This week has been one in which a disproportionate number of people, both in public life and in my private group of acquaintances, have made untimely exits from this planet. I am told that it is yet another symptom of the changes that are occurring as we speed into the transition that will be happening around 2012.

Grieving is a natural and expected reaction to losing people we care about. Also, though, there is a sense of wonder about the timing of it all. Why are so many people deciding to abandon ship, so to speak?

I am told that when we decide to come to this planet, we sit down with our guides and loved ones and make a sort of plan. It is not pre-ordained, of course, and we are not forced in any way to follow that plan. But, we do “pack” a few things for the journey.

I would hate to be the only writer on the planet who has not commented on the death of Michael Jackson. Here we have a person who packed a LOT of wonderful gifts into his earthbound suitcase. He brought to this earth an incredible ability to make and write music, to move in a way most physical bodies cannot even dream of, and to weave the magic of imagination and fantasy into music. And yet, he also packed more than his fair share of challenges for the journey, as well.

I have always been a notorious over packer. When I head off on a trip, I want to make sure I have warm clothing, cool weather clothing, shoes for every imaginable purpose, and maybe a few snacks, and books, of course, and yes, I can’t forget music. The list goes on and on. Over the years and after hundreds of journeys, I am starting to learn how to pack lighter and trust that I can either find what I need at my destination or do without. I am learning that packing lightly gives me a lot of freedom.

I think some of us over-packed a little when we made the journey to planet Earth. Using Michael Jackson as an example, I see a man who brought perhaps too many gifts and challenges into this world. He became overwhelmed with all the possibilities and retreated back into a make-believe fantasy world. When that world no longer functioned, he apparently chose to numb himself with chemicals. And finally, he retreated back into the spirit realm, where he can take time to review and maybe learn the fine art of packing lightly next time.

I am certainly not suggesting that each person who dies early does so because they over-packed. What I am saying is that within each of us is a knowingness of what lies ahead for our planet. This knowingness is not specific. We can’t predict the day or event with much accuracy. (Just read the prophecies of visionaries such as Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce for examples of how predicting dates is very tricky.)

Our knowingness is more general. Right now, many of us are feeling a quickening, a sort of restlessness, a sense that something is about to happen, but we don’t know what it is. It is somewhat uncomfortable. And many souls are deciding that maybe this is a time to watch the show from another dimension.

Those of us who decide to stick around might be aided in remembering that, just because we packed a bunch of stuff, we don’t need to carry it around. It is a good time to re-evaluate the gifts and challenges we brought to this earth, laying down the ones that don’t serve us and embracing the ones that do.

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