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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Greetings my friends,

scosThe following is a lecture I delivered while serving at the Swampscott Church of Spiritualism (in Swampscott, Massachusetts) a few years ago. I’d forgotten about it and just today found it on a thumb drive. I’d like to share it with you because these themes are coming up often in my readings. It’s rather long…so don’t feel like you need to finish in one reading!

“Why?”

As I pondered my topic for today, I kept coming back to this question: “Why does Spirit take time to communicate with us?” Besides the healing of grief and the proof of continuous life, I was wondering about the higher purpose in it all, and how this communication serves our spiritual development. Here we have a religion formed around the phenomenon of Spirit Communication, but with only 10 guiding principles, and no dogma or creed. As a result, we don’t often delve deeply into  the “why” of it all.

I thought to myself, ‘If I can identify the primary themes that come through again and again from Spirit, then perhaps I can put my finger on the “why” of it.’ So Thursday night, I grabbed a notepad and pen, settled into a comfortable chair, closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. I allowed my mind to relax and trace back over the years of mediumship studies and of receiving and recording messages, seeking common and significant themes. I let myself be “inspired” to work in league with Spirit. Very quickly, themes began flowing in and I wrote them down, and as I did, I would ask, “Why is this theme important? Why does Spirit focus on this? How does it help us? What are we to do with these messages?” And in response, a thematic hierarchy emerged that would form the basis of today’s lecture.

At the very top of this hierarchy a very specific, and somewhat surprising expression was impressed upon me. It’s one with which you are probably all familiar, but may not have understood or even considered in the context of Spirit Communication. It’s just two words: “Know thyself.” That’s it. “Know thyself.”

KnowThyselfAre you surprised as well? It doesn’t seem at first blush to encompass all that we consider to be the goal and purpose of Spirit communications or communion with the Divine, so further research was clearly needed. To begin, I had no idea to whom I should attribute this expression. Googling revealed that it was so much more interesting and certainly more relevant than I had anticipated. It all began to make sense, particularly in light of my recent studies in Mexico, but I’ll get to that in a moment.  So let me share with you why this simple phrase, “Know thyself,” can be offered up as supporting affirmation  and benefits for Spirit Communication in our lives.

The expression, “Know thyself” is attributed to Pythagoras, Socrates and many later philosophers, but it has its earliest-documented appearance in the ancient Egyptian Temple of Luxor, which dates20120214-LuxorTempleEgypt_2007 back 3400 years ago. I happened to visit this temple in 1981, and I can tell you it is magnificent. Sacred teachings are inscribed on walls and pillars all around the temple. There are two parts of the Temple of Luxor; the outer temple where the beginning initiates were allowed to gather, and the inner temple where one could enter only after being proven worthy and ready to acquire the higher knowledge and insights.

One of the proverbs in the Outer Temple is, “The body is the house of God.” In the Inner Temple, we find inscribed, “Man, know thyself … and thou shalt know the Gods.”[21]

So that was ancient Egypt. Now let’s jump over to Mexico for a minute. I recently spent 3 weeks in Mexico completing my yoga teacher training at Present Moment Retreat. I went there very focused on the yoga postures, on the idea of teaching and integrating this teaching meditationinto my understanding of healing through the chakras. What I didn’t anticipate was how Sadhana Yoga, or the yoga of spiritual practice—one of the 8 limbs or areas of yoga— would so capture my attention. Sadhana Yoga is the Sanskrit term for spiritual discipline, or “The Path to Realization.” The Path to Realization? Hmmm. That sounds a little like, “Know Thyself,” doesn’t it?

The Yoga Sutras are the core teachings of Yoga, and discuss among many things, the importance of releasing distractions of the intellect, emotional self, and the ego, to find equanimity in our lives, and once achieved, to find greater connection to the Conscious Absolute, to God, the Divine–or Infinite Intelligence, as we Spiritualists say.

What does it mean?

To “Know thyself,” as the ancient Egyptians proclaim or to “Practice the Path to Realization” as the ancient Indian sages teach, both represent the soul’s journey toward inner knowing. It is acknowledgement that we are a spark of the Divine, and that we carry this God light within us at all times. The purer we can be in thought and action, the closer we can follow our soul’s goals in this lifetime, and not be derailed by fear, grief, addictions or other negative influences. The human race, and the human body itself, has reached a point of evolution in this millennium where connecting with our higher self, our God self, is increasingly possible. We are indeed in the age of enlightenment. Through meditation, through spiritual music and mantra, through mediumship and prayer, we may attain our connection to Spirit and to our inner spiritual selves much more readily.

Each of us has a purpose in this lifetime, and if you are here, in this church today (or reading this on my blog today), you have been called upon to ignite your light, to know thyself, and to illuminate and find your purpose.

What’s the process?

