Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween! +pics...

Hello, my friend! 

Happy Halloween! I'm so happy you're here with me today. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. When I was little, my parents used to go all out for Halloween, and that excitement has stuck with me through the years.

What are your plans for Halloween this year? 

I mentioned last week that I would be dressing up and participating in a virtual Halloween Party, hosted by my lovely friend, David Voyles, and his wife. It was so much fun! David and his wife have been hosting themed Halloween parties since the late 70's. During the party, they showed pictures from their previous parties and told us who was who, some of which were participating in the virtual party as well. We also got to watch a couple of very short horror films. I dressed up as Little DEAD Riding Hood. I read a poem that I wrote that went along with the costume, which was super fun. The whole experience was great. Especially with COVID-19, this was a great way to enjoy the Halloween festivities, while still being safe. 

If you missed the event, and want to check it out, just click here to see the recording of it.

I've also decided to give you a treat (ha ha!) and have included pictures of my costume as well as a snippet of me reading my poem.

Here's a closeup of my makeup, applied by my lovely daughter. She tried to make me look more "dead".

Don't worry! I'm not actually dead. And, no, I'm not wearing contacts—although that would be really cool! The white eyes is just a mark up on the photo afterwards. But, I think it came out pretty neat.


Here's the snippet of me reading my poem about Little DEAD Riding Hood. Enjoy! :)


When I first decided on my costume, back in JULY, I thought to myself, "It would be so cool if I could write a short story to go along with this costume." But then days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and before I knew it, the party was almost here. I was feeling kind of bummed about it, but figured there just wasn't time to put anything together by then. A couple days before the party (it actually might have only been the day before—it's such a blur, I can't quite recall) I asked my Spirt Guides to help me. I told them I wanted to be an active participant in the party and wanted to contribute something of my own, but that I was stuck. Next thing I know, this stuff starts pouring out. 

Now, you should know that poetry and I don't typically get along. On my own, I hardly ever write poetry. It's always felt awkward to me. But this time, it was coming out faster than I could write it down. There was no hesitation, no looking for words that would go together/rhyme. It just...happened. I showed it to a few trusted people and got wonderful feedback. So, I was ready to go! Thank you, Spirit!

Just another example of how willing Spirit is to be helpful - all ya gotta do is ask them.

I encourage you to give it a try. Then, come tell me how it worked out. I can't wait to hear about it.

I hope you found this entertaining and helpful. Light and love to you and yours, my friend!

I look forward to hearing from you soon, either on this post, on Instagram, or on Twitter. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 

P.S. - If you're looking for something spooky to occupy your Halloween, I have two audiobook recommendations. Turn down the lights, grab some popcorn and candy, and settle in for some spooky stories! 

Haunted: True Tales of the Paranormal - "Ghost" stories, told by the people who experienced them (I have one in here, too!)

Witch-Works - Fictional story, audiobook set to dark ambient music; start with Witch-Works, Episode 1: The Witch-Works

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Lots of pictures and how spirit helps

Hello, my friend!!

It's been a little longer than I'd have liked between our visits. Things were, well, hectic. But I thought I'd catch you up on a few things and show you how I believe Spirit is working in my everyday life.

First things first! As always, I am here to learn through teaching, so if there are any questions you have, please do! You can comment on this post (anonymously, if you'd like), find me on Twitter, or find me on Instagram. Any of the above are totally welcome. I look forward to hearing from you.

Now, normally, I would write my posts on Saturday mornings. But then, for some reason I can't remember, it got pushed to Sunday mornings.

Well, last weekend, neither day was working for me. I was preoccupied with an editing project. You might have seen me mention this project before, but here it is! 


Not only did I edit the printed companion version of this audiobook, but I have a story of my own in there. So, if you get the audiobook, you'll get to hear my story, told by me! Not only that, but you'll get to hear twenty-six other awesome stories! Not all of them are scary, but they are all GREAT. If you're interested, you can click here for the link to get a copy for yourself. Oh! And the print companion comes with interviews from each of the storytellers, plus lots of pictures. I'm really excited - It's so cool! It's just what you need to get you in the mood for Halloween. And let's face it, we all need a little extra oomph when it comes to Halloween this year, right? 

Speaking of Halloween, tonight I get to participate in a Virtual Halloween event, hosted by my very talented friend, David Allen Voyles. In the past, David has always hosted very elaborate haunted houses at his home. This year, with COVID-19, he has graciously decided to host this event. AND I have been invited to be a GUEST!! I am so fucking excited. I have my costume all ready, and I wrote a poem to go along with it.


Can you guess what my costume is going to be? If you guessed "Little Red Riding Hood" you're only half right. But you'll have to tune in to the event and see for yourself. But, be warned...it's a little dark, a little gory. View the event and interact with us by clicking on this link... https://youtu.be/-G3LY3N4UJS

Party starts tonight at 8pm! Hope to see and hear from you then!

Lastly, remember my stupid fucking oven? Ya, the one that tried to burn my face off? 

Well, we finally got that resolved! There were a few hitches...as I've mentioned before, we live in a small town, so options for appliance stores are limited. I don't know if you've needed to buy an appliance since COVID-19 started, but apparently, the shipping times are super-duper long. So, we ended up at one of the only appliance stores in town (besides Lowe's and Best Buy - neither of which had what we needed, in our price range) and....well, see for yourself...



Isn't it gorgeous?! Now, the issue was with the price. As we walked into the store, we knew that our comfort zone for this whole project was going to be about $1,000. We could swing probably $1,200 or $1,300. But, nothing more than that. And, guess what? Even though the oven had a ticket price close to $1,100, we got it for about $800.

That just left us with installation. That was another $400.


So, total for the project? $1,200. Pretty sweet, right? AHHHH....so relieved.



Bye-bye, piece of shit oven!

So, that's all I have today - I have to get ready for the party!! - but I wanted to demonstrate, that in each of these instances, I specifically asked my Spirit Guides to come to me and help me. I asked that they come to me and remove the nerves from my voice, so that the recording of me in Haunted would be acceptable. I asked that they come to me and help me with my editing project. I asked them to come to me and help me to write something—anything—to go along with my costume (and I'm quite pleased with the results!). I asked them to come to us and help us find the oven and someone to install it that would work with our budget.

