Conversations with Vincent – Crossing Day & Trees

From the Van Gogh Museum Facebook page:

“On 29 July 1890 Vincent van Gogh passed away. The painting ‘Tree Roots’ stood on his easel when he died. Many people believe that the more dramatic ‘Wheatfield with Crows’ is Van Gogh’s final work. The painting ‘Tree Roots’ is a much likelier candidate, however, as he was unable to complete it, which helps explain its irregular, unfinished character. Theo’s brother-in-law, Andries Bonger, described it as follows in a letter: ‘The morning before his death, he had painted an underwood [sous-bois], full of sun and life.’

tree roots

I am confident that TREE ROOTS was what Vincent was working on when he crossed over (and really, his brother-in-law stands with me, so who can be against me?)

Being that I am immersed in my Conversations with Vincent,  I couldn’t let this day go unnoticed.  He wanted to go home to his God.  He was tired, and no longer wanted to fight the struggle on this earth plane.  The flame within him was ignited to bring joy to others with his art, but it was extinguished by the pretentious bitterness of too many. Story wise, it’s a sad one - that anyone (not just someone talented) would decide to end their life dramatically with a gunshot to his head. Yet, this was not the end of Vincent.

He may have left his physical body, but his presence has grown stronger and stronger with time. He did achieve what he was inspired to do. Beautiful webpages making it simpler for people world wide to see his art.  Traveling exhibits always sold out. His own Doctor Who episode  (can’t blame him for being excited about that).  My personal belief is we may leave the body here, but our true essence remains. Post for another day.  Today is Vincent’s crossing day.

Trees. Such beautiful manifestations of As Above, So Below. Such exquisite ambassadors for the Divine Mother, reaching deeper and deeper into her earthy body, arms outstretched to embrace the sun and ethers. Showering with the rain and replenishing the soil with it. Such graceful emissarys of Mother Nature, reaching out to all those around, giving haven to Mother’s furry and feathered children. tree of life

We have a gorgeous Tree of Life tapestry on our entry wall.  While not my husband’s favorite, he created a Tree of Life Pyroportrait for me.

I am connected to Trees from the roots of my own soul. I know many others who feel the same way. Trees verify history and confirm life. Writing this is awakening the memory of how much I loved the book “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’.  Anyone reading who didn’t cry when they read Shel Silverstein’s ” The Giving Tree”?  Many of us remember in that deep place, the gift the trees have agreed to give us,  offering us so much just by existing.  From shade, to fruit and let’s not forget how helpful they are with that oxygen stuff we require, trees are light rooted angels. Serving us so selflessly.

In earlier Vincent writings, you would read that that after having held hands with God, the pain of this world was just too great.  The bliss of all that the Divine Source offered,  was a nectar he frantically tried to share with others. The torment came as he experienced his fellow beings not just ignore his art, but as he watched them be cruel to all of the glory he had seen as a part of All That Is, and more deeply, to each other. Candyce hugging our tree after Sandy Oct2012

When you are finished reaching this, do a couple of things to honor Vincent’s gifts to us all:

  • Hug a tree.
  • Enjoy some art.
  •           Step further – buy art!
  •           and what Vincent wanted most





Conversations with Vincent… We are all artists

I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.

  ~~ Vincent Van Gogh


I thoroughly enjoy the play of the Universe.  The continual surprises, tucked like magical beans in unexpected places, keep the days fresh and fun.

About a year ago I bought a book, written in 1938,  that was mentioned by Anne Lamott. It’s title is, “If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit” authored by Brenda Ueland.   From the Amazon review :

For most, the hardest part of writing is overcoming the mountain of self-denial that weighs upon the spirit, always threatening to extinguish those first small embers of ambition. Brenda Ueland, a writer and teacher, devotes most of her book–published back in 1938, before everyone and their goldfish got their MFA’s in creative writing–to these matters of the writer’s heart. Still, the real gift of the book is Ueland herself: She liked to write, she didn’t care what anyone thought, and she had a great sense of humor. You’re simply happy to hang out with her.      

