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The Beatles Got It Right

Bill Hermanson

As I sit by the fireplace in my sister and brother-in-law’s living room in Southern California, I am drawn to the warmth and light of the fire. My beloved brother-in-law, Bill, has had a stroke. After over a month in the hospital, he is now home. Will he recapture enough vitality of body and mind to want to continue to live? What is life? What gives it meaning?

Over the years I would answer: life is about growing, learning, pursuing our dreams; creating family, community, good works; communing with nature, mother earth and the cosmos; and appreciating the cycle of nature and life.

Indeed, life is about all of this. But at my current age it is simply and profoundly about love. I love Bill. I have known him since I was 11. He and my sister, Elena, have been married over 52 years. Bill is a fine man who loves his wife, son Eric and daughter Laura with all his heart. Being present and providing for them have always been his priorities.

What is important now?

Being present with a loving heart; supporting him on this leg of his journey; and respecting his dignity and choices. I now pray and believe that his strong spirit will lead to the recovery of his mobility, strength and vitality so that living has meaning, and we may continue to share our family’s rich history together.

What’s important? LOVE.

Blessings Bill from John, Elizabeth, Natalia and me. Blessings to Elena, Eric and Laura.

Eric, Laura, Elena and Bill

 

John, Susan and Bill

 

Bill and John

 

Family at Thanksgiving

 

 

Circle of Meditation and Healing: Coming Home Within Ourselves

Wednesday, November 7, 2018: 7pm
Join Susan Beilby Magee at the Washington National Cathedral’s Circle of Meditation and Healing to explore what it means to be “at home” within ourselves. What is at the center of our being? How do we find it? What are the rewards of “being home”?

All spiritual seekers are welcome. No experience necessary. $13 in advance; $17 at door.

To purchase tickets, click here.

 

 

 

Circle of Meditation and Healing: Coming Home to Family

In the 2018 Full Moon Circle of Meditation and Healing series at the Washington National Cathedral, Susan Beilby Magee guides us to explore what it means to “come home and be present” within ourselves, our families, the cosmos and Mother Earth.

Tuesday, September 25, 7pm
“Coming Home to Family”

Join mystic/healer Susan Beilby Magee as she leads a meditation to explore relationships within family:  How do I define family? What ancestral legacies challenge me? How do I heal, embrace and nurture my family? What vision for my family do I wish to manifest?

All spiritual seekers are welcome. No experience is necessary.

The Circle of Meditation and Healing is a continuing series to connect with our wisdom within. It is held in St. Joseph’s Chapel. To purchase tickets, please click here.

The next Circle date is 10/24: “COMING HOME WITHIN OURSELVES”

Circle of Meditation and Healing 2018: Coming Home Within the Cosmos

In the 2018 Full Moon Circle of Healing and Meditation series at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C., Susan Beilby Magee will lead an exploration of what it means to “come home and be present” within ourselves, our families, the cosmos and Mother Earth.

Next Circle
TUESDAY, MAY 29, 7-9pm
“Coming Home within the Cosmos”

“The entire universe is inside of you.” – Sufi poet Rumi

Join mystic/healer Susan Beilby Magee as she leads a visualization to explore the universe within, what it means and what it enables us to do.
All spiritual seekers are welcome. No experience is necessary.

PURCHASE TICKETS

The Circle of Healing and Meditation is a continuing series to connect with our wisdom within.
It is held in St. Joseph’s Chapel.
$13 in advance; $15 at the door

The next circles are:
Tuesday, September 25: Coming Home Within Our Families
Wednesday, October 24: Coming Home Within Ourselves

To listen to a previously recorded meditation, please click here.

Memories Swirl; Gratitude Flows…

Photo courtesy Glendale College via Twitter

My high-school sweetheart, Chuck Arrobio, died this month. (Link to his obituary is below.) We spent 4 years of our young lives together in high school and early college. Chuck was a fine young man, a leader and a gifted athlete who would become an All-American football player for USC and then pro-player for the Minnesota Vikings. Our relationship was sweet, innocent and balanced. It provided a wonderful anchor for us both.

His passing has triggered a flood of memories. At Glendale High School I remember his meeting me after a class at my locker to carry my books to my next class. I watched him play football every Friday night in the fall. I smiled when he purchased and restored a blue 1932 Ford Model T. We attended proms together, including our senior prom when I had a cast on my arm after breaking my wrist falling off a skim board at Laguna Beach. We also shared a beautiful evening with friends at our senior party in Beverly Hills where the Lettermen sang.

