I’ve skipped ahead, as I am still working on a few chapters pertaining to my final stay in rehab—a 6-month stay at a spiritual ranch in Washington. There, I learned more about holistic healing, energy work, how to stay off heroin and to be a self-sufficient adult. It’s still a rough draft in the works and is by no means ready for any kind of publication. I’m giving you one of the last chapters to let you know how my spiritual journey began.
The following is true and, although it may sound a little farfetched, it really did happen—I still have the audio tapes mentioned. Though, along with names being changed, some dialogue and minute details were fabricated for the sole purpose of story, as it is essential in all writing—and life. If anything, just ask.
The Lotus flower grows in muddy waters, with the environment giving forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning, from Wikipedia: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment. The second meaning, which is related to the first, is purification, resembling the purification of the spirit which is born into murkiness. The third meaning refers to faithfulness. Those who are working to rise above the muddy waters will need to be faithful followers.
After a two-week long detox, followed by three separate month-long inpatient rehabs, a six-month stay on a rehab ranch in Washington, and a five-month-long venture in Portland, as well we the many stays in detox between, not only did I ultimately become clean, I stayed clean. The dark hole I was digging myself deeper into turned out to be something else. It wasn’t a hole, but a tunnel. One could say I had dug myself into and out of Hell. But I don’t believe that to be the case since I no longer believe in any Hell or underworld. If there is such a place, we are living in it. There’s nothing in the world that could be worse than the horror and despair I’ve seen and felt in the last few years.
Along with my sobriety, I neither desired nor needed alcohol to hold a simple conversation. That acquired taste needed to enjoy a beer had vanished. Any sip would bring upon a face of utter disgust. Yet, after all these cunning and baffling obstacles that had taken years to overcome, things still didn’t feel right. I couldn’t close the book on this harrowing part of my life just yet.
That unfulfilled, faulty feeling had been with me the entire time at Austin Rehab and Spirit Ranch. This led me to the conclusion that I had not yet fully freed myself. Once again, I felt distinctly directionless, and that part of me that was lacking and not yet fulfilled irritated me. I was unsure of how to fill that space, no matter how hard I pushed myself. It was like the void had somehow become tangible, a weight floating next to me, resting on my shoulders and making itself a constant nuisance. To complicate the matter more, each time I felt it, I’d think about Brianna.
My birthday came around. Somehow, I’d made it through another year. I’ve always had a feeling and perhaps a black ray of hope to die before I hit this age, 25. Now, I appreciate the life given to me and am comfortable and content at last, mostly. I was getting the feeling that this tense lull in my life would not last.
It was here that my Mom wanted to give me her birthday present, which was to me meet and possibly speak with this lady who supposedly could channel spirits and angels. I was a newly awakened, spiritual person, even if not directly religious, so I did feel skeptical. But even so, it piqued my curiosity. I didn’t see how this woman could be harmful, and so I went with my mother with an open mind to check it out.
Yet, the more I thought about it the more I thought of how gullible my mother could be. My skepticism grew with each thought. By the time we arrived, I was an absolute skeptic. I knew she would not amaze me or wouldn’t fool me in the slightest bit. However, whatever little tricks or manipulations she possessed I would not call out. I would be a kind gentleman and let her perform her little show, I decided.
A woman wielding a wine glass welcomed us inside a beautiful, two-story home. Someone dimmed the lights creating an atmosphere perfect for an intimate nightcap on a glittery night. As we passed through the entryway, there were three ladies crowded around an island in the kitchen where sat a halfway finished bottle of Cabernet. We made our introductions and then the owner of the house led us to where the session would take place. My mom started talking to a Mexican lady named Moira, who had beautiful waves of black hair and was wearing a vivid crucifix around her neck.
She didn’t look like a fraud. I couldn’t pick up any negativity coming from her either. Only an inner tranquility with herself.
