In this place of seamless unfolding, everything could take on the appearance of happening instantly. I’ve heard it referred to as the ‘Eternal Now’, which seems like the perfect description to me. At one level I had a sense of everything that I experienced happening in the same instant, and at another level I was able to give it linear form – which is just as well, because it is the only way I have been able to make sense of any of it.
From that linear perspective, what happened next was perhaps the most perplexing part of the whole experience.
I felt an actual physical force being exerted on my being. It was like a giant vacuum cleaner had seized me within a powerful spiraling vortex. It literally sucked me in my entirety out of wherever I was and threw me back into my body, which reacted as if a gigantic electric shock had gone through it.
And there I was, lying on my back in bed, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. It was a definite ‘WTF’ moment.
It was no less disorientating for me than if I had been talking to someone in a forest in Canada, and then instantaneously found myself standing on a mountain top in New Zealand.
Each place was equally real, tangible, and experiential. I had no frame of reference for what had just happened. I was dumbfounded, confused, but at the same time, I knew I had experienced something extremely rare and profound. I remember just lying there for a while gazing at the ceiling, recalling bit-by-bit all that I had just lived (or maybe died) through.
The rest, all that had downloaded as I merged with All That Is, was no longer accessible to me. It was as if I was too dense and contracted to be able to contain such subtle information.
Not only could I not remember all that had been revealed, I could not even remember what questions I knew I knew the answers too. Coming back into my body had somehow brought on a kind of perfect amnesia which, as I came to understand later, only allowed me access the level of information that was useful for me to know at that (or any) time.
The tapping on my door took me by surprise. It was Nana telling me it was 8 o’clock and time to get up for breakfast. How was that possible? I had a sense of missing time. It should still be the middle of the night. Then I suddenly noticed the room was completely light where moments before it had been pitch-dark – and yet I felt I’d been fully conscious the whole time. I knew for sure I hadn’t gone back to sleep. Something didn’t quite fit together.
I had a sense (which has lingered to this very day) that though I seemed to be back in Kansas, it wasn’t the same Kansas I had gone to bed in. I didn’t know whether to be excited or anxious – so I just got up, had a quick shower, shaved, dressed, joined Nana at the breakfast table… and said nothing.
What could I say… I wasn’t even sure I hadn’t had some kind of psychotic episode. And this was how it was to remain for at least the next fifteen-or-more years of my life. A closely guarded secret shared with no one in case people thought I was crazy.
I spent two more nights at Nana Peggy’s before flying home to NZ. Most of the days were spent looking around London and checking out South Leighton and Hackney where my Mum was born, grew up, and eventually met and married my Dad in 1941.
There were to be no more events like my first night and everything seemed to return to normal… but somehow, I was different. I was unsettled by the experience and wasn’t sure what ‘Living my life with great courage’ actually meant. As best I could work out at the time, I thought it might have something to do with putting myself out of my comfort zone and exploring my untapped potential.
Over the next 10 years I enrolled in the most advanced personal development courses I could find, facilitated by some of the world’s greatest teachers. I read virtually everything available in print on human potentiality, personal transformation, leadership, quantum physics, mysticism, manifestation, near death experience and the holographic nature of the Universe. My hunger for knowledge was, and remains, insatiable.
I began studying many different Massage, Bodywork and Energy therapies, gaining insights into the Physical, Energetic and Etheric nature of the body/mind/spirit connection.
I also became fully committed to pursuing a high level corporate career path that was, on the surface of it, a complete juxtaposition to everything else I was exploring, but the six-figure salaries helped pay the not insubstantial bills I was wracking-up as I tried to remember what I was sure I already knew.
Sadly, these ten years also contained the beginning and end of a relationship with one of the most beautiful, intelligent, and loving beings I have ever met. Unfortunately, I could not save from her own personal demons… and life together eventually became impossible. Through this, I learned the lessons of powerlessness and letting go… and in this experience, I came to believe that ‘Living your life with great courage’ meant being incredibly brave… and of course, in many ways, that was true.
It wasn’t until August 2015, when I walked the ‘Cammino de San Francesco’ in Italy, that I gained the true insight into the grace-filled gift my beautiful golden-haired angel shared with me all those years before.
The Cammino di San Francesco (the St Francis Way) is a 280km journey through the hills and mountains of Umbria and Lazio from Assisi, the birth place of St Francis, to Rome.
How I came to be on this ‘Cammino’, and what I experienced in the two weeks as I walked through the height of and Italian heatwave, is a story in itself – and the subject of a book I am currently in the process of writing.
It is probably sufficient to say that it was directly linked to my 1990 experience and is by far the most profound expression of ‘Living my life with great courage’ (as I understood it to be at that time) I had ever undertaken.
Walking on my own for two weeks in 35C plus heat, through the mountainous spine of a country where I did not know the language, and where there were many clear and present dangers was incredibly gutsy, but also incredibly stupid!!
Somehow though, I made it, and was blessed, because exactly a year later, on Wednesday 24 August 2016, a massive earthquake rocked the Umbria and Lazio regions taking nearly 300 lives, damaging some of the beautiful, ancient towns and villages I had walked through. (On that night, one year before I was staying in Reiti… only 30km from the quakes epicentre. I often reflect on what a different journey it would have been if I had walked it in 2016 and not 2015.)
When I reached Rome the feeling of relief mixed with accomplishment was overwhelming. I was in a euphoric state and couldn’t stop smiling. I had done something that I would have never have believed I was capable of. And I had received the gifts of the road… incredible insights that entered the very fabric of my being… but seemed strangely familiar somehow. Just like my angelic being, who I am sure walked with me, seemed strangely familiar to me when I first met her.