Updated: May 7, 2022
Growing up, I had a typical American childhood. Like many boys my age, I played in the neighborhood with friends, was athletic and liked playing sports, and as a teenager started playing the guitar as an outlet for my creativity. No vivid memories or regular occurrences as a child of seeing spirits running around trying to speak to me or anything like that!
However, as a very sensitive child who was curious about the deeper meanings in life, I remember being drawn to philosophy and asking my mom questions such as, “where was I before I was born?” In my late teens when I won a book prize at a restaurant, I chose a book titled, “The Philosophy of Religion,” even though it drew an incredulous look from my father.
My dad was a very black and white person, often abrasive even to the point of being abusive at times. It was not an easy house for a sensitive child to grow up in, and I often escaped into my imagination as a coping mechanism. Getting lost in my own little world, whether it was playing GI Joes, writing, or drawing, I leaned into whatever made me feel safe. In my teens, I started escaping with more toxic substances like alcohol and drugs, desperate to numb my feelings.
After high school, I found myself wandering, unsure of any direction. and did a brief stint at a college in New Hampshire, amongst others, and a few cross-country trips to San Diego, CA, but it wasn’t until 9/11 that I experienced any sense of purpose. After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, I felt called to serve our country and joined the Army. I was 25 at the time and celebrated my 26th birthday while away training. Shortly thereafter, I served overseas in Baghdad, Iraq, and was honorably discharged in 2006.
When I returned from the war, I fell back into my previous pattern of trying to numb my feelings with alcohol and other substances. On the outside to others, I had a great life. I was a newly married, an incredibly successful business owner and had nothing to complain about. On the inside I felt emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. Then, tragedy struck. My baby daughter was stillborn at 8 months. Twenty-five days later, my brother-in-law committed suicide. In addition to losing my mom to cancer that same year, it was a dark time and my marriage unfortunately did not survive, but it was the catalyst that helped me begin to turn my life around.
A little while later my sister persuaded me to see a psychic she had been to and came highly recommended. I resisted at first because to me, psychics were people you went to see drunk on the Jersey shore boardwalk as a joke. But eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to check it out. During the session, I was surprised by how much the psychic knew about me, like how I had co-signed a car for an employee, for instance, and that the lease would go into default in April – which it did! At the end of the session, the psychic told me to go home and meditate. It was the best advice anyone ever gave me.
At the time, knowing nothing about meditating, so much so that in fact, I had to Google it to figure out what I was supposed to do! After reading about how to meditate for a little while, I decided to give it a shot. I sat down on a nearby chair and closed my eyes, not sure at all what to expect. What followed was a meditative experience that changed my life forever.
During the meditation, I had a vision, although calling what I experienced a vision doesn’t do it justice. It was so much more ‘real’ and tactile, drawing on all of my senses. In the vision, I was standing by a river. I could see it, feel it, hear it – like I was really there instead of sitting on a chair inside my house. I wanted to reach out and touch the water, but something held me back.
On the other side of the river was a man who seemed to be a thousand years old. It wasn’t that he looked old, but rather that he radiated the energy of an ancient spirit. Even though I had never seen the man before, I felt like I knew him. At one point during my vision, the man floated across the river towards me. As he got closer, I could feel the heat of the man’s body in front of me. It was such a shock that it made me audibly gasp and I immediately stopped meditating, scared by what I was feeling and seeing.
Nervously laughing, I told myself (and my dog sitting next to me), “Alright, enough of that!” and got up to go to bed. When I turned around, however, there in front of me was the silhouette of the man from his vision. In fact, I found myself surrounded by the silhouettes of many people, in the room with me and in the windows surrounding me. Scared though I was, it felt like coming home at the same time and I embraced the experience. I began drawing all the figures around me, questions swirling around in my brain. As soon as I thought a question, I would get an immediate answer, as if I and the strangers around me were connected on the same brain waves – like they had tapped into my thoughts and me into theirs.
That night was my first true encounter with my psychic gifts, the beginning point of my journey to where I am today.