Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label personal. Show all posts

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Loving Light Presence

The beauty of springtime arrives here right on schedule while the world reels from the horrible corona virus pandemic. My wife Amy and I are sequestered at home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, nestled high above sea level in the beautiful Sangre De Cristo mountains. We notice birds singing more often, buds on trees transform to delicate green leaves, flowers unfold their colorful petals and the world slowly unwrapping its winter cloak to breathe in the sun-filled air of renewal.

The worldwide pandemic of coronavirus recently became more personal for me when my 33 year old daughter Sarah fell ill while working with the nursing staff at a convalescent and rehab center in Albuquerque, New Mexico—about an hour drive south of Santa Fe. She had just taken the job. There were cases of covid-19 there and she worked in close proximity to them and others. Sarah has tested positive and is now battling the disease.

I don’t like the word disease. My older daughter Naomi died from cancer. She was diagnosed with terminal illness at the age of seventeen. She battled heroically for two years and passed away, suffocating when her lungs failed after cancer lodged there and she came down with pneumonia. So when I heard my beloved Sarah was “having trouble breathing” it alarmed me.

Yet, Sarah is strong, and she has been in crisis before. In fact, I believe it was the death of her sister and her own giving and sustaining nature that led her to be a healthcare worker.

Naomi, age 10, Sarah age 4

Since Naomi died, on occasion I have had “visitations” from her. Often it is when I am at rest in bed, very relaxed and in limbo between worlds. I can feel cat-like footsteps on the bed. I am not imagining the impressions. I also am aware of a higher consciousness present and the loving personality of Naomi.

Last night, just as sleep was arriving I felt the pressure of something moving around me. Instantly I knew spirit was with me and I ascertained it to be Naomi’s loving light presence. She came with a message. I felt her above me, face to face and the pressure on my chest. A message came first into my heart, then my consciousness—Sarah will be okay!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Long Love Letter

Steven's writing
After the writer's death, reading his journal is like receiving a long letter.
—Jean Cocteau (French: 5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963)

My oldest daughter Naomi began a diary when she was only nine years old—and kept writing until she died at the age of nineteen. As her father, I did not know she was being so attentive about the intimate details of her life until she was seventeen. She kept her journals private.

After she passed away, her personal writings were indeed like receiving a long letter from her.

I wrote during my youth as well—but not so early in life. My first diary began when I wrote on my seventeenth birthday. I would use the little cloth-bound book as a record; “So that the sentimentalist I think I might be in the future can look back and remember the person he once was and the changes he went through.”

Naomi's writings
Naomi, at age nine was simply taking delight in life and honoring it by writing her observances, dreams, thoughts and feelings. Her first entries are full of incorrectly spelled words—she was terrible at spelling until almost high school. She would try and get her notions down on paper and guess at word spelling. For instance she wrote when 12: “We were playing with the new puppy, (we are thinking of naming her Soffy or Sophia). We were playing tug-of-war and then Sarah put the tug-of-war thing in her mouth and so I grabid it and both of us tuged a wile and Sarah’s tooth ended up gone! I feel really bad about it and stuff!
Just a minute ago I found her tooth!
She lost and I found it!”

After my teen years I stopped keeping a diary. Instead I kept a dream journal. It filled quickly and then tapered off when I did not remember them often. Then, as my life as a visual artist came to the fore, I married, had children and gave up writing.

Naomi fell ill with cancer at age seventeen, and I began keeping a record of her struggle. I wanted to write about her success in beating her disease. I kept writing until her death, determined to tell her story of courage, grace and spirit. It became the story of her soul and how she transitioned into a magnificent spiritual being. The writing took three years and produced, A Heart Traced In Sand, Reflections on a Daughter’s Struggle For Life.

During her last two years Naomi wrote her observances of life and her surroundings, and was gaining wisdom: “Today I saw myself in my English class dancing with joy because I was cured. I saw myself telling people that the most important thing in life is to bask in it with all of its glory. Hardship is something that will make us stronger. I don’t know if I have complete evidence of this  but I think that in every situation there is good  in it. I feel so much wisdom and I know that I will learn more!”

Naomi wrote many affirmations, picturing how she envisioned her life. She also wrote her fears and sometimes anger. Life was becoming painful and short. Close to the end, she wrote of her pain, anxiety, and a nagging doubt that was with her. Once, she thought of somebody reading her diary after her death and was angry, writing she would rather burn her journal.
The last writing Naomi did was on a small piece of paper two nights before her death. “Dream of a blissful cruise. I don’t remember much of it. I just remember glimpses of it. I am happy.” The note was on her bedside table when she died.

Soon afterward I made my first journal entry: “It has been sixteen days since Naomi passed away. I am still sorting out the pieces of my life. At the studio; I was here yesterday and could not manage to begin painting. Here again today . . .  I will try and begin again.”

My stack of writing books
Eventually, I became single and felt Naomi’s spirit encouraging me to live life fully without fear. Since then I have been around the world twice and lived in many lands. My stack of journals is tall. I write this blog every week and have 587 posts. There is one little book that is special. It is only for my notes to God. Here is an entry from September 25, 2009: Dear God. To look in any direction is to see miracles. Above is the endless sky, and below is mother earth. On every side is mystery. Even the senses I use to perceive my world are miraculous gifts I do not fully comprehend.

Someday my end will come and I will go to be with Naomi again. My writings will be left behind. Sarah, my surviving daughter will find them and read them as a long love letter to her and life.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Blink Of An Eye

During the magical and carefree time of my early life, when I was barely seven years old, I remember one spring day playing outdoors with neighborhood kids. I thought about when I would turn eleven. It seemed so far away as to be an impossible dream to reach. Time was within the framework of moments, not years. 
Eventually I reached eleven, and now, looking back from the perspective of six decades of life, those five years it took to reach eleven seem as a blink of an eye. 

There have been many milestones that I have reached along the way from birth toward the end: first steps, first day in school, first job, high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, children, opening an art gallery, traveling around the world, artwork completed. Also painful benchmarks, such as a teenage mental breakdown, the death of my first daughter, my marriage breakups.
Miraculously and unexpectedly, I have reached another benchmark today. This is episode number five hundred of my blog.

 When I started writing My Fairy-Tale Life, I had no thought to its duration. Somewhere along the line, the posting became a discipline that I took seriously. It is now a treasure of experiences and photographs reaching back over nine years in steady weekly progression. I have written from every time zone and from thirty countries. Posts have been personal, thoughtful, whimsical, philosophical. I try and get a picture of subjects mid-week and have something done by Sunday. Sometimes I have not known what to write about. I am fortunate that besides writing, I am a painter and photographer. The visuals I include are good companions to the words.

Now, as I look forward, I wonder what the next five years might hold. The dreamy child still lives in me. Moments can be vast, but now, I have perspective, and I see years go by rapidly. In the end, I believe the perspective of childhood, that all is magical—a fairytale.
 Here are some interesting views of My Fairy-Tale Life: