In memory of a brother

Betty’s note: Recently, my youngest brother, Steve died unexpectedly. I hope Grandmother Cottonwood’s words will resonate with those of you who’ve lost a loved one.

Now that a loved one has left his body behind and his spirit has crossed to the light, we must grieve this unimaginable change, this shattering of expectations, hopes and dreams, this kind and loving presence in our lives, now gone, this ground of the known universe, this brother that has been with us since earliest days.

Steve’s kindergarten picture – 1967

In the blink of an eye, the measure of a breath, the beat of a heart, our lives have changed and we are forced to let go, to allow his spirit to continue on in a new form, in a new dimension, one that is not so easy to wrap our minds and hearts around.

His physical form has left the building, but his spirit, the expansive peaceful part of him that is love, that is eternal and indestructible, lives on.

Are you a caretaker?

Do you deplete yourself in an effort to help others? Do you give your energy and power away to those who appear helpless and powerless? Are you a born caretaker?

Dear ones, your power energy and life force are the most precious treasures you’ve been given in this life! Without them you will wither away and lose vitality and joy. They are yours and yours alone and are not transferable!

Male cardinal in early spring

Have you noticed that those you’ve sacrificed for, given your power to don’t even realize or notice or acknowledge the great gifts you are offering them? They can’t figure out what to do with your gifts? It is as if your gifts are dust.

The only solution is to keep and maintain your own light and power and energy. If the person in your life is open you might help them find and access their own light, tap into their own power.

If they are not aware of this dimension of life and can’t or won’t heal, offer them a blessing and withdraw your shoring up of their weak foundations. For as you give more to them than you can afford, you weaken and deplete yourself.

Maybe they will blame you for their failures. Please do not accept the blame, for they alone must do the difficult work of healing. They alone must reach out for help in tapping into their own power, light and life force.

They must look reality square in the face and make changes in their lives. They may choose not to do this. If so, you must withdraw to a safe distance.

Safeguard your precious life force. Learn to put yourself first!

The next great adventure

When this stage in our spirit’s journey draws to a close and the indestructible part of us moves on to our next great adventure, we call it death.

When the physical body stays behind as the spirit becomes one with all-that-is we call it death.

Think about these questions when someone close to you dies…and when you begin to accept you will not last forever…

Will the death of someone dear limit and diminish your life forever? Or will it fuel your life’s passion and purpose?

You have a short time here while in your body. How will you spend your precious and limited time?

Will you spend more heart to heart time with those dear and beloved ones who will not always be with you in physical form?

Will the death help you rearrange your priorities in life to those that really matter to your heart and satisfy your soul?

Will you learn to communicate with the spirit world and expand your awareness beyond the physical world, beyond the world of logical and linear thought, into an ocean of light and expansion and oneness with all things?

Sunset, cloudy March evening

Can you see death as a period at the end of a sentence in the never ending story of the spirit; as a pause, a transition before the next great adventure?

Take Care of Yourself!

Dear ones, please take time during the busy season to rest and take care of yourself.

 In this season, there is so much human busyness – rushing, doing, trying to beat the clock, meet the deadline, make the holiday celebration perfect, trying to please one and all, beat the crowds, put on a magnificent feast.

Red door and evergreen wreath

You run yourself ragged and you wear yourself down! You override your body’s natural rhythms and needs, pushing yourself over the limit of endurance. Another word for this is “stress”.

Can you pull back, breathe, regroup, rethink, and slow down? 

 Find your center.  Bring your awareness to your heart and breath. Tune into your innate wisdom. What is most important to you this year as you celebrate your holiday?  What can you let go of?

For your health and sanity, let go of the elaborate expectations and preparations that you do not enjoy! Let go of extra events and “must-dos” you have to squeeze into your busy schedule. If others expect things you do not want to deliver, let them do the work, take the time, make the effort!

What activities will satisfy your soul and connect you with love to family and friends without overwhelm?

 Do those things! They can be so simple and easy!  Play a board game, sing songs, read a book together. Go for a walk, have a heart to heart conversation.

 Remember the real heart of the season, gathering with those you love and enjoying each other, greeting the sun, creating light, love and warmth together.

Let yourself be the peace you wish for!

Teach by example

Dear one, is your heart heavy with fear for others?  Do you worry about your family? 

You can help them without depleting yourself by seeing and witnessing their power, their strengths their capabilities, their talents, and reflecting this back to them in words and actions.

You are saying to them – “I know you can do this… I know you are capable… I know you can figure this out… this is what I’ve seen in you before…”  This is gentle coaching – leading by example – inspiring those around you.

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GCW in winter

Let them know you trust them to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done.  Your job is not to rescue, or save, but to be a light, to shine a light for them.

When you feel the familiar fear, go inward and feel it in your body.  It might be a tightening in your heart, a resistance in your throat, a roiling in your belly.  Pay attention to your feelings with love.  Breathe deeply for a few moments and allow yourself to be fully present to your body’s signals.

Feel your fear. “Give it your compassionate attention.” – Pema Chodron

This will help you find the courage to tune into the power within you.  Go deep into the living well of your life force and draw up the strength and fortitude and will to heal your life! Even though you feel fear, you can shine brightly and stand in your power. 

