On Having No Choice

I have a ninety-four year old aunt who is opinionated, stubborn, irritating, and occasionally a bright shining light. When my husband Bill died, I asked her a question. (She had lost her husband some twenty-five years ago.) “How did you do it?” I asked her. “How did you get through it?” She didn’t hesitate. “I had no choice,” she said.

She is one of those still living who are called The Greatest Generation. She was a WAC during World War II. (That’s the Women’s Army Corps for you youngsters.) She never saw combat. Never left the States. But she assisted an eye surgeon in an army hospital who treated returning wounded soldiers. She saw some pretty horrible things, but like others of that Generation, she just got on with it and did her job. Today, she lives alone (near me) and will not do anything she doesn’t want to do. No matter how much it hurts. She has an arthritic knee. It makes walking very difficult. She will not accept a walker, even though walking with a rickety old cane is dangerous. It belonged to her husband and she will not give it up. She insists on driving to the supermarket, the drug store, and Walmart. By herself. She will not let me put out her trash or buy her groceries. She insists that she has to get out of her apartment, and I know she is right. She is smart, has a memory that is better than mine, and knows everything about the 2016 presidential campaigns. But she will take no advice from me whatsoever. She has declared that she will not go to Arizona with me when I sell my house. Period. That is giving me some sleepless nights, and it’s something my brother and I will have to figure out. But there is one thing I have never known her to do. I have never, ever known her to feel sorry for herself.

I don’t know why she came into my mind tonight, unless it’s because I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  On Wednesday, my real estate agent brought the ideal buyer to see my house. She fits our profile perfectly, and that has only happened one other time. I knocked myself out trying to make the house as attractive as I could. I always do that when I have a showing, but this time it seemed a little special, so I cleaned and shined and freshened until I was worn out. I even spruced up the attic. By Tuesday night, I was exhausted, but I was hopeful, something I haven’t been for a long time. She came, she saw, she loved the house. Loved it. Said she could see herself living in it. She also said she wanted her son to see it, and here’s the part where I lost my hope: She said she’s going away for “a few weeks” and will get in touch with us when she gets back. I’ve lost count of the people who have traipsed through my house who “loved” it, but made no move to buy it. In April (not that far away), my house will have been on the market for three years.

Tomorrow, my agent is holding an open house for me. Once again, I went to work. Had the house power-washed. The lady who helps me clean rearranged her schedule to come today. She re-cleaned and refreshed. There are fresh flowers in the dining room and I have bought cookies to set out in the kitchen.  Photographs of the garden in summer are on a table in the living room. If, after all the work and effort, nothing comes of it, one thing is absolutely sure. If I am going to sell my house, I have no choice but to try, and try, and try again. I may be disappointed time after time, as I have been. I may be on an emotional roller coaster ride, but if I am going to sell my house, I have no choice but to show it over and over until somebody buys it.

I’ve gone through all the spiritual reasons why my house hasn’t sold, why I am not able to get to my beloved Arizona. I’ve cut my ties to the house. It’s called un-tethering.  I’ve let it go. I’ve pictured my husband and I letting it go together. I’ve gone through every room, as I have been advised to do, honoring the memories there and releasing them. I know in my heart that the timing for me to move is not in my hands. I’ve surrendered to that truth time and time again. And I am back where I started. I have no choice but to get comfortable with that. That is, if I want some semblance of peace.

The spiritual path is not easy. The deeper I go into it, the harder it seems to get. But my spiritual teachers tell me that this is progress. That I am learning. Growing. My disappointments have led me to a deeper meditation practice. They have led me to a deeper sense of acceptance, even as I drag myself through the low spots. I am told that we all have them. The greatest spiritual teachers of all time have had them. If I am to return to the light, I must stay with what sustains me through the dark. If I am to learn whatever lesson is put before me, I have no choice but to carry on, as if all will be right in the end.

I think that tomorrow, while “guests” are walking through my house and peeking into my closets, I’ll call my aunt and ask her if she wants to go to Popeye’s for lunch. She loves that place.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Available on http://www.Amazon.com

The Messenger IMG_0416


Fear Is My Creation

There were a few moments this weekend when I felt a little fear. Not a lot, just enough to let me know that I am not immune to it. The dire predictions of a major snow storm on the East Coast have actually come true. I live there. It is Saturday night, and the storm is not over yet, but I am safe and warm, and obviously not engulfed in fear.

