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Uncategorized | “If you’re never going to die, you don’t need this book”
Choices In The Afterlife

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Gretchen Vogel

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why do the dying linger

Posted by Gretchen on June 2nd, 2010

In a recent meditation, my client’s deceased husband said that he lingered in his coma and waited until his older brother and older sister came to see him. He said that he heard their voices when he was in the womb, and was aware of their voices when he was in the coma. Sometimes watching someone linger on is hard for us living, but we cannot judge what anyone’s experience of dying is.

words of wisdom

Posted by Gretchen on May 26th, 2010

In a reading yesterday a woman said:
you can’t will something into existence
you can’t pretend something into existence
you can only LOVE something into existence
I told my living client that I was going to have to use this in my next book, but I would give her deceased grandmother credit.

When a mother dies

Posted by Gretchen on May 6th, 2010

There are two kinds of people, those who had a loving mother and those who did not. This is a learning path no matter which kind of person you are, because mother love translates into self love.
I work with living clients who have lost their beloved mothers, the kind of mothers they describe as their best friends. The kind of mothers who loved them, instilled in their children the confidence in life that comes with the security of a mother’s love. I can often tell who has grown up with a loving mother and who has not.

There is a relaxed energy around well mothered people. A sense of confidence in life, a trust of themselves. They seem to know themselves better, without second guessing without apology for their opinions. They may have learned how to be happy when they were a child, so they do not have as many monkeys on their back, emotionally. Well mothered people no doubt do not have as many problems with addiction. When an emotionally mature and self knowing woman raises a child, her love is a constant for this child. A person can then go through life feeling loved and supported emotionally.

Sometimes, that is, until the mother dies. When a client is struggling with the grief that lasts for years and years it is a sign that they have not developed the tools and techniques for self love.
I am one of the other people. My mother may have done the best she could with the emotional legacy of her childhood. My mother was so poor in the south in the depression that she did not have shoes until she was 18. She had one dress in high school that she washed each night, hung to dry and ironed each morning. I know she was ridiculed for her poverty. Mom also had to take care of her siblings because her own mother had diabetes, which was a disease not treated, or even known much about in those days. She particularly had to raise her younger sister who was born when Mom was 13.

So I think my mother was tired of taking care of people when she had us 4 kids, but it was what you did in the 50s. Everyone was having children, it was the culture of the time. Rarely did anyone know of a married couple that chose to not reproduce in the 50s.

I can’t blame her for being burned out by the time I came along. I was the youngest of 4. We had material support, a solid house, enough food, clothes and toys. But my childhood was an emotional nightmare, possibly because I was extremely sensitive to energies. I was too sensitive, my mother told me, it was like I was always watching her, judging her and finding her inadequate. Mom and I were like two trains passing in the night- our love for each other never connected.

My mom died in 2003, and I grieved her in my way. It was 4 years before I could communicate with her consciously, and even then there was still the mistrust I had always held for her in the way. I know how to change the energy of that mistrust now.

Mom’s love was in the taking care of the house, doing the laundry, cooking, making the holidays special. If the emotional energetic love was blocked in her, who could blame her, she couldn’t do what she didn’t know. I do think she developed degree of self love in her later years, based on a great spirituality. In that way we could have connected. We both loved God/Source and sang the praises of God’s creation here.
The relationship with a mother can set the tone for an entire life. My husband’s mother was mentally ill, it ran in her family. But again, in the 50s it went undiagnosed, untreated. His experience of being her child was one of constant stress. She would say that one thing was OK, even praiseworthy one day, and the next day the very same action was the worst thing that could ever happen and he would be punished for it. He grew so unsure of himself his life became as if he was an actor on a stage, always looking for clues or cues from other people at any given time to see what it was they wanted from him. He felt out of body all his life until recently and just now is able to be fully present in his body. Riding his motorcycle is one of the tools he used to draw his focus into the now.

So here my husband and I are, in our 50th decade, knowing we want the end of our life to be as joyful as possible, now that all the parents are deceased and we do not have to revisit our childhood behaviors when we are with them, that time is over. We may have 30 years now without them in our lives and now is the opportunity for us to develop self love.

I can blame so many poor choices in my life to the emotional landscape of my childhood, but like my childhood, those choices are also in the past. I am now only focused on my present and future, the time I have left in life. I think many of us at this point are tired of suffering, we now want peace, satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment and even some joy and happiness.

My path to self love, deliberately and consciously started in the mid 80s, some 25 years ago. OK I am a slow learner, but I had a lot of other mental obstacles to overcome before I could wholeheartedly love myself.

My tools for self love are revisiting painful memories, walking into these memories as a mature adult and comforting the child (me) who is suffering. Self realization of my character flaws and dark aspects so I cannot be blindsided by self destructive impulses. Yoga and Tai Chi as expressions of physical self love. Tools such as positive thinking tapes and inspirational reading material, beautiful music prayer and meditation. Our tools can change as we grow.

I work with people is active and extreme grief and the beloved one they lost to physical experience is often the person that they felt the most love from. Now that source of love is not tangible, not present in a physical way. Now a challenge to self love may occur. When I work with a client who has lost a loving mother I know they are just now beginning the path of loving themselves without the beacon of maternal love tangible and present in their life. That is the journey of the orphan, but some of us take that journey early, some of us begin this journey when Mom dies.

the shadow land of grief

Posted by Gretchen on April 27th, 2010

Grief can take you to dark places, places where you don’t love God, places where you don’t love yourself. Recently a 5 year old horse that was born in my barn, that I bottle fed as his mother didn’t have milk, that I carefully trained- letting him tell me when he was ready for the next step, a horse so cuddly I could touch him anywhere and he would do anything for me- died. Ollie was my boy, my redemption for a lot of hardships in my life, he was my joy, like a big sweet not too smart dog. If losing Ollie was a spiritual test I feel I passed the test, not going under into an old world of darkness within my soul. I went from yelling at God that if he took this one I would never speak to Him again, to saying, not my will but Thine be done. I am in grief but I am still in love with God, and did not let old dark habits take me under.

radio show

Posted by Gretchen on February 21st, 2010

Next Saturday I will be a guest on Journey Into the Light, on blogtalk radio, hosted by Michael Long from 10-12pm Central time. It is a live stream and call ins are welcome.