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.
Well, the time has come to talk about my new novel, LOVE, ❤ALBA which comes out August 10, and why I wrote it, and why I decided to self publish, and how dismayed and discouraged I became when I found that my agent could not find a publisher: because there must be many writers, successful or just starting out, who can benefit from my experience and boy! have I learnt a lot! I had just published The Treasure of Montségur, a pretty serious novel set in 13th century France. This is a period that makes living in the 21st Century look like a piece of cake! In that book, I was exploring how you find hope and joy under sickening circumstances. This is always the way with writing: “We do not write in order to be understood,” wrote C. Day Lewis. “We write in order to understand.” Afterwards I wanted to write something light-hearted, fun, sweet, because this is truly a beautiful world. Continue reading
This afternoon (Friday, 4.17) I was listening on the radio to Metro Connection as I drove back into town, when a story was told of an artist who one day was looking for floor tiles to repair his house. He asked. “God, show me where to go,” then felt impelled to get in his car and drive left and right and left and right and right and left, having no idea where he was going in Baltimore, but feeling guided, when he found himself at a dead end, face to face with a sign: FREE GLASS TILES. Metro Connection reported the story without comment, and I am thrilled.
When I wrote A Book of Angels (published 1990) NO ONE talked about these little guides, these “miracles,” and if you did, you weren’t sure you were judged quite sane. Continue reading
Well, don’t anyone try to convince me there’s not life after life. I’ve had too many experiences to believe in the silence of dark mouldering eternal sleep. The world is too full of life—and mystery. And by the way, of LAUGHTER! At one level it’s all laughter!
My first cousin died recently. On the Saturday morning before I had heard of his death, I found myself staring at the books in my bookcase, reached out and plucked a book I hadn’t noticed before. “Where did this come from?” I thought, regarding a volume of Italian short stories, in Italian, printed in 1999. . . .and then from the pages fell a yellowed invoice Continue reading
Well, I’ve just posted a few words about how the Universe sends us gifts and roses, the little grace notes that affirm we’re not alone. Here is another story, quite different, that I told about in one of my books, though I forget which one just now (maybe The Path of Prayer?).
I was walking on the canal in Georgetown, and once again I was in a funk (You must think I’m always down, but actually I’m usually courageous and upbeat.) On this day, however, I was at the end of my rope. “God, give me a sign,” I spoke silently to my angels, my guides, “and don’t make it one of your subtle signs that I can’t read. I want something that will hit me over the head, because I’m not in a good place today. I need to know that everything is going to be all right.”
Just then a flock of pigeons rose out of the waters of the canal, sweeping up in the air, swooping and circling, the light flashing from their white wings. I was startled. You expect sea gulls on the water perhaps, but not pigeons. At the same time, they were so beautiful that I stopped in wonder to watch them fly. Just then PLOP! One shat on me, right on top of my head.
What could I do but laugh? I’d asked for a sign to hit me on the top of the head, and here it was. It broke my foul mood. I went home light-hearted and back to my desk to work.
The ways of the angels are mysterious. But remember, children, we are not promised that nothing bad will happen to us. We’re promised that when they do we’re not alone!
May you have a lovely day. Winter is nearly over. Spring is coming. The light is returning (one more month to the solstice). Watch for signs. Be happy.
I wrote last time about the Dark Side – an aspect of the spiritual that I don’t like to think much about. Today I want to write about the LIGHT. And since we’ve just finished Valentine’s Day, it’s appropriate to think of roses – and of all the little ways that the Universe (another of my thousand names for God) pours affection onto us.
One day I remember being blue. I wished for a sign that everything would be ok. A minute later, I walked out of the house (I lived in a house then), and there on the sidewalk lay a red rose. Laughing at myself, I took it as my “sign.”
It turns out that roses are often a sign of an answered prayer. St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-97) is the Roman Catholic saint of the rose. “What matters in life,” she wrote, “is not great deeds, but great love.” After her death, she promised to “shower roses on her little ones.” She believed that like a child we should be enamored with what is before us, totally attentive to all the expressions of love. I’m not Catholic but I have heard that if you pray a novena (nine days for one wish) to St. Therese, and if the wish is granted, you will receive
The Dark Side
I rarely touch on the Dark Side in this optimistic, light-filled angel blog, but recently something happened to me so unusual that I share it, in case there are others who feel lonely and lost, “beside themselves,” or “not themselves.” It’s not that we don’t all fall into a trough sometimes, feel blue, or even, god knows, become depressed, but what hit me last week was so coarse and unpleasant that I found myself hating whoever was living in my skin.
I went to New York over the weekend, where I met family and friends, visited the Exciting, Noisy, New and Different; yet even in the midst of loved ones, I felt lonely, fearful, awkward, anxious, lost.
Back home, I finally had time to sit in solitude and howl to God, my angels, my inner Higher Self. “Oh God, help me, help me. I can’t do this. I can’t do it alone!” (whatever “it” was.) Then I picked up a pen and began what I call automatic writing. It’s easy. Continue reading
One of the joys of writing a blog is to discover that someone reads it. These past weeks I’ve received several reports of spiritual experiences—and I want to tell them all. But I pick only two– both concerning life after death: one came from “C.” (name withheld), whose husband died, and the other is about a dog. (Don’t you love Pope Francis, by the way, affirming that dogs and other pets may well go to heaven: Well, YES! Who wants to be in a heaven without our beloved dog, cat, horse, turtle, snake?)
