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The editor's blog appears in OfSpirit.com's Magazine that is emailed to our subscribers. If you wish to subscribe to our Magazine by email, enter you email address in the box on the left and you will automatically be entered for our monthly Free Book Give-Away.

NOVEMBER 2, 2008

Why Does God Let Us Suffer? 

If you’re suffering due to a crisis, tragedy or loss, no doubt you have likely asked yourself, “If there really is a God, why does He allow us to suffer? Why does He allow children to starve or die? Why does He allow crime and terrorism? Why does He allow our loved ones to become ill or have tragic accidents? Why does He let people struggle financially or become homeless?”

More specifically, you’re probably wondering why God allows YOU to suffer. You’re a good person. You might not be perfect, but you’re certainly not evil. So you’ve probably asked yourself, “Am I being punished? Is God ignoring my misery for some reason? Why is this happening to me? Why now? And what did I do to deserve this?”

While many of us have asked ourselves these questions at various times in our lives, few people ever learn the answer. Yet there is an answer, and it is incredibly liberating, even relieving. Not only does it relieve us of our anger toward God (it’s okay; it’s natural to feel anger toward God), it also frees us from our frustration and resentment toward the cause of our suffering—our illness, our injury, our crisis or the person whom we blame for our tragic circumstances.

I’m an ordinary guy living a fairly ordinary life. So I’ll be the first to tell you that I never expected to know the answer to one of life’s most mysterious questions: Why Does God Let Us Suffer? In fact, I’m not even religious, so I never expected to be teaching people about God, period.

The truth is that up until recently I always had a knee-jerk reaction to anyone who used the word God. I preferred people use words like Universe, Source or Creator. God seemed way too religious to me. Since I feel that everyone should be able to choose their own spiritual beliefs, the word “God” always reminded me of the religion my parents chose for me, and I needed to swing far away from it for a while before I was ready to finally settle somewhere in the middle.

I’ve now had a change of heart. I like the word “God.” It means whatever we want it to mean. It’s no different than saying Universe, Source or Creator, unless we give it a meaning that we don’t like. So I use it now to mean the creative and loving energy of the infinite universe.

The point being that never in a million years did I expect to find myself talking about the Purpose Of Suffering by talking about God, but something happened that changed all that for me. I had a spiritual crisis of sorts—well, another one—that led me to begin asking these same “Why?” questions for myself. In early September, my wife, Melissa, was diagnosed with breast cancer, which got me asking, “Why her? Why now? How can God allow the healthiest, most loving and compassionate person I know to get cancer?”

To be frank, if I had got cancer, I wouldn’t have been all that surprised. I’m not sure I would even have questioned God about it. I eat well but I don’t eat as healthily as I could. I don’t drink much but I like a glass of wine or beer every so often. Plus, I like to smoke a cigar now and then, even though I know the risks. And, although I’ve cut way back, I abused coffee for years—I’m talking over a pot of coffee a day. Add to all this my inconsistency at exercise and my workaholic mentality, which causes me to have a pretty high stress level, and it all shows that I could be doing more to remain healthy. So I really couldn’t have waved my fist at God if my health took a dive.

On the opposite hand, my wife, Melissa, is the epitome of health. She only eats foods that are healthy, even organic. Not that she deprives herself of a treat now and then, like chocolate, but it’s seldom and it’s usually the best chocolate made from 88 percent pure cocoa.  She has also exercised consistently for the past twenty years, three or four times a week. And she meditates, not that she really needs to meditate because she is also one of the most peaceful people I know. Plus Melissa oozes love and compassion for all living beings, human or animal, which has not only got to be good for her soul but also her brownie points with the Big Guy, God.

So when Melissa was diagnosed with breast cancer, I questioned God, though this wasn’t the first time in my life that I’ve asked the “Why?” questions. In the past, I had my own suffering through the years, the two most challenging being a 5-year clinical depression that was so severe that I was out of work for 4 years and had to get 21 shock treatments, then there was the loss of my father due to lung cancer when I was 35 and he was just 64 years young. I learned a lot about suffering during those troubling times, but I was mostly left with more questions than answers in a spiritual sense. And, boy-o-boy, did I ask the “Why?” questions a lot.

I now recognize that my depression and my father’s passing were catalysts that led me to investigate answers to my spiritual questions. And, in 1999, two years after my father’s passing, I had an experience with a psychic medium—a reading of spirit communication—that provided me with so much indisputable evidence that it blew my mind wide open, proving to me that there was more to life and death than I had ever allowed my skeptical mind to imagine.

This spiritual experience then led me to explore other spiritual experiences such as past-life regression, guided meditation, medical intuition and aura clearing, and some of them taught me even more spiritual insights that I had never before allowed myself to believe. All the same, despite my research and exploration in the field of spirituality from 1999 to 2008, nothing I learned or experienced, in itself, gave me the answer to the Spiritual Purpose of Suffering. In fact, I even surrendered to the possibility that I might never find the answer.

At some place along the way, however, I developed a greater spiritual insight that I can only assume is due to the accumulation of all my experiences together. There seemed to be a tipping point that turned my knowledge into a Knowing. And my spiritual awareness about the particulars of what I’d experienced became an awareness of a much bigger picture. Although I don’t know when this actually occurred, I became aware of it the next time I asked the question, Why Does God Allow Us To Suffer? And I was as surprised as anyone would be that I had the answer.

It was when Melissa’s diagnosis arrived that I asked the question again and realized that something was different from the last time I’d asked it. I actually knew the answer. Suddenly, there was a shift within me that changed my normal fear response to a feeling of inner peace. This is when I had what I’ll call an unexpected download of insight that answered all my questions about Why God Allows Us To Suffer. And so I began writing these spiritual answers down.

I wrote the answers that were in my head. I couldn’t stop, even though I really didn’t have the time for it. I didn’t write nonstop; I wrote a few hours here and there, though my writing was seriously hindered by my responsibilities of life, namely my work. Nevertheless, every time I stopped and then started up again, the answers were right there at the forefront of my mind, just waiting to be recorded.

I guess I wasn’t writing fast enough, because, suddenly, as if God wanted me to write these answers down without interruption, something that would have normally seemed financially disastrous happened—my current client decided to cut our contract short halfway through the job. I now had more time to write.

Although this was going to cost me many thousands of dollars, the bulk of my income for half this year, I was oddly peaceful about the loss. Deep within me, I understood why it was happening—I understood why God allowed it. It was as if an inner peace encompassed me and took away my fear, my worry, and allowed me to have a depth of knowing that there was a purpose to everything that was happening, both Melissa’s diagnosis and my financial misfortune. I also knew I was meant to keep writing these spiritual answers for other people to learn, as well.

I won’t say I had a conversation with God like Neale Donald Walsch, although I’m not sure that the information wasn’t coming to me in the same way. It might just be a difference in perspective in how we describe it. To me it is more of a download where the answers to these timeless questions of spirituality are just there in my head. Suddenly, everything I had learned and experienced over the past 9 years began to have perfect clarity. What was once like puzzle pieces that didn’t always fit together now snapped together precisely to form the big picture; and my questions about suffering now made sense.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Who is he to have these answers?” Well, I’ve asked myself this same question. I’m just an average guy. I’m not the most intelligent, the most educated, the most successful or the most talented in any way. I’m not even gifted like some of the spiritual practitioners I’ve met. I don’t know why this insight showed up in my brain. But I guess we could ask the same of many authors and speakers. Who is this one or that one to know what they know? In true spiritual fashion, and using a valuable point inspired by Marianne Williamson, who am I NOT to know these answers? No doubt they are available to all of us, if we ask for them.

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that if something is helpful or even life changing to my life, then it will be helpful or even life changing to other people’s lives, as well. Consequently, knowing how this new insight has given me a deeper sense of inner peace than I have ever experienced before—and during a time of crisis in my life, no less—then I can only assume it can do the same for you or others, which is why I’m compelled to share it.

I’m not promising a spontaneous end to your suffering. Suffering has a purpose, so it’s not meant to be eliminated. But knowing the purpose of suffering, in itself, takes a lot of the bite out of it. And the spiritual answers to the “Why?” questions lead us to recognize the message or guidance our crisis, tragedy or loss is trying to show us, which, subsequently, helps us to find meaning in it.

Obviously, if you are grieving the passing of a loved one, no insight is going to bring your loved one back. If you have lost a leg or arm in some tragic accident, nothing I can teach you is going to grow it back. These answers will not undo the tragedies of September 11th, 2001 or those of Hurricane Katrina or Columbine High School. The benefits of understanding Why God Allows Suffering is in the perspective shift—your paradigm and thought transformation—as well as the peace that comes from Knowing (not just believing) that everything is as it should be.

“Knowing” means that you know some spiritual truth at a your core, which sits at the most satisfying level of your being, as opposed to believing what someone else has told you is true, which sits at an unsatisfying and often frustrating level.

For me, Knowing the Purpose Of Suffering has also removed any feelings of separation from God. I no longer feel alone and, instead, feel guided and loved by God. What I have learned has not only taught me to diminish my level of suffering by understanding the purpose of my current challenge, it also has allowed me to accept it, surrender to it (versus trying to control what cannot be controlled), and to gain the awareness necessary to move forward, rather than getting stuck in the chaos and fear caused by my circumstances. With that said, I must admit that I have to constantly remind myself of this Knowing (these answers) that I have acquired in order to maintain my inner peace. Spiritual awareness seems to be a process and not an event.

In a nutshell, what I can tell you is that we are not being punished or ignored by God when faced with crisis, tragedy or loss. We are simply spiritual beings having a physical existence. And we come to this physical dimension because we can experience things here that are impossible to know in the safe and loving environment of the spirit world (our true, eternal home). Taken one step further, we come to this physical dimension to learn and grow from certain experiences; that is, we come for a purpose. And every event from the joyful moments to the disheartening ones, from our births to our deaths, occur with perfect precision so that everyone’s purpose for being here is supported via an intricate weaving of infinite intelligence.

