Coping

1.) Blogging: Writing about my experiences really helps me get to the bottom of my feelings while allowing my friends a chance to connect with me. It avoids alienation and enhances the human experience. While I have been around a lot of people for longer periods of time, I am still introverted and need a minute. As an empathic medium, I often have problems taking on the emotions of others during such times. If I talk about what is happening to me, everyone can see that I am ok and the uncomfortable mystery is no more.

2.) Prayer: This has been a huge part of every day. I pray everywhere. I have been to chapels and churches. If my mind is unable to formulate anything, then I simply present myself. I have requested that everyone pray for me and my family. My father’s name has been added to prayers in various languages, and friends in other countries have also reached out to me. Having a blanket of 24hr prayer surrounding me makes me feel extremely supported.

My guardian angel & spirit guides have been as close as they can possibly be during this time. My spiritual encounters are very strong these days as my father has already let me know that he is still with me. I also seek the comfort of the archangel of grief, Azrael; however, I can say that I am not sad. Often times, there is a smile on my face.

3.) Flowers: My home has been filled with beautiful flowers and fragrant candles. In nine days, I shall create a special place of honor for my father so that I can pay homage to him daily as I pray. This date has already been marked in my calendar, and I am looking forward to it.

4.) Sisterhood: Friends have reached out to schedule lunch dates or anything just to keep me active. People came over to offer their condolences and to help me celebrate the transition of my dad. This was important because while the sisterhood was taking place for my mother, it wasn’t happening for me as long as I was at her home(distance). It was nice to have it for myself in my own sanctuary. As the solstice approaches, I hope to be able to run free on the beach with flowers on my person.

5.) Music: I planned every detail of the music for the viewing, funeral, burial, and repast. It brought me a great deal of joy to do so. The execution of it all was rather moving for us the performers as well as for the people that attended.
Viewing: solo harp
Final Viewing: solo harp
service: flute/viola/cello/harp two vocalists pianist/organist
Burial: Violin/Cello
Repast: Guitar

Cds have been made for me as well as certain songs that I listen to a lot. It really makes me feel so very nice. I am happy to have music at my side.

6.) Sensual: I enjoy sensual things. The sun was out today. It shone rather brightly on the earth. I found myself wanting to wander around so that its warmth could grace my skin. Birds often chirp a beautiful song which reaches my ears. While I took a hot shower, I realized that I enjoyed it so much that I decided to turn it into a hot bath with bubbles. Instead of my normal 1hr massage, I had one for 1.2hrs and it was a requirement. Reiki will be added to the mix on a more frequent basis so that my energies remain leveled.

7.) Awareness: Since I have dealt with grief before, I knew what to expect as far as my own behavior possibly changing. I knew that I would be afraid of the dark. It did not last as long this time as I can already sleep without lamps. Peace and quiet are not always welcomed right now. My appetite has improved a great deal since my father left the nursing home. Supplements and the drinking of water are also rebalancing.

The Final Curtain Call

Thursday, June 5, 2014
There I was wrestling with the idea of spending the evening at my parents’ home. My mother was alone in the house while my father was in the nursing home. She was spending all of her waking hours attending to him. I had the idea of spending the night with her; however, I wanted to stay in my home and enjoy my activities. It was late at night when I graced her porch with my presence. The sofa soon comforted my sleepiness.

Friday, June 6, 2014
After a nice breakfast with my mother, I headed into work to wrap up all affairs prior to going on vacation. Why I even joined a friend for breakfast part II at IHOP. I told her how I wanted to get some friends to go to the nursing home to perform with me for my dad. Soon after this conversation, my mother called to inform me that my father was unresponsive and was being rushed to Jackson South which was next door to the nursing home. I had just left her home and now faced the task of getting back to the same area with traffic. As I entered the room where a team was scurrying, there were tubes inside of him and his eyes were closed. I hated to see how he just hung there being as if he were being tossed about but it was my intent to stay right there and watch.
When I was born, I was taken from my mother due to placenta previa. My father had to wait and watch helplessly as my life was in limbo. Insurance companies refused to insure me, and I was not expected to live. He said that my godmother continued to tell him not to lose hope because God would pull me through; that scene took place 37yrs ago. It was with this in mind that I sat there and watched no matter the circumstances.
Family friends soon pulled me away as it was determined that Daddy had suffered a massive stroke and would have to be sent to Baptist where a team was awaiting his arrival. I got in my car and drove. While we waited in a suite, groups of the church sister hood flocked in to surround my mother as they have from the day Daddy went under. The doctor informed us that the stroke did not take place that morning but approximately 9hrs ago based on the damage that he saw and there had been more than one. It was the same way that his father passed away. Daddy would be removed from life support 24hrs after being placed on it in accordance with his wishes. We waited. We prayed.

