No Expectations…No Clinging…No Searching

Messages from my spirit guide Holly and The Collective Wisdom come in many ways. Sometimes I have a complete knowing without having to do any journaled writing. Sometimes there is a synchronicity that holds an obvious message. Sometimes the message comes in response to a question I pose. And sometimes an idea continues to float through my mind until I am willing to sit down with my journal and engage in a guided writing with Holly. This last way is how this message came to me a few weeks ago. I begin each morning with a qigong routine followed by a meditative writing with Spirit. Sometimes I pose a question or a comment, but on this particular morning, it was obvious that I would be the receiver of a message Holly and The Collective Wisdom wanted to share with me.

Holly: No expectations…no clinging…no searching. “No” is the way. You were thinking about the podcast on Sounds True about the idea of “No Time,” this morning, hoping to once again see birds on your balcony railing. But the true blessing would be for you to have no need for the magical appearance. Just sit in the wonder of each moment, and allow it to unfold as it will. It is the constant arrival of day, night, rain, clear skies, winds, falling leaves, new buds…You see, dear friend, you have come to Earth to experience the magic of the abundant planet. Do not take that abundance for granted. If more people could slow down to appreciate all your planet has to offer, they might do more to sustain her offerings. So, no need for expectations…clinging…searchings. Bask in the glory of your Earthly home and the opportunity you are given in this lifetime.

As my day unfolded, I marveled at how the morning sunlight reflected off windows in the Hollywood Hills like a gift of sparkling diamonds for those in the city below. I was blessed by the sounds of young children laughing as they played in our apartment’s pool. I sat on a rocking chair on our balcony and enjoyed the sun on an warm afternoon in mid-November. With closed eyes, I was aware of a bright red background and a kaleidoscope of changing patterns behind my eyelids that I had never noticed before. I was awed by how the trees that had been chainsaw-pruned several weeks ago were already pushing new growth to the surface of their trunks and branches. I found myself being grateful for the many and varied ways the smallest details about this life can be so meaningful and profound. With thanks to Holly and The Collective Wisdom, I made a commitment to see the majesty in what might otherwise be seen as the ordinary. I owe that to myself and to this planet.

We are grateful to the artist, Cathy Salser, the founder of A WINDOW BETWEEN WORLDS (Art Transforming Trauma), who graciously allowed us to use her creation of the tree with a heart for this post. We believe this artwork is a wonderful visual metaphor because this is a loving planet that will only survive with the support of inhabitants who see themselves as caretakers of the gift that is Earth. And, as a small token of gratitude, a donation has been make to The Nature Conservancy, who have been caretakers of this planet since the 1950’s. Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly, December 21, 2021

Other related post:

Mother Earth and Her Children are Calling

If Not Now, When?: A Message From Holly and the Collective Wisdom

A few weeks ago, I was remembering what it felt like to be in my late teens and early 20’s during the marches against the military draft and the war in Vietnam. I remembered the songs of the time that supported and encouraged protest. There were definitely differing opinions globally about America’s role in the war, and many young and old Americans were willing to go to jail to voice their opposition. World-famous American heavyweight boxing champion, Muhammad Ali, said at the time: “My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me n—–, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. … Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”

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In a symposium on the Vietnam War, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “…All of this reveals that we are in an untenable position morally and politically. We are left standing before the world glutted by our barbarity. We are engaged in a war that seeks to turn the clock of history back and perpetuate white colonialism. The greatest irony and tragedy of all is that our nation, which initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world, is now cast in the mold of being an arch anti-revolutionary.” And here we are today, nearing the end of 2021, and our “better selves” are being called on to rise up in any way we can…in any way we feel called to have our voices heard. Two months ago, my spirit guide Holly and the Collective Wisdom gave me this message to share with you:

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Holly: In the rarely noticed backdrop of this life, in this moment, is a building movement toward compassion, justice, and generosity of loving-kindness. Many of you are over-focused on the forefront of indignities, lies, injustices, and what appears to be an expansion of the underbelly of humanity. This over-focus is causing pain, depression, and, in some instances, a feeling of being immobilized and unable to take action. However, dear friends, this underbelly is quite aware of the growing backdrop of Universal Love of which you are a part, and it makes those people fearful of losing their perceived fear-based power. While keeping one eye on the doings of this angry mob, your other eye must be focused on the other reality…There are more of you working passionately to support your planet and the good people who inhabit it than are part of the mob.