Every experience, whether positive or negative on the surface, is leading us toward our purpose for this life. Some challenges guide us in new directions if we have gotten off course from our purpose, and some challenges lead us to a new depth of Knowing in themselves. Our free will gives us choice, but it is exactly this ability to choose that is often our greatest challenge. Will we choose to surrender and accept our new circumstances caused by our crisis, tragedy or loss, or will we choose to live in suffering by focusing on what was or what will never be again because of what’s happened? There is meaning in our suffering and it is our choice to fight it and miss out on this meaning or recognize it and grow from it. The latter choice is where suffering ends and transformation begins.

I’m still downloading this information, so it’s clear that these answers are so much more than a blog. My intention for writing about this here is to give you a glimpse of the hope, comfort and peace that comes from understanding that God has not abandoned us in our suffering—that there is purpose in our misfortunes. Until I am able to put together this information into a more in-depth lecture, audio program or book, I’m merely hopeful that this introduction alone might give the right person at the right time the hope they need to consider that there is purpose in their challenge and that they are being loved and guided by God (the Universe, Creator or Source) along the way.

I’ll keep you posted as things progress. In the meantime, I encourage you to ask for the answers yourself, as you might be astonished to find that they are right there inside your head.

My warmest regards,
Bob Olson

AUGUST 1, 2008

Spiritual Crisis: A Catalyst for Awakening?

In 1999, I ached with a deep spiritual hunger that I did not know how to feed. Inner peace was a state of mind that seemed unattainable, the equivalent of walking on water or reading minds. I lived in my head and read multitudes of self-help books. Their seven-step strategies provided me with personal growth and comfort, but my spiritual hunger was left unfed. Nevertheless, I continued to buy and read them like an addict who needed another fix. It was a never-ending cycle, a circular ride that I could not jump off, because I was a man with a million questions and few solid answers.

I placed my energy where I could see results: my body and my work. I lifted weights and bounced around from one aerobic fad to the next. I also believed that financial success was the road to happiness. Growing up middle-class poor, my parents’ financial belief systems became my obstacles to overcome. I progressed slowly in these efforts, but regardless of my physical or financial fitness, happiness continued to elude me. Instead, I was filled with worry, stress and fear, and I wondered if I was fulfilling my purpose in life. In hindsight, I now recognize that my discontent stemmed from a skepticism that I adopted during childhood, and this skepticism stunted my spiritual growth.

At the age of seven, I had an experience that birthed the skeptic in me. Thanks to the comments of a few kids at school, I had become suspicious about the legitimacy of Santa Claus. They said Santa was just a myth, a lie perpetrated by our parents. I initially argued otherwise. They laughed at me and called me a fool. One kid, a tough guy named Tommy, said his uncle told him that Santa was a fib. How do you argue with Tommy’s uncle? So I decided to bring the question to the person who’d been telling me about Santa all my life—my mother.

Bob Olson, Editor

That same night, when I caught my mother alone, I cuddled up to her on the couch as she read her Family Circle magazine.

“Mom,” I said, squirming from the awkwardness of the moment, “Can I ask you something?”

Mom must have sensed my seriousness, as she put down her magazine and gave me her full attention.

“Sure,” she said. “What’s the matter, Bobby?”

“Oh, nothing really,” I said, trying to keep the moment light. I hated that my question had generated such weight that she put down her magazine and faced me. I would have preferred she kept reading while we talked.

“I was just wondering something,” I said. “But I need you to promise that you’ll be totally honest with me.”

“Okay, Bobby. I’ll be totally honest. What is it?”

My mind raced with twenty possible ways to approach the subject, but I decided to just blurt it out.

“Does Santa really exist? Kids at school say he doesn’t.”

There was a painfully unpleasant pause that just sort of hung there in perpetuity. My mother stared at me with her eyes glazed over like a frosted doughnut. I couldn’t decipher what it meant. What I did know was that my question had made her uncomfortable. I now regretted ever asking it. I had essentially asked my mother if she’d been lying to me all my life.

Mom snapped out of her coma and the frosted glaze left her eyes. Then she smiled and cocked her head to the side, giving me a look as if I were being silly.

“Well, Bobby, I believe Santa exits,” she said, with a heavy emphasis on the word “I.” She then patted me on the head, picked up her Family Circle and began reading again as if the conversation was over.

I sat on the couch and stared at our Christmas tree, thinking about what she said. You BELIEVE he exists? You don’t KNOW he exists? This was not the answer I had anticipated. I expected her not to pause, at least not for so long. I expected her to answer emphatically: “Of course Santa exits! I’ve seen him with my own eyes. I caught him leaving presents by the tree one time and saw him flying off a rooftop in his sleigh another time. Your friends at school don’t know what they are talking about.” And I expected her to give me some evidence, something that would prove Santa wasn’t just parental propaganda.

But that wasn’t what I got. I got an excruciatingly long pause and a useless, empty opinion. Quite frankly, that wasn’t good enough. I certainly couldn’t bring that back to Tommy and say, “Look who’s the fool now. I was right and you were wrong. Your uncle is a big fat liar!” Nope. Instead, the more I thought about the Santa story, that tall tale I’d been sold for years, the more I realized that I really was the fool that Tommy and his pals had accused me of being.

We all have childhood experiences that at the time seem harmless, but end up shaping our lives in a significant way. Learning the truth about Santa was one of mine. It taught me to stop taking things at face value. It taught me to never accept anything, ever again, that I couldn’t prove for myself—regardless of the source. And the embarrassment of being made a fool taught me it was smarter and safer to be a skeptic.

About fifteen years later, I graduated from college with a degree in Criminology and became a full-time private investigator. I investigated murder cases, domestic cases, workers’ compensation cases and personal injury cases. I even worked undercover to infiltrate corporate corruption. Eventually I specialized in personal injury and product liability lawsuits because I felt that I was doing something positive in the world—helping wrongfully injured victims get compensated, and helping to get negligently dangerous products off the market or altered for safety. I proudly handled cases for some of Boston’s most prestigious law firms: Swartz & Swartz, Sugarman & Sugarman, and Hill & Barlow, to name just a few.

I thought almost nothing about spirituality for the first three decades of my life. Although I was raised Catholic, my family only went to church on Christmas Eve and Easter. My parents did make me go to catechism classes; but, to my circle of friends and me, catechism was basically a social gathering that was occasionally interrupted by well intentioned, although basically ignored, teachers. In fact, for me, catechism started off bad from my very first day.

I was about eight years old when my parents dragged me to the basement of our Catholic church. After settling in and learning everyone’s name, my teacher began talking about God. I sat at the long cafeteria-style table with about ten other little boys and girls listening to my teacher’s voice echo throughout the church basement. Having learned not to accept stories without evidence, I raised my hand to ask about God.

“Yes, Bobby, do you have a question?” the teacher asked.

“Well, I just wondered how we really know that God is real,” I said.

Right at that moment, this little blonde girl who sat diagonally across from me turned to me with a look of contempt that could have melted the metal buttons on my Roy Rogers cowboy shirt. I hesitated and then continued with my question.

“Is there any proof that God exists?” I asked.

The catechism teacher was kind and patient. I’ll never forget her answer. She said, “Well, Bobby, we know God exists because we know that trees, flowers, oceans, birds, plants, mountains and animals exist. And since those wonders of nature couldn’t exist without God having created them, they are our evidence of God.”

Right then, the little blonde girl looked at me again with a nasty smirk on her face and said, “There, satisfied!” Then she stuck her tongue out at me.

Naturally I wasn’t satisfied with my teacher’s answer. She could have just as easily said Santa Claus created all those things. In fact, my question about God wouldn’t be satisfied despite going to catechism classes for eight more years. But it wasn’t like I continued to seek answers to my uncertainties all this time. I had learned from that little blonde girl that I shouldn’t be announcing my skepticism openly—it wasn’t worth the public disdain. So I only listened to the catechism teachers rather than question them, and I only listened enough to avoid getting into trouble. Essentially, I had stopped thinking about God altogether.

I finally began to ponder God again in my late twenties. At the age of twenty-seven, I fell into a five-year chronic depression. It was a hand-me-down from my father’s genetics. This wasn’t what psychiatrists know as a “reactive” depression, the kind that follows when someone dies, when you lose a job, or when the love of your life stops answering your calls. No, this was a genetic disorder that causes depression for no other reason than a biological chemical imbalance in the brain. I had suffered with periodic depressions all my life, but this one wouldn’t go away. It took five years, three doctors, fifteen failed medications and twenty-one shock treatments before I finally found a treatment that ended my suffering. During those five years, I was out of work for all but one, slept an average of eighteen hours a day, was socially withdrawn to the point where I hated leaving the house or even answering the telephone, and I had frequent thoughts of suicide, often convinced that my wife, Melissa, would be better off if I were dead.

It took this level of suffering to finally make me think about spirituality. Where did I come from? Why was I here? And if there really was a God, where was He during my suffering? Although I never had the term for it, my physical crisis (biological depression) led to a spiritual crisis. It got me to read a few books that I really didn’t comprehend, and I visited a few psychics whom I thought were all phonies. So neither the books nor the psychics answered any of my questions because nothing could penetrate my skepticism. Afraid to be made the fool, I explored with a guarded suspicion. The questions remained, but I surrendered to my skeptical mind as if it were my religion. I didn’t get much further than that before my depression lifted when I found the right medication, at which time my spiritual quest for meaning sort of got pushed to the bottom of my To Do list.

