See You In The Light

In MemoriamOn Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14, 2016, my husband and I facilitated our first Higher Love event. Our Higher Love events are workshops and retreats for individuals and couples focused on deepening relationships and loving intentionally. This was our very first so it was a day of “birthing” a project that has been in the gestation period since 2009. And now, after much time and consideration it has been birthed and on its way to healthy growth and aliveness.

We had a wonderful day of sharing and loving with an amazing group of people and when the day ended we were absolutely thrilled and triumphant – it was high-fives and fist-bumps all over the place. We lingered awhile with some of the attendees then packed up for the drive from New York City to our home in central NJ where we met up with my brother and sister-in-law for a celebratory Valentine’s Day dinner. Finally, after a very long day, we arrived home exhausted and ready to surrender to rest.
When I sat down on the sofa to remove my boots I noticed the blinking green light on our phone indicating messages waiting. Flopping back into the seat I put my feet up and began to listen.

Suddenly the mood of this auspicious day changed drastically as I heard my dear friend Beth telling me that her husband, Larry, had passed away early that morning – Valentine’s Day morning. Larry battled pancreatic cancer for the last four years. It was one of the most amazing battles I’ve ever seen. He did it with powerful intention, lucidity, and tremendous courage. Oh, and his usual dry intellectual sense of humor. Beth and Larry were an amazing team fighting this disease together – a united front and a force to be reckoned with. It was a rough go for a long time. Long hospital stays, the ravages of chemotherapy and endless testing and doctors and waiting for news. It was the proverbial roller-coaster ride of physical and emotional ups and downs. He actually conquered the original cancer site and at one point was actually cancer free, an unheard of result with pancreatic cancer. But those cells were virulent and eventually showed up in his liver. He was actually doing much better in the last year, gaining weight and regaining his joie de vivre enabling him to attend his son’s wedding in Florida as well as sharing sporting events, parties and family time with more vigor than had been seen in many months. Only two weeks ago he was accepted into a cutting edge clinical trial for immunotherapy. In spite of how ill he has been these last four years, his death at this time came suddenly and shocked us all. We had hoped this new therapy would give him much more time. It was not to be.

As soon as I hung up the phone after speaking with Beth I began hearing Larry’s voice. Nothing specific, just a sensation of his voice. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it, if the fatigue from the day and the shock of this news had rendered me a little bit crazy and I was just hearing things through an exhausted brain.

After a rather rocky night trying to sleep we got up and tried to have a relatively “normal” morning. I was alone in our living room sipping my coffee when he came to me. It was Larry. I could feel his energy as clearly as I felt my own. It was as if he were in the living room with me, sharing a cup of coffee. There is no easy way to say this so that it makes sense, but I will try. Larry was “telling me” that he was amazed at how “cool” it was to be where he was. His energy was that of child-like wonder…excited and amazed. I said his name out loud and he sort of “nodded” hello (I know this sounds wild but this is how it happened) and kept indicating that it was “so cool” to be where he was. I could feel him everywhere. Then he indicated that while he felt ecstatically happy and free, he was concerned for his family and how his leaving would impact them. All I could do was acknowledge his being there and mentally offer to him that all would be well. He stayed a little while longer and his energy simply faded away. The experience lasted about two minutes…maybe less; time is hard to measure at a moment like that. I went upstairs to find Bob and told him simply, “Larry was just here” and told him what happened. Knowing me as Bob does he was not at all surprised and just hugged me and said he was glad he came to me.

Of course I allow a certain amount of healthy skepticism to enter my thinking after an experience like this one so I phoned a good friend who is also a gifted psychic and channel for some support and counsel. She was very supportive and knew that Larry and I had many spiritually-oriented conversations and that I had done a Reiki session with him while he was ill. She said that he came to me because he knew I’d understand how he was feeling the freedom, the joy, and the total happiness – and that I would know it was him. She said that he saw me as a beacon and knew that he could come to me to share “how cool” it was. I cried then. I cried because of the loss of Larry’s earthly life; I cried for the release that he was now feeling. And I was and am deeply humbled that he chose to come to me that morning. I am also truly amazed that we humans can hold deep sadness and great joy in the same exact moment.

Larry is the first friend of my generation and group of friends to die. He had a million friends, all of us in relatively the same age group. No doubt we all reflected on our own mortality and where we are in our own earth continuum as we escorted him home and held space for his family. In my thoughts I realize that Larry has done the hard work. Larry now knows the answer to the question we all hold in our minds – what happens when we die? He has stepped through the veil and knows the deal. And I sense that he is paving the way for us all for the time when it’s our turn to step across. Larry is now the beacon. I can’t help noticing that February is the gateway to spring. It’s fitting that Larry would leave at a time when new life is stirring beneath our feet.

