Following the Thread of Life

Used Bookstore

Walking along the sidewalk to the bus stop, I found a golden thread in the gutter. The morning sun caught the glitter, catching my attention.

“There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.”

-William Stafford

I left the thread, finding a bench to sit on to wait for my bus to take me downtown. Today’s errand was to buy a public transit card that will buy me passage on buses, trains, the subway, and ferry through-out the San Francisco Bay Area.

I am at peace when I am moving.

After purchasing my public transit pass, I walked the downtown, handing a homeless woman change, stopping at the used bookstore to search for travel essays, and surveying the area to see what new businesses have opened, and noted quite a few that have closed and changed hands.

It felt good to walk in the sunshine as a cold nip of breeze touched my bare arms, my jacket wrapped around my waist to make it easier to walk along the sidewalks and make my way through familiar crosswalks.

Half-way through my walk, I decided to stop at a popular deli that serves breakfast and lunch. The deli has been serving since 1952, some locals eat there everyday. A radio reporter was interviewing the chef and customers at the counter when I walked in, asking how business was and what the future will bring as places open up this summer after COVID restrictions have eased more.

I chose a booth in the back, skipping the idea to eat at the breakfast counter by myself, a solo dining challenge I mentioned on my podcast about Eating Alone.

This morning, I felt intimidated seeing only men at the counter seated six feet apart. I hid in my booth in the back watching the diner come to life, the cooks busy in the kitchen, men talking about local politics, and waitresses pouring coffee, taking orders.

Egg Salad Sandwich

Everyday I try to venture out at least once, preferably twice on a walk. I prefer walking in busy areas or nature. The suburbs chase me with melancholy so I tend to avoid them unless I have to walk through to get to my destination. I grew up in suburbs and spent most of my life in them. I love the backyards where I can lose myself in the gardens, but the front yards feel lonely and too quiet.

“Not only must we follow the golden thread towards spiritual freedom, but we must also unravel the garden-variety twine that is wrapped tightly around our hearts.”

-Elizabeth Lesser

Taking the bus back home, I looked out the window dreaming of future trips to Hawaii, to Mexico, to Europe, settling on a short trip to San Francisco, that might be a bit more realistic in the coming days or weeks.

When I am traveling, I feel closer to Scott, closer to spirit, closer to guidance. I feel alive.

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”

-Joseph Campbell

My Choice

 “It is not our circumstances that create our discontent or contentment. It is us.” ~ Vivian Greene.

I am choosing to live a good life.

Walking through a small town near where I live, the clouds burst forth in grandeur, a spectacular show of frost white vapor forming shapes across the blue sky. The redwood trees stretch their limbs to meet the heavens.

Nature celebrates life every moment.

A familiar red-tail hawk circled the sky above. I crossed the road to pick up a coffee, and a treat. Finding a couch looking out into the forest, I recognized the beauty all around me.

I got out of my heart’s way and let the light in.

Listening to Abraham-Hicks this morning and again this evening, I am reminded how supported I am from the non-physical energies within and around me to create and manifest my potential.

I want to travel. I want to write. I want to help people and animals.

Setting forth my intention, I let go surrendering to the good all around me.

Driving across the bridge on my way home, looking out my window at the green river always in motion, looping and spiraling like a serpent finding its way through the forest.

I find myself, moving as well, through the transitions of my life.

The green river of my childhood, my teen years, my adult years, and now mid-life teaches me that there really is no such thing as endings and beginnings.

We whirl together around the wheel of life and death holding hands on the never ending ride of creation.

Coloring with Spirit

This morning, my spirit wants to play with colors.

It’s gloomy outside. The rains have not arrived yet. A little bird outside my window squeaks in anticipation of wet weather.

Intuitively, I pulled the elephant card out of the deck to color.

Elephants are wise.

The elephant headed-Hindu God, Ganesha is a God of Beginnings, the Remover of Obstacles.

While I am choosing colors for the card, I am drawn to bright colors. Happy colors. Colors of tropical lush green forests and voluptuous flowers inviting one to adventure and exploration.

My spirit is called to travel.

