Tag Archives: soul

What Incarnation Were We Thinking? Remembering What We Were Born to Forget

Share Button

there-is-really-no-way-to-say-no-to-the-morning-dan-foglebergI recently shared my story about the Spirit Pub at the epic Life Without Instructions conference, an amazing community of free-thinking, unschooling, family-loving, nature-hugging, soul-seeking friends. A few folks asked if I’d written the story down ~ so here it is :)

Long ago, I stumbled across the idea that perhaps our soul, before birth, gets to choose it’s greatest challenges in it’s lifetime. Given my dwarfism and it’s accompanying complications, you’d have thought my reaction would’ve been something like…

HA! What insane #@!% HOGWASH!

Instead, I was intrigued.

A friend and I decided that we’d name this pre-birthday place, the Spirit Pub. If we had chosen our current life-on-the-rocks, we clearly had had one too many.

Or maybe, when we were made of pure star-dust and all blissed-out, the wild Earth roller coaster looked so dang appealing! Birth, puberty, love, marriage, divorce, forgiveness, compassion, plot-twists, faith, disease, drama, darkness. What a thrill! A reality show to top all reality shows!

%22remember-who-you-think-you-are-now-is-only-one-moment-one-grain-of-sand-in-the-vastness-of-your-spirit

So by the time I bellied up to the Spirit Pub bar, I was ready to take on the cosmos. One glance at the ginormous menu, and I knew. The special of the day stood out in lights: “spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita, dwarfism, with a heaping side order of degenerative arthritis.”

The tougher the troubles, the greater the glory.

I turned to my guardian angel, already by my side, and said, “I could really sink my teeth into that one.”

Excellent choice,” she said, sounding a bit like Glinda the good witch. “Let me give you some details: at your birth, the gods of medicine will automatically label your creative earth costume as defective, deformed, disadvantaged and disabled. You will believe and live their truth for years. There will also be many operations, including two brain surgeries.”

I quickly asked to recheck the menu.

But my angel continued on with strangely contagious enthusiasm. “This profound human pain . . . will ignite in you such a deep hunger to heal yourself. The darkness will serve as a spiritual springboard to the light. It will catapult you into alternative medicine, nutrition and empowering ways to care for your costume. These remedies will be a bridge back to your remembrance that healing comes from within. Inside you will be the best medicine of all – the choice of where to put your focus, on fear or faith.”

%22you-are-encoded-with-a-magic-filled-with-a-potential-jennifer-mclean“Furthermore,” she said, almost giggling, “The doctors won’t be the only ones who will take issue with your nonconformities; you will also be a billboard for bullies, strangers, children & adults who will stare, taunt and mock you. You’ll be a trigger for their own deep fears of separation and rejection.”

Before I could interject that I might be biting off more than I could chew, she was way ahead of me.

“My dear, your belief that you are isolated from the world will stir in you such a longing for love & connection. And because you will not be able draw that acceptance from the outside, you will at last turn your focus inside. That is where the memory will dawn – darkness is not a punishment or an accident. It is your soul’s creative catapult back into Oneness, the place inside of you where you can, and you will, remember that you are Light. And so is everyone else.”

“So you’re telling me,” I asked, “that I can’t lose in the end?”

“What the human believes is a loss, the soul experiences as a gain. Your family,” she continued, a mesmerizing pink glow around her, “will be the loving bedrock of your identity. They will not be distracted by your differences and will see and love you for who you really are.”

%22you-are-a-part-of-everythingYay! Good news!

“Out of respect and love for you, however, they will err on the side of silence about your dwarfism and it’s challenges. You will misinterpret that silence as shame.”

Hmmm. A strange pattern seemed to be emerging…

“Your heartbreak, however, will awaken in you such a desire to express yourself. When you turn your focus toward that, it will launch you into true heart to heart communication, through art, writing, speaking and being.”

