Erica L Hernandez

writing and blog about grief and loss, death and beyond, child loss, mood management, bipolar education, and domestic violence, and finding spiritual moments in a crisis.

Helping the homeless; helping them helps you

How many of you think about the growing number of people without permanent homes?   During one of my many trips to a local coop store, Grower’s Market, I discovered that there was a regular camp behind Grower’s, with a pretty consistent camper, P.  He is there most of the time and sometimes has a friend with him.  I talk to him pretty regularly now and have found him to be a friendly, pleasant person.

            During our chats, when I often bring him water, cheese, bread, and a banana or some combination of food stuff, he has shared with me his story.  He explained that he was divorced about five years ago and hasn’t had a permanent home since.  He hasn’t shared with me his personal issues, those things that added to the situation, and have prevented him from reacquiring permanent shelter.  He did share that he doesn’t like to go the group help centers, like the Mission, or the Egan Warming Centers because of the chaos and the human conflicts.

            So, I’ve made a regular habit of sharing.  When I go shopping each week, I get something for him too.  Sometimes I bring him some of our home cooked meal, hot food to heat him up from the inside out.  But at the very least, I get him something.  Sometimes I’ll give him money to wash and dry his sleeping bag/blankets.  ‘They get moldy,’ he explained, ‘from getting wet.’  ‘They won’t let me just come in and dry them at the laundro-mat.’  It’s hard for him to find enough money to wash and dry them.

Picking one person to help can be a way of taking on small bites at a time to help people in need.  Open your eyes and your heart to find someone who needs help and choose a way to help them that feels comfortable for you.  Most spiritual institutions talk about helping others as a way to feel closer to God, if you believe in that.  Most people recognize that helping someone helps us feel better about ourselves.

As we move through the journey of life, learning how to grow emotionally and spiritually, we begin to figure out tools to help ourselves feel good, good about ourselves, good about the world.  Focusing on what we can do to make the world a better place can help us feel good as well as focusing on the beauty that already exists in our world.  Discovering the friendly nature of those people who live without permanent shelter is one of those beautiful things!

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Miracle Manifest: Disappearing and Reappearing Items

            How many of you have ever experienced something that felt too unusual to be ‘just a coincidence’?  How many of you find coins in strange places, or more commonly than seems normal?  How many of you feel like a deceased loved one is connecting with you from the spirit world?  Please share your experiences right here and if it’s okay with you, I’ll post them to the blog!

Not long ago I wrote a blog about the interesting ways spirits play!  In the three years since my deepest loss, the number of items which have either appeared out of thin air, or disappeared and then reappeared later in a strange place, have been increasing.  The frequency with which I find coins has become so often that it defies chance and it continues to happen.

I wrote before about the dollar I found hanging in a tree, the twenty I found scrunched up on the side walk, and the five dollar-bill I found in a pocket where I never put money.  It seemed only natural to me to say to my son, in my head, ‘hey, all we need now is a ten!’  I was at least half-kidding, but really, I mean, why not?  So, when two five dollar-bills turned up in a strange place, I thought, ‘cute, Shawheen, that’s ten dollars alright, but that’s not a ten!’

I find pennies a lot, often I’ll find them three to five days in a row.  I consistently find an increase when I’ve had an intense period of grief.  Last Thursday was one of those days.  Grief hit me in the morning before work.  Usually it hits hard at night which is much more private, but this time it was in the morning.  So, I get in my parking place, wipe my eyes, check for redness in the rearview mirror, and when I look okay, I get out of the car.  Within ten feet of my car I find a penny.  Five feet from there, I find another penny.  “Thanks, Shawheen, now if I find a third that will really be something special!”  I thought to him and myself.  Later that day, a client of mine wanted to walk by the hospital to address some trauma and within a block or two from my office, I found a one dollar-bill.  Later the same day, I found the third penny.  Look at it visually, 1111.  Monetarily 1.03.  Anyway, you look at it, it’s a hell-of-a coincidence.  Serendipity, more like it, gifts from the spirit world.  They let us know we’re on the right track.  I find a lot of them near my office!!  I work as a psychotherapist, so I guess I’m doing the right work for me. 🙂

I share these experiences in the hopes that they will help you see the serendipitous events that occur in your life, an unusual experience with wildlife, an unusual sequence of events, or unexpected ‘coincidences’.  I hope that by reading about my serendipitous experiences, your heart and mind will be opened to amazing, awe inspiring experiences you have in your own life!