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What some of you also fail to see is that the mob is finding ways to cause long-term suffering. They are taking action. They are running for school boards, which might seem inconsequential to those of you focused on a national or global level, but school board members make decisions about how and what your children will and won’t be taught.

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Now is the time to take action! IF NOT NOW, WHEN? That action may be running for your local school board. It may look like joining marches to ensure all people’s voices have a chance to be heard locally, statewide, nationally, and globally. It may be by making sure all people have the necessities of life. It may be by working to save your planet so it remains habitable. You each have your individual passions and hopes and dreams for yourself and your locality and/or planet. Remaining idle, afraid of the underbelly, fixated on the hopelessness of humankind is not an option if you want the backdrop of loving-kindness to be readily seen and impactful.

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We are aware that many of you have already stepped forward into the light of center stage, unafraid to be seen and heard. We see you, and we support your soulful efforts. You are here, at this time, to share your gifts and talents with the rest of humanity. We encourage you to be a bridge to compassionate change, and we encourage you to invite others to join you in your endeavors. Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly, December 14, 2021

Take it Easy…Don’t Let the Sound of Your Own Wheels Drive You Crazy

My spirit guide Holly was back at it with songs. This time it was The Eagles’ song (written by Glenn Fry and Jackson Browne) Take it Easy. The words rang through my head: “Take it easy, take it easy. Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.”

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It all started as I was writing in my journal. The day before, I had been on a Zoom call with former friends and teaching colleagues from when I lived in Eugene, Oregon. We moved to Los Angeles nine years ago, and I hadn’t seen a few of my friends for more than ten years. Having lived in Eugene for 35 years, there were times when I longed to return to that smaller town and my old friends. I knew my colleagues continued to meet for lunch or other gatherings a few times a year, but the pandemic had made those gatherings difficult or impossible. I set up a Zoom link for us, and although there were only seven of us on the call, it gave me a chance to catch up with some of the teaching friends I had missed.

Our backyard in Eugene, Oregon

There were some important lessons I learned from that call, and I wrote them in my journal: Just as Holly suggested, meeting with friends over Zoom nourished the part of me that felt as though I was missing a connection with people who had been important to me personally and professionally. But this was also a wake-up call to me that Eugene is my past — not my future. It is interesting how we can embellish something from our past to be more than it was…and certainly could never be again. Los Angeles, the place where our precious grandchildren live, is where we are meant to be.

Holly and the Collective Wisdom responded with these words: How wonderful that you can realize how the rearview mirror is a distortion of reality. Just as the car’s rearview mirror shows only a small portion of what is behind you, so too does your memory hold only a portion of what you experienced.

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So now you must look through the windshield of your life to what is actually happening right now. We encourage you to realize that this, too, is but a glimpse of all that is happening right now, but this is your truth as it unfolds. Just as when driving a car, remain focused on the present. Do not allow your mind to stray into ruminations of the past or beliefs that life was somehow better back there. Don’t allow your own wheels to drive you crazy. And don’t allow your mind to be focused on fears of a future that has yet to urge you forward. The road on which you are the driver of your life needs your awareness, so take it easy.

And once Holly was sure I had gotten the message, another song came floating through my mind, Seasons of Our Lives...but that is a song for a future post.

