reincarnation. soul mates

… in a past life. Though I had a dress like the one she’s wearing in that photo of the subway ruffling her. Except it was navy with white polka-dots. And it never wafted up on me though it attracted a bit of attention.

And I only just recalled that right this minute, which is why a post from me on my past lives is such an oxymoron. I can barely recall events that happened in my current life.

Though I defy most people to remember any piece of their college wardrobe twenty-five years after the fact.

I have a friend whose past lives currently beckon.

She’s writing a book with a reincarnation theme and in her research found Michael Newton’s Journey of Souls. This led her to past lives regression therapist and to the idea of virtual time traveling via hypnosis herself.

My self’s past incarnations aren’t that personally alluring. I know I’ve existed before, but I don’t need to know the details. They are for the times when I am “offline” and have the leisure and guidance to reflect. When I am engaged in a life, I am afraid that knowledge of my former selves might distract me or mislead me.

You wouldn’t find me lurking in the pages of history at any rate. I was never notable. I was just a girl. Always a girl though why that sticks out, I can’t say. Never a queen or adventuress or the woman behind the man as most people with claims to past lives seem to always be.

Being famous in a past life, in my opinion, is a sign that one needed remediation of some kind. Why else throw a soul into high profile, larger than life should be situations that require so much support staff? I think the bigger your soul-tourage; the more lessons you might have not mastered the last time around. Something to ponder the next time you’re envying Lady Gaga or Prince William.

Abby is in consultation with the regression therapist. You can’t just stare at an open flame and 1, 2, 3, find yourself at Hampton Court celebrating Mid-summer’s Night with the Tudor court. It’s a bit more work than that. And now you know.

Newton’s book struck a chord and clarified some of my thoughts on the subject of living and re-living. I didn’t pick the book up looking for that however. I was looking for a more plausible afterlife in the wake of my first husband’s death.

Curlicue clouds and fluffy robes? I had a difficult time imaging my flannel-clad, shaggy bearded man in wings and a white starched choir robe.

What I found was not heaven in my reading. I’m from Iowa, which is not heaven either but a portal,* so I know of what I speak**.

Newton talks of soul groups, debriefings, and lesson/life plans. It’s work. Not the alluring stuff of the salvation vs damnation lottery.

I am following Abby’s adventure with interest however. I’ll keep you apprised.

*FYI/dumb fact: My cousin’s daughter’s in-laws own part of the Field of Dreams.

** Over the course of 12 years of Catholic school, the subject of heaven comes up a lot.

During the Friday opening of our yoga training weekends, Cat always asks us if anything is new.

The reason for this is twofold. First to discover who might not be physically up to the long daily practices. This last weekend our longest practice on the Sunday ran a bit past 3 hours and the shortest on Saturday was just two.

The second reason is to discover if anything is new in other areas of our lives as yoga is about the spirit and mind as well as the body.

I’d been in a small amount of agony all week. My back muscles were in a literal twist due to smoke intermittmently choking the air in our hamlet. An atv had set off a forest fire about 30 minutes north of us and the wind carried the char as far as the city to our southwest. Bad asthma days have the potential to bind me physically as well as clog my airways.

I kept that to myself though. I was determined to practice. I have practiced every day now for a bit over a month. Even on my worst days last week, I crawled onto my mat and did something.

As Cat surveyed the room, yoga face greeted her but no one volunteered until Rie spoke up.

Rie is different, as my daughter would say. I find her a bit tiring. She talks almost non-stop when not engaged in the actual asana practice  and she is someone who has done that, been there and likes to share.

A former body-builder and self-made business woman of considerable means, she’s trained in India and I think I could appreciate her knowledge base more if she wasn’t prone to talking over people or interrupting. Not that I think she does this maliciously or dismissively. She’s just really excited and enthusiastic. All the time.

“I’ve got something to share,” she piped up. “I’ve been remembering my past lives. It’s so cool. I’m realizing that I know or have been meeting people I’ve known before in other existences.”


Cat’s face freezes in a half-smile and wide eyes that seem to be begging anyone to respond so she doesn’t have to.

Fortunately, Rie doesn’t seem to need or expect a response and the class continues as Cat quickly leads us into opening meditation.