“Isn’t it ideal?” she twinkled. “Silence leads to communication. Isolation leads to reunion. Physical pain leads to spiritual healing. Are you beginning to see the sacred love story of opposites?

I was. From a distance, it did seem rather remarkable.

“There is one last thing, my dear,” my golden Glinda added, “and it is very important. You know everything we’ve been discussing? . . . You are going to forget all of it.”

I sighed. “That part, I kinda know. Because if I remembered that I was eternal love, that no harm could ever come to my soul, then the earth journey would be like ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ without the blindfold, or ‘Hide and Seek’ without a place to hide. We choose the body-blindfold to make it a really gutsy game. It’s a global treasure hunt where the gems are hidden within.”

My angel shimmered. “The wounds of your forgetting will be temporary, but the joy and wisdom will be yours forever. And remember, my dear, I will be with you at the doorway of birth, I will stay by your side every step of the way, and I will be there when you are ready to lay your body down and come Home. I will never leave you until you have fulfilled your reasons for being.”

I nodded to my fearless angel and I said, “Bring it on.”

%22a-mind-that-is-stretched-by-new-experience-can-never-go-back-to-its-old-dimensions-oliver-wendell-holmesMaybe we all agreed to the crazy ride.

But whether or not our soul chooses our circumstances, the belief that our challenges are for us, not against us, is hugely empowering. It’s not to blame ourselves, or others, ever. It’s the opportunity to take any ugliness and transform it into something beautiful and meaningful. To find out what’s right with what might feel all wrong. A nightmare is not the final verdict; it may end up being the vehicle to our soul’s desire.