Chuck took me to my first Shakespeare play in Hollywood; the Greek Theatre to hear Johnny Mathis sing; and the Hollywood Bowl to listen to the USC song fest. In college I watched him play football in the Coliseum, attended his Sigma Chi parties and had my first glass of champagne at a fancy USC party.

Chuck and Susan at Senior Prom, 1962

We were also together one evening that changed my life. As we arrived home from a date one Saturday night, we were told that my father had killed himself. I will be forever grateful for his kindness and help that evening and during the ensuing days.

Chuck was proud of his Italian heritage; family was always paramount to him. I fondly recall extended family gatherings in the local park where the men played bocce ball as the women chatted and the children played.

Susan with Ann Arrobio

This past weekend I had a wonderful visit with his lovely wife, Margit, at their home in Pasadena. I met his younger daughter, Pia, who looks like her father, Pia’s fiancé and 2 of his grandchildren. I also had the privilege of visiting his mother, Ann, whom I had not seen for 52 years.   An extraordinary woman, she lives in the same house where Chuck and his sister Carol grew up. I told Margit and Ann that I was deeply grateful for the relationship I had with Chuck.

We went our separate ways later in college. But what a rich and meaningful time we shared.

Chuck’s death reminds me how important it is to connect with people we have loved in the past. I am grateful that I called him last summer to get together to thank him for the gifts of our relationship. I suspect at first he wondered what I was doing, but he quickly relaxed, and we talked about our history together and our current lives and families.

With his passing it is important to remember the times we shared; look at old photos; visit his family and talk with my high school friends who also knew him well. We all grew up together, and one more of us has passed.

THANK YOU, Chuck, for the times we shared. Blessings to your family and your spirit as it begins a new journey.

Read Chuck Arrobio’s obituary.

Senior party (Chuck and Susan seated at center), 1962

 

© Susan Beilby Magee, 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Circle of Meditation and Healing 2018: Coming Home to Mother Earth

Join me for the 2018 Full Moon Circle of Healing and Meditation series at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C. This year we will explore what it means to “come home and be present” within ourselves, our families, the cosmos and Mother Earth. 

Monday, April 2, 2018
“Coming Home to Mother Earth”

Join Susan Beilby Magee in this sacred circle as she leads a visualization to explore our relationship to Mother Earth.

How does Mother Earth support my life’s journey?
What messages does she hold for me, and how do I access them?

All spiritual seekers are welcome. No experience is necessary.

PURCHASE TICKETS

The Circle of Healing and Meditation is a continuing series to connect with our wisdom within. It is held in St. Joseph’s Chapel.
$13 in advance; $15 at the door

The next three circles are:

Tuesday, May 29: Coming Home Within the Cosmos
Tuesday, September 25: Coming Home Within Our Families
Wednesday, October 24: Coming Home Within Ourselves

To listen to a previously recorded meditation, please click here.

Bodhisattva Prayer for All Humanity

Bodhisattva Prayer for All Humanity

“May I be a guard for those who need protection,
a guide for those on the path,
a boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood.
May I be a lamp in the darkness,
a resting place for the weary,
a healing medicine for all who are sick,
a vase of plenty, a tree of miracles.
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings,
may I bring sustenance and awakening,
enduring like the earth and sky
until all beings are freed from sorrow
and all are awakened.”

– Shantideva, Indian Buddhist sage 700 A.D.

The prayer reminds me: 

  1. We each carry within the bodhisattva of compassion when we help another and approach challenges with compassion rather than fear and anger. 
  2. What matters most is how we are in the world. 
  3. Our journey is one of continual awakening if we chose it to be. 

May this prayer guide us throughout this new year — 2018. 

Blessings, Susan

Reconnecting with Ancestors and Linking to Titanic History

Great-grandfather John Bartholomew Jr. (1852-1927) and the RMS Titanic.

On a recent trip to England and Wales with my sister and granddaughter, I did just that. Being in the homes where my British ancestors lived, parks they strolled and buildings they worked in was like putting flesh on the bones of relatives I had never met, and our visit rounded out my understanding of my mother’s life as a child and young teenager. What happens when we honor our ancestors by exploring their lives? The experience continues to impact me since returning home.

One of the big surprises was the towering presence of my great-grandfather, John Bartholomew, Jr. I had heard about him from my mother; glimpsed a photo of him over the years; and I knew he had been on the Titanic. On this trip, I felt like I got to know him.

