Sunday, December 8, 2013

Religious Rants and Astral Travel

*Remember* These are MY opinions based on my observations, upbringing, and experiences, as well as some experiences of others that have been relayed to me. My views and opinions may differ from yours. If I ruffle your feathers...good...because maybe it means I'm opening your mind.

A little background about me: I was raised in church since diapers. I attended a non-denominational church from pre-kindergarten all the way through somewhere in high school. The church ended up moving buildings to a farther-away location, so my family quit going. Also, my parents' divorce had a lot to do with them attending less. During high school and college, I would bounce around to different churches that my friends would invite me to. I tried out Lutheran, Methodist, and Catholic before landing at a Baptist church. I stayed at the Baptist church for several years, and my dad and sister attended too. After a really heart-wrenching incident happened to me, {a colossal heart-break}
I had the strange reaction of giving up church. I'm actually glad that I did, because it gave me a chance to free my mind from the Baptist preachings, that, in my opinion and hindsight, were pretty harsh in many ways. The particular Baptist church I went to was VERY patriarchal in their views, and very judgmental against most other people and religions. They required the women to wear long skirts and minimal makeup as well. After I left church, I was going through so much life turmoil, that I went through some periods where I wasn't sure what to believe, or if God existed or what. I guess you could say I went through a period of being a bit Agnostic. I felt like I was lost, floundering, and confused. I would go through bouts of wondering if there was a God, and then I would still pray sometimes. I was like caught somewhere in-between with my beliefs.

After I got The Calling to do the Angel Project, things really changed spiritually for me.

Presently, I am just spiritual in my beliefs. I'm not sure I can say that I subscribe to any particular "set" of religious beliefs. I believe in a mesh of things that many religions may encompass. I absolutely believe in Angels, God, and that supernatural things are out there, because I've had some personal experiences that really showed me they are around. {Exposure to the Supernatural}{Emergence of the Phoenix}{The Angel Cards}

One day earlier in 2013, while I was attending classes on meditation and spirituality, one of our "homework" assignments was to meditate on the topic of religion, and see what would happen. When I did my meditation, I actually received a pretty profound message from the higher realms:
"Religion is a loose term used to describe a set of beliefs, of which there are many variations, that try to explain why we're here and the purpose of life."

What do you believe and why? What basis do you use to back up your belief system? Do you believe the things you do just because you were raised that way? How do you know for sure that whatever you believe in is right or the truth?

I don't think people realize that when they adamantly follow a particular religion, they're basically putting a cage over their mind and restricting the way they may live their life. Hey, whatever makes a person happy I guess. What sucks is when religious "fanatics" try to force their beliefs down other people's throats, or persecute and harshly judge others because they don't conform to what religious people deem as worthy behavior.

Case in Point: The Westboro Baptist Clan. You know, the "God hates fags" crew. They enjoy spreading messages of hatred all over the country with their posters. I'd like to know who is funding them...Somehow they can afford to travel all over the country to upset families at funerals of soldiers, and they have professionally-designed signs that they use. One of my wishes is to stand in front of them with MY posters about KINDNESS, LOVE, HELPING & ACCEPTING OTHERS. (It's odd that their hatred clan can get funding and sponsors, but I haven't been able to yet for my Angel Project.)

Here's a related story from earlier this year 2013: I was sitting in an Italian restaurant with 2 business friends discussing my Angel Project, and I had my wings strapped to the back of my chair. When our waiter came up to greet us, he had tears in his eyes and asked me about my wings. He then began to tell us with a trembling voice that a man at one of his other tables had loudly berated him in front of other guests that he was going to hell because he was gay. The customer had hurt the waiter's feelings so much that he cried in front of everyone, and kept crying sporadically since the incident. How cruel. So some "Christian" religious dude made his waiter feel like crap and ruined his whole day, by chastising him about his personal preferences. I don't know what you think about gays, and frankly I don't really care, but I believe that if two people love each other and/or want to have sex, as long as they are two consenting individuals, it doesn't matter if they are straight, gay, bi, tranny etc... Love is of the highest value. Sex is a natural part of life. Religions, in my opinion, shouldn't cast out those who don't conform to their "ideal". Some people are born gay!!! I've known some people who's parents knew their kids were gay as young as elementary age. God does not hate non-straight people or send them straight to hell. Some religions have taken one or two sentences from the Bible that were probably written by some homophobic bishop, that say gay sex is "an abomination" and have used those Bible verses to chastise gays ever since. To me it's ridiculous, which is why I designed these two photo shoot themes for my Angel Project:

Oh and I have some news for the "Bible-thumpers": I have read many areas of the Bible myself throughout my life, and there ARE many beautiful passages, prayers, and great universal spiritual advice, such as promoting forgiveness, patience, love, and kindness. BUT, the Bible has been manipulated, written, re-written, and corrupted by men in power all throughout the ages. There are so many different versions of the Bible now it's ridiculous. And when you change just one word in a sentence sometimes, it can change the entire meaning of it! Did you ever play the game "telephone" as a kid? I did once in elementary school. Basically, the teacher whispered a story to a student, and that story got passed along to all the students in the class while we sat in a circle. By the end of the last student in the circle receiving the story, the story was in shambles and not anything like what the teacher had originally told. The point of the game was to show how information gets screwed up when told from person to person. Now realize this is what happened with all the stories told in the Bible over the last 2,000+ years. For those of you follow the King James version of the Bible, do you even know who King James was? For those people who are expecting the return of Christ/The Messiah....what makes you think it'll be a man again?

I have learned to not argue with certain religious people beyond a certain point. Some people are dead-set on thinking that they are right, and no amount of justification or even facts can change some people's minds. So I encourage you to ponder this: If most individual religions all think that THEY are right, and all the others are wrong, then....who is right? It cracks me up that so many people are adamant that all non-believers/non-followers of their particular religion will "go to hell". Please.
God loves us unconditionally, and most people have no idea what that actually feels like, because most people have only ever experienced conditional love from whoever raised them, or maybe never have felt loved. RELIGIONS teach fear-based perspectives AS A MEANS OF CONTROL. They have been doing this throughout the ages. Think about it. All throughout time, religious institutions have been so powerful, and always had their hands deep in the money-collecting system. Why? Because money gives power! By preaching to people that if they don't follow their religious rules and tithe etc... they put the fear in people that they'll be rejected by God and go to hell. God is LOVE-based. There is the illusion of "separation of church and state". They actually often work together behind the scenes to control the masses however they can, so they can stay in power as best they can.
If you're the "average" church-going hard-working American, you're giving like 30% of your income to the government, and another 10% tithed to the church. And that doesn't even include all the other crazy taxes imposed on you! Like sales tax, property tax etc... By the time church and state have had their way with you, you're damn near just scraping by or already in debt up to your neck. And churches don't have to pay taxes! If that's not a big enough hint that church and state are in bed together, I don't know what is. Here's a sad fact for you: I did a lot of volunteer hours at the San Antonio Battered Women's Shelter after I graduated high school, and during their volunteer training course that I had to go through, they revealed a startling statistic: Men in the RELIGIOUS and LAW ENFORCEMENT fields were the largest percentage of culprits in battered women cases. And these are the guys who are ruling America.

