Maps to Heaven – A Soul Translation

I meant to post this yesterday: Soul Translation Sunday :). I was given permission to share this Translation I wrote two weeks ago and completed last week – but was asked not to say whose it was. It is longer than any other I have done I believe – still my hope is that this person’s soul translation will inspire you – to understand the power of choice you have in your own life. More information on my soul translations will be up soon at

Maps to Heaven


She is not one to take incompetence lightly
Especially when it is clear that the other person’s incompetence
Is a choice
As she considers it to be in most instances

Recognizing in others
When they act incompetent
Even with themselves
In order to avoid the possibility
Of being dependable

Counted on
The ground for others
Knowing that then they would have to give a hundred percent
Knowing that then they might be asked to take on things they would rather not

She is not that person
She has been a nurse for 30 years
Knows the importance of being the ground for others to walk on
Knows the importance of anticipating their needs before they do

Knows the high cost
Of those choosing to be incompetent
To play the victim
To embrace the role of victim

To create in others the reality of being a victim

Except she would not allow it
Not even at five
Not even when her mother
Wanted to blame her own incompetence for everything in the world on her

No she does not tolerate incompetence lightly
For she can assess with great accuracy what a person is capable of
Both in their capacity to create good
And in their choices to create harm

Caveat Empty

We could do a caveat here. We could take the time to understand that her mother was clearly a victim of mental illness and quite possibly systemic and pervasive abuse – most likely highly chronic, terrible, and with some of it sexual in nature. We could take the time to explore attachment models and see the high cost of that abuse both on her mother and her mother’s capacity to parent. Okay. We are. It’s important to understand though – it doesn’t excuse it. People have choices. People choose to protect others from the abuse they have experienced. Except her mother didn’t. Her mother did something else. Her mother took her own abuse. Took everything it created in her – the damage, the ugly, the horrible – and she chose to make her daughter the receptacle of her bad feelings. We can talk about how her mom may have been flooded under survival instincts except… no matter how you explain it. No matter what I were to say here. No matter what is said here. The truth is that her mother made a choice.


She knows she has made hard choices as well. Choices that might have been different if she trusted had learned to trust herself earlier. Choices that might have been different if she had found a way to understand the world, and herself, as a place of safety for others. She recognizes those choices have caused pain in those most innocent in her life. Pain she wanted to spare them – which is why she made the choices she did. It doesn’t always make sense. It doesn’t always feel good. When one grows up learning that nothing in the world is safe. Not even your own intentions. When you can see the harm your choices cause. When you can see that those choices, at that time, were still made to protect others from even greater potential harm. It is important to recognize that at times we journey in the darkness of a midnight sky, cloudless, but with no moon in sight. We can hear our breath, see a glimmering of stars, and yet the way is still hidden. In those moments she chose to release the stars above her hoping they could find their way without her.


She made different choices than her mother.
She is not concerned about a person’s abilities.
If they are naturally incompetent she will work with them to learn to their capacity.
What she knows. Is that a person’s abilities do not determine who they are.
What shows the health of their spirit and heart is not what they know.
It is what they do.
It is the choices they make.
Especially when the choices in front of them
Are to avoid the difficult and inflict suffering on others
Or to be dependable, be your word, knowing that the only reward
May be that you know you have been your word

We may go for years before realizing
We have been pretending our choices are not choices
That our choices are habits we created at another time and another place
That now we can make a different choice
To be better and do better for the world and for ourselves
The moment always comes however
In that moment you must choose where your will place the allegiance of your spirit
Survive at the cost of yourself and others or Thrive and find another path – the choice is always there

Her Choice

One of the first choices she remembers was when she was nine
She was at the store with her shopping list
Not the typical shopping list
One created by all the kids in the neighborhood
Who realized that she among them
Was by far the best shoplifter and thief
She was holding a small deck of cards with butterflies
An item on her list
The one that held the dreams of children
Even if the means was less than noble
It was then that she thought she heard one of the only kind voices in her life calling her name
Her grandfather, she thought
Must be behind her
When she turned to look around no one was there

She began walking
Then heard her name again
Followed by a simple statement
That allowed her to make her first conscious choice
“Karen, if you don’t stop this now you will never be able to”
She felt the truth of it
Even at nine and assessed
She finished the day’s business
Then chose another path

A Moment of Contemplation

She was too young to know
The juxtaposition
Of butterflies and playing cards
Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, and Hearts
Symbols of potential transformation
Changes in Fortune
An opportunity to reshuffle the cards
That would lay the future before her
More to her favor
An opportunity pull the cards one by one
Transformed by the magic of butterflies
Into a Map to Heaven

