Tag Archives: dreams

Miracles – Dream On

An important dream

Early on a Saturday morning in January of 2012, I abruptly awoke from an intense and vivid dream. In the dream my mother was showing me my father’s will. My father had passed away nearly 18 years earlier, so it was an odd dream to have at that time. My mother was trying to keep my attention on the top part of the will, but I had noticed that further down the page was a name I didn’t know: Lorie – spelled L-O-R-I-E.  My name is Laura, and I have never been called Laurie, always Laura. And certainly, even if I was nicknamed Laurie, it wouldn’t have been spelled that way given that my name is spelled L-A-U-R-A.

The thought instantly came to me that my father had another family. My mother trying to keep my attention away from that part of the will, told me it was a secret. I immediately got up and went to the computer to search on Ancestry.com.

Some background: my father was 15 years older than my mother, and nearly 35 when they married. Given his age at the time he married my mother, there had been occasional questions by extended relations and friends as to whether he had been married before, and the answer was always “no.” However, somehow in the back of my mind, I had always continued to wonder.

Additionally, I worked with someone about 10 years earlier who had discovered when she was in her 40’s that her mother had a child she had given up for adoption before marrying my co-worker’s father. After hearing her story, I always had this feeling that I had an older half-sibling. Just a feeling. No evidence or proof. But still the feeling had remained.

Discovering my father’s first family

Within an hour of beginning my search on Ancestry.com, I found my father married to a woman who was not my mother on someone else’s family tree. I wasn’t shocked, because it confirmed something I had already known at some level. I then tried to discover if they had had any children but did not find any evidence.

Part of the problem is that census results are not released until 70 years after they are taken to protect the privacy of people who are still living. The 1940 census was the latest that was available and given that my father had married his first wife late in 1937, it was quite possible any children would not have been born before 1940.

My father’s first wife’s name was Lois, which could have been distorted as Lorie in my dream, but I felt sure that there was a child from that marriage, named Lorie, who was my sibling.

After exhausting my online search options, I called my father’s sister, my Aunt Nancy. My father was born and raised in Oklahoma and had 8 brothers and sisters. He left Oklahoma in the early 40’s, and had eventually settled in the Seattle area, after marrying my mother in Kodiak, Alaska in 1949. Our family had never visited our Oklahoma relatives, and so I had met few of my aunts and uncles. My Aunt Nancy, however, had moved to Tacoma in 1967, so I knew her rather well. I was born on her 30th birthday, so we had that special bond, too.

I began the conversation with my aunt with, “I was searching online and found that my dad was married to someone else before my mother.” She said, “Oh Lord. I don’t know if your mother even knows.”

Do I have a sister?

She told me the story of how my father left Oklahoma abruptly in 1942 or 1943 without any sort of farewell, and that the family didn’t hear from him again for 20 years. I asked her if my father and his first wife had any children, and she said, “No.” But I didn’t believe her. I knew in my heart that I had a half-sister. Somehow, I knew it was a sister, not a brother. I suppose, the same way I knew that she even existed.

Given that the marriage was this big secret, it wasn’t too far-fetched that a child would be a secret as well. Additionally, my Aunt Nancy would have only been 10 when my father married, and they lived in another part of the state, so it was possible that she wouldn’t know of a child, especially if the child had been stillborn or died as a baby.

I wasn’t sure what to do next. I didn’t want to talk to my mother about it, given that she might not even know my father had been married before. I decided to consult a woman I met at a business marketing function, who was a psychic and medium.

She told me that there had been a child that was born with severe birth defects and institutionalized. It made sense that my Aunt Nancy might not know this. The psychic also told me that this situation is what broke up my father’s marriage. That also fit with what I knew about him leaving Oklahoma abruptly, and for a reason no one seemed to know.

But I still wanted definitive proof. I looked for institutions in the Tulsa area, where my father last lived, and found nothing.

Connecting with family 

In the meantime, I had connected with some of my Oklahoma cousins on Facebook in the preceding years, and in the spring my cousin Joyce contacted me. She told me she had come across some pictures of our fathers (her father, Tom, was my father’s brother), and wondered if I would like copies. I emphatically responded with, “Yes!”

It took several months for her to get the copies of the pictures to me, and in July I received a packet in the mail. She had identified who all the people in the pictures were, and to my surprise there were photos of my father and Lois! I had not discussed my discovery of my father’s first marriage with Joyce, so she didn’t know I had only recently learned of it. I guess 2012 was when I was meant to find out about this marriage – whether through a dream or through these photos shared by my cousin.

