Tag Archives: memories

The Light. She Saw the Light.

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mother portrait

As I stood by mother’s bedside, talking to her and trying to reassure her, I was distraught. We brought her home and promised her that we would not send her back to the hospital and now the worst had happened. We did not yet have everything hospice would provide to help her and, from what I was witnessing, she could die at any moment. I felt helpless and wanted to cradle her in my arms for safe keeping. I kept telling her I loved her and everything would be okay. Even if she didn’t respond; I knew she would hear me on some level.

Over the years, I had many times felt that it was up to me to save mother. It was, of course, a foolish thought, but one that carried a shared agreement between us. She and I would both do our best, so we could enjoy more time, laughs and adventures together.

Now, I found myself running in and out of her room, down to the kitchen to get anything I thought might make her feel better – peppermint tea, cool water. I held her hand and talked quietly to her, I used some of my Reiki energy, moving slowly over her body and calling forth all healing. I prayed. I chanted my mantra.

In short order, Bill and Judy heard the commotion and came from their bedroom on the third floor and met up with me in the hallway. I don’t know why I hadn’t wakened them before. They would surely have helped.

“What’s going on?” they asked urgently. I told them I thought it was possible Mom was dying. It was the first time that they saw her in this state, even though it had been happening frequently in the hospital. They gathered around Mother’s bed, talking with her and trying to soothe her. Now they saw firsthand how grave the situation was. I told them I would call hospice and see if they could help.

As I spoke with hospice, I explained that mother had not yet been admitted to their system. She was scheduled for this the next day.
It never occurred to us that one day would make such a difference. We had none of the powerful drugs hospice would bring the next day. I begged them to tell me what to do. They did their best. We were all helpless. They suggested we dial 911. We all said no. We were on our own and frightened beyond measure. Mother would have to make herself live through that long night. And she did. But something happened to her that night that I did not, at the time, fully understand.

When Mother was again able to speak, she looked up at the ceiling and repeatedly pointed to something. “The light” she said, wistfully, “Look at the light.” She smiled slightly and turned to me. She thought that I could share what she saw. I could not, but I was very familiar with these words as a common statement made by those who have had near death experiences. They usually saw a light not describable in this world and one that brought enormous peace.

I believe now with certainty that, during that night, my mother parted the thin veil separating life and death, as we termed it. She had crossed into the Light of Eternal and Divine Love. Now everything would be different for all of us. Now she would be teaching and showing us, in her own way, that she had already seen where she was going.

More Memories of Memorial Day

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“I’ll be seeing you.” This refrain played over and over in my head that first Memorial Day after my mother’s passing. It seemed that it was inserted into my memory bank for a special reason. Oddly, it was also the first time I so clearly understood that my mother had the ability to place herself into events, books, and even manifest items and occurrences by her own power. Both Richard and I were mystified and not just a little bit confused by all of this. For some reason, I thought that, if someone wanted to communicate after they “died,” they sent a tidy little sign that they were okay and not to worry about them anymore. And that would be that! My mother clearly had something bigger in order.

“I’ll be Seeing You” is a popular World War II song. It is a poignant piece, and, because I like music of that era, it is a favorite of mine. It’s meaning reverberates for me still about seeing “you” in all the old familiar places, that this heart of mine embraces. I love the lyrics that end with “I’ll be looking at the moon but I’ll be seeing you.” Most of us think of this song as referring to a romantic relationship and of those separated by the necessities of war. I was surprised when they took on meaning about a different kind of separation, a separation “beyond” the world. As this story unfolds, you will grasp the meaning more fully. It is all about love and not just any trivial love, but one that is transcendent. It is about a love that feels like your heart is bursting open in joy.

In my last writing, I explained the astonishing coincidences within the book on tape Richard and I heard en route to Ann Arbor. I see now, in retrospect, that my mother was in high gear that weekend. In fact, she presented what I have called her “piece de resistance,” one of her highest achievements up to that time. It is about the violets, one of the themes we have come to see as her “go to” form of showing her presence.

