It occurred to me while enjoying a leisurely Sunday drive down the Connecticut shoreline, it may be helpful for others to get a glimpse of the spiritual journey I took to get to where I am. Sometimes people don’t even know where to start when they are mired in 3D dense living. They need some sort of guide post. Though each of us comes here with our own paths and our own lessons to learn, this list may help some of you.
The wonderful Open Secret bookstore captured so many hours after work at my corporate finance job in San Francisco. I would explore all the different sections and shelves and luxuriate in the good vibes.
Then a coffee shop friend gave me Isis Unveiled by Madame Blavatsky. I didn’t know what the hell it was saying then and I might not even know what the hell it is saying now. But I spent