Before we get too far into my trip articles, I thought I should provide a little background. I’m sure there will be questions as to why I’m talking about spiritual things in my military work. A Turning Point arrived……. I like writing prompts because they help me focus on different kinds of writing and bring things to my awareness that might come no other way. I found one online written by Charity Hume on Cultural Weekly that started with this. William Styron, an American novelist said,

“A novel is a progress toward an event, after which nothing will ever be the same again.” A turning point reverses the previous world, and gives you a whole new identity. It burns up your past in a conflagration of everything you’ve ever known. To go on, you must forget who you were. That’s a turning point. No way back.

A Turning Point in my life came late 2010 when I chose to end my marriage right after I started my business. It wasn’t until mid-2012 I was able to move out and start a new life. Another Turning Point.

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Since that time, many Turning Points have been presented. Difficult and painful choices were made. Life has gone up and down, as it usually does. People came and went, including family. I also began walking a path of spirituality to help me deal with all that had happened in my marriage and life. Organized religion wasn’t doing it for me. I began listening more to my intuition and reading about all those beings (angels, masters, relatives, guides, etc.) who exist to help us on our soul’s journey. I read about the meaning of dreams, reincarnation, and past lives. As I shifted, dealt with some of my baggage, forgave myself and others of things, and let go, my awareness grew as did my soul. There was less fear about living. My heart began to feel lighter, and slowly, more open. Then, two souls appeared soon after I moved out that helped move me forward, love me unconditionally, and brought others into the picture to help shape my life and especially my career. These souls were my great grandfather Joseph Kokoska and my cousin James Privoznik. If you’ve heard my talk “Finishing the Story” or read my book “Stories of the Lost” you might know a little about Joseph but more about his brother Michael who was killed in WWI. James was killed in WWII and still sleeps in Luxembourg Cemetery. I talk about him all the time on my blog, in my books, and social media. Joseph seems to have been with me a long time but I was more aware of his presence after I moved out. James showed up late summer 2012, after four people contacted me about him over a weekend. I had not researched his service beyond getting his Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF.) Many people in the genealogy world say, if a person or document appears – pay attention! Four people in a few days – yes I was paying attention. I started his research but never expected to write his story or cross Europe in his footsteps in April-May 2015. Nor did I expect to visit him again on my October 2015 trip. James’ research pushed me into the world of World War II soldier research in ways I never expected. Now, back to the point…..A turning point reverses the previous world, and gives you a whole new identity. It burns up your past in a conflagration of everything you’ve ever known. To go on, you must forget who you were. That’s a turning point. No way back. The same can be said for World War II research. We have a starting point which could be a story, a soldier, a photograph, an artifact, or an event. When we choose to take the journey of that research, we travel a bumpy, twisty, often obstacle ridden road. Along that road we meet many people who enrich our experience and help us continue to move forward. We gather clues as we travel and uncover secrets buried deep in the recesses of the past. Exploring these secrets and revealing them, can cause a turning point for many.

Magical forest near Arnhem.

Magical forest near Arnhem.

The journey we take as we research our soldier can take us to unexpected places where we have to confront our own issues, insecurities, fears, wishes and dreams. We can travel literally and figuratively across oceans and continents, across farm fields, rolling hills, and through magical forests, as we uncover the story and reveal the truth and lessons which exist. Traveling across a continent can open new doors to experiences, people, places, and things. It can also dredge up the past and things hidden, of which we may not have been aware. It can bring pain, fear, and love to the surface. Pain and fear we may not understand. Love which leaves us confused. The journey across land can take us deep within ourselves. Each person we meet along our journey can impact us in big and small ways. For me, the most important people are those that stand with us at a crossroads. Crossroads lead to Turning Points.

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Which road to take?

