According to ancient spiritual teachings, souls incarnating as human beings are granted individual destinies on Earth, giving us each the opportunity to express our innate wisdom, love, creativity and power in this physical world. Having a history of previous incarnations on this planet, each of us are also born into a particular set of karmic relationships and fated experiences based on choices made in prior lifetimes or based on lessons that we wanted to learn this time around.
We can think of destiny as one’s highest potential or divine plan – a seed of potential that the universe plants within us at the time of conception. We nourish our destinies when we make the most of the talents and opportunities that are designed into our individual human plan and when we are able to navigate our karmic experiences or fate, as alchemists – by allowing these challenges to transform and evolve us instead of crush us.
Another way to think about it, is to visualize fate as a structure or a trellis. The plant has the freedom to grow up and through and around the trellis in different ways, and it has the freedom to only grow so high or to grow all the way up to the top and beyond (destiny). Within the structure of fate, we make choices, and those choices either nourish our destiny or they don’t.
Here in this physical realm, there are many distractions that occupy our attention, efforts and energy. With infinite patience the universe allows us to manage our lives using our free will. Occasionally, because of certain fated events, our lives are interrupted, usually by a major personal loss or health crisis. Often, it is only in our darkest hours, that we remember to ask the important questions: Who am I…why am I here…and what am I doing about it? 1
These extremely trying and confusing experiences, although rooted in fate, also serve as potential catalysts to our higher destinies. They are opportunities to temporarily withdraw from the fast pace of our lives to develop a deeper awareness of another reality beyond the physical world and a higher purpose for being here on this planet. When I was confronted with a serious health crisis that was unresponsive to both conventional and alternative medicine (including acupuncture, which was my profession at the time), I was forced to re-evaluate my path and find the deeper purpose in this shocking curve-ball from the universe. After exhausting many treatment modalities with no progress, I began to research the fields of psychic healing, shamanism and parapsychology. I discovered fascinating examples of individuals who faced intensely painful and frightening physical challenges with an open mind and a determined spirit. They allowed these devastating twists of fate to awaken their creativity and found themselves transformed, empowered and healed as they realized so much more about their true potential.
Several incredible healing stories which all involved serious damage to the leg, especially caught my attention, because the neuro-muscular function of my own leg was severely affected by a condition diagnosed as reflex sympathetic dystrophy. The pain and dysfunction was spreading and had caused one of my calf muscles to become paralyzed. The first story I came across was reported in Psychology Today and Yoga Journal. It was about a 21 year old man named Mitchell May, who was told by a team of UCLA surgeons that his leg was unsalvageable and must be amputated. During a head-on auto collision, May’s leg had been broken in 40 places and large chunks of muscle and skin were missing. His leg was deeply infected, his life was at risk and the doctors insisted that he would never walk on two legs again. May couldn’t imagine a life without his leg and refused to let the surgeons amputate. His mother contacted the parapsychology department at UCLA in a desperate attempt to find some other option and was put in touch with a healer named Jack Gray.Jack Gray was raised in the Jewish mystical tradition known as Kabbalah, and used energy healing, hypnosis, chanting and prayer to perform countless healings that were being researched at UCLA. He visited May in his hospital room daily for an entire year, performing energy healing on him and teaching him to enter altered states of consciousness through meditation and hypnosis. He taught May to direct energy through his body, to use active visualization, to leave his body consciously and to turn pain signals off with his mind. He also helped May to alter his belief systems that were causing blocks to his healing. He used techniques that drew upon “etheric forces” to generate matter in the form of new healthy muscle, nerve and bone tissue in May’s leg.2 This regeneration of tissue, considered impossible by western science, was fully documented by X-rays and consulting medical physicians.3
After two years, May was able to walk again with a brace. He became Jack Gray’s apprentice, continued to learn and heal and eventually returned to hiking, dancing and rock climbing. In an interview for Yoga Journal, May described how this health crisis led him through a spiritual transformation as he explored a realm beyond regular physical perception. “We would work for hours on end in expanded states of consciousness… Jack exposed me to a field of energy that will almost burn you up if you don’t change. He had to teach me to deal with my fears, my ego games, so that I could enter that energy field.”4 Jack asked May to carry on his teachings when he passed. With a deeply personal experience of the mysterious and extraordinary potential of the human being, Mitchell May walked forward into his higher destiny as a healer and teacher, helping thousands to expand their awareness and access their true healing potential, while creating more joy and freedom in their lives.
Not long after I read Mitchell May’s story, my chiropractor told me about a highly respected shaman who was visiting from South Africa, named Dominique. She had a very busy schedule, was flying back home that Sunday, and I was unable to get in to see her. I went to bed that Saturday night feeling sad that I had missed the opportunity. Early the next morning, I woke up to my phone ringing. When I answered, there was a woman with a South African accent asking for me. She said “This is Dominique, I woke up this morning thinking that I was not going to see any clients before I fly home today, but your guides are here telling me otherwise. Can you get here soon?”
I arrived at the house where she was staying and found her in the front yard garden. She was a very healthy, beautiful woman in her late 40’s or early 50’s. She brought me into the house and began to tell me very specific details about my personal life and my past that she had no way of knowing. She spoke of my guides in the spirit world and how they wanted me to understand that this health crisis, was a blessing, that I would not have reached the goals that I had planned for this incarnation if I had continued on my path without it. She said that in the future, I would be writing. I asked her “about what?” She answered “It feels like you have a different way of doing things or a different way of thinking about things, you will be bringing through juicy information.” She noticed the expression of disbelief on my face, looked into my eyes very seriously and said, “You will be doing this. It may not be for several years, but you will be doing this.” Then she added, “Once you are able to shift your perspective, and see this deviation from your path as a blessing, rather than a curse, you will walk again without pain.” On my way home, I thought over every word she had spoken. I felt gratitude for her and for these “guides” who apparently had been observing the ups and downs of my life and were very interested in helping me navigate it all, but I still had no idea what I could possibly be writing about in the future. I didn’t like to write, I found it laborious…and I had no idea what this “juicy information” could be, but I was intrigued and I had a stronger sense of hope.
Motivated by my session with Dominique and by Mitchell May’s inspiring story, I committed to a daily self-hypnosis and meditation practice. Several months into this routine, I began to experience shifts in my awareness of my own nature. While meditating, my consciousness would temporarily exit the state of fear and hopelessness that I had become accustomed to during my health crisis, and expand into a realm where I felt absolute peace, contentment and a sense of the vast, powerful and eternal nature of my soul. At this stage of my path, a holistic practitioner who had studied under Hawaiian medicine women was explaining to me the concept of “shamanic soul retrieval” and spoke the right words to me at just the right time. She said, “The medicine women told me that every part of your body has its own consciousness or its own soul, even the little finger.” The idea suddenly occurred to me to experiment while in a deep state of meditation, by talking to my leg as if it were its own being, with its own consciousness who could hear and understand me…