Christians and religious people are no less "sinful" than anyone else. They are just as flawed, scarred, emotional, and a duality like everybody else. You never know what goes on inside other people's heads, inside their homes, or behind closed doors. There is no normal, only the illusion of it that people create with their facades. There is just as much corruption and as many dirty secrets inside all levels of church hierarchies as there are outside of churches. Many people just like to hide their sordid behaviors by going to church and giving the illusion to others that they are "good" people, when in reality they aren't.

I would like to close this religious rant with a story that is very special to me. I thought about keeping it private, but I think it would be good to share with others because to ME, it's proof that God is different from what many religions preach.

I have been inducted into the Modern Mystery School, aka The Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Light. It may sound weird, but it's been around since the time of King Solomon and Christ. Their classes are very spiritually deep, eye-opening, and sacred. They used to be a closed, secretive school until they decided to be more public with the coming of the New Age.  One of their classes I took was called "Astral Travel". It was a guided meditation to take you to a higher spiritual place, with the goal of getting to see the "Akashic Records". Before being introduced to the school, I had never heard of Akashic Records or Astral Travel stuff. I wasn't sure what to think of the class when I signed up, but I'm glad I took it. Once we got into the meditation, this is what I experienced:

I shot up into the Heavens and landed on top of a sea of white clouds. I spiritually called out if anyone was around to take me to the Akashic Records. Suddenly, an ethereal blurry large blue hand appeared beside me, took me by the hand, and started to lead me along. The next thing I saw, was what looked like a sunrise over a sprawling maze of records as far as the eye could see! It was like a library of sorts, but I couldn't see all the detail, just rows and swirls of records all basked in golden sunlight.

The next thing I remember, is that God himself appeared before me in a large human form. He had a LONG white beard that reached down past his torso, and was dressed like a knight, except his mesh metal suit spanned far behind him like a wedding dress train. The front of his outfit looked like soft red King's robes with fuzzy white trim, almost like Santa Claus's red outfit. I remember saying, "Dad?" He smiled at me, and told me that he took this form so that I could see him. He then sat down on a huge throne, and he picked me up and put me on his knee (like some fathers do with their children). He began to stroke the top of my head lovingly, and he said to me, "You are loved unconditionally here. You have nothing to fear."

--That is all I remember--
The only thing I remember after that was being led out of the meditation and back to reality in the classroom. I had tears streaming down my face and a sense of immense relief that I was loved unconditionally. It's a sense of peace that is hard to find in this world.

 (This photo was the best example I could find of what I saw him wearing in terms of his knight headwear and mesh metal train behind him, but without a sword)

It was a really beautiful and amazing experience to have, and I'm so happy that I had it.

So, whenever you feel really down on yourself and unworthy for whatever "mistakes" you have done in life, remember, you are loved and accepted unconditionally on the higher planes. In the soul journey, mistakes are just lessons that you {hopefully} learn from.

~Mandelyn Reese

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Anonymous Benefactor

For those of you who don't know, I haven't made or posted any new videos in a long time because my camera that I used to make videos has gotten too busted to work well with. I'd have to tape it together to make it turn on, and even then, it would shut itself off without warning in the middle of me filming my videos. It was frustrating.

I did try to go buy a new camera once at Best Buy. I went in the store and hung around the camera section, waiting for someone to help me. I would see workers, but they were busy with other people or ignored me, so eventually I just left. I figured it was a sign to wait and not buy one yet.

Also, when I moved to Los Angeles in June 2012, my laptop screen somehow got damaged in like 5 places, and those damaged spots have gotten progressively worse over time.

When I had my Halloween/Birthday/Charity event on October 27th, and tried for the first time to raise donations for my angel project, I caught criticism for trying to raise money, so I gave up on that aspect and instead just asked guests to bring blankets and canned goods for the homeless.

Yesterday, a miracle happened to me. A long-time friend of one of my family members contacted me on Facebook and told me to meet him at Best Buy, because he wanted to sponsor a new camera for my angel project. He told me that he really believed in what I was doing, loved my videos, and wanted to help. I was shocked! This is a guy that I barely know myself and have only briefly met I think twice in person.

When I met him at Best Buy, I got to pick out a great camera, and he ended up getting me a good size memory card, car charger, case, and rechargeable battery for it too! As we were walking back towards the front of the store, he turned to me suddenly and said, "Let's go look at the laptops." My legs almost went out from under me. I think my jaw dropped open and I felt near faint. Was this really happening to me?? I felt like no amount of thank-yous could suffice. He ended up getting me a top of the line laptop, a wireless mouse, and the Microsoft Office Suite.

I had someone just walk into my life, and drop $1,400 on supplies for me, because they believe in my Angel Project and wanted to support me. When I got home, I just started crying. They were tears of gratitude. I thanked God, the Angels, and the Universe out loud for the major blessing. I was in shock from it all. The Universe supplied my needs to keep me going, and it was sudden, unexpected, and simply a miracle.

He wishes to remain anonymous, and told me it was an honor to help. Even street angels need other earth angels to keep going sometimes!

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Questions to Ponder

It feels like everything is a test. What do you do and choose in those pivotal epic moments in life?
Do you act? Do you lie? How will you respond in a crisis situation? Will you do the "right" thing? Will you fall for the temptation? Do you choose career over love? Can you be patient? How much pain can you tolerate?

It only gets more challenging as each veil is lifted, layer after layer. The tests get tougher to bear, over and over again until you get the lesson.

What is the truth? Really the only thing you can really trust is your own personal experience. Can you ever really trust others? You can be presented with so many different beliefs, ideas, and do you decide what you ultimately end up believing? Is it because you were raised with certain beliefs that make you think they're true? Is it because people you love or respect gave you the information? How can you ever really believe what you see and hear in the media, books, and from other people? Do you just have to "walk blindly" and go with what "feels" or "sounds" right? But if thoughts create feelings, how can you even trust your gut then? Sometimes it seems like feelings create thoughts. Or is your gut just responding to subconscious thoughts? Do thoughts and feelings work interchangeably then, creating each other sporadically? Where do thoughts and ideas come from?

You know how when people have a heart attack, the emergency services workers put paddles on the person's chest and zap them with a violent volt of electricity to bring their heart back to life? With that in mind, where does the shock of electricity come from that activates the heart of a fetus?

