Oct 092016
 

austin-diane-and-jaxon

My sister, Connie, has always had animal friends as long as I can remember, especially horses and dogs.  She loves them  completely and they love her back.  It warms my heart to see her with her animals and the bond they have.

When I was growing up, I was more of a nature girl and spent a lot of time in the woods near creeks and streams.  I had a lot of “other worldly” friends like fairies and wood nymphs.  My imagination ran wild, but I was never lonely.  My friend, Diane, in the photo always wanted to see my fairy that I kept in a matchbox.  But I explained that if I opened the box and showed her,the fairy would fly away.  As I become more and more in tune with the spiritual world,I realized that a lot of the comfort I received from these “imaginary” friends was actually real, just another form of energy on a different plane.

As a single woman out on my own, I was given a white Eskimo Spitz , Rhiannon, by a co-worker.  Rhiannon became my constant companion for 14 years.  I was told that Spitz only like their owners, so as a small puppy, I took her to many pig pickings in North Carolina and let everyone play with her.  In later years, she was hit by a car and we rushed her to the emergency  vet.  He asked if I was sure she was a Spitz, because he had never seen one with that loving personality.  She went beyond her nature and gave back the love she received.

All my friends knew that if they invited me to their home, that Rhiannon was coming.  They could politely ask me not to bring her, but that rarely happened.  I began dating Sonny, my future husband who was a cat lover not a dog lover.  When I would visit him, the dog came also.  He tolerated her  because she was ” the smartest dog he had ever seen”.  Near the end of her life, this “cat lover” husband was taking her to his business everyday to give her heart medicine at lunch time.  She gave so much unconditional love to everyone she met, that it was impossible not to fall in love with her.

My son was born a few years after Rhiannon died, and I would tell him that he was my first human child ,but I had another child before him, my dog child.  If you are an animal lover, you understand this. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are being silly about your pet. They offer us so much emotional support and true unconditional love that they qualify as part of our family, hands down.  Whenever we are sad, they are there. Whenever we are angry, they don’t understand but stay near us anyway.  And the loving look they have when we are happy is truly joyous.

Since Rhiannon, I have had  2 rescue cats, Slate and Charcoal who lived outdoors and indoors most of their 17 years of living. Charcoal even became a full time housecoat when we moved to Cary, because I was worried about the traffic. This independent “outdoor” cat that could not be picked up, eventually slept in my bed and would tap my nose , hidden in between two pillows to get rubbed.

My son, Wil and I have had a black rescue lab, Tag, for 12 years. He is the joy of our life. He is always there to comfort us when anything goes awry.  We took him in  3 years after we lost Sonny, my husband and Wil’s dad.  Tag helped fill the void we had after Sonny’s departure to the spiritual plane. We could have not been gifted with a better ‘soulmate ” than Tag. He is one of the the most loving creatures, I have ever met. He is constantly following one or the other around the house, unless he is taking his beauty naps, which are more frequent now. The vet says his body is like a 6 year old, but I believe it is due to all the love he gives and receives. He still gets super excited to go for a daily walk and when he occasionally gets chicken skin for a treat.

No words can describe the passing of one of our furry friends. Some people do not understand the bond we have but we know we have a lost a friend who has loved us unconditionally through thick and thin. We can find comfort in the knowledge that their spirit will always be with us. We will never be alone, if we only open our heart to hear them.  This blog is for you Diane , who lost her longtime dog child, Austin , this past week. They are pictured above with her grandson, Jaxon. I love you and know that Austin’s spirit will always be there for you .

 Posted by at 11:24 am
Sep 042016
 

candace and camille

Would you like a joy-filled event , stress-free? Here are questions to ask when looking for a wedding officiant or spiritual guide.