Story # 1: Bill lay dying in hospice, his family gathered around. Earlier his daughter had asked him for a sign. “ If there is a heaven, and if you’re there, show me a sign. You’re so clever. If anyone can do it, you can!” And then a grandson reinforced it. “You have to give Mom a sign that you’re ok. She’s going to have a hard time with this, so it can’t be vague.” Continue reading
Years ago I interviewed the Dalai Lama for my book, The Ecstatic Journey, Walking the Mystical Path in Everyday Life. The book is about what happens when you have a spiritual experience and what happens afterwards, and it was written out of my own need for such a guide after having had some dramatic spiritual experiences. (We all have them; why don’t people talk about it?) The interview took place in Dharmashala, India, and it was life-transforming. Yet now, years later, I think of questions I didn’t ask. I wish I had the chance to do it over again. And yet, it was extraordinary. First, I was bowled over by his greeting. He saw me walking down the colonnade of his office and living quarters, turned and strode forward, hands out, his face wrinkling with smiles. Holding my hand, he led me into his office, directed me to a couch. “Sit here,” he said, “What can I do to help you?” Wow! That’s how I want to be greeted. What’s with this English reserve I learned while growing up? Why didn’t I ever express such joy at seeing someone? Why didn’t I make them comfortable like that? Right there, my trip to India paid for itself! Second was the depth of the interview. “When I was young,” he told me, “I used to think I could attain enlightenment.Now I know I have only this much.” He illustrated with thumb and forefinger only ¼ inch apart.
I’ve been thinking about the meaning of life. It’s the kind of monumental question I used to worry like a terrier with a toy when I was young and that I don’t have time for now that I’m older. But occasionally the question arises: Do we make meaning out of a human need for order and control, or is there an underlying Force working things out in Its own way? I‘ve experienced moments (so many!) when it seems that something–spirit guides, angels, some invisible energy–must be crimping Time deliberately to formulate coincidences.
I remember once being invited to have lunch in Manhattan on the same day that I had Continue reading
It’s almost Hallowe’en again, when we scare ourselves with witches, demons, ghosts and goblins, vampires and zombies, laughing in the face of frightening death; and it seems appropriate to tell a (woooo!) ghost story. I’m a psychic and medium, and like many people I have seen a lot of spirits, some strangers and some familiar, and I’m sorry to report that I have yet to meet a scary one.
I told this story in my book, The Art of Intuition, but it’s worth repeating for those of you who are afraid of dying, who think you snuff out like a candle (sorry, kids, you don’t get off so easy). Often, being in a light trance, I don’t remember what happens in a reading, but this one was so dramatic, unusual and beautiful I can’t forget. And neither will you. I dare you. Try to forget it. And if you do, write and tell me you’ve forgot. . . .
One day when a woman came for a reading, she brought her husband who stayed in the next room. I no sooner began her reading than I was felled by a headache so violent that I thought, “I won’t be able to do this; I’m going to be sick.” Then it came to me that the headache wasn’t mine. “Do you have a headache?” I asked. “No,” she answered. Just then a spirit appeared at me side.
“Oh, there’s a spirit here that wants to speak to you,” I said, realizing the headache had disappeared. “She is calling you Mother. She says you’re her mother.”
“I don’t have a daughter,” she responded stiffly.
“Well, she’s calling you her mother. Oh, and there’s a baby with her, a toddler, about knee high. Maybe a year old.”
“What’s she wearing?” she asked, eyes narrowed skeptically.
“It’s some sort of brown pants suit, not very attractive.”
“Can my husband come in? I think it’s his daughter.” I agreed. Her husband was called in, and the moment he sat down, the spirit flew into his lap and flung her arms around his neck, kissing and hugging him.
To make the story short, the now-deceased daughter had been in the army. A year earlier she had been walking from one barrack to another when she was struck by lightning and killed. She was pregnant. Now she appeared from the Other Side with an infant toddling at her side, and here she was holding her father, hugging and loving him, so happy to see him! He could feel her presence. We all could. We were all three in tears. She stayed only a few minutes, and then she had to leave, return to the Other Side. She took the baby’s hand and disappeared.
What happens on the Other Side of the Great Black Wall? I do not know. There are many mansions in our Father’s House, as Jesus said; and physicists posit not four but 12 dimensions. I think some spirits go to one place and some to another, but we will all have work to do on the Other Side, and much joy. I know that the colors are brighter than on this plane or planet, that music is sweeter and beauty even more beautiful (if that’s possible). I have seen grieving spirits, and wandering, lost ones, and some that are happy and others that are ashamed and regretful (begging forgiveness) of their behavior during their living life, for in those other dimensions, we gain greater understanding, as we develop more empathy, more love, more compassion, until I think there may be nothing but utter and incomprehensible energy, indescribable love. Happy Hallowe’en. Joy on All Soul’s Day.
Sophy Burnham, author of The Art of Intuition, A Book of Angels, Angel Letters, The Path of Prayer, The Ecstatic Journey, For Writers Only, and more.