It turns out my Uncle Tom, Joyce’s father, was married to Lois’ cousin at the same time my father was married to Lois. Tom and his first wife had no children and soon divorced. Obviously, these two marriages were no secret in the family, since Joyce knew all about them. So why was my dad’s marriage a secret in our family?

The photos prompted me to search again on Ancestry.com, and I found a woman who was searching for anyone who knew my father. I contacted her, and it turned out she was Lois’ granddaughter through her second marriage. I was so excited! Here was a direct connection who could tell me about my half-sister! She shared what she knew of Lois’ marriage to my father but was unaware of any children from the marriage. Her mother, Lois’ daughter from her second marriage, was mentally ill, and it was impossible for her to communicate clearly, so she would not be a source of information for me. I had reached another dead end.

More unconventional evidence of my sister

In November I spent a month in Edinburgh, Scotland, and became friends with a Scottish woman who was a psychic and medium. Without giving her any information other than that my father had been married prior to marrying my mother, I decided to ask her if there were any children from that marriage. She told me a very similar story to the one the psychic I had first contacted told me, about a child – a girl – born with severe birth defects and institutionalized. Although I had no proof that would stand up in a court of law, hearing the same story again gave me the certain knowledge that I did have a sister, and that my feeling had been correct. I also feel certain that her name was Lorie.

Why now?

So why was 2012 the time I was meant to learn of my father’s first family? I don’t know the answer to that for sure, but I can say that it set me on a path of growth in several ways. Maybe I was just ready to do the work that it led me to do.

First, I had to process the anger that I felt. I was angry that the secret kept me from knowing my aunts and uncles and cousins in Oklahoma. I had a huge extended family that I had never met because (I imagine) my father was afraid his secret would be exposed.

I also had to deal with a shift in my perception of who my father was. My father was a wonderful dad to me and my (full) sister. A model of unconditional love. How could such a man abandon his child? This was not the father I adored.

Finally – and I think this is the primary reason for my discovery at that particular time – the timing was such that I was ready to help my father. In early 2013 I began doing some work with an energy healer. My focus was not related to my father directly, yet he kept appearing. It turns out that he was so ashamed and full of self-recrimination, that he had not moved on from this world. With the guidance of the energy healer, I quit judging him and let go of my anger and resentment towards him. Together we were able to help him to let go of his own fear and self-judgement and finally complete his transition.

A visit from my father

A few months later I was at Sunrise on Mount Rainier – a favorite place of my father’s. I have wonderful memories of Sunrise from my childhood, and as an adult have made a yearly pilgrimage there. It was the day before the 19th anniversary of my father’s death, although I didn’t realize that until later. I had gone for a short hike and was returning to the lodge. There was a spot along the trail with a magical, up-close view of the mountain. I stopped and stood taking it in. I felt intense gratitude for all my father had given me, including this connection to Mount Rainier, and began to speak out loud to him, thanking him.

The trail ran along the steep side of a mountain. I heard a rustling below me and stopped speaking to better hear. I heard some noises like wood breaking, such as when you step on a log and part of it breaks off. I stood still for a few moments and listened, then looked where I heard the sound come from and saw a flash of brown in a small group of evergreen trees: it was a black bear.

He was about 50 yards down the hill from where I was standing. He ambled along the meadow and didn’t pay a bit of attention to me, although he had been close enough that I‘m sure he must have heard me when I was talking out loud.

I knew almost immediately that this was a message from my dad. He had heard me and was thanking me in return, letting me know that he was with me in spirit at this place where we had spent so much time together, and that meant so much to both of us.

Practicing Equanimity

“Equanimity is not indifference, and compassion is not pity. True spirituality requires us to be fully present for life. For us to begin to look directly at the world situation is not a question of ceremony or of religion. Meditation helps us to look deeply at the sorrow that exists now in our world, and to look at our individual and collective relationship to it, to bear witness to it, to acknowledge it instead of running away. Without mindfulness and compassion the suffering is too great to bear. We close our minds. We close our eyes and our hearts.”
~Jack Kornfield.

I have seen this quote and similar ones several times recently, but I need to be reminded. Frequently. I have never had difficulty with feeling compassion. But because I feel so much, I have felt the need to tune out and distance to protect myself.

I had a dream recently that showed me what I have been doing, versus what I need to be doing. Rather than viewing the ocean from atop a hill many miles away from it (distancing), to instead stand just above the water where it can be experienced more directly, yet still safely.

This is mindfulness. I am not immersed in the water (sorrow, suffering), overwhelmed and drowning. Yet I am much more present with it than seeing it from a great distance.

