Guides, A Dream and Intuition – A Journey Begins

July 8, 2011

“Welcome Home Old Man” – I have never forgotten the power of those words and the energy of love and connection that I felt when I heard them back in 1996. I recall becoming so emotionally overwhelmed that I collapsed into tears of profound joy and heard very little else; it was the first occasion that I related to tears as the language of the heart; in that moment I felt myself come home in a way that is hard to describe perhaps mirroring Percivale’s legendary glimpse of the Holy Grail.

Recently my niece Wendy was visiting and for some reason we got onto the subject of channeling or mediumship, the claimed ability to connect with spirits or guides in other realities. I shared with her the experience that occurred at a workshop called The Power of One in March 1996 when a medium who was assisting offered to channel for the small group in attendance. I recall feeling quite overwhelmed at witnessing the fascinating body and voice change, a state often referred to as possession, as she expressed our guides. As a long-term skeptic, I was somewhat curious about the undeniable depth of my personal experience but felt little further need or desire to connect with psychics or mediums. Yet fifteen years later as I recounted this unusual encounter I found myself getting choked up; the story still retained sufficient power to create an emotional response; this made me curious.

Why had such powerful feelings returned all these years later? What did it mean and what I was supposed to do about it? Was it about reconnecting with the medium after such an extended interval? As I often do when I feel “paused” I drew a rune and to my surprise pulled Breakthrough (Dagaz). This rune means transformation day. It can signal a major shift or breakthrough in the process of self-change It also suggests the outcome is assured but not predictable and encourages radical trust. There is a reminder about not being reckless and that hard work lay ahead. Influenced by this reading, although not without a few misgivings, I decided to set up a session with the channel to see what would transpire.

My apprehension stems from concern about how projection may affect the reading; whether the medium is actually receiving information from “beyond” as opposed to empathically reading the energy of the client. (Although in itself  a remarkable gift I worry that at times it is represented as something else.) Over the years I have kept an open mind; I have a number of friends who place great stock in the readings they have and although perhaps at times I wonder whether they hear what they want to hear, I sense it is a positive reinforcement that does little harm and perhaps some good

So here I am having my first session for fifteen years. I noticed a degree of anxiety combined with curiosity and not really knowing what to expect. I tried to let go of any expectations and trust that it would be what it was supposed to be. She began the session by telling me that she no longer allows the physical possession that I witnessed fifteen years ago, rather she relays messages from the guides to me. Although I felt a tinge of disappointment, I allowed myself to trust and stay open to whatever experience I was to receive. I chose not to follow the tradition of asking specific questions but rather set a broad intention to understand the meaning of why this had come unexpectedly back in my life. Initially I shared with her some of the events of my recent life and how the last time we met was at the very beginning of my exploration of mind, body and soul.

I found the beginning of the session very convincing. She talked about the amazing brightness of the guides and the intention of my incarnation. “Seeing you as a point and having this beam of light coming out of you,” She thought they were suggesting grounding and anchoring, fleshing out what I was already doing. She went on to say, “You have this brilliant capacity to tap into and put language to your intuition to speak it, know and think it.” She also used a metaphor of the Whac-A-Mole game to tap into the information she was receiving, “As life opportunity presents itself I take them on until they feel done.”

At this juncture she checked in with me to se if I found the information resonant. I responded very positively and that the image of light beaming seemed particularly pertinent as it reflected the direction I had sensed in a visit to Assisi about shining my light. (See I have also spent many years exploring my intuitive senses through dreams, oracles, synchronicity and serendipity, the body and my book Life’s Little Guide for Big Decisions was all about finding ways to facilitate our inner wisdom. Finally the Whac-A-Mole metaphor seemed perfect for the way I take on that the constant potpourri of opportunity that I co-create from decision-making, to spiritual coaching to dream work. At this point I am totally hooked.

