Category Archives: Stories

Spiritual Direction

by Millie Mestril Parmer

Note:  I wrote this a year ago today.  I dreamed about this last night. I don’t know why. I suspect that my re-birthday is to blame! The lessons I learned from DEATH are just as intense and valuable as the ones I am learning from LIFE. I am not the same person I was a six months ago. I am not the same person I was when I returned from the ultimate space of LOVE. I continue to learn from this experience as intensely as I learn from living. I cannot tell you what to do. I cannot tell you how to live. You are the only one who knows what you need. I can only show you what I live through my spirituality and my humanness. After my awakening I promised myself that I would love as profoundly as I felt loved in that moment that I died. I swore I would bring that sense of divinity back and it’s been a constant reminder that in one second life can change. Do your self a favor and live like if you are dying. It won’t matter what you did a year ago, tomorrow or in ten years. I will forever be grateful for the guidance and the knowing that all I am and forever will be is the embodiment of true love. In the end that is truly all that matters…to me.  And here is the story:

In a few days it will be a year that I died in the emergency room. One minute I was having chest pains, the next paralysis and finally a moment of leaving and visiting the other realm. It took months of me finding grounding in my body. I felt like I could not fit. I couldn’t grasp returning to the human world. All fear and anxiety had disappeared. All dreams, expectations, and purpose fell to the roadside. Those things that caused constant worrying somehow seemed mundane. Living was mundane, without meaning. My poor fiance couldn’t deal with this new woman. My best friend was fearful that I would return to the world of the dead. It was a constant source of questions, “Are you okay? Do you feel alright? Do you need anything?” I cannot begin to imagine what they witnessed and how they felt through it all.

I would stand in the dead of winter watching the wind go through the trees. I could spend hours listening to the earth stretching, hearing colors, tasting the land like something from a metaphysical movie. Life was surreal. I couldn’t relate to this place when what I witnessed in those moments of meeting Spirit was the most magical experience I could ever imagine. And, for the skeptic in me, if it was my imagination then I would rather that other place over anything here on earth.

Spirituality is a personal facet of my life. It is a path that I try to move through while fully being present in my human form. I am not a religious person, but have studied several religions and philosophies throughout the years. I pick and choose from belief systems those things that feel right. Spiritual direction is for me to travel and often in a lonely manner because let’s face it, spirituality is personal. It is intimate. But, everything I had believed until January 15, 2014, was incorrect. I didn’t see Jesus Christ. I didn’t see Buddha. I didn’t see any of the great masters. I didn’t see a tunnel with loved ones waiting to walk me down the spiritual hall. I only saw love and light. I was engulfed in the warmth of universal ecstasy.  I was in the arms and presence of Source.

Those first three months of 2014 required a constant taste of humanity. I had more Spirit than Ego. I had more essence and love than ever before in my 46 years. I had more presence. I had an infinite amount of time. Although the days still had 24 hours I was able to stretch them into infinite space. I returned with a high pitch that became a meter for b.s. I could read people’s thoughts. I returned with so much love that I would cry just holding a book, a plant, my lover’s hands, my child’s words over a phone call, the cat purring, the dog placing his head on my lap, and anything that came into my space with any feelings. I had a really hard time connecting to my humanness. I had an impossible struggle feeling the hurt that people constantly carry in their hearts. Life is not meant to be such a struggle…but here we are pursuing the impossible with tenacity and hardness while forgetting to breathe the privilege of being alive. We have little gratitude for who we are and what we are meant to be…Divine Spirits having a human experience.

On March a close friend allowed me and my best friend to go stay in her brother’s home on the outer banks of North Carolina for a weekend. I walked the cold beach. Its vacancy allowed me to be again with the earth away from the freezing weather in the mountains. I wrote. I rested. I shared stories with my friend. We cooked. We danced. We walked by ourselves along shorelines. I was once again held by the grace of Spirit, not only for sustaining me through this return in human form, but for allowing me to want to stay here. I got another chance! I have had several of these in my lifetime. But, I had never returned from the Omnipotence presence of love.

Love transcends all. It sees no color, no race, no discrimination, no age, no faults, not a thing. Love sees you and me and this marvelous experience we get to call Life. And, when we embrace it with complete and utter compassion we are returned to a place of mysticism, mystery and the wisdom of time.

As months overlapped, new responsibilities took hold of me. I became more human again. It no longer takes me hours to fit my essence inside of my body. I wake naturally tugged in it. I have had struggles and questions and disappointments, but I’ve had grace and love guiding me along the way. I don’t know why I died. I don’t have those answers. I don’t have direction for another. I am reminded that I have to work on my own journey constantly finding a footing. I overlook things because ego is constantly monopolizing my rational brain. After dying I try to step back and allow the signs of spirit to guide me. Sometimes in seeking, fate hides all resources. We are forced to take new direction.