Valentine’s Day will forever have a new meaning, just as my own birthday, when my father died 4 years ago. Not a day for sadness, although we will feel that and remember. It will be a day for Love in a new way. A day to reflect on how we are expressing love. A day to remember how much love Larry had for his wife, children, grandchildren, family and his millions of friends. It will be a day to dedicate ourselves to the purity of that Love and to remember our friend Larry Rudnick.

Farwell my friend. I will see you in the light. ~ FD

A Reflection On and From the Heart ~ A Valentine’s Day Message

Light-in-Heart

Valentine’s Day is such a trigger for so many people. Reflecting on my own love/hate relationship with the day I admit that I’ve been a willing partner in the hype of this so-called holiday. My Dad was a very romantic guy and always made the day special for my mother. I was abundantly aware of how in love they were and, while it made for a loving household (not without ups and downs certainly…sometimes more downs than ups) it sparked a young girl’s imagination about how love would show up in her life. I was also “Daddy’s Little Girl” (that song still brings me to tears) so he also recognized me on Valentine’s Day with a card and a little box of chocolates. Of course it thrilled me to no end because I absolutely worshiped my very handsome and dashing Daddy and basked in the glow of his love for me. But we all know that expression, “It’s all fun and games until someone…..fill in the blank…..” Well it was all fun and games until my lofty dreams and expectations about how Valentine’s Day – how Love – should be were dashed many times as my adult life unfolded. Like so many of us, we learn our reality lessons the hard way, often because that’s the ONLY way we will learn them.

And I did learn many lessons about romantic love. A lot of them were hard and painful. The childish illusions were replaced by disappointment, remorse, resentment, anger, bitter tears, and a host of other things I’m sure many of you can relate to. The pendulum swung in the opposite direction for many years as I traveled the road of the divorcee trying to find a way back into single life, failing miserably as I kissed many of the frogs that crossed my path. In fact there came a time when I was pretty sure that frogs were all that was available and eventually decided that Love was not a game I wanted to play. I had a great life, a great career, a delightful daughter, a loving family and fabulous friends – and that was quite enough for me. It was then that things shifted and lo and behold…well…I found a Love like no other (or shall I say IT found me).

What I have learned finally about Love is that we need to love ourselves, period. Now this is not a new notion. Many people, especially women, have been writing and speaking about the notion of self-love, self-esteem, self-worth for years. The wisdom has been shared in so many ways. I read book after book, listened to tapes (remember them?), went to classes, watched programs, meditated on it, affirmed it daily. And somewhere in the process of peeling layer after layer of ill-conceived ideas about my own self-worth (or lack of it) the lights started to go on. And guess what…illumination is (at least for me) a slow process. Some days the lights are burning bright…some days not. Some days I see a woman in the mirror I admire and love from the depths of my soul, and some days I don’t like what I see in the mirror at all. It’s progress because the lights never go out anymore. I am always emanating my light regardless of what kind of day I’m having. That much I know for certain. I love that light…and since that light is coming from me, I love me too.

And then there’s the heart. We were all born with this amazing muscle that runs our body machine every moment of every day. I am constantly awed by the way it emits just the right amount of electricity, pumps just the right amount of blood through the many little tiny vessels running throughout our bodies, making that beautiful sound it makes…all day long. All day it keeps doing the job of keeping the rest of our physical being nourished, carrying the vital nutrients we need through our blood to the far reaches of every system. Sometimes my mind has trouble conceptualizing that I am alive because this muscle is expanding and contracting within my chest second by second. It’s truly a mind-blower.

Something else I know is that within this vital organ is the capacity for Love that is beyond our understanding. Ancient teachings identify this place in the body as the center for the emotion of Love. And Love is more than having a boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, or spouse. It’s more than flowers and chocolates. It’s more than a candle-lit dinner and love-making. Love is not little red hearts and a bunch of roses. Yes those things are nice, wonderful even. And they are not Love. Love cannot possibly fit into such a tiny container. It’s just too big for that. In fact it’s so big that to try to define it is impossible. The concept of Love makes me feel the same awe that I feel when I think about the beating heart, and I all I can do is stop and allow it to wash over me.

I spoke earlier of my Dad. He was, and is, a heroic energy in my life. He had a heart that emitted more love than any heart I’ve ever known. And the day his stopped was one I will not ever forget. I wasn’t sure mine would or could continue to beat in the presence of the grief of losing him. And yet my heart did continue beating and within it is the essence of the Love my father emanated toward me and everyone who knew him. It’s a living thing. It’s real. As real as the muscle that beats this very moment in my chest and yours.

