A Happy Visit

I gave the incident little more thought – until that afternoon…

Arthur's beloved rescue horse Duke, a victim of tripping, passed away over year ago. That evening, Arthur said Duke had joined the great white horse in the sky. For Christmas, I asked local artist and friend Jan Taylor to create a memory.

Arthur’s beloved rescue horse Duke, a victim of tripping, passed away over year ago. That evening, Arthur said Duke had joined the great white horse in the sky. For Christmas this year, I asked local artist and friend Jan Taylor to create a memory.

by Andrea Chilcote

Did you have any unexpected visitors this holiday week? We did.

One night last week I was away in Atlanta on business, looking forward to going home the next day to enjoy the Christmas weekend. After I had gone to bed but was not yet fully asleep, I heard the “ding” of a text message. I had spoken a “good night” to my husband Arthur so I knew all was well at home, but I rose anyway and checked my phone.

There I found a photo of Arthur’s beloved horse Duke, who had passed away in August. The message, from Arthur, said: “Why did you send this to me??” (Two question marks).

I quickly replied that I had not sent it, that I had nearly been asleep, and wished to resume that state. He texted back.

“Well, I can see that you texted this photo! It came from you.” He persisted.

“It’s a mystery then,” I replied. “I’ll have a look when I get there tomorrow.” Arthur is not the most tech savvy person, and I assumed he somehow texted himself that photo from those in his phone. The fact that I had never seen that shot before was a bit mysterious, but I assumed all would make sense by the light of day.

When I arrived home the next evening, I asked to see the original text. Arthur told me, disappointed, that it had disappeared on its own. Thinking he had deleted it, I checked my own phone. Mine had vanished too! Yet I had seen the image he forwarded with my own eyes the night before.

I gave the incident little more thought – until that afternoon. I was sitting at my desk when Arthur ran down the hall. “Andrea, look!” he shouted. “Roxy just texted me the same photo!” I looked at his phone, and sure enough he had a text from Roxy, the loving woman who helps him care for the horses. She was at the barn, so I immediately walked there with Arthur’s phone in hand.

“Did you just send Arthur a text?” I asked, calmly. “No,” Roxy replied. “Why?”

I showed her the text, from her. Wide eyed, she pulled out her phone. “I don’t even have that picture,” she said. To be sure, she checked her sent texts (none) and her photos of the horses. None matched that shot.

I returned to the house, one part shaken and one part excited. How had this happened? Was there a tangible explanation, or – had Duke found a way (using sophisticated technology mind you) to say hello from the other side?

If you knew Duke, you will reconnect with his spirit when you look in those eyes.

If you knew Duke, you will reconnect with his spirit when you look in those eyes. –Arthur Chilcote with Duke, Christmas 2013.

Duke was a very special rescue horse. A victim of the cruel sport of “tripping,” he came to our safe haven with many physical and emotional scars. His body was aged and broken, but his spirit was strong. In the three years he was with us, he grew to trust humans and genuinely loved his main caregiver, Arthur. Our veterinarian marveled at his resilience, and shared our sadness when at last his body gave up at the end of the summer.

There’s one thing I know for sure, with every morsel of my being: There is no such thing as death. The humans we love who have passed from this earth, as well as our precious animal companions, can and do watch over us, connect with our spirits and send us their light. So then why should I find it remarkable that Duke, who had an extraordinary bond to our family, paid us a visit? I’ve pondered that question a lot over the past few days.

Where I’ve landed is this. The energy of surprise and wonderment was Duke’s Christmas gift. While we have faith in the great mystery of the eternal soul, it helps to have a tangible reminder once in a while. A perfect gift, a happy visit.

—This post appeared originally last-year December on The Spirited Woman where  Andrea is a weekly blogger.

Show Up Each Moment

Are you looking back over 2013 this new year of 2014?

A timely reblog – This New Year, I vow to show up each moment.

Show Up Each Momentby Andrea Chilcote

On this summer holiday weekend, half-way through 2013, it seems fitting to reflect back on my resolve to “not look back.” Hmmm… is that an oxymoron?

I’m not looking back over 2012 this new year of 2013. In fact, I don’t intend to look back again. This new year, I vow to show up each moment.

On the weekend I was talking with teacher and life coach Lauri Cloud. Once again, she nearly knocked me over with a blinding insight. “You know what trips you up Andrea?” she offered. “You keep looking back.” She went on to say that the popular advice that seems to be showing up everywhere today, telling us to release everything from past regrets to deep-seated, age-old feelings, is the very thought pattern that is keeping us (and me) from rising above them.

That made a lot of sense to me. I have worked to stay present in the moment at hand for at least as long as I can remember. And like so many lessons, I keep learning it.

Well, I have a new practice. I resolve to not compare my present circumstances to past situations. I will embrace each experience as if it is new. Now that doesn’t mean I won’t utilize the precious experience gained. It simply requires me to release the fear that inevitably accompanies the comparison.

Almost at the very moment I gained this insight, life presented an opportunity to practice my resolve, as life on earth does so often.

In the post-holiday days when many are easing themselves into the routine of their lives, I’ve been very busy with a combination of work and personal commitments. It’s the kind of time I’ve come to describe as “no room for error” – everything is planned and will work out fine providing nothing interrupts the schedule.

Dear reader, you know my next line. The plan was interrupted, by circumstances that surpassed its urgency.

So what did I do? I did what I know to be the only choice for me: prioritize the heart over the head. What I did not do was flawlessly execute my goal of being present and not looking back. As a result, I experienced ample stress. But here is the gem, the gold. Not one fear that was rooted in the past or future mattered in the end. The only times I was productive, at peace and of service to others were those moments in which I was present.

Why then, I ask myself – and you… why would we choose anything other than the present moment in this grand New Year?

This voice in your head takes you away completely from what is happening now. You’re out in some future moment where things might go wrong or you are trapped in the past where you are continuously replaying an old movie in your mind about the time you failed a school examination or someone said something unkind. You’re stuck, but you can’t see it. The movie feels like an absolute reality, and it keeps you from truly acknowledging or appreciating life as it is now. But it’s not reality. You can’t see the present. You’re too busy with where you want to be next (or where you were), which causes continual stress. The only solution is awareness, awareness that the voice in your head is really just repeating thoughts—no more, no less. Eckhart Tolle

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This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger.