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End of a (blog) Era

 
Sunset photo taken the other day by my husband Brad Klopman.

Sunset photo taken the other day by my husband Brad Klopman.

 

I began my blog almost nine years ago, April 17, 2009. (Tech is like dog years, feels like 63 years ago.) I remember it well. I sat outside on my front stoop in LA, sun in my eyes and Kansas (my then dog) rolling in the grass beside me. It was early in the blogging world. I remember trying to figure out "how to create a blog." It was exciting and challenging. I had no idea what I was doing and I certainly didn't know what I was going to blog about. All I knew was that I had an urge--a desire to share information and to connect with other like-minded folks (social media was just becoming a thing). It felt soul-baring. 

I wrote this in my introduction to the blog: 

In his autobiography "My Experiments with Truth", Gandhi says, "Writing (this autobiography) is one of the experiments with truth. One of its objects is certainly to provide some comfort and food for reflection."  

My blog was definitely an experiment. I was constantly thinking about it, juggling sometimes how far to push it, yet wanting to serve the causes I was passionate about, as well as my own truth, and my dear readers. I hoped, as Gandhi said, to provide some comfort and food for reflection--not just for my readers but, honestly, for myself. Blogging made me feel less lonely. And that was important for me in those years.

To those of you who have followed my blog, thank you. Above all, I hope my posts have in a small way been a source of something good in your life. Maybe you even found a new favorite vegan thing! 

Though I will continue my experiments with truth in other formats, it is the end of an era for me. I have deleted 95% of my posts--hundreds of them--except for a few that still mean something to me or still garner attention. I wrote a post called, "How I Healed a Pinch Nerve in My Neck" that gets a hit every couple of minutes from all over the world. It has 80 comments and I've received countless personal messages about how this post has helped someone out there. It's beyond gratifying to know that post has been and continues to be of service to others. 

The next day, April 18th, 2009, I sat outside on my stoop again--laptop in hand, sun in my eyes (it's LA, after all) Kansas rolling in the grass, and wrote my first real blog post. Here it is: 

Today I am determined to see things differently. Truth be told, I wake up every morning and say that. I figure it's like the daily spoonful of glucosamine I give my dog Kansas for his bad hips. I don't really notice he walks any easier, but I trust that over time it's having some effect.

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In memory of Kansas.

How I Healed a Pinched Nerve (Herniated Disc / Bulging Disc) in My Neck

 
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As I write this, I am almost fully recovered from a tremendously painful pinched nerve in my neck. I'm at about 95%. My left thumb is still numb, but the feeling in the top of my left hand has come back almost entirely. It's been since Dec. 18th, six weeks to the day.

I want to share my story and process of healing, because there is a dearth of first-hand accounts of healing this painful experience available. I know, I searched the internet for weeks trying to narrow down the confusing information not only from online but from the chiropractors, doctors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and physical therapists I saw in person. It's very clear what to do for a broken finger, for instance, there aren't many differing opinions, but with a pinched nerve, contradictions abound. I was told to ice it, heat it, take hot baths at 105*, don't take baths, move it, immobilize it, rest it, exercise it, sleep with two pillows, don't sleep with a pillow, only sleep with a cervical pillow, sit on hard surfaces, sit on soft surfaces...the list of complete opposite advice goes on.

On top of that, no one quite knows what to call it: pinched nerve, compressed nerve, herniated disc, bulging disc, ruptured disc, torn disc, slipped disc, collapsed disc, disc protrusion, degenerative disc disease....the list of names I heard goes on.

This post is certainly not to replace medical advice. It's just my experience of what worked and didn't work, and what I wish I had done differently. I don't know if any of this matches up to conventional wisdom, it's just my opinion. (I've linked the things I purchased to where you can purchase them, as well.)

Backstory: I am in my late 40s, in good health, don't exercise and have never taken prescription meds. I was a gymnast until the age of 16, lots of crunching of the neck and flexing of the spine. I had an incident with my neck when I was 14. I woke up in the morning and stretched, heard a crack in my neck and couldn't move. My dad took me to an osteopath and the doctor adjusted me and I was healed. It was pretty miraculous.

When I was 23, I got rear ended in my car and had minor whiplash. I went to a chiropractor a few times and wore a brace. And that healed pretty quickly. I do (did!) sleep on my stomach most of my life, one of the worst things for your neck. I sit a lot during the day, hunched over a computer or talking to clients with, I'm sure, pretty poor posture. So perhaps all of that contributed over time.

In July 2013, I was walking in the mall with my husband and I felt a tingling in my left arm. I mentioned it to my him but we both shrugged it off. A few weeks later, we were in the mall again (I was getting my first pair of glasses, so we kept going back for check ups and fittings. Funny how my neck coincided with my eyes--it's an aging thing!) and the tingling started in my left arm. Why did I only feel it in the mall? I have no idea. Never felt it any other time.

A few months after that, I noticed my neck and shoulders were sore. I thought it'd go away by itself, but it didn't. I went to a chiropractor who didn't seem alarmed, didn't ask for X-rays, and adjusted me. I felt worse after. For the next few weeks my neck and shoulder bothered me on and off, but I didn't do anything about it. I had tried the chiropractor and it didn't help, and I wasn't in enough pain to go to a doctor, so I left it alone. By Thanksgiving, I was feeling a bit run down, as well.

I am a hypnotherapist and felt I needed to decompress from my work with clients, so I decided to take two weeks off at Christmas. My last client was Dec. 18th, and the next day, Dec. 19th, my husband and I were supposed to leave for a Christmas vacation in NYC. After that, the plan was to take 10 days off of work to "relax and refocus."

Dec. 16th, I met with a new doctor--nothing neck related--just for a physical for my insurance. My neck wasn't bothering me that much then. In fact, I forgot to mention it to him in our detailed health history. It wasn't until our meeting was over that I remembered and said, "Oh, I forgot to mention that my left arm has been tingling. I think it's related to a sore neck that I've had on and off for a few months." After talking, he told me that I should get my neck X-rayed and we would go from there. I had no intention of getting an X-ray.

The next night, Dec. 17th, I was very stressed about something, and I tossed and turned all night. Awful night's sleep. The following morning I woke up and told my husband I was in "excruciating pain." (At least the most pain I had felt up until that point. Little did I know, it was about to get way worse.) I decided that after work that day I would see the chiropractor downstairs from my office. I still didn't know if I should go to NYC the next day. The chiropractor adjusted me and said hopefully, "I think you'll be able to go on your trip tomorrow." I went home that night and it got worse. First BIG MISTAKE. I should not have gone to the chiropractor. (At least not at this point.) I should have realized that from the couple of months earlier when I went to the chiropractor and it exacerbated the injury.

Second BIG MISTAKE was heating my neck that night, which I was told to do by the chiropractor. I cancelled our trip (Thank God I didn't go!) and laid in bed with heat. Third BIG MISTAKE, I used a pillow that was supposed to support the neck. The next morning, I woke up and did not recognize myself. I didn't know my body was capable of doing what it did. My head was frozen stuck way forward, like a turtle. And my left shoulder was frozen stuck about three inches higher than my right shoulder. I couldn't believe it! I could not turn my head even a quarter of an inch. I was now in truly excruciating pain and had constant muscle spasms up and down my back and along my side. (For reference, I've had broken bones and they felt like minor scratches in comparison.)

