Spiritual

My photograph for this Christmas was taken last year in Idyllwild, California. The moon star lit up the sky so beautifully silhouetted by the tall trees. When it’s so dark that I can’t see the forest for the trees, it’s definitely time to look for light sources. I looked up and there was this bright burst. Photo credit to Kathleen Dana Haine.

THE WAYS OF THE WINTER SPIRIT: SURRENDERING TO THE STILLNESS

It’s Christmas time again, but this year is distinctly different for me. Although I had a lovely visit from my goddaughter and family last weekend. Christmas time itself and New Year’s Eve will be alone time this year.

Health challenges are rewarding me by staying home, though. It’s giving me time to pause and reflect on the meaning and purpose of life. To look at what things I choose to change and which things I desire to keep. While I love socializing and frivolity, it’s a necessary introspective time right now.

My Christmas wish was to be well enough to physically attend the children’s Christmas Eve mass at my local church. Singing harmony on all the beloved carols in the congregation brought tears to me eyes…happy ones. The angels are still singing in my home: Silent Night and a chorus of “Gloria in excelsis Deo.”

This week I had a visit with my alternative doctor who gave me good suggestions and some encouraging recommendations. One major recommendation to help me stay on the planet was: add sugar to the no-no list along with calcium and protein foods I have already given up. The addiction to the sweet stuff may light up the pleasure center of my brain, but it also amplifies inflammation, causing some very non-pleasurable effects.

Along with other physical homework, like massaging the scar area of my arm to get feeling back, I still require healing on the scars that don’t show.

Grief, loss and loneliness keep sneaking back into my veins. It’s harder to full-on heal when it’s cold inside as well as out. Internal snow seems more resistant to melting. However, there are many effective remedies for these recurring feelings. Sitting down by the hearth and having a fireside chat with each one is my favorite techniques.

Grief is the emotion that’s easiest to flip for me. Grief is really just love that’s blocked by loss and loneliness. I counteract it with a memory that could melt a blizzard in the dead of winter. I have MANY of those memories and basking in them brings back the feelings intensified over the original.

I also reframe memories that are not so easy or pleasant. I rewrite the past in my mind. Somehow it changes me in the present so I can accept a better future. The mental matrix is a hologram to program and reprogram. I am getting to be a master of tweaking the system to my advantage.

Sometimes even physical pain can be reversed. I feel my cells regenerate. Epigenetics switches on and then anything is possible. (See the works of Bruce Lipton for more understanding of that phenomenon.)

Alone time is now different for me than loneliness. When it’s accepted, surrendered to, then the stillness becomes the unseen friend, an access point to answers, a connection to God/Source/Creator. the gateway to possibilities we miss with our busy “monkey mind.” Even if nothing SEEMS to be happening, linear time has opened up to infinity where the possibility of miracles makes a template for the wonderment to unfold.

Sometimes I feel like meditation and prayer put me in an unlit room, but then a door opens and there’s a surprise party inside for me with all the loved ones and gifts I have ever dreamed of. When I meet them in real time the faces may have changed or details of the gifts. But it’s often even better than I imagined.

Whether I meet the gifts immediately, or in the future of divine timing, I am still grateful. The notes of the symphony are impressions before they reach the heart, the mind, the ear, the music sheet, the instruments, the stage. To negate their existence with self doubt or non-acceptance of their beginning invisibility would be a harsh destruction of a joyful outcome.

I hope your winter dreams yield a springtime harvest. I am already hearing angelic arpeggios for healing songs when the stillness turns to melodies I will write for my mandolin and me.

The porch of our family home in Idyllwild is the photograph for this blog. It was a place to sit contemplating big decisions and savoring moments of solitude. It lives in my memory now, a part of the collective of our life together.

I’ve been dancing through different stages with the kidney issue for some time now. Fourteen years on an inappropriate

prescription drug left me needing a kidney transplant back in 2008. Through a strong mix of motivation and miracle, I got up to

30% function and maintained a GFR (globular filtration rate, the measure of renal function) until 2016, after my husband and I

relocated to the central California coast.

While Bob developed a series of illnesses, I had my own health challenges including two failed dialysis surgeries in my left

arm. The three years of caregiving my husband through open heart surgery, Parkinsons and dementia yielded lessons in patience,

faith and unconditional love—for both of us.