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We hope you will consider keeping your eyes on the road of your life. That is not to say that you shouldn’t be aware of portions of the past that are the foundation of who you are, or that you shouldn’t make plans for your future, but all experiences take place in the here and now. Taking your eyes off the road of your life may cause you to miss an impactful off-ramp or miss aspects of the life you are meant to live. We encourage you to take Glenn Fry and Jackson Browne’s advice: “Take it easy. Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.” Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly, December 7, 2021

Interviews with Innocence: Consciousness, Spirituality, and Honoring the Wisdom of the Very Young

Marla Hughes is a podcaster and the creator of Interviews with Innocence. She is particularly interested in how young children help us reconnect with our own spirituality. She has conducted more than 100 interviews as a part of her Interviews with Innocence platform. As she explains on her website, her podcasts “showcase a variety of experts and others in the fields of consciousness, spirituality and mindfulness. My hope is that these interviews will illuminate the spiritual wisdom our young share and remind us to slow down, be more present, loving, grateful and childlike. The pure essence that young children exhibit lives within all of us. My further hope is that these interviews can help us discover, embrace, and connect with the sacred core of childhood that resides in all of us. The knowledge I have gained in the process of creating this podcast has changed my life and my understanding of the world so profoundly, and I am honored to share this journey with you.

I was honored by be chosen by Marla for one of these interviews. When we spoke prior to the interview, she suggested that we begin with a sample of guided writing by my spirit guide Holly. I chose one that I thought would be particularly relevant.

Holly: Most of you have noticed that your news reporting is largely focused on hardwiring your brain for negativity. That night-after-night, and day-after-day, bombardment of negativity makes it difficult for viewers to experience much happiness in their waking hours. We will encourage you to take a few moments each day to hardwire your brain for happiness. Build your awareness of the beauty and wonder around you. Hold your gaze for twice as long as you normally would, and pull that feeling into your heart and mind. Just a couple of moments of happiness can’t possibly outweigh the negativity being fed you on a daily basis, but perhaps you’ll eventually choose to spend more time velcroing positive experiences than negative ones. It is really your choice. You don’t have to be a victim to the negativity of the media or of others.

And just a week before my interview with Marla Hughes, Holly became insistent that there was a more important message she wanted to share with parents of young children. Here is that message:

Holly: It is vital that a new focus be placed on the happiness of your planet’s children. In many places in your world, children grow up with nature, song, play, as the backdrop for learning. But in countries where test scores, grades, academic achievement are the symbols of success, you are breaking down the natural playfulness, merrymaking, and problem-solving abilities of your children. You are breaking down the child’s connection to spirit. A group of people could show their devotion to children by creating schools that have plants and animals and opportunities for creative play. The adults in the community would value teachers by paying them at the same level they pay highly-valued individuals. But in your North American culture, too many adults are willing to warehouse their children to fit into the status quo. If you wanted the children of your culture to grow up to be compassionate, empathetic, creative, problem-solving members of your society, you would have that rising to the level of issues such as global warming. When the focus is not on the happiness of the youngest members of your culture, it is easy to see how the health of your planet is also not a priority. It seems to us that because the adults of your country had to endure 12 years of a basic education, and you feel that you turned out okay, then this same education is fine for this generation. Well, we would respond, the adults of North America are not okay, and all you have to do is look at how many are on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications and modalities. And your children, particularly the highly sensitive and the spiritually sensitive young souls, ARE NOT OKAY, either. Not only are they not happy, many of them are losing their connection to your planet and their purposes for being there. These children need your support because they are the ones who have the potential to solve so many of the problems currently facing your nations and planet.

On the day of the interview, I decided to share both messages from Holly with Marla and her audience. I thought it would give them an idea of the dynamic relationship I have with my spirit guide.

Here is a link to the full conversation with Marla Hughes (broken into two shorter podcasts) on her show, Interviews with Innocence.

Interviews with Innocence – Part 1: Messages From Spirit

Interviews with Innocence – Part 2: The Beauty of Working With Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Children

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We encourage you to find ways to help the children of your planet grow up to be emotionally healthy, compassionate, empathetic, creative, problem-solving individuals. We hope you will find ways to support the adults in much the same way. A planet cannot be sufficiently sustained when so many people are suffering. Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly, November 30, 2021

Previous post about Hardwiring Happiness: Raising Your Set Point for Joy.

