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About Psychic Matters Podcasts

Ann Théato, International Psychic Medium and Spiritual Tutor, investigates psychic development, mediumship techniques, and paranormal science, so that you can come to understand your own innate psychic ability and expand your knowledge, whilst learning to develop a curious mind.

This Week’s Episode

New York based Public Speaker, Published Author and Spiritualist Medium Karen Francis McCarthy shares how & why she changed her opinion from total sceptic to believer, after experiencing the heart-breaking death of her fiancé and his many attempts to communicate with her from the spirit realm.

PM 018
TILL DEATH DON’T US PART

Hi there, my name is Ann Théato and I am here to teach you proven techniques for spiritual and psychic development from the comfort of your own home. I’m also here to investigate the teachings of experts across the globe, to bring you their wisdom, their advice and their spiritual wealth.

If you are someone who is very sceptical about the feasibility of spirit communication or the afterlife, you are not alone.  New York based Public Speaker, Published Author, and now Spiritualist Medium, Karen Francis McCarthy, used to be political journalist, war correspondent and firm sceptic.  One day, she was on an assignment, when she received the terrible news that her fiancé had died suddenly in New York. Numbed by the tragedy, she spiralled into a deep state of grief about never being able to communicate with Johan again… until she began to experience a series of remarkable events, and incredible ‘happenings’ which had no logical explanation.  Karen sought every possible reason for these, until eventually, the only explanation she could find for everything that had been happening, was that her fiancé was communicating with her from the spirit realm. Karen has written a book about her experiences, called ‘Til Death Don’t Us Part, which is a transformational story of one woman’s extraordinary journey through tragedy to awakening to the knowledge that life and love never dies. 

 

You’ll Learn

  • What happens in the early stages of grief
  • How to have an inter-dimensional relationship with those in the spirit world
  • How to interpret signs from the spirit world
  • How consciousness survives what we call death
  • The benefits of meditation
  • Why your pain needs to be honoured
  • How to be very self-compassionate
  • Why we sit in mediation for others, not ourselves
  • What the psychic faculties are
  • The philosophy of Buddhism
  • How to feel your loved ones’ mind touching yours
  • How to have faith and trust in your intuition
  • Why helpful people are put in your path
  • Why anxiety is always future focussed
  • How to be mindful and stay present

Episode 018 Resources

Here are some resources referred to in Episode 018, which you may find helpful.

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TRANSCRIPT

I’m here in a Psychic Matters studio today with Karen Francis McCarthy.  Karen is a progressive spiritualist medium, a public speaker and published author.  She was formerly a major media political journalist and war correspondent.  And one day, she was on an assignment when she received the terrible news that Johan, her partner & fiancé, had died suddenly in New York. Numbed by the tragedy, she spiralled into a deep state of grief about never being able to communicate with Johan again… until she began to experience a series of remarkable events, and incredible ‘happenings’ which had no logical explanation.  Karen is very skeptical by nature, and she sought logical explanation after logical explanation until eventually, the only explanation she could find for everything that had been happening, was that Johan was communicating with her from the spirit realm. She’s recently written a book about her experiences, called ‘Til Death Don’t Us Part, which is a transformational story of one woman’s extraordinary journey through tragedy to awakening to the knowledge that life and love never dies.  Karen, tell us about your incredible book.

