Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I Call Your Name


Introduction. I originally posted this story in 2008, after mentioning in an earlier piece that John Lennon had appeared to me in a vision along with the “9/11 restless spirits” who were guiding me to investigate and disseminate information about what really happened on 9/11. But after being ridiculed unmercifully for my spiritual beliefs—and especially this piece—on a 9/11 Truth site (where I had made the mistake of openly revealing my spiritual bent), I deleted this story. Lately, however, I’ve been feeling like I wanted to re-post it and am doing so today, on John Lennon’s 72nd birthday.

* * *

Except as a distant fan, I never knew John Lennon during his 40 years of life which tragically ended on December 8, 1980. So it struck me as quite odd that one day out of the blue, as I’ve written in my book Into the Mystic (From the Streets of Brooklyn), John seemed to pop in on me during a past life regression I was undergoing with “Dawn,” saying that past life regressions were “the next big thing.” Since the entity in that vision didn’t really look like John, I had to wonder if indeed it was. There were validating factors, to be sure—John had reportedly used the phrase “the next big thing” often enough, the regression itself was being held just a half block from the Dakota where John had lived and died, and it certainly hit me that the entity was John—but I still had serious doubts.

Over the years, there had been very credible accounts indicating that John Lennon was an active DP (dead person). The most provocative story involved 1950’s country rock icon Carl Perkins (most famous for writing, and topping the charts with, Blue Suede Shoes) whom John apparently used to channel the song My Old Friend and simultaneously get a message across to Paul McCartney. Medium John Edward discusses this event in his book Crossing Over (page 151). Then in 2007, it was reported that John’s son Julian had received a visit from his famous dad.

Both the Carl Perkins and Julian Lennon stories have an air of authenticity about them. Each event involved people whom John knew and loved in life, and so his visiting them was quite understandable, via that love connection. In contrast, I could not be sure that it was indeed John coming to me during my own past life regression; or later when images of his (a photograph in a drugstore near the Dakota, and still later on his cover of the The John Lennon Collection CD) seemed to come alive with his spirit and energy. Yes, it seemed like John Lennon was visiting me, but “Why? Why me? Who am I?” And “How can I be sure it’s him, and not some impostor spirit?”

On the web, I came across a group of individuals who also felt that that they were having visits and connections with “JL,” as he was often referred to. We’d share our stories about contact with John but most of those accounts—including my own—did not resonate as being particularly authentic in any objective sense. As medium John Holland alludes to in his book Born Knowing (in the context of mediumship), figuring out “what’s spirit and what’s coming from your own mind” can be problematic (see page 64). Also, accounts by members of the JL spirit group (again myself included) lacked the kind of resonance and validation present in the Carl Perkins and Julian Lennon stories. With regard to my own experiences in particular, I could not get away from the fact that, unlike with visits from my own DP family members whose energy and essence I can and do recognize, the JL encounters could not be verified in that way, since I never knew Mr. Lennon in this life.

I did take heart that among all the many ostensible JL visits being discussed on the web, there was one (in addition to the Carl Perkins and Julian Lennon reports) involving medium Patti Sinclair that resonated as quite valid.  Unbeknownst to her, on a live Internet radio show (the link for which has become disabled), Patti was reading a woman, Cindy, who felt strongly that she previously had made contact with JL on her own. During the show, John came thru Patti who was initially unaware that it was John, tho her description of him (and George Harrison who also was paying a visit) were right on.  Since Patti had no prior knowledge of Cindy’s connections to JL before the show, the reading took on a high sense of validation. Later Cindy and I would get to know each other on the web as part of a John Lennon spirit group.

Meanwhile—and this is where it really gets embarrassing to admit—it was seeming to me that John Lennon was helping me find parking spaces in the West Village, where I was working at the time. It sounds trite, I know, that any highly developed spirit (which I assume John Lennon would be) would bother doing that, but there was no doubt that I would often get parking spots in the area in and around 105 Bank Street, where John had lived during his revolutionary years, before moving to the Dakota. I have no doubt that I was being guided there by some spiritual force, and my best take was that it was either JL or an impostor spirit. In any event, I was very happy to be finding parking spots whenever they became available, since I was saving a bunch of money at the nearby but expensive parking garages.

