Tuesday, June 10, 2008

justin timberlake.

my passion for JT has cooled a smidgen.
not because his album is any less amazing, but i've just moved on.
but this clip kinda restoked me.

videogum said everyone has been saying he's been a douche on this press junket, but he's pretty much solid gold from what i can see.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


(that makes me think of 'The X Files,' which makes me miss that show...oh fox mulder...)

as i have rattled on about, at length, i have been chewing on the issue of my spirituality, and how i kinda gave up on the idea of god after mom got cancer. i could believe in god when other people had bad things happen to them, but i just couldn't believe he'd make something so bad, so fucking terrible, happen to me and my mom. that seemed to totally negate everything i'd thought was true about how the world and the universe worked.

as part of my process working through this, my therapist, barbara, recommended that i go to see this woman, karen peterson. she's a medium, and she does bereavement counseling sessions, for free. she also does group sessions, for money, where a bunch of people come and she just kinda passes along messages. usually she does her bereavement stuff every other month, but it just so happened that at the time i decided to try one, she canceled several, to give herself some more time, which kinda sucks, but oh well.

i had to schedule months in advance. i think i emailed her about coming in march or something. it felt kinda silly, since that was so far away at the time, and it seemed like i might not need it very much, but i kept the spot saved for me, since barbara had suggested it. on a side note, barbara's mom died not long ago, and barbara went to one of karen's sessions and the experienced really helped her, and gave her a different, positive perspective on death and stuff. so, even if i wasn't a walking open wound of sadness, it couldn't hurt to get a better perspective, i thought.

the meeting was last night. i felt yucky all day yesterday, like maybe i was coming down with something. i called the registrar of voters to tell them i couldn't work the polls today because i had the flu, and was considering not going to the meeting, with the logical rationale that if i am too sick to do something i didn't want to do very much (work the polls) then i am too sick to do something i want to do, too (the meeting.) but then i decided i've waited an awfully long time for this thing, and the next one was in december. so, i went anyway.

i had asked a few people if they wanted to come, but none of them worked out for whatever reason, and i ended up going by myself. i've been listening to the 'west side story' soundtrack in my car for the last couple of days, which always makes me think of mom, since she loved that movie when she was young and she had a crush on the SUPER gay jet, whose nickname is 'ice.' when i got to the meeting place, there were a bunch of middle aged ladies lurking around their cars, in the parking lot. and then there was me. i felt a little weird, partly because of the brewing illness and partly from unsureness at the situation. the woman parked next to me was in a metallic blue suv, with magnetic rose decals on it. i expected to see a plastic angel air freshener hanging from her rear-view mirror, and worried it was going to be all ladies like that. seeing a medium is awfully...i don't know.
inspiring of skepticism.
not the sort of thing an intelligent, well-read person would usually be open to.

i was early. i thought i was on time, but i was early, but it looked like a lot of other ladies were, too. in my head, i had imagined 12 people in a circle, but we were led to this meeting room, with rows and rows of chairs, like it was a workshop. karen was really normal looking. pretty. young. dressed cute. friendly. she said that 'they' had told her to set up for 80 people, in this particular format. she said 'they' had told her she was going to teach tonight, so she was just rolling with it. i felt an inner cringe at the references to 'they.'

i sat in the second row of the section farthest from the door. a bunch of ladies already knew karen, and there were lots of hugs and stuff. i was actually in the minority for not having beek before. i felt shy. i brought my 'new york review of books' (to prove i am an intellectual heavyweight) and i just read and watched the room fill up. and it filled up.

seriously, it was more than 80 people. they had to go get more chairs from her office. lots and lots of people. i was disappointed because i wanted more of an intimate experience, but i tried to stay open-minded.

she answered some questions while people were getting there, but mostly it was about her, and all her info is on her website, so if you want to know, check it out.

