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Excerpt from:

The Journey Upward
Defining Moments in the Life of a Spiritual Psychologist
by Marilyn C. Barrick, Ph.D.


Star light, star bright
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight!
—Author unknown

         According to family records, I was born in Deming, New Mexico, on June 3, 1932. At that time Deming was a small town where everybody knew everybody else. My mother gave birth to her baby at home, as did most women at that time, and I was welcomed enthusiastically by my parents, although I suspect my daddy had hoped for a boy.
         My sister, Jocy, was two and a half when I was born, and I imagine she was curious as our mother turned much of her attention to me, the new child. I do not remember my birth or my first few years, but I do have an early memory, a dim glyph, of a train ride. I can close my eyes and still see the curtains in front of our berth in the Pullman car, and I remember being curious about the train and the people.
         I know from family history that when I was quite young the family moved from New Mexico to Arizona due to my sister’s health. She had suffered double pneumonia and the doctors recommended a drier climate for her healing. So off we went to Phoenix, Arizona! Fortunately, the climate change was exactly what Jocy needed.

Childhood Memories

         I have several memories from my first years in Arizona, including a brief incident from kindergarten. I was lying on a mat and pretending to be asleep when all of us children were supposed to be napping. Not me! I would close my eyes tight when the teacher walked by, but they would spring wide open as soon as she was gone. Then I would peer into the dimmed room, peeking out from under my cover, and look at the other children, wondering how they ever managed to sleep. When nap time was finally over, I was happy to be able to get up and play.
         Once when my sister and I were supposed to be napping at home, we were whispering and giggling instead of sleeping. We heard Mama coming and we quickly shut our eyes, pretending to be asleep. But she outfoxed us by tickling our feet lightly with a feather, and our giggles proved beyond a shadow of doubt that we were wide-awake!
         Another memory I have is playing jacks with my sister on the glassed-in porch of our country home in Phoenix. Or rather, she was playing jacks and I was faking it. At the age of five I couldn’t understand why my hands couldn’t do the same things hers could. I jealously coveted her ability to throw the ball in the air, snatch up the jacks and not drop them, which is what happened every time I tried it.
         I remember looking up at Mama and seeing her smiling as she watched us. I felt kind of embarrassed (although I didn’t know the word at the time) because I kept dropping either the ball or the jacks, and I also remember wondering why Mama’s tummy was so big. Now I realize she was pregnant with my brother, John, who was born when I was five. Mama went to the hospital for that birth and Daddy finally had his boy!


         Some of our most fun times were summers on the beach in California. I remember watching Mama tend baby John while my sister and I played in the sand. Sometimes we would bury ourselves with just our heads sticking out. And we had a great time roller-skating on the boardwalk and riding the merry-go-round at Redondo Beach. I would watch Jocy grab the gold ring that meant a free ride, and I’d try to do the same thing. I kept stretching to grab that gold ring, but my arms weren’t  long enough. So I tried to make my arms grow longer. But they didn’t, not for what seemed like forever.
         I guess one could say I had a case of sibling rivalry from the get-go. And my sister returned the favor. We had a competitive attitude toward each other throughout our childhood, she admiring my blonde hair and I admiring her motor agility. We outgrew it eventually, but I still remember home movies where my sister is dancing around and I am trying to copy her, much to her annoyance. She was graceful, I was vigorous!
         Our little brother was the apple of our eye and we both helped to take care of him. Jocy rescued him and his little buddies several times, and I did my part by throwing rocks at the bicycle of the neighborhood bully. One time I grabbed that bully and spanked him, but I got my comeuppance because he went wailing to his daddy, who confronted my father about me. The only comfort I got out of that episode was that the bully did stop bullying my brother.
         The curious part of it was that the two boys became close friends and kept in touch with each other over the years. Such seemed to be the way of life for boys—they would go back and forth being friends and enemies, and apparently they enjoyed the drama. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand that!

