A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Workshop…

Well, let’s see. The day started rather strangely. My alarm went off at 5:45 AM, and I felt like just rolling over and going back to sleep. But, I had to be out the door by around 7:30 AM in order to make it into the city for the last day of James Van Praagh’s Soul Retreat at the Sheraton New York. So, I sat up, and noticed that my cat Tigger wasn’t on the bed, like he usually is when it’s time for me to wake up. He’s usually right in my face, but he was nowhere to be seen. I got out of bed and found him sitting under the bed, which was odd for him. Went into the kitchen, got my coffee started, and saw that my wall clock must’ve stopped, because it said it was 5:15 AM. Then I noticed that the clock on the stove, the clock on my microwave, the clock on my DVD player and the clock on the cable box all said 5:13 AM. It turned out that my alarm clock, which was made in the days before they changed Daylight Savings Time on us, automatically set itself ahead an hour. No wonder I felt like I could’ve used some more sleep!

Now that I was up, I had a whole extra hour, which gave me time to listen to this week’s Joel Osteen podcast. If you’ve never listened to Joel Osteen, he’s a really great preacher to listen to, and I highly recommend him to anyone and everyone, regardless of religious denomination. If you come from a more traditional Judeo-Christian background like I do, you may have a bit of difficulty relating to the concepts presented in books like “The Secret”, “The Moses Code” and “What the Bleep Do We Know?” If you do, listening to Joel Osteen may help put it into language and a frame of reference that you can relate to more easily. I don’t know why, but listening to him, reading his books and watching him really works for me. He is really amazing!

This particular Sunday, his topic was about being “anointed with ease”, and how God eases our way with the “oil of ease”, how He makes crooked paths straight, and the rough places plain. It was great, and I felt really inspired! I left my house, and got about two blocks away from my bus stop. It was then that I saw the bus pulling away from the curb. Now, I can run a lot better these days than I used to, but I’m still a far cry from that kind of speed. So, I missed the bus and waited. And I waited. And waited. I waited for over half an hour for the next bus, and during that time, I was really wondering what happened to all that “oil of ease” that I was supposedly anointed with. I had faith though, that whatever the reason was for my delay, there was a reason, and that I would be wherever I was meant to be, whenever I was meant to be there.

I eventually did get on a bus, and did make it to the subway station. As I waited, and waited, and waited for the #7 train to leave the station, I tried not to worry about being late by reminding myself, in the words of James Van Praagh during our workshop, “It is what it is, and that’s all that it is.” I’m not going to lie and say that it was easy, but I did it. I then made it down to the E train platform and saw a rather “colorful” woman who was also at the weekend conference. I’d seen her several times, walking the halls, playing a singing bowl. Those of you who were at the conference will know exactly who I’m talking about. She was an interesting character, for sure!

Well, this colorful character got into the same subway car as me, and was headed towards the empty seat across from me. I’m not proud of it, but I was praying “Oh PLEASE don’t let her sit across from me!” Well, apparently, someone heard me. Instead of sitting in the seat across from me, she stood right smack in the middle of the car. She proceeded to take out one of those kid’s musical instrument toys that looks like a piano, but you blow into it to get the sound. She started playing “La Vie En Rose”. Apparently, not only did this woman spend her days at the conference walking around playing a singing bowl, she was also a musical (albeit questionably so) subway panhandler! (Yes, she did go around asking for donations afterwards!)

All I can say is that it is a very good thing that I did not get coffee on the way, because when she started playing her next number, it would have been all over my fellow passengers! I lost it when she started playing “Besame Mucho”! I’ve written about my adventures with “Besame Mucho” before. There is only one person that could’ve come from. The fact that it was played by an “interesting” woman on a toy instrument on the subway was only further proof. My friend had a truly twisted sense of humor, and the bizarre nature of this whole scene fit him perfectly! I was laughing for the whole ride! It was hilarious!

It was then that I realized that I had to miss the bus and get stuck waiting so that I would be on the same train as this woman. Otherwise, I would never have heard what has to be one of the absolute cheesiest renditions of “Besame Mucho” I’ve heard to date!

Some Random Thoughts on Death

A friend of mine died last weekend, after a long battle with cancer. The wake was on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and it was a very interesting experience. To say that she was around us all over the place would be an understatement.