So the symbol of the heart and the work it does is really what I like to think Valentine’s Day should be about. Valentine’s Day is about affirming life, affirming the gift of being alive and of having that remarkable muscle doing its work moment by moment. It’s about basking in the glow of the emanation of Lovelight that each of us is sharing with every living thing. And it’s about recognizing the Divinity that we are and the gift of life we’ve been given. And as I tune into the rhythm of my own heartbeat I tune into yours and share this magnificent wisdom with you:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

~ Franne 2-5-16

Change and The Cosmic Deal

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I’m a Leo with Taurus and Cancer influences. It’s like being in a tug of war with your own nature. My Leo is sunny adventurous and on fire; she loves being sexy and looking pretty; and she loves to strut her stuff. She’s loves newness and change, hates routine and needs to be seen and beloved. Then there’s my Taurus nature, which is loyal and creative, independent and sensual, and a little bit stubborn at times. And that pesky, crabby Cancer whose intuition and sensitivity are both a blessing and a curse; she loves security and home and resists change. Yikes, it’s no wonder I get so exhausted. I’m trying to balance a wild and crazy jungle queen with a stubborn bull and a moody crab who likes to hide out sometimes.

Enter my life right now. Today my husband is packing for a trip to the Midwest to train for his exciting new job. He will be gone for 5 days and 6 nights (but who’s counting). In the 25 years we’ve been married we’ve rarely spent a night away from each other. We know many couples whose lives include long and short business trips, workshops or other travel away from each other. They are accustomed to it and it’s a natural part of their lives. This is so not “Us”. While we’ve been celebrating this wonderful new opportunity for his career and our future, we’ve been dreading the moment when we arrive at the airport and he and I are parted for what seems like eternity. I’ve noticed the crazy back and forth of emotions as the three major aspects of my aforementioned astrological natures battle it out making me feel like I’m playing schizophrenic ping-pong. And it’s all because of the dreaded and inevitable change that is intrinsic in the deal we all made when we decided to enter the earth experience.

Leo loves it! She’s doing a happy dance, dressed in a flashy red dress, in sexy strappy elevator heels, her long black tresses flinging wildly about. Ah she’s in her element. Boy does she ever love to live on the edge wondering what’s going to happen next. Change? Bring it on!

Taurus is working out how to manage the week on her own, somewhat excited ready to welcome the challenge. She enjoys being on her own and handling her business. She’s busy thinking about how to support her man, make sure he’s packed correctly and has everything he needs, cheering him on for the new adventure.

Ms. Cancer isn’t doing so well. She’s worried, wringing her hands, feeling insecure and uneasy. It’s going to rain. What if his flight is delayed? Will he be safe? Will I be safe? What’s the new job going to be like? Will it go well? So many questions about how this new job will impact our life. And what if we have to move again? Lions and tigers and bears, Oh My!

The expression “Shit Happens” comes to mind about now, only I’ve changed it to “Change Happens” because in reality it does. In my life change is exciting and thrilling. It’s also scary and unsettling. I think many people feel the same way, mostly because we’ve all experienced the variety of extremes that can and often accompany it. In my experience change has shown up in so many ways, sometimes delighting me and sometimes breaking my heart. From giving birth to my daughter to divorce; from learning to stand on my own two feet and celebrating my independence to re-uniting with my Twin Flame and marrying him. From new love to breakups – feeling safe and secure to walking a tightrope of fear and indecision. From knowing my parents are home and safe, to witnessing their decline and ultimately losing them both. And on and on it goes – new job, leaving jobs; daughter married; grandchild; graduations; happy days; fun days; sad days. Change! It’s inevitable and it’s part of the cosmic deal.

Some of us are like my Leo self, embracing it with zeal and hospitality, and a hearty, “Come on in”! Some of us are wary and stepping gingerly trying to navigate it with some level of skill like my Taurus. And, of course there’s the inevitable Cancer self with the obligatory worry and fear of the unknown and the desire for things to stay the same, please. I’m thinking for most of us it’s a beautiful concoction of all of the above with some other spices and aromas thrown in for good measure. Yes, it makes us uncomfortable to shake up the status quo. But how much status quo can we stand before stagnation sets in? The Universe has a wonderful way of knowing when that’s happening and, lo and behold, here it comes…change!!! The Leo in me says, “bring it” (while Taurus plans and Cancer worries).