About a month ago, I finally decided to start reading it.  Was so surprised to find that Brenda is a friend of Vincent! (also William Blake, who I might have to have some conversations with as well). She had come across some of his letters, and came to love both the writer in the artist, as well as the painter. Painter-on-His-Way-to-Work,-The

“If you read the letters of the painter Van Gogh you will see what his creative impulse was. It was just this: he loved something-the sky, say. He loved human beings. He wanted to show human beings how beautiful the sky was. So he painted it for them, and that was all there was to it”.

While I gave the original nod to Anne for leading me to Brenda (who by the way spent many years in Greenwich Village as a part of a bohemian crowd including Eugene O’Neill and Louise Bryant), because of my Conversations with Vincent, I am confident it was he that nudged me to start reading.

I have learned, I don’t enjoy being a reporter. I don’t enjoy attempting to mold myself into the template for writing that many consider a requirement. I enjoy writing. I love painting with words.  When I see something, feel something, understand something, I get so excited and want to share.  Words are my vessel for art.  Words strung together like mala beads create a space where I can join with someone, where we can merge in understanding, where aaaahhhs, aha’s and oh yes’s can be exchanged.

Vincent is nodding his head now and smiling. He is not wearing his straw hat, but does have a lovely crisp beige shirt on. Looks like linen, but more likely cotton. His hands have the dregs of some leftover paint on them, the last remnants of a recent explosion of color on canvas.  He pushes toward me an open book. I at first think it’s a journal, but quickly realize the pages are blank except for words intended for me.

We are all artists. It is essential that the  artist be allowed to be integrated into our daily selves. Whatever the medium, be the artist. Come fully from the place of Spirit. Even in your regular adventures – infuse them with the non-mundane. Bounce yourself OUT of the bubble of illusion, and see it all as the play that it is.  While it is nice to say “even if one person benefits from what I do”, the truth is, the importance is in you being fully from that place of soul expression. You are the most important person to benefit from what you do. When you are vibrant, it will expand. When you are authentic, it will shine a light for others. When you are not afraid to live your magnificence, another will come stand next to you in gratitude. Art is more than a media. A true artist opens a portal for their Soul to express itself dynamically each and every day.

And now Vincent just sat back and exhaled an contented sigh.


Conversations with Vincent started HERE   Then we enjoyed our stream together and I learned about his fall….

The Blossoming Almond Tree  and Painter on His Way to Work pieces can be found with some history at the Van Gogh Gallery. It saddened me to learn that the original PAINTER was destroyed in World War II.

A post for another day, but too much beauty is destroyed by war.  I enjoyed the movie Monuments Men (Clooney, Damon,etc), and was brought to tears by this under 6 minute youtube clip presented by  one of the book’s authors, Robert Edsel   You cannot help but feel gratitude for the mission they voluntarily undertook when watching The Monuments Men and Woman Experience.

Instead of Releasing…. Try Embracing

Last night I attended Al Romao’s  Journey Through Sound Meditation. Al is my favorite journey tour guide. He gets you on the bus, but doesn’t tell you where you have to go. I look forward to any event with him, because my trust in his process is full and I easily surrender myself to the journey.

The evening quickly moved us to a gentle relaxed state, and we were soon bathed in the aroma of a unique burning blend of resins and plants, and the vibration of various instruments, including Al’s voice.  At some point I got off the bus.

My olfactory receptors took a trip somewhere with strawberry incense, I was found myself in a day of my 14th year, where I was very sad, and felt very alone.  Now me starting chanting ” I release this…. I let it go!”  I was frustrated to even be in memory of it.

Then my inner “SHE”, who really knows me, spoke.  “Stop resisting” she told me.” Let go of this incessant need to purge and release and let go. Begin to EMBRACE. ” embrace your imperfect self

Whooossshh.. through a journey tube to a quiet place to just marinate myself with THAT. Embrace. It was so true.  Embracing is a beautiful soul twin to giving thanks, from the family of Gratitude.  I have been filled with a sense of anxiety at times working on this release and letting go plan. I was forgetting to EMBRACE. I was forgetting to love what good came. I was shutting out huge blocks of time and events that included moments worthy of cradling in my arms and rocking with love.

Game changer. Not purging, releasing, letting go for a while. Going to see with eyes of gratefulness, and embrace all of the good. This doesn’t require that I like the sooty smarm that really happened. All that is needed is to step around it. I think my incessant desire to move past, might have become like a psychic glue that has actually gotten me stuck in a few places.