You teach by example!  Those you worried about in the past can learn to stand in their own power, reach deep within themselves and find the resources to thrive.

Communicate energetically

Dear ones, with some practice and patience, you can learn to communicate with loved ones across the miles. Yes, I know your shiny blinking and beeping object with the glowing screen does that already…

I speak of love, of real heart to heart deep energetic communication.  I do not speak of easy words!  or emojis! or trite phrases!  The communication I speak of is so much deeper and touches the heart and soul.

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Milkweed pods and seeds

To begin, drop your awareness down into your heart.  Breathe several times, in and out of your heart, releasing any static or clouds.   Do you feel love in your heart?  Do you feel peace?   Do you feel calm?  If so, bring an image of your loved one to mind as best you can.  (If you’re feeling angry, fearful, or unhappy try again later when you feel differently.)  Maybe it is a picture of them, maybe you see a piece of paper with their name written down, maybe you smell their perfume and feel their presence.  However you perceive them is OK!

Now ask a beautiful clear light to shine on them and through them.  See and feel them with a loving heart, no judgment, and kind regard.  Your energy is communicating with their energy.  Simple breathe, and let the light shine as long as you wish.

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GCW and brilliant yellow leaf

I speak of sending love to your grandchildren when you perceive they need a boost.  I speak of holding your spouse in the light when you want to give them your support.  I speak of blessing your child when she’s far away.  I speak of sending light to a disabled elder.  I speak of opening your heart to those you know are suffering, placing the situation in the hands of the divine.

 

In this way, you can make a real positive difference in your life and the lives of others.

 

Be fully embodied

Do you spend precious moments wishing you were somewhere else, doing something else?

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Grandmother Cottonwood, fall color

Do you tighten the interior of your body as you do this – perhaps your throat or your heart?

Pay attention to the subtle ways you shut down the flow of energy through your body and withdraw your attention from what is while avoiding the present moment. Do not feel singled out, Dear one, for all humans do this.

Your impatience with what is has distracted you from your beautiful life, made up of moments just like this. This is your life!  Life provides you with many chances to shift your focus and come into the power of your present moment each day.

Remedy this shutting down of your energy by giving attention to your inner world of feeling, sensation, muscle bone and blood, the subtle opening and closing, the inhale and exhale, pain and ease, contraction, expansion, warmth and coolness. The sensations of your body create a window for you to experience this present moment, to slow down, to be here now.

Will you reach the moment of your death and know that you were too impatient to be fully present for yourself and your beloved ones? Or will you choose to live fully embodied? Bring your awareness down into your body and live in this moment!

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For new grandparents

Grandparents know the amazing expansion of the heart while holding their precious new loved one. They hold this tiny new family member close, matching the rhythms of their heart and breath, breathing in and basking in the glow of the amazing spirit in their arms.

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Newborn

Grandparents remember that this little one has chosen to make an appearance, to grace the family with their precious, priceless presence.

Grandparents are given the change to accept without judgment, bathing the child in the heart energy of pure love and light, and feeling in return the grace of pure spirit, knowing the child is perfect as they are.

Grandparents are given the most sacred chance in life, to love unconditionally, to learn how to love in a new way than ever before at a deeper level than they have ever known. Grandparents are given the chance to expand into more and become more, through love.

Your grandchild is a tiny piece of all that is, a message from the universe: All is well, All is love, Life is good. You and the earth herself are blessed by this greatly beloved new spirit.

What is success?

Have others defined success for you? Do you subscribe to the popular view that bigger and more is better?

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Grandmother Cottonwood

How do you define success? Is it a big house and three car garage in the fashionable part of town? Is it a stressful high powered career in which you get to boss others? Is it lots of money in the bank?

Is your definition of success winning at your game of choice? Are their losers in your game?

Is your idea of success feeling happy in the life you’ve chosen? Is it thriving in the place you’ve chosen, doing what makes you heart sing, feeling comfortable in your body? Is it having time to relax and enjoy your family and friends; the simple but soul satisfying moments of a life well lived?

Decide what matters to you, what success is to you. Take the time to quiet your mind and get in touch with your inner spirit, beyond thought. Your heart will know the truth.

You are the master of your life, your time, your energy. You choose how to spend these most precious resources. Spend them wisely! Spend them in support of a life that satisfies your soul!

Worried?

Worry is like a thick gray cloud around your mind and heart; a self-generated fog machine.

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Storm clouds

 

Dear ones, worry wears you down, ages you dims your clarity and light, weakens you.

If you are worried, you are not living in the present. You are living in your head projecting scenarios and events which will most likely never occur, which you most likely have no power over!

In short, you are wasting your time and energy when you worry! You are scaring yourself with self manufactured drama for no good reason.

If you are worried about the future, get the facts you need to solve your problems and face them head on! Take informed action within your locus of control. Make plans based on the facts. Set boundaries within your circle of influence. Live in the here and now.

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Thistle flowers

Inhabit your body, place awareness on your feelings, sensations, your senses, the flow of life through your body, the natural world around you. Come into the here and now where your power lies!