The first “sign”, for lack of any better word, would be the way I got to the wake. My neighborhood is only about a mile and a half from one end to the other, and we have two funeral homes. One is located right down the block from my apartment, and the other is several blocks away. The wake was at the one that was further away. I left my house Monday afternoon, and as I got closer to the “wrong” funeral home, I noticed two women dressed in black who looked lost. Long story short, they were friends of my friend who ended up at the wrong funeral home. So, I ended up going with them in their car to the other funeral home. The odds of me running into these two women (and vice versa) at the exact right time was actually pretty slim.

Then, there was the wake itself. Interestingly, I wasn’t sad at all. I don’t know if all this medium stuff has given me a different outlook on death or what, but if anything, I felt very peaceful about it all. It’s hard to describe. It was almost like she and I both share a secret now that no one else does.

And yes, I could hear her. Geez, could I hear her! That woman is going to haunt me until I find myself a husband! She still cracks me up!

Well, This Was Interesting!

I’ve never had this happen before!

I was on my way home from work, and I stopped in the local grocery store to pick up some vodka sauce to go with my pasta.  However, when I looked on the shelves, there was no vodka sauce to be seen. There was fire-roasted tomato and garlic, marinara, Newman’s Own “Sockarooni”, and a host of others, but no vodka sauce.

So, I picked up a jar of fire-roasted tomato and garlic to check and see how many Weight Watchers POINTS it was. As I was standing there, reading the nutritional information on the label, a jar of sauce fell off the shelf and landed at my feet. It was weird, because I wasn’t standing near it at the time. Fortunately, it didn’t break. So, I picked it up and was about to put it back on the shelf, when I saw it – the jar of Newman’s Own Vodka Sauce that had been behind the jar that fell off the shelf.

I’ve never had an object fall off a shelf like that before. I’ve never had help like that finding pasta sauce, either! It was pretty cool!

The 2008 “Being Fearless” Conference

Wow, what a weekend! I volunteered once again for the Omega Institute’s annual “Being Fearless” conference, held in New York City.

There was a lot going on! I’ll write more about everything over the weekend, when I have more time, but the highlights were:

  • Being assigned as a production volunteer for James Van Praagh’s all-day intensive workshop, and running from one end of a large ballroom to another with the microphone all day. (I ended up putting 3 miles on my pedometer as a result.)
  • Meeting Schindler’s List Holocaust Survivor Zev Kedem, and having the opportunity to hear him speak on Sunday morning.
  • Seeing a bunch of wonderful people that I hadn’t seen in two years.

I also ended up doing a fair amount of walking all over Manhattan’s West Side. Oddly enough, I didn’t lose any weight this week at my Weight Watchers’ weigh-in.

My Gift for Today

I’ve been making an effort to go out for a one to two mile walk two to three times a week. This morning was one of my walking mornings. I was about five minutes into my walk when I saw them – three little black kittens and their mother playing in front of one of the houses near my local library. I have seen these cats before near the one church on my side of the main street. But I never knew where they were from, never knew how many of them there were, and usually they’d dash off by the time I get there.

So the mama cat and her three little kitties were all out enjoying their morning in front of what appears to be their house. They were all black. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an entire family of all black cats before. I tried to approach the mama cat, but she didn’t want to get close, and her little ones were busy ambushing each other and rolling around in the grass chasing stray leaves. They were just too adorable!

I continued with my walk, and passed by the house again about forty minutes later on my way home. The three little kittens were still playing, while their mom kept an eye on them. I saw one of the little ones pouncing on a leaf, while the littlest of the three bravely attacked a piece of paper towel, chased it, and then proceeded to have a ball biting it into shreds. They didn’t run away, and I decided to try something. I took off my headphones, and started dangling them in the middle of some leaves. One of the kittens slowly came over and tentatively investigated the headphones with its paw. This went on for a while, and then one of the littler ones decided to be the really brave one of the bunch, and went for the full pounce. This little one got up a lot closer to me than any of the others, and almost let me pet him (or her, I really couldn’t tell). He’d get within about an inch of my finger, and then back away. I ended up playing with the two of them (the littlest one was still busy chasing the shredded paper towel bits all over the grass) for about twenty minutes.

This was so much closer than I’d ever been to any of them before, because usually they run away from people passing by, so it was really something special. They were all so cute and so fiesty! Next time, I’ll make sure I have some cat treats with me!

A Penny from Heaven

Today would have been my father’s 72nd birthday.

On the way home from work, I stopped at the store to pick up a few things, and the total came to $4.04. As I reached into my pocket to get the change, I pulled out a 1939 “wheat cent”.