  1. Are they easy to talk to?  Are you comfortable talking to them?  Are they friendly with a pleasing tone of voice?  Do they listen to you and seem in tune to your wishes?
  2.  Do they welcome your input? Do they ask what you would like in your ceremony and vows?  Are your ideas being taken into consideration?  They may let you know that as far as the legal ceremony , only your names, your intention, your vows , two witnesses and the declaration of a marriage couple are required.  This is your wedding and it should embrace the essence of your relationship to your family and friends.   Anything you want to add is OK as long as the legal requirements are present. 
  3.  Do they offer suggestions for Rituals or Remembrances? Unity ceremonies  such as candle lighting or sand ceremony can add an extra element to the service.  A nice gesture is the remembrance of loves ones, parents, grandparents or others who are no longer with us in the physical plane.  If there are children from a previous marriage, are they to be included in the ceremony?
  4. Open-Mindedness? Do they welcome your preference for the type of ceremony :secular, spiritual or religious? Are they free of religious, sexual or racial bias? Will your friends and family feel comfortable in the presence of them ?
  5. Description of Services and Fees? Do they describe their services including: unlimited texts,calls or emails leading up to the ceremony and expected response time; creation of ceremony and vows : officiating the ceremony and filing of legal documents. The average fee for a wedding officiant is $500 ( rehearsal and wedding). The average fee for spiritual guidance $75-100 per session.

If you ask these questions, your wedding or spiritual guidance session should be stress-free and filled with joy. It is your natural right to have a joyful life and experience! Interview your reverend to see if it will be a good fit for you.

I offer personalized ceremonies, as well as De-Stress sessions for  the bride, groom and parents leading up to the wedding. The sessions will focus on reducing stress associated with the upcoming wedding. It will include a discussion of the wedding and the causes of your stress. A guided mediation will follow to relax and allow you to let go of worrying thoughts. You will take a trip through nature in your mind and focus on pleasant surroundings. Next you will visualize the wedding unfolding with ease and grace. You will have techniques to help calm yourself and enjoy the wedding when it occurs.

I also offer spiritual guidance and energy healing sessions to everyone on an on-going basis.

 

 Posted by at 4:23 pm
Aug 142016
 

Clara Johnson and chakra painting.

I saw an artist friend at a business event a few months ago and asked her to come to a guided mediation that I was leading. She hesitated and I suddenly understood, she lives in a  “state of meditation” while creating her art. We created a combined art and spirituality class: Chakra Art Expression. She led the painting, while I led a guided mediation through the Chakras or energy centers of the body. As you can see from the photo everyone’s experience was different but wonderful.

I often wonder why I am so drawn to theater, dance, music or books. Is it a way to escape life? The answer seems to  lie deeper. We become so entrenched in our daily habits of earning a living, taking care of our health, and fulfilling obligations, that we forget to appreciate  and be thankful for the simple things that surround us.

Beauty in a painting, memories from a familiar tune, a book expressing emotions, a dance causing an urge to jump up -all tap into our heart and help us feel truly alive and connected to our spirit. We usually have to come back to the “real world” after  experiencing  such a moment.

The artists I know, seem to live in two worlds, the physical and the spiritual. All of us can benefit by tapping into our creativity. When we free our minds from habitual thoughts and allow our imagination to run free , we start to live in the present. Connecting with that creative spirit , lifts you into a place of flow, where time seems to stop.

We all come into this life full of wonder. Every new thing we encounter provides delight. Opening our heart to the beauty around us can truly provide a sense of peace and love. Whenever you encounter negative thoughts, remember how it felt to be a child with no limits in your mind. Take a fresh look at the world around you and see all the beauty there. What we perceive is our choice: decide to see beauty and love in every person you meet and experience true inner peace.  Your heart will thank you for it!

 Posted by at 10:21 am
Aug 022016
 

Melba at the alke

My aunt transcended to the spiritual plane this week. She was full of love and laughter during her 80+ years of life and freely shared those blessings to all around her. I felt so strongly about her wonderful soul that I made up my mind to speak at her funeral, which made me very nervous. Public speaking is not fun to me , but in the past year I have been officiating weddings in front of large groups of people and knew if I could do that, I could do this for my aunt. My real concern was getting through it without crying the whole time. These are my thoughts I shared with our family on Friday;

“We are born feeling unconditional love for everyone around us. As we grow up, we begin to feel separation from others and spend our life looking for peace in our heart as a key to happiness. Some of us are fortunate enough to know a person who lives from a place of unconditional love. There is no judgment, no jealousy, no anger at other people-everyone is seen as their true self- a child of God with a pure soul. This person radiates love in all they do and say and shows no preference to anyone around them.