The other day I told a friend that I felt like there’s no way I could help another. If I can’t get my own crap spiritually aligned how do I give advice to another suffering from lack of direction? Then it came to me: spiritual direction is about allowing our higher self to find the answers. We reach in and find the truth from faith and intuition. I cannot guide you without you allowing your own guidance to align with your wishes. Somewhere inside you have all the answers. I will not tell you what you need…but I can give you examples of what has worked for me. I can hold your human hands while cradling your heart with a whisper, a touch, a sweet smile and let you know that you are not alone. That’s all I can offer you.

You have to let go in order to begin living. Living is a courageous act balancing the physical forms with the spiritual ones. Allow spirit to guide you. It’s always there. We are made from love, to love, and be love. Mucho love to you, darling!  Begin with loving yourself!

heart

The Dance of Love: An Introduction to Prayer

by Cheri Bianchini

My nursing career began at Stanford University Hospital in 1978 as a new graduate. I remained working in the surgical ICU for eight years, thoroughly immersed in the hospital culture, learning and growing at an exponential rate. In 1986, bittersweet as it was, I left Stanford to pursue a health related business of my own. Nine years later Stanford Hospital once again became my second home. My dear husband was diagnosed with terminal Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the only glimmer of hope was performing a bone marrow transplant.

It’s difficult to adequately articulate what it was like to be at the hospital, seeing it through the eyes of the patient rather than employed there as a nurse. Ignorance truly can be bliss. I wish I didn’t know so much about stage 4 metastatic disease, especially when our four-year-old asked if Daddy would die. The only comfort was being there among old friends, surrounded by the walls I knew so well, but the grief, sadness, fear, uncertainty and suddenness of the situation—watching my strapping husband wither away in just a few months—was shocking and surely the greatest pain I had ever experienced.

One evening, after weeks of sleeping on a flimsy little cot down on the Bone Marrow Transplant unit, I met a dietary employee in the cafeteria whom I hadn’t known before. His name was Curtis Dance. I was moving unconsciously through the food line with tray in hand just going through the motions. Surely I was looking forlorn and not at all present in my body, a common state for those facing a life threatening illness. Curtis first spoke to me from behind a pyramid of cantaloupe that he was arranging. He said, “I’ve seen you around here a lot lately. How are you doing? Is someone you love ill?” This stranger’s acknowledgement and concern for me instantly touched my heart and brought me back to the present moment.

I told him about my husband. Gently, he touched my hand and said, “Just pray.” I began to cry and told him I didn’t know how to pray, or that my prayers were not being heard. Right there in the cafeteria, separated only by the fruit slices he had arranged, Curtis Dance and I exchanged communion. He patted my hand, saying, “Would you like me to show you how to pray?” He came around from behind the food station and sat next to me at a quiet table. There he suggested I imagine myself sitting on a bench with God seated right next to me and to just… “Start talking.” The love, warmth, and encouragement that exuded from this angel in disguise were intense and profound for me. Those brief minutes spent with Curtis were better than a year of church services. His eyes told of hope and belief.

Every time I saw his adorable little face on return visits to the cafeteria, he gave me a reassuring wink and a thumbs-up gesture as continued support. I will be forever grateful to this man, who put his tray of fruit down to help out a fellow human being in a moment of need.

My dear husband Jerry died in my arms in December of 1995. We held his funeral service at Stanford Memorial Church, the same site in which we had been married 14 years before. The pain of life without him was immense but seeing our little girl, who looks just like her Daddy, I have to smile. Fortunately I had that beautiful daughter for comfort because the heartache of loss continued.

Shortly after Jerry’s passing, both his parents and my father died. My dog of 20 years and my 18-year-old cat also departed. I grieved for them no differently than I would a family member. During this 4-year period, both my Godparents, with whom I spent a lot of time, passed away. I cared for my mom while she suffered the ravages of terminal breast cancer. It took a major toll on my heart and I will always miss her. I felt like “Chicken Little” with the sky falling, so overwhelmed with grief.
Believe it or not my brushes with death continued. Not once but on two separate occasions as I was driving down the winding mountain road on which I live, I came upon car accidents that proved fatal. In both cases, I held the men’s hands as they took their last breath.