And how does one come to “Know Thyself?” The answer with which Spirit inspired me was also simple:  “Be Present. Live in the Present Moment.” To know thyself requires full attention to the present. I used to wonder a lot about this idea of “Living in the Present” because we need to learn from our past, no? And if I’m not planning my future, it will surely be a mess. So, I didn’t really get it. But what I’ve learned through my spiritual quest is this:

  • Yes, we need to learn from our past but Spirit encourages us not to dwell there.
  • And yes, we need to attend to our future, but to not dwell there either, longing for things we don’t have in our lives today, and missing out on what today offers us. How we live today has a tremendous impact on the success of our tomorrows, and this is a message that comes through often from Spirit.

Now, back to my brainstorming. Under the category of “Be Present” emerged a list entitled: “How to live in the present.” From there, it was easy to see the connections to our lives and practices as Spiritualists. Certainly, none of these are exclusive to Spiritualism or any religious philosophy for that matter, but it’s very comforting to think about how much Spirit works with us in this task, and how the practices of Spiritualism promote “being present,” so that we can “know ourselves” and evolve spiritually toward that best expression of ourselves.

  1. The first strategy to living in the present is to release negative emotions that tie us to the past. In Principle No. 4, we affirm that the existence and personal identity of an individual continue after the change called death. Connection to Spirit allows us to ease our grief, to heal the pain of loss, to more easily detach from wanting to live in the past and to gradually find joy again in living in the present. In pursuing this goal, Spirit utilizes many means of communicating with us: the most obvious being through message work, but then it broadens dramatically from there to communication in meditation, in dreams, via hypnosis, everyday inspiration, physical signs, music lyrics, energetic promptings to follow one path or another—and even through the mouths of young children and strangers.
  2. The second strategy to living in the present is: Quieting the mind through meditation or meditative practices. Every week in our service, we have the opportunity to be guided through meditation, to let go of everything we are thinking and feeling, and to just BE. The Yoga Sutras tell us that “the Practice of Meditation is direct knowing (of thyself) through intuition” It’s a window to our higher self and Spirit. It also teaches that “when the mind is busy with thought, it cannot know itself, and so cannot know the God within.”
  3. The third strategy is Being Fully Present with Others: I first came to the church in Spring of 2002, and in the summer of that year, I and several others from the church headed to Camp Etna for a long weekend. While there, I sat for my first long reading from a gifted medium, who is now the pastor of the Greater Boston Church of Spiritualism, Rev. Mary DiGiovanni. I recall only one aspect of that entire reading, and it was about being present. My grandmother Irene, in Spirit, presented a model of communication that contained a wheel within a wheel. I was the inner wheel, but there were many colors of me, each representing my various roles in my relationships with others. The outer wheel contained all the key people in my life, colored to the counter role. My grandmother taught me that when I align myself, or my inner wheel with another, it should click into place, and I should not be continuing to spin the inner wheel, even in my mind.Irene’s wise advice was this: when you are present with someone, you are not checking your phone, or ruffling through papers, or watching TV, or browsing the internet, or thinking about what you are going to eat for dinner, or all the things on your to-do list. Find the purpose in your conversation, in your meeting, in your relationship with them. Know that person, respect that person, and give that person your undivided attention. Get your ego out of the way, and be yourself. Know them and let them know you. It is in these moments of presence that our energy is whole. Give yourself over to that moment, and learn who you are in it—as a mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, friend, employee. Who are you? Know thyself.
  4. The fourth strategy to being present is to focus on a task, event, or happening without distraction: Who was here last week when Troubadour Shawn Madden played with our musicians?  The joyful energy was so compelling that we were all really PRESENT in that experience, together. We were alive in that energy—and I don’t know about you, but I carried that with me for days. How many of you sang, “Lighten up…whoa…lighten up. Don’t take yourself so serious!” Talk about a message of Being Present, and knowing yourself, right?  That joy, that bliss – that is our souls’ natural state, that is the state we are meant to live within, and when we create these opportunities for ourselves, we tap into that inner Divinity, that light within; we connect with our higher self, and we remember who we are. Yeah…that’s being present. Being present is also when we are really focused on a single task in solitude – that’s when we tap into our purpose, into a stream of inspiration from both our own higher self and from Spirit. We get in the ZONE, we listen, we co-create our futures with the Divine Intelligence, and come to better know ourselves.
  5. Become the watcher of your life: One of the spiritual practices I took away from my yoga training was learning to rise above and detach from external drama around me, and to become an observer so that I may maintain my equanimity and sense of personal purpose. It’s so much easier to think and to just BE when you are not involved or implicated in difficult life dramas around you, dramas that you didn’t start and have no way to control. How many of you have gotten messages from Spirit about exactly that? “Release,” says Spirit.” Allow. Step back. It’s not your battle, not your decision, not your life. Let go.” Right? Sound familiar? Become the watcher of your life, the impartial witness; give yourself permission to step away and detach from negative dramas unfolding around you.
  6. Discover and embrace your life purpose: Many of the messages from Spirit have to do with overcoming current challenges in our lives, and offering words of encouragement, love and support. But there’s a bigger picture to your life, a strand of purpose that threads itself through all your life experiences. If you practice being present in all these ways, sit quietly in meditation, releasing negative thoughts and emotions, and listen carefully to the promptings of your soul, you know what your purpose is. And if you’re not sure, in your meditation just ask Spirit to show you. Then, follow the signs that Spirit puts before you. Listen for messages. Pay attention to your dreams and to the sychronicities that occur in your life. And don’t just say, “Oh, that was cool,” but rather, “Oh, that was cool. Now what does it mean? What is Spirit saying to me? What can I do and learn from this?” Sometimes the message is just, “We’re here, so relax. Things are going to be fine. You’re on track.” And we then allow ease to displace anxiety and dis-ease.

