We all want to be happy, right? Of course. I have created my life and my work around the idea of happiness.
And happiness is “pretty”, it looks good, a smile “increases your face value”…
In a personality assessment I took as part of a job years ago, I was told that one of my highest values was “aesthetics”. In other words, it is very important to me for things—and for me—to be “pretty”.
A friend once told me that I like for everything to be “pretty”. That is literally the word she used. She said, “You want everything to be pretty. And you don’t like XYZ, because that’s not pretty.”
More recently, my therapist has helped me to understand that, because of my upbringing, I regard negative feelings as “ugly” and therefore unacceptable. Positive feelings are, conversely, “pretty”.
And I do love pretty things, which is part of why I am always dressed cute, with my hair and nails and makeup just so, and why I love clothes and interior design and movies with lush cinematography.
My husband is very intuitive about people, their personalities and their emotions. And he can peg me in my anger or sorrow or feelings of inadequacy every time.
Well, dang. Ya caught me.
And you know what?
I hate that.
I hate being transparent.
I hate not being able to control what you see about me.
I hate my own fear that, if there is something in my mind or heart that isn’t “pretty”, you might know it. And then you won’t like me.
Brilliant sociologist and thought-leader Brené Brown says that shame comes from the fear that, if someone knew or even suspected a “not-pretty” thing about you, you would not be allowed to belong. You would be rejected.
And community and connection are what we humans are all about. It is a biological fact that we need one another. Early humans rarely survived for long by themselves. Like wolves and apes, we instinctively crave communion with others of our kind.
And now I get to my own Ugly Truth, and if you reject me, I’m gonna have to figure out how to live with that:
I am not perfect. I am not always happy. I am not always pretty. My feelings are not always something I feel proud of. There are aspects of my life—what I do and have, or don’t do or have—that I feel shame about.
But here’s my big problem: it’s not only important to me personally that my life be pretty. My being happy—or “pretty”—is vital to my work, my mission in life, and what I believe and understand to be my destiny.
Specifically, how can I inspire you if I am not happy most of the time?
How can I serve you if I don’t have it all figured out?
How can I guide you to be happier if I am not utterly, perfectly, and “prettily” happy all the time?
Those are hard questions for me. Oh, sure, I know you’ll “forgive” me for having a negative thought. You’ll understand that I am not perfect—nobody is, right?
But it is so important to me to be such a shining, brilliant example of joy and beauty and how great life can be that I am loathe to let you know that there’s anything about me that isn’t “pretty”.
And honey, I gotta admit, there’s plenty.
I struggle with my closest relationships and communication within them.
I am still learning how to feel like I am acceptable (and how to function without loads of anxiety) as an ADHDer in a neurotypical world—the revelation of which I came to very late in life. And that is a whole other “not-pretty” thing in itself, which I will spare you right now.
I worry about money. No, I don’t worry about how I’m going to eat, but I do worry about paying for things I want, and how I am going to take care of myself and others I love if I don’t make enough money. And there are many things and experiences that I want very dearly that I don’t have the money for today.
I often feel like a failure in one or more areas of my life, sometimes in all of them.
And, although I have worked hard to banish shame (because it tried to kill me!, but I will save that for another time), it still rears its ugly head from time to time. Like right now. I don’t know if I will ever be able to show this essay to anyone. At least not without enormous trepidation.
Worst of all, I’m afraid that, if I don’t show up for you all rich and doing all the Richie Rich things, you won’t be inspired to make your life “pretty” too.
Go figure–even MoJo gets the blues.
P.S. Here’s a little disclaimer to wrap this up, lest you think I am on the verge of tears or worse:
Much of my life experience has been and continues to be beyond pretty.
I really do consciously manifest what I want, love, and enjoy.
There are many aspects of my Self that I love and adore and feel confident about.
I love and am loved by many beautiful people.
I have had tons of experiences that have enriched my life and given me pleasure and happiness.
I know, at least on a conscious level, that I do belong.
I am very confident in Destiny and my place in the world, even though I can sometimes be shy about “letting my light shine”.
I know in my heart that I am here to help a few or several or thousands of people to be and do and have “pretty” in their lives too.
