Monday, June 28, 2010

The Love Will Remain

Recently, a close friend of mine was visiting his ailing, 94 year old Grandpa.  My friend was incredibly close to his grandfather, and he could sense that his time to pass was fast approaching.  Curled up next to his grandfather one evening, his grandpa whispered these words in his ear, "When I am gone, the Love between us remains."  With tears in his eyes, my friend held the Love to his heart.

My dear Tutu (Grandma in Hawaiian), passed away in April of 2003, a month before I graduated from Whittier College.  We were best friends and this was a very challenging experience for me.  I had been very excited to dedicate my graduation speech to her, however I was desperately hoping she would be there for the ceremony.  Throughout the speech, I spoke of her Love for people and life, and the way she danced to the beat of her own drum.

After the speech my Mom approached me with a small box. "She bought this for you for your graduation present, " my Mom said gently.  "I found it when I was going through her apartment."

Inside the box, was a beautiful, silver necklace containing four, small, silver rectangles.  Each rectangle had a different word on the front, with the rest of the quote on the back. "Dance like no one is watching. Love like you'll never be hurt.  Sing like no one can hear you.  Live like heaven is on earth." I adored the quote and treasured the necklace deeply.

Two weeks later, I was traveling around Europe and left my backpack in a locked hostel room in Vienna.  When I returned for my bag, I noticed someone had emptied all my jewelry out of my jewelry box.  ALL my bracelets, earrings, and necklaces were gone.

I burst into tears.  I didn't care about anything in that box, except for the necklace from Tutu.  It felt like the one item I owned that held her spirit.  I felt like it kept her in my life.  On the train to Paris, I cried the entire way.

When we arrived in France, I checked into my hostel, and decided to look in my jewelry box one last time.  I noticed a flash of silver.

"What?" I thought to myself. "There was NOTHING in the box in Vienna!"

I reached down and pulled out one silver rectangle, an "impossibility" because the charms were latched on to the rest of the necklace and could not slip or be pulled off. 

However, there it was, the LOVE rectangle, in the box that had once been empty.  I felt Tutu's presence, spirit, and light ALL around me.  With tears in my eyes, I held the Love to my heart.

"Love like you'll never be hurt."

"When I am gone, the love remains."

To  my Tutu, my dear friend's Grampy, to all who have passed...we feel you, we honor you, and we know the LOVE between us remains.

With tears in our eyes, we hold the LOVE to our hearts.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Coming Home to my Dream

We all had one when we were little.  You know, that feeling of aliveness buried in our hearts? That spark of something beautiful to come?  Do you remember it?

I know I do!  My dream.  My dream of performing.

From the time I could speak, I sang.  From the time I could walk, I danced.  From the time I could persuade, I talked folks into watching me perform.  Some of my childhood highlights included amazing Dolly Parton impersonations (balloons under my t-shirt), Karaoke versions of Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton (tears in everyone's eyes),  and an enthusiastic portrayal of Dolly in Hello Dolly in high-school.

After high-school, I still performed, but it was with less gusto.   I received a part in the One Acts in college where some guy had to shave my legs on stage, a kind of foreplay.  Strange and a bit awkward.  I sang in choir and even played the Queen in the Madrigal Feast.  I soon dated the King.  Score.  Yet, I started to doubt my gifts and dream.  Surrounded by people who were pursuing performing for "real", I felt like I couldn't keep up.

I compared myself to others.  I didn't feel as pretty as Cori or as talented as JR.  I started to hide my gifts.  I became a Political Science major, took a job at the Boys and Girls Club, and became President of practically every organization at Whittier College to keep incredibly busy.  I was running away from my true dream.

I thought my dream of performing had abandoned me, but really I CHOSE not to see it anymore.

The amazing thing is, our dreams don't leave us.  If they are Divinely inspired, and for the highest good of all concerned, our dreams, like true soulmates, are waiting expectantly for us to come home to them.  To embrace them, and fully surrender to our Divine birthrights as Dreamers AND Doers.

Two weeks ago, this little girl from Kansas attended my FIRST NYC theater audition!  It was thrilling. The day of the audition, I was writing in my journal.  I wrote:

"Oh my goodness.  I'm really doing this.  I am finally doing this..."

And the words voice to me:

"You were born to do this."

Duly noted.