I had been told to put heat on my neck, so I stood under the shower, thinking I could relax the muscles. It didn't help. I cried out in pain. My husband called the chiropractor and she said either I needed to go to the emergency room or if I could somehow manage to get myself to her, I needed to have an adjustment ASAP.

My husband and I were very scared, not sure what was happening. But I knew hospitals were out for me. So I laid down in the back seat of the car as he drove me back to the chiropractor. I wailed in pain the whole way. And here was my fourth BIG MISTAKE. I wish I had not gotten out of bed. I wish I had not gone anywhere. I wish I had iced my neck, stayed in bed and did not move.

But because we didn't know what was happening, we took the advice to get my neck adjusted. Bad move. By the way, the chiropractor completely disagrees. She kept saying, "This is an alignment issue. You need to come in every day to get it aligned and off the nerve." It made perfect sense logically, but with this level of pain, the best thing I believe now, is that I should have just rested, and not done anything at all to aggravate the muscles and the nerve. I believe that what was more important for me was to lay still and ice my neck to get the swelling down. I could barely walk at this point, and here I was bouncing around the back of a car to get to a chiropractor. Unbelievable, looking back on it. Any small movement caused immense pain.

The pain was now radiating into my left shoulder, through my left upper back and down my arm. It was that radiating pain that hurt the most. It felt like a 250 lb. man had beat my arm until it was black and blue, and then kept beating it some more. It was an unbearable deep soreness. I could only hold my arm in the air to find some small relief.

On the way home, I hit rockbottom desperation. I called my client who is a doctor and asked him for painkillers. (I had never taken a painkiller or any prescription drugs in my life. I rarely even take an aspirin.) This was the Thursday before Christmas and he was leaving his office for a Christmas party and then would be gone for vacation. I begged him to do it right now. He conceded and called in a prescription for painkillers (Vicodin 300mg), muscle relaxers (Cyclobenzaprine 5mg), anti-inflammatories (Diclofenac 100mg), and an antacid (Pepcid) because "anti-inflammatories are hard on the stomach." (I hadn't called my new doctor because I knew I would have to make an appointment to go see him and blah, blah, blah, protocol.)

I didn't really understand how this was going to correct the problem if it was an alignment issue as I had been told. So I asked him how it was going to fix itself, and he said, "With medication." I trust this man, he's a brilliant, highly regarded, sought after doctor. But I was confused. How can medication, if it was an alignment issue, heal or align my neck? The chiropractor said that these meds only mask the problem. Hmmm. I had no choice, I took the medication and actually relaxed for the first time. I also iced my neck and that helped. REST, MEDICATION, and ICE was what I had needed the whole time. First thing I DID RIGHT. If I had iced my neck the first night, skipped the chiropractor and the heat and the "neck pillow," I do not believe I would have woken up looking like Frankenstein's daughter. (Side note: Many people heal these injuries without chiropractors.)

I was still desperate for some type of help in healing this, so we called an acupuncturist the next day and made an appointment with her for Monday. It's hard to tell what worked and didn't. I believe I found slight relief in my left shoulder after that acupuncture session. I went back again a few days later and she put the electrical current needles in my shoulder. I found slight relief again. It should be noted that I was still in tremendous pain. Walking sent shockwaves through my spinal cord. The third time I visited her, the needle really hurt my shoulder. I asked her to take it out,  and left her office with more pain than when I went in.

I gave it one more try, and the fourth time, she had to move the needles in both my hands near my thumbs because it was hurting so much. Afterward, I told her that those areas were really sore. She rubbed my hands and sent me home. Within an hour, my right hand swelled up. (Mind you, I couldn't use my left arm or hand because of the pain and weakness and numbness in my left hand, but now my right hand was in pain and swollen!) And the pain began to radiate up my right arm. I could no longer use that arm now either! I iced my hand to get the swelling down. It took four days.

The acupuncturist had suggested some herb infused neck patches. I was told to keep it on for 48 hours and I ripped it off as soon as I got home. I found it incredibly annoying. One thing I did like was a Chinese oil called “Chan Yak Hing She Woo Lok Medicated Oil” that she put on my neck--like the Chinese medicine equivalent to Icy Hot. It felt good, like it was doing something beneficial to my neck, relaxing the muscles or something. I continue to use this every day, plus I love the wintergreen oil smell. (The factory in China was flagged by the United States FDA for violations, so I can no longer recommend their product. But I do now purchase another product instead. Sombra Warm Therapy Natural Pain Relieving Gel.)

 
 

He connected it to Netflix, and I watched The Office every evening into night. (Watch something funny!) That's our set up in the photo below. That projector was a lifesaver, or sanity-saver. I no longer went quite as stir crazy.

 
 

I am a newlywed, and I don't know what I would've done without my husband. He took care of me and our furry kids and the house. He did everything for me. He fed me, even holding a cup with a straw into my mouth in order for me to drink. I could not feed myself, as I couldn't sit up or move my neck. He made midnight runs if I needed something. I honestly feel so blessed and such gratitude to have him in my life. I don't know how anyone goes through this alone.

It's surprisingly super hard to lay flat all day and then go to sleep at night after doing nothing during the day, and then only sleep on your back. I couldn't roll over. Some nights felt like torture. The muscle relaxers and painkillers helped me go to sleep at night in the beginning, but by week two, I had gotten used to them and they didn't aid that process. The only side effect was from the Vicodin--constipation, which apparently is common. I started drinking prune juice, and that helped.

Eventually I ran out of my 10-day prescription and thought I no longer needed any meds. But without them, I backslid. I became overly ambitious about what I could do--like get out of bed--and ended up in more pain. I needed more muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories, but my client was out of the country. So I went back to the new doctor and explained what happened two days after I saw him. He put me on a "better" muscle relaxer (Carisoprodol) and anti-inflammatory (Naproxen). The new muscle relaxers did not make me at all drowsy. I liked being drowsy enough to fall asleep. I felt the original one did a better job for me personally. And I wasn't sleeping well.

At some point, I decided to get those X-rays at the encouragement of my acupuncturist. Turns out two of the discs had sort of collapsed, and I was told there was disc degeneration in my neck, causing a bulging disc and pinched nerve. I was relieved that it wasn't super serious. At least no one I saw said I needed surgery. I almost didn't make it to the X-rays because I couldn't sit or stand for more than one minute in the waiting room without terrible pain. Somehow I managed to push myself through the X-rays, and I'm glad I did. It was helpful to know that it wasn't more serious. I honestly had been thinking that there was no way I would ever return to a normal life. But the body is miraculous. It can heal. 

Within the first three or four days of being laid up, I had found some neck exercises on YouTube that I began doing each day. I could only barely do the easiest one, the first one, called retraction. But I did it religiously because I was so desperate. Looking back, I think that expedited the healing process.

Besides the oil, the only other helpful thing the acupuncturist did for me was mention a book called, "Treat Your Own Neck" (There's also Treat Your Own Back") by Robin MacKenzie, which contains neck exercises called the MacKenzie Method of exercises.

