Angels Among Us

“Who is that behind you?  He’s huge.” – – a client of mine at a church as I gave him a Reiki healing treatment.


A couple of Saturdays ago my friend Scott and I were driving to the Twins game when one thing led to another and I told him how I first came upon Elton John’s “Your Song,”  a tune I still consider to be the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.  It was Christmas Eve, and after the usual fighting and family chaos, I laid down with the little $1.50 turntable and radio combination my mom picked up for my gift for the year (I loved that little music box!) and started crying myself to sleep as I usually did.  I turned on the radio just as “Your Song” was coming on and I was suddenly transported to heaven.  For once my Christmas wasn’t ending on an entirely dismal note.  After I finished the story, Scott and I parked about six blocks away from the stadium as we usually do to avoid paying for parking.  As we walked by one of the local bars, Scott called my attention to a song coming through the window and into our hearing range.  It was Elton John’s “Your Song.”  Hmm . . .

Wrestling gently with a dilemma lately, I asked the assistance of an angel named Raguel with a matter close to my heart, and made it clear that sometime during the day, a sign that everything would work out okay would be very much appreciated.  So I headed out for my eight mile run, and stopped myself at one point on Cretin Avenue and found myself looking at the tiniest of feathers sitting in my path,  something I’ve heard is a notorious angel sign.   I’ve been having some vision problems lately, including an issue with occasionally having my sight get blurry and repeatedly unfocused in my left eye.  So after I picked up the feather and put it in my pocket, I was suddenly stunned a few blocks later that my vision was perfect just at the time I needed to see that feather.  Go figure.

As an aside, “Reiki” (alluded to in the beginning quote) in English translates to “universal life force energy,” and is a healing practice I’ve been doing for about twenty years now.  The church I would give treatments at in the early 2000’s was built on an old Native American burial ground.  It was not uncommon for “visitors” to show up as a gesture of support or even as a tongue-in-cheek gag, possibly so we wouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.  It worked.  From what my friend was describing during and after our work together, I’m pretty convinced he was telling me that we were in the company of the Archangel Michael, as one of the characteristics of archangels according many who write of angelic realms (Doreen Virtue in particular) is their immense size.  I remember dating someone in the late 90’s and telling her periodically about an angel story or two.   One night she turned to me and said “your whole life is like this, isn’t it?”  Well, not always.   But she had clued me in to fact that dealing with angels had happened enough in my life that I was taking it for granted.  Recently I came upon this Doreen Virtue quote: “Those who regularly contact their angels report great improvements in their lives.  They feel happier, more peaceful and confident, and less afraid of death or the future. They know they’re not alone because they have trustworthy guardians watching over them.”  Whether one believes in angels or not,  it’s certainly reassuring that something can help us get through tough times.  And enhance the good ones.

I still get this deliciously playful feeling that there are so many writers out there encouraging me to engage in the very activity that my parents told me not to.  I used to regularly at least pretend that there was some unseen force that I could call upon in my time of need.  Having it drummed out of me, I forgot about angels for years.  They obviously didn’t forget about me.  In early recovery I was turned on to a writer named Sophie Burnham who wrote several books about angels.  No offense to Burnham,  but I feel much more in sync with Doreen Virtue, and as a result with my own guardians and others.  This is no idle fantasy for me.  I don’t know about anyone else out there,  but I’m not averse to asking for a helping hand every now and then on any number of matters, and that’s the key:  if you truly believe in angels, know that they are respecters of free will – – they cannot help unless they’re invited to do so.  And when they do some truly miraculous events can come into play.  They didn’t have the power to stop my parents or sister from dying, but their presence was comforting beyond belief.

I love that I have permission to “play pretend” as an adult, and at least in my own life can vouch that angels are real.  I have zero intention of convincing anyone else of their existence, but I can say that those who don’t may be depriving themselves of not only immediate help in pressing situations, but also some downright fun companionship.  I’ve called on them for everything from healing a physical wound to finding my lost keys.  A friend of mine is close to giving birth, and she told me recently that this time around she’s definitely felt a presence she hasn’t felt in her earlier pregnancies, possibly because manipulative little I gave her a book about the Archangel Gabriel,  who “brings glad tidings of great joy” to those who will bear children.

The inherent peace, calm, and beauty added to my days when I remember to ask my angels to participate in my activities makes them so much more fun.  Make no mistake, angels also have a sense of humor, and how blessed are we that they look beyond our egos and see only our inner light.  Again, it makes no difference if we believe in angels or not:  they believe in us. Help in being happier is available 24/7.  All we have to do is ask for it.  And accept it.  It’s only until recent years that I thought the only people who could possibly benefit from those “abundance” or “manifestation” books that take up so much space on bookstore shelves were the authors.  I thought likewise about angelic realms until fairly recently.  Fortunately for me, I was wrong.  There is loving, playful, caring help always.  I’ve only scratched the surface of angelic realms here, and depending on the amount of feedback or Facebook “likes” I get I’m certainly willing to do more.  I could write about angels all day.  The least I can do is give a little press to a group of beings who make me feel so safe and loved so often. Just as long as I remember to ask for help. And there’s certainly no shame in asking over and over again.  As I understand it,  there are quite a few unemployed angels out there just waiting to provide service.  I’m in the process, as Doreen Virtue suggests, of getting into the habit of asking my angels for help with just about everything.  In closing I have to say that my original intent was to write about marathon training.  As I usually do, I sat to meditate beforehand, and as I sometimes do, I asked the Archangel Gabriel,  the angel of writers,  if there was something different I needed to write about.  What I just wrote began to take form almost immediately.  I usually get a really nice rush of satisfaction both during and after writing.  While composing this post, I’ve g0tten this otherworldly sense of warmth that feels so very exquisite.  Wow.  Thank you, Gabriel.  Thank you all angels.