Early in the spring, well before Memorial Day, I always take pleasure in planting grass seed in our lawn. It is quirky, but I am thrilled when the grass comes up and the lawn looks more beautiful. Over the years, I have hired others to do this, but I never like the results. I guess it has something to do with my lovingly putting down the seed by hand and throwing top soil all around and then waiting…

The spring after Mother’s departure, I again set out to seed the lawn, but this time there was a big surprise for me. Large portions of the lawn were radiant with purple violets. I know my lawn. Those were never there before. In wonderment, I immediately knew they must be a gift from my mother. She would know how I would remember all the years we trekked into the woods near our home, dug up violets, and transplanted them onto our property. Even as a little girl, it was an adventure we enjoyed and relished. We would ooh and aah over the different colors and varieties that we discovered, even yellow violets. I cherish this memory.

And now, as if by magic, they were blooming all over the lawn.

A few days later, Richard and I went to New York to visit out of town friends. In a hotel room where we have stayed frequently, we discovered that there was something new there too. In the entryway to the room was a lovely botanical print of a violet, hung so we couldn’t miss it. Whenever we entered the room, there it was. That picture was never there before.

Coincidence?

Then comes Memorial Weekend and we are traveling to plant the flowers at the cemetery in Michigan. Along the way, Richard and I decided to stop in Ohio to visit his ailing brother and our sister in law. We had formulated a plan that Richard would take his brother out for lunch, while I would entertain his wife at another restaurant. They were encountering some hard times with a serious illness, and we wanted to lend support.

My sister in law, Joyce, had carefully chosen a charming little quaint cafe.
We entered and were taken to our table. My eyes grew wide when I saw what was in the centerpiece of the table — it was an antique cotton handkerchief, exactly like one my mother used when I was a child. It was emblazoned with violets all over it. I was stunned. I noticed that none of the other skirted tables had handkerchiefs under the glass on them. When the waiter came to our table, I asked him about the handkerchief. He gazed at the centerpiece and seemed as amazed as I was. He said he had never seen something like this before. (Am I in the twilight zone?) Then, by some quirk of fate, he started telling me that this grandmother had just died and he had seen her image that morning. (I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone now for sure.)
Joyce and I have often marveled at the almost surreal time we had in that restaurant that day.

Richard and I continued our journey. As we rode along, I took note of the umbrella shaped May apples flowers blooming along the side of the road. I had not seen these since I left my childhood home and, you could guess it, my mother and I also transplanted those wild flowers onto our property. There also seemed to be many billboards and churches and signs about God and Jesus. One that could not be missed was a gigantic sculpture of Jesus coming out of the lake in front of the “Solid Rock” church. I felt as if all of this was more than riding along a highway through a part of the Bible Belt. I already knew that everything happens with purpose and that I learned through yoga, not through Christianity.

But there were more plans afoot. As I look back now, with far more understanding than I had then, I can imagine my mother rubbing her hands together as she gleefully plotted her next surprise. She was holding onto these and was poised to present them to include my brother and sister in law, Bill and Judy, with whom we would visit and do the ceremonial planting of the flowers for both my mother and my father.

We never knew what wonders we would behold from minute to minute. This was becoming a great adventure into the land of miracles. Anything could happen now!

The 52: Are You Lighter and Happier Because of Eternal Love?

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Eternal life and love!  Who are you kidding?  Do you really think this is true?

Well, yes.  My answer is, ” I do.”  Because I have direct, personal evidence.

Did you take some time to contemplate what eternal love and life actually means?  Or is the thought of such a thing just over the top for you?  Fora long time, it was for me! 

There were times in my life when I would have thought it such so much “poppy cock” and fantasy.  Come on, we die, life ends, that’s it.  Deal with it!  (Oh, I can even hear my old myself saying things like that.) 