Melba McKenzie was a person whose heart and love always shined upon everyone she met. I had the honor of being part of her family. I also had the privilege to know another person with this rare quality-of total unconditional love-my mother. Melba and Rachel( my mother)  were sisters from first sight after marrying brothers from the McKenzie clan. There was a special bond between these two women that was stronger than family-it was at the core of their soul-their love for all God’s children.

This week I have spent in reflection of Melba’s life and have seen Melba, Rachel, Paul( my father) and Stan (my uncle) together again, all with radiant smiles. Even though we are sad today with Melba’s passing to the spiritual plane, we know she is sending her love down to us now and will for the rest of our lives. Let us all open our hearts to love and share it with everyone we meet. Melba would be proud.”

Our lives expand beyond happiness , when we come from a place of unconditional love to all we meet. It is a daily practice but one well worth the undertaking , allowing us to find heaven on earth. And yes, I made it through the tribute to Aunt Melba without crying (although a few voice quivers). It is amazing when you let go of fear and focus on what is really important , the things you find yourself doing, that you never would have thought you could.

 Posted by at 11:09 am
May 212016
 

1F3A1695_1200x800 (2)jordan and bethWhen I became an ordained minister as an enhancement to my energy healing business, I did not envision becoming a wedding officiant. But soon after, everyone starting asking if I could marry couples. I thought what a wonderful event participate in. I knew living in North Carolina, I was given the opportunity to marry anyone who truly loved their partner and wanted to commit to each other through marriage. I started performing marriages, just as the same-sex marriage laws became legal in NC. I felt  in my heart, there was a bigger reason to my becoming an ordained minister when I did. I have been blessed with officiating weddings of all types.

Couples who decide to share their commitment of love with others through a spiritual ceremony , allow their friends and family to be a part of the joyous celebration. They declare their love for one another and their choice to spend the rest of their lives together through the good times as well as the difficult ones. As witnesses to this event, we declare our love and  support for them through the years without judgement .

My sister, Connie  and her husband, Jack, renewed their vows this year. Their son, Travis was part of the ceremony. Some friends who attended the ceremony ,had known them  from  the beginning of their 36 years of marriage. What a wonderful way to celebrate their love and commitment through the years.  They have found one of life’s greatest joys-giving of yourself honestly and courageously to each other, thereby enhancing your lives.

The look of love between the marriage partners is truly one of the most special moments , I have the privilege of sharing with others. Ceremonies embrace the essence of love ,and by sharing with others, you allow them the freedom to show love to those people who are important in their life. What a true blessing for the marriage partners and those who witness this ceremony.

As I was thinking of a subject for blogging today, a friend of mine posted on Face Book that her husband of 25 years died suddenly in his sleep last night.  I knew her love for him and how she must feel at this loss. The same thing happened to me after 14 years of marriage. You never know how much time we are have on earth, but the most important thing is to be true to your feelings and let others know how you feel. There is no greater gift you can give another person, than your love.

May 082016
 

key-west

Looking at nature under the sea, just takes my breath away. The beautiful colors of the fish and the serenity of being in water without the everyday noises on land is so surreal.

I have always felt peace in water and used it as a form of mediation when I was upset and could not find answers to challenges I was facing. I remember doing this all through my early adulthood. When I was 50 years old, my husband passed away suddenly, and all I could think about was getting in the water. A friend picked me up the next day and took me to the pool. I remember crying in the water but also feeling relief from the constant worry of raising an 8 year old and running my husband’s business along with my full-time job. I knew if I could get to the water , it would help calm me down. It was such a strong calling that I could not ignore it. I wonder sometimes if we feel at home in water because we came from a fluid environment inside our mother’s womb?

