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Charmaine Coimbra
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On Saturday, April 25, 2015 a devastating earthquake hit Nepal. It disqualified me from making important decisions for a bit—it was that disruptive to my personal psyche.

Saturday was day twelve of my Nepali friend’s trek up Mt. Everest. I’m chronicling his mission, the Mt. Everest Expedition for Global Peace and Friendship—a mission to plant 193 flags from around the world to symbolize peace and friendship.

On April 23, the tenth day of Phurba Thile Sherpa’s trek with 193 flags, and a support team, he posted,”Greetings From Mt. Everest base camp.Today we held a Puja–a wishing ceremony with mountain Goddess. Early tomorrow morning planing to go set up Camp 1. (C1: 19,500’/5943m – 3-6 hours, 1.62 miles) Very exciting to walk and climbing on Khumbu Icefall. Sorry I am not able to post pictures because very weak internet here. My health condition is perfect till today.”

A man of meager means, Sherpa personally funded this very expensive expedition. This bothered me immensely. Negative feelings about his personal investment covered my inner-self like a can of spilt black paint. My suggestion to him was to put this expedition off for another year. With my husband, I incessantly talked about my feelings and this climb and expressed my very real concerns. “What if something happens and he doesn’t make the climb? Then what happens to him when the loans come due?” I clucked and worried like a mother hen.

Negativity is not my way. But I couldn’t shake this concern. “It’s not my worry,” I decided, filled with the rationale that I’m a gray-haired grandmother who calls her walks in the woods a hike. “Phurba knows what he is doing. I’ll place faith in his judgement,” I eased my twitch.

On Saturday my concern turned real and I understood this ongoing dread—it was a premonition. I’ve had these before. Some were so strong that they made my stomach turn, and others just strong enough to make me make a left turn when I had planned to turn right. Sometimes these premonitions are spot-on. Other times, not so much.

I’m hardly a wiz-bang psychic and woman of the crystal-ball sight. And I wondered if others get these premonitions that eventually impact their day-to-day life. So I asked friends on Facebook, “PREMONITIONS. Do you get them? And more importantly, how many were spot-on? Do you act upon them? Do you get them about other people? Is this silly mumbo-jumbo?”

Contrary to my other posts, this one received over 70 comments (I posed the question on two separate pages). Of the commentary, just two came from men, both in their sixties.

Ages ranged from young mothers to grandmothers. The thread wandered from “Yes, I get them (premonitions)” to discussion about angels, deja-vu, and prophetic dreams.

Totally unscientific, this discussion showed me that premonitions are not that odd, and that they are easily accepted as normal. “I have a sense when something is wrong with someone close to me…I believe in intuition.” wrote a retired special education teacher.

“Yes I get them all the time about my family. Usually when something is wrong,” confessed a California artist.

A friend from high school wrote, “I believe that premonition’s cousin is superstition. Sometimes we put our premonitions out of our mind because we are too frightened to believe them. Like Scarlett, ‘I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy! I’ll think about that tomorrow !’”

And a mother of three from Arizona wrote, “I do get some kind of sense of certain things…that I always listen to. I don’t necessarily believe its a premonition, more like me unconsciously noticing stuff that I haven’t processed that makes it feel like a prediction or premonition. Like being worried about a house fire to an uncomfortable degree and my husband discovers a smoking cord in the garage the next day…”

From this thread, it seems that premonitions come into play when something unpleasant is in the works. But for maybe one post, there were none about a premonition that something good was in the air.

For me, when I get a feeling that a sudden idea is going to work or materialize and be worth my time pursuing, I follow that gut feeling. And, yes, the majority of times success (to my standards) follows.

Accidents, injury and other unfortunate events were linked with some who harbor strong premonitions.Vibrant Nation blogger, Debi Dreksler, a retired newspaper columnist and businesswoman sent me this, “My lungs collapsed when I was born and a nurse/Nun found me lifeless in my incubator. She revived me. I have always attributed this to why I have psychic abilities… Almost everything comes to me in a dream. I have predicted robberies, illnesses and even knew how a home invasion happened when the police couldn’t figure it out…I have tried to use my abilities to help people. Last week, I delayed getting on the road to head home because I felt I needed to wait. In those extra 5 minutes there was a head on collision and the people were killed.”

Well, what did the men say? One said it would take a bottle of wine and some privacy to share his experience. (I could hear some of the ladies rustling up a good bottle of red to offer this charming man. Just kidding.) But artist Frank Ramme, is pretty much convinced premonition can be a delusion. “If you are talking about some kind of spiritual or metaphysical revelation about the future that is complete nonsense. We all have, premonitions of a kind, because we acutely perceive much more of the world unconsciously than consciously and some of that crosses the threshold of conscious awareness. Furthermore, we delude ourselves retroactively by paying attention to our successes and dismissing our many failures in prognostication.”