There are obstacles in the way. I still have to finish the COVID vaccination series, my second booster is scheduled for Wednesday. I am aware that my savings is diminishing and I need to think carefully of what kind of spending I engage in for the next few months.

The Elephant teaches wisdom and shows me I have the strength to move obstacles from my path. Elephants pick up logs like twigs, tossing them to the side when they are moving through the paths of life searching for sources of sustenance and energy, rest, and prayer over their departed.

Within me, I carry the Elephant’s tools to continue my journey as well.

Alone at the Cafe

Croissant Breakfast Sandwich with Salad

Within walking distance from my new home, I found a sweet cafe with outdoor tables in the sunshine surrounded by yellow roses and colorful pots overflowing with fragrant spring flowers.

Late this morning, I walked through the pleasing, intimate outdoor mall, window shopping, getting accustomed to my new circumstances and living situation.

I visited the quaint independent bookstore, scanning the new titles in fiction and non-fiction. I took note of the crow tarot deck, the artwork of ravens and black crows spoke to me reminding me of the dead raven I found in San Diego, the impressive raven who visited me landing on my balcony at the hotel in La Jolla, and the raven people who have been visiting me in my dreams ever since.

Last night, my dreams were sweet. I remembered scenes with Scott, feeling his presence, waking up feeling not so alone, knowing he walks with me in my dreams and waking life.

Walking through the outdoor mall, I found the cafe with cherry decorated tablecloths, good coffee, and a seasonal breakfast and lunch menu. I almost passed it by, but I thought to myself, I better practice what I preach, and take a seat alone to solo dine under the breaking clouds while the sun has a chance to peek out before the rains arrive later this weekend.

At my table, with my cup of coffee, I admit trying my hand at eavesdropping the conversations filtering around me from the tables mostly filled with couples and groups of ladies. I couldn’t hear much except for talk of changing work policies, diners requesting salad dressing on the side and glasses of water. I retreated back to myself gazing at the flowers, feeling hopeful, and at home.

From my new home, I can walk, take public transit ( I don’t own a car), visit nearby parks, listen to live music, and create community while planning my travels to the Hawaiian Islands and Mexico in the near future.

I finished my meal, and walked back home with plans to return later this evening to buy the crow tarot deck if it’s still there waiting for me at the bookstore.

Dreaming, Portal Jumping, and Abyss of Unknowing

Podcast

Join me and my sister Lisa Hamilton as we discuss how we access the multi-dimensional universe through Dreaming, The Abyss of  Unknowing and Portal Jumping on my latest podcast. We talk about our books and classes with Robert Moss, the new book I’m reading by Sun Bear, and we share our adventures through the portal and how we learned how to reach our departed loves ones and work through communication issues by accessing other dimensions using Christina Rasmussen’s book Where Did You Go? 

You can find my sister Lisa Hamilton at her blog and website www.yogasom.com 

You can listent to the Podcast here.

We welcome your questions and thoughts on the Podcast by emailing me. You can find my contact information on the menu above.

Thank you for joining us on coffee hour.

Janet 

Sweet and Savory Life

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”

-Anais Nin

My sister created this breakfast, a sweet and savory meal. Avocado, egg, and cheese on one side of the bagel, strawberries steeped in balsamic vinegar and maple syrup on top cream cheese for the other side.

I thought about her breakfast, how like life it is. Sweet and savory. Bitter and tart. Bland and distasteful.

Our senses reflect our lives.

When I was in my twenties, and early thirties, Anais Nin, the French-Cuban-American Diarist was my favorite writer. I remember finding a collection of her journals, at least a half dozen of them at a used bookstore.

On my first solo trip out of the country, before cellphones and kindles, I stuffed the journals in a pillowcase and carried them onto the plane, checking in my luggage (where my camera was promptly taken). Anais Nin’s diaries were so precious, I held them on my lap the entire flight to Cabo San Lucas where I booked a room at a small ivory white Spanish/Moroccan style boutique hotel supported by cliffs overlooking dancing diamonds of light reflecting back from the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean.