Born in Ireland in 1852, he went to sea as a young man and spent 40 years working for the White Star Line, making a total of 400 North Atlantic crossings. At the time the White Star Line launched the Titanic, he was the Superintendent of the Commissary, the Victualing Department, responsible for food, wine, china, linen, silver and stewards on all the White Star ships.

 

John Bartholomew, Jr. (second from right) on the White Star Line ship.

 

My grandmother, Laura Elizabeth (Dollie) Bartholomew (left); Isabelle Tait Leith Bartholomew, step-great-grandmother and third wife (1876-1923).

He lived large. He married his first wife, Agnes, at 20 and had one son, Charles Edward (known as Ned). At age 24, he married my great-grandmother, Frances, and had 5 children, including my grandmother, Laura Elizabeth, known as Dollie. Then on a trip to New York, he fell in love with a young Scottish woman, Isabelle. He returned to Liverpool, divorced my great-grandmother in 1896, and six months later, he married Isabelle in Manhattan in 1897. He brought her to Liverpool, and they had 4 children. The children of these 3 families grew up knowing each other.   John lived most of his adult life in Liverpool with some years in Southampton. Outliving his third wife, he died of natural causes in Liverpool in 1927 at the age of 75.

 

Map of the United Kingdom showing Liverpool.

An old seafaring town, Liverpool sits on the Mersey River where it received shipments of goods from around the world. It warehoused slaves from Africa on their way to the New World. Heavily bombed during World War II, it has beautiful old Victorian buildings sitting right next to modern ones. And of course, it is the home of the four Beatles.

We began our adventure by staying in the hotel in the Albion building across from the docks. It had been the headquarters of the Ismay family business: the White Star Line. The hotel rooms were decorated like rooms on the Titanic—we stayed in the John Jacob Astor Suite.

Dock on Mersey River, Liverpool; Albion House, Ismay family headquarters for White Star Line; Astor Suite at St. James Hotel.

Captain Edward J. Smith of the Titanic

The next morning we met the curator of the Maritime Museum at the Titanic exhibit. John was aboard the Titanic in Southampton when owner, Bruce Ismay, told him they did not both need to make the maiden voyage. He got off and survived, but he lost many friends, including Captain Edward J. Smith. He greeted the survivors when they returned to Southampton.

We shared with him a postcard written in 1912 by my grandmother, Laura (Dollie) Elizabeth Bartholomew Aurrecoechea, saying: “Things are pretty sad and depressing round here just now over the Titanic. Poor old Brook, the Captain, Mr. Latimer—doesn’t it seem awful to think we’ll never see them again.” The curator showed us the names of these 3 men on the list of those

who died.  Every time I look at the silver candelabra, given as a wedding gift to my grandparents in 1911 by Captain Edward John Smith, I think of him.

 

We found the last home where John lived at 15 Sefton Park. Broken into 6 or 7 flats, the renters welcomed us inside. It was an elegant home with tall ceilings and windows. We visited the nearby church where the funeral for his third wife was held and Allerton Cemetery where she and he are most likely buried. We also visited the home at 29 Alexandra Drive, Sefton Park, where my mother lived in 1919 at age 6.

John Bartholomew’s Sefton Park home where he lived in 1927; My mother’s home at 29 Alexandra Drive, Sefton Park.

Mom and her siblings: Mercedes, Bernardo, Marichu (Mom), Nemesio at 29 Alexandra Drive, Sefton Park, Liverpool.

Nearby is Sefton Park, a green oasis of broad lawns and clumps of trees. We walked into the park and visited the greenhouse glass pavilion with beautiful flowers and interesting sculptures, including a delightful one of Peter Pan.

With my granddaughter Natalia; Victorian Glass Pavilion; a statue of Peter Pan at Sefton Park.

Not only did the children of his various families know each other, they summered together in the nearby Welsh beach village, Prestatyn. Growing up I remember our mother telling us about their beach cottage in Wales. Imagine my delight when I found Prestatyn in our Atlas. I sent an old photo of the house to the town clerk and asked if he knew where it was. I received an email back, giving me the address so I sent a note to the “Owners”, telling them it had been my family’s home and that we were coming to visit.

Mom’s beach cottage on Gronant Road, Prestatyn, 1913. My sister, Elena, granddaughter, Natalia and me, 2017.

Mom, on right, in the garden in Prestatyn in both.

We arrived; I knocked on the door; the owner answered and invited us in to meet his wife and see the home. They graciously showed us throughout and around the surrounding gardens. We had a wonderful chat. I learned that it had been built in 1913 so that was when my grandparents bought it. I have a photo of my mother walking down the Gronant Road at age 4; sitting in the garden with her parents and children from John Bartholomew’s third family. I also have a photograph of the grand gentleman, John, walking the promenade with children from both families.