There’s divinity in the darkness – let it inspire our brightest light.

~~~~~~~~~

Before you go~

MORE FR*EE STUFF!

Rev. Anne Presuel & Sherry Bowers have invited 100’s of spiritual entrepreneurs to participate in their annual

Your Divine Biz Gifts

 to give you a whole BUNCH of fr*ee products and services.

Things like:

  -ebooks
-scripts
  -audio trainings
  -audio meditations
  -video trainings
-checklists
-assessments
-programs
-free memberships
  -and much more

Register here and then go pick out what you like,

leave the rest behind :)

Wishing you an open mind, gentle heart, courageous soul, 

And lotsa love, always,

Julie

Share Button

Signs from Dad: Finding Blessings in the Broken Places

Share Button

%22To these memories I will hold. I bid you all a very fond farewell. Billy BoydI’ve been wanting to write to you about my Dad ever since he slipped into the great beyond last year. Sitting here at the keyboard, biting my lip, I’m intimidated and perplexed as to how to tackle something so big. A whole lifetime. A sudden loss.

I’m worried my words won’t do him justice. My feelings are too fumbled. I keep rereading my straggly sentences – and deleting. Grief is such an uncharted journey. What I thought I understood about saying goodbye, pales in comparison to the reality. The questions. The unknown.

So I hang on to the signs.

The morning after Dad died, feeling shocked and heartbroken, I asked him to please send a sign that he was watching over Mom – that his spirit was alive and well. That we’d all be ok.

As I sent the prayer, I pushed the backdoor open to let our dog out, and there was sudden thunderous honking from a long V of Canadian geese! They were flying very low, the lead goose cresting right over our home – I flinched in surprise, but my heart hit the sky! I cried and I laughed – it felt jubilant! Triumphant! Holy! Dad’s answer was swift, certain and celebratory – a lot like he was. Is. A free bird!

%22We go to the grave saying, ‘A man is dead,’ but angels throng about him saying, ‘A man is born’.Henry Ward Beecher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canadian geese are residents at my favorite pond, and after years of taking personal days there, to sit, write and just be, they feel like friends.

Julie & geese Hedden copy

That’s me and my winged friends at the pond :)

Last year, we even untangled a little gosling caught in fishing line. So on that bleak morning, a raucous and victorious V was the perfect messenger :)

In fact, Dad kind of reminds me of those geese. They can be bold and fierce – they’re not afraid to stand up for themselves or their goslings. They’re protective and proud parents (who are known to be black and white.) They hail from Canada where my mom’s family, and now all our families, have a very special summer cottage.

Since the first day without Dad, and that striking sign, I continue to ask for God’s reassurance that Dad hasn’t really left our lives. And Dad never disappoints. When I’ve asked, he has landed a flaming red dragonfly on my finger, sent sand dollars in ocean waves, perched a hawk right outside my window, and drawn a rainbow hawk in the clouds. (When I was a girl, his name in our Indian Princess tribe was “Thunder Hawk.”)

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. ~Tagore

%22fire rainbow hawk

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago, I had four blissful days to myself while cat-sitting at a friend’s. The morning I was leaving, I happened to read a post from Karen Noe’s newsletter ~ she recommended asking our loved ones for *without a doubt* signs that they are still with us.

So as I drove over to kitty-sit, I asked Dad for just that. Later in the day, I walked out into my friend’s beautiful backyard and noticed the woodpile. I thought Dad might send a chipmunk, which I adore. Although I don’t see them that often, I then dismissed them as too common to be *indisputable.*

But as I continued to walk, a chipmunk did pop up by the house… and then ran straight at me! I froze in place half wondering if a shy chippy would zip right over for a cuddle. It came within five feet. Wow. As it ducked under the shed, I laughed to myself… but not so sure that this was my sign.

Within a minute, something caught my eye in a nearby birch tree. I don’t know why I noticed it, really – the soft blush color was well hidden amidst the white and gray. As I walked closer, though, I saw her – the sweetest baby robin seamlessly camouflaged in the birch! See her? So precious, she melted my heart. The fuzzy white tuffs of new feathers were softly blowing in the breeze. Awwwwww! (You can see a quick video of her here, close-up! Sorry the video is sideways, I was too excited to realize!)

baby robin camouflaged

beautifully camouflaged baby robin :)

This is Dad’s work! He knows I’m a sucker for nature’s babies! I marveled and cooed and appreciated and photographed that adorable little robin.