During our web conversations, Cindy encouraged me to attend a show in New York City involving a professional medium who boasts that he often connects with John Lennon’s spirit. Altho a number of spiritually minded people I respect had a high regard for the medium’s alleged abilities, I did not. This negative assessment was later borne out by the medium’s own extremely weak readings during the show (which I witnessed).  But…the point is that on the day that I was on my way to check out this medium with the supposed JL connection, something extraordinary happened.

I drove into the city from Brooklyn that day—in my brand new silver Toyota Prius—in order to get in a half day’s work before attending the medium’s matinee show. Along the way, I got a “55” license plate with a “DLY” that I interpreted (in accordance with the principles written about in the “Magic Numbers (and Letters)” chapter of Into the Mystic) as meaning that I (represented by the 55) would be delayed (DLY came across as “delayed”). Soon thereafter, there was an unexpected traffic delay on the Prospect Expressway. “Hmmmm,” I thought to myself. “Maybe I’m on today.”

When I was driving along Sixth Ave in Manhattan, my plan was to go right to a parking garage, because I thought that looking for a parking space would be futile given the time of day. But I felt a last minute impulse to make a left turn onto Bedford Street and check in the West Village for a spot. Nothing. Then I thought, “Let me head over toward Bank Street and see what happens.”

While passing by JL’s old haunt at 105 Bank Street, I saw a spot that was too good to be true on the northeast corner of Bank and Greenwich Streets. I figured for sure that someone would beat me to it, but no one did, and I pulled in easily. I sensed the spirit that I tentatively identified as JL around me at this time but did not want to give in to the idea that he was indeed guiding me that morning. Again, it seemed too trite. And who the hell am I anyway?

The spot was so big that I started being particular about how to fit the Prius within it. I angled here and there and put the transmission in “Park” to get out and check how the car was positioned. At least I thought I had put the car in Park. In a Prius, you have to press the “P” button and apparently I hadn’t pressed it, or maybe it hadn’t engaged for some reason, I really don’t know.

Unaware that the Prius is not in Park, I exit from the driver’s seat and step out onto the sidewalk. Suddenly, the Prius starts rolling forward toward the car parked a few feet in front, while the open door begins scraping on the brick perimeter of a raised flower bed and simultaneously closing as a result. This has disaster written all over it. I somehow manage to jump into the car while yelling out loud in a panic, “Johnny!” thinking and intending in that split second, “Help me, John! You led me to this parking spot and can’t let it turn into a disaster.” I hit the brake and stop the car just before it’s about to crash. I take a breath and get out to check the damage which I figure has to be bad. But it turns out that there is only a tiny blemish on the very bottom of the door that is hardly perceptible. Phew! VERY LUCKY! Or was it something else?

A key element with all this is that at that moment of crisis, I called out to John Lennon thinking he could help. I didn’t beseech God, or Jesus, or anyone else. Instead, I called John’s name, revealing to me that somewhere in my heart of hearts I felt that John was around me, or at least was there that morning, and that maybe there actually was something to all the JL spirit connections that I had been doubting from a logical perspective. In essence, what this experience indicated to me was that beneath my conscious logical side, somewhere deep, I did believe that John Lennon was helping me find parking spaces in the West Village. Why else would I have called out his name at that critical moment? Even for my own challenging and confrontational consciousness, this experience was a bit too much to brush off.

Still, I sought out the honest opinion of others who might be able to shed some light. I wrote to Jewelle St. James, whom I had gotten to know on the web. Jewelle, who lives in Canada, is the author of All You Need Is Love, a book for which I have enormous respect, especially given all the provable steps Jewelle took to explain the true story of her search to discover her past life with John Lennon. When I related the Prius parking story to Jewelle, she wrote back saying, “Dennis, I am so amazed I can hardly write this email fast enough....About 3 hours ago, after our last emails, I asked John for a sign to give you, if indeed, he is guiding you around NYC. An hour later, I felt silly for asking as all was quiet. I then had to return to work for a bit and as I was driving I thought, what did I expect, a big sign that said Dennis or something?! Once I got to work I forgot about it. Just now, I came home and walked across the parking lot and there was a dime --- a U.S. dime!! I examined it and noticed it says ‘one dime.’ Canadian dimes say ‘ten cents.’ Well if that's not a sign, I don't know what is. I get dimes (as you know) so for John to send an American dime ... what else can I say? BTW I never see U.S. coins --- this indeed is a special treat for you Dennis. I have no doubts. Incredible.”