This is a journey for me, I am learning to bear witness without being overwhelmed; to allow what is happening into my consciousness without allowing it to destroy me.

Letter 2: What I Believe

This post is written in the format of a letter to my son.

I think it’s important to share my beliefs with you, because that is a very quick and easy way to gain a lot of understanding about who I am. We have not talked about these things, except in passing. Partly because as I became more clear on what I believed and my spirituality became a priority in my life, you were becoming a teenager, and I was afraid of being judged by you.

I realize now it was a big mistake not to share the path I was on, what I was learning, who I was becoming. Even though I believe that we each have our own path and our own beliefs, and yours may not look anything like mine, I let go of the chance for the discussion, and for you to see that it’s okay to talk about what you believe even when others may disagree.

My beliefs have been developed and honed over many years of both internal and external exploration. However, I also believe that I have always had a knowingness of their truth, and the journey has been more one of remembering than learning or discovering. Many people speak of this remembering, and it rings true for me, as each of my beliefs is something that resonates deeply within me whether I have had experiences that validate the belief (for me – not external validation), or not.

In this letter, I’ll briefly share what I believe. In a later letter, I may dive deeper into one or more of these topics. This is a varied list, and in no particular order:

  1. I believe that my path may or may not be like anyone else’s. We each have a right to take our own experiences and decide for ourselves what we believe. Even though I may not have the same beliefs as you do, I respect your right to believe as you do – if what you believe (and the actions those beliefs may fuel) does not harm anyone. It is not my right, nor anyone else’s, to impose their beliefs on someone else. Period.
  2. I believe that we are each divine. We each have a soul that is eternal, and that soul is divine.
  3. I believe in reincarnation. We come here (or somewhere else other than Earth) many times. The purpose of these lives is to learn. I believe that prior to each life we choose what it is we want to experience and to learn in that lifetime. Though we always have free will, opportunities will present themselves throughout our lives to facilitate what we have come here to learn.
  4. I believe we are all connected. Each of our divine souls are part of a divine whole. We are separate yet all one at the same time. It’s like each soul is a drop of water in the ocean. When in the ocean, the drop is indistinguishable from the ocean itself. Yet the drop continues to exist, as its own thing.
  5. I believe an internal shift in me affects the whole. Because we are all connected, if something shifts in me, then something shifts for every soul.
  6. I believe in surrender. Surrender is having faith that what shows up in my life is there for my benefit and accepting it rather than fighting it. It’s not about being passive, but rather going with the flow rather than trying to swim upstream. I accept that I don’t know the big picture, but trust that whatever is in my life is ultimately for my learning and growth.
  7. I believe in the power of intention. My thoughts create my reality, and I can direct those thoughts to create a better reality, or I can choose to be a victim by not accepting responsibility for my life.
  8. I believe that peace, both internal and in the world, is a product of surrender.
  9. I believe in taking inspired action.
  10. I believe that everything happens for a reason.
  11. I believe that love is the core of our divine souls. There is no such thing as evil. People take actions that are not loving for several reasons. One may be that it is their role in this life, in order to facilitate the growth of others. Another common reason is that they are in tremendous pain and don’t know that surrender is the only path through that pain, so they lash out.
  12. I believe that as humans, we each have an ego. This is part of the human experience and is not part of our divine soul. The ego is necessary for the human experience, and facilitates our learning and growth as we work to transcend it.
  13. I believe in intuition and psychic abilities. Through accessing my higher self – the divine soul – I can have access to information that is not learned through traditional methods.
  14. I believe it is possible to communicate with souls who are not currently in a body. We all have this ability, but most of us have not developed it.
  15. I believe that dreams contain information and messages, either from my higher self, or from the collective we are each part of.
  16. I believe the material world, including our human bodies, is made of energy. We can shift our experience by shifting energy in our bodies and around us through energy medicine like acupuncture and EFT, or simply through intention.
  17. I believe in astral travel.
  18. I believe that we reincarnate in soul groups, and have had many lifetimes, in different roles, with the primary people in our lives.
  19. I believe in synchronicity.
  20. I believe in the validity of many metaphysical tools such as astrology, numerology and handprint analysis.
  21. I believe that, ultimately, we each are on a journey of enlightenment that takes place over many, many lifetimes. We each have the same goal in the end, to reach the place of unconditional love and peace.

I realize this list is a bit of a hodge-podge, but I hope it gives you a bit of a view into who I am and how I approach being in the world.