Spirit loves to be helpful. You just gotta ask them and tell them what you want or need help with.

All right. I gotta run. But, I hope to see you tonight! 

I hope you found this post helpful and entertaining. Light and love to you and yours, my friend!

I look forward to hearing from you soon, either on this post, on Instagram, or on Twitter. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 




 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Story: The Purpose of Relationships

Welcome, my friend!

This week, I want to talk about relationships, and the purpose they serve. Doing so will require me to tell a story. Shame, I know. 

I recently accepted a management position at my job, which made me really nervous. Before coming to this employer, I'd been at a different employer, working in an extremely toxic environment for far too long—eight years, to be exact, which was seven and a half years too long. When I left there, I swore I'd never take a management position again. And yet...here we are. 

I thought today's post was going to be about how my new position is so different from my management position at the last employer; how listening to Spirit can help guide your life. But, that just goes to show that what the human/ego part of me has in mind is not what is meant for this blog. In case you can't tell, this happens frequently. That's why I'm always sure to ground and open to the guidance before I start writing. Because, honestly? If it were up to me, and me alone, I probably wouldn't write this blog at all. But, Spirit wants these messages out there...so here I am.

What Spirit does want me to talk about, is an experience I had even further back in my past, but also in the management realm.

You ever hear that saying, "You'll have friends for a season, a reason, or life"?

This is totally a thing and has quite a bit to do with the reason YOU are here. Your life plan and purpose, the lessons you are here to learn, as well as the life contracts you have with people. Kim Russo does a fantastic job of explaining this in her book, The Happy Medium. I hope you'll give it a read. Now, sometimes your interactions with a person have more to do with them, than with you. What I mean is, sometimes it is more about what you can teach them. 

Oh, sure, it won't be some obvious thing where you're handed a lesson plan of material you're to deliver to that person. But, in hindsight, if you think about it, you'll realize that you were the one helping them. Often times, even in those situations, you'll still learn something yourself.

We'll use this scenario to explain the point I'm making:

Just as an FYI, I'm using fake names, for the people and the company; out of respect.

I had just been promoted to Manager at ABC Company. I am a certified medical coder in the medical billing field; have been for about 20 years now. Back then, I had just gotten certified, and was made Manager of a very tiny Coding Team. There were only three people on my team. 

Within this company were two other Managers, Amy, who oversaw the Collectors, and Jenny, who oversaw the Chargers (the ones who entered the charges into the system). 

Now, everyone in the company knew that Amy and Jenny were lifelong friends. As in, they grew up together, had their first job at Baskin Robins when they turned sixteen. They were very close. But everyone also knew that they had some kind of falling out. Perhaps other people in the company knew what the falling out was over, but I did not. I still don't.

Now, being a new Manager, Jenny took me under her wing and we sort of became friends. It was nice at the time, we'd go to lunch together and we'd cover for each other if one needed a day off. We began to hang out outside of work, here and there. Our husbands seemed to get along, well enough, and we had kids the same age that enjoyed playing together. We got to a point where she threw me my baby shower when I was pregnant with my daughter.

But, she never talked about Amy. Never told me what happened between them. Occasionally, her son would mention her, or talk about something they used to do together. But Jenny never would.

As time went on, I got more and more uncomfortable with the situation. I noticed that Jenny was increasingly cold and...nasty...to Amy when we were at work. It started to feel as though Jenny was only being friends with me so that she could flaunt it in Amy's face. 

Around this same time, I started having this overwhelming urge to talk to Amy. I kept hearing that I should talk to her about my mom. At this point, my mom had been gone about four or five years. I still was not "open" with my abilities, and hadn't fully accepted them myself. But when I say that 'I kept hearing that I should talk to her about my mom', what I mean is that when I'd have the urge to talk to Amy, and then I'd wonder what the hell we'd talk about, a thought, clear as day, would pop in my head: I'll tell her about my mom. 

I hesitated for very long time. Probably more than a month, if I'm honest. I still feel bad about that.

Finally, one day at work, I was so distracted by these urges and thoughts, and the internal argument that Amy didn't even like me so why would she want to hear about my mom dying. I probably didn't get anything accomplished the whole morning. Finally, I just did it.

I walked up to Amy at her desk and said, "Is this a bad time?"

"No, what's up?" Her aloofness indicated that she assumed it was work related, and she would tolerate me only as long as she had to.

"I won't take much of your time, but I had to come talk to you for a minute." She raised an eyebrow at that. I took a deep breath and plunged on. "I'm not here to get involved, or get in the middle, and I certainly don't want you to tell me any details. I'm not looking for gossip. I just want you to listen for a minute."

When she gave a tiny nod, her shoulders losing just a fraction of her pent up hostility, I continued, "I don't know what happened between you and Jenny. I don't want to know what happened between you and Jenny. What I do know is that you two were really close for a very long time. And from where I stand, you are both miserable without each other. Now, I don't know if you know anything about me, but I want to tell you about my mom." I tried, in vain to keep the hitch in my voice under control at that last bit. 

Amy was still guarded, but definitely less hostile. I picked up my monologue, "My mother and I were always close, but had sort of a rocky relationship. She died in 2000—" 

Amy cut me off. "I'm so sorry, Alain. I had no idea. What happened?"

"She was a victim of domestic violence." That was the nicest way I could say that she'd been murdered. "Her boyfriend...strangled her. There's more to the story, but..." 

"Oh, my God! That's horrible. Is he in jail now?"

"Yes, for a long time. But, what I wanted to tell you, was that just before she died, my mom and I were, more or less, not speaking. My reasons for having being upset with her, and having less contact with her, were very valid. But, in hindsight? I wish that I'd told her how much I love her. I wish that I'd had a chance to tell her that I forgive her." 

 Amy was no longer guarded and her hostility had vanished. By this point, we were both teary eyed. "Oh, no. I can't imagine."

"Neither did I. She was here one day. We had plans to meet up in the morning, but that never came." I sniffled and got to the point. "I didn't know why it was important that I tell you about my mom. But, now, I think it was to share with you an example of how something can change so suddenly. And then they are gone. Just gone. So, whatever it is that happened between you two, ask yourself how you would feel if she was gone tomorrow. Is it worth it? Is being hurt and upset going to change anything?"