Then she continued and it was as though the plug got pulled from the bathtub. I lost the sense of connection I had been feeling. I am no longer captured by her words. She talks about, “a heavier, darker, cloudy, quality, it feels alien, obscuring what is true about you.” She informs me that I see things coming from the outside, that moles are coming up to say go underground, go deeper. “The over-arching schema, to manifest and work with these possibilities and grab hold of one of those moles and drop into the field. Being in relationship to life and possibility in a different way. You have a perception of this field in a different way – you perceive those possibilities to come outside of yourself. Desire for more but it can only go so far. Like a safety measure in your psyche to avoid you going deeper.”

When she checks in with me again, I tell her that it isn’t resonating. I speculate whether I am in resistance. She repeats more of the same and finally I ask her if she will share with me the images that she is seeing, not her interpretations of them. “She tells me that the upper chakras seem clear and bright while the lower are obscured by this cloudier energy. I am still confused but realize a lot of what she is saying is her interpretation. Is she referring to shadow work? – God knows I do plenty of that. After I reflect on the session and listen again to the tape, I realize a conflict has developed. At the beginning my intuition seemed to confirm her observations but then that stopped. As I replayed the tape I realized that when she got into interpretation the meaning evaporated. I began to feel unseen because the information passed to me was not consistent with my journey. Surely my guides would at least know who I was and the work I had been doing? I decided I was faced with two possibilities: I could choose my own intuitive sense or the interpretation by a third party. That is an easy decision because I encourage others never to give away their personal power

I shared the dialogue with two dear friends to see if they saw signs of resistance and asked if they believed I avoided going deeper. One just laughed and said, “no one I knows tries to go deeper than you” while the other speculated that most mediums are limited by their own state of consciousness. I still felt there was value in the session. I have always sensed that life has brought me more opportunities to do work in the realm of the higher chakras yet there is also a strong curiosity about the lower realms. I even took a Shaman workshop to go more deeply into this so I have never sensed avoidance, just lack of opportunity. My niece Wendy conjectured that the medium had attempted to position this in the past but possibly it was intended to be relevant to my future. It was shortly after this that I had a vivid dream about choice.

The dream is like a stage play; it has three acts: a prologue, the second act introduces the players and the third act is the denouement. The prologue is very simple; there is no action; it simply sets the scene. It features a friend of mine uncharacteristically dressed in red who plays no role. My spiritual teacher is implied but not physically present and I know there is another almost ethereal woman that I am going out with but I never see her. Then of course there is me. The second act is like a TV set; it is very stark with no scenery; I am with a woman who is very attractive, blonde, voluptuous figure, and very red lipstick. She is a tour planner who is responsible for the next aspect of the trip we are taking. It is an evening event that will take place the next day. I ask her if she will attend, she hesitates and says that if she drinks she will need a ride home. Then adds, “and I have a pool and like to swim naked”. Gallantly I offer to drive her home then we make out a little while walking toward the venue. The final act begins with a glimpse of the venue we are approaching which is down a hill in front of us. There are two paths: one is easy and gentle while the other is steep, rocky and in a poor state of repair. Suddenly my partner heads off down the challenging trail. I shout that she is going the wrong way but she ignores me. I decide I have to follow and find myself battling this difficult trail and finally falling. I pick myself up and she has completely disappeared. I struggle to the base of the trail and find myself in a swamp. I head off to the right but get totally lost; water is cascading down the sides of the valley, threatening my position. I retrace my steps and contemplate climbing back up the trail but then spot an opening over some mangrove roots that I think may support me. I get through without getting soaked and find myself on a muddy trail with deep ruts made by a large tracked vehicle. I fear I will sink in but suddenly in front of me is someone dressed in white leading the way. They sink into the mud but I stay on top. I follow and find myself beside firm ground; I step out of the mud to a trail. I wake up.

This is an amazingly vivid dream that I have no trouble remembering. Over the next few days of dream work, the meaning emerges. The prologue tells me two things: the dream is about my unfolding journey of the soul and it will evolve passion and emotion. Red is the colour of passion and the friend had recently shared a story about setting an intention to experience a full range of emotion. The two women represent the upper and lower chakras. The one I am going out with is ethereal and represents the higher chakras where I spend most of my time. The second woman represents the lower chakra work that the medium had referred to. The dream suggests that at some time I will be faced with choice. One route is the simple easy path, the other is much more challenging, I will fall, I will get lost, I may feel swamped, there will be lots of emotion but I will find my way out and will feel myself guided back onto firm ground.