Paula Prober, MS, a counselor out of Oregon shared, “Science Links Anxiety To High IQ’s & Sentinel Intelligence, Social Anxiety To Very Rare Psychic Gift.”

The post included, “Empaths who have fully embraced their abilities are able to function on a purely intuition-based level. As Steve Jobs once said, ‘[Intuition] is more powerful than intellect.’”

My Nepal mountaineer friend and seeker of world peace, is marked as safe. We assume that he was at Camp 1 at the time of the earthquake. The mountain is now closed for the season. This leaves this man with a debt to lenders. No one has heard if his home and family are okay. Like much of Nepal, he has much to overcome in the immediate future. This I know from the news, not my premonition.

Flower Bear
Seeing The Big Picture
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Little by little, Spring is starting to make its presence felt in my neck of the woods. The two days of snow showers didn’t exactly help the situation , but those hardy little spikes of tulip and daffodil foliage hung in and rewarded me with the first buds of the year yesterday. So I walked out and stood opposite the front of my side of the house to try and get an idea of what the whole thing will look like when everything finally blooms. The hard part is trying to see the big picture because I’ve never seen this particular garden in full bloom before.

Of course, this got me to thinking about where I am now at the ripe young age of 65 and what the big picture looks like for me (but then you knew where this was going, right?). The spring bulbs just now showing themselves reminded me of our childhoods: growing tall, bursting with color and life. Then the perennials came through – the things we learned to count on, that sustained us and kept coming back when we needed them, like our faith, our education, our life experiences. Eventually we arrived at the place where we started to plant our annuals, those seeds and plants that come and go, that last for a while and then move on to be replaced with something new and different. Finally, the harvest came in and we picked what nourished us through the winter, discarding what didn’t make it and learning to perhaps plant something different in that spot next year.

The important lesson here is that we never really see the big picture all at once. We are only privy to certain views from one season to another. The tulips and daffodils are gone by the time the hosta and lamb’s ear come up, and the apple blossoms are gone before the apples begin to appear. Instead of frustrating ourselves because we can’t always see the rest of our lives laid out before us like a painting, we can enjoy the season we are in at the moment and learn from it. What can I plant in front of the bulbs that will come up when the bulbs finally lay down? What can I plant that will be there when I need it, and how can I brighten up my life with something new and challenging?

For now I must be content with what I can see at this present moment. As I bend down to get a better idea of how many tulips are going to come up right outside my window, I see the beginnings of some other green leaves starting to make its way across the flower beds … wild strawberries! Gee, I can’t wait to see how beautiful that’s going to look!

And so it is.


Tripping Over Stones
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I wasn’t entirely surprised when my fourth graders nutted up on me. It was that time of year. Spring Break was a memory and summer vacation was a dream. My students forgot how to do everything, line up, put their name on their papers, what a verb was, and don’t even get me started on fractions. My dearest, sweetest students became surly and defiant. And talking back was apparently a new indoor sport.

I didn’t help. I did everything wrong. I was a perfect example of what not to do. I chastised, reprimanded, called parents and passed out stickers and candy like a demented Mr. Candy Man. Then I nutted up with them. Room 17 was not a fun place to be. I broke my hard and fast rule about what to do when things go south. Don’t do the same thing harder, do something new.

In the middle of a what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do moment I remembered a story about the king and queen of heaven. It teased the edges of my consciousness and although I didn’t think it had anything to do with the price of tea in China, I told the story. The queen of heaven watches the same beggar struggle everyday. She can’t bear to see his suffering asks her husband if he can’t do anything. “Sure, I could drop a bag of gold at his feet. It wouldn’t do any good though.” When she can’t bear it anymore she begs the king of heaven to do something. The king of heaven drops a bag of gold on the path in front of the beggar. Sure enough the beggar glanced at it, stepped around it and said, “Man, sure glad I saw that rock before it tore up my raggedy shoes.”

Stories have power. This one didn’t entirely fix things, but dang if it didn’t help. We talked about the story and all the many ways they don’t see the gold being handed to them. More than a few of them made the connection to themselves and the gifts they were not seeing that I am doing my level best to give. Through out the week I would retold the story to them or told it for another teacher. Every time I told it I had the distinct feeling that I was missing something, something I needed to hear.

I was fretting and fuming about my class one afternoon when my teammate asked me what good I thought it did. OK, none, but what was the point. Then I remembered another part of the story. The queen is determined that something should be done. The king, however, recognizes that not everyone is ready to see the blessings that are dropped in their path and accepts that.

Two things happened when my ears finally heard what my mouth said. I took a deep breath and calmed my hot self down and I stopped pushing. I did the best I could with my young scholars then let go. The key was non attachment. When I am attached to an outcome, that a certain thing must happen a certain way it becomes about me and my ego. It becomes about fear, fear that I’m not enough, I need to do better, I’ll lose my job. That’s a big one these days. The more attached I am the more insecure I become. Fear breeds fear. It robs me of joy and blinds me to my own bag of gold. Instead of celebrating the wealth that is in front of me I’m tripping over stones that aren’t really there.