How do I know it was a penny from Heaven? My father used to collect “wheat cents”, and I haven’t come across any in the past few years.

Happy birthday, Dad!

What Are the Odds?

I went to the Tribute Center holiday party Wednesday night, and sat down at a table with my friend George (a firefighter/EMT from Long Island that I met at the Tribute ribbon-cutting ceremony) and his wife Valerie, who I met for the first time that night. Valerie and I were talking about my new job, and how I’d been getting used to going to work after two years off. I mentioned that I had tried to start up a life coaching practice, but that it wasn’t bringing in a steady enough income, and she said, but at least it gave you the opportunity to give it a try instead of wondering 20 years from now “what if?”.

I agreed, and told her about some of the neat things I was able to do during my severance period, like going hot air ballooning, and, for SOME reason, I mentioned the mediumship training with James Van Praagh. She looks at me and says “It’s funny that you should mention that. I’m going to see John Edward on Friday with a friend of mine.” So we ended up having this whole conversation about that, and the reading he did for another friend of hers previously. 

During our conversation, we were joined by another woman that neither of us had ever met. I said something like “we were just talking about Valerie, who’s going to see John Edward on Friday”. And she says, that’s funny, because she had been to see George Anderson, who passed on some very detailed info about a loved one of hers who had crossed over.

What are the chances, in a party of about 150-200 people, that three women with a similar connection to mediums and readings who never met before, would end up sitting at the same table right next to each other?

How Cool is THIS???

About a month or so ago, I saw a job listed that I REALLY REALLY wanted, working for the Executive Director of a foundation dedicated to assisting elderly blues and jazz musicians, and musicians impacted by Katrina. I never heard back from them, and assumed the position had been filled.

Well, apparently, my resume must’ve ended up in some black hole in cyberspace. I saw the job listed again yesterday, with a different e-mail address listed.  Something (or more likely someONE) told me to re-send my resume and cover letter. Good thing I listened! Long story short, last night at around 10:30pm, I got an e-mail from the Executive Director, she loved my resume and we spoke early this morning. We had a great conversation! She’s trying out some people she’s already interviewed this week, and asked me to give her a call on Thursday morning to see how/if things are working out with the other candidates, and possibly come in to meet with her later this week.

Here’s the “eerie” stuff…

– Last Thursday night, I heard a really great blues musician in Grand Central Station, and again someone “up there” told me to buy his CD. For some reason, I got the hunch to mention it during our conversation this morning. Would you believe that not only was this same musician was the FIRST musician she had helped, but that she also used to play harmonica with him, and that her experiences with him eventually led her to a job with the organization she’s now leading?

– After receiving her e-mail last night, I turned on the TV, and what movie was playing? “All That Jazz”. Wait, it gets better… I happened to turn on the movie RIGHT at the point where my late friend Cliff Gorman was doing his “7 stages of Death” monologue in the background. This morning, after I got off the phone about the job, I was surfing blogs, and wouldn’t you know, one of the first random blogs that showed up was named after ANOTHER movie of Cliff’s – “Ghost Dog – The Way of the Samurai”.  Ya THINK he’s trying to TELL me something??? 🙂

I would totally appreciate any and all good energy, vibes, prayers, juju, mojo, chicken bones, etc. that you can send my way in terms of this job.

Some interesting development circle stuff

Had some interesting stuff happen during Thursday night’s development circle. So, I figured I’d write about it here before I forget it all.

  • During our meditation, I experienced a warm, tingling sensation along the back of my neck. It was similar to the feeling you get when someone’s right behind you, but not quite the same. It later extended up through my scalp, and down through my spine. It wasn’t uncomfortable or anything, just something I’ve never felt during a meditation before.
  • After the meditation, we did a psychometry exercise. The images that came to me while holding my exercise partner’s ring were a brunette, clear blue water with tropical fish, and a grey beach house with small square white windows. I didn’t really look at the ring up close, but I also sensed that there was some sort of inscription inside the band. The ring’s owner had recently been to the Bahamas, and swam in bright, clear water for the first time. His wife’s hair is “dirty blonde” and his family has a grey beach house, and one of the rooms has small square windows.
  • During the psychometry exercise, I also started getting a really bad headache. Past experience during Mediumship training taught me to mention it and ask if it meant anything to anyone. One of the other group members had a really bad cluster headache. She’s also a brunette. Once I mentioned the headache and asked about it, it went away (for me, anyway).