One of my favorite poems from the beloved Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi is entitled, “The Guest House”. It speaks of welcoming all aspects of change:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

We are about to close the suitcases and prepare for a good night’s rest so my intrepid traveler husband and I can begin yet another new adventure. I know in my deepest knowing, where Truth is alive within me, that all is well and I open my arms to the new, even with my all too human trepidation and my Leo-Taurus-Cancer selves in tow. Ultimately the cosmic deal is all that counts. I welcome it, I honor it, and I say So It Is.

Franne Demetrician 1.9.16

DAD, FAMILY & THE RED MOON

Dad's night hal and meDaddy with hat

My beloved Dad, Mike Ketofsky, was honored on Saturday night by our local community.  It was a great thrill to gather with my family so that my brother, Hal, and I could receive this honor on his behalf.  I’ve always been proud to be his daughter; never more than I was upon hearing from his peers of the many ways he served the community and of the love and respect he inspired everywhere he went.

My dad was a Prince.  He was the epitome of generosity and kindness; of love and dedication; of service and consciousness; of connection and of devotion.  Standing at the podium with my brother making an acceptance speech to those present was surreal.  In fact the entire event was surreal.  It was held at the South Brunswick Senior Center, one of Dad’s many projects and sort of The House That Mike Built.  He spent most of his days there orchestrating one thing or another, playing pool or bridge, driving people to and fro, or attending meeting after meeting for the various projects he had a hand in.  I could feel his energy that night. I could see his broad smile and his laughing eyes. And I could see the pride on his face as his son, granddaughter, and son-in-law sang and played music for those assembled in his honor.  There were a variety of other performers as well, singing and dancing in ways that would have delighted him.  He was always so appreciative of anything anyone did that made them happy.  It made him happy too.  What made me happy was looking out at the faces of Dad’s family, whose eyes glistened with tears and tremendous pride.  We all loved him so much and we were in the place that gave him his sense of purpose during the years when his wife, my beloved mother, was being ravaged by Alzheimer’s.  This place was his refuge, his respite from the horror of watching his beloved disappear bit by bit, day by day.  I will always and forever be grateful to the many organizations and clubs that he served all of those years.  They saved his life, and allowed us to have him in ours for much longer than we would have otherwise.

It was a beautiful tribute to a big man with a huge heart.  When I look at the beauty of the red super moon Mother Nature gifted us last night I liken it to my Dad’s beautiful, wonderful heart.  The energy of the eclipse and all of the astrological aspects that gathered at this moment seem to be in harmony with the honoring of my Dad.  It’s about change, about moving into a new phase of consciousness; about restoring equilibrium and balance;  it is a gateway into a new world where we will all have a deeper understanding of humanity, our purpose and what life is all about.   He would absolutely love being here for a moment of such unique significance.

As his daughter, I absolutely love having been here with him in this lifetime.  He has left an imprint on me and everyone else he’s ever known.  The beautiful moon outside seems to be a reflection of his light back to us, and that big round smile is Dad’s smile saying to me and our family, “Good Show”.  I love you Dad.

Alzheimer ’s disease is a cruel illness that knows no boundaries or limits.  It’s also a disease without a cure.  Most of us know someone, some family or friend, who has been touched by this tragic and unrelenting disease.  Please support The Alzheimer’s Association in any way that you can by donating generously, or perhaps forming your own team for the Alzheimer’s Walks taking place this fall all-round the country.  Contact your local Alzheimer’s Association for information about how you can help.   And while you’re at it, please support the American Diabetes Association, The Senior Center of South Brunswick, NJ, and the Aging in Place Partnership of South Brunswick, NJ.  There are so many ways we can help locally and globally.  Our aging population has done so much for us.  Let’s give something back.

Dad's night-the fam

Pictured: from left, Hal & Kathy Ketofsky, Aaron and Lindsay Ketofsky, Bob Demetrician, in front, Melissa Blevins, Franne Demetrician – most of Mike’s brood!!  Missing are Logan and Daynon Blevins, but not forgotten.

With blessings.    FD

Remembering

Today is a day of dichotomies for me.  I’m celebrating a victory after a successful evening of teaching and camaraderie as I hold the very vivid memories of September 11, 2001 in my heart and mind.  Life is so filled with these divergent moments…holding the most amazing and wonderful bliss and joy and the absolute worst devastation one could imagine in the exact same second.  We know that at the first moment a plane hit a tower on that day, a baby was born somewhere in the world.  The contrast is startling, to say the least.  So today I mourn the losses, and I celebrate the joys and victories.  I honor those who sacrificed and I bow with appreciation at the intrinsic beauty that exists within all of those sacrifices.   Today I remember.  I remember it all.                                 ~ FD

candles