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Karen

Well, I wrote the book because I had actually been prompted to write it by a number of people.  It’s an accounts or is it’s an account of events that happened about 10 years ago just after my fiancé died.  I at the time was a journalist, and I was just back, I hadn’t been back from Iraq that long and I was down in the American South in the Heartland, doing some interviews for my first book, which was part of a cultural outreach for the Northern Ireland peace effort and I was doing some research on that, interviewing some people down there, when I got a message to say that my fiancé, I got a call to say my fiancé had just suddenly died in New York City.  At the time I just was in, you can imagine, a complete state of shock and I decided to stay in Virginia and I’d been, somebody had this big, hulking house, that needed a house sitter for the Summer and so I decided just to stay there in that house and not bother.  I just couldn’t face coming back to New York.   While I was there in this house, it was just me and the cat there for the summer, while I was there in this house, mostly I just wanted to get into bed and sleep, you know, just was wandering about in the days really as, as you do in those early stages of grief, when all sorts  of odd things started happening in this house, you know, like invisible things, you know the bed creaking in the middle of the night when I was fast asleep, or things touching me, or shapes appearing in front of my eyes, and odd smells and sounds and all this sort of thing.  And you know initially, it’s the sort of thing, you know, I think, I was an absolute, I was an atheist, and an absolute sceptic at the time. I had been raised Catholic but I’d run away from the Catholic Church at 17, when I got out of secondary school or high school and never looked back and the only time I tried any kind of spiritual practice at all, was I had practised Zen for about 10 years or so but the thing about Zen is it’s nontheistic so you know, there’s no dogma, there’s no priestly caste, there’s none of that sort of thing, there’s no belief in the afterlife, you know, there’s none of those sorts of religious trappings, so it’s actually quite nontheistic.  When I’m stuck down here now in Virginia a few years later, and all these odd things were happening, I’d absolutely no explanation, and I started getting very anxious that maybe there was something had gone wrong with me, you know, that grief, this was grief induced hallucinations or something which very much concerned me because I’ve always been a very strong minded individual.  And to suddenly have all of these things happen without any explanation was just very, on top of the grief was very worrisome.  So I started down there, one thing sort of led to another, you know, helpful people got put in my path, which I didn’t see it was helpful people being put in my path at the time, I just thought it was people I was bumping into and one actually ironically, was a Catholic priest and I kind of ended up washing up onto his doorstep one morning, bawling crying, talking about all these crazy things that were happening and how I feared I was losing my mind.  And he said no, no, these are signs, lots of parishioners have had signs from loved ones to let them know they’re okay when they pass on, which was mind boggling to me, but it started me on a journey that’s that takes up the 1st third of the book basically, of trying to figure out what is going on and I ended up at the Edgar Cayce  Centre in Virginia and at a spiritualist church and was getting messages, and you know, and eventually through a whole sequence of events, which I won’t going to cause I don’t want to give it away, which brings us up to the end of the first third of the book.  Eventually after a lot of resistance and disbelief, eventually the penny dropped and it became quite apparent to me that the only explanation for everything that was going on, was that consciousness survives death.   And so for the rest of the book, I came back to New York and I was trying to sort of figure out then, how do you live with this knowledge?   How do you live, you know what I started also noticing was that other people, I could sit with a friend, and a relative of theirs would pop in, you know, from the higher side and I started noticing this happening more and more.  And so the rest the book is really just trying to come to terms with the fact that my fiancé was still alive in spirit form and how we were going to manage to continue a relationship, and, you know we learn our relationship in this context and how this relationship could continue in that way, so there’s a lot of that, and a lot of learning how we are still part of each other’s ’ life and then a lot of, you know, just sort of coming to terms with the whole concept of the fact that total strangers were able to communicate with me to give, pass along messages to other total strangers.  So a lot was involved in that in terms of trying to just come to accept that and come to terms with that.  As a sceptic that was a very, very hard thing to do.  You know and just sort of navigate through life, it was very, very transformational.  So it ended up being a very, very different life.  So lot of friends that I used to have sort of fell away, lots of new friends came along.   I stopped, you know, I used to be a political journalist, I stopped I lost interest in politics.  I started looking more at sort of spirituality and belief systems and meaning and purpose and things like that.  So it was a definitely, massively, life-changing event and that’s what, that’s what I spend the book talking about.  But the fun part of the book is, that it’s actually and you’ve read it yourself, I wrote it to be, it’s, it’s obviously it’s all true, it’s a memoir so it’s technically considered non-fiction but I wrote it to try to read like fiction, so that it’s, although everything is true in it, I tried to write it so that I was actually capturing each moment and describing all of these moments as they happened, in a way that the reader then, could become part of the story.   So at no point in the story is it written like, oh this is me 10 years later looking back and saying, you know, it’s written in a way that, as these events are going along, I don’t know what’s happening, the reader doesn’t know what’s happening, and we’re both sort of following along together.  I sort of felt that it would be more interesting for the reader to sort of be part of the journey, than have me talk at them about oh this is what I’ve discovered.  You know, and it was actually a decision I had to make at the beginning when I decided to eventually sit down and write this book, was do I write it like a researcher or journalist and just sort of present my findings, or do I actually do write a creative non-fiction book, which actually describes the journey and the drama and the emotions and the grief and the angst and the intimacy of the relationship and the sort of personal transformation that comes as a result of it, as it’s happening, and then just let the reader read it then just present the story and let them then decide for themselves, if it’s something that they want to believe in or they can believe in. So I’m sort of really just trying to share the experience if you get me.

 

Ann

You very, very kindly Karen, sent me a link to read it prior to this interview.  So one of the things Karen, that really stood out for me, your decision at the beginning when you were saying whether to write it as a piece of journalist writing or whether to write it as creative non-fiction, I really felt as if,  when I was reading it, I was in your mind, I was you, I was or right beside you, and at the very beginning you’ve already mentioned that you were in an older house, at the very beginning after your fiancé, died and as I was reading that, I could, I could literally smell the house, I could see the décor, I could feel myself walking across that carpet, or like I was with you under the duvet or those early times when you explain that that initial process of grief and how you were starting to just understand the process, what had just gone for you, so I just think it is an incredible piece of work, it is beautifully written and there’s a lot in there for people to learn as well, because I think it’s great when you come from a place of scepticism as you did, and work through a process till you came to the only decision that you could come to, that  consciousness survives what we call death.  Just go back a little, you spoke about, and I know that you’re a Buddhist and you spoke a little bit about Zen the practise of Zen for 10 years, and there might be some people, including myself in part, who isn’t 100% sure, who aren’t 100% sure of what the Zen practise is.  Could you explain that a little?

 

Karen

While at its most simple, I mean Buddhist is quite a sort of confounding practice, because on one hand it can be incredibly, sound incredibly simple and be incredibly difficult at the same time. But at its simplest for me, Zen was sitting, it was a lot of meditation I did a lot of retreats, it was, it was working with the sensei, sort of trying to find refuge to some degree in the Dharma, which is trying to just put the principles of Buddhism, of compassion, of loving kindness, of presence and mindfulness into practise.  So I never was a formal Zen student but I used to just practise it, I would go and sit on, on retreat, and go sit for the Sunday gathering each week, and just try to incorporate sort of mindfulness into it.  I found that when I actually did sit on my cushion for half an hour or so each day, just in myself I was a calmer individual, which I’m sure also benefited other people. That’s what our sensei used to say, we sit for others.  Yes, so yeah so I wasn’t like I said wasn’t a formal student I just practised Zen, I just practise meditation and retreats and just did my best to try to live to those sorts of principles that I heard the sensei talk about and that we sort of try to embody.