Moira also spoke with a calm and certain voice, as if unworried how things would go down. I, on the contrary, was on the verge of breaking a mental sweat. While she spoke with my mom, catching up, since my mom’s last visit, I glanced around the house and was questioning everything. Until I overheard this wasn’t her place. We weren’t on her home court. We were both on unfamiliar grounds. I felt a little more relaxed with that.
The deal was we were to be on the 2nd-story balcony, just outside of the kitchen. It would solely be she and I, then she would tape the entire session onto a cassette tape. I mentioned to her sincerely that “digital recording is easy to work with.” She said she knew but has been too busy to make the switch. I thought to myself, all you do is start recording. It’s the same thing, just on a computer or digital recording device. Oh well…
My mom scheduled me for one hour which was one tape that I get to keep afterwards. Moira also mentioned, “When the session is over, I won’t remember a single thing after. So if you have questions, please ask them during the session because afterward I cannot discuss them with you.”
I nodded. This seemed to be more realistic, like I may get something out of this. Maybe.
After some preparation, she turned on the tape player, closed her eyes, and the session officially began. “J,” she said. That was my name, yes. I’d introduced myself. She knew that.
“Do I have your permission to call upon the spirits to sit with us, guide us, and answer questions that come to your mind during our session?”
Oh, this is just like Reiki in a way. Sure, let’s do this. “Yes, of course.” Let’s see what you got…
I sat in silence with eyebrows raised, and listened as the nearby traffic, the chirping crickets, the wind, all came to a stop. It seemed as if I wasn’t alone; as if all life on earth was waiting on this woman.
“Sorry, just one second,” she said with eyes closed.
I pondered in my head whether I should say Okay or All right, anything that could pierce the silence that began taunting my anxiety. I opened my mouth, but she was quicker—
“Wow,” she said, looking like she was examining something. With eyes closed, it looked as if she were in the middle of a dream. The thought of this allowed something into, or rather, out of my body. It was a sort of, ‘lightness;’ the same feeling as taking off my middle school backpack, full of books thanks to a locker that wouldn’t open.
“I’m sorry, I’m trying to find the right words… You feel—” she paused while I sat on the edge of the chair. “Everything.”
Not knowing what she was getting at, I gave her a confused look. Until I realized her eyes were closed, and they were probably going to stay that way.
“And you carry so much—Oh, you poor thing,” she interrupted herself. “You carry so much… Guilt with you. And you harbor so many heavy feelings that drag you down, but they’re not even yours!”
My chest tightened as her voice grew more intense. I didn’t come here for this. I don’t need this woman’s pity. My thoughts became angry. How dare she mock me!
Then reached the point where my ego had had enough and wanted to get up and leave. But another more calming voice stepped in, letting me know she meant well and it’s all out of a place of love. She wants to help me.
With that thought, I shook my head in agreement. I looked up to see her eyes still where they were, unmoved. The foolishness tickled away my ego and any negative thoughts tailored with it. It’s funny when you realize how much you use your body to talk to people. Especially, when they can’t see.
“I believe you’re taking medicine to help with… or help mask your depression, correct?”
“Yeah?” That wasn’t really news, either. She’s just trying to gain as much information about me as possible. “What about them?”
“One of them isn’t working,” she answers.
This was news to me. The woman then rattled off a startlingly accurate list of the medicines I was taking to combat my depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure. Naturally, I had never told her any of these, so she knowing them was a surprise that made my heart skip a beat. There might have been a possibility that my mother mentioned something to her, but I considered that to be very unlikely. My mother knew how to handle these things, and that wasn’t by spreading them around. Plus, she said Moira had even told her not to tell her anything about me.
“That’s all,” I said. “But, what about them? Which one isn’t working?” I had laid down some painfully obvious bait there. I had told no one which particular medicines I take.
Moira then proceeded to pinpoint the medicine that wasn’t working from the list.
“The Depakote is doing nothing for you,” she said firmly. “You should, however, stay on the Cymbalta, as that works for you. And… what should he take for his anxiety?” she asked an unseen third party.
Was she asking me? Should I answer? I have no idea what I should be taking.