After eating a breakfast of papaya, yogurt and granola, eggs, tortillas and beans (the best beans I’ve ever had), I would find a nook in the cliff side overlooking the sea with my pile of books beside me. One by one, I read Anais Nin’s journals, turning the pages until the soft light of morning grew brighter and the heat chased me off the rocks in retreat.

Her diaries, her writing taught me how to savor life.

From Anais Nin’s journals I learned how to live a life of sensuality. How to feel deeply through my senses.

I learned a language that spoke to my spirit, my soul.

Savoring life is not easy at times. It takes courage to live from the heart, the spirit, using the head only when necessary. With savory and sweet comes pain and discomfort. You cannot live one so deeply without the other.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” -Anais Nin

A life without color and senses. A life not lived. A life lived on the surface without depth scares me. Monotony and mindless routine deadens one’s soul.

A life of courage and exploration is scary. Change is unsettling. Living in the unknowing can be uncomfortable.

Anais Nin taught me to take risks, to live a life of courage, to feel deeply and live sensually.

Feeling Uninspired

Jenner by the Sea

“Dust on my way, moss on the wild stone-soot on the old wood-time is not flowing, The unlimited is concentrated-above my head, the thundering sound of passing wings.”

– The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh in Call me by my True Names

I am flipping through Thich Nhat Hanh’s book of poetry and come across this passage. This morning I feel uninspired. Tired.

I have landed.

Last night, I made the big decision to live in Sonoma County in the San Francisco Bay Area (my home since my birth) and travel from here.

I will no longer live on the road. I will continue my travels from a home base. I am renting a room in a comfortable house with community.

Here. I will have the space for my books, my studies, my altars, camera, journals, and gifts I find along the path. I will no longer have to live out of my backpack.

This brings me a touch of sadness. One path has closed while I wait for others to open.

“You see the Universe as the unlimited, abundant supply for your needs; you align yourself with receiving the highest solution at any given time. You stop groveling and pleading with others. You detach from how the answer needs to arrive and become wildly and totally open to the Divine.”

-Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver

As you can see I am in what my sister and I call the Abyss of Unknowing (by the way I deleted this podcast episode “Abyss of Unknowing” by accident and we will be recording it again with added stories later).

The Abyss of Unknowing is an uncomfortable state for me. I am more comfortable making things happen, moving, taking action, traveling, feeling passion, having big energy, doing something!

I am reminded of Scott’s (my partner who crossed over) advice to me “Janet, you need to get used to being comfortable with the uncomfortable”.

And so it is.

Lizards in the Sun

California Poppy

The other day my sister and I ventured out on a short trip to one of the state parks in the area. We needed some nature. I have a squirrel that visits my window when I am irritated with something, he reminds me to shake it off and not take life so seriously. Crows visit the water fountain, dropping their fast food treasures into the water, soaking the stale bread until its nice and mushy to eat, and the Canada geese fly over honking on their commute to the lake not so far away.

Backyard nature is wonderful, but sometimes I just want to immerse myself into the sounds and energy of animals and trees, flowers, and butterflies, running creeks and the possibility of seeing a bear or mountain lion ( patiently I wait) without the interruption of cell phones (they don’t work at this park), cars, lawn blowers, and sirens.

Our nature walk the other day took us through a dry path of rocks and California poppies. Hundreds of lizards slithered about, one or two brave enough to sun on warm rocks as we walked away.

“Lizards like to bask on warm stones, absorbing the energy of the sun, dreaming of the realm of the shadows. It is the guardian of dreams and calls upon us to take note and act upon what we may learn from our dreaming”.

-Lucy Harmer “Discovering Your Spirit Animal, The Wisdom of the Shamans

Fallen Trees on our Hike the other Day

Most of my life I haven’t paid attention to my dreams.

Now, I have learned the value of paying attention to my night dreams, my lucid dreaming, my visions and listening to the dreams of my friends and family. In the past, I couldn’t sit still long enough and I wasn’t patient enough to listen to someone’s dreams. I found them boring and I would get antsy wanting them to finish and hurry up when they described their dreams. I wanted to move on to something more important. What I thought was more important.