On my first trip to Europe, I stood at a crossroads in a sacred place full of love, strength, fear, bloodshed, and power. A crossroads where two hearts in this life, joined after they had been separated many times in the past. In that moment they joined the past with the present. The fear with love. Desire with hope. The impossible with the possible. Laughter, harmony, peace, joy, and love all mingled together at those crossroads. In that moment it was time to make a choice – return to the past or live in the present. Heal the pain and create a new future, or remain stuck standing between two worlds across time and space. All of this was orchestrated by someone long gone but never forgotten. Someone who knew both their hearts. Someone who knew how to heal her as she had healed him. There was still much to be done and this was only the first step. At that crossroads no wrong step could be taken. Each path led to greater love, hope, peace, and healing for her and many others. Her heart and soul knew this man standing before her was a key to unlocking something dark and hidden deep inside her, even if her head did not yet know. A connection made. Confusion reigned as sparks flew in bright colors around them. A heart that understood how deeply she felt and appreciated that about her. A heart who had and would take care of her through good and bad. A heart that brought her home to a land where she could make a difference in her life and others. The journey they took together was not easy and they parted at another crossroads because it is what their souls had agreed. Some people greet us for part of our travels, while others stay. Those who stay often have different roles along the route. They provide laughter, a release. Love, acceptance, support, strength. They bring a challenge or darkness to be fought with love and forgiveness. They teach and provide clues for us to piece together the vast puzzle of our soul’s journey.

Past and present merge....

Past and present merge….

Those Turning Points and the crossroads at which I stood earlier this year, led to the journey I would take in October to Europe, alone. That trip was destined to be taken without anyone but myself. Was it scary at first? Yes. Did I have things to prove to myself? Absolutely. And, there were new people to meet, experiences to be had, challenges to be overcome, forgiveness to be given, love shared, lessons learned, things to release, and inspiration spread. As it turns out on this trip, there were new crossroads in which past and present merged. Crossroads which led to new Turning Points.

 

Over the past three years, I realize I was put on this earth to do several things. Two main things are to be a war storyteller and healer, with no holds barred. I hope the posts about my trip bring something to your awareness. Make you question things you’ve held close. Release what no longer serves you. Opens your heart and soul. And maybe most importantly, encourages you to write your stories and those of your family. These posts are only the beginning of what I’m offering the world through my work. Stay tuned………

© 2020 Ancestral Souls

 

 

Why These Stories?

I have been guided throughout my life and especially the last several years by invisible beings. Angels, soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, Ascended Masters, God, Pleiadians, and others. They have walked with me through the good times and the bad.

The stories from my second trip to Europe, a trip I took alone, illustrate how things and people and help shows up exactly when we need it. It also demonstrates how we can heal through travel and going deep within. Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from this trip at that time in my life was, I REALLY COULD DO ANYTHING!

 

October 2015 Healing Trip to europe

April 13, 2015 I made my first trip to Europe. Three weeks, six countries, and I saw five minutes of a lot of things. It was the most incredible trip I had ever taken. An experience for which I will be forever grateful. Changed my life, my perspective, and my work. That trip also took me on a spiritual journey unlike any other and opened my heart and soul up more than it had been. The soldiers who were already communicating with me, were now doing so at a higher level. It was a little crazy, unnerving at times, and amazingly cool. The writing I did during and after that trip allowed me to heal things within myself but also others through my books and programs.

Before I left Amsterdam on 6 May, the universe already had plans to bring me back in October. Having never traveled solo overseas, this idea was both scary and exciting. A good friend had been telling me for a year to travel alone, but it wasn’t time yet. I wasn’t ready until October 2015. Too many other things had to be let go of and healed or written before I could go.

On 13 October 2015, I boarded a plane in Chicago and flew back to Amsterdam, alone. Sitting on the plane, I knew the next three weeks would change my life in unexpected ways, bringing blessings, sadness, joy, inspiration, incredible experiences, relaxation, new opportunities, many new friends, an opportunity for balance, and the opportunity to release things which no longer served me. The trip also provided another major spiritual shift in my life. I invite you to travel with me in my soldier’s footsteps.