By now, we were both full on crying, and getting a few side-eye looks from people passing by.

"I don't even know if she'll talk to me."

"And you won't, if you never try. But if you do try, and she doesn't, then you know that you did all you could to make things right. And, if you do try, and she does talk to you, then you might just get your best friend back." I gave her a watery smile.

"I don't know if it's that simple. I'd like it to be, but it's up to her." Amy sighed, then looked at me. "I don't know what possessed you to come talk to me, but I'm glad you did."

And then, she hugged me! Shocked the shit out of me...my eyes were probably big as saucers!

After I left Amy's desk, I went straight to Jenny's desk. I knew that some of our co-workers had seen Amy and I talking—and crying—and when it got back to Jenny, which, let's face it, office gossip? It was only a matter of time. Anyway, I didn't want anymore drama. I wanted Jenny to hear it from me first.

When I got to Jenny's desk, it was obvious that she knew Amy and I had been talking. It was also clear that she assumed we were gossiping about her. Which was just stupid, let's be real. What were we, in high school? FFS. Anyway, I said, "You gotta sec?"

"Sure," was the nonchalant reply.

"I'm sure you've heard by now that I was talking to Amy..." She gave a small shrug to neither confirm nor deny this. "...and I wanted you to hear it from me directly. I went to her. I wasn't trying to gossip or get in the middle. I didn't ask her for details about whatever the hell is going on between you two. I just asked her to listen to me. Then I told her about how my mom died." Jenny was already quite familiar with the ins and outs of the story. "I told her that I know the two of you were really close for a long time and that it's obvious that you two are miserable without each other. I said that she should think about whatever it is that started all this and whether it's worth losing a friendship over." I took a big breath and plowed on, anxious for this to just be over. "I said that you can lose someone in the blink of an eye, and how would she feel if you were gone tomorrow, with all of this unresolved crap between you two." 

Jenny blinked like an owl, her mouth a small little 'O'. I delivered my final piece of advice, "Personally, I think you should do the same, because relationships are two way streets. If the relationship is over, fine. But if it's not, then think about the way you're treating her, and whether that's really fair. I don't know if she'll come to talk to you or not, but if she does, you might want to listen. And if she doesn't, then think about going to her. Real friendships are hard to find. Don't throw this one away by mistake."

I turned around and went back to my desk. After that I was finally able to get some work done. I no longer had any strong urges to talk to anyone about anything, thank God. I also didn't go to lunch with Jenny that day. I stayed at my desk and did my own thing. I was done being social for the day.

After that day—I'm not sure how long after—Amy and Jenny started talking again. I know that Amy approached Jenny and that it was stiff at first. But there were apologies from both ends. Then, they started seeing each other outside of work, again, and hanging out constantly, just like they used to.

I can't remember if this went on for a couple of weeks, or a couple of months. Obviously, during this time, Jenny and I didn't have a whole lot of contact, having sort of drifted apart a bit. But then...

Amy was killed. She was in a car accident, t-boned by another driver.

The whole office was devastated and shocked. We closed the office for her funeral services. Everyone was a mess. Jenny held it together better than I thought she would. I was a mess, myself, wondering if I did the right thing or just made dealing with Amy's loss harder for Jenny; whether I wasted too much time before approaching Amy in the first place.  

A few days after the funeral, I went to the site of the accident, and pulled off on the side of the road. The location was on my way home—if I took a different route. I didn't set out to take that route, I just remember ending up there. I walked to the spot where her car had ended up. I could see so clearly in my head her car being hit and her dying on impact, so fast that she never saw it coming, never felt a thing. I didn't understand at the time that this was happening in my mind's eye, that my belief that she never saw it or felt it was actually a digital download of what actually happened. I assumed that those were just my imaginings of what it must have been. I've grown a lot since then. 

Standing in the spot where her car was found, with traffic rushing by, I felt a sense of peace and calm. I began crying, gently, and spoke out loud. "I'm so sorry, Amy. I never meant to bring you two back together, only to have it taken away so soon. Maybe I should have just left things alone." 

Just then, more butterflies that I could have ever imagined took flight from the grass where I was standing. They were everywhere. I was shocked—how could I have walked through and past all of them without startling them into flight? I had no idea they'd been there at all, let alone so many of them. One landed on my right shoulder and another on my right hand. They stayed for a moment, and then they flew away, too. 

After that, I knew that I had done the right thing, talking to Amy and Jenny. I also knew that I didn't bring them back together, they did that themselves. They put the work in, and approached each other with open hearts.

After Amy died, Jenny and I went back to hanging out, outside of work. But it was never quite right. Our friendship mostly drifted away and then we had a falling out of our own. I had just discovered I was pregnant with my youngest son and called to tell her. It was exceptionally exciting for me, because this was the only pregnancy we didn't have to "try" for. In my previous pregnancies, it took many months of trying before I'd actually get pregnant. So, with this one, I was happily surprised. But, before I could tell her, she told me that she and her husband had just decided to have another baby. I was excited, thinking she'd be happy for me and we'd be able to be pregnant at the same time—sharing our highs and lows together. She saw things differently. She felt that I was trying to "steal her thunder". We haven't spoken since. 

I don't feel any great urge to rekindle that friendship.

I'm certain that the lessons we were meant to learn were delivered already, and the purpose of the relationship has been served.

Whether she is happy or grateful that I meddled in her relationship with Amy, I don't know. But, from that experience, I learned that all relationships have a purpose. 

My relationship with Amy, albeit short, served to teach me about my abilities. Granted, it took me years to understand the lesson. But, indeed, a powerful lesson. 

My relationship with Jenny taught me that sometimes, in a relationship, we teach. And sometimes we learn. I am told that I taught her to hold on to the things that are truly important to her—because you never know when they'll be gone. And she taught me the same. But also, that when the purpose has been served—whether it lasts a season, a day, or a lifetime—it's all right to let it go.

So, as you go about your day, take some time to think about the relationships in your life. Has their purpose been served? Have the lessons been learned? Are there benefits to having these relationships in your life? Are you holding onto relationships that would be better let go? 

You have permission to send these relationships off with light and love. If you are keeping them, make sure you do so with an open heart, from a place of love. If  you do this, all things will go as they are supposed to.

