Thursday, March 22, 2012

Older Than My 41 Years?

This past Monday, I was shopping at TJ Maxx. As I brought my purchases up to the twenty-something cashier, she asked me, "Are you over 55?" After a couple of seconds of stunned silence, I replied, "No, I'm not, and I'm thinking about jumping in front of a moving vehicle right now, thank you very much." She explained that she had asked to see if I qualified for the Monday Senior Discount. Now, I like a good bargain as much as the next person, but not at the expense of my ego. ;) Wow. But, in spite of the title, that's NOT what this blog is about.

Nerdiness is nothing new to me! :)
If you've been following my blog, you know that I was born on Friday the 13th. Ironically, that is not the strangest thing about me. When I was 24 years old, my mom told me something that would change my outlook on life forever. I don't know how you feel about the idea of reincarnation, but I can tell you that, for much of my life, I didn't give it any thought at all. I was raised Southern Baptist. I believed (and still a point) that when you die, you either go to Heaven or to Hell. When I was growing up, I thought that wherever you ended up is where you spent eternity (and eternity is a loooooooooooong time). Now, however, I'm not so sure that's the whole story.

I don't remember a whole lot about my early childhood (but then again, who does?). I've been told that I was very bright for my age. I could read by the time I started Kindergarten. I do remember that I loved to  look through my family's World Book encyclopedias (that my parents still have!). I was fascinated by the pages on the human heart. I thought that maybe some day I wanted to be a doctor...or a nurse (or a waitress at Howard Johnson's). But, I digress. 

When we moved to Florida, I started school in second grade. The teachers suggested that I be moved up to third because I was very advanced. Since I was young for my grade anyway, my parents decided to keep me with kids my own age. That was a smart move. I wouldn't want to have had to endure middle school with kids a year older than me anyway. [I should mention that the brilliance I exhibited as a child has waned a lot as the years have gone by. I once read that when a woman gives birth, part of her brain leaves her body with the placenta. I believe that this is a fact.] Although I was bright for my age, I don't remember ever thinking about a life other than the one I was living. 

One day in 1995, I decided to stop by my parents house for a visit on my way home from work. My mom looked at me and said, "Nancy, there's something I've been meaning to tell you for a long time..." I had NO CLUE where this was going. She explained that she had been watching Oprah, whose guest that day was Carol Bowman, the author of a book called "Children's Past Lives." [At this point, I was still completely lost.] My mom proceeded to tell me the story of when I, as a toddler, revealed a past life to her. 

She said that I was about two years old, I was eating lunch in my high chair. I looked at her and casually said, "You weren't always my mommy." She asked me what I meant, figuring it was just child's play (though, at two years old, I couldn't have been talking for very long). I responded, "You weren't always my mommy.I had another mommy, and then I died and came to live with you." My mom was completely flabbergasted. Can you imagine having your baby tell you something like that?! She said that she didn't want to hear any more about it because she was so upset. 

When my sister (who was around 12 years old at the time) came home from school, my mom told her what I had said. So, my sister decided to ask me about it. I proceeded to tell her that my name had been Sharon Baganowski (sp?) and I lived in an apartment, NOT a house!, in New York City. I was seven  years old when my mother poisoned me. Keep in mind...this was coming, literally, out of the mouth of babes. As a TWO-YEAR-OLD child, I told my family this story!

Remember, my family was Southern Baptist. They did not believe in reincarnation. But, how could they deny what their toddler was saying? How could I possibly have come up with a story like that at such a young age? At the time, we were living in New Jersey. At my father's business, he had access to New York City telephone books (remember those?). On a whim, he decided to see if there were any "Baganowski"'s listed. Sure enough, there was! My mom refused to let him call. (I can't say I blame her...what do you say? "Yeah, I have a daughter who claims that she may have been the child you poisoned...")

I never really spoke about it again. My mom said that she would ask me periodically as I was growing up whether I knew a "Sharon Baganowski." I always told her that I never knew anyone by that name. I don't remember her asking me, but the name didn't ring any bells to me when she told me the story as an adult either. 

