Dr. Brian Weiss: 1 Day Regression workshop in NYC
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Dr. Brian Weiss: 1 Day Regression workshop in NYC

Brian Weiss bookLast Sunday I attended a one day workshop with Dr. Brian Weiss. It was held at the Marriott Marquis, where I was one of a thousand. Many hundreds, at least. We were all drawn there by our hunger for more. More enlightenment. More knowledge of our true selves. As much of that eternal spark of light as we can see through the veils of illusion that necessarily swathe us here on earth.

Dr. Weiss is most impressive. He has a quiet, careful demeanor that encompasses humor and intelligence, self esteem and courtesy for others. His background is impeccable: Columbia undergrad, Yale Medical school. He headed up the psychopharmacology division of a large hospital in Miami. I always respect the Yale degree. I went to Yale, so I have a visceral understanding of what that means–the level of hard work, commitment, self-discipline, and sheer brainpower that Yale scholarship requires.

There’s a deeper level to the Yale degree, in this case. Because Dr. Weiss is openly proclaiming the reality of past lives despite his Yale background. I personally found Yale an anti-spiritual place, not the Div school (!) but, generally speaking, the rest of the institution. So for Dr. Weiss to stand forth with these spiritual messages is an act of personal courage on his part.

Past lives make sense to me, both because I grew up with snippets of memories from other times, and because I trained in hands-on-healing at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. In fact, it was a great relief to me to begin to integrate the shards of my consciousness into an organized meta-framework of thought at the BBSH.

So the one day workshop was welcome and nurturing to the part of me that is eternally engaged in a quixotic quest for more knowledge, more understanding, more awareness, more consciousness.

I loved listening to Dr. Weiss, but he has his own mission, which seems to be: heal the world through spiritual truth and direct experience. We did four exercises, two were regressions, one was a gestalt healing meditation, and one was a psychometry exercise. Memories came to me during the first regression; the second regression was peaceful and relaxing. I’m a morning person so it’s not surprising that my unruly monkey mind was able to step aside before lunch, but not after.

Who was I? A young woman with brightly colored skirts, living in a land of vivid blue skies and gorgeous dark mountains. There was a sense of Spain. I saw her twice, once when she was in her twenties, setting forth happily from her home on her business. Then I saw her at the end of her life, white haired and dissolving. Her granddaughter sat in a chair at the end of her bed, tenderly watching her pass. I recognized the little girl as someone who has reappeared in this life, and I was happy to know that our souls have history together.

What distinguishes past life memories from fantasy? For me, it is the compelling, often intense, always poignant emotional matrix within which the memories are held. I am a storyteller and there is always a story playing in my mind, and day-dreaming is part of the creative process for writing novels. But despite my active and involved inner life of wool-gathering, those stories never have the richness, resonance, and depth of past life memories.

The day was splendid. I recommend it. And I heartily recommend the books written by Dr. Weiss.

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Bittersweet: About Karma

Earl: “Look! Shampoo that’s not tested on animals. I feel bad for those lab animals running around with dirty hair, but if it’s better for the environment, that’s the sacrifice they have to make.” Jason Lee as Earl Hickey, MY NAME IS EARL Karma is a funny thing