Thank you for visiting! We appreciate you sharing this blog with your friends, leaving comments and questions, as well as following and liking us! Thanks so much! Your visits are what make all this worthwhile!

Miracle: Spirits at Play

            What do you consider a miracle?  What makes you feel awestruck?  Have you ever felt like a loved one was nearby after they had passed on?

            Since my son died over three years ago, I often sense him communicating with me, experiencing a level of serendipity I can only attribute to a thinning of the veil that separates this physical realm from the spiritual one.  Over the years, I have found so many coins, my pennies from heaven, that I’ve realize it belies chance.  Since summer, I found a one-dollar bill literally hanging in a tree and a twenty-dollar bill scrunched up on a sidewalk near my office.  There have been a plethora of other finds that you could read about on other pages.

            A couple months ago, I bought the new iPhone X, a huge mistake since the prices dropped dramatically soon after.  Those of you have purchased this phone know that it comes with a charger cable and ear phones, but not with the needed adaptor which would enable you to plug those ear phones into the phone!  That same adaptor cable enables me to attach my square reader.  I hadn’t even realized I needed such a thing as I began to use my iPhone.  I went out for a walk one day and found a funny white gadget on the ground.  I didn’t realize it was the exact adaptor I was going to need, but I picked it up because it looked like Apple to me!  You might say it was a coincidence, but quite frankly, I don’t believe in coincidences anymore.  I know it was a gift from my son. 

            Then, a week or so ago, it disappeared!  Damn it, Shawheen, give it back already!  He likes to make things disappear to mess with me.  He thinks it’s funny.  He laughs at me a lot, let me tell you!  Thankfully, he doesn’t laugh at me when I’m crying.  He’s actually quite compassionate.  But, when I get angry at him for dematerializing things, he laughs.  So, I hope if I share this story, he’ll give me back the adaptor, and I won’t have to buy one.  You might think I just lost it, but I remember clearly.  I lent it to my son, but I got it back from him and put it “away”.  There have only been two places where I put it, one is a side pocket in my purse.  The other is a small pocket in my briefcase.

            I started this talking about money and I’m coming back to the money thing.  A few days ago, I was at work and I needed that adaptor.  I double checked in that little pocket in my briefcase and it wasn’t there.  Later that day, I looked again as I was leaving work and there was a crisp, five-dollar bill in that little pocket.  I never put money there, only pencils, pens and adaptor cables.  Thanks for the fiver, but could I still have the adaptor back?

            The other thing that has disappeared is my charger cable for my computer.  It is always plugged in at a desk in my back, living room and then one day it wasn’t.  I’m still waiting for Shawheen to give it back…

Depression, Bipolar Disorder or Anxiety: Mood Management Through Meditation

This blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional therapy

            Have you ever had the blues, felt blah and uninterested in things you usually enjoyed, or felt uncomfortably anxious?  Lots of people feel these things, yet our culture teaches us that we should hide behind the “I’m fine” scenario, and we are left to figure it out ourselves. 

In 2015, 16.1 million Americans had had a depressive episode that year, or about 6% of the adult population.  Another 1% of adults experience persistent low-grade depression, 18.1% of adults experience anxiety disorders, and 2.6% experience bipolar disorder.  Add it up!  That’s almost one out of 3 of us who struggle with mood or anxiety, so what do we do about it?

            Many people don’t know what to do. Some of us are fearful of therapy or the stigma of therapy and do our best with help from our friends.  Only a third of the population ask for professional help.  If you struggle with any of these issues, please seek professional help.  If you choose to try some of the ideas set forth in this blog, good for you!  Remember it’s your choice and is more like a self-help book, than actual treatment.  I encourage you to take responsibility for the results of your work!