Why do I tell you these tales of woe? Because, if it were not for Curtis Dance and his primer on how to pray, I’m not sure I would have endured this period of my life. Curtis would be proud of me. I don’t simply have chats with God, as he had once taught me; we have whole discussions and dialogues that span weeks on end.
I subscribe to no particular organized religion and don’t follow a set doctrine. The simple act of speaking to a higher power in conversation form has proven beneficial to me. I have grown in my spiritual belief so devoutly and live with much grace in my life. I have nursed the sick and been in attendance at the deaths of many people. Prayer has always been an important ingredient in those moments. I will forever remain appreciative of Curtis Dance for his compassion and wisdom.

One never knows the number of lives that are influenced by a single action.
Life doesn’t always introduce us to the people we want to meet. Sometimes, life puts us in touch with the people we need to meet. Thank you Curtis for the love.

XOXO

Portrait of Christ

by Welles B Goodrich

There is a truism approaching cliché status. It reminds us that as each day unfolds we may be presented with experiences beyond our wildest dreams. There was no way I could begin to imagine a single event which changed, defined and gave direction to my entire life more than 35 years ago.

It was an incredibly beautiful spring morning. A storm had just swept through Northern California leaving a cleansed atmosphere sparkling with vitality. At the time, I was experimenting with observing the atmospheric energy that had been described and named by Wilhelm Reich. The positively crystalline air would yield excellent conditions for observing Orgone energy that day so I set off, walking and hitchhiking, to spend a day at the beach expecting to gain further understanding through prolonged observation of my then current semi-scientific fascination.

A little contextual digression is in order here. For some years I had been studying, no inhaling, spiritual and mystical texts as well as studying unusual technological avenues of exploration. A short and very incomplete list might include Madame Blavatsky, Alice Bailey’s complete works, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Immanuel Velikovsky, Carlos Castaneda, Wilhelm Reich and, still a favorite, John Allen Boone. I would experiment with some of the ideas found in my studies to see if they were real … or not. One belief I held dear but had never realized was the ability to actually move back and forth between planes of existence. Ok, it was pure escapism but I believed it at the time. Back to my story … .

Specifics of my early morning’s walk and hitchhike adventure are lost now that some of my memory of that day has faded a bit. There remains a vague recollection of getting a ride to a tiny hamlet from which I decided to walk the rest of the way to the beach. My concentration was focused on the observing Orgone fields convinced that I was watching energy emerge into this physical world from a higher energy state into our denser one. I also harbored the notion that a lengthy period of intense study might help establish a basis for the light bulb of inspired comprehension to light up. My observations were so all encompassing I wasn’t really watching the roads and to this day don’t know exactly where I was. After all, I would get to the beach eventually and be able to find my way home from there.

As the walk continued I began to experience a gradual sensation of feeling the flow of energy that makes up this physical earth. Walking around a slight bend brought me to an overgrown driveway across which was a rusty, old-fashioned, sagging gate made of bent pipe and wire mesh. It led up to a tree-topped rise on which sat an abandoned, decrepit farmhouse. There were two gateposts framing that driveway which stood a good twelve feet in the air. Between them, at the top, was an arched rusted metal sign that announced I was looking at “Spirit Bridge Farm.” I seem to remember there were five stars on either side of the name. Upon seeing that sign, the sensation of experiencing the energy that was creating physical reality around me increased dramatically. I looked up the long drive at that abandoned farmhouse on the knoll and was sure I could feel a remnant pattern of the life and love that had once flourished so vibrantly in it.

Around another curve in the road were a couple of farm hands working in a field quite a ways off. They must have been a quarter mile away. I had never met them and yet I knew them! I could feel the energy of their personalities at that distance. They looked up and waved. I waved back with the conviction that we recognized one another. It was my last memory of earthly reality that morning.

Words fail to capture the sensation of being transported from a physical form into the spiritual. Turning inward to expand outward was a Klein bottle experience. During the process I was given glimpses of a montage of worlds and beings of all sorts. There was only enough time to obtain a fleeting but lasting impression that the universe in which we live is full of life and a tremendous variety of beings. The rush of that cinematic flash culminated in a silent shout of victory. My whole being shouted, “I MADE IT!” This was followed so closely by a second embarrassed utterance that it might have been a single sentence. “Oops.”

Oops was the reaction to a timeless moment during which a number of simultaneous perceptions and realizations occurred. First among them was the sense of ‘looking’ outward with spiritual eyes, not material. I beheld a Being of unbelievable glory whose form was golden light that extended throughout the Universe. My human senses were still trying to make the experience comprehensible to a little physical being. That’s why I saw a pair of the most all-knowing eyes at the heart of the Being’s form. They shone with such compassion and understanding that I was overwhelmed with gratitude. The warmth and love didn’t diminish the reality that He saw every nuance of my pathetic little human nature with all the foibles, weaknesses and ugly little hidden secrets.

