Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Living Your Best Life

Ever wondered how your life experiences shape you? Dive into the emotional third part of our Good to the Last Drop! release celebration series! This episode explores the powerful themes of resilience and growth in “Living Your Best Life.” We meet Dr. Faust Ruggiero, inspired by his mother’s strength, and Frances Rae Key, who found spiritual awakening after challenges. Anita Albright shares her transformative journey of grief and connection with her spirit daughter. Later, Heidi Connolly discusses her path as a medium and the lessons learned from grief. Mary D’Agostino then reflects on her journey of self-discovery and navigating the loss of her son. Get ready for an episode brimming with inspiration, wisdom, and the power of living your best life, no matter your chapter.


  • How a mother’s strength shaped our guest’s life and career path.
  • Spiritual awakening and profound dreams after facing health challenges.
  • A transformative journey of grief and connecting with a spirit daughter.
  • Evolution as a medium, intuitive healer, and musician, emphasizing the lessons learned from grief.
  • Navigating loss, self-discovery, and creative expression in the “third chapter” of life.

Irene has a special gift for you! Click on this link for her giveaway:

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Celebrating the Release of Good to the Last Drop! │ Part 3





No two people’s lives unfold the same way. Our life experiences, good and difficult, impact and shape each of us in unique ways. Every experience has a lesson to teach us if we learn to embrace it. By exploring their personal challenges, the chapter contributors to Good to the Last Drop have found ways to help and guide others through their experiences.

Every human must learn to live with grief or loss. It happens to us all. Good to the Last Drop could be the book you never knew you needed to read just when you needed to read it most. Explore ways to find personal meaning and your way forward through life’s many challenges and experiences as you explore Good to the Last Drop, now available on Amazon. Get your copy.

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Living Your Best Life

My esteemed contributors to Good to the Last Drop. First, I want each of you to know how deeply appreciative I am of your wonderful, inspiring, and heartfelt chapter contributions to Good to the Last Drop! Embracing Your Life’s Third Chapter. It feels like I’m welcoming family to greet Faust, Frankie, Heidi, and Mary because I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing each of you on the Grief and Rebirth podcast. You each are very special and remarkable.

Thank you for your precious friendship and I’m truly honored to know you. Anita, you state in your chapter that you can send love through the web of light when you see an opportunity. You do, so I thank you from my heart for choosing to send so much love via your chapter in Good to the Last Drop. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

What a pleasure to also meet Bob. You received Canada’s Highest Civilian Award for your lifelong contributions to Canadian society. Likewise, my sincere thank you for contributing your inspiring and uplifting chapter to Good to the Last Drop. Thank you from my heart for your riveting chapters in Good to the Last Drop. Did you ever think that you’d one day be contributing to an important book about life’s third chapter in your third chapter of life?

Now, a huge, heartfelt welcome to the cherished members of my popular International Award-Winning Grief and Rebirth audience. What a pleasure it is to introduce the wonderful contributors to Good to the Last Drop, Embracing Your Life’s Third Chapter, to each of you. It is such a joy to have you all here. If you missed our introduction to Part One Grief and Rebirth and Part Two Embracing Life, you can catch up on YouTube or on Apple or Spotify.

We touch on compelling stories from several authors, me included, whose lives were rocked to the core and transformed by life-changing events. In this third segment, called Living Your Best Life, which we are focusing on. You’ll read the inspiring and uplifting stories of contributors who are still living their best lives well to their ’60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s.

Each of the esteemed Living, Your Best Life segment contributors, is going to introduce him or herself to you, share a third-chapter tip or reflection learned to date, and read an inspiring excerpt from their chapter to you. It is time to turn this fun, fab book launch over to my incredibly wonderful and assistant, J. Dean Stout Williams. Her friendship and professionalism mean the world to me as we continue to navigate the show, book, and social media landscape from our respective bases in New Jersey and Barletta, Italy. Take it away, J.

Mother’s Love And The Promise

Thank you, Irene. Kicking off our contributor spotlight, we will be joined by Faust Ruggiero, presenting his chapter A Mother’s Love and the Promise.

It’s great to be here. This is such a wonderful topic for people to hold on to and to understand that there is something beyond where we are. When I was asked to do this, I’ve been thinking to myself, “Where do I want to go with this?” It was pretty easy for me to go back and say, “Where did I learn to do all these things, these special things?”