And, finally, I love that I have the privilege to do the work I do, even when I feel like I’m “not pretty right now”.
First of all, I assure you, your RIP (loved one who has passed away) is definitely all right, okay, happy, fine and dandy, carefree, out of pain, and all around copacetic.
Some of the answers I get from RIPs are similar to the answers from others. For example, many heavenly folks tell me some variation of “Heaven was everything I hoped it would be.” Many answers vary widely, such as the former police officer, whose answer to his wife’s question about what he did in Heaven was, “You’re not going to like this–I ride motorcycles.” (I assured my client that, in spite of her not wanting him to do that in life, he was perfectly safe in doing so.)
One lady announced joyfully, “I get to teach like I always wanted to!” Some have indicated that they take classes. One of my best friends in Heaven went to “special ops” training (he was in the military in life), and usually appears to be helping other souls in Heaven do whatever they need to do, along with guiding some living people, myself included. One woman, whose son died young, showed me her son beside her in Heaven, and asked me, “Have you met my little boy?”
Many people seem to “hang out” with others who have passed, often just one person with whom they had a connection of some kind in life. I see many mother/daughter duos, as well as husband/wife, brother/sister, etc. Sometimes, they are in groups of three, but I seldom see large groups of souls hanging out. Still, I’m often told they “play bridge” or “play golf” or other activities that would seem to involve others, so I can’t tell you for sure about the size of groups.
One man told me that he was surprised that Heaven wasn’t “more churchy”. He apparently expected streets paved with gold and constant worship of God, which is not what he discovered. He wasn’t disappointed–on the contrary, he was delighted by Heaven–but he was surprised, because he had been a devout Christian all his life.
Which brings me to this shocking revelation. Are you ready for it?
No one in Heaven, not one RIP, has ever said one word to me about God, Jesus, Mother Mary, the Holy Spirit, Buddha, Muhammad, Moses, Abraham, saints, prophets, Roman gods, pagan gods, or any other entity associated with a religion. Ever.*
Now. You might argue that because I, Susan, am not religious, the RIPs wouldn’t mention it to me. But what if their living loved ones are religious? Many of my clients are. In fact, I would say a majority at least believe in God. Wouldn’t their RIPs use me as a medium to give them religious information? That’s what a medium does–passes on information. I don’t have anything to do with what the Heavenly Ones say to their living loved ones. And for those clients who are religious, don’t you think they would be comforted and awed by learning that their RIP was holding hands with Jesus or meeting with God every day?
Also, I was raised Christian (half Presbyterian, half Baptist, if you’re counting), and am very well-versed in Christianity and the Bible. Why not tell me about it?
As of this writing, a friend’s wife is dying of cancer. For weeks now, her Facebook page has been flooded with prayers and mentions of God, Jesus, “Our Lord and Heavenly Father”, etc. Of course. I would never discourage any of that. I know the people who posted these things are giving love to the dying woman in their very best and most loving words. And I know she appreciated it tremendously while she was still conscious, and probably now that she isn’t. Prayer is very powerful, whether there is a Jesus or not.
I also feel that religion has its place and that believers are perfectly right to believe. I have my own beliefs and hope that they are respected.
I have offered up prayers myself, as is my wont, although I don’t feel that I am praying to the “church God”, rather to the love and source energy of the universe. It’s an energy, not a being.
So what does this mean? Is there no God? No Jesus? No Moses?
I’ll refer you to this message I channeled some time ago, when a client asked who her angels and guides were. There was a mention of an archangel or saint, and this is germane:
“You mentioned that you think of the archangel because of being born on that celebration day. He is a human creation, although there is nothing wrong with the idea of him. His energy, as believed by human beings, exists, just not quite as people make him to be. He is not a person with wings! For example.”
And that is the answer I can offer as explanation – the energy of each entity exists, but that energy is not human. It is energetic in nature, and maybe it’s something we cannot yet fully understand.
Now. Comment away. What do you think? How do you feel?
*(There do seem to be helper spirits, that I call angels, but that is another topic for another day.)
“God is in the ‘unknowing’. Be glad of what you don’t know,
because that is where God is, that is where the magic happens.