Filling the Shopping lists

There would be other ways to fill the shopping lists of the kids around her
With things more important than those your typical nine year old asks for
She was on her way
To finding them

Dependable vs. Dependency

Her mother was not dependable
Rules changed on a dime
Depending upon her mood or the time of day
How much alcohol she had drunk today or later, how many pills
Or how much she was recovering from the night before

Her rules changed at a moment
With only one thing consistent
That no matter what the rule was
Her mother would find a way to say her daughter had broken them

Her mother took pleasure in telling stories about her daughter
That painted her daughter as creature unmanageable
Horror unending that could not be controlled
That could only be broken for a time
But which would inevitability rise back up again to terrorize her

The truth was her mother wasn’t there to manage her
She learned this truth at five
Her sister, 6 and ½, lay in the same bed with her and her broken baby doll
When she woke up she called for her mom
Her sister set her straight told her not to bother
Mom had already gone to the bar for the night
Didn’t she realize her mother always left once the children had gone to bed

The Observer: Over the years she has learned to see both sides. She is empathic so she can feel the inner forces within those she talks with. She can feel the authenticity of their pain, anger, and sadness. So she has learned to listen from a place of detachment. A self-observer that any therapist would feel grateful to have developed. Except for her the self-observer has always been front and center. It has been a natural way of being. At times this can be problematic – for while she has developed her own self-observer in conjunction with empathy – which allows her to see both perspectives of any problem set in front of her – she can forget that those she is talking to have not. She expects people to see themselves enough that when she makes what is unsaid transparent she can come across as less than diplomatic. Ultimately this is among the reasons she chose to stay a nurse although she had aspired to become a psychologist. For she realized that others not only did not have easy access to the observer, but that in fact they often preferred to stay in a place of ignorance rather than face the pain that would come with developing that observer fully. She realized that sometimes yes, people simply want to stay sick. She chose to keep her talents focused on nursing. Where still, at times, people who had choices did choose to remain sick. Yet where often, the sheer physical discomfort pushed most of those she worked with to find a path to healing when a path was offered.

Swimming in Dark Harbors

The greatest challenge for her came in staying in that place of observation in her own life. She could feel her early training in survival rise up when she left the structure of the hospitals and clinics she worked in. She could feel the predatory hunger at times in her relationships. The edges of anger that could cause harm. She would observe herself within the darkness. This was not unusual to her. The darkness that those that help others often feel. The willingness to swim into dark harbors for the good of others, and yet struggling to stay afloat within their own lives. The Wounded Children who step forth to do good, to be good, to make the world right often walk along the path of darkness waiting for the moon. Just a sliver to emerge, golden silver light to show them the way. This did not make her less than, it made her more. Dark waters at her ankles and stars dancing just beyond her finger tips. Butterflies swarming unseen; their wings a soft warm breeze signifying changes in fortune. Choices for her to make in her own destiny.

Mother’s Map?

Choices of Faith are important
She learned this over a lifetime
Her mother was raised in Catholic schools
Adopted from circumstances
That clearly damaged her faith in anything close to god
Choosing instead the path of substances as so many do
Channeling her loss of faith and pain as daggers
Against those who needed her spiritual guidance the most

So it was that as she grew older she chose to go exploring
Past the boundaries of her mother’s incomplete knowledge
Of religion and spirit that ended in a state of consciousness below god
Obtaining a state of Thoughtlessness
Instead of the place of conscious clearing of thoughts Ascetics of the spirit sought

The Journey to Heaven

Her Journey to Heaven started at three
She has spent her whole life travelling there
Heaven settling in her heart
so that it could enjoy the journey with her

Asking Questions

The typical child at three four and five
Well adjusted and confidant that they are loved

Will ask questions
Why is the sky blue
Where does rain come from

At six and seven perhaps they get more elaborate
Do dogs get married
Do cats always land on their feet

For her the questions stared at three and remained the same and constant
Why do you hate me?
What did I ever do to you?

Although they too evolved
Why do you treat everyone else nice and me so mean
Why do you treat me like I am worthless?

Still there was always a part of her that her mother could not touch
The part of her that was eternal
That at three also began to ask the questions

What is life like in heaven?
Can I get there?
How far away is it?
How can I take a journey to get there?