            In this blog, I’ve talked about a number of research-based methods to help manage mood and anxiety.  Meditation is remarkably effective at helping.  Research has found that meditation has a direct impact on the brain, improving mood, calming anxiety and spreading out the space between bipolar episodes. 

If you’ve never meditated before or have tried and think it’s difficult, I encourage you to reconsider.  Think of meditation as a journey, rather than a destination.  If you can accept that, then you won’t hold a bunch of unrealistic expectations about meditation.  “I’m going to get in an alpha state” or “I’m going to be so calm” may be long term goals but they are probably unrealistic short-term goals.  It is, however, realistic to think “I’m doing something to take care of myself and help my brain function better.”

 I you want to start meditating, the first thing to think of is a quiet space in your day.  Many people start with night time, because they’re going to lay down quietly anyway!  Personally, I don’t think it matters when you meditate, only that you do meditate.  I encourage people to set a goal to meditate once a week for 2-3 minutes.  More often is always optional, but I encourage people to set an easily achievable goal.   This gives you something to feel good about!

There are many free meditations available on youtube, but I recommend googling UCLA MARC as they offer meditation podcasts ranging from 3 minutes to 26 minutes while teaching standardized meditation practices. These are a good place to start! 

Good Luck!  Please like this blog, share it with your friends, follow us, and leave comments.  What would you like me to write more about?  I look forward to hearing from you!

Sizism: Being Negatively Judged Based On Size

A special person started a conversation with me about our culture’s “Fat Phobia”.  This wasn’t new information but it was such a clearly stated perspective that it increased my own awareness that our culture has another “ism” to address when we’re thinkingof prejudice: sizism.  Sizism is found inthe dictionary, yet few people acknowledge this as a prejudicial issue and mycomputer doesn’t even have it in the dictionary!

            There are opportunities for learning in unusual and unexpected places.  There are people who are slender andunhealthy, others who are large or heavy and still healthy.  It’s important to learn not to judge peoplefor their coping strategies as long as they’re not hurting us in the process.

            Another consideration, from a spiritual perspective, is to consider the variety of purposes that we each have in physical form. We all have things to learn here on earth.  For many of us that lesson could be to love ourselvesin any size and to help others learn to love the spirit of the person withoutmaking the package (the body) relevant. These are valuable lessons for many of us, maybe for all of us, myself included.

            Many people struggle with the size and shape of their bodies, whether they are over theiroptimal weight or under their optimal weight. From a spiritual perspective this is an exercise in learning tolove.  We can work on this through lovingkindness meditations or in other ways, remembering that the spirit attached tothe body is a perfect spark of godly energy, no matter what size the packagethat contains it.

            Please like this blog, share it with your friends, follow us, and leave comments.  What would you like me to write more about?  I look forward to hearing from you!

Grief and Spirituality: the intersection

There is an interesting interface between grief and spirituality, perhaps a way for the spirit world to help us through the heart-shattering experience of loss.  How many of you have experienced the death of a loved one?  Of those of you who have, how many have experienced unusual experiences after your loved one died?  What experience did you have and what were your thoughts about how to explain the unusual occurrence?  I would love to have you, readers, share your experiences on this site.  Just click on “comments”, at the top of the page and share your own experiences with us about the spirit world!!

People often say they have an amazing experience after a loved one dies.  Fellow grievers, in a grief group I was in, told me they felt their spouse sit on the bed after the spouse had died.  Janis Heaphy Durham, in her book,

The Hand on the Mirror: A True Story of Life Beyond Death

shares discovering a hand print on her bathroom mirror a year after her husband’s death, along with numerous other miraculous experiences.  They say that around death the “veil”, between the physical realm and the spiritual realm, gets thinner, making it easier for you and I to experience miracles.

