Follow the Path

IMG_1841Have you ever experienced a time in your life that had too many coincidences to ignore? lately, i’d say within the last month, it has happened to me, again.

Sherlock Season 3, episode 2 ‘Sign of Three’

Mycroft Holmes, “Oh, Sherlock, what do we say about coincidence?” Sherlock,”…Universe is rarely so lazy”

i will try to relay the tale of this path i am on-without sounding crazier than you already believe me to be. i prefer books over television. i grew up with three channels ABC, CBS & PBS. when i grew too old for PBS children’s programing, the only thing left for me to watch was Walter Cronkite. i thought i was related to him.

so i began to read books. at the age of 12 i began reading all of my mother’s fiction, my father had a large collection of the Harvard Classics, some i attempted. (“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”) i finished every book on their shelves. (when i was older, i told my mother i read her copy of “Fear of Flying” at the age of 15. my mom said, “OMG!!!, that is a filthy, dirty book…i cannot believe you read THAT“) i read my twin brother’s comic book collection & began my own. proud to say i’ve been an x-men fan since 1984 AND Wolverine was/is my favorite still. (Snow helps to bury the geeks in Vermont)

i tried the Montpelier Public Library, but ghosts wandered the old building, usually disapproving of my choices. Perhaps the ghosts were Puritans & any book in hand was sinful. it was way too creepy for me to go check out books there. although i would talk myself back into it, hoping it may have changed. nope, books smelled of mold & neglect, the pages yellowed with age, even if they had been release the same year, (Perhaps books that ended up in this library died of depression to yellow so quickly) the bindings would scream in protest as you tried to open them. Montpelier Public library surprised me because winters are so cold & so damn long. most of Montpelier residents hibernate during winter, we had little desire to go outside after turning 10 years of age…i would have thought we should have a library akin to the Library of Congress to ward off the cabin fever that sets in halfway through our 6 month winter. However, we did have three book stores, two on Main Street (Bear Pond Books was/is one) & a used bookstore on Langdon Street. i, however, was penniless.

to be a reader, you have to be raised by one, i think. i remember my mother in flannel nightgown, puffed up like a hot air balloon, while standing over the heating vent, reading a book. i was so jealous of what ever was so fascinating in the pages w/o pictures.

when i moved to Birmingham, Alabama-i found their libraries to be like the bookstores. i found 5 books to check out…and they LET ME walk out with them. FREE! well, sort of. i’ve lived in Birmingham for over twenty years & over the course of time, i’ve probably paid over $1,000 in overdue fees.

this problem-overdue fees, is now over. i have an app called Overdrive that connects me to all Jefferson County libraries. the downside is we now have shitty internet connection, so it takes forever for the blue bar to cross the screen, of my iPad, after every.single.step. the blue line is indicating, (i hear an old ladies voice, “iiiii’mm coooommming, beeeeee thereeee in aaaaa miiiiiiiiiinute.”)  i am allowed 10 books at a time. i have no patience whatsoever (just ask my parents) so i do NOT read what the book is about, i chose them by the photo/drawing & title of the book. quite simply, i judge a book by its cover. its kind of easy this way b/c i read a few “pages” in & if the writer sucks–delete.IMG_1852

the title of this rambling post is titled “Follow the Path” because due to coincidences & faith…i’m following without question. i had this experience before & i resisted. this time, i did/have not.

the first book was titled, “The Third Secret” by Steve Berry. the book is fiction, based on fact. Visits from Madonna to peasant children…the story is a good one. the Author was raised as a Catholic & was fascinated by these visions these peasant girls had experienced…the book is about the Vatican & the secrets it can hold. a fun read. Fiction based on some facts.

the second book was titled, “The lost Symbol” by Dan Brown. easy, easy read, i had read it before, but something was giving me the feeling i should read it again. it speaks of mysticism & what might happen to the soul, is there a soul,  Masons & Washington DC. a fun read. I bought it for my 12 year old son to read as a Hanukkah gift. He loves to read too. again, fiction based on some facts.

the third book was titled, “The Jericho Deception” by Jeffrey Small. Which is fiction based on a wee bit of fact. in the story there are two scientists trying to find the part of the brain that makes 90% of the human population believe in some type of GOD. Which is true. there has to be a reason most humans believe there is something larger then ourselves at work, because human beings have held this belief since the bringing of us. the book poses an interesting question: page 162

“…why, if the nuns’ and monks’ mystical experiences originate from the same brain activity are their religions so different?”

“Such insightful questions!” Elijah said as he walked to his desk, opened a drawer, and pulled out a four-inch-tall glass pyramid. He held it up so that the light streaming in from the window passed through the glass, casting a color spectrum on the wood floor.

