Good news Bad news
January 17, 2001
OK, so I kept you waiting a long time for this one. You have my humble apologies. Really. The days just seem to get filled up, and not even with anything important. It's just that everything takes so damn long now. A complete bath can take me two hours. It seems like I hardly ever have any time to myself anymore. However, what time I have had to myself has been chock full of surprises, as you're about to read.
(Sorry for using an opening hook like that, I'm afraid that ridding myself of old advertising habits will be as difficult as ditching my beloved little spirochetes.)
At any rate, like the jokes, I thought I'd start this chapter off with the bad news first and get it out of the way. I saw the Lyme Doctor today, and while that in itself wasn't bad, the trip there was. Dr. E increased my Zithromax and added some essential fish oils which she hopes will cut down on the swelling in my hand and arms. As usual she was her kind and upbeat self and I left feeling hopeful. The trip there however, rubbed my nose in just how enormously I have deteriorated since my last visit, like a dog being house-trained in the bad old days.
When I was at her office last time, I could still pull myself erect (and no I don't mean erect that way! I meant I could stand on my feet! Get your minds out of the gutter!) Anyway, back then I could haul myself to my feet and lower myself into the wheelchair. This time my body had all of the strength and rigidity of those dummies the Monty Python crew used to throw out of windows. I had to be lifted from the car seat to the wheelchair like a sagging sack of potatoes. My right arm wasn't even strong enough to reach up and put around the back of my friend Mark who was lifting me. I felt like a useless lump.
It was wonderful to be outside though, to feel the cold wind sharp against my face, seeing bare trees silhouetted against the snow-covered fields like a high contrast photograph, but then the car would swing around a turn and I found myself flopping to the side like that proverbial potato sack, no more able to hold myself upright than a Raggedy Andy doll. Needless to say, events like these bring home my new limitations like a slap in the face. In addition to those limitations I've mentioned, I'm also having enough trouble feeding myself, that for the past four dinners Lynne has had to shovel food into my mouth like an infant. At least she doesn't say things like, "RRROWRRRR! Here comes the airplane!! Open the hangar doors real wide!!!"
I don't know why I'm so hung up on eating, since I can't even shit by myself, but having to be fed depresses the hell out of me.
The other thing that has happened is I'm having so much trouble using the mouse that I'm hardly going on line anymore. So to all of you who have written me wonderful emails and not received a reply yet, that's the reason. I deeply appreciate each and every letter you've sent my way, all of the them brimming over with kindness, but at this point I have about 185 pieces of mail to be sorted through and answered.
I will get to all of them, I promise, and not out of a sense of obligation, but out of strong feelings of gratitude and love to all of you who take the time to follow my ramblings. However, it's gonna take a little while. I have discovered that using a raised pad allows me to use the mouse a lot more effectively and with a lot less pain, so I hope to make some headway soon.
Another issue that has come up a lot lately is people urging me to try and make some money from this site. I have to tell you that this idea is abhorrent to me. It feels like abusing an exquisite trust, which we hold between us. However, the costs of trying to keep up with everything the insurance won't cover are drowning me in debt. So I've are arrived at this compromise: under the Writings section, I'm going to post a favorite novel I've written, and if you download it, and like it, there will be the name and address of a trust fund which has been set up for my family and myself. You can make whatever donation you feel would be appropriate. And if the book sucks you may even be able to make a withdrawal if I can find a way to pull that off. Poor Les, who has taken over my financials for me, is going have apoplexy.
Please let me now if this feels in any way inappropriate to you.
Now for the good stuff! Good, and for some of you I'm afraid, pretty damn weird.
If you've been able to read this far, and some how still managed to see me as just a normal guy dealing with a tough situation, but basically pretty well grounded and fairly rational, then that myth is about to be shattered like a living room picture window wearing the fender of a drunken driver. So for all of you type A "If I can't see it with my own eyes I don't believe it" types, strap on your seat belts…it's gonna be rough sledding from here on out.