 
 

I told the acupuncturist that I was already doing some type of exercise each day, but I ordered the book anyway. The book was very informative--and the exercise I was already doing came from the book! I decided that I needed to see someone who specialized in these type of neck exercises. Luckily, living in Los Angeles, I looked online and found a man named Dr. Gary Jacob. When I had gone back to the acupuncturist for my fourth treatment, she said that I should see a man named Dr. Gary Jacob, who she knew personally--she had gone to him as a patient and had taken classes from him. I knew he was just the person to help me. And boy did he!

Dr. Gary Jacob is a chiropractor/acupuncturist (he lectures around the country to chiropractors and teaches acupuncture) but more importantly to me, he was the first chiropractor certified in the MacKenzie Method of exercises for patients with neck and back pain. I called him on New Years Eve, almost two weeks after the acute stage began and asked when I could see him. He suggested the next day. I said, "But I don't want you to work on New Year's Day." And he told me it didn't matter. Wow.

The next day, I put on my neck brace, laid down in the back seat, and we drove over to see him. Dr. Jacob was a god-send. He was informal in demeanor, making me feel so at ease immediately, but he was also very authoritative. He was accessible with a discreet office, no receptionist or assistant. (Apparently, he  used to have a huge practice in Santa Monica with receptionists and a gym and massage therapists--the whole nine yards--but he taught so many patients to heal themselves that he had to downsize, because they didn't need to come back!) I knew instantly he was my Holy Grail. He suggested that I no longer have any chiropractic neck adjustments. I assured him I wasn't. He relayed a message to my acupuncturist, who he knew, to think more "cosmically" and treat me holistically rather than specifically. He did a bunch of tests on me--strength tests, rotating tests, etc. And he poked around the muscles in my neck, he even cracked my back. After the tests, he said to me, "You respond to movement." I started to cry of relief. I had been immobile for 2 weeks, wondering how I would ever possibly be normal again. And this was the best news I had heard! My body responded to movement! It wanted to move!

He laid me down and pushed his thumb up each side of my neck vertebrae, digging in deep, and afterward he asked me to turn my neck. Again, I cried--not of pain, but of joy. I could turn my neck more! I felt a release and ease of movement. He asked me how far I could walk without pain and I told him "around our small pool." Though even that was painful. He said, "Now I want you to walk fast for 3 minutes a day. Get your heart rate up." I said, "I can't do that. The pain would stop me." And he responded, "Work through the pain." I needed someone to tell me that I was going to be okay and give me permission to keep moving even if I felt I would collapse from pain. No one had told me that I would heal completely. No one told me that this nightmare would all go away. I don't believe Dr. Jacob would have told me to get up and exercise for three minutes even a couple of days before. But somehow, that day, I was ready to begin to move. It was, after all, New Year's Day.

Seeing him was divine timing. I needed to hear what he had to say at exactly that time in my healing process. I do believe Dr. Jacob would have told me to do exactly what I had been doing that week--rest, ice (I did 20 minutes about 5 times throughout the day) and stay on the medication. I was off the painkillers and he asked what anti-inflammatory I was still on and I told him Naproxin. He said, "That's a good one." So I kept taking it. Dr. Jacob also gave me a list of supplements to take: vitamin D, magnesium, and omega 3s. (I took them all.) And he told me to come back and see him if I needed. I only needed to see him one more time.

 
 

My husband and I walked out of his office and we both hugged each other and cried. We finally knew it was all going to be okay from here on out, for the first time. It was the best New Year's Day ever. I was beginning the new year on the right foot with hope and joy. I can't even begin to describe what I felt. "Elation" comes close.

Dr. Jacob had taught my husband some exercises, traction-type ones where I lay on the bed and he pulls my head away from my body to do on me that were very beneficial. No one suggested a traction table to me, but I do believe that would have helped after the acute pain. While in acute pain, I found only rest, ice, and medication gave relief. We did the exercises each day.

(It should be noted that I did try massage and body work, but I don't believe at that stage it helped much. Last weekend, however, I did get another massage, and I think it was beneficial but only because I am at the end of my healing process. I also did not try a steroid epidural shot because I felt that was a riskier approach.)

Another thing I had been doing on my own from day one was visualization. I did guided meditations for healing every day.  I attribute much of the quickness of my recovery to that daily guided imagery. (I am a hypnotherapist, and I've created over 40 hypnosis MP3s. Please consider downloading the ones I have created for "Illness." They're only $8.96 for 6 of them!)

I tried EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which I have been using for 13 years with wonderful results, but in this case, it didn't help.

There is a Workbook lesson in A Course in Miracles (my spiritual path, which is simply a book) that states: "All things are lessons God would have me learn." I believe that if we don't reflect on the lesson that the situation is trying to teach us, then it will just reappear in the same form or worse. I had nothing but time for those few weeks, so I reflected on the lesson I was to learn through this ordeal. For me, it came down these

1. Listening to my body and acting on first signs of "trouble."

2. Taking care of my body with exercise and stretching.

3. Most importantly: Keeping a healthy mind. Meaning, not allowing others (both in my personal life and in my professional life) to throw me off my peaceful center. I needed to change my perception about some things and let go of control. I needed a 180 in the way I was seeing a particular situation in my life, and I needed to let go of other peoples' problems. In line with keeping a healthy mind, I knew I needed a break for Christmas to refocus, but in hindsight I now see it went beyond need to desperation. I had no idea how badly I needed to lie flat on my back for two weeks and do nothing. The universe, my higher self, God, whatever you call that, did know. And made sure it happened.

4. Not take my health for granted. Not take the fact that I can get out of bed and walk for granted. Not take a beautiful day for granted. Not take my body for granted. Not take anything for granted.

I think I'm doing pretty good on all those accounts. I definitely see these last six weeks as a gift now. I  wouldn't wish it on anyone, but I learned so much and I grew immensely. (I wrote a blog post during this ordeal about my spiritual teacher dying at this same time.)

Unfortunately, the story doesn't end there. Just when I was feeling back to almost normal, last week, I discovered that I developed an ulcer. I woke up in the middle of the night with a burning sensation and mild nausea. The nausea stayed with me into the morning accompanied by a lot of burping. I remember saying to my husband that day, "I just don't feel good." And I tried to take a nap, which I never do. I googled my symptoms and I realized it was an ulcer. I had every symptom on the list. I came to find out that Naproxin is notorious for causing ulcers. Why wouldn't my doctor tell me this? My client-doctor had given me an antacid to take 30 minutes before the anti-inflammatory, and I stayed on that for 10 days, which was the amount he prescribed. But my new doctor gave me 30 days with no warning or antacid. I had no idea it was eating a hole in my stomach lining! Everyone told me it was a better anti-inflammatory than the one I had been taking, and I didn't have any side effects from that one, so I assumed I was safe with this one. Wrong! I immediately went off all meds and have been healing the ulcer naturally--licorice root tablets, pure cranberry juice, pure aloe vera juice, probiotics, and enzymes. And it is working. As far as my stomach goes, it's healing, except for the occasional mild burning or very mild nausea.

I'm hoping that's it now! Nothing more after the ulcer.