Past lives. I have covered this a bit here and there. I don’t believe in soul mates. That, in my opinion, is a modern invention that has led us to the current level of dissatisfied dysfunction in relationship terms in our society. The idea that a world that has billions of souls on it at every given time can mathematically produce only one match person is ludicrous.

For a while, I preferred “kindred spirits” because even though I think soul mates is a very junior high/Romeo and Juliet thing, I can’t quite dismiss the idea that sometimes you meet someone and you simply click – without preamble or any discernible cause for doing so.

I read a few books that Rob has that talked about the idea that we travel through our earthly existences in groups that reconfigure with each pass and it felt “right” to me. The book called these compatriots a “soul group” and discussed how each of us comes into life with an outline of who we should strive to connect with and what tasks we have to do and what personal issues we need to improve upon.

As I thought about Rie’s revelation, it occurred to me why I have felt so isolated for most of my life – I am going it pretty much alone in this existence. I rarely meet people and feel a connection. Mostly I feel cut off and out-of-place as though I am not normally “here” but should be somewhere else on the globe and hanging with a different crowd.

Canada is one of the few places I have been that didn’t feel foreign. New York City was another place to which I didn’t get that “brand new” feel. I feel comfy in the mountains and at home in/on the water – any kind of water. Victoria felt familiar, which isn’t odd because like NYC, it is coastal.

Not many people feel comfy. I have to learn people and often I am not driven to do so because – and this is just a guess – most of the people I’ve met over the course of my life aren’t part of my outline.

Will was someone I’ve known – though I don’t think we’d ever been married before or even romantic partners. His illness and death were part of my outline – tasks for me and somehow I owed him this.

My mother is/was a task. I was meant to be around for her and I think for one of my nieces and nephews too.

I was supposed to teach in Des Moines. 1987 was a horrid year for new teachers. Jobs were scarce, but I’d turned down two just to wait on a the promise of a job I’d gotten from Jerry Wadden, the English Supervisor of the Des Moines Public Schools. It was a crazy thing to do and yet, I felt it was the right thing. What I was supposed to do.

There were a lot of children who passed in and out of my classroom in the first ten years for sure whose lives I know I changed. Kids who’d never had a good school experience and thought they were stupid or bad, and I made the difference for them.

It was a wearying and lonely time for me though. Draining and I didn’t have the understanding of my purpose then that I do now, so I wasn’t as sanguine as I could have been about it.

Sis, BFF and probably Leslie are among the handful of “souls” I felt instant connection with but they are not part of my inner circle or path but perhaps orbited me a bit to shore my spirit up. I don’t think I am quite evolved enough to go it completely alone.

On Sunday, as I entered a discussion on past lives with a few others from the class, I had the revelation. In some lives we are one of the main characters and in others we are supporting cast.

This is my support life.

There are a few spirits who cross my path in order to pick me up a bit and there are time periods where I am allowed to shine, but mostly, I am behind the scenes.

Dee once told me – she was maybe three years old – that she chose me to be her mom again because she liked me so much the first time.

“This is the second time you’ve been my mom,” she said.

Dee is kinda to me what I was to my mother. Support. I strive though to not lean on her the way my mother did me. Despite it being my “job”, it was unnecessarily damaging and more than I should have been expected to do given how young I was when it began.

It’s one of the reasons that I was so open to the idea of remarriage. I really didn’t want Dee to ever feel responsible for me and she couldn’t avoid that if I were her only living parent.

Rob is a known. I have always felt as though we’ve known each other forever but that we’ve been separated for an inordinately long time of late.

“Maybe we only seek each other out now for respite and revitalization,” I told him the other night. “Perhaps we are workhorse souls for the time being and we only occasionally get to fulfill our hearts desires. We are like a holiday.”

Our maybe he is my holiday and I am his responsibility?

“Do you think though that we don’t pick up new soul partners as we travel?” Someone asked during that Sunday conversation.

I think we do. But I also think that some souls are part of our “natal” experiences and that anyone we pick up after will never be quite like that experience or have the same level of knowing for us.