Unpacking Impactful Events – Part I: November 22, 1963

Last month, my spirit guide Holly suggested a new approach to our WordPress blog posts. This series of posts has been my attempt to co-create a spiritual memoir, and she had the following suggestion:

Holly: We will suggest that you allow younger memories to re-surface so we can tackle and unpack these earlier experiences. Through this historical survey of your life’s experiences, each event is an important puzzle piece in your life’s story. One impactful event less, and you would not be the same person you are today. As November 22nd approaches, you have been thinking about the impact that date had on you as a pre-teenager. It will be an important memory to unpack as the events of that day continue to carry significance in your heart and mind.

Mount Gleason Junior High School

On November 22, 1963, I was a 12-year-old 7th grader at Mount Gleason Junior High School in Sunland-Tujunga, California. I was in my home economics class just prior to lunch. We were all taken by surprise when the principal came over the loudspeaker and announced that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. I was so upset, I ran out of class and into the girls’ bathroom, and I broke down crying. Several other girls joined me and told me we were being allowed to go home. It was just under a mile walk up hill from my school to home, but my legs and heart were so weighed down, it seemed like an enormous task.

I had a particular fondness for President Kennedy. Just six months before his death, I had been given an assignment to write about someone I admired, and I wrote about President Kennedy. I sent him a copy of my report, and his secretary sent back a photo of the president along with a letter he had signed. I also had a fondness for President Kennedy because he was young, and he had children who were even younger than me. The First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, was a polyglot who spoke French, German, Italian, and Spanish, and was known to speak to people in their own language. I remember hearing her address the French people on their trip to France, and she was so well-received and appreciated.

While my preteen idealized image of President Kennedy is more realistic nowadays, there is no doubt that in my memories of November 22, 1963, I still hold compassion for his family, our country, and for my 12-year-old self who lost the fantasy she had about the future of her country and this young president who would no longer be its leader.

John F. Kennedy, Jr. salutes his father’s casket.

We hope you will take the time to unpack the impactful events of your own life. It is through this historical review that you will see the importance of each piece of your jigsaw-puzzled life. Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly, November 22, 2021

Angels Along the Road, Part I: Reginald Fitch

It seems most appropriate that my spirit guide Holly and I tell this story as we approach Thanksgiving. Junior high school can be a tough time for many kids. For me it was particularly difficult because for the first time in my short life, I was told that I was physically outside the norm, and I would be transferred from the traditional PE class into “corrective” PE. I am quite thin, and I have always been thin. But that seemed to be a problem at my middle school. We were all lined up on the blacktop, standing up as straight as possible, and the teachers were checking us out, front and back. A small group of us were asked to leave the line, and we were led into a very small gym. As I looked around the group, I was trying to see any similarities we might have had. Several girls were what must have been deemed overweight, a couple had casts on an arm or leg, one girl had a limp, and a couple of girls had scoliosis. I still couldn’t figure out why I was there. The part that is the most laughable to this day is that those of us who weren’t restricted from physical activity all participated in the same circuit training. And at the end of that year, I was still quite thin, as I am to this day. So much for corrective PE!

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But there was a saving grace to junior high school, and that was the choir director, Mr. Reginald Fitch. He had a radiant smile that made me feel that even corrective PE couldn’t dampen my spirit or define who I was. When I was in Mr. Fitch’s class, I felt as though someone really saw me for who I was beyond this human form. And when I became a teacher, I thought about him on a regular basis, and I used him as a model for the kind of teacher I hoped to be. There is no doubt in my mind that Reginald Fitch was a significant angel encounter along my journey.

A beautiful synchronicity would reunite me with Mr. Fitch more than 45 years after being in junior high choir. By the late 1990’s, I had already been a teacher for more than 20 years, and one of my 5th grade students was in the Oregon Children’s Choir. She invited me to one of her concerts, and as I read the concert program, I noticed that her choir director’s last name was Fitch. As I looked more closely at his face, I noticed so many similarities to my Mr. Fitch that he had to be this choir director’s father. The next Monday, I asked my student to find out if, in deed, Reginald Fitch was the father of this young choir director.