A few years later, when my father died at the age of sixty-four, my grief led to a new spiritual crisis, and my questions took a new turn. Why did he die so young? For that matter, why do children die? What kind of God could possibly allow all the suffering that takes place in our world? And where was my father going, if anywhere? Is there life after death? If so, is there heaven and hell? If so, what causes a person to go to one or the other? With each new question, I found myself more confused. And with my added confusion, I ached for spiritual insight.

By this time, I was thirty-five years old and feeling lost in a world filled with people claiming to be either a spiritual teacher or spiritually gifted. I believed in neither. I was a skeptic, although, even at this stage, I had no context from which to wear such a label. I saw myself as a realist. To me, the authors of spiritual books were new age nutcases, and the people who read their books were naïve believers. I know it’s harsh, but that was my mindset. Yet here lied my conflict. I also wondered if the authors and practitioners in the spiritual field offered the answers I so desperately sought.

This aching curiosity cracked my protective wall of skepticism, and in that hairline crack was born an open-minded skeptic—protected, yet admittedly without all the answers. The grief I felt due to the loss of my father, and the questions that erupted because of it, forced me to consider that there might be more to life and death than I was currently aware. Thus began my spiritual awakening.

The rest of the story is told in my articles, blog stories and websites: OfSpirit.com Magazine, BestPsychicMediums.com, GriefAndBelief.com and BestPsychicDirectory.com.

JULY 1, 2008

When Your Dream Becomes Possible, Jump Before You Think

In 2005, I was talking to a ghostwriting client about my dream of creating a documentary some day. Although I had never made one, I had purchased one of the first video cameras to hit the marketplace in the early 1980s and I was that guy who was in your face with a video camera the second you walked in the door at a party. What I learned during those years as an amateur videographer didn’t necessarily translate into my being a documentary filmmaker, but 20 years of experimenting with an ever-improving flow of new cameras certainly prepared me to learn.

My client said to me, “Listen, Bob, if you ever want to create a documentary of my story, just give me a proposal and we can discuss it. I’d love to have my story told on film.” And that was the end of it. I didn’t expect it would ever go any further, but it was still fun to dream about it.

A few weeks later, my client decided to turn his book from an autobiography (where I interviewed him alone and then wrote the book from his point of view) to a biography (where I interviewed other people, as well, and then wrote the book using all their perspectives). In fact, my client had a list of 17 different people whom he wanted me to interview. And this is when I thought of the documentary again.

Having once been a private investigator who interviewed many witnesses to crimes, accidents and negligence, I learned during those years that it’s nearly impossible to interview people twice without them leaving out some of the best parts of the story the second time around. In some cases, they’d leave out important details. In other cases, they’d tell the story with half the emotion as they did during the first presentation. In either case, a loss took place during the second storytelling.

After explaining this experience to my client, I asked him how serious he was about making a documentary, noting that this would be the most opportune time to get the stories of these 17 people on film. I knew that once I interviewed them for the book, they would never tell the story quite as graphically or emotionally again. Since I had to interview these people for the book anyway, I suggested it would be wise to interview them on camera if he ever thought he might want to use this footage for a documentary some day.

My client responded by saying, “Well, in that case, this would be a good time to send me that proposal we talked about.” So I did. And, to my surprise, he accepted it. Gulp!

How did this happen? I wondered to myself. I was merely suggesting that I film my interviews in case he wanted to make a documentary in the future. But now, before I had time to even think twice about it, I was being hired to make the documentary now. What was he thinking? He knew I’d never made one before. Yet now he was sending me a check for the downpayment.

In a moment’s notice, our lives can take a very sharp turn. At first, I was scared to death. But the more I thought about it, this was a turn that had me excited. It was an incredible opportunity. Sure I’d never made a documentary, but I did have a lot of experience behind a camera; I had skills as an experienced storyteller; and I knew that whatever I didn’t know, I could learn. So, once I thought it through, my feelings of fear turned to confidence; that is, until I began to talk to other people about it.

Without hesitation, I began to tell family members, friends and colleagues about my new adventure. After all, I was excited and wanted to share my enthusiasm with those closest to me. Well, most people shared in my excitement, but a few gave me looks and comments that basically equaled, “Who do you think you are?” and “What do you know about making a documentary?”

The first person who did this was one of my closest friends. He didn’t actually say anything; he just gave me the look. We were out to dinner at a restaurant when I mentioned it, and his fork hit the plate about the same time his jaw did. Melissa saw it, too, so I knew I wasn’t imagining things. But I awaited his response to be sure I was interpreting his reaction correctly. When he changed the subject without commenting (not even a word), I knew his facial reaction was reflecting his thoughts. He couldn’t think of anything positive to say, so he didn’t say anything at all. And, in all honesty, his reaction then made me feel insecure. I wondered if he was justified in thinking that I had no right to be taking on such an enormous responsibility.

The next person I remember telling about the documentary who also reacted rather unenthusiastically was a guy I knew from town. I’d been supportive of him during a new venture of his own, so I felt safe telling him about my new adventure. After giving me a look like I just did something really stupid, he actually said, “What do you know about making a documentary?” (emphasis on the word “you”). At least he verbalized what he was feeling. I told him I knew nothing about making a documentary, which is why it was such a great challenge. This guy seemed disgusted with my answer.

After four or five critical reactions like this, I eventually stopped telling people unless I absolutely knew they’d be supportive. This was such a big challenge and commitment that I needed all the confidence I could muster to pull it off. But there were two parts of me that reacted to these naysayers: one that felt angry with them for making me feel incapable and the other that wondered if they were right.

It was true that I had never made a documentary before, and this made me worry that I’d just bitten off more than I could chew. What if I failed? What if my client was unsatisfied after working on this for two years? What if the whole world laughed at me? After all, documentaries are meant to be seen. Now everyone might see this potential mess-of-a-movie that I was going to make.

At other times, when my energy was high and my confidence was strong, I reminded myself that I had never written a book before I wrote my first book, never published a magazine before I started OfSpirit.com Magazine, never worked as a private investigator before I started my own investigation agency, and had never ghostwritten a book before I took on my first ghostwriting project. Yet since all of those firsts turned into successful career moves that each lasted several years, I knew I was never going to become a documentary filmmaker without creating my first documentary.

The greatest part was that I had a client who was willing to pay me to make this documentary knowing that I had never made one before. In essence, I was getting paid to learn how to be a filmmaker. Thank goodness he didn’t feel the same way as those friends of mine with the unsupportive comments. In fact, as I later began to think about those people more clearly, I could see that my willingness to take a risk to do something new—maybe even something extraordinary— must have reflected something back to them that made them feel bad about themselves. Possibly they felt bad for not being willing to take risks in their own life; that is, to step outside their safe-zone and fulfill a personal dream. My client, on the other hand, a successful man and risk taker in his own right, appreciated my willingness to do this, which is why he was willing to take a risk on me.

To prepare for my new adventure, the first thing I did was talk with people in the film business. I talked with four documentary filmmakers and someone who has been working in the feature film business in Hollywood for over 20 years. It’s amazing how helpful people can be when you tell them you’re new at something and need some advice. I learned more from my conversations with these people who work daily at their craft than I might have learned in a year of film school. And the first thing I learned was what I needed for equipment.

I used the first payment from my documentary fee to purchase $25,000 in camera, lighting and editing equipment. I got the best gear that I could afford. And I also purchased over a dozen books and several DVDs on documentary filmmaking. While I immersed myself in learning the craft, I also began watching one documentary a day for three months. I then evaluated these documentaries according to the information I was learning from my books and DVDs. Between my conversations with filmmakers, my books and DVDs, and the 90-plus documentaries I watched and evaluated, I was absorbing the ins-and-outs of filmmaking in record time.

After three months, it was time to take what I’d learned so far and put it to use. I had to ship all my equipment from Maine to Washington State to begin filming. Although I felt prepared to a point, I wished that I’d had more time to learn. Just to be safe, I hired an experienced cameraman to help me get the best footage possible. He had worked on documentaries for the History Channel and A&E, as well as his own independent projects. He’d even gone to film school. Although his substantial fee was coming out of my own profits, it was a price I was willing to pay to be sure I did the best job possible for my client.

It turned out that hiring this guy was my first major lesson. He turned out to be a nightmare, both as an egomaniac who refused to take direction from an amateur (me) and as a cameraman who had no idea how to properly shoot video. When I finally got the footage home to look at it, less than half of what he’d shot was usable—and this was after a week of shooting. I was so grateful that I had purchased two cameras, because I also had my own footage, which turned out better than I had expected. What this expensive mistake taught me was that my own natural instincts and my crash course education held more value than I had thought. This film school graduate’s mistakes actually lifted my confidence in my own knowledge and abilities.

It was another few months before my second week of filming, which took place in New Jersey. This gave me more time to educate myself, evaluate more documentaries and play around with my cameras to test some new techniques. When the time came for the second shooting, I never questioned my own ability again. I set up every shot, adjusted the microphones and lighting, and handled all the interviews myself. This time I hired an inexperienced camera operator who joyfully followed my direction and was thrilled for the experience. And when I got this next footage home after filming, it was exactly what I needed—95 percent of it was usable.

Once all the footage had been videotaped, it was time to begin editing the documentary. I suddenly realized that editing video was an even greater challenge than recording video and one that required a lot more education. With my client’s agreement, we decided to wait until I had learned more about editing before moving forward.

Over the course of a year, I learned how to use the professional editing software I had purchased, the proper way to edit a documentary, documentary storytelling techniques, audio editing methods, the proper use of music in documentary storytelling, and how to use narration, titles and transitions, to name just a few of the numerous skills I had to learn.

I finally began the editing process last October 2007. I naively believed I could complete the editing in three months, so I priced the editing job according to that amount of time. Once I got into it, however, I realized that I could do a much better job if I spent more time on it, even though I knew I couldn’t ask my client for more money. My client didn’t mind waiting, especially since he didn’t have to pay for it; so, after a total of eight months editing, I finally completed the documentary.

