Wow. Ben & his grandmother.

I just found this old article online, about Ben and his Grandmother.  It turns out, Ben died just a week after his grandmother – this was the grandmother who came to me asking me to talk to Ben about reincarnating back into his family.

It turns out it was so appropriate that this conversation with Ben was scheduled for Christmas night – Ben’s Grandmother was a huge fan of Christmas.

Unbelievable… almost.  Wow.  I feel so privileged to have been able to help.

Here’s the article:
Grandmother and grandson mourned
The Toronto Star
Thu 05 Oct 2006
Page: R10
Section: GTA
Byline: Catherine Dunphy
Source: Toronto Star

Moira Robinson died Aug. 17 at 82, after a long and full life.

For 57 years she and her husband, George, were Mrs. and Santa Claus at thousands of appearances at hospitals, nursing and retirement homes, schools and orphanages.

They danced into all those appearances – entering the hospital ward or gymnasium or party room doing a swing dance to “Here Comes Santa Claus” on their music box, George in full Santa regalia, whirling Moira in her red tights, red gloves, white-trimmed red dress, its full circle skirt a-twirl revealing her red tights and sometimes even the white frills she had sewn on her knickers.

For years they made up to 60 appearances a season, starting in the first week in November, hitting a peak nearer Christmas when they worked seven-day weeks – not for money – never for money – but to see the smiles light up people’s faces.

“She used to say that if Christmas were all year round she would be the happiest person in the world,” said her daughter-in-law, Bev Robinson.

Moira Robinson loved Christmas. Every season, out would come the garlands and candles, the Santa salt and pepper shakers, the Santa toilet paper, the special toilet seat cover showing a Santa covering his eyes, saying “Oh no.”
She would retrieve the tree decorations of faded construction paper made by sons Dan and Tim decades earlier.

Her home, first in Brampton, later in Orr Lake just outside Elmvale, was ablaze with the season; it took three full days to unpack all the Christmas boxes every year.

On Christmas Day she’d cook a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings for her family, and watch the five grandchildren rip open the gifts she’d carefully chosen for them. Then, and only then, would she sit back in her chair and exhale.

Moira Robinson’s grandson, Ben, died one week after her, on Aug. 24, in a motorcycle accident. He was 24 and on the second day on a cross- Canada journey to a job at a Jasper ski lodge that was going to give him money to live on, but better still, the chance to work on his art.

For the first time in a long time, he was happy, his mother, Bev Robinson, said.

He had fallen in love and his skilled, intense line drawings had taken on a new tenderness.

Living in a downtown Kitchener loft, alternating with some student digs in Waterloo, he’d been selling some art – doing murals for a couple of local restaurants, designing tattoos for some tattoo artists and had mounted his art show at a local cafe. He hadn’t liked going commercial – he was vehemently anti-capitalist, pro- recycling, anti-cars and war.

At 18, he’d gone to live in Toronto, turning his back on his family and what he perceived as their values, turning onto drugs, which didn’t help and probably contributed to his feelings of paranoia and his depression.

He was one of the anti-poverty protestors arrested in the June 2000 demonstration at Queen’s Park that turned ugly, and when a judge ordered him back home to live with his parents, the rift between them began to heal.

He’d been a sweet kid, but he’d become something of a mystery to his family, who couldn’t understand why he hadn’t gone on with his education after high school or even got himself a regular job with prospects.

He had rejected their values; he knew it and they knew it.

Latterly his family had begun to get glimpses of their loved son. During his last visit to her Kitchener home, his mother saw him lying on the kitchen floor on his stomach colouring with his twin two-year-old nieces.

“We do have these brief moments when we observed him doing something loving and sweet,” she said.

At his funeral, they marveled at the hundreds of their son’s friends who came to pay their respects – street people, artists, musicians (Ben was never without his guitar) – and at how many talked to them of Ben helping them out, handing over 10 bucks here, grocery money there.

A very petite young woman described to Bev how Ben used to wake up at 1 a.m.
to come and walk her home from her late shift in a cafe in a rough part of town.

Ben’s family hold these stories close to them. They are a gift that will help them through this crushing grief of two sudden deaths in the family.

