A Lullaby

My grandma passed away two days before Christmas.

She was my last living grandparent. She taught me to knit, to bake, to love old musicals & baseball, and gave me one week every summer in which I was the only priority. She came to every piano recital, every choir concert, and every birthday party. She made literally hundreds of cookies for Christmas every year, and relished having the entire family over for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day.  She certainly had her flaws, but as a grandma she was pretty much amazing.

For the last ten years or so, she had no idea who I was, who any of her grandchildren were, and when she recognized my mother, it was only as the woman who took care of her. After a stroke several years ago, her memory deteriorated even more, and she was scared, anxious and sad all the time. I’ve been praying for years for her to be released from that particular hell, and now her passing has hit me much harder than I expected.

But I also have comfort that not everyone is able to access on their own.

Shortly after she passed, around 6:15 am, my mom called to tell me. After we hung up, I rolled over, wondering how I would get back to sleep. Grandma showed up near the foot of my bed and started singing. She sang the lullaby that her mother had sung to her, she sang to my mom, and both she and my mom sang to me when I was little. I can never remember the words (I tried to sing it to my fussy baby cousin and ended up singing “la la la” and making up words), but there they all were, in grandma’s familiar voice.

I really wish I could say I was lulled back to sleep, because that would be poetic and beautiful. I wasn’t. I was comforted. I was glad to see her as I remember her, and not as she looked in the memory care unit. I was glad to hear her voice for the first time in years. I was glad to see her at peace. And after a while longer, I rolled out of bed, took a shower, and baked her Christmas cookies.

Being a medium changes grief. It doesn’t erase it – there is always comfort in having those we love physically present with us on this plane. When they pass, grief comes because I miss the physical contact, seeing a solid human form, and hearing a voice outside of my head. I grieve the relationship as it was.  

But there is also comfort in knowing, not just hoping or believing, but truly knowing she is okay – at peace, no more pain, no more fear or confusion. There is comfort in be able to see that she recognizes me, remembers the time we spent together when I was young, and loves me.

Building Boundaries as Part of your Bridge

Black, with red eyes and fluid edges, the face appeared in my dorm room, flashing in front of my computer screen. I knew she was trying to scare me into giving her my attention, but I had midterms to study for. She’d been pestering me all semester, making my roommate cold, knocking over every vase of flowers my roommate kept (I think I still owe her keyboard number four or five that was ruined from the water). I had no idea what to do, so I just kept ignoring her.

A sophomore in college, I’d known I was psychic for a little over five years. I’d done a lot of work as a medium, but I hadn’t had spirits aggressively seeking my attention, especially without clearly stating a purpose. This was my first lesson in boundaries.

Boundaries were a concept I had no experience with since my family wasn’t great with them. I especially didn’t know how to set them for myself. The only avenues I had learned for dealing with someone who wanted your attention was to ignore them or give them the attention they demanded.

I didn’t have time to give her attention. Ignoring her wasn’t helping. In a burst of frustration, I wheeled around to look at her by the door and demanded to know what she was doing in my room. Immediately, she stopped flashing her huge, scary black face and became a slim woman in a long, flowered dress. Her name was Rose, and she wanted to tell me she was jealous.

Jealous? This is why she’d been interrupting me every waking moment of the semester? To tell me she was jealous?

I let her tell me her story. The short version is that she had been psychic in her most recent life, but simply believed she was crazy. When her youngest son died and came back to see her, she told her husband, who locked her away in an asylum. She eventually hanged herself, and did not cross over to the other side. She was jealous that I knew I was psychic, that I had people in my life who believed me and supported me, and that my husband was accepting of it. (Husband? What husband? I had to wonder.)

When she was done, I told her I was sorry, but there was nothing I could do for her that I knew of, and I certainly couldn’t try when I was studying for midterms. She agreed to wait patiently until I was able to devote some time to talking to her and figuring out what I could do to help.

She did indeed wait patiently. She stopped freezing my roommate. She stopped knocking things over. And after midterms were over, I turned my attention back to her. We called her husband and older son, and I facilitated a conversation between them. (They had since realized their error. You get a lot smarter when you die.) Rose was able to make peace with her life and crossed over. She still comes to visit once in awhile.

Since then, I’ve learned that setting boundaries with spirits, ghosts, and other entities is important to maintaining balance in my life, balance between this world and the next, and my mental health. The easiest way to set boundaries is to have times of the day and spaces that are off limits. When I close my door at night, spirits who want to talk to me know they’ll have to wait till morning. Same with the workday.  Beyond that, you set boundaries with them almost like you do with people. Acknowledge that they need to speak with you, ask them politely to wait, and promise to come back to them, with a specific time if necessary.

There are other ways to set boundaries with energy and spirits if you’re not able to see/hear them. Setting off limit spaces and times still works, even if you can’t hear/see spirits. Otherwise, sealing a space using reiki symbols works if you are a Reiki II practitioner. You can smudge a space with sage and set the intention that the only energy that that can enter is energy that you have invited in, and will work towards your greatest good. Finally, visualize a bright white bubble around you, and similarly set the intention that only positive energy may come to you.

Regardless of how you interact with the worlds around us, boundaries are an important piece of keeping a healthy balance, and keeping yourself safe and healthy.

~Amanda

Halloween Connections

With Halloween approaching, I’ve been thinking that I should be writing.

