Archive for the 'Gratitude' Category

Hello, dear Readers. On this day after Thanksgiving, I wish to share with you a story that started out in disaster and ended in gratitude, with much to be thankful for.

About a month ago, the Northeast was inundated with a snowstorm such as has not been seen in quite some time. It left nearly 31 inches of wet, sticky snow in some areas, felled trees, knocked out power lines, and gave some of a real run for our money, as we waited for 5 days, or more, for the power to came back on.

The story: I left work that night at 11:30 pm with high hopes that I would be able to beat the storm and arrive safely at home, 25 miles away from where I work. Although my Angels had been nudging me to have my snow tires put on before the end of October, I resisted, thinking that snow doesn’t usually fall much before the first days of December. So, no snow tires. And without snow tires, my car acts like it’s on a greased griddle when there’s so much as one flake on the road. With this handicap, I set off into the hills of central Massachusetts.

The going was terrible. It being a Saturday, no snow plows were out. I made it out of the city by the skin of my teeth, shouting at my Angels at each and every hill to help me get up them. Several cars and trucks tailgated me until I slid across the road, then, they all stayed far behind me, so I was not in danger of hitting them. By sheer will and adrenalin, I made it to within ten miles of where I live. Here, several police cars blocked the road. The police were waiting for the highway crews to cut through the trees that had fallen across the country road, so we waited while they cut. In speaking to the officers, they told me that going to my town would be “pretty rough” and that I would have been better staying in the city where I work. Argh! I couldn’t turn around because I’d never get back up those hills again, with the snow falling the way it was. There was nothing for it, but to forge ahead.

Forge ahead I did, taking all the roads that ran around the big hills. Then, I came to another stop. This time it was a pick-up truck in the road. I hopped out of the car and ran to see what was up. It was a tree, right across the road. So didn’t the driver jump out of his truck, take a chainsaw out of the truck bed, and proceed to cut up that tree! At this point, I began to see a pattern. As the man cut, I dragged branches off the road until it was cleared enough for one lane trafflic. By this time, there was a respectable line behind us, and don’t you know, my car started to spin because of not having snow tires. Several people behind me helped push my car back onto the road and we all went ahead until the next tree stopped us. This was no one-man, one-chainsaw tree. But, as luck would have it, the highway department guys were on the other side of that tree with BIG chainsaws and sawed us out in good time. Most of the cars were stopping in that town, but I still had ten miles to go. No one was hopeful, but they wished me luck.

With adroit maneuvering and hollering at my Angels, I made it to the base of the 2 1/2-mile tall hill that separated me from Home Sweet Home. First, I tried a side road around the hill, but the little incline was too much for my snow tireless car and I ended up sideways across the road. Again, with some kind of luck, I was able to turn around and head back to the tremendous hill. Gamely, I went for it. I made it around the U-curve and headed up, only to become stuck in a snowbank on a curve. Any car or snow plow coming by would not see me and just wipe out my car, so it was obvious that I couldn’t stay in it.

What to do? My intention was to leave the car there and walk up the 2 1/2 miles to my house in the raging snowstorm–this is what adrenalin can do for you. It gives you all kinds of superhuman strength, but not a lot of common sense. My iPhone was in my purse, and although I get no signal at the top of the hill, for some reason the bottom of the hill gave me 5 bars. Accessing the internet (thank you, Angels!), I googled the police dispatch phone number for my town and requested permission to leave my car where it was. Permission was denied, but they sent out an SUV with beautiful snow tires to help me out. The officer first tried to push my car out of the snow bank, but no go. He then called a tow truck that pulled me out, so all I had to do was back down the rest of the hill in the blinding snow to the parking lot at the bottom. Needless to say, I got stuck several times and had lots of trouble getting out, but finally made it to the parking lot. The police allowed me to park my car and they took me home.

When we reached my driveway, I realized that even if I had made it up that hill (which was impossible), I would not have been able to drive into my driveway because of the two feet of snow blocking it. The nice policeman walked with me to my door, made certain that I was safely in the house, then left. Although there was no snow inside my house, neither was there any electricity. That meant no lights, no heat, and no water. The temperature was 45 degrees inside, but at least there was no snow. While the storm raged outside, I was cuddled up under 15,000 blankets, thanking my lucky stars that I had made it home in one piece. What usually took 45 minutes, had taken 3 1/2 hours and all of the adrenalin I had stored for the next year.