I had been fascinated by Native American spirituality for a long time, so when Deb, the fantastic woman who gives me my twice weekly massage and acupressure treatments, told me about a Cherokee shaman she knew, who would work on white people. (Many Native American healers I've read about have a natural aversion to helping the people whose ancestors lied to them, killed them off by the millions, stole an entire continent from them, and made it illegal for them to practice their religion until the 1970's, if you can believe that. Jimmy Carter signed the bill which gave them back freedom of religion!!!) Anyway, I was excited to find a classically trained shaman who would work on me.
(I asked for his permission before telling you about him, and he said no, but I said what the fuck, I'm doing it anyway!)
(Actually, he told me he wasn't hiding from anyone and gave me permission to not only tell my story, but to publish his e-mail address which you will find at the end of the chapter.)
The work that Gary does is cleansing and rejuvenation of the spirit body as well as returning lost pieces of a person's spirit or soul. He's based in Phoenix, Arizona and can do this over the phone since physical distance means next to nothing in the spirit world.
I knew exactly when Gary would be entering that world on my behalf, and meditated because I thought it might facilitate the process. When I spoke to him on the phone later that day, the first thing he asked me was, "So did you feel anything?"
I told him that I had. I'd had the distinct impression of a thumb being pushed into the center of my forehead. It wasn't painful, but it was very strong and this sensation had continued on and off for weeks. Gary replied to this information by saying, "Oh," and he then went on to tell me what his spirit guides had done for me.
Basically, shamans believe that we have a spirit body, which contains corollaries to all of the organs and body systems in our physical bodies. But on the spirit plain things have different functions. For instance the lungs of my spirit body deal with taking in self worth rather than oxygen. (This is, unfortunately, is the worst kind of oversimplification of very complex ideas, but I'm trying to give you the general flavor here a and not get too bogged down in the details.)
Anyway, Gary and his spirit guides gave me what he called, "A 50 year tune-up." They cleared my spirit body of all stagnant energies, repaired any clogged or damaged systems, and filled them all with gold energy. Then, he told me, the spirit guides had brought him silver, which he explained worked like an antibiotic in the spirit world, and filled my brain and nervous system with it. He said that was the reason I felt the pressure in my forehead, because that's where they had inserted it.
He went on to tell me that the other special work that had been done was on my legs to reconnect me to the Earth powers. He said they'd given special attention to my hip joints, knees and feet. I was impressed by all of this.
Then he went on to tell me about the soul recovery. He said first of all I had been holding 13 pieces of other people's souls. I felt sort of horrified at this piece of news, but Gary didn't seem to think that 13 was an abnormal number for someone my age. He said that the spirit guides had returned all of the pieces to their rightful owners. Then he paused.
For me it was one of those "Oh shit!" pauses.
He said that normally the spirit guides take him out and he finds the person's lost soul pieces one by one and when he has four or five he returns them to their rightful place, and gives the client roughly three months to reintegrate the pieces before he goes out for more.
However, he said it didn't happen that way this time. He told me that the spirit guides had brought back all of my missing pieces in a clump. He said that there were 18 of them. Then he went on to explain that when all the soul pieces return in a clump, it means that the person is readying his or her life to "Pass over."
Now I knew that he didn't mean Passover in the sense of the Jewish High Holy Day. In fact, I was well aware that he meant, passed on, kicked the bucket, pushing up daisies, bought the farm, join the choir invisible, or basically being bleedin' demised.
Quite naturally I felt the breath evaporate in my throat, my lungs implode, and my testicles begin to creep back up the Seminal vesicles so that they could cower somewhere behind my pancreas.
I managed to sputter out something like, "Gee whiz," which Gary was able to intuitively interpret as, "Holy shit! He said I'm gonna croak!"
He went on to explain with that when death was imminent, he could see light beings closing in on the person in question. He said that he saw no light beings anywhere near me and that meant I had at least It six months. Of course this reassured me, and I felt at least a 10th of a millimeter better. Then he explained that it meant I had six months before I would have to choose. He told me that "passing over" is always a matter of choice. (I'm assuming he was leaving out instances where the physical body is pulverized or blown to smithereens; like a nuclear explosion or in high-speed mid-air collisions.) He said that I would have to choose whether to continue the same work I've been doing on this plane, or to I journey on to the next one where I would have a different set of tools. But what ever happened, it would be my decision.