John Bartholomew, Jr., and family on promenade in Prestatyn.

What does it mean to have visited these places? I have a greater sensibility about my mother and other family members. I found myself smiling, celebrating her life and that of this larger-than-life great-grandfather. When I was young, Mom shared with me her love of family. Thank goodness she told me family stories and saved photographs and letters. They helped me trace our history on this trip.

Dollie with son Nemesio and baby Marichu, my mom; Marichu holding me; Mom with my sister Elena (standing) and me.

When I came home, I had another surprise. I was meditating and the spirit of John Bartholomew came to me. He thanked me for exploring his life, having lunch with his grandchildren, Jenny and David, and great-grandchildren. He also wanted me to understand that what we did invigorated his spirit. I saw an image of a burst of golden light going from me to him, lighting him up.

Jenny and me in her garden; Four generations of John Bartholomew Jr.’s American and British descendants gather over lunch at Jenny’s home.

Life is a mystery.  We are connected energetically with our ancestors. Their spirits are enlivened when we honor them. They like being seen. I suspect that people in Eastern cultures know this. I am just learning it.

I cannot put in words the impact this trip has had on me. I feel connected to these people. It is as though my heart has opened, and I feel their strength, love, loss and sorrow. And I respect the challenges they met, decisions they made and how they moved forward at each stage of life.

Thank you, John and Frances Bartholomew, my great grandparents, Laura “Dollie” Bartholomew Aurrecoechea, my grandmother and Marichu Aurrecoechea Beilby, my mother, for giving me life. May my relatives celebrate and honor my life one day.

Image credits: Image of Titanic: Credit: By F.G.O. Stuart (1843-1923) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Image of Captain Edward J. Smith: http://www.ultimatetitanic.com/the-captain-of-the-titanic/ 

© Susan Beilby Magee, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

 

Workshop with Susan Beilby Magee: Conversation with Your Soul

WORKSHOP: CONVERSATION WITH YOUR SOUL 
with Susan Beilby Magee

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd, 10am – 3pm

Meet your Higher Self, the Divine spark, and ask:

What is my soul’s purpose?
How do I pursue it?
What limits my ability to manifest it?

Within each of us lies the Wise One who can answer every question we have. Meet your Higher Self;
learn how to communicate; and discover concrete actions to pursue your passion and fulfill your mission.

__________________________________________

Admission: $50
BRING A JOURNAL
Location: Bethlehem Chapel, Washington National Cathedral
REGISTER NOW
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For the past 3 decades Susan Beilby Magee has practiced the healing arts. A certified hypnotherapist and meditation teacher, she leads Circles of Meditation and Healing at the Cathedral, guiding participants into quiet realms to seek healing and find peace. Magee was instrumental in bringing healing prayer to Cathedral Crossroads and continues to volunteer as a healing minister on Crossroads evenings. She practices various forms of meditation, visualization, hypnotherapy and energy healing. One chapter in her spiritual journey culminated with the publication of her book in 2012, Into the Light: The Healing Art of Kalman Aron, a profound story of the personal alchemy of an artist and Holocaust survivor she met at age six.

Susan Beilby Magee’s career spans diverse realms of politics, economics and spirituality. A leader of the women’s movement and director of the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Rights in Seattle, she moved to Washington, D.C., when President Ford appointed her a White House Fellow. Magee held policy and executive positions in the U.S. Treasury and Commerce Departments and later served as an international business consultant. Having earned an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from Pomona College, she has served on numerous boards of directors.

Circle of Meditation and Healing, Washington DC, Fall 2017

The Circle for Meditation and Healing continues to meet at the Washington National Cathedral this Fall.
2017 series: Spiritual Practices in Challenging Times
To learn more and to register, click on the links below. 

The Washington National Cathedral host Susan Beilby Magee's Circle of Meditation and Healing this Fall, 2017

Thursday, October 5, 7:00pm
“Finding Your Path”
What is my most important goal at this time? What are the obstacles and how do I remove them? How do I transform negative thinking into positive realities? Join Susan Beilby Magee in this sacred circle as she shows us how to find a clear path at this time.
Learn more

Thursday, November 2, 7:00pm
“Working in Community”
What is my vision for this world? How may I manifest it? Join Susan Beilby Magee as she leads us to explore how we express our values and collaborate to create a better world.
Learn more

Previously recorded meditations from the Circle of Meditation and Healing at the Washington National Cathedral are available online. Listen now.