As I turned to walk away, thrilled in my treasured discovery, a shadow from above caused me to look up, and there it was: a majestic great blue heron sailing across the sky! Another one of my heroines from my favorite pond. I could just imagine Dad cheering and laughing along with me!

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. Shakespeare

An old photo of my boys watching a V of geese!

Dad knows what I love, and from his heavenly place of camouflage, he speaks fluent heron, chipmunk & baby bird. He hit a loving triple play that afternoon, speaking *indisputably* to my soul.

Keep ‘em coming, Dad. I love you so much.

%22For all that has been - thanks! To all that shall be - yes! Dag Hammarskjold

wishing you victorious signs, comfort, and lotsa love, 

Julie signature copy

P.S. I wanted to invite you to a free online summit called,

The Intuitive Child, Nurturing The Inner Wisdom Within

❤  The Intuitive Child is hosted by my wonderful colleague, Abby Gooch, the founder of Life Force Connection. She’s a talented intuitive coach who helps her clients listen to, trust and act on the guidance their intuition provides.

I’ll be one of the 21+ speakers, so I hope you can join us! I’m looking forward to listening to all the interviews myself :)  Please register here. ❤ 

%22how fortunate are you and I who’s home is timelessness we who have wandered down.e.e.cummings

Share Button

The Queen of Autumn: Leaf Piles and Present Moment Magic

Share Button

How beautifully leaves grow old(Originally posted at my Huffington Post Blog in 2011!)

As my neighbors grumble about the leaves covering their lawn, my boys wait wide-eyed, with mighty rakes in their hands. The time is here; our delicate Japanese maple has finally shed enough of her red robe for a ginormous leaf pile.

Our maple stands on duty, everyday, a quiet nanny to a neighborhood of fast friends. She stoops down low for even the smallest of sneakers to scale and reaches high enough for the bigger kids to walk on air.

As the seasons move past, dependable and reassuring, she’s alive in our photos: summer kids dangling like earrings from her limbs, green leaf stew at her feet. There are winter snowmen around her waist and a count down to Christmas in her ears.

But her infamous time of year is Now, when ruby-red leaves dance and drop from her skies. The dogwood nearby offers a generous contribution and the old oak by the street throws in her golden leaves. But no one is fooled. We all know who is really Queen of Autumn.

autumn maple n snow

Our autumn maple in an early snowfall, 2011

“We can rake now, right Mom?” my ten-year-old asks as he watches a squirrel tight rope through our bare maple. “Yup we definitely have enough leaves,” I answer, as he breaks for the garage. “C’mon Ky, let’s get the rakes!” My six-year-old scurries behind him, a bagel in hand, no shoes on his feet.

I grab my camera and step out front. Long rake handles appear first, bobbing above our front bushes, taller than both boys combined. As the work begins, our maple occasionally catches their hair in her branches or snags the wooden handles. Nothing inconveniences the boys, though, as they move with purpose and enthusiasm. Spencer tugs at the glorious crimson carpet, sweat beading on his forehead, as our maple exhales oxygen and inhales CO2 in a beautiful exchange.

From across the street, our twin nine-year-old neighbors, Manuela and Thomas, spot the fun and rush to join the leaf brigade. Thomas refuels the effort where Ky has petered out. “We can make a pile as high as the house!” he yells with glee. Spencer’s tired rake is reluctantly passed off to Manuela, who moves with invigorating new purpose. A monstrous pile is built.

autumn 1

Can you find all three faces…

My maple and I smile with motherly pride. Appreciating the present moment, I remember where peace and joy resides. “I jump first!” Spence yells. “Second!” Ky pipes in. “Third!” “Fourth!” Thomas and Manuela add. Our eight-year-old neighbor Danny suddenly runs into the yard yelling, “Fifth!”

I balance my smiling camera as Bill comes to enjoy the spectacle. Like our maple, the kids stand ready for the joy ahead, for snuggling in next year’s shade, for the long upward climb into adulthood.

We watch as Spence backs way up to begin his debut run. He takes off with a bang and then, with an enormous leap and a giggly shout, he dives head first into the autumn womb.

“Laughing is jogging on the inside

With laughter spilling around like sunshine, I feel reconnected with it all. The smell, the crunch, the gratitude for a world breathing in and out. I have the boys to thank. They won’t let their childhood pass us by too quickly. At least not today.

Soon our maple will be hailing the holidays, branches lined with elegant white snow. Although I may get distracted by the busyness, scurrying to get it all done,  I can count on our maple to etch our lives in peace.

