Weeks Nine and Ten: Mind, Body and Spirit, Intertwined

Taken in Pennsylvania Hopewell Big Woods by Carol Chapman

I notice unusual tree trunks, especially these that twist, turn and spiral. These spirals show off Nature’s remarkable adaptation to environmental stress. When there is an uneven burden of heavy snow, the trunk can spiral itself to gain more strength, allowing upper branches to bend and sway with the wind. Since we only get to see this when the bark is gone, this phenomenon happens more often than we think. Nature finds a way for life to adapt to changes. 

Unlike plant life, we humans have the mind, body and spirit triad. Our bodies feel sensations and our minds to help us navigate change. Sudden cold weather? Put on a coat. But our spiritual side is seldom discussed and our words inadequate. Pierre de Chardin said we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience. What do we know about our spiritual being? I find some lessons in Nature.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is tree-intertwined-and-cropped-1.jpg
Live Oak in Central Florida

The oak tree to the right produced vines that ribbon and cuddle around its trunk and upper branches. Sometimes whimsical and always interesting, Nature displays coexistence and commingling. This tree gives me a warm inward pull, like a hug suspended in time. I feel connected. This certainly is a time for needing connections.

Intertwined: A Balancing Act

On a subconscious level, I must have been clinging to these images that stir up feelings of balance in preparation for travel. I needed to return home to NJ.

We have been in Stay Home mode for over nine weeks now, and airports are still down 97% of its former capacity. But with some states relaxing restrictions, traveling by air will soon become busy again. So, with great trepidation, I booked a flight to return my home state of New Jersey, leaving a community with a low number of COVID infections to a state with one of the highest.

Questions racked my brain. Is traveling safe?  Was I doing the right thing? What precautions should I take? Should I wait longer for a medical breakthrough?  Much like the spiraling tree trunk, I could feel an inner twisting of my soul.

Even in better times, before COVID, traveling was never stress free. We often feel out of kilter, out of balance. Our burdened bodies have a way of kicking the leg out from the mind-body-spirit footstool with nagging monologues of aches, discomforts, longings, fears, ego, wants, desires, anger, and worry, just to name a few.  Was I ready for this?

 I did fly home. Airports looked like ghost towns. At least the few people I encountered wore face masks. Upon arrival, I began my isolation: two weeks of self-imposed quarantine. Like the rest of us, I was in a world of unknowns. My first day back, I aimlessly wandered throughout the empty house, as unsettled as a nomad.  Uncertainty tore into my equilibrium. How can I regain my balance?

Negativity weakens the partnership between body, mind, and spirit. – Deepak Chopra

Some refer to it as writer’s block, which might be a good description. Portals to my creative spirit felt locked. But how do I get back? Find my balance. Unlike our temperamental bodies that talk to us all day long, our spirit feels tucked far away. And when it reaches out, it calls softly, almost inaudibly. Even on a subconscious level, inspiration silently seeps into the deep crevasses of the soul where it yearns for meaning, where music, paintings, and poetry are born. If Chardin is correct, that we are more than our earthly bodies, what do we know of it?

With my spirit waning and my body in turmoil, the third leg of my balance trio, my mind, took over. I began to read all I could find on spirit. I found a broad scope of theories and beliefs. Without devices to gauge spirit or even take its temperature, I wondered how do we know what is true?


In my story, Message in the Window, I tell about a mother’s love that reaches from the beyond to send a gift to her grieving daughter.  It is a beautiful story and I provided the link below.  Kept hidden is my own story. Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Maybe it is time to tell one of my truths.

Of all the tender moments my mom and I shared while she was on this earth, we seldom said, I Love You until that last day.  But these words came from the beyond, not from her silenced lips.

It was 1984. I was headed south from Denver to Pueblo, Colorado, a three-hour drive, where my mom was having a medical procedure, to determine if she needed heart bypass surgery. Mom was afraid of any surgery, especially anything dealing with her heart, so I was going there to support her. About halfway into the drive, I switched the radio dial to listen to a favorite DJ whose program began at 11:30. It wasn’t long before I felt a very real and loving presence right there in the car.  It was as though my mind and body went on autopilot and my spirit took over the next few seconds.