After the passing of my soul partner in 2019. there were three more years of difficult decisions: the sale of our mountain home, the

reconstruction of the beach home, the strange times of Covid………..

Then came a time of soul searching the summer of 2022 while having informative flashbacks and moving through PTSD.

I had reached a crossroad on my birthday. I learned who and what I truly was— full disclosure on that later.

I had to be in a healing cocoon for a few months before I grew my wings back again.

This time the wings seemed to be made of stained glass on steel. But even steel breaks under pressure. There were many pressures.

I had become a spiritual diamond from hard core coal, yet there was a definite crack in the system. I was reminded of the poetical

message of Rumi and Leonard Cohen…The Crack is the way that the Light gets in.

Stage five symptoms have caused more than a few cracks. However, my path does not include another surgery which will lower

my kidney function with no promise of improving it. I do not choose “status quo” with a few more years of declining function with

a nightly artificial support system. ( I honor those who do choose it but I follow a divergent direction.)

I CHOOSE LIFE FULL ON.

The fear of death does not intimidate me. If it did, my near death experience in 1979 pretty much dissolved that. I share the belief

that the body is an amazing vehicle of the spirit with guidance from an extremely intelligent Source.

I may live alone, but I am not going through this alone. I have been assembling an impressive support team of alternative and

regular doctors, magnificent healers, intuitive therapists, and am receiving the compassionate assistance of the local Hospice of

San Luis Obispo and their wonderful counselors and volunteers.

I have informed my new friends at hospice that I am going to get well, surpassing the normal expectations and becoming the

vibrant being I was meant to be.

I have started up the blogging again for a two fold purpose: to keep an account of my journey to wellness and also to encourage

others to follow their true heart’s desire, to lead them to the joy of life however they picture that.

My picture is still not complete but I have put the pentimento of my scars on the paper and am adding colors daily to the design.

This recent photo of Mono Lake takes me halfway to heaven just looking at it. I don’t know how Bob got the Milky Way to look so close, as though I could reach out and touch it. Light is inspirational, whether it is external or internal. The best illumination is a combination of both.

ANGELIC INSPIRATIONS: WORDS WITH WINGS

Your state of mind is really where you live…not the outside world. I have lived in many different “states.” But I have never lived outside  California. My favorite state of mind is quiet contemplation because that is when I see such beautiful sights, and my best songs come to me.

It used to bother my friend Ken Porter (who is now in spirit) that I would sit down and write a song in five or ten minutes. He would spend days working on and perfecting one song. “How do you write them so fast?” he asked . My response to that question has eventually become, “ I  don’t exactly write them.”

There have been times when I consciously planned, produced, and edited a piece of poetry or music. That style of writing is rare for me now. These days (and nights) I just open up a window in my heart and let my mind take a backseat while I write the lyrics and notations down.

Afterwards, when I read back what is written on the page, I am sometimes surprised at my “creative” spelling and word usage with messages that go beyond what I know. I put my name on the copyright because I penned the song, and it would be too difficult to send the royalties to the real creator.

Since the 1980’s I have been writing songs for churches, spiritual centers, weddings, funerals, and loved ones, without any real effort on my part. The process goes something like this: I know the sermon topic, or the gospel reading, or a situation in advance, and I just ask for an appropriate song. The lyrics and music come in as soon as I make time to receive them. Sometimes, they circle like airplanes until I agree to write them down.

I remember when I was working on our first music CD, life was too hectic for me to sit down and breathe. Songs for the Soul by bobandkathi (available on the usual internet sources) did come out that year, 2012, but some songs were written at very strange hours. One time in particular, I recall awakening to a song I had been hearing as a title for days. “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up” really wanted to be “born,” but I kept saying, “I’m too busy.”

So at two o’clock when I woke up one morning, the Voice said, “You’re not too busy now.” I got up, wrote the song and dedicated it to Iyanla Vanzant, whose book I had read with the same title. (I dedicated each of the songs on that album to someone special to me.)

As far as knowing where the songs came from, I wasn’t really sure at first. When a very pleasant lady told me she saw angels around me and that they “channeled” through me, I thought perhaps she had a touch of dementia. I later came to realize what a wonderful place this world would be if everyone had the childlike simplicity to see and hear the wonderful things that are beyond standard science.