            Since my own son died three years ago, I have had a plethora of unusual experiences, that I have no other explanation for other than the spirits created these for me.  I no longer believe in coincidences.  Whenever I try to excuse these unusual experiences as coincidence, they occur less frequently, or stop altogether!  When I believe they are spirit related, they resume or increase…  The frequency with which I find coins, dollar bills, heart shaped rocks, and other appealing things defy the laws of chance, from my perspective.

            Grief isn’t always equally difficult, and perhaps the waves of grief become less intense with time, but they continue, sometimes indefinitely.  Three years ago, my son died to suicide, then my dad died in January and my mother in July.  My parents were due, old enough to have had a good life but it’s still a lot of loss in a short period of time.  The ‘miracles’ continue, if less frequently.

            This last week I had an intense grieving episode and I waited after that for a sign from my son (died 8/15).  I found a penny and that was nice but I desired more.  Grief has a way of blooming a yearning feeling.  I asked my mother to send me a sign (died 7/18) as she hadn’t sent a sign yet.  Then I remembered an incredible dream I had with my dad in it.  There is an older blog about this incredible dream.  I reached out to my dad (died 1/18).  “Dad, send me a hug like the one in the dream!”.  I had been feeling pain in my chest, like anxiety, only I knew it was grief.  Right after this request, I felt a peaceful feeling wash over me from my head to my feet and the pain was gone.  “Thanks dad!”  I thought and saw an image of my father with a broad smile.  The image that came was of him perhaps 30 plus years ago.             

            I was on a walk at the time, near my office on East 14th.  As I arrived at High street, I saw a turkey and then three more.  It struck me that I have never seen turkeys north of 18th before and perhaps this was a sign from my mother, a subtle one, but clearly serendipitous.  Had I ever seen a turkey downtown before this?  No.  So, I accepted that it was unusual and therefore a sign from the spirit world.

            We can think about this from two perspectives.  One option, if one doesn’t believe in a spiritual world, is to consider what your higher self wants you to pay attention to when you have a serendipitous experience, ie, maybe there’s a reason.  From a non-spiritual, perspective the idea is that your higher self is trying to get your attention.  Perhaps your higher self wants you to pay attention to what you were just thinking about or wants to validate that you’re on the right track in life.  The other option, if you are spiritual, is that your guides, or spirits of your loved ones/ancestors, are the instigator of these ideas.

La Perdida Mas Feo

La Perdida de un hijo es una tristeza que nunca desaparece y que rompe tu Corazon en pedazos que nunca se puede reparar.

 Te sientes triste por la Perdida de alguien que tu amas? Alguien que se murio? Sabes como lidiar con tu tristeza? Sabes que hacer para sentirte mejor? Que haces en esta situacion?

            Esto me paso a mi hace tres anos atras.  Mi hijo de treinta anos fallecio.  Yo no podria creer lo que paso.  El dolor en mi pecho era fuerte.  Tres anos han pasado y en el fin de Agosto viene su cumpleanos y el dia de su muerte. Mis sentimientos empeoran.  Siento que mi cuerpo es pesada.  Me siento mas perdida y triste.

            Yo lo hago frente a mis sentimientos caminando, escribiendo, abrazando mi familia, meditando, y llorando.  El processo del manejo de la tristeza es mucho trabajo y puede llevar muchos anos.

            Despues de su muerte,  yo comienzo a oir mi hijo hablar.  Yo pienso que ‘Estoy imaginando su voz pero no es posible.’  Fueron muchas veces que el interrumpio mis pensamientos para contestarme.  Yo trato de interrumpier mis pensamientos pero no puedo.  Es imposible.  Ese era la razon que era mi hijo.  Yo comienzo a creer que el estaba hablando con migo.

            Otros cosas impresionantes que sucedieron fue que una vez el hace que el salero y el bote de pimienta desaparecieran.  Yo los busque por tres semanas.  No estaba en la mesa, ni en el cabinete de especias, tan poco en los dos estantes donde mi hija pone cosas de la mesa.  Unos dias despues estaban en el mismo estante otra vez.  No estaban por tres semanas y derrepente estaban alli otra vez.  El tazon de azucar desaparecio Tambien por dos semanas.  Y mi esposo tubo que usar un jaro normal porque no lo encontrabamos. 

