Sometimes I Just Forget


For two years, I have lived in a fishbowl. Strangers have walked through every room in my house, poked around in my cabinets and closets. I’ve lost my privacy, I’ve had my hopes raised and dashed more times than I can count. I’ve had to keep my house looking as if I don’t live in it, as if it never rains mud on my porch, as if birds never poop on my deck, as if my grass never grows, weeds never pop up in my flower beds, and as if twenty pine trees don’t throw needles all over everything every time the wind blows. This is what it’s been like since I put my house up for sale.

This morning seemed to top it all off. It was cold, damp, and gloomy. Spring had just…disappeared. I’d found out the day before that somebody I love may be very sick. And then, my real estate agent called to say that I’d be getting an offer on my house at 1:00 p.m.

You’d think that last bit of news would lift me out of the doldrums, but it didn’t. I actually felt worse, because I expected to be disappointed. Again. So I did something I don’t usually do. I forgot something very important, and began to play out a scenario in my head: The offer will probably be so low I won’t be able to accept it. The market is so depressed here, more than the state at large, more than the country at large. Maybe I’ll never get to Sedona. I can’t imagine another winter here. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Now, I am a person of faith in the Universe. I know that I am where I am supposed to be. I know the person who is facing surgery and an uncertain prognosis is surrounded by love. I know the sun will come out. Eventually. I even know that I am supposed to live in Sedona. I am called there. (That’s another story.) I know all of this. But I forgot. I forgot that there is a Divine Order to things. I forgot that, as my daughter Michaela says, God’s got this. I forgot until I remembered.

And there it was. The miracle I talk about all the time, the miracle of help that comes exactly when I need it: I remembered to meditate. In the middle of my tortuous and frantic interference in the process, I remembered to meditate.

I often use the Prayer of Saint Francis when I meditate: Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace...When I opened my eyes some thirty minutes later, all was well. I only asked to be a channel, but what I received was peace, as if I had been wise enough to ask for it for myself. That’s how it works with me. I always get something better than the thing I ask for, even if I don’t recognize it as such. But today, I did. I felt the peace and knew what it was. I went about my business and forgot about the rain, the cold, and the offer.

At 2:30 p.m., my real estate agent called. For one split second, I faltered. “Just tell me what the number is,” I said to her, “so I can decide whether or not to come into the office.” But I felt the peace again, even before she could answer. She gave me a figure. It was too low, but in the ball park. I went into the office, and made a counter offer. A small reduction in my asking price. My agent looked uncomfortable, but I felt fine. We finished the paperwork, and I went grocery shopping. Half way down the cat food aisle, my cell phone rang. “Are you sitting down?” my real estate agent said. “She accepted it, right?” I said. To make a long story short, I will be going to settlement on the 19th of June. All is contingent on a home inspection, of course. But it’s okay. I’m no longer in charge. I’ve got to remember that when I start to look for a house in Sedona. And tomorrow? I am not going to make my bed.


Update on The Messenger: The cover is finished, and it is gorgeous. I will receive a final proof copy in a couple of days. A few more short steps to publication, and I’ll be able to announce its release.




field of dreams3

At the end of the day, what do we have that is as unassailable as our experiences?

As I am no longer young, I am able to view my experiences from a better vantage point than someone who is just starting out. There are more of them, shall we say, lined up. I can, therefore, see patterns. For instance – and I have said this before – it has been my experience, time and time again, that when I am most in need of help, it is there. It comes.

But I am ahead of myself. There was the signature experience that set the stage for everything that came after. It was the premise from which I was to work. It was the earthquake experience – the death of my son, Eddie.

The death of a child is not only tragic. It is unnatural, a failure of the greatest magnitude. It is wrong, and out of order. It leads to despair beyond description, a loss of faith in the Universe. Disorientation. Loss of purpose. For me, all was lost with that one loss. What was needed to transform my view had to be an experience that was equal in significance and power. And so it was.

The experience was important enough to put in a book. It is an improbable experience, an unusual experience, one that demanded of me the will to take my heart and mind beyond their normal borders. If I have to ask my readers to suspend disbelief, it is no more than I had to ask of myself. And yet, it happened. Because it happened, I did not die from grief. I am living proof that hope can spring from hopelessness.

What happened to me is not a prescription for anyone. It is not a request for faith in what I came to believe. What I believe is the result of my experiences. I do not refute other beliefs. How could I, not having had other experiences? What I believe, with all my heart, is that there is a way for everyone, and that everyone can find his or her own path out of despair into hope.

Hope came to me by way of a Messenger who told me a story. In my book, I tell that story alongside my own. As Kevin Costner said in the movie, Field of Dreams, “It’s a long story, but it’s a good one.”


Perhaps with this post, you can feel that the book is closer to its release date. It is. The artist/designer of the book’s cover (who is my brother) has finished the painting. It was slower than usual, and painful, because of the surgery on his hand. But it is no less beautiful. I was tempted to show it to you here, but that wouldn’t be fair. You should see it the way it was intended to be seen – on the cover. See you next Sunday.

