything that smacked of non-traditional Christian beliefs.

She and her husband, who was in the Canadian military, were posted to a base in Germany in the late 1980s. They weren't thrilled to be sent off to Europe, but they made the most of it by travelling every chance they got. Although my husband was also in the military, we weren't so fortunate to be posted to Europe, but we did take the opportunity to visit our friends in Germany in fall of 1988. One evening not long after we'd arrived, as my friend and I shared a glass of wine, she asked me to tell her more about reincarnation. I wasn't just surprised, I was astounded. In the not too distant past, she had made it very clear that the subject of reincarnation was taboo, now suddenly she was asking me to tell her more. "What is it you want to know?" I asked, "has something happened?"

She nodded and said "There's a house that's been in my dreams as long as I can remember." I told her that wasn't uncommon and she shouldn't worry about it unless the dreams made her uneasy or unhappy.

As it turned out, she hadn't really ever given the house much thought at all. It was simply a location that turned up in her dreams now and then, sort of like a movie set or a sound stage, just a place for dreams to happen, but that all changed when she and her husband were touring in Spain. They had travelled some distance when they realized the map didn't seem to be helping and they were in a rural area far from the main highway. In an attempt to get them back the way they had come, my friend directed her husband to turn around in the next driveway they came too. As he pulled their big Chevy van into a narrow dirt driveway, my friend was astonished to come face to face with the house in her dreams. "It was THE house!" she told me in almost a whisper. "The EXACT house I've dreamed about all my life, right there in a little village in Spain." While she was visibly upset, not only by the discovery of the house, but because of the implications to her carefully structered religious belief system, she was also quite thrilled to have discovered the house was real. There was little I could do but assure her that it was actually a wonderful thing that she had found the house and now knew where it was located. I hoped she would be content to simply think of it as a happy place from another time that just for a moment, she was allowed to return to.

Oddly enough, she was able to direct her husband right back to the highway from there along a totally different route than the one that led them there without once referring to the map...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A little shift in focus

Reincarnation is serious business. We make our plan and we live the life. As time passes, we encounter lessons that are painful - sometimes physical pain, sometimes emotional pain, many times both types of pain. For some it starts very early in life, for others it takes more time, but it's always lurking in the shadows. The lessons are hard and we hurt sometimes for years. I know, I've had some stunners that I may be dealing with until the end.

It's easy to ask, "why me?" and stay focused on the pain and the hurt. It's difficult to accept that we not only orchestrated the plan that's left us hurting, but participated willingly. The reasons we do this will be the subject of another post. Today I don't want you to focus on the things that have hurt you over the years - today I want you to remember the things that have given you joy over the years.

I'm taking this little departure from my usual musings about the mechanics of the reincarnational belief system because I think it's so important that we not lose focus on how wonderful our physical time is. We come here joyfully, hopefully and enthusiastically. We know beforehand that we're going to have some very trying times, but we also know that we're going to experience exquisitely wonderful physical and emotional sensations as well.

My intellectual side deals very well with the reincarnational concepts, but sometimes my emotional side has a hard time accepting the really hard lessons. My mother often said that any morning you wake up is a good morning. Even though that's hard to believe in my lowest moments, just a little time in the warm summer sun or short walk along the seashore will shift my focus and remind me that this is a beautiful place and I'm not only fortunate to be here, but that it is my choice to be here, no matter what the circumstances.