In April, I went snorkeling off the coast of Key West along the reef. The leather coral with long looking “fingers’ seemed to be like a hand reaching upward to the sky . The sea fan coral reminded me of a tree with branches and leaves swaying in the wind. It is amazing how wonderful nature is. The waves of the ocean and the breeze of the land seem so similar , all going in the natural rhythm and flow of the earth. Nature shows us a life force displaying so much synchronicity,  that we can see the perfect “fit” of everything around us if we take the time to look and listen. Connecting with nature on land or water is a truly magnificent way to experience the spiritual life force connecting all of us in the “Oneness”.

 

Feb 152016
 

EinsteinEnergy

Have you ever been thinking about someone when the phone rings and it was that person?   Have you ever visited a place and had a sense of deja vu, like you had been there before but do not remember the trip? Have you ever felt someone staring at you and turned to find out it was true?

“According to quantum physics, we are part of a vast, invisible field of energy, which contains all possible realities and responds to our thoughts and our feelings. Think about it―every physical thing in our life is not solid matter but rather, fields of energy or frequency patterns of information. Every human being, along with every material thing in the Universe, broadcast a distinct energy pattern, and this energy carries information. Quantum Entanglement Theory states that all humans and the quantum field are interconnected.”  http://www.thehealersjournal.com/2013/05/05/quantum-physics-explain-how-everything-is-made-of-energy/

In energy healing , the practitioner is directing the spiritually guided universal life force to  the client.  There are many types of energy healing. Increasing the amount of energy coming into your body, mind, and spirit through a skilled practitioner can and often does facilitate healing of the “whole” self.

 Reiki is  a practice that helps balance the chakras or energy centers in the body. The energy in the body can become restricted  by holding onto to negative thoughts or emotions. This can cause emotional, mental or physcial problems. Reiki energy helps balance the energy centers allowing unconditional love or universal life force to flow freely through the body thus promoting well-being. Negative thoughts can create a feeling of lack in our life that we sometimes try to  fill by relationships with others.  When unconditional love fills the body, the voids we feel can disappear.
 

Trinity Energy Progression is another type of healing energy which helps release all resistance/partitions that are limiting your spiritual growth. These partitions create negative feelings such as anger, frustration, jealousy, regret, shame , pain. By tapping into your divine consciousness, you realize you are limitless and that everything you need is already within yourself.  You choose how you want to experience your life. When you set your intentions, keep your focus on them, actively work towards them, you can bring your intentions into your reality. 

“You choose what to download to your brain from the possibilities, the brain turns it into your 3D reality. We are all connected and we are all one. ” From a talk by Dr, Mary Asteria-Robol, a former nun with a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from Cornell and  is also a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

 Starting a meditation practice is a wonderful way to tune into your intuition or divine center.  Guided Meditations , especially for those who want to begin this practice, can be extremely helpful. 

There are also spiritual courses for study such as  the “Course in Miracles”, a spiritual practice based on love and forgiveness.

For those of you who want more scientific proof look at the placebo effect. The placebo effect in medicine helps demonstrate the effect our mind has over our physical body. Studies have shown that 30-60%of people taking a placebo for pain feel less pain. Brain scans showed that the patients taking the drug and those taking a placebo both had similar activation in the part of the brain where the most opiate receptors are located thus reducing the pain.

If you are ready to embark on your own spiritual journey, try meditation, a spiritual study or find an energy practitioner you resonate with to help you on your way.

 

 

Dec 272015
 

pig picking peggy bill scott krisMost people that know me would not believe I am shy, but it is true. Even my high school senior year homeroom teacher stated “Although Ann is rather reserved , she seems to be well liked by her peers” in my permanent record. I have always felt awkward going somewhere where I did not know anyone especially if I was going by myself.

That is still true although, I make myself, go up and speak to people. I feel more at ease talking to someone who looks shy or uncomfortable. I know the feeling and hope it will help them loosen up as well as myself. I met my friends of several years in the picture above by doing this. Peggy and Bill ( middle couple) I met at an organic wind store , Sip, in Cary. I was there with a girlfriend and struck up a conversation with them. They had moved to NC a few months previously when Bill’s job relocated him here. Peggy was not working yet and did not know anyone in the area. They moved from New York, talk about culture shock.

