The Desire To Be In This World
6 months ago today, I decided to live.
I was driving on the outskirts of Jerusalem early one morning, intent on seeing the sunrise over the valley below.
Going around a sharp curve, I was faced suddenly with headlights directly in front of me. There was a car coming around the curve, in my lane.
In a fraction of a second, there would be a head-on collision. I was going about 50 mph. The other car, who knows?
In that moment, time slowed down as a million thoughts raced through my head. Would this car swerve? Would it go back into its own lane? But it couldn’t. There wasn’t time. There wasn’t room. A head-on collision was imminent.
I saw my life before my eyes. For the most part, I was rather satisfied with what I saw. A few regrets. A fair number of successes. But I certainly tried.
Should I just hit the bastard?
I’d wanted a ticket out of here for the better part of 20 years. I didn’t want to be here. It was too painful. People were hurtful. The world was too crazy.
The desire to be out of this world ended up being paramount in ridding myself of the rules I thought were imposed on me. I began not to care about careers or investments, recognition or approval of others.
Not sure if anyone would ever love me again, but deciding not to live by fear, I broke up with a beautiful girl who loved me, and who I loved, because she had no qualms about telling me what I should be doing or thinking at any given moment or in life in general. I couldn’t be with someone who was trying to mold me into a different person, even if she was beautiful and I loved her.
I abandoned plans of business, law or politics, and enrolled in a school for holistic healing, which taught a blend of ancient and modern techniques for healing physical and emotional difficulties, and also taught how to receive divine communication and guidance from the higher realms.
After two years of holistic schooling, I decided it was time to break free, sold most everything I owned, and set off for a journey to Israel. Initially intending to travel the country for a year, I fell in love with the land and moved to Jerusalem. At the moment I was facing the headlights, I’d been in Israel for over 7 years.
In those 7 years, I continued breaking the rules I thought I had to follow. Always afraid of what people think, and of making a fool of myself, afraid of taking risks, I decided I didn’t care anymore. I started a non-profit healing center. I began a private healing practice. I began channeling publically. I began teaching classes on all sorts of issues surrounding life improvement, and also taught other people how to channel.
I pursued my photography and was featured in three art shows in Jerusalem. I found it funny that not caring about recognition and simply pursuing things I loved ended up bringing recognition.
Having been very shy most of my life, with few friends, I was now pushing through the fear, often quite literally shaking, and going out into social situations, forcing myself to meet people, and nurturing friendships. I rarely missed an opportunity to go on a hike and explore the land and appreciate its beauty.
Perhaps not caring was the biggest gift I’d been given. And so here I was, facing a high-speed head-on collision. And I thought, for that brief moment, wouldn’t it be nice to get out of here? Hadn’t I done enough? Can I go now? Hitting this mystery car would be the easy way out. In about a second I could be floating on high, away from this mess of a world, away from the uncertainty of life, away from the usually-worth-it-but-nearly-always-difficult healing path I had chosen.
While trying to decide whether or not I wanted the head-on collision and its easy ticket out of here, part of me wondered whether I’d be likely to survive no matter what I did. The microseconds passed while these thoughts raced though my head.
But suddenly a survival instinct, or perhaps Divine intervention, replaced all those thoughts with a new thought – “Anything but this,” it said. “Anything but this,” it said again.
The thought was vaguely reminiscent of my thoughts years prior, when deciding my life needed to change, no matter what the risk, no matter what the impending pain.
With that new thought, my hands moved. To this day I wonder, was it me, survival instinct, adrenaline, or a hand that was not my own? I’m not sure I know. I do know this. My hands moved across the wheel at lightning speed. The car instantly veered left sharply as I lurched to the right.
The road was thin. It had two lanes, without shoulders. I turned so fast and at such a sharp angle that in the blink of an eye I was off the road.
Maybe there’s time to hit the brakes. Maybe there’s time to swerve back to the road.
But there was no time. I was off the road for a fraction of a second, and there was a tree with my name on it.
I watched as the hood began to crush as if in slow motion as the sound of crushing metal filled my ears. I saw the windshield begin to crack as the force of the impact came ever closer to me. This is it. God, please be kind.
My head must have been thrown forward because the cracking windshield is last thing I saw, as I continued to hear the roaring sound of metal all around me. Then roar came to a sudden halt and everything went black. I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t hear anything. I was unconscious.