I did prepare. I have a ton of crock pot chili, made from scratch, spicy and delicious. I have candles and batteries and water. I have logs for my tiny fireplace. (They won’t do much, but they will give me the illusion of warmth.) Most importantly, I have a new espresso machine and plenty of coffee. All right, I have to have electricity for my coffee. But I won’t die without it. And I’ve eaten cold chili before. Worst case scenario? I have a monster puffy coat to sleep in. Fear did not prepare me. I did. The real me. The me who has a rational mind and a believing spirit, the me who can create fear and then banish it.

Finally, after all these years, I know that fear is my creation.

The part of me that can create fear is awesome. Here’s what it came up with this morning: Suppose a tree falls on my house? What if I can’t get out? People my age die from the cold. I’m all alone here!!! Suppose my street floods? (I live near a river.)

The other part of me is also awesome. Let’s meditate, it said. I’ve learned a new mantra from my acupuncturist/ meditation teacher, David. It is beautiful in its simplicity: I’m safe. Ten minutes of repeating that changes your mind and your physiology. You can feel your body relax. It’s a wonderful way of reaching out to your frontal cortex, the part of the brain that is more evolved than the brain stem, sometimes called the reptilian brain – the part that wants to fight or flight, or freeze. The part that creates fear. Nah. Forget all that. Meditation is magic.

It’s amazing what can happen when your mind becomes free of fear. You become ready for small miracles. I finished a tough writing assignment for my client. Met my deadline. I got a text from my next door neighbor asking if I was all right. Two guys showed up at my front door, asking if they could dig me out. They’ll be here tomorrow, when the snow has ended. I’ve been in touch with my daughters all day. (We text.) My friend texted me from GREECE to see if I was all right. How could I think I was alone? I made sure my ninety-four year old aunt had her cell phone plugged in. She can’t text, but she talks up a storm. (I really did say that!) In all her talk today, she never showed a sign of fear, and she lives alone. I’m impressed. I even took a moment to notice the beauty of the snow-covered trees that stand tall and strong outside my window.

I’m grateful. I am indoors. I am not stranded on a highway. I am not cold or hungry. Fear is my creation. And so is peace.


The Messenger IMG_0416

Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It is available on http://www.Amazon.com



If you have read my book, The Messenger, you will not be surprised to know that I was “called” to New York this weekend to see an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum titled “Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom.”  The photo above is of a sculpted Pharaoh who lived more than a thousand years before the birth of Christ. Walking through the artfully lit rooms among unspeakably beautiful works of art was humbling and touching.

In these days and times it is good to take some time out to nourish things of the soul, take a deep breath, & realize that beauty is among us and, like love, it is greater than time.

I’ll be back on this page next Sunday.


You Do Not Have to Believe This Story

After reading the back cover, people will either open my book titled The Messenger, or they won’t go near it. The subtitle: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide will intrigue some, while others will be put off by it. Those who begin to read it will find that it opens with this sentence: You do not have to believe this story. It happened all the same. I don’t ask my readers to believe it. I simply put it before them, as it was put before me.

Half the book is my story as I lived it—the gruesome, heartbreaking experience of the death of my child and its aftermath. The other half was given to me by someone who lived almost two thousand years ago in Egypt: My Spirit Guide, Lukhamen. Let me use the proper term for what happened. I channeled his story. Improbable? Indeed it was. Is.

I’ve read about other people who’ve experienced this phenomenon. I have also met some. They were not “woo-woo” people. They were not flaky or inveterate liars. Or con artists. Or on drugs. They were ordinary people with ordinary lives, ordinary jobs, and not particularly imaginative. The first one I happened to hear (on National Public Radio) was a well-known newspaper journalist. As for me, I have lived my own professional life in the company of hard-core realists – engineers, research scientists, and government officials. I spent my entire career in Washington, D.C., interrupted only by a brief stint as a diplomat in Brussels. My life was lived in two centers of government that are about as far removed from metaphysical philosophies as ever I could imagine. I was, and still am, tremendously impressed with intelligence and the scientific mind that is driven to explore the unknown, the unknowable, and the unbelievable. But let me stop there. I am not an apologist for channelers or channeling. It is, as they say, what it is.

What I would like to do is answer the most-asked questions put to me by my readers. I believe I should include these in an introduction to The Messenger II. (I’m working on a sequel.) The questions are, WHAT WAS IT LIKE? And HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

To answer the first question, the best explanation I can give is that it was like looking at television. Imagine that you are watching, say, a soap opera. (That is so unfair to my Spirit Guide, but it is a commonly understood form of a continuing story.) Each segment is just a few minutes long. You turn off the television and write down what you heard and saw. It was almost just that simple. Except that I was looking at television with my eyes closed. The story would always resume where it left off. Like soap operas do. One negative reviewer (gratefully, I’ve only gotten one so far) questioned my ability to recall conversations. He just chalked the whole thing up to the conclusion that I invented the whole thing. I must say I’m flattered that he would credit me with the massive imagination it would have taken to dream it all up plus the fiction writer’s gift for concocting a complicated plot.

