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The Journey Within

Updated on March 14, 2014

Seeing the Light

Nothing in life happens by accident. Every person, every creature, every event is part of the fabric of a person's life.

Yesterday, I came home and found a downy feather on the floor. Now, it's Fall and windy outside so I could just dismiss this as something that blew in from outside...or I could look at this little feather as landing inside my house for a reason.

I decided to believe in the latter and this story is the reason why. Read on.

Feeling the Fear!
Feeling the Fear!
Digging deep to find the strength!
Digging deep to find the strength!
Moving on!
Moving on!

It's Been An Emotional Year

This year, my marriage will end in divorce...again! Yes, this will end my second marriage. I was the one who asked for both, but that doesn't stop me from feeling like I had ultimately done something wrong.

In May, I took a journey to Sedona, Arizona. I wrote about it in my blog, Trying To Catch The Wind. Within minutes of the first activity, I was struck by the potential that I was destined to be in this exact place at this exact time. We were all part of a group called "Freedom from Body Memory" and we started out sitting in a circle, on the ground. We were being told of the power of Indian lore and to look for and expect spiritual healing. To begin our journey, we were to pass a feather, introducing ourselves and why we were embarking on this journey. I really don't remember what our leader told us but something about the gentleness of her words made me feel like I was supposed to be in this spot at this time, so when I was handed the feather, I just started to cry and all I could say was " I think I'm supposed to be here!"

I wrote daily about the stress, the fear, and the ultimate realizations that I came away with during that journey. When I returned home, though, I had a powerful understanding of what I needed to do. Where I got that sense was not just from the words that were shared from our guides but also many hours of meditation and talking to the birds. I know that sounds crazy but when I shared with others that I had been greeted each morning by a hummingbird, one of the members of the group said that I might like reading a book called "Animal Speak" by Ted Andrews to find out what the hummingbird was trying to tell me. I had never heard of animals speaking to us, but I was completely intrigued. My interest was heightened even more because my daughter had actually asked me just the night before to think about the possibility that the cardinal sitting on a branch watching us could potentially be my brother and could be there trying to send me a message! And then my other daughter shared the fact that three birds had followed her as she journeyed on the mountain side and she had felt as though they were there to protect her. I had to find this book and find out if I could believe it possible that animals cross our paths for a reason - to give us a message, that there is a spiritual connection, if we are willing to believe.

After returning from Sedona, I was able to take bold steps which had me leaving a second marriage, leaving my home, and leaving a town that I had grown to love; all to move to a strange new place and to start a completely new life. My life had been changed. I didn't think that I had been "spiritually healed" but I had become emotionally stronger!

Taking It All In

Finding myself alone in a new place with nothing but my thoughts and a backyard that faced a nature preserve, I was overwhelmed by the beauty. Even my daughter asked, in stunned surprise, "How did you find this place?" And I had to say "I really don't know!" What I did know was that when I found it, I somehow just knew that it was the right place!

One of the things that woke me often before my move was anxious thoughts of leaving behind things that I loved. Of those things were my flowers. I had spent hours and hours digging in this dirt, attempting to create a peaceful, beautiful haven for birds and butterflies. How could I move to an apartment and leave behind my flowers, my birds, my butterflies? I moved in May and was immediately surprised by the flowers growing in among the wild grasses along my tree line. My camera came out, and I was taking pictures of the wonderful wild flowers that bloomed non-stop throughout one of the hottest, driest summers in history. Everyone else in this apartment complex had a view of the trees but no one else had the flowers. I had happened into a place that had been previously loved by a botanist!

Always make time to socialize and play.
Always make time to socialize and play.
Concealed behind a mask, I can become anyone I want to be.
Concealed behind a mask, I can become anyone I want to be.
Time to be gentle with yourself and with others.
Time to be gentle with yourself and with others.
Find the miracle of joyful living within your current circumstances.
Find the miracle of joyful living within your current circumstances.

The Messages of the Animals

I also took pictures of the animals. This was made easy because of a patio door that faces the preserve and allowed me to be unobtrusive. Now, armed with my "Animal Speak" book, I was intrigued by what each animal might be there to tell me. Here's what I found:

Squirrel - I had just moved. I was being told to "examine my own activity and preparedness. Was I being too active? Not active enough? Was I planning for the future, distant or near? Was I being too erratic, running to and fro and not accomplishing anything? The squirrel was there, perhaps, to remind me that I needed to settle down and find the balance in my life.

Raccoon - According to the book, the raccoon's importance was focused, perhaps, on the mask, telling me that in this new place I had the opportunity to be something or someone else. Away from my hometown and people who looked to me as being a particular kind of person, I was now given the opportunity to do what I wanted, to transform into anything I wanted to be.

