My Father’s Spirit’s Christmas Gift


This is coming from my heart. Unedited.

Six years ago today, I was stepping into my car, getting ready to go to work, when the phone in the garage rang. It was my brother, telling me that paramedics were working on Dad and it didn’t look good.

But it was too late; they couldn’t save him.

My precious father left this world just days before Christmas in 2005. We were a close family. Mom joined him 51 days later.

To me, Christmastime is family time. A time to relish the blessings I have in the form of my loved ones. And every year, I go overboard in spoiling them. I figure, what good are material things if not for sharing with others? According to my husband, I spend too much money on my family and friends at Christmas. I bake too many cookies and make too much candy; I have too many decorations and too many corny Christmas CDs. It’s true. I do. I can’t help it. It’s not because I think giving material things or causing people’s waistlines to expand are the most important aspects of the holidays, it’s because I use these things to honor those I love. Because to me, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the cooking, baking, gifts, and decorations, but mostly, it wouldn’t be Christmas without my friends and family.

And because of this, coupled with the fact that we lost Dad right before Christmas, I miss my parents more than ever during the holidays.

So last night, before I sat down to meditate, I was thinking about how much I missed my dad and I wrote in my journal about how badly I wished I could see him again—hug him, smell him, look into his eyes. And as I meditated, drifting to that place of serenity in my mind, I “saw” a black tunnel about twelve inches in diameter. The opening was small and it grew wider on the opposite end, like a funnel with the small end facing me. The inside of it was swirling and there were wisps of white stuff floating in it like threads of cotton candy. And suddenly within the tunnel, like the image from an unseen projector, was my dad. He was much smaller than in human form and he was walking toward me, calling me by the pet name he used to call me when I was a little girl.

Was all this just my imagination? I wondered.

Still maintaining the controlled breathing I use during meditation—slow, rhythmic, even, measured—I opened my eyes. And then I saw it—the outline of something moving and transparent like liquid egg whites. I could see primarily just the edges of it near the dresser in my bedroom. It was the shape of a human, but I didn’t recognize it as anyone in particular. And it was about eight inches shorter than an average adult.

A tingling sensation went down the back of my head and down my spine. Tears flowed from my eyes. I knew then, that the sensations I was getting, were my body’s way of telling me that this apparition was the spirit of my dear father.

I said out loud, “Is that you, Daddy?” as tears ran down my face and my nose began to run.

There were no verbal or intuitive messages from the spirit, so once again, my mind told me, “You’re just imagining all this because you want so desperately for it to be so,” but at the same time, a part of me knew. My body knew; the chills I felt were not imagined.

I told my father that I loved him. I told him how much I missed him. And the spirit lingered for a long time, as if it was working very hard to make itself more recognizable to me, but it never quite accomplished that.

Before I knew it, I laid down on the bed and fell asleep. I never sleep soundly, but last night I did. I slept like a rock.

Perhaps this sort of thing happens to other people on a regular basis, but it has never happened to me before, which was why my mind kept telling me it was just my imagination. But I’ve heard it said that imagination is the bridge to the world of spirit. I also believe that at Christmastime, there is a kind of magic in the air even more so than at other times of the year. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve believed this. And what we believe is more powerful than any amount of scientific justification, is it not?

I believe this was the greatest Christmas gift I could ever have received—the gift of love from beyond what I see with my eyes—the gift of love, which never dies.

Wishing you and yours the blessings of love and joy in the coming year.

–Baja Rock Pat

Cabo’s Mystical Beauty

Oct. 16, 2009

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My husband and I returned home last night after 12 days in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. I’m sitting here at my kitchen table, which is loaded with the Halloween motif our son put up while we were gone, an empty bottle of tequila given to me by Sammy Hagar at one of his concerts (it was half full when he gave it to me), my digital camera and camera cards, a bottle of cipro antibiotic (a must for a trip to Mexico), a colorful, hand-painted fish mobile I’d purchased at one of the shops in Cabo and a pile of junk mail and bills that’s still too intimidating to tackle. Oh, and the decorative candle in the centerpiece of my table has been replaced with one that looks like a bleeding skull.