So far she was on the money. Despite never having met me before and not coming anywhere near this information, she knew which medicines I took and which ones weren’t doing anything for me. The last question confused me, though. Why was she asking me?
I nearly asked aloud, but then she provided an explanation. “It’s not coming in clearly,” she said. “What should he take for his anxiety?”
She was asking something that seems in contact with her. This didn’t make sense.
Soon, the answer came, she announces, “Klonopin. You should take Klonopin for your anxiety.” She paused, then moved topics. “As for your health, it would benefit you to stay away from the red meat and to eat more fish. This is what your body needs and craves.”
Even if this woman was not a licensed doctor or anything like of the sort, the resolution with which she spoke made her suggestions feel more valid than those of a real doctor. I had been considering the dietary advice before this point, and that she hit on it on the head without me telling her anything was impressive. If her higher power knew what worked and what didn’t, I felt inclined to trust it. Unsure of what to say, I nodded and made a mental note to look into Klonopin.
In the silence that passed, the woman’s entity seemed to change topics again.
“There is a particular event coming through clear for me. In high school, there was a boy named Shawn. Two of your friends were picking on him and cursing at him. You stepped up to tell them to stop.”
I felt myself shudder slightly. I remembered Shawn. I remembered this event. I hadn’t told a single person about it. Where did she pull this from? It could only have been through her entity’s oversight.
Moira continued. If she sensed that I was unnerved, she didn’t show it. “You clarified that your friends did not know what Shawn had been through or who he was. Eventually, you could drive them off. They had thrown his CD player to the ground and shattered the CD inside. You apologized for their behavior and promised to make it up to Shawn. The very next day, you gave him your copy of that CD.”
I thought my eyes would bug out of my head.
“That’s right,” I said, nodding as the memory passed through my mind once more. The moment I saw that broken CD case, I recognized the CD inside it. I had that CD. At that moment I felt like it was my duty to replace it. As she had said, I gave him my copy the very next day.
“You have a big heart J, I could feel it after I met you. It’s a gift that should be cherished. Once again, I am very glad you came.
I sat there and thought about what she had said. Before I could say anything, Moira switched to yet another topic by asking me what I had liked to do in my free time. I told her I am a huge horror movie fan and have been reading a lot.
“What do you read?” she asks.
I knew this would not be good, but I spoke up anyway with a slight cringe. “A lot of horror… and books on the occult.”
“To maintain yourself, do your best to avoid negative energy as much as possible. You should stay away from your horror movies and those occult books you are taken with. They are doing nothing but bringing negative energy to you, and that negative energy is going to the weakest person in your house.”
I was obsessed with horror movies and the occult so this recommendation came as a shock. Still, it made sense. The empty portion of me had left me thoroughly depressed. It made sense that the negative energy would settle in that space, bringing me down.
What she said next shook that notion. “The energy around your occult books is settling on your father.”
That nearly made me jump. I had considered myself the “weakest person,” hoping the negative energy would settle on me and not anyone else I cared about.
“I… I see,” I mumbled, trying to process what was going on.
It made sense. My dad has diabetes. He wasn’t doing particularly well at this point in time. I was already aware of negative energy latching into people but I figured it would latch onto me, dragging me down; it was going to him and making him sicker. At that moment, I knew the books needed to go. I didn’t want the people around me suffering like that. My dad, in particular.
“Do not lose heart, J,” she said. I realized her eyes were still closed, they had been the whole time, and yet somehow she knew that it chilled me. “The point of all your pain is to share your story with others who are suffering. You have a story to tell. Your history will give hope to someone else who is struggling as you have. For all the negative energy that settles in and around you, you have a light within you that allows you to act positively, as you did for that boy in school. If you tell your story, you will create positive energy not just for yourself, but for others.”
She continues talking, saying something that strikes a chord with me. “You are an indigo child.” She pauses, then takes a deep breath and continues. “When you were with God, there had been a large call for beings to volunteer to assist Earth and its inhabitants. You chose your parents because you felt they were compassionate and strong enough to handle you and your mission. But the drugs and alcohol are taking you away from what you need to do. They are leading you down a nasty road to death.”