I wrote back to Jewelle, “WOW! THANKS SO MUCH for thinking of me, jewelle, and asking john for a sign, and getting one! and letting me know. i am so honored. 55 is my magic number and dime = 10 = 5+5. so this is all very validating, coming from you.”

A series of exchanges between Jewelle and me followed. Jewelle wrote back, “I had the presence of mind to look at the time too, it was 5:30 PST (how yahoo clocks msgs). This is truly amazing Dennis, a gift for both of us really, a sign on many levels.” And I replied again, “another one! 5:30 = 5.5 (as :30 min is halfway (.5) past 5. too cool!”

Jewelle said, “Just thought of something else --- the U.S. dime was found in a parking lot ... a place where you park cars -- a little twist of humor there, perhaps ?!” To which I replied, “amazing!...usually my spirit helpers know that they have to get things thru to me [in bunches] on a number of levels, or i won't trust it, doubting thomas that i can be at times. so looks like jl is up on my resistance/thick-headedness. ;-)”

Finally, Jewell added, “I was thinking too --- you are a guy that John would like. Your spirit helpers must approve, to let these amazing messages come through. Enjoy this new realization Dennis! yes, and one more. as i opened this last msg, on my itunes shuffle came john singing ‘You Can’t Do That.’… I KNOW how John works, and that day was a definite no-brainer --- John was saying he's with you.”

I also checked in with my Internet friend Cindy to whom JL had apparently come thru during the Patty Sinclair reading. Cindy averred, “I would not be surprised that John would assist you in getting good parking spots. :) After all, he was living in that city too so he would understand your frustrations driving around in a busy environment like that and help you get a desired spot to park your car. I did think it rather interesting that you called out ‘Johnny’ of all names lol! I am sure you were in tuned with him and he with you.

“I am positive that John knew you had been having some questions and possible doubts about his coming through to so many people and if there were ‘impostor’ souls coming through as John. Perhaps he was letting you know that ALL people are welcome to hear him and he will lend a hand..... no person more special than the next. That you are just as valuable a friend to him as he is to the rest of those who communicate with him in their own way. .....Can't believe you about your car! OMG! you almost had a crunch scene there! How funny about the park button! I am glad it did not turn ugly because you would have been cursing me out for even suggesting you go to that show! lol!”

My friend Jess Steinman, a medium, tarot reader and teacher, had this to say: “So, I finally had the chance to read your story and really absorb what you wrote . . . I read it really quickly on Tuesday night after you sent it, but I wanted to read it over again and respond when I had the time to give it the attention it deserved. All I can say is, what an amazing story . . . thank you for sharing it! I love how in that moment of “crisis”, so to speak, you called out to John. It’s those moments – the “spontaneous” ones – when our intuition and soul speaks to our conscious mind and lets us know what’s really going on, or so I believe! I think you had, at that point, what I’ve now “coined” as a “SMOC” – Spontaneous Moment of Connection. ;) I wonder, though . . . you said, ‘and none of it would have happened had i not been going to [that mediumship] event this morning. so maybe that was why i was to be there.’ I really do wonder if the same or a similar experience would have happened anyway? Maybe not in the exact same time or way that it did, but I still believe it would have happened eventually. I think that with pivotal moments like that one – where our perceptions are changed or a major decision needs to be made – it’s more a matter of WHEN it will happen versus IF it will happen.”

Finally, I asked my medium friend Suzane Northrop about all this, explaining to her that even if it was JL coming to me from time to time, I did not want to get too into connecting with him because, as I had observed, so many of the JL spirit people I met on the web seemed WAY TOO INVOLVED with the entity (entities?) they were perceiving to be JL. Suzane said, “smart not to get too involved with one spirit. what does it matter who it was, as long as you and your new car were ok.”

Yes indeed, that was important!

After receiving everyone’s input, I could finally trust with a passable degree of certainty (maybe 65%) that JL had been connecting with me all along. Which begs the question: why me?