I hope you found this post helpful. Light and love to you and yours, my friend!

I look forward to hearing from you soon, either on this post, on Instagram, or on Twitter. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Silver linings and being optimistic...

Hello, my friend!

I'm so happy to see you again. Now that my face has fully recovered from last week's shenanigans. insert eye roll. Oh, and by the way, my oven is working again! I mean, WTF, right? Don't worry, I'm still trying to get someone to come take a look at it. Backup plan after that is to buy a new one. 

Alright. Down to business. So, this week, Spirit wants me to talk about what it means to be optimistic. Why you should and how you can get there (if you aren't already).

If you follow me on social media, you know that my username is always "HopelessOptimst". It's an accurate nickname. One I've been called in real life. I honestly can't remember for certain, but I'm pretty sure it was my BFF that first coined the nickname. She used to marvel at my ability to focus on the positive, to let go of things so quickly, and to be so "sunshiny" (as she termed it). 

I am the person who, no matter what, will always find the silver lining in a situation. I know several people who, if you told them they'd won the lottery, would complain about how much they'd have to pay in taxes. I'm the opposite. I entered my short story in a writing contest and had I been told I'd lost, I'd have been grateful for the opportunity to practice the craft and for all of the new connections I'd made. (P.S. I'm over the fucking moon that I won that contest! The short story will appear in an anthology soon. I'll keep ya posted on that.)

My BFF, and others besides her, have asked me how I can be that way, having had so much in my life that was negative. Before, I never had a good answer to that question. I used to say, "I don't know. I'd guess I'd just rather be happy than sad." Which was true. But after a lot of self reflection, I've come to realize that it was my way of coping. It was my way of holding onto hope. 

Even before I lost my mother, things were...hard. Everyone has their difficulties. I certainly don't think mine were any worse than another's, so please don't misunderstand me. My parents divorced when I was twelve and my parents split me and my younger brother up. Before they divorced, they were either going out to bars and doing things parents should not be doing when they have little ones at home (and leaving me taking care of my younger brother). Or, they were at home, fighting. And, I mean the screaming, yelling, things-are-getting-physical kind of fighting. Now, my brother and I were never abused. Just so we're clear on that. But, it was not a calm household, that's my point. 

There were good times, and good memories. Fun times that we had as a family, and also times I remember with just me and my brother. 

I know my parents were just doing the best they could with what they had. I've made peace with all that happened before. 

But after they divorced and it was just me and mom...things were even more difficult. She jumped from one bad relationship to another. I was only important to her when she was between "guys". Then, I was her moon and stars. I'm sure I was important during the other times, too. But, it certainly didn't feel that way. Needless to say, she and I had a contentious relationship and I pretty much moved in with my boyfriend (later to become husband) when I was sixteen. Now, I didn't move all my stuff there, but I spent more time at his house and with his family than I did with her. Then, she got sick again (from Crohn's Disease) and guess who was super important again? This girl. It was a lot to juggle: By then, I was trying to go to college and work and start a life with my fiancΓ©. 

So, when I say it was my way of coping, I mean it was my way of COPING. Without having the ability to FIND and FOCUS on the positive in the situation, I'd have been clinically depressed, unable to function normally within society. For example, when my mom announced, in the middle of the night, that we were moving in with her newest boyfriend and I would have to change schools (again!), I was upset for a few minutes, but then quickly started focusing on the positives: I'd get a chance to start over in math (and maybe get a teacher I connected with and maybe get a better grade); maybe we'd stay there long enough to finish out the school year (we did!) and I'd be able to make some friends (I did!); maybe I'd be able to have my own bedroom (my mom and I had been sharing a bedroom since it was just a one-bedroom apartment) and could decorate the way I wanted (I did!); maybe the new place would be close enough to walk to school (it was not, I had to take the bus-boo!). 

Maybe the above will provide a bit of an example of how my brain operates. I don't tell it to switch into silver-lining mode. It just happens. I'm guessing it's from years of practice. But, I love that it does it. 

I did go through a HUGE learning curve with it, though. There was a period of time where I pretty much annoyed the shit out of everyone I knew. And, I mean, annoyed to the point where I lost friendships over it. For a time, I thought I'd lost my BFF. But, I didn't (thank GOD). I had to learn that most people aren't wired the same way I am. Most people need time to vent. They can't automatically flip into silver-lining mode. Perhaps the discussion can go in that area once they've had time to get all the venting done. If someone brought a problem to me, I'd automatically go into fix-it mode or silver-lining mode. I had to learn that sometimes people just need to vent, they just need to talk things out. Then, after that, if they need cheering up, we can move into silver-lining mode. If they need help finding a solution it's best to ask if they need help before moving into fix-it mode. But, boy, were those hard lessons to learn.

Now, don't get me wrong. Being optimistic is NOT easy. It doesn't magically make all my problems disappear. No. Shit still goes wrong. What changes is how I decide to deal with it. Do I get upset and frustrated. Hell yes. Do I vent sometimes? Of course! Do I dwell on it and focus on it and complain to my spouse, my kids, my friends, then my neighbors, then blast it on social media? No. To what end? It wouldn't change what happened. No one has that ability—there are no magic wands in this life. 

How to get there....

There's a super easy way to flip your mindset. All you have to do is focus on gratitude. 

What are you most grateful for?

That's it. It sounds super easy right? Yep. So easy that it's easy to forget to do. We walk around all the time worrying about all the things that we don't have, the things that didn't go well, that we forget to appreciate the things we DO have, the things that DID work out well. 

So, to change that, simply state three things you are grateful for. Go ahead. I'll wait.

See? Doesn't that feel nice? 

Okay, now my turn. Today, I am grateful for clean water (that doesn't smell like rotten eggs-we just got our well treated), my blog readers, and the opportunity to edit for other writers. 

I'm not gonna lie. On really shitty days, those gratitude moments might sound more like, "I'm grateful for being able to breathe, for fucking coffee, and for my job that pays the bills." It can be as simple and basic as you need it to be. On other days, it can be more in depth and specific, something like, "I'm grateful for the health and happiness of my children, for the opportunity to give them a life better than mine, and for the loving, supportive spouse that I have been blessed enough to find in this lifetime."