It is my sincere wish that if you are suffering from the same thing that this information has been helpful to you. I want to give you hope that it will heal. You WILL get better. My advice is to listen to your own body. About two weeks ago I stopped icing my neck and began heating it. That "felt" like the right thing to do. All that confusing advice left me listening to myself more and more, even if it contradicted what professionals were telling me. It's your body. You do know what you need. In the acute stages, if it hurts to do something, don't do it. Give your body rest. And eat healthfully. I am a vegan, and I ate only healthy foods--tons of raw veggies each day in a sandwich, stayed away from gluten and sugar (inflammatories), ate an apple a day, because my body craved it, and drank green juices and plenty of water. I did lose five pounds, but it wasn't unhealthy for me. I feel like I shed a layer that needed to be released. Food is medicine, and it no doubt attributed to a speedier recovery.

I feel like I have a new lease on life. I'm walking regularly. I'm eating more slowly and consciously. I no longer sleep on my stomach. I sit straighter and don't slouch as much. Oh, I got this awesome wedge for reading, being on my computer, or watching TV in bed, as well as a bolster for my knees. In addition, I’ve been asked about pillows, which have to be one of the hardest things to recommend, as everyone is so different and particular. But I like cheap pillows that eventually flatten. I use all three of these products.

 

One of the best things I do to maintain good health is take a daily warm bath with epsom salts. This is my favorite brand: 

 

All in all, I've created new healthier routines and behaviors for my body, and I'm thinking healthier thoughts, as well, by releasing what isn't mine to hold onto.

Life is good.

Here's to health!

Dear Reader: Please take advantage of my discounted Hypnotherapy MP3s for healing. You can purchase the ILLNESS bundle (includes 6 different sessions) for only $8.96. Or purchase ALL (over 40) for $39.99. It will absolutely expedite your healing process! 

 
 

UPDATE:

Feb. 17, 2015

I couldn't be more thrilled with the 5,000 hits this post has received, and from all over the world! Please know that you are not alone. Every day this post gets at least 50 hits from people suffering from this neck ordeal, just like you. I've been asked how I am now doing, so I thought I would give a quick update.

I am fully recovered. I never thought it would happen, but miracles do occur! I have absolutely no residual pain or discomfort. I am back to all my usual activities, except sleeping on my stomach. I am forever a back/side sleeper, unfortunately.

I still put the heating gel on my neck almost every night. I've done that for over a year now. Rubbing it in gives me a moment to massage my neck muscles, and I think that has helped. And I still sit in a hot bath every day! I am more cautious now, in that I don't crank my neck to talk to people, or sit or lie down to read or watch TV with my neck forward. I also won't do anything that jerks my neck, like ride roller coasters. (Not that I rode roller coasters often before.) I will occasionally do a McKenzie neck exercise, just to counter any weird tweaking of my neck I may have done naturally throughout the day.

I hope that gives you hope! Be patient with yourself, you will heal.

Love,
Cynthia

May 24, 2019

I have had a pinched nerve in my lower back for five weeks now—but not nearly as horrible as my neck experience. This pain radiates through my left hip and thigh. The difference between now and when I wrote that post five and a half years ago is that I know what my body needs. I quickly hop on the regime outlined above with lots of rest. It’s an ongoing self-care and maintenance routine for me. And no chiropractors or acupuncturists for me ever again. Hope you’re feeling better.

Love,
Cynthia


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RIP My Spiritual Teacher Kenneth Wapnick

A great man died a few days ago on December 27, 2013. He was one of the greatest men to ever walk the earth. If you don’t believe me, check back in about 50 years. He’s one of those that will become more famous with time. Like Van Gogh, minus the mental illness. Not many knew him. Relatively few noticed that he was here, or that he left. But if you were a serious student of A Course in Miracles, his name was known around the world to you as Dr. Kenneth Wapnick.

He was the most enlightened person I had ever come across in all my seeking and traveling. And that’s probably why not many people knew him. The enlightened are like that. They don’t seek the limelight. They are unassuming. (Kenneth looked like a junior high school science teacher to me.) They live quiet, yet hugely productive, lives that leave indelible marks on those they touch.

Kenneth profoundly changed my life. He was the greatest scholar and living example of A Course in Miracles that the world has seen, and I considered him my teacher. Much of my book You're Already Hypnotized: A Guide to Waking Up (and my podcast A Course in What?! is based on his work. Kenneth knew I was writing a book, which began in July 1996. The book just became available this July, around the time, it seems, that Kenneth was diagnosed with cancer. Years ago he asked me how the book was coming, and I sheepishly responded that it was a slow process. He brushed it off and said, “It doesn’t matter how long it takes, just write a good book.”

I took those words to heart. I wrote the best book I could, no matter how long it took. I never sent the finished book to Kenneth. I told myself that I would hand him a copy when I saw him in person. But I now know the truth. I had no intention of ever giving Kenneth the book. Deep down, I was afraid of disappointing him. I couldn’t bear anything less than complete acceptance from this man. And yet even if he disagreed with some of my work, which I expect he would since he had told me that he disagreed with me in the past, I know that he would continue to love me unconditionally. Because that’s what enlightened people do. They love you anyway.

I suppose in my life it's no coincidence that I have been laid up flat on my back for two weeks now with a herniated disc in my neck. It's the most excruciating pain I have ever felt (makes broken bones, of which I had a couple, seem like child's play). I realized, while staring at the ceiling for the last two weeks, that I've gotten away from the Course.

A Course in Miracles is always central to my thinking, but I've strayed from applying and practicing its principles in every situation. I've gotten into the habit of applying it when it's convenient for me. I had planned to take two weeks off for Christmas in order to reevaluate and rest. I just didn't realize the rest would come in this form. This is my wake up call to step-up my spiritual practice. So as I am lying on my back thinking of how I feel called to reconnect with the Course in a deeper way and to begin teaching it again (stay tuned), I received the news that my dear teacher of the Course has died. 

Kenneth’s life changed my life. And I intend for his death to do the same for me. I was never the same once I found him, and something deep within me tells me that I will never be the same now that he is gone.

I tell the story in my book of meeting a man named Peter at the Foundation for Inner Peace in 1996 in upstate New York where Kenneth was teaching. Peter and I became great friends, bonded by our deep devotion to A Course in Miracles. And then Peter committed suicide. I remember grappling with how one of the most dedicated students of A Course in Miracles could kill himself. I couldn’t find the peace I needed to move on, so I wrote to Kenneth who also knew Peter. I'd have to dig up the letter to remember all that Kenneth said to me, but I will never forget the sentence, “Do not focus on the separation, focus on the truth that you are still together.” I began to heal after that.

Though it is with great sadness that I write this, I am trying to heed Kenneth’s words and focus on the truth that we are still together.

I join with those who mourn our loss, and join as well in the gratitude that we were gifted with such an illuminating light.

As Ken used to say, "God speed." 



Tess Chronicles: Messages from One Woman's Spirit Guide in Hypnosis (Visit 5)

The Tall Dark Familiar Stranger

This installment is part of a series. Type "Tess" in the search box to read the previous four posts.

As I was floating up away from the world and beyond the sky on my cloud mattress, I was surprised to notice beautiful glowing white angels underneath the mattress. They were working very hard, heaving and ho-ing, trying to lift me higher and higher. I said, ‘Have you guys always been there?” They said, “Yeah, you’ve just never noticed us before.” I then decided to go flying with them. We flew all around, dipping up and down.

