Release date: May 14, 2010.
When I first decided to write a story for the book, Passwords: Passing on Words of Wisdom and Hope, I had no idea where it would lead. When I wrote at the end of my story that by following Divine Guidance, “Only God knows to what beautiful places you may be led”, I didn’t realize how true that statement was. We sometimes think we are headed in one direction when one day we realize that God has been “Guiding” us down a completely different path all along.
I was very proud to have my first book launch in my hometown of Blanc-Sablon. It was a perfect August evening. Many of my friends and family members attended. My mom and dad and both my grandmothers came to my special event. I had a beautiful cake made like the book cover. I had prepared coffee that was to be served with the cake while people waited to get their book signed. I started the evening by thanking everyone for coming. I talked about my passion for writing and my desire to share with others my life experiences. I told them why I chose to write about Divine Guidance and how I wanted to inspire them to notice and follow signs in their own life. I wanted to let them know that they are not alone, that there is a God, Angels and Spirits that love them and are guiding them Home.
I finished my speech and asked if there were any questions. To my surprise, a woman spoke up and asked, “When you talk to spirits, how do you do it? How do you know who you are talking to?”
With that one question I talked for thirty minutes on the topic of Mediumship and how I connect with deceased loved ones. I was very happy to have had the opportunity to share my experiences with the audience and especially with my family who received the answers to the questions they never dared to ask. I was finally given the opportunity to speak freely about how I can feel and speak to the spirit world. It was a wonderful gift!
The following week back in Sept-Iles where I live, a local newspaper interviewed me. The journalist came to my house on a sunny Saturday afternoon and I invited him to sit outside on the patio deck. He asked me all sorts of questions about where I worked, where I went to school and what I had been doing for the past twenty years. The next thing I knew I had mentioned the Mediumship. I’m not sure how it came up in conversation but as soon as it was said I thought, “Uh, oh, it’s out there now”. I didn’t talk about my secret life to anyone at work. Very few people at my office knew about my ‘gifts’.
The information did not fall on deaf ears. The journalist inquired about my abilities and wanted to know what I did exactly. I was a little reluctant to tell him at first and explained how it was a big deal for me to share this secret part of my life. I gave him my business card and said that he could look up my website to know more about my services. Then he offered to take my picture out by the rose bushes to put in the paper with his article.
I was really nervous that week as I waited for the newspaper. On Wednesday morning, I went to coffee shop with my girlfriends from work. As we stood in line, I noticed the newspaper on the counter. I flipped through it and found the article. The title said, “A Sept-Ilienne, author and spiritual counselor” my heart skipped a beat. I read on to see what distorted view he must have had of me. But to my pleasant surprise, it was a beautiful and respectful article.
Afterwards, different people came to me and shared how they too have seen or sensed spirits as well and for the first time in their life felt comfortable about sharing the experience. They too were afraid to tell others for fear of judgment.
The following week, I had my book launch in the Sept-Iles library. I expected about twenty of my closest friends to be there being that the town is French and the Passwords book is English. To my surprise that evening, thirty-five people came to the book launch of which more than two thirds of them I did not know. And more surprisingly, they were French. They had come to meet me and hear about my work as a Medium and Spiritual Counselor. I spoke for over an hour about my experiences as a Medium and what the spirits want us to know.
At the end of my speech, they all waited patiently in line to meet me in person. They thanked me for existing, for having the courage to be who I am, and for being true to my self. They also looked forward to having a personal spiritual consultation with me.
When I wrote the short story for the Passwords book, I knew that God – the Universe was Divinely Guiding me forward, to be All that God had intended Me to Be, but never did I imagine for a moment that it would open so many doors or so many hearts.
Like I said before, “I hope you too will trust God’s Divine Guidance. Only God knows to what beautiful places you may be led.”
My mother was a woman of great wisdom. Among her favourite sayings, two stand out: “Don’t let anyone steal your joy”’ and, from Psalm 30:5: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Whenever friends or relatives were feeling down or in crisis, she said those words. She even said them to me a few times.
Until recently, I didn’t realize how deeply these words were embedded in my soul. They are the foundation of my strength and my belief that no matter what happens, things will always get better.
Those words helped me get through an especially trying time two years ago. In the summer of 2007, I left our home to give my then husband space so he could decide whether or not he still wanted to be married. He wasn’t happy, he said. I was no longer the love of his life. He wanted out and nothing I did was going to change his mind.
I begged. I cried. I prayed daily to God to change his mind, to make him stay. I didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want to be wrong. I didn’t want to face my friends and family with the news that my marriage had broken down.
