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If you’ve followed along my journey for some time, you’ll know that I have a lifelong tendency to attract and communicate with spirits. As I’ve been exploring my own spirituality more in-depth of late, and noticing that my beliefs are evolving, my curiosity about this connection has been deepening as well. I’ve lived with spirits in houses since I was a child, and as I’ve mentioned before, this gift (for it is a gift) that we call “the shine” runs in the women in my family. Based on her own self-knowledge and desire to feel in control, my Mother denied it in her 20s, but told me about it as she noticed that I had it, and gave me warnings that I have heeded. We won’t go into those now. While my company tends to be benevolent spirits, that has not always been the case – yet another story for another time. And since I like to walk the edge a bit with this gift, those city ghost tours tend to be exceptionally interesting for me and the others on the tours that I attend (Boulder, Cripple Creek Jail, and Portland, Oregon, to name a few.)

The bungalow has, I have discovered, an exceptionally quirky history, and along with it, some spirits. I think they were here when I moved in – in fact, I am certain of it, as I recall sitting in a corner of the empty kitchen in tears and feeling them shifting curiously around me. Once they realized I was a kindred spirit, so to speak, they showed no reticence to make their presence known. Objects mysteriously moved – generally sparkly things like jewelry, set in the center of the doorways. Items that would vanish and then reappear in places that I had looked a dozen times. The occasional mysterious loud thump that even startles Mr. Man. A pinch on the ass when I’m standing at the sink washing dishes. For a while, a cat was visiting, courtesy of Cousin Tam, curling up in a lump on my feet when Mr. Man was up by my shoulder. And always, that fleeting glimpse of something just out of the corner of my eye, passing by the doorway.

I’ve been struggling physically lately with what I originally thought was a pinched nerve, but which has been getting progressively worse, and so am now taking some mega-dose of steroids, which aren’t suiting my system and are messing with my already disastrous sleep patterns. Tonight, on a whim, in lieu of sleep (partly because the spirits have hidden my book), I decided to see if I could have a little dialogue with them.

Now, I don’t hear voices, because I know that’s a bad thing on almost all counts. But there are tools that paranormal professionals (hmm) use to communicate with spirits and I’ve had some success with dousing rods. Do you know what they are? Not the water-seeking kind, although I do seem to recall using those one summer in Arkansas. They’re these, laid out in this image on a handmade quilt that I bought at auction four years ago:

20151006_234210

I have learned that you have to ask your questions and tell the spirits how to move the rods to communicate their answers. So when I establish a baseline, it’s something like “find me” or “find Mr. Man” or “if your answer if yes, point to the chicken”. Tonight, I learned through our dialogue that there are more than two, they currently are most comfortably in the small back hallway between the bedrooms, but they’d like to have a light there, they are young adults, and they are happy where they are. They are neutral about my staying, but they do get along with me. And there was apparently one young man and one young lady, though they had a difficult time understanding the concept of gender given their current state of affairs.

It was powerful and interesting. It felt safe communicating with them, and I will probably do it again, especially if I find myself awake in that hour betwixt and between when it seems all things of heaven and earth are in a drowsy state of active receptiveness.

Quote of the day: “The terms we use for what is considered supernatural are woefully inadequate. Beyond such terms as ghost, specter, poltergeist, angel, devil, or spirit, might there not be something more our purposeful blindness has prevented us from understanding? We accept the fact that there may be other worlds out in space, but might there not be other worlds here? Other worlds, in other dimensions, coexistent with this? If there are other worlds parallel to ours, are all the doors closed? Or does one, here or there, stand ajar?” — Louis L’Amour

Daily gratitudes:
MKL’s true love and support
Flocks of pigeons
A reduction in my nerve issues (from the steroid mega-dose)
My Victorian nightdress
Seeing old friends in dreams

Coastalcity

I have no beach to walk on
like Lucy did
but I have as many ghosts
or perhaps more.

Still,
my feet leave invisible prints
on waves of pavement
at the edge of a concrete sea.

Regardless,
the passage of time
and the healing of hearts
follows the same course
despite disparate shores.

And the ghosts –
the companions of a solitary soul –
well,
they just

follow
footprints
only they
can see.

It really pisses me off how the “ghosthunters” on The Travel Channel’s Haunted shows act like such bullies to the ghosts – yelling at them, insulting them, taunting them, having absolutely no respect for the spirit’s intelligence and sensibilities.  I mean, these guys (or overly made-up girls) come into the spirit’s house and try to disturb them, make them show themselves, make them communicate.  Please!  The ghosts are just minding their own business.  How rude.

Trust me, I understand about haunted places and this is NOT the right approach.  And besides, it’s all so fake – it’s like watching pro wrestling!  Disembodied voices, dust motes, and of course you’re going to find cold spots in the basement – it’s a BASEMENT.

I generally believe that most spirits are good – just as I generally believe most people are good.  One of my favorite movie line quotes is from Silverado:  “Might as well think everyone is your friend or no one is – don’t make much difference.”  I know that some are not.  I’ve experienced them myself (like Sam at the White Eagle Tavern in Portland, Oregon, a story I’ll relate one day). I also know that not all of them need – or want – to move on.  If I were a spirit, I’d be pretty darn annoyed by someone coming into house, when I hadn’t asked them for help, and trying to make me change.  (Gee, sounds a little like what we did in Iraq, doesn’t it?)  Then again, I’d also be rather amused – and I suspect I’d mess with them, just to give a good show.  Or I’d completely ignore them, just to make them look bad in front of the cameras – but then they’d just make something up, which is what half of them seem to do anyway.