Her words echoed exactly what they had told what me at the Ranch, as well as the information in my birth chart and numerology readings. They had said I was an indigo child there, too. Her knowing this detail seemed to solidify the idea more in my mind.
I could feel something shift in my heart. Moira’s words were giving me hope and light during a time of darkness. Her insight had mostly convinced me she was the real deal. I say “mostly” because there was one more test I wanted to try, which would confirm her completely for me.
“While I’m here, there’s someone very important to me I’d like to talk to again,” I say. “If you’re talking to an angel… could you ask for Brianna?”
Brianna, my love, my precious pearl. I still remembered how horrifyingly cold she was when I discovered her body. I never wanted to go through a loss like her or Flash’s again. Still, if this lady really could connect with angels, or a higher power, or whatever was out there, it stood to reason that she could bring Brianna to me one last time.
She gives a thoughtful hum. “May we speak to Brianna Carey Stark?” Before she asked, I had told Brianna’s full name. It took me a moment to realize that she was asking the entity that she was communing with. There was a tense pause before Moira spoke. “She’s here.”
My heart stops, body tenses up. Is this happening?
“She says hello.”
“Brianna,” I said to the woman, to Brianna’s spirit on the other side, and also to nowhere in particular. Just saying her name was soothing. “I’m sorry.”
There wasn’t anything else I could think of to say, and yet it felt like a tiny drop of the infinite well of regret I had regarding letting my beloved pass. She had said she loved me before she had died. I never forgot that, even for a moment.
“She is telling me you both had shared something… Music?… Playing music? Is that right?”
With my elbows on my lap, supporting my head, and hands covering my face, I nod.
“She says that she loved dancing with you, it was her favorite moment with you.”
I couldn’t hold it in anymore. That last statement had reminded me of us dancing at the clubs we had gone too. Tears start streaming down my face. I cry hard, harder than I’ve cried in a while. I must have held it in too long.
Moira nods. “Brianna wants you to know that everything will be okay. She is making this very clear for me.”
“Really?” My uncertainty covered various areas: whether everything would be okay, whether Brianna truly meant that, and whether Brianna was that willing to speak with me after what happened.
“Yes.” Moira was very quick to assert that. “She is coming through clear and strong about this. She wants you to know that everything will be okay, she doesn’t want you doubting that. Also, she has a gift for you.”
“A gift?” I still couldn’t believe that, even in death, Brianna was being so giving to me. “What is it?”
“Five blue cupcakes for your birthday.” The woman gestured as though she was holding a tray of these cupcakes. At this moment, I realized that I had never told this woman that it was my birthday. That sealed the deal for me. Moira had contacted the divine, reached out to Brianna, and confirmed that it was my birthday without me having to say a word.
“I…” It was all I could stammer out for a moment. This was it. Brianna was forgiving me. She still loved me. All those regrets… well, they didn’t evaporate, but they felt less poisonous to me in this moment. It really felt like everything would be okay. The space began to fill slowly. This was what closure felt like, like water flowing into a new lake in my mind.
Through my uncontrollable sobbing, I say, “Thank you, Brianna. I love you.” I emphasized those last three words carefully, wanting to convey to her the full depth of my feelings across the boundary of life and death. Three simple words that carried all the meaning in the world to me.
Once again, Moira nods. “She loves you too. She says happy birthday, and once again, that everything would be okay.”
“Thank you,” I said again, to both Brianna and Moira this time. I could feel my heart filling up with strong, positive energy. Even with my regrets and my darkness, I had someone who believed in me, and at least one entity out there watching out for me.
I discovered my mission; my purpose; the unknown I had been searching for my entire life but never had a name. I was being urged to share my story, to help others who were suffering as I was. Something good could come from this pain of mine. Light could come from darkness. I could start improving myself now, banish the negative energy that was settling in and around me, and really make something of myself.
At long last, the blindfold was off and I could see the time to act, for my sake and the sake of others, was before me—it had always been, but I wasn’t able o see it, until now.