I love Halloween.  It’s always been my favorite holiday.  For a while, that definitely had to do with candy; I’m not really sure when that changed.  I do know that it was before I was aware of my abilities and gifts.

Now, I love the whole time of year. I love how easily I can concentrate, how easily I can read and communicate with spirits, as the veil between our world and the next is at its thinnest.  I love how creative I feel; the mood is right, and whatever the endeavor, ideas flow easily.

I love how I feel in the fall, especially in the weeks leading up to Halloween.  Something about the ways the earth prepares for snow and cold winter, the way the natural world around me either dies or goes into hibernation, reminds me of something I can’t ever seem to quite articulate.

I’m not going to go into that cliché metaphor about death and rebirth; I’m not going to compare the leaves and dying plants to people, and how we die and come back through life cycles here on this plane.  That’s been said. It’s not my point.

My point is there is something about all of this change, this letting go, this dying natural world that makes me feel connected, like the cords reaching out from my heart chakra are spitting fiery sparks, sputtering to bright life.

This is when I feel most connected to the spirit world, not only because our worlds are closest, but also because something about dark green leaves and lush grass and velvet flower petals seem to cloud that connection, dressing it up in gaudy extra layers.  They obscure the view from one end of the bridge to the other.  I feel most aware of people now that busy, rushed adventures of summer are falling away.  Close connections strengthen as we prepare to hibernate together through the dark and cold.

So for me, this time, this leaf-dropping, cooling, blustering, trick-or-treating, sleeting, spooking time, is all about connection, enjoying the bridges I’ve built.  And I love it.

And hey, it’s the most socially acceptable time of the year to be psychic.

~Amanda

Healing Moments

One of the most gratifying things as a medium is when I can facilitate a healing conversation between someone on this plane, and someone they’ve loved, but who passed while tensions and misunderstandings still existed between them.

As long as my gifts have been apparent, I’ve had opportunities to help people experience this kind of healing.  The details of each relationship and experience are different, but they all seem to follow a similar arc: the person shares his/her experiences and feelings about the relationship, and how things seem unresolved.  The spirit, now with an awareness and wisdom we cannot access while on the earthly plane, explains the intent behind his/her earthly behavior, and what they now understand to be true, both in a universal sense, and about the relationship.

While I always wish this understanding could have been achieved with both people on this plane, the amount of healing that occurs on both ends as a result of these facilitated conversations can be incredible.  Truly hurtful behavior can be understood in the context of its often loving intent.  When the intent has not been so loving, it’s amazing how the new wisdom of a spirit can help him/her own the mistakes s/he made in life, and help loved ones feel resolution and peace regarding their relationship.

~Amanda

Developing an awareness

When I was a kid, I had a lot of gut feelings.

I always knew when bad news was on its way, or when I should be on guard against some unknown danger.  Even then, it served me well.  Once, while baby-sitting, I got a knot in my stomach and knew something was wrong.  All three kids were in the yard, safe, but nonetheless I was ready for… what? Something.  I gathered them inside, and soon after, the phone rang.  When I picked up, a male voice asked for one of the kids.  I hung up, packed up the kids, and headed across the street to my own house.

I wasn’t able to articulate why I was so on edge and worried.  I was 10.   Later, I learned that one of the kids had been receiving strange calls from an adult male, including descriptions of what he was wearing on a given day. Without a heads up, what had stopped me from handing the phone to that child, assuming it was a relative or the parent of a friend?  I knew in my gut that something was wrong. I knew in my gut to hang up the phone.

Since then, the knot in my gut has continued as a warning.  The unease I feel reminds me to be careful of a decision, to not worry that I’m running late because perhaps running late is keeping me out of an accident, or to be aware of the actions of people around me.  It’s never happened that the purpose of that knot wasn’t later revealed to me, and as I’ve matured and developed my gifts, it’s even become easier for me to determine the purpose before something happens.

The uncanny ability to know, to sense something before it occurs, to suddenly be aware and on guard against a thus far invisible foe, is something that lies deep in all of us.  The ability to listen must be developed, though in some of us it comes more naturally than in others.  For me, the feelings have always been strong and clear, something I am grateful for.  They have served as a starting point from which I’ve developing the ability to listen in other areas.  Sometimes the clarity isn’t there, but there’s always enough information to make me pay attention, to be ready for the next piece of information.

~Amanda

Reiki Ruminations

Reiki Energy flows from the hands.  It follows intention and spiritual consciousness to go where it's needed most.

Reiki Energy flows from the hands. It follows intention and spiritual consciousness to go where it’s needed most.

Reiki Energy Work is the practice of energy healing through the laying on of hands.  It can also be used by a practitioner by “hovering” their hands, for those who are sensitive to touch, or distantly, for those who are not in the immediate area.  Literally translated from Japanese, it means life force energy (ki) guided by spiritual consciousness (rei).

Reiki is considered to be an ancient healing practice using the energy that is present in every living thing and in all the universe.  Reiki as it is practiced now was defined and taught by Dr. Mikao Usui in Japan in the mid-1800s.

Reiki works by flowing through the energy channels in our body, helping to keep them clear and aligned with the chakras, and providing healing energy to any part of the body that needs it.  It is a complementary healing method that works with Western medicine to help us maintain optimal physical, mental and spiritual health.