“Great dreams contain inexhaustible truths, and orient us like runes, to our futures.  One hesitates to explain them; one wants to dance them, act them out in living gestures. the more we put ourselves into a great dream, the more we get  back.  Great dreams are wells that never run dry.”-Michael Grosso

And my future now includes my first NYC theater PERFORMANCE, August 11-13, at the Manhattan Summer Repertory Theater Festival.  

I was born to do this.  

Embracing my true dream, I have come home.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Angels in the Super Shuttle

Swing low, sweet chariot. Coming for to carry me home.  A band of angels coming after me. Coming for to carry me home.

When I was three, my parents decided to get divorced.  We were living in California at the time, and my dad moved to Council Grove, Kansas, to accept his first job as an ordained minister.  This began the chapter in my life of Winter Breaks and Summers with my Dad in Kansas, and the rest of the time with my Mom in California.

Sometimes the transitions were very difficult and I would scream and cry in confusion and defiance towards all the changes and separations.   At times, I felt very lonely. Yet, I was never alone.


One night when I was 4 or 5, I was laying in my bed in Kansas feeling a bit dark and sad.  I felt a presence of light and love next to my bed and I heard the words, "Forgive them.  It's not their fault. It's not your fault.  It just is."

So I did.  Thank you, angels.

Around age 7 or 8,  I begged my dad to let me wake up for a meteor shower that was scheduled for 2:15 A.M. He said no, due to the timing of the event.  I asked my angels to "Please, please, PLEASE wake me up in time to see the magic."  I sat up in bed at 2:12.

Thank you angels.

I was never truly alone.  I had my angels.  They helped me through much of my childhood.  I talked with them, laughed with them, shared secrets about my crush on Will, the seventh grader who could sing like an angel.

Then, around 4th grade, I stopped hearing them or seeing their light.  Until last weekend, I didn't understand why they had abandoned me. 

This weekend, at my Spiritual Psychology program, I uncovered a deep, dark memory of being about 8 years old and feeling like I had done something horribly wrong to another child.  Instead of recognizing the experience as a learning moment, normal experimentation, and "not that big of a deal", I decided I was awful, a monster even. 

At 8 years old I concluded that my humanness could not be trusted, that my touch was dangerous, and I was a bad person.   My whole life, I thought the angels left me because I was so awful.

I decided to embark on an incredibly deep experience of self-forgiveness.  I shared my story with a safe, loving listener and I recognized all the judgments and limiting beliefs that surfaced from this short moment in time.

I went back to the 8 year old child and held her, telling her she did not do anything wrong or bad.  She is a beautiful, loving, spirit.  She is always safe, always loved, always protected.  And I believed it.  I re-framed the whole experience as part of my life's curriculum and an experience that was necessary for my healing, growth, and spiritual evolution.

Through this healing process, I have come to embrace mySelf, my inner 8 year old, and my Divinity, and most of all my GORGEOUS, PRECIOUS HUMANNESS in a whole new way.  I truly feel reborn, baptized in the spirit, and washed clean. I trust my physical body and my healing touch again.  I feel my inner and outer beauty like a graceful bird who is spreading her wings for the first time.

At one point during this process, I looked up at the sky and said, "God, do you forgive me?"  I heard rolling laughter and the answer that came touched me to the core.  "Of course, if that was really my job, I would forgive you.  But, how can I forgive, when I do not judge?  You need to forgive yourself.  You are the one who chose the judgment."

So I did.  And when I felt the forgiveness wash over me like a white light or crystal river, I saw my heart, large, shining and full of Love.  Yet, there was a bit of dirt, darkening a part of my heart.  Then, I heard a flutter, and a pair of wings flashed into my vision and washed off the dirt.  My heart was clean.

Thank you Angels.

It was in that moment that I heard them, their music.  In that moment, I felt their light and warmth.  "We have never left you. Not for one moment. You chose not to see or hear us.  We celebrate this homecoming with you, Beloved."

Swing low, sweet chariot. Coming for to carry me home.  A band of angels coming after me. Coming for to carry me home.

This morning, at 5am, I stepped into my Chariot.  The Super Shuttle taking me to LAX.  As I opened the door to the van, I was greeted by an amazing love-filled face. 

This beautiful woman and I struck up a conversation.  We connected on a deep soul level.    What is your life's work?" I asked her.

"I practice the art of healing touch, Reiki." she responded.  I felt my heart warm as I looked into her eyes.

"And I communicate with angels," she said.

She handed me her card.

It read:  Leah Sherman, Healing Touch Practicioner, Certified Angel

A band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home.