There are some humorless men in my life. A few months ago I sent an email to two of them. It was pretty funny: UFO’s, aliens, subliminal programming with muzak, ex-CIA agents who can be hired to forcibly waterboard someone, without their consent, and beating my rascally middle daughter with a stick in Riverside Park were all mentioned. Admittedly, my sense of humor is offbeat and irreverent. Still, this email was juicy. But did they respond to it AT ALL? Oh, nooooooooooo. They just pretended it didn’t exist.
This current husband of mine read the missive before I sent it. “Don’t send that,” he said, with a flat expression. Hmph. My third husband will have a rich sense of humor. He will be able to laugh with me. At me, okay, that’s gonna happen, alas. Even I spend plenty of time laughing at me. (Definition of ‘rueful,’ anyone?) But, definitely, also, with me.
Over the last few years I’ve been working with Buddhist concepts and with the Bhagavad Gita. In the spirit of “what goes around comes around,” I have to wonder, when did I not laugh at people that has reached fruition with this overabundance of humorless men in my life?
Should I rack what’s left of the gray matter rattling around my cranium to recall anyone whose joke I did not get, then make a list, seek them out, and make restitution by letting them tell me their favorite jokes, which culminates in my laughing uproariously? Will that plant new seeds for me, seeds that will sprout into men with some sparkle to their personality?
Maybe it’s a past life thing. I was an uptight guy in the 17th century who inflicted lethal self-seriousness on the long-suffering women in my life. Now I’m reaping my just rewards, and there’s no going back to pull the poker out of my former derriere. Karma’s a complicated thing, and hard to navigate exactly. Those of us like me who aren’t enlightened can’t parse it.
It’s easier to see the working of karma in other people’s lives. I tread carefully here, being mindful of Rabbi Jesus’ words, “Why worry about the mote in your brother’s eye when there’s a beam in your own?”
But I am a careful observer of people, both because people are a novelist’s raw material, and because I’m fascinated with human beings, those conscious and inconsistent creatures. While not positing myself as a perfect person, I can discern. I can learn from others.
There’s a man I know who’s recently had many business reversals. He’s brilliant, educated, competent, personable. Indeed, he exudes a charm that many people can’t see through. I’ve watched with breathless awe as he’s snowed them totally. It’s a virtuoso act.
Unfortunately, the charm obscures a negative side. He’s acted from that negative side over the last several years, threatening me and others with litigation, co-opting tactics of bullying and intimidation, twisting reality to suit the ends of malice, never using a kind word when hostility will make the point for him. And there seems to be no one in his life who will call him on his stuff. His family has always lent him blind entitlement, and his close friends only affirm his better points, of which there are many.
I suppose this is when I am grateful that my close friends hold me to a high level of personal accountability. “So Traci,” my friend Gerda will say, in her patient voice, “are you acting out of negative intent? Are you acting out of fear or out of love?”
Or even my friend Marcia will ask, “Yes, but is that about your self-esteem? Can you phrase that in a way that’s less ambiguous?” Rachel usually foists a zinger, with less concern for my vulnerability and more concern for the bull’s eye of painful truth.
But I don’t think the benighted man in question, may all the gods bless him, has anyone speaking this way to him. Nor does there seem to be anyone reminding him about the Law of Return, that whatever you give out inevitably comes back to you. So it is no surprise to me that, despite his many talents, he is suffering business losses that cause him personal anguish.
Not that he would or could ever see the relationship between his abusive actions and the unfoldment of his life. It’s hard for all of us. There is the real cause of things and the apparent cause. What is apparent is the economy, the paternalistic government, the state of the world, etc. But in this view that seeks to go deeper than appearances–and even the Talmud talks about “measure for measure” and “As one does, so they do to him”–we are all guided toward spiritual forces of cause and effect.
Which leads me back to the lab animals with dirty hair, making sacrifices for the environment. I can only hope they transmigrate species, and reincarnate as higher beings. Perhaps humorless men.
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To Lissie and Bob, Respectfully, with Blessings

To Lissie and Bob, Respectfully, with Blessings

I’ve reached that age where friends, and friends of friends, die. Parents have been passing for the last decade. Time’s attrition has set in. It can’t be denied, despite botox shots to the forehead and restylane fillers, retinA, yoga, and multivitamins. The years are relentlessly proceeding, scoring as they go.

Recently there were losses close to me. These were not losses to me personally, but to people I care about. My friend Geoffrey lost a sister. He sent an email last night, “Lissie passed away peacefully.” I said the quiet prayers I always do, and replied to Geoff that my love was with him and his family.

Three weeks ago my husband’s friend Bob died. Bob was a stalwart part of a circle of people in LA whom we have come to like very much. My husband spoke to Bob a few times a week and always enjoyed the conversations. Bob had a way of making a connection. His death came as a shock.

I met Bob only twice, enough to be impressed with his intelligence and big heart, his graciousness and sensitivity. Lissie I met a few times many years ago. She always struck me as one of those formidable Yankee women, lovely in her bones and capable and smart. I respected her.

Most of all, I appreciated Bob’s presence in my husband’s life, and Lissie’s presence in Geoffrey’s. I was glad to know that two people for whom I cared had good people around them.

May Lissie and Bob pass on to the highest heaven of pure light, and may those left behind feel their love more than their loss.