Saturday, June 6, 2014
I thought that my Daddy would die on this day. For me, he had already left us something Thursday evening. It was now left to the body to realize what had happened. Others left the room when the respiratory therapist finally arrived to remove the tubes. I shook her hand and thanked her for removing the very things that my father never wanted. I made myself comfortable next to a nurse friend of the family, as the therapist did what she had to do. The noises were not pleasant for me, but I would not leave. Daddy never left me.
It was another four days of painful limbo for everyone involved in the transition of my father. During this time, the overwhelming support of the sisterhood that envelopes my mother to this day stood by within reach. It brings tears to my eyes to watch these women support my mother as she mourned the loss of my father.
Daddy was officially pronounced early Wednesday morning. It was a great relief for me to know that he had finally expired. In the days that followed, I found great comfort in planning the music for the funeral and its associated events. The outpouring of love & support was wonderful. There were so many wonderful connections for me to celebrate and enjoy. People told me that watching me gave them a sense of comfort as they wondered how I was able to remain so composed. This is my response.
My father is not dead. The word dead insinuates a final period which simply does not exist for me. He has made his transition into the next lifetime where he gets to be with God and walk with his father; he loved that man more than life itself. While I am unable to speak to him physically, Daddy has never left my side. His body may be in the ground but his spirit is free. It brings me such happiness to know that now there are two strong male figures that support me as ancestors. Instead of being sad, I choose to celebrate his life and often speak of him as if he were right here with me because he is. He lived a long wonderful life and touched more people than what we knew as evidenced by the tributes and sacrifices that were made to be present as he transitioned.
As life continues to take its course, things will slowly resume to a normal pace. A life cycle has completed itself as another one will begin. It is a beautiful day. It is a beautiful life.

James W. Sawyer
Sunrise: 12/22/34 Sunset: 6/11/14
Well done, good and faithful servant!
You have been faithful with a few things.
I will put you in charge of many things.

Nursing Home: They Call It A Rehabilitation Center

While awaiting my father’s discharge, I spent time in the chapel. The peace and quiet gave me a great deal of solace. I would imagine angels and Mary at my side as the sound of various beeping machines vanished behind me. It was the only time that I was truly happy while at the hospital. Once my father was transported to a nursing home, step two of this new journey began; I am the child of aging parents.
Many people my age find themselves in this situation. They must balance the care of their small children while handling the care of their parents. A career and social life are thrown in the mix for good measure. I find myself wondering if it is okay to venture out for some fun without an emergency call to rush to my father’s bedside. Although he seems to be settling into this new place, there is a new dynamic for me to observe. My mother is living by herself for the first time in decades.
In the meantime, it has come to my attention that perhaps my emotions are nocturnal. During the day, I am relatively stress free and content. Once the sun goes down and sandman appears, slumber escapes me. Hour after hour find me and my thoughts entangled in a web of wonder. The holistic approach to this bout of insomnia will be taken yet again but until the root of this current sleeplessness is handled, I fear that there will be many a night of wide eyes.

The Hospital

It was around 5pm on a Friday evening when I decided to call my father to say hello. There wasn’t any answer. After I hung up, the sound of the phone ringing startled me especially when it said Daddy. My mother called me back to tell me that she was at Baptist Hospital with my father. He had been rushed there earlier that morning. As I clicked off, it boggled my mind as to why I wasn’t informed of this horrific event. As I grabbed my purse and ran to my car, complete disregard for attending a party drifted away. Welcome to Memorial Day Weekend of 2014.
After I found my father’s room, we talked for a very long time. There were hard questions that I needed answers to. Funeral arrangements, assisted living, medical access. We agreed that the strain of it all was entirely too much for my dear mother, and I promised to return soon. When I did finally return on another day, he had been admitted. There was a lot of sitting for me. A few nurses came and spoke. Shortly after my mother returned to sit with my father, I left for the long ride home.
The question has been asked of me, how do you cope with all of this? Well, there are a lot of good things about this situation. My father is in an excellent hospital. My schedule is about to clear for vacation which will give me more time to devote to him. There is a chapel with a beautiful surrounded by a meditation garden. Spending time there is a great comfort to me. I felt the presence of Mary and angels while meditating so there is a great deal of support. There is a dance class that is coming up that I plan to try and there is talk of me playing another tennis match. My water intake is good and I’ve been working on my sleeping schedule. Why there is even a new book on my night stand.
As for the immediate future, there is no way for me to tell how things will turn. What I plan to do is take good care of myself so that I can be there for my family. We need each other right now as our patriarch begins his sunset.