In the asking of these questions
She opened a door

Angeles coming to rest beside her
To show her the journey forward
To live heaven in this life
No matter what hell might be around her

The Maps She Found Were all Incomplete

She went to several churches in search of the answer
The Nazarene as a child
The Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Lutherans as a teen
Then the Mormons
The Evangelical tide caught her for a time
She even studied Judaism

Before finally realizing that the paths others took
While valid for their hearts, their spirits, their paths
Never quite settled in her as The Path
She decided instead to simply talk to god directly
“You know what? If there is a god that wants to talk with me
I’m here. Talk to me. I’m Here. But for now I’m putting you
On the back burner”

Finding Her Map

Over time she came to realize that no name that could be put to a god would ever really fit her.

Yet with all that exploring
With all that is and was and had been she did know.
She knew that something was there.
Something always had been.
Something Dependable.

Simply there when you called on it.
There even if you did not.

That which is.

Probably actually

that which is

no need to be recognized
yet dependable
as dependable as a five year old child who spoke truths to her mother
her mother did not want to hear but if listened to would have lifted her mother
into a realm beyond herself
as dependable as a nurse of more than thirty years who always heard the truths
said and unsaid
and spoke them into the room so that those who listened could make choices
to lift themselves
into realms beyond themselves.


Unknowing she set out at three
On a Journey to Heaven
Without a Map

Although many would be presented to her as she grew older
In between there would be detours
Things that would test her determination to finding passage
To a place three thousand miles past injuries of the heart
As the crow flies

At ten her spirit was injured deeply be another
The details here an unimportant
What is important is to understand
How the hurt tried to push Heaven from her soul

She decided to take the pain she felt
To use it as her mother had shown her
To plant the seeds of hurt in others
Watch the vines of pain strangle the spirits of those weaker

She stepped on bees and killed them
Crushed ants beneath her feet purposely and without mercy
She intentionally took a stance of meanness towards children smaller than her

For a time she allowed the lighted torch of her rage to light her path
Towards places darker than the silver gold of moonlight would have guided her to
Descending where the sun could never rise to meet her

Where her mother had settled in long ago and decided to stay
Rather than face the discomfort and pain she had created in herself and others
A place her mother told her she belonged by telling her bedtime stories
Blocking the moonlight
telling her that she was a goblin
a monster Undeserving of the sun

She was too young to understand this
In a moment where the rage dimmed enough for her to see the Heaven within her
She could hear the angels again
Hear their words

She understood her mother’s bedtime story in the darkness was not hers
The story she had been living within was not her own
The moon and sun were hers
Still showing her the way
Still acting as Maps to Heaven

In that moment of understanding she asked herself
Who am I Being?
Realizing and stating clearly for herself
“This is not who I want to be”

She changed in that moment
Back to the child asking questions
Back to the three year old looking for a way to Heaven
Wondering how far away it was

The detour was longer though
For her understanding was not complete
Our understanding rarely ever is
Another thousand miles as the Crow flies
For the pain had not vanished in that moment
Just transformed

Ensuring she would do her best not hurt others in her rage
Still not sure where the to look for the moon or sun
With no other direction she turned her pain within

Turning Inwards

To protect others she turned her pain inwards
Cutting with razors into skin
Affirming all the things her mother said
That she was horrible
A creature of nightmares with no appreciable worth
She lived into the story her mother had for her
Punished herself for all the pain others had inflicted
A needle of potassium chloride against her skin
She finally made a decision
I will do this or I will never allow suicide and thoughts of it
To be part of me again
She put the needle down
Found in herself once again that place of dependability
Set out again with Heaven in her heart on another path

She would not harm others. She would not harm herself.

Reaching Outwards

There is more to the story
As the needle hovered there
She realized that was not a perpetrator
Even against herself
She was a protector

Months before
A mother cat had deposited three kittens
Near a tree in front of her house
Asking in the way that cats do
To take her children in and protect them

Three kittens that needed protection
She knew in her heart she could not leave them
For they depended on her
While she had not always been able to be there for others
Who depended upon her
The cats showed her something in herself she did not know
She knew how to see in the dark
So it was that she began to walk softly and carefully
Yet with growing confidence
On a path that would guide her to the moon and sun
On a path that would show her the Map of Heaven

A Moment of Contemplation
When asked to assist
Angels provide as needed
Sending her lives to nurse and protect

In that moment she made a clear decision
Not just that she would live the life she was given
While honoring the lives she was given to sustain, nurse, and protect

It was this was the moment
When she confirmed in her heart
As the Angels had hoped

