Life is worth Living


       Keyli? Vulnerable in April?
       Both Nancy and the psychic in Nashville assured me there was no reason for our breakup. I'd seen visualization accomplish unbelievable things. Should I use psychic tools to get Keyli back?
       I had used visualization. But I had made a choice about it and other similar techniques because of the very word Nancy used -- force. I was totally uncomfortable with the idea of forcing someone else to function in certain ways. No matter how bad it hurt, I would not use coercion. It wouldn't be fair.
       Even if I could force Keyli to come back to me, I couldn't force her to love me. Love is only love if it's given freely.
       "God," I prayed, "don't ever let me get so desperate that I'd take advantage of someone else's weakness."
       One afternoon as I lay in bed with Inki snuggled close beside me, a vision came. I was falling through blackness. I just kept falling and falling... and falling. Finally I fell through a trap door.
       Am I nearing the bottom? Will life turn around for me? Is there a tomorrow worth living for?
       More days dragged by. I finally decided I couldn't take it any longer. I had read and heard about an experience people who believe in reincarnation call a "walk-in."  If you're tired of living in your body, you can give it up and let another soul occupy it. Your soul walks out, another one walks in and takes over. Old body, new person. The new soul gets to live in a human body without wasting the years of growing through childhood.
       Exhausted and miserable, I prayed, "God, I just can't take it anymore. Please get me out of here. Please let my soul go back to whatever plane of existence it's destined for. Please give my body to some soul that will put it to good use."
       After I prayed for a walk-in, I still just laid there in bed as miserable as before. Why me? What am I doing wrong? Why is everything going wrong in my life? Why'd I get fired again? Why this last divorce? What's wrong with me? Why are people always rejecting me?
       One afternoon, several weeks later, I mulled the same questions for the hundred-and-sixty-three-millionth time. Why'd I get fired in Cleveland?
       Sure I made some mistakes. Said some things I shouldn't have said. Lost my temper two or three times and that was two or three times too many. But I also did a lot right. No matter how I weighed the issues, I couldn't come up with any reasons worthy of firing. If nothing else, it would surely have been worth management's trouble to say, "We've got a problem here. What can we do to smooth out this situation?"
       All of a sudden it felt like a massive light exploded in my head. Like a voice said "You're not responsible for other people's mistakes!"
       Not responsible? I questioned.
       I sat up in bed. Inki looked up with questioning eyes -- she hadn't seen me move that quickly in months. "I'm not responsible for other people's mistakes?" I questioned softly. Inki's ears popped up.
       The thought rolled around in my mind like a soccer ball in the surf. Suddenly other thoughts -- thoughts totally foreign to my recent thinking -- flooded over me. Other people make choices too! Maybe management made some mistakes too! Maybe some of these things weren't my negative karma at all! Maybe somebody else's karma was working against me! Maybe I'm not always to blame for every little thing that happens to me.
       I reviewed my time at Cleveland. I should have been more tactful in telling the new manager I didn't like an idea. He should have given me some respect for what I had accomplished. I should not have lost my temper. On and on I went ... not blaming either the manager or myself.
       Relief flooded over me. I spoke aloud again, "I'm not responsible for others' mistakes. It wasn't my fault."
       Inki sat up and wagged her tail.
       "It wasn't my fault!" I got up, looked in the mirror, and told my image, "I'm not responsible for others' mistakes. It wasn't my fault!"
       At that moment, a tiny burst of hope surged into my mind. Tiny bits of energy began to course through my body. That evening, instead of praying for a walk-in as I'd done nightly for weeks, I considered the possibility that life was going to get better. "God," I prayed, "about that walk-in ... never mind."
       Reality began to creep in.  My mother's occasional reminders -- "You've got to get a job, Jay" -- made sense for the first time in nearly two months. At first, I'd shower and shave, go to one potential employer, then come home and collapse into bed, exhausted. My stamina increased as I proceeded.
       One afternoon I received another vision. In it, I stood in front of a huge wooden door, similar to the type I'd seen pictured at the entrance to medieval castles. The door looked to be at least thirty feet tall. It had two large circular door knockers. My face was almost against the door, but it would not open.