 

Ann

That must have been very helpful also, I mean I’m assuming it was helpful, when you were a war correspondent?

 

Karen

No, God no.  No when you’re a war correspondent, well I mean in as much as you want to be very, very alert and very present, you know, with each step you take, because, you know, sort of on patrol with all of these soldiers, and you have to be, have your wits about you all the time, it’s a very different sort of sense of being present, but it’s really definitely about being present.  You have to be very careful where you put your feet you know.  One soldier gave me a tip very early on when I arrived – just put your feet exactly the same places as the soldier in front of you, because if he didn’t hit an IED you won’t, you know, so it’s a different type of presence, yeah, but presence nonetheless.

 

Ann

Gosh interesting and you speak in the book and you speak now, about your continued relationship with your fiancé and I think that’s one of the most beautiful things that I’ve ever read.   Obviously as a medium myself, I know that life goes on and there is no death, but to know that you can have a continuing and beautiful relationship which grows even now, even though your fiancé is in the next realm, that’s really beautiful.   Can you speak a little about that?

 

Karen

Yeah that comes up, a lot of people are asking me about that, and you know, there’s, I did try to at one point address in the book, some of the sort of superstitions that by inserting some scenes where people came at me with sort of these lingering superstitions about, oh when somebody dies you have to let them go or you’re holding them back, or they’re going to, going to get lost or earthbound or some other, all these sorts of things.  What I had done also,  Ann was as you know, in the book I did, I included sort of little overviews of a lot of the reading and research I was doing too, because that, just as a journalist at the time, you know going to find people to interview and doing research, it was sort of, my go-to way of understanding anything, so I did do quite a lot of reading and I did do some summaries you know, I mentioned some of the things I was reading in the book and I did that because it really, really helped ultimately.  So yes a lot of people have asked me about that and it was something that was very, very important to me to convey very accurately in the book which is like why I said I decided in the end to write a non-fiction book, but to really try to make it quite creative, to try to really share, as you said, the senses and the sounds and the feelings and the imagery and the experience, to draw people into that so they could understand these things, so that they could experience what I experienced.  Because we hear all of the time people talking at people.  It’s like journalism 101, journalism school 101, show don’t tell.  That’s the, that’s the number one rule, show don’t tell, and that’s what I tried to do, was show the relationship, not just tell people how it could or should be, and so I showed it as it was unfolding, and as it was growing in the hope that people could understand how these relationships can continue better.  And one of the things is that, and I wanted to be very careful about this, is I ran into a lot of people telling me oh I’m holding him back, and my grief is harming him or he’s earthbound or some, all of these things, but because I had my default position on anything when I don’t understand it is to sort of interview people and research things, I had done an awful lot of background reading on where these ideas came from, you know, the ancient sorts of religions, the indigenous religions, that burial practises that these emerged from.  I’m actually doing PhD looking at a lot of this stuff at the moment and it really stood to me but when I ran into other mediums who hadn’t been properly trained or properly educated, and they started kind of spouting a lot of these old superstitions, just passing them from one to the other down the millennia without every really challenging the veracity or the plausibility of these things, it was definitely a huge thing for me to have to try to deal with.   It was very harmful and I really wanted to include it in the book which I did, some of those scenes, to help people. Because now, in my mediumship practise, I get a lot of spouses coming to me being told these things and it’s very upsetting when you’re when you’re bereaved.  So that was the first thing that was very important for me to really challenge and to show people how it is and to show really how these relationships can, these relationships can continue, but they need to continue in a healthy way and that’s key, because on the other end of the spectrum, I’ve come across people who spend their entire day looking for signs wondering, oh was that something touched me, or was that, you know,  was that sort of gust of wind across my hand, and they spend far too long sort of obsessing about are they seeing signs or not.  And when somebody is very deeply bereaved, that’s understandable but over time, we have to learn to recognise what is a sign what’s not a sign, how we recognise, I mean for me it became different because initially, because I didn’t know I had the mediumistic faculty, I was seeing a lot of external signs out there but for me they weren’t subtle.  Like my friend Roisin at one point in the book described them as burning bushes. Because they were very in your face, you know, because there was no way I would have, if a butterfly or cardinal landed on the table or, you know, a  rainbow appeared in the sky, I would never have believed that, oh that’s a sign from, I would never been able to do that, because I didn’t have a, I couldn’t, I didn’t have a belief in these things.  And so very, very obvious intricate things happened for me which I talked about.   But when then, it was, in the book it comes a point where it’s forced to, I’m forced to turn inward, when I turn inward, I actually start to feel the presence and that’s when I learned how to communicate mediumisticly. But for people who are not necessarily mediumistic, it is possible to maintain these relationships but the challenge is, to first of all grieve,  because that’s very important, that even though your loved one is present with you in and still continues to love and walk with you in spirit form, their physical presence is gone.  And that has to be grieved, so the spiritual, Inter-dimensional sort of relationship is never going to be like the physical relationship, it’s going to be something different, you know, and when people try to hold onto the past, that’s where it becomes unhealthy.  I think where you can be healthy with these things, is recognising that this is a, this is a new stage or a new form of the relationship and understanding how it can be in this new form, how we communicate, how it works.  It’s a learning process, it can be quite exciting actually.  But it has to be accepted that it’s something new and you have to really look forward with it and to be able to look forward you really do need to grieve what is not no longer present, and then be able to celebrate and work with what is still present.