Faith

Sunday morning found me at the beach. The warmth of the sun was paired nicely with the nice breeze. The palm trees swayed in the background making it a perfect Miami day. As I whipped out my book, the sight of four people dressed in white demanded my attention. There were orange sashes wrapped around their waists. Coincidentally, I was also dressed in all white which is extremely rare. My gaze never left them for long as I was rather intrigued by their presence. It was not long before I venture closer if only to admire them from a closer view. What were they doing I wondered. After about an hour or so, they stood. One went directly into the ocean while the others lingered on the sand genuflecting to the water. It was a very peaceful observation to observe. The most curious question of all was why did I choose to wear white on this very morning and then witness this diving sight?
The word that comes to mind is faith. It is about to come into play for me on an entirely different level. My parents’ health is deteriorating. While I understand this is a part of a cycle, my life is going to change in order to accommodate a natural process. As I await more answers about a proper diagnosis, I find myself wanting to be pro active and faithful. It will now be left to me to trust completely in God. The tables are quickly turning and the time has come for me to become a caretaker. It is a role that I hope that I can execute with dignity and grace. There will be hard days. There will be good days. It will be a journey that will require full support on all fronts. A true test of my faith has arrived.

Bold & Bald

There I was sitting at my desk. A vision came to me. My eyebrows were immaculate. My head was clean shaven. My fingers soon made an appointment with the local brow boutique. When the brows had been perfected, my car somehow took me to a place that I have always avoided, until now. The barber was pleasantly surprised to make my acquaintance.
My hands carved the tale of no more combs. The hair had to go. Down and out with the afro. I did not want to be a bald woman but close to it would be good enough for me. As the mechanism began its job, the sensation of it working on my scalp was not pleasant. The sounds of poor music and male chatter were not exactly comforting. Fist pounds served as common greetings. Tattoos were in a great abundance. There I sat in the first chair watching my mighty fro meet a dignified end.
As the mirror was pressed into my hands, I beheld the sight of my new self. Does a bald head signify courage on the part of a woman? She is relying completely on her face. Is this a statement? Am I now considered to be a bold woman? All of these thoughts went through my mind. I tipped the barber well and exited the den of men.
My dear friend was notified about the business that kept me away from her phone call. Her shock was pure. While she loved the beauty of my head, the fact that I dared to do something without taking a minute or overanalyzing every angle was simply out of my character. As the responses poured in, it was clear that my head had a fan club. I now await word from….my mother.

My Change in Life: The Job is Coming to an End

When a woman speaks her mind, she is called an obscene word. This is an unfair label. Many of us are guilty of feeling one way and acting another. This is not only a lie to ourselves but to the other party. You can either be a blunt person that is very direct or a well behaved lady that gives the appearances of a nice cheery world.
Earlier this week, I was manipulated into doing something against my will in my workplace. When it came to my attention that the situation had spiraled into my superior’s office, something inside me snapped. After composing myself, the phone was handled with care as I calmly explained to the culprit that I had been disrespected. During the conversation, I realized how ignorant people are about what I do. There is a serious lack of professional courtesy. In truth, there is a need for a renaissance in the area of common sense.
While my health struggles to deal with such harsh slaps of reality, this final straw has shown me that my prayers for guidance have been answered. How long will I deal with poor health due to stress? How long will I live for weekends? My current work situation was already uncomfortable and now it has gotten even worse. As I reflect upon what my new life would entail, my true self begins to emerge.
I was told in 2009 that I do not like being told what to do. When this information was shared with me, it was confusing. A boss has always been in place for me to refer issues. As the years have progressed, this statement has become more and more evident in my life. I tire of having to bring the visions of others to life while mine lays dormant.
The idea of waking up in the morning and moving slowly appeal to me a great deal. A cup of tea as I walk barefoot on the ground prior to meditation is ideal. While people fight morning traffic, I want to stretch and listen to soft music. My day should not start at 8. It should start at 9 or ten at my leisure. It would be a joy to be able to go to the doctor without having to take an entire day off from work. Creating my new lifestyle based on my needs is a healing thought.
As my plan formulates, the universe is responding to my stronger vibration. Opportunities are beginning to drop from the sky. Friends have rallied their support across the board. It will be interesting to see where I am this time next year. I do not want to look back and wonder what if I had tried to do something else with myself. If I try and fail, at least I will be able to say that I tried.

