A Woman Awakens: Life AfterLife, 2016

A Woman Awakens: Life AfterLife, 2016

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a-woman-awakens-front Startled by a colorful vision in scarlet red and emerald green, along with a directive to ‘Be Conscious’, artist Jan Hart began an eighteen year personal journey to comprehend the message. Available through amazon.com in paperback and eBook.
Her inspirational life adventure involved paying attention to the dreams and signposts which led her, at age sixty-six, to move from New Mexico to Costa Rica during the US financial collapse. Through the unfolding of a series of spiritual adventures and synchronicities she emerged, during her seventh decade, with a deeper understanding of life cycle as well as more clarity around consciousness. This true-life spiritual memoir takes the reader through deep love and heartbreaking loss, gradually moving toward an awakening which glimpses the Afterlife.

This book, in process for several years is now available through amazon.com in both paperback and as an ebook.

Blue-Morpho-Butterfly1There are three parts to the eighteen year journey:

  • Part 1   Scarlet Red    1997 – 2008 in New Mexico
  • Part 2  Iridescent Blue  2008 – 2014, Costa Rica
  • Part 3  Emerald Green  2014 – 2015, Costa Rica

Between each of the 27 chapters are Gallery pages. Some contain writing – from a journal entry or memory. Others contain paintings – with descriptions or thoughts.  Full color photos in the book can be viewed on the website, awomanawakens.com

Part 1  Scarlet Red

'Echo Canyon', Jan Hart 2000

‘Echo Canyon’, Jan Hart 2000

New Mexico 1997 – 2008


Chapter 1   Emergency                 

New Mexico, May 1997

Pigeon Glow, jh

‘Pigeon Glow’, Jan Hart

The siren blared as we swerved through the Friday evening traffic between Española and Santa Fe. My jumbled thoughts drifted in and out of a kind of slow-motion reverie. I thought about my lack of health insurance and wondered if I could ask that we not use the siren. Would the ambulance ride cost less? I felt the attendant apply the sphygnomanometer and tighten it around my upper arm and pump up the pressure. As he released it slowly I barely felt the rhythmic beating of my pulse and was disbelieving as he muttered something that sounded like ’60 over 40’. My scientifically alerted mind proclaimed error, and I drifted into a softened wondering about the qualifications of the ambulance attendants. If I had a reading of ‘60 over 40’ I would very nearly be dead and obviously…. My mind rolled back into soft focus….

It was May 10, 1997 and spring was in the air in northern New Mexico.

Chapter 2  Raphael

New Mexico, May 1997


‘Raphael 1’, Jan Hart 1997

The vision was electric.

Though my eyes were closed it appeared just in front of them. There on a bright scarlet red background was an intricate modeling of an exquisite head, with shoulder length hair and clear green-blue eyes.  It seemed like a Hologram, not quite real, but also not make-believe. The contour lines were iridescent greenish blue and the exquisite head moved and talked and turned.  I could almost see through the eyes of the transparent figure before me – an attractive man with wavy long light hair.  Then he spoke.

“My name is Raphael.  I have been asked to bring you a message.”


Chapter 3  Home Again

1997 – 2002, New Mexico

Echo Rocks, jh_edited-1

‘Echo Rocks’, Jan Hart, 2005

My birds played an important role in my healing. The calming sounds of my pigeons relaxed me, and a friend built a reclining chair between the two lofts so I could rest amid the cooing and healing calm. In those moments I remembered the soft, almost white pigeon that perched on the windowsill when I’d been in the Intensive Care Unit.

Though I could feel myself getting stronger, it took a long time before I could go into my studio to paint. It was physically challenging and I didn’t feel emotionally able.


Chapter 4  Magic Moments

New Mexico, 2003 – 2007

Livvie and Seurat, jh 2005

‘Livvie and Seurat’, Jan Hart 2005

When I asked about the dog sitting off in the corner of the fenced kennel that contained smallish dogs, the attendant explained, “He’s not very sociable; been on the street a few years. Gets along with other dogs, but doesn’t like people. He is scheduled to be ‘put down’ tomorrow.”

I looked at all the wagging tails and noses on the other side of the chain-linked gate and then returned my gaze to the dog in the corner. Such a sad sight. Suddenly he lifted his head and focused on me, then uttered a long eerie howl. I replied to the attendant, ‘I want to see that one more closely.’