Now that it’s done, it’s the first moment I’ve had to stop and think about all that has taken place in the last three years. One moment I’m telling someone that I want to create a documentary. The next thing I know, I’ve worked more than 3000 hours on it and I’ve created one. I’m officially a documentary filmmaker! Cool. And, most importantly, my client is thrilled with his documentary.

Had I allowed my fears and insecurities to stop me, I would probably still be dreaming about making a documentary some day. I might have died with that dream still inside me. Now I have made one and know what it takes. I don’t know where this will all take me next, but I’m proud to have taken on the challenge and completed it. I dreamed. I risked. I succeeded. Now it’s time for merely celebrating and sharing the documentary with other people—especially those people who questioned my ability to do it in the first place. Perhaps they’ll be inspired to take on the challenges of their own dreams some day.

JUNE 2, 2008

I Cried, Shivered And Shook During A Past-Life Regression

Recently, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about past-life regression. I’ve had so many, in fact, that I thought I’d share with you the story about my first experience. Because I never expected it to work for me, you may relate to my experience and feel inspired to try it for yourself. It definitely had a life-changing effect on me. 

Like many people, I read Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss in 1996. Dr. Weiss, a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School, was a bit skeptical when his psychotherapy patient, Catherine, began recounting the details of her past-life traumas. These past-life reviews, however, set Catherine free from the anxiety and nightmares that led her to Weiss’ treatment in the first place. Weiss was then captured by the idea of using past-life regression as a treatment tool, and the world became hypnotized by his best-selling books that retold in remarkable detail the particulars of his patients’ healing journeys. 

I enjoyed, and even believed, Dr. Brian Weiss’ story in his now infamous book. Still, it was a gigantic leap for me to go from believing that Weiss’ patient regressed into a past-life to believing that I, too, could have such an experience. I had explored enough spiritual experiences that I had no doubt other people could achieve hypnotic regression. I just didn’t believe that I could do it. 

So, one day, when I saw an advertisement for past-life regressions by a clinical hypnotherapist named Nancy, a practitioner whom I’d heard positive things about from other spiritual practitioners, I said, “What the heck. Why not give it a shot?” 

I drove three hours from Maine to Cape Cod hoping Nancy could guide me to a new level of hypnotic relaxation far beyond anything I’d ever experienced. With my trusty skepticism still in check, I wondered if I was wasting my time. But as the sun rose from the early morning darkness, my optimism increased. 

Once in Nancy’s office, I lied comfortably on a couch with my eyes closed as she began the relaxation procedure. The first forty minutes of my hypnotic induction were everything I expected. Nancy helped me unwind with guided imagery. She walked me through fields, across valleys, past oceans and individually relaxed every muscle in my body. The visualization calmed my busy mind until I lay in a semi-comatose state. I felt as if my body and mind were one tingling mass of flesh, bones and organs. My breathing became shallow. My heart rate slowed. My intellect stood to the side. It was as if my busy little mind agreed to not interfere, yet kept a protective watch in case it was needed. My resistance to the experience was minimized by my excitement, although not entirely free of skepticism and doubt. 

“Bob, you’re now going to walk down a spiraled stairway,” said Nancy. “It has thirty-eight stairs, one for every year of your life. At certain ages, I’m going to ask you step off the stairway and tell me what you are experiencing at that age. Okay?” 

“Okay,” I said. 

Nancy brought me down the spiraled stairway. When she asked me to step off the stairway and tell her what I was experiencing, for the most part I thought I was experiencing nothing. I expected movies of my childhood to appear in my mind’s eye, but what I saw was a blank screen. A couple thoughts popped into my head as Nancy asked questions about the childhood moment I had stepped into, but I was waiting for the movie and didn’t give these thoughts much consideration. Sensing that I was having trouble, Nancy continued guiding me down the stairway. 

“That’s okay. It’ll come,” she said. “Don’t judge it. Just go with it. It takes a little getting used to. I want you to get back on the stairway and walk down to the bottom step. This is the day you were born. Are you with me?” 

“I guess so,” I said. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, sure that I’d be leaving her office as her worst client ever. 

“At the count of three, you’ll be at the bottom step of the stairway. One… two… three… You’re now on the bottom step, the day you were born. What is happening? You might not see it. You might just know it. Tell me what thoughts fill your mind?” said Nancy. 

Again, I saw no movie, but I now paid attention to the thoughts I had been ignoring. “I think my parents are arguing. My mother seems sad. She’s upset. I don’t see it, it’s just something I feel.” I don’t know how I knew this; I just knew it. 

“That’s good. That’s good. Just go with the experience. Don’t judge it. I’m going to have you go back now just a little to when you are in your mother’s womb. I’m going to count to three, and when I reach three, you’ll be in the womb. One, two, three, you’re now in your mother’s womb on the day of your birth. What do you feel?” 

I tried not to fight the thoughts and feelings, and a few squeaked into my consciousness. “I feel like I’m starving for nutrition. And my mother seems depressed,” I said. 

“Anything else?” asked Nancy. 

I started trying too hard again. Everything went blank.

After I was silent for a minute, Nancy continued. “Just sit with this scene a moment. You feel like you’re starving for nutrition. Your mother seems depressed. Just stay with it, experience it. And let me know if anything more comes.” 

Nothing more came to me. I was still disappointed that I wasn’t seeing anything, so I figured I was definitely failing at the regression. Nancy must have sensed my discouragement, as she decided to move into a past life. 

After further deepening my hypnotic state, which is really just an intensely relaxed state of mind, Nancy guided me into deeper realms of subconscious knowing. She led me down an elevator, suggesting that I feel more relaxed with each descending floor. She then verbally guided me out of the elevator and toward a door. Behind the door was a white light, and apparently a previous lifetime. While I was still hopeful, my inability to see the movie-like visions of my childhood had added to my doubt that this would be a successful regression. All the same, I was able to envision the door she suggested and the white light behind it, at least in my imagination, so I persisted. Finally, at Nancy’s suggestion, I opened the door to discover where I was. 

The following is the actual transcript of this part of the regression, word for word, that was recorded on tape. I’ve added some side comments in [brackets] to help you better understand what is happening in the room and in my thoughts. 

Nancy: “Is it daytime or nighttime.” 

Bob: “I guess it’s daytime. I don’t know if I’m there.” [I still seriously doubted my ability to do this, and I was sure I wasn’t doing it correctly.] 

Nancy: “Yeah, just trust it. It becomes more and more vivid as you go along.” 

Bob: “Okay.” 

Nancy: “Are you inside or outside?”

Bob: “Outside.” [Again, I wasn’t sure how I knew this. I just did.] 

Nancy: “Now I want you to simply look down at your feet and tell me what is covering your feet.” 

Bob: [There was a long pause. I knew what I saw, but I didn’t trust it. It wasn’t like it was something I viewed in a picture or a movie. It was more of a knowing of what was on my feet. But I hesitated because it seemed so cliché—I was wearing sandals.] “I just want to say sandals, I guess.” 

Nancy: “That’s fine. It may not be that you see it. It may just be a knowing. Trust whatever way the information comes. And know that as you continue, it absolutely becomes more vivid and clear. And so now that you look at your life, look down and tell me what is covering your legs?” 

Bob: [long pause] “I don’t think anything.” [The truth was that I saw myself wearing a skirt or kilt, but I wasn’t going to say that out loud. So I told Nancy the truth.] ”There isn’t anything covering my legs.” 

Nancy: “Okay, what is covering your chest or torso?” 

Bob: [Another long pause] “It sounds silly. I think it’s some kind of armor.” 

Nancy: “Uh huh, just go with it. And what is over your head? Do you have anything on your head?” 

Bob: “I don’t know.” [I saw an armored helmet with two bones or tusk-like things sticking out of it; but again, I felt silly saying it. It seemed so fairytale. “I don’t know,” is all I could say.] 

Nancy: “Let your logical and judging mind step aside, and let whatever impressions come to mind. Let it come.”

Bob: “I guess it’s a helmet.” [I also knew that this wasn’t a battle helmet, but rather a costume or some type of formal wear. Again, not trusting my thoughts, I just let it slide without telling Nancy.] 

Nancy: “And about how old are you?” 

Bob: “Forties.” [I got the number forty-three, but told Nancy forties for some reason, still not trusting what I was getting.] 

Nancy: “And at the count of three, the year is going to pop into your mind. Just trust yourself to know it. One, two, three… what year is it?” 

Bob: “1643.” [It came quickly and matter-of-factly. I was surprised.] 

Nancy: And at the count of three, you are going to know the country or geographical location. One, two, three… where are you?” 

Bob: “It seems like some Celtic place. I don’t know the country.” 

Nancy: “And now at the count of three, you are going to know your name. What do people call you? One, two, three…” 

Bob: “George.” [Now if I were making this up, I would have chosen Clint or Dirk or something. I was actually a little disappointed with the name George. There isn’t anything wrong with that name. I just don’t have a good association with it in reference to people I know. So the fact that “George” popped into my head gave me a little more confidence that I was actually doing this hypnotic regression thing correctly.] 

Nancy: “George. Great. Thank you, George, for being here. Tell me, George, why are dressed in armor? What is happening today?” 

Bob: “I guess it’s a celebration of some sort.” [At this point, I didn’t feel like George, but rather Bob sensing myself as George, so I thought it awkward that Nancy was speaking directly to George. But I understood what she was doing, so I just answered her questions without correcting her in regards to whom she was speaking. If you could hear the tape, you would hear my voice as soft and slow. My answers were brief. Normally, I’m fast to respond, more articulate than I was during this regression, and brevity is not generally my forte.] 

Nancy: “George, what kind of a celebration is it?” 

Bob: “It’s a parade.” 

Nancy: “What’s the celebration about? What’s happened?” 

Bob: “We won a battle.” [Nancy was right. Things were becoming more vivid.] 