Two of the angels took me underneath my arms, and in a forceful strong-armed way, “very unangelic,” led me to some place with a trellis and a pathway. They said, “Do you want to see the secret garden?” I said, “Yes, I’ve never been there.” They responded, “Then we’ll go this way.” They pulled open the trellis and I watched with amazement as they went through a small opening, easily. They said, “We can go anywhere and through anything.” It was my turn, but I couldn’t fit. I was trying to get through, but I kept getting hooked. I told them, “I can’t get through.” They nonchalantly responded, “Oh well, see ya later” They took off saying, “See you next time.”

I was frustrated trying to get unhooked, but I finally managed to free myself. Once free, I didn’t know which way to turn. I looked to the left and there was some guy digging a hole. He saw me look at him and said, “Go away.” It was creepy. As I looked to the right I noticed a very long path that had no end in sight. I became scared, afraid that I was trapped and I would never get out of this place. I didn’t know which way to turn and started feeling woozy.

Then I saw a stone bench. I thought, “Okay, I’m going to sit here and calm down and think this through.” There wasn’t anyone there. As I was sitting alone, a guy came out of nowhere. He was a bit eerie looking, dressed in a long dark brown robe with a hood, very monk-like. He was all dark. I couldn’t see his face, but he had extremely long limbs. He sat down and enthusiastically said, “Hi!” and I said, “Wow, you look really scary but you’re super nice. I feel like I should be scared of you, but I’m not.”

I told him he looked like the grim reaper. He was sitting back sort of sprawled out and relaxed, and responded, ‘Welllllll, not reeeeally. That whole grim reaper thing is kind of made up.”

He told me, “You don’t need to know who I am. Actually, you already do know. You’ve met me before. I said, “I have?” He said, “Yes, in a past life. You don’t remember which one.” I said, “I don’t remember you or your name.” And he responded, “You will.”

I said, “Oh, I keep forgetting when I’m here to ask if I can I meet my grandma. Is she here?” He said, “Yes, she’s here. Maybe next time.”

Tess then asked some questions that we had prepared for her before the session. I record these sessions and then type them up in her voice. I noticed that in this particular session there was a lot of time between her asking the questions, receiving the answers and relaying the information to me. She said that the answers were coming very slowly. The conversation felt very drawn out.

Tess asked:

“What is my life purpose?”

He showed me a scrolled piece of paper and I didn’t see any words on it, but he said, “Do you remember you wrote this before you came here?” and I said, “Nope.” He said,

“Well, no one really remembers their life purpose once they’re here because if they remembered it they would take a short cut and not go through the process, which is meant for learning and growth.”

He assured me, “You’re on the right path.

But you need to remember that this place you come to in hypnosis is real, and that it’s one with the world you perceive on earth. They aren’t separate; they are connected. 

(He showed her a picture of one on top of the other with a line between them, saying, “Everything is connected.”) 

You need to remind the world of this.” 

I asked, “But how do I do that?”

He said, “

Try to remember that everything is bigger than just you. That everyone and everything is connected.

Get past the old fear that people will laugh at you if you reveal this information.

(Tess still hasn’t told anyone, including her husband Mark, of her journeys.)

Try to remember the bigger picture of existence, then you can tell people more fearlessly, and the more people you tell, the more connected you are—to others and to this place.” 

“What are my lessons in this lifetime?”

“To eliminate fear.”

I said, “Why do you always say that? It’s so boring.”

He said, “But we’ll tell you it every time, we will say it 100 times until it’s gone. You need to get rid of fear and then tell people about this place. This is not in your imagination. It’s a very real place, just as your life on earth is real to you. The reason you need to tell people is because they don’t know that it exists. And they can’t find this place on their own. They don’t have access to this type of information. And they need to know. Most people can’t afford hypnotherapy or they can’t just go do it. But imagine if people could live their lives without fear, knowing that this place exists? If you tell other people that they can eliminate fear (and in particular a fear of death) then that’s what you have to do.

When you eliminate your fear, it will feel so good. And then you will be able to help others eliminate their fear. But first you must eliminate your own.”

I said, “I don’t know how that’s even possible!” I continued, “But don’t you tell lots of people this?”

“Yes, but the more people we tell the more people get to hear about it. We hope that people do something with the information; most people don’t, some people do. We can’t tell everyone because they’re not all ready to listen, but everyone is going to come here soon. (Tess felt waves of masses upon masses of people arriving at this place.) It’s all going to end up here, and wouldn’t it be nice for people to know that?”

I asked, “How can I create more success and abundance, like money?”

He quickly responded, “No, no, no.

Abundance isn’t about money; it’s about love.

You have it all wrong. Please remember this. When you have love, you have abundance. You have to have love first. And the more present you are, the more you will love, and the more you will have. If you are present and really listen to people they will tell you the things you need to hear. You have to really listen.

If you want to succeed, you must be present. And be careful with the words you say.”

I asked, “How do I have more success?”

He responded, “But don’t you already have success? Do you need more? Every year you will have more success, but you’ll always think you don’t have enough.”

He then said, “Now I’m going to lay out your life exactly as it’s going to be. Because isn’t that really what you want to hear?” He began to rattle off very quickly and emotionless, like a psychic reading, what was going to happen.

You’re going to be fine, your marriage will get stronger and stronger, and Mark will die before you, but you’ve always known that. (Tess always felt she would be left alone in her old age.) It won’t happen until you’re much older. Your children will be great (her two children are under 10 years old now). They won’t do drugs.

But you will have problems with your younger one. You’ll move houses in two years. You will be so happy with that house. You’ll feel lucky that you got it. You’ll stay in your business partnership for a while longer, a couple of years. I know you want to move on, but the time isn’t right yet. Mark will get a lot of success. You’ll get stronger as a couple. You’re on the same path together.(Though Mark doesn’t know of her hypnotherapy sessions and ability, he is documentary filmmaker and very much into researching life and self-improvement.) You will have more money and you’ll be able to do more things. Your parents will be around a long time. Don’t worry about them. Everything’s going to be fine.

I said, “I want to write children’s books.” He said, “You will.”

I asked, “Should you be telling me this stuff?” “He answered, “Well isn’t that what you really want to know? Don’t worry. All will be fine.”

I then told Tess it was time to end the session and led her back down to earth and into her body. Tess was completely taken by surprise by the fact checking run-through of her life. She seemed very animated after the session. More so than usual.

In terms of the life purpose question, I often regress people in hypnosis to before their incarnation, or their pre-incarnate state, to get a glimpse of their intention for their upcoming life. I hear things like “to forgive, to undo fear, to learn and to teach.” Undoing fear may seem like a boring answer, but imagine what the world would look like if we undid our collective fear?

Imagine what your life would be like if fear no longer held you back?

Not a fear of spiders or bees or public speaking or of flying or love or death. What would a fearless life look like? That is the question they are asking of us. That is the existence they asking us to seek.


International March for Elephants: Los Angeles

Did you know that elephants will be extinct in 12 years?

My husband Brad and I participated in the International March for Elephants in LA on October 4, 2013. He was also asked to make a video of the event. Please take 4 minutes to watch this informative, powerful video. It's awesome, if I do say so myself. (For more of Brad's work, visit www.BradKlopman.com.)