I invited Peggy to lunch then to an exercise class. We became fast friends and have had so many fun times together, even going white water rafting in West Virginia. This was the subject of our first talk and it happened two years later. Bill had never been and was a little apprehensive. We went into a hole in a class 3 rapid first thing and the boat went straight up before coming down. Eric and I  were so surprised because we have been going for years on class 5 rapids and never had that wild a ride. I looked back at Bill and he was smiling! I thought he made it through a really tough one with pizzazz.

I met Kris and Scott, the couple on the right, at a wine networking event hosted by Kevin Synder. We started talking and I found out they had only been here a few months moving from California. Talk about culture shock again! I invited them to an informal wine tasting the upcoming Saturday. They came and met Peggy and Bill and Eric . The rest is history. I can not tell you how many delicious dinner parties and fun movie nights we have shared with these couples. They have enriched our lives and all because I am shy and want to reach out to others who are feeling the same way.

When I worked at NCSU for over 20 years in a biochemistry research lab, I met graduate students from all over the world: France, Japan, Taiwan, India, Romania and more. I was always intrigued to learn about their cultures and tried many International food dishes. I spent countless nights at my friend, Shigeko’s house,  eating wonderful, homemade Japanese food. We met 40 years ago and still visit each other to this day.

It may be my Southern upbringing, but I have always feel the need to make others feel welcome in my home town. I am so proud of the Raleigh area, growing up when there was only 5 or 6 restaurants here. It has certainly grown over the last 60 years, but being a native, I feel the desire to let others see what I see when I think of Raleigh. I want them to feel welcome and be able to call the Raleigh area home.

When you tap into your innermost spiritual center and know that we are all truly connected, it becomes much easier to forget  your fears of rejection and strike up a conversation. What is the worst thing that could happen? They ignore you or don’t seem interested? Just bless them and hope they loosen up one day. On the other hand , you may experience deep friendships with people from other places; learn about their homes, cultures and values,thus enriching your life beyond compare.

Dec 132015
 

dancing at Ally's weddingCould you imagine going to a wedding, birthday party or graduation without music? Most of life’s big celebrations are enhanced by music. It sets the mood, engages people to connect and helps open the heart.

I recently went to a wedding in Washington, DC for my  friend’s daughter. I knew a lot of her family since we had been friends since junior high. The wedding was beautiful . We then proceeded to the reception. And what a reception it was. We had a cocktail hour, then dinner and afterwards dancing. Ali and Dan , the wedding couple, chose a live band, Another Level, that one of the best dance bands I have ever heard. Eric and I danced for 3 hours like high school kids. All of my friend’s (Linda) family was on the dance floor. It was great. There were grandparents, parents, young adults, teenagers and kids. Everyone was out there.

I was thinking how wonderful it was to connect with old friends and meet new ones. I grabbed Linda and said let’s go dance. She is normally a little shy. But after coming out on the floor with me, you could not get her off. Most of us are in our 60’s but we were dancing side by side with the 30 year olds and having a blast. The thing that struck me most is how music brings people together. I could not imagine just sitting at a table and trying to make small talk for hours on end. Dancing is a way to immerse yourself in the music and express how you feel. Our bodies were meant to move and what better way than dancing. No one cares if you have the correct moves, all that matters is that you are engaging in the joyful celebration. Songs are played that remind you of your childhood, adulthood and even the present time. There  is nothing like a song to bring a memory into sharp focus from long ago.

I had the honor of going to two Celebrations of Life recently. One was for a friend’s 34 year old son who died in an accident. At the end of the service, they played “Happy” and people were dancing in the aisles, choosing to remember the happy soul of my friend’s son in music. The following month, I went to a Jewish Celebration of Life for my long time friend, Wendy Brown. She was a patron of the arts in Raleigh and a generous donor. She had a smile on her face whenever she listened to the NC Symphony or even when she was talking  about them. I know that Bonnie and Brian were some of her favorites. A quartet from the NC Symphony performed at her Celebration including her two favorite artists. When they started playing, I truly felt my friend was listening. It touched my heart more than anything since she had passed away. I realized how much I was going to miss her impish smile and her unwavering joy when listening to the symphony, watching the ballet or going to the theater.