Chapter 5    Mysteries

New Mexico, 2003 – 2007

Mourning Glory, jh

‘Mourning Glory’, Jan Hart 2005

I offered Dr. Turner a choice between three fairly recent paintings. He selected Mourning Dove. I presented it to him with my profound gratitude for the miracle he’d performed.

As I handed him the painting, a mourning dove next to a cactus that held a single, just opened yellow bloom I looked more closely. Though newly painted—I reinterpreted the quiet mourning dove as a creature patiently waiting for something. Change? Renewal? Next to the dove, the prickly pear cactus, seemingly unsteady as it clung to the dry earth, represented (to me) the delicate balance of life. And yet the bloom bursting open surely signaled rebirth; a proclamation of life, asserting possibilities. Many years later I would see something more in this painting. Almost unnoticeable, in the shadows below the cactus, a soft scarlet colored stream suggesting more. Painted purely unconsciously, it was a scarlet ribbon leading beyond the painting.


Chapter 6  Titanium

New Mexico 2007

'Toucan Fly', Jan Hart 2005

‘Toucan Fly’, Jan Hart 2005

As 2007 drew to a close, the public, including me, seemed to wake up to the realities of the U.S. economy. Right after my book was published I felt a mix of exhilaration mixed with a curious concern about the ‘banker bailout’ and Wall Street news.

I’d experienced some tropical themed dreams, but the frequency and intensity of those dreams increased. I’d be floating above the dark greens of jungle draped slopes and valleys, watching through openings in the clouds. In the distance I’d see an open valley filled with tiny shapes—buildings. San Isidro, the Costa Rican city named after the patron saint of the farmer. The twin steeples of the city’s cathedral became my focal point from above. Then, closer to my high-altitude viewpoint, above the cloud wisps, flew two scarlet macaws.

I seemed to be following their flight trail. Inside and outside my dreams I began to question the significance of these dreams about Costa Rica.


Chapter 7  Scarlet Red and Emerald Green

Scarlet and Emerald House, jh final 2015

‘Scarlet Red and Emerald Green’, Jan Hart 2015

I walked away from the others. Then I silently implored the Universe for a sign, a signal, in the way we so often do when our hearts have already decided, when our intuition has already made plans, but when our logical minds have yet to catch up. These are the times we beseech symbols to appear in the sky, or for the clouds to shift and form a word.

Shaken by the colors and the name of the village because of the reference to my vision of—and message from—San Raphael twelve years earlier, I continued begged the Universe for one more sign. Just one more. Now.

Chapter 8 Flight

New Mexican Orchid, jh 2010_edited-1

‘New Mexican Orchid’, Jan Hart 2009

The customer service person motioned me up to the counter as I produced my passport and boarding pass and photo ID. Hefting the first of my suitcases up onto the scale I was pleased that it was only 47 pounds – under the 50 pound limit. It was tagged and I lifted the second bag to the scale. Suddenly the agent said, ‘ma’am, you are limited to only one piece of luggage during the holidays.’

Stunned. I had apparently missed that bit of information in all my careful preparations. Quietly I explained that I was moving out of the country. I didn’t know. Wasn’t there something we could do? She suggested I turn one suitcase over to a friend who could ship it on to me. But I was alone. There was no friend with me. There was no time. There was nothing I could do but let go of more – fifty pounds of carefully considered ‘more’. Right now.

Part 2   Iridescent Blue

 MotMot-Abstract,-jh copy

Costa Rica  2008 – 2014






Chapter 9     Wide Angle Lens

January, 2009

Iguana 1

‘Iguana Up Close’, Jan Hart 2010

The front door slowly opened and a petite, middle-aged Tica (Costa Rica woman) stepped out onto the porch.

I introduced myself in rudimentary Spanish and the woman replied that her name was Blanca. She invited me inside. I asked if she had a phone. “No”. A car? “No”. “A husband?” (I was thinking in a sexist based perception of mechanical knowledge). “No”.

I explained about my car and she indicated that we needed to go to it. I scrambled to follow. Along the way she grabbed some branches of available vegetation and snapped them off to take with her—the universal sign on a Costa Rica road that there is caution ahead is a branch in the road—Blanca put several feet ahead of my car and the other several feet behind, in the traffic lanes.