when the session started, she just said she was going to teach a bit, so she would explain to us how she communicates with the people on the Other Side, and so we can learn to do it ourselves. she said she was feeling like she should lead us in a little guided visualization, about grounding us, opening us up, inviting our loved ones to visit, and protecting ourselves. it was short, which was nice, because i am pretty much crap at that stuff. i can't visualize well at all.

she gave some general info, about how the information comes to her, all of which is also on her website, but which was informative. she talked about meditation as a good way to quiet ourselves enough to receive messages. if we're listening to the chatter in our heads all the time, our peops might not be able to get through the buzz. i already know i ought to be meditating, so that was a little annoying. could i get the messages from more places? I KNOW. I SHOULD WORK ON MEDITATING. sheesh.

then she had some questions, that she said she had been told to ask.

so she asked these questions to the room. they were kinda general questions/suggestions, but she used them as jumping off points to get info out.

so, she had us visualize a room in our houses. then people began raising their hands and she would call on them, asking them what room they pictured. she'd ask them questions, like, 'did your son spend a lot of time in that room?' and it would just kinda go from there. like:

"i thought of my family room."
"did your person spend a lot of time in that room?"
"yes. we spent all our family time there."
"do you have a lot of pictures of your son in there?"
"yeah, we have a corner with the pictures in them."
"okay. i'm seeing a bunch of pictures of the same person, in a line. is that meaningful to you?"
"yes, my daughter just reorganized my son's pictures and put them all in a line."
"okay. i think that your son just wants to let you know that he spends time in there still, and that he saw your daughter move the pictures. would you tell your daughter? i think this is a message to her, letting her know he's watching."

that kind of thing.
sometimes it would start with someone, but the message wouldn't really be for them, and karen would spread out a little, asking other people in that area of the room if the image she was getting was meaningful to them. and invariably someone would say yes, and there would be more of the questioning and answering.

the biggest, most meaningful, most difficult to swallow thing she said is that if you think that something is a message from 'them,' it is. and that communicating with them means trusting yourself, and trusting the message. she said it will feel like you're making it up, like it's wishful thinking, like it's a coincidence, but that there are no coincidences. she said that when she started getting messages, she had thought she was just making up stories, but when she would tell other people these little stories they were really meaningful to these other people, so she had to start accepting that it might be real. but she admitted, it's hard to believe at first.

of course my skepticism alert went off. duh, it's totally wishful thinking. yeah, we want to believe that our people are hanging out, watching us, supporting us, in a place that is beautiful and perfect, but that's just not realistic, right?
but i kept thinking, 'so what? if it makes me, or these people, feel better, who cares if it's true or not?'
and then right afterwards i'd think, 'yeah, but what if it's wrong? like, WRONG? what if it's totally not true and it's pathetic and sad and desperate?'
and again, 'who cares? why can't you just choose to believe something that brings you peace?'
i didn't get to a good conclusion with this debate, and it's still raging inside my head.

anyway, the session lasted two hours, and the whole time she was just talking to people, asking questions, answering questions, getting messages, interpreting them, trying to find the person the message was for. she was really kind and open and loving, so much it made me kinda embarrassed, but, as always, i think my embarrassment is a defense mechanism against looking like an asshole, and being a totally gooey, cheesy loveball all the time.

she asked us to think about a bird. of course, i thought of chickens, since i was already thinking of mom. i didn't feel like that was meaningful enough to raise my hand for. but right afterwards
another woman in the room told a story about buying her (now deceased) son a calendar made up of pictures of different outhouses, which was kinda weird, since mom bought allen the same calendar. that seemed like a pretty crazy coincidence, since who beside this lady (who was a bit of a weirdo) and allen (totally a weirdo) would be taken by this calendar? what are the chances of that happening? so, huh.

karen said wearing our loved ones' clothing or jewelry as a good way to connect with them, that their energy was strongly in their clothes. that made me cry, because i wear my mom's jewelry more than my own these days. and, interestingly, i had changed out of the sweater i had been wearing into my mom's flannel shirt right before i left. i didn't even really think about it, i just grabbed it. so, that felt kinda meaningful.

she said that when our loved ones visit us in our dreams that it's a 'true visit,' and that that sort of thing takes a lot of energy for them, and it's a big deal. i raised my hand and shared about the dreams i had about mom right after she died.