“A Prism?” Rachel asked. (anyone who knows me, i love playing with light)

“Imagine for a moment that the divine, by whatever name we may call it-God, Allah,Yahweh, Nirvana-is like the electromagnetic spectrum, like the sunlight that passes into the prism. As finite creatures, we cannot see the light in its full spectrum. Humans, for example, only see small portion of this spectrum that we call visual light. Now imagine how we view our lives through each of our own lenses:  prisms shaped by who we are, where we come from, the languages we speak, the time we live in, and what we are taught to believe.” He pointed to the rainbow of colors dancing across the floor.  “So you might look at the light through your prism and see blue while i see Yellow through mine…”

Dear Diary, are you bored yet? i have more to share…

More of “the Jericho deception” page 251.  the first words spoken are by a Monk to a Jordanian Muslim Orthopedic surgeon named Mousa…

“Just because we cannot understand God’s Plan does not mean He doesn’t have one, Brother. Just look at the incredible…that is the universe we live in. How can there not be a plan?” (the Monk is saying this)

He (Mousa) weighed his response. Ever since he had taken up an interest in science as a young man-before he’d even though of becoming a doctor-he’d begun to question the meaning of Allah. If Allah could just tinker with the world at will, then what meaning did the scientific laws have? Everything in his world, from televisions to airplanes, worked without exception because of a fixed, unchanging scientific principles, not divine intervention. On the other hand, if Allah was only a creator deity who formed the universe and the laws behind it, but then left it to run itself, then why even believe in such a remote God? When he was seventeen and had finally gathered up the nerve to express his questions to his physics teacher, his teacher had given him a book of writings by the seventeenth-century scholar Mulla Sadra.  That book had changed his spiritual life.

Mousa chose his words carefully. “Maybe our problem is in thinking about God as a supernatural being.”

The young priest cocked his head.”But how else does God have meaning? How else can we account for existence?”

“What if, Father”-he found it strange to address a man two decades his junior as Father, but he respected their customs–“we see God not as an all-powerful, Zeus-like figure, but as something greater than a being? What if God is the essential source of being itself?”

The priest scrunched up his brow. “I’m not sure I see how that works”

How did he explain what was impossible to explain? What was beyond words, beyond symbols, beyond understanding? Then he recalled an explanation his physics teacher had used after young Mousa had returned from reading Mulla Sadra filled with questions.

“Take snowflakes.”

“Huh?”

Mousa knew the metaphor was imperfect, as all such talk of Allah must be, but he tried to explain. “Think of each of us as a snowflake. Each snowflake is a unique individual with its own distinct, crystallized structure”

The young priest thought for a minute and then said, “So you see God as the cloud that produces the snowflakes?”

He shook his head. “What if God is more like the water that makes up the snowflake? The water is not only responsible for the existence of the snowflake, it also links each individual snowflake with every other snowflake-each is unique yet each shares its essence in an eternal connection with the others”IMG_1840

the amazing thing about fiction is–an author can pose his own questions of his faith or another’s without criticism from an offended religious person. so by this third book, i am seeing so many dots connecting by different authors based on the same questions we all hold, but at the same time fear the answers…

i bought a record player from Amazon. i needed a record to play when  amazon delivered it. i avoided eye contact with all of the books. i looked at my feet. i have a mighty weakness for the written word. & because i can get them for free from the library without effort, well, i do suffer from impatience…as i followed my daughter to the back of Barnes & Noble…the center of the store filled with tables, tables covered in thousands of books. i refuse to meet there covers.

BUT then, like someone snapped their fingers over a book, then made it somehow brighter then the ones beside it…i already know i’m on a path & i’m going to follow it.

The title of the book was, “Proof of Heaven- A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” by Eben Alexander, MD.

Really?! I have to read this? If the statement is true, than why didn’t everyone know of this book? i thumb through & my eyes caught this,”I’m a neurosurgeon.” he majored in Chemistry @ University of South Carolina at Chapel Hill. MD earned at Duke, residency at both Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard…it goes on forever. brilliant guy…and i thought, & a brave one. To dare confront the medical community, the SCIENTIFIC community, of an AFTER LIFE, & thus a SOUL?

I read it in four hours. So much of what he says is familiar with other words i’ve read, in fiction. I understood why it wasn’t as FAMOUS as it SHOULD BE…it is because PEOPLE are so afraid that our personal beliefs will be invalidated. But, I promise you this–no matter one’s religion-this story he dares to share with us, will only strength your personal beliefs. After reading it, it felt as though, i now had a safe place to land…

IMG_1843

i want to share a moment of my life, that was beyond my understanding. Something so powerful, i tucked it away for safe keeping. But it is difficult for me to keep this event tucked away…i wanted to understand what it was. And this Path i’ve been following, i honestly believe is the answer as to what it was that was so…awesome. Yup, i know, you’re thinking i’m crazy–but i know i am, which makes me not 🙂