If you have trouble remembering to do this, you can add it to your planner/journal (yes, thank you, Spirit, message received!) or you can even download a gratitude journal app. Yes, they have apps for this. And, they look really cool, too. Check out Three Good Things, Grateful, or Five Minutes of Gratitude.

I hope you found this post helpful. 

I look forward to hearing from you soon, either on this post, or on Instagram or Twitter. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

My son, his birthday, and a late post...

Hello, my friend!

I'm so happy you've returned. I realize my post is a day late; thank you for your patience. I have a really good reason, I promise!

My oldest son is about to celebrate a milestone birthday. This Tuesday, he'll be turning 18!! I still can't believe it. 

This is also the same kid who told me about his "other grandma" when he was about 4. 

Yes, he was talking about MY mom. The grandma who died before he was born. 

I had thought I was going to tell the story here, myself—but this story is included in an audiobook, titled "Haunted: True Tales of the Paranormal". (Pretty sure printed companion copies will also be available.) It will be available this coming Thursday, October 1, 2020. Check out the Gestalt-Media website at https://www.gestalt-media.com/ to get your copy!

Also, be sure to keep your eye on Gestalt-Media. They are an independent publisher/imprint, with an eye for supporting independent writers and creatives. Not only are they publishing the anthology that my own short story "I Did This For You" will appear in (and, soon, too!) but they really are about creating a diverse, supportive community. Their newest project is launching a subscription book-box, but for e-books. It's affordable and will be sure to deliver new names in the writing industry—names that might otherwise be overlooked by the Big5 publishing companies for a whole slew of reasons, none of which having to do with their caliber of writing. This company is going places, and I can't wait to see how they develop!

Back to my son, his birthday, and the reason my post is late.

I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. No, I'm not going to get into the gritty details. Gross. Anyway, we decided to celebrate his birthday this weekend (yesterday, Saturday, to be exact) with the meal and dessert of his choosing. He requested Little Caesar's pizza (NON-gluten-free—for him—thank you!) and a lemon cake. However, my husband hates lemon. Okay, cool—I'll make a yellow cake with chocolate frosting for anyone that doesn't want lemon. I got this! 

I contacted a friend I met through Twitter, Amy Lyle, who connected me with HER friend, Lisa Ode - an amazing baker! Lisa hooked me up with fantastic gluten-free lemon cake recipe. I couldn't wait to try it.

Well, let's just say, "I think we can all agree that shit just went sideways in the most colossal way." Thank you, Deadpool. Love ya, man. 

Let me explain. 

Buckle up. I have pictures.

Things were off to a good start. I had all the ingredients...brand new cake pans...plenty of time...


All seems fine, right?

Um, no.

My oven...the pain in the ass, piece of shit that it is, decides that TODAY IS THE DAY it is going to completely balls-to-the-wall break on me. Now, I don't mean, "Awe, the oven won't come on!" Nope. I mean, it's completely confused and thinks that it's in CLEAN MODE, even though the ever-blessed-door is OPEN! So? What does that mean?

It means that my oven operates at 1,000 fucking degrees. Ever baked a cake at 1,000 degrees? Me either. Yesterday, I baked six layers. Most people would have just given up, gone to the store and bought a cake. 

First of all, I'm not 'most people'. I thought we established that. Second of all, I live in a small town. Do you want to know how likely it is to find a gluten-free lemon cake? Let alone on short notice? On a Saturday? Try not at all. I called six bakeries. SIX! Only one had anything gluten-free and it was a chocolate cupcake. Not exactly what I was going for.

So, we're soldiering on.

"But, Alain, what does this story have to do with being Spirit Sensitive or developing your abilities?"

Well, for one thing, I would not have survived the day without my guides, given that I ALMOST BURNED MY FACE OFF. No. I'm not joking. I have a very minor burn (think minor sunburn) to my face. Meh, whatever. 

Also, somehow, someway, I managed to remember all of my...training, I guess you could call it. When I realized that I couldn't find a bakery, I grounded, did some box breathing for a little extra patience, called my guides in for help, and really listened. Lydia, my guide who is especially adept at all things homemaking, cooking and baking above all else, assured me that things could be salvaged. I questioned her because I was ready to just walk away. I had already warned the soon-to-be-eighteen-year-old that he *may* not get a dessert, and he was cool with it. But, she was insistent. 

I tell, ya, I had to do my box breathing a FEW times.

Like when this happened. The recipe told me to evenly split the batter between THREE layers. But, I split it between FOUR. I couldn't understand, at the time, but trusted and went with it. Well, now we know why, right? 

But believe me, when this landed on the floor, I threw a spatula and almost walked away from it all. I'm not fucking kidding. Guides or no guides. Breathe, Alain. Breathe.

The process to get these to bake was...ridiculous. Since it was stuck on CLEAN, the top burner inside the oven was on. You know, the one that comes on when you set it to BROIL. Yeah, not the bottom one, when you set it to BAKE. UGH. That meant that the tops scorched and the bottoms were still gooey. So, my fantastic husband gave me the idea of covering the top and working them like a waffle maker.

Which worked, except that required me to sit in front of the open oven. Hence the 'sunburn'. 

All right. Fast forward several hours later, and we have...success?


I mean, sorta. 

Sigh. 

I figured they were baked all the way through, and I practically burned my face off for them, might as well frost them, right? Right...so...


I mean...not bad, all things considered. I will say they TASTED absolutely AMAZING. 

Did they look as nice as I would have liked? hahahahahaha No. But I made lemon(cake) outta lemons, so I can't complain there. 

Did I cuss like a trucker? Fuck. Yes. Am I still a bit annoyed? You betcha. Will it be a really funny story some day? Sure. It's a little funny now, to be honest, so how could it not be a lot funny later? My kids said the lemon cake looked like a "boulder". They aren't wrong. They were nice to me and we did giggle about it a bit. 

So, do the techniques I have described in my previous posts work? Well, I certainly think so. Tell me honestly, without using them, would YOU have been able to get through something like that? Would you have even tried? I don't know that I would have. LOL

I hope you found this post helpful (and entertaining). 

I look forward to hearing from you, either on this post, or on Instagram or Twitter, soon. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Energy Vampires & Lightworkers

Hello, my friend!