Or, try this, when we die, we go into the void.  There is nothing there.  Just darkness.  But we do continue, in a way, because our bodies deteriorate and nourish the plants and soil.  Here;s another one:  Our lives don’t really end. We continue to exist in the minds and memories of our families and friends and to those whose lives we touched.  We aren’t actually there, but they remember us and maybe we changed their lives in some way in the remembering.

Those sound pretty good to a lot of us.  But what if the truth goes way beyond this.  What if our spirits continue to exist right along with everyone else?  There is a lot of evidence to suggest this is true.  Take a look at near death experiences.  Here’s one: Proof of Heaven, by Dr Eben Alexander, a book by a neurosurgeon who experienced a near death experience himself.  A number one best seller on The New York Times list. Or here’s another, a book that compiled reports of after death communications called Hello From Heaven by Bill Guggenheim and Judy Guggenheim.  Or look at the websites that keep track of these reports.

Okay, you are free to discount all of this.  But wait just a minute.  Did you actually contemplate what your life now would be like if you knew you would not die , but, instead, just transition into another state.  What happens then to all the fear and anxiety we attach to death? And what if that other state was full of love and bliss and you would be totally happy and healed.  Then what?  Just asking…

And in the asking, I really would like to know what you think.

So, for now, remember this — It ain’t over even you think it will be over.  Wow!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more thughts, go to www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Lesson Twelve – Looking Forward to Looking Back?

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See the butterfly soaring toward the light?  Are you soaring?  Are you experiencing a metamorphosis? Are you lighter and happier, more loving, than you were when you began reading these lessons?  Lighter and happier and more loving — that was my intention in writing this course in spiritual transformation.

Have you found that some lessons “spoke” to you more than others?  Maybe you like to use your mind to plant affirmations.  Or perhaps the body and breath is your primary vehicle for change so using action is best for you.  Or you might see silence and meditation, letting your mind rest, as a form that appeals to you.  If you are uplifted by the word “love” and feel joy in even saying or thinking that word, then lessons on love would appeal to you.  I would hope they all have a resonance for you.  They do for me!  I say that anything and everything that can bring light, joy, happiness and love into my life — well, I’ll take!

At the very beginning, I promised that these weekly lessons would be simple, yet profound.  From the responses I have received, those are two words that are most often repeated.  Simple, yet profound!

This lesson is for reviewing and resting.  If some of the lessons moved you more than others or seemed to bear fruit — you felt lighter and happier because you tried something new or revisited something you tried in the past — then return to those now.  Make them your focal point.

But what if you read them, found them interesting or boring, worthwhile or worthless, it really does not matter.  All is unfolding with perfection.  The light is still there, beaming within you.  YOU are still, as you always were, the loving spirit with the flame in your heart.

You know by now that Rumi is one of my favorite, enlightened poets.  His writings are so full of truth and love that my heart soars with every word.  He said:

Come to the orchard in spring.

There is light and wine and sweethearts in the pomegranate flowers.

If you do not come, these do not matter.

If you do come, these do not matter.

Well, what do you think of that?  All that matters is that you love yourself and flow with the purity that is in your heart.  That is my wish for you.

With love and namaste, Deanne

 For more thoughts, go to www.deannemincer.com

The 52: More on Lesson Nine — You Are As Happy As You Want To Be

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People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.

Abraham Lincoln

That Abraham Lincoln!  With everything else he did, I never knew he made comments on happiness — and profound ones indeed.  So you see, happiness doesn’t just happen.  It has something to do with how you think  and how your mind is responding to your life and world.  You can make up your mind to be happy.  How liberating is that?