Can we even fathom the scope of how much our pasts affect our present? Including past lives that most people aren't even aware of and that no one can recall all the moments of? We can't even recall every detail of everyday in our present lifetime. We remember the most epic moments that were special or wrenching to us.

It's so easy to backpedal when things get tough. It's so easy to give into temptation.

Why is lying so easy for some people and hard for others? Why is lying sometimes so easy at certain times compared to others? If one of the commandments is "thou shalt not lie", should you still tell the truth when you're faced with a life-or-death situation? Such as my story about "Bravery and Mace"? Is it okay to lie to save yourself from harm or an attacker? How come the truth can feel and be so gut-wrenching to tell others? How do you know which is the right choice when telling the truth can cause your family to turn against you, people to want to harm you, and people to talk harshly about you? How much of the truth is right or appropriate to tell? Why should or why are we required to tell the truth to our court systems when they are determined to condemn us and take away what little freedom we have left?

Freedom is an illusion. We're all in chains, just not all of us are behind bars.

~Mandelyn Reese

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Good deed gone...wrong!

During my first week living in Los Angeles (end of June 2012), my friend Claire and I were running around Los Angeles in her rental car exploring and running random errands related to my arrival in this new Wonderland. (If you haven't yet read my blog about "The Calling" it would explain Claire and my how my Calling struck me on the 2nd day.)
 Claire and I my first week in LA in her rental car

At one point, Claire decided to stop at a CVS store to pick up a few things before we went to the beach for the first time, just to lay out in our bikinis on towels in the sand. I had a boot cast on my foot still from my January 2012 stress fracture. I had been in and out of that damn boot since the injury. My foot kept having flare-up pain, and the packing and moving to Los Angeles made my foot throb, so I put it back in the boot. When we parked at CVS, Claire got out and seemed to haul ass into the CVS. Maybe it just seemed like she was hauling ass because I was slow and limping along behind her. You can read about my foot injury in this blog: "The War Vet"
                                                             My boot-casted foot

A homeless man was sitting right next to the entrance to the CVS with a backpack. He was looking down at the ground solemnly, looking really weary and worn out when Claire passed him. But once I caught up and began to approach the entrance, he looked up at me and asked, "Do you have any food or something to spare?"  He caught me off guard, and I just said "No, sorry" and went along into the store. As I wandered around the store, I thought about the homeless man, what he had asked me, and the way he had asked it. There was something in his voice that made me believe that he was genuinely hungry. He wasn't just your everyday guy asking for money. He had asked for food, and it sounded like he meant it.

I went to the grocery area of the store, and located a ham sandwich and bottle of water in the refrigerated section. I bought the food items, some sunscreen, and a new blue Los Angeles towel to take to the beach. As Claire and I exited the store, I handed the bag containing the sandwich and bottle of water to the homeless man, saying, "Here ya go." His reaction was worth so much more than the food. He looked so surprised, and happy when he peered into the bag. He looked up with big bright eyes and exclaimed, "THANK YOU!.. THANK YOU!". Claire saw the whole thing.

The next day, Claire and I walked next door from my new apartment building to a little shopping center nearby to check out a little thrift store on the second floor, just to see what they might have. I found a wall shelf that I wanted to buy, and the lady took a long time to ring me up because it was a new register and she was trying to figure out how to use it.

While I patiently waited for the register lady to ring me up, Claire disappeared out of the store to go explore the rest of the shopping center or something. Once I took the elevator down and ran back into Claire, she reported a crazy story:

She said that she'd come upon a homeless man hanging out in a walkway near the stairs, and she'd decided to buy him some food. She'd gone into a little convenience store in the shopping center and bought him a sandwhich and, get this....A BEER!!  I was like "Omg Claire you bought a homeless man a BEER?! What were you thinking??" LOL
She looked down with a mixed look of shame and dismay, and added, "A cop saw him with the beer and gave him a ticket for having it on the premises!" OOOOMMMMGGGG
Talk about a good deed backfiring!

Lesson: Don't buy the homeless any alcohol, for more than just the obvious reason!

I know Claire meant well with her action. My opinion is that I felt really bad for the homeless guy. He can't even enjoy a gifted cold beer on a hot summer day without a cop harassing him. I wish the cop could have given the guy a break. How's he supposed to afford paying a ticket when he's homeless anyway??

This incident caused an interesting ripple affect. One could argue that my good deed for one homeless man indirectly led to an unfortunate incident happening for another homeless man!

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kindness, such a simple word

I was asked to write a blog about kindness for World Kindness Day, which is November 13th.

Kindness. Such a simple word. Kindness can be a lot of things. It can be holding the door open for someone else. It can be pitching in or paying for someone else's tab if they're short on money for their bill. It could be as drastic as saving someone out of a burning car. Kindness says you care.

Kindness is one facet of love. Love is the highest trait of Spirit and Soul. Spirit is what is in everything and connects us all in the universe. Soul and Ego are what we possess inside that makes us our own unique specimen within the whole. Love comes from Spirit, which is pure. Hate comes from a contaminated mind. We are taught and exposed to fear and hate. When you are kind to someone else, it sends the message to them that you are aware of them and care about their experience. I wrote a few blogs already on some Acts of Kindness that I personally have done. You can find them here: Random act of Kindness ; Day of Giving ; The Rescue ; Doing the Right Thing ; The Epic Healing

The main reason I started out trembling on a street-corner in Los Angeles dressed like an angel to promote kindness on a posterboard, was to get people reconnected; to be kind to each other again. Common courtesy seems to be fading, along with caring about the welfare of other people. If this continues to degrade, more chaos and hate will result. Why don't we all start realizing that we're like one big ant bed of humanity on Earth, but we're so disconnected and disorganized despite being such a highly-advanced species, that we're destroying our home. Earth, nature, and other species are suffering because of our ignorance and lack of cohesion.

Everywhere you look are people who are stressed out and going through all kinds of difficult things in their life. If you took any one person, you could probably make a movie out of their life story. We ALL go through tough things, we all go through scary things, we all have moments where we don't understand why life is treating us this way. Life in this realm is meant to teach you things as a soul entity through a human experience. You have been given a body that is your soul's vehicle for this lifetime on Earth.
Maybe you've heard the expression "Life is like a game of cards." In so many ways, it is. You are dealt a hand of cards: your body, your family, your characteristics from both your DNA and how you are raised. "Nature versus Nurture"...both result in who you are today. Life and other people can hand you additional cards throughout your existence in the form of events that happen, and opinions and advice from others. But ultimately, it is how YOU play your own cards. You are gifted with free will. It's your choice how you deal with, perceive, integrate, and react to the things that happen to you and the information you receive. Appreciating the things you DO have is the first step to more happiness coming from within yourself. The happier you are, the more you can share it with others around you.

