Inspiring. Exciting. A courageous journey.
That’s how readers describe “Celestial Conversations: Healing Relationships After Death” on Amazon.com. The spiritual memoir, penned by Lo Anne Kinney Mayer ’61, was published in December 2012. It’s received high praise and a perfect 5-star rating since.
Mayer admits she originally resisted the idea of writing the book, even though friends and colleagues were encouraging her to do so. After all, she was communicating with deceased loved ones—not exactly something one shouts from the rooftop.
As a devout Catholic, it was “a huge leap of faith” for Mayer to even try to write her departed mother a letter, asking for help to heal her angst.
But she did. Her mother passed away in February 2004, and Mayer felt as though there were too many unresolved issues between them. In life, the two had a strained relationship.
“If I hadn’t been so intent on healing my resentment and judgment about my mother, I don’t think I would have tried transpersonal journaling in the first place,” she said from her New Jersey home.
She decided to write in a journal after spending some time in prayer and meditation.
“Hi Mom ........ If you are willing, I have questions that need answers ....."
She knew other people had succeeded in receiving information from loved ones beyond the veil. She needed to try.
Mayer compared the experience to learning how to shoot a bow and arrow during her Stephens years. “You really had to aim at your target and be strong enough to pull back the bow to get the arrow there,” she said. “That’s exactly what I did that day.”
She waited a day before picking up the pen again. After repeating her prayers and meditation, she put pen to paper, writing the words that seem to be imprinted on her mind.
“Dear Loanne,” she wrote, which was exactly how her mother wrote her name—not the “Lo Anne” that Mayer has used herself for 60 years.
“The minute I wrote my name that way, I knew something had happened. I continued to write word for word until there were no more words to write.”
Her mother proceeded to explain why she had difficulty communicating with her only daughter in life. Her letters revealed information that Mayer did not know about her mother, such as how much medication her mother had been taking. The process continued for months, much like “peeling an onion,” Mayer said, “After reading a letter from my mother, I would think, ‘Oh that’s why Mom behaved the way she did.’”
Eventually the journaling explanations became her mother’s advice to improve the quality of Mayer’s life. She encouraged Mayer to stop judging others and focus on loving them, especially loving the most difficult people.
At first, Mayer didn’t tell anyone about her journals; then she told her husband and family.
Her daughter, Cyndi, died in 2005. On the day of her funeral, while writing to her mother, Mayer said that Cyndi seemed to jump into her mother’s letter, saying “Mom, I love you ........”
Cyndi explained what caused her death and urged her mother not to blame anyone for her death. This experience caused Mayer to begin “Celestial Conversations” with her daughter in another set of journals.
Mayer has spent decades studying and teaching various forms of meditation and healing. So while her transpersonal journaling requires some faith, moving into a public sphere was not out of character. Mayer was encouraged to share her process with other grieving hearts. She began holding workshops in New Jersey and Texas to see if other people could use her transpersonal journaling.
Participants found wider uses of the transpersonal journaling process: some used computers to journal instead of pen and paper; others got pictures, instead of words, impressed on their minds from deceased loved ones.
“Everyone got something that helped them heal,” she said.
With the help of editor Lorraine Ash, a journalist and author herself, Mayer began working on her spiritual memoir, in which she shares her experiences and letters and teaches others how to use “Celestial Conversations” for themselves.
“Transpersonal journaling doesn’t replace counseling or other resources,” she said, “but it is a good screwdriver in the toolbox of grief resources that doesn’t cost anything but time and commitment. My goal is to offer the message of hope and healing through my book to the millions of people who are grieving today.”