I wish I could remember what happened next. Because I want to know. I’m sure I had a conference in spirit. I’m sure I was prepped for this next stage of my life. I’m sure I was reassured and given all the tools, deep in my subconscious, to handle what was to come. But I don’t remember. Not a bit.
I later pieced together that I was unconscious for 30 minutes or so. I woke up and began to look around. I looked at my left arm. Both bones in my forearm were broken; my hand and lower forearm were hanging on by skin. But it didn’t hurt at all.
My left knee, well, wasn’t really there anymore. My left leg had a massive open wound and I was looking at the bones inside my leg. I would later learn my knee was completely shattered, and the three bones in my leg were broken in multiple places. But that didn’t hurt either.
Nothing hurt. I felt no pain. It was a strange thing, looking at my broken body from a point of curiosity. Gee, nothing hurts. That’s nice. Must be adrenaline, I thought, calmly as if I was deciding which cereal to eat in the morning.
I didn’t yet know that my right ankle was crushed, with my right leg broken too. It didn’t hurt at all. I also didn’t know my right elbow was fractured. That didn’t hurt either.
My back. Is my back broken? I tried to wiggle my toes. I could, on both legs. I then wiggled my fingers, which I could do too. That’s good. Thank you, I said, to the powers that be.
Oh! The powers that be. I’d forgotten. I tuned in and asked for guidance from the spirit realm. “You’re going to be completely fine,” they said, enveloping me with warmth. “Will I really recover from this?” I asked. “Will I lose my leg?” My left leg didn’t look good. I didn’t know what the inside of my leg was supposed to look like, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to be looking it from the outside.
“You’ll heal. You’re going to be just fine. This will make you a better healer. We’re not going to talk much more, you don’t have the strength to keep this connection open right now.”
“Wait, please...” I didn’t want them to go.
“We’re with you. Don’t worry. You’ll be fine. You don’t have the strength to keep this connection open,” they repeated. And the channel ever-so-gently closed. But I felt them with me. And they didn’t leave.
The paramedics were incredibly nice. “Don’t worry, you’re going to be fine. Everything’s going to be ok,” they kept repeating.
One of them checked me out, and asked me to wiggle my fingers and toes. “He’s ok to move,” I heard him report to someone else, presumably the lead paramedic. “No way,” responded the lead paramedic. “Did you check him?”
“I checked him,” responded the first paramedic.
“And he could move everything?"
“No way,” he repeated. And the lead paramedic came over to me.
“Can you wiggle your toes?” he asked. I did for a moment. “Keep going. Don’t stop.” I did, and kept wiggling them for 10 seconds or so until he told me to stop. “And your fingers.” I wiggled my fingers for 10 seconds or so. “Thumbs too.” I wiggled my thumbs. “Wow,” he said. “Wow,” he repeated.
He didn’t have to explain it to me. The car had wrapped around a tree at high speed. The injuries were bad. I’m lucky my back wasn’t broken. I’m lucky my limbs still worked.
The paramedics were doing everything as fast as possible. The ambulance sped through the windy road, sirens blaring, speeding so fast around sharp turns I nearly fell off the gurney. The paramedic with me yelled at the driver to slow down. “Don’t worry, everything’s going to be fine,” the paramedic kept telling me, while smiling with reassurance.
The ambulance stopped at a parking lot, where they transferred me into a helicopter. They had called in an airlift. Unable to land on a thin road surrounded by forest, the helicopter landed in a parking lot 5 or 10 minutes away.
“Thirty-two years old, allergic to penicillin,” relayed the paramedic who was with me to the paramedic in the helicopter. “I gave him 3 of morphine.”
I felt like I was floating. It was the oddest feeling. I’d never been on a helicopter before. But then, I’d never been in a serious accident and shot with morphine either. “You’re going right into surgery,” said the paramedic on the helicopter. “You’re going to be fine. Don’t worry, you’re going straight into surgery,” he kept repeating.
Fortunately for me one of the finest surgeons in the country was on duty that morning. He and the surgical team reconstructed my knee and ankle and fixed my broken bones with a skill that would surprise the doctors and physical therapists who worked with me in the months to follow.
“This is a work of art,” said one of the head orthopedic doctors in the rehab hospital, looking at my x-rays. “I’ve never seen anything like this.” “It takes a talented doctor to do a surgery like this,” said another.
But in the hospital after my accident, I could hardly move anything, and everything hurt. Plates, pins, and screws inside me had fixed my bones and reconstructed my joints. Around 150 staples held my wounds together. I was grateful. But I could hardly move, and everything hurt.