There is something beyond where we are. Share on X

I was fortunate to have a mother. Things didn’t go the way we would like to go. Dad got sick early and passed away early. She had to go back to work and handle some things that most moms don’t have to do with four kids, keep a house going and keep four kids up. We were in private schools and kept it all going. I learned a lot from her.

When she passed, that’s interesting. The learning didn’t stop when she was alive. The learning kept on going. If you’re willing to carry that person with you, all that strength comes along with you also. I was able to carry that along, and I still do it now. Every now and then, you don’t realize that you’re doing something and that little connection comes through. That little piece of strength that you’re able to hold on to.

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Living Your Best Life

Interestingly, here we are on the 4th of June and on May 31st, my mother would have turned a hundred. It was a very nice day outside. Sometimes, the weather’s not so great, but it was a beautiful day. We were doing some planting. She got a couple of trees planted for her. You keep on doing those things. You keep the connection going and you continue connecting to that energy that never goes unless we decide to cut the tie. I haven’t done that. I’m going to read a little excerpt from the article I wrote for Irene. This, again, is about my mother. The article I wrote is called A Mother’s Love and the Promise.

There is no force in the human experience more potent than a mother’s love for her children. It is a warm world of brilliant light that wraps itself around everything and everyone it touched. I experienced that love of the young boy and throughout my 35 years with our mother, an exceptionally intelligent person. She was an executive secretary and, for five years, was an administrative assistant at the Pentagon in the United States.

She was insightful and always compassionate. She was a strong woman and when our father suffered a serious stroke and at the age of 42, she was without a companion. She went back to work while raising four children. In the summer of 1984, she was diagnosed with liver cancer. The surgeons felt they removed the entire tumor. Unfortunately, the cancer resurfaced a few years later and in the fall of 1989, she passed with all four children by her bedside.

All too often, the lessons we learned from those who are significant in our lives are not understood until those people are taken from us. Ours was never a family that expressed much outward emotion, though the love, commitment, and dedication to each other were always there. My mother and I enjoyed a special bond. Although she was trained in the business world, she could have easily been the counselor I became.

My father was a loving man but not emotionally expressive. Our family was loving, but not demonstrative. My mother was coming to the last year of her life and I thought the best if I could give her was to become that person who would be demonstratively loving. Not only on an emotional level but also on a verbal level.

In the summer of 1988, as I opened my private practice, I made a commitment to myself and her legacy that would live through me and I would become the loving person who was willing to extend myself beyond my own personal limitations and wrap the love she taught me around myself and everyone I touched. In this life, it’s often the ashes that give away to the internal renaissance to the rebirth of a person that creates a new life and a new life path possessing the potential to change the world.

It didn’t take long for me to realize why my mother was still alive, that I was still living through her. By that, I mean I was following her lead but never established my own. Very often, it’s the void that instigates the creation of that new life path. My mother’s death created a new life path for me. Someone who loves unconditionally, as my mother did, not only leads by example. They also have a tendency to instill love on a deep spiritual level that is not realized until it’s called upon and should be put into motion.

My mother’s life and, eventually, her passing forced me to look deep inside myself. Sometimes, without understanding it, we all have a tendency to allow significant people to not only define who we are but also help us create who we are. All of a sudden, that service is unavailable to us. We must pick up the pieces and define who we are for ourselves. I was fortunate enough to have much of the information I needed if I was willing to understand my mother’s life and its impact on me but to move forward and embrace my world as my own person.

Making the choice to be vulnerable can be challenging, but it also opens the door to allow those parts of ourselves that we have protected for so long to become an active part of who we are. I have always been a private person. At the same time, I always knew that the Lord gave me gifts for a reason and it was time for me to unleash those gifts on the world.

One of the most important self-realizations I had at this time was to understand that defining myself as a private person was also causing me to set boundaries. Those boundaries interfered with the expression of my own personal gifts. My decision to remain a private person seriously affected my ability to understand other people and help them define their inner light and their own lives. There’s nothing wrong with being a private person.

The concern for me was that I was defining my strengths through my own willingness to keep my personal gifts and strengths under wraps. I decided to unwrap my personal strengths and the gifts I was touching away throughout my life. My first decision was to define those strengths inside myself, the ones I’ve been protecting for so long. Once I did this and I was able to define them. I was able to start sharing them with other people.

