Skateboard culture video

21 Jun

Lornelle’s tribute

21 Jun

>Reconnecting with life after bereavement

29 May

>In this post I want to look at the irreplaceable loss of bereaved parents. I had planned to complete my account about meeting my spirit guides but, for whatever reason, I am being led to do this post.

When someone dies a void opens up in the fabric of the family and the community. The community is able to respond fairly quickly in replacing the person – the boss hires a new worker, the team recruits a new member, etc. The family’s response is usually much slower, and even then, varying members are affected differently. I remember thinking about this concept weeks before Andre was killed, when I heard the news of the death of a popular, young football player. The team and community were distracted with grief, and I remember saying to someone, “In a few months they will have moved on and only his family will still be there to grieve him.”

I have had time to reflect on the issue of replacement, or maybe a less mechanistic word would be ‘reconnection’. I remember consoling Andre’s girlfriend shortly after the funeral, and thinking, “At least she will one day meet someone else. It is I who will never have another son.” I also know that if young Josh gets a loving father he will be able to reconnect easily to this relationship and not have to grieve the absence of his real father all his life.

But it is harder for the parents and grandparents who must sit and stare into the void for a long time, if not forever. Yet, the idea of reconnection, at some level, would seem to be an important part of our recovery as it gives us an outlet to redirect some of the love we hold.

In his book Ritual – Power, Healing and Community, Malidoma Some notes. “When love exists it must continue, or it will turn dangerous for the person who loves. Human feelings are an energy that can turn dangerous, negative, if not honoured. So when a loved one dies, those who survive must reconnect the ‘plugs’ from the dead person to people who are still alive.”

I guess this explains why so many survivors feel the need to get involved in trying to help others who have suffered. It may also explain why persons who lock themselves away, physically or emotionally, tend to have a harder time moving back into life.

So, how do parents reconnect the plugs? I guess the answer to that will be very specific to each individual. For me, it was very important to develop a relationship with my grandson, but also to reach out to other young people. There is such a great need for parents in the world, persons who can mentor and guide. I see parents in conflict with their kids over what they want for them, as opposed to what the child feels the need to do in order to express him/herself in the world, and I just want to say, “Just enjoy the fact that they are with you.” Maybe, if nothing else, this is this perspective that we, bereaved parents, can provide.
I found an article called ‘How Grieving Can have a Positive Effect on your Life’, that has some useful tips on reconnecting with life after the loss of a loved one.

>Spiritual Emergence

26 May


I haven’t quite yet been able to define my spiritual orientation and a part of me says that’s okay.  It keeps me learning, but I also realise I am developing a personal relationship with spirit that is over and above anything I read, hear or even believe. The way it works is that I have an experience and then in my readings, or my everyday life, I come across something that validates or emphasises the very thing I had experienced.  I will try to give an example.   In my last post, in which I wrote about my experience following Andre’s death, I mentioned being struck by the silver flecks in a little white orchid in my garden, and remarking on how beautiful the flower was, seeing it as I had never seen it before.  The next day the flower was back to being an ordinary, boring white flower.  I couldn’t believe it.  I even got myself a magnifying glass and still I was unable to see what I had been carrying on about that day.
Then, sometime later I was reading the book, When the Impossible Happens, by Stanislav Grof, and came upon a section in which he recounted an experience his mother had after recovering from a serious illness.  One day she remarked to him that she had never before noticed how beautiful his property was, and marvelled at the beauty of the pine trees, with silver flecks.  I remember it was 10:00 one night when I read this and I immediately got on the phone and called my cousin and said, “I’m not crazy…listen to this.”
Grof refers to this sort of experience as a spiritual emergence, a state which often manifests at a time of stress or loss. This reassurance that I wasn’t crazy seems to have served as a turning point for me, because I reasoned, “If I’m not crazy, then I really experienced what I thought I experienced, and that means there IS something beyond death, and if there is something beyond death, I want to find out what that is.”  In that space, I began to grow from Lorraine Jones, limited, materialistic, to something more open to exploring.  It was a tremendous shift, because I had always been concerned about being ‘normal’.  Now that I look back at it, I realise I was always aware of a wilder, deeper side to my personality that I had felt compelled to manage and minimise. Also, looking back, I realise that, left to my own devices, I would never have taken on this journey of exploration if it had not been for the loss of the thing dearest to me.
For someone who had grown up in a conservative Christian home, mysticism was not a word with which I was comfortable, and I had studiously kept clear of its trappings, except for my attraction to Reiki which just felt right.  But suddenly, here I was, not just believing in the afterlife, but knowing, with certainty that there is an afterlife, and that the resurrection seemed not to be the future event promised by the Church, but something that was occurring everyday. I was also convinced that I hadn’t happened upon this experience by accident, but that this was being offered to me as a learning path if I chose to take it.  I attribute the ease with which I shed my Judeo-Christian inhibitions to the fact that this glimpse of another reality had been associated with Andre, and Reiki, two of the things I trust most.
The next experience that propelled me onto this path, was a guided meditation by another Reiki master, Roz Walker.  I had been to see Roz once before for a Reiki treatment, but I had been hearing her name for some time from the people with which I studied Reiki and reflexology.  Anyway, when I couldn’t seem to shake the sense of wonder  I was feeling when I felt I should have been grieving my son more appropriately, I felt the need to talk to someone face to face.  Call it a hunch, but as someone who has some experience with grief counselling,  I didn’t think a visit to a psychiatrist or family counsellor was going to yield any diagnosis beyond either that I was still in shock or denial, or maybe a combination of both – shocking denial?
Anyway Roz seemed like my best option, and it turned out to be a tremendous starting point.  I remember we talked about a lot of things, including the uniquely human expectation that parents should necessarily precede their children despite the experience of the animal kingdom, where the death of offspring was more the norm than exception.  But the most profound outcome of that meeting was a guided meditation that she did for me, during which I met my Reiki guide.

