Photo Circa 1990 Even as a teenager, I looked up to my grandmother as a role model of kindess and positive thinking.

A eulogy for Mamma Terry and an account of the mystical experience I had before she crossed over

My 100-year-old grandmother, Theresa (AKA MammaTerry) never complained. That may sound like an exaggeration, but she held firm to a life-long philosophy of positive thinking. She stayed optimistic until the day she died on, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. She was a home-birth because all the hospitals were closed due to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919. She was happily married for 70 years to my grandfather, Larry. They raised two children, and I was one of six grandkids. My son, Devin, was their eighth great-grandkid. Terry lived through the great depression and knew both struggle and success in her lifetime. She lived in the penthouse of Los Angele’s first highrise (which was built by my grandfather) for 40 something years before passing away. Her hobbies included Tennis, bridge, cooking, and sharing her love for inner-city children as a nature and museum docent. She and her husband traveled the world, dined with kings, prime ministers, movie stars and contributed to several charities. She was a community leader at her Jewish country club and was buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries. 

I did not make it to the funeral. I was in the middle of leading a Spiritual Sexual Shamanic Experience with ISTA in Eugene Oregon. Near the end of an energetic sex exercise, I checked the stopwatch on my phone and saw that my father texted: 

“Mamma Terry just passed. Please call me.” I handed the microphone to my co-facilitator, Raffaello and ran outside to tune into my emotions. I planted my bare feet onto the roots of an enormous pine tree, and rested my face against the bark, as I wept. 

Tears of gratitude. Grateful to have known my grandmother. Grateful to have been born in the lineage of such a bright being. Grateful that I was able to say goodbye. 

I knew she would make it to 100 years old. I knew she had a fierce will to live. And yet, I also knew that every day with her was a blessing. MammaTerry was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia, just a few days before I left for Oregon. Of course, anytime a hundred-year-old goes into the hospital, we know it might be the last time we see them, so Michael and I took a pilgrimage to Los Angeles with my son (age 12) and my Mother, Rosa who had a been visited by a black crow earlier that week and knew this was going to be goodbye. 

The trip to the hospital was surreal. When we arrived she was semi-conscious. We found her frail body suspended in space, seemingly without a soul. Yet her vital signs were strong and the hospital staff was still rooting for her recovery. Her body was responsive to my touch. As I massaged her feet and asked her questions, she answered with one-word sentences. I asked her to wiggle her painted toes and she even said “ouch” if I pressed too hard. I closed my eyes and prayed, and I could feel that even though she was not in her body, there was still a strong will and a fierce fight to live. 

We made a circle around her bedside, held hands and each said a few words of gratitude, prayer, and blessing. The nature of our ritual was acceptance and appreciation of the great mystery of life. 

The next day I flew to Oregon and had a synchronistic session with a sound healer. My host in Portland is one of my best friends, Stacy, who insisted I had to meet her mentor, Rowena. She scheduled the appointment over a month before I arrived. When I got there, I was in a daze. Rowena asked me what I wanted to work on, but I had a hard time figuring out why I was even there. At first, we talked a little about the difference between personal and transpersonal love and discussed the concept of how the high heart connects us to unconditional soul love, and although this is one of my favorite subjects, I didn’t seem to resonate. My personality was disoriented. Unclear. I was stumbling around.

Rowena suggested I hop on the massage table, breath and see what happens. At the sound of the tuning forks, my body felt uncomfortable. I curled up like a frail old lady. I found myself twisting and turning into the same position I saw my grandmother in at the hospital. I felt like I was all propped up with pillows, trying to avoid bed sores. With my eyes closed, I could feel the oxygen being pushed into my nasal passage as if I was hooked up to a machine. Then I felt my soul gently lifting above my chest and I began to cry. Rowena asked what was happening and I said, “My grandmother is afraid of dying.”

My grandmother is an atheist (or positive Nihilist to be more accurate.) She stopped believing in God or any kind of afterlife many years ago and started seeking meaning in the simple joys of living. She always strived to make the most out of her existence by thinking happy thoughts and making people smile. She derived significance from the happiness, health, and success of her loved ones. 

Now, as I drifted into the trance of the singing bowls and bells, I felt body empathy. Her soul was hovering over her body. I asked: With the loss of her health, what is there left to live for? I heard her voice answer: Family! She lived for her daughter and son. Although they had both made peace with her leaving. She would rather cling to what little life is left than to disappear into Nothingness. 

