A talk by Pam Ponsart
I was born during World War II. That gives you an idea of my age. My Physical Life has taken many twists and turns, and yet, looking back, I can see how beautifully my spiritual journey has been orchestrated by Infinite Intelligence and my Spirit Guides. I am aware of many pivotal points in my life which represent to me occasions when I have exercised free will. And basically, I see my life as a series of stepping stones, and yet, I see my Spiritual Journey as a straight line.
Growing up with my mother primarily, [but also with] my half-sister and stepfathers, from time to time I realized at a young age that my mother was “different” when she drank alcohol. My mother was a very sweet, creative, vivacious, loving, Spiritual, woman, and yes, she was a very sick alcoholic. Her spirituality came about through the influence of the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy who founded the Christian Science Church. She referred to it from time to time, and I specifically recall her encouraging me to use my Intuition when making decisions.
When creating a family tree through Ancestry.com, I was fascinated to learn a bit about my mother’s introduction to these teachings. This nugget of information came about while reading a biography of one of her aunts. I soon discovered there was much to learn about my heritage; some of which affects me to this day, … I think.
Looking back, my sense of it is that the relationship with my Mother was key in ultimately opening the doors to an awareness of the possibility of a spiritual way of life.
While I was living in San Diego, I distinctly remember wondering why I had never met a man who was alcoholic. And guess what? Apparently this thought was the signal! (I have to say here that I am reminded that, according to Earnest Holmes “Thoughts Are Things” and that our mind is connected to The Universal Mind. I’ll talk a little more about Earnest Holmes as we go along here.)
I believe, that Infinite Intelligence and my guides decided it was time for me to begin this Lesson. And, much to my amazement, my very next encounter was with a man who was the same type of alcoholic as my mother. Of course, the lesson here had very little to do with alcoholism, although I would become aware during this time that the American Medical Association had declared alcoholism a disease.
As it happened, of course, the relationship with this gentleman was nothing short of a blessing! I was introduced to the Twelve-Step Program associated with Alcoholics Anonymous.
As a co-dependent in Al-Anon, I came to embrace (among other things) the words of The Serenity Prayer where we ask: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
This was my first step toward taking personal responsibility for the choices I would make in my life going forward. Prior to this time, I recall believing in nothing but my own existence.
Because I was associating with others who were practicing the Twelve Steps , I witnessed many miracles being experienced by these people. This gave me courage and a sense of the possibilities that awaited me.
At just about the same time, I was introduced to the teachings of Earnest Holmes, who in the late 1930s, founded The Science of Mind, which was originally known as The Institute of Religious Science and Philosophy. He explored the connection between science and religion. (This is NOT to be confused with Scientology.)
I began my education with Terry Cole-Whittaker when she created her church, based on his teachings, in a small room in The Women’s Civic Center in La Jolla, California.
There were just about two-hundred people who attended in the beginning and, as many of you probably know, this philosophy was contagious and her church, in particular, quickly mushroomed to around four-thousand followers. She had a terrific way of bringing his message to life. And, soon, many of us discovered if we practiced the principals, we saw the positive results in our lives. Many other churches sprang up; with the message also being taught by some other very gifted individuals.
The teachings of Earnest Holmes are very much alive and well today; however, currently, in an effort to re-brand the Institution, it is being referred to as The Center for Spiritual Living.
Between the two philosophies, (Al-Anon and Science of Mind), I learned how to lead a Spiritual Life and how to trust and rely on a Higher Power, which I came to know as God.
Earnest Holmes referred to “prayer” as “Spiritual Mind Healing” or “Spiritual Mind Treatment.” There is a slogan for this as well: “Treat and Move Your Feet.” This slogan reinforced my sense of personal responsibility.
I find this slogan to be very much like our very own “Prayer for Spiritual Healing” when we say: “I ask this in all sincerity and honesty, and I will do my part.”
Again, another reminder…. Coming to Spiritualism felt like a natural progression along my Journey.
Now, I can almost hear you wondering: “How did she get here?” [To become a member of the Society.]
Through the years, I have had some unexplained feelings within myself as well as some ‘other-worldly’ experiences; which is another great topic for yet another day.
Moving along here, basically, I have come to the realization that many of these feelings and experiences were connected to members of what I call my Extended (Human) Family . These wonderful people are not relatives by blood and yet I know my life would not be complete without them.
