January 2014, Key West Book Talk;
9 Months Ago Was Yesterday
by Diane Jackman Skolfield
I promised a friend in Key West I would post my notes from my Book Talk. She was unable to make it to the Hog's Breath Writers' Room, but, sent food for us all to enjoy. Thank you, Emalyn, you are the best!!!
These photos are all from the wonderful night we had. Several Orbs can be seen in them so I think many Spirits were present along with myself and other authors who were friends of the Carter Brothers Band ;) I was honored to be the featured speaker and truly enjoyed listening to Alex Counts, Francis Sally Galbraith, Ralph De Palma and Kevin May before I took the stage. I didn't follow the notes below exactly, as I am not used to speaking from a script, but, here's what I had hoped to cover.
"Welcome to our Book Talk and thank you all for being here. A big thank you to the organizers and to the Carter Brothers for having such talented friends. I want all of their books!
When Sally told me I had half an hour to speak I laughed. Anyone who knows me knows I can talk for hours and the workshops I usually teach on Energy Medicine usually last for days, so I am going to use my notes to stay on topic, more or less.
Being able to speak here in the Hog's Breath Writer's Room is an honor. Bruce and Red had their CD Release Party here in 2005, more than 10 years after I started playing in Key West. I think my first visit was 1992 or 1993. Those memories are a bit foggy because, as a new resident of the Keys, and a newly divorced, single woman, I developed "Keys' Disease" quickly. For a few years I partied pretty hard up and down all of the Keys, but the Hog's Breath always had the best music so I kept coming back here.
Fortunately, I discovered a cure for "Keys' Disease" and replaced my drug and alcohol addictions with yoga, energy medicine and other self healing studies. I still drove to Key West to hear the best music on earth, but, I did it sober.
In 1998, it was time to make a change and I began to make plans to move on. I had been studying with the Self Realization Fellowship for years and I was going to move to California and live in their ashram and dedicate my life to serving others. I took a break from packing one day to walk across the street to hear my youngest son, Jason, play saxophone with C.W.Colt.
When I got there I found out Jason couldn't make it, but, there was a fiddle player on stage that was the best entertainer I had ever seen. When we met during his break it was love at first sight and I never made it to the ashram.
We spent the next 9 years together and I could stand here for days and talk about the fun we had; the trips for work, the sailing vacations and OH, the music. To this day I can honestly say I have NEVER witnessed a musician quite like Red. He could play anything with strings on it, with anyone, playing any kind of music and make it look so easy and sound so good-and do it all with a grin from ear to ear.
I keep his web site going RedsMusic.com for those who want to hear him playing with Bruce Isaacson, Ted Hyde and so many others. One thing you will hear on his web site you probably never heard during his lifetime is the original music he wrote. He never could find a musician to play his stuff with him and he never pushed it. Altho he could get away with playing a "Red Tune" while Bruce was busy changing a broken string-and we all know that happened a lot;)
Another thing I hold precious from our time together is the people who became our friends, many of them sitting in this room right now. Thank you all for being in my life.
A many of you know, a musician's life is not an easy one. Traveling, alcohol and drugs took a toll on our marriage and we separated in October of 2007. After about 5 weeks of being apart we realized we couldn't stand it and reunited. The next 18 days were the happiest days of our life together and the last day of his life he was the happiest I had ever seen him.
I taught a yoga lesson in the morning, Red spoke to the men he was building guitars for, we took a walk in the woods on the Suwannee River and then he acted as my roadie for a presentation I did at a school board meeting trying to encourage teachers to do yoga daily with their students. I'll never forget him sitting in the audience and applauding for me.
We left the school, stopped for a glass of wine and went home. Just after midnight he literally died on top of me and I felt his spirit fall through me as a wave of energy. I tried to revive him, 911 was there in minutes, but, he was gone, at least from his body.
The paranormal activities began right after the ambulance left to take his body to the morgue. My friend Dr. Susan was making me a cup of tea and the pot lid started dancing across the stove. The night before his service in Cross City I was searching in the closet for a CD of his original tunes to play for his family. Just as I found the CD I was looking for, the Bruce and Red, Live at The Hogs Breath DVD master, which had been missing for 4 years, fell off the top shelf and hit me on the top of my head. Now I had music to play during the service and a DVD for his family to watch during our gathering afterwards. Most of his family had never seen him perform.
Excerpt from page 47, Chapter 8, December 2, 2007, The First Sign, The First Service;
On Sunday morning, the day of Red's sevice in northern Florida, I walked out to my living room after doing my yoga. My son was sleeping on the couch, so I was trying to be very quiet with my sniffles. I looked out the window and prayed, "God, I know he is OK. I believe in eternity with you, but, could you please give me a sign?"