It fascinates me the way the dream fits with the channeled experience but of course at the moment I am still on the “Plains of Uncertainty and Unrealized Possibility”. Is the dream about a future event? Of course I cannot know because it is the future. Will I have the courage to select the more challenging journey? Who can know for sure but the combination of the channeling and the dream certainly makes that possibility more likely than it would have been. Perhaps for now I will follow the advice of Albert Einstein who said, “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”

Reflections on the Call

July 4, 2011

Recently a friend of mine was sharing her challenges with a sleep disorder and the steps she had taken to manage it. It has been a frequent visitor in her life; it no longer seems to get out of control but regularly reappears despite the use of a number of remedies. I posed a question – “If I was your soul and I was trying to get your attention, what do you think I would do?” Probably use my sleep disorder” she responded. I shared with her the lovely story of the prophet Samuel in the Bible who woke three times to hear a voice that initially he thought it was Eli the high priest. Finally in the words of the King James version he responded, “Speak Lord they servant heareth” I encouraged her to reflect on issues that may be occurring in her life when her sleep disruption occurred and to seek out situations when the outcome had been positive.

Recently at a James Hollis seminar he quoted Jung as saying that neurosis “must be understood, ultimately, as the suffering of a soul which has not discovered its meaning.” I sense that all of us face times in our lives when the soul is calling us and we are for some reason unable or unwilling to hear the call. Learning the guises of the soul’s voice can be an amazing gift in avoiding the “cosmic two by four” and finding the joy and satisfaction of undertaking the work of finding meaning in our own lives. Hafiz wrote these beautiful words, “O, what is laughter…?  What is this precious love and laughter budding in our hearts?  It is the glorious sound of a soul waking up!”

The soul has many voices. Mine can be through my body – sore knees can generally indicate fear of moving ahead, a stiff neck that I am in resistance while my heart feels heavy when I am not feeding it appropriately. Frequently the indicators that I am losing my way are a series of misadventures around the home that suggest I have lost my flow.

In a workshop I attended many years ago, renowned psychologist and spiritual teacher Jean Houston reminded us of the mythic hero’s journey: we receive the call; we resist the call, and like Jonah end up in the belly of the whale. There we experience the discomfort to help us return to the call. Hollis suggested that “We all have appointments with ourselves, but we don’t all show up.” Ignoring the call of the soul is not showing up and perhaps missing the joy of waking up.

Soul Lessons from the Golf Course

July 2, 2011

I am content to follow to its source
Every event in action or in thought;
Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!
When such as I cast out remorse
So great a sweetness flows into the breast
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blest by everything,
Everything we look upon is blest.


 I love this poem although I have never been sure I understood it. I know the theme resonates with me at what seemed like a deep soul level but it was only last night that I had an epiphany. It started as many of my breakthroughs do with a period of inertia. For no reason that I could comprehend, the soul’s landscape seems flat and uninteresting. I had got home from a fun game of golf where the sun came out, I had not played too badly and more important than the score, it had been a pleasant social way to spend Canada Day with two friends. Yet here I was lolling in front of the TV, eating peanut butter from the jar watching a rerun of Dr. Who which (ironically as it turns out) was one of my favourite childhood TV programs. For no reason I could determine, I was feeling the blahs. My intention of walking to Granville Island or cycling down to Canada Place to watch fireworks just evaporated like a snowflake in a summer breeze.