“It’s in the curiosity,
the desire to know —-that is where creation occurs.”
A dear family friend passed away recently. He was the patriarch of a family that I grew up with, even though they lived in another state. The night before I was to leave town for his funeral, I asked him how he was doing in Heaven. He came forward willingly and we chatted a little. Then he gave me this quote. He stayed with me until I memorized it. Then I went to sleep.
In the morning, I wrote it down and posted it on Facebook. I sent it personally via text to a family member, who was moved to tears by it, because it meant something very personal to him. So I had to make a meme of it.
At the very end of the reading, I asked the client, is there anything else you need to know?
She said, “Just if there is anything else, maybe that I don’t even know to ask.”
I felt around psychically, like I do, and got a clear picture of a button AND the WORD “button”. I told her about that, then added,
“It could be a name.
Yes, is there someone at your work who is called button?”
Yes. Yes, there is. And the person’s LAST NAME is BUTTON.
I am crapping you negative.
What the heck? How bizarre is this ability that I have been blessed with?
One of the questions a lot of people ask me is, “How do you receive information?”
Maybe you’ve heard of the “clairs”:
I am all of those psychic “clairs” and more. But I find it is easier to understand when I just say it like I feel it.
I see pictures in my mind’s eye. If I told you to close your eyes and picture… oh, the first school you went to, you would conjure up that image, right? (I know that not everyone is good at visualization, but I do think you’ll understand what I mean.)
That’s how it is when I am working, except I am not coming up with the pictures–they are being put there. By whom? Well, first, the people who have passed away and are now in heaven, my clients’ RIPs.
Besides their pictures, the other ones come from… I honestly don’t know. I like to think they are from the clients’ angels/guides and mine, but maybe they are straight out of the clients’ memories or from the energy of the objects and people they have known. Or somewhere/someone else.
I also “hear” in my “mind’s ear”, in the same way you might get a song stuck in your head. And I get feelings, and “movies” play in my head, and many times, I just have thoughts that turn out to be pertinent.
Many years of practice have allowed me to interpret these images, words, thoughts, movies, and feelings. It’s been a long time since I have had to ask those Powers That Be (angels/guides, energy, etc.) to help me understand what they are showing me.
But HERE IS WHAT IS SO IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND:
I can’t do any of it without a living person to pull it through. The clients always help me figure out what these messages mean to THEM.
Yes, I can and do often talk to my own Powers That Be, and that is when I pull energy and information through myself–or I will focus on someone else. (And yes, there are also times when I have a dream or other vision that comes to me unbidden.)
But this kind of work is very collaborative, and that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? We are all working together to learn what we came here to learn and to get the messages we need, as well as to help everyone around us get their own messages.
An elaborate and intricate tapestry, that’s what it is. Namaste.
You know about Vision Boards, right? I think they were more popular a few years ago than now, but they are still around. Featured in “The Secret” and about a gazillion teachers’ and gurus’ blogs, Vision Boards are a manifestation tool that simply put your dreams on paper, in visible form. Supposedly, doing this allows your dreams to manifest into reality. There are hundreds of stories of people’s visions coming to fruition, thanks to putting those visions onto boards.
Awhile back, I decided to create my annual Vision Board for New Year’s in a digital format. Instead of poster board and pictures and words cut from magazines, I designed a pretty version in Pic Monkey, an online photo-editing application. (www.picmonkey.com) Here is the second digital Vision Board I created, for 2016.
Then, in November, 2015, I had a new idea: Shrink that baby down to wallet size! I used a 3×5 index card (mine is unruled), created a little border, gave it a title, and proceeded to fill in all the words that described what I wanted out of that title. I admit, I am a Word Nerd, so this is really easy for me. You may need pictures–maybe you can draw little pictures on your Vision Card. (Here is more information about the Vision Card. It includes a story about a Vision Board I made that came true.)
And here is what is super-cool: They work! Apparently, when it comes to manifestation, size doesn’t matter! My fiance, Don, and I just moved. This move has been pretty different from what we had originally expected. We listed our condo for sale back in October or November, just before I created my “our home” Vision Card. I was already shopping online for houses in one of Houston’s suburbs, and I was getting great ideas about what I wanted when we moved. I got really specific about it on my Vision Card, titled “Our Home”.