The sun was just coming up over the trees by the pond. As I continued to watch its ascent, a blue heron flew directly through my vision piercing the sun with its flight.
Native Americans believe each animal which comes into our lives has a distinct meaning. The Indian totem for the heron is self-realization, a sign of deepest understanding. I smiled and realized either God, or Red, had answered my prayer. At that moment he was telling me, very clearly, he understands. He is at peace now. He is OK.
Now, I live on a pond, so, yes, I often see herons flying there, but, then we went to his service and afterwards, standing in the parking lot in the middle of Cross City I told a group of my family and friends what had happened at home at dawn that morning.
Excerpt from page 50;
When I was done with my story we all turned to walk to our cars to head for the restaurant. All of a sudden, my son Joshua yelled, "Mom look," and pointed directly above my head. Several other people yelled, "Diane," and I looked directly above me to see a heron attempting to land on a telephone wire. The poor bird couldn't balance on the wire, so he flew off leaving a parking lot full of open-mouthed friends with goose bumps. This bird re-affirmed to all of us Red was at peace. I believe the bird trying to land and flying off is rather like life. We come into it with a bit of difficulty, we live it so briefly, and then we fly on to other things.
The following day my sister, my son and I spent the day taking care of business and then went for a nice ride to Horseshoe Beach. That night was the next profound sign. Excerpt from page 51;
That night, Monday, December 3, Joshua was lying on the floor in the living room watching the New England Patriots attempt to keep their winning streak going. I was ready to go to bed.
My sister Julie was standing in the hall, and I was standing beside my bed and decided to attempt to go to sleep without a sleeping pill. I reached for the lamp beside my bed. My hands were about 2 inches away from it when the lights in the entire house shut off.
Surprised, I pulled my hand away, and the lights turned back on. Then I reached to turn it off again, and when my fingers were about 2 inches away from the light, the electricity in the entire house shut off again. When I pulled my hand back the power turned back on.
I looked at my sister standing in the hall and by this time I was frightened of what was going to happen next. I reached for the light the third time to shut it off. Once again, as soon as my fingers were about 2 inches away, all the power shut off in the house, and when I pulled my hand back the power turned back on.
Throughout this experience, I was talking to my sister, expressing my surprise and disbelief. My son yelled from the living room, "Mom, whatever you are doing, stop it. I am trying to watch the Patriot's game here."
Throughout my life I have journaled when times were tough and here I was recording all these crazy synchronistic, serendipitous, coincidental miracles. I knew I had to put them all in a book to let people know there really is something after death. I want to thank Timmy Carter for a conversation we had just days after Red died. Timmy was the first one who said to me, "Diane, don't look at it as his death, look at it as the beginning of his life in eternity." Thank you Timmy for saying that.
Some friends of mine kept telling me to stop at a trading post around the corner from my house to teach yoga there and when I did stop I met a man who gave me my first "Mediumistic Message." He said I had brought a very powerful energy with me and asked if he could tell me what the man wanted him to say. I said of course and he said the following, an excerpt from page 149;
"He wants you to know he is sorry. He is sorry for what he put you through. He didn't understand what you were trying to do. He understands now. He knows that everything you did was to help him."
He stopped, listened and then continued, "He is telling me to tell you to stop feeling guilty. This was all him. You did everything you could. He left this earth because he was tired. He couldn't do it anymore. He couldn't do what you asked him to do, what he knew he needed to do. He couldn't stop the drinking."
"He says the drinking made him numb. He felt so much pain from his childhood. All he ever wanted was love, but, he felt all he got was pain and being shut out, lots of arguments, lots of pain."
Shortly after meeting my psychic friend I was bitten by a brown recluse spider. So there I was, about three months after Red moved on, lying flat on my back for six weeks nearly dead myself. I was unable to digest any solid food and lived on Chinese herbs and liquid shakes in a constant state of not knowing whether I would wake up after sleep. I remember thinking in one of my dizzy-near-death states, "I get it. I really do get it. Life is short, live it to the fullest," and then I could hear Red saying what I had heard him say so often from the stage, "Live every day as though it were going to be your last, cause someday it's gonna be!"
So that is what much of my book is about-messages from the other side. I dedicated to all the people who have lost or will lose loved ones. Don't grieve too hard or too long for them. They are still here. One thing is certain, we are all going to die someday, we don't get out of this earth plane alive and I think it is comforting to have proof there is something after this.