A week later, I found the answer I had been looking for along with Reginald Fitch’s home phone number. He was now living in a town south of Eugene, and his son said he would be so happy to hear from me. I called Mr. Fitch and told him the significant impact he had had on my personal and professional life. He was 69 and had retired to live near his son who was both the Oregon Children’s Choir director and a middle school music teacher, like his father had been. My heart felt so full from our telephone reunion. Several weeks later, I was reading our local paper and was shocked to read that my angel, Reginald Fitch, had been killed in an auto accident on the way to substitute teach for his son’s middle school music classes. The article included comments from his son’s students about how much they had enjoyed the times this amazing man was their substitute teacher. It was certainly a bitter-sweet moment. I cried with joy to realize just how many children had had the opportunity to spend time with Mr. Fitch, and I felt compassion for his family and for the students who would never know the beauty of this man.

Our reunion and his death were just over 20 years ago. About 15 years ago, I was lying down on a table while a healer worked on me, and she told me that there were three spirit guides in the room with us. I asked her if one was Holly. She laughed and said the one at my head was the Holy One, but she didn’t mind me calling her Holly. She then told me that there were two more at my feet. One was Marté, and the other was Reginald. It is with a deep sense of gratitude that I acknowledge Mr. Fitch’s name on a regular basis.

We will encourage each of you to take the time to recall and reach out to the angels along your journey. We will also encourage you to be a Reginald Fitch for someone along their own journey. Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly, November 16, 2021

Holly and the Collective Wisdom: Their Guidance Expands My Awareness

Two years ago, on Day 76 of my 365 days of journaling with my spirit guide Holly, I wrote about a young client who I suspected had auditory processing issues. Holly gave me this suggestion:

Holly: Listen to him read to see if there is a big discrepancy between his excellent reading comprehension and his oral reading skills. Ask him if he ever misunderstands what people are saying in the car when they are in the front seat and he is behind them. Ask if he ever misses what the teacher says (as in directions or other information). Last night you received an email from a mom letting you know your recommendation for a CAPD (central auditory processing disorder) assessment was correct, and you had never even met the girl. Based upon what the mother had told you, and with our guidance, you made the recommendation for this assessment. Please trust our guidance.

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I started thinking about the 25 years I had been a teacher, long before I engaged in journaling with Holly and the Collective Wisdom. Even back then, I was able to recognize the gifts and challenges of my students, and I must have been guided at that time, as well, without even realizing it. And as I began working as an ed therapist for gifted and twice-exceptional students, Holly and the Collective Wisdom were a vital presence in my life, and they helped expand my awareness to clients’ issues with CAPD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, executive functioning, autism, etc.

Her arms and fingers are symptomatic of joint hypermobility.

But it wasn’t until about 2015, that suggestions from my guides took a more personal turn. Holly began nudging me with the idea that our granddaughter’s joints were far more mobile than normal. Our daughter was willing to follow-up on my suggestion, and she took our granddaughter to see a pediatric orthopedist. He told my daughter that these were the joints of a normal two year old, and she would grow out of this hypermobility. But Holly was insistent, and two years later, our daughter went back to another specialist who once again reassured her that there was no issue. When our granddaughter was five, she was finally diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos (hypermobile type), and she was fitted with orthotics and ankle braces to support her highly mobile arches and ankles. Here she is with her doll, and they are both wearing orthotics with ankle braces:

Although most team sports will be challenging (or dangerous), Holly led us in the direction of swimming, which serves our granddaughter well physically and emotionally. In fact, she recently told me, “Swimming clears my mind.”

I have learned to trust that Holly and the Collective Wisdom are working for the greater good beyond what I had ever imagined. It is with this knowledge that I share their wisdom with my family, friends, and clients.

We realize these journaled conversations don’t resonate with everyone. But for those who are intrigued by the possibility of a relationship with a spirit guide and the Collective Wisdom, we encourage you to try guided writing or some other form of spiritual communication. There is wisdom available to us that has the potential to expand our awareness. Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly, November 9, 2021

Self-Care Giving for the Sensitive Soul

There have been times in my life when I have read or heard something that touched me at the soul level and led to a profound opportunity for personal change. I wrote about one of those opportunities related to the detailed accounting of our finances (Be Self-Aware: Your Greatest Asset Might Also Be Your Greatest Detriment). Another profound opportunity for change came a couple of months ago. It started with a comment from a healer about the negative impact a lifetime of caregiving has had on my physical and emotional health. That same week, I was reading a book about empaths, and the author suggested that we should not allow others to attach their energy cords to us as a way to support their own lack of personal energy. The author was also suggesting that we needed to focus on self-care giving. As is often the case when I am about to make a profound change, my spirit guide Holly had her take on this issue.