Savor Life’s Sweetness!

lollipopLet me close today by sharing a message that I brought to another in circle recently. It began with the image of child and a large lollipop—one of those big flat round ones that spiral with color, and take a very long time to finish off. Firstly, it was interesting that it was this type of lollipop, for the spiral represents the journey of the soul and is found on antiquities around the world. But the message itself was simple, “Just as children so easily do, take time in your busy life to savor its sweetness. All the sweet moments that come to you—be present with them, take in all the joy they offer and  live those moments fully.”

Be present, know thyself and through this, know God.

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Scene from Cold Sweat

Beach scene* from Cold Sweat. Left to right: Eve Danzeisen, Renee Buck, Natasha Charles Parker  (photo by Kate Hagerty)

Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. “Could it be that I’m psychic?” is one of my lines in a play here in Los Angeles – my first ever theater performance. Through an admirable set of synchronicities, and by simply allowing myself to “follow the energy,” I have been cast in the play, Cold Sweat, by Neal Bell.

One thing led to another…

Last fall, a guest speaker and prominent screenwriter, Jane Anderson, recommended to my UCLA screenwriting class that all writers take at least one acting class. “It will help you get inside your characters, and better understand what actors look for in roles,” she said. It was sound advice, and so I promptly searched for an acting class. I found the Andrew Wood Acting Studio here in Hollywood and contacted Andrew. Andrew meets every potential student to ensure there’s a good fit. We met for coffee at Starbucks. I liked him immediately and felt I could learn a lot from him. And despite the fact that I was an acting novice, and that my last theater performance was in elementary school at the age of 10, Andrew invited me to join the mixed-level class in scene study and technique.

Scene study: a play about Spirit

I was assigned to work on a scene from Cold Sweat, a play about life after death, replete with spirits, a medium and faithColdSweat healer, a young woman with “second sight”, the skeptic, and of course, the searcher. Cold Sweat was first performed in 1987, and was in fact inspired by the life of Elizabeth Kubler Ross, a prolific writer on death and dying. I’d not mentioned my spiritual work to Andrew at our coffee meeting. But what are the chances that I’d be randomly assigned a play about the very themes that define such a big part of my life? Had Andrew googled me and found my website, I wondered? So, I asked him. Not so. Andrew was actually surprised to discover that I was a medium. It was simply a role he thought would be right for me to work on.

The last day of class was Friends and Family Night, at which we performed the scene we’d worked on perfecting for several months. Outside, after my performance, Andrew complimented my work and asked if I would be interested in performing my role as Bess in a public theater production of Cold Sweat, which he would soon be co-producing and directing. He was presently casting for it. I’m not sure how far my jaw fell, but I’m pretty sure the grass tickled my chin. Once the shock of his invitation wore off, and Andrew’s assurance that “I was ready,” had sunk in, the timing and logistics were considered and I opted in. Doubting the wisdom of my choice at times (acting is definitely harder than it looks), I wondered if I could really pull it off, but all signs said, “Go!” so I stayed in the flow.

Bess

I play the outspoken, self-absorbed, and rather outlandish Bess Franklin, a New England blue blood and the mother of

Alice and Bess

Alice and Bess (Photo by Kate Hagerty)

Alice, the main character (played by the very talented Eve Danzeisen). As Bess, the wife of a man terminally-ill with cancer, my fear of being “left behind” and later, my dark struggle with the overwhelming grief that comes with losing a loved one, are emotions with which many of us can identify and empathize. Bess is a character far from my own personality, but the words of the playwright are so rich that Bess quickly found a voice within me. With Andrew’s skillful guidance and direction, she took on a life of her own. Inspired by whom or from whom, I’m not yet sure!

The play

The play is about “my daughter, Alice,” a Vietnam War field doctor traumatized by her war experience, and especially the sudden loss of her lover. Once back home, she finds herself on a personal quest to help cancer patients come to terms with death, and to truly understand for herself what happens after death–if anything. Despite the heavy themes, the play delivers plenty of sharp wit, comedic repartee and metaphysical mysteries as Alice journeys through the unknown. And the play ends on an up note! What more can one ask?

Reflections on my soul’s path

My sister, Susan Buck 1956-1973

My sister, Susan Buck 1954-1973

In March, while visiting Boston and my beloved Swampscott Church of Spiritualism, I sat in a Spirit circle. A message from my sister Susie came through Beth, one of the student mediums. Beth brought through many validations of my life in Hollywood, details of the latest story I was researching for a screenplay, even the elephant totems in the Hollywood & Highland shopping center just a block away from my apartment. Susie said through Beth, “Your world is expanding in ways you can’t see, can’t imagine. Keep focusing and keep buckling down.” (Side note: Susie passed into Spirit in 1973, when this play opens.)

