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Friday, December 27, 2013

Oonagh Shanley -Toffolo


When I was in London a couple of weeks ago, an odd thing happened. I had what can only be described as an epiphany of some sort.
My experience went something like this: I was in Fortnum's,  spitting tacks at hubs because mum had phoned and  lumbered us with, 'The Hamper Task of Tantalon', which meant splitting up and returning with our prey - two  jam packed hampers, one for a young girl, one for  a young boy.
"Go - now. Upstairs; hamper, fill, think  8 year old boy, stop dilly dallying, none of your usual faffing about, time, essence, of.'
There was a bit of a huff.
I turned to go down stairs ( the ones below) and an elderly lady approached me asking "Could you help me downstairs  please?"
I helped her down and we made small talk. 
By the time we had reached the bottom of the stairs, we had gone from holding arms to holding hands. THIS IS VERY WEIRD FOR A SCOT. I didn't want to let go of her, she radiated peace and we continued to hold hands as we stood in the food hall, I kept thinking how weird it was but yet the feeling was just so wonderful that I wasn't going to let go, I didn't want to ever let go of her. We chatted a little more and I asked if  she lived locally and she said: "yes but I have lived all over, I have had a interesting life, I even wrote a book a book about it."
Caught  up in her whirlpool, I asked her to write down the details for me, she softly scolded me for not carrying a pen, " don't come out without a pen again."


We eventually  parted and I felt utterly overcome. I can barely explain it, other than something in me shifted. I  lingered around the food hall and looked around for her and couldn't see her and started to wonder about the whole experience. Just then, a hamper laden hubs started to make his way down the  steel ribboned staircase.
"Oh no, why  are your eyes green?" (My blue eyes turn  green  just before I cry.) "It wasn't that bad a fight" 

" Something extraordinary  has just happened,  I don't know how to explain it, I want to cry,  there was an old lady and she had this  feeling that  just radiated from her, I know it sounds really odd and now I can't see her and ..." 

Just then, I saw her marching, yes marching up the stairs and I  pointed to her, that's her, as she wafted up the ziggurat staircase  just like The Ghost of Christmas Present.  "I've been holding her  hand and  didn't want to let go, it felt really, really special."
My husband smiled  at me and  he looked up  at the grey haired old lady and gave me a kiss on the cheek. 
I apologised to him for snapping earlier and felt 'muffled'  for the rest of the day, the Jesuitical examen, long forgotten by me, were upmost in my mind.
My brief companion's  incredible presence  stayed with me for the rest of my  trip.


On the train home I googled Oonagh, it turns out that  she was Princess Diana's spiritual adviser and held the hand of  the Duke of Windsor  as he passed from this world to the next.
Sometimes, the world is so beautiful.


59 comments:

  1. Wow, that is a remarkable experience. I can only think of a couple of times when I have been similarly affected by the sudden touch of a new acquaintance. I'm off to google Oonagh Shanley Toffolo, pronto!

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  2. Patricia, it was quite extraordinary and beautiful, worth sharing I thought.

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    1. Defiantly worth sharing!! I'm covered in goosebumps!!

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  3. Although Di seeked various mystics - this one was one of the real deals I suppose.

    Aren't these flash meetings so odd and wonderful? It takes a jolt to the system and can be confusing but at least you have a book about the women you had a connection with. I had something like that but she was a poor woman in Cambodia who didn't speak English but it was wonderful all the same. I might get the book anyway and look out for her at Fortnums!

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  4. CSW - yes flash moments, gone in an instant but yet lingering and transforming, I love special moneys like that.
    Her book is very simple, an idyllic rural Irish upbringing, going in to the convent, working with Mother Theresa, then one of the first western women to train as an acupuncturist in China, she eventually transitioned from working with the poor to the privileged.

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    1. 'special moneys' should read moments!

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  5. What an incredible moment! Those meetings are quite a jolt emotionally. I've met a few people with whom I've had this kind of reaction, but have never managed to find out who they were....

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  6. I was captured by one of these hypnotic people many many years ago. Still under his spell to this day.

    Off to have a look at her book.

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  7. Until I realized she really wrote a book and all that I thought maybe you met an angel. Maybe you did.

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  8. Oh my god tabs!!! How wonderful, And I really must at this point echo my mother and say you *need* to write your own book too!! Can't wait to show this post to my mamma to read as well. And yes, I think your'e right we must have been a couple of steps behind or in front of each other during our London visit - Merry Christmas T xxx

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    1. Tiffany, I know, I did have a bit of an, um, was she real, thought going on.

      India - Watching your London trip is so spooky, I keep thinking I'll catch sight of myself in a photograph!

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  9. Tabs - I love this story! I have similar encounters (though not as swanky as di's healer and I am definitely going to buy that book!) and do not believe in coincidences anymore - I think we attract what we need and you have had a tough year with the break in and all and I think you are ready for a healing year ahead where good things come your way and she was there to start you on your journey! Your encounter gives me goose bumps! I continue to be amazed by the people who "pop up" just when I need them, including you! xoxo

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    1. Oh the break in was awful but small fry, I have had an awful four years but I don't know, I don't see things the way you do, I just think that extraordinary moments sometimes happen and they are beautiful but I'm not a 'journey' person per se, I'm always thinking and wondering about life.

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    2. I no longer think of these things as coincidences either! Synchronicity is at play. You were meant to meet her and the jolt you felt was healing energy.

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    3. I thought the same as Wendy when I read this. What a wonderful moment to experience, and I agree, just when it's needed. I got goosebumps reading the whole thing. I'm off to look her up.

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  10. Very interesting. I'm off to go read up on her. Nice to hear you affected in that way. Hubs gets high marks too.

