My spir­i­tual in­spi­ra­tion

Spir­i­tual teacher Tess Whitehurst on lessons learned from her fu­neral direc­tor fa­ther

Spirit and Destiny - - Editor’s Letter -

Spir­i­tual teacher and au­thor

Tess Whitehurst re­mem­bers the lessons she learned from her fu­neral direc­tor fa­ther

Afu­neral home might not sound like the ideal place for a child, but grow­ing up sur­rounded by death re­ally taught me about life. With a fu­neral direc­tor for a fa­ther I thought noth­ing of play­ing in the back while he em­balmed in the front, and spent hours imag­in­ing the lives of the bod­ies in the chapel. But it was Dad him­self who taught me the most.

If me or my younger brother, Aron, lost or broke some­thing, how­ever ex­pen­sive, Dad would just shrug it off. Ev­ery day he saw peo­ple griev­ing loved ones. He deeply un­der­stood that peo­ple mat­tered, not things. This showed it­self in his gen­eros­ity, and he of­ten spon­sored those who didn’t have the money for a fu­neral.

‘The more you give, the more you’ll get’ is still one of his mot­tos. ‘What you give comes back, mul­ti­plied,’ he says.

an open mind

Dad has al­ways been re­ally open-minded spir­i­tu­ally and when I was a kid he had sev­eral friends who were witches. I re­mem­ber be­ing fas­ci­nated when one showed me how her pen­du­lum worked when I was five or six.

Both Dad and his own fa­ther have seen ghosts at the fu­neral par­lour, too. One night, Dad was em­balm­ing a body when he saw lights that he as­sumed were from a car, although they were nowhere near a win­dow. The lights be­gan to glow and be­came mul­ti­coloured. Then Dad saw a vi­sion of the man he was em­balm­ing. He was try­ing to tell Dad some­thing but couldn’t make a sound.

Dad felt that the guy’s death was sus­pi­cious and sus­pected the mes­sage was, ‘I didn’t die the way they said I did.’

An­other time, Dad ar­ranged the fu­neral of a man who owned a lo­cal truck­ing com­pany, whose trucks were turquoise, and the vase on his cof­fin turned from white to turquoise. It seemed like the guy wanted peo­ple to know that he was still here!

Big ques­tions

Mum and Dad di­vorced when I was four and ev­ery Sun­day night Dad would drive me and Aron home after spend­ing the week­end with him. The jour­ney took 40 min­utes and as we trav­elled, Dad would al­ways chal­lenge us with philo­soph­i­cal ques­tions. Did we think rein­car­na­tion was a pos­si­bil­ity? Was the uni­verse re­ally in­fi­nite? We lived in cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia, in a flat val­ley sur­rounded by the Sierra Ne­vada moun­tains, un­der vast starry skies. Some­thing about the land­scape lent it­self to big dis­cus­sions.

ac­ti­vat­ing my gifts

As a child I thought ev­ery­one saw colours around peo­ple and sensed the souls of those who’d re­cently passed in the fu­neral home. So it wasn’t un­til I was about 20 that I started de­vel­op­ing my gifts. By then I’d moved to Pasadena, near Los An­ge­les, to study act­ing. Sud­denly I was able to get to meta­phys­i­cal book­shops and learn more about psy­chic phe­nom­ena. Now I work as an au­thor and spir­i­tual teacher, and love it.

a sa­cred call­ing

Dad has just turned 70 and still works at the fu­neral par­lour. For him it is less a job, more a sa­cred call­ing. He’s lived a life in ser­vice and I strive to be just like him. In my daily med­i­ta­tion I set the in­ten­tion to be a di­vine chan­nel to help oth­ers.

Of course, my ego wants my book to do well or for me to make more money, but I re­mind my­self that’s not the point. It’s about the joy of ser­vice, be­ing truly present as a sup­port to oth­ers, just like Dad.

More info You Are Mag­i­cal by Tess Whitehurst (£14.99, Llewellyn Pub­li­ca­tions) is avail­able now.

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