The books spoke to me. They just made so much sense. They laid out huge pictures with broad brush strokes that somehow rang true deeply within me, and I felt as if a bright light had been turned on in the pitch darkness. Journey of Souls was written by the clinical psychologist Michael Newton who, while leading a patient back in time hypnotically to access memories of her former lives, accidentally stumbled upon the patient’s state of consciousness that was an expression of her soul, her core identity between the lives on Earth. Subsequently, through case studies of hundreds of people over many years, Dr. Newton discovered an emerging, consistent picture of the spirit world after death– that, as souls, we incarnate repeatedly on Earth with our soul memories erased to evolve ourselves; that in the interim between lives, we choose the major circumstances and the “players” in our next life to help us learn our chosen lessons; and that we always have the gentle assistance of further-evolved guides throughout our lives on Earth and in the spirit world. It was not only that Dr. Newton was a traditionally-trained and -recognized therapist who started out believing that past-life explorations were unorthodox and non-clinical, or that much of the book was comprised of actual case studies with transcripts from the therapy sessions, that gave credibility to the contents for me. It was that, starting with my premise that it is impossible to obtain physical proof for what happens after death, nothing in the book challenged the belief system I had at the time. In fact, it presented a beautiful order to things– the cyclic process of learning and self-development through reincarnations, the very organized mentoring of the less-advanced by the more-advanced, and the whole system of learning and being instruments of learning through interactions with each other. It was so logical and explained fittingly what I had seen of the lives of people around me, and presented a platform from which I could start to understand what was happening in my life. It was also incredibly empowering to me, to believe that I had chosen to be in this situation in this life through mutually agreed-upon “contracts” with others, and it was up to me to extract what I wanted from it. Finally, or firstly, it gave me validation that the true nature– the core nature– of the human being is a spirit. The brief encounter with religion I had as a child, through a Southern Baptist church which emphasized heaven, hell, and the wrathful-loving God had never quite made sense to me, causing me agony as I tried to fit square blocks into round holes. All the pieces fit together beautifully with the picture presented in this book, resonating not just at a mental but at the deepest, heart-felt level, and what a sense of peace and joy it brought!
Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, was one of self-healing. It dove-tailed well with Journey of Souls, without asking for too much reliance on belief of the “woo-woos.” Ms. Hay emphasized the creative power of our thought– that every thought we think is creating our future– and that the key to positive changes is self-approval and self-acceptance in the now. The overarching message was that we have the innate power to changes our lives. It was lovingly written at a universal, philosophical, self-help level without threatening the belief systems that most people hold. I see now why the book has touched the lives of so many people.
The digestion of these books came at a time when I was caring for two young children about a year apart, one a newborn, both in diapers, and having my sleep interrupted several times a night, every night. It was also a time I was beginning to notice that magical connection that mothers have with their children. Even when lost in the abyss of sleep in my bone-deep fatigue, I would suddenly be wide awake and in my children’s room before one of my children had finished his or her whimper. Even when no noise had been made, I was up in an instant and in their room, to find one of them sitting up in bed in the middle of the night, half-awake and dazed. No matter how deeply I had dozed off, I always seemed to know instantly when they were awake or uncomfortable. One winter, we bought humidifiers that were designed to circulate water to prevent mold, but whose motors quickly malfunctioned and rumbled like jet planes taking off the runway. I remember once lying in my bed and, above the deafening roar of the two malfunctioning humidifier motors, listening to my children down the hall breathe their soft baby breaths and rustle their blankets as they shifted in their sleep. I remember thinking that only a dog should have hearing this sharp, that I shouldn’t physically be able to hear or discern these sounds as a human. Another time, my ex-fiancé and I went to see a movie, one of the rare times we got out for a break without the children. In the middle of the movie, I suddenly felt a powerful twisting of my insides below my stomach. Now, I have had the experience of my stomach flipping before, but this felt completely different, and startled me. Returning to the parking lot after the movie, we found that my car had been broken into, the change drawer and glove compartment flung open and coins scattered everywhere. In the instant that I turned around to the back seat and saw the two children’s car seats facing me, with my children’s jackets thrown against them by a stranger’s hand, I realized that it was my uterus that had “flipped” during the movie. I knew then that it was connected to the break-in.
I’ll bet many mothers have similar stories to tell, stories of that visceral sensing and the inexplicable connection with their children.
The children are great healers. You hear this over and over again, but it’s hard to realize until you’ve experienced it yourself. Before the children came along, I was not listening to my body, but rather I was pushing and punishing my body, staying up late for experiments, working odd hours, and starving then stuffing myself with any food obtained by the quickest route possible. I had no rhythm. The children– they do well on a regular, predictable schedule. They need their naps at a certain time, to be fed at a certain time, and to be played with at a certain time, or they’ll let you know in no uncertain terms that they’re not happy! I had to get on schedule with them. At the same time, I had to learn to go with the flow. I couldn’t just write a list of things to do for the day and expect to do them. I had to be okay with not making it to the grocery store as planned because one child dumped his entire lunch all over the floor, and the other one was fussing for her nap by the time I cleaned up the mess. I also began to think more about the healthfulness of the environment in which we live and from which we consume, as children are very intimate– practically one– with their environment. Not only are they looking at everything, but they are tasting, smelling, and literally smearing themselves with their surroundings.
Most profoundly, before the coming of my children, I never realized the depth of love I could have for another human being. People instinctively know how healing it is to receive love, but to have the opportunity to experience that kind of love-giving, to be that limitless well of love, is a priceless, healing gift in itself. It will change the core nature of you. Although I was on back-breaking duty 24/7, in sharing each present moment with my babies, all day, day after day, I found the rhythm of my body and myself. I know it sounds so mundane and you’ve heard this sort of stuff about children a million times before, but I just cannot begin to convey to you what a profound experience it has been to have my children come into my life.
And so it began– the books, the children, the slowing down and beginning to listen to my body, my self.