Big embrace to my 14-year-old self. Let me hug on ya honey and tell you that you did a magnificent job getting to it and through it. Look at you now!!

Here’s your action step:



Light A Candle

My Mamas (grandmother) was what I call a callous kneed Catholic. You get that right? She should have been a nun, but for some reason my Aunt Mazie (Sister Francis Aloysius)  was the one who took that route. My Mamas was hardcore devout though, and might have attended mass more than her sister. She was from Fall River, Massachusetts, and between the Irish and the Portuguese, the city had Mother Mary really busy.

Candle Heartsmoke

One of my favorite things when I visited my Mamas, was to light the prayer candles in the church.  To this day,  I make yearly trips to St. Patrick’s Cathedral NYC to light a candle for my Mamas at the shrine of her boy Tony (St. Anthony for those not as close as she and he were).

If you scoot over to the BlissFollower Prayer Page , you will read a little about the prayer candles in my Altar Room.  I encourage you to take a moment to visit.

Last night, under the beautiful full moon, I had a beautiful blazing prayer fire. This round was a just me and my A and G Teams.  Some incense, offerings, ritual, chanting, intentions, drumming, connecting. When I do a prayer fire I include my regular list, and all of those who are on my prayer radar.

Today I added something to the Bliss Follower page – check the sidebar - Light a Candle -  connecting to  the wonderful peeps at Sometimes you need to do something fast, and I was inspired to make it easy for you to find.



The Prayer Page is always open, and the Prayer Candles are always available. I am feeling blessed this warm Sunday night, that Sharanam Shire is a haven for both.  Namaste  my fellow Bliss Followers. May your days be blessed and filled with Light.



click me for the video

 “Light A Candle”  – Neil Young

Instead of cursing the darkness,
Light a candle for where we’re going,
There’s something ahead, worth fighting for.When the light of time is on us,
You will see our moment come,
And the living soul inside will carry on.It’s a chance to give new meaning to every move we make,
In the cavern, in the cave, where we come from.When the light of dawn is on us,
We will see what we can be,
And the ancient ones can sleep an easy sleepIn the hallways of the ages, on the road to history,
What we do now will always be with us.

It’s a chance to give new meaning to every move we make,
In the caverns, in the caves, where we come from.

Instead of cursing the darkness,
Light a candle for where we’re going,
There’s something ahead, worth looking for.

When the light of time is on us,
We will see our moment come,
And the living soul inside will carry on.

Light a candle in the darkness,
So others might see ahead,
Light a candle in the darkness, when you go.

Light a candle in the darkness,
So others might see ahead,
Light a candle in the darkness, when you go.

Conversations with Vincent.. When I fell

About 15 years ago I was on my way to work and found myself behind a van at a traffic light. I think the company was Classic Painting, but the important part here was it had a paint brush and some color strokes and said ” Your job makes my van go.”. I laughed, called and left a voice mail that I thought it was funny. It’s nothing new that I think you should splash appreciation and support liberally.Starry-Night

One night last week, I was reading before bed, and this popped into my head (not surprising, because I had been thinking about Vincent) – and I got  – “Well if he was saying my name right this would have made no sense”.  I didn’t know I was saying it wrong all these years until the Doctor Who Episode.  What is more pretentious 1) saying it wrong with conviction 2) saying it correctly and knowing it sounds kind of pretentious? I could take it further and discuss the entire Dutch aspect, but I will leave it to you to follow the highlighted link if you are actually interested.

I wasn’t really sure if Vincent was being funny, snarky or serious, so I just waited. My mind drifted and like a movie coming up on a screen, I saw Starry Starry Night. Of course. Because it is beautiful. Because if I was brave enough for a really big tattoo that is what one of them would be. Because it is the only picture that I can see in a cheesy pizzeria and still just fall into it. I know it is Starry Night, but Don McLean and I like Starry Starry better.

And then it was like a deep silence, and rising from it I heard:

It was when I completed this that my true earthly pain began. I had held hands with God and seen the world as it truly was. I  could not bear the separation when I slipped back into normal mode.