Spending Time with Tulips

red tulips


I have a confession to make. I’m not always conscious of my miraculous state of being. This morning (Saturday) was a perfect example. My realtor had arranged an Open House (my house is for sale) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  At 6:30, I was scrubbing last night’s rain and its detritus off the deck, which I had unwisely painted white. After that, there was more vigorous scrubbing, the front porch this time, which is also, unfortunately, white. After a second, gorgeous cup of coffee, I was putting a crisp, white quilt on the bed and arranging red and magenta tulips to place in the bay window of my living room. At 9:30, the young man who mows my lawn was at the front door, and I paid him ten dollars extra for lifting some heavy flower pots onto the deck and disposing of a little squirrel that was lying on its side, seemingly asleep and sadly alone in the grass, a victim of a force of nature that I’d hoped was not my cat. By 10:30, having put all signs of normal life out of sight and wiping down what seemed to be every surface in my house, I was sitting in my living room, chatting with my realtor, a pleasant, efficient lady with blonde hair who was just getting over pneumonia.

Not once in all that time did I stop to feel or to sit – even briefly – in the sun. What made this such an odious crime was that I, along with everybody else on the East Coast, had seen so little of it for such a long time. On Saturday morning, the sun was in the sky, while I was in the pursuit of perfection. That is true unconsciousness.

Between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., five people came to visit. No one made an offer. My house has been on the market for two years. This was not my first Open House. I felt, to say the least, disheartened and tired of hoping.

But I was not left there. As it always happens, I was rescued. A female mallard waddled into my freshly mowed back yard. I went out and clapped my hands to shoo her away. “Don’t you know a cat lives here?” I said. She looked at me unafraid, turned and waddled away, as if to say, “Oh, I know. He’s somewhere, but he’s not here, not now.” She headed back to the river, a little swagger in her waddle, her message to me clear. She seemed so rightly placed in the sun and the warmth of the day, so unconcerned with perfection (or the cat who was sleeping in his own little patch of sunlight on the other side of the house). She was intent on life alone.

Life in that day was so beautiful, so rare. Nothing was required from me but to notice it, and when I did, gratitude was quick to follow. It is the natural aftermath of consciousness. As is hope. I began to feel sure that on the perfect day, someone will walk into my house, and they will be home, and on another perfect day, I will walk into a house in Sedona, and I will be home. Today, I must assume that both of us are rightly placed, as is the little duck, my cat, and yes, the squirrel. We are all here, in life, together.

As the sun got lower in the sky, I came in and sat down to spend time with the tulips. I was conscious, awake, and grateful for the great gift of life that was everywhere. It took me a while, but I got there.


The Messenger is all about this – consciousness, gratitude, hope, and the sacredness of life. It is about death, yes, but also about the teacher who opened my eyes, who taught me to notice life, and to know it for the gift it is. At the moment, it is still in the hands (one of which is recovering from surgery) of the artist who is doing the cover. See you next Sunday.

The Power of Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies


Yesterday, I got chocolate chip cookies in the mail. They were homemade, wrapped in cellophane, and tied with a ribbon, along with a note from a young woman I’ve known since her childhood. Her note said she’d had a dream about me. In her dream, I was dragging around a huge bag of chocolate chips and telling everybody that I needed cookies. When Bill died, this same young woman sent an enormous box of cookies, varied and exquisitely made. They were on my dining room table for the friends who crowded into my house after the service. Random acts of kindness? I don’t think so. They came at the perfect time, and in just the right quantities, appropriate in sweetness and love, as it were, to the pain in question. And let us not discount the dream.

As it happened, I needed cookies. I watch the news on television, in the worst possible way. It is a terrible habit. In endless loops, I listen to stories of racial hatred, religious hatred, hatred in all its forms, violence, murder, war, and death. A few days ago, I must have reached a saturation point, because a bit of despair dropped into my spirit. My natural state is to view the Universe as benevolent (as my friends who have listened to me endlessly exclaim this will attest), but I had a moment of weakness. I came perilously close to believing that this world was more weighed down with hatred than with anything else, when something happened. A box of chocolate chip cookies appeared.

Things like that happen consistently in my life. Say what you will, there is a pattern here. Call these occurrences coincidences, if you like. The thing is, these acts of kindness, small and large, reconfigure my energy. In that, they have great power. And I can, enriched by kindness, be kinder toward those I encounter, especially those who are difficult to bear, those who are suffering, or those diminished in ways I cannot understand. I can be kinder to myself, and turn away from televised pain.

If the acts of kindness that come my way are mere coincidences, I accept them, as if I’ve won some sort of undefined lottery. But if they are genuine gifts of Perfect Love, in perfect time, I will believe that there is a Light in the world that is greater than all the hatred we can create. I have seen that Light, on occasion, as love in the eyes of my family. I have heard it in the voices of my friends, as they answer the call of someone in need. I have felt it in the hands of a shaman healer, received it from someone who can hear messages of hope from beyond this physical world. Sometimes, it appears in a story, like the one told to me by a Spirit Guide, and sometimes it comes as a box of chocolate chip cookies.


Happy Easter to my friends who are celebrating a joyous Day of Resurrection, and Chag Sameach to my friends who are celebrating the joyous Festival of Passover.


Update on the book:  The artist who is creating the cover had surgery on his hand. It is healing. All is well.