An even greater  gift is to be able to talk about it and share it with others. That makes words have wings….

I am spreading my own wings on a vacation soon where internet may not be available. Therefore, I am considering taking a few weeks off from blogging. The green of the rainforest will provide some lovely photos for my future writings. I am certain that experiences with the water, vegetation, and wildlife will inspire more to share, too.

May the busy schedules of life float away down the river until then. I will meet you on the shore.

 

 

 

Coming down from Idyllwild, California,  late one afternoon, we saw this lovely shaft of light from the cloud. Bob got the photo before it disappeared.

ANGELIC INTERVENTIONS: AMAZING GRACE IN ACTION

I love angels, and angels love me. Actually, angels love everybody and are always available to help anyone. The key is to ask for their guidance, protection, and assistance. I would not be alive today if I hadn’t received angelic interventions.

When I was five years old, I was not in a very safe environment. Living in an isolated desert area seven miles out of  town with an abusive person in the family led to some frightening situations. Most of my memory has been wiped clean from that time period. I do recall some scenes and sounds of severe anger: Mom’s fresh baked peach pies being thrown to the ceiling, her dark sunglasses to hide the dark bruises underneath, the verbal fighting and breaking of glasses and dishes, long nights trying to sleep with the covers over my head for protection.

Cotton sheets are not enough for protection. That’s where the angels came in.

I did not have fancy, well-thought-out prayers when I was five. I don’t even remember what I prayed the afternoon my stepfather came to get me from my ballet lesson. We started to walk down the long, steep, narrow flight of stairs. That’s when I realized I had been pushed.

I began to roll down the cement steps, trying to grab something, anything, to stop the fall. I was halfway down the flight, when something, someone, scooped me up and broke the fall.

It was a man, a nondescript man in a brown suit and a brown hat. I remember having my eyes closed for just a moment and holding my aching head. When I opened them and looked around to thank the man for rescuing me, there was no one there. There was no evidence of anyone anywhere on the stairs except for my stepfather, who told me I had imagined my elusive helper.

I told my mother about it. I think she believed me. She also knew that I had not just fallen due to clumsiness. I had so many “accidents” in those days.

I have always wanted to thank the man in the brown suit for saving my life. I have seen him since in dreams I have had. I remember one in particular where there was an extremely large golden bridge going up into the clouds. He had the hand of a little boy and was walking him up the bridge. The bridge was very beautiful, but something told me it was not my time to cross that bridge. It was comforting to know I might get picked up and escorted when it is my time.

Sometimes I have tried to rationalize this childhood experience into something more realistic. In another angelic intervention when I was older, I could understand my experience without  trying to explain it. It happened when I was twenty-seven. I am reminded of The Song of Bernadette by Franz Werfel. The introduction states: “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.” Angels fit into that category, too.

Back to my angelic intervention encounter, I was driving down Interstate 10 in pouring rain, wishing I hadn’t agreed to take my friend to Orange County to meet a deadline for an application. The deluge got worse and worse. Visiblity was highly impaired.

That’s when I realized it looked like an accident was happening right in front of me. But it wasn’t…. What I was seeing was something like a video screen of an accident. I could see the border around the screen and yet I could see the flow of regular traffic in front of me as well. I saw all the details of the accident, the make and model of the cars, who was passing whom, the spin out of the dark blue car. And I knew there was a fatality involved.

When I picked up my girlfriend I told her about my weird vision and suggested we go home and get out of the rainstorm. It was the deadline day for the application, so I finally agreed to drive on and be extra careful.

As my car approached the interchange for the 57 freeway, I saw the black truck pull in front of me. “It’s happening NOW,” I said and slowed down, while we watched the accident unfold. The dark blue car hydroplaned. The driver, probably without a seat belt on, flew out of the car. (I had not seen that part in the original vision.)

I pulled over and went to see if I could help. The woman was dead. She was like a beautiful, pale, red-haired china glass doll. I had never seen a dead person before. I marveled how she could still look so lovely.