Hollywood & Highland Elephant Totems

Elephant totems at Hollywood & Highland

My world is indeed expanding. Acting in a play is the last thing I would have imagined for myself when I arrived in L.A. last fall. That said, I’ve met so many wonderful people through this experience and have been opened up to the joys of acting. Following the energy has served me well this past year as I find myself in the flow of deeply creative and expansive exercises, all of which serve to inform, reinforce and complement the other.

We are here on the Earth plane to learn, to create and to be creative. This challenge takes many forms, and manifests in all aspects of life. When we find ourselves “in the flow” of creative energy, in the process of co-creation with the Universe, we are literally carried forward in a river of great joy and deep satisfaction. For me, creative endeavors are also opportunities to bring forward messages of hope, compassion, and eternal love, no matter the medium… Aha! A pun.

By chance (or not), Andrew just sent me the perfect ending to this post–a quote from Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke:

If only it were possible for us to see farther than our knowledge reaches, and even a little beyond the outworks of our presentiment, perhaps we would bear our sadnesses with greater trust than we have in our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy embarrassment, everything in us withdraws, a silence arises, and the new experience, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it all and says nothing.

One weekend left: June 26-28, 2015

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, consider coming to one of the final performances of the play. You’ll be sure to enjoy it! Cold Sweat is showing at the Atwater Village Theater, a 99-seat blackbox theater, so tickets are limited. You can get them online here. If you come, please wait for me and introduce yourself after the show! I’d love to hear how the play touched you.

~In love and light, Renee Buck

*Beach scene: Alice, played by Eve Danzeisen; Bess, played by yours truly, Renee Buck; Fay played by Natasha Charles Parker.

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Greetings my friends,

I have often said that Spirit is around us more when we are in states of change and/or in need of guidance along our paths. Spirit hears our questions and our pleas, and will do all they can to help us—assuming that

Which path?

Which path?

what we are asking for is in our highest good and in [reasonable] alignment with the life plan we set in motion upon birth into this lifetime. Why do I say “reasonable”? Because we do have Free Will and may exercise it at any time. Sometimes we simply take a roundabout way to get to where we are going, and Spirit understands that. That said, if our fears are consistently driving us off track, Spirit will step in and help guide us through a variety of means.

At present, some pretty big decisions are ahead of me, and I’ve been uncertain about which path or paths to choose. Through the past few months, I’ve appealed to Spirit in my prayers at night.  I’ve spoken to them while commuting to work in the morning. I mutter to them throughout the day, whenever I get a moment to reflect (and no one is around to label me crazy. Uh hem!)  The result? Well…some pretty interesting things have been happening to tell me they are not only hearing me, but are fully participating in my decision-making process. It’s not often these things happen to me, so it’s fun to share.

foam bolster

“My bolster!? How did that get here?”

The case of the moving bolster: Last Wednesday, in the wee hours of the morning, I got up from my bed to get a drink of water. When I returned, something long and dark was lying right where I had been lying minutes before. It was too dark to distinguish it, but (oddly) I wasn’t afraid of it, either. I reached out and touched it, and immediately identified the three-foot long foam bolster that had been leaning against my headboard before I left the room.  My reaction, of course, was to mumble, “My bolster!? How did that get here?” There was no one else in the room, and the bolster is simply too large for my cat Jack to pull it around. It was then that I realized that it had to be Spirit, but I didn’t understand the point of it and was too tired to figure it out, so I just moved it out of the way, crawled back into bed and promptly fell asleep.

I reflected on this curious event over the next few days, and then it hit me. Bolster! They were communicating the verb form, not the noun, as in Spirit is bolstering my energy, self-confidence, determination–whatever it is that I need to make the right decisions. It’s the same way Spirit communicates with me mediumistically: objects or symbols are often used to lead me to a related meaning. Remember my story of the young boy in Spirit who came through all dressed up like a Leprechaun? He was prompting me to say “St. Patrick’s Day” because his name was…you guessed it…Patrick!  Well, this little prank was just another example of creative “Spirit speak.”

Merle's brown shoesThe man in the brown shoes. A few nights after the bolster incident, I woke up again in the middle of the night, and padded to the bathroom and back. As I was just settling back into bed and about to close my eyes, I saw a (Spirit) man from the knees down about a foot away from my bed. He was wearing brown shoes and brown slacks. I knew without a doubt it was my brother, Merle, and in my sleepy state, all I could say was, “Oh hi, Merle…” I felt happy and comforted by his presence, but too tired to engage further, so I closed my eyes and fell back to sleep. For those of you new to my blog, my brother Merle died in a motorcycle accident in 1971 at the age of 14. He was older than me by a year, and has been my guide and protector my entire life, first on the Earth Plane and since his passing, from The Other Side.