(have i mentioned them? i think i did, but to recap: right after mom died, i had three really vivid dreams in a week - which i noteworthy since i never remember my dreams clearly. in the dreams, all of which were different in their details but similar in their tone, mom was back. not that she wasn't dead, but she was back to visit. rather than feeling glad to see her in the dreams, i was filled with anxiety and questions. how long will you be here? can you come back all the time? should i tell other people, so they can see you, too? i just felt really upset and worried in the dreams. i would wake up feeling unsettled and unhappy. so, i told mom, right before bed one night, 'i don't know if this is you communicating with me, but i'm not ready yet. i need to get used to you being gone before you start coming back.' and the dreams stopped. i haven't had a dream like that since, not really. i've had more vague dreams, but nothing so clear.)

i shared about the dreams, and how estranged i felt from god, and not ready for her yet.
karen asked me if i had been part of mom's hospice care team, and i said yes. (i felt like it was kinda amazing that she knew mom did hospice, but i did mention mom had died of cancer, so maybe it was obvious.) she said that mom wanted me to know that she knew how hard it had been for me. i said how funny and embarrassing it would have been for mom to have been present to see herself in diapers. mom would have had a lot of jokes to make about it, and she would have hated to inconvenience everyone.

karen said that the stuff that seems like a big deal here isn't that big a deal on the other side, which seemed obvious to me, but was nice to hear.
she said we may not ever come to understand why things happen, and that that's okay. it's okay to not know why, and the best thing we can do is seek acceptance. that also seemed a little obvious, but maybe only because i am me and that's how i think.
she said that mom wanted me to know that i should think about doing some kind of work in hospice later on, that i had a healing energy and that i could do a lot of good helping other people go through their hard times.

karen asked us to imagine, if there were jobs in heaven, what job would our loved ones have?
i told the story about my dream, where i had asked mom if she was going to get in trouble for showing up and she'd scoffed at me, saying 'kira. i'm a pretty big deal up here.' like it was silly for me to even worry about it, because she was the VP of heaven or something. everyone laughed.

it was all kinda like that. like, you could choose to believe it or not, i guess. but her message is 'believe it.'

at the end of the session, i started chatting with the lady next to me. in the middle of us talking, a young woman who had sat in another part of the room came over to give me a hug. she said she just really felt like she should. we were both wearing necklaces with initials on them. a lot of people checked in with me, to make sure i was okay, because i cried a lot. it was nice having everyone be so considerate, and it was nice to feel surrounded by people who felt like i do, who were still struggling and finding it hard sometimes.

i feel really supported by my loved ones, and still, it was different being in this room full of strangers, for whom their grief and loss were real enough to bring them to this meeting. everyone was so hungry for peace, for understanding, for some kind of validation of their loss and their desire to feel connected to their lost person. even though going was scary and i felt like a yokel, one step away from sending money to jerry falwell or something or believing in faith healing, it felt safe because all these other people believed, too. they weren't people i would have normally put myself with, but there was a kindness in the room.

i don't know what i think now.

i am reluctant to just go for it, believe it. maybe i am afraid of being wrong again. i felt so wrong about god when mom got cancer, and it was a terrifically painful shock. maybe i don't want to open myself to that kind of pain again, so i'd rather be safer or something.

but so much of it was stuff that mom said, that she believed and felt was true, so all this felt like mom just telling me the same stuff in a new way, so i could hear it again. and i know that mom would be sad that her death was the thing that left me estranged from god and 'spirit.'

so, i have some stuff to mull over.

what do you think?