Just like my mom had been 22 years earlier, I was completely FLOORED. My first dilemma was my faith. I realized that what I had believed all my life may not be completely true. [My mom actually told me that this is one of the reasons she never mentioned the whole incident to me.] Naturally, I became very curious and wanted to read everything I could about reincarnation. I started by reading Children's Past Lives by Carol Bowman. It was an amazing book. Carol's journey began when her son (ironically named "Chase") revealed a past life to her out of the blue (like I had done with my mom). The book included stories of other children who had revealed past lives, some of which could actually be verified. The book discussed other famous past life researchers, like Dr. Ian Stevenson, who was able to actually bring one Indian boy who had recalled a past life (reincarnation is widely accepted in India) to his former family. He immediately recognized everyone in the house and knew things that only the person he claimed to have been would have known. Even the family was convinced that this was their deceased relative. This wasn't an isolated incident. There are many similar stories in the literature. I was very intrigued.

Next, I read Dr. Brian Weiss' book, Many Lives, Many Masters. Dr. Weiss is a well-respected Psychiatrist who practiced in Miami. He was treating one of his patients, Catherine, and decided to use hypnosis to try and help her overcome some of her anxieties in phobias. He took her back to her childhood, but she couldn't recall anything significant. When he asked her to go back further (meaning earlier in her childhood), she started describing a scene out of ancient times. She described a sudden flood sweeping through her village, drowning her and her baby. Dr. Weiss (who had given no prior thought to reincarnation) was as amazed as anyone. After recalling that past life, Catherine completely lost her fear of the water and drowning - it was a catharsis for her. Throughout her treatment, Catherine went on to recall other past lives, some of which unlocked the secrets to her phobias and helped her overcome them. Dr. Weiss' third book, Only Love is Real (which covers the subject of soul mates) is my favorite book of all time. I firmly believe in the idea of soul mates and believe I married one of mine, but that's for another blog post.

I've read many books about reincarnation, soul mates, and past life regression. In my reading, I even learned that reincarnation was, in fact, mentioned in the Bible. The emperor Constantine had the chapters that dealt with reincarnation removed from the Bible in the first century. So, as I see it, it's okay for me, as a Christian, to believe in reincarnation. The concept itself, if you've never explored it, sounds very mystical and New Age-y. But, after studying it, it really does make a lot of sense to me. It explains why we just seem to "click" with certain people and just can't seem to get along with others. It explains fears and anxieties. Since I was a child, I've had an intense fear of tornadoes. I've never actually seen one (in this lifetime anyway). Maybe there's something to it? It's just one more reason why it is so important to love one another, and be kind, honest and forgiving. Be thankful for what you have and live with a joyful spirit. This is what "Aloha" is all about! 

Even after learning about what I said to my mom nearly 40 years ago and all that I've read about reincarnation, I have no memories of about my past life as Sharon Baganowski. I am completely revolted by the taste of honey (which most people like), so I've often wondered if my former mom hid the poison in honey; but I have no proof of that. I've tried to research whether a Sharon Baganowski (Bagnowski?, Bakanowski?, etc.) ever lived in New York City, but with no date to go on, other than the fact that it would have to be prior to November of 1970, it's kind of hard to verify that. Also, considering the fact that I was murdered by my mother, would there have been any death records, or was it a cover-up? I would love to know more, but I'm a bit of a chicken. What if there's a reason God doesn't want me to remember? 

I have communicated by e-mail with both Carol Bowman and Dr. Brian Weiss over the years, sharing my story with them. Both encouraged me to find a local licensed therapist who has been trained in past life regression. (Dr. Weiss no longer practices - he does seminars and workshops around the globe.) I've tried self-hypnosis past-life regression CDs, but I can't relax and shut my mind down enough to fully go "under." It's never worked for me. I have found a couple of therapists. I've even been in contact with a couple of them who are local. I just haven't gotten up the courage to take that leap into the unknown. Someday, I'll know the truth...just maybe not in this lifetime. ;)

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

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