I received a message the other day from my Grandma Stella. Funny thing is, though, she's in heaven and watches over me. My good friend Debbie aka "Rolanda", for whatever reason, is tied to my grandmother and gets these messages she's meant to deliver to me. This Saturday, Stella came through with a poem from Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I explained to "Rolanda" that this was my favorite poem of all-time. Having just visited the community at Westover School only the day before to teach a class, her timing was impeccable.
How do I know this is my grandmother? Trust me, I know. Debbie and I have been friends for a few years. We met at a very special day of healing back in August of 2012, hosted by a very intuitive man named Roland. He's my Reiki Master and has been one of my mentors. On the very first day I met Roland, he had some wild message for me from, who else? My grandmother. She's been with me on this "crazy" journey since it began over four years ago. I'll never forget that first meeting.
My friend, Rachel, and I had gone to Roland's presentation of his Purple Papers. I had no idea if any angels in heaven would come through for me that day. In a dramatic ans almost frightening voice, Roland shook his finger at me and asked, "And you! What are you here for?" I was shaking from head to toe and holding a journal in my hands, I somehow whispered, "To find my mission in life."
He told me not to leave the room until I'd seen him afterward, so he could tell me all about my life's purpose in private. Something came over Roland, though, and the next thing I knew, he slammed down his pile of purple messages from heaven and spilled the beans. "You already know what you're mission is. You know exactly what to do. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW IS RIGHT IN YOUR HANDS." Did he mean the journal or the Reiki healing energy that had come through as part of this greater awakening? I wasn't sure, but I had a feeling it was both. He continued:
"You've been on this path for about six or seven years now, and you're surrounded by angels. There's one angel in particular who is with you all the time; she's by your side right now, holding her hand on your right shoulder. It's your maternal grandmother. She wants you to know that you are not a lost soul. Trust that she is with you every step of the way in this journey, and she does not want you to give up hope. She wants you to know that you are not crazy." I knew that she was with me all the time, but this guy could actually see her. How cool was that? I was a little blown away.
Roland went on to say that I had a very special gift of healing and that I inspired people. "You are a bright light. People will come to hear your voice, your words, and you'll be helping many, many people heal." Wow. Who knew that these words would literally come true? At the time, I was a little unsure of how this Big Dream would become a reality. Now, though, I have every confidence that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, thanks to friends like Debbie.
A good fiend of Roland's and a healer, too, Debbie is a kindergarten teacher to inner-city kids in Connecticut. In her younger days, she was a nun-in-training with the Congregation of Notre Dame, but she got kicked out of the convent for roller skating over Sister Helen's shoes. (She's pretty hilarious like that.) She's studied the Mormon religion, is a practicing Catholic, and she loves to pray Buddhist chants with her Japanese friends. You might say she's very open-minded and is certainly non-judgmental.
My French Canadian aunts - Grandma Stella's sisters - were also part of this order of nuns that was headed up by Margeurite Bourgeoys, so maybe that's why she loves Debbie so much. I do not know, but I listen to these beautiful messages and honor their spiritual connection. Debbie has always been spot-on in her messsages for me, though sometimes she doesn't always know if something will resonate with me or not.
Debbie expanded on this message about this favorite poem of mine. My grandmother was showing her that I was standing on the road less traveled, yet the road was not solid underneath me. Rather, it was vibrant and alive and fluid, much like a river flowing down to the sea. It was very colorful and beautiful. Grandma Stella wanted me to know I was now on the exact path I'm meant to take in this life and not to worry or to look back. Stay on your path. She said that, at times, it may not feel like the road is steady underneath me, but do not worry; the Holy Spirit is moving through me and breathing the breath of God into my work. It's for this reason that Debbie reminds me of Roland, and I lovingly refer to her as Rolanda.
"Rolanda" appeared more frequently in my life during the summer of '14, which was interesting timing. I had just gotten a big piece of the puzzle in my Magdalene calling. I listened to my own intuitive guidance. I'd held onto a book I'd been given to me called A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison. It was all about human trafficking, but at the time I received the gift, I wasn't ready to take on this larger than life mission. That summer, though, I was. I'd listened to the little voice inside my head that said, "Get yourself to some Magdalene Feast Day events."
And so, one Friday night in late July, I drove all the way down to New York City for a service at St. Francis Xavier Church in the village. They were honoring Magdalene and had this question, "How can we help Mary Magdalene raise one hand to the Good News of the resurrection and the other to help her stop human trafficking?" And that was it. I sat on the floor of this beautiful altar, surrounded by a hundred or so poeple who were all willing to do something to end modern day slavery. I cried as I listened to the stories of people who'd been trafficked and enslaved. In this moment, I knew this was the work I was meant to do for humanity.
Since that day, I've been building momentum, making more and more ground each day. I've learned at least a million things about human trafficking, modern day slavery, Fair Trade, and now gun violence. I received this beautiful intuitive drawing from a healer that same summer. The message then was that I'd need to let go of the judgments I'd placed upon myself, so that the healing could begin. This young girl told me that all of the pieces of the puzzle would be coming together and that the path would unfold before me. I love how this works, you know. Libby was spot-on. And what an artist...I love this gift.