I’m still trying to process everything that took place over the past few weeks. It rained most of the time we were in Mexico—rained in Cabo!So I didn’t get much of a tan. But when the sun came out, it was marvelous. On our last day, yesterday, I got up early to watch the sun rise over the Sea of Cortez and the rocks of Land’s End. My photos don’t do it justice.

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The sun was hot pink as it lifted out of the water and the higher it rose, the hotter it got until it drew beads of sweat from my skin. There were two cruise ships in the bay and hundreds of fishing boats heading out to sea, something that hadn’t taken place for several days due to Tropical Storm Patricia—how ironic is that name?

But yesterday morning Cabo was back to her normal, splendid self—hot, humid and sunny. It seems so dark here in Colorado, but at least it’s not snowing.

As I get back into the swing of my old life, I will tackle the task of finishing revisions of my book and keep you posted on its progress. I’m almost finished. I will also write more about Cabo and Sammy Hagar’s concerts while we were down there (my husband and I were fortunate to be able to acquire tickets to all five shows), and I’ll post a few pics.

Besides Cabo’s alluring beauty, I did have several moments during this trip that I consider somewhat mystical—interesting at least. One of those moments was when a woman sat next to me on the plane from Phoenix to Denver and the two of us hit it off as if we’d known each other before. Maybe we have—she told me that she owns a metaphysical bookstore in California. It never ceases to amaze me where the writing of my book “Wings of Rock” seems to be taking me.

For right now though, I have about 50 loads of laundry to catch up on. Stay tuned…

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Semantics

Oct. 21, 2009j0395952The other day, a man I’d never met before asked me what my book was about.

“It’s supernatural; it’s spiritual—about a mystical experience I had in the middle of a concert that changed my life. It also involves a famous rock star…” I started to say.

As I spoke, I noticed that the man, an older gentleman dressed in a biker’s vest with the word “VET” sewn onto it, was attempting to disguise the look of disappointment spreading across his face.

“Supernatural is different than spiritual,” he said, stuffing his hands in his pockets and backing off a bit.

“No, I had an out of body experience…” I continued, and this time as I tried to explain it to him, I used the word “God.”

His eyes lit up and he moved closer. “God isn’t supernatural; God is natural. He is everything.”

“Oh yes! It’s everything!” I grinned, feeling joy moving into all my internal organs.

The man went on to tell me that he too, had had an out of body experience. “The Holy Spirit came to me as I lay dying in a hospital bed.”

“How did you know it was the Holy Spirit?” I asked him. “Did you see it?”

He gestured an arc around himself. “No, I felt it all around me.”

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He explained that the Holy Spirit told him it wasn’t his time to die yet and it would show him what to do to keep on living. “I was completely at peace and felt the presence of God,” he said. And the more he talked, the more I realized that that was exactly what had happened to me six years ago in Cabo.

When I told him the details of my experience, he suddenly became very excited about my book and wanted to know more.

What had initially misled him was my use of the word “supernatural,” which obviously had a different meaning to him than it does to me.

Semantics.

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Merriam-webster.com defines “semantics” as: “the language used to achieve a desired effect on an audience, especially through the use of words with novel or dual meanings.”

How then, do I get past semantics so as not to mislead or confuse people? According to the experts, I’m supposed to be able to describe my book in one or two sentences. Yeah, right. It takes me a paragraph at best. Maybe I just haven’t found the right words yet, or maybe it’s just the nature of my subject, I don’t know.

If I say my book is spiritual, or that it involves God, it gives the connotation that it’s religious and some may be turned off by this, as rock ‘n’ roll and religion don’t necessarily blend well.