Fast forward six months, and we have just moved into our new apartment. That’s right, not a house, as we expected. The buyers were in a hurry, so we didn’t have the time we needed to find a new house and get closed before they needed to take possession of the condo. We decided to rent an apartment for six months and then buy a house. Well. Here we are. We found an apartment that we love. Both of us are just crazy about it!
And here’s the Big Happy: Almost everything on that Vision Card is a part of this new home. The few things that are missing we don’t miss too much–and we can save those for the next home. We are already talking about staying here longer than our one-year lease. Yes, it’s that good.
I know you are ready to run right out and make up your own Vision Cards. Happy Visioning!
My step-mother, Jean, passed away in January, 2016, after a long illness. My father was her primary care-giver, so her passing, in addition to bringing great sorrow, was a relief, not only to her, but also to my dad and all the family.
In the days following my step-mom’s death, I attempted to contact her. At first, I was just walking to my car and reached out to say a tentative hello. She answered that she would be happy to talk to me later, but she was really busy at the moment. I told my dad and my step-sister. They exchanged a smile and said simultaneously, “Paperwork!”
Later, I had a quiet moment to ask if I could visit with Jean. She showed up in a garden filled with flowers. She wore the pink dress she wore when she married my dad, almost 30 years prior, and she perched gracefully on a swing whose ropes were entwined with spring blossoms. She smiled at me. “Have you met my little boy?” she asked me, gesturing to the six-year-old blond boy standing beside her.
(My step-brother, Ed, passed away in 1995. I believe that six years old must have been her favorite age for Ed. I also believe that she actually died of a broken heart–it just took twenty years to kill her.)
I asked how she was doing and if she had anything for me to relay to my father. She said everything was wonderful and she was really happy there in her garden. Then, she held out a pink evening primrose, known colloquially as a buttercup, which is a pretty little wildflower that grows, along with bluebonnets and a wide array of other blooms, all over Texas in the spring. She pushed it toward me, and I felt like I was watching her on a screen. The buttercup came toward the camera and filled the frame. Jean said, “Be sure to tell your daddy about this. It’s very important.” (She always referred to my dad as “your daddy” when she talked to me.)
I recounted all of this to my dad, who listened enrapt. At the end, I asked, “Does the buttercup mean something to you?” He shook his head. “No. I can’t think of a thing.”
“Don’t worry,” I told him. “It will mean something.”
In the last long and dreary months of her life, Jean had directed my dad in constructing a garden in their backyard. He knew nothing about gardens and flowers, but she told him what would look good and how to get it done. She loved flowers. I’ve often sat in that garden with my dad, both before and after Jean’s passing, enjoying the fruits of her designs.
Daddy and I both thought that maybe buttercups would grow in that garden in the spring that followed, and that would be the message from Jean that my dad was craving. Spring came early and flowers bloomed, but no buttercups appeared in Jean’s garden at my dad’s house.
Every once in awhile, I would ask, “Have you seen the buttercup yet?” No, no buttercups yet. And I would assure him again, “Don’t worry. You’ll find it.”
One day in March, Daddy drove up into East Texas to do some work. (Yes, he still works at 80 years old! Drives too!) He was enjoying his “new life”, one unburdened by care-giving in which he was free to work and play and make his way, and he was wise enough to appreciate it without guilt. The bluebonnets, Texas’ token flower, distributed across the state thanks to efforts by our First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, decades ago, were in full glory. The azaleas were past their peak, but the other wildflowers were making their way amongst the grasses and bluebonnets, as well.
Daddy came to a curve in the highway, and there was a tall embankment in front of him as he approached it, filling his windshield, just as Jean’s buttercup had filled my vision. It was blanketed in wildflowers. He saw how beautiful it was and thought, “This has been painted just for me by the Loving Artist. This is my New Life, full of wonder and opportunity and love.”
And then he saw it. Nestled amongst the bluebonnets, unmistakably and insistently blooming, there grew a two-foot circle of pink blossoms–solid buttercups.