Monthly Archives: January 2014

One of my Heroes

For the past 10 months, once a week, I have travelled to downtown Kansas City to see clients at the LikeMe Lighthouse (an LGBT Community Center).  Most of the clients I see there have no way to pay, or if they can it’s not much.  I’ve found that those who have the least get the most from their sessions.  It reminds me why I got into this field in the first place.  They really work at getting better!

During that time, I had an encounter with a client I won’t forget.  Sam (not his real name) was a young transgender client who had been homeless for some time.  He had had a difficult time since we began meeting.  While he did have a place to sleep and food stamps, the medication he needed to maintain a level mood became unavailable to him with some of the government changes; he kept getting the “runaround” when he tried to apply for Supplementary Security Income; and he got kicked out the school he was attending because of a controversy with another student over his sexuality.  In addition, while he had some family who were loving and supportive of him, they were financially supporting others in the family and there were a multitude of other problems in the family, including mental illness, physical abuse and addiction.

Regardless of these issues, Sam was always on time, never missed an appointment, came each time with a clear view of his future; and a level-headed, down-to-earth attitude about the choices he was facing.  That’s not to say he didn’t get down and frustrated.  Who wouldn’t!?  But most of the time, he had the ability to project beyond the initial urge to the consequences of a possible action, and notice how it would feel if he chose that path.  I’m not going to say he didn’t take some detours, but he typically ended up taking the route that would prevent him from getting pulled down further – or that would propel him to where he wanted to be.

On this day, he was exceedingly light-hearted as he came through the door.  He informed me immediately that he was moving to a different part of the city.  He had obtained a job.  Although the supportive family members had offered a place at their house, which was fairly close to his work, he chose not to live there among the chaos and drug use (He had struggled with addictions himself and is doing relatively well staying clean).  So they agreed to pay his rent until he makes enough to take over the payments.

In addition, he’d been working with Vocational Rehab to get into a different school and he had an appointment to get his meds refilled.

I sat there in awe of this young man.  I doubt I would have had the ability to persevere as he did.  Knowing him has reminded me of the abundance in my own life.  Knowing him has inspired me to become a better person and to hang in there even when the future looks bleak. Knowing him has been an honor.

 

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr

As a man who lived in love, Martin Luther King, Jr is someone I aspire to emulate. In his honor, I’m using one of my favorite quotes of his for my blog today.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

This week, a friend of mine (Tracey Hughes) shared a blog that helps me comprehend the above quote more fully than I ever have.  She has granted me permission to use a piece of her blog here. From what I understand, she has been researching her ancestors for a long time (we only reconnected in the past few years through the miracle of Facebook).

The following passage comes after she found a will where her family members were being left to their master’s family.

. . . I wanted to try and transcribe the document, or at least scan the pages with my tablet, but I just couldn’t.  I was too drained, and I also felt that I had let my ancestors, particularly Grandma Saline, down again by letting my feelings get the better of me, especially the anger.  I looked up and pictured them in front of me, strong spirits with undefined faces, and I spoke to them.  I thanked them for being with me and trusting me to find them, and I apologized for all of the times when I stopped searching, afraid of what I might find or overwhelmed with what I did find.  I bowed my head and felt the strangest thing; a warmth, and a light amount of pressure, right in the middle of my forehead.  I felt as if I had been kissed on the head, and in that moment, I felt…forgiven.  Nevertheless, it was hard for me to hold on to those sensations, because I still felt angry, so I did what many people would do when they need to hash something out.  I called my Daddy.

. . .

After hearing me describe my emotions about finding Grandma Saline, Daddy said something that emphatically changed the game:

You have released her.

As quickly as he said it, my anger was gone.  Poof.  GONE.  And immediately in its place was one of the most beautiful sensations of joy, love, and thankfulness I have ever felt.  The anger was still there — and it might show itself at another point in this journey — but Dad’s statement rendered that anger completely powerless.  The love in that statement drove the anger away.  Grandma Saline has been waiting for her descendants to discover her and release her from the prison of forgotten memory.

. . .

There’s still so much work to do . . . but as far as this part of the journey is concerned, Saline Davidson is free.  Free at last.  And yes…I thought it was HIGHLY appropriate that this discovery was made on January 15th, Martin Luther King’s actual birthday.  You can’t tell me that the ancestors don’t talk to us.  We simply need to be open to their messages.

What an excellent example of honoring Martin Luther King’s life and message!!  And I believe it was no coincidence that this discovery came on the day it did.

Love heals all.  It doesn’t negate the horror or the pain that we had to navigate to get there.  That’s just the journey we all have to tread. It’s necessary to go through that, in order to get to the other side. As with Tracey’s, our trip will take it’s detours – but that’s just part of the design.  It gives us time to develop the emotional muscles to endure the reality, and when we are ready, the reality appears.  The timing is not ours; it is divine order.  But when we find the love and the ability to let go and experience the freedom, we can bask in the love that gave birth to each of us.

I hope you will take a few minutes this week to examine the path you’ve been on, and when you are ready, see if you can reframe it with Love. Let go.  Forgive.  Set yourself free.