New Moon Reflection

She spoke about her thriving life as she once knew it. It was complete with a new successful business and loving fiance. After the tragedies of 9/11, she lost everything in the death of her husband. It triggered a need to live without regret.
If I wait any longer to complete the career transition that I have wanted for so long, I run the risk of living of life filled with regret. It has been too long of a situation for me because of security. While I was groomed and put in a position of job safety, my health and happiness have both been sacrificed in the process. Another year has gone by and taken my age with it. If a move is not made now, the fear of retirement looms on the horizon without ever quenching the thirst for something more.

This is the moment when I have finally decided to take the plunge and try. Will the freelance life be for me?

The Cold Moon

I felt as if December was going to be an extremely busy month. All Circle activities were placed on hiatus so that I could focus solely on performances and other personal endeavors; that is code for a personal life. It has been a long time since the happy holiday month has been so wild with performances much to my delight. However, as the full moon approaches, there are some other effects that are taking place.
After a day of rehearsals and holiday parties, I settled in for a nice slumber. Unfortunately, it did not include sugar plum fairies. I was awake for so long that I decided to clean my house. There was a post on Facebook that spoke directly to me: “We have to accept that that sleeping patterns change during the full moon….”. All I could do was sigh. When it was time for me to resettle, strange dreams took over my mind. As the Heart Chakra song awakened me to a rather bitter dawn, it was evident that I needed a day off from work. Again. A full one this time. There was no need for me to subject myself to the bombarding noises of phone calls, talking, clicking, and bells. Instead I opted for breakfast at the Latin Cafeteria down the street. Afterwards, I prepared a nice spa bath for myself and it was absolutely lovely. A short nap took me into the afternoon. As the evening slowly approaches, I am beginning to turn my attention to performance matters yet again…and cramps. Where is the Alleve….and the Black Forest Cake…..

PASSION FINDING: WHAT IS THE FORMULA

What a winding road this can be. As a child, a sketchbook was my best friend. I also enjoyed writing in my journal and wrote a poem or two. Once in middle school, music took over my life, and my training as a serious concert pianist began and followed me through high school. A sciatic introduction made music school auditions impossible and the piano faded away as the healing of the harp bloomed. My parents gave me sage advice when they said that I may spend the rest of my life trying to find myself which is fine; however, in the meantime, get a degree in something that will pay my bills. That was almost ten years ago.

Even within my liberal arts field, I have worn different hats as well as dabbled in other types of work. My stint as a Middle Eastern Dance instructor at a womens’ shelter was one of the best jobs of my life. My career as a musician has taken me to places and given me experiences that never would have come my way had it not been for my musical studies. Because of all of the things that I have tried, different people have contributed to my growth as an individual.

I have been in a career transition mode for a few years now. After I found my spiritual muse in 2008, there was no turning back. I wanted to dedicate my life to this blending of knowledge and practices from around the world. There was a long period of time when there was no mention of this to anyone. That changed into a select few that understood my need for silence. Last year, it took on a life of its own as I realized the one thread of my life that was ever constant and unchanging: I believe in the power of a woman. It brought me a great deal of joy to discuss it with certain people; however, I did not see that more people needed to know about that delicious femenine energy and what it can do for the world. Last summer, a dear friend told me to take my excitement for empowering women to the next level. 2013 is still a baby and my fourth workshop is planned with travels for the circle in the near future. Why I have even been asked to lead a ceremonial circle at a local festival of the goddess.

My background affords me the opportunity to draw on my strengths to create healing experiences for people. I use the harp in special dance workshops to help align the chakras. As a Celestial Reader, I often play the harp for my clients so that they can feel closer to the angelic realm. Sometimes, a spirit guide will even request a performance. Why, I am even preparing for a Celestial Harpitation in a few weeks. This work makes me feel effective, thankful, and connected. All of this swirls around my head as I overlook the coming year.

What does the future entail? How will I continue to empower women while growing as an individual? I often seek my balance myself. There is a quote along the lines of I have never ventured into something grand feeling adequately prepared. Well, that fits me in a nutshell. How can I, a person without any background in gender studies be the one to take a stand for women? This was a concern of mine until I realized that I did not need the papers to undertake this mission. My life has given me the experience necessary to handle and appreciate such work. This blog chronicles many of my experiences that have given me the background to empathize with my sisters when I see the same cycle manifesting in their lives. So, I say that the future holds more circles. I say that I will be in Negril, Jamaica with sisters at my side enjoying the beach. I say that I will continue to follow the very things that I talk about; listen to my intuition and allow it to guide me. It is that force alone that will keep me grounded as I continue to evolve on this journey that I call my life.