As I have continued to do that, I have now branched out into a more worldly component, so to speak. I am now the author of four books, with a fifth book coming by the end of 2024. I continue to counsel, and I share those gifts with everyone I touch. In the end, I have become a new person, but the key is that I still keep my mother deep inside me. She’s the one that’s motivating me to do so much of this. It’s been a wonderful trip and thank all of you.

That’s wonderful. What a third chapter you’re having in your life. It’s a combination of everything that’s happened to you. You’re so inspired by your mom and are even going further and improving. You could do more in this third chapter because you’re so aware.

That third life is what that’s all about, in my definition, to take those gifts and define them, but then to create a whole new life beyond that point. That’s what it’s all about, and that’s what I share with other people. The person I’m sharing isn’t the person I used to be. It’s a whole new world and that’s what I’m sharing. While I’m doing that, I’m learning from other people so the creation process keeps going.

That’s right. The beauty of the third chapter says that so many of our experiences can contribute to an even better iteration of who we’ve become. It’s not almost freeing for us. We become who we are, who we are meant to be. It’s a beautiful legacy you’re leaving to so many people. Thank you, Faust, and including us.

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Living Your Best Life

Grateful For The Journey

With her chapter, Grateful for the Journey, we now have Frances Rae Key.

Thank you for letting me share a little bit about my life and my experience. Hoping it will inspire somebody who happens to see it. As Faust, I had a very interactive and inspiring mother all through my childhood who understood my spiritual nature and nurtured it. She respected an odd little girl and helped me develop a natural form of intuition and spiritual writings.

This resulted in, after she passed away, a unique communication. Something I could never have dreamed of or expected. The information she poured into me, I was able to capture after a fashion in four books called The Team, A Mother’s Wisdom from the Other Side. Not only did she nurture and inspire my writing, but she was also there for my musical inclinations, which have characterized my entire life. She instilled in me, as did my dad, a sense of responsibility, giving back to the world, and not letting the years that come upon us make us think that we can rest on our laurels.

I want to say, along with that thought, is the realization I’ve had as I’ve gotten older. It’s not necessarily about constantly doing more. It can be about becoming more and accessing deeper parts of ourselves that we make available to ourselves, our family, and the world. Sometimes it means doing less and being okay with that. Lately, I’ve had a real strong realization that the many things I’ve done in my life include many years of work with refugees through a social services agency. We need not feel some obligation to constantly do the same thing.

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Living Your Best Life

There was a part of me that felt maybe a little guilty or grieving about the refugees when I left that line of work, but I’ve been back to some of those settings and realized there’s a whole new crop of enthusiastic and wonderful people doing that work that I once did. It’s okay to let a certain part of our life and our work go and move into something new. As I said, my parents were always learning. My father became a broker when he was 75. He took the broker’s test and passed it.

My mother was always studying, learning, and expanding right up to her passing at 86. I remember her saying shortly before she died. She said, “I have learned something new every day of my life and I’m still learning from this experience of having cancer and becoming old.” Having said all that, the section I wrote about my book is about some of that, but it also touches on a personal realization I’ve had because I’ve had a number of close calls of dying much earlier than this and yet survived.

Some of those survivals are truly quite miraculous. I’m going to read one part of the book that talks a little bit about that. “In my late 60s, I had two close brushes with death or disability and came through both unscathed. Doctors found a brain aneurysm and I had immediate surgery. However, when they went into the place where three specialists had seen the aneurysm on the scan, they even said it was a double aneurysm. One on top of the other, it was gone. I wasn’t surprised because while under anesthesia, I saw a group of angels who told me that I would be fine, and indeed I was.”

The doctors were shocked and unable to give any explanation. The very next year, I had three profound, detailed dreams where I was shown that I would die soon in a car accident. The dream involved these elements. My sister sang to me, “You paused and it changed your destiny.” My deceased husband greeted me and saying I had died and he was going to escort me to the other side, and me arguing my case to stay. Even making a written list of things I needed to complete on Earth.

Now, I remember only three things on the list. Those three are complete, but there were others. I’m so aware every day that this process is unfolding, including the extra time that I requested and was permitted to have to go by. It’s because of the other dreams and visions I’d had in my life that I knew the stream was a prediction. A week later, I was driving past a building at 11:00 PM that had once been a metaphysical church my mother and I had attended many years before.