“All this pain will ‘reset’ the pain in your life,” my guides told me. “It will simply wipe out and override all previous pains and traumas.”
I smiled as they told me this. They were right. Previous emotional woundings, things that would bring tears to my eyes at the thought of them, simply couldn’t hold a hand to the intensity of this pain. This pain erased everything else. A reset button was pushed, and I could start over.
This was a rebirth, a reset, an opportunity to reevaluate everything in my life, including emotions and memories, and decide what to keep and what to change. I could start anew, and become the person I want, without being held back by previous fears, experiences, and pains.
“Act like a healthy person,” my guides told me my first or second day in the hospital. “Don’t act like a sick person. Don’t move like a sick person. Don’t make noises like a sick person. Don’t get into the mindset of a sick person. You are a healthy person.
“If you’re in pain, move slowly, but move like a healthy person. If you need to make a noise, make it, but make a noise like a healthy person. If you need to feel down or complain, then do so, but like a healthy person. When you speak, make sure the voice you’re speaking with is that of a healthy person. You’re healthy. Act and speak and move like a healthy person.”
The guides who told me they would be with me stayed with me. Not only would they give me lots of advice throughout the day, they would help me with visions to keep my spirits up and help me heal. I would close my eyes, and see a guide asking, “Where do you want to go?”
Maybe it was the medications, maybe it was because I was trained and practiced in receiving visions, or likely, a combination of both which made this state of being easy to reach from my hospital bed.
“Show me something beautiful,” I often responded. It was difficult to stay positive in the hospital environment. I needed to see the beauty of the world.
In my vision, I felt like I was flying through the air. I was shown beautiful mountain ranges and forests, rivers, and all sorts of natural wonders. I would see the amazing colors of fall foliage.
Other times I would see musical shows on a stage, with songs and dancers. The songs were divine songs – songs about love creating the world, love creating our souls, love literally holding the world together. There were dancers doing synchronized movements, dances, and back flips. The background colors sparkled, moved and changed in synchronization with the songs, music, and dancers. It was beautiful. I’d never seen anything like it.
Once I asked what was important in life. And I was shown people at gatherings, dressed up and enjoying the company of others. “This is real,” I was told. “You are seeing real people at a real event that’s happening right now. This is what life is about – gathering together in groups, and sharing your company and unique gifts with each other.”
Other times I would travel to Tibet. I would be shown ancient temples and be bewildered by their beauty and holiness. Once I was being guided through a number of temples that were large, beautiful, and ornately decorated. I felt like holiness was literally infused in the walls. I was told, “This temple doesn’t exist anymore. You’re seeing it now as it was 800 years ago. I immediately felt a sense of sadness and loss, not only for this temple but for the plight of the Tibetan people.
“Don’t worry,” I was told by my guide. “Just as you can visit here, so can the priests and monks and most anyone who wishes to visit, with some practice. And there are yet more places to see.”
“Why am I being allowed here?” I asked.“Because you asked to see some of the holiest places on the planet. Because you need help right now, and we’ve offered to be of some assistance. Because you asked in good faith. Because you have little agenda other than the development of your own soul. Because you’re kind. Because you’ve devoted your life to helping people without too much regard as to the consequences to your life.”
At night I would dream I was walking. All night long, dream after dream, I’d walk through fields, across rivers, through forests. When I woke up, it took me a few moments to remember – I could hardly move my legs at all, let alone walk.
“Trust your instincts,” my healer said to me on the phone, a week or so after my accident. He was the only person to tell me to trust my instincts. Everyone else told me to trust their instincts. My system was filled with medications. My thoughts were fuzzy. I hardly ate anything. Everyone was telling me what to do, what to eat, how to move.
“Do I eat what I think, or what they think?” I asked him. “Do I move how I want, or how they want? I don’t trust my thoughts right now.”
Who was this man who told me to trust my instincts and not his? The man I trusted to be my healer and teacher for over 10 years. Of course, there were plenty of times in the past when he told me to follow his instincts. Like when I was filled with fear. Or hatred. Or when I thought I couldn’t do what I wanted. Or four years prior when I talked to him the night before I would channel in public for the first time.
I had channeled privately with people one on one for years, but to do it up in front of a group of people, with so many people watching and judging, was a whole other story.
I was in Jerusalem, on the phone with him in Boston, shaking, with tears raining out of my eyes. “How can I do this? I can’t do this.”
“Everyone experiences fear,” he said. “You’re going to walk in there, and you’re going to do great.”