Well maybe in the end just to let us know that the spirit of John Lennon supports the 9/11 Truth movement. Given John’s political side, it would not be a stretch at all to think that he would back efforts to get people to look into what really happened on 9/11.  Please consider doing so, and helping spread the word about 9/11 Truth.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In Search of Passion


While at the tail end of a five-year relationship that had suddenly begun to disintegrate, I consulted with my psychological/spiritual adviser "Dawn" who counseled that (among other things) I needed to inject some independent passion into my life. I reflected on Dawn’s assessment and, as usual, found it to be valid. My passions for playing drums and social dancing had been killed by severe tinnitus, and, in reality, loving my soon-to-be ex-girlfriend was the only active passion in my life. I decided to make finding a new passion a top priority.

In search of passion, I started to actively contemplate becoming a “Presenter” for Architects & Engineers (A&E) for 9/11 Truth, where I currently am on the Writing Team. I had become involved with 9/11 Truth initially in 2008, when Spirit brought me into it, and have remained active since that time. However, the passion has been there only in spurts, on a task-by-task basis. Becoming a Presenter would entail continually seeking out forums to bring to the public, the evidence, expert analysis, and videos demonstrating quite clearly that the U.S. government and a complicit mass media have actively covered up the truth about what really happened on 9/11.

With all this in mind in August 2012, I drove the hundred and ten miles from Brooklyn to Omega, the spiritual retreat center in Rhinebeck New York. There I would attend two John Perkins’ workshops: “Shapeshifting Into Leadership” (a weekend workshop), followed by five days of “Advanced Shapeshifting—Transforming Yourself & Our World.”

When registering for these workshops in the Spring, I had no thought of attending them with the goal of seeking a passion. The draw was something else entirely—John Perkins, whose workshops I’ve attended previously but not in seven years. What spurred me in John’s direction this time was that I’d been doing a few Internet radio shows (discussing my involvement with 9/11 Truth), and saw that John was on the very same show either just before or just after me, and/or John’s views were brought into the conversation by the host or a caller. The synchronicities resonated, and I could feel the pull. I called out to my spirit guides, “Seems you want me to attend John Perkins’ workshops at Omega this summer. Right?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“To keep him honest,” was the clear and credible reply.

“Huh? What? What is there to keep him honest about? And who am I to keep John Perkins honest?”

No answer.

Nevertheless, taking this message from Spirit to heart, I registered for John’s workshops.

I’ve admired John Perkins for some time, after first having attended his 2002 Omega presentation of “A Gathering of Shamans” from around the world—a wonder-filled experience, a telling of which I’ve included in my book Into the Mystic (From the Streets of Brooklyn).  At the end of that Gathering, John publicly announced that he was turning over control of his Dream Change Coalition to a number of women in the organization. His Confessions of an Economic Hit Man was yet to be published.

After Confessions was released in 2005, I went to one of John’s early book signings at an auditorium in Manhattan, with my two daughters and friends. We all loved John’s message. To discover that John—a true devotee of shamanism—also had an intense political side, drew me toward him even more. I felt an even stronger connection when I heard John say on the radio show, Democracy Now, while promoting Confessions, “Don’t you think that the assassination of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and John Lennon and others like that, and the many senators that have died in airplane crashes and other things, has sent a strong message to your politicians?” Previously, NO ONE of mainstream or alternative media prominence had focused on how assassinations are key to understanding the politics of America. An NO ONE had ever noted that the assassination of John Lennon was a political event. For John Perkins to raise these issues on Democracy Now was, for me, awesome and inspiring. (For more on the John Lennon assassination, see Fenton Bressler’s book Who Killed John Lennon? a synopsis of which is here.)

Synchronistically, once I got to Omega for the shapeshifitng workshops, John kept stressing the importance of finding your own passion. “Passion is the only thing that works, ultimately,” he said. This message dovetailed nicely with the advice Dawn had given me, and my own goal to find passion.

Synchronistically again, after the first night’s workshop—where I had been wrestling with the idea of becoming a Presenter—I discovered a message on my cell phone from Richard Gage, the founder and driving force of A&E 911 Truth. Richard and I had never had a telephone conversation before. As I began to listen to Richard’s voice mail, I wondered whether he was going to ask me to become more active with A&E 911 Truth, and thereby indirectly confirm that becoming a Presenter should be my passion. As it turned out, Richard was simply soliciting a donation for a special college outreach project which sounded promising. I made a donation.