So why is this story post-worthy? It is not a universal whine or even a “why me?” tale. After going over the events in my mind, I was aghast at all of the many places where divine intervention had mitigated a disastrous situation. First of all, so many people were on the road at that hour. Usually, I run into nearly no one at that hour of the night, but everywhere I turned, it seemed to be wall-to-wall people. Secondly, even though my car had no snow tires, I was able to go up hills that should have been impossible obstacles. Thirdly, wherever trees had fallen onto the road, someone with a chainsaw was present to cut a path. Even around here, people don’t usually have chainsaws in the backs of their pickup trucks, yet here was a lone driver who had his chainsaw, and he was there to help me. And when that really BIG tree was across the road, no less than the Highway Department (!) with BIG chain saws was on the other side, cutting a path on the road. Amazing. Fourthly, so many kind people were available to push me out of one snow bank and get me going. Fifthly, all alone at the bottom of that huge hill, with my car stuck in a snow bank, I was able to access the internet in my cell phone and summon help! Lastly, the kind, helpful policemen and one tow-truck saved my car and my bacon, because, looking back, I would never have been able to make it up that hill on foot. They would have found my lifeless body in the spring, frozen in a snow bank.

This kind of amazing heavenly supervision goes on all the time for each and every one of us. Of course, this kind of help also begs the question: why do we have to go through these kinds of experiences—but that is a post for another time. Suffice it to say that truly each hair on your head is counted by all of the Angels in heaven, who care for you as no other. Look around at your own lives, my dear Readers, to discover all the ways in which your own Angels care for you.

“Everybody falls. It’s all in how you get back up.” These were the words of a beautiful, sweet-natured young woman, just 34 years old, who had been injured several years ago while snow-boarding. Interestingly, she had already been snow-boarding with friends earlier that day on a different mountain, in a different state, and was on her way home. They decided to stop for one last run on one last mountain. She knew that she should not do it; that she was tired, but she allowed herself to be persuaded. Heedless to her intuition—her internal warning center—she snowboarded anyway, and broke her neck. Now, multiple surgeries later, she was my patient for several days.

In caring for her, I was struck by her patience, perseverance, and tolerance for pain and annoyance that all comes with having surgery and being stuck in the hospital. She patiently endured all that we had to do to her and really only asked for help when she needed it, cooperating with her care for her greater benefit.

When it came time for her to be discharged, I found to my surprise that the Angels had arranged for me to take her to the lobby in a wheelchair, while her husband went ahead to get the car. While waiting in the lobby, I was moved to comment on her patience with her situation and the graciousness with which she was coping with her current lot in life. She told me that it hadn’t been easy, but she has learned to take one day at a time.

“And,” she said, “everybody falls. It’s all in how you get up.”

Her words gave me chills and I realized that I was in the presence of someone who had much to offer us with her simple words. It is, indeed, true that everybody falls. All of us have had bigger or larger problems with which to cope, some of them devastating. Life does it to everybody, no matter how rich, poor, well, ill, beautiful or fugly, fat or thin. What really contributes to our growth is how we get back up. Do we whine and cry, shaking our fist at an uncaring Universe, feeling very picked-on and abandoned? (this one is my personal favorite) Do we, like this young woman, do what we need to do, giving gratitude for what we have and taking one day at a time? (I’m working toward this…) Do we blame anyone and everyone for our misfortune, conveniently forgetting that we create everything and everyone around us?

After multiple surgeries, this young woman has had plenty of opportunities for getting back up graciously and it truly shows. She radiated a sweet kindness that is not often seen with people who have been in constant pain. Perhaps this is what Edgar Cayce had in mind as an effect when he counseled us to be patient and persevering, and, above all, long-suffering. Since Life gives us plenty of opportunities to be long-suffering, we may as well make the best of it. This, in turn, will bring out the best in us and, surprisingly, in those around us. Getting back up with dignity and graciousness is what it’s all about. I hope to remember that the next time I’m face-down in some situation. 🙂

Over many decades of experience, I have determined that our Angels take care of us in many unusual ways, many of which we don’t even know about until we take the time to pay attention. I’d like to share with you one way that my Angels take care of me: they always give me just enough money to live, making allowances for unexpected expenses. And that money comes in ways and through means that I never expect.

