THE WEIGHT OF GRIEF
It’s one of those drizzly autumn afternoons, cool and damp, the kind of day that makes me want to curl up in bed and take a nap. If I was a bear, I’d probably think about hibernating. Sprinkles of rain trace wavy lines down the window in my office, and I can’t stop thinking about the couple I saw last week, and the feeling of heaviness they carried in their souls. That heaviness, I later learned, was a grief that was so intense, it threatened to drown the love they had for each other, and their surviving child.
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I TURNED DOWN $1 MILLION
My husband Benjamin says I should go for it, but I refuse to take the bait. I’m talking about the challenge issued by the U.S.-based James Randi Educational Foundation – if anyone can prove they have any type of psychic abilities, JREF will give that person $1 million. While a million bucks would go a long way to paying off my mortgage and allowing me to take that dream vacation to Sedona I’ve always wanted to experience, the offer is easy to dismiss. I feel I don’t need to prove the existence of spirit to a group of people who obviously have no faith in spirit – or in humanity, in their own spiritual potential, or in God. Actually, I feel sorry for the JREF-ers, who are using cold, hard-nosed rationality to blind themselves to miracles that occur daily in all of our lives.
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HORSE, OF COURSE!
When I gazed into the calm, round eyes of the auburn-coloured quarter-horse, I thought of all the people who ask me, “Do animals have souls?’ Miss Tanya snuffled as I rubbed the underside of her head, and I could imagine her saying, “This human is okay. By the way, do you have an apple for me?” The racehorse’s owners wanted my friend Brian Phillips, an animal acupuncturist, to treat Miss Tanya’s skittishness, and Brian had asked me to accompany him, so I could link with this beautiful horse’s soul and try to find out why Miss Tanya was so frenzied whenever she stepped onto a race track.
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A HOSPICE STORY
My husband, Benjamin, is writing a book on hospice and palliative care with the support of the Ontario Arts Council. For the past month, he’s been recording the stories of people who work with the dying – administrative personnel, doctors, nurses, art and music therapists, therapeutic touch workers, and spiritual and bereavement counselors. He’s also talking with those whose loved ones have passed away. One of the most intriguing stories he’s collected was from David Maginley, a Lutheran pastor and chaplain at the Cancer Program of the Queen Elizabeth Health Sciences Center in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Maginley integrates Christianity with Buddhist practices to help him understand attitudes of fear and attachment, which comes in handy when he works with patients who are struggling with their attachments to people, to memories, and even to their body.
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LEARNING FROM THE MASTER
As I settled into my seat in John Bassett Theatre in Metro Toronto Convention Centre, I smiled at the lady in the next seat, who had been gesturing to her friends sitting in the next row. I told her I loved the lovely Scottish lilt in her voice, and she smiled, admitting that she’d lived in Canada for over 40 years. Then she gestured to the words on my t-shirt: “RARE MEDIUM” – my sister, who sat beside me, wore a t-shirt saying “MEDIUM RARE” – and asked if I was alluding to famed psychic medium John Edward, who we had come to see. “No, I’m a medium,” I said. Her grey eyes popped open in surprise. “Don’t worry,” I said jokingly, “I’m not going to read you.” Then she told me why she was surprised to see me.
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