Dear Friends:

I am traveling this weekend but I am happy to announce the launch of my website:

Please visit and pass it on to your Facebook Friends. And thanks to my dear granddaughter Elenni Davis Knight. She created it. See you next week.

Nothing To Learn Today, Folks

I’ve spent a lot of time in my yard lately, filling barrels with dead branches and endless bags of detritus left by wind and rain. In the last few weeks, I have also engaged in the housekeeping of my soul. (Refer to the latest rants, please.) It was during those roiling, thunderous gales and the gray days that followed that I was engaged in storms of the spirit, lessons and spiritual exercises. I was like Nature’s tempests—restless, irritable, and discontent.

We are now in a string of calm, sunny days. The world has changed. I have changed. I took my ninety-five-year-old aunt on a shopping trip to buy new sneakers. The store she insisted on going to (she had reward cards) is a little over thirty-two miles away.  Arthritis has rendered her virtually unable to walk. Leaning on a shopping cart (she won’t use her walker), she made the tortuous trek from the store’s entrance to the shoe department, stopping to rest a couple of times. She was her old self-willed, cantankerous self, but the Universe gave us a sales clerk gifted with patience and kindness. It took a full measure of both to get the exact shoes she wanted in the right size. Miraculously, we found them and made the thirty-two mile trip back without an unkind word between us. I engaged her in recounting some family history. I’d heard it all before, but it was good for her to remember another time, a time when she was young. A time when she could walk.  I heard details that had escaped me before. Maybe I’d never listened well before. It also helped that we were awash in warm sunlight. It was as if the earth and the Universe had given us both one gigantic break.

I am familiar with the condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), that low energy, depressive mood that comes with fall and winter, and stays till spring. I know about lower light levels affecting the brain.  They affect mine, and probably two thirds of the people with whom I come in contact (including you-know-who). That’s not what I’m talking about. No, I’m talking about a psychic connection to the earth. I’m talking about storms and the cleaning up of the detritus of the soul. I’m talking about a return of warmth and sunlight and a few calm days in which nothing has to happen, and nothing has to be learned. I’m talking about a deep, psychic breath.

We breathe with the earth; we move with her through space. We are part of her ecosystem, part of the dance in which all things grow, change, die, and live again. I felt this as I was in my yard today, filling more bags with pine cones and detritus. I was conscious of little more than the sun on my back and the sweet sounds of birds. I didn’t think much. Earlier, on my morning walk, I saw an eagle sitting in a tree. As I came near, he flew to a tree away from the road, not letting me get too close, but not disappearing either. He sat there, august and still, as I walked past, a signet of Nature in her dressy dress.

I am grateful that I had no lessons to learn today. It was time for the earth and me to rest and rejoice in the great gift of being, to be warm, and for a few hours, to shine.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It can be found at

                                                                                                                                                            The Messenger IMG_0416

Sometimes You Just Need a Few Cookies

I have said it many times. Following the spiritual path is not easy. It involves direct encounters with the righteous/ego mind, the Enemy of Peace.

Today, I had yet another encounter with The Enemy.  It began with an email from my real estate agent. She forwarded a message from a couple who is supposedly very interested in my house (the one that’s been on the market for almost three years). They’ve seen it twice; they’ve asked reasonable questions, which I’ve answered. All good signs, I was told. Today, it was different. The email said, “Please see below. This is making buyer nervous…anything you can add or correct”….etc. etc. etc. Scrolling down, I see this from the buyer’s agent: “My client is questioning why the floor joists needed to be replaced 3 times in 10 years…She’s concerned that the house may be sinking.”

My righteous/ego mind swung into gear. Je-sus Christ! It yelled. In the interest of full disclosure, and as a selling point for my house, and on the advice of my agent, I have provided interested buyers with a list of renovations I’ve made over the past ten years.

Back to the righteous/ego mind, which is now having a ball because I’m pissed off.  It really enjoys chaos.

Can’t they read? My list doesn’t say I’ve had joists replaced 3 times. Do they want this house or don’t they? Buyers today are such crybabies. If I’d been like that, I’d never have owned a house. And on, and on, and on.

I could have stopped there, and indignantly refused to respond, but as you know, the Universe likes me. (It likes all of us – even while it is sending us …opportunities to progress.) As it happened, I meditated this morning, and its good effects were still present in my other mind. The peaceful, rational one. Meditation is my way of connecting with the Universe’s Loving Power. It stopped me mid-rant and said something like: Emotions don’t belong here. Do your job and respond like a cool, collected grownup.

So I began to research. I am trained to do that, you know. I didn’t last in Washington for forty-two years by blowing smoke out of my…smokestack.  In that town, if you don’t do your homework, everyone will know it. And that’s bad.  

With my righteous/ego mind put in its place, I emptied my box (I have a box by now) labeled “Selling the House” on the floor and went through the pile of papers until I had reconstructed (no pun intended) the whys and wherefores of work that was done in the last 10 years. In the process, I remembered (or was I told?) that repairs, additions, and renovations were made to the undercarriage because we wanted to prepare the house for additional weight when we were anticipating developing the second floor. That was when Bill was alive. It was his decision (which I couldn’t remember at first). Thank you, Billy. Later, I had more work done because of a bathroom leak that had damaged floors. It had nothing to do with the house “sinking.” I also promised documentation for everything. It was a good, accurate report.