At the moment of Oops, my own form seen with my ‘spiritual eyes’ was a little single mote of white light living in the vicinity of my heart. Surrounding that was a vague remnant of my human body; a radiant shadow is how I perceived it. Among those realizations was the awareness that I hadn’t “Made It” at all but this experience was a gift. There was another being, a messenger if you will, who had actually done the task of lifting me out of my material form so that I might be presented to that radiant Being. The whole experience lasted a moment and an eternity. Briefly time stopped and yet I know that seems to be a contradiction of terms.

Oops also signaled the beginning of a return passage which barely left more than a blur with no distinct memory. I found myself back in my physical shell once more but it was sitting in a full lotus on a beach with the waves lapping within inches of my knees. Evidently I had either been ‘walked’ or transported to the beach toward which I had headed in the morning. It was later in the afternoon; six or seven hours had passed during the seconds of subjective time that the event lasted. Neither before this occasion nor after have I ever sat in a full lotus. It was a brilliantly planned pose, though, for it communicated perfectly to passers-by Do Not Disturb.

Upon return to my physical form I was experiencing a sensation of bliss or rapture beyond anything I’ve ever felt before or since. Were I to take the feeling of joy and wonder from one of my few major moments of inspiration and multiply it by twenty or even a hundred times, it still might not approach the state I was in. The first conscious memory after the return, other than my physical location and position, was seeing two young girls pass by on an otherwise almost deserted stretch of beach. In my state of bliss I could see they were quite ordinary and very plain girls and yet they appeared to be incredibly beautiful for my eye could still see the spirit somewhat. As they walked away from me the taller of the two sort of flipped her thumb back over her shoulder in a pointing motion and said, “We’d better send someone back for him.” With that chuckle echoing through my soul somehow I made it home. How, I’ll never know.

That sense of rapture stayed with me for months although it did subside eventually. Returning to normal haunts left me blessed but bewildered. I had no ideas, no mental framework to interpret what had happened. In the first day or so back it seemed evident that I couldn’t expect anyone else to begin to understand, as I didn’t myself. Then the wonder continued. Somehow I was introduced to The Urantia Book. In my first reading I inhaled the text in thirty days straight, reading as much as sixteen hours a day. My need to give meaning to the experience was intense. In some ways it was the hardest work I’d ever performed. The first two hundred pages on God and the attributes of God seemed impenetrable. They took ten whole days to get through with only a vague sense of understanding at the end. What that effort did do was to stretch my mind so that the subsequent descriptions of the Universes became increasingly comprehensible.

When I read of the nature of the Creator Son whom we know as Christ it seemed clear to me that for some reason I was given an audience before Him. It was not because of any personal virtue, of that I’m sure. I suspect it was simply because I was able to handle it without going off the deep end and would some day be able to tell the story and create an illustration to try share the experience. I’ve done the best I can to do so.

You see, I’m convinced that in the near future an experience similar to the one I had will be provided for everyone on this earth. Why? Well I have to use the conceptions provided by The Urantia Book. A long time ago a being named Lucifer went into rebellion. He basically fell in love with himself. He proposed that there was no Creator, although admitting the reality of the Creator Son (Christ). The philosophy he espoused was that progress was not best served by Love that strives to nurture all, even the lesser beings. It was too slow a process. Instead he promoted a concept that was claimed to speed up evolution. It was sort of a ‘natural order’ of things wherein supposedly more brilliant souls would dominate the weaker and, oh yes, glorify themselves as well in the process.

The Earth was one of a small number of worlds to embrace Lucifer’s revolutionary but false philosophy of domination for self-glorification. As a result we are in dire straights. One of the mysteries of Creator Sons is that they must live a single life as each of the major types of creatures who exist in their universe to completely gain empathy with their own creation. Our Creator Son chose the Earth, whom the rest of His Universe calls Urantia on which to live his final incarnation prior to gaining complete regency over his own creation. Our little, fairly insignificant dirt ball was chosen because it was one of the hardest hit by the Lucifer rebellion and desperately needed the revelation of Love.

I don’t actually know but feel that it is nearly time for Christ to return. My experience leads me to believe that He will lift all human beings into spirit before long. By that revelation each person will have a sense of their own spiritual nature and be able to more clearly see their path to embrace Love after directly experiencing the presence of the Creator of their universe.

Should you believe me? No, not really. You can’t go wrong being skeptical, I always say. Why, then, am I writing? I did have the experience described in this little story and I do believe my conclusions. Reading this description of my experience may help you to more fully embrace your meeting with Christ, should that transpire, instead of recoiling inwardly in fear. Until then I’d suggest mentally labeling this tale as an unusual anecdote.

For a PDF version of this story and the accompanying image, please visit Chutzpah Galleries.