I'm so happy to see you again! Thank you for the lovely comments to last weeks' post. It was definitely a surprise to me to learn that Spirit wanted me to share about my mom. Well, not just that, but that we were going to get alllll the details out. I've always been pretty open about her death, but I'll admit I usually gloss over the specific shit for fear of traumatizing people. 

I tell people, "I'm fine". And, for the most part, I am. Thanks, in large part, to my incredible husband. He lets me be sad when I am missing her, angry when I need to be. He understands that it's a complicated thing, losing your mother like that. And the fact that my mother and I had a complicated relationship, only makes it that much worse. Most days, I didn't want to be around her. But, that doesn't mean I didn't love her. And, it doesn't mean that she wasn't my friend and that we didn't have amazing memories together. 

My brother thinks "I'm fine", too. And, I suppose, on the surface I could see why he'd think so. I don't have a gambling problem, spending problem, drinking problem, or drug problem. But, what he (and others, except my husband) don't know is that I went the opposite direction. Instead of doing things to mask the pain, I did things to avoid the pain. As much as possible, anyway.

I changed the way I write. That's probably the biggest one. As in my handwriting. Our handwriting was so similar, it was hard to tell them apart. It was too painful, so I changed mine. I can still go back, but it hurts sometimes. So, it's safer to just...not. I stopped watching Law & Order and other ghost/mystery shows, because those are what we used to watch together. I stopped reading the Harry Potter books. We'd made it through the first three books when she died. I didn't start reading them again until...probably 2016? I'd already seen and loved the movies by then. I also stopped reading JDRobb's books, because we used to pass those back and forth. I finally picked those back up. I could never quite pull myself away from Stephen King for quite as long, but I did take a break there, too. I also stopped listening to country music. I still haven't gone back to that. 

The worst part was that I gave away or donated most of her belongings, right after her death. We'd put all of her things in a storage unit. I can't remember why, exactly—probably because we couldn't afford it—but we got rid of the unit. And everything in it. Oh, I kept a few things. Her high school year book, photo albums, our baby books. Her Christmas bells and a few other knick-knacks. All amounts to a couple boxes and a tote's worth of stuff. I think the thing I wish I still had the most...was her Stephen King collection. It was massive and very...sentimental. I'd given it to her best friend. I certainly don't regret WHO I'd given it to. If anyone would take care of it, it would be her. I just wish I still had it. That's all. My mom always said that she knew she didn't have much to leave me, but she hoped I'd keep it. And I didn't. So, if my brother is sorry for the things he said the last time he saw our mom, and if my mom's sorry that she "let him" (meaning let her ex-boyfriend kill her), then I'm sorry I didn't keep her SK collection. There, I finally said it. 

Hank says, "She forgives you."

Well, that's enough gooey shi—ooooow of emotion for one day.

So, Energy Vamps and Lightworkers.

Lightworkers are, basically, any soul that came here to "light the way". They came here to bring happiness, joy, and calm. But, also to bring light to dark situations, to help others find their center, find their true purpose, remember their path, and walk it. There are many, many lightworkers here. Some have yet to remember themselves that this is what they are here to do. The route of their path may look different than other lightworkers. 

It is possible to have a lightworker also be Spirit Sensitive or Medium. But, they are also, fire fighters, nurses, doctors, teachers, writers. And so on. Being a Lightworker has more to do with what you signed up for on the soul level, than what your occupation is, if that makes sense. Although, to be fair, being Spirit Sensitive is more of that, too. My point is, being a lightworker is more of a trait, or secondary vocation. That's how I hear it in my head. Only in the sense that for many people it will be something that happens innately, without any thought or intention. And yet that purpose is still being carried out. In addition to your life path. That is why so many lightworkers are also...all those other vocations. All with noble causes and intentions.

For those lightworkers that haven't remembered their agreement to do so—they're simply awaiting their "spark". Which will come, in time, according to their path. Another lightworker will being doing what they do best, lighting the way, and—like a flame in a dark room—will light their wick. And, with that, another lightworker will be out in the world, working to make it a brighter, more joyful place.

It's not an easy job. Being a lightworker is damn hard some days. In case you couldn't tell, I am a lightworker. I used to suspect, but Hank confirmed it. This blog is one of the ways I "work my light". That's what we call it. And, as my friend Barlow Adams once said to me, "I think it's hardest for people who always bring the light. Starts to feel like the universe is asking them to brighten a black hole." Barlow has a way with words that I can only hope to absorb through reading his writing. I was feeling pretty down and having a hard time seeing the surface when he said that to me. But when he did, it's like my soul remembered that all I had to do was find another lightworker, and then our flames would be brighter, and our jobs easier.

From then on, I focused on working to make my own light as bright as possible, so that others could find me, could find their spark—thereby making an even brighter space for us all. So, thank you, Barlow, for helping me to find the light.

Another challenge for lightworkers is Energy Vampires.

Like moths to a flame, it's inevitable that we'd attract these. And, honestly? It's not just lightworkers that attract energy vampires. It's everyone. 

Energy Vamps are just what they sound like—they suck they energy right out of anyone and everyone they can. The brighter the light, the better for them. But that doesn't mean they won't tap whatever they have in front of them.

In my experience, more often than not, these people don't even realize that they ARE energy vampires. They are so enmeshed, they almost can't even help it at that point. I'm not saying it makes it okay, I'm saying they don't know they are doing it.

Now, having said that, some people DO know, and they are just the evil, nasty people. They are malicious and get off on causing other people pain. Run away!! 

They are easy to spot though! The people you are around that are full of negative energy...everything bad happens to them, for no apparent reason, and they complain about everything! They argue, belittle, criticize, and pretty much feel and act as though the whole world revolves around them. They leave you feeling drained, tired, cranky. OMG, freaking vamp stole your energy! 

It's fairly easy to deal with, too. Remember all those other posts? About boundaries, grounding, cleansing, bubbling and cords? Yep, all super fucking important if you MUST deal with these people. Ideally, these are the people that you would steer clear of, just cut them out totally. But, I get that sometimes you just don't have that choice. Maybe you're related to someone like that, or you have to work in the same office as someone like that. Well, now you've got some handy items in your toolbox to protect and help you for those situations.

