I grew up in a haunted house.
All of the houses I've lived in have been haunted.
As a matter of fact, almost all of the living situations I have ever had--you guessed it--haunted. That includes the lovely bed and breakfast that my beloved and I visited a few years ago. In a matter of minutes, I knew we were sharing our space with someone discorporate. That did have something to do with the fact she went into the closet in a huff, and slammed the door on her way in. Ha! I could "see" where she had gone. I was relieved to note that the spirit locked herself in the closet because she was irritated that she had company again--rather than because something specific about us was troublesome to her. (The latter situation tends to work itself out in a more complicated kind of way.)
I will note here that those places weren't usually scary. Haunting can be a factual reporting about the frequency of a place. In the same way that sometimes you know who is calling before you look at Caller ID, you might also be aware that someone who is in spirit happens to be sitting on the other end of the couch. It's just a thing that happens. You don't have to be afraid as a matter of course. Chances are, that person is sneering at Chopped reruns just as disdainfully as you are. People on every side of the grave feel free to laugh at anyone who doesn't know what to do with marshmallow root.
This time of year, we talk about how the veil is thinnest between this world and the next. While I believe that to be true, I also believe that there is not much veil separating realities from one another to begin with. It's a good idea if we're aware of that. Sometimes the only difference is perception. Mystics study the differences, and learn to see not only what is there, but also what is missing.*
My point is that people, places and things may be occupied by other entities or energies--and that is separate from those same people, etc. being haunted. Being haunted suggests that one of the important characteristics is said occupation. Don't we say of those who do the haunting that they are, in essence, stuck; that they are experiencing only a fraction of what is true about their lives? Maybe they got to stay in their houses, but they can't touch their things; or they can't find their beloveds and they don't know why, right? We are doing the same thing if we allow ourselves to be defined by the things we lost, or the people who left us, or the things we will never have. That means that we, the living, can be haunted in a way that is terrible and frozen. But it doesn't have to be the case.
If we allow ourselves the full experience of our grief...
If we can avoid the temptation of the "if only" revisionist history sandtrap...
If we can recognize and move beyond the self-blaming "I should have/could have/would have...
If we can forgive the people, and the feelings, and the events, then we can let go of what did not happen...
...then we can move beyond our own stuck place. But it doesn't happen organically. In the same way that the spirits we call ghosts need help to move on, so do we. It's a process. And it's okay to have the process.
No matter what has come before, we do deserve a new chance. And if we can't believe that we deserve a chance, then maybe we can offer up the new life opportunity in gratitude; accept it as a gift. And since we're still here, you know, maybe we're meant to do something with it.
Because the opposite of haunted is fully present, awake and aware. You know...alive.
We deserve that, no matter what manner of flesh we are living in.
(*Thanks to Tony Foster, via Tanya Huff, for the origin of that phrase: "Wizards see what's there." If you haven't read the Smoke series, go do that. It's delicious.)
Let's spend some time together if you are feeling stuck. I am always glad to help.