One of the yoga classes I teach focuses on being light and happy.  At the beginning of class, everyone takes one of those sticky smiley faces. You know the ones that are usually yellow and they used to be plastered in all kinds of places.  “Have a nice day,”  might go along with them.  They were ubiquitous at one time. I stick my smiley face on the front of my shirt so everyone can see it.  I encourage students to stick them on their bathroom mirror, on the dashboard of their car, on their computer, wherever they will see it.  It’s a reminder to lighten up and be happy.  We need all the help we can get!

Sure, some may think that this idea of happy faces is a little trivial, silly, syrupy, and sentiments like that.  I don’t care because I would rather be reminded to be happy than be politically correct or cynical about it.  I tried that way (the cynical way) for a long time.  All I derived from that was pain and separation. It does not work, especially if you want any happiness in your life.

Many of us say to ourselves, “Well, I will be happy when I find a partner or make enough money or have a new car or buy that special pair of shoes or get my child into the best school.”  Think about it.  You will always have another “as soon as” and then happiness just passes you by.  Happiness is not something that comes from the outside.  It is an inside deal.  Remember Lincoln said, it is in your mind.

I like this quote from one of the great texts on yoga, the Yoga Vasistha:

One who is happy with whatever clothing he is given,

whatever food he is fed, and whatever resting place he is given,

shines like an emperor.

  • Think about times when you were especially grateful or happy.  What triggered that response? Maybe it was something simple like making it on time to your child’s school play or getting the last seat on an airplane or seeing a squirrel scamper across your yard.
  • Go way back in time, to your childhood.  Something very simple might have been the impetus.  I remember being in elementary school and, on the first really warm spring day, how much happiness I felt at going outside to swing on swings and run across the grass.
  • Look around you.  Really look.  I know you will find something around you that can elicit gratitude  and happiness.  Just sitting here in my office, I am happy that the sun is streaming through the window, that my computer is working, that I have my cup of green tea right next to me.  Remember, I said simple.

You can “make up your mind” to be happy, to find something that evokes happiness.  You are not tossed about by the circumstances of the world.  In fact, you are the world you construct.

With happiness, I wish you a wonderful day!

With love and namaste, Deanne

Check out www.deannemincer.com

Winter Solstice: From Darkness to Light

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The Winter Solstice has, in our human history, held great mystery.  It is the longest and, some would say, darkest night of the year.  The sun reaches its southernmost point in its arc.  Would the sun rise again?  Will the earth enjoy the warmth of its light?  Would life continue?  It has long been believed that the veil between spiritual and physical planes are at the thinnest point during the time of the solstice.  Then, the sun rises, and we are renewed, reborn, resurrected.  Hope and life go on.

Picture this:

You are sitting in the middle of the largest cathedral in the United States.  It is the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City.  Its immensity is breath-taking, soaring pillars surround you.  One can barely see from the entrance doors all the way to the altar in front.  The lights are dim.  An ethereal darkness pervades.  On a stage before you, a tree is bathed in an icy blue light.  The tree bears chimes and bells.  The sounds you hear are the groanings and twistings of the darkest of winter nights — clanging, beating, rippling interspersed with primeval animal voices and wind sounds.  Mysterious in its power, the darkness continues and the dissonant music plays.

Then, barely visible at first, a dimly lit disc appears.  A dimly lit disc at the altar.  The disc begins to glow more brightly as it begins its ascent.  It moves ever upward and you recognize that it is a large bronze gong representing the sun.  Suspended next to it is the percussionist, slowly and regularly beating the sound that introduces the light.  You watch as the light spreads , little by little, pillar by pillar through the cathedral, bathing one pillar and then the next.  As the sun rises in its fullness, the cycle is complete.  From the darkest night, the sun has again risen. Life will continue.  All is well in the physical and spiritual realm.

Such is the experience in the annual Winter Solstice Concert offered at this cathedral.  The resonant sounds and music is the work of The Paul Winter Consort.  Being present for this program is a powerful and arresting experience.