Where kindness comes in, is understanding that everyone is going through the same basic thing: struggling through life to learn their lessons and evolve, and to be considerate of others around you. Creation and cells are in constant evolution, everything is always changing. It doesn't matter how rich or how poor someone is, they can be going through hell on earth. Every journey is unique. Even identical twins born at the same time will have two different journeys. They won't have the same relationship or bodily experiences. You never know the full extent of what someone else is going through; what is happening in their life or mind. Their mind is what is shaping their experiences beyond what life presents to them. Each one of us is a unique specimen on this earth, just like each speck of sand is unique when placed under a microscope; yet all together the body of sand creates a beach. All people are a species of humanity. If we were all blind, our physical differences wouldn't matter so much, we'd relate so much differently and really "see" more into a person's soul.

Kindness says "Namaste". The literal meaning of Namaste is "I bow to you", but in the spiritual community, when you say it to someone else, it means "I honor the place in you where Spirit lives. The light in me acknowledges the light in you". We're all struggling to find our way, our purpose, our meaning. Some people have just lost their way. Some people have no idea who they really are. Some people have been so abused, that their minds don't function optimally. Some people have medical conditions from either birth defects or accidents during life that alter their life experience. Everything has a purpose, everyone has a meaning.

I got really deep on this subject, but to wrap things up for now, I'd like to encourage others to be more aware of the plights of the people around you. Put your cell phone down more often and really BE in the moment. Pay attention to your surroundings. You're missing out on life and possible human connections that are meant to further your journey.

Remember to say "please" when asking for something from someone else. Remember to say "Thank you" when someone does something for you. Kindness and gratitude will do more for you in the long run than selfishness and rudeness. Be a nicer driver: don't honk unless you absolutely have to, and if you do, make it a short little beep. You affect everyone around you when you honk, not just the person you're honking at. I know I've been startled numerous times from other honkers who lay on their horns excessively or meanly at someone else. Use your blinker/indicator turn signals when you drive, that is a very basic common courtesy! Look for ways to help others around you. If we all show more kindness and work together more, we can evolve as a species in a more positive way.

Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Magical Walk

This is a story about more supernatural stuff that's happened to me. :)
On 4/21/13, I went to hang out at a house where 2 of my good guy friends live. We were just chilling and talking. What's cool about these 2 guys (I'll call them JC & CB) is we could talk about really high spiritual concepts that we can't readily talk about with many other people.

At one point, JC handed me a deck of cards called "Messages from your animal spirit guides" and told me to pick a card. I had never seen that kind of deck before and was intrigued.
The Deck

When I drew my card, JC looked shocked. He said he'd never seen the card I'd drawn before. He examined it, then asked his roommate CB if he'd ever seen the card before, and CB said no. JC continued to look amazed, and he told me that both he and CB had been using the deck almost daily for a few months and never had seen the card before. The card I drew was the "Kiwi", which ordered me to do a walking meditation.
I figured since it seemed like a big deal that I drew that card, I had better take heed of the advice, so I planned to do a walking-meditation.

Two days later on 4/23/13, I went to a park. It was mainly a sports park: it had a baseball field and a soccer area. There wasn't much privacy, but I figured it was the best I could do in the area I was at. Instead of doing my walking meditation through the park itself where people where noisily playing games, I decided to walk down a dirt path that was in front of the park. I put my purse in the trunk so I wouldn't have to be lugging it along with me, and I set out on my trek.

As I strolled slowly along the dirt path, I came upon a dirty, abandoned glove. Upon finding it, I realized it was in the position of the sign language for "I Love You". I wanted to take a photo of the glove, but I had left my purse in the trunk of my car which contained my cell phone that I usually take photos with. I turned around and walked back to my car to retrieve my cell phone.

On my way back on the path with the intention to take a photo of the glove, I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks...There on the ground in front of me was a rock that was in the perfect shape of a heart!! I'd never seen a rock so well shaped like that. I snapped a photo of it using Instagram.

After I took the photo of the rock, I walked just like 2 steps forward while fumbling with the Instagram features to post the photo. Then I stopped and realized that I wanted to keep the rock. I turned around to grab the rock off the ground, but it wasn't there! I bent over and started looking around for the rock. No luck. I re-traced my steps and the pathway FIVE TIMES and the rock was no-where to be found. I decided it must have been a little mystery gift from the universe to show me the heart rock and let me get a photo of it, but it wasn't meant to be kept. 

After I gave up my search for the heart rock, I went back to the glove, drew the word "Love" above the glove with a twig, and snapped the Instagram picture below:
<---This gesture means "I Love you" in Sign Language

Four days later I became inspired to meditate on the topic of love, and wrote this journal entry below on 4/29/13:

I thought this story about the Kiwi card, glove, and rock was pretty magical, so I wanted to share the story with you. ;) Keep an eye out for signs from the universe! Signs are all around. They could be on someone's t-shirt, or a license plate. Life is mysterious. <3

Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Angel Cards

I grew up in San Antonio, TX where I was raised by a very Christian family. Since I was in diapers, I was in a non-denomenational church almost weekly with my family. I was into churches all the way up til I was age 21. There seemed to exist a stigma that I grew up around to stay away from anything remotely magical or clairvoyant etc... And as such, I never had any exposure to psychics, tarot, or astrology type stuff. Sure I'd read my horoscope now and then, but it wasn't until I moved to Los Angeles in 2012 did all of that change. Shortly after I got and initiated my calling as the street angel, more magical things began to happen to me. I have many more stories to share about crazy signs I've gotten along my journey, and here is one:

I remember one day I read my horoscope, and it told me that I would find something special at a thrift store. I thought that was an odd and specific thing for a horoscope to say. I was driving on my way to my very first photo shoot as the angel (to have images to put on my angel business cards I was planning to create), when suddenly it seemed like the photo shoot may be cancelled. Since I thought we were going to reschedule, I began to turn streets to go back home. On one of the streets I pulled onto, I ended up in front of a tiny, rustic thrift bookstore called "Curiosities and Oddities". The name intrigued me, and I felt pulled to go inside. I traipsed inside the door, and was overwhelmed: books were everywhere! Piled in all sorts of random ways and places, I didn't even know where to start. I didn't even need anything, but I felt like I had to check it out.