It’s not easy, the whole non attachment thing. I work at it because fear is constrictive. It shuts off the flow of inspiration, the magic of creation. I teach because I care passionately about my students and about education. I am more effective if I can maintain that passion with non attachment. It’s not about me. Fear would have me believe the lie. Non attachment would have me believe the truth. There is more than meets the eye, more then we can see. Non attachment keeps me open to possibilities and new imaginings. It allows me to enjoy the wilderness experience of being human without needing to control it. It’s either fear or love baby. I’m working on love. I hope you are too.

Stand Down
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I’m a big believer in jumping in where angels fear to tread. Right a wrong, take stand, do something! A few months ago I was ready to take a stand about a situation I saw unfolding. I did what I always do, prayed and sat in silence listening for a deeper wisdom to pierce my blindness. The problem was that when my inner guidance came it was not what I expected. Day after day, it came loud and strong, ‘stand down, do nothing.’ What the hell?

The not so distant past has taught me the value of trusting my inner knowing even when it goes against my nature as it often seems to do. Heartbreak and hard times teach their lessons well. I reluctantly did nothing. I made a deliberate choice every day to trust the unfolding of what was yet to be. That’s faith for you. I don’t always like it or do it well. I wish I did, but I am who I am.

Did I mention that I did nothing reluctantly? I called my friend Florie to get a second opinion. And by get a second opinion I mean I wanted her to tell me my inner knowing was wrong and I should jump right on in and raise hot, holy hell. She of course didn’t do that. “Call it whatever you want. Call it shishkible if you want, but do it. Do nothing.” Dang, I hate it when she’s right and I can’t do what I want, which is why I call her. Saner minds should prevail.

Shishkible it is and here’s the thing, it’s not easy to wait when you’re a recovering gun slinger who was raised to believe that shoot first and ask questions later is a virtue. I don’t do waiting well. That’s what stand down, or in my case shishkible, means, wait. Stand ready and alert, but nothing more, take no action. Only now, several months down the road do I see that rushing in would have served my needs at the expense of the situation I’m trying to help. There are times when you don’t know what you think you know or when what you think you know is just down right wrong. Standing down creates space for Spirit to have a voice. We have to know when it’s time get out of the way.

We don’t have control over every situation however much we want to believe we do. The most we can do is to control our attitude and practice non resistance. We don’t know everything even when we think we do, especially then. Closed minded certainty is always a mark of your ego getting in the way. Stand down, know when the best thing you can do is do nothing. Listen and have a little faith. That’s when the magic of creation unfolds. It’s either fear or love, baby.

A Shift
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What happens to your emotions when you don’t get what you want?

This morning I went to a Weight Watchers meeting with high expectations.  All week long I had followed the program exactly.  I ate the right things, did lots of exercise, and drank lots of water.  I walked into the meeting feeling great!

A few minutes later I was ready to quit.  I also wanted to cry, but I wasn’t doing that in front of 24 men and women!  I wanted to walk out after the weigh in, especially when others started giving me their stories as a way of trying to help me not feel so frustrated.   I made myself stay for the class even though ever fiber of my being wanted to run out the door.

The class was on Attitude Adjustment.   

Did you laugh?  I did. 

I had gone to the meeting with expectations.  My expectations weren’t met.  I fell into an old pattern of wanting to run.  What was I running from?  My feelings.  I didn’t like feeling disappointed.   It took a bit of time, but I finally really felt my feelings. 

If you’ve been reading me for awhile, you know my middle name could be Pollyanna.  I can always find something to be glad or grateful about, so I took a better look at the experience I had. 

How much had I gained?  0.2# — yes that’s right – 1/5 of a pound!   When I looked at it that way – my attitude shifted.  It wasn’t a pound – or even ½ a pound.  I took a deep breath and decided to continue with the program. 

That silly 1/5 pound inspired me to take a longer walk this afternoon. I know I am becoming healthier, and that’s a good thing!       

Again I ask you – what happens to your emotions when you don’t get what you want?  Can you make an attitude adjustment?   Yes, you can!

Spirit is infinite intelligence and unconditional love. It has my highest good in Mind. Spirit in me, as me, is always in the right place at the right time. 

Knowing this, I refuse to get knocked off center.  I breathe deeply into every situation and see what good is in it for me. I rely on Divine Mind to help me attain and maintain the consciousness I am desiring to have. I hold to the Truth of my being – that there is only one Life, that Life is God’s Life, and this is the life I am living now.  I choose to make it a good one!

I appreciate being able to have an instant attitude adjustment.  I gratefully accept and acknowledge the reminders the Universe is giving me.

I release these words into the Law of Mind, knowing they are deeply embodied within my being.    And so it is.