 

Ann

And what have you learned Karen, about the grieving process yourself in terms of length, how long it takes you to accept and make that, let go I suppose, of what was, and embrace what is now?

 

Karen

Well, the first thing I do know about grief is that nobody gives you enough time, that’s one thing and grief is a very, very personal thing,  There’s no time limit to it.  It’s going to depend on you and your nature, and the relationship and the closeness of the relationship, on the sort of level of support that you have still around you, I mean it’s a whole very, very unique experience, the grieving process and it needs to be honoured.   And your pain needs to be honoured.  And it’s a time when you need to be very, very self-compassionate, because it’s remarkable how many people give you a month, two months, three months and gradually people start to fall away, you know.   Everybody’s around for the first month and people, they start moving on with their lives but you’re still there in that in that space.  It takes a good long time. I mean if you start getting into a state where you’re actually you know, a year later and you’re not functioning or you’re still very depressed, then you really would be advised to go see a grief counsellor, you know.  We really need to know where we need help because the friends can only be around for so long, you know, and the important thing is, is what feels okay for you.  You really don’t want to be in a protracted state of depression and if you find you are, then you probably should go get some help. So other than that, it’s going to take what is going to take.  The key is, you know, how can you continue in separation, you know, we never recover from grief that’s a fallacy – oh we get over it – we never, ever, ever, get over it, we just learn to live differently and that’s the thing.  It’s accepting that we really need to learn to live differently now.  And if you have the belief system that consciousness survives death, which I’m sure your listeners all have or they wouldn’t be listening to this, then it’s a matter of, you know, sort of enjoying the journey, of trusting their presence, and enjoying the journey of learning, speaking to them. I mean they can hear our thoughts.  My mother has since passed to the spirit world, she even interrupts my thoughts.  She enjoyed, so I don’t even know she’s listening, and next thing she’ll chime in, ah God, you know, so we really, this kind of communication is very subtle, but it’s very mind to mind.  So if you speak to your loved one, if you turn your thoughts to your loved one, they can feel your mind touching their mind and hear what you’re saying and respond.   Now you, if you’re not mediumistic, won’t hear that response in the same way they heard you, but they will find a way to let you know they have heard you, and they will find a way to let you know, where this either, you will start to find helpful people in your path or a sign in your path or synchronicities.  Synchronicities are real key, when somebody is trying to help you, so it’s really just a matter of continuing that.  I do, you know, I sit in the power regularly, and I do advise anybody if they want to work with their intuition, this is the language of intuition, so to value, even if you’re not mediumistic everybody is intuitive so, everybody can sit and learn to trust their intuition, and learn the language of their intuition, which will help them immensely in being able to recognise the signs and synchronicities & responses of their loved one.  So, the idea that you often hear mediums going, oh I hear so and so saying.  Well people don’t sit in the spirit world chattering in full sentences in your ear, they use the psychic faculties to communicate, and the psychic faculties are a combination of images and hearing sounds and fragments and you know or phrases and feeling above all, just you know, feeling the presence feeling the emotion and it’s a combination of these, this is the language of the spirit.  So I would say to anybody don’t sit around expecting that your loved one is going to start chattering in your head like a full-on conversation, that’s not how it works, so don’t look to that, look to these more subtle ways of and combination of senses, which is how the spirit world communicates with us. And just learn, work, focus, if you want to do something for yourself, really focus on learning to live more intuitively, and trust, and understand your intuition and that’s what they will be able to use, to get a message to you.

 

Ann

That’s really beautiful. So Karen, you talk about trusting your intuition and how, you know for the sceptics among us, of which I am still one, even though I work as a as a medium, I still have my sceptical side, because like you, I like to try and test, to try and test, until there’s no other explanation, but for those people who struggle with just accepting what is coming, how do they trust those intuitive feelings?  How do they know what comes from the spirit world – their loved one in the spirit world in the form of a symbol, a fragrance, how do they, how do they have faith and trust?

 

Karen

It’s kind of like $1,000,000 question.

 

Ann

I think I’m asking you Karen, because through your book you did that process yourself.   You went from complete sceptic…

 

Karen

Yeah

 

Ann

To now a fully certified spiritualist medium, with the Spiritualist  National union .

 