After having duly filed my income taxes for this year, my memory seemed to be that I had owed money to my state government, for which I sent the required check. Imagine my surprise when a notice came from my state government! Oh-oh, I thought. This is either very, very good or very, very bad. I opened the envelope to find a refund from these people with an explanation that line such and such did not agree with line so and so. Instructions were included, should I wish to file a disagreement. Ha! While I was thrilled to get this substantial refund, my mind went into muse mode: it remembered that every time I had an unexpected expense, money would appear in the mail from some obscure place–just enough money to pay a bill, with some left over for living. What kind of bill would require this extra money?

Putting the check away for the moment, I turned to balancing my checkbook and generally looking at my finances. Lo and behold, I found the mortgage payment due, but not enough money from my employment checks to cover the total. Adding the refund from the state government would allow me both to pay the mortgage and have a little left over for food or gas! Those foxy Angels had done it again, saving my little pink butt, as well as my credit rating.

With this gift from Heaven, I had to seriously rethink the pressures under which I am currently laboring and which I have repeatedly requested my Angels remove. Because things haven’t changed, I assumed that I was on my own in this regard. Not true. My Angels are truly watching over me, as evidenced by this unexpected infusion of cash. Something else must be in the works. Perhaps I have much to learn from the current untenable situation in which I find myself. Perhaps I am working out some serious past karma and so must live through this. Whatever the explanation, my Angels are truly working with me and are helping me out in every way that they can. Yours are doing the same, dear Readers. Keep listening. Pay attention. Slow down. Be vigilant. You will notice patterns and signs which will tell you how your Angels are working with you. Keep the faith and hang in there. Heaven cares.

Some of my persistence in listening to Angels is truly beginning to pay off in earthly terms. A few weeks ago, I had arranged for workers to come to re-do my patio and paint the side of my house. I would finance this endeavor through a line of credit with my bank. As I awoke on a Monday morning, I had the distinct message in my head, “call the bank and make certain that the line of credit is open so that you won’t bounce any checks”. This message was loud, clear, distinct, and totally without ambiguity. There was no “feeling”, no sense of a push in a direction, just a loud, clear message. My intention was to comply. Then, my reason talked me out of it, saying that even if I called the bank, why would they give me any such information over the telephone? Instead, I would drive to the bank in person the very next day and ascertain the status of my line of credit.

The next day came and so did the message, just as loudly, clearly, and distinctly as the day before. This time, I didn’t listen to my reason. I called the bank to find that, indeed, the line of credit had been mistakenly closed when I refinanced my mortgage. So, if I had written checks on this credit line, they would have been returned as “insufficient funds”—actually, there would have been no funds, just as the initial message had warned me.

Crunch time. I had workers who needed to be paid and I was without funds until a new line of credit could be opened, a process that could take up to a month, or more. The same Force that had been with me in warning me to call the bank, now was with me in setting in motion the steps for initiating a new line of credit. Calling a loan officer in a panic, I was sitting in her office within 1/2 hour, signing application papers. The loan was approved two days later. Not counting the week for the lawyer’s vacation, the final papers were before me within four days of the approval. Not in any of my former experiences has a process of this magnitude been finalized in so short a time period. The effort everyone expended to assure me this line of credit in the fastest time possible was so amazing that I could only shake my head and marvel.

Obviously, this entire little drama had been meant to occur, along with everyone’s cooperation. At every step I could hear the Angels’ directions, see their hand, and feel the beat of their wings, as they orchestrated each person’s role and behavior. While each of us in the drama had a part to play, it was our choice whether to expedite the process or to retard it. It was also our choice in how we would play our parts: choosing anger or choosing gratitude. Thankfully, each of us chose to behave graciously. Even the workers waited patiently while this entire process unfolded.

To this day, the purpose of this entire episode escapes me, even as I understand that it needed to occur. I am only thankful that, each and every day, I practice listening to my Angels. Perhaps that is why this message was so beautifully clear and in such beautiful English, totally without ambiguity. Your Angels encourage you, too, to continue practicing listening to your intuition, no matter how small and inconsequential the thoughts may seem. It’s all practice for your very own crunch time. 🙂

One of my faithful readers, SS, continues to be a source of inspiration as she allows guidance into her life. With her express permission, I present some of her thoughts, as well as a story which she recently sent me.