“I am a dreamer. Dreaming is one of my strong medicines, and much of my medicine comes to me through dreams.” -Sun Bear in Dreaming with the Wheel

Time has changed me. Life circumstances have changed me. Pain has changed me. Now, I listen to my dreams and the dreams of others. I have learned how important they are.

It has taken me months of studying with Robert Moss and other dream teachers to call my soul back, to dream again, to remember my dreams, to pay attention to the guidance of my dreams, it is the way my soul speaks to me.

The nature trail my sister and I took the other day led us through fallen trees, a running creek and the sounds of the pileated woodpecker (a monkey like call), the hoot of an owl, and shrieking scrub jays.

In the hot sun, we found a bench, and soaked in the heat becoming lizards ourselves for a few minutes.

In nature, I am reminded how we are all connected. My sister and I. We are the breeze blowing the trees, the running creek, the rock holding bathing lizards, the sun beating down, the vultures circling the sky, the hawk resting from the hunt, the bear waiting for sunset to lumber about.

We are the sun and the moon.

Our dreams remind us who we are.

Dining Alone: How to Eat By Yourself

Dining Alone. Going out to Eat by yourself. Preparing a meal for one can feel daunting, scary or at the very least uncomfortable for many of us.

My sister Lisa joined me on my latest Podcast Dining Alone: How to Eat by Yourself to talk about the first time we ate out by ourselves, the tools we used to make it easier to eat alone, and how creating a meal at home and sitting down with your own company can be an act of self-love.

The Podcast is about 15 minutes of stories and a whole lot of laughter.

If there are topics or questions you want me to cover on the next episode, please send me a note. You can find my contact information on the menu above.

See you there!

Our Love for Each Other Never Dies

Yesterday’s Hike in the Sonoma Valley

Death does not end the relationship.

Just because your partner physically died, a loved one has crossed over, your dog is no longer lying at your feet does not mean the relationship is over.

The relationship has changed, dramatically changed, but it is not over unless you choose to close your heart and move on. This is the choice we are faced. Do we want to expand into relationship or shut relationships off because they are not what they were.

My horse Scout visited me in a dream the day of Scott’s death. I remember describing the dream in detail to Scott in bed that morning. Scott would cross over later that evening. I wrote a faint description of the dream on my blog that day, it was so vivid. I went on with my day not realizing Scout was sending me a message, a message of love and comfort.

What I found so touching about this encounter with my horse Scout who crossed over many years ago, before I met Scott was that all three of us were in the dream. Scout, Scott, and Me.

When I had my farm many years ago, my horse Scout also had a soul mate, a horse named Wally. Winsome Walter was a retired race horse who I adopted. When I adopted him, he was broken down, in pain, and severely malnourished and underweight. During his seventeen years in this life, he had been bought and sold thirteen times, at one time being owned by Doc Severinsen, the famed Jazz Trumpeter on the Tonight Show.

Winsome Walter, “Wally” didn’t prove himself a fine racehorse, or a jumper later in life. He failed at what he was “bred” for, what humans expected of him, he rebelled like my horse Reanna. He wanted to live life on his own terms which propelled him into a life being moved from home to home until he found himself abandoned at a boarding facility where the owner of said barn refused to feed him resentful of the unpaid bills his last owner left him with. So Wally starved until a local horse rescue found out about him.

When Wally came to me, I spent a month putting his weight back on, getting his overgrown hooves trimmed, and having my veterinarian do a thorough check up, prescribing pain meds and joint supplements.

Within a short few weeks, Wally’s coat gleamed, his personality came through, and his muscles were so defined, you could see the faint glimmer of the good breeding that had produced him.

My mare Scout fell madly in love with Wally.

One day, coming home early from work, I found them both playing and splashing in the pond.

For the short time, I had Wally, Scout never left his side. They slept next to each other, each in their own stalls, they grazed together, they dozed napping under the trees together, they groomed each other.

During feeding time, the last day of Wally’s short life with us, I called out to my animals. All of them, the goats, Wally and Scout (Reanna was at another barn in training) came running to me. I noticed right away a huge gash of flesh missing from Wally’s back end. My heart sunk, I knew this wasn’t good. Later, I would find out a young mountain lion had followed the Laguna attacking my neighbor’s horses leaving large claw scratches on their backs, ending up at my farm attacking Wally who I believe was most likely protecting Scout and the goats from harm.