Karen

Yeah, well I think first of all,  the intuition isn’t just for learning to understand the spirit world, we really could do better in our entire lives, if we just listen in it more intuitively, just in our day to day things.  We actually do listen to our intuition, I do believe, more than we believe, so more than we realise, you know.  For instance you meet somebody and you just have an uneasy feeling about them, you just don’t take to them.  Or you meet you meet somebody else and within a few seconds or even before they open their mouth, you just feel drawn to them, you feel comfortable with them. I mean, that’s energy, that’s intuition, that’s energy, your energy and their energy is meshing or not you know.  Do you ever walk along the street and you feel oh, this doesn’t feel right.  Any time  you get those sorts of feelings, that’s your intuition, and so I think where we begin with this, is just learning to pay attention to how we feel, you know.  Have you ever walked into a room and felt oh this is just beautiful, I could live here, I could decorate this, put the sofa in here and you know read a book.  And then you walk into another place, and you feel, I walked into an apartment the other day and I swear, I swear somebody had been manically depressed in there for like 50 years, I mean you could feel it, that weight in the air.  So the thing about  intuition, we can start by just paying attention to how we feel in our daily lives and that’s the key.   The more we feel, you know, because we are always like, rushing to try to get somewhere, we are always racing around like little hamsters in our heads, but if we can actually pause that, and meditation is great for helping with this, if we can pause on that and just try to first of all stay present, just be present, you know, I’m here talking to you right now.  I’m not thinking about all the other things I have to do later, not thinking about anything else. I’m just here and you and I are focusing on this nice little conversation we’re having here and that’s it.  And we’re just present in this moment and we will be present in the next.  The more you can bring your awareness back to the present I think, and this is where Buddhism helped me quite a lot, the more you can bring your awareness back to the present and just be present, what happens then is, first of all that has the extra benefit of sort of reducing anxiety, because anxiety is always future focused.  When we feel anxious, it’s because we’re in the future right?  If we feel anxious and you ask  what am I anxious about?  It is always something that hasn’t happened yet right?  It’s always a fear of something that’s going to happen, so that means we’re not present . We are anxious because we are not present and the anxiety is robbing us of our sort of intuitive understanding, because we’re so caught up in something that hasn’t happened.  If we feel guilty, we’re always in the past.  I’d say that we probably spend most of our life either guilty or anxious because we’re never in the present.  So if we can really learn to, and yoga and meditation is beautifully helpful with this, just to really be aware of what we are doing right now in the moment or go for a walk and instead of just walking and ruminating on the walk, walk and pay attention to just what is in front of your eyes, what’s under your feet, the sound of the pebbles, the sound of the breeze, all of these things that’s the first step, be present. Because as soon as we’re present then, then we can become aware of how we feel in a given moment.  And once we can pause to become aware of how we feel to a living person, to the presence of somebody that really makes us uncomfortable or the presence of somebody else that we really feel good with, then we eventually can become more present, more sensitive and more intuitive to the invisible energies around us to the end to the people and the energy that we can’t see.   Does this make sense?

 

Ann

Yes.

 

Karen

It’s the simplest thing in the world, you know, but it’s very difficult to do, you know, we have to be very mindful to do this.   But the more we can become, and then what will happen then is, you’ll start to find that you are proved right. Somebody you felt very uncomfortable with, you hear something about later and you realise, oh there was very good reason to feel uncomfortable with them and then you get validation.  My intuition was, your intuition is always right, we just need to listen to it and we don’t actually listen with your ears we listen with our heart, we listen with our feeling, that’s the language of intuition. And this helps then to be more sensitised to other energy, to you know the presence of loved ones.  And that’s really, I would say, the first step, you know.   So although I say I was an absolute sceptic, I do feel that the fact that I had put in so many years of meditation, or just to be present with no belief in anything other than, you know, Zen is like, in Zen you die, you’re reabsorbed into the cosmic universe, there’s no reincarnation in Zen Buddhism, that’s Tibetan Buddhism, so in Zen you die you’re done, that’s it, your back right back into the ocean, you know, so I had no beliefs at all but I do feel that having, and I hadn’t meditated for a few years before this happened, but having done that for so many years, I do feel that just did help me become more mindful, which I do feel was what sort of got me started, got it, got it all kind of under way.  That and the burning bushes,  you know.

 

Ann

Yes. The big symbols.

 

Karen

The big things.  The other thing you had you had mentioned was how do we realise it’s our loved one, and this is something I’ve talked about a few times before, is you know, with, and I say this in the book, as you know, people were saying, oh he might send you a butterfly, he might do this he might do that and I thought have you met this guy?  Like that’s last thing in the world he would do and if he did do that, I would never recognise him in that, you know, and I feel that a lot of people put themselves through an undue amount of stress, by reading books or websites where they list, ‘here’s the symbols you will see from your loved one’

 

Ann

Find a white feather, a butterfly …

 

Karen

Bees or the, you know, the red Cardinals, with butterflies, the rainbows or whatever and I’m not saying those things don’t happen, like, obviously they do, but I think what’s more important is to also pay attention to the personality also of your loved one.  Like some people come and they say somebody is always getting pennies, I’ve never seen a penny.  I mean why would you want to see a penny? Why would they give you a penny?  You know, is that consistent with..   Like my father now, my father has since past and most mornings I’ll wake up and as I’m in that sort of hypnagogic state.   The other thing too is the hypnagogic state, is a great state for being sort of between waking and dreaming for loved ones to pop in images or what not, you know, I found.   My father will show me these little emojis, smiley emojis, which I thought that’s the bizarrest thing, my father wouldn’t have even known what an emoji was, you know.  But when I was clearing the house out, when they had to, after they asked me to clear out the house,  in the top drawer beside his bed, when I was clearing out the bedrooms, I found this little red love heart with a with an emoji on it you know, and I went ohh that’s it, you know, but now sometimes I might just sit down to meditate and there’s all sorts of variations on emojis will pop into my head, it is not just a, you know, otherwise I would just, so that’s just me recall.  All sorts of  variations and that’s just my dad popping in to say hi, you know.  And so there’s all sorts of subtle ways, but like I say, it’s like, I think people put a lot of stress on themselves thinking that they need to find certain things, instead of just saying to their loved one, who can hear them, show me something so I know it’s you, and then something will come along, where you go, oh that’s them, that makes sense.   It’s a two-way conversation, it’s not just you know.  The thing is people don’t realise their loved one is present and can hear their thoughts, can feel their thoughts touching their mind.

 

Ann

Because you talk in the book about your fiancé.  Can we give him a name?

 

Karen

His name is Johan.

 

Ann

Johan, and you talk about Johan talking to you from the spirit world and he will put, rather than showing you symbols all the time, he will sometimes put a thought into your head or a phrase, or an image of something, which will then go on to mean something later in the day, or the day after.