Just as I was ready to celebrate and send it off, I couldn’t find the last bit of documentation. It’s never easy, is it?

I went through every file folder three or four times. I went through every email since August of last year, the month in question. I knew I’d saved the papers. I would never have thrown them away. But where were they? At this point, even as tired as I was, something interesting had taken hold. Faith. I had looked through every possible place they could have been, or so I thought, and I couldn’t find them. And I wasn’t worried. Just then, I noticed the small pile of papers on my desk, the first papers I pulled out of the box. Why I put them on my desk instead of on the floor like the others, I do not know. Well, yes I do. I put them there unconsciously because they were reports of the last repair, the one that needed the most documentation. But I didn’t even remember seeing them.  Or…LP had helped me without my noticing – put them right out there. Once again, it occurred to me that I was looked after, loved, taken care of, down to the smallest details of my life. Every time we notice that we are loved and taken care of is an important event. The details don’t matter.

Why do I have to go through this exercise of losing my balance and regaining it, losing it and regaining it, losing and regaining it? The obvious answer is because I’m human, and in that humanness I am limited and forgetful, but perhaps the most important reason is that I need the exercise. Like physical exercise, spiritual exercise produces strength, flexibility, and an increase in serotonin-like faith. Whether my report satisfies the buyers or not is not important. Whether they are my buyers or not is not important. What is important is that I got the exercise I needed.

Oh, did I forget to mention something? During my frustrating search for the documents that were right under my nose, I ate four chocolate chip cookies.  Faith doesn’t have to be perfect. And a little chocolate-produced serotonin may be just what it takes to get you through to the finish line.

chocolate chip cookies


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It can be found at

The Messenger IMG_0416




Powerful Teachers

People come into our lives for a reason. This is especially true of our teachers. I have known several powerful teachers in my life. The best ones, in my opinion, or the most effective ones, have been extremely unpleasant. The one before me now is a ninety-five-year-old aunt. She is irascible, irritating, and has a voice that sounds like fingernails on a chalk board. I am her caretaker.

Her knees are arthritic. Crippling, really. A few days ago, I’d ordered a walker/roller to be delivered to her. She’s somewhat of a hoarder and her apartment was, shall we say, unprepared for visitors. I went over to clean. “Don’t touch that!” she yelled, when I asked her if I could remove a pile of newspapers. Her kitchen floor was grimy. “Don’t put water on my floor!” she screamed, “It’ll be wet for hours and I’ll starve!  If you make it wet and I fall and break my hip, it’ll be your fault!” When I suggested we open a window (it’s hard to breathe in there), she vowed that if I did, she would drive her car into the river. I cleaned the floor with a spray cleaner and paper towels and left the windows shut tight.

One might see this behavior as a form of dementia. The thing is, she’s sharp as a tack and clear as a bell, with a memory better than mine. I pressed on, vacuuming over more high-pitched vocalizing. I then went out to buy groceries. When I returned, she had calmed down. She apologized, said she didn’t know what came over her. I was calmer, too. I told her that I was not going to hurt her and that I was not going to take anything away from her. The fact is, I had not spoken to her as kindly as I could have when she was in screaming mode. I actually yelled back and told her to stop acting like a crazy old lady. I’m not proud of that, even though it did stop the screaming for a minute. I had never, ever spoken to her like that, and I suppose it shocked her. It shocked me, too, but, as they say, she had gotten on my last nerve. When I left she was eating the frozen yogurt and graham crackers I had bought her. She asked me to hug her and I did. And I meant it.

But that was not the end. It was the beginning. During the screaming and long after, I was besieged by anger and resentment.  The walker I chose for her came. She sent it back and ordered a different one. The warm winter coat I bought her hangs in her closet. She won’t wear it. Nothing I do pleases her unless she orders it and I obey her orders to the letter. She commands. She never says please and rarely says thank you. She has an opinion on everything and those who disagree with her are stupid.  For two nights after the screaming incident, I tossed and turned and woke up each morning exhausted and pissed. This is not my usual state. I pride myself on being calm and kind.

Really?” said the Universe, and I think it laughed.  It does not let me stay comfortable for long periods of time. Here I was again, thrust out of my “comfort zone,” suddenly and harshly, and finding myself in the clutches of yet another powerful teacher. The first thing I try to remember (when I regain my equilibrium) is that I am to be grateful for my powerful teachers. It took a while, but I finally got what it was she was trying to teach me. The only way to “get” it, I have found, is to walk around in your teacher’s moccasins for a while. What I saw, and felt, was fear. It is terrifying to be ninety-five and losing control. I could feel what it was like to be unable to walk without pain, unable to drive, to shop for my own groceries. She was screaming because she was angry and frightened.  Here’s what I had to ask: If I live to be that old, will I be that frightened and angry? Will I turn that anger on my caregiver? Or will I be able to accept what is, no matter what? When the time comes, will I remember what my teacher taught me? Will I remember to thank her? Will my last days be ones of peace and joy in those around me because of what she has shown me?

We talked on the phone tonight, as we do every night. Our conversation was, for the most part, pleasant.  Her pain medicine was working. We actually laughed once.

There is a sign on the wall above my desk. I put it there. It says, “Choose.” I was looking at it as she went on and on in my ear, and instead of wishing our conversation would come to an end as I usually do, I chose to remember that she was my teacher.  Powerful and clear. Like a mirror.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at

The Messenger IMG_0416