What does all this mean?  It could represent the darkness of events in our lives and the light “at the end of the tunnel.”  It might be telling us something of the dark night of the soul, the place where pain and sadness are at depths where we might doubt that light will ever come.  We might be thinking about the psychology of depression and how the long dark days influence  many people.  A myriad of other possibilities exist.

To me, what is of greatest importance is recognizing that the Light is not something outside of us.  That it is within us at all times.  You don’t  have to look for someone or something to bring it to You.  YOU are it!  YOU are the Light of Love.  The Light of Truth. The Light of Compassion.  The Light of Kindness.  YOU!  Yes, YOU!  Even if you doubt it, it is true.

There are those who enter into the world to bring the Light to us, to make it tangible, to guide us, to teach us of the Light of Divine and Eternal Love. such is the one who is celebrated at this time of year, for Christ Mass. Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, brought this message. We are blessed to know it and what his true words meant.

Gloria in Exccelsis Deo!

Believe in the Truth! YOU are the Light of Divine and Eternal Love. Nothing less!

For more comments:  www.deannemincer.com and https://deannemincer.wordpress.com

Thanks Giving: Joyous Food for the Spirit

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       In a recent conversation with a friend, I reflected on my love of cooking.  I said that, if I had a free moment to relax, it would likely be with poring over a recipe or preparing a special meal.  In my mind, I would conjure the process of working in my kitchen preparing something that will nurture and nourish myself and those around me.  I can feel my heart open and a joyousness emerges as I think of the fireplace crackling with warmth, classical music or chants , wafting through the room, a fragrant candle with the hint of apples and pumpkin, and me, chopping and mixing up a blend of home cooked kindness.  This is, in fact, how it is in my Thanksgiving kitchen.

      As I set about to take various ingredients and turn them into food to offer family and guests, I never feel alone.  Instead, my kitchen is surrounded by memories and traditions.  It brims with remembrances of past holidays, generations of those family and friends past and present, of aromas and tables set with foods popular during the time they were offered.  Food provides a sense of community (of communing together) and connecting in ways that only food can evoke.

      I savor a  memory of my mother baking hundreds of Christmas cookies that she gave out to eager recipients each year — everyone from family and neighbors to the post man and the man who took care of her car.  My mother learned cooking, sewing, and other domestic skills from her own mother.  She, in turn, taught them to her eager daughter.  I knew that I was learning a skill but I was also learning a more important lesson. It was a lesson about how to share love with others.  Then, as my mother reached into her late nineties and lived with my husband and me, we prepared many of those same Christmas cookies.  She had grown too weak and fragile to stand at the counter, mixing heavy dough in big bowls. Under her watchful eye and taking her advice, we took the cookies  from the oven and offered them to her for the true taste test. Every morsel was an act of love.

      Though I did not know it then, the energy and attitude of the cook goes into the food itself.  Mixing dough, mashing potatoes, making the sauces — whatever the dish — it becomes infused with the predominant attitudes of the one cooking.  So cooking with attention to attitude is important.  Maybe even offering a prayer or affirmation as cooking commences is a kind gesture in much the same way as offering thanks for the food set on the table.

      Food and eating as a group has traditions that stretch back into the roots of our humanity and are shared in all cultures.  The “communion,” in religious ritual, brings like-minded people together in praise and commonality — perhaps even in rapture.  It is no mistake that food plays such a central role in all the important ceremonies of life.  Think of holidays (holy days) of all persuasions, weddings, anniversaries, funerals. 

      So it is with much love that I approach the preparation of Thanksgiving dinner.  I will offer a prayer of thanks giving for an abundant sense of love, for all in our nation, and in the world, for concern for those without family and home, for those present and past.  And, especially, to my mother, in thankfulness for the lessons she taught me all those years ago and into this very day.

      Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.  You don’t even have to live in a country where Thanksgiving is celebrated each year, you can make EVERY day one of thanks giving.

With love and namaste from Deanne

For more thoughts, go to www.deannemincer.com and to http://deannemincer@wordpress.com