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.

Reinvent your life!

When nothing works anymore, when you find no comfort or inspiration from those people activities or places that brought you joy and happiness in the past, rediscover your foundation, your purpose in life.

Begin with your purpose, your reason for being. Use that as the most important information, the foundation you need to reinvent your life. If you have lost your bearings, forgotten your purpose, ignored the callings of your spirit, you will be off course, your foundation will be off kilter and will need repair and rebuilding.

Re-imagine what your life can be.

Green vine tendril

Draw up new architectural plans to build on your foundation, so to speak. Now that you have rediscovered your foundation, how do you envision your life going forward? What needs to be healed? What will stay the same? What will you add? What will you remove? How do you want to feel? What inspires delights and energizes you? How will you spend your time?

Reinvent new routines and activities for yourself to build a framework for each day that will support your purpose.

Renew your energy with fresh inspirations and high quality self care. Bring in new interior decoration for your life.

Restore your spirit by reinventing your life from the ground up!

Maple seeds

Know that you are meant to be here now, planting your seeds and living your purpose!

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?

Reconnect and heal

In times of trouble, times of grief, reconnect with the earth, your home, the solid foundation of your physical life.

Reconnect with her flowing waters, rhythmic waves, rooted trees, plant life of all descriptions, strong winds, thunderstorms, dense stones, fertile soil, her buzzing, flying, gliding creatures. Lay your body in the damp sand of a beach, the grasses beneath a large tree.

Lean against me and those of my tree community. Let us support you. Let us heal your spirit.

We are not inert unfeeling masses of atoms laid out in various interesting patterns, but living breathing knowing energetic beings who share this planet with you, who benefit when you thrive.

Let yourself reconnect with the joy and delight of childhood as you lay in the grass, smelling a sweet clover blossom as if for the first time, observing a firefly at dusk, looking up in awe at the moon and stars.

Know once again, and feel the peace, oneness, and belonging to our earth that will heal and renew your tired spirit.

What holds you back?

What heavy anchor keeps you from floating? What ballast keeps you from soaring?

What ties you down and limits the work that spirit can do in your life?

Are old fears keeping you stuck? Do you fear change? Does comfort in the familiar , the known even when it is mind numbing and soul crushing keep you in place?

To let go and move forward, you must gather your courage, trust in your intuition, trust in source and release your grip on the shore of the comfortable and the known. Put yourself in the current, the flow of life once again.

This is your life! You are the sculptor, the creator of your experience! Don’t let fear hold you back!

Move forward one step, one heartbeat at a time in the direction of your dreams.

You are meant to be here

You have been given the ultimate, the highest gift – life itself. Your spirit has chosen this path: Life in your body in this very place at this particular time.

You are meant to be here – with all that means.

Living in a body is not easy. It means you will experience grief, loss, and despair, sometimes happiness and flow and joy. You will know the pleasure of creativity and at other times you may feel stuck and alone.

You will experience illness and health, love and connection, you will know what it is to feel peaceful and calm, to rest at times, and be restless at others. You may know what it is to be injured in body or mind and to recover and feel whole again.

You are meant to know and experience the full spectrum of emotion to know all the joy and sorrows of life. You are meant to be fully present, knowing and trusting the process of living.

Life on this planet is not for the faint of heart!

Life means asking for help when you are unable to stand on your own. Life means lending your strength when others need your support. Life means heartfelt connections with other living beings that share this earth with you.

Life means paying attention to your body, mind and spirit, living by your heart and intuition, taking care of yourself and your needs, learning to love and accept yourself.

As an inhabitant of this planet, life means that you will know great loss that will take your breath away. And you will know many blessings that fill you with joy.

Source hears you, loves you, answers your heartfelt prayers throughout your life.

Breathe deeply and gather courage and strength for your unfolding journey.

Intention and dreams

Do your intentions flow directly from your heart and spirit, or are they products of your thinking logical brain that knows what’s best, what you should, what you should not?

The part of your brain trained up by your schools and parents and society knows the “rules”. It knows what is physically possible and impossible, (you learned it in a book) what you can and cannot, how to get ahead, which careers will bring you the most money, and who is misbehaving according to your code of conduct.

Grandmother Cottonwood and friend

To be effective potent and powerful, your intentions must flow from your heart and spirit, the part of you where dreams are created. The part of you that existed before your cultural training set in and upset the balance of your creativity and grace and flow and restricted you self concept.

