The Story Hall
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The Story Hall

Inside and Out

Loyola Retreat spot — looking out on the Potomac at sunset — photo by HPEB, 11/17

This is the time of year that invites one to go inside, to explore deeply the inner world, an invitation I relish. There’s so much to be discovered there, and because we change and grow, it’s never like watching a rerun when you go back. Granted, I tend to be somewhat introspective throughout the year, but now is when the doors to that place open up wide.

My November morning readings support this journey, beginning with invitations to reconnect with souls no longer on this plane of existence, at least not physically. I go there, in meditations and dreams, and delight in making those reconnections. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort, just a willingness, and when you’ve practiced doing this on a regular basis, it just feels like going back home.

Loyola, 11/17, HPEB

For me, the lines between here and there got seriously blurred when I had my out-of-body experience, which was over thirty-nine years ago, now. The whole series of events that followed that experience changed my entire perception and experience of life and death. It literally blew any previous ideas I’d had about all of that completely out of my psyche, replacing them with what I have come to know as home.

I go back there regularly, now, especially this time of year. It’s a real comfort for me, and it puts all of this, what’s going on in my life today, into a proper perspective.

What I discovered in my out-of-body experience was, there was nothing there to fear. When I was there, it was the calmest, warmest, welcoming-est feeling I’d ever experienced. It helped me to understand death as simply a transition to a different plane of existence, one where you still experience a sense of consciousness.

Banks of the Potomac at Loyola, HPEB, 11/17

When my best friend died five days after that experience, the same friend who I am pretty sure drew me back to this life when I was out there myself, I felt like I understood where he was. Through a variety of means, he let me know that he knew that I knew.

He stayed around for awhile, I don’t know if it was out of a sense of responsibility for me, or out of a deep and abiding friendship, or it was simply the love we had for each other — he was a true and dear friend, from the moment I met him to the day he died, and well beyond. He stuck around for a few years, I presume to make sure I was on a good path, then, in a very unique and affirming way, he let me know when it was his time for his spirit to move on. He did make his presence felt again, just briefly, a few years ago when I was in a major transition and perhaps needed the affirmation that I was, again, moving in a good direction through that one. It was so nice to feel his presence again, that time.

Potomac, 11/17, HPEB

In a case of good timing, this coming weekend is a spiritual retreat down at Loyola Retreat House, right on the Potomac in southern Maryland. I had a great experience there last year, and though I wasn’t planning to go back this year, events played out in a way to make the return possible. I’ve learned, with retreats, to go there with no expectations, to let the weekend unfold as it is meant to. While I will do my best to withhold expectation, I will lay down an intention or two going into the weekend. I find it important to go into things like this with some intention.

Today we woke up to our first snowfall of the season. Again, a case of good timing. Snow just puts me into a different frame of mind, especially the first fall of the season. It was coming down in big flakes, and accumulating quickly on the cars and the sidewalks. I went out a couple times to brush my wife’s car off, knowing she had an important meeting to get to this morning, and wouldn’t be able to do it herself. I felt like a little kid out there, the snow accumulating on me as I cleaned her car, and the sidewalk, off. Yes, I did stick my tongue out to let a flake or two settle down on it and quickly melt away, enjoying that first taste of winter to come.

Loyola, Potomac, HPEB, 11/17

Will it be a mess commuting into work today? This is the DC area — of course it will be. But I don’t mind. It’s already put me into a childlike state of mind, and I am just going to play all day today. I do have a ton of work to do, and I’ll do it, I have to get it done — but, I will do it in a playful state of mind. I’m sorry — I just can’t take life too seriously today. Today, I’m a ten-year old. Let’s play!

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Hawkeye Pete Egan B.

Hawkeye Pete Egan B.

Connecting the dots. Storytelling helps me to make sense of this world, and of my life. I love writing and reading. Writing is like breathing, for me.