My husband, Michael, and I have lived in the remote old mining town of Darwin, CA for the past 14 years, after living all of our earlier years by the sea because Michael was a sea captain. Our town is on the eastern side of the High Sierra Mts. at 49,000 feet, en route to Death Valley, with a population of 40 souls. This move was a major change in our lives and became a sanctuary for my husband as he was healing from major cancer surgery in 2003, which left him disabled. At age 60, and in great shape, he was diagnosed with throat cancer in Feb. 2003, (3 tumors, stage 4), which left him toothless, and loss of his full beard, a slight speech impediment, and tube fed for 3 years. He endured major losses (we both did), but his spirit was strong, determined to accept his fate. He is a marvel to us all and keeps himself physically fit; he's now 70. I learned many lessons on how to be a 24/7 nurse during that time...and how to love no matter what!
I'm a graduate of Antioch University (Marina Del Rey, CA), BA in Psychology and Gerontology. My graduate studies trained me to be a Spiritual Psychologist (The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. in Menlo Park, CA). I'm also a trained Spiritual Director; trained at Still Point in Santa Barbara, CA. After many years living by the ocean, it was a wonder how we landed in this remote spot on the planet, ultimately buying our home from a friend and neighbor; it's a very old clapboard house with a view to die for and lots of old sheds for my husband's workspace. What was I to do here with my training and experiences? We'd later come to understand that the Universe needed our loving energy in this tiny town. There are souls who've sought my counsel here and in the next nearest town, Lone Pine. I'm grateful to answer the "calls" and work with souls for free; most are unable to afford traditional therapy. Our town residents are mostly elderly, with a few young souls. Six have died of cancer during our time here, so my training as a Hospice Volunteer also came into play. My former training and experience was particularly helpful when my mother-in-law came to live in our guest room for the last 3 years of her long life; she was 94 and in good health, even after 2 hip fractures and successful surgeries. She died in my presence in August 2008 at the age of 971/2. I experienced that sacred time with her as a true blessing; I answered that call with gratitude. My husband was away at the time visiting his son. As it happened, I believe Divine Order was perfect that day, from my perspective.
So what was my husband to do in this remote town far from the sea? (I'm reminded of "Odysseus). Our town's unique water system (100+ yr. old, gravity fed from an aquifer in the Earth, 8 miles south of town, with very old piping !) needed the expertise of a former yacht captain, who would become the one to maintain the entire water system...his commitment to serving our community is unending; doing more work than anyone expected, even with his disability. He also serves as the President of our water system's Board of Directors (since 2004). In addition to those roles, he continually helps many in town who need his mechanical expertise to keep their vehicles maintained...at no charge.
I became the Secretary/Treasurer of our water Board in 2004, following the sudden death of the former Sec/Tr. I never imagined my skills would fall into that role, but I do a very professional job...for $275 a month...for how long? There's no one else in our aging town who would answer the call. I hope someone younger comes along one day and takes on this task so I can actually "retire". I'm 71!
Our life is simple, peaceful, and meaningful. I love learning; I love writing; I love people. We enjoy connecting with the "bigger world" thru the internet. My husband is from a family history of movie-makers so one of his passions is movies; we are grateful that NetFlix came along so we can enjoy that simple pleasure (we're particularly fond of the British films and series). Another one of Michael's passions is politics and world issues. He reads and stays well informed in these areas too.
Our town has no business, no services, except for a tiny post office, which is currently under threat of closure at the end of Dec. 2012. Cluster mail boxes will likely be the answer to that loss. Many in town are creative, retired, writers, artists, and some are just very poor with mental issues so depend on social assistance.
We love the solitude and stark beauty our remote desert environment offers. We have a deck that allows us an unobstructive view of the desert mountains. The star-filled night sky is always a breathtaking marvel, keeping me connected to ideas that transcend this Earthly existence, and keeping me in awe of views greater than what one normally enjoys in life. Our weather is generally mild, hot in Summer, perfect in Spring and Fall, cold in Winter, with some blessings of rain and snow occasionally. Darwin is surrounded by mountains and hills. The wind loves to blow thru Darwin regularly, sometimes fiercely; we do have calm days too.
We have a beautiful, loving male cat, Boobala (7 yrs.), who shows us what peace, love, and joy are on a very basic level. I have 2 sons from a former marriage, and a stepson, Josh (34), Michael's son, who lives in Florida. My oldest son, Hugh left his teaching job at the University of VA, Classics Dept. to come and be close to family in Jan. 2010. We didn't know how long he would stay, nor did he know what was next in his life. He was passionate about teaching the Classics, Greek, Latin; he was passionate about old BMW motorcycles with many great riding adventures over the years; he had recently bought a 2006 BMW, which thrilled him. He loved quarry jumping with friends and kayaking on the James River. He was passionate about brewing beer and cooking. Sunday evenings his home in Charlottesville was the "happening place" for good friends, homemade brew, and delicious dinners. He loved grilling, making his own sausages and bacon, and creatively cooking his special dishes. He took pictures of his artistic cuisine, which his mother treasures. Sadly, Hugh ended his young life in June of 2010 (at 39); he suffered bi-polar disease and wanted and end to that constant suffering). For him, pills were not the answer...and he loved his beer! That day he left us was the saddest day in my life, leaving me with deep internal work to integrate that tragic loss. Hugh came into this world prematurely at just 3 pounds; he was a Virgo like his father (who died suddenly in Dec. 2005; a loss that deeply effected Hugh). Hugh left us early too, at just 39. The Divine works in mysterious ways. Ultimately the loving energy of our Souce blessed my mind with peace, even while my heart still aches. Hugh remains very close to my bones; photos of him at various ages stream on my computer every day. The event of Hugh's leaving forced me to reflect on all my spiritual beliefs, particularly those that deal with what happens after the physical body is laid down. Where does our spirit go? What happens to the consciousness that was/is Hugh? I thought I had an idea, but when Hugh left, I realized I didn't really know. I accept those questions remain a mystery. I know that I will experience that mystery when my work on Earth is finished. Our life journey on Earth holds only one certainty; we are all greatly loved, and we are all capable of great loving, destined to return to our loving Source. The method and timing of our leaving remains a mystery to live with.