Gratitude & Silver Snow

“Yes, I still see them.  But like a diet of the mind, I choose not to feed them.  They’re my past . . . everybody’s haunted by their past.” – – Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash, upon being asked if he still saw his apparitions.


I seem to be very graced with a recurrent phenomenon,  one that heralds the coming out of a rut, or for me most recently,  a sort of dark night of the soul.  I truly believe I’m the poster child for Christmas.  I love the lights, the music, and though it may be seasonal kindness being displayed,  the heightened sense of brotherly love in the air.  What I like mostly is the symbolism of light bringing about a rebirth of my mind.  What will sometimes happen at the tail-end of one of my aforementioned dark nights, no matter what time of year,  is that I’ll spontaneously hear a Christmas tune playing in my head.  After a brief moment of relief in knowing that somehow I’m going to be in a better place shortly, I will almost immediately observe my surroundings and current situations in a much more optimistic way.

To my surprise this time around, after a particularly dark and difficult four months, I began (about two weeks ago) to hear a song I composed around Christmas time over ten years ago.   I mentioned in an earlier post that I began playing piano at age forty and took to it rather quickly, in fact starting to play at a church within a few months of picking up the instrument.   One day while kind of warming up before a service in front of our little congregation of ten or twelve, a woman who I know had terminal cancer wandered over to the beat up old grand I was playing on.  I was in the process of putting the finishing touches on a composition  that I was to use as the prelude for not only the service this particular evening, but for quite a few to follow.

Embarrassingly, I can’t remember the lady’s name.   What I do remember about her is that she announced one night that she was dying,  I would never in a million years guessed that anything was amiss with her prior to her announcement or even afterward.     I think the phrase “she/he lights up the room” is one of the more overused phrases I’ve heard in my life,  and in fact can only think of a handful of folks I would apply it to.  This woman was one. She had this odd, wonderfully rich laugh that I swear was coming from some other world or dimension, and for a person with terminal cancer,   she sure did spend a lot of time encouraging and comforting other people.  She had us all in the palm of her hand when she stated her plight calmly on the night of her announcement,  adding that she says “thank you” to her disease throughout the day.   We all felt just a little bit humbled.   Myself?  I was a bit squeamish from the very recent memory of my giving the finger to another driver on the way over,  probably because he wasn’t driving exactly the way I wanted him to.

So on this particular night, she strode over to me and listened intently to what I was playing,  a short little ditty meant to usher in folks in a calm and pensive mood.  I remember her asking “What is that called?”   When I told her I didn’t know yet,  she said “It sounds like silver snow would sound.”  I had my title.

She lived out something that I hope I get to embody one day,  though I sense myself a long way from my goal.  While she said frequently that when she found out about her cancer she was shocked into her sense of mortality,  she also had graduated to a point where she was living a process of surrender,  an honest-to-goodness living out of knowing that she truly wasn’t a body.  She was merely shedding a layer.   And doing so quite gracefully and in a state of peace that the rest of us envied.   It was, she said,  just a passing through a dark phase.  What she was passing into was something the rest of her fellow parishioners could only imagine.  That this woman did it with such genuine fearlessness floored us all.

I had other issues going on at the church at the time,  including some disagreements with the ministers about what direction the music was to take.   The congregation seemed to be unusually tight-fisted when it came to donations, and still none of the ministry saw the humor in me playing an instrumental version of “Carry That Weight”  (“You never give me your money ..”) while the collection plate was being passed each week.  I was also just plain not into the message the ministers were giving.  Nothing against them,  just not my cup of tea.  So we parted ways, and it was with real sadness I heard that my “Silver Snow” lady passed away about six months after I cut off my attendance.  Her dark night of the soul was over.

That “Silver Snow” would be the song that would pop into my mind while I was meditating two weeks ago,  a song I hadn’t thought of for probably five years, symbolized to me the validity of everything I’ve heard various spiritual modalities, if not religions, state about passing phases of life and death.  There’s an old shamanistic saying: “He who dies before he dies, doesn’t die when he does die.”  That is to say that layers and layers need to be shed in preparation for a final release to be done as gracefully as my late friend displayed.  My dark night is giving the strong appearance of being over,  and yet it has given way to the birth of a real need for diligently monitoring my thought processes,  to, as the Dalai Lama once put it, “treat every thought like an only child.”

“Silver Snow”is a really gentle piece.   And since I heard it reborn in my head,  though I still feel the residual bumps and bruises of my recent dark night on occasion,  I’m recognizing them more and more as phantoms of my past.  To be graced with the symbol of this beautiful woman returning to my life in spirit nearly brought me to tears when I first heard the song in my head,  knowing that I was ever so gently being awakened from a bad dream.  As parents sometimes may find out,  if a child is awakened too quickly from a nightmare,  whoever awakens them may be perceived as part of the same nightmare.   For me at this time,  all I have to say to my recent dark night is “thank you.”  Not just for passing, but for all that it continues to teach me. As gracefully and gently as my lady friend lived her life,  I was likewise awakened ever so gently and quietly by the miracle of silver snow.