This church had been very important in both our lives and our spiritual development. Despite the late hour, the large veranda was all lit up with brilliant lamps. A group of about fifteen people with white glowing hair, presumably all elderly, were sitting and standing on the veranda. The site was so strange and out of place that I slowed down to observe it for a few seconds. As I continued down the road, a car barreled through the stoplight and missed me by a millimeter.

I had truly paused and changed my destiny. Not long after that, my friend Cathy insisted that what I’d seen on the veranda were not real people in the middle of the night out of nowhere in this neighborhood. They were angels. We went back to the house. We knocked on the doors and investigated. We ended up speaking to a neurosurgeon from the Mayo Clinic who lived there.

There was no party. There was no gathering. There were no people on that veranda on that particular day. He even said himself that he had tried to convince other doctors at the clinic that there was a consciousness beyond the human brain. He allowed me to use his name and picture in my book, one of my other books, which is called In the Company of Souls, which describes a number of different experiences I and many other people have had.

I am always conscious that I have this gift of life. Sometimes, it’s incredibly painful to live this life because I suffer for people I love and people around me. Two of my dear friends weeks ago on the very same day, their children died. One was an adult and had a heart attack and one was a teenager. I can’t tell you how painful that has been, even with all my awareness of the other side, because I can feel what they’re feeling. I also know there are hidden gifts in the heart of grief that we can access, and we do access them. I thank you for the opportunity to chat a bit about my books and this book, which is a wonderful and beautiful idea, Irene. You’ve done something great in offering it to people.

Thank you so much, Frankie. I’m glad you’ve been spared to make it through to help so many people as they enter their third chapters. You’re a wonderful role model for continuing to go on, being inspired, and having a mission. It’s wonderful. Thank you so much for being a part of this work.

My Path To Joy

We would now like to invite Anita Albright to present her chapter, My Path to Joy.

I’m so excited to be here. It’s miraculous that I am here because I never thought I’d be here. Anyway, I’m in my 70s, a grandmother of 9 children and 4 of my own children. I’ve been married for 53 years and I was a teacher for 32 years. I’ve always been on a spiritual path. I was raised Catholic and along the way, when I realized probably about the time I was seven, when they were telling us about devils that I realized that God was love and I was on a different trajectory.

From then on, that’s where I was. I said to myself, this is when I was in my twenties. If I ever found the group that followed the group that lived the way Jesus spoke of, not the religion, I would follow it. Anyway, my husband and I moved from Maryland to Durango, Colorado, in 1979. I was 29 and was pregnant. Immediately, the whole thing of spiritual awakening happening. I was on that path of awareness of spirit, following spirit, and taking individual responsibility and not blaming other people.

That was it. In 1979, I moved there, I was pregnant and I had my daughter Bonnie. My chapter is about in 1966, my daughter passed away in a car accident. It was an accident and she left two children and I don’t even get into that part of the story. I woke up and I raised her with the awareness of who she was her divine self, and she lived that. That’s who she was in everything. She had a very special connection with Mother Earth.

She could do anything a man could do and better, yet she was feminine, beautiful, and radiant. Anyway, she left in this car accident and I was leveled. I could tell you about that. Everything I had learned before was not working for me. I believed in spirit and all these things. I knew them, but this was deeper than anything that I could ever imagine. I had to bring myself back. The way I found to bring myself back was to connect with Bonnie’s spirit.

My husband got this message that he wasn’t going to do death like everybody else does death. That there is no death. I was like, “I can do that, too.” We proceeded to not take it that she died. She just moved on to another plane. What I found out is that what you believe, if you start having experiences of your belief, you get a knowledge of it. You know what I’m talking about. My belief that life is eternal became my knowing that life was eternal because I started getting all these messages from Bonnie.

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Living Your Best Life

I found old letters. I saw it in the sky. I found fossils. It was like everywhere I looked, there was Bonnie and talking to me. In my chapter, I get into all that, but as you said, Faust, I couldn’t proceed the way I was going as I was before. I could no longer be who I was. I was like this nice person doing the right thing. I did not hurt people’s feelings and spoke my truth, but it wasn’t the power of who I am now.

I don’t know how we’re dealing with time, but I’ll read this part. I want to talk to you about what I found, which was that grief became my friend. If you read my chapter, you’re going to learn how amazing my daughter Bonnie was. She was a living angel and she still is. She’s not here in form, but she’s here now, as we’re together with her. Here we go. She was teaching mindfulness meditation. I didn’t know anything about it, but then, with her passing, I thought, “I’m going to find out everything she was doing. I’m going to do the same thing and I’ll connect with her.”