 

Karen

Well he didn’t, he stopped showing signs once I got it. Because signs are external, you know.  Anything that you feel, sense or see in your, your mind is an internal communication, that’s a mediumistic communication.  Seeing a red Cardinal or a butterfly or a rainbow or penny or feather whatever, those signs are external to everything, you didn’t you know, so that’s the, that’s the difference in the definition.  So once I learned to, once I accepted that this was actually real, this was happening, then the communications started gradually to become mediumistic communications, they became mind to mind communications, rather than stuff out there in the world, and what he would almost, he would often do is these, and I don’t know if everybody gets this but this is what he would often do, is these little sort of almost like precognition things, where I would wake up in the morning or I would talk to him and he would show me something in my mind and it would make absolutely no sense to me, and then later in the day I would see it.   

 

So I think one of the things I talk about is, I woke up one morning and I saw half of a lizards head and a fish ball and I was like, what on earth is that, you know?  But then later on  I was down the subway and I saw a poster of Rango and he’s there as the little lizard holding the fish you know, and I thought oh that’s it.  And what he was showing me was, that he’s not just there in the morning or on my cushion, when I’m focused on him or I’m trying to communicate with him, he’s actually also with me later seeing these things with me, because as we know there is no time, right?  There’s no time in the spirit world.   And so it made me realise, oh it’s not just when I light the candles and burn the incense and sit down and try to Om my way into a communication with him, that this is an ongoing communication.  That he is there all the time, seeing what I see, you know, and that was, it was just his, I often describe it was like, I think I said it to him at one point, I feel like I’m a 3 year old, that you’re trying to teach by example, that was what it was like, and so I had a very good teacher in him, in showing me these things, and you know and also as you know and I don’t want to get into too much detail, give the whole book away and take all the suspense out of it, there were also things where he sort of saved my bacon, you know, where something weird would happen. I would go okay, I get it, and I would go back home, close the door and stay out of trouble.  And so he helped me find an apartment, you know, which was whole big very elaborate, which is not an easy thing to do find a good apartment in New York City, but it was a very elaborate sequence of events, and the thing was, I had learned to just take it, listen, listen, you know listen to what he’s saying in the language he saying it, that’s important.,

 

Ann

And Johan, did he, before he passed away, did he, what were his beliefs around this topic?

 

Karen

None.  None.

 

Ann

Right, amazing.

 

Karen

Yeah absolutely I was like, it was the two of us, you know, and I think I said that in the opening line of the book he just, he didn’t believe him in the soul, he didn’t believe in anything, you know.  But he was very, very smart, very technical, and very creative, and so he used these things, so if I started noticing for example, because he was like really, he was very artistic so he tended to use clairvoyance quite a lot, he was probably more comfortable with it because it is so visual but he was also a real techie you know, he was the first one with every gadget, you know, and all the rest of it.   So when weird things started happening with electronics, it made sense to me. Oh that’s him.  Now that would make sense to me more than, you know, a feather or a rainbow or whatever the case maybe because that’s the sort of thing he would do, you know.   And this is what I say to other people, you know, don’t just go by the textbook, trust your loved one, trust your intuition, begin to work on trusting your intuition, that’s your job, you know, nobody can do that for you, you have to and we’ve talked about this already, you have to learn to trust yourself and trust your own intuition and that’s your responsibility, you need to work on that.  They are going to be working on their whole thing and then work with them, talk to them, work you know, learn these things, it can be quite, it can be super entertaining, you know, it’s, it’s a very exciting time, learning a new language with your loved one, you know that you’ve probably been with, I mean somebody who’s been with somebody for 30 years, my goodness, they know them inside and out, so stop looking at the list, start talking to them and listen to them.

 

Ann

I think that’s one of the most beautiful things in your book as well.   There are a lot of beautiful things within it, but one of the things that stands out also, is you’re learning to communicate with Johan and then the different ways in which that progressed and then the beautiful intimacy that started to evolve and continue presumably up until now,  and how that relationship progressed and the love was felt so strongly and in such a different way than it would could possibly have been expressed had he been here in the physical form.

 