Una manana yo fui a caminar con con mi hija y nuestra perra.  En nuestro jardin en frente tenemos una mesa.  Ese dia la mesa era vacia como siempre y fuimos para caminar para una hora ariba de la loma.  De regreso, en el centro de la mesa estaba el tazon de azucar!!

            Estas experiencias Y actividades como caminar, meditar, bailar, escribir mis sentimientos, y hablar con otros personas me ayudan a lidiar la tristeza. 

Suicide Risk

            Have you ever known someone who has committed suicide?  Have you ever wondered why someone could be so depressed they would want to die, to commit suicide?  Have you ever suffered the loss of someone you loved, someone who died before their time?  How has it affected you?

Depression can suck the life out of any who suffers from it, while severe versions of depression can kill, or cause the sufferer to commit suicide.  Sadly, those who leave the earth that way don’t realize how much they are loved, cherished, and missed.  It’s so sad to realize that if someone or something could have kept them alive for a few days, maybe they wouldn’t even want to die a few days later, but once they’re gone, it’s too late…

It is likely that every one of you has at least one person in your life who loves and cherishes you.  It may not always seem like it, but even when it doesn’t, it’s still likely to be true.  Since my son suicided three years ago, I have met many people whose child or sibling suicided, and in every case, the surviving family member is crushed, having loved their lost relation deeply.

There are a lot of people in the world who are suffering from grief, depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, not to mention so many other ways to suffer.  It is possible that every single person on earth is suffering from something.  Each person, each sufferer, each living being, has a unique spark of goodness inside them, a spark of angelic perfection, which they brought with them to the physical plane at the time of their birth.  This spark is always with us and will never leave.  There is always a part of each of us which is perfect, just the way it is.

Some of us get hurt badly in childhood and feel unlovable, unable to trust, unable to connect with another human being.  Some get so hurt in childhood that they act out upon others, hurting other people the way they were hurt, or hurting others even worse.  Even the worst criminal alive started out on earth as an angelic baby, full of that goodness, that spark of perfection.

If you know someone who worries you, talking about suicide, hopelessness, or is giving lots of their things away, call for help!  Cahoots, Eugene, Oregon, is available to do a mental health assessment at someone’s home if they live in Eugene or Springfield, Oregon.  If we are worried about someone, we can call the police and ask for a ‘wellness check’.  Cahoots will go with police back up to the person’s home and do a mental health evaluation to assess for suicidality and a danger to self or others.  If they deem the person a danger, they will take them to the hospital for a second evaluation.  If you’re not in Eugene, Oregon, you can call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or your local police station for help.  It is possible that most places have some service that is similar to what we have in Eugene, Oregon. 

Blessings…  Thank you for visiting this blog!  Thank you for liking us, sharing us with your friends, commenting and sharing your thoughts and opinions or questions, and for following this blog!

Grief and Sadness: keys to ascension

            How do you feel about grieving, crying, letting out sadness and hurt feelings?  I wonder if you believe it’s a sign of weakness?  I wonder if you feel uncomfortable crying?  Do you subscribe to the belief system that grief will resolve itself and you won’t need to cry anymore?  Or do you believe that you only need to recognize that your dead loved one is still available in the spirit world and once you fully accept that you’ll be able to stop grieving? 

            It amazes me how many spiritually evolved people seem to believe that when we cry it lowers our vibrational level moving us in an unhealthy direction.  It astounds me how many mediums including Esther Hicks of Ask and It Is Given, claim that Arch Angels have told them that we only grieve when we focus on what we don’t have, ie our physical loved one.  They suggest that we only need to recognize and fully be aware that our loved one, though physically gone, is still with us spiritually.  There is some truth to that.  When we grieve, our focus may be on the physical loss, but the implication is that it isn’t beneficial to grieve, to cry, to feel the physical loss.

            I’m told differently and I want to share this message with you.  Many of you who have read my blog before or who know me personally, know that my eldest son died of heroin overdose three years ago.  Since then, my channeling skills have increased and I often talk to my son from the spirit world.  I’ve asked him about this message from other mediums and I get a different message.