In all the time we had taken to return to the car not a single vehicle had passed. Not a good sign for finding help since it looked like the idea would be to wait until help came to us. And I was uncomfortable; forced into a situation where all I could do was wait.

Chapter 10   Poco a Poco  

February, 2009

Sea Grape Roots, 2010

Sea Grape Roots, 2010

I leaned back in my chair and wondered. What did I want in my new life in Costa Rica? An image of two cabins came to mind and I replied that I would love to create a place where students could come to learn and to paint, and that they could stay with me for a few days. The image was rudimentary, and I admitted that I had no idea right now how I would raise the money in order to build two cabinas.

What happened next was powerful.


Chapter 11   Red Flags in the Sunset

February, 2010

Hummingbird Heaven, jh 2007

‘Hummingbird Heaven’, Jan Hart

I had a plan!

I would invite Frank to spend a day at the beach – just the two of us. I wouldn’t be planning much of anything. In fact – my plan was simply that we would spend enough time together to enable me to see clearly all the ‘red flag warnings’ I just knew were lurking there. The twelve hours we would spend together would certainly lay bare some hidden faults and irritating personality quirks. Then I could go on with my very satisfying single life as a 68-year-old woman living in Costa Rica. And he would be off my mind and in proper perspective again.

A friend. Nothing more.

Chapter 12  Intimacy Explored

'Xena and Beak', Jan Hart 2006

‘Xena and Beak’, Jan Hart 2006

I had already shared with Frank my story of the vision of Raphael, the colors of the Tico house and the Blue Morpho butterfly. He was intrigued and it launched our discussions about consciousness.  Of course the first question was, ‘What is it?’

For Frank, his way to explore the issue further would be through science, his most trusted avenue of thought and direction. My way, though always attentive to and incorporating scientific study, was more eclectic and included dreams, significant colors and messages from Saint Raphael as well as pigeons and elephants and Morpho butterflies. Frank would just smile.  But the truth was that he also wanted to understand how they could all fit.

That was our question. How do they all fit in?

Chapter 13  The Whole Package

Passion-Flower-lg,jh copy

‘Passion Flowers’, Jan Hart 2010

Then I admitted that I got really upset if plans I’ve made go awry and that I wasn’t really good at ‘going with the flow’ when I didn’t understand the details. I made plans and did everything I could to stick with them. And, once angry, it took me a while to calm down; I could get ‘to calm’ and would ‘arrive at peace’, but felt so strongly about honesty that it felt wrong to try to ‘put on a happy face’ when I didn’t feel it.  So sometimes I stayed stuck in the anger for probably longer than I ‘should’—and I hated ‘shoulds’.

There. I’d said it.  I’d disclosed a part of who I was, and not necessarily who I’d like to be.

Frank smiled and simply said, “Jan, when I entered into this relationship with you I understood that choosing you meant that I got the whole package.


Chapter 14  The M Word

"Soul Mates', Jan Hart 2011

“Soul Mates’, Jan Hart 2011


Clearly we found it took courage and deep trust to expose our most vulnerable cores to each other. We also were grateful for what we had learned in our previous relationships. In a way we were now enjoying the fruits of our past work. We were having dessert.

Then Frank simply stated that he was open to marriage with me.

I choked on something.

Chapter 15  Living Alone Together


‘Blue Leaves Colores’, Jan Hart 2012

The reality of each of us living in our secluded havens, separated by a half hour drive, was becoming more of a burden in our together life.

Frank and I had a dilemma. We were two people who loved each other and our separate homes and individual lives but realized that we also wanted to spend the rest of our lives closer together. We understood we’d better figure it out, but we were running out of time. How could we live together as well as separately?



Chapter 16   Front Row Seats

'Over the Valley', Jan Hart 2011

‘Over the Valley’, Jan Hart 2011

Frank listened attentively; he always did before he answered. “Yes, con razon. (with reason). And those ‘in charge’ may just succeed in driving us right over the edge. But just take a look, Jan. At least from here we have front row seats.”

I laughed, looking out from the structure I loved to call the ‘infinity deck’, so named in mock disdain for the current popularity of ‘infinity pools’. I imagined us as viewed from above: two older folks seated in red plastic chairs with their glasses of wine looking out on the world and beyond from the circular wood planked promontory over a small Central American city. Yes, we had front row seats.