I always asked God to reveal himself to me. I knew there was something beyond religion, but early on did not know how to take the pathway to something higher.  My painting sometimes brought urgency to the surface, but other times would calm me. Connect me to all that was.  That night I fell into the Starry Night was beyond anything I had experienced before.  I was washed over with an essence I had felt wisps of before, but now I was saturated with it. It was beyond any words I could imagine. It could only be told with my paintbrush. Oh how could I tell the world of all, I, Vincent am experiencing?

It was my ego that brought me back and separated me. It jumped in between me and my Godself.

It said I was psychotic. I was not.  

It said I was not worthy of such connection, and that it couldn’t be real. Who are you it asked, to think you can not only know God, but share the Essence?

Because of my past and the methods I had used to conquer my demons, it seemed my outside life supported my ego’s claims.

I was I had listened to my Inner Self.




Going Gray and the Double Nickel

I am  currently in my Double Nickel Year. There was a time, as recent as the last decade, that if you asked me how old I was, or tried to guess based on life clues, I would get irritated. I still don’t really appreciate the question (unless you need the info to fill out a form to give me gobs of money I  mysteriously won..then ask away). But.. today, I don’t really care as much about the answer.growing older

Double Nickel.. Fifty Five.. the wahhoooo 55. Not sure why this was such a liberating year for me. Will was watching a British movie and one of the characters wanted to get out of the mob. He said to his brother, ” If I am lucky I only have about 25 good summers left”. This really hit home with my honey, and when he shared it with me, I thought – “yes that is part of it”.

I am too old to deal with crap I don’t want to deal with.  We can begin with my hair. I don’t think I am alone in this experience, but I would dye my hair and about 2 weeks later it was skunksville. When we did our first holiday Tardis card, I made them Photoshop my roots.  It got increasingly more annoying. About two years ago, an acquaintance with a great face for short hair,  said she was cutting her hair to almost bald and then letting her gray hair grow in. There was a moment of time stoppage. Something clicked in me. Then time moved forward again, and she is still dying her hair. But the bell had sounded in me and I knew I was heading there. My son remembers me often saying I love the way long gray hair looked. He was the first to tell me when I shared my plan with my family, that I was always headed there.  Ding #2.

I played with it on and off for a couple of years, but somewhere between my odometer hitting 55 and Christmas, the long haired goddess of Candyce future came to visit me. I was in the bathroom,  just washing up, and I saw myself with long gray hair, …..and I was smiling. The room morphed to a slow blur, except for the clarity of me seeing future me. I KNEW that the me I was experiencing had truly gone for some of what made her heart sing. I knew the future me had really figured out how to dump a bunch of the peripheral nonsense, and be free enough to enjoy her time left.

My hair is still to the middle of my back. about 21 inches. I like it there. There are those of the opinion that an older woman should have shorter hair. I respectfully disagree with their opinion. I think all of us should have not just the kind of hair we want, but wear what we want, and do what we want with our face.  It’s no one else’s business. (even mine, which is something I have to remind my Judgmental Self when she peaks her head in. Judgmental Self by the way has regularly dyed medium brown hair. She just can’t let go.)

My gray hair is now about nine inches grown in. Twelve inches to go. Not holding off though, and claiming the labels. Member of the Silver Sisters Club. LOOOOVE Gray Goddess. I know I have entered the Crone stage of my life. Having known many self actualized crones, I wasn’t panicking that I had to let my hair look like gray brillo and cackle. I know the Crone is powerful, and I am ready to embrace her.

Power of the Crone “Dear brave souls, I warmly invite you to come be at the fireside with me and the Dangerous Old Woman and the Power of the Crone. Who is the crone? She is the most dangerous, the most radical, the most revolutionary woman in existence. Whether in fairy tales or in consensual reality, the old one goes where she wants to and she acts as she wishes; she lives as she chooses. And this is all as it should be. And no one can stop her. Nor ought they try.”

      ~~~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés, PhD

Just an observation. Very young children and very old people will do just what they want to do. Worth thinking on.

Have you read Mitch Albom’s “Tuesdays with Morrie” ? I loved that book.

“It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”

today is




Conversations with Vincent… Little Stream

My husband Will has designed a beautiful feature into the (ever evolving) Sharanam Shire pond.  Magic has happened and we have a small gurgling stream, coursing through a graduated hill of rocks and landscaping. The yard is loved by the birds, and they show appreciation by entertaining us with beautiful songs, and happy dances masked as bathing in the stream.