Mindfulness meditation has been a gift that helps me navigate grief. I was lucky to be with Bonnie for 36 years on Earth. It may be the hardest thing I have ever done. The change in our relationship from the physical to the spiritual plane was the answer for me. She is still present with me. As things proceeded, I found what follows to be true. I am continually having experiences of Bonnie actively involved in my life.

I know that Bonnie is part of my spirit team and she’s ever-present. Bonnie comes to my assistance, eager and willing. Even with all these new insights, I could not ignore grief, push her away or block her out of my busy by being busy or sick. Eventually, grief found her way back in. Grief was persistent. I had to listen to her. She kept telling me I was stuck and not done all my work. There was more for me. I wasn’t going back to the way things used to be. Friendships and interests shifted. She required more of me, and there was nothing else I could do.

I embraced grief. Grief became my friend. First, grief spent lots of time with me. Over time, we got to know each other well, and then I invited grief at a chosen time for a daily and hourly visit. I would be with her. Grief liked to play games. She masks as depression or unrest. Eventually, I came to understand her and knew what she wanted. She wanted me to go deeper into my inner world to view something with me. The sooner I did this, the better it was for me.

We looked at this something together. It wasn’t all work. Sometimes, grief wanted me to be still, connect with nature, and be creative. We had fun together. Over time, my compassion and understanding grew. My appreciation for everything grew. I found joy again. Grief rarely visits anymore, but when she does, I welcome her. I am present to receive what she brings. Grief makes me a better, wiser, and more loving person.

Grief is one of the gateways to the experience of unconditional divine love. The grief process has connected me with something far grander than I could have ever imagined. I found my inner voice and my inner guidance. I realize that Bonnie is still with me as light. She is now my light daughter. I started to get signs and messages. They brought me comfort and gave me life to continue living. Following my heart, my love for Bonnie led me to joy.

I found her in the present moment and I stay in the present moment. Being with Bonnie has brought renewed interest in living and appreciating the things of life. Bonnie got me back to Mother Earth, and Mother Earth told me, “Now, you know how I feel.” That touched me deeply. Those words shot through me. I took her words to heart. Her words motivated me to take action. My life transformed. I began to commune with nature and sing. I studied ho’oponopono. I utilized breathing to process what came up in my feeling realm.

My husband and I started the Bonnie Albright Fort Lewis College Teacher Education Scholarship for single mothers. I went to grief counseling and grief support groups. I joined Zumba and yoga. I studied gardening. I became a Colorado master gardener and volunteered in the community gardens and farmer’s market. I made herbal salves, painted and journaled. Mary D’Agostino knows about this, I got a message from Mother Earth.

She said, “Anita, that’s enough sorrow. No more.” She put me on the path of joy. With joy, there is no going into steep sorrow. Now I notice the sorrow boundary and I don’t cross it. I listen to Mother Earth. It was evident. It was time for no more sorrow. I’m here for joy and to experience joy in everything, even amidst the chaos of the world.

With joy, there is no going into deep sorrow. Share on X

That’s fabulous, Anita. What a third chapter you’re having. You created a philanthropy. You have a mission. You’re inspiring people. That’s exactly the point of this book. Thank you so much for your wonderful contribution. It’s going to inspire a lot of people. Our third chapter has gone through grieving, and we’ve all been hurt. We’ve all had trauma. How does this accumulate? What do you do with that when you get to that third chapter? How do you mix and match it all together to come out with something positive for your legacy? This is a very important time and many people do not realize how precious this time is for us.

Stirring The Tea On Choice

Up next, we have Heidi Connolly with her chapter, Spilling the Tea on Choice. When you’re ready, Heidi.

Thank you. I still can’t believe I’m here. I talk about miracles a lot. This is, in fact, another one of them, my connection with Irene, many years ago. It was like ten years ago that both our husbands died and we ended up meeting at the Afterlife Conference. Although, I can say confidently now that I’m an author, book sphered, an intuitive medium, and a musician. It hasn’t always been that way. Unlike some of you, the way I was seen as weak and labels has always been difficult, especially if it meant admitting to and committing to my own expertise.

