Tag Archives: family

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.

The Election Outcome – Fostering Love and Kindness

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

The presidential election was two days ago. I was heart-broken over the outcome, although I was not surprised by it. I’m going to share my Facebook posts from yesterday with the intention of letting you see how I was feeling and the impact it had on me.

“I am heartsick.”

My heart literally hurt. I felt nauseous. I had feared for quite some time that this would be the outcome of the election, but continued to hope I was wrong. It was inconceivable to me that there are so many people in our country that think the bigotry, misogyny and bullying displayed by our president-elect is okay. That still floors me, but I am gaining another perspective on it as well.

“The only path forward is love. Love is what heals the hurt and fear that has created the world we live in. There is power in intention, so intentionally send your love and healing to our nation. There is power in numbers, so join together in sending your love and healing energy. I will join you there.”

I felt an overwhelming need to do something. And using my energy and intention in a positive way was the only thing I could do at that moment. Going forward there will be opportunities to do something in the physical world, while continuing to hold an attitude of love.

“The election is over, the people have spoken. I will not contribute to greater division by criticizing the new president-elect, or those who voted for him. Something is seriously wrong in this country when the majority of people feel so much fear that they feel the need to choose a leader who traffics in fear.

We need to look deep and see that those people have real fears that are not being addressed. I have no tolerance for bigotry in any form, yet I understand that it comes from a place of fear. We need to understand and address those fears so that we can all come together.”

Like so many others, I was on overload from all the negativity surrounding the election. I wasn’t going to perpetuate that personally, and I wasn’t going to immerse myself in other people’s negativity. Again, I wanted to focus on the path forward, and it is essential to acknowledge and address that there is a reason half the nation voted the way they did. We need to accept that reality and then do something to shift it if we don’t like it.

“I am reminding myself that the US government was designed with checks and balances. The presidency is only one component. There are so many prominent Republicans that spoke out against Trump. My hope is that as Senators and Representatives they are strong enough to continue to stand up for what is right as we go forward.”

Yes, I am still scared about what the outcome of this election will bring. And at the same time, I don’t want to catastrophize. Remembering that our nation’s government was structured in a way to prevent the abuse of power by one individual has helped me a lot. A friend commented on this post that her hope was that the Republicans and Democrats could come together because of this, and that is one of my hopes as well. There has been so much divisiveness in the past eight years, and perhaps this president will be the catalyst for the two parties to band together in the country’s best interest.

“So many people are posting what is in my heart, too. Let’s actively make America kind again, by actively being kind to everyone we meet. Lead by example and we will change the world.”

Late on election night someone added me to a secret Facebook group supporting Hillary. Although my vote was more about voting against Trump than voting for Hillary, seeing the posts in this group gave me a lot of hope. There were millions of others who feel like I do, who are devastated and scared for our country, who want to protect the rights of women and minorities, who want to take action from a place of love and kindness.

“Allow yourself to grieve. I am grieving the loss of illusion. Our world is not (yet) the way I hoped for or wanted it to be. After grieving, then it will be time to deal with reality and the actions I can take to be part of the shift towards my dream of how our world can be.”

Many people in the secret group, as well as my friends, were posting that they couldn’t stop crying. I had not allowed myself to go there yet, because my fallback position is always to buck up and take action. I tried writing a blog post, but I couldn’t do it, and I knew it was because it was too soon. I needed to grieve. I needed to allow myself to feel (beyond the physical heart and stomach ache).

And so I cried. And cried. And cried some more. Crying is not something that has come easily to me in the past, and although I am getting more comfortable with it, it still sometimes takes me a while to allow those feelings to surface. I know that it is a healthy thing to do, to allow emotions to process through rather than suppressing them. And so I cried.

“Many people are expressing that they are scared because of the outcome of the election. Yes. It is a scary thing. And, I still believe that we don’t have to allow this election to define us. In our own lives we can be revolutionaries that will not allow hatred to go unchallenged.

I have been scared for the past year; I could see the writing on the wall, the parallels to Nazi Germany. We do not have to allow that to happen to our country.

Yes, there are steps we can take through the political process. But what I’m asking us to do is to take action personally. Every single day. To approach every interaction with love and kindness. To stand up for our brothers and sisters whose voices are not heard. To challenge every single thing you witness that does not come from love and kindness.