Hugh lives in my heart-mind forever; I see his "light" shining in the night sky over Darwin every night.
My other son, Aaron (just turned 41, Dec. 7th) is married (6yrs.) to a most beautiful soul from Siberia, Anastasyia. They live in Darwin since Nov. 2009, which is a pure blessing. Aaron and Anastasyia are employed at the Panamint Springs Resort, 12 miles down the hill into the Panamint Valley; grateful for the work! They recently bought a piece of land in Darwin and are planning to build a simple home; hopefully children will bless their lives, and ours, in the future.
For 5 months we were all blessed to have Hugh with us in Darwin prior his end. The details of how that event happened all seems in Divine Order to me now. My grief process was not long due to my deep faith and trust, and understanding my son's suffering. I'm grateful that he experiences a lot of joy and fun in his life. His soul is so magnificent!
Finally, I want to say, "Love knows no distance." There are many lessons I've learned from my studies of "A Course In Miracles," which is the comfort of my life, a way of living since it showed up in my life in 1982 in a synchronistic encounter with an older woman I'd met 9 years earlier at a class at UC Irvine: "Exploring Our Potential Thru Games." I had not seen her since that class. Nine years later, she appeared in front of me at a Carl Jung Club lecture; it was then she introduced me to a course "in love and forgiveness"...A Course In Miracles. I instantly knew in my bones that I had to know more about that "course." I had no idea that that teaching, that spiritual wisdom, a course in love and forgiveness, would sustain me for all these years. Many events and people came into my life as that path began. It seemed as if the Divine has a lot for me to learn quicklky, to prepare me for meeting a soul that would become part of my life in the near future.
With no expectation of a great change in my married, I met Michael Laemmle (my current husband) in March 1986, while we were both participating in the "Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament," an organized walk across the US in 9 months from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. That's another wonderful love story I dare not begin to write about now. I mention it here because that experience was a life-changing event for me (and many who participated), full of opportunities of forgiveness and loving beyond expectations; loving complete strangers who entered my field during that March. It was as if I had to endure all the lessons of that 9 months journey of uncertainty (like a pregnancy) quickly to prepare me for a new and unexpected relationship. I would realize that life is a "Great Peace March!" The "birth" of the closure of that journey opened up my life in totally unexpected ways, full of adventures...many of which I could never have imagined this woman would have. For one, that event ended my 23 yr. marriage to a wonderful man and father of our sons. It was a friendly ending, but sad for both of us. It would be a great challenge for me to love a man who was the complete opposite personality of my former husband, a man who was full of anger. My studies and experiences led my soul to answer his call for love. It's been a Great Peace March with him for nearly 27 years now. Interestingly how the Universe brings souls together to do unexpected work with each other, isn't it? Get this, both my former husband and Michael have the same birthday!! We both eventually remarried. I'm a Pieces; remarried a Virgo. He's a Virgo; remarried a Pieces. Both he and I inherited a step-son, both of which are Aquarius. Both of us would have new spouses who would get cancer! It is amazing to me how my studies, and the many experiences I had on my spiritual journey trained me to love a man I thought I could never love and to endure the great losses his cancer brought him. Likewise, my former husband endured similar challenges with his new wife.
There was a deep knowing in my being when i first saw Michael, as if I recognized him from some other place. His tooth-filled smile captivated me instantly. His first touch resonated thru my being with familiarity. At the time I felt that, I was perplexed. Years later I would study the teachings of Caroline Myss, who helped me understand my meeting Michael was indeed no accident or coincidence; he was/is truly one of the significant "Sacred Contracts" in my life. Each of us have with other souls on our journey here in "Earth School" with whom we have a "sacred contract"...be it brief or long term..in which we do 'work' together. Yes, I recognized this soul named Michael at first glance. Later I realized this kind of experience had happened other times in my life too, but this was the BIG one! The lasting one as a marriage partner! (Needless to say, I had a significant "sacred contract" with my first husband as well for the earlier 25 years of my life.). Caroline suggests that there comes a time on one's journey when one "graduates" to the next "sacred contract" with more and deeper work to do together. And so it is!
I have great faith and trust in uncertainty and insecurity because my security is not of this world! Well, hours have passed as I write! I'd better order my fingers to stop dancing on the keyboard or I may write you a book! Sorry if I've written too much here. This may present an opportunity for you to forgive me for this prolific response "about me."
Something takes over me when I write. I often feel a "Writing Muse" within me. She calls, but I resist her call until my fingers begin the dance with her! She captivates my mind! There’s so much more I could say about my life; I had no idea I would be so prolific at this moment. The red letters to this box said, "About Me:" that's all it took to alert the "Writing Muse"...and off we went!
Thanks for the opportunity to "dance" with her today.
The name of my (spiritual) business is "Spirit Works" for a reason!
Blessing you, the reader of this...