Again, I felt incrementally better at hearing this.
Gary explained that the new soul pieces should be welcomed home and then individually asked two questions:
1) What gift or knowledge have you brought me?
2) What can I do to have you stay?
He said since I had so many that I could do them in clumps and address them by number, "Soul piece number one..." I assured him that I would do this, and he asked me to call him in two weeks.
I hung up the phone having absolutely no idea what to think about the conversation that had just transpired. It felt no more real to me than if he had told me I had had a rectal implant by aliens from Uranus. I decided, as I do more and more these days, to withhold judgment until I had explored what there was to experience.
That evening, I lay in bed and thought to myself, well I better get on with this. Gary had told me that because there were so many soul pieces I should divide them up into groups. Seizing upon what remained of my third grade division skills, I decided to divide up the 18 into three groups of six. Feeling a tad more than just a wee bit stupid, I mentally asked, "So soul piece number one, what gift or knowledge have you brought me? And what can I do have you stay?"
I was surprised when immediately before my mind's eye an image swam into focus. It was the side door to the house I had lived in until I was nine. Outside of the door was a large wooden scaffolding which supported an outside stair leading to the second floor. We had had a lodger named Ethel back then. As I looked more closely at the picture, I saw a tiny little figure in a gray coat and hood lying in the dirt at the base of the scaffolding. I suddenly remembered taking a 6 ft. fall while playing on that scaffolding as if it were monkey bars. I couldn't have been more than two or three at the time and I don't think I'd thought of it since it had originally happened. This certainly piqued my interest.
So I lay in bed and asked the next 5 pieces their two questions. Number two gave me nothing at all, and neither did the No. 3.
No. 4, however, rewarded me with the image of another fall, this time from my favorite climbing tree where I cracked my head on a pile of rocks at the bottom. These happened to be rocks I had stolen from a garage across the back alley. (They were heavy, smooth and round and I liked them.) At the time I figured it was God's judgment on thieving little boys to crack their heads on stolen rocks. Needless to say, my God in those days used "An eye for an eye" as His primary text.
I ran through numbers 5 and 6 with no result. I knew that what had happened could be explained by "Amazing Randy" professional unbelievers as the simple products of my own imagination. But I was still intrigued.
Later that night, my physical symptoms began to get worse. My arms and legs ached, and felt so heavy that I could hardly move them. Everything hurt. As I was considering breaking the glass to push the small red panic button, I remembered Deb telling me about another of her other patients, and how her symptoms had grown worse immediately after Gary's treatment. Hoping that this was the case, I steeled myself against the pain, and began to question numbers seven through 12. When nothing in particular happened, I thought the hell with this and moved right on to #13.
Now, Gary had told me that the soul pieces could answer me in voices, images, or sudden realizations, that he called "Ah hah! experiences", but I was still shocked when No. 13 said to me in a nasal voice, "Yo buddy who the hell do you think you are? Gonna rip right through to No. 13 are ya? Well you'd better put the brakes on dude cause you can't even handle what's on your plate already!"
The mocking tone of the voice surprised me, but didn't make me angry at all. I immediately began asking the voice of all kinds of questions to which it replied in the same wisecracking manner. But still, it gave me a lot of information and I felt very grateful to it. At some point in the conversation, (and all of the time that this was happening, I was aware that the exchange was taking place inside my head, and that anyone else in the room wouldn't be able to hear anything. In other words, I wasn't quite ready for the funny farm yet.) I said to the voice, "I'm so glad that I can talk to you, the others have just given me images," or something like that. And the voice replied, "Yeah well, you used to talk to me all the time 20 years ago!" I suddenly realized who the voice was.
Around the age of five or six I had taught myself ventriloquism, and had been a practicing ventriloquist from then until my early twenties. My senior year of high school I made my money doing 170 children's parties. I'd gone through several dummies over the years, but although their appearance had changed, they all had had the same basic personality, and now I found myself talking to it.