       The vision frustrated me. I had just begun to see a glimmer of hope. Is the vision telling me the doors I want to go through will never open for me? Will I never realize my hopes?
       Over the next several days, the vision came to me repeatedly. Each time, I sank deeper into confusion and frustration. Will all my dreams always be beyond a giant door I can't push open?
       Then it came again, only this time I received an impression along with it. "You're almost there."
       Almost where? I wondered.
       I didn't know. But the glimmer of hope born of realizing that perhaps not everything that happened to me was my fault encouraged me to look to the future.
       First I searched for radio programming or announcing jobs. Every station in the greater Seattle area, it seemed, had long-term employees in those positions or had just hired someone. I checked out jobs from assembly lines to sales clerking. But twenty years in radio hadn't prepared me for anything else. Then, remembering that radio station owners looking for managers often wanted someone with sales experience, I decided to look for radio sales jobs.
       KRKO Everett needed a salesperson. Wednesday the manager told me what he had to offer and sent me home so we could both think about it for a week. By Thursday evening I'd evaluated the situation. I knew I wanted the job. If I'm going to be in sales, I told myself, I've got to ask for the order. So I spruced up first thing Friday morning, went to the station, and asked to speak with the manager.
       "Good morning, Mr. Brown."
       "Good morning, Jay. I didn't expect to see you this soon."
       "I know.  But I've decided I would indeed like the sales work you spoke of, and I came to ask for the job."
       Surprise crossed his face. He leaned back in his chair then smiled. "I like that kind of spunk. How about starting Monday!"
       "Monday will be fi ..."
       "Oops," he interrupted me. "This Monday's Memorial Day. How about Tuesday."
       Start Tuesday I did.
       KRKO proved to be an aggressive, fun, promotional-minded station. And I learned many helpful lessons.
       One of the benefits of the job was a membership at the YMCA. Ten years earlier, I used to jog up to six and a half miles at a time. My 220 pounds were muscular, lean on my six-foot-five frame. But those days were long past. My muscles and stamina had all but disappeared. Each ounce of muscle I lost was replaced with two of flab. The pounds had sneaked on ... one chocolate chip at a time. When I first started swimming at the Y, I couldn't make it across the pool without stopping once or twice to catch my breath.
       But I kept swimming, kept pushing myself. Before long I could make a full length without stopping. Then two. Then three. Eventually I swam sixty lengths quite comfortably. I didn't worry about my weight. But as I exercised, the extra weight slipped away too. Before long I felt 800 percent better physically than I'd felt in years. But I still longed for spiritual guidance and direction. What would tomorrow bring?
       One morning a local church pastor telephoned the station about possibly doing some advertising. The receptionist gave me the information and I called the pastor for an appointment.
       The church looked like any traditional church, but I didn't relate its name to any church I'd heard of before. The pastor wanted to reach out to the community by radio. As we talked, I noticed he possessed some unusual insights. Since I was always looking for insight, I asked him about his beliefs.
       "We believe God is not pleased by narrow opinions about who He is. We need to accept people as they are and allow each one to determine how the God in them directs. Each person can commune with God himself. He can look to past lives. He can look to the future. He can know because of God in him. ... "
       The pastor could hardly have helped from seeing my interest. "Why don't you join us for services Sunday morning?" he invited.
       When I walked through the door the next Sunday morning, I was enfolded in acceptance. I was greeted repeatedly, not formally, but as if the different individuals were genuinely pleased to meet me. The singing was pleasant, the meditation was comfortably familiar -- almost like hypnosis, the sermon was inspiring, the ambiance was love. This is where I belong, I told myself.
       The minister had announced that the bookstore would be open immediately after the service, so I followed a crowd there. I wandered the aisles in amazement. All of the clairvoyants were there. And everything you could ever want from New Age authors. You could choose from subjects like self-hypnosis, Buddhist philosophies, visualization, the Real Life of Christ (as opposed to the one shown in the Bible), predictions of the future, reincarnation, time warp, prophets -- not the biblical kind -- channeling, numerology, steps to take for world peace, self-help through the use of the occult, and many more.
       I didn't see a Bible in the bookstore. It didn't matter. I had grown beyond it. I could learn more advanced wisdom through these updated, mind-expanding, and vastly more interesting books.