Twinkle, Twinke Little Star

         Another special part of my childhood was getting acquainted with the stars in the sky. Our hacienda-style home had a rooftop area where we could sleep directly under the stars. Daddy would point out to us the constellations—the Milky Way, Orion the Hunter, the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper and the Seven Sisters. I wondered what it would be like to live among the stars, and in my own mind I likened it to being in heaven with the angels.
         I would go to sleep imagining being in heaven and would wake up in the morning feeling invigorated and excited, although I didn’t actually remember being in heaven. To me the stars always seemed so beautiful and friendly as they twinkled in the Arizona sky.
         A poem expresses the sense of wonder I felt about the starry sky and I remember saying it as I watched the twinkling stars above:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky!
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
--Jane Taylor, Rhymes for the Nursery

         As I watched the glittering sky, I would gradually drift off to sleep and have the most wonderful dreams. It would seem like I was one with the stars—it was like being in another world. When I woke up, I would wonder if I had truly visited the starry world.
         I asked Daddy about that one time and he said maybe I had caught a glimpse of heaven. I liked that idea a lot and that led to more questions because I wanted my starry visits to last forever. After a while Daddy would conclude the conversation with, “Okay, it’s time to go to sleep now!”

A Marvelous Trek

         As I grew up, I embarked on a most marvelous trek—a continuous journey upward in consciousness. And as I write this introduction to my journey, I feel a sense of joy and victory—for myself as the person I am in this life and for my soul, who has been patiently waiting for me to write down our adventures and the glyphs of what I remember of previous lifetimes.
         Much has been written about the soul and the grandeur of the soul. In fact, I have written an entire book entitled Soul Reflections: Many Lives, Many Journeys that expresses my understanding of the soul. I know the soul as a personification of the Infinite, and the mind and heart and spirit as an echo of the Eternal One.
         I know that beauty is important to my soul and spirit and that I catch a glimpse of the Eternal in the wonders of nature. I have always loved the outdoors, and I especially enjoy driving in the snowy mountains along the frozen lakes and rivers in the winter and I like watching the change of seasons as winter turns into spring, spring becomes summer, and summer gives way to autumn.
          To me, the world of nature is a source of inspiration, of wonder, a glimpse of heaven on earth. My heart sings as I behold nature’s grandeur in the magnificent mountains, cliffs and forests; in the beauty of clouds floating overhead, forming and reforming into the shapes of my fantasy. And the flaming radiance of the sunrise and sunset are my daily joy and comfort.
         Inspired by nature’s beauty, poets have written sonnets, shepherd boys their psalms, and lightbearers have tapped into higher consciousness—the oneness with soul and spirit that transcends human foibles.

Ode to Joy

         In this book about my life journey, I will share my understanding of the grandeur of the spirit and the glory of the soul who is traveling upward and becoming the fullness of who she truly is as God created her to be.
         This reminds me of Beauty and the Beast, that wonderful fairy tale and Walt Disney movie that so captivates our imagination. Beauty can be understood as representing the soul in all her love and graciousness, while Beast represents the impulsive, fractious aspect of the human spirit. I believe we can all identify with Beauty as the inner nature of our soul and Beast as the turbulence of our impulsive human reactions.
         Why do we intuitively love beauty? I believe it is because beauty quickens the higher qualities of our soul and spirit and connects us with our divine nature—our Higher Self, Christ Self or Buddha Self, depending on our spiritual persuasion. When we identify with the Higher Self, we are able to express the qualities of compassion, wisdom and inner strength. And when we heed the promptings of our Higher Self in difficult situations, we find ourselves able to meet those challenges with truthfulness, dignity and honor.
         My life story could be titled Ode to Joy, for this is what I feel as I reflect on the earthly journey of my soul and spirit. I know my soul to be a personification of the Infinite, and my mind, heart and spirit an echo of the Eternal One. And I understand my earthly journey as an opportunity to fulfill the spiritual mission of my soul.
         In The Journey Upward: Defining Moments in the Life of a Spiritual Psychologist, I hope to open a window from which the reader catches a glimpse of the Eternal. As I share my recollections of my journey upward, may you be inspired, dear reader, to explore your own!

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Copyright © 2006 Marilyn C. Barrick. All Rights Reserved.