Here I am, 18 months into the work to bring justice into our world, and it's expanding in ways I never imagined. I'm partnering with other NGOs that are working to bring peace, compassion, and kindness into the world through the arts, education and especially music. A video I took this past Friday, You're Closer Than You Know, in the chapel of my alma mater, Westover, has made its way around to 6,300 people on Facebook and counting. I am blown away by this gift, this message of hope, "You can't give up now. You're closer than you know to your biggest dream..." from this earth angel, Michael Brown. My new kindred spirit wearing a SELFIE hat; how awesome that? He just told me he feels like we've known each other a lifetime and told me that I'm stuck with him. I love it.
He also wrote a beautiful song called Shine the Light that has touched my heart in ways you cannot imagine. He said he's been waiting for me. When he wrote the song back in October, God told him the right person would be coming along to help him bring this special message into the world. and guess what? It's happening. We've got work to do together, for sure. People have been writing to me and asking about this angel, so here you go...enjoy! Here's the story of You're Closer Than You Know :
A fellow Westover grad was kind enough to send this video to Ellen Degeneres. I just have to smile at this because I've known for a long time that someone like Ellen - or maybe Oprah - may well be able to help me bring my little grassroots initiative, Shine the Light Project, to the next level. Up til now, it's been just little ol' me, moving Farther On in this journey with each passing day. I've trusted in the signs and believed in my truth, even when others shunned me and tossed me aside. No more. The garden is beginning to bloom, and the seeds I've been sowing are simply taking off like wildfire.
A funny thing happened on the way to the dentist yesterday. I was switching the radio station and, for some reason, this man and his message captured my attention. The program was called Living On the Edge. Chip Ingram had this to say, as if to confirm the message from my Grandma Stella:
"When God places a dream in your heart, he doesn't want you to dream small. He wants you to dream big." The person interviewing this man asked an interesting question, "Why does achieving a big dream have to be painful and somewhat torturous?" I resonate with this answer on many, many levels and want to share this with you. It went something like this:
"God doesn't just give you a dream and expect you to be ready - body, mind, and spirit - to take on this big mission right away.
No, God gives you trials and tribulations in bits and pieces, so that you become stronger and begin to have faith in your ability to succeed.
Over time, you begin to see that God is at work in every little thing you do.
People begin to gather, so that the mission becomes easier.
If God just fulfilled big dreams overnight, there would be no appreciation for all the Divine connections;
If he did, you would just simply think this Big Thing was all about you, and it would just give you a big ego."
Four years ago, I never dreamed I'd be working with film makers, musicians, producers, board members, and activists to produce a big music fest to stop gun violence or a human trafficking conference for teachers in our state. I never dreamed I'd sign up to work out on the streets to help bring an end to human trafficking. And on and on with the things I never thought I couldn't do. When I received the book A Walk Across the Sun three years ago, I never dreamed I'd meet the auther, Corban Addison, but God made that happen back in November. I simply got up out of my seat at Grace Farms in New Canaan and voila, there he was. They had just launched their Justice Initiative. I'd never asked my brother to connect me with Corban, knowing they were good friends; no, this was how it was all meant to unfold. Bad rainy hair day and all, here I am at Grace Farms with Corbnan, shortly after running right into him.
There's something special taking place in my life, and it's tied to Grace Farms, to Westover School, to music and to art, to the people of Newtown, Connecticut and to this crazy idea that we can each bring peace, love, kindness and compassion into this world. We can all do something to make this world a better place. I am filled with gratitude for the many, many blessings that are coming my way, so that I may be a force for change in this broken world.
As I move Farther On in my journey, I will Shine the Light on the darkness, and I can only hope you are ready to join me. A friend called me back in December, saying that she felt we were being drawn together to do something extraordinary. Well, I've moved forward on this path, and I'm still waiting for her and our very special friend to join me. I cannot make someone be ready to join me, that's for sure. Those who are finding their way to me, though, are simply arriving with open arms. They've placed their bags on the floor and have welcomed me into their lives. There's no struggle. I am not fighting the river. It just is. I have tears of joy, knowing that we are creating something really, really beautiful here.
Here's a song from one earth angel, Brendan James, who's looking forward to joining me in this mission to stop gun violence. How blessed am I? I cannot even express the gratitude. It's Amazing Grace, this much I know. I'll let you know how it all turns out, for there's work to be done now. The road less traveled awaits me. I take Nothing for Granted.
Dorina Leslie is the founder of Shine the Light Project, a grassroots movement to raise awareness about some dark human rights issues - human trafficking, labor exploitation, and gun violence - the arts, education, and . She welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with artists, musicians, authors, and activists who are passionate about creating a better world in which all people are living free of exploitation. Please feel free to contact her and join in the movement.