I never liked the word “ghost” as far as I was concerned they were “friends.” I remember when I was 2 years old I would stay up during my afternoon naps to dance with these two ghosts. They were two young women: Ballet dancers. I knew my mother couldn’t see them because on the few occasions that she caught me dancing rather than sleeping she said: “Time for a nap and enough with the fooling around.” If I would tell her about my friends she would give me a stern look and add: “OK. Enough with the games. No lying. I expect you to go down for a nap.” I knew really early on in life that I understood these presences differently than others. There was no use in arguing because people who couldn’t see saw my experiences as lies; attention getting; or emotional manipulation. There was a certain ambiguity in my life because I was brought Catholic and when it came to Religion believing in Spirit wasn’t such a long stretch. When I was old enough to challenge people with the help of Religion I was often told that “the sight of spirit was a miraculous event” and that this experience didn’t occur to normal people like me.
I somehow could always tell the difference between spirit allies and ghosts. I made a difference between both because spirit allies were always protective, loving and even teaching towards me whereas ghosts seemed to be caught up in themselves and in their issues. They wanted help from me or perhaps wanted me to follow in their footsteps. I tried to cultivate relationship with spirit allies and ignore ghosts. I realized the only way to achieve this was in making sure I was spiritually strong. Since I was educated at a Catholic convent I had countless ways to stay strong in spirit. I prayed regularly; got involved in pastoral activities in school; and did my best to be good which for a Christian meant be honest, sincere, humble and generous.
Ghosts became an issue for me when I became a teenager. Inner struggles, family conflicts, peer pressure were a few reasons why ghosts became an issue. My own shadow called them out. Then, my grand-father passed away and rather than disappearing from my world like he did for everyone else in the family he became a constant presence, a spirit ally. It was both a good and challenging affair. People questioned why I wasn’t grieving and many of the adults in my life pressured me to mourn. For them it meant that I was moving through the loss in a healthy way. I hide the fact that I spoke to my grand-father almost on a daily basis. I became afraid at that point that someone would think that I was insane. For years, fear, keeping secrets, and managing my own experience alone seemed to add to my shadow. By the time I reached the age of 20 years old ghosts were an out of control factor in my life.
I tried to come out with the truth to a few people but it ended up in judgment and persecution. One childhood friend basically delivered my worst fear she said that I needed psychological help and basically acknowledged that I was insane. Part of me almost believed her. Luckily my life was filled with unbelievers and believers. It was my grand-father who said “keep talking about your story. It’s YOURS. People have no bearing on who you are and what goes on in your inner world.” I was quite amazed how many people ended up listening and actually sharing their own stories about Spirit which wasn’t that different to my own.
I realized by the time that I was 25 years old that although I believed in spirit and the world of mystery I was also extremely sceptical. It’s easy to say that “you can talk to spirit” but is it always true; is it always healthy; and can this ability be useful? Today we hear of psychics who work with the police and bring criminals to justice by speaking to spirit. We hear of ghost whisperers, individuals who help the dead deal with their passing and reach the after life. We hear about ghost hunters, people who attempt to prove that ghosts exist and who attempt to release homes or people from the negative influence these entities can have on our world. We hear of Medicine People as well who speak to spirit in an attempt to heal and teach about mystery. There are countless ways to be useful with such an ability. My focus has always been on being healthy and functional with such a gift.
When my daughter was 3 years old we went to a local powwow. When we arrived at the site she went running the opposite way and began dancing all alone in a small clearing. She was bouncing and tapping her feet on the ground. She was following the rhythm of a drum. We giggled and watched her for a while until two elders came by and told us that “she could see the bear people dancing.” We were told that hundreds of years ago this particular clearing was used for ceremony and this is where the people danced.
“Your daughter has the sight,” the old woman said, “I hope you are ready for the kind of life these kids offer their parents?” I remember smiling and nodding. It wasn’t a shock to find out that both my children inherited the same gift I had. I just knew that it was my chance to offer them a different kind of support, education and future.
It wasn’t hard to believe KT or CT when they came to me with stories about invisible friends. On a few occasions they banished the ghosts from our home. They too instinctively knew the difference between the allies and the shadows. I came to understand with time that there’s a common ground for example between children with high IQ’s; there’s common ground between children with ADD; and there’s common ground between children who can see ghosts. The idea was to find reality and live well with it.