As I strolled around aimlessly, I was chit-chatting with the cashier girl, when something made me crank-shaft my neck to the left, and there on the shelf at eye-level, was a blue box that said, "Messages from your Angels". There I was, having just started dressing like an Angel and wandering the streets of LA, on my way to an Angel photo shoot, and I am face to face with a box that says Messages from your Angels. I knew in that instant, that I had to buy them, that angels wanted me to see those. I grabbed the box and examined it. They were "Oracle Cards". I'd never heard of oracle cards before. I'd never even messed with any kinds of cards other than playing  Rummy, War, and Poker with my family using traditional playing cards. The angel cards were marked $10.
The box of Angel cards
I bought them, and took the box with me in my purse to visit the Self-Realization Gardens, which is such a beautiful, magical place teaming with lush life!! It has more unique foliage and flowers in one place than I've ever seen in my life. It even has a big pond full of fish, ducks, and a pair of beautiful swans beneath a cabin and windmill. 
 Photos I took with my personal camera at the gardens:

Inside the cabin is a meditation area that is so peaceful. You can just go in and sit there. On the wall in front of all the chairs are photos of some of the great Ascended Masters: Jesus Christ, Ghandi, and Paramahansa Yogananda. It seemed like they were all eerily staring at me LOL. When I grabbed my cell phone, the time amazed me: 3:33pm. If you look up the meanings of Angel Numbers, 333 is an epic number that means Ascended Masters are nearby helping you. Something told me to pull an Angel Card at that moment, so I did, and low and behold, this was the card I drew that was awesome:
It was a cool series of events that felt like a big sign to me about my life purpose. The Angel Cards have truly been a blessing to my life, as well as to those I've given angel card readings to. They shock people all the time with their accuracy and have brought 3 grown men to tears during their readings. 

If you don't believe in this stuff, all I can say is that I encourage you to open your mind, because magical things do happen in life! 
Check out my video about "Signs and Synchronicities" 

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Friday, September 27, 2013

Street Angel

I grabbed my pencil and a pad of paper. It had suddenly occurred to me that I wanted to write a poem to read onstage at the LA Music Awards Voting & Press event. This was huge, I have never spoken on stage in front of so many people before. Just the thought of it made me shake. But at the same time, it was like an adrenaline rush. It was trying something new and out of my comfort zone. By now, I am pretty used to being around big crowds, having people gawk at me in my angel outfit, having photos taken of me, and making home YouTube videos, but stage fright is a whole different beast to wrestle! 

My hand was shaking a little bit as I hung it over the paper, contemplating what to write. My flashbacks started:
{Taking my wings out of my trunk that first day of my Angel Project, my whole body was trembling. I was wondering if I was stark raving mad for acting on these inner promptings. I was so new to LA, I barely knew my way around yet. I had met a few people but didn't have any friends yet, I was that new. And there I was, deciding to dress like an angel in a strange new land and go stand on a street corner. I think I was struggling more with what I thought of myself than about what others were going to think of me. Buying the angel outfits and creating the posters was a start, but it was those epic first steps to actually go out on the street corner, that were the scariest. The notion of what other people thought of me quickly set in as soon as I saw people looking and staring at me. I was glad when all the people I encountered that first day had a positive and supportive response. But there were plenty of people who acted like I didn't exist. Like, people would literally walk right past me, I'd smile/wave/say hi to them, and they'd look through me like I was a ghost or something. That was strange to me. But standing there with my posters and posing beside people who wanted to take a photo with me, felt so...amazing. In the sense that, it meant what I was doing was "working" and having a positive affect on others. The messages were resonating with people. It was a bliss in my heart that I felt like I was doing a good thing, without expectation of reward, simply because I followed my soul's urges and was fulfilling that.} {Read related blog: "The Calling"}
-------------(I go off on a tangent now)-------------------
Maybe I really am a ghost to some people! You never know what someone else's view of life looks like...I've read that if you vibrate at a high enough frequency, that you will be invisible to some other lower-vibrational beings. Pretty cool. If you think about it, that's the way Angels work. I absolutely believe in them now since I've seen two of them. Just glimpses. They were transparent beings that move around really fast in the sky!! Just the fact that they presented themselves to me, the fact that I saw them, that I saw something supernatural for myself, I believe. I know they're around. I've used this line in another blog: It's easy to not believe in things until you see them for yourself. Same goes for "aliens". There are so many advanced forms of life and energy in this universe that the average human mind can't even fathom it, and many people have no awareness of it or don't even contemplate it. I've met some supernatural people here in LA. I'm talking about people who have strong energy fields that you can FEEL (at least I could!), and meeting people who are so clairvoyant, they can tell you what you ate for breakfast in some detail. It's nuts! in a cool way!
--------------(Back to the poem story)--------------------
When I was finished writing the poem, I was most pleased. I felt like I'd put my emotion into it, and the words held that energy somehow. The stage appearance wasn't what I was expecting, which was actually good because I ended up feeling more calm than I thought I would. I thought it was going to be 900 seated, silent people staring at me, but instead it was a crowded, rather dark, big, double-decker room (had a balcony of both seated and standing people) with some noise of people talking in the background. However, when I went up on the stage to speak on the microphone, it did seem like it got much more quiet than it had been earlier during the event. People were....actually listening! It was awesome that people were coming up to me afterwards saying they liked my poem. It's always nice to feel validated.
{Photo taken at the LA Music Awards preliminary voting and press event; prior to the main event- video below:}

I try to not rely on other's people's opinions and validations as much since having a higher awareness of things than I ever have had before, but it's always nice to be encouraged and supported! That's what keeps me going with this angel project! I maintain that if I'm able to positively affect even just one person a day, then I consider that a success and progress to me. I want to serve, help, uplift others in whatever random ways that I can. That stuff makes the heart sing. Here are 2 quotes for you to ponder so that you'll understand what I mean more, at least one facet, when I mention having a higher awareness of things: 1) "When I am independent of the good or bad opinion of others, I stand strong in my own divine power." 2) "When I recognize and acknowlege my personal power, I no longer need to feel superior or inferior to anyone else." Both quotes are from the wise author and speaker Deepak Chopra.

Thank you everyone who supports me, reads my blogs, watches my videos, does good deeds, spreads kindness, and helps others! Your good works in life don't go unnoticed, the Angels see and the universe will reward you back in some way!

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Grocery Store Day of Giving and Gratitude

How profound a simple trip to the grocery store can be...

Today I decided to make a short trip to the grocery store for just a few things. When I was walking towards the grocery store, I noticed a woman sitting on the ground near the entrance holding her toddler daughter and a sign saying she was homeless and hungry. I saw several people pass right by her without even taking notice. I just took a class recently that instilled the phrase in my brain "As I give, so may I grow" and that phrase whispered to me. I dug through my purse and handed her $10; she looked so grateful and told me "Thank you, God Bless you". As I was inside the store, I passed a woman in a wheelchair who required a nurse assistant to push her around to help her with groceries. As I was leaving, a man was walking around with a gas can and said he just needed about $1 more for gas. I gave him $2 just to be safe. He too, smiled so huge and said "Thank you God Bless!" So many people in need. When I got home and finished putting away my groceries, I sat down and just began to cry and give thanks for so many things. I'm thankful that I can afford to have a car and afford to put gas in it. I'm thankful I have my eyesight and all my limbs to be able to drive and walk to just do daily activities like going to buy groceries and put them away. I'm thankful I have a place to live and food to eat, and means to afford those things. I may not have a lot of money, but I have enough and all my needs met, and enough to spare to help others in small capacities.