So why did Merle make himself known in such a way? To tell me that he

My brother, Merle

My brother, Merle

hears me, that he is beside me, helping me, offering his energy in my decision-making process. But why just his feet, you ask? Good question. I wondered the same. I believe the message is also one of “grounding.” To ground oneself is to calm the mind, to breathe, to even out one’s emotions, to remember again what is true for oneself. I was feeling stressed and unable to think clearly about my direction; I needed to find my ground again.

You see, in recent weeks, I had been passively moving down a path that my fearful mind was allowing, but my intuitive self was railing against. I was doing so mostly because a better path had not revealed itself, and I was letting my (financial) fears get the best of me. Sound familiar? Finally however, the voice inside saying, “Don’t do it,” got so loud that I’m pretty sure there was an entire Spirit chorus chiming in. So, I got off the path. Within minutes of communicating my decision to the relevant person, I knew it was the right move. A burden was lifted, my stomach relaxed, my body felt lighter, my heart happier. It was that simple.

Fear of the unknown is a tremendous motivator to take a false turn, to make an unhealthy decision, to remove yourself from your true life path. I know this, and yet, I still needed Spirit’s help, for fear is a crazy-powerful thing. And when you pursue a path out of fear, rather than because it’s the right one, you feel stuff. You know what I’m talking about, right? The knot in your belly? The spinning thoughts? The rising anxiety? Racing heart? All of these sensations are Spirit and your own Higher Self communicating with you—demanding your attention and encouraging you to rethink, and change direction. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right. Start over.

So, the very next day…a new path with exciting potential was revealed to me in the most unexpected of ways, in an impromptu meeting and from the most unexpected source.  I am reminded that if I open myself to the unknown without fear and simply trust the Universe, the positive energy generated from being true to myself draws directly to me what I need at that point in time. Yes, it’s really that simple…but sometimes, oh, so hard to do!

So the message here, my friends, is that when we ask for help from God, the Universe, the Angels, Spirit—whomever you pray or appeal to—they will work through us to amplify the thoughts or sensations that drive us to course correct if we stray too far. And if you need extra special encouragement, Spirit will send messages through moving bolsters and Spirit visits— assuming such a thing won’t freak you out. Spirit can be very subtle as well, and work with you so seamlessly that you might not even be aware of it until you look back at all the coincidences and synchronicities that simply can’t be explained any other way!

An open heart and an open mind, and a little help from my loved ones in Spirit is a powerful formula for happiness, and for manifesting the life I’m meant to live. If you need help hearing Spirit, or understanding their messages, consider a Loved Ones and Guides reading with me. Spirit always has a lot to say; perhaps now is a good time to listen. See Services and Fees. to begin the scheduling process.

Do you have a story of a Spirit visit or physical phenomenon to share? How did it help you? Please use the comments below to tell your story!

~With love and light,
Renee Buck

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Yes, that’s right. One particularly well-documented case occurred during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, when the President’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, invited a noted trance medium, Nettie Colburn Maynard, age 21, to hold a séance in the White House and to meet the President.

Abraham, Mary and their two surviving sons, Robert and Thomas "Tad" Lincoln. A photo of Willie, who died at age 11, is on the back wall.

The Lincolns, particularly Mary, sought comfort in such Spiritualist practices after losing two of their four sons to Spirit at very young ages. Their second son, Eddie, died at age 4 in 1848, and their third son, Willie, died in 1862 at age 11. Willie died during the Lincoln’s White House years, and it was a particularly difficult time for both parents. While Mrs. Lincoln was primarily interested in hearing from her sons in such séances, it was the President himself who benefited from strategic advice and encouragement from Spirit at a time when he most needed it—at the height of the Civil War. [Side Note: We all have a team of Spirit Masters, Teachers and Guides who follow us through our lives, guiding our actions, helping us to stay on Plan. In this instance, a Spirit by the name of Dr. Bamford apparently played a significant role in offering specific guidance, implicitly and explicitly, to Abraham Lincoln regarding his presidential career and decisionmaking.]

Now, it should be understood that Nettie Colburn Maynard worked as a trance medium, enabling Spirit to speak directly through her to the President. While in trance, Ms. Maynard was unaware of what had been said through her voice. The following is Ms. Maynard’s fascinating personal account of this experience, drawn from her book published in 1917, Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist?: Or, Curious Revelations from the Life of a Trance Medium.

 I was led forward and presented. He stood before me, tall and kindly, with a smile on his face. Dropping his hand upon my head, he said, in a humorous tone, “So this is our ‘little Nettie’ is it, that we have heard so much about?” I could only smile and say, “Yes, sir,” like any school girl; when he kindly led me to an ottoman. Sitting down in a chair, the ottoman at his feet, he began asking me questions in a kindly way about my mediumship; and I think he must have thought me stupid, as my answers were little beyond a “Yes” and “No.” His manner, however, was genial and kind, and it was then suggested we form a circle. He said, “Well, how do you do it?” looking at me. Mr. Laurie came to the rescue, and said we had been accustomed to sit in a circle and join hands; but he did not think it would be necessary in this instance. While he was yet speaking, I lost all consciousness of my surroundings and passed under control [of spirit].