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  11. Hello Tabitha
    Lovely seeing you back blogging.
    How fortuitous of you to meet Oonagh. You describe succinctly how it felt holding her hand.
    I believe you have been touched by an angel.

    Helen xx

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  12. What an extraordinary experience that must have been! I'm off to check out her book now.

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  13. Tabitha, thank you so for sharing this incredible encounter ... from you, it has even more power .. to me.

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  14. What a beautiful experience. I firmly believe that there is no such thing as coincidence. The F&M stairs are treacherous. After witnessing a terrible fall I always walk on the outside.

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  15. Anon - oh that would be an awful fall indeed, I always cling to the side but it is a really beautiful staircase, I would quite like to sweep down it in a gown.

    Tamera- that was the experience I mentioned to you last week, a lovely little moment.


    une femme - her book is very slight, there isn't much to it bar her life, which is of course fascinating, she has had very interesting experiences but had I been her editor I would have demanded more spirituality!

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  16. That is so great! A very touching post, indeed!

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  17. oh my oh my oh my. what a wonderful story.
    i truly believe that everything that happens is meant to happen which just makes this even more special.

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  18. What an amazing experience. God works in funny ways, methinks. How delightful that your angel was in F&M. I once had an otherworldly experience in Cartier. Good that the a Divine likes luxury goods!

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    1. Jen - I had one in Harry Winston last week.

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  19. The way you described the experience gave me chills. I felt like I was holding her hand with you. What a miraculous experience. Thank you for sharing. I want to read this book now.

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  20. RE: You comment on the blog- I'm sorry about the foxes. Horrible horrible.

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  21. Awesome experience. I, too, think you have a book in you and it would be a delight to read.

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    1. Sizzle and Zoom, oh no, I know many authors and it is hard work, you need to burn passionately with an idea before you write a book, I prefer 150 words or less!

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  22. simply put...thank you for reminding that we are not alone. Heading to google to look for her book. Is your email working yet??

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    1. No, still locked out, hubs is working this week and it's in his name - they won't talk to me!

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    2. Let me know when you're back on it. I just downloaded the Kindle version and put a pen in my purse:)

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  23. An amazing experience you had there, Tabitha. I have met a few elderly people who seemed to radiate inner peace, who seemed to know what they needed to know for themselves and weren't desperate to change me. You must have been at quite a receptive point, fraught and annoyed, etc., and really impressed with her peace. It sounds like she would be lovely to be around. I'm not quite sure how one transitions from serving the poor to serving the privileged...unless one perceives privileged people has having their own form of poverty? No idea. I will consider buying this lady's book. I see that there was an actress who portrayed her in the recent film Diana, which I've yet to see. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and Best wishes for 2014! XXX

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  24. A simply lovely,peaceful experience in the midst of hectic shopping.

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  25. Wow, what a story! And a moment you'll never forget! Happy Holiday honey!

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  26. She must radiate such power and wisdom to have that effect on people.
    How fortunate that you were in the right place to help... it seems that she helped you in the end.

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  27. Never one for coincidences...May this help lead you to a bit of peace.

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  28. I do believe in serendipity, but you must have radiated something to her, too. She knew you would help her.

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  29. What a very interesting experience! I am glad you are posting again! Did you read the book yet? How was it?

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    1. Cate, I found the book to be very disappointing - pity really.

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  30. Wonderful post, thank you for sharing.
    Rhoda

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  31. I believe that she saw something in you just as you recognized her beauty. Based on your words and beautiful photos with your Mom, I think that you have appreciation for the elderly. Not everybody does in the world I see. She chose wisely when asking you for assistance.

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  32. The universe gave you what you needed and deserved. I feel this might be connected, in some way, with the blogging cries at your absence. At some point you're going to have to admit you're wonderful. In a Scot kind of way, perhaps.

    xoxoxoxxoxoxox from California where we believe.

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  33. sometimes, very rarely, we connect with another human being on the most basic level, our souls touch - very special - i will be at fortnums at 5 - and i will be thinking of you xx

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  34. Lovely post, Tabs. I think this quote might apply to you. I'm not sure why... I've just been thinking...
    “Someday there will be a story you want to tell for no better reason than because it matters to you more than any other…You’ll stop looking over your shoulder to make sure you are keeping everyone happy, and you’ll simply write what’s real and true…That’s when you’ll finally produce the work you’re really capable of.”

    J.D. Salinger


    Bonnie

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    1. Lovely quote Bonnie but if you knew me in real life, you'd see that I am so not the type who tries to keep every happy! I am very opinionated and stubborn like my mother!

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  35. What an amazing experience! Thank you for sharing Tabitha....and now I'll know who Oonagh is :)

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  36. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  37. What an amazing experience ..uplifting , spiritual things can happen!

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  38. There are a very few people in the world that have... something. Something very different. A very moving experience which I'm so glad you have shared.Thank you.

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  39. Tabitha, thank you for sharing such a beautiful, personal experience. How fortunate for both of you.

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  40. Tabitha, this story has actually made me cry. This moment you two shared is so touching and sensitive and really only happens a handful of times in one's life. How wonderful for both of you to have experienced it. I suppose it will stay with you for the rest of your life.

    Red

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  41. What a great story - thanks for sharing this. Hope you had a nice Christmas with Hubs and your Mom.

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  42. Wow. Just...wow. The very definition of a brush with greatness.

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  43. Wow! What a wonderful experience, pure kismet! x

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  44. What an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing! / Linda

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  45. I want to combine a couple of your recent posts - what if your "in love" mother had been there to meet her too? (you seem the generous type to share your earth angel!)
    Love that your husband noticed, your eyes turning green. It could be great to have a signal as clear as that to warn/inform a loved one. Cheers!

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