On the Saturday afternoon of the weekend workshop, the journey directive was to “Let go of all negativities and barriers” so that you could embrace your passion. I tried doing so with regard to becoming a 9/11 Truth Presenter, but the barriers kept striking me as legitimate, and I was not able to let go of them. After the journey, I shared my plight with the group and listed the negativities and barriers that would not yield. Specifically, I was extremely doubtful that my efforts would make a dent in bringing about an investigation into what really happened on 9/11, the process would be very time consuming, and I’d be going it alone.

John acknowledged that he’d like to see me continue being involved with 9/11 Truth because “Anytime we stand up to government, that’s a good thing.” Then he added insightfully, “But what I’m hearing is that you don’t really want this to be your passion.”

CLICK! John’s words resonated immediately. It was true. How did I not see this before? The truth was that I did not want to become a Presenter. And with that realization, what I did let go of was the idea to make that my passion. Not that I would forgo my current 9/11 Truth involvement—as a member of David Ray Griffin’s 9/11 Consensus Panel, as pro-bono counsel and advisor to the Remember Building 7 campaign, and as a member of the A&E writing team. But what I would not be doing was becoming a Presenter and making that my passion. Thanks much to John, for helping me realize that this.

That Sunday evening in between the weekend and weeklong workshops, I drove off campus and into town for a non-vegetarian meal with red wine (neither of which is on the Omega menu). I went to bed feeling very good but the feeling didn’t last long. At three in the morning I awoke with 40+ insect bites on my lower legs, and the fear was that the attackers were bedbugs. I put a plan of action on hold until after the Monday morning workshop.

At the Monday morning workshop, as he did over the weekend, John mentioned the different types of shapeshifting, beginning with “cellular shapeshift.” He told how people can physically shapeshift into another entity and mentioned a shaman in the Amazon who had supposedly shapeshifted into a bat, and a man at one of John’s workshops who had allegedly shapeshifted into a snake.

Wondering if John meant all this literally, I asked, “What did the people watching the shaman actually witness? Was it like the old Dracula movies where you see Bela Lugosi transform into a bat?”

John expanded on the story by saying that the shaman had promised that he was going to shapeshift into a bat on a certain night, and then when the night came, a bat appeared at the village gathering and the shaman was never seen again.

Frankly, I found the story to be thoroughly unconvincing, and asked further about the workshop participant who had allegedly shapeshifted into a snake. John said the guy started crawling around on the floor and took a swipe at John’s rattle, thinking that John was a rattlesnake. I asked John, “What did you see exactly? Did the guy in fact turn into a snake?”

John’s excited reply was “He looked like a snake to me!”

It struck me at this point that I was in the process of “keeping him [John] honest,” as I had been guided to do. Apparently someone in Spirit wanted this exchange to occur, and I was the tool for that. I didn’t press the point by cross-examining John about what other people at the man-to-snake workshop saw, what happened to the guy’s clothes when he supposedly turned into a snake, whether or not the guy changed back into human form before checking out of Omega, or whether he instead simply slithered off into the woods.

Following this somewhat uncomfortable exchange, an experienced Omega student raised his hand and told a story that he said he got from “shaman/healer/sage” Alberto Villodo. The story involved a shaman who was challenged by a student on the issue of whether a human can actually transform himself into a condor. In response, the shaman supposedly turned the student into a condor, to teach him a lesson. The moral of the story apparently being, “Don’t you dare ask your teacher probing questions about cellular shapeshifting, or you will be punished,” which struck me as patently absurd. I’m glad that John was much more open to my questioning him about cellular shapeshifting than the shaman in the Villodo story was.

In my view, any lecture on cellular shapeshifting has to be quite literal.  It’s one thing to be able to use a cellular shapeshift to, for example, eliminate a growth from your body.  {Someone who was once very near and dear to me actually did this. She was never into shamanism (and neither was I at the time) but intuitively did a shamanic self-healing on herself by envisioning a giant eraser and intending that it erase the growth from her body.  The disappearance of the growth was verified by x-rays and doctors, and her scheduled operation was canceled.}  It’s quite another thing to claim that humans can turn themselves into birds and trees and whatnot.  Until I witness that kind of cellular shapeshift, or hear credible witness testimony about it actually happening, I simply can’t allow myself to believe that it actually happens.  The Shuar claim that humans can transform themselves into trees and birds and whatnot rings as conscious myth-making to me, perhaps "justified" by their belief that the power of shapeshifting is thereby enhanced, resulting in a greater overall benefit to those who partake in shapeshifting.  A noble goal, to be sure.  However, I would prefer an approach that stresses the insistence on Truth, as espoused in Gandhi's Satyagraha.