So, in conclusion, if I decide to hang around instead of going straight off to the afterlife, do NOT mess with me – unless you are invited.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my concern for my own mental health around the mourning of my Mother.  I did some research about the phenomenon that psychologists call “complicated grief” (which I labelled for myself “profound grief” because that’s how I felt it).

But that same day, I wrote about a dream I had.  A dream in which my Mother was hugging me.  A dream so vivid in its physical sensation that I could still feel her hugging me when I awoke.  A dream that was a visitation.  A dream that I never wanted to end.  But end it did. 

That day, the dream was on my mind quite a bit.  I felt odd.  And the next day, I felt….better.  I felt like, somehow, my Mother’s death had found its little nook in my soul, where I could tuck it and have it — and me — be comfortable, be at peace.

I’ve checked in since – it’s been over a week – and the sense of a weight being lifted is still there.  The darkness that has shifted in me like fine black sand since her passing is gone, faded, lightened.  I keep waiting for it to come back, waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I don’t believe that’s going to happen.  It – or maybe I – just feel different.

When I was contemplating my complicated grief earlier, it was feeling unbearable.  I told a friend that I was concerned, that I felt stuck in it, and I didn’t want it anymore, but I didn’t know how to fix it.  That I was thinking about going back to a therapist to discuss it, even though that’s the last thing I can afford now.  We had that conversation the night before I had the dream.  Perhaps my Mother, or my subconscious, needed me to get to the point where I could say “I want this to stop.  I want to let this go,” before the universe could spin things around to a resolution.

I have not dreamed about her since, which is soothing and surprising, because I would dream about her most nights.  But Kelsea, my daughter with the shine, had a dream last night.  She dreamed I was standing in the doorway of her bedroom, and that my Mother was standing behind me.  And I didn’t notice my Mother.  And she was smiling at Kelsea.  She said it felt like a visitation, not a dream.  It made me feel like it was a sign that all is right in this cross-section of our spirits now.

It made me smile.  I think we have both found some peace.

One of my favorite old movies is a little known film called “The Enchanted Cottage”.   It’s not available on DVD, so it’s just the luck of the draw if I ever get to see it.  It’s not very exciting and kind of old-fashioned, but it’s about a man disfigured in the war and a woman who is just NOT pretty.  The man meets the woman in a little house and when he steps inside he becomes handsome to her and she becomes beautiful to him.  The spell never wears off, even when they are outside the cottage, but everyone else sees them as they really are.  It’s a lovely little story.

My cottage, my current home, reminds me of that.  Not that I am more beautiful when I am inside, but just that it has this magical quality to it.  It’s not particularly outstanding.  It has high ceilings and white walls that, even after a year, I have yet to hang anything on – but that will come soon.  It gets quite cold because of misplaced heating vents.  But when I go inside it, I feel…like someone is holding me….like the cottage itself loves me.  I can stay comfortably cuddled up in there for days.  And at the same time, it feels like it is growing with me, evolving with me, helping me to heal.  Perhaps somehow helping me to see myself as beautiful, just as in the movie.  Helping me to see my real self.

All the little woodland creatures – the foxes, deer, birds, squirrels – that wander through my yard, by my windows, even on my small porch (deer tracks there this morning), add to this sort of fairytale quality that I feel there.   I’m some sort of Sleeping Beauty but I’m awake.  The rescued eagle next door calls out to me throughout the day, and sometimes into the night hours, complementing the howling of the coyotes and the all-too-rare lowing of the cows.

The red velvet couch is such an out-of-character piece – but that’s the thing, it’s NOT.  It’s actually me.  It’s just the me that I couldn’t ever express in my marriage.  (I read somewhere that when women leave their husbands and start feathering their own nests that they gravitate towards decorating with bright colors.) 

The bed is amazing – vast and comfortable, and the play of light through the curtains in the mornings is like waking up in a dream.

It’s not perfect, but what is?  It has its creaks and groans and the heater is remarkably loud.  And it has ghosts, though I have yet to determine if they belong to me or to the cottage.  That’s something I plan to investigate.  I can feel them at night, and occasionally hear them.  But I feel safe there. 

The little roof over the door is tin – I love to hear the rain falling on it in the summer.  Storms come up and blow by, the wind chimes measuring their ferocity.  Lilacs bloom by the split-rail fence in the spring and the big tree breathes its restless, delicate, sweet scent through the warm days until autumn.  Set far enough off the dead-end road that there’s usually no noise from traffic, the year-round cooing of the mourning doves puts me in an island mind, even while the snow sparkles like frozen diamonds on the ground.  I’ve never seen diamond snow anywhere but here.

Getting from the truck to the cottage some winter nights makes me feel like the opening scenes in Wuthering Heights, with the lonely, weary traveller stumbling towards refuge through the driving snow.  No path to follow, no light to guide my key, I could be in the Yukon for all it’s worth.  But on clear nights, the stars and moon light the ground to my door.  And some nights the moon lights up my bedroom like a lamp from another world, and I cannot sleep for bathing in its beams.

This is to be my place to bloom, to write, to come into my own, to feel my power, to cherish myself.  How wonderful.

March 2021
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