My younger self.

Holly: Feeling, from a young age, that being the responsible one would keep you safe, lessen your stress, and somehow heal familial dysfunction was a path to life-long hypervigilence, perfectionism, and need for control. It is good that you now see how your lifelong role as a caregiver has been to your own detriment. By feeling the need to anticipate and try to prevent the discomfort of others, you have continued a pattern created as a young girl who, on a regular basis, experienced stomachaches, headaches, and anxiety. And those health issues were met with demeaning mislabeling that you were “too sensitive” or a “hypochondriac.” The truth, as you now see it, is that she was taking on the energy of others, and she was becoming overwhelmed and sick. YOU were becoming overwhelmed and sick. But now, sweet friend, you are waking up to all the ways you have been a caregiver and an energetic sponge for others. You are aware of your tendency to jump in and take care of situations, people, and things. But over the course of the next few months, you will see how maintaining your own energy will have a positive impact on health issues you have dealt with for decades. So we encourage you to hold a space for others during their challenging times while simultaneously holding a space for yourself and your precious energy.

I made a mental commitment to this profound change, and as is usually the case after a commitment like this one, I was tested that same morning. The tree outside our apartment window was cut back using a chainsaw. Not only did I witness the severe “pruning,” I heard the high-pitched whine of the chainsaw. I stood at the window and held space for the tree and for myself, as this tree was one of my favorite things about our apartment. This incident may seem inconsequential to many of you, given the profound challenges facing people worldwide, but I knew this was a small first-step opportunity for me to hold my personal energy in a way that supported my health and personal growth. It was also an opportunity for me to realize all the ways, big and small, I have so willingly given up my energy and left myself depleted. But now that I was aware, I could begin to change!

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We encourage all of you to notice the many and varied ways you willingly give up your personal energy, whether it is to world events, family members, co-workers, plants, animals, and the list goes on. Once you are aware of this pattern, you can invite yourself to practice self-care giving while holding space for others who are struggling to maintain their own energy. Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly, November 2, 2021

Universal Love: A Healing Salve

I had a client pose the following questions: Should I be feeling resentment toward my parents? Do I need to deal with issues related to my parents’ divorce when I was quite young? I find no purpose in rehashing my childhood.

During Soul Bridge Coaching, we bring through the client’s spirit guide and the Collective Wisdom to communicate through my spirit guide Holly and me. Here is the guidance the client received: What a lovely and important question, Dear Friend. You have been told by healers that liver issues are related to unresolved familial issues, but this may not be the case for you. As someone who is kinesthetic, you can feel your body. It is clear within your question that you feel resentment for having to spend any time on this issue. You are an independent soul who has managed to be happy and have an abundant life despite the breakdown of your birth family. You did not come into this life needing much nurturing. You have always known you were valuable and loved by Universal Love. That knowledge has been a healing salve. You have been a free spirit who loves unconditionally. We believe you are fighting the idea that there has ever been anything wrong with your life. You take things as they come, and you grow stronger and more abundant. You have learned to be resourceful, self-loving, and self-aware. You don’t want to analyze your past or your present. You want to continue to love easily and appreciate the life you were given and have built. Yes, some people carry deep hurts from their past, but you have managed to find the magic and wonder of childhood and carry that through to your adult life. The path that is right for one person is only the right path for THAT person.

This healing salve of Universal Love is something I have experienced as an adult. It has enabled me to let go of the pains and misunderstandings I experienced as a child. It allows me to live my life with a very full heart.