Red came through so clearly I began to research how mediums get the messages. Mediums act as the middle man between Spirit World and us by reading our energy. I discovered you can actually train the cones and rods in your eyes to see "things" in our auras. I discovered Spiritulaism is a doctrine that strives to prove the continuity of life by giving precise information that only the giver and the receiver understand.
I knew there had to be something to this mediumship-stuff when I went to my first group message circle, sitting in a room with dozens of other people and this complete stranger looked at me and said, "I see a fiddle played standing behind you. He isn't just a musician he is an entertainer with a grin from ear to ear..." I really became a believer. Then, when I learned they were working with energy and I had been teaching energy medicine for years, I knew I had found a new hobby.
Exploring Spiritualism led me to spiritualist communities like Cassadaga in Florida and Lilydale in New York where I taught Energy Medicine classes. Eventually it led me to Camp Etna in Maine where I met my dear husband, Donald Skolfield. Red has come through many mediums taking full credit for leading me to Don-the calmest, most understanding and wonderful man I have ever known. Thank you Red for leading me to Don, and thank you Don for being in my life.
We live in De Leon Springs, Florida, just inland from Daytona Beach with the Fountain of Youth just a short walk from our home. We bought a trailer park in DeLand where I am able to host gatherings to teach my stuff and invite others to do the same. I have also developed an organic garden there and have people eating kale who'd never heard of it before.
Red knew my passion for healing and helping others. I found a scrap of paper with these words on it, an excerpt from page 362;
Congratulations, your journey's just begun.
I know you work hard...don't forget to have some fun.
But if the pressure ever gets to you,
Just remember it's important to do.
Realize you're never expected to be perfect in every way.
It's a beautiful view of the bay,
Sunset's violet hue,
Now go out and save the world,
We're all counting on you.
Then I held up my beautiful book to show everyone its cover and explained,
The book cover photo is a picture of a butterfly I took on July 19, 2008, Red's first birthday after his passing. This lovely flight-being-friend posed for several minutes while I shot oodles of photos knowing one would eventually be on this cover. The title of my book was a lovely miraculous mistake. I picked up my youngest son at the airport and he asked how the book was coming, I told him it was done and he asked the name of it. I told him "9 Months Ago" and then realized that the day before had been the 9 month anniversary of his passing so I added in surprise "Was Yesterday." When he said, "That's a cool title," I answered, "Thanks. You just helped me make it up."
I then showed the picture of Red and I on the back, told of the quote by some famous person in the field of Energy Medicine (C. Norman Shealy said, "Diane is a jewel spreading joy and health as she goes,") and then I told them I was supposed to read what my publisher wrote about the book. There is a photo on this author's page for you to read it there;)
And then I explained to the group of 40+ folks that the more I talk about messages from the other side the more people come to me and share their stories of paranormal activities and messages from their loved ones.
Last summer I went with a group of folks seeking for "messages" at a paranormal investigation a friend was hosting in Parsonsfield, Maine. They had a box called an Ovilux that acts as a voice for those on the other side. We went to the first room, turned on the speaker and the very first word to come out, along with a digital read out, was, "FIDDLE" followed by "HUGS and KISSES." The hostess said, "The box has never said that before," to which I answered, "I have never been with you before." Red's dad died unexpectedly about a year after Red did and later on that night when someone said, "Look a book titled "Fiddler's Green," the box yelled out in Red's father's voice, "LARRY," followed by "HUGS and KISSES." Most people don't know it, but, that was Red's name.
You know we all wonder, and, of course we'll never really know for sure if there is anything else after our life here, until we die. I really believe there is something and I really believe we are all ONE, living lifetimes, experiencing our feelings, souls in these human spacesuits for a brief time. Like in Tim's song, "Where I Belong" he says, "I've got memories of places I've never seen, 'n never known. Look for signs in the faces and try to find where I belong." Well, after all I have been through, I believe, we're exactly where we belong. And as my favorite song of Danny Carter's says, "We've got work to do." I believe part of my job on this earth is to "spread the word all across this land," there is life after life.
Thank you all for listening to my story.
My son, Joshua entertained us
as the room filled.
Thank you, Sally, for all your help.
Sally edited and is promoting "The Soul of Key West" by Ralph de Palma.
Thank you, Alex,
for all your help!
Good Luck with your book, Alex! "Small Loans, Big Dreams"
Ralph de Palma promotes
his book, "The Soul of
Kevin May believes spirits come through to us and talks about them in his books. I want them all!
Check out the orb at the top of this photo. I love it when they are so clear and BIG!
Josh asked Red for some help remembering the words to one of Red's originals. Red's whispering them in Josh's right ear;)
Thank you, Josh, for all you do for me. It was a joy to having you and Rachael in Key West!