I was as shocked as if I'd used a hair dryer in the shower. In my wildest imagination it had never occurred to me that in developing the personality of my little wooden friend, I'd actually split off a piece of my soul to do it. But it certainly made sense. My dummy, Alex, was truly my alter ego. He would say things that would literally shock me.
In fact, I vividly remember an evening in college when Alex had flirted outrageously with a beautiful blonde who had been every bit his match in wit and double entendre. The exchange had gone so well that I did something I had never done before, and after Alex was safely tucked away in his suitcase, I'd followed the woman outside and had asked her for a date. Her eyes turned icy and her lips curled in contempt. "You're not Alex, Luther," she snapped, "and never forget that!"
It was wonderful to feel that Alex was back, a part of me again. I felt overjoyed, and very grateful. In my mind I began to thank Gary, but then remembered how he had told me not to thank him, that he was just channel, but to thank the spirits who had done all of the work. So I did just that and was not quite as surprised when a spirit voice answered me and asked me if I was ready to meet one of my totems. I knew immediately that by "totem" a spirit animal was meant. I answered in the affirmative, and suddenly had the extraordinarily real sensation of a huge Crow landing on my chest. I said something inane like, "You're my totem animal?"
The crow cocked its head to one side and fixed me with the glare of a single beady black eye, and replied something to the effect of, "This comes as a surprise to you? We been trying to get your attention forever now!"
I suddenly remembered telling my buddy Mike months before, "You know Mike, it seems like for the last nine months I see crows everywhere I go!" and then I remembered several times when crows had perched themselves on the branches outside of my window, and one occasion when the Crow had walked up the branch towards the window and stared directly through it at me, seeming to make eye contact for the longest time. I realized with a jolt that indeed, crows had been trying to get my attention for quite some time.
I thanked the Crow for his guardianship and then asked if he was the cousin to the Raven. I asked this because in Lenni Lenape wisdom (the Indian nation which had originally occupied New Jersey, upper Delaware, and eastern Pennsylvania), the Raven was the Trickster God, fulfilling the same function that Coyote plays for the Native Americans of the southwest. The Crow assured me, "We're all tricksters, why do you think we picked you?"
I could try and deny it, but anyone who knows me would tell you immediately that there has always been a strong Trickster bent to my personality. I remember commiserating with a friend who said, "Why is it that I can get so much joy from scaring the bejeezus out of the people I love the most?" I told him I had no idea but I had spent a considerable portion of my life doing the exact same thing.
I spoke further with my black-feathered guardian, but that's all that I care to share in writing. After the conversation ended I had the sensation of being whole for the first time that I could remember. I can't possibly explain to you how real and how wonderful this experience was. My eyes were swimming with tears of gratitude. I felt as though I was hugging myself. I lay in the dark sending out prayers of joyful gratitude to everyone and everything I could think of, knowing of course, that all things, all people, all spirits, are aspects of the Creator. Or to use a better phrase, "aspects of the spirit which flows through all things."
Finally I slipped off in to the realms of nod filled with incredible joy.
The next morning when I awoke, in fact before I was really even awake, I reached instinctively for my first cigarette of the day. I smoked it, and the tobacco just hammered me, drained me of all energy and made me feel like splattered shit on a truck tire, as it had been doing lately. I stubbed out the butt in the ashtray and said out loud, "No more smoking!"
From right outside of my window, a crow cawed three times. A shiver went through me and I realized that I meant it, no more smoking. Yesterday marked my third week with only an occasional puff. I went from smoking 20 cigarettes a day, to having maybe six over the last three weeks, and all of those were smoked as quarter or half cigarettes when the addiction's scream got just too strong.
Over the next period of days and weeks I discovered the identities of 13 of the soul pieces. I also discovered the identities of five of the soul pieces I had been holding which belonged to other people. Two of them belonged to dogs I had loved so strongly that they continued to appear in my dreams decades after their deaths. Two belonged to women I had loved and lost, and when I was telling this to Lynne, it was about this point that she interrupted me and said, "I felt like I got a part of my soul back." I realized that it was true.