For more than an hour I was made to talk to him, and I learned from my friends afterward that it was upon matters that he seemed fully to understand, while they comprehended very little until that portion was reached that related to the forthcoming Emancipation Proclamation. He was charged with the utmost solemnity and force of manner not to abate the terms of its issue, and not to delay its enforcement as a law beyond the opening of the year; and he was assured that it was to be the crowning event of his administration and his life; and that while he was being counseled by strong parties to defer the enforcement of it, hoping to supplant it by other measures and to delay action, he must in no ways heed such counsel, but stand firm to his convictions and fearlessly perform the work and full the mission for which he had been raised up by an overruling Providence. Those present declared that they lost sight of the timid girl in the majesty of the utterance, the strength and force of the language, and the importance of that which was conveyed, and seemed to realize that some strong masculine spirit force was giving speech to almost divine commands. 

I shall never forget the scene around me when I regained consciousness. I was standing in front of Mr. Lincoln, and he was sitting back in his chair, with his arms folded upon his breast, looking intently at me. I stepped back, naturally confused at the situation – not remembering at once where I was; and glancing around the group, where perfect silence reigned. It took me a moment to remember my whereabouts.

A gentleman present then said in a low tone, “Mr. President, did you notice anything peculiar in the method of address?” Mr. Lincoln raised himself, as if shaking off his spell. He glanced quickly at the full-length portrait of Daniel Webster, that hung above the piano, and replied, ‘Yes, and it is very singular, very!” with a marked emphasis.

Mr. Somes said: “Mr. President, would it be improper for me to inquire whether there has been any pressure brought to bear upon you to defer the enforcement of the Proclamation?” To which the President replied: “Under these circumstances that question is perfectly proper, as we are all friends smiling upon the company. It is taking all my nerve and strength to withstand such a pressure.” At this point the gentlemen drew around him, and spoke together in low tones, Mr. Lincoln saying least of all. At last he turned to me, and laying his hand upon my head, uttered these words in a manner that I shall never forget: “My child, you possess a very singular gift; but that it is of God, I have no doubt. I thank you for coming here to-night. It is more important than perhaps any one present can understand. I must leave you all now; but I hope I shall see you again. He shook me kindly by the hand, bowed to the rest of the company, and was gone. We remained an hour longer, talking with Mrs. Lincoln and her friends, and then returned to Georgetown. Such was my first interview with Abraham Lincoln, and the memory of it is as clear and vivid as the evening on which it occurred.

It’s not surprising to me that President Lincoln should be attending his first, and perhaps only,  séance (whether out of curiosity or in efforts to please his wife, we’ll never know) and then be the one to receive such an evocative and powerful message from Spirit—not from his sons, as was expected, but rather from a Spirit Guide bearing a message of strength and encouragement that he needed at that moment in time.

I see it so often in this work. We believe we are going to have one experience or to hear from a particular person in Spirit about a particular topic, but Spirit, given the opportunity, turns it into something else altogether, and that something else turns out to be more important, more significant in the end than what was initially sought or hoped for by the Sitter. Why? Because Spirit has the big picture—they know our past; they see our future’s most probably path; they see the potential impact of future actions, and they do their best to communicate what we need to keep moving in the direction we’ve pre-determined we want to go in this lifetime.

That President Lincoln was asked by Spirit to not buckle under pressure and to maintain his resolve to not defer the Emancipation Proclamation may have ensured the history we know today. If he had not received this message, would he have deferred? And if he had deferred, what would that have meant to our divided country? How much longer would racial injustice have prevailed in this country? Who knows? We only know what happened, and by this account (corroborated by several others present) that Spirit found a way to the President of the United States at that most critical juncture in our country’s history.

I personally love the part in which President Lincoln says to Nettie, “My child, you possess a very singular gift; but that it is of God, I have no doubt.”  If you have read any accounts of Abraham Lincoln, you will find significant debate as to his religious leanings. Wikipedia offers this concise overview:

Historian Dr. Mark Noll states that “Lincoln never joined a church nor ever made a clear profession of standard Christian belief.”[6] During the White House years, however, he often did attend the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, where the family pew he rented is marked by a plaque.[7] Noll agrees with biographer Jesse Fell that Lincoln rejected orthodox views. Lincoln did not believe in the divinity of Jesus, the Atonement, the infallibility of the Bible, miracles, or heaven and hell. Noll argues Lincoln was turned against organized Christianity by his experiences as a young man who saw how excessive emotion and bitter sectarian quarrels marked yearly camp meetings and the ministry of traveling preachers.[8]

The one aspect of his parents’ Calvinist religion that Lincoln apparently embraced wholeheartedly throughout his life was the “doctrine of necessity,” also known as predestination, determinism, or fatalism. It was almost always through these lenses that Lincoln assessed the meaning of the Civil War.