That she would always land on her feet

Guides on the Road

She was going to stay with them for the summer.
She was sixteen or seventeen.
Her sister, lauded by her mother, had stayed with them
The summer before

This summer, the couple, friends of her mother
Had reluctantly invited her to stay with them
Perhaps they were just trying to help her mother
The penultimate victim of her terror
Her mother had told them all about the burden of evil that she was

The couple set her down after a week
Befuddled and uncomfortable
Perhaps worried about raising the beast from its slumber
Yet unwilling to ignore it

“Where is this awful monster your mother told us to expect?”
They asked with sincere desire to understand
They were the first to validate what she knew
There was no path to Heaven with her mother
No way of being accepted or loved

They saw it as clearly as she did
Offered to “shoulder the burden” for her mother
Knowing they could offer a foundation of love
Her mother needed two things from her

A place to put her self-hate
She needed her emotional garbage container
Her daughter served as a place to put all her negative feelings
So that she did not need to hold them inside herself
And the welfare check

So it was that her mother refused to let her go
And tried to keep the lid on the garbage can so her daughter would not escape
In this way she ensured the horrible monster the beast was never her
Instead her daughter would always be the one she blamed for her own ugliness

The First Milestone to Heaven

Somewhere around the first five hundred miles
Her father’s mother became a milestone
Letting her know Heaven was not a myth
It was a place she could reach
Her grandmother never taking sides
Yet always dependable and assuring her
Of her rightful place among the blessed
Her grandmother never took sides
She saw both sides of any situation
Always encouraging those she spoke with
To do what was right for their conscience

Heart and Mind
She knew she was her Grandmother’s child
Seeing beyond the words to underlying intentions
Showing people the truths if they were willing
With a heart full of compassion
Wanting only what was best for them
Yet never willing to compromise her ability
To keep travelling on her path to heaven
With or without a map

Mother’s Side

With her mother
There was always a side
In her world she was the only one that was honest about it

That people pretended that they were interested in service
They pretended to be good
No one really was

Most people were hypocrites
As far as her mother was concerned she was one of the few to be honest
I’m not a hypocrite so I do what I want

From her Mother’s point of you
There was always a side
Everyone who was not you was a threat

Your own daughter simply wanted things from you
Keep her down
Make her pay for anything she takes

For everything she takes
Make her pay in pain for each meal, each shirt
Each moment of your time

For her
It was never safe
At her mother’s side

The Sin of the Daughter

The voice spoke to her again
“Your mother has no idea who you are
Or what she did to you”

Her mother drowned in her own survival instincts
Self-absorbed as a way of being
Where you were either an extension of her will

Fulfilling her desires
Or an object thwarting them
A threat to her survival

Her sin – challenging her mother as young as five
Asking her to learn to thrive instead of survive
Asking her to be of service to her daughters
Instead of demanding that they serve only her

Travelling Back to Nine

At nine she had to know
Why do people do what they do?
Think what they think?
Act how they act?

At nine she began to observe herself
Observe how her emotions came in
Notice the thoughts connected to them
See how she acted because of them

At nine she prepared herself for things to come
By embracing the gift of her grandmother
To see from a place removed
To not takes sides even with herself

Simply to observe both herself and others
From those observations
Of feeling, thought, and action
To decide upon the best choice for her

One that was in integrity with her conscience

Freedom Machine

She learned to drive at 24
Got her first car at 33
Her Great Freedom Machine
She became a travelling nurse
Her first journey from Pennsylvania to Washington State
In a time before GPS

Having to plan for gas stations along the way
In places that had nothing for miles
She looked at the maps carefully
With the sun rising she set out on her way
From PA to WA
And from there to Phoenix, Then Cape Cod
She kept travelling over the years
Florida , Texas, Up to Utah
Southern California, Northern California
She found her freedom
And somewhere along the way
Now always aware of the position of the moon and sun above her
Even stopped looking for the Map the Heaven

Throwing Away the Maps to Heaven

It was reading the book the made her realize
That all the paths of religion would never provide for her
A Map to Heaven

“The Unknown Woman” encouraged her
Not to be trapped within the confines of any religion
She accepted that life was either meaningless
Or that the meaning might be beyond her own knowing

She made her own pilgrimage
To Cape Cod where the book had taken place
She didn’t call it a pilgrimage
May not have even recognized it as one
There she did what pilgrims in search of their path often do

She threw away her mother’s shoulds
She threw away her own maybes
She took the time to ask herself
“How much of me is really me; how much is just for them to see?”