            Perhaps it’s clear, but I’ll spell it out in case it’s not.  My son struggled with addiction for about four years before he died.  He’d had a hard life of neglect from his father and he struggled with difficult emotions.  He struggled to process them, to deal with them, and to express them.  I believe this is true for anyone who struggles with addiction.

            It is an interesting match, him choosing me to be his mother as I’ve always been able to deal with my feelings, to process my emotions, and to express them.  I had to learn to fit in to society’s unreasonable restriction.  I was always considered “over-sensitive”, when in actuality sensitivity is a spiritual gift.

            When my son passed on, we began talking.  He explained to me that he is now one of my spiritual guides.  He also is benefitting from my grief process.  He explained that as he helps me deal with my grief for my loss of his physical presence, I, in turn, help him learn how to process feelings in the physical world, which he will one day return to and try it again himself.

            He made it very clear that grieving and crying are beneficial emotions that do not lower our vibrational energies, but in actuality help both ourselves and our spirit guides ascend!!  Depression is another story entirely.  When we get depressed, we get stuck in an emotion that we are not processing effectively, and it is due to the lack of effective processing that it lowers our vibrational level. 

            The key to effective grief processing is not to stay there.  We can use children as our model.  They can get very upset, cry intensely, and in a few minutes to an hour, be completely done with the sadness and ready to play.  They naturally understand that sadness needs to be visited temporarily, then set aside for play.  If we can learn from their example, we will process our grief for a period, then leave it for activities that feel good.  We might leave the grief for a hot bath, candle light, meditation, an art project, snuggling, a conversation with a dear friend, some dancing, or any number of joyful activities.  It’s visiting grief, processing it, and leaving it for joyful activities, that make it an effective process and aids in ascension.

            Thank you for visiting this blog!  We love it when you leave comments, like us, share us with your friends, and follow us!  Thanks again!

Spirit dematerializes pack

            Has anyone you love died?  Have you ever had something disappear and then reappear right where you looked for it before?  Have you ever had a strange experience you just couldn’t chalk up to coincidence?  Hover over and click on “comments” to share your experiences with the rest of us or to comment on what is written here.

            My son died three years ago.  It shattered my heart so severely, I don’t think I’ll ever be the same again.  In some ways I’m better now.  I have a clear faith in the spirit world that was shaky before.  I also carry an ache around with me that never goes away for long.  I was at Rainbow Optics today picking up my new lenses and there was a young man in front of me in line.  He looked a little bit like my son, not exactly but similar.  It brought tears to my eyes in public.  People in public don’t take kindly to that.

            Since my son died, I’ve had a lot of strange experiences.  There have been too many for me to find them coincidental.  The most recent was about a week ago.  My fanny pack went missing.  It’s bright red, so it’s hard to lose.  We’d just come back from the beach so I worried I might have left it there after looking in all the usual places.  I usually hang it on a chair or on some hooks by my back door.  It wasn’t in any of those places, so I called the beautiful B n B we stayed in, Ambrosia Gardens.  The owner called me back later to assure me that she hadn’t found it.  I was disappointed since that would have been an easy solution, at least in comparison to reality.

            Reality was my son dematerialized it.  In other words, he made it disappear.  Usually he returns the things he takes, but not always, so I get a little upset when he takes things.  I have an old Iphone-5 that was lost in my daughter’s room and has never reappeared.  It’s been over a year so I don’t have a lot of hope, but it should turn up, theoretically. 

            So, as time passed, I wondered if the fanny pack would turn up.  I went to those hooks by the back door one night to gather my grocery bags to go shopping, and there was the fanny pack!  I’d looked there before and it hadn’t been there, but it had rematerialized there.  Thanks, Shawheen.  Now, can I have the darned phone back, too, please!  And that other thing too!

            Thanks for visiting this site!  Thanks for sharing it with your friends, commenting, asking questions, asking me to write about something in particular, following this site, and liking it!

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