Without question, I felt my mother’s presence in the car with me; it was a complete knowing.  I was held in a cloud of love. Then I heard the words that played like musical chords, “I LOVE YOU”, followed by this question: “Is it Ok?” Again, with complete understanding and without any pause or earthly context, I knew she was asking for my blessing to leave this earth. I felt her spirit lifting to a beautiful place. Sensing the full spectrum of the moment, my own spirit generously answered, “Yes, you deserve this.”  As she ascended to a wondrous place and I felt her happiness. But only for a second. She was gone and instantly my mind snapped me back to earthly reality. The full realization of what just happened hit me cold: my mom died. Fear overtook me and I painfully voiced these words, almost in regret, “Wait! No! I didn’t tell her I love her.”  Then the most beautiful indescribable chord resounded. 


When I arrived at the medical center, a staff member kindly took my hand leading me to a small room to tell me what I already knew.  I felt the finality of loss, but I also knew she passed over into divine light. For the next few weeks, I continued to feel her loving presence. I even saw a vision of her standing by my sleeping baby, her granddaughter. Months later, I happened to see the death certificate: Date of death was August 3, 1984.  The time was 11: 32 am.


Messages from Spirit

My mind still searched for more. I read Children and Near-Death Experiences, by P.M.H. Atwater. I love how children who have these experiences are not troubled with finding the right words.  They just tell their truth, even when others discount it.  They have a knowing.

Among other books and websites, I found some sites that gave a list of ways the spirit world is trying to connect with us.  Pennies and dimes where they should not be, songs and words that pop into our heads, a white feather, and of course, in dreams. My questioning mind responded with, Really?

And then I remembered these “knowings” from family and friends . . .

—Ed’s favorite song, Moon River, playing at his daughter’s wedding, years after he passed. The wedding planner chose random songs from her wedding playlist, but his daughters and wife knew it was Ed’s way of saying, I am here with you.

—Pennies and dimes in unusual places:  Ernie lost his battle with cancer, but not before he and his mother talked about the other side.  He said he would send her a sign. This is her story of knowing:  She swept the back steps clean, but when leaving the house a few minutes later, there were two shiny pennies. She picked them up and noticed the dates: 1955 and 2019, her son’s birth year and the year he died.  Curious but maybe not convincing to others, it happened again. Two copper coins, same dates. The third time it was a dime and a penny.  Eleven cents. He was born on the 11th.  Same dates. A mother knows.

Two Gifts: Bringing a Commingling of Body, Mind and Spirit

A song has been playing in my head, especially during my daily walks. Each step I take marks the time. I feel connected to a larger force. My angels must have known that I would need this song to get me through my quarantine, step by step, inch by inch. It is Pete Seeger’s Garden Song. And here’s an image for you: After the word row, I actually do a hop-skip on the four downbeats. I have not skipped since I was a little girl. I don’t even mind any funny looks that come my way.

Inch by inch, row by row, ‘gonna make this garden grow.
All it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground.
Inch by inch, row by row. Someone bless the seeds I so.
Someone warm them from below, ‘til the rain comes tumbling down.


Bless the Seeds I Sow

Turning the soil in preparation of my summer garden always helps restore my balance.  The hummingbirds are back at my feeders and I watch the duck families glide in the pond behind my house.

Renewals. Endings and beginnings.  Cycles of life. Heartbreaks and joys. It is all part of a larger story, bringing a whole alphabet soup of emotions yet, I do not wish to be tethered to fear. And then, as if to punctuate my renewal, with rake and hoe at hand, I looked down and at my feet I see a white feather, and I knew.

I nearly cried.

What is your knowing? In your distancing, are you finding that your portals to spirit are awakened?  Are there unexplained spiritual experiences you have kept to yourself?

The Garden Song


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Bill R says:

    So nice.Your mom’s dying at the same time as your sensing a presenceis amazing. Please continue your journey. be safe.


    1. Thank you Bill. That was 36 years ago. I kept it to myself.


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