Tess Chronicles: Messages from One Woman's Spirit Guide in Hypnosis (Visit 4)

Visit 4: Five Questions

The way I am instructed to arrive at the place in which I meet my spirit guide is by what Cynthia calls a "cloud mattress" in hypnosis. When I am on this cloud, I am magically lifted higher and higher to a place beyond the world and beyond time and space. As the cloud goes higher, my body becomes so light that I am no longer aware of it. The physical world and my body seem to disappear. 

This time I arrived at the place with the gates. (This was mentioned in a previous visitation.) Unlike the last time I was here, the gates were wide open. 

(Sometimes they are shut, sometimes partially open.) 

I enter into a garden area. There is a gravel path to the left, which I had seen before in other visitation sessions, and a fountain to the right. I have been through these gates before, but each time I see this place it is slightly different, except for the gravel path.

The path goes around the corner. I decide to walk it. As I reach the corner someone meets me on the path. It's a man in a white robe with a long beard. He says his name is Joseph. We are familiar with each other.

I am above average height for a woman in "real" life, but I am much shorter than Joseph, like a child. I feel just like a child. We go over to the fountain, I put my hand in the water and my hand merges with the water. I start splashing the water around and throwing it in the air, and the water is so light that it stays in the air, like light particles. I am mesmerized.

Then he says, “Let’s meet the others.” We go up a small steep hill and as we get to the top there is a very steep long hill below. It looks treacherous. I say, “I can't go down that or I will fall.” He says, “Oh, you can, you just need to walk down it.”

We get half way down the hill to a ledge with two rocks to sit on. It's overlooking a grassy slope and below that are the lights of the world. I can see that the world is dark with lights dotted everywhere. It is a beautiful arc shape appearing below the field.

Then there are a few others who come to join us and sit behind us. (I don't meet any of them but I somehow know they are other disciples.) Jesus walks up the grass and sits next to me. I still feel like a child. 

He greets me as with "How are you my child?" gently cupping my face with his hands.

Cynthia starts to ask questions. The first one is hard [to concentrate on] but I manage to stay in the moment. During the second question about the church, I say to Jesus, “Oh, I don't really understand that question and I don't think I can answer that.” He says, “It is not for you to answer but for me.” Then at this point the answers come without me even thinking. They just easily come through me. 

At the end, Cynthia tells me to ask any personal questions. I ask mostly about money. Jesus tells me not to keep asking that. He says that all will be okay and that I have a bright future ahead. 

Once the questions are finished Jesus says he must go because they have much to do. I think that seems strange, that doesn't he always have time for everything and everyone? I think, why is he in such a hurry? What does he need to do? 

It seems funny to me that he’s so busy. As if reading my mind, he turns and says he always has time for me and everyone if I need him.

He asks if I need anything else, but I don't have any more questions. I just think it would be nice if he would stay and just hang out. 

Then he turns and leaves down the grassy hill, and as he and the others (who are ahead of him) leave they disappear into the grass. They blend into it. E

verything is always green and alive in here. The grass is longish, lush and slightly damp. Nothing ever feels dry.

Here are the questions I (Cynthia) had Tess ask.

1. What is the purpose of the world?

We need to create peace and harmony around us. All of the worlds need to connect together. There are indeed other worlds. And we need to connect the energy, like rods between the worlds.

We leave there [our pre-incarnate state or true Home before we are born] with every intention of bringing peace and harmony to the world, but we never remember when we get here because we are so distracted by everything around us.

We need to remember. We need to remind people. We need to connect back to where we came from or we will never remember to bring peace and harmony to the world. Everyone has been here so many times and so many people fail. The world is not a happy place. Neither are the other worlds.

We get distracted by greed. And every time we go back there [our true Home] we say we will remember the peace and harmony next time we come to the world, and then we get here and we forget.

We need to remind people where to go to reconnect back to a higher consciousness and bring that to the world.

2. What is the best way to remember? How do we do that in this world of distractions?

It’s about going back there to visit. But it’s not done through going to church.

It’s about reminding people that there is an energy of love, and this energy is what connects us all.

That energy will lead them to remember where they came from. But everything is connected through energy—all of us. Little by little, we will teach the world. We have to show that there is a force of energy that connects us all. The church on a whole doesn’t work to do that.

After the session, Tess said she was told that hypnotherapy was a good way to remember. I imagine then that techniques like meditation and yoga and prayer would fit into this, as well. Processes that still the mind and access different levels of consciousness.

3. What’s going to happen to church and religion as consciousness progresses?

Only energy and a higher consciousness will take us to the next level. The church is only one level. It never takes the world any further because it's of a human level. The church is good in that people come together, but they don’t go far enough. The church has been around for thousands of years because it works on one level, but it doesn’t work on another.

The only way to move forward is through the remembrance of the energy of connectedness.

This is the only way we will remember that our job is to bring peace and love. 

4. There is a lot of talk about consciousness changing in 2012, some even believe it’s the end of the world. From your perspective, what is that all about?

It’s of human talk. Time has no importance.

After the session, Tess said that in relation to the 2012 question, she felt there was going to be a shift away from the church. It should be noted that this session took place in December 2010.

5. How will the world look when healed?

The world won’t exist when that happens. 

Please know that you can only try your best to bring healing to the world, but not only one person can do it alone. Little by little through your efforts, we will all move on to another world.

After that, Jesus told her that she was on the right track and they were very proud of her. She was told that she had been here many times before. Then Jesus said,

“Okay, we’re done.”


Tess Chronicles: Messages from One Woman's Spirit Guides in Hypnosis (Visit 3)

Visit 3: Walking on Water

To read the first Tess Chronicles installment click here, the second installment is here.

I arrive at the place I was at the first time I visited here and met David. I don't enter through any gates this time. It is windy, as it is each time I am in this place "on the other side." (Tess later interprets the ever-present wind to be a sign of constant energy.)

I am standing by the tree where I first met David. But instead of going into the wooded area, I am drawn to go the other way, towards the water's edge. On the other side of the water, Jesus appears. 

He says to me, “Come over here.” 

I respond, “I can't. I'll get wet if I have to swim through the water.” 

I then think to myself, “Why can't he just come over here?” 

As if reading my thoughts, he says, “You can walk on the water.” 

I find this idea utterly silly, but to my surprise,

as sure as I can walk on solid ground, I walk across the water. Jesus meets me half way, and we walk to the other side together.

We climb up a small hill, and I laugh to myself because I think it's really funny that Jesus is climbing up a hill in his open-toe sandals and white robe. At the top of the hill are two big rocks, perfect for us to sit on and from which to look over to the other side. The surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful—trees and grassy areas abound, all lush with vibrant color.

We talk and I start to ask the questions I have prepared.

(Note: I, Cynthia, had asked Tess to come up with some questions to ask for this session, questions about anything that she wanted--the world, herself, life, and such.) 

Somehow I’m finding it difficult to speak the questions out loud. I also have a hard time staying in the present moment. I am told by a voice in my head to concentrate. 

Jesus tells me that I already know the answers to these questions, and that next time we meet, Cynthia needs to come up with the questions instead.

(Note: Those questions and answers are in the next installment.)

Then I say, “Where is David? How come I never see him anymore? I thought he was meant to be my spirit guide.” David instantly appears. But he sits slightly below us on the hill. I ask him, “Why are you sitting down there?" Come up here,” I say, “Sit with us.” David says, “I am your humble servant and would be happy to sit up there.” 