A motorist who had witnessed the accident was a nurse. She said the woman had died instantly. I knew she was in no pain, but it bothered me to see the rain pouring into her pale blue eyes. I got the red plaid blanket from my V.W. van and covered her in it. I knew there was a reason I was there to be with her, so I prayed. Sometimes, that is all one can do.

My friend stayed in the car. I was drenched, my suede coat ruined. The police questioned me about the incident. Even though I had seen the accident twice, I could hardly talk. The officer said I was in shock, to drive slowly up to the Denny’s and call for someone to drive my car home.

My husband came for me, and my friend’s son drove her to safety. I realized what a great gift I had been given. If I had not known to slow down and get out of the way, I could have hit the water pocket, too. Instead, I lived to see other days and other miracles, not just of intervention, but of angelic inspiration, which will be a topic for another time.

 

 

 

Bob took this photo in the Grand Tetons area. It’s a rugged place, but like many places that are challenging to get to, and difficult to get through, it has a special beauty worth the effort.

AFTER THE RAIN: THE BEAUTIFUL WEATHER, PART TWO

The evolution of my marriage with Bob has been a blink in the universe of time. Thirty seven years and we’re still evolving, finding out what makes the other tick.

Emotionally, we stand taller together now, but physically are more bent. Perhaps arthritis is just the outward manifestation of burdens borne and cares that ran too deep. But I believe that love lightens the load and faith rebuilds  us, or finds what was supposedly lost.

We cannot bring back our lost children, our deceased parents, our absent friends. They dine at another table now. We will be reunited, but Bob and I have business to attend to here, promises to keep to ourselves and others, the fulfillments of our raison d’être.

I have had opportunities to leave the planet on quite a few occasions. Two direct angel interventions kept me here, one when I was five, and one when I was twenty seven. (I will give the account of those experiences at a later date.) I am also certain that Bob and I have been blessed by behind-the-scenes heavenly help many times.

I don’t remember the exact date, but sometime after the new millennium I discovered I had a severe kidney problem. The doctor  informed me I had a GFR of 25%. I learned a GFR (glomular filtration rate) was the measurement of how well kidneys worked. I thought I just had a 25% reduction in function. I was shocked to learn that 75% was gone.

Where had it “gone” and why was the doctor saying it would get worse? I had very little understanding of why I had been  switched from lithium to another drug to treat my bipolar illness, and why I’d been referred to a nephrologist. It was a medical wakeup call for me and my husband.

As the function went down to 20%, I learned all I could about “mighty nephrons,” the little parts of the kidneys that do the work. I even had a song I sang to them. We prayed. I visualized good health.

Bob and I went to the dialysis classes together in preparation for the getting the shunt. We discussed my options for types of dialysis. When I went to Loma Linda for the evaluations to be put on the transplant list, Bob was my faithful companion. I got on the list in 2007 and was told it could be years before I got a donor.

I was taken off the list the following year, but did not get the transplant. I had gone over the weight limit and kidney function had gone UP too high, too good, to be on the list. I never even got a shunt or put on dialysis. I told my nephrologist that there was a higher power than Kaiser (my medical HMO) and that I’d get to 30%. I did.

I had the goal of 40% by Christmas of 2012. Bob and I had released our Christmas CD, Carols for the Christ. We had concerts set up, but I started to feel more and more “funky heart rhythm.” We had to cancel our bobandkathi performances after I went through a catheter ablation which didn’t work. The six hour heart procedure, done while I was awake, established my electrical misfires were in the septum, an area that could not be fixed.

After a hospital stay two days later to try a new drug, I was sent home because it was too dangerous for my kidneys. I got a new combination of medicines and my rhythm got better. My kidney function went temporarily down. I am thinking it will be up to 40% by next Christmas.

Bob was usually the one taking me to medical adventures. When he turned sixty in 2009, he had a full physical. An elevated PSA score (a prostate screening test) led to an evaluation by a urologist. Another blood test showed an increased level. Next came the biopsy and we came back to hear the results.

Bob was positive he did not have cancer. POSITIVE. But the results were positive, too. The good news was that the cancer was in the early stages. The doctor went over the different options, complete with colorful pictures. He explained risks and side effects. He said Bob could think about it and get back to him. Bob replied, “I’ve made my choice.”