When Lynne had had her accident, the one that injured her brain so profoundly, I realized that I had mistakenly given her a big piece of my soul to try and help her. I suddenly saw how with the best of intentions, I had hurt both myself and her with this "Gift." I saw that giving someone a piece of your soul is handing them a burden not helping them at all, that the way to help is to assist in the recovery of their own missing pieces, not to try and supply them a part of your own. I also felt that I had been angry with Lynne ever since, feeling, "Damn it! I had to give up a piece of my soul for you!" With this realization, a huge portion of my annoyance and frustration with Lynne disappeared.
At the time she told me she felt like she'd gotten part of her soul back, Lynne had added, "It feels like a part of my soul which gave me dignity."
It certainly was.
Now I realize that reading about this process may seem akin to reading about the exploits of Wendy banging Peter Pan and the lost Boys, but it feels incredibly real to me. I don't know a better way to explain it than that. It feels real.
After an initial period of three days of constant excitement from this work, I suddenly plunged into the pain, anger, and despair, which I have attempted to describe in chapters 37 and 38. The switch from such joy to such despair was like falling head first down a mineshaft and being impaled on broken timbers rested spikes at the bottom. I felt as though all my new soul pieces had deserted me in disgust.
When I spoke with Gary last Monday, he explained that having so many soul pieces reintegrate themselves so quickly had forced to me into deeper levels of my "emotional body." He said we are all made up of thousands of layers like an onion, and that the process of stripping off these layers sometimes meant delving deeply into very painful parts of ourselves. He said, "I'm one of the few people who you will tell, I'm feeling so much worse! And I'll reply, that's good!" He also said that luckily for us, bad structures could be torn down much more quickly than the time it took to build them up in the first place. He also told me that none of my new spirit pieces had deserted me. Then he delved into some very deep questions like, "Why do you feel that you need to suffer?" and "What's stopping you from being self centered?" (He asked me to look at the words, "self" and "centered" and then asked me what was wrong with either of them. He implied that what better center can we have than our own selves, and how could we hope to help anyone else if we are not centered in that way.) He also told me that I needed to find a way to honor myself.
His words cut quite deeply, for the idea that I do deserve to suffer is ingrained so deeply that I can't ever remember living without it. And, in spite of all of the wonderful blessings I have received from friends and loved ones, in spite of all the miraculous gifts, in spite of all of the wonderful letters I have received through this site, overflowing with kindness and sincere appreciation, and in spite of every person who has come in to help us telling me that they feel blessed to have met Lynne and I, and even in spite of having the most wonderful, kind, and loving partner any man could ever hope for, and to be married to her for almost to 25 years, I still feel that this all must be some kind of mistake. That there's no way in hell I could ever be the least bit worthy of any portion of what I've received. I feel like a sham, a con man who's pulling the wool over the eyes of everyone who's reading this. What's worse, there's also the feeling that if I did it allow myself to feel worthy of any of these gifts, God would smite me down like the foot at the end of the Monty Python theme for ever having the temerity to think that I deserved anything better than licking shit from the hooves of the lowest demons in the darkest realms of hell. Why I feel this way is the next sacred chalice I must go questing after.
Gary also said something else which moved me in a completely different direction. He said, "Wow, that's amazing! You are the first one! The first one out of all the people I've worked on who regained their soul parts in a clump and will still remain on this plane!" He said it as though it were an accomplished fact. It was not, "You are going to be the first one," but, "You are the first one," and he laughed with delight.
Of course this filled me with joy. For I had decided that first night that if the decision to pass over was in my hands, then I had far too much of this life I wanted to savor and enjoy before moving on anywhere else. It felt indescribably good to have Gary's confirmation of this decision.
So, I still have a long way to go. In the physical realm I'm certainly not getting any better, in fact I think I'm getting considerably worse. But inside, in the realm of myself, which is undoubtedly the more important of the two, I'm growing happier than I've ever been in my life. The paradoxical nature of that statement is not lost on me, you can bet your bottom dollar on that. I have a lot more to explore.
So that's it for now, and that's only the barest bones of what's been happening. A lot of it feels too raw, too tender, to be able to share with even you dear readers, at least at this point in time.
You can count on that to change.
With much love,
For anyone else out there who would like Gary's assistance, you can contact him at : email@example.com
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