I’ve chosen that double-dip name for my blog (Sophy-wisdom), first because Sophy is my Christened name, spelt like that, with a “y,” and then because all my life I’ve been straining and struggling to find wisdom.
I don’t usually talk about my books on my blog, which I’m told is a BIG MISTAKE, because for what other reason does one spend time blogging (they tell me) except to market your own stuff? But tonight on this September equinox, I want to share something delicious. And maybe it will prompt someone to buy my book THE ART OF INTUITION. (There! I’ve done marketing! Now to the good part.)
They (the ubiquitous “they”) have just discovered – not that women have more intuition than men – we’ve all known that for millennia – but WHY! When I was writing THE ART OF INTUITION (aha! Another mention), I did a lot of research, wondering if there is a special intuition node in the brain that is perhaps bigger in women than in men. I remember once dating a man who seemed remarkably dense. A heavy specific gravity, if you know what I mean. We were driving in the car one evening when I asked him, “Are you intelligent?” Continue reading
The Stories We Tell Ourselves
Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down-stairs a step at a time. Mark Twain
Not long ago a friend, Rachel, phoned me in tears. She’d spent all day in despair—a Sabbath, and therefore a full, free day to reflect on how useless, worthless, and defective she was, and, how depressed! It’s not unusual. I know people who would not speak to a dog the way they talk to themselves.
From earliest childhood her mentally-ill mother had instilled the message that Rachel was no good, unloved, fated for failure, even wicked, vile. It was probably the same story that had been told the mother (and therefore mentally ill?), passed down from generation to generation since the Middle Ages. Continue reading
Last week during my reading group, one woman produced a “show and tell.” It was a silken fragment of a World War II parachute, in green-brown jungle camouflage, that had been used in the invasion of Normandy. We passed it from hand to hand, remembering the meadows of crosses that mark the graves of soldiers killed in that war, and before that in the even more horrific First World War, only twenty years earlier—fields of graves. Someone remarked that to this day the plows of French farmers dig up live shells and armaments from WW I, and that it will take 500 years to find and detonate them all, and this is from only ONE war almost a century ago. And then, in anguish, I began to think of lives saved. For sometimes they are, and mysteriously, miraculously, as if by angelic intervention.
I’ll tell of two such events, both involving falls from unimaginable heights. The first was told me by Michael, the bellman of a Midwestern hotel, when I asked him lightheartedly if he’d ever seen an angel. Instantly his demeanor turned serious.
“Yes,” he said. “My life was saved once by angel.” He was a paratrooper in the army, making a nighttime training jump from low altitude. Each trooper hooked his chute line on the airplane cord and leapt from the plane, one after another– and he among them, vaulting into the darkness of the starry night; except his parachute became entangled in its own lines. He was plummeting to earth. If he pulled his reserve, he risked the smaller chute get tangling uselessly in the larger one, but if he did nothing, he would die. Just then he heard a voice call out from above him: “Don’t pull the reserve. I’ve got you.” He looked up and saw that the soldier above him had grabbed his tangled parachute and was carrying them both down on his open one.
The next minute he landed in a ballooning of silk together with his savior. “It’s been a long time since I jumped,” the man shouted happily – but by then Michael was busy gathering up armloads of parachute and finding his way to the meeting place. Later he looked for his colleague to thank him. He studied the airplane roster and went to each and every trooper who made that jump. He could not find the man who had carried him down on his open parachute—the man who had cried out joyfully that it had been a long time since he’d jumped.
“I think he was my guardian angel,” said Michael as he opened my hotel room for me, and I’ve never forgotten his tale.
The other story came to me only a year ago when a TV show, Weird or What? hosted by William Shatner (and you can look it up on www.tv.com/shows/weird-or-what) wrote to ask me to appear in connection with an “angel story” they had found. The TV program on the history channel about the paranormal and supernatural engenders mixed reviews, but the facts this time are as compelling as those of the parachutist. A young sky diver and her fiancé decided to take a skydiving jump together one fine day before their marriage. Their plane carried them up to 10,000 feet—which meant they would be soaring and falling for quite a few minutes before opening their chutes to land safely.
The only problem was the young woman’s chute didn’t open. She fell from 10,000 feet and smashed onto the concrete of a parking lot. You’d think she’d be a splatter of blood, but here’s the mystery: she broke some bones but was not killed. How is that possible? In the hospital it was discovered she was pregnant and the baby, too, was unhurt. Today she has a healthy son.
How do we explain surviving a fall onto concrete from 10,000 feet? How do we explain a man who saves another, carrying him on his parachute–then disappears? And why? Urgently I cry aloud to understand! Why sometimes and not others? Why to one person and not another? What do we do to earn this grace? And how do we reconcile the slaughter of men and women, the violence endemic to the human race, the unbearable mercy of the Divine?
I don’t know what to make of some of the odd things that happen to us all. I’m thinking of lost items vanishing and turning up again exactly where you’ve looked a dozen times. As if the objects decided to go for a hike, globe-trotting, sight-seeing. Not long ago I lost my favorite set of keys on my Celtic key chain. One moment it was in my hand, and the next it had vanished. I thought the set must be in my apartment (since I had JUST used it to open the apartment door), but no amount of searching sufficed to find it. The set was gone. Mysteriously. Continue reading
Not long ago I was asked to speak to a small group about prayer and praying, which are rather distasteful words to most of us. And yet we’re praying all the time. Thoughts are prayers. When we’re worrying, we’re praying for what we don’t want to have happen.
When we’re struck by the beauty of the spaces between the branches of the trees (this
is where you see the angels, by the way), or when our hearts lift in thanksgiving, praise
and adoration for this pretty little world—we’re praying powerfully. Why? Continue reading
In the past months I’ve been going through one of those dark periods that fall over me
now and again, of dismay and despair.
My distress was so great that I felt the greatest kindness I could offer anyone
was silence– inflicting no words, blogs, bubbles of vanity or boastful confidence on
the world. So it has been months since I sent out a blog. And in that time much has
happened, with most of it only increasing my anguish. How hard it is to hope that with
God “All things are possible” or that (in the words of St. Julian of Norwich) “All will be
well… All manner of thing will be well.” How hard to remember that angels surround
us, loving, guiding, guarding, and always – always – bringing out of something terrible
great good. Continue reading
Part II ~ A Feral Feline Spirit of Love.
I tell a lot of angel stories in this blog, as well as experiences of baffling coincidence and spirits and Afterlife. This story is about an animal angel. It was told to me by Jill, who lives in Tennessee. Jill is a recovering alcoholic, in the AA Program. Her sponsor, Vic, died in 1999 after a short illness, and she hosted a reception for his family and friends at her house. At the time she had been trying to befriend a black cat who walked along her fence every day but who would jump off and run if Jill came closer than fifteen feet. He would actually hiss and spit if she spoke to him.
A word about her relationship with Vic. In her early sobriety her sponsor listened patiently to her “emergencies” and spoke to her often on the phone. He was more social than Jill, so much so that she sometimes felt pressured, to the point of wishing privately at times that he would phone less frequently or suggest fewer meetings. But she had difficulty setting boundaries. Then he was diagnosed with colon cancer. and all her boundary issues seemed insignificant. With his prognosis of death, she couldn’t spend enough time with him. Continue reading