Deer - One day, I walked a different way through the woods and happened upon a deer feeding her baby. I was able to zoom in close enough with my camera to not frighten either her or her baby. The message of the deer is to "know that it is time to be gentle with myself and others." According to the book it said "a new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened or born. There is going to be a gentle, enticing lure into new adventure." It reminded me to not be too critical or uncaring of myself. And I was to know that this is "an opportunity to express gentle love that would open up new doors to adventure for me."

Hummingbird - This bird has always been a fascination to me. Then while on the Sedona journey, I was visited by the hummingbird each day both at the home we were staying at and while I sat alone on the side of the mountain. This little bird then presented itself to me in my new home on a near daily basis. The message of the hummingbird gives me the most strength. It is the symbol for "accomplishing that which seems impossible. It is there to teach us how to find the miracle of joyful living from my own life circumstances."

Finding Peace and Joy Within

The beauty of my new surroundings and the messages of each animal that presented itself to me, lifted my spirits and soothed my soul. It allowed me the opportunity to think that perhaps it was time for me to stop blaming myself for two failed marriages and most importantly for the death of my girl's dad to suicide. More about this was shared in a previous hub: Life Lessons Learned The Hard Way.

Over the years, I had been a strong spiritual believer in the afterlife and the possibility that my girls should also believe that their dad was always watching over them, that perhaps it was he who opened doors for them to get a great job, find the right mate, and find houses that felt like homes. I had no trouble calling out to him in a prayerful way, asking for his help and guidance with them as they went through tough times. For several years, I joined them in raising funds for the prevention of suicide and walked with them in his honor.

It wasn't until this past year that I actually spent time reflecting on our years together, and I came away with a sense of respect, understanding, and renewed love for this man who had been my first love. So this year, he seemed more present in my thoughts when I journeyed to Sedona and as I made a decision to leave yet another marriage. This year, I began calling out to him for guidance for myself. Before this, I had felt too guilty - had I been the reason for his decision to take his life? It's a burden I have carried since the day he died. But this year seemed different. I felt as though just the act of writing down the words, my thoughts about him, brought him closer to me. I then found the courage to share these words in more public places. This prompted so many responses from people who knew him and us as a couple and actually renewed a friendship with one who had been one of our close friends. I raised more money then ever for the fundraiser this year and it just felt like he was smiling down on us as we walked together.

Downy feather found on my floor!
Downy feather found on my floor!

Feather On My Floor!

The day was beautiful. The speakers shared stories of loss and love. They ended with a bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace". It has been 18 years since he died, yet we all still cried. We spent some additional time together and then went our separate ways.

I walked into my house through the garage door, the way I always come into the house. As I walked through the rooms, I spotted something on the floor in the dining room.

It was a feather! A soft downy feather!

As it turns out, my Animal Speak book also discusses the messages that might accompany a feather.

It said that soft downy feathers specifically "are symbols of continual protection"!

I needed to find a way to say thank you to the spirit who seemed to be sending this message so I produced the following video hoping to let him and everyone else know that I do indeed see the messages and I am finally in a good place to listen. More importantly, I now believe that this spirit has not only been there to guide my daughters, he is also now there for me!

Amazing Grace


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    • jpesch1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Peschel 

      8 years ago from Currently living in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

      Yes, but it's the spilling that frees your soul, Mary! I have never felt so empowered and so blessed. It has not been an easy life but I have finally found a way to celebrate it. That has happened just by finding the power of words...words committed to paper...words that are then openly shared with the world! Why not? Who knows, you might just bump into someone who has shared similar experiences and they thank you for having the courage to share! Thank you Mary, for being sharing your comments. You have reinforced me!

    • Mary Merriment profile image

      Mary Roark 

      8 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

      Reading your hubs has awakened parts of myself that I have allowed to become closed off. It's odd to say, but I relate to so many of your experiences... with the exception that you made choices that were best for yourself, while I chose to surrender myself to circumstances and others. Even though I have learned to change my own actions and responses to improve these situations, I still feel the effects of giving up on myself daily. A Native American spiritual retreat has been just one of my goals for quite a while. Your hubs have made me realize that there are things I still need to do for myself and that I need to find my way to push forward and make them happen. I can not express just how much your hubs have become a great inspiration to me and I thank you. I also wish Hubpages had inter-messaging, so I didn't feel the need to spill that all in your comments. ;o)

    • jpesch1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jane Peschel 

      8 years ago from Currently living in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

      It has been an amazing year for me. I have learned so much and grown so much. Most of it came about because of the one journey to Sedona, Arizona. What an incredible happy accident that turned out to be. The books related to animal messages are just a joy. It's so nice to read things that are 100% positive. It has made me feel so much better about myself and the decisions I've made, thinking now that all were supposed to happen.

    • Mary Merriment profile image

      Mary Roark 

      8 years ago from Boise area, Idaho

      Your video is such a beautiful compliment to this article. You can't even imagine how inspiring your articles have been to me. This one in particular made me realize how closed off I have been. I've had signs that I've not confronting my own fears and now I realize my fear has been to open myself back up to the messages around me. Thank you so much for another beautiful lesson.


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