If I use the words “supernatural,” “paranormal,” “mystical,” “metaphysical,” or “psychic,” some may immediately assume that my book is occult in nature and look at me as if I’ve lost my marbles.

If I say it’s about a famous rock star, people might think it’s a shallow account of a fan gushing over a celebrity. Even I wouldn’t read a book like that!

So how do I describe ecstasy in God, a supernatural force, psychic experiences, out-of-body realms, otherworldly connections, rock stars, self-realization and the utmost joy, in one or two sentences in order to convey the fact that I am describing one thing that encompasses all of these? These components are the means that led me to my personal definition of what God is—the realization of the ultimate perfection, the ultimate everything. It also matters not if one believes in God—self-realization is available to everyone.

Since my experience, I’ve met several people, the Veteran included, who have told me that they too, have had experiences similar to mine. And I’ve read a lot of books that say this too: “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsch, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle to name a few.

These people all describe the same feelings and emotions involved in their mystical moment and many say it changed their lives.

Author Maxwell Steer writes:

“Mystical experience may be defined as being an ‘infinite intimacy’, a sense of fulfilment in which the subject is simultaneously aware of the limitless nature of the Universe and yet of hir (sic) intimate relationship to a force sensible as an identifiable personality. It is simultaneously the experience of everything and nothing, of knowing all yet being empty, of hearing within silence all sound. Different religious traditions identify this state individually – nirvana, mushín, Shambhala, Buddhahood, mystical union, alchemical marriage, shekinah – yet it can be seen as a common goal of all esoteric teaching, an experience of oneness beyond the world of duality. It need not even occur in a religious context. To me those very rare moments of total understanding that can arise in connection with works of art are clearly in the same category – that clarity of vision and sense of contact with some archetypal personality… some archetypal source of consciousness that transcends rational knowledge.”

And while we report similar experiences, each person’s manner of expressing what happened to them is slightly different, because each person is unique in their perception of the world around them. It’s like describing the color purple—one person might call it “lilac,” while another says “lavender,” and another expresses it using the word “plum” or “violet.”

But it’s still the same color.

 

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There’s a Supernatural Force…

Nov. 22, 2009

…that desperately wants me to tell my story, DANCE OF THE ELECTRIC HUMMINGBIRD.

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I’m absolutely positive about this because my post, “Semantics,” dated Oct. 21, 2009, almost didn’t get published, for the same reason I keep working so hard at DANCE OF THE ELECTRIC HUMMINGBIRD. I’m trying to cross all my “t’s” and dot all my “i’s” and bending over backward to get everyone’s approval every step of the way—I’m so afraid of offending anyone.

But I believe our interpretations of the events in our lives and the meaning of those events is something that is strictly personal and comes to us in a way that’s unique to each person’s way of understanding. What’s right for one isn’t necessarily right for someone else. This goes for tastes in food and living conditions as well as spiritual beliefs.

Just when I’d been hesitating to publish “Semantics,” I received an update from the founder of the Northern Colorado Writer’s Association, of which I am a member. Kerrie Flanagan’s blog featured a gifted writer by the name of Laura Resau, who wrote about how shamanism played a major role in a lot of her books. Laura said shamans believe that their power comes from a divine source and this power translates itself into words or stories, much like what writers have to do. She also provided a link to a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the immensely successful EAT, PRAY, LOVE.

In Gilbert’s video, she spoke about the insecurity writers have, and the need for us to learn to distance ourselves from the world’s criticism.

She mentioned that in his last interview before his death, the famous author Norman Mailer said: “Every one of my books has killed me a little more.”

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Wow, can I relate. Each and every revision of my book has killed me a little more too—how much do I reveal? How much do I leave out because it’s too personal? What are people going to think of me?

One of my favorite songs is “Pages,” by 3 Doors Down. It’s about spilling one’s heart out for the world, bleeding for the eyes of the public and wondering if it’s all really worth it. But as artists, we have no other choice, we can’t not do it, that’s what makes the process so painfully wonderful.