>Angel 54: How many more of us are there?

24 May

>After having agonized for so long about posting about my spiritual experience following Andre’s death, I finally did so in my last blog, and found that I was not as alone/unique as I had thought.  That same evening I read online, the experience of another mother who had experienced an even more dramatic spiritual breakthrough.  So maybe this isn’t so strange after all.

She’s written a book called, Angel 54: A Mother’s Sacred Journey from Grief to Healing.  I haven’t read it yet, but I have read her story on another internet site. Her son died in a car crash at age 18, and this precipitated her spiritual awakening.  I am hoping that we will be able to connect.  But I now wonder how many more parents have had this experience.

>Have we really grieved our dead?

22 May


Talking with the Ancestors:
Initiation and the Purpose of Life
Excerpt of An Interview with Malidoma Patrice Some’
by Michael Bertrand, 1995
In your culture you have relations with the ancestors. That’s something that we’ve basically lost touch with in our culture, not only how to do it but even why or even if there are any.

   That is again a very important point that is tied to the reason why there is a need for initiation. How do you practice something so ancient when you are disconnected? It’s just an irony. The connection with the ancestors is a primary requirement for the reconnecting with initiatory practices. It is one of the conditions for the healing that needs to happen for the modern world. We cannot go forward until we look back at those who have preceded us, in an attempt to produce a reconciliation between us and them.
   Otherwise, the perpetuation of denial is fostering all kinds of illnesses that indeed are encouraged by the very ancestors that we’re forgetting, because that’s they’re only way to keep ringing the bell in our psyches about the necessity for this connection to happen. It is just as useful to them as to those caught in western phenomena. It is not something that can be avoided. Therefore, it’s just a basic acknowledgment of life to acknowledge that one has ancestors.
   I’ve discovered over the years that people prefer to look forward because when they look back they find the memory they have of their ancestors is not that good. Those who can remember are connecting with crime, violence and pain.
With the colonialism…
   That’s right. With colonial violence and so on and so forth. It may then feel very uncomfortable having to relate to figures in that manner. Yet, what we must understand is that being alive at this time makes us the prime healers of the very ancestors who were remembered in this time. Unless we’re able to reconcile with them we can be of no use to ourselves as well as to them, because our relationships start in a dysfunctional compost. It is that dysfunctionality that those of us who are alive are therefore able and qualified to fix.
   This is why I like to talk about healing the ancestors. In this context it means eventually returning to them with a humble heart to let them know that indeed we’re here to help do whatever it takes to repair the energy that has been broken through time and space. We are, therefore, opening ourselves to our suggestions as to what we need to do in order to reconnect or to open the mind with them in a healing fashion.
   It doesn’t mean we have to invent something. They know from where they are what needs to be done. It’s up to us to tell them we’re open to receiving that knowledge so we can take the proper action, because we’re still caught in a human body. They don’t have a human body so they can’t do what it takes to fix that problem.
So, we’re saying that problem, or the healing of the ancestors, implies that we have to do it because we need their help as much as they need ours.
   That’s right. It’s reciprocal. They need our help because they need to produce a situation where there’s continuity. We need their help because we need to resolve the turmoil that we get ourselves into in this modern world. The turmoil in the downtown and the inner cities, the violence that’s going on, is all connected with the fact that we’re disconnected from the ancestors. They can fix that because they know where it’s darkest.
   It is mostly in our interests and in the interests of those coming after us that we do that. Otherwise when we die we’ll join them and attempt to continue to complicate the (–vision?) here hoping that eventually people will remember where they need to go in order to get a solution to the problems. This is why I insist that it’s a reciprocal thing, something that helps both parties.
So, in essence too, you’ve implied in your book that the ancestors need to be helped along their way so they go where they need to be in the afterlife.
   Yes. Unless this happens we’ll not have the kind of benefit that they also seek. One thing we need to understand is that their constant interference in our day to day life is motivated by the fact that it would pay us to allow them to join the place that they need to join in order to feel complete, which is the land of the ancestors. Otherwise they will keep sticking around in our cities and creating the kind of turmoil that they think is the only way for them to remind us of what we’re here to do, of the necessity of our relationship with them.
   Consequently, of course, this is an opportunity to take back and learn from existing indigenous cultures where this leads to a lot of ritualized grief because that grief helps in that journey across to the land of the ancestors. As long as we know that it is in our interest that they go there.
   What they’re saying here is we are robbing them of their right to journey where they belong, where they can also be a proper source of help to us.
So, one of the way to heal the ancestors is to grieve them. If there were some way in which a day were taken where everybody in a given country spent it in grief for the ancestors so they could go to the land of the ancestors would be positively useful to us. I’m sure that several million tears, a double billion people shedding tears for the same ancestral pool would be likely to make a difference.
   This is the kind of thing that eventually will have to happen. Maybe this is the only condition that will help us break into the remembering space that allows the understanding of what kind of initiation is needed in order to bring out the birth of the kind of community that people feel comfortable with.