His response is very unsettling. 

I say to Jesus, “I thought David was my

guide. He should be showing me what to do, not being my humble servant.” I can’t remember my reaction or his, but I do remember Jesus saying, “You are my queen.”  I think this is all really strange and I say, “But am I not David's wife?” It makes no sense.

Then I wonder, at this point, how much my conscious mind is interfering with the information I am receiving. As if reading my thoughts, Jesus tells me, “You will get better at this (communication) with time.” I am told that it’s time for me to go.

*******

This session was disturbing for Tess, especially when David said he was her "humble servant" and Jesus told her, "You are my queen." It's rightfully unsettling, but once I break it down, it really isn't that out there.

Our spirit guides are those who are more advanced than we are, often they are people we have known and been close to in past lives. Now they've become our teachers. It is said that when we finish our reincarnation cycle, meaning we have paid our karmic debts and learned the lessons we are meant to learn, then our job, so to speak, becomes that of serving--being of service.

Some of these advanced souls reincarnate to serve in the world, others help from beyond the world as spirit guides, and others yet are teachers to those on the other side. So it's actually fitting that David would say to Tess, "I am your humble servant." Even though the traditional idea of a servant is one who is "less than;" in this case, it would be one who is "wiser than." David has completed his reincarnation cycle and is now available to simply serve, and to serve Tess in hypnosis, specifically.

I think Jesus saying, "You are my queen" may be related to the incident that Tess had when she was a child, which we chronicled in the second installment. (She was told that she was Mary by an older woman Italian shopkeeper.) The historical Mary is referred to as "The Queen." Does that mean Tess is the incarnation of Mother Mary? Not necessarily. She is probably tapping into the collective unconscious of the energy of the spirit of the one who was Mary.

Also, Tess asking the question, "But am I not David's wife?" could be because in a past life Tess was his wife, not necessarily during David's life as David, but in another one of his lives in which they were together. She could access that information in hypnosis, as all of our past information is stored in the subconscious. Out of hypnosis she never would have said such a thing. But in hypnosis, that was her natural quick response. It could also be that she is bonded to David, as he is a spirit guide to her, and a symbol of that bond is the idea of a "wife."

What stands out to me as well in this session is the walking on water part. I think it's a metaphor for all of us to learn from. Tess gives reasons why she can't do it, but Jesus simply says, "you can." Once she trusts him and makes the effort, she is able to perform this seeming miracle, and Jesus meets her half way.

You don't have to believe in the biblical Jesus to benefit from her experiences in hypnosis. You don't have to believe in any of this, actually. Even if you looked at the messages she is receiving as metaphor, or at Jesus and David as symbols of love, truth, divinity, spirit, or whatever, it is still very helpful. The idea that there is one within us (perhaps, our higher self or even our own spirit guide) that knows we can do what we set out to do, that we do have mastery over our physical reality, all we have to do is trust that voice, and then make the effort. Once we take those first steps, Jesus, God, the whole universe meets us halfway.

Every effort in the right direction has great strength that rises up to walk us the rest of the way.

Listen to that still small voice, believe, and make the effort. 


Tess Chronicles: Messages from One Woman's Spirit Guides in Hypnosis (Visit 2)

Visit 2: A View from Above

To read the first Tess Chronicles post click here.

Though this session was done a couple of years ago, the profound experiences Tess had in this session have never left my mind.

I’ve come to understand that this particular hypnosis visitation was really a teaching about death. I hadn’t thought of that right after the session, or when Tess was relaying the experience back to me, nor when I wrote it out and read it through a couple of times, or even when I reflected on it. It wasn’t until just now while posting this that the thought occurred to me. I think her spirit guide wanted us to see that, in the words of Robert Monroe, “We are more than our physical body.”

 *******

As I am floating up higher and higher on what Cynthia calls my “cloud mattress,” I think of a guy I had driven by the day before who had been in a car accident. I had witnessed him laying motionless on the side of the road, and thought he must be dead. It was unsettling, and I thought about him a lot since I last saw him. 

From my cloud mattress, I now see this same guy rising above his body on the side of the road performing somersaults and backflips in the air. I think, “Why is he doing that?” As soon as I think a question, the answer usually just comes. I understand it is because it’s what he wanted to do (somersaults). He seems to be enjoying it.

Later, he is on another cloud just above me. I can’t see him but I know he is there.

Once I reach my destination, I come to a hilly field with long lush grass. There are vibrant green trees to each side. I lie on the grass, it is so nice and soft; the sun is shining on me.

Up to this point in the hypnosis session, I am experiencing something unusual. My physical body is feeling like I am going completely sideways. The sensation is disturbing enough that I think I will have to take my self out of the hypnosis to stop it.

David, my spiritual guide, tells me (via a voice) to stay calm. He says once I meet him I will feel okay.

Cynthia says. “You are now aware that you are not alone.” I see spirits walking and peeking out from amongst the trees alongside the grassy hill, and then David appears, looking exactly as he did before with the long beard, wearing the same white glowing robe. At this point, my physical body feels upright and normal again. I no longer panic about my physical self.

As I stand up to go towards him and he moves towards me, we become one.

It’s hard to put into words and explain, but there is no sensation that this is a moment, it just is.

I see light around the environment, but other images around us are hazy. Once I join David in his light, a sense of calm envelops me. It’s as if we melt together.

David says, “We are one. We are the same.” I find that hard to comprehend and he explains that even though he is David and I am who I am, we are still part of the same.

He tells me that when he guides me, I also guide me.

I can’t remember the order of questions and answers that I have prepared to ask him today, and I can’t even remember if I ask the questions or just think them.

I ask questions about money again, nothing specific. “Will I have enough?”

He answers that I should not worry about money and all those other sorts of things. 

He tells me that it has already been decided—that I never need worry about money and such things, that I will always have enough. He says, “I will take care of all of that if you trust that I will.”

In my day-to-day life, I have often wondered if I could win the lottery. I do not ask this question when I am with David, but he tells me that I will not win the lottery. He says, “Because that would be too much money and would bring only another set of worries.” H

e explains that I will have it just so, so I will not have to ever worry.

I have some other questions about things – an important potential job my husband is waiting to hear on. He says, “Yes, it will happen.” He tells me this almost in passing with no importance attached to it whatsoever. (Later I come home and learn that it is true, my husband got the job.)

Then David says, “Come this way.”  We walk over the hill and see the other spirit guides from the first visitation. Again they are sitting in a circle around a tree stump, but they’re less clear to me this time. I notice in this hypnosis session that I am receiving less images, and they're blurry, but the feelings and sensations are much stronger than other hypnosis sessions.

I then ask David who he is and how they are a part of all of this. He says (referring to me, as well), “We are all one. We are a group. We are the chosen ones.”

I am taken aback. I think that is completely embarrassing and egotistical to think of myself in that way. He says, “That is exactly why you are who you are. It is better to be humble.” He tells me I choose to come here for us all to learn and that I am very brave and courageous. It makes me uncomfortable.

I ask, “Are you King David?”

He answers, “Yes, I was.”

I am curious, “How am I part of the group?”

He says, “It is not important who you are or who you were. You do not need to know this now.”

I surprise myself by asking, “Am I Mary?” *

No answer.