       I attended church services every week. Even Bible study on Wednesdays, except we never used a Bible. We used a book centering on the soul and its life between bodies. The members here must have all grown beyond the Bible, I surmised. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the material and participating in the discussions. After the long depression, I was eager to learn and do every thing I could to override past negative karma.
       Pastor Joe and I often had even deeper discussions after the meetings. One eve- ning he shocked me. "Jay," he said, "you ought to be a minister"
       "Me?" I asked, dumbfounded. I'd considered about every other line of work ever imagined -- being a minister had never entered my mind.
       "Yes, you," he responded. "You have insight. You think deeply. You're willing to study and grow. You communicate well. I believe that one day you'll be a minister."
       "I don't know."
       "Think about it. Whenever you're ready, I'll get an application from the seminary I attended. And I'll write you a great recommendation."
       I didn't know about becoming a minister, but I was certain that in all my life I had never seen a group of people so loving and caring. After all the rejection I'd experienced, I reveled in the friendliness, the acceptance, the unconditional love.
       Several months later a friend I'd worked with eight years earlier in Johnson City telephoned from Waverly, Tennessee.  He'd purchased a radio station several years ago. "Jay, I need a general manager here."
       I felt like I might explode with excitement. I enjoyed my job in sales, but management was what I really wanted to do. Still I was worried: I can handle the technical part of the job. Can I do my job and get along with the employees?
       I'd loved Tennessee -- to go back would feel like going home. I'd miss my church ... but I was pretty mature in my understanding of reincarnation. Maybe there'd be a New Age church in Tennessee. And even if there wasn't, surely I could find someone else with whom to fellowship.
       Then another offer in management came. When my friend in Waverly realized he could lose out, he started adding incentives -- an occasional weekend in Nashville, a slip for my boat at the marina, and "Hey, if you come here you can bring Inki to work with you." Take Inki to work? That benefit tipped the decision toward Waverly.
       When I resigned from my job in sales, Mr. Brown said, "Jay, I'm sure glad I took a chance on you."
       Took a chance? That caught my attention.
       "A friend of mine," he continued, "who manages a station in Seattle told me, 'Programmers just don't make salesmen! Don't hire him! I've tried it several times. It NEVER works!'"
       "But you just seemed to have the pluck you'd need. You learned fast, and you did well.  In fact, you've been one of my top salespeople. We're going to miss you." He stood and offered his hand. "I wish you well, Jay. You've got a lot of talent. You'll do a great job!"
       Inki and I headed cross-country in a packed-to-the-hilt Jeep Cherokee, towing the boat. Since Cleveland, the boat had only been out of storage long enough for moves from one community to another. I looked forward to getting it back in the water.
       I pondered the challenge ahead. How would I approach it! I'd not storm in and change everything from A to Z. That tended to launch both employees and listeners into orbit. Besides, every area and every station was different. Recognizing the uniqueness of local tastes had been part of the secret of my successes.
       As usual when I arrived in a managerial position at a new station, I'd spend some time looking and listening... closely. Then I'd start with a glaring problem and we'd do what was necessary. When that change was implemented and most everyone was getting comfortable with it, we'd move on to another.
       The needs would be somewhat different here from many of the places I'd been. WVRY - FM, known as V-105, was a satellite station.  It received the main programming -- music and announcers -- from another area through a satellite network. Then we rebroadcast it along with local news, weather, and commercials.
       Since V-105 was a 50,000-watt station, I was able to pick it up when I was still a couple hours from Waverly. The Rolling Stones rocked to life. I listened to the announcer between songs. The satellite feed sounded good.  I hoped the local handled their part well. As always, I wouldn't put up with complacency. We would be the best we could be.
       I listened to the '50's to '70's oldies for several miles. Then a staticky silence filled the space after the end of a song. I glanced at the radio knob as if it had turned by itself. Finally a voice came on, "You're listening to .. ." Before the announcer was done speaking, the Beatles' beat and lyrics began competing with him ".... V-105 in Waverly."
       "Hm-m-m-m," I groaned.
       Inki cocked her head my way. Her ears popped up.
       "Sounds like there's room for improvement."

 

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