My neighbors horses were lucky, Wally was not. When the veterinarian arrived Wally refused treatment. The vet tried every maneuver and every tranquilizer. Wally, this time was in a fight for his life, his spirit. After two hours of struggling to get Wally calm enough to look at the wound and try to clean and suture it, in fear of the veterinarian’s safety. Wally would not stop trying to kick and stomp the vet to death, I authorized euthanasia.

That night, under an almost full moon, I watched as Scout held vigil over Wally’s body.

I tried to coax her with treats, and hay. I petted her, talked to her, and tried to bring her into the barn. She wouldn’t flinch. She stayed with Wally all night until they picked up his body the next day.

I didn’t know what to do for her. Her grief ran so deep beyond my understanding.

The night of my Scott’s death, his crossing over. I waited until my sister fell asleep and quietly left her company and the couch to go to our bedroom. I sat on our bed,

Scott was gone. I was all alone. I stared into the darkness, a darkness I never knew existed, my body and soul felt dismembered, a pain I did not know was possible wrecked me, carving me deep within leaving me open and the most vulnerable I have ever felt.

In the excruciating pain, I remembered the red horse in the dream I awoke from that morning, the red horse that placed her head into my chest holding me for what seemed like forever. I quietly sobbed, the tears poured from my soul, and I knew, I felt deep within what Scout felt that night as she kept watch over Wally.

I whispered from this deep place of grief.

“I’m sorry Scout. I know now. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. I didn’t know what you went through. I know now, Scout. I know now. I”m sorry.”

I stayed up all night in vigil over Scott with my red horse Scout beside me until the sun rose up in the morning, and the light came in through the window.

Relationships never end. My horse visited me the morning before Scott crossed over. I made amends and asked her forgiveness on the night, I lost my soulmate.

I could feel her pain as I felt my own.

I am healing as she has.

It is up to us to awaken in this life’s dream and become awakened to other realms as well, where our loved ones communicate through time and space letting us know that death is not a permanent state. Death is a door like Birth. We cannot have one without the other.

We do ourselves and those we love a disservice by forgetting this.

As much as we want to touch and connect with them, they want to connect with us.

Relationships do not die with physical death.

When my soul brother David died, his mother a French Canadian Catholic in her eighties at the time asked me to take her to the Catholic Church. She wanted to meet with the priest.

We drove in my car to the church. David’s mother was so frail and consumed with grief. I looked over at her, her frame lost in the passenger seat, a delicate necklace with the cross placed perfectly around her neck. Her conservative buttoned cardigan fitted around her.

At the church, in the priest’s office, we both sat in comfortable chairs across from him.

I remember thinking how young he looked. He must have been close to my age, early thirties, maybe thirty-five. He looked uncomfortable, distant.

David’s mom asked the question. She wanted to know where her son was. Was he with God?

I can’t tell you what the priest said to her.

It was a word, maybe two, maybe three words.

I can tell you, they didn’t bring David’s mom comfort. I could feel her pain permeate the room. She crumpled in the chair.

I wanted to tell the priest off. How dare he hold a position and be an authority on death, if he didn’t have answers? If he could not have the heart to comfort a mother in distress and pain. A Catholic Woman in her eighties, a woman so dedicated to the church, she spent her life kneeling at its altar every Sunday absorbing every word uttered by the clergy and written in the bible.

I gathered David’s mom up and got her out of there. I don’t remember what I said to her. I knew David was still with us and I am sure I tried to bring his mom comfort and a knowing it was true, that he would never leave us.

I wonder sometimes at how asleep and cut off our world can be by forgetting and trying to “move one” from the ones who have departed.

I guess for some of us it’s easier to “move on” and forget.

Do we really forget? Or do we bury the memories, the connection, until the departed get through somehow later to let us know they didn’t “die”, their love for us never dies.

I know Scout came back.

Scout came back when I needed her the most.

I will never forget her. She still lives.

As does Scott, and David.

Our love never dies. Our connection to the departed is always here waiting for us.

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