* (I believe Tess asked this question because of an inexplicable experience she had when she was ten years old. Her family was vacationing in Taormina, Sicily, Italy when she and her mother walked into a market. The shopkeeper, an older woman, ran up to Tess, wanting to touch her. She said, "She is the Virgin Mary" and explained that she had seen her (Tess) in a dream. Tess' mom was shook up by the experience and quickly left the shop. Tess does not remember the experience, but her mother relayed it to her a few years ago.)

David tells me that we are all a group, but he has been chosen from the group to be my guide. He says, “It is an honor and a privilege to guide you.” This makes me feel very emotional. I have tears in my eyes. 

He then motions me, “Join in the group.” We all join our hands together again; we are one.

Cynthia’s voice tells me, “Your guide has something special to show you.” He laughs and says, "We are already one step ahead of her."

He takes me farther down the hill to an edge. What I see is hard to describe. I see the earth below, but the view is like a map of lights above a dark blue world. The lights below are in fast motion, crisscrossing over each other.

I am only now aware that above us are only to be described as shooting stars of light and air that arch above our heads from the world below, moving really fast, and then shoot behind us. There are lots and lots of them all the time, all traveling at great speed. It is something spectacular to behold.

I don’t know where they are going to, but then

I am made aware that they are other spirits (souls/people) leaving earth. They are spirits returning Home.

I wonder, “Why aren’t they coming over here, to where we are?” I receive no answer. I giggle to myself because I find it funny that they travel so fast. I would have imagined that they would be very slow and deliberate. The feelings I have are of calm serenity; I have no fear.

Cynthia says, “It is time to come back now.” David assures me it is time to go now and I can come and visit any time.

As I am guided back down to earth on my cloud mattress I think about Locked-in Syndrome (which I have reading up on a lot recently) and I have the thought that if researchers tried hypnosis on Locked-in Syndrome patients, it may wake them up.

One more thing, at some point during this time David tells me that Cynthia is my guide on earth, so I can always reach them and she will show me the way forward.

 *******


Tess Chronicles: Messages from One Woman's Spirit Guide in Hypnosis (Visit 1)

Visit 1: Meeting

On August 6, 2008, I met a client I’ll call Tess. She is an attractive, uber-stylish thirty-something wife and mother, who is also a successful Hollywood creative type, transplanted from Europe. Tess contacted me to help her overcome anxiety and a fear of flying. She told me that she didn’t believe in hypnotherapy; she was admittedly just desperate to heal her phobias when someone referred her to me.

Tess was raised in Catholic schools, though she questioned their tenets throughout her schooling and eventually abandoned religion all together. From then on, Tess was agnostic. She didn’t really give it much thought.

Maybe it was her Catholic European upbringing, but Tess showed very little emotion in or out of hypnosis. It was unusual. Hypnotherapy at some point can make people emotional, but not Tess. Yet she took to hypnosis exceptionally well. We did six sessions and the anxiety and phobias began to disappear.

Tess continued to come in every couple of months for what we called maintenance sessions. One day while we were talking, I had the feeling that Tess needed to receive some “higher” guidance. I suggested that we do a session to meet her spirit guide. I rarely, if ever, suggest this type of session to a client, so I was surprised to hear myself say that, but something about it felt important. Tess didn't know anything about spirit guides, but she had developed a trust in me and said she was game.

Her first session was so remarkable that we decided to continue to meet with her spirit guide every so often. We’ve done about eight or nine over the last couple of years, and we continue to do these sessions today.

Over a year ago, her spirit guide asked us to share this information for others to learn from, which I'm obviously just now getting around to doing. The messages went pretty quickly from personal messages to Tess to impersonal messages to all of us.

With her permission, and as instructed by her spirit guide (and guides), I am sharing some of the more interesting sessions with my readers, as recalled by Tess. I will list them in chronological order, as that makes the most sense. Tess and I just had a fascinating session last week, which I will post soon. Please continue to search this blog for updates on what I call “Tess Chronicles.” I hope you enjoy these installments.

 

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Cynthia is guiding me to a place far above this world. I don’t know where I am going or what it will look like. She tells me the intention is to meet my spirit guide. I have no preconceived ideas. I don’t know what a spirit guide is or what he or she might look like. I am floating up higher and higher until I arrive at a place by a beautiful lake. I swim in the lake and then sit on the water’s edge, leaning against a tree.

I am in a lush wooded area, but there is a lot of light coming through the trees. It is extremely peaceful. I am alone at this point, but prior to that someone was swimming in the lake with me and lying next to me by the lake. He left, and I am not aware of who he was.

As I sit by the tree I am alone, knowingly waiting to meet someone.

Then Cynthia says, “You are now aware that you are not alone.”

That is when someone appears in a white robe with a long beard carrying the Bible. He is all light. He stretches out his hand to mine and I stretch mine out to his, as our hands touch they blend together and become one. I am astonished that our hands become all light together.

Cynthia tells me to ask my spirit guide his name. He answers, “David.”

I have prepared questions that I want to ask, mostly about money, like “Will I have enough?” He tells me that money is not that important.

I agree and say, “No, it’s not.” He says, “Then do not to worry about it, you will always have enough.”

I ask him about my work. He replies,

“Everything you want is within your reach. All you have to do it reach out and get it.”

He says, “Now it is time to meet the others.” I’m confused, there are others?

He guides me through a small trodden path in the woods a short distance to a clearing where there are men (spirit guides) sitting in a circle. 

They are sitting around a tree stump holding hands. They all have Bibles, too. I realize they are the Disciples. I say to David, “You are all really real.” (I had always thought the Disciples were fictional figures in the Bible meant to tell a story.) I feel excited and surprised that they are actual people.

I see them as light, no faces, although I am aware that they are all men. 

David tells me to join them. David and I sit in the circle and we all join hands. I don’t hold David’s hand, as he sits away from me. When we join hands, we all become one. I don’t have a feeling of holding any one man’s hand in particular just an overwhelming sense of knowing that we are all completely joined in a circle.

As we are still in the circle, something strange begins to happen. My physical body starts to feel constricted. My chest feels heavy, and I can’t breathe. I can’t catch any air. David tells me that it is time for me to go back. As my chest becomes heavier and heavier, I start to panic. I wake myself up out of hypnosis, scared that I may die—a terrifying feeling of leaving my body for good.

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Fairly quickly after “waking up” from hypnosis, Tess was able to shake those feelings and find her stability, because her consciousness was back in her body. She was amazed at how real the meeting with her guides had been. I too was surprised at the ease and detail of the session. I knew something special had just occurred.

Tess has an uncommon ability to vividly connect and recollect her hypnosis sessions in this “other” place. It’s what makes these visitation sessions so unique. Tess is also quick to point out that she doesn’t easily believe in “all this.” That’s what makes her, in my opinion, the perfect subject for these visitations. Skepticism aside, Tess was excited to continue this journey, and so was I.

In the next post, I will detail an experience she had that I still talk about to this day. Stay tuned.


We Eloped! A Joshua Tree Elopement

 

We knew we wanted our wedding ceremony to be just between the two of us, but we also knew that we wanted to share our special day with friends and family in the form of a video (that my husband Brad made). It turned out to be the most beautiful day of our lives. For more information on "our story" and "wedding details," etc. visit www.BradandCynthia.com.