Gratitude for Validation

Almost five years ago, Blue Heron showed up in my life as my totem (hence the name of this blog). Over the past several years, I have rarely seen him. The sense I have made of this is that I’ve reached a point in my journey of trusting myself and Spirit, where I don’t need constant validation that I am on the right path. It’s true that for the most part, I have an inner knowingness that I truly trust.

However, there’s still something to be said for receiving signs that I am on the right path, especially with the big changes I have recently made in my life. Adjusting has not happened over night, and although I trust my choices, I am grateful for the validation I have received recently.

Since my move, I have been using my Tarot for guidance again more frequently. I used to do this on a daily basis, but over the past few years have not felt the need – again being able to trust my intuition and internal guidance without asking for external guidance.

Last week I had a specific question where I was looking for some guidance, and the answer that came back to me through the cards was that I was moving forward, was at peace with my thoughts (no longer resisting or forcing), and finding strength through Spirit. Since then I have been much more at peace in general and more trusting that I am on the right path. I am grateful for that validation.

When energy is moving, or shifting, in my body, I yawn. I love this physical sign that something has shifted. I am grateful for that validation.

I also receive guidance through dreams, and I have had several significant ones this week. I love that as I work through the meaning of the dream (I like to talk about it out loud), a yawn will come to signify that yes, I got it!

My new apartment faces a marsh. I had hoped that there would be blue herons, but after living here for a month, I have not seen any. In fact, there have been no wading birds at all. I have been able to see large white birds in the marsh a mile away from me, but none in the area that is my back yard.

Then yesterday, I saw one big white bird in the marsh. It was too far away to really see it well, but as I continued to watch, it flew up into a tree right outside my window! I could easily see that it was a large wading bird, and after searching online determined it was a Great Egret – also known as a Great White Heron! My totem had returned to me for validation. Gratitude!

This morning I went out to run some errands, and on my way home was processing a dream from last night by talking out loud about it. As I reached home, I summarized the message I had received, and yawned (my sign that yes, I got it.) When I opened the door to my apartment, in the marsh, right outside was the Great Egret! Talk about double validation – yawning and the egret!

Within a moment, he had flown away. I was meant to see him, then his job was done.

As I am finishing writing this, he flew by one last time.

I am grateful for all the validation I continue to receive.

Collaborating Instead of Competing With Ego

Last night I had a scary dream. I have always had a lot of dreams, and find tons of insights in them. So when I woke up this morning, the dream was on my mind. I know that whenever I wake up and am feeling upset by something in a dream, that there’s something there to look at (after I remind myself that it is just a dream, not real).

The gist of the dream I had was that there was a kidnapper who kept taking members of my family. I would rescue them, but he would always get someone else. No one else seemed to be too concerned about it. In fact, one time I found the front door wide open when someone had been kidnapped.

At first the kidnapper was not visible to me, but eventually I tracked him down and confronted him face to face. I could have killed him in that moment if I had chosen to, but I didn’t. Instead he has an army of about 50 people – that were more like robots – appear out of thin air. I felt defeated, and knew that I could not win against him.

When I woke up and started thinking and writing about the dream, it occurred to me that the “kidnapper” is my ego. It keeps “stealing” parts of my authentic self. My soul, or true self, is the one who has to stand vigilant to get those parts back from ego. The parts themselves (my “family members) don’t care who’s running the show: ego or my true self. So they do nothing to keep ego from taking them over.

I noticed that when I confronted ego directly, it got stronger (the army of 50 robots). The robots are my automatic thoughts that kick in when I get scared. Once I realized that the kidnapper was my ego, I knew I couldn’t banish it, or kill it off. Having an ego is part of being human.

So what I needed to do was to collaborate with it. During my meditation this morning I asked it what it wanted. Why it was kidnapping my family members. The answer was that it wanted me to pay attention to it. As much as my ego is based in fear and can get really out of control with fearful thoughts, it also pays an important role in protecting me. And as much as I wish it and its fearfulness would just go away, I know it won’t.

I also asked my authentic self what I needed to be able to trust ego. To be in a place of collaboration, not competition or war. (I’m just now seeing as I write this that trust is also involved, as in my post a few days ago.) I need to be the one in charge. I’m the general, ego is my trusted advisor. I make the final decisions, and ego shuts up if I tell it to.

So we had a conversation and reached a truce and a peace accord. I agreed to listen to ego when it tries to get my attention, and ego agreed that I was the one in charge of the final decisions.

Now I need to think about what this looks like in reality. What are the signals that ego is trying to get my attention that I’ve been ignoring or trying to banish? And, how do I tell the difference between ego’s fear and its valuable advice about danger? More to come…