Drifting off to sleep the other night, I was thinking about how much I was looking forward to finishing the new bog pond feature (the ducks already have their own area, but love the stream fed pond as well).  My memory floated to the bliss I had experienced earlier in the day, while sitting next to the stream, Shanti by my side, sun recharging me, book in hand.

That is when Vincent showed up.   I am pleased to know now that he is as excited about my “Conversations with Vincent” idea as I am. Though he was a painter, and I am a writer, we both share the trait of sensitivity. I have learned to adapt to mine better than Vincent did in his time  It was his lack of adaptation, his insistence on feeling fully, that has given us is inspiring Little-Stream,-Thegallery of work.  I have asked him to mentor me on the strength of discipline.  I know he now sees things differently, and understands where he lost control careening around the curves.  I have asked him to mentor me on letting nothing stop or block what should be expressed.  Explaining while though the sun is shining, I am writing at 11:22 am on a Saturday. These words have been coming to me since that night in my drifting.  I understand that procrastination is not a friend to the process.  I am listening now.

One of the most important qualities in a friendship, is listening. I was asking Vincent to bring quite a bit to the table in these conversations, and recognize, there is going to have to be a give and take.

Back to when I was drifting, and Vincent showed up.

I heard ” I love cool running water and lightning bugs. The sound of children exuberant with laughter while splashing around in the water brought me both pain and joy”.

I replied that I have always carried a list of sounds I love with me in my head:

  • Children laughing
  • The rain
  • The ocean’s waves coming to shore when my eyes are closed
  • The birds letting me know all is well
  • Cats purring

It is like I have found a member of my secret society when someone mentions one of those things as their favorite sound.

Vincent just smiled at me, and I then drifted to sleep.


If you aren’t anywhere near Sharanam Shire, or an actual stream, you can still close your eyes and listen to this relaxing sound of a mountain stream.

click me



Conversations with Vincent.. a birthing

Still-Life_-Vase-with-Twelve-Sunflowers“We spend our whole lives in unconscious exercise of the art of expressing our thoughts with the help of words.”

~~  Vincent

I am obsessed with Vincent van Gogh. I am confident he does not want to be called Vin, or Vinny, but says “stick with Vincent”.  I see his artwork and I find myself staring, head tilting, eye squinting and more staring. What were you thinking I ask, what were you seeing when you painted like this?   I have my theory. I’ll shoot it out of the gate now, so we can move on to where this adventure is headed.  Energy. I  believe when Vincent van Gogh quieted himself, he SAW energy, and felt its vibration, and captured it. When you look at some of his sketches, you can see his “style”, but it is his use of color that brings me into his work.

I have not read his biography. I have heard the cliff notes version. Always loved Don McClean’s sad song Vincent  (albeit it was years before I knew what it was about. First hearing it as a angst freshman in high school, the chords were right). Though an avid reader, I have chosen to learn about him through his art. It calls to me.  I imagined myself standing with him on a wildly landscaped street with bright-colored buildings. A café of course. We stood together and I was telling him the story about the Doctor Who episode with the sunflowers, while we looked at the portrait itself and he was amused. That is when I decided to have conversations with Vincent, and enjoy his work more personally.

It was that episode of Doctor Who that brought Vincent to life for me. That is when I began to think of him as someone I knew, not a piece of history. Previously, I just loved his work. (Note to reader. We love Doctor Who. We have a life-sized Tardis in our back yard, and our cat’s scratch toy is a four foot Dalek. Our holiday cards are Doctor Who themed with my family as characters. We be Whovians and we be proud).

Van Gogh: It’s color! Color that holds the key! I can hear the colors. Listen to them. Every time I step outside I feel nature is shouting at me. “Come on! Come and get me!” “Come on! Come on! Capture my mystery!”

The Doctor: Maybe you’ve had enough coffee now. How about some nice calming tea?

There are some wonderful sites about him, but I am going to count on  The Van Gogh Gallery  as my traveling partner.  Wherever this leads, it’s about seeing and listening. Don’t go playing the Looney Tunes theme for me yet.  Spend some time with us and let see how it unfolds.