>Messages from the Universe

22 May


I didn’t always have a spiritual philosophy in which to anchor my grief.  In fact, for many years I had deliberately stifled what I felt were the stirrings of consciousness of another reality.  It was my son who was the active seeker, and I worried about him thinking about things too deeply, because I didn’t want him to become some sort of  misfit.  I remember when he was about 16, we were reading about labyrinths and, ahead of a trip to the US, we made plans to go walking a labyrinth in San Jose.  In the end he went walking the labyrinth and I went shopping. Am I the only one who finds the malls in San Jose irresistible?

Andre was the first person to tell me about the chakras, and the gnostic gospels, and the Knights Templar.  I only exhibited spectator interest, serving as a kind of librarian/cheerleader, and ensuring he didn’t get ripped off by snake oil salesman types on the internet. Actually, the closest I had gotten to any form of mysticism was Reiki training.

So when I had my first experience of non-ordinary reality I was sure I was going crazy.  What follows is an excerpt from an email that I sent to my Reiki teacher three days after Andre’s funeral:

I don’t know if you remember me. I did Reiki 2 with you in 2007 – I was the only one for that session.  I am having an experience which I am careful not to share with very many persons because I don’t know if it is Reiki related or I am just going quietly crazy.

 My son Andre was murdered a few weeks ago, and on my way to the emergency room, without knowing that he had already died I sent him Reiki. When I got to the hospital, I was just in time to see them covering his face and they allowed me time with him. I was totally distraught and crying and touching him.  On returning from the hospital I noticed the burning in my palms which I get after I have given Reiki to very sad people. I could only figure I had picked this up off him. Later that night I sat down and turned my palms up and outward, without doing the symbols, just thinking about him,  and I distinctly felt a strong concentration of energy in each palm, not like I am used to feeling it, but this time I could feel the texture of the energy, like the curve a ball would make in my palms.  The next day I went onto the Internet and looked up sending Reiki to people who have passed. I found an article which said I should visualize the person standing there and bathe them in light.  So I used the symbols and summoned him, sent him Reiki and told him to go in peace.  

That night was when I got the first of a series of ‘between sleep and wake’ messages. You know that thought that occurs to you between sleep and wake and jolts you awake?  That thought was ‘Wildfire has rejoined the host’. (Wildfire was the stage name he chose for himself.)  I remember coming awake with a feeling of excitement which stayed with me throughout the entire day.  My senses seemed heightened, especially my visual senses. For example I was looking at a white orchid in my garden, and I could see a kind of glittering in the texture which I had not noticed before, or since for that matter.  All that day I had a sense that a powerful force had been liberated, and I understood that this was the being that had lived as my son, but who was not anymore my son but something ageless, and timeless and immensely powerful.  But what I felt more than anything was his joy at returning, and the even greater joy of those receiving him.  It felt like he had returned successful from an assignment, and I was very aware of myself as being very small and mortal, experiencing something that I was  being privileged to share.  I know I didn’t actually see or hear anything, I just had a sense of this wonder and excitement almost like I was experiencing it in the energy field.  

Since then this feeling has stayed with me, and I have had such a sense of peace and happiness. Peace for me, happiness for him, I guess.  I do not have a sense of my son existing in the way I knew him, but I do not feel a sense of absence.  I would really like to know what your take is on all this.  Any feedback or insight you can share would be much appreciated.”
I was pathetically grateful for his reply in which he expressed joy that Andre had been able to make it through to let me know he was okay.  Funny, I had always figured I would go first, and had always wondered if I would have been able to find a way to communicate.