 

13-14 October 2015

Me after being up countless hours and traveling from Chicago to Bastogne.

Me after being up countless hours and traveling from Chicago to Bastogne.

Planning a European trip has its challenges from booking the flight, car rental, places to stay, and what you want to do. Add a layer of lecturing four times and another layer of scheduling time to meet a lot of Facebook friends who do WWII research, while I was there. I went with the flow, which a year ago I would not have done. My schedule changed daily the last two weeks before I departed, often between 3 and 4 a.m. as my friends in Europe would message me to confirm or arrange something. I even finalized details of my final speaking engagement right before I boarded the plane! While some people (and the me a year ago) might not have done well with this ‘go with the flow’ attitude, it absolutely worked for me.

I departed Chicago after 6 p.m. and arrived in Amsterdam by 9:30 a.m. their time (2:30 a.m. our time.) Made my way through customs and headed across the city-like Schiphol Airport to the car rental area. It all went smoothly. Soon I was on my way to my first destination, about 3.5 hours away, BASTOGNE!

20151014_143657As I drove south though the Netherlands into Belgium, it snowed! Not much, just enough to cover the trees and look beautiful and magical. Driving after being up, technically at 2:30 a.m. is not so fun, but there are nice gas/restaurant station areas along the highway in the Netherlands. These are excellent places to stop for coffee and a yummy lunch. Stopping half-way to Bastogne as the snow fell was a good idea. I counted my many blessings over that lunch and pinched myself a lot because I couldn’t believe I was actually in Europe by myself!

When I arrived in Bastogne, I checked into the Hotel Melba. This is where everyone said to stay. I’m glad I listened to their advice. The staff was wonderful and helpful, room was comfortable, with a view from the back of old homes and a field with donkeys. They could be heard at all times of the day.

20151014_162134I spent part of two days in Bastogne in May, so had an idea of where things were. Since it was late afternoon, to stay awake, I took a walk down to the tank and main street. First stop, with my journal in hand, was the Boulangerie Courtois for a coffee and piece of something decadent. I stayed in the bakery about an hour, again counting my blessings and pinching myself, while writing and enjoying my dessert.

20151014_171414When the dessert was gone I walked back to the hotel by way of the 101st Airborne Museum – Le Mess – probably my favorite place in Bastogne. I did not go inside because they had just closed. My visit was planned for Friday. Instead, I returned to my room to catch up on email and prepare for the next day when I would meet Tom Scholtes and Doug Mitchell and see the Sauer River Crossing sites and visit my cousin James Privoznik in Luxembourg Cemetery.

Hotel Melba has a restaurant and I went down before dinner to enjoy a Jupiler beer at the bar while listening to a conversation by an American family. Dinner was a fantastic steak with loads of vegetables.  I enjoyed it immensely while again, listening to the conversations of those around me. The American family was seated at the table next to me and I heard about their visit to areas around Bastogne. Now, I used to be quiet and not interrupt total strangers conversations, but we all grow and change.

I heard the son say they would skip the museum in Bastogne the next day and at that point I had to interrupt and ask, which museum. He replied Le Mess. At that point I inserted myself into the conversation and told them they absolutely could not miss Le mess. That led to a longer conversation about why we were both in Europe, what I did for work, and them assuring me they would visit the museum. At that point, I finished my coffee and went upstairs to bed.

The son and I are now Facebook friends and we followed the others trips and had interesting conversations. You never know who you will meet when you travel. Or how it will change your plans and experiences.

At the end of my first very long travel day I was completely content. Look what I had done! Traveling solo! Who knew what the rest of the three weeks would bring.  I was sure as I drifted to sleep, thanking the Gods and Angels for the amazing day, the trip would change my life and in some way, the lives of all those I would meet or encounter, including my army of soldiers, sailors, and Marines, who are always with me.

© 2020 Ancestral Souls