Grab a tissue.. here’s Don McClean’sVINCENT“, sometimes known as starry night. I have heard a lot of covers of this, but this is the one that vibrates in my heart.

click me

Some Bullet Points for the Journey

Sunday Service in my Head  4/6/14

Today I am finishing a service for a man who was the true embodiment of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s statement, “Kindness is my religion”. A couple of weeks ago, I shared an article titled JOURNEY WELL  (worth your time to read), and it started with the quote  “Live your life so the preacher won’t have to tell lies at your funeral.”.  Rob did.   Going into the light

A good friend of mine has a tricky surgery scheduled, and my conversations with her about her own “unknowing about the outcome” have opened even further the doors to my own inner thoughts on life and death.  I’ll share with you the big one going on in the inner discussion room. What do I do with my Life, to make things better for my family and friends when I decide to take a walk with Death? What new choices do I make now, knowing that this question even surfaced?

I started this SSIMH on Facebook (against my new rules) and got up to pet cats, pour coffee, and get a small piece of chocolate. When I sat back down,  I did something mysteriously stupid, and deleted all I had done.   First Bullet Point for the Journey – PAY ATTENTION TO THE MOMENTS.  Make what you are doing important. Don’t bother doing it if it’s not.


  • Do-Overs aren’t really do-overs because we can never do the exact same thing twice.  We don’t get Do -Overs with our life either. What is done is done. Sometimes we are blessed with a Second Chance. If that shows up at your doorstep, make sure you have a better plan in place this time.
  • Your real story is who you are, and how you treat others, not what you do for a living.
  • Happy Moments are the best things to collect in your Memory Box. Create more of them. They should be sprinkled as liberally throughout your day as my husband does with real grated cheese on pasta.  (that’s a lot)
  • Death happens to the body, but not the spirit, soul,  Big Me, or whatever you choose to call it. We are not our fingernails and toes. I have heard from others, and witnessed for myself, too many things not to be committed to that truth. Death is not partnered with a delete key.
  • We never cross alone. Someone who loves us will always be with us.
  • The Angels never leave our side. If you haven’t been talking to your A-Team, you have been missing out on a valuable tool for the ride in this Fleshsuit. The Angels of Comfort are experts at time of grieving (0f any sort). Call them in.
  • There are Saints and Masters walking among us, and most of them aren’t surrounded by any hubbub.
  • When someone we love crosses over, we will hurt.  Oddly, that’s the good news.

 How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

A.A. Milne

How lucky I am to have

This SSIMH is dedicated to Rob Guzman. From the moment I met him about 30 years ago, my every encounter with him was in a space of kindness and respect. A good husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, friend. A good man.  I said in JOURNEY WELL ” for funerals, I have learned that I get “called in” when it’s important that the life of the person who crossed, and the grieving of those who remain, need my unique voice.”  It is a blessing for me to do Rob’s service, because I get to swim in the goodness of the life he lived, to find the words to share.  No lies needed this round. He has a beautiful and love worthy dash.

SUNDAY SERVICE IN MY HEAD musical selection – Amazing Grace – Johnny Cash.


Artwork by Diane Schuster



Journey Well

Sunday Service in My Head – 3/23/14

Live your life so the preacher won’t have to tell lies at your funeral.

  ~~ lots of people said it.

The wave gains its momentum, born of the energy of Mother Ocean, and surges toward the shore.ISBP A11 ccf jm 081613 It races to leave its frothy mark, mixing up shells and changing landscapes, exposing sand crabs and washing the feet of gulls and pipers watching to see what gifts are being offered this round.  The legacy of those who built on the evolving shore lines in the form of words and structure is slowly washed away, until all that remains, possibly, is the memory of those who created them.

Born of the Mother, our days are like waves upon the shores. We all rise from Her, and eventually we will return to Her.  We are all witnesses to the tides of life and death. This weekend one friend said good-bye to her daughter, and another said hello to her son.

I remember that when my son was born, I was sure I looked different. I knew I had been changed and thought that  everyone must know they were looking at someone who had seemingly been revamped!  When my mom crossed, I remember thinking how no one knows you are grieving. There was something very raw in my experiences with people for those couple of days.  I felt so ripped open after both events, and there was something “just not connected” in my dealings with others.