The questions constantly running through my mind were agony. How could I have been wrong about him? How could I have chosen a man who could hurt me so badly? How would I find the strength to go on?
All of these questions made me feel dizzy, powerless, paralysed. Yet, little by little, the words of my mother began bubbling up to the surface: “Don’t let anyone steal your joy.”
The “anyone” in this case was my husband. So each day I prayed and begged God for change, for an instant miracle. When it didn’t happen, I would be sad again, but those six little words would rise up from deep within my thoughts and I would see a small glimmer of light.
Joy for me had always been a feeling of peace. It was apparent in my love of myself and my confidence. By letting his actions – his decision to leave the marriage –affect how I acted and how I felt about myself, I was letting him steal my joy.
This situation continued and came to a head in November of 2007 when he finally left our marriage. I was devastated. I was angry at God. I had never cried so much. I cried until it felt like there was no water left in my body.
Yet, again, the words of my mother came to my mind: “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
I held on to those words like a person drowning holds on to a life jacket. Each night my friend would talk to me for hours. We would be angry at times, then sad at times, but most times we would just talk and talk. She simply allowed me to heal. She allowed me to get out my hurt. She allowed me to complain, but not to wallow; to create a new plan. She allowed me to focus on those words that my mother always said.
Then my mother was right there in the morning to do her check- in. After inquiring about how my night went and hearing me say “Okay” she would say: “Sun – not down ‘ man nah cry’”, which is a Caribbean saying that loosely translates to “As long as the sun is still present on the earth, we have hope. And once there is hope, things will get better.” Then, being a deeply spiritual woman, she would get into prayer with me, and this would heal me. My mother refused to let him or, rather, the situation of the divorce, steal my joy. His actions were his actions and I could not control them. I could choose to be happy or I could choose to be unhappy. This cycle of healing continued in the evening with my best friend and in the morning with my mom. “Weeping may endure for the night – but joy comes in the morning.”
I fell asleep to those words and I woke feeling a bit better every day. Then one morning, in about March of 2008, I woke up and realized that I was no longer sad, that I no longer felt paralysed and that the joy was coming back into my heart. I was going to be okay! I had more joy than weeping!
Thanks to my mother, I had a foundation of hope; a belief that negative circumstances will always turn around. Even though I couldn’t see it, my soul knew that joy would follow the sadness in my life.
Thanks to the words of my mother, I knew in my soul that I alone was responsible for my happiness. I knew that by letting the actions of others control me, I was letting them steal my joy – joy that comes from the light of the divine living within me.
The lesson my mother’s words taught me, and for which I am forever grateful, is this: When we let someone steal our light, we lose control of our lives.
Keep that light burning bright! Build yourself a foundation of love and hope, just like the one my mother built for me.
“You can do it Gramma,” they yelled as I climbed the first step, then the next and the next…” What a difference eighteen years can make.
In the story I wrote for Passwords: Passing on Words of Wisdom and Hope Vol 1, entitled Creator, Either Change Me or Take Me, I described how on August 16th, 1991, at the age of 53, I went on a life-altering Vision Quest in Temagami, Ontario, At that time, the purpose of this Quest was to completely surrender myself to Creator, asking that She/He either change me or take me. My story began with the words, “Hang on, Heather, hang on,” I told myself while dangling fifty feet above the ground…” Now, eighteen years later, and almost to the day, I heard these words of encouragement from a group of youth ages fourteen to seventeen, “You can do it Gramma, you can do it.”
From August 24th to 28th of this year (last week), I was asked to be Grandmother for an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Aboriginal Youth Camp. The camp was held here at Mink Lake, near Eganville, Ontario. The program to be followed for this camp was entitled, “Niigan Mosewak” which means, “Moving Forward.
In Temagami, I was 53 years old and terrified. Yesterday, at 71, I was fearless but “older.” As each youth arrived, I sensed their apprehension – much like what we had experienced. The first day, was a “getting to know you” type of day. Each youth was assigned to a cabin with two adult supervisors. Team building was about to begin.
In 1991 I participated in my very first Sweat Lodge, this time I was the pourer of the Lodge. In other words, I conducted the Sweat Lodge ceremony for approximately twenty youth–most of whom experienced the ceremony for the first time.