Dee occasionally expresses her concern about my lack of companionship in terms of friendships. I sometimes wonder if this shouldn’t bother me more as well but it bothers me less and less really as time passes and I grow older. I am okay with the transient and proximal nature of my acquaintances and friends. People come and go and, probably, will again.

Red sunset

Image via Wikipedia

“Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to life”

Adele Brookman

Rob sent me today’s quote. It is appropriate and timely for us both. Imagining one’s life, planning the dreams you have dreamed for your future and putting them into action can be overwhelming, but re-imagining the future after your original hopes and dreams have died? Stymied stronger individuals than myself I’ve no doubt.

My imagination’s lowest setting is hyperactive. I can scare myself with relative ease. Probably the years of practice I’ve had. Lately I have been scaring myself a bit with doom and gloom scenarios as I make preparations for moving to Canada and the wedding. Rob reminds me that it is just our heightened widow’s sensitivity that makes us more susceptible to this kind of thinking but also helps us be more compassionate of others too. Kind of like a super-power, although not that cool. Actually it would make a pretty dorky super-power.

I was actually less of a risk taker in the past than I am at present which is interesting given the events of the past few years. I know many would simply be content to shore up the walls around the lives they have salvaged from the wreckage and be grateful for a little peace. But I was just not content. The last months before the first anniversary of my late husband’s death were painful. I hurt for him and me and our daughter, and what we had all been through, but mostly I wanted to move forward. And at that time, I didn’t know where or what to move towards. I only knew what I didn’t want.

There was this urge to imagine a life away from where I was and doing something that was fun and meaningful for a living. In your mind you can go anywhere and I did. Tried on all manner of places that while they might have been comfortable, didn’t fit the way a good pair of jeans do. The difference between comfort and fit is the difference between Old Navy and Lucky Brand. When Rob and I were first friends, he was always quizzing me about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do with my life. Partly because he is a problem-solver. Me, man. See problem, solve problem. And I love that about men in general, and him in particular, because I problem solve the way I shop for clothes. I browse through all the stores noting styles and colors. A few days later I go back and try things on, and maybe I will buy something but likely not, and after a few days more, I decide and purchase. Impulse shopping lands me with clothes I will never wear, and solving a problem without due thought and sorting is much the same scenario.

I am not sure when Rob went from a man I wanted to find someone just like to a man I was falling in love with, but he changed the staging of my daydreams about the future. And it wasn’t scary. It was, at first, that stomach dropping feeling you get when you go over the top on the Ferris Wheel or look down into the crevices from atop the rocks. Breathtaking. But, as we grew closer, talked more and spent time together; he became the future to me. The place where I knew I should be. The one I was meant for.

People who have never seen us together don’t get “us”. Certainly the way we met invites even the most casual skeptic to voice an opinion, usually negative. There is a song by Brandi Carlile called The Story that almost conveys how I feel:

All of these lines across my face

Tell you the story of who I am

So many stories of where I’ve been

And how I got to where I am

But these stories don’t mean anything

When you’ve got no one to tell them to

It’s true…I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops

Swam all across the ocean blue

I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules

But baby I broke them all for you

Because even when I was flat broke

You made me feel like a million bucks

Yeah you do and I was made for you

You see the smile that’s on my mouth

Is hiding the words that don’t come out

And all of my friends who think that I’m blessed

They don’t know my head is a mess

No, they don’t know who I really am

And they don’t know what I’ve been through but you do

And I was made for you…

Someone on the board wrote about feeling cheated of her time with her husband. How could he have been put in her life only to be taken away so soon? And then someone pointed out something to her she hadn’t thought of before, perhaps she had been put in his life. An interesting twist. We think of our spouses as forever because we have such a limited grasp of the concept. Our forever is really here and now. The time we are allowed with our spouses is probably even more finite because if I am here moving forward with Rob then what is Will doing? For some reason the image of him sitting on a cloud and plucking a harp waiting for me just doesn’t seem plausible. A Creator who could envision a sunset, much less create one daily, does not live in a cotton candy Christian heaven.

It is amazing where or to whom the imagination can lead you when it is free from fear and open to the possibilities. Eternity is bounded by the limits of what we can imagine. As John Lennon once said, “Imagine there is no heaven.”