Chapter 17   The Ninth of March

'Jungle Lover', Jan Hart 2012

‘Jungle Lover’, Jan Hart 2012

We each acknowledged that we were happy that we would have some needed ‘breathing room’ after this scheduled workshop. We needed it. Then we kissed and shared our familiar words for the end of the day. Every day.

“Goodnight. I love you”

‘Goodnight. And I love you too.”

It was the ninth of March.

Part 3   Emerald Green

'Costa Rica Greens, Excerpt', Jan Hart 2010

‘Costa Rica Greens, Excerpt’, Jan Hart 2010



Costa Rica, 2014 – 2015






Chapter 18       Torn and Ragged Morning

Grief Leaf Demo 2

Beginning demo of ‘Grief Leaves’, Jan Hart 2014

The following moments unfolded like a jumble of incomplete sentences all attempting coherency. My mind raced and slowed at the same time. How could something so horribly unimaginable, seemingly impossible, devastatingly inconceivable, wretchedly implausible, have happened—past tense. My mind attacked the tragedy from every angle in an attempt to turn back time; to put me back to bed and start over.

I placed my hand on the blue fabric covering his chest; my mind darted to what he was wearing. Momentarily, I wondered if I should or could change his clothes – and just as quickly I knew that I wouldn’t and couldn’t.



Chapter 19      Shattered and Shocked

'Grief Leaves' demo progresses, Jan Hart, 2014

‘Grief Leaves’ demo progresses, Jan Hart, 2014

I breathed a sigh of relief during my steps over the little bridge and into Frank’s outdoor kitchen—so far nostalgia overpowered catastrophic grief; a manageable compromise. Ever practical, this was a joint project with two dear friends: clear out Frank’s things.

We glanced over the kitchen’s sparse contents. He’d been mostly cooking at my—our—place for so long the outdoor kitchen was emotionally negotiable in terms of my moving forward. Then, we opened the door to Frank’s enclosed bedroom. A collective sigh signaled our feelings about the task ahead. Having talked with Frank about his lack of a file cabinet, and knowing about his difficulty in throwing anything away for fear that it might be important, I was semi prepared.


Chapter 20       Finca La Puebla and Casa Tranquila

Unfinished Path, jh

‘Unfinished Path’, Jan Hart 2014

Most anyone in this part of Costa Rica will tell you how difficult it can be to sell a farm here. There are so many properties listed for sale after years on the market, the ‘boom’ of the eighties long past. There existed no established real estate procedures and processes to guide the way. Generally, people just tacked on a high price tag and waited. And waited. Though Finca La Puebla could boast four built structures, the value of the place was certainly not in the buildings. Instead it was the rich soil, access to water, the established organic gardens, and abundance of fruit trees. It would require a buyer with copious knowledge, familiar with the idiosyncrasies of buying and owning in Costa Rica. That, or a fast learner and swift adaptor.



Chapter 21      Memorial

Franks River,jh

Frank’s River, Jan Hart 2013

To the left I placed ordinary things of great importance to Frank and his work: His work hat; His machete, dirt and plant debris tenuously attached to the blade.

To the right I placed less practical but meaningful items: A heart shaped rock I’d found in his cabin on the farm days before. Frank was a geologist, and though I didn’t know the history of this particular rock, I sensed its importance, placing it next to the quartz crystal I’d also taken from his cabin.





Chapter 22       Nearly Drowning

ptgheadingupstreamjh copy

‘Heading Upstream’, Jan Hart 2000

Submerged in grief, indescribable currents assault the mind, gripping the conscious, tearing the heart and soul apart in a powerful undertow until one is torn to shreds.

Whether drowning in water, or grief, one rarely has any concept of survival.

In my grief, the currents below the surface took charge. The best I could do was to go with the flow, and breathe through a device called hope.


Chapter 23      Synchronicity

Morpho and Atlas, jh 2015

‘Morpho and Atlas’, Jan Hart 2015

I could say that finding a Tico house to buy, on the last day of a tour, was a happy coincidence. The fact that the house was painted the exact colors in the San Raphael vision, twelve years before, and located in a village named San Rafael pushed the boundaries of coincidence into the realm of synchronicity.  The red amaryllis, suddenly blooming in the front yard, could be a nice coincidence, since it related to Frank’s love of the color red. The fact that it opened on the morning of his memorial service, had never bloomed before, and would never bloom again: synchronicity.

