BIG LETTERS and small letters…

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” – C.S. Lewis

Well I alluded to the new growth happening in my world yesterday…. and I heard from quite a few of you that my spot in the world right now, resonates with your spot in the world right now… so in light of the fact that many of us seem to be resonating to the same lessons, I am going to share more…

One of the life lessons that is really ‘in my face’ at the moment, is that true growth is never one dimensional. When deep transformation is happening, it happens in the manner that today’s quote speaks of: In the ‘small letters’ of our inner experiences, as well as the all caps universally understood letters that are written across the world for all to see.

Latley I have felt like I need to choose between the ‘big letters’ and ‘the small letters’… and it has been a struggle…. but the Universe gave me a little reminder the other day, that every path we take- whether it is the one with big letters or small…. is ALL part of the same journey.

What I have been working on professionally lately is the creation of a learning platform for virtual courses… and as I do so, I have been bouncing back and forth between two things I have always bounced between professionally… The small letters of my quiet path as an Everyday Mystic and the large letters of the work I have done loudly out in the world for the last 25 years, in the end of life field.

Stepping back and forth between these two worlds has been feeling incongruent and chaotic . Despite my discomfort at the stutter step pattern I have been keeping, I have been unable to settle into moving in just one direction or the other, so like Tigger (the T. I. double GRRRRR kind) I just keep bouncing forward wildly, landing here one day, and there the next.

As usual, just when I really need a good ‘talking to’ – the universe steps up and smacks me upside the head perfectly- and so it was just a few days ago that I got my little slap.

On Monday, my hubby and I met for lunch at our favorite East Indian restaurant. It was not much of a date because nestled next to our little basket brimming with Garlic Naan was a laptop, some spreadsheets, and a big stack of papers.

The whole meal was spent trying to chart an ‘either or’ path forward for me professionally …

It makes sense to focus my teaching platform on the BIG LETTERS of my 25 years of work in the End of Life field. My passion for training caregivers to  provide the aging and those at the end of life with dignified care is something that is deep and abiding within me. But that other path…. the one made of small letters that lead toward the mystical arts and the afterlife sciences …just never lets up. Choosing between these two paths has always been the crux of the matter for me.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

Despite great conversation and debate — when lunch hour was over I was walking out of the restaurant still bouncing… and that was when I saw a little bowl full of tiny pastel candies, and I felt the sweet sting of that smack upside the head I mentioned a few paragraphs back.

Rewind to 1993. I was still a newbie Hospice worker, no older than 25, and I was working with an 18-year-old young man who was of Eastern Indian descent. I have long since forgotten his name…. but I remember every nuance of our time spent together: the apartment complex he lived in, the couch he slept on each night, and the anguish that the household he lived in was filled with at this young life being lost.

He and I shared an easy rapport, and although our lives could not have been more divergent, he trusted me, and I cared deeply about him. This allowed for long authentic conversations to unfold between us. He talked openly about dying but was very fearful. He was curious about the ‘what ifs’ and I shared information with him about Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and what science had to say about the differences between the mind and the brain- and how this science supported a solid foundation for how consciousness can survive bodily death.

It was during these spans of time in his family’s home that I was first introduced to Indian food and began my love affair with this cuisine. It was also here that I learned about the traditional post meal condiment of candied fennel seeds. These tiny seeds were delicious… and in the last weeks of my patient’s life, the candy coating that circled these seeds was the one thing that he would ingest. So in those last visits we shared, he would ingest that sweet coating and spit the seed out while we spoke. He didn’t spit them into a cup or his hand… he just spit them. Looking back on this it seems absurd, but at the time, it was simply a part of the rhythm of his dying… I observed it but never made commentary on it… to him or anyone else.

The end of his journey was not an easy passage. His physical symptoms had ended up not being well managed and his last hours of life had been riddled with pain and discomfort.  This had caused trauma to not just his family, but to his caregiving team as well (myself included.)

I was shaken when I left his home for the last time. Everything he and I had explored about end of life and the possibility of consciousness existing separate from the brain felt soiled by the physical process he had endured in his last hours. As I left that apartment complex for the last time, I cried. To combat my tears, I did what I often did in those days.

I drove straight across town to a metaphysical bookstore where my favorite psychic, Renee, had a little card table in the back. Her card table was draped in faux velvet (purple of course.) It was faded and worn, and even had a few cigarettes burns in it for good measure….  But despite this, that table was my church- and Renee – cigarette habit and all- was the mystic who consistently held a light in the darkness, when fear would cause me to lose my way .

Renee saw me as soon as I walked in the door. She didn’t even wait for me to get to the back of the store…. She rose from her table, and without saying a word she walked toward me and began eyeing me up and down, and side to side… I knew what this meant, and I waited with bated breath for her to speak.

She did not disappoint. She told me that there was a beautiful dark-skinned young man standing near me who was radiant and peaceful. This of course left me awash in comfort, but the skeptic in me wanted more. (Renee knew I worked with the dying and I knew that by simple mathematical odds… what she had just shared had a high probability of fitting somewhere in my experiences with the vast clientele I worked with. So, although what she shared was comforting, it knew it could also just be a lucky guess.)

I pushed for more info, hoping she would deliver what we often called a ‘calling card.’ (‘Calling card’ was a simple phrase her and I used to explain the highly evidential clues that those on the other side often revealed to her, so that she could more accurately identify who they were.)

At my request for more insight, she closed her eyes and traveled to that space between worlds, and  presumably asked for the requested calling card.  When her eyes opened back up a few seconds later she looked a little perplexed and somewhat unimpressed.

‘He didn’t say anything,’ she said flatly,  ‘He just stood there spitting little seeds. Does that mean anything to you?’


And in that moment, just as she had many times before this and would many times after, Renee struck a match in the darkness… and ignited my lantern of hope – dispelling just enough darkness and fear to keep me traveling forward upon my path…

It only takes a moment for the WORLD to change…both the big letters and the small.

The big letters of END OF LIFE CARE and the small letters of the path of Everyday Mystics like Renee – are all part of the same story… but academia and biology, and mysticism and the intuitive arts are not topics that typically attract a uniform crowd. This is why I bounce….

If there exists on the horizon, a slick and easy way to merge the big and little letters of my life path together, it is not apparent to me yet… but I trust that the Universe will continue to spit seeds at me … both literally and symbolically, until I figure out a way to plant one  singular garden that will create nourishment from all the things I know and want to share with the world.

While I wait for the next indicated step to appear,  I will keep doing the work of releasing that which is no longer growing, while incubating that which has not yet sprouted…

and you should be doing this work too . . .

… because there is only one of us here.

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.” – C.S. Lewis