With the passage of time, I’ve come to see that too much humility only undermines the good work that we can do in the world. It undermines the high vibration and the value of that frequency. As I do these things, my mission is to connect people with their loved ones on the other side, to receive their messages of guidance, and to work with highly sensitive people, what I call high perceptive. Help them develop their own brilliant gifts, create flute recordings encoded with frequencies that heal across all timelines and dimensions, and write books that are passionate outpourings that clearly lay out the evolutionary path of my life’s learning for the benefit of others.

Grief and Rebirth: Finding the Joy in Life | Living Your Best Life

When you asked for the key themes of our work, I’d have to say, as I wrote in my last book about playing psychic games. It’s about activating, calibrating and validating. Learning what it feels like to align with your higher self, with source, with spirit, and being able to live from that space and that place. Sharing what I know with others who might be as confused as I once was about their own potential. The fact that there’s life after death for all of us, so on both sides of the veil.

The story that always comes to mind is what happened the night my husband woke me up and started to yell at me from the other side. He’s like, middle of the night, “Wake up. Get out your pen and notebook, we’re going to write a book.” That was the start of my journey because I was never in touch with any supposed abilities before that. I can honestly say I was pretty darn shocked, but it was even crazier when, only a couple of days later, I realized I was hearing from lots of other spirit beings.

That seemed pretty crazy to me. It was unlike anything I’d ever been or done. I was working up in Canada, living at a Best Western, where I was helping someone write a book. I’d spent the last few days freaking out about the messages I was getting. I didn’t trust that any of it was real. I figured, “Heidi, you’re just cray cray. Full on, you’ve lost it.” The grief has sent you over the edge. There I was, in the hot tub in the hotel, suddenly feeling like I needed to speak to this young woman a few feet away from me.

I had dreamed about a man the night before and he’d spoken to me, but it was all garbled. Somehow, I feel compelled to go up to this woman I’ve never met and ask her if I could share a message with her. I was mortified and horrified. I’m practically petrified and I can’t believe I’m going to have the guts to do anything like this, but I have to. I have to do it. I’m getting hotter and my heart is pounding. Believe me, it’s not the temperature of the water.

I know that if I don’t go deliver this message, I’m going to combust completely. I wade over and say, “Excuse me, I’ve never done this before, but I need to give you a message. Did you lose your father?” This woman looks at me and then at her friend. The friend gives her a side eye like, “We could run, but we’re in a hot tub.” The woman nods. She says, “I guess so.” I say, “Your father’s here. He’s in a bomber jacket with little wings on it. He was a pilot. He was away a lot, but you loved him. He says he’s your guardian angel here to protect you. His name was Byron.”

The woman looks at me, long and hard, and starts to cry. She turns around and she shows me that she has tattooed these angel wings across her back. It still gives me chills because it was in honor of her father, Byron, who had passed away. That was the very first time I felt I understood what it was like to get validation for this ability I apparently now had.

That was the start of understanding the message I was getting from my husband about what was going to happen in my life. As far as the excerpt, this plays right into that because it started that night. I’m not going to lie. When my husband began speaking to me from the other side, other spirits jumped on the bandwagon faster than you could say, “Who the heck are you? Why are you here?” It was a smack upside the head, only in a good way. It would be crazy to ignore such a wildly unexpected ability that literally appeared overnight.

I kept asking, “Talk to spirit, me? This overly sensitive, underwhelmingly capable, deeply emotive empath, why would I be offered the opportunity to chit chat across the veil?” My husband’s answer that night, a year and a half after his death, came loud and clear. He said, “Heidi, I’ve been trying to talk to you since I kicked the bucket. All you have to do to hear me is stop grieving. If you want a relationship, a new partnership with me as a spirit being, you have to let me go as I was as a physical being.”

I answered, “If you put it like that, I have no choice.” I did have a choice, which is what this whole book is about, but I had been nuts to turn down my chance at something I’d wanted for so long to deny the curtains of my misery to part. At least long enough to let in the crack of light determinately slogging his way through my resistance. Look at the way my own husband had to use the spirit world’s adaptation of a bullhorn in my ear to get me to listen.

It was the choice to stop resisting that connection with him, which admittedly came in the form of emphatic, precisely delivered directives and loud ones that changed everything. Who knew that I’d be in my 50s before I realized that all those indicators from which I suffered, panic attacks, self-doubt, fear, isolation, alienation, anxiety, over-the-top emotional responses, and allergies were all simply forms of resistance to my own potential?