Many of us can recall (more or less) scenes from our favorite movies. How many of us can remember the lines from a famous airport scene that ends with, “Here’s looking at you, kid?” Can you see the hat Ingrid Bergman is wearing? Can you see the tears in her eyes? I can.

And how did such an extraordinary, improbable thing happen? It happened because I requested it. Now, when I think of it, it was more like a prayer. I asked for a Spirit Guide to come to me, to help me. I was at the end of my rope and nobody had yet made me understand why my young son had to die. I asked and I received. I asked and Love answered.

The truth that I will ask my readers to believe comes at the end of the book. And it is this: There exists a Love that is greater than any of us can imagine. It will find us in the darkest hour. There is a light in the night for all who mourn, and death is banished. Life is all there is, and love is greater than fire, and wind, and time.


From the back cover of The Messenger:

Helen Delaney is in a railway book store, inconsolable and suicidal after the death of her son. A book at eye level catches her attention. She touches it, and it falls off the shelf, into her hand. It is a set of instructions on how to connect with a spirit guide. Thus begins The Messenger, the true, intimate story of a grieving mother, a gifted medium, and the spirit guide Lukhamen, who keeps her alive by recounting the story of his life.

The Messenger IMG_0416

The Messenger by Helen Delaney is available at http://www.Amazon.com

Here. Now.


We are exactly where we need to be right now. That’s the message in my daily meditations book for the first of January. I try to start my day with readings from this little book. It sets the tone for the day and gets the jumbled thoughts in my head a little more, as they say in some circles, prioritized. My mind won’t organize itself. I need help.

Anybody who knows me knows that I am going to live in Sedona, Arizona. Eventually. It is calling me. And I want to be there now. In the high desert. But I am exactly where I need to be right now. Here. In wet country. In the place where it has rained for two weeks, where the moss on the side of my house is a green patina that screams Wash me, I’m rotting! Where damp pine needles clog my flower beds and pile up around trees and bushes and harbor God-knows-what underneath. Where I am looking at the sun today for the first time in a long time. But I am exactly where I need to be right now. This is a hard concept to accept fully and embrace joyously. I’m not there yet. Like so many other humans, I want what I want now. I want to eat candy. Cookies. I want to go back to caffeine. I want a sandwich with white bread. And cheesecake. I want to watch television all day and not go out into the cold to walk. I want to be in a dry house in Sedona with a fireplace. I want to climb red rocks into vortexes and feel spiritual energy all around me, in a place where channeling is something many people do and not think it odd.

Yet, the hard truth of this spiritual principle reminds me that what I want is not necessarily what is right for me. The truth is that if I eat what I want, the wonderful robust health that I now enjoy is not going to last. If I don’t walk, I soon will be unable to walk. The thing is, the laws of physics, biology, and spirit are pretty much irrefutable. You do one thing, and something will happen. You do another, and another thing is going to happen. And that’s that.

But then, there is this thing called Grace. It helps me understand the principle that I am exactly where I need to be right now. It gently leads me to that page in the book. It helps me to see that I was here when my daughters and my granddaughter drove for hours to see me at Christmas. It helps me to remember how they brought laughter and light and so much love into my house, and how we included a daughter and granddaughter in Los Angeles, thanks to smart phones and face time. I was here when my daughter-in-law invited me to a beautiful New Year’s Day brunch, where I could be together in a beautiful house with my step-children and their children. I was there when my step-daughter cried because we didn’t see each other often enough, when she told me that she loved me and how important I was to her. I was there when my daughter-in-law bought ten copies of my book, asking me to sign them to give as gifts to her friends. I was there when her college-freshman daughter told me she never knew that Grand-mama was such a good writer. I was there to laugh at my step-son’s funny remarks. He is so like his father, who knew how to make me laugh. He brought him back to me. I was where I needed to be so that love could surround me.

And I am here now, where my ninety-seven year old aunt is ten minutes away. She is a little frailer every day, and no one knows the day or the hour when she will need me to come running. Here. I am here where sweet, calm friends help me through the days. I am here with my writing group, talented, generous authors that I trust and for whom I have so much affection. I am here by a beautiful river.

I do not have to understand everything. I do not have to know the future. I only have to recognize the truth when it is put before me, and yesterday and today it is this: I am exactly where I need to be right now.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Available on http://www.Amazon.com

The Messenger IMG_0416