“I used to call him my cowboy grandson because I thought I could never get through to him,” said George Robinson. He and Moira were newlyweds when he came home from Malabar’s Costume Rental in December 1948, with a snazzy Santa Claus outfit ($89.50), one artificial hair beard ($7) and one wig ($12.50).

It cost the apprentice plasterer more than a week’s pay, but Moira didn’t bat an eye.

In fact, she learned how to make the beards and wig. She’d buy the sheepskin, cut the wool with a razor, pull it apart and shape it.

And in 1950, when more and more community groups began asking her husband to show up as Santa, she made herself a cowgirl outfit and became Santa’s assistant. (She also made a cowboy outfit for their son Dan, who was 10 before he realized that the Santa he and his Mom were always helping was his

“Mom was adamant about keeping the magic of Santa Claus,” said Bev.

For years she and her children weren’t allowed to drop in unannounced at their grandparents’ place in November or December, lest they see a bit of a beard being worked on, or other signs of their secret identities.

When Moira realized some kids were frightened of Santa, she became Mrs.
Claus, sewing herself a white-trimmed, red velvet dress and a red satchel bag she loaded up with the candy canes she handed to Santa to give to the children.

She would tell anyone who recognized her that her husband was at home. Santa was a real person to her; she wanted children to believe in him as she did.

“She was always there and so I was very confident being Santa when she was there,” said George.

Last Christmas, she was too ill to be Mrs. Claus and, George admits, that was “difficult,” although Bev and Dan Robinson’s daughter and son-in-law have taken over their costumes and some of their appearances.

“People don’t understand how I am able to handle (the deaths),” George Robinson said.

“But seeing what Moira and I saw over the years helped us and helped me.

“We saw very sick kids and people with Alzheimer’s and seniors who had been abandoned by their families, and because of what we did visiting them all through the years, the good Lord has given us the strength now.”

cdunphy @

© 2006 Torstar Corporation

• Ben Robinson, 24, was killed in a motorcycle accident just one week after the death of his grandmother, Moira Robinson, 82.


It really causes me to revisit the conclusion I’d drawn from all the pain and emotion surrounding Ben’s death – that it had been accidental.  It certainly temporarily paralized his spirit as though it was so shocking, so contradictory to his life plan, that he refused to move on.

But his grandmother died just a week before him.  In reading this article, I suddenly understand that Ben & his grandmother orchestrated this death for his learning experience, and perhaps also for mine.  Moria ensured Ben did not get lost.  They basically exited together – a week in time is barely a blink apart.

And that he would return to his path on Christmas Night.  How perfect.  How poetic.

How about that.

Kurt Cobain Friday: Angel Training, Art and Spiritual Journeys

In an effort to “roll out the crazy” gradually, I’ll sometimes hold back ideas until they start to make sense in a larger context.  One of these ideas is Angel Training.

During one of the first readings I did for Sweetie, she asked, “What is the point of this?  Why am I here, living this life?”

The answer fell out of my mouth immediately:  “It’s part of your angel training.”

I’d run into the idea of angel training once before, when I looked into the deaths of two paramedics in our community who died together in an accident.  Those two were in angel training together, and they still are helping the hospital.  They’re usually riding along in the ambulances, comforting the injured, assisting in elevating them above their painful injuries, providing calm and clarity of mind to the newbie paramedics who took their place.  They assist in crossing over those whose bodies die before they can reach the hospital, and they occasionally prod awake a fatigued highway driver.

According to her guides, Sweetie was a very reluctant participant in this incarnation.  She had a long list of demands prior to even considering incarnation, which included the constant company of white cats.  She ultimately consented to this incarnation after her teacher, “Brian,” gently pointed out that if she truly desired to progress any further in her angel training, she really needed one more incarnation on earth.

So Sweetie is definitely on her last incarnation on earth.  Even now, she holds herself above and apart from the world.  She gets frustrated and angry quickly when topics like pollution arise, and she’s observing a broad judgmental side of herself that tends to simply condemn this whole planet’s fate.

It’s fucked, basically, so why would anything she could say, do or create make the slightest difference?