So as I listened to Gilbert talk about creating distance between herself and other people’s reactions to her writing, I was even more surprised when she said that one’s art isn’t the result of the artist at all, but the result of some sort of spiritual “being” speaking through the artist. Now this may sound odd, but it makes perfect sense to me. I too, have felt its presence from the beginning of my writing this book. I’ve called it a supernatural force—and it is. It has directed all of this from the start. Perhaps it even directed me to Gilbert’s video, because it “just happened” to come along when I needed it most.

Gilbert described writing as: “the utter madding capriciousness of the creative process… that does not always behave rationally and in fact can sometimes feel downright paranormal…”

Oh yes.

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She said it makes more sense to believe that “the most extraordinary aspects of your being… were on loan to you from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along, when you’re finished, to somebody else…” than to bear the entire egotistical burden that the artist is solely responsible for the end result.

Believing in divine influence was readily accepted in ancient times, so where did we get the notion in these contemporary times, that we are more than mere vessels to deliver the message? How many authors, singers, songwriters, poets, actors have attributed their talent to God or other supernatural forces?

Lots.

For me, it all comes down to trusting in that force to take me where I’m supposed to go. If I can keep believing in that, and according to Elizabeth Gilbert, the notion that it is responsible for what comes out of my pen or my keyboard, if something wonderful is gained by others because of my effort, that’s the greatest possible accomplishment! And if not, I can always blame the outcome on that force: “Damn! You really messed up this time, didn’t you dude?”

I like this idea! It takes the pressure off of me to try and please everyone. :)

Even Thoreau said: “Say what you have to say, not what you ought!”

¡Olé!

(In case you’re interested, here’s a link to hear “Pages”)

Pearls from Horses

June 9, 2009

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My intention for starting this blog and writing my book is to get people thinking “outside the box,” as the saying goes.

I see so many people pining for meaning in their lives and yet surrendering to mediocrity, often because they don’t know where to look for answers.
Continue reading

A Gift Of Love: Deepak & Friends Present Music Inspired By The Love Poems Of Rumi

A Gift Of Love: Deepak & Friends Present Music Inspired By The Love Poems Of RumiApril 23, 2009

It never ceases to amaze me how things have fallen into place since my mystical experience at Sammy Hagar’s concert in 2003. I take one step and the next already seems laid out for me. I can hardly not stay on this path. It’s as if the Universe has dictated its certainty since longer than the concept of time.

Last December, I happened upon this CD–selected writings of Rumi read aloud by celebrities such as Madonna, Deepak Chopra, Blythe Danner, Demi Moore, Goldie Hawn, Debra Winger and others. Rumi was a 13th century poet, Sufi and mystic who composed over 30,000 amazing verses.

As I listened to the online sample of this album, I heard Demi Moore’s beautiful voice reading one of Rumi’s poems, “Do You Love Me?”

The words took my breath away. My intellectual mind told me that the poems were written by a man for his lover, but when I listened, the words perfectly described the mystical experience I’d had years earlier. They sounded like something I wish I would have written to illustrate the connection with God I’d felt so fully.

Where does God end and lover begin?

God does not end. God is the ultimate lover, as my experience was the ultimate high. I saw profoundly in that moment, that love, lover and Beloved are one.

God is a constant that permeates and comprises each grain of sand, each human being and each note of music.

In the following video, Jared Harris reads Rumi’s poem “Looking for Your Face.” It is the best example I can give you of how I felt during my soul’s revelation one hot night in Mexico; my entire being floating in the ecstasy of discovering my truth in the “face” of God:

Video by: DrBillRamos

Possibilities

December 31, 2009

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Pouring myself a cup of coffee, I head upstairs to my computer to wrap up the final edits on DANCE OF THE ELECTRIC HUMMINGBIRD. But as I glance at the pages before me, my little notes scribbled in the margins, I pause. It’s almost done.