Nancy: “Who have you been fighting, George? Who is the enemy?” 

Bob: “The English.” 

Nancy; “So that is a good reason to celebrate, winning a battle against those English, huh? Tell me, George, what have you been fighting over? What is the battle about?” 

Bob: “Land.” 

Nancy: “George, what do you do for a living?” 

Bob: “Farmer.” 

Nancy: “Yeah, you’re a farmer. [Nancy seemed to know the answers before I gave them, as if she was seeing them herself. When she said “Yeah,” it was as if I got what she was getting.] Do you have a large farm or a small one?” 

Bob: “It’s a small farm.” 

Nancy: “And what do you raise?” 

Bob: [pause] “Sheep, I guess.” 

Nancy: “Tell me, George, are you married?” 

Bob: “Yes.” 

Nancy: “And what is your wife’s name?” 

Bob: “Linda.” 

Nancy: “And how long have you been married to Linda?” 

Bob: “Twenty-three years.” [Everything was coming really fast now. I was feeling more confident about my answers.] 

Nancy: “And do you have children?” 

Bob: “One.” 

Nancy: “And what is your child’s name?” 

Bob: [long pause] “Jeffrey.” [Or Geoffrey. I didn’t know the spelling. That sounded to me like a really unlikely name for someone of Celtic descent, but what do I know? Maybe Jeffrey or Geoffrey is a Celtic name.] 

Nancy: “And how old is Jeffrey?” 

Bob: “Nine.” 

Nancy: “Hm hmm, Jeffery is nine. [There she goes again, as if she knew the answer before I did.] Tell me, what kind of life do you have? Are you happy, content, sad, disappointed? What is your life like as you look at it?” 

Bob: “I’m happy… proud.” 

Nancy: “And what are you proud of?” 

Bob: “My heritage.” [It was if I were inside of George feeling his pride. It was amazing.] 

Nancy: “Yeah. And what kind of a husband are you?” 

Bob: “I’m a good husband.” 

Nancy: “And what kind of a father; do you spend time with your son?” 

Bob: “Yes. When I’m around.” 

Nancy: “Are you gone much?” 

Bob: “Only when we are fighting.” 

Nancy: “And how do you feel about fighting?” 

Bob: “Ah, I’m proud to fight. They are trying to take our land.” 

Nancy: “Yeah, they are trying to take something from you; that’s wrong. Are you ethical? Do you go by what’s right?” 

Bob: “Yeah.” 

Nancy: “And do you train your son that same thing?” 

Bob: “Yup.” 

Nancy: “As you look at your life and the celebration, are you a friendly person or are you kind of quiet? What is your personality like?” 

Bob: “I’m friendly, popular. It’s a small town. Everyone is friendly.” [I could actually feel George’s joyful and friendly nature. Again, I felt as if I were inside his body and feeling his enthusiasm for life and his pride for who he is—or was.] 

Nancy: “Well tell me George, this is a significant day, is it?” [Nancy’s intuition is great. How did she know this?] 

Bob: “Yeah.” 

Nancy: “What makes this a special day?” 

Bob: “We won some battle.” 

Nancy: “Yup. Well I want you to move forward now at the count of three to a significant event in that day. Moving forward now, one, two, three… what happened?” 

Bob: [long silence, shock] “We were attacked. We were attacked during the parade!” 

Nancy: “You weren’t expecting that, were you?” 

Bob: “No.” 

Nancy: “What happened.’ 

Bob: “A lot of people were killed.” 

Nancy: “What about your wife and child?” 

Bob: “No, they’re okay.” 

Nancy: “What happens with you? Allow that to unfold.” 

Bob: [long pause, heavy breathing, becoming emotional] “I’m fighting, I can’t… I can’t save everyone.” 

Nancy: “Yes, a lot of fighting. But move forward and tell me what happens to you?” 

Bob: “I live, but I have to live with that I couldn’t save everyone.” 

Nancy: “And what was that like for you?” 

Bob: [emotional] “It was sad.” 

Nancy: “You took it hard, did you?” 

Bob: “I felt like it was my fault.” 

Nancy: “How come it was your fault.” 

Bob: “Because I was their leader.” [sobbing] 

Nancy: “Let yourself feel what that was like. People in the town died. And you lived but you have to live with that. How much longer did you live? I want you to move through that and move on with your life now. On that last day of your life when it is your turn to pass over, how old are you on that day?” 

Bob: [heavy emotion, breathing] “Sixty-three.” 

Nancy: “So you live another twenty years, huh? And what are those twenty years like for you?” 

Bob: “They, um, they are… I’m trying to think of the word…” 

Nancy: “Do you continue to hold it against yourself that those people died?” 

Bob: “Forever.” [I’m an emotional mess.] 

Nancy: “And what happens, does it affect your relationships with your wife, your son, your friends, yourself?” 

Bob: “I’m not happy anymore.” [I’m still emotionally in despair as Nancy questions me.] 

Nancy: “So you hold it against you forever?” 

Bob: “Yeah.” 

Nancy: “Is that something you decide?” 

Bob: “I can’t forgive myself.” [My voice is cracking.] 

Nancy: “So you are not happy anymore.” 

Bob: [long period of deep emotion, soft crying, shaking]

Nancy: “Notice how that affects your relationship with your wife, your son, your friends and yourself. Then moving on to the last day of your life, are you ill or healthy or what is the condition?” 

Bob: “Just old and defeated. I want to die.” [I’m still shaking, now filled with shivers and an inner cold that filled me to the core of my being.] 

Nancy: “Yeah, you are done, huh? Move to that time now. You are old and defeated and ready to go. Are you alone or is someone with you? 

Bob: “My wife is with me.” [I could see her kneeling at my side as I lay down waiting to die. I could not see anything else around us, not field or ground, no furniture or shelter, everything was blank except for my wife kneeling beside my dying body.] 

Nancy: “And how is she doing with you? Does she still love you or has it been a difficult time? 

Bob: “No, she loves me. She is strong.” 

Nancy: “I want you to move now past that time. At the count of three, just move beyond it. One, two, three… Do you see yourself floating away from your body?” 

Bob: “Yeah.” [I could see the scene: my wife and myself (George’s dying body) slowly getting smaller, as if I (my soul) were moving upwards into the sky. The scene of Linda and George’s body slowly disappeared, but the emotions—the pain and despair that I felt during those last twenty years and on the day of my death—continued to stay within me.] 

The session lasted almost another hour, but what you just read is the experience that ruptured my disbelief that past-life regression was for other people, not me. What surprised me most was my physical reaction to the ambush during the parade. It was as if I relived the horror of the moment. I was crying and I felt the dread and despair that George must have felt upon seeing his dear friends slaughtered. I suffered the sense of anguish and self-loathing that George felt for being their leader and not being able to save them. My body shook and shivered, and I froze from the very core of my being up through to the very top layer of my skin. Upon my request, Nancy kept covering me with blankets—five blankets in all. She also cranked up her heater for my benefit and sweltered in the hot room as she continued the regression. Finally, since the blankets and heater had no effect on me, she instructed me to warm myself from the inside out using hypnotic suggestion. This worked quickly and we moved forward in the session. 

According to Nancy, many people’s experiences are different then mine—many people actually “see” the movie-like scenes I was expecting. Perhaps I, too, will have that experience one day. Or, maybe because I’m not a visual person—I couldn’t tell you what my wife has been wearing all day even as she sits in the next room—experiencing past lives as a knowing is the best I can ever expect. If that’s true, I’ll take it. My past-life experience with Nancy held everlasting benefits. It was a gift that is irreplaceable. 

The greatest benefit I received from reliving my life as George came from the second part of that session. It is also what makes Nancy unique as a regression hypnotherapist. After learning about my life as George, I then went into the spirit world after my death. I know this part will be a little too much for some people to swallow, but bear with me. While in the spirit world following George’s lifetime, I was able to review that life and learn the spiritual lessons that resulted from it. Each lifetime brings new lessons. In my life as George, what I learned will forever be engrained within me because of this experience in the spirit world. 

I learned that even as leaders, as long as we are doing all that we can to help others, no person is responsible for the lives of other people. I learned that we do not have the right to feel in control of such a Divine responsibility; that is, we must trust that there is a bigger plan to which we may not be privy. My lesson was that I did everything I could to save my fellow townspeople that day. If it was meant that some people be killed during this ambush, I should not second-guess God on that outcome.

I also learned a lesson about forgiveness, especially self-forgiveness. My failure to forgive myself for my friends’ deaths ruined the rest of my life, as well as my family’s and friends’ lives in relation to me. For instance, my wife and son lost their husband and father that day because I lived the rest of my life in depression and self-punishment. How ironic that my choice to not forgive myself then negatively affected the lives of those who survived that tragic event. I missed out on twenty years where I could have brought greater joy and prosperity to those survivors, as well as to myself. Instead, I bathed in my sorrow and self-blame. 

Finally, I learned a lesson about living in the moment. George was a happy man who lived a simple life before the parade tragedy. When I first became aware of George, I felt his intense bliss for life. I could feel that he was full of joy, laughter and love. Yet he squandered it all away by living in the past and focusing his thoughts on that one, heartbreaking day. If he had stopped thinking about the past and began living in the moment, as he did for the first forty years of his life, both he and everyone around him would have benefited dearly. As Nancy guided me into the spirit world after George’s death and brought me through his life review, I sensed the immense pain of regret that engulfed his soul as he relived that experience from a higher level. As difficult as that was for me, because I began shaking and sobbing once again, it was a gift because I will not make the same unfortunate choices in this life that I made in my life as George. These lessons—this knowing that reached me on a cellular level—will forever be mine.