This has been her spiritual struggle, yet slowly, painfully, she’s progressing through it.  The lessons from John, over the years, have been helping both of us (some are chronicled in the John Lennon Friday entries) and now Kurt has come forward to continue the discussion.

Here’s an email I received from Sweetie talking about a recent conversation with Kurt:

Hey Love,

Here’s a synopsis of the ideas I was talking about this morning.  Plus a couple of other things I was thinking about:

1)  Kurt’s been working on breaking down some of my cynicism.  Sometimes he talks to me, sometimes he plays his songs in my head, sometimes he drops whole ideas on me.  He may also be priming my mind while I’m sleeping to better receive these ideas while I’m awake.  Some of the conversations I’ve had with him lately:

a)  I was in the car listening to Pennyroyal Tea.  I wondered if emotional turmoil is a necessary part of angel training.
He said, “No.  Not necessarily.  I mean there are things you want to try to learn while you’re here but it’s only as easy or as hard as you need it to be.  You define your own experience”
Later “Lounge Act” came on, and these lines jumped out at me:

Don’t – tell me what I wanna hear
Afraid of never knowing fear
Experience anything you need
I’ll keep fighting jealousy
’til it’s fucking gone

Which is exactly the same point, just stated another way.  So, he understood this while he was alive.  I think he was more spiritual than most people realize.

b)  I’m pretty sure he has wings now.  Although he doesn’t usually show up in that guise.  Is he done angel training?  I swear he gave me a hug the other day and actually folded a wing around me.

(My answer to Sweetie:  The first time I saw Kurt, I’m pretty sure he had wings, and he definitely ascended from “very high up” which is a sensation familiar to me when talking with “known” angels, such as the one who watches over my mother.  Some psychics say that angels have the ability to appear as incarnated humans at times when needed; maybe, at first, we were seeing Kurt as he was in his most recent life, because that’s how we were able to best connect and relate to him.

Now we’re able to open ourselves up to other ideas of who Kurt has become since he left his last incarnation.  It’s similar to talking to John as John Lennon for a most of our conversations, even though we’re aware that he is not literally the person known as John Lennon, but the spirit who experienced the life of John Lennon, among other incarnations and other lessons on the other side.  Back to Sweetie’s email:)

He told me my back sometimes aches where my wings should be.  He told me that I shouldn’t sleep in my bra because my scapulae need a chance to spread out.

He’s taken to calling me “angel” lately, where before he was calling me “baby”.  Occasionally “bitch”, but only if he was feeling jokey.

c)  With regard to the things we were talking about this morning, he’s really been appealing to a spirit of rebellion and nonconformity in an effort to get me to look at the world differently.  Really trying to impress upon me that it is not necessary to go along with what everyone else is doing, not necessary to accept their version of The Way Things Are, and that I basically don’t need to go along with their bullshit.  Not only do I not need to participate in bringing about their vision of the world, but I don’t actually have to live in it, either.  I don’t have to suffer the effects of their actions.

Just think of politics as one big fucking pep assembly that you’re better off skipping. 

Think of World History as a class that you might as well drop out of, because at worst it’s a bunch of lies, and at best it’s one person’s version of the truth.

He dropped the idea of divergent realities on me as I was going to bed after watching the Bigfoot documentaries, after John told us the Neanderthals were still here.  It just suddenly all made sense.  The Neanderthals split off, the Atlanteans split off — that’s why we can’t find a trace of them.  Everything that goes along with their cultures exists on their vibration level, as well.  They probably don’t experience our culture either.

So, if that’s true, then we can probably split off as well, and choose not to experience the effects of the military-industrial complex and it’s agendas.

But it sounds totally crazy, right?  Isn’t that just denial, refusing to see the world as it actually is?

(I think we’re on to something here.  It’s common for ghosts, earthbound spirits who refuse to move on after their last incarnation, to see the world around them as it was when they were alive.  They would see the old ranch where now stands a Toys R Us.)

He described reality to me as being really fragmented, not this cohesive thing that we tend to perceive it to be when we’re incarnated.  It’s actually a fractal, it’s the whole and its parts, like the urchin consciousness.