Finally at 10.30 pm I dragged myself downstairs determined to clean up the kitchen and then spend at least half an hour in my evening meditation even though it was the last thing I felt like doing. I put on some sacred music by Deva Premal and Miten and soon the haunting refrain of Silent Garden encouraged me to sit and rest. I still felt unfocussed so I closed my eyes and asked myself the cause of my melancholy. What emerged was a sense that I needed to explore the feelings of unfairness that had come up in my golf game that afternoon. I immediately felt resistance; I had dealt with that; I did not need to go over it again. Then I paused, seeing my uncertainty and decided to draw a card from my Osho Zen deck for inspiration. I drew the card Guidance and I sat back in growing awe as I read the words “ the truth of your own feeling is trying to show you where to go right now and when this card appears it means you can trust the inner guidance you are being given” . What an amazing synchronicity. The card continued, “it speaks in whispers and sometimes we hesitate not knowing if we understand rightly.”

Wow! I reflected on the events to which I suspected my insight referred. The day had started strangely with one partner feeling ill and cancelling, and one getting the time wrong by two hours and not joining us until the second nine holes. However this conspiracy of events set in motion the perfect scenario for me to experience what I had come to experience. My friend and I have taken up a sporting wager that he used to play with a mutual friend who has passed on. It involves playing match play for each hole and the stakes are three beers – one for the front nine, one for the back nine and one for the eighteen. In order to iron out inequities, the season starts out with a handicap that is a number of strokes to represent the differences in the skill level. I had not been too happy to be given only six strokes however I was assured it would soon even out as for every beer you lose, you gain a stroke the next game. This was our third game of the year, during the first two I had lost two beers and now had eight strokes. I still felt this was inadequate but could not really complain as he had been playing sufficiently badly to keep it relatively close.

Well on this day everything began to shift and mid way down the back nine, when he was out-driving me by a hundred yards and then beating me easily even on holes where I had a stroke advantage, I noticed my feelings of unfairness well up. There was at least 13 strokes difference in our average games so I had little or no chance when he played well. It was made worse by the fact that I was playing about as well as I can play and I was still going to lose three beers. However I sucked it up; I had accepted the agreement; it was only three beers and eventually if we kept playing I would get my thirteen strokes. And as he was playing really well I worked hard to suppress my aggravation and compliment him on his game. So we reached the eighteenth hole and I hit two great shots to be on the edge of the green pin high while he was behind a grove of fir trees with no view of the green, perhaps I could at least gain some self respect by winning the last hole. Alas the universe had other plans, (how else would I have had this journey). He hit a shot worthy of Rory Mcllroy and put it on the green, made his two putts while I missed mine. I congratulated him and shook hands then heard him tell our playing partner (who had only played nine holes) that he was game for another nine holes if he wanted. Then he turned to me and said, “Do you want to play.” I declined and headed back to the car to change. I would miss the camaraderie of the post game beer and nachos but rationalized that it saved me having to think about how much I could safely drink and drive.

Honouring my guidance, I began to reflect on my feelings during the game. I had started to feel aggrieved about losing but pushed those feelings away. I wanted to behave like a mature adult and act like a good sport. My reward had been to be abandoned at the end of the game as my friend played with someone else. Suddenly I could see the unresolved inner child issues. It brought back a flood of feelings from my early life – how many times had I felt unrewarded  and abandoned despite being the best I could be. However rather than allow my feelings to flow and be treated with compassion and respect, I had suppressed them. They had nowhere to go so submerged in my unconscious. They had lingered on energetically, long after I thought I had put them to bed then showed up as a despondent child that evening. I had not followed the model that helps to resolve this inner tension: acknowledge the feelings, honour them – of course my inner child will feel this way, then shift into the adult and communicate that the child can let go and trust the adult now.

I picked up my soul journal to write my wonder at this amazing journey and how the universe had conspired to create the perfect storm by having one person cancel and another turn up two hours late when my eyes crossed my entry of the previous evening. I had written out the Yeats poem – suddenly the meaning was transparent. “I am content to follow to its source, every event in action or in thought; measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!” This was the work of the soul and when we complete it there is the sense of joy, awe and wonder that is so aptly summarized in the final words. “When such as I cast out remorse, so great a sweetness flows into the breast, we must laugh and we must sing, we are blest by everything, Everything we look upon is blest.”