Since leaving Pat, I have been able to spend more time contemplating spirituality, something I haven’t done since my teens, but which I enjoyed very much back in those days.

Some background: my father was a theological librarian, one of the foremost in the country. He developed a collection of books that touched on every aspect of religion and spirituality and was equally broad-minded in his own personal views. In his pre-library days, he had come very close to being an ordained minister, but realized, shortly before the day of reckoning, that he could not answer any of these spiritual questions for himself, therefore he could not answer them for others, thus realizing that the calling was not for him. In fact, he stopped attending church services entirely, with the exception of rare occasions when friends were preaching at the non-denominational Duke Chapel, and the midnight Christmas Eve service. I can still recall him telling me that God made Sunday a day of rest, and so that was what he was going to do on Sundays – rest. Interestingly enough, my brother and I seem to have somewhat different views of his spirituality, based on our respective discussions with him. I don’t recall us ever discussing this as a family unit. But he did say my prayers with me from the time I was tiny until he stopped putting me to bed – at which point I believe I stopped saying my prayers.

My Mother, on the other hand, had more of an esoteric approach. She never spoke of going to church, but went when the family did. She studied the works of Joseph Campbell, Krishnamurti, Kahil Gibran and numerous philosophers throughout her life; I think those writings shaped her own opinions of spirituality, which she really kept mostly to herself. At the end, she hedged her bets by “accepting Jesus into her heart as her Lord and Saviour” with her ultra-ultra-Born Again Christian friend, but spoke of it unemotionally, as she knew that she had no control over what would happen in the afterlife. She just thought “better safe than sorry” – and it made her friend very happy.

My Mother believed in reincarnation as much as she believed in anything regarding what might happen after you die. Perhaps I got that belief from her, but for myself, I recall always just knowing it. She also had a certain ability to be in touch with mystical realms, and had numerous experiences in her teens and twenties which were powerful and frightening for her, at which point she basically turned that power off, away, whatever you want to call it. While this surprises me, as she was a curious woman, I know she never liked feeling out of control, and her interactions with other realms struck her as something beyond her control.

We are part of a line of women who have had this gift, this “shine”. My grandmother had it, though she may have only discussed it with her daughters – she did several past life regressions to help her understand her relationships. My Mother had it, though she turned away from it. My aunt had it, and was much more accepting of it, though she had some experiences that just sounded wacky. I have it, as is demonstrated by many things – pleasant hauntings, not so pleasant hauntings, paranormal sensitivity. And my daughter shows an inclination towards it, which I encourage as I explore my own boundaries. Boundaries is a good word – my Mother, recognizing this ability in me, used to warn me about opening up, as both good and bad things can come in.

As I learn more about both the spiritual and the physical world, I am coming to understand boundaries as necessary for self-preservation. I am improving at setting them. In the last few months, I’ve been inspired to explore the Shamanic side of spirituality. (The term ‘spirituality’ is a conundrum – it is completely accurate and yet totally misleading, depending on how you interpret it.) I’m a complete newb, but I am enjoying it, and feel if I keep practicing, I will be able to channel a lot of my innate spirituality into this work, and focus it for healing. I like it. At the same time, as perhaps my Mother warned me, I can feel as I open myself up to other realms, some not-so-great things creep towards my spirit. More of the Voodoo or Obeah influences, which are not necessarily bad, but are indeed powerful, seem to be fringing my consciousness, and I’m not sure what to do with them.

More later……