Spiritual Guide in Plain Clothes
We all have a “family of origin.” Families of Origin are people that are significant in your early years and are the first social network to which you belong. This can be your biological family, adoptive family or even a circle of beings that have been with you since birth.
Many people believe in Spirit Guides and Angels. These ethereal beings are not usually physical beings in our world. They originate from the spirit world and appear at significant times in our lives, these guides step in when we need a little extra help. People often say they had a guardian angel appear when they were in a car accident or otherwise life-threatening situation. Others say they call upon their Spirit Guides to help them make decisions, provide protection or surround them in a time of turmoil.
From the early days of my life, I have been protected and guided by many beings with a lot of them being “nature” guides. Every time I step into the forest, out on the prairie or spend time with animals, I feel deeply drawn into their world and seek any wisdom they offer.
As I look back on my early life, I realize that I had another Spiritual Guide by my side from the time of conception. I use the term Spiritual Guide since this was a being that took
physical form. Before I was born, my older brother was a part of my existence as he anxiously awaited my arrival, welcomed me with a special sibling love and protected me during my early years.
My older brother Kenneth even gave me my name (and goofy spelling.) His presence in my life was much more than just a brother, but that of a Spiritual Guide or even Life Guide.
My whole family has always loved music. Some early childhood memories were of dancing to the banjo music played by my uncle Wilbur, my dad and other family members. This started my lifelong love affair with music. All of my brothers love music too, but perhaps Kenneth loved it most of all. Growing up, he was obsessed with music: vinyl records, 8-track tapes, cassettes, CD’s – he had tons of music in all these forms. When in high school, he started working as a DJ at the local radio station and was a MASTER at putting together mix tapes. There is an art to have the songs flow from one into the other in a smooth, magical way; Kenneth mastered this like no one else.
When I was just finding my footing with popular music in the 70’s, my friends, teen magazines and the radio influenced what I played on my record player. I started listening to artists like Shawn Cassidy, Leif Garrett, and the Gibb Brothers. No offense to their musical ability, but these were NOT the artists my big brother Kenneth rocked out with. Somewhere during this time, I took up playing flute in the school band. Music was starting to become more than a pastime and started shifting into a passion. During this time, my brother had simply had enough of listening to my musical choices. He introduced me to bands like Jethro Tull and Marshall Tucker Band. Knowing I’d like their use of the flute, he really picked the right moment to step in. Now my record player was cranking out “AquaLung” and “Heard It In A Love Song.” Keep in mind, this was before the Internet and the only way you could learn how to play these songs was to figure it out by yourself. So after hours of listening and practicing, I learned how to play these songs on my flute. My brother kept feeding me new music and I switched from the simplicity of disco dance songs to the complexity of Led Zeppelin, Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton. This helped shape me as a person and as a musician. I went on to make music a major focus of my life. My life was saved because of my dedication and interest in music. My teen years were spent playing my flute for hours and hours. I practiced and performed music in just about every setting you could imagine. I received multiple awards in music and was offered several music scholarships to college.
Once in college, my life turned to other things and music took a subtler role. The things I learned and experienced because music was part of my formative years will always be in the core of my being.
My life would have unfolded very differently had my Spiritual Guide, Kenneth, not became involved when he did. He stepped into his role of Guide at a time of great decision. Like all great guides, he didn’t try to tell me what to do, but he presented me with options so I could make a more informed choice for myself.
As adults, we lived fairly separate lives. He lived in Kentucky and I ended up in Wisconsin. Ken had his own beautiful family, had his own business (even several) however we always bonded on the level of music. It was our language of love, understanding and connection.
When he passed away in the spring of 2015, his small community had an enormous outpouring of stories to share. When he was in the hospital before his death, people streamed constantly in and out offering their support. I listened to story after story on how my brother changed their life. It was overwhelming to realize how large and significant his influence had been on so many lives.
During the hours of visitation at the funeral home, I met what seemed like the whole community as they paid their respects to this remarkable man. For months afterwards, I replayed those stories in my mind. I loved hearing all of them and wished I could have recorded them. It has taken me a while to realize that each and every story had the same theme. Each person’s situation was different, but the moments when Kenneth appeared were all very similar: they all involved people at a crossroad in their life. Some situations were notably monumental, but others, like my story above, were not realized for many, many years later. ALL of them had the same theme. People were at a critical point in their life and seeking help. Some people verbally asked for help, but others couldn’t even open up to the asking. It didn’t matter, their “Spiritual Guide in Plain Clothes” stepped in to their rescue. My brother Kenneth helped hundreds of people work through their crossroads. He did it with such kindness, compassion, joy, laughter, music and devotion that many times, they didn’t even notice what had happened. Other times, he wouldn’t leave it alone until he felt that you had come to some sort of positive resolution.
If Ken knew you needed something, he approached it like a real-life Google search. He’d give you all the possible options, help you see how they would play out in your life and guide you into making a good decision. I now realize that he was beginning to fulfill his spiritual journey when we were kids. He started guiding and helping me to make better decisions in my life. A lot of people comment on how they fought with their siblings, but I honestly don’t remember ever having one disagreement with my brother Ken. He was the strong, stable big brother that most people dream of having. Like any good pioneer, he was the first one to make mistakes, go off on his own, start a family and even start his own business. The real magic is that he was blazing the trail for not just his younger siblings, but he did it for his own family and his community.
On February 15, 1962, this “Spiritual Guide In Plain Clothes” decided to come to Earth and join us. I will forever celebrate his Earth Day and cherish the time he was here with us. Even though his physical body is gone, he will always be with me every time I turn on music and remember how he opened my world to new possibilities.
In the words of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man, “All that you need is in your soul.” Kenneth’s life was based on this teaching.