Chapter 24     Visits and Visitations

Life Essence, jh 2013_edited-1

Life Essence, Jan Hart 2013

I relaxed back into the slower tropical rhythms of Costa Rica; life subtly slipped into slower motion. While talking with someone, that conversation became clearer and more important than anything else. I was fully and completely present. I even thought there was a chance my normally deaf right ear was hearing. Though still on the edge of tears, I began moving through whatever was happening slowly, calmly and with a clearer awareness. I believed that I was becoming more aware of myself as a soul. A quote came to mind.

You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body. C.S. Lewis

As much and as often as I could, I imagined Frank nearby, just to my right, smiling in the way Adrianna had described.

Chapter 25      Notes in the Night – Reassurances

Moonlight Echo Canyon, jh copy

Moonlight, Echo Canyon, Jan Hart 2012

At a soul level we can experience the peace and love that surrounds us, each of us. But in our daily, tumultuous lives it is increasingly difficult to remain in that place. Attention can shift in an instant. Suddenly, an email with an alarming subject line, or a brisk phone message, even a neighbor’s facial expression, or a casual comment overheard, can shake the foundation of one’s peace. Powerful and ego driven Media know how to gain attention to control for ‘their’ gain. Advertising is a big business. Television ‘news’, movies, billions of blogs, and ubiquitous text messages on our cell phones clutter our conscious awareness.

Technological gains have caused us to lose some of our safest refuges; places of serenity and peace. Frank’s message to be gentle with my mind, when it drifted to fear, was important.

Chapter 26      Notes in the Night – Perspective


Echo Amphitheater Moonlight, Jan Hart

You had the experience yesterday when you were lost, trying to find the radiator shop in the rain. You could not remember where it was on the highway, and you drove far past it looking. When you turned around, you still could not find it and then you had a choice. You would be in a state of suspended openness, if only for a few minutes. You decided to turn into the parking lot of a market – on the left – perhaps to turn around again and look for the place. You didn’t know, but simply followed the subtle suggestion. As you turned you saw to the right of the store something that looked familiar – but there were no signs… and suddenly, as you drove around the market, you were there. It felt familiar and yet almost out of place – but it was exactly right. You were directed to the radiator shop. And the owner directed you to a covered area where he tested the radiator, explained to you what was happening, and assured you that the radiator is just fine. The rain stopped and you drove home, feeling relieved and at peace.

Chapter 27      Consciousness and Beyond

Tree Heart, Jan Hart 2006

Tree Heart, Jan Hart 2006

Through opportunities of love and loss, I’d come closer to taming my own ego.

I began to understand that a higher consciousness exists in our hearts, through love—not romantic love or parental love. Simply a ‘love’ that understands that we are all doing the best that we can, through our own soul growth, as interconnected beings. The quantum physics scientists say much the same as the conscious spiritual leaders. We are all connected and moving into higher consciousness.

Jan’s Thoughts

I’ve revised my writing of this book and incorporated The Scarlet and Emerald House into A Woman Awakens: Life, AfterLife. Now it includes the entire background back to 1997 when I think this personal life journey began. It is certainly a spiritual journey of a lifetime for me – that includes love and loss and life changes – things we all find our ways through. It is certainly a true story that I am writing as it happens – part memoir, part love story and part mystery as I continually find my way through my search for consciousness via the next bump along the path. The book has been finished and is now awaiting publishing through CreateSpace and amazon.com

My heartfelt thanks to so many, who are named in the book. Included are Marie Beswick Arthur, my incomparable editor who poured her compassionate and critical eyes over every word and sentence and Jonathan Owens, my son who took the painting, Raphael 1 and the words to create the front and back covers.  All inquiries should be directed to me at  jan@janhart.com

You cannot order this book here even though there is a price listed.  It must be ordered through amazon.com and I’ll update the link as soon as it is available.



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email: jan@janhart.com
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Jan’s Mailing Address

PO Box 595-8000
San Jose, Perez Zeledon, San Isidro 11901,
Costa Rica, Central America