A couple of other tips:
When a negative person is complaining, reflect their comments back to them. Instead of feeding into their drama by allowing them to continue to go on and on and on, reflect it back. For example, if a coworker is complaining that it's not fair that so and so is allowed to be on her phone (even though that person's kid is home sick), instead of letting her "vent", say, "You're upset that so and so is on the phone with her sick kid." After enough times, having it presented in their face, they begin to see just how gross it is. Plus, they aren't getting that energy exchange they were looking/hoping for. 

Set boundaries - actual boundaries, not just spiritual boundaries. Knowing the person and how much you can tolerate will go a long way towards knowing what the boundary looks like here. Can you tolerate coffee or lunch with this person, but not very often? Or, is it okay if they come to a party at your house? Or, better if they just not (as in, a coworker that you don't socialize with outside of work)?
Set beginning and ends times, if that helps, too.

Don't be afraid to say, "No." There is nothing wrong with that. You are not required to give an explanation. In the work setting, if someone is adding yet another task to your already full plate, instead of saying, "No," which is not allowed (or frowned upon, at the least), instead, tell them what you've already got, and let the person assigning the task be the person to decide which other item takes a back-burner to the new assignment. That takes some of the pressure off of you, plus it makes everything transparent. 

I'm sure there are other tips when dealing with energy vamps. But these are my "go to" tips that I have used in my own life. They have been very effective for me. 

All right, my love. Go forth.

Be the light you wish to see in the world.

As always, I hope you find this helpful. 
I look forward to hearing from you, either on this post, or on Instagram or Twitter, soon. 

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 


Saturday, September 12, 2020

A Story: My mother was killed

Hello, friend! 

This week, my Spirit Guide told me my post was going to be "a story". I figured, "Cool. It's getting to be fall, and Spooky Season is approaching, lemme find a good memory that's Spirit related." But, as I pulled out my journal, I heard very clearly, that I was supposed to tell the story I told last night. 

Oh, boy. 

Here's the thing. Last night, I was on the phone with a friend until after midnight and I was telling her the story of how my mom died and how that tied in to and inspired the short story I wrote (which, ahem, won a spot in an anthology that will be published later this year). This friend and I are new friends, but we just CLICKED, right away. You know? Does that happen to you, too? It doesn't happen with everyone I talk to, despite what my husband says. 

Anyway, when I got this direction, I sort of balked because, well...it's not a story necessarily fit for mass consumption. It's not as straightforward as saying my mother passed away from a heart attack. Does that make sense? 

But, Spirit is adamant. I'm sure there's a bottom line in here somewhere, so I guess we better get started.

My mother was killed

I say that not to over-dramatize the fact or to try to shock you. I'm simply trying to be up front. If reading about these sorts of things is not something you're comfortable with, you can bow out now. I won't be offended. If you have anxiety around domestic violence - consider yourself warned, and take whatever measures you need to for yourself. That's what's most important. 

Here's the story:

It was November of 2000, just after Thanksgiving. 

I talked to my mom on Saturday night. He car had been broken down for a long time and we made plans for me to pick her up on Sunday morning to go grocery shopping and run errands. Just do some hanging out in general. Something we hadn't done in awhile. Our relationship had become rather strained. Getting into the many reasons why would require a whole new blog post, but one of the biggest reasons was because she had begun seeing her ex-boyfriend again. This ex was her on-again/off-again, occasionally abusive boyfriend. She knew that I couldn't stand him and couldn't understand why she would choose to be with him after all the abuse she'd taken from him.

When we talked on Saturday night, I could tell that she and him had been arguing. I could hear him grumbling in the background, as per his usual behavior, and her answers to me were short. It was obvious she was trying to ignore him and give him the cold shoulder. I offered to come get her and let her sleep over at our place (my husband and I had just gotten married 6 months previous) but she declined. I tried to insist, but she was adamant. She said that he was just going to leave and go get drunk soon, anyway (also, per his normal behavior). So, we firmed up the time for Sunday and hung up.

Sunday morning arrived and I got ready. I called her first to make sure she was ready before heading over. There was no answer. I called again. Still no answer. I kept calling until finally, around noon, her ex-boyfriend answered. I asked to talk to my mom and he said she wasn't there. Which was odd because she had no working vehicle. He said her stuff was there, like her purse, but she wasn't. And he didn't know where she was. Umm.

I was already worried. Now, I was freaked. I started calling her friends. I thought that maybe she'd fought with him late the night before and she had someone come get her. I mean, it didn't make sense—why wouldn't she just call me? I closer than anyone else. And why wouldn't she let me know? But, whatever. No one had seen her or heard from her. Now, I was starting to panic. 

But, what else was I supposed to do? It hadn't yet been 24 hours, so filing a report was out of the question. Monday came and I...went to work. I didn't know what else to do. I certainly didn't accomplish anything that day, that's for sure! 

Monday afternoon my brother called me hysterical. I had to calm him down just so I could understand him. He said that mom's best friend had called him. She'd seen a news report on T.V. about an unidentified female body found near our mom's apartment. I called the police department. I told them that I thought they found our mom—we hadn't been able to find her and they found a body near her apartment. The officer asked what she looked like and if she had any identifying marks. Then I was placed on hold. Which lasted. freaking. forever. Finally, the officer came back on the line and said they were sending a detective out to talk to me and the family. Shit.

When the detectives arrived, they said that a retired veteran had been going through a dumpster looking for broken toys or electronics (he fixed them up to donate to the Salvation Army) when he found her. Of course, he called the police. The difficult part was that there were no signs of violence on her body. There were no signs that she'd been stabbed, shot, strangled. Nothing. Until the autopsy was complete, they wouldn't know how she died.

We told them about her rocky relationship with her ex-boyfriend. They didn't say as much, but I knew they began investigating him. There was no evidence of anything, and they didn't have enough to arrest him. And, since they were living together again—a fact my mom hadn't told me, since we were on the out's—as demonstrated by the amount of personal effects he had in her apartment, we could ask him to leave, but we couldn't make him leave. Great.

Her ex-boyfriend insisted on staying present while we packed. It was to make sure we didn't take anything that belonged to him. Given how drunk he was, I don't know how he'd have been able to tell, anyway. The whole time, he was picking fights with people. I have to say, breaking up a fight between my dad and my mom's ex-boyfriend was such a hard thing to do! It was an extremely difficult situation.