Bob Olson

MAY 1, 2008

Trapped: How Our Thoughts Increase Our Suffering 

There’s so much talk these days about staying in the present moment. But, sometimes, it’s not that easy in times of stress. Yet, if we were able to remain present when things go wrong, it would certainly relieve us of unnecessary suffering. The following true story is a perfect example. 

A few weeks ago, Melissa and I took Libby (our 4-year-old Lab mix) for a walk down our favorite dead-end road for walking. On our way back to the car, Libby wanted to venture off the road and onto a path in the woods, so we told her it was okay and followed close behind. After all, we were about to go on vacation for a week without her, so we were trying to get in as much “Libby time” as possible. 

The path went into a wildlife sanctuary, so it's a really beautiful wooded area. We didn't have time to go far, as the sun was already setting, so we let Libby venture maybe 25 feet up the path. Melissa just got done saying to me, “I love just watching her sniff around and enjoy herself.” Seconds later, everything took a turn for the worse. 

So picture this... Libby is sniffing around having a peaceful time, still in the middle of this path, when all of a sudden a metal, spring-loaded trap snaps shut on her right front paw. Libby immediately starts screeching in pain and tries to run away from this trap, which is chained to the ground so she can't get away. Worse, every time she pulls away, the metal clamp pulls tighter on her paw, causing her to panic and squeal even more.   

Melissa and I can't believe our eyes. A trap hidden under the leaves? Is this even possible… legal? Freaking out, we frantically run up to Libby who is still screaming in pain. Melissa puts her arms around her, trying to get her to stop pulling away from the trap, at which she’s somewhat successful. I immediately begin trying to open this contraption, but the springs are so strong that I can't get it to release by merely trying to pry open the jaws of this thing; so I begin looking for some kind of lever or switch. 

Seeing Libby’s paw in the clutches of this cold-hearted device is heartbreaking. Her toes are being crushed and I fear what kind of damage the teeth of this thing have done to her paw. I’m having visions of rushing her to the animal emergency clinic (because all the vets are closed by this time), as well as thoughts of her not being able to walk on her bandaged paw for months. 

“What are we going to do?” I think to myself. “We can’t possibly go away on vacation now.” 

As I continue to investigate the trap for a release, Libby panics and begins shrieking at the top of her lungs again and pulling on the trap and chain. Melissa calms her one more time by hugging her tightly and talking to her quietly. At this point, I’m angry with myself for having no idea how these things work. All I can see is one possible lever on the opposite end of where Libby’s paw is jammed into this thing, so I push down on it really hard and the trap opens a tiny bit. Unfortunately, we still can't get Libby's paw out, but it seems to have eased some of the pressure. 

At this point, I notice that this trap doesn't have any teeth--it's just a nasty clamp with no claws. “Thank God for that,” I think to myself. By this time, Libby is calm but obviously still in pain, and the metal jaws are still crushing her paw. As I hold down this lever, which is taking all of my strength, Melissa calls the police on my cell phone. The desk clerk is little help by phone, but I’m hoping a police officer might know how to open this damn thing when he or she arrives. 

Melissa stays on the phone with the desk clerk while holding onto Libby to keep her still. The clerk tells Melissa that traps are still legal but are carefully regulated, and she didn’t think they should be located in the middle of a path. Libby--now calmer, possibly a little in shock--decides to lie down. As she moves her position, I can now see there is a lever under her paw on the other side of this trap. So, at the risk of making things worse, I grab both levers and press down with all my might, releasing Libby's paw. 

Not knowing how badly injured her paw is, Melissa keeps Libby lying down. Still envisioning a long night at the animal emergency hospital and a long road to recovery, I run to the road to guide the policeman, as I can now see his car arriving. As he and I get back to where Melissa and Libby are located, I see that Libby’s now sitting upright, actually putting pressure on her right front paw. I’m amazed. We are all amazed. It’s a really good sign. 

Cautiously, we encourage Libby to stand up and try walking. I’m scared to death of the pain it might inflict. I can tell from Melissa’s facial expression that she fears the same. Yet, surprisingly, Libby is able to walk. She doesn’t even limp. In fact, as we all reach the road again, you'd never know she was just traumatized. Instead Libby skips around, completely happy that she’s free, and begins flirting with the police officer. 

That was three weeks ago and, today, Libby’s fine as can be. We got her home that night and she went right to bed. We checked her paw out immediately and even the next morning. I'm sure she had some pain; but, going by our Vet’s recommendation, we wiggled all her digits and nothing made her flinch. Miraculously nothing was broken, though I think we're all going to feel the trauma of that incident for a while. 

My own personal distress during the incident was surely made worse by my projecting into the future. Had I stayed in the present moment only, I wouldn’t have seen Libby suffering during the 45-minute ride to the animal emergency clinic, I wouldn’t have envisioned the teeth of the trap piercing the toes of her little paw, and I wouldn’t have imagined her limping on a bandaged paw for weeks or months, barely being able to make it outside to go to the bathroom. 

If I had kept my imagination at bay by remaining in the present moment, I would have experienced fifteen to twenty minutes of trauma and it would have been over (like Libby). Instead, I experienced hours of stress on the way to the clinic and at the clinic, and weeks of stress at home during Libby’s recovery. Yet none of that happened; none of it was real. But the body and mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined. Physically and emotionally, we react just as equally to both traumas. And, as a result, we suffer unnecessarily and, therefore, our stress levels increase—all because we haven’t learned how to stop projecting into the future of what “might” happen. 

Living in the now: It’s an idea worth practicing. And it’s so easy even a dog can do it. 

Bob Olson

PS, Although we had never seen them in the four years we’d been walking Libby, we actually ran into the US Wildlife employees the next time we took a walk. They told us that they have the traps in the woods in order to protect the piping plovers, a bird that is on the endangered species list. Because the fox and coyote eat the plovers, the US Wildlife folks feel it’s a good idea to trap and then kill the fox and coyote in that area. In fact, the reason we happened to run upon them this particular day was because they were also shooting crows in order to protect the plovers. 

When we told someone who lived in the area about the traps, they said that other dogs had been trapped, as well, in the past. They weren’t as lucky as Libby and ended up with severe injuries. These residents of the area also said that because the fox were being killed, they were now inundated with an overabundance of ground hogs. Lucky for the groundhogs, they aren’t a threat to the piping plovers.

APRIL 2, 2008

Conscious Coffee

A couple months ago, I go the flu. It took me down for a full week. Since I hadn’t enjoyed any coffee for the week, it seemed a good time to quit—I had a bit of an addiction to it. 

I had tried quitting before, more than once; but the mind-splitting headaches and afternoon depressions were stronger than my desire to be free from the gods’ nectar. This time was different. Thanks to the flu virus, I’d already been through the worst of it—the first week—and I didn’t even feel the withdraw symptoms. So I thought I’d give it a go.

After six weeks of coffee-free living, I realized that I hadn’t just been using coffee for its caffeine pick-me-ups; I also enjoy the flavor. And I felt that I could enjoy a cup-a-joe occasionally for the pleasure of it without turning it into an everyday habit. So I promised myself that I would only have a coffee once a week if I could sit and drink it consciously (rather than while driving or shopping, for instance). Hence, the idea of Conscious Coffee was born.
Coincidentally, while I was thinking about Conscious Coffee, my friend, Trish Whynot, sent an article to us about her own experience giving up coffee in the past. Don’t you love synchronicity? In her own way, Trish talked about going back to coffee later, but being more conscious about it, rather than drinking on the go. After the coincidence of this article, I knew this Conscious Coffee idea was going to be powerful.

My wife, Melissa, decided to join me for Conscious Coffee on Sundays. And since I enjoy Starbucks coffee more than any other, we decided to take our Conscious Coffee Sunday to the Starbucks café. Little did either of us know what a precious ritual this would become to us. We’d order our drinks and treats (you have to enjoy a Conscious Coffee with something tasty), and we’d find ourselves a table where Melissa could sit in the sun and I could sit in the shade. Then we’d just nibble, sip and be with one another.

At first, I focused on my coffee and iced lemon loaf. Little by little, I’d take a bite and then take a sip. My awareness was on my taste buds. Had Starbucks improved their brewing process even more? Then I expanded my awareness to Melissa. It was nice to just sit and soak in her company. I noticed how striking she looked, how calm and peaceful she appeared, and how she moved with grace. My consciousness then expanded once again to the other people in the café. Children giggled. Students studied. Adults drank their beverages in quiet solitude. And then there was the music: Van Morrison, James Taylor, The Beatles and James Blunt. How often am I simply oblivious to the music, I wondered? I hadn’t felt so aware of my surroundings in years. Even after the caffeine kicked our jaws into gear, Melissa and I enjoyed a conversation that was magnificent.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that, two weeks after beginning our Conscious Coffee Sundays, we began reading A New World by Eckhart Tolle and watching the Tolle interviews with Oprah online. Sure enough, the book and online interviews are all about being conscious in our lives. Tolle encourages us to be in the present moment by eating, working, exercising, driving, walking and even sitting consciously. Rather than continue the rat race by living on automatic—moving through our lives unconsciously—we need to stop doing and begin being in the now without thinking, that is, without focusing on regrets about the past or worries about the future, says Tolle [my paraphrasing].

I’m not sure I would have absorbed the book and online interviews as quickly if not for my Conscious Coffee on Sundays. These were the perfect segue for understanding the value of being in the moment, being conscious of what I’m doing and with whom I’m doing it, and taking time to stop rushing through my life to get somewhere else. Tolle and Oprah taught me while my Conscious Coffee showed me that what is most important is whatever and whoever is right in front of me at any given moment. What a waste to be thinking about work on Monday while being unmindful of our time off on Sunday. What a waste to be thinking of our issues with another while we sit unconsciously with our children, spouse or friend.