Don’t be afraid to confront. Don’t be afraid to cause a scene. Approach with good intent, but don’t be bullied into silence. Stand up and be heard. It’s easy to say, and very hard to do. But I’m going to do my best to make this my personal mission.

Because I’m scared and I don’t want to be. Because I will not be made to feel powerless. Because I don’t want to live in a world of hate and discrimination.

We can each make a difference. Every single one of us. Please, please, please do whatever you can.”

Yes, I have feared this outcome for the past year, even as I worked to avert it. It began when there was so much controversy over the Syrian refugees, and I was confronted with the fear many other people were feeling. I began seeing then the parallels with Nazi Germany. Only in this case instead of the Jews, it was the Muslims.

I am fearful for all minorities, whether minority by race, religion or sexual identification. And, of course, I am fearful for women. But I don’t want my fear to turn into anger and hatred. Instead I want to use it to fuel actions that will affect positive change with or without the buy-in of our president-elect.

I have often thought of the brave Germans who hid and protected Jews during that awful time. Would I have the courage to do the same? I have truly wondered about this many times. Do I have the strength to stand up for others when my very life may be threatened in doing so?

I have never been sure, have always feared I would be too cowardly. The opportunity to prove differently is here, and I intend to take it. I am not going to be quiet. I am not going to go along to get along. I am going to do whatever is in my power to protect myself and others from bullying and discrimination, and to preserve human rights for everyone.

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.

Letter 1: Losing a Baby

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

I think you may know that two years before you were born I lost a baby. That was the most devastating loss I have ever experienced. Even though I only knew about his existence for three days, I already loved him dearly and when the pregnancy had to be terminated because it was not viable my heart was broken.

I can’t even think of the words to describe how I felt. Devastated is the only word that keeps coming to me. Even now, more than 20 years later, I sometimes cry when I think of losing him.

I had seen his heartbeat on the ultrasound. He was real, as real as any baby that has already been born. He was a part of me, literally. And it felt exactly like I had lost a part of myself.

People tell you that you can try again, but that is no comfort at all. Any other baby will not be the baby I lost. As much as I love you – and I do love you more than you can probably imagine – you are not the baby I lost. I love him, too, and I grieve for him.

Intellectually, I understand the physical reality of why the pregnancy could not continue. It was an ectopic pregnancy, in the fallopian tube rather than the uterus, and not only is that unviable for the baby, but also put my life at risk.

And, none of that matters to me. I can remember being in the doctor’s office after finding out the news. I called your dad and just fell apart. I lost it. I couldn’t understand how when they can implant a fetus from a test tube in a uterus, why they couldn’t move my baby from the fallopian tube to the uterus.

Again, intellectually I get that it’s not possible. But when you’re facing losing someone you love so very, very much, you search for every imaginable way to avert that loss.

It all happened so quickly. I’m not sure if that was a blessing or a curse. I like to think it was a blessing. If I had gotten used to the idea of being pregnant and having this baby growing inside me over a period of time and then lost him, I don’t know how I could have withstood it.

I can’t even imagine how people who have a baby that is stillborn or dies shortly after birth can stand it. It’s inconceivable. But they do. I’m sure I would, too, but I can’t imagine surviving a greater pain than the one I felt. I hope that can help you understand how incredibly devastated I was.

And now for the silver lining in all of this. Without this experience, you may never have been born. This pregnancy was not planned. Your dad and I had been going back and forth about having a child and were in a phase of thinking we didn’t want to have a child when I got pregnant.

Having been pregnant with this baby I lost got me off the fence. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind from that point forward that I wanted to have a child. And I am grateful for coming to that understanding about myself.

I believe this pregnancy was divine intervention – a message from the Universe. I came to believe that there was purpose in this loss. And believing in that purpose has helped mitigate the grief.

I still sometimes think about the baby I lost, and sometimes I still feel the grief. But in addition, there is a huge amount of gratitude for the message he brought to me. I wanted to have a child. No doubt, no waffling, no question.

And so you came into my life.

Letters to My Son

A little over three years ago my teenage son and I had a blow-up. It wasn’t even about anything very important, but it was the culmination of a lot of anger on both our parts that had built up over several years. He was living with his father and visiting me at the time we had the fight. I told him to leave, which he did gladly, and I have not heard from him since.

At the time, I had no way of knowing that fight would turn into the estrangement that it has. Over the years I have made multiple attempts to start down the path of reconciliation, but have not received any response from him.