Give thanks daily, be grateful for what you have. So many people have so much less.
Look for ways to help others.

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dragon Rider

Remember the wind, blowing your hair
Remember the kites, flying in the air
Remember skipping in the sands
Remember Earth energy, flowing up through your hands
Remember the Sun, warm on your face
Remember the Eagle, soaring over with grace
Believe in things that you can't see
Empowered with wisdom, you shall be.

~Mandelyn Reese
(My tribute to the "Dragon Magick" class at the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Light Mystery School)
Back story:

On the weekend of September 14th & 15th, 2013, I was initiated into the Brotherhood and Sisterhood of Light Mystery School. It used to be a very secretive society, but since the approach of the New Age shift, the school decided to start being more public.

During the initiation class after one of our breaks, upon returning to the classroom, the instructor and I noticed that a tiny red dragon was laying on the floor by her chair, directly out in front of me. She picked it up and said, "That's odd, I had that little dragon inside a little draw-string bag on the counter over there, but I guess it wanted to be out, because it's somehow here on the floor!"
I had already been seeing signs about dragons in the days leading up to the initiation, like seeing people wearing dragon shirts. I took all of those as signs that I should attend the Mystery School's Dragon Magick class the next weekend: Sunday Sept 22, so I signed up.

The whole class was very magical, especially our trip to a pretty park overlooking the Santa Ana dried river bed. As I was standing near the edge of the cliff, with the wind wildly blowing my hair, the poem just started to come to me in my head from things I'd observed and the activities we did at the park as a group. The most magical thing was when a large, beautiful Eagle (or hawk) with a white underbelly spotted with black dots slowly soared over us as we stood in a circle. It flew off into the direction of the sun until we couldn't see it anymore. It was such a cool sign! It looked like the bird pictured below:

On our lunch break, I was at a grocery store that had a small cafe in the back corner, and as I was heading towards the cafe, I noticed a small white dragon statue, right at my eye level on the shelf! I decided to buy it, since when we were learning about the different kinds of dragons, I resonated the most with the first kind: White Dragons. White Dragons are the ruling clan over all dragons, and are of the highest purity and teachings. It seemed meant to be that I buy it. I wrote the poem about the class on the bottom of the statue in memory of the class. :) The dragon is holding a pearl, which is the oldest known gem on Earth, and is a symbol of wisdom, purity, innocence, and faith.

~Mandelyn Reese

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Random Act of Kindness

I was at a tiny convenience store in the 3rd Street Promenade shopping strip recently, and this lady in line before me at the register was clutching a bag of chips and holding a $1 bill. When she went up to the counter, they told her $1.07. She started frantically waving around her dollar bill and saying that the Promenade workers used to get an employee discount. The lady at the register shook her head "no" and the manager guy behind her said there was no longer any employee discounts. This seemed to fluster the woman with the chips and she seemed distraught while continuing to flail her arms in frustration. It appeared she was going to abandon her chips, so I stepped in and bought her bag of chips for her. I told her it would be my random act of kindness for the day. Both she and the register lady looked at me in surprise. I don't recall her saying thank you, because she seemed upset about no longer having a discount, but I hope it helped her to feel better. Acts of kindness and help don't have to be huge or grand to make a difference in someone's day. Show kindness to others. It's food for your soul!

Seize the day! Look for ways to help others.
~Mandelyn Reese

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The ER Visit

On January 24, 2013, I felt like I nearly died of a heart attack. Earlier in the evening I had been verbally attacked on the phone by a close family member for having moved away from Texas, and basically blaming me for everything falling apart for them because I moved, and then I was verbally attacked yet again on the phone for no reason out of the blue by a man (who I determined later was a psycho bipolar guy); who was cruelly telling me with a mean tone of voice that I was going to fail and would be "destitute" from doing my Angel Project. I experienced heart-attacked symptoms right after those phone calls. My heart felt like it had some seized-up palpitations, and my left arm shot out stiff, and felt numb, cold, shaky, and tingly from my left side all the way down to my fingertips. I am only 30 years old, how could this happen? I laid on my floor for awhile letting it pass, and eventually decided that I better call 911, because I'd never experienced anything like that before and it freaked me out. Not only did my heart and arm act crazy, but my right foot (the one that's been injured since January 2012) had begun to go completely cold since the night before, like it wasn't getting proper circulation, AND my left breast/armpit area had been hurting for a few months and had been progressively getting worse. I have never had to call 911 for myself before and never had to go to an ER or been in an ambulance, but this incident scared me enough to want to have some hospital staff check me out. I didn't have insurance, and I knew it would be costly, but I felt that it would be worth it to pay for the medical bills over time if they could help fix me. My health was in shambles and I desperately wanted some help.

The ambulance staff arrived shortly, and they put me in a chair, not on a gurney, and took me down to the ambulance. It was only a 1.5 mile drive to the hospital down the street, but they later billed me $1,400 for just the ambulance.

As they were wheeling me into the hospital, I couldn't shake the feeling that it felt like a staged set up with actors. The staff were all lounging around the entrance area, and they began joking around at me as I was wheeled in. I wasn't exactly in the mood or condition for joking, but I managed a weak smile.

They put me in a curtained area, and I laid there for a long time, with nothing happening. Eventually a business-looking woman with office attire and glasses came in and sat next to me. She made me sign my life away on a thick stack of documents before they would help me. I was feeling so bad that I could barely read or sign the papers. My signature on many of the pages is half tilted down the line because I wasn't functioning very well.  When she left, I laid there again for more time, and suddenly one of the staff members put their cell phone up to my curtain and played the song by Rhianna called, "Take A Bow" and they STARTED playing that song at the line where she says, "You look so dumb right now". I was deeply shocked and dismayed by this. Was this some kind of cruel joke??? Or a crazy sign? How could they be so heartless??  Maybe this particular hospital is used to getting the rich people who have minor panic attacks or something, because it was an upscale area hospital, but I was truly feeling awful and really hoping for help and care, but it seemed like they were making fun of me. Or maybe because I didn't have insurance, they didn't really want to help me. Who knows.

A young male doctor arrived, and wasn't very nice at all. He didn't seem to take me seriously, and came across very rudely with his tone and the way he looked at me. He said they'd take some blood and send me for a scan.

A nurse with long scraggly hair came in to take my blood, and she seemed VERY fake with her sincerity. She really hurt my arm taking my blood vials too. I've had blood drawn many times before, but however she went about doing it really hurt more than ever before. Shortly after she left, she returned and told me that "something went wrong with my vials", and she would have to retake my blood! She proceeded to repeat the painful process all over again! In hindsight, they were probably just taking the opportunity to rob me of my blood or something, not that I'd mind being a donor to someone in need, but the whole blood-drawing scene I experienced was very fishy to me.