It was my turn to be surprised. I thought we’d discuss it first. He had chosen the least invasive procedure, radioactive seed implantation. I wondered if a more intense surgery would give a better chance for a longer life.

We did talk about the choice later. Bob got a wonderful radiation oncologist. Unfortunately, the doctor had his arm in a cast. We waited for him to heal, so he could do the surgery.

It was the right choice. In December, the doctor made the “template” for where the seeds of iodine 125 would be implanted. Bob had the procedure done in January of 2010. I drove him home the same day as the surgery with his list of instructions.

There were interesting precautions. He could not be around pregnant women or have a child on his lap for a while. There were sexual and urinary issues to heal. He was given a paper to carry to show doctors and X-ray screeners. He jokingly referred to himself as “radioactive man” to our friends. It was a small price to pay for an extended life together.

Now he volunteers for the American Cancer Society as a “Road to Recovery” driver, giving free rides to patients for their chemo and radiation treatments. Sometimes I have complained about the time it takes from our schedule. That’s when I forget what it means to Bob and to the ones he’s driving. I am very proud of him for his dedication.

As for the beautiful weather of life, BRING IT ON!

Here is Bob Haine at Mono Lake, California, on one of his photo trips.

Bob Haine at Mono Lake ©2013  Nancy Speaker

Bob Haine at Mono Lake
Photo By: Nancy Speaker

The peaceful picture at the top of my blog was taken by the love of my life, Bob Haine. He shot it in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park last March while I was attending a Hay House convention where Doreen Virtue was the keynote speaker. The photo is a beautiful lead-in to my first public writing of my very private life. The green of the old oak and the green of the stream present the balance I look for in life. That is the theme of this blog.


FINDING BALANCE: SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO LET GO TO KNOW IT’S ALREADY GONE

I did something rather amazing this week. I changed my name. No, I did not make up a new one, or create a pen name, or even change my name that much. I decided to go back to using the name that I was born with: Kathleen. Not Kathy or Kathi, the names I had picked up along the way. But my real name, the name I was meant to be.

Why do this, one might ask? Simple. I realized why I had changed the name in the first place. It was an unconscious attempt to get rid of my past. Many people have a past they would like to forget. My mind was very accommodating in that regard. Except for a few, limited memories, I had pretty much forgotten the scenes of my childhood. This week, however, I started to remember. More importantly, I learned how to put it in its place, pick up the pieces, integrate it, dump out the garbage, and claim the parts that I still loved. Nothing was wasted in the experience.

I have two reasons for sharing this in text. I find it cathartic for me. But I think my main motivation is to help others who may have had similar situations in their life, or are going through it now, or who are really earnest about getting empowered to be the person that they were meant (and CHOOSE) to be. I realize that I am mainly writing for women, because my experience is from the female point of view. Yet, I speak to the needs of everyone, because giving and accepting love, being peaceful, having boundaries, and knowing we are powerful beings who are never alone, are things we all need.

If anyone is offended by what I have to write, let it roll off their backs like the rain and water someone else’s garden. The people who would be most upset or embarrassed by my words are dead and buried. I wish them nothing but love. Forgiveness costs nothing but the peace of mind is priceless.

I was given a “rose” of a life. Roses have thorns. One just needs to learn how to cultivate a rose while avoiding getting stuck. And every true gardener knows the oldest, thorniest roses have the very best fragrance.

Back to my title…finding balance. To live life completely NOW I have decided to put the past away, keep the lessons and love I got from it. I plan to restore harmony to my life in my way of seeing things, doing things, and being however I choose to be. I know that accepting who I am now is the first step toward becoming who I want to be. Others will benefit by the ripple effect of this change. Even if everyone else doesn’t notice I am different, I will know it. The inside relationship is what really matters.

Yesterday evening, I did a little ritual to finalize my departure from a previous life and entry into a new one. I burned some old photographs in a pretty abalone shell, I buried the ashes in the dirt, I said a few prayers, took a warm, salt bubble bath, and had peaceful dreams all night.

This is not a journey that ends here. Perhaps you would like to take it with me. I invite you to do so. I will be writing every week in the coming year. My birthday is next week. Writing is the present I give to myself. I will be sixty-two, a senior citizen. As far as I am concerned, I was just reborn and I am very, very young at heart.