I didn’t believe him. “What if I fail? What if I look like an idiot? What if I draw a blank and have nothing to say? What if they all laugh? What if my voice cracks and my legs keep shaking?”
For an hour I threw my fears out. And for an hour he worked with me. In the end, he said, “You’re going to do great. A lot of people will come.”
The following evening, over 40 people attended to hear me speak, and we went overtime with all the questions and answers. Many people stayed late to ask me further questions afterwards.
This became the first of many workshops I would run. Over the next 4 years, I would run many dozens workshops, classes, and seminars, with up to 60 people attending.
“The same way you trusted your instincts in the past, trust them now,” my healer told me. And I did. I angered people when I didn’t do things their way. But this was my healing journey, not theirs. I needed to get better and my system was telling me what it needed. I just had to listen to it. I ate the type and quantity of food I felt my body wanted. I moved in the way and at the speed that felt right, and insisted on rest when I needed it.
“You’re very pretty,” I said. I had just woken up from my second surgery, two and a half weeks after the accident. I was speaking to the nurse who was tending to my IV. She didn’t respond, just tightened her face, did her work, and walked off.
I was conscious and aware. My mother was there, and I asked her how the surgery went, how long it took, what the prognosis was, and all sorts of other intelligent questions.
When the nurse came back to tend to my IV again, I again looked up at her and said, “You’re very pretty.” She again tightened her face, did her work, and walked off.
The third time she came, again I looked at her and said, “You’re very pretty.” She started to tighten her face again, but instead burst out laughing. “You’re very handsome yourself,” she said with a smile.
The fourth time and subsequent times she came to check on me, I repeated, again and again, “You’re very pretty.” She would smile and say, “Thank you,” do her work, and walk off.
The funny thing is, I had no idea that speaking that way might be outside social norms. I was aware, asking intelligent questions of my mother, aware when she was being vague in her answers, and kept asking what I wanted to know until I was satisfied she’d told me everything the doctor had told her. I had no idea I was acting in a way I wouldn’t under different circumstances.
Clearly the general anesthetic and morphine had blown away all my inhibitions and all fears of what society expected. Is this who I am underneath my mask, when all my inhibitions are gone? Someone who endlessly flirts with women? If that’s who I am when no one’s watching, when I don’t care, when I don’t have society’s rules bearing down upon me, I think I’m ok with that. I think I like what I discovered. I like that person. I think I want to be that way more often.
I liked the person I was when I wasn’t constantly thinking about what other people think or how my actions will make other people react. I liked constantly flirting with every woman of every age who came by. I liked feeling like I had a sense of who I was without the filter of the pain of past experiences or the worry or anticipation of future experiences.
As of today, it’s been 6 months since my accident. I spent months in a wheelchair, then I was able to walk with a walker, then with hand crutches. I’m now transitioning to be able to walk without crutches at all. I’ll be discharged from full time treatment in two weeks. From then, the sky’s the limit.
I learned a lot about who I am and who I want to be throughout this experience. And I learned that the world doesn’t come crashing down when I break out of my shell and all the limits of who I’m allowed to be – limits which, it seems, are imposed only by myself.
I’m incredibly thankful. I’m so thankful to my car for staying together through one heck of a crash. Though my limbs took a beating, my spine and torso were unscathed, and my head is just fine.
I’m so thankful, dare I say, to the person who caused the crash, for it propelled me into one heck of a growth experience. I’m so thankful to whoever decided my injuries were bad enough to warrant calling in a helicopter to get me to the hospital. I don’t know if getting to the hospital perhaps 20 or 30 minutes faster than by ambulance made a difference, but I’m alive to tell you about it, so there you go.
I’m so thankful that the head doctor on duty in the emergency room when I arrived happened to be a renowned specialist in reconstructing bones and joints. I’m so thankful to the powers that be for offering a presence such that I knew I was supported every step of the way. And I’m so thankful that I still have access to the healing skills I worked so hard to learn.
I keep remembering a scene from the end of “Saving Private Ryan,” when Ryan’s commander and comrades give their lives to save him. “Earn this,” Ryan’s commander said to him. “Earn this,” I keep thinking.
All the paramedics. An airlift. Two surgeries. 6 weeks in a hospital and 5 months of rehabilitation. Constant accompaniment by the spirit realm. So many people, so much effort, so much money, just for me.
I hope I will make all that effort worthwhile.
Image: "Car Crash" by BenZ, courtesy of Creative Commons license.Tweet