I went in for the scan, and the technician says that the injection of fluid will make you feel like you pissed yourself. How lovely. And it did feel that way.

After the scan, I was put back in the curtain area again and left there for what felt like a pretty long time.
Eventually a different doctor came in to see me, this time a young female doctor. I felt like I was on the set of Grey's Anatomy. She said they didn't find anything wrong, she wrote me a prescription for Advil, and told the nurse to discharge me. I was so dismayed. I hadn't been helped at all or been given my blood work or scan results.

The nurse came in and threw a plastic bag on my bed. "Get dressed" she said, without any care or kindness.
I didn't want to, I felt shafted. I wanted some kind of help or better treatment and didn't get that. I laid there for just a few moments sulking in shock, and the nurse came and told me again to get dressed, so I did.
She led me down the hall. I was slowly limping on my cold numb foot and holding my left side where my pain was. I was still in my pajamas and pink bath robe. She took me to their lobby and told me to go home. I just sort of stood there in disbelief, because I'd arrived in an ambulance and had no one with me to take me home. I asked her how was I supposed to get home, it was pouring rain hard outside. She said I could call a cab, and then she turned and left me there. The lobby was totally empty, I was the only patient there. There were 2-3 staff members behind a desk in the lobby, but they paid no attention to me. The nurse reappeared and suddenly tossed me a coin. "There, you can take the bus" she said. As I said before, it was pouring rain outside and I was in my pajamas. I didn't particularly want to venture outside in that mess to wait for a bus and be seen in public in my condition. People would probably think I was an escaped mental patient limping around in my pink bathrobe and report me!

There was 1 red couch and lots of chairs in the lobby. I went to the couch and laid on it, trying to figure out what to do and processing the whole experience. I laid there looking dead and all alone for AN HOUR AND A HALF with tons of hospital staff pouring in through the front doors passing me, and no one ever checked on me. Not once. No wonder you hear about how some people actually die in lobbies and aren't discovered until hours later. There is such a lack of real compassion in this world. It's particularly sad that our country's medical field has become so heartless in many ways.

Eventually one of my friends came to pick me up and took me home, thankfully. I was eternally grateful for that.

I was relaying my story to one of my friends, Susana, who runs a small thrift shop that benefits the poor, and her response was disheartening: "Now imagine if your skin was brown", because she, too, has had some bad hospital experiences. She said that because she is a Hispanic woman, she's been treated really badly every time she's had to go in for anything. She started to tell me her stories, and I felt bad for her.

What has become of our medical field these days? How can they treat people like this and get away with it? It's like one big evil hungry machine. They can bill patients whatever the hell they want, and ruin people's lives with those amounts. With all the various charges (ambulance bill, individual ER doctor bill, blood work bill, scan bill, and hospital bill) it came out to a total of nearly $8,000 for that one 3-hour nightmare experience of not getting any real help and being treated like crap. There was no way I wanted to pay that amount for how I'd been treated. I found out that several of the bills offered patient assistance applications, so I went to work on filling all of those out, and managed to get most of my bills erased, except for the chest scan. I felt very lucky that I was able to get out of those bills. Some people get hounded by collections agencies or have to file for bankruptcy over medical bills.

This whole society is so jacked. Check out this video with great info about why healthcare costs are insane in the USA:

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Bully

When I was younger, I had a "best friend" who was a taller girl that I'd known since grade school, but she and I didn't become friends until 6th grade. For purposes of this blog, I'm going to change her name, and call her "Kathy".

While we shared many fun times and happy memories together through middle and high school, it wasn't until a few years ago did I realize she was a pretty big bully-type figure in my life all those years. (We didn't hangout as much after high school since she went to a college in a different city. We haven't been in contact for 2 years now). She would do things to me that would physically hurt or embarrass me, and also pull mean pranks on me that would hurt my feelings. For whatever reason, I just put up with her antics because I always considered her my best friend.

I will tell you just a few of the top stories about the things she did to me that were rather cruel, but I experienced a lot of various forms of bullying from her throughout our years of friendship.

Story #1: One time at a sleepover at her house, she and another girl secretly rubbed IcyHot cream all over my pillow and sheets, and sat there and laughed at me while I was bewildered at why my bedding smelled like strong chemicals and affected my skin. They didn't tell me what they had done until the next day. I was really upset by that prank. Another time at a sleepover, she tried to get me to wet my bed by putting my hand in a bowl of warm water. Thankfully it didn't work on me. And again at yet another sleepover at her house, she took photos of me while I was sleeping with my underwear exposed, and she took the photos to school and showed them around to everyone and the boys I liked to embarrass me. She seemed to enjoy humiliating me.

Story #2: One time in 8th grade Honor's Reading class, we had to read this whole book over our Spring Break, because our evil teacher was going to give us a test on it the day we returned from Spring Break. (Way to ruin our holiday week!). I had a trip I was going on with family, and I managed to read the whole book while on the airplane. Upon return to class after our Spring Break, I was actually looking forward to the test, because I felt like I would ace it! My assigned seat was in the back corner of the classroom, and I was the first person to finish the test. When I got up and proudly started to walk to the front of the class to turn in my test, Kathy stuck her longass leg out in front of me, and tripped me in front of the whole silent class, and I totally wiped out and tumbled loudly to the floor. My skirt flew up and exposed my underwear to everyone, and the whole class roared in laughter at me. It was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life, and all caused by my supposed "best friend".

Story #3: One time I had my birthday party at my house, and we were all playing some sort of game in the front yard. Without warning, Kathy pulled both of my ankles out from under me, and I crashed to the ground and started crying from both the pain and embarrassment. My Mom says she'll always remember that particular one because she was witness to it.

Unless you have awareness of it, you may not even realize you're being bullied. Sometimes it depends who is doing it and what place they have in your life. It's not just kids at school who suffer from bullies, a lot of adults deal with it too. For some people, it's a parent, sibling, boss, or even their romantic partner. My Dad was a bully to me also, big time. (Read my blog "Conditioning: The Ultimate Mind-F*ck"). I had a waitress job that I only lasted about 2 months at a few years ago, because the "boss" was a young female who treated everyone so cruelly, no one could stand her. She was especially mean to me and this other girl really bad every single shift, and the other waiters noticed her targeted attacks on us. I quit in grand style, leaving her a nasty note (which was all I could muster to stand up for myself at the time). I know an adult man who is a family friend, who was physically and verbally abused by his bully wife for 22 years (they finally divorced a recently). Male-targeted spousal abuse is actually a little-talked about problem that many men suffer from. Many people say that you have to stand up to the bully. That can definitely be good and work in many situations, but for some it can be dangerous. Regardless of any bullying situation, there is help available, and I encourage those who suffer from it to seek out counsel and help from trusted sources.