Today I had an a-ha that brought together and integrated different realizations that I have had over the time we have been apart.

In thinking about the fact that I haven’t missed him very much during this time, I realized that was because the relationship that we had was superficial. I long to have a close relationship with him, yet as he was growing up I was unable to be authentic and vulnerable with him. That authenticity and vulnerability is the very basis for an intimate relationship. Not surprisingly, he was not authentic and vulnerable with me, either.

So, I haven’t missed him because there was nothing much there to miss. And, I’d like that to be different.

Of course, I realize that there are two people in a relationship, and I can only do my part. But I also realize that if I’m not willing to go first and put myself out there, he probably never will. And, even if we never reconcile, even if I never hear from him again, I want him to know me. I want him to know who I am on the inside, which I have hidden from him most of his life.

To that end, I decided that I would start sending him stories from my life. I’m removing the mask of perfection and detachment from being emotional that I’ve worn with him.

I’ll let him see times I was hurting or scared. I’ll let him see times I did something I regret. I’ll let him see times things didn’t turn out the way I wanted.

And, I’ll also let him see the joy and love that has been in my life.

I will be sharing these stories on this blog as well because its purpose when I began it nearly five years ago was for me to show up authentically. There may be stories related to my son that I choose not to share because it would violate his privacy. But beyond that, my intention is to be an open book.

I remember when I first began blogging how terrified I was to be seen. The feedback I received here was a huge support in me being able to continue being more authentic and more vulnerable.

Today I find it almost amusing how scared I was to “expose myself” in the beginning. Today I am mostly comfortable letting people see me with all my foibles and imperfections, yet there are still times I hold back from being fully seen. Here is my opportunity to change that.

Thank you again for your continuing support!

I’m Always Amazed at How Everything (and Everyone) is Connected

I continue to be amazed at how connected everything (and everyone) in my life is. There is no doubt in my mind that we are all connected and that everything that happens in my life is related.

The past several weeks I’ve been feeling a lot of doubt and confusion about my career direction. It has been really difficult for me, because I’m usually quite decisive and action oriented. Although I have just spent a year not doing much externally because I was going through a lot of learning and growth and change.

But in November I had my a-ha about the direction for my business and I was really excited about it. Then I wasn’t. Over the past few weeks I’ve really questioned my direction and what I should be doing with my life. For several years I have had the strong sense that I have a mission, a specific life purpose, and I have been incredibly dedicated to fulfilling that.

Now I was having the “run away and hide” thoughts that I used to have in my previous career. I was seriously considering, and beginning to pursue getting a “real job.” But it didn’t feel right. Each step I took in that direction I was confronted with something that made me recoil. I knew that was not what I wanted to do.

And yet, I was feeling tremendous doubt about my path forward on my mission. It felt like there was a big step up to the next level and I just wasn’t up to it.

Then yesterday I had a session with my BodyTalk practitioner, Pavitra. She does some other modalities, too, like Pysch-K and Access Consciousness. I told her about my doubt and confusion, and that was what I wanted to focus on. In addition, there has been some pretty traumatic stuff going on with my teenage son (who lives with his dad), but I felt that was kind of in a holding pattern and was not where I wanted to focus.

Pavitra began the BodyTalk process, which consists of her asking silent questions of my body and using muscle testing for the responses. There is a whole protocol that leads her to subconscious beliefs I hold that are creating the issues.

Anyway, the short version of the story is that this self-doubt and confusion I had was not mine. It belongs to my son, and I have been holding it for him. This made a whole lot of sense to me. I had become aware last year that throughout his life I have felt the difficult emotions for my son (as well as a couple of other men in my life, including my father).

I have been doing some work over the past several months to release those emotions that are not mine and send them back to their rightful owner. So when Pavitra said this doubt and confusion was not mine, it really clicked for me. Given the difficulties my son has been going through recently I could completely understand that he is feeling a lot of self-doubt and confusion about his life and his next steps.

Even though I did not consciously take on those feelings for him, I think it has been such a habit for me that it just happened naturally. I have been doing some work with an energy healer, Wendy, to help me separate myself from him energetically, but I guess old habits die hard.

The positive of all of this, is that because we are connected, doing my own work and healing myself helps to heal him, too.

So even though I was very specific at the beginning of the session that I didn’t want to focus on the situation with my son, here it popped up anyway – AND it was related to the issue I did want to work on, that feeling of doubt and confusion.

Amazing!