In addition to her mastery of sound and inducing trance with resonating frequencies, Rowena is wise and intuitive. She understood my dilemma. My grandmother was still alive in the hospital and I didn’t know whether to pray for her recovery or for her safe passage into the unknown. My intention, I told her, was to surrender to whatever is in her highest good. But Rowena offered an upgrade with wise words that sounded something like this: 

“We do not know if it’s her time to go, nobody knows, she may not even know, herself. But fear causes suffering and right now she is afraid of the unknown. She needs a guide to show her the path. So that in her own time, when she is ready, she can go without fear, if she chooses.” 

And that’s when my Shaman self entered the space. It was as if a tribal elder sat cross-legged at the crown of my head and shook a rattle above my body. The swirling sounds seemed to bend the fabric of time/space and lifted my dream body out of my small physical frame. A blinding tunnel of light appeared. It looked exactly as it is described by first-hand accounts near-death experiences. I saw exactly what one would expect to see at the end of life. 

I saw my grandmother being warmly greeted by familiar souls like both my great grandparents and my great uncle Georgie (who died in WWII.) Then came her beloved Larry, slowly at first. It started as a tender embrace but gained energy. Pretty soon it was a huge hug. Then dancing, celebrating, and even flying. As these two souls reunited, they celebrated in ways that are not possible in human form. There was laughter. And tears. Then orgasms. Wave after wave of whole-body orgasms. When I finally stopped coming, there was a review of life. Like a movie that moved backward. Together they looked over their 70 years of marriage. Everything was being shown to her, not me, but I felt the overflow of glee and joy that she felt. 

Then somehow, I got pulled into the beginning of her life, when she was still in the womb and I was with her. Somehow I was in my own womb. I felt a tremendous stream of energy pour through my body. It was as if her soul which had incarnated into this limited lifetime was now reuniting with her immortal soul. Wisdom and gnosis from other lifetimes streamed through us both and I felt the DNA in my cells light up. My body danced on the massage table. It’s as if my cells were remembering the wisdom of our shared lineage. 

This was my first taste of the akashic records. And yet, it wasn’t anything like what I expected. There was no library. No books. There was nothing written. It was a live transmission of energy in my cells. It was being transmitted to me through dance. I saw a kahuna teaching hula. She was part of a Polynesian dance troupe. And I felt every cell steaming with energy. Then a belly dance school. I was in Greece or Turkey it was very distinct. I felt the wisdom of the whirling dervish, and I got the distinct impression that my grandmother’s soul is part of a great mystical lineage. My fascination with temple dance had been inherited from her. And now it was clear that she would continue to live on through me. At that moment, I felt a transfusion of her soul. Like she was sending her soul sparks into my body. I felt honored to have her live on through me. And I assured her that she would always live on through everyone she loved. Then I continued to dance and laugh and cry for the remainder of the session. 

When it came time to integrate, I felt my shaman self still holding space above my crown chakra. Grounded, guiding me home. After Rowena completed her final sequence, I opened my eyes and looked out the garden window. The first thing I saw was a couple of squirrels playing in a tree. One happy little totem froze and looked directly at me, then jumped from limb to limb, as if showing off.   

Squirrel Medicine: When the spirit of squirrel appears, it’s a sign to lighten up. Inject more fun and laughter into life, no matter what age you are, don’t forget to play! Surrender and let things happen. Saving up is another important squirrel symbolism. Be mindful of how much you consume when it comes to your resources and how much you spend when it comes to your finances.

At sunset, I called my father and shared the harvest of my journey. He had just returned from visiting Mamma Terry and was receptive to hear all about my experience. He told me that she had an uncanny connection with Greece, and even suggested she might have a past life memory when visiting Ephesus. He also mused about how both her parents were ballroom dancers, but her husband didn’t like to dance. Then he confirmed that Terry had taken belly dance classes. He laughed at the memory of the last time she was let out of the hospital, she didn’t walk, but danced down the hallway! Sadly, he knew her body would likely make it this time. But at least her soul is dancing. And she will live on through everyone who ever loved her.

Huge gratitude to all our ancestors, past, present and future. As a Spiritual Sexual Shaman, I’m committed to working with families to heal our broken lineages and create a new culture of soul family. If you resonate check out our Family Fusion Experiment this summer in Northern California August 1-7, 2021.

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