In other words, my ability to network with the higher planes of existence. It’s as if what I call my internal ink, my deep cell patterns, have been reconfigured into new images that express out into the world the true nature of who I am, along with my purpose on the planet. Who knew I’d have the choice and choose to be more than I ever thought I could be? Who am I now that I was back in my 30s, 40s and 50s?

The question keeps coming up like a cork that refuses to sink, propelling me into tireless self-reflection. I regard myself in the mirror and wonder where I’ve gone. At the very same time, I see exactly who I’ve become. I see knowledge in the eyes that were previously unsure. I see self-love where there is only uncertainty, and I see acceptance of and trust for each decision I make in the here and now.

That is wonderful.

Thank you, Irene.

Your husband launched your third chapter for you. He launched your third chapter and now you’ve built on everything and this is your legacy. You’re helping so many people with it.

That’s true. I had no expectation that any of it would come about like this. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from him is that we’re all vacationing angels as you know, spirit and human form but all the things I thought were wrong about myself that needed fixing are the aspects that provide empowerment, sovereignty and connection.

While we may not be able to change the world on a global scale, we are all perfectly capable and called vacationing angels to shine our light, as you said at the beginning, into the corners where it’s the most needed and where it can do the most good. I am so grateful for the opportunity, for the blessings, and for the connections. I talk about you every day. I adore you. Again, thank you.

Thank you, Heidi. Your light is shining very brightly these days, and thank you for shining your light into this book. It’s from my heart. Very appreciated.

I know, thank you.

Thank you. To be continued.

How I Met Myself

To conclude our Contributor Spotlight, we now have Mary D’Agostino with How I Met Myself.

I’m so honored. I’m so grateful to be in this group, at this moment, and at this time together and to be a part of something that I can feel the energy building and growing. I loved how the email that came through for us to prepare said to breathe life into it. I love that. I feel like we’re each breathing life from our own unique breath into this collaborative effort.

My vision ever since I was a child was I can see it now. I can know it because I just got this when I was preparing. My vision has always been to live in harmony and in a collaborative effort with others, life, soul, spirit, God, myself, and my family, but I didn’t have that. I was like, “I know it’s possible,” but I didn’t have that. I had fighting and competition and, “Get in a box, Mary. Don’t get out of it.” I’m in my 60s, so I’m just entering my third chapter.

My son, in spirit, is ushered me in big time. I’d be put in this box, be quiet, be seen and not heard. Don’t express. You’re too wild. Your hair is too wild. That’s why I wear it like this. Be quiet. Get in the box and don’t do anything you shouldn’t do. I tried. I did try, but I couldn’t because my soul in this life wanted to express itself. That’s the beauty I see from all of us. I’m entering in, but some of us are in various levels.

As I enter, I’m like, “This is a great opportunity. It isn’t what I was told.” You get old and you get feeble and you go in the corner and nobody pays attention. I’m not buying that. I buy what I’m experiencing. This feels like the best yet. It’s because of everything that I have lived through and how I’ve met myself in life’s challenges. I had to get out of those boxes because I couldn’t meet myself in the devastating challenges, heartaches, hardships and going for the wonderful things. Unless I was fully expressing who I am.

I’m going to read parts of my chapter because I feel that speaks to my message of how I met myself. Being brought up the way I was, it was like, what are you talking about? You are second. You’re over there, you just have to do what you’re told. Again, I was not buying that. The same as Anita, I was about eight in Catholic school and I said, “God is not that mean man in the sky. I don’t know, but I know God is not that.”

I’m going to read a bit and I’m going to start here. Divorcing my second husband when I was well into my second chapter allowed for a new surge of creative energy to be released. I built a healthy and loving environment for me and my children. Encouragement, passion, patience, and support were staples. Hard truths could be faced with loving kindness rather than denied. Challenges were ongoing, yet I could meet them in my wholeness instead of my brokenness.

I met myself and I discovered my way forward. Perhaps that is how I gathered the courage to face the greatest challenge of my life, the death of my youngest son. He was a mere 24 years of age when he was killed instantly in a single-car collision in 2017, unexpected, sudden, and tragic. He was a true light, and still is. A kind young man with a heart of gold. How could I meet myself in this? I would need the greatest medicines of all to put my shattered heart back together. Medicine for the body and for the mind and for the soul.