We connected about the time I was graduating from high school here in Reno. Dare I say, they are members of my Soul Family? Well, that is again another topic for another day.
Fast forward to present day … well, almost present day: I was about to learn a very important lesson; albeit in a very painful way.
A member of my extended family and I became a couple. His name was Willie Canepa. We had many years after his deceased wife made her transition for this to happen; however, neither of us was ready and it did not happen until the very end of his physical life. It was as if he knew he had something important to do before he left the earthly plane.
In spite of the fact that he seemed to know he was old (those were his words; he wasn’t much older than myself), he made a verbal commitment to our relationship. This happened just about ten weeks before his transition.
I remember thanking God for saving the best for last; everything felt so right.
Then, he passed suddenly and unexpectedly after only seven months together as a couple. I grieved deeply, and in fact, it was only after the first two or three months that I realized my grief was so deep that I hadn’t been able to view life in Technicolor; I only saw my world in shades of gray. Thankfully, this part of the grieving process lifted, and yet, I continued to wear the cloak of sorrow for about another twelve months.
At some point during those first few days, I realized that there was a lesson for me, and that was before I learned about “lessons.” Somehow, deep inside, I felt this relationship and this grief was different; that it had a purpose. I had lost others, including my parents and some friends, but with just a couple of exceptions, I was not affected the same way.
Eventually, I realized our relationship and his death catapulted me onto a path where I became a seeker of knowledge about “The Larger Life.”
I had been experiencing contact of different types, from beyond the veil, and I needed a place to go where I would be understood. Some of the books I read were very helpful in this regard; books by Dr. Brian Weiss and Dr. Michael Newton, for instance, really spoke to me and are available through our local library.
Because I couldn’t seem to locate grief support groups here in Reno, I looked online. I know you are surprised to hear this, but I am convinced to this day that I was led by Spirit to become aware of some very specific groups where I would be able to receive much needed education about, what I call “The Greater Life.” I had so many questions within myself and I needed answers.
One of the groups was hosted by James Van Praagh. He freely provided, among other things, message boards that dealt with every topic under the sun having to do with the world beyond. Sadly, those message boards are not available today; however, one of the members told me I was led to that group so I could receive education and so I would learn “the language of spirit.” This is where I learned so many things and of many wonderful books, which I read voraciously to help me come to terms with what I experienced. I have probably read sixty-five or so books since June of 2011, when Willie made his transition, and maintain a “Suggested Reading List” as a result. I am happy to share that list with anyone who is interested.
One of the books I specifically want to mention today is Your Soul’s Plan by Robert Schwartz. In the chapter “Death of a Loved One,” there were a little over twenty pages which spoke truth to me. One of my painful lessons dealt with empathy and compassion. These were only words until I found myself in need of expressing them. People I knew reached out to me with empathy and compassion and then I began to understand. And, now, I am able to reach out to others in the same way, as I have internalized the pain associated with loss.
No, reading the chapter “Death of a Loved One” did not dispel my grief but I felt like I could accept what had taken place because I felt I could understand the purpose. And, for sure, I am now a more empathic and compassionate person.
Because of another of the online support groups, I was guided to find a Spiritualist church. That online group is hosted by Christine Duminiak, and is still on-going. In fact, she has a Facebook page! All manner of after-death contact and communication is shared and discussed there. It has “Christian” underpinnings but, for me, it was great to see that we are all experiencing some of the same things.
And, thanks to one of those members who suggested I look to see if there was a Spiritualist church here in the Reno area, I found “Us.”
Looking back, I see that everything has worked together to bring me the awareness of the larger life. Previously, I had referred to “God” which I most often now refer to as “Infinite Intelligence.” I have also become aware of so much more.
I believe we are all Souls having a human experience. I believe I have a spirit team comprised of my guides, angels, healers and helpers and I am aware of how they work in my life as they assist me along my Journey. I am very grateful to them and try to remember to thank them often and also, for sure, before nodding off to sleep at night.
I have come to believe in the benefits of meditation and I attempt to practice this every day. No, I am not always successful, but it is on my daily to do list; so, I remain aware.
In closing, I want to say that this Larger Life has given me a belief in something vast and wonderful and allows me to live, purposefully, in peace and serenity.
I thank you all…