What is interesting in this overview of what Lincoln did or did not believe is that it closely mirrors the Spiritualist Philosophy. So, was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist? I’ll have to read Nettie Colburn Maynard’s book to see the conclusion she drew, but after what I’ve learned in my cursory research, I’d have to say, “Unlikely.” Attending a few séances does not a Spiritualist make, nor is Spirit Communication the domain of Spiritualism by any means. Now, would President Lincoln have found common Spiritual ground with Spiritualists and/or Universalists? Yes, he would have, but does it matter? He was guided by a strong ethical compass and deep Spiritual convictions. He allowed himself to be open-minded to all possibilities, and for that, and all that he was, we respect him as one of the greatest American Presidents of all time.

Life-sized bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg National Military Park & Museum.

As an aside, last summer I had the opportunity to stop and visit the Gettysburg National Military Park and Museum situated near the Gettysburg battleground. As I walked up to the museum, I stopped to study a full-size bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln, sitting on a bench. It had been raining that morning, but everything had dried…except for one drop, which lay on his right cheek like a single tear. At first I thought it was part of the statue, because everything around the statue was dry, but when I looked closer, I could see that it was indeed water. I was touched by it, but not until I walked through the exhibit, choking back my own tears at display after display of human carnage and suffering, did I have even a glimmer of understanding of the depth of President Lincoln’s sorrow during his final years. Does he still shed a tear for the divisions in our world? For what we’ve lost due to misguided ideologies?

As I write this blog post, I can’t help but wonder if President Lincoln has elected to continue his work from Spirit with our living Presidents, guiding them to follow their hearts and minds, and to not buckle under political pressure when difficult decisions are necessary—as his Spirit Guide did for him. I am comforted by the idea that he may be watching over and guiding President Obama, who symbolizes for many of us, within a single soul, what the Civil War was all about.

Whew. That got a little heavy, didn’t it? You can’t talk about Abraham Lincoln without thinking of slavery, the Civil War and the powerful way in which President Lincoln’s beliefs and resulting decisions dramatically altered the course of history–our history.

As we send out our heartfelt gratitude to the Spirit of Abraham Lincoln, and come back to the present, an opportunity awaits. Have you ever wanted to participate in a Spirit Circle or Séance, but never had the occasion? Well, the good news is that the tradition of the Spiritualist Séance continues today. If you are in the Boston area and would like to participate in one, you have a chance in the near future to do so!

For the first time in over a decade, the Swampscott Church of Spiritualism is holding a public Victorian Séance on Saturday, February 18th, from 2:00-5:00pm. I’ll be there, leading one of the eight tables, so be sure to introduce yourself. And don’t delay–tickets are limited!

With Love and Light ~ Renee Buck

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My mother, Elva Buck, in her flower garden

On Sunday, I received a message from my mother, Elva, in Spirit. It was delivered by Marilyn, an excellent Medium at the Spiritualist Church I attend. The evidence was spot on: her cause of death (lung cancer), how quickly she passed after she was diagnosed, her love of the holidays and how it brought family together, the way she decorated the house so beautifully, and her role as “traffic cop” in the kitchen when it came time for the big meal. (Now that would be an understatement!)

Mom came through Marilyn because she was concerned about a situation in my family that was keeping us apart over the holidays. She urged me to “reach out and try one more time.” Now, it’s not a simple thing she’s asking, so part of me wanted to dismiss it and pretend I didn’t hear that part of the message. It’s so easy to do, isn’t it?  To just hear the good parts and ignore the tough stuff, to just let things be…even if you know it’s not the way it should be? Yes, it’s a lot easier to do nothing, but that doesn’t fix the tightness in your gut, or the sadness that lingers in your heart. I talk a lot about the soul’s journey on this website, and if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s this: taking the easy way out is certainly not where the personal growth is. Uncomfortable as it sounds, we’re here to walk through the fire, folks!

Now, back to Mom. When our Loved Ones leave us and begin their lives again on the Other Side, their soul consciousness re-emerges, and they regain full knowledge of all the roles they’ve played with and for us across lifetimes. That said, however, they don’t just stop being our Moms, or siblings, or spouses, or children in this lifetime. They retain full knowledge of this life, and are in fact able to see it more clearly than when they lived on Earth. They get the big picture, and it enables them to better guide us and support us in our lives, should they choose. So, suffice to say that for now, our Mom is still our Mom, even in Spirit. She still cares deeply about the family, and will do whatever she can from the Other Side to bring the family back together for the holidays—something that has proved more difficult since she and my father passed in recent years. Therefore, after discussing with my sister, the wheels are in motion to “try one more time” and to honor Mom’s request. And with Mom at our side, anything is possible!

Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza—whatever it is that you might celebrate during this special time of year—all help us to remember, and to reflect on the circle of life and the blessedness of family. It’s a perfect time to make rights from wrongs, and ups from downs. It’s a time for openness and forgiveness, for acceptance and renewal, for the expression of gratitude for all that we receive from others.