Namaste,
Patti Pete

The Other Side of Grief

Recently I’ve had a couple of good friends who have lost loved ones.  While we all know we’re eventually going to go through the process of putting our lives back together after the death of someone we have loved, when the time actually comes, it can feel like we never REALLY believed it would happen to us.

As I have contemplated these new losses, empathized with my friends, and begin to process how  what they affect my own life, I decided to pull out one of my favorite blogs about grief that I wrote a couple of years ago.  I hope it helps you as well.

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If you’ve followed me at all, you know I’m constantly reading books and listening to audiobooks and podcasts that help me understand life and the processes we all experience.  The most profound realization I’ve had as I’ve been so obsessed in the past several years with learning about what happens to us once we shed our bodies and leave this realm, is that by studying this, I have learned SO MUCH MORE about how I want to live my life here and now – more than I have ever learned from any psychology or counseling class!

My most recent recommendation on grief and life after our life here on earth is a small book called THE OTHER SIDE OF GRIEF, by Ara Parisien.  I was fortunate to see Ara work in person last month at the Afterlife Awareness Conference in St. Louis.  She is a medium, with a very kind demeanor.  I’ve read a lot of books on grief and bereavement, taken several courses and worked with many clients in the midst of grief, as well as having dealt with my own losses. Ara’s book is only 117 pages, and while much of it is not new material, it’s packed with enlightenment and a very real comprehension for what people experience when they grieve and what happens once we’ve left this life.  Her perspective is both from personal experiences and from the many connections she has helped others make over the years.

Here is just a short excerpt from her book:  (Not all are direct quotes, as I’ve edited here & there to fit this briefer format).

Grief is the most growth-producing experience we have as humans. . .Spirit have shown me that it isn’t the grieving of a loved one that causes the anguish but more of a shutting down of the love center which is what births and perpetuates the pain.  What is really occurring is that from the moment a terminal diagnosis was made or the moment your loved one passes. . . you actually experience an expansion on a vibrational level.  (Later) you recall it felt like time virtually stopped.  You felt a rush of adrenalin that virtually exploded through every pore of your body and paralyzed your mind.  This is the trademark of intense expansion.  But what is this expansion all about?  It is a tangible moment in time when the person you ‘were’ becomes a person that has expanded into a newer version of itself.  There is a cognitive dissonance at this time because nothing seems to fit the usual parameters of who you were. . .

The expectation of the soul is that you catch up to the new version of yourself because that is what the catalytic experience demands. Instead we flounder in the pain and anguish of the catalyst itself, not focusing on the Eternal Gift that has been provided.  It sounds cold and callous but it is innately true.  This does not mean your love is minimized in any way.  It simply means that shutting down the heart center keeps you at arm’s length from the love that you are and at the same time it keeps you from the Eternal Gift . . . Growth.

. . . . . .

Grief is resistance. Love is non-resistance.  Resistance causes pain.  Love allows us to remember we are always connected with All There Is, at all times.

When one is ready to move into non-resistance, some may call this surrendering, that is where one grows in leaps and bounds.  Eternal Gifts are recognized and joy is the result.

Again, I strongly recommend this book regardless of when you experienced your loss.  We’ve all  felt that sense of aloneness.  This book resonates with me.  It’s more than just information.  It allowed me to experience a shift – which is what growth is all about.

Namaste

Happy New Year

Every year at this time, I like to share my gratitude for my clients, friends and colleagues.  Today, I’d like to continue that tradition and add an extra note.

I’ve said this before: I don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions because they’re usually just that – a wish that lasts a few days or maybe weeks into the new year & then forgotten or given up on. I want to live my life by being a better person today than I was yesterday – more open to love and to listening to whatever the Universe has in store for me.  I want to be able to embrace all of life and to live it as if I planned it that way, regardless of what it brings.

What I do believe in is stopping occasionally to reflect on all that I have been blessed to experience. Much of that comes from you, my friends and clients.

The more connection we have with others, the more abundance we have in our lives. The fact that each of you have, on occasion, taken me into your confidence and trusted me with your deepest feelings and concerns humbles me.

Now for the added note:  Most of all, I appreciate my family.  My granddaughter is the light of my life, and I don’t know where I would be without her to teach me every day what it means to love – and to stay young and in the moment.  My daughter is my greatest teacher. While she and I do not agree on many things, I respect that she is traveling her own path and living according to the values that mean the most to her.  My son and daughter-in-law are two of my favorite people in the world.  I enjoy being around them, we have so much in common and I feel such a connection to both of them.  They are a source of pride (even though I know I can’t take credit for either of their accomplishments and personalities).  And finally my husband . . . I don’t know how I could navigate this course without his support and love. For over 46 years, he’s been there for me. I don’t always do a very good job of recognizing all he does for us, but he is the most steady, solid person I know.  There is nothing he wouldn’t do for anyone, and he helps keep me safe and in balance.

I’m so honored to have you all in my life. Thank you and remember to choose peace as you move into 2016.