Conscious Coffee Sunday has become a valued event. Melissa and I look forward to it all week long. But it’s important to point out that it’s not about the coffee. It could be Conscious Nephews, where we sit and be with our nephews, Ryan and Liam. Or it could be Conscious Dinner, Conscious Cleaning, Conscious Dog Walking or Conscious Massage. The point is to be present, soaking in the sounds, feelings, smells and flavors of the moment.

For beginners, like myself, I think it helps to start with a comfortable environment. The cafés we choose have a clean and relaxing energy about them. You have to take into account that we live in Maine. I’ve been in a few Starbucks in Boston that I wouldn’t go to for Conscious Coffee Sunday. Not that we couldn’t enjoy that, too; it would just be a different experience. A busy, hectic location might be a lot to take in for someone who is trying to keep the mind silent.

I’ve never been one to read a book and entirely change my life based on its teachings. But I do believe that Tolle’s A New World has that potential for some people. For me, it’s put what I’ve learned from my Conscious Coffee experiences into perspective. I now understand why Melissa and I spent two hours at Starbucks this past Sunday. All we did was sit and eat and talk—together, consciously—but it was the highlight of my week. Perhaps there is something in all of this for you, too. So I thought I share it with you.

For anyone interested in listening to the Oprah/Tolle interviews (over 2 million people have watched these 90-minute episodes weekly), you can download them or watch them via streaming video at Oprah.com (or Itunes.com).

Bob Olson

MARCH 5, 2008

The Stages Of Enlightenment: One Man's Belief

Many people have asked me what I know about the stages of enlightenment. My first answer is that I know nothing; nobody really knows until we cross-over. But I will share with you my belief.

I believe that we are all energy beams that reach out from the Source, the light and love of God, like rays of light that reach out from the sun. When we first leave the Source, we are blank slates, eager to have experiences that will teach us all there is to know. At first, our energy is low and dense because we are new and inexperienced. As we have experiences that teach us universal wisdom, our energy vibration (our frequency) increases. And slowly, after many lives and many experiences, our vibration slowly increases so that we work our way back to the Source—the One with the highest vibration.

I believe that we increase our energy and our knowledge by experiencing the polar aspects of all there is to know. Our knowledge gives us an appreciation and understanding that makes us ever more complete with each new experience. In other words, we learn from experiencing both sides of every possibility. In order to fully understand and appreciate kindness, we must experience cruelty. In order to fully understand and appreciate joy, we must experience depression. In order to fully understand and appreciate health, we must experience sickness. In order to fully understand and appreciate comfort, we must experience discomfort. And so it goes for every possible experience that exists, we experience both sides of the spectrum in order to understand and appreciate the opposite.

As we reincarnate from one life to another, we can only take on so many experiences at one time. In one life, we might learn about loneliness and poverty. In another, we might grow to understand addiction and codependency. In another, fame. In another, companionship. In another, being needed and taking care of someone in need. In another, mental illness. In another, unconditional love. Sometimes we can handle two or three, or maybe several, lessons in one lifetime. Sometimes one major lesson may be all we can take and our life might be very short. And some lives may even be strictly for the purpose of helping someone else’s spiritual growth, although we always benefit energetically whenever we help another soul in their journey.

As we complete each lifetime, our energy frequency increases and we grow closer to the Source. After several lifetimes, we are vibrating at faster speeds and we have gained an understanding and appreciation for many facets of being. It is my belief that if someone finds themselves passionate about helping the homeless or foster children or the mentally impaired, that they have likely experienced that condition in a past life. This is why they have compassion in this area and for these people, because on a cellular and subconscious level they understand and appreciate the circumstances and conditions that these people know. This is why God, our Creator, has unconditional love, compassion and understanding for us. He knows all sides of every experience.

Some people may choose not to return to earth for another lifetime because lessons can also be learned in the spirit world. We can help people on earth as spirit-guides ourselves, assist in helping souls cross-over, comfort pets while they await their earthly owners to return to heaven, or any number of possible “jobs.” However, from what I have learned, we reincarnate because spiritual growth is much faster here on earth. Similar to the “No Pain, No Gain” philosophy regarding physical fitness, the struggles we endure on earth are like going to the health club to exercise. With each grueling work out (each life), we return with rapid growth.

Every time a life is ended, our souls return home to heaven. And each time we return to the spirit world, we are instantly freed of all pain and sickness, all fear and all earthly concerns. We are instantaneously bathed in the comfort, joy and love of the Ultimate Light. Regardless of how difficult our last lifetime was, we sigh in our emancipation and think to ourselves, “Wow, what a relief!” And as we discover the immense growth we gained from that lifetime, we think, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad. I can do that again.” And before we know it, we are planning our next human journey.

With each lifetime voyage we are even closer to reaching God’s vibrational frequency—the ultimate, final destination. Then, at some point we know all there is to know and have experienced all there is to experience. We have the highest understanding and appreciation attainable. And upon that last lesson, the final earthly existence that completes us, we merge again with our Creator to an eternity of euphoria and ecstasy.

That is my interpretation of life and the afterlife according to my experiences, research and beliefs over the last few years. I can’t prove it, but it helps me to understand why bad things happen to good people, why children suffer, and why God allows the tragedies and sufferings of innocent human beings to exist. Although it doesn’t make negative experiences any less tragic or difficult to endure, and in no way do I intend to make light of anyone’s suffering or hardships or suggest that we stand idly by and watch people struggle—we should always do what we can to ease the burdens of others—it helps me to believe there is a spiritual purpose to life’s challenges. By believing that we learn to know love as much by experiencing hate and suffering as we do kindness and compassion, it helps me to make sense of this world and trust that every person’s suffering will be relieved and rewarded in the end. 

Bob Olson

FEBRUARY 7, 2008

Are Your Fears Creating Your Reality? Let Coincidence Guide You

A couple weeks ago, I began to worry about a potential problem that might occur with a new project I was creating—a project that was near-and-dear to my heart and was something I’ve wanted to do for years. For some reason, my fears took over and I became focused on this potential problem that might possibly occur someday, though it was most unlikely. 

That Saturday night, I got together with three friends whom I particularly trust and highly respect their opinions. So I presented the potential problem to them in order to get their feedback. They, of course, already knew about the project, since I had shared it with them over a year ago.

The conversation then focused on this topic for over an hour. Different people had different opinions, and some even changed their opinion as the debates continued. At one point, we even discussed the proper wording of how the new project should be marketed so as to avoid the confusion and misunderstanding I feared might happen, thereby avoiding the potential problem. And that was the end of it. After an emotionally driven hour of talking, I was worn out from the conversation and asked to move on to another discussion—still feeling fearful about the issue, maybe more so. 

The next morning, I checked my email and couldn’t believe my eyes. A complete stranger in some other part of the country had read an article I wrote several years ago in reference to my new desired project. And wouldn’t you know it, she misunderstood how I worded it and challenged me to explain. 

I knew instantly that the energy and emotion I had given the issue the night before—while discussing the subject with friends for over an hour—had attracted the very thing I feared into my life. 

A couple hours later, a psychic medium from my newest site, BestPsychicDirectory.com, called and left me a voice message. I had talked to this medium a couple times on the phone, but I didn’t know her well. She said, “Bob, I was meditating this morning and I thought of you when I was given a message. I don’t know who this message is for, but I know I’m supposed to deliver it to you. The message is: Your spirit needs you to do something, so stop making excuses and just do it.” 

She was right. I was using the potential problem that might possibly happen as an excuse to not move forward with a project that was near-and-dear to my heart. I had let fear steer me to avoid doing what my spirit needed me to do. There are potential problems down the road with any new project. The only reason I got focused on this one was to avoid doing something that scared the heck out of me. I wasn’t afraid of the potential problem. I was afraid of all that was entailed in fulfilling one of my lifelong dreams. 

The coincidence of both the email from the stranger and the phone call from the medium—both within a couple hours of one another—awakened me from my absurd thought pattern. I stopped being fearful and felt supported and encouraged by the Universe. 

This event got me thinking about the power of attention versus intention. We’ve heard a lot about the power of intention lately. Intention is when our thoughts and actions manifest things, people and circumstances into our lives from the field of Cosmic Consciousness. But there is another side to the law of attraction that few people discuss—attention. Attention is when we focus our thoughts and actions upon something, thereby activating its energy field. Attention puts energy into the subject of our focus. And, therefore, whatever we focus upon expands. 

So, in the words of Deepak Chopra “As our attention creates energy, intention brings about the transformation of that energy.” 

When it comes to attention or intention, everything begins with a thought. Thoughts, of course, include everything we think about, but also the feelings (emotions) we associate with those thoughts. The higher intensity of emotion associated with a thought, the more powerful it is.

Actions are the result of thoughts and take our attention one step further. Actions include writing, talking and doing. In order of the intensity of energy projected, we think about it, we write about it, we talk about it, and we take action in response to it. And with each new concentration of attention (and the emotion attached to it), the subject of our attention expands.

In my case, I thought of a potential problem that might occur. First I thought about it, and nothing happened (not yet anyway). But then I put more energy into it by talking about it with my friends. Talking, our conversation, was an action. The conversation increased the emotions I was feeling in reference to it. Plus, I now had four heads thinking and talking about it instead of just one. 

The energy of attention had now multiplied exponentially (from thinking to talking, from one person to four people, from low emotion to high emotion). And that’s all it took to influence one stranger to just happen to find an old article of mine, read it, find the exact wording that I feared might be misconstrued, and email me about it. Voila! The potential problem I focused upon became a reality. 

There was a time in my life, long before my eight years of researching spirituality, when I would have written off that email I got on Sunday morning as a mere coincidence. I now know that coincidence often shows up to tell us something. In the case of this story, this coincidence proved to me the power of attention—the power my thoughts, emotions and actions have in my life. 