In the years ahead, as our sons find new joy and work in this world, Bill and I want to be there with them, celebrating each new season of their lives. All the while we’ll remember the days of autumn leaf piles when friends and family (and an elegant Japanese maple) were there to steady our souls.

Be like a tree, let the dead leaves drop. .....~Rumi

“Everything I let go of has claw marks on it.Anne Lamott

Let it go,

let it be,

for love,

XO

Julie

Share Button

How Will I spend My Heart Today? On BS or Mindfulness?

Share Button

Hiya Radiant Renegade,

How do you feel about really truly deeply being seen? Including your insecurities, shadows & secret darkness? I had an enlightening run-in with some of my old BS just last week.

As I’m basking in the quiet of my favorite park, writing by this very peeeaceful pond (in the photo), a noisy group sauntered into my sanctuary and plopped down in the shade behind me.

Ugh.

I continue writing, trying to ignore the prickly feeling of eyes and action behind me. One dude is particularly loud. Generally, I love listening to other languages – I have this excited feeling that I understand what’s being said, even when I don’t. But today, his foreign tongue is like a jackhammer and he seems to be the only one carrying the conversation.

I ask my angels if they’d help !@#$ quiet him. Oh wait. Trying to change him is a disempowering focus. Instead, I need to shift my own intention and response. It feels better to say, Thank you angels, in advance, for helping me tune out the distraction.

Soon enough I notice a tremendous turtle sunbathing on a rock. Some swallows are swooping and playing in the air. A goldfinch flies past. Colorful dragonflies are whisking all around. Ducks and geese are feeding nearby in their funny bottoms-up way. Earlier, a small snake had swam seamlessly through the sunlit water.

While marveling at this wide-eyed world, I forget my cares and remember what matters.

And I’ve been able to ignore, somewhat, the incessant talker, who is still rattling away. My goodness.

It’s getting too warm sitting in the sun and I want to gather up my books, beach chair and snacks and waddle over into the shade, about twenty feet away. But I hesitate. I fear the roving eyes behind me. Oooph.

My residual BS has bubbled up – the old Belief System that fears my dwarfism & I will be judged, rejected, humiliated. I shake my head. Why do I care what they think? What will they do, throw stones? Tomatoes? Call me ugly? Laugh? WHO CARES!

Apparently, I still do.

I take some deep breaths, relax and prepare myself to stand up and BE SEEN. Go ahead Jule, they can’t hurt you. You are free to be yourself in this world. This is a great opportunity to bust through the BS. Reclaim the joy.

I awkwardly stand and . . . you know what?

The chatterbox shuts right up.

Hee hee.

By facing my fear, I get my wish ~ his mouth is firmly muzzled. (My inner BS was speechless, too.)

In the past, I’ve dreaded that hushed reaction to me. The shocked looks. Today, the quiet is my reward.

I grab my gear and shuffle into the shade, chuckling to myself. I am an anti-gab Goddess. A shift in perspective is everyone’s super soul power, available anywhere, anytime.

I sit back down and put my notebook on my lap. Suddenly a white-tailed dragonfly (I Googled it) lands on my writing. I watch in surprise as her tiny velvety body breathes. It isn’t a quick flutter – her whole body expands slowly and then contracts. Wow!

Then I realize her fabulous domino looking wings are perfectly covering just one sentence. I’d written it in the upper corner of my page this morning~

“How will I spend my heart today?”

Will I give away my joy because of other people’s reaction? Or will I stand up and be who I am, in peace (or flat out enthusiasm.)

Will I focus on an argument with an old friend/partner/sibling/kids? Or will I send them love bombs and release thoughts of right or wrong.

Will I try to control the outcome of some ‘uncomfortable’ circumstances? Or will I breathe deeply, expand my heart, my love and my willingness to grow.

Will I judge what’s ugly in me/them/the world? Or will I search for what’s beautiful around me and within me.

Will I spend my heart on self-doubt? Worry? Criticism? Shrink away from my challenges?

Or will I trust life to unfold in spectacular ways.

The dragonfly’s work has dominoed and is done. She lifts off the page, hovers for a moment and then zips toward the open water, taking some of my black and white BS with her.

How will you spend your heart today?

Let me know in the comments, I loooove hearing from you : )

You'll never rise any higher than the way you see yourself

I see you, 

with lotsa love~

Julie 

 

Share Button

Lessons in Letting Go: a Lost Brother and a Missing Caravaggio

Share Button

It’s been eighteen years since I last saw my big brother. Although we’d been growing apart for awhile, it was when I wrote him the news, that the door really shut. 