It’s also New Year’s Eve and a small voice in my heart is telling me that it’s more important to post on my blog than to work on my book, so here goes:

There’s something about the prospect of a new year that fills me with hope. Its possibilities are endless.

Lastnight I met with a friend I hadn’t seen in years. She asked me to explain what my book was about. I did my best to condense six years into a two-hour conversation. I thought I was simply recanting the story, but afterward, she hugged me. With a new light in her eyes, she told me that she was excited because my story had caused her to think about her own life. For years, she’d been feeling restless and couldn’t figure out why. She kept getting the idea that she was meant to do something important for the world, and yet, something kept stopping her.

After hearing about what had happened to me, she said that she now sees the importance of listening to her inner self and pursuing that which calls her, even though she still isn’t quite sure where it will take her. But now she is inspired to take that first step on her path! By my simply telling her what my book was about? I wondered. Wow.

To say I am humbled is a gross understatement.

She’s not the first to tell me this. After hearing about my experience, people have often told me the same thing, and I almost hate to say this out loud, but maybe this story is magic. It certainly has been for me.

I can’t wait to share it with the rest of you! Stay tuned; it won’t be long now. I have a strong feeling that 2010 will be the year.

In the meantime, keep believing in yourself. Use the new year, with its limitless scope of possibilities, to cultivate and nurture your dreams. You already have all the answers. You just need to give yourself permission to hear them within yourself.

Wishing you a blessed and happy 2010.

–Baja Rock Pat

Similar to a Near-Death Experience?

April 1, 2010

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It’s Eastertime. This morning MSN had teasers online for articles dealing with the resurrection of Jesus which of course, begs the questions of reincarnation, the existence of heaven, and people’s accounts of near-death experiences (NDEs). The MSN article can be found here: NDEs.

As I read this, I realized that what happened to me during Sammy Hagar’s concert in 2003 and in subsequent experiences since that time, were similar to what many people describe in their NDEs. (I explore this briefly in my book, DANCE OF THE ELECTRIC HUMMINGBIRD.) I wonder why our encounters appear to have so much in common.

During my experience, I was engulfed in an intense light and literally became part of a tremendous, all-encompassing love. I knew instantly, that I was in the presence of the Ultimate Truth. I also saw ethereal beings of light on more than one occasion.

Perhaps I was put into that same dimension of consciousness that people describe when experiencing an NDE, that realm from which everything springs forth—every possibility, be it the formation of someone’s (anyone’s) thought, the inception of whatever it takes for a blade of grass to decide it’s time to poke through the soil and start living again after a long winter, or the fact that I am here at my desk typing these words on my computer.

I entered that realm of Source—the Divine Source of everything, and was reborn—into an understanding of what life is supposed to be. I think God gives us clues of this everyday; all we have to do is look around us: a caterpillar builds a cocoon, later to emerge as a butterfly, and autumn ultimately gives way to spring.

Confucius said: “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Happy Spring!

Thunder in Our Hearts

May 12, 2010

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We be shakin’ the walls, baby!

It was like an explosion roaring up from the center of the earth and flooding the hearts of everyone in the room. The drum journey was led by professional drummer Gayan Gregory Long and attended by Harley people, rock ‘n’ rollers, writers, homemakers, accountants—those from all walks of life. Wonderful!

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Gayan and I became friends several years ago, when he taught the music portion of a grief workshop I attended after my parents died. The experience was magical to me and it showed me the role music played in my mystical transformation through Sammy Hagar’s concert in 2003. Since then, it has been my goal to help others find this magic for themselves.

Which is why I wrote my book. And also why Gayan and I wanted to present this workshop. There will be many more to come.