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Some of you are connected to this Universal Love and find it is what you needed to break free of your childhood and adult pains, but others of you will need the additional support of a trusted therapist or coach in order to move fully into the life you are meant to live. Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly (October 26, 2021)

Spiritual Bypassing? – The Bus Stop Metaphor

Six months ago, my spiritual sensibilites were triggered when I watched a video about a spiritual bus stop. There are many aspects of the video that could be helpful to those struggling with a “why me” mindset, but the bus stop metaphor itself didn’t seem useful. It seemed more like “spiritual bypassing.” The metaphor says that just prior to returning to another life, we are waiting at a bus stop where we share with other souls our greatest desire for our next life. The example given is of a person who wants a major trauma in her life, something that would be unforgivable, just so she can learn unconditional love and forgiveness. She asks for another soul at the bus stop to possibly drink and drive and hit her car so that she loses her family and she is paralyzed. She says that she would feel a great contraction in her life until, finally, she would forgive the perpetrator. The video says we request the worst experiences in our lives to occur so we can dig deeply to experience forgiveness. The most difficult experience comes as what is also our greatest gift. The drunk driver would have brought her her greatest gift.

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I tried to make sense of that through the traumas I or members of my family had experienced, and I found it hard to imagine that the tens of millions of us who lost loved ones during the Holocaust would have asked for that experience, let alone have seen it as a gift. Although I have learned so much from my brother’s suicide, and it has led me to work with gifted and sensitive people, I do not see his death as my greatest gift. It seems so narcissistic to think I would have requested something like my brother’s suicide that left a daughter without a father, my mother in the early stages of dementia rocking herself and saying, “My golden boy,” and his many friends in pain, just for my own soulful awakening and evolution. And now, on podcasts by spiritual coaches, I am hearing this same mantra: We ask for the challenges we receive. That seems like an invitation for people to be less than compassionate with each other because, whatever happens to people, they asked for it.

In my journal I wrote, It doesn’t resonate with me when I hear someone say that souls sign up for things like being killed by a suicide murderer, raped by a gang, or abused by parents. Why care about the pain and suffering of others if all these people have co-created this? Why have compassion for a person whose ex-spouse kills their three children if the surviving spouse asked for this unforgivable trauma? As usual, my spirit guide Holly was there with her take on this bus stop metaphor.

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Holly: This is a total misunderstanding of the human/divine connection. With each new incarnation, the soul is trying to evolve and grow toward greater love and light. There are challenges that will be met along the way, and the attempt should be to remain in the NOW as much as possible. Do not be fueled by past experience with hatred, revenge, guilt, sorrow. Try to focus on what is here and now. When those in the spiritual community speak of “those people signed up for this,” it is a slippery slope into spiritual bypassing. In other words, there is no need to care about others and their plight because they signed up for their traumas. Any life agreements one has made, does not mean there should not be compassion for the plight of that person. This is such an important topic. And your role in this is to share your perspective about being a loving, compassionate person — the Eternal Flame — the Eternal Light. Do not allow spiritual explanations aimed to soothe the masses to fool you. Suffering is real, and you are being asked to step forward as incarnated compassion.

After hearing what Holly had to say, I read a bit more about spiritual bypassing. John Wellwood coined the term (1984) for the tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to bypass unresolved issues, pain, and suffering. Ingrid Clayton, Ph.D., in her article, Beware of Spiritual Bypass, says, “Over the years, I’ve become fascinated with the ways in which we try to feel endlessly good. We’ve gotten progressively more skillful in our methods: turning away from drugs or alcohol to alter our consciousness and turning towards things like self-help books, meditation, yoga, prayer, and special diets. In some ways, we are now spiritually distracting ourselves from our feelings — but thinking that we are walking a healthy spiritual path.”

So, if we are trying to make ourselves feel better about the state of the world by saying that victims have asked their perpetrators to traumatize them, perhaps we are bypassing an opportunity for true spiritual growth and soulful evolution by not allowing ourselves to feel deeply into the true pains of humanity and this planet.

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We invite you to support this planet and its sentient beings in their journeys through traumatic experiences. It is your compassion and love that will be the tipping point so many of you are seeking. Soul Bridge Coaching and Holly, October 19, 2021

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