When you tap into this reservoir of creativity and power, you can imagine yourself moving beyond old limitations. Then you can set your intentions for your life based on expansion and possibilities you dream of.

Leave behind the old restrictive rules and boxes and limitations you’ve placed on your dreams!

When you can feel it, dream it, imagine it, define it, and intend it, you can become it.

Live in the light

Do you feel there is a weakness, a stigma in asking for and receiving help when you are down? Do you feel that others will judge you unworthy?

When you are grieving or sad, when anger and resentment get the better of you, when you are overwhelmed by your feelings, do you feel that you must go it alone, tough it out, grit your teeth and be tough, keep your emotions in check, put on a happy face?

Winter day, heavy clouds

You are not meant to live isolated from each other, separate, apart, trying to move mountains of grief, sadness, depression alone.

My dears, I fear this strategy will keep you stuck and unhappy, that your life will be so much smaller, duller, and grayer than it could be otherwise.

No it is not easy! But you did not come to earth in a body for a life of constant ease. You came with a purpose.

When your old baggage interferes with your true life’s purpose, when you find yourself stuck and unable to move forward, can you allow yourself to receive love and compassion?

Can you find a loving friend, caring therapist or healer to help you lighten your emotional burdens and free yourself from the weight you carry?

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, to admit you are human, will help you get back on your true path of life lived in the light.

Monarch Butterfly and prairie flowers

When you ask for and receive help, your life can begin to shine in full color once again.

Reconnect to Source

You are beings of light and energy, meant to connect your light with that of source, to form a column of clear pure light in which you are connected to the earth, centered in your body, and aligned with source.

Take me, the mighty cottonwood tree as a model. My deep roots anchor me to the earth. I am centered in my truck and lower branches. My leaves and buds and uppermost branches reach toward the sun and align themselves with the light.

GCW, winter afternoon

When your light becomes clouded and you feel disconnected from source, you may suffer, you may become addicted to something or someone to distract from your feelings of separation.

The light of source is always there for you, shining brightly! When you feel disconnected, it is for you to find a way to plug into the light, current and power of source.

Humans have devised many ways over centuries to reconnect with source. Perhaps singing from your heart will do it for you, or creating visual art or making music or writing.

You might find your connection to source as you follow the guidance and wisdom of your heart, spend time with a beloved friend, work at a task you love with focus and dedication, pour your heart out in prayer, do yoga, spend time with a beloved child, work with plants… doing what you love…

Dear ones, please know that Source is not “out there”. Source is easily accessible to each and every living creature on this planet and that includes you! Source is within you all! Think of source as a feeling of expansion, of joy, timeless flow…of grace…of trust in life…

When you find a way to reconnect with the light within you that is source, you heal yourselves and know your oneness with all that is. Your energy, health and intuition will improve. You will become who you are meant to be.

Connection with source is your birthright!

Get to know your spirit

Dear ones, no matter what happened to you in the past, what occurs in the present or future, your spirit is indestructible.

Your body may decline, your life may crumble around you, your possessions may be lost, your accounts drained of value, but at your core, the very heart of you, the deepest part of you, you are so more than all this. You are powerful, resilient, everlasting. You are spirit, living in a body!

Can you get in touch with your spirit, the foundation of your life? Your spirit predates your conception, your body, your life in this place and time. It is the part of you that came to this Earth with a purpose, a mission.

Robin in winter

Discovering who you are on a deep soul level is not a secret process. It is not difficult; it takes commitment, curiosity and perseverance.

(Logical thought won’t help you, for the spirit transcends linear thought. Using logic to prove or disprove the existence of God? You humans are too funny!)

Open your heart and mind to your deepest experience of oneness. Remember those times you felt transcendence and joy, for this is how spirit makes itself known to you. Suspend judgment and allow yourself to be without an agenda, without expectations. Ask for your spirit to become known to you.

Set a firm intention to get to know your spirit. Be open to the hints, dreams, visions, signs, intuitions, and wisdom that come your way. Pay attention, let your creative mind bring all these threads together and weave a beautiful tapestry that shows you who you really are at the deepest level.

Getting to know your spirit is a life-long process and, I hope, one that will bring you great joy and wisdom.

Always remember that you are spirit and body. You will endure and thrive!