 

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I wanted to give people an experience they might not normally have, invite them to step outside of their comfort zones, because you never know where your truths might be hiding. I had hoped that people might lose themselves and rediscover themselves through music like I did. I wanted to show them how sound can open our hearts and teach us new things about ourselves; because you see, I have learned that the avenues to self-awareness are as varied as the stars. So how do we know what’s right for us and what isn’t, if we don’t take the time to look in other directions? You just might discover a new star that no one has ever seen before. Even better, you just might discover that YOU are that new star.

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I watched the faces of the participants as they entered the room and sat down behind their drums. Some looked intimidated; most looked bewildered. But the more they drummed, the more I saw their faces change as their spirits began to integrate some of the drum’s lessons into their hearts.

 

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Then I witnessed smiles emerging, confidence building and warmth spreading throughout the group. Yes!  

The experience was also personal. As I drummed, I felt myself becoming entranced in the beat—so authoritative, so strong, so real. When I quit worrying about whether I was supposed to be using my left hand or my right, or whether there were two bass slaps and one tone or two tone slaps and one bass, my body somehow knew exactly what to do. Apparently this is something I still need to work on—quit trying to be perfect and just be. The more I allowed the rhythm and the sound to take me, the more I recognized that I should be proud of my imperfections, because by struggling to be something I’m not (perfect) I’m not being true to Who I really Am.

I also realized that I’m already perfect in my imperfection, and I should celebrate that fact. I did—through the drum. It was like sending a prayer of gratitude through the vibration, up to heaven.

Gayan taught us simple beats and assigned everyone a job, to sing, shake bells or keep the rhythm. All of us somehow all melted into one hypnotic pulse. And when I became conscious of how good we actually sounded, my soul soared even higher.

 

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During Gayan’s solo, I felt the vibration from his playing on the head of my drum in front of me. Isn’t this so like life? As human beings, we interact with one another and send vibrations between us. Only this time I could actually feel them with my hands, like tangible proof of feelings, as if to say, “Here I am, take me or not,” offered to anyone who needed to claim it without the duality of acceptance or non-acceptance.

 

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 Gayan talked about the sensation of holding the drum between our legs. I was surprised that he addressed this because the first time I held a drum in this manner, I thought something was wrong with me since it felt sort of sexual. I wrote about this in DANCE OF THE ELECTRIC HUMMINGBIRD. But it’s also symbolic. By holding the drum so close to our bodies, we acknowledge the fact that we are bringing it into a very personal space within us. Maybe that’s why it was so magical—its rhythm entered me in a way I’d never known before—just as it had done in the past.

These lessons continue to grow within me and the more I allow myself to go with the flow, the more I learn about life and myself. So I have to ask, “Am I playing music or is music playing me?”

If you fall far enough under its spell, you won’t be able to answer this question.

This is What I’m Talking About!

October 19, 2010

I just got back from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and spending four nights watching Sammy Hagar perform at the Cabo Wabo Cantina, with Michael Anthony (of Chickenfoot and formerly of Van Halen), Vinnie Paul (Pantera) and Steve Harwell (Smashmouth), not to mention Sammy’s band, The Wabos, who totally kick ass.

It was more than a musical experience though, especially since after the first two shows, Sammy got sick, postponed the third show, and played the next two nights despite the fact that his voice was pretty much gone.

There’s something about Cabo.

It’s magic.

And many times when I go down there, I become infused with some sort of supernatural light that keeps coming out of me for months or sometimes for years. It’s as if that light attracts even more light into my life, like it did this morning, when I came across this article.

It’s about Carlos Santana’s spiritual connection with music, with God, with life. And it’s not written in esoteric concepts that the average person can’t understand–it’s presented in down-to-earth language that anyone can relate to. In other words, it gives us hope.

It’s interesting to me that I’d just returned from Cabo, met some wonderful people with whom I hope to work in order to get my message of hope out to more people (through my book), and then I come across this article. Coincidence? Not a chance. Light attracts light.

Enjoy.

Carlos Santana: Coltrane, Mysticism and Human Nature.