We get done packing that first day and go to tell him that we have to come back the next day. He's so drunk, it's amazing he can stand up. My husband and I are trying to make sure he understands and he starts crying again. He's talking about how no one will shake his hand like a man. My husband, bless him, says, "Sure man, I'll shake your hand." As soon as he does, he breaks down further and starts screaming, "I'm sorry" over and over. My husband and I eventually leave. The whole thing was bewildering. Was he sorry because she was gone, or because he did it? 

The next day I go back and let myself into the apartment. I find blood all over the place. Just everywhere. Her ex-boyfriend is face down on her bed. I immediately call 9-1-1. While the emergency services are helping him, I call the detectives on the case. They go and visit him at the hospital (where he is being held on 72-hour suicide watch). Turns out he'd tried to commit suicide. (I still feel so sad about that.)

He confesses.

I won't say that his actions make a lot of sense, but I suppose they never do in these situations. 

Here's what her ex-boyfriend says happened:

They'd had a fight and he left. When he came back, she was sitting on the couch reading a book. He sat down next to her and used the belt from her robe to strangle her. Then, he put her in his car, which was parked next to hers (which was broken down and parked next to the dumpster), and sat with her for awhile. Then he drove around for a bit. Then parked next to her car again. After sitting with her for a little bit, he moved her body into her car, then into the dumpster. He covered her her body with some flattened boxes that had been next to the dumpster.

He said that they'd fought about a kitten and some money and some bread. *shrugs* I guess we had to be there, right?

He accepted a plea bargain for 2nd degree murder and received a sentence of 22 years. He only has a couple years to go.

Originally, in the title, I was going to say that my mother was murdered. But murder implies premeditation, and I don't know that there was any. The most accurate I can say is "killed". 

Maybe it's splitting hairs. But, you know me. I'm trying to be honest, open, and fair. Always.

A few facts about the case

The autopsy sat in an "undetermined" status for a very long time. My mom had Crohn's disease and was on multiple medications. When they first found her, they didn't know if perhaps she was homeless and had climbed into the dumpster for warmth and passed away from natural causes. When they started the autopsy, they found high levels of pain medications, so then they considered that perhaps she overdosed. I had to give them all of her medications and medical records so they could determine what would be considered "normal levels" for her. They never found any fractures in her hyoid bone, which is a typical finding in strangulation. She didn't have any broken finger nails, skin under her nails, or bruises on her body to show that she had "fought back" or struggled.

My understanding of the evidence at the time is that if he hadn't confessed, there would be no physical evidence to show that he committed this crime. It would all be circumstantial. 

My own suspicions

When all of this came to light, it was my own personal suspicion that my mom's death was, in a manner of speaking, a passive suicide. Meaning she didn't do the deed herself, but she didn't do anything to stop it, either. I kept that to myself for a very long time, assuming that it would offend people. Especially my brother, my dad, and step-mom. I'm not sure when, maybe in the last five years or so, I finally brought it up. Only to find that they had all pretty much had the same thoughts themselves at some point.

It feels terrible to think of something like that, but I really think that was what happened with her. 

She was a master at pushing his buttons. I'd seen it firsthand. Her ex-boyfriend was un-diagnosed bipolar back then and would trigger very easily into anger. I've seen him smash a hole in the wall because I asked him to kill a cockroach. 

For an example of how she would intentionally manipulate him I'll tell you about this: 

There was a time where he was just being a jerk. Just being loud and obnoxious and I commented to her about it. Mind you, I'm only 16 at the time. I think. She tells me, "Don't worry, I'll get him to leave soon." And she starts doing these little things to press his buttons. Things that she knows are going to piss him off. Turning his music down over and over. Turning the lights off in the room he is in. She basically just started being a jerk back to him. This wasn't a standing your ground kind of thing. This was poking the bear. And it worked. He lost his fucking mind. They ended up in a physical fight and *I* had to call the police and he got taken to jail for the night. After the cops left, she looked at me and said, "Told you he was leaving."

I mean. sigh

Added to that the fact that she told me on multiple occasions that she would have committed suicide already and the only thing stopping her was the fact that if she did, my brother and I wouldn't get her life insurance money. My parents divorced when I was 12, and I lived with her full time. We would have late-late night conversations and she would tell me these things. You don't want to believe your parents when they say things like this, right?

Add those two things to the lack of evidence of her fighting back—it's easy to see where I would draw that conclusion about passive suicide, right?

A message 

In 2016 (I think), I received a message—and validation—for my suspicions.

I was having some "me" time, and doing some artsy stuff. I wanted to paint, but was having trouble landing on WHAT to paint. The only thing that kept coming to me was that song, "You Are My Sunshine". It was running in my head, over and over and over. I never did land on what to paint - it was going to be some variation of that, with a sun or maybe a sunflower but I was so distracted by the constant song in my head that I never got anywhere. I finally gave up, frustrated. 

Later that day, my friend Jade called me. She said, "You're mom is here and she won't leave me alone." She asked if she could give me a message and when I said yes, she described my mom physically - which was a perfect match: her yellow blonde hair, her thin petite build. Then she said, "She wants to tell you she is so, so sorry, and that she never should have let him do it." She said she (meaning Jade) didn't know what that was in reference to, but she was just passing it along. 

Immediately, I knew in my gut that my mom was meaning that she let him kill her....she didn't fight back. I also knew that she regretted doing so.

Then, Jade said, "She keeps telling me that you are her sunshine and I hear that song, you know, that old one? You Are My Sunshine?"

OMG, I laughed and cried. 

That was my closure. I always knew in my heart how things went down, but getting that validation was amazing. It certainly made it so much easier to let go of the anger I felt towards her ex-boyfriend, that's for sure.

The point I'm trying to make is:

Sometimes, having a Medium or Spirit Sensitive doesn't provide physical, tangible evidence. But, it does provide emotional, spiritual validation and closure. Not just to the living, but to the spirit that has passed on, too. 

I hope you find this helpful.

As always, Namaste
πŸ’–

Alain Davis
@HopelessOptimst 

P.S. - As always, I welcome your comments and questions - please feel free to comment on the post, or come find me on Instagram or Twitter. Look forward to hearing from you!