I had been thrilled to be moving in with my boyfriend, a divorced Catholic, but I knew that my brother Dan, a devout Catholic, would be scandalized. Dan had replied that if Bill and I ever married, he would not acknowledge it and not attend. His children would never be allowed to see us. Holy guacamole. It was an electrifying shock. 

Bill and I got married in 1997 and Dan kept his word. Over the years I’ve tried to forgive and forge ahead. But recently I woke up thinking about a Christmas at Mom and Dad’s, back in the days when Dan and I were so close. Eight years my senior, he was my sun and moon. 

That holiday, Dan had found one of my old paintings in the basement and pulled Her from the pack with wide appreciative eyes. 

“Jule, this one is amazing!” Dan crowed. “Man! When did you do it?”

“Oh wow. That was…um…my senior year at Hamilton,” I said, surprised to see Her, my old canvas-friend from college. “We were supposed to copy a portion of an oil painting from one of the Masters.” I babbled on about the details, including the offbeat art teacher who’d believed in me. 

I’d rarely had much confidence in my art; it was never good enough and always needed more effort, more talent, more blah blah blah. A sad self assessment. My dwarfism had left me drowning in perfectionism, the killer of creativity.

But now I was feeling something quite unexpected. It was…(gasp)…admiration.  

“Are you doing anything with it?” Dan said, breaking my reverie. “Do you think I could have it? I mean, look at all these paintings stored away doing nothing.” 

I looked back at Her, biting my lip. I actually….liked this one. Oh dear. I didn’t want to let Her go, even for the love of my brother. 

Dan could feel my hesitation. “How about this? Since you’re not using it, would you mind if I hang it at my house and when you want it back, I’ll whisk it right to you. I promise.” My eyes lowered at the feet of my hero.

“Sure, okay, you can have it.” 

“Thanks Jule!” he exclaimed, with a hug and a love that left me breathless. 

Little did I know, that religion was about to trump our time. There would be no meeting at the crossroads. No hand-off of the canvas. Dan would never dance at my wedding. Our children would be strangers. 

Time passed. Life deepened and flourished. A year after I’d written my memoir, Nothing Short of Joy, the busy-ness and bustle became too much. I decided I had to decompress. De-clutter. Delete.

Out of no where, I feel that painting calling. I swear. I’ve no idea why, but I need to see Her. I remember there was an angel and an old dude. Who was the artist again? 

Two weeks pass as the painting raps at my heals. Was it Rembrandt? Vermeer? My memory is mush. I google French, Italian and Angelic Masters. No sign of Her. Gone. Stolen. Damn it. I feel the resentment burn. Why did Dan have to leave me? 

Meanwhile, emails are busting out my inbox, and I hastily decide to unsubscribe from every newsletter. I scroll down my first victim, whizzing to the bitter end of one I never read and… BAM! My breath shudders. There. She. Is! Oh my glory! NO WAY. The man. The angel. The deep darkness. The feathery light. I am in awe! 

With my brain buzzing, fingers aflutter, I click on the photo and land at Amazon. She is a CD cover? I search for more clues. But there’s no name. No info. The treasure hunt intensifies. I lunge back at google. I shall find you! 

Zippo turns up.  

I run to tell Bill about the super synchronicity. As I reheat some leftovers for the boys, my beloved hubby disappears for awhile, then returns with a cheshire grin. He hands me a slip of paper that reads, “St. Matthew and the Angel, by Italian Master, Caravaggio.” What!? You FOUND HER! Oh thank you Hon! Feeling girlish and giddy, I run to the computer to read Her full history. I’m in a strange rapture. My husband and boys. My sweet lifetime. My healing angels. Something breaks open and I sob for the beautiful mystery of it all. 

What are the odds of me finding that photo? It was the first time I actually glanced at that newsletter, the one I’ve ALWAYS deleted. Even on overload, in confusion, our hands are somehow guided. Our spirits, safe. 

I smile at St. Matthew, perched at his desk, pen poised. He’s a writer. Holy crap. I painted this twenty years before I had an inkling that writing would heal my heart. No wonder I had chosen an author and an angel. But it was Dan who had needed Her too; they spoke the same foreign tongue, of saints and sermons that would separate us one day. I study the painting, the face of my past. I miss my brother. But even as the tears roll out once more, I feel the Love and connection that will never leave.

I take a deep breath as the bigger picture settles my soul. As for my brother and I, I don’t know the story’s end. But for now, my painting is at peace in me, and She is at home with him. 

 caravaggio31

 

Share Button