I promised myself and my children that we would figure out how to grieve and live on after the unspeakable loss. I didn’t know how but I would meet myself in the unspeakable loss. I first met myself with a daily question, what do I need? I was trained to first ask of others, what do you need? Tending to others does give me satisfaction, yet I could not lift a finger to tend if I tried. I met myself with simple needs. I rest, food, and sunshine. That was enough.

I met myself by creating and maintaining my home as a nest, a nurturing and healing environment that sat high in a fir tree, figuratively. I wrapped my body in warm and soft blankets, inviting in angels to comfort me. I met myself with compassion, a true elixir that eases the pain of life’s greatest challenges. Compassion is an art to be practiced and a muscle to build. Fierce compassion guided me to care for myself slowly and with the truth that you can’t ever rush the healing.

I met myself with kindness as a buffering place within where I retreat to when the harshness of the world gets too close. I met myself with nonjudgment, continuously releasing the heavy stones of judgment and criticism that weigh heavy on a grieving mother’s heart. Nonjudgment releases the unforgiving need to criticize, critique, or shame my progress and my feelings. It allows the construction within the destruction of loss.

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I met myself in knowing that no two people grieve alike and how I met myself may not be helpful to another, but applying compassion, kindness, and nonjudgment helps no matter where or how a fellow human needs to be met. I met quite myself by honoring my deep inner knowing of ritual and ceremony ancestors, mothers in my lineage who also lost children came into my dreams offering their wisdom and their love. Did they meet themselves? I would do it for them and for my children’s children.

I lit candles and fires, sat with trees and made prayer mandalas. I met myself as I applied rituals that were containers of pure love and self-respect. I lifted many a prayer up and into the winds of healing. I met myself as ancestor, as healer and as priestess. I met myself writing poetry, journaling, teaching, and gathering sacred circles. I met myself in my shattered heart as self-healer, as medicine woman, as wise elder, as broken mother, and a devastated child.

I met myself in all the shattered pieces and in the depths of my soul. Through it all, I became the woman I was always meant to be. I am both a work in progress and a masterpiece. This is me in the third chapter of life, living each day as an opportunity to meet myself and others in safe and sacred spaces, offering compassionate healing for those hungering to meet themselves and nourish their souls.

Mary, that’s so beautiful.

Thank you so much. I didn’t talk about being a mother of five, but I created a healing arts business in my second chapter. That is my expression of what I offer others. I am so intrigued and excited to be a part of this group, this book and this journey. I hope those who read it and are listening to this can know that there is a becoming that is happening as we’re in our third chapters.

It is a culmination of everything we have lived. I see it as the weaving of our soul and our spirit. It’s so beautiful and powerful. It’s different. It’s not who I was, but I bring that but I am becoming. I’m probably never going to end up and becoming as I transition out of this life. It’s such an honor to be a part of this, so thank you.

Thank you, Mary. I love so much that you talk how you’ve learned so much compassion and kindness for yourself. As many of us go into our third chapters, we suddenly stop or we can or choose to stop judging ourselves, which we do a lot in our earlier chapters. Now, we accept ourselves and we take that whole package of all the things that have happened to us. We can move forward with so much more wisdom and compassion for ourselves and be wonderful role models to others who also want to get on this meaningful train that we’re on. This meaningful new part of our journey. Thank you so much. That is wonderful. With so much gratitude, thank you.

With so much gratitude, I want to thank each of you for your terrific stories that are going to uplift, enlighten and empower our readers. To celebrate the launch of Good to the Last Drop, we’re going to give away 50 free copies to enthusiastic readers who are willing to leave an honest review on Amazon after reading.

Here is how to enter. It’s quite easy. Fill out the form that is going to be linked, which will allow us to contact you if you’re one of the lucky winners. Once you’ve entered, you’re in the running. We’ll select 50 entries as the winners, so don’t wait. If you’re selected, we’ll ship you a free copy of Good to the Last Drop straight to you and dive into the book. Enjoy the read, head over to Amazon, and share your thoughts with a review.

You’ve all gotten a taste of the wonderful, inspiring uplifting stories in this book. The giveaway will end soon, so don’t miss your chance to get your hands on a free copy of Good to the Last Drop and share your feedback on Amazon. Thank you for each of you wonderful contributors to my new book titled Good to the Last Drop! Embracing Your Life’s Third Chapter. To all of you, the cherished members of my show audience, for your love and your support. Enjoy the read. As I like to say, to be continued, many blessings, and bye for now.


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