(Recently, we had the opportunity to observe, communicate with and then eat a live sea urchin.  Urchins have been a food staple in our region for hundreds of years.  It was amazing talking with this creature, which could best be described as a collective consciousness like the Borg from Star Trek.  In the picture of the urchin, see how each spine waves individually?  Each spine is an awareness.  As the fisherman broke apart the living collective to access the roe, the edible part of the urchin, I was braced for the urchin to feel pain.

But it didn’t happen.  All that happened was the collective consciousness separated into its parts – now there were half a dozen singular collectives where once there was one.  The message came “Put us back!” and the image of returning some of the pieces to the water formed in my mind.  I understood that this would seed future whole urchins.  I also understood that when many hundreds of sea urchins are together, they form a singular collective consciousness too, almost like one huge animal.  The moment a single urchin is removed by a human, otter, crab etc for food, this portion of the collective is simply unplugged from the larger one, and simply becomes it’s own consciousness.  It was so fascinating and instructive, talking to urchins.  It makes you wonder about the sheer nature of consciousness. Back to Sweetie’s email:)

We each have our own tiny realities, and there are larger shared realities.  And there is a lot of crossover but it’s not exactly one immutable thing.  He showed me a string of translucent beads, three in a row.  And then showed them to me end ways so they overlapped.  That’s the world, in essence.  It looks like one thing, but that’s where divergence can happen.

I’ve had Stay Away in my head often, lately.  Or part of it:

Monkey see, monkey do
(I don’t know why)
Rather be dead than cool
(I don’t know why)

It’s serving as a good reminder that other people’s bullshit is other people’s bullshit.

d)  He’s been talking to me about art, understanding that part of the problem I’m having is in seeing art as an act of altruism in a world that does not wish to save itself.  He said it’s okay, that I don’t need to fix that.  I don’t need to be a perfect spiritual being, I don’t need to love everyone in the world and want to help them.  I don’t need to want good things for everyone in the world, including Mike, Monsanto, and the Bush family.  I don’t have to be altruistic.  I don’t even need to be happy — although he’d *like* it if I were happy — it isn’t necessary.  The only thing that matters is that I know how special I am, that I matter, and that any art that I might choose to make is okay.

So, I thanked him for that.

2)  Yesterday, someone convinced me to read Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.  (It’s a story about a man and his vanity — he becomes obsessed with his own portrait, in which his image is mysteriously aging).  I’m not really sure who thought I should read it.  But anyway.

It begins with a 4 page essay of Wilde’s, in which he describes the role of the artist in our society.

Wilde says that art is a mirror: it’s completely objective and can only be judged on the basis of its form rather than its content.  Essentially it’s the viewer that is the spectacle; people who dislike “realism” art can’t stand to see themselves reflected back, people who dislike “romanticism” art are vain, and aren’t interested unless they’re seeing themselves reflected.  It actually reminds me of Yoko’s work, now that I think about it.  Perhaps it was John who thought I should read it.

But I’m only in partial agreement.  I was like, “Okay.  Let’s suppose I accept the premise that the artist is creating a 100% objective reflection — which I don’t, but I’ll set that aside for now — the artist is still an editor.  He or she chooses to represent or omit things as necessary.  It’s impossible to represent everything; there needs to be a focus.  That focus creates a subjective reality.  You can choose to paint a rose bush growing beside a dumpster and omit the dumpster, or paint the dumpster by itself.”

And then I heard a bit of a smug, “Aha!  See, you *do* care about the artist’s role in society.  You *do* want to participate in this, after all”.

Ah, crap.  Well, touche.  All right, you got me.  Busted. :p

Wilde’s take is that art is neutral.  There’s no “good” art or “bad” art, “moral” or “immoral” art.  Art just is.  Everything else is criticism.

I think we still live in a world where the powers that be are afraid of what might happen if people wake up to the idea that spirituality is simple, accessible and powerful.  As though spirituality can be 2 of these things at once, but not all 3:

Simple and accessible, but not powerful.  Like Yoga at the Y.
Accessible and powerful, but not simple.  Like a Course in Miracles.
Simple and powerful, but not accessible.  Only for the Buddha.  Or maybe some Tibetan monks.

Yet on a gut level, we know that spirituality truly is Simple, Accessible and Powerful.  The trick is truly, whole-heartedly taking in this knowledge with certainty.