Karen

Yeah absolutely, because when you’re in physical form you are always in separate bodies no matter how intimate you are, you still in separate bodies, but when one is in spirit form and when you learn, which I did overtime, to be very, to be able to really touch that power, and to really expand my own energy and sort of almost in a trance like state, to be able to sort of step out of it in a way, then we’re able to, we’re able to learn to blend on an energetic level, which was just, which is phenomenal and it just, you know the promise it offers for life in spirit form is just beautiful, you know.  So it sort of makes you think of like life more like a holiday, I’m only here for a short period of time and then I’ve got that to look forward to, so let me make the most of it. It can really just, you know, I don’t like to spend too much, you know people always ask me, what’s it like in the spirit world, and I’m like well I’m not there so I don’t know.   What I do know is, that if we were meant to fixate on the spirit world, we wouldn’t be here.  So we’re here for something that’s related to being here in physical form and it’s, when we, when we can’t experience that because of the laws of physics, it makes life a little bit more difficult, but that’s the challenge.  How do we understand and how do we see love in other people; how do we, you know, how are we loving awareness; how do we show compassion for people who really make the hairs on the back of our neck stand on end?  But this is part of the challenge of being here.  We can’t know what somebody else is thinking really. So we have to just have faith that in their essence of that person they are loving awareness, no matter how horrendous they seem to be on the outside.   That’s a very, very difficult thing to do.   We don’t meet, there’s, there’s no challenge in that in the spirit world because we want to have the barriers, the barriers are here.   And so the lesson for this life is, how do we live as loving awareness? How do we show compassion to all beings, even the ones that are intolerable to us?  Because we can’t see what’s in their heart, we can’t see what’s there, but we have to trust that their essence is the, is the essence of God right?  And we don’t do it and we get all up in arms, but that’s the challenge of, I feel, being in the physical form.  So for me, an important reason why I decided just to write that experience, rather than try to go astral project for a year and write a whole book about the afterlife, is that, it’s about presence, it comes back to being mindful, it comes back to being present.  We are here right now for a moment, why is that? We will be there soon enough.  We are already in eternity.   Eternity doesn’t start, I say this like over and over, eternity doesn’t start when we die, eternity is now.  What are we doing at this stage of our eternal path? And this is I feel where our focus should be. And so this is why I kind of try to bring the focus back onto things like these relationships, things like, you know, all the things that I wrote about in my book.  But also about, the afterlife, being aware of the existence of the afterlife and being aware that love continues and that our loved ones continue to work with us and that our loved ones will gather around us when it is our turn to go.  It takes away an awful lot of that anxiety and fear and existential fear.  And what it, I feel should do is, that the knowledge that the afterlife, that there is an afterlife exists, should help us live better and more mindfully now.  And that’s what I feel, really the message ultimately, in its biggest most overarching form should be.

 

Ann

Beautifully put Karen, beautifully put.   And so, you’re on this is lifetime physical quest of learning and understanding and trying to make sense of things around you, you’ve got that very inquisitive journalistic brain and thirst, a desperate quest for knowledge and you went on, you went on to do 3 certificates with the spiritualists National Union

 

Karen

Yeah

 

Ann

And now you’re writing a PhD you say.

 

Karen

Yeah I’m just I’m just researching a PhD, and I’m looking at all of the cultural narrative around all of our concepts of ghosts you know, so that’s been quite an interesting learning experience as well, when you started really digging into all of the different two, three Millennia, indigenous beliefs and how we still carry them you know.  It’s interesting stuff.

 

Ann

Is that going to be turned into a book do you think?

 

Karen

Oh, I have no idea, I’m so far away from finishing it, I will have to just wait and see what happens.

 

Ann

And so, sure, and so what’s next for you?  You’re working on this PhD ..

 

Karen

Yeah I have my work now, I have private practice, private mediumship practice and so I do private sessions there with clients from wherever, all round, and I also, I teach as well, and with Covid now, I’ve been teaching online, so that’s been actually one of the advantages, is that students outside of New York City now been coming, so it’s been an interesting mix, and some interesting classes that we’ve been doing in healing, in mediumship, in inspirational writing, in just expression, you know, and in mediumship and healing, mediumship mainly and some trance.  I’m doing, I’m teaching some experimental trance classes, it’s beautiful, I love trance, it’s all different levels and you know of trance and but just being able to get so present and so focussed and so connected, is just, is just a beautiful thing, even if you can only experience it for a few seconds

 

Ann

Yeah, yeah, that’s wonderful and your book is called Till Death Don’t Us Part – where can people purchase it?

 

Karen

Anywhere: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, any major booksellers, and I mean Amazon everywhere, so it’s probably the easiest place to go but also Apple, there’s an Apple book, Apple iBook and yeah I don’t know it just if go to Amazon or Google search, it’ll show up I think pretty much anywhere thank you let me do it again

 

Ann

Thank you Karen that’s great and your website?

 

Karen

Oh http://www.karenfrancesmedium.com

 

Ann

So if anybody wants to book a reading with you or to find out about the teaching workshops that you have coming up, that’s where they go.

 

Karen

On actually, actually on that website as well Ann, I do have free recordings of two meditations.   One is sitting in the power, and one is the power of healing and so they can sit, if they want a sort of a bit of a guided meditation, they’re quite short, about 15 minutes along I think, just to be able to start, to have something to help them sort of sit, if they want to follow this intuitive development and this mindfulness and have sort of a little voice to guide them along on this, they can just go and download those, they’re free.

 

Ann

That would be wonderful.  And listen to that in your beautiful Irish lilt.

 

Karen

Oh, thank you.

 

Ann

Very nice too.  And talking of which, in your beautiful Irish lilt, you are now going to read us a short extract from your book, so settle back everybody and just enjoy, Karen Frances McCarthy reading from her new book ‘Til Death Don’t Us Part.

 

Karen

And this excerpt from the book is from very early on in the book, just you know within a couple of weeks after I got the news that he had died.  And a few odd things had started happening, which I was just confused about at the time, and then this came:

 

“I went to bed that evening with my iPad and scrolled for  something on Netflix to distract me from the past.

 

A floorboard creaked; a shiver ran up my spine.  I peered into the hallway with the uncomfortable feeling that somebody was lurking in the shadows, but there was none there.  

 

Later having watched a few minutes of everything and all of nothing I drifted off.  My iPad must have continued to pour faint flickers of light into the room until the battery died and the world fell to silence, broken only by the burp of a bullfrog, the hoot of an owl, and the heavy breathing of me sleeping.  

 

Creak.

 

I jolted awake, the bed frame was groaning under a great weight, my heart raced. Someone had sat on the bed behind me.  Someone big.  Someone silent.  

 

Turn around! I told myself.

 

I couldn’t move.  

Turn around for God’s sake, on three.  One, two, three! 