She walked the beach beneath the sun
With the freedom of the water flowing over her feet
With the foundation of sand and ground beneath her feet
Even when sand slipped away
when centered there was always a place for her to stand

She connected to her Journey to Heaven

Realizing the Map to Heaven
Was simply the Journey to her Self
She reached the heart of god
Reflected on his face

that which is
always there
the map to heaven
not a thousand miles or even one foot away
heaven everywhere within and without

She is learning more and more now
Becoming more essence and less body
That this has actually always been so

Her Relationship to that which is

“This body is not me
I am standing behind and all around this body
That is who I am
Now this essence of me
Is relieved
That this part of me getting it”
Asking for god
We see this power as beyond us
It is not
It truly is our father
Its where we come from
With certainty and benevolence”

Her Freedom Machine

This body has been her way of journeying in this life
It has given her freedom
The more she has realized
That the body is the vehicle
Not who she is

She studied the body to find ways to ease pain
She studied the mind to find ways to ease pain
Somewhere along the way she realized
That for both the body and the mind
The goal is not to ease pain
It is to access freedom

She was told that she was not insane
Simply in pain
She was told the essence of mental health
Is to get your needs met without hurting yourself or others

These were the truths of her forays
Into the body and mind
To find the map to heaven

Nursing others to God
She knew in her own heart
That which is
God to others
Was benevolent

Providing us the vehicle
and the path
to freedom of heart and spirit
after all the roads she took
she knew to find the truth where it was
and let others find theirs
just as her grandmother had

Unrolling the Map the Heaven

He was close to death
Yet still struggling to find the Map to Heaven
He had been told to fear God
She asked if he might be open to hearing another point of view
He was so without a pretense of offering a truth

She opened a door for him
To freedom
Simply offering a view of god
As kind, benevolent
The father that we truly came from

He listened carefully
With heart and spirit
And somewhere in the night
He followed the Map to Heaven

The Nurse of your Spirit

She is a Nurse for the spirit
As much as the body
This is her calling
Her purpose

Not just to provide
Bandages for your hurt
Certainly not
Especially not for those of your heart

She doesn’t want people unwilling to heal
She experienced enough of that with her mother
Coming in as the Nurse to her spirit
Her most unwilling patient to date

She will tell you as she told her mother
What is
She will ask you most difficult questions

That is called compassion
When it is done with a full heart

Asking questions not because she enjoys it
Asking questions that are difficult
Because she knows they are critical for your healing

Her observations are simple
Yet often may land in the most difficult and ornery places of your heart
For she is there as a nurse of the spirit to lift you up and out of your sick bed

She is there to get you to walk twenty four hours after the operation
No matter how painful
So that you heal with full mobility of your soul

That is why she knows she must be one hundred percent dependable
For those truly wanting to heal
She knows it is possible

No matter what circumstance
No matter what your history
No matter what you have been through

She will be a milestone
She will be a guidepost
She will be a map to heaven itself

If you simply accept one thing

You have the power to get there
You are the only one who can get you there

So hop in your car
Travel the world if you must
She will tell you the travel is good for you
It gets you out environments you need to leave
So that you can see the lessons in them
And make choices to live where your soul can always hear the Ocean

The water lapping over your feet
The sand shifting yet always solid beneath them

You have the choice

It can be better no matter what you have been through

She was born with the map to heaven in her heart
that which is was always with her
she chose her journey consciously
she is in charge of her own life
she is writing her own script

If you are looking for a nurse of the spirit
She will be there
Living an hour from the ocean
Willing to be of service
As long as you yourself truly want to find

Your own map to heaven

Epilogue: Permission to be Imperfect
This is not a story of a woman without flaw. This is not a story of a person who has not hurt others deeply.
In truth none of us has that story. None of us has a story in which we do not both receive and inflict pain
This is the story of a woman who chose to the best of her ability to rise above it. Who listened to the guidance provided her and yet who still at times fell into the tides of darkness. This is a story of a women who now knows the Map to Heaven is always there if you simply look up to the find first the moon and then the sun
The moon’s imperfect face; which nonetheless looks down upon us with a dependable kindness each night as we go to sleep as the angels tell us once again the story that perhaps a grandmother told us that we came to believe. That there is kindness in the world. There is compassion. There is firm ground that can always be reached even when in dark harbors. And we are that ground. Realizing the stories of goblins and monsters are only true when we refuse to shine light beneath the bed. That if we choose to even if we have to drive ten thousand miles beyond the injuries of the heart we can discover a place for ourselves beneath the sun.