One day in March 2000, I was sitting in a conference room at my husband’s start-up internet company listening to my colleagues discuss how to design web pages. Suddenly, I looked up and saw dozens of pair of eyes floating around the room.
My coworkers were still there, seated around a large table. But between, around and above them faint outlines of animal faces began to form. One of those closest to me looked like a wolf face.
“Wow, what the…?” I thought.
Then I felt an uncanny calmness come over me. I took a breath.
“Well this is interesting.” I said to myself.
For most other people, seeing animals materialize out of thin air in their company conference room during an everyday meeting would have been alarming, to say the least. The only reason I was able to keep my composure was that I knew other people who’d had similar experiences.
In my personal readings and in graduate theology classes, I’d read about Christian mystics such as Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila who had seen spirits. Their writings describing their encounters with the unseen had touched me deeply. And though their experiences might seem extraordinary, to me, they said that seeing “the unseen” was possible—or even normal.
After about ten minutes, the pair of eyes in the room disappeared. Though the meeting continued around me, I found myself distracted for the rest of the day.
Later, I told only a few close friends what had happened. I thought others would probably think I lost it. Fortunately, I had a mentor – a shaman and intuitive—who explained that what I’d seen were animal spirits. In Native American spiritual traditions, the belief is that we all have animal spirits that guide us on our path.
Why I’d seen these animal spirits wasn’t clear, but that meeting with them was my introduction to a new way of seeing. I knew I had seen another dimension of reality. And I knew that what I’d seen was some sort of message from God.
In the years that followed, I left my husband’s company and became an ordained minister, chaplain, working in hospitals and hospice. Many of my patients took advantage of my new ability to see beyond physical reality; after they had passed, they came back to see me.
At night, I would open my eyes in our dark bedroom to see a spirit hovering next to me or above me. I heard no words but saw an outline of a human body, just clear enough for me to recognize the newly departed patient it belonged to. Sometimes the spirits were in the color blue.
I’d gasp, feeling amazed and a bit taken aback. And then a strong feeling would come through me as the spirit said goodbye, and often thank you, before vanishing.
I started having so many visitors at night that I had to learn to put up energy boundaries. Before I fell asleep, I’d say, “you cannot come within ten feet of my bed while I’m sleeping,” so that I would not be awakened in the night. I also learned to be judicious about whom I would invite to come and see me when they had passed. These measures cut down on my nightly visitors dramatically.
Although I didn’t know why I was suddenly able to see spirits or what message God was sending me, I knew I didn’t need to be afraid. I knew that my life path was taking a new, very interesting direction.
I see now how my path has unfolded. My faith in God started on my own as a young 10-year old battling cancer. I grew up quickly. I have longed to understand life since a young child. I find comfort knowing that death is not an end. And comfort that we have guides from beyond to help us on our path.