One might also say that the incident of the psychic medium who called me with the message, “Your spirit needs you to do something, so stop making excuses and just do it” is also just a mere coincidence. What my experiences have taught me here is that this coincidence was a direct message from someone in spirit trying to get me on track—or keep me from getting off track. Whether it be a deceased loved one in spirit or a spirit guide, someone in the spiritual dimension was tired of my excuses and used this precise incident to deliver a potent and timely message. I’m grateful for receiving it. 

I recently read a book about coincidences. In the book, the author states that when we begin to pay attention to the coincidences in our lives, we experience more of them. Once again, we see the power of attention that follows the principle that whatever we focus upon expands. While reading the book, a few interesting coincidences took place, all within a two-week span of time.

In one case, I was introducing a client to the subject of Indigo children and the next day I got an email from a stranger about a project underway on Indigo children. I hadn’t read or seen anything about Indigo children in years. What’s even more interesting is that the project was being done at the Columbia University Institute of Spirituality & Children and the client I was talking with grew up on the campus of Columbia University because her parents were both professors there. Isn’t that cool? 

In another case, I had been talking with friends about an old CD I once heard by Tony Robbins on the six human needs. When my friends went to a library’s audiotape section the next day to see if they had it, that same Tony Robbins CD on the six human needs was laying flat on the top shelf because someone had pulled it out and left it there. Ooh, that gives me chills. 

In still another case, I quit drinking coffee a few weeks ago. Just two weeks later, a writer whom I hadn’t spoke with in months, and whom had no idea I’d quit drinking coffee, recently wrote an article about her own experience quitting coffee years ago and sent it to me. What she taught about her experience giving up the caffeine addiction helped me in my own journey. 

Those three coincidences, plus the first story of coincidence I told you, all happened within two weeks of one another—while I was reading a book on coincidences. Did spirit and the Cosmic Consciousness use my focus on coincidence to communicate with me or are we given coincidental communications all the time? Hmmmm. 

If you read an old article I wrote titled, The Grief And Belief Connection, I offer you another powerful and detailed story of a time when I was considering stopping my research of mediumship when an entire series of coincidences occurred, which delivered me the message that my research was meaningful and important and needed to continue.

Coincidences like these occur all the time in our lives. Some are the result of attention. Some are the result of intention. Some are guiding messages from spirit. And, yes, I guess a few are mere happenstance. But unless we pay attention to them and attempt to interpret their meaning, they are useless to us, regardless.

If you watched or read The Secret, have read any book on the law of attraction, or even watched an Oprah or Larry King episode on the subject, you’ve probably heard a lot of people touting vision boards. This is where you paste words, images or representations of your desires onto a poster board of some sort, which then serves to remind you to think about these things more often—it helps in the attention and intention manifestation process. The truth is, me being slow to jump on board any new trend, I haven’t finished mine. I carved out the magazine cutouts a year ago, but haven’t got around to gluing them onto the board yet. Nonetheless, for the sake of experiment and curiosity alone, I plan to do it this week. I trip over my skepticism all too often, and to my own detriment. 

My point is to encourage you to create your own vision board as an experiment in attention, intention and the law of attraction. Then stay alert for the various forms of guidance that show up in your life: coincidences, animal totems, divination cards, emails that arrive, songs that come on the radio, billboards that speak to you on the highway, whatever works for you. Only go with what feels right and is aligned with your most effective guiding system—your intuition (gut feelings). Then keep a list of how many items on your board show up in your life: things, people and circumstances. It might just change your life. PS, I’d love to hear about them. 

Bob Olson

JANUARY 22, 2008

I initially began investigating spirituality in 1999. In the year 2000, thanks to experiences in mediumship, past-life regression and spirit writing, I was just beginning to consider the possibilities that accompany having an eternal soul. Below is something I wrote in that year, which I continue to believe today. Read it with a friend as a catalyst for discussion. Enjoy. 

Here is something to consider…

What if we charted our life’s events before we made the transition from spirit-form to human-form? What if we really do live more than one life and our home is really the spirit world? If this were true, then perhaps our life issues, struggles, illnesses and major obstacles are all of our own making, all within our carefully designed plan. Like courses we enroll in at college, each tragic accident, every financial struggle, even the relationship issues that affect our lives could be part of the curriculum. If this were the case, would it mean that all our suffering is part of the course for which we signed up, and in the end—when we cross back over to go home—we will be rewarded with greater spiritual growth for enduring these trials?

If you allow yourself to fantasize for a split second that this is true, does this not ease some of the fear that accompanies these life struggles? Does it not relieve you—for just one fleeting moment—of the burden you place upon yourself by thinking you are unlucky, weak or ill-equipped to handle these problems?

Assuming that these obstacles were charted as part of your learning process, then wouldn’t it be logical to assume that your higher self knew you would be capable of handling these challenges? Otherwise, you would not have signed up for these courses. Isn’t it empowering to know that your higher self believes in you enough to enroll (you) in such challenging hardships? I know that it makes me feel stronger, more powerful and better able to deal with life, to know that my higher self believes in me—perhaps more, sometimes, than I believe in myself. If that works for you, too, what harm is there in going with it?

Bob Olson

JANUARY 3, 2008

Crystal Clarity: How I Overcame a Long-term Block To Abundance

I had been struggling with an issue for about seven years that I was beginning to think I might never overcome. So I went to see a counselor named Dr. Trish Whynot who specializes in personal transformation, self-healing and self-empowerment. I wrote an article about Trish a couple years ago and have since gained a deep respect for her gifted abilities. I’ve recommended her to many friends and colleagues who have since experienced incredible results from her services. Hence, I decided to see if she could help me with my issue. 

About a month ago, I had been to see Trish a couple times and was working on the homework she had given me. At the same time, my wife, Melissa, was also seeing Trish to work on an issue of her own. Trish is able to help people by telephone as well as in person, but since we live fairly close to Trish’s office, Melissa and I like to go to our appointments in person. Trish has such a powerful energy that Melissa and I feel it is a healing experience just to be in the same room with her.

One Friday afternoon, Melissa had an appointment with Trish. I needed to get out of the office, so I went with her even though I didn’t have an appointment myself. It was a perfect sunny day to do some work on my laptop in the car while I waited. After Melissa’s appointment, Trish mentioned to me that she had some time if I wanted to get a crystal reading. Trish uses various tools in her counseling to release and identify the hidden obstacles in our subconscious minds. Crystals happen to be the tool that Trish enjoys most because they are as fun to use as they are revealing. 

I’m kind of an old-fashioned guy who usually prefers more traditional methods of therapy: a punching bag, a journal or self-improvement tapes. So I was a little apprehensive about the crystals. They were a little “out there” for me and I didn’t really understand them. But hey, I had been dealing with this issue for a long time, so I saw no harm in giving the little rocks a try. 

The truth is that working with the crystals was actually quite fun. All I had to do was come up with a question that I wanted answered—naturally related to the issue I was working on—and then choose any five crystals that jumped out at me from a glass case that is filled with the colorful stones, which Trish has in her office. Obviously, they didn’t really jump out at me, but when I looked at all the crystals in the case, one-by-one my eyes seemed to gravitate toward five of them. It was like each crystal that I chose appealed to me in color, size and shape at that very moment, so it was easy to choose. 

I should mention, too, that Trish has set up a website that allows anyone around the world to do this right on their own computer. You can look at thumbnails of numerous crystals, click on each one to see them in a larger size, and then choose your crystals exactly as I did, but while in the comfort of your own home. 

The order that you choose each crystal is an important part of the process, so once you have chosen your crystals, you then tell Trish what crystals you chose and what order you chose them. With this information, Trish explains what each crystal reveals in reference to your question and in reference to the order they were selected. The whole process reminds me of a Tarot card reading. But what I really like about the crystals is that they hold an energy vibration, so our own energy of body, mind and spirit actually resonates with the frequency of certain crystals, thereby assisting us in choosing the crystal that will best reveal the answers we seek. Because there is evidence to indicate that crystals really do hold energy, it helps me to understand why crystals are so effective in this work. Plus, for those who are interested, the energy of each crystal can also be useful in helping you overcome your issue simply by holding the crystal in your hand, pocket or within a piece of crystal jewelry. 

My understanding is that each of us already holds the answers to overcoming our issues inside our Higher Conscious mind. We just have difficulty accessing those answers at times because they become hidden by the chaos and confusion of our thoughts and emotions. We can’t see the solutions to our issues because our inner vision is clouded by our beliefs and fears, which are hidden deep within our subconscious mind like obstacles that prevent these solutions from making their way to our conscious mind.

Saturday, the day after my crystal session, I felt a little more relaxed than normal, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I thought about what the crystals revealed regarding my issue and decided that this crystal work wasn’t all that “out there” after all. I realized that it simply allowed me an awareness about myself that I hadn’t been able to obtain with any other technique. And with awareness comes clarity. 

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I immediately sensed a release had taken place before I even got out of bed. There was something different about me—something lighter. I felt an instant clarity like I had not experienced in my entire lifetime. I saw myself, other people and the entire universe in a new light. For the first time in years, I knew I had overcome the issue that had tormented me for so long. For seven years I had sought to learn something new, thinking that I must be missing a piece of the puzzle that I needed to learn. Instead, what I needed was to release something—a limiting belief or fear that had been filtering my vision. And now it was gone. 

I have no doubt that my recent breakthrough resulted from an accumulation of all the personal, spiritual and emotional work I have done over the last few years. We grow in stages, not in one single step. But no one is more surprised than me that a crystal reading was the final step to expose this stubborn obstacle lurking in my subconscious. And the awareness it gave me resulted in a clarity for which I am most grateful. Who would have guessed that some pretty little rocks of various shapes, colors and sizes could do all that? I can honestly tell you that this old-fashioned guy would have never believed it if it had not happened to me.

I highly recommend a crystal reading with Trish to break through any issue you may be dealing with, including health, relationships, career, financial, emotional or spiritual. It's both fun and effective!

Bob Olson

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