The birth of my son (so long ago now, yet I can visit there so easily) was joy filled. I knew LOVE like I had never known existed. Understood totally and completely that elusive “unconditional love” I had heard so much about and thought I had periodically practiced.

With the crossing of my mom, it wasn’t so cozy. It was sad. All of the things I had stuffed in the closet and refused to acknowledge came tumbling out. I strove to keep my grief in check, so I could be strong. I remember my friends Louise and Debbie driving almost two hours to come to the viewing, and me collapsing in waves of sobbing in their arms when I saw them. I  had been ordained in 1998 and my mom crossed in 2000. I wanted to do the service, but my brother, understandably, felt it would be too much for me.  He had not come to see how Source had become my partner and my strength. He still saw me as his whacky sister, with my slips and falls and crazy thinking.  We hired a Catholic priest who didn’t know my mother. I went home and prepared something. It made me feel better.  My words connected to me to the places where my mother and I had healed and bonded. We shared a common friend in St. Francis and I had found a card I had given her, with his prayer, in the drawer next to her bed.  (It is framed and hangs on our wall still today). The priest did his bit, but you knew he didn’t know diddly about Marge/Margaret Mary, and hadn’t made the effort to before showing up for the gig. Then he said, “and Marge is probably in heaven”. Screeching record STOP in my brain, WHAT!!!?????  I turned to my husband and I said “I am going in!”, and my brother made no attempt to stop me. I told my mother’s story, and I shared her prayer. People first watched me to see if I would crash, but then saw I was all in, and it was going to be alright. And beautiful. Because I knew that my mother loved the words I had offered for her. I also knew she would have been more concerned about my brother and I than what the priest had to say, so I just flooded the room with Light, and let my words flow.

As a non-denominational minister,  I have done weddings, funerals and baby blessings.old-man-s-wrinkled-hand-holding-infant-s-little-hand I don’t advertise. What comes to me is what I am perfect for. For funerals, I have learned that I get “called in” when it’s important that the life of the person who crossed, and the grieving of those who remain, need my unique voice.  When my husband’s best friend crossed in 2009, I was grateful that I was able to do the service. Leonard’s story deserved to be told, and the man I love so deeply was in so such pain. We made it beautiful and special. It was just two weeks before Christmas and Leonard looooveed Christmas. He was a waving Santa for a place where trees were sold. We got everyone a Santa ornaments from the place he worked at and passed them out at the service.  Leonard used to give everyone a nickname, and we joked about the nicknames he was trying on for size for God.  We all remembered the reasons why Leonard would be missed so much.  That is what you need to do when you grieve – allow yourself to feel all of the good that this person has given you.  Make it okay to laugh while the tears are like waves lapping at your pain.

The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us. Journey wisely.”
~~ Alexandra Elle

Every week I could sit and do a SSIMH share about someone coming, or someone going. It is a never ending cycle. We have read about the “Dash” and for most of us by the time we reach 30, there is an understanding that life is a series of fluid moments. The 50′s make it LOUD. We know the days are moving swifter, and the idea of living life more fully and honestly grows like a crazy weed, pushing out the ideas that “you’ve got time”.  Delaware Gramps Walters Bruhl Jr.  wrote his own obituary, and when his grandson shared it, it went viral. It urged  me to think about my own obit/ dash/ memorial service.

Here is what I received for myself, as the platform essential to setting a foundation for what I would want said when I cross:

  • Live Dharmically
  • Live Authentcallyst. francis prayerforpeace
  • Forgive when possible.
  • Love always, even if from a distance.
  • Leave no opportunity for kindness undone.
  • Retain a sense of humor.
  • Do all you can for the four legged’s, feathered, and finned.
  • More on the be kind part.
  • Let others know you see the Light in them.
  • Always hold a baby when you get a chance.
  • Listen to what children had to say.
  • Always look into the eyes of old people.
  • Leave the judging to the courts.
  • More LOVE.

What if you got to write a flashy headline for your own Obit? What would you say?

Please take a moment to enjoy this beautiful version of the Prayer of St. Francis. This would be the back ground music to the critical choice making scene in the movie of my life.