She writes, “I find it’s easier to pinpoint others’ problems than to see mine. When I am caught up in a drama, I can spend a lot of time thinking of how WRONG the other person is and how I am vindicated in my being “right”. Fortunately this happens much less than it used to and I am learning to turn the other cheek. It’s a hard lesson to learn and to some degree I think we have to relearn it every time some new drama comes up in our lives. It’s remembering to live in love during the hard times. That is tough 🙁 :(”

She continues, “Little silly story… Every afternoon I take the dogs to the park for a walk. This summer there have been two young teenagers there causing damage to the park. I have spoken to them a few times about picking up the garbage cans they knock over. Of course I’m the big dork to them 🙂 .. I do admit to holding anger at them inside of me. I would work on sending them love, but the next time I would see them they would be causing trouble again.

“Well, last week they took to shouting the “N” word at me as I was driving away. I turned the truck around, got out, grabbed my cell phone, and called the police. They took off running. I was SO mad that they would be shouting such an ugly word AT ME!!!(hello ego).

“The officer showed up and I told her what happened. Please keep in mind that this is a small little country town. She went to find the kids and talk to them. I left the park not knowing what the end result was. Well, I told that story quite a few times and felt vindicated in my calling the police. I was RIGHT and they were horrible little BRATS!!! I plotted ways to get even with them (I know, I know, don’t judge me)… Then I would focus on sending them love. Back and forth, back and forth. The problem was that I continued to see them at the park. They were not doing anything now, but I would get into the mindset of waiting to be attacked verbally.

“Finally yesterday, while I was out walking at the park (they weren’t there), the thought came out of the blue that I WAS THE ADULT and I had a chance to turn this into a positive experience for all of us. I would bring a peace offering of candy bars to them and explain that I hold no ill will against them. Could we start over and just be friends again. As this was rolling over in my mind, I happened to glance down and saw a candy wrapper. Okay, Universe, thank you for the answer.

“This morning while walking the dogs at the same park (I walk them in the morning and afternoon), I saw the same police officer that went after them. She told me that she did catch up to them and had a good talk with them. She told them that they would be banned from the park if any more calls came in on them. This explains why they haven’t been doing anything negative at the park…

“I haven’t given them the candy bars yet. I will try this afternoon. It would be nice to walk at the park and not feel negative energy and give off negative energy. I’m holding high intentions of love and acceptance on all our parts. Hopefully there isn’t anything wrong with giving 13 – 14 year olds a chocolate bar? You just hear stories these days and don’t want ANYTHING you do to be misconstrued. AUGH!”

This beautiful story has many elements which your Angels encourage all to cultivate. First and foremost is an awareness. SS has an encounter with others in which she recognizes negative elements in herself. Her awareness has so many facets that it is worth listing each one: She is
aware of being caught up in drama,
aware of that sense of being “right” while the other person’s point of view is “wrong”;
aware of the need to move past these elements;
aware of anger and its futility and the need to transmute that anger to love;
aware of how negativity can engage her ego;
aware of judging and being judged;
aware of expecting negativity in her walks in the park;
aware of the healing need for peace in the midst of drama;
aware of guidance in suggesting ways and means to a positive outcome for everyone, complete with physical example (candy wrapper); and, most of all,
aware of the difficulty of remembering to live in love during the hard times.

This highly developed awareness has allowed SS to remove herself and her ego from the immediate drama to such a degree that she was able to receive the thought from her Angels that she is the adult in this drama and she can bring about a peaceful and satisfying resolution. In other words, no one outside herself needs to change in order for her to be happy; this will occur when she changes her thoughts from annoyance to peace (see Reading, A Course in Miracles). Had she been less aware, she would have not heard her Angels sending her the ideas (out of the “blue”, as she writes) that will bring resolution to this drama. Being caught up, she would also not have seen the candy wrapper, or, having seen it, might have become angry all over again at that person who was littering in the park. As she has developed awareness and thus the ability to begin to distance herself from drama, she received the Angelic message and correctly interpreted the presence of the candy wrapper as confirmation that she had correctly interpreted her Angels’ message. Does that not take your breath away? In the midst of strife and annoyance, SS was able, through cultivated awareness, to hear and see Angelic aid. This brings tears to my eyes. We are all capable of this, Peeps. Just keep on listening and practicing.