I always want to cry when I sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth” , whether it be at church or at a meeting. We recently sang this at the “Woman’s Club of Raleigh” meeting and I had to hold back the tears.

“Let There Be Peace On Earth” by Harry Connick, Jr.
“Let there be peace on earth And let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, The peace that was meant to be. With God as our father,Brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother ,In perfect harmony. ”

When I think of having peace on earth and it beginning with me, it touches my heart and makes me feel anything is possible. We are all connected and with music , it seems to make the connection stronger and more  palpable. You can feel the energy flowing form one person to another when singing or dancing together. I wonder if music is one of the Creator’s ways to join us together especially when we seem to be drifting apart.

The next time you hear a song that melts your heart, try to enjoy the feeling of contention to all living things. After all, that is what love and life is truly about, our connections.

 

 

Dec 062015
 

abrahamlincoln137180Recently I went to a Celebration of Life for my friend’s 34 year old son who died by accident. It was truly a celebration of his life. His friends, brother, father and mother all spoke of his zest for life and how he lived every moment to the fullest. His mother read

“On Children” by Kahlil Gibran

“Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”

She truly demonstrated her belief that life is a continuous flow of energy of your spirit in this plane and into the spiritual realm. At the end they played “Happy” and everyone danced in the aisles.  I was so overwhelmed by the love felt for this man and how everyone was honored by knowing him.

Twelve years ago, I lost my husband after spending 17 years with him. My son was eight and had to bear losing his father young. It was a sudden death and totally unexpected. Sonny Perkins was such a vibrant man that everyone loved for his generosity. He would cook on the grill and have me to take food to all the single moms in the neighborhood. He was bigger than life and it seemed unreal that he was no longer with us. He made it clear that he wanted to be cremated and did not like funeral homes. So I made the decision to have a graveside service only. I invited people to the house afterwards and told them to” bring a bottle and a story” to celebrate his life. I knew that he would be proud of this decision. It was a very emotional time, but what a fine way to learn more about this man that I loved for many years, by hearing stories of his college days.

In the weeks that followed, I found solace with Wil Perkins’s ( my son) unwavering belief that his father was still with us. I would be crying and he would ask what was the matter. I would say I miss your Dad. Wil would respond “He is right here with us, Mom , you do not need to be sad.” I felt comfort knowing that his spirit would always be with me and  Wil. When you have the privilege of knowing someone intimately and being part of their life, you truly never lose them. You can reach them through dreams, meditation and prayer. You can always talk to them if you are willing to try a new way of communicating. Look for signs and you will see them. Wil and I were standing in the bathroom shortly after his Dad’s death and I was talking about how his Dad would turn off the light to tease me. The next moment the light went out without us touching the switch. We both knew in our heart that his Dad was there.  Sometimes you may see a animal,hear a song or  smell something that reminds you of your loved one just when you need it. Pay attention, they are trying to let you know that they are OK.

Today, I go to another Celebration of Life for my friend, Wendy Brown, who I met 17 years ago at the YMCA water aerobics class. She was one of a kind. We were friends in Goldsboro, and when I moved to Cary, she asked me to attend NC Theater productions with her. Her generosity allowed me to experience  art in many forms, including theater, ballet and symphony. When she found out my college son liked the symphony, she gave him tickets to go and take a friend. She was a generous donor to all the arts, and it was my honor to attend the events with her.  Wendy, Annette, Eric and I could be seen at most NC Theater events. Whenever I think of her, I see her impish smile and revel in her sense of wonder of the arts at every production she attended.

As life goes on, we experience more losses of our loved ones. Celebrating their life in your memories, instead of grieving your loss, can give you great comfort. I know you truly never lose anyone, just their physical form. My Dad died when I was 19 and my Mom when I was 29 but I still see them in my dreams and meditations to this day. When people ask , “How do you get over the loss?” , I respond by saying ” I am so thankful that I had them in my life for even a short while”.  Knowing that their spirit is with me always is a comfort beyond belief.