in 2007 a surgeon at Huntsville Hospital in Alabama…broke my pelvis. he was supposed to remove my left sacroiliac joint. BUT he never told me he had broken it. he told me i had a “dislocated pubic bone” in 2010 the pain in the area which he operated on became too much for me. i was referred to a pain doctor. i repeated “dislocated pubic bone” many times to this pain doctor…when finally one day, he says, “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! THERE is NO SUCH THING as a DISLOCATED PUBIC BONE…” amazingly, i had brought my x-rays that day. He takes the x-ray, puts it to the window & says, “OMG, OMG…YOU’ve been walking on a BROKEN PELVIS” then he said, “if you were my wife, i would send you to a trauma surgeon at Tulane, Johns Hopkins or Vanderbilt. The Trauma surgeon was going to put bars everywhere in hopes of holding me together, but ordered a CT before i went back to Birmingham. When i arrived at Vanderbilt the morning of the surgery. Dr. J.M. Evans said he saw an anomaly on the left side, where the original surgery had taken place. he asked me for permission to look at it. (slice & dice) anyway, i woke up about four days later. discovered i had gone into renal failure from the cocktail of antibiotics they put into me. Dr. Evans discovered dead & dying bone–Osteomyelitis-which he removed until he found healthy living bone. He sent me to bed for six weeks. he said if i fell it could be catastrophic. nice. i had a picc line in my right arm that led straight to my heart. scary. i went back up to become a cyborg. For Dr. Evans this surgery wasn’t a big deal. i woke up in a closet…i mean, a room, in so much pain, i was shaking with it. i had no veins left for them to give me the blood i needed, so they put the damn catheter in my neck, so i could watch, peripherally, someone else’s blood entering my neck. LOVELY. (i had a nurse that tripped over the line, i grabbed my neck so he didn’t rip it out and the man giggled) a few hours after i woke up, some guys came with a bed on wheels & said i have to have x-rays (WTF!) they couldn’t get my bed out of the tiny closet, so they used a plastic sled to pick me up & put me on the new bed. I was shaking with pain, cold, shock…the guys put me in an elevator & take me down some dark & empty hallway (perhaps i was headed for the morgue?) the guys open a door to an x-ray room. plastic slide under me, dump me onto the table & leave me there. alone. wearing only the hospital gown & undies. it was so dark I was on the newly built (f*#king) pelvis and shaking across the damn table. i have NEVER, ever felt so alone in my life. AND i love to be alone.

ok. here is the THING that happened to me. i remembered, from somewhere…that when you pray to God, you do not ask him for things or to change events…when you PRAY to God, you ask him to give you the strength to endure. and that is what i asked for, begged for. “PLEASE help me be strong enough to handle this…”

and this is what happened. i felt pressure over my heart, a bit like a large hand…then heat, warmth that FELT golden, radiated from the center of me. It felt as though i was being warmed by the sun. I stopped shivering, i felt no pain, just peace. IT WAS INCREDIBLE…i closed my eyes & felt like i was laying in the sun. Then the doors opened & three people came back in. the warmth slowly receded from me. & i started shivering again.

after following the path…although i’m not done, I’ve been given two more books to read. One, my father gave to me, “9 1/2 Mystics- the Kabbala Today” by Herbert Weiner. and another was pointed to me when i went back to buy a copy of Proof of Heaven for my father to read, i saw, “Assholes* A Theory” by Aaron James. PhD from Harvard & he is a professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. (after 10 pages in, i totally understand why i am required to read this book, but that is for another post.

For some very odd reason, unknown to me, i have the worst luck. after 4 months in bed, i was rear ended by a Suburban XL SUV, pushed into oncoming traffic & clipped by a BMW who left the scene. I was driving my SAAB station wagon, which was totaled in the accident & because half of me is a cyborg, the impact destroyed my other Sacroiliac joint.

then my flash broke. My camera broke, my iPhone broke. 2 nails in my tires, most of the light bulbs in the house…it just won’t stop. why? I’m not supposed to be taking photographs for some reason–i guess, i needed to SEE the path that i had been ignoring.

All of these stories/books/signs have given me much relief & happiness. Because now i understand that i am never alone & i need to listen closer to what ever messages i feel…because God is a part of me.

What a comfort it is to know that I am connected to everyone in this world, even the Assholes. And…and if i sound crazy to anyone who happens to make it to this ending. I know, really, REALLY, KNOW that EVERYTHING is going to be ok.

happy me.

Photography by Kingman Penniman jr. A fantastic photographer in Vermont. Used without permission. I hope he forgives me. Also, i never sought any author either…you can’t sue me though, i have no money.

 

4 thoughts on “Follow the Path

  1. This reminded me of a favorite quote –

    “What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is a caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape.” ― Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers

    Best wishes for the coming year Amy. May the force be with you. 🙂

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  2. I have three thoughts. (1) I love the snowflake and God as water analogy and totally agree with it. (2) I also pick books from the bookstore (or other merchandise elsewhere) by whether they “pop” or glow or feel really good when I touch it. (3) When I shattered my wrist a few years back, I wondered why. My metaphysical teacher responded that things will continue to break until I agree to receive all the things and energy the universe has to share with me. Although I was professionally successful, I did everything under my own steam and never thought that i needed to request and agree to receive from everything/everyone else. I certainly do now, and I’ve not broken anything since…. The same may apply to you, or it may not. Only you will know for sure! Good luck on your path!

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