On Thursday, the youth participated in a “rope course.” For the past eighteen years–especially the last five or so, I’ve often wondered whether or not I could do the rope course again. Although this obstacle course was set up quite different then the one I experienced in Temagami, it offered a greater challenge. This time instead of easing up a plank bridge to the highest point of the course, there was a 6-foot ladder leaning against a tree. After climbing to the top of the ladder you were to then climb up a tree and stand on a wire thirty feet above the ground and shimmy to the opposite tree approximately 30 feet away. My support for these youth couldn’t have been more genuine. As each youth attempted the course, all the excitement and joy of having completed one myself embraced me. I was yelling and shouting and trying as hard as I could to encourage them to go further–if only a little. Then, after the majority of our group had completed the course, I knew I had to try it myself–knowing full well that it was unlikely I would complete it. I say this not because of fear but because I’m fifty pounds heavier, out of shape, and seventy-one years old. I harnessed up, put my helmet on and approached the ladder. Three teenage “spotters” were assigned to me to ensure I didn’t fall off the ladder. Their smiles and encouragement touched me deeply.
No one knew that the only goal I had in mind was to climb to the top of the six-foot ladder and NOT to complete the course. This would be a lesson in “acceptance” or “letting go” or both. As I stepped on the firs step I was amazed that there was no fear of moving up higher. In fact, I reached the top of the ladder and was determined to climb at least a few of the spikes (steps) up the tree. After managing to climb six steps, my hands were very weak and very sore. I carry my weight mostly below the waist and this proved to be quite a strain on my upper body. I stopped, looked around, knew that what I had experienced in 1991 was so very real as I had no fear at all. After praying quietly to myself and thanking Creator once again for this opportunity, I looked down and told the young man guiding me “I guess this is it.” “Are you sure Gramma?” he asked. “Yep, I’m sure.”
As I write this I’m teared up. Getting older sucks in a lot of ways. However, overcoming fears that had absolutely paralyzed me is such a wonderful reward. I’m not saying I’ll never try a rope obstacle course again because if I manage to lose the weight and get in shape–you never know what this Gramma will do.
Part of being inspired to achieve greater things in life resides in your ability to encourage change and growth in your life. Ask yourself if you are afraid of change and as a result you choose to do what is familiar. Change surrounds us. Our desire to live is determined by our will to stimulate our physical bodies and infuse our daily lives with meaningful rituals. Boredom is often the result of a stagnant life, which can lead to illness. Expand your horizons and remain open to the new adventures that life has to offer and nourish your soul, spirit and body with the food it needs to find joy. Just like an elastic stretches, so can you! Be flexible and stretch your potential to achieve greater things in life. Encourage change in yourself and overcome your fears. Reach for the stars. Your limit is only the one you impose on yourself. Take a risk and step out of what is familiar. Are you ready for change?
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice—though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles.
“Mend my life!” each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations—though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burnthrough the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do–determined to save the only life that you could save –your own.
Lucinda Morency, one of the co-authors of “Passages: Words of Wisdom and Hope Vol. 1″ is a good friend of mine. Lucinda phoned me in March of this year to inform me that the ladies who were putting this book together were searching for one more author and asked if I might be interested. I contacted Mimi Publishing immediately to express my interest. Ever since I had a short story published in the grade one teacher’s manual for the Catholic School Board – “Just Play Granny, Just Play”, and as a member of a writing group at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa, was invited to submit another children’s story entitled “The Angel Wore Red Moccasins,” I have longed to take a step into the adult world of books.
“Healing Wind,” the Spirit name given to me many years ago by Grandmother Lillian Pitawanakwat, speaks of my breath – my voice. Our breath – our voice, as I have come to understand it, also includes our written words.
Now that I am into the eighth chapter of my life, I’m recognizing more and more how important it is for the Grandmothers and Grandfathers of every race to put their stories out there in order to share our wisdom and to give our people hope. Writing our stories is but one tool we can use to do this.
I wish to thank friends like Kevin Ryall, who encouraged me to write my first-ever story, Elena Abel, who so gently guided me into writing my second, and to Lucinda Morency, who recognized that I’m not getting any younger and that perhaps I should jump on the bandwagon now. A very special thank you to my husband and our family, who encourage me 24-7. And, to Mimi Publishing Company for including my story.
Followers of Tao frequently use writing, art and even poetry as tools for self-discovery. By articulating their experiences, it helps them to understand the stages they are going through. Once they do this, it satisfies and neutralizes their rational minds. The process clears away intellectualism and leaves the true Tao, which is not subject to words or images. − Den Ming-Dao
And so I wrote Let Go & Let God and the texts that will follow.
Jennifer and Sylvie’s Passwords book project provided an opportunity for me to express a bit about my own story of what I have experienced on my journey. I feel that a lot of others like myself in my generation, have mixed emotions when it comes to religion, however I am not against it. There are so many different paths we all can take in today’s world, and religion is only one of them. I feel it is important that we each find what we love to do, that which embraces us with the most comfort and joy. Follow your own heart’s desire, whatever that may be, and allow others to do the same.
Seas of Love and Skies of Light,