After the Monday morning session, I went to the Omega first aid station where the young woman on duty examined my legs and said, “They look like bedbug bites.” She gave me the address for a doctor in town and I skipped the afternoon workshop to get the doctor’s take which turned out to be, “Insect bites, most likely bedbugs.” He also gave me over-the-counter ointment recommendations and directions on how to isolate my clothes in airtight black bags for a couple of days to smother the bedbugs. “That’s how you kill them,” he said. I followed the doctor’s advice and then went out and bought myself new clothes to wear for the rest of the week. (Luckily I was able to relocate to another cabin; the Omega staff was very accommodating in that regard.  Later, when I got home, my Manhattan dermatologist agreed that the bites were most likely bedbug bites, and two biopsies confirmed that diagnosis, in his view, to a 99.5% certainty.  Since the Omega maintenance staff and an independent exterminator had reported that they had found no bedbugs in my cabin, the question arises: If there were no bedbugs in the cabin I was in, where did the bites come from? A mystery. Maybe the bedbugs were just excellent at playing hide-and-seek, my dermatologist theorized.)

On Tuesday, I returned to the workshop and John said into the microphone before handing it to me, “And how are you doing, Dennis?”

I took the mike from John and told the circle in a kind of upbeat way, “Well I have what looked like insect bites on my legs but which also looked like poison ivy, so I went to the doctor in town to see what the story was. He said they were insect bites and that I am not contagious. I guess the bugs at Omega just love me.” Then I added, “When I came up here, I was hopeful of getting loved and bitten, but not in this way,” which got decent laughs and a playful head-rub from John that further brightened my morning.

Later, two back-to-back journeys helped me immensely on a highly personal level. The first journey involved looking at how we want to remold ourselves, and the second was the journey to the snake. Snakes, of course, do physically shapeshift by shedding their skin. They are extremely vulnerable during the transition, John noted, but then become something more powerful.

What came to me during those two journeys was to acquire some better fitting clothes (having happily gone back to my high school weight over the summer). I also was guided to shapeshift into a person who is less emotionally reactive, and more tolerant of my 91 year old mother’s ways. Further, I was to shapeshift into being: more willing to let go of my friend and lover of five years, more confident in approaching women in whom I become interested, okay with living alone, more restrained when it comes to wine consumption, and more open to the idea of celebrating an upcoming birthday milestone in a special way. Finally, I was to revive (to a limited extent) my former passions of dancing and drumming. ALL of which I have begun to do, in earnest, as part of an overriding effort to reclaim joy.

The idea that I should strive to reclaim joy would not actually manifest until Thursday morning’s soul retrieval exercise. I journeyed to the middle world of dream, back to St. Mark’s schoolyard, to a fateful day when I about ten years old. It was my very first trip to the schoolyard on a Saturday and I was running all around, having a ball, and feeling tremendously joyous. From out of nowhere, a bully’s devastating punch to the stomach knocked the wind and the joy right out of me, doubling me over in pain.

After revisiting that event, the journey continued with me searching for my lost soul part in the school auditorium. On the stage, behind some folded-up bleachers, I discovered hundreds if not thousands of soul parts belonging, I felt, to the children of St. Mark’s who had been traumatized by the Roman Catholic nuns, schoolyard bullies, and perhaps priests.

Following the journey, I shared all this with the full workshop, noting that after that punch to the stomach, “I don’t think I ever reached that level of joy again.” But my real concern was for the lost soul parts I had discovered and I asked John for guidance on whether it was my place to go back and try to help them.

John advised that my focusing on the lost soul parts was “a distraction.” He suggested that for my own good, I needed to go back and heal the part of me that was damaged in the schoolyard.

One of the women in the circle suggested that I journey back to that moment in time and call on someone there to help me and to tell the bully, “You don’t do that.” I did so later, and the process did indeed help me reclaim some lost joy.

