8 Weeks Later


Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

Reflections

It has been approximately two months since the book, When The Psychology Professor Met The Minister was released. Pat and I are pleased to have heard from grieving individuals who have taken comfort in the fact that they can be empowered to maintain continued bonds with their loved ones. One young woman told us that she and her mother were reading the book and planned to discuss it. Another parent told us that she was reading it together with her college age daughter. One of the outcomes that Pat and I hoped for was that the book would inspire multigenerational discussions about how the integration of psychology and spiritual practices could empower present and future generations to transcend life challenges. We had hoped that people would resonate with the message we are trying to convey.

Though we are humbled by the positive response to our book, thus far, we both had to confront our own fears and doubts(e.g. our shadow selves) during the writing process.

We’ve both had to look at the idea that our personal stories are now out there for colleagues, students and family to see. It has brought a sense of vulnerability to our private lives. In fact, prior to our book being published, I had a dream of being naked and alone on a dark city street. To me, that was the ultimate and symbolic representation of being vulnerable. Sharing my spiritually transformative experience after 10 years, was risky for me because of how my science based colleagues in academia would perceive my experience. But I hold my colleagues in high regard because they are very clear with what they believe. And there is room in this world for individuals with different beliefs to coexist peacefully. If we choose to witness rather than judge another person’s beliefs, we integrate certain aspects of them into our core belief system, if we so choose. So I cast any fear and doubt I had aside and “completed the mission” with Pat. Besides, I was never really in total control of the writing process, Spirit truly inspired the content of this book.

Empowerment and The Mississippi Freedom Trail

Photo Credit: Patty Furino

The work that I did with Pat was not traditional grief work. Pat empowered me to use the wisdom she shared through not only my daughter, but my other deceased ancestors and her wise spirit guides to facilitate the development of a clear and peaceful perspective that would help me look at the world differently. She helped me peck at the shadows of my past so I could find clarity in the present and create the future of my own creation. What Pat does is probably best described as Spiritual Counseling, and she treats it as a ministry. Her guidance helps individuals to achieve the greatest level of awareness and empowers them to develop a sense of self-efficacy or belief that their actions can have a positive impact on the world around them.

I had previously attempted to convince Pat of our need to write a book about my experience and what I learned during our marathon conversations. But Pat always resisted, because she was always very private, not wanting to share her level of awareness openly with the world, for fear of being misconstrued. But as was the case with me, Pat cast all of that doubt and fear aside because she also knew that Spirit was in control. Writing a book for Pat, was a HUGE accomplishment, because she was never one to sit still, let alone behind a computer typing hours upon hours and day after day. Pat has always wanted to be among the people, helping those who crossed her path, just as the Masters did. She wanted to do her work quietly.

Pat is ready to get back to work on ground with people. In May of this year, Pat will go back to Bryant’s Grocery in Money, Mississippi, to honor Emmett Till and his courage. She wants to create a second butterfly garden just as she did 10 years ago in response to the emotion that ran through her in the 24 hours following the ceremony at Bryant’s Grocery, the first marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail.

There is a Season

What we continue to notice is that not only are our lives shifting and expanding, but also those of the generations of humans that follow us on this planet. Our children grew up with technology being introduced, this next generation is growing up with technology being the main focus of their education for an entire year. When the youngest thinkers reach their adolescent years there will be another generation that will bring evolution and change to the way we perceive our existence on this planet. As Pat has described it, these are the signs that we are in The Great Conjunction of The Aquarian Age. A time where peace, inclusivity and tolerance can be our guiding principles.

There is a 1960’s folk song written by Pete Seeger and performed by the Byrds, that came to mind as we wrote these last lines.

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

Pete Seeger


The Story Continues…

Double Rainbow Outside of Utica College 10/17/18

Welcome To Our World

First of all, Pat and I would like to welcome all of you to our new website, dedicated to our recently published book, When The Psychology Professor Met The Minister. Maybe you stopped by because you enjoyed reading our book and wanted to find out more about our story. Maybe you stopped by because you want to continue to embrace critical thinking skills to find or discover your truth in the context of our unique and transformative journey. Regardless of why you are here, we are glad you are here. So welcome!

Our plan is to use this space to share our life experiences, musings and other interesting events that have allowed our relationship to continue to evolve. We are also going to offer perspectives that will hopefully give those who read our blogs new ideas to navigate a world that presents with seemingly never ending challenges. We will write when the spirit fills us with awe for life and the teachings that can be discovered in every corner of the universe. Our blog is dedicated to the grieving parents who have graced both Pat and I with their stories and presence. Our blog is also dedicated to my students whose presence, validation and love give me a reason to teach and continue to grow every day. Our blog also gives Pat an opportunity to continue sharing her sacred path with both honor and integrity.

The Significance of March 1

On March 1st of this year, we went public with our story. Many of you already know about the significance of this date, as it relates to my personal story. On that day in 2003, my 18 year old daughter Jeannine died of a rare form cancer which turned my world upside down. That date is also significant for Pat, because her mother was born on 3/1/31. So our book was also released on her 90th birthday. We both chose that date so that we could recognize the importance of their significance in our lives. Honoring those both living and who have transitioned to a new existence is the key to remembering our roots, honoring our ancestors and developing relationships based on pure love. We honor those living and dead, by being tethered to our memories of them, and never forgetting their importance. Relationships are forever.

The Significance of Rainbows

You may wonder why we chose a rainbow as the featured image for our first blog. For starters, a rainbow is what first brought Pat and I together. We had initially met through a phone conversation on August 25,2010 when I helped her register for a grief conference in Oneida, New York. When we met at the conference, Pat told me she felt the presence of my daughter Jeannine when a brilliant rainbow appeared on Route 17 in Upstate New York approximately nine days later. Pat’s rainbow sighting was one in a series of serendipitous events that brought me to Long Island, where she guided me through an incredible spiritually transformative experience. That experience allowed me to see myself as more than a “bereaved parent.” Eventually I was able with Pat’s support and encouragement to embrace a perspective that allowed me to find peace with my daughter’s passing, and look at life, death and life after death differently. The rainbow in our picture was taken by Pat outside the Faculty Center building at Utica College prior to a presentation she made to my Death, Dying and Bereavement class. Six months later, Pat finally agreed to collaborate with me on a book about our story and our relationship.

We also want to leave you with this final thought :

“There is clarity and hope that can be found when you see beyond our existence through the prism of the rainbow, particularly during troubled times.”