Anti-Bullying is a cause that I strongly support, which is why I'm a proud sponsor of Kid's Resource, which was founded by my friend Gerry Orz, an 11-year old activist who has made films to address the issue in schools and even got the California Senate to recognize December 12th of every year as Bullying Prevention Awareness Day.
With Gerry Orz, founder of Kids Resource and Lisa Mae, founder of Equality TV

May more people become aware of this issue and work to reduce it. Spread kindness and help others.
~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The War Vet

Never take your health for granted. Thank God everyday that you can walk, see, hear etc...
I used to be the picture of health, and then all that changed. In January 2012 I was in Vegas with a small group of close friends; I didn't go to Vegas to party, I was there assisting my longtime disabled friend, Adam, to get around so that he could hang out with his family. Adam has Lou Gehrigs's disease (aka ALS) which is a devastating degenerative disease with no known cure, and I'd been helping him with his groceries weekly for almost 2 years. Adam, his mom, and sister enjoy meeting in Vegas for their little family reunions, because they all live in different states. He asked me to accompany him to Vegas so that he could have help at the airport, on the airplane, and to just be a friend to hangout with while we toured around Vegas. He even got me my very own hotel room! It was my first time getting to see Vegas, and I was really stoked.
Me, Adam's mom Susie, Adam, and his sister Jessica at the hotel Bellagio

Three days into our tourist vacation in Vegas, my right foot began to really hurt, for no apparent reason. I hadn't gotten drunk and fallen or tripped or anything. I limped around on my bad foot for 2 more days, and then limped on it at home for another week before I decided that the problem wasn't getting any better, so I better go see a doctor. A friend was kind enough to donate her sister's used crutches to me, and I went to Texas Med Clinic. I didn't get any help there, but the next day a friend called and gave me a referral to see a foot doctor. Turns out I had a stress fracture in my foot, so the doctor fitted me with a boot-cast and ordered me to use the crutches and wear the cast for a few months. 

Long story short, I have ended up seeing several foot doctors, healers, and chiropractors over the last year and 9 months related to this one injury. My body has just never been the same. Once you break something, it's never quite the same...and that applies to pretty much anything. Having the foot injury ended up throwing my entire skeletal system out of alignment, because I was having to limp around and put all of my weight on my other foot. Honestly, both feet have bothered me ever since. One doctor's theory was that an old ankle injury I had back in July of 2007 never healed right, which led to the stress fracture. I'd also been a promotional model for 6 years prior, and that required me to be on my feet for hours for our shifts, usually in high heels. 

Once the stress fracture happened, it turned my life upside down even more: I had just gotten divorced a week before the injury and was trying to figure out my next move, and the next minute I couldn't walk right or work anymore. My life was in shambles. After the doctor ordered me to be on crutches for a few weeks and wear the god-awful boot-cast, there was a period of time where I was confined to my house and couch. It felt miserable. I was always such an active person, and always on the go. Suddenly, it hurt too much to even walk for awhile. The crutches hurt my armpits so much after awhile that it made me feel like my boobs were throbbing too. My "good foot" ended up hurting so bad from all the weight applied to it, that I ended up having to crawl around my house. After so many days of crawling around my house, my knees looked and felt all jacked up; in fact, my knees looked scarred for months after the crawling days. I was still room-mating with my ex-husband at the time (long story), and even though he had a new girlfriend, we were still friends and got along. He saw my predicament, and felt bad watching me have to crawl all over the house, so he ordered a new battery for a dismantled electric wheelchair he'd bought years before for a robot project, put it all back together, and let me use it to get around the house, which was such a blessing!
The electric wheelchair

Even after the stress fracture healed, I continued to have major pain and problems in my foot, ankle, and back. The chiropractors I saw said my alignment was really jacked up. I'm still seeing one to this day since I'm still not 100%. At it's worst, I could see my shoulders were uneven in the mirror, and my pelvis stuck out on one side more than the other plain as day. It was gross. But I'm making progress, slowly but surely. I have endured an epic amount of physical pain related to my foot injury while doing my Angel Project, since the bulk of my Angel Project is about being out in public and going to events with poster messages.
See my special footwear? It sucked.

Early in the time of just getting put into the boot-cast, I had been couch-ridden for 2 straight days at one point, because it was just too painful to get around at all. I was really depressed. But it forced me to sit and re-evaluate my life, and also re-evaluate how I perceived myself as being productive from one day to the next. I couldn't do as much as I used to be capable of, so I had to learn to be satisfied with completing smaller tasks, like just being able to reach the cabinets to put dishes away or something. It was very eye-opening to have my freedom and mobility taken away from me in the blink of an eye. It even helped me see a bit of what my friend Adam has to deal with, since his mobility is severely limited with his disease. After 2 straight days of being stuck on the couch, I felt determined to get out of the house, and I didn't care if I broke my other foot trying to do it! I was going crazy. I limped out of the house, stuffed my crutches in the car, and drove to a nearby Starbucks that had a nice outdoor patio, so that I could enjoy some fresh air. 

While I was ordering my coffee at the counter, it occurred to me that I had no idea how I was going to actually pick up and carry the coffee to a table outside. You can't really use your hands for anything else when you're using crutches. As I was standing there debating this fiasco, I heard a man behind me ask, 
"So what happened to you?" I turned around, and saw a guy who appeared to be about my age standing there. He pointed down at his foot, and when I looked down, I saw that he had a prosthetic right foot. How ironic. I told him the story about my foot, and he offered to bring me my coffee when it was ready! It was so nice of him to offer, since I was literally just trying to figure out how to get my coffee before he spoke to me. 

Once I got outside, I began to feed the birds with spare crackers I had in my backpack purse, and enjoy the nice day. The guy (I forgot his name) brought me my coffee, and we ended up sitting together and talking for an hour! Turns out he was a 27 year old war veteran; he'd lost his foot to a hidden landmine in Iraq recently. He showed me photos of his foot before they amputated it: it actually looked like a normal foot after they'd repaired it, but he said it was so jacked up inside that they went ahead and amputated it and fitted him with the prosthetic. I couldn't help but notice that this young man seemed to have an underlying sadness about him. He didn't smile much and just seemed down. It was a pleasure to have his company though, at a time when I was feeling pretty bummed and distraught.

In hindsight, I felt like I'd gotten a glimpse of how "things could always be worse". My foot was thoroughly messed up, but at least I still had my foot. At least I would be able to walk again, some people aren't afforded that luxury. I was grateful for the chance meeting and chat with the guy, because it gave me a new outlook on things and my situation. No matter how bad things appear in your life, chances are they could be worse, and there are people out there who are in much more dire situations. Be thankful every day for what you have, and count your blessings. Focus on the positive, and minimize thoughts about the negative.

~Mandelyn Reese
The LA Street Angel

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