Another woman in the group asked me if I had forgiven the bully. I honestly replied, “Yes.” She then suggested, “Maybe there is something to forgive myself about.” I thought about that and answered, “I can’t really think of anything unless maybe feeling bad that I didn’t go after the guy with a stickball bat or something.”

Later, before breaking for lunch, John directed that we go into Nature and send out thru the right hand and into a tree or rock or plant—whatever we were drawn to—the negative energy from the experience we had just journeyed on. We were also to reach out and bring back the lost soul part thru the left hand. John pointed out that this was NOT a verbal exercise. You just do it, as a matter of intention.

In accordance with John’s instructions, I wandered off to the Omega Meditation Center back near the woods. There, I intended to and did release all of the negative energy from the stomach-punch experience into a receptive tree, and then intended to and did retrieve the lost soul part thru my left hand. All with the help of the earth, sun, and trees, it seemed.

During the process, it came to me that I needed to forgive myself for not being “brave” in the schoolyard and, as I had speculated earlier, for not going after the bully with a stickball bat. In those days, in that ’hood, you fought with your hands, not weapons, I remembered. Also, while I was ten years old at the time, the big bully was twelve—and that’s a huge difference at that age. With this perspective, forgiving myself came easy, and I felt all the better for it. Returning to the workshop after lunch, I thanked both women for their input, suggestions, and support.

At the fire ceremony that night, I had an especially good time, validating that I had begun to recapture joy. Came Friday morning and I was rehearsing in my mind what “vibration” to say into the mike that was passed around after the usual dance-and-greet that began each workshop session. I had chosen to actually sing the words “Movin’ on, movin’ on” from Stevie Wonder’s There’s a Place in the Sun, because my girlfriend and I, via email, had just mutually agreed to end our tumultuous five-year relationship, and “move on” (her words). Interestingly, for the first time, the mike wasn’t passed around the circle as it was every other morning, and I never did get a chance to do my Stevie Wonder impression. Instead, John, looking a bit sad, announced that he was not going to be doing some workshops he had scheduled because he was “going off in a different direction.” Synchronistically, while discussing this upcoming transition, John used the phrase “move on” four separate times. Synchronistically again, at around the time of the first John Perkins workshop I had ever attended some eleven years before, another friend/lover and I were also moving on from one another.

As of this writing, it’s two months after the workshop. In retrospect, on one level, it may seem that my search for passion was unsuccessful because I didn’t actually find a passion. Yet there is no doubt that the things I was able to accomplish at the workshop occurred while (and maybe because) I was preoccupied with a search for passion. I feel that my experiences here were an illustration of how magic can happen indirectly. For example, say you have a hunch to take a different walking route to your favorite park. You trust and follow your intuition and along the way meet an old friend that you haven’t seen in years. As a result of the encounter, you and your old friend soon become fabulous lovers—a reward for trusting and following your intuition.

In my situation, I was advised by both Dawn and John—two people I trust and admire—to search for passion. This was after I had accepted the assignment from Spirit to “keep him [John] honest.” I ended up doing what Spirit wanted while not even attempting to do so—it just happened while I was in the midst of a search for passion and participating in the workshop that Spirit had nudged me to attend. Was it merely a coincidence or did my search for passion somehow facilitate my completing the assignment? I believe the latter.

Having accepted and completed the assignment from Spirit, personal rewards followed, which has happened before. I avoided the serious error of becoming a Presenter, recaptured significant joy, and became a more positive person who is less emotionally reactive, more tolerant, and taking productive steps in a number of different directions. Finally, I have been reviving former passions of dancing and drumming, and it’s been a blast so far. I feel confident that these dramatic changes—manifested in this reality by journeying to the Spirit World—will be long lasting. A true shapeshift for which I am most grateful.

Postscript.  As I think back, I had never before in my life searched for passion.  Passion always found me.  Further, I am not at all convinced that we are somehow lesser human beings if we don’t have an active passion, or that we need to commence an active search for passion if we find ourselves without one.  That might be one way to go, and admittedly (and thankfully) this approach worked for me at the workshops.  However, the search for passion almost took me into an activity (Presenter) that deep down, I really didn’t want, and that likely would have led to unhappiness and discontentment.  For me, it is quite okay to simply engage in activities that you are drawn to, and allow passion to manifest naturally, of its own accord.