Did you know that Spirits are particularly active during this time of year? It’s true. As those of us on the Earth plane reflect on holidays past, these reflections include our Loved Ones who are now in Spirit. When we think of them, the pure energy of loving thoughts draws them to us. They’re known to participate in our family gatherings as joyfully and happily as we do. They hear what we say, laugh with us during comical moments, feel the love and gratitude we feel for each other as we open our gifts. They cook with us in the kitchen, help decorate the tree, attend our religious services with us, and even hang out for the ballgame. And remember, they’re more than ready to “inspire” us with ideas for presents, help us find long-lost family recipes, and lend support when those strings of lights get tangled!

So, take time through the holiday season to listen with your heart for Whispers from the Light…

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Have you ever thought about what it means to be “inspired” or to rely on “inspiration”?

Have you considered that “spirit” is the primary root of these words? What would you say to the idea that inspired thoughts or ideas come to you from those in Spirit who have chosen to work with you, through agreements made before you descended into your life here on Earth? My question to you is this: are you hearing everything they are trying to tell you?

In the zone: Perhaps you’ve noticed that your best ideas come in the shower, or while driving to work, or maybe walking your dog. During such times, your mind is relaxed and between what is known as “alpha” and “theta” brain wave states in hypnosis terms. You’re “out there” or “in the zone” and that’s when the potential for communication to you from Spirit (a.k.a. inspiration) is highest.

What about meditation, you ask? Meditation is among the best conscious forms of relaxation, and affords a high level of readiness for inspired ideas. Deep meditation takes one into a full theta brain wave state, which means you’re pretty wide open for conversation or communion with Spirit. If you seek answers to a particular question, hold that single question in your mind as you allow yourself to fall into a relaxed meditative state. Maintain focus, and then just listen without expectation or judgment.

Prayer? Absolutely. Regardless of religion, the process of prayer can be seen as an active and typically more communicative form of meditation. By active and communicative, I mean that people are usually asking questions of the Divine, seeking answers or help.  The process of prayer is most like meditation when a person is quiet and calm and is actively sharing their heartfelt concerns and then listening with that same open heart for answers. This provides an opening for your Loved Ones, your Spirit Guides, for God to provide the inspiration you need to go on.  But remember, sometimes the answer comes not in words, but in future events–so be aware.

A healthy body raises your vibration and will improve your potential for divine inspiration. This can be done through a variety of means. Luckily for us, the best ways are also the simplest ways:

  • Eat a healthy diet of fresh, natural foods from the earth: fruits, vegetables, whole–and if possible–alkaline grains like millet, quinoa, or buckwheat.
  • Seek PH balance in your diet. Disease, inflammation, and cancer can only thrive in an acidic body–which is enhanced through the Standard American Diet (SAD) of meats, dairy, sugars, simple starches. Best resource I’ve found: The PH Miracle by Dr. Robert Young. Get it, live it. It changed my life.
  • Cut out, or at least cut back on animal protein (derived from meat and dairy) from your diet. Animal protein consumption, particularly in colder climates, where Vitamin D is often deficient, is statistically linked to cancer, MS, and a variety of other diseases. Dairy is also highly mucous forming, which inhibits the body’s absorption of nutrients through the colon. Read the new book, The China Study, by biochemist and nutritionist T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D. He’s a retired Cornell University Professor. It’s described as “the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted.” I learned so much about what our bodies need to be healthy. A must read.
A healthy mind also raises your vibration, opening you up to greater inspiration. Things you can do:
  • Reduce stress through exercise and meditation. Stress is a huge detriment to clear communications from Spirit, so work it out of your system. A combination of yoga practice, aerobic exercise, and weights works great for my own personal physical and spiritual development, strengthening and alignment.
  • Sing! Play music! Surround yourself with sounds that “bring you up.”
  • Spend time with people who bring out the best in you, who are positive and curious, who love the life they are leading. Help your energy-vampire friends as much as you can, and then politely excuse yourself.
  • Do good. Research tells us that doing good, and observing others who do good boosts our immune systems and raises our endorphin levels, i.e. gives us a natural high, and we all like that!
  • Read books and magazines, or watch movies with uplifting and/or thought-provoking messages. Limit consumption of dark energy materials, e.g. stories of horror, violence, abuse and oppression. These produce feelings of sadness, fear, anger, or desire for revenge: all emotions that lower our vibration, and further separate us from Spirit.
  • Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. It actively lowers your vibration.
  • Drugs. Just say no. They also actively lower your body’s vibration. Prescription drugs? Well…do your own soul searching on that one. If you’ve been relying on Western Medicine practices only, consider consulting a Naturopath, Medical Intuitive, or specialist in Orthomolecular Medicine to better  understand the mind-body dis-ease connection. Many natural remedies (like healthy diet and vitamin therapy) work as well or better and are not so acidic to the body.

And there you have it: a broad-based formula for enhancing your connection to divine inspiration.

Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences regarding your own personal inspiration below. Where do you get your best ideas from? How do they come to you? Do you actively put yourself in that space, or is it impromptu – like lightbulb flashes overhead?

With Love and Light ~ Renee Buck

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