 

I flipped around.  No one.  I scrambled up, got tangled in the sheet, fell over, whacked my face on the window sill, and bounced back onto the floor.  Pain scorched my head.  

 

Get up!

 

My hands were shaking.  I fumbled with the switch of the gaudy lamp.  It flipped on.  No one was there.  No one could have gotten down those stairs that fast without a sound.  I fumbled on the table for my phone to call 911 and then remembered it was in the kitchen.  

 

I picked up the glass Saratoga spring bottle by the neck and crouched down the stairs peering into the dark, listening for any creak or rustle.   No one could move in this house without the floors creaking.  Except for the faint chirping of crickets and my own stressed breath, there was silence in every room, in every stairwell, the whole way down to the kitchen where I found the windows closed and the doors locked,  No one could have gotten out and then again, no one could have gotten in. 

 

I slipped out onto the front porch and sat on the steps in a T shirt and boy shorts, clutching the bottleneck with white knuckles, hearing nothing but the normal sounds of the night. After an hour of sitting out there in the dark, I decided I’d imagined the entire thing and went back inside.  Still, I stood in the hallway for a few minutes afraid to move, listening, hearing nothing, and no one. 

 

This was so stupid.  Four years earlier, I’d spent the summer crawling around in Iraq as an embedded journalist with the Stryker Division out of Washington and the 2/10 Mountain Division out of New York, washing with baby wipes and eating MRE’s  to get the worm’s-eye view of the war.  I waded through  creeks and hunkered down with the guys during rocket attacks in Sadr City. I walked in the footsteps of soldiers in front of me as we navigated IED terrain. I’d been crammed into Humvees in 120 pounds of body Armour in 130-degree heat as we rolled outside the wire to bullets pinging off the metal and the gunner spinning his M2 in every direction.  Now, here I was, in rural Virginia with a bruise on my forehead from imaginings in the night.

 

Stupid or not I didn’t have the courage to go back upstairs. I wandered into the library the smallest and most defensible room in the house, and picked out a book called Classic American Decorating. I curled up in the throw blanket on the chaise and flipped mindlessly through the pictures.  It was almost dawn before I was calm enough to sleep.  As I began to doze, the air around me seemed to change somehow, growing warmer or softer maybe.  A feather-like sensation brushed my forehead and then both eyelids like little kisses that felt strangely familiar but I couldn’t quite remember why.

 

Ann

Oh that’s so beautiful

 

Karen

The next morning after this, I got up cleared everything up, tidied everything up, felt like an idiot, and I went out and I was sitting by this little pond under a tree in the garden, when I started feeling little tugs in my hair and I did remember that he used to tug, you know, little, if he was standing behind me, he would like these little tugs on the back of my hair, and as I was sitting under the tree I started feeling these.  And I thought I was caught on something and so I’ll just pick the scene up from here.

 

I shook out my hair to get rid of whatever was stuck there, but I couldn’t see and I went into the kitchen to foraged for snacks.  There were slim pickings, except for a few oranges in the fridge.  I took a couple, shut the door and swung around to come face to face with a large two-dimensional solid black figure standing in the doorway.  I froze.  It looked like a black hole I’d seen on TV, with a perfectly crisp edge that delineated its dense dark form from the event horizon surrounding it. But this wasn’t a black hole.  It was crudely outlined and had no neck, so that the shoulders and head were fused like a gorilla.  But this wasn’t a gorilla.  It was a tall broad man, 6 foot easily, silent and unmoving.  And it wasn’t just blocking the doorway.  It had been lurking behind me while I rummaged in the fridge.  It disappeared.  Tap, tap, tap.  Juice was dripping onto my feet and all over the floor.  I’d gripped those oranges so hard; I’d punctured the skin.  My breath was shallow and my heart was still racing. I scanned the kitchen for an explanation.  Billions of times a day my brain created three-dimensional constructs out of two-dimensional images, impinging on my retina. Neurons in my visual cortex made the third dimension appear but not this time.  The kitchen was bright, so it wasn’t a trick of the light. I couldn’t blame it on peripheral vision, where floaters or fleeting black flashes often appear in tired eyes.  This, whatever it was, was solid stationary, in full frontal vision, and by no means fleeting.

 

Ann

 Karen thank you so much for coming on Psychic Matters and giving us such an in-depth explanation of your own experience and I will be recommending your book till death don’t us part to all of my students and everybody I meet for that matter.

 

Karen

Thank you Ann, it’s lovely to be here this morning.

 

Ann

Well that was Karen Frances McCarthy with her incredible and beautiful book Till Death Don’t Us Part, available at all major booksellers.  Do go out and buy a copy, I cannot recommend it highly enough, please, please, please go and buy it. 

 

Thank you everybody for being fantastic listeners, we are getting some great reviews in from listeners all over the world and I cannot thank you enough for those.   Please do keep them coming in, that’s really wonderful of you to take the time to write an honest review because it does because it does make a big, big difference to the podcast and the way it moves up the podcast charts.

 

Do come and join us if you would like to, we are over on the Facebook page of the Psychic Matters podcast.  There’s some interesting discussion going on over there about all things paranormal. And I’ll be back with you in a couple of weeks’ time with another fantastic guest.  I’ve got two more beautiful interviews already done and lined up ready to share with you, so do join us again in a couple of weeks’ time.

 

In the meantime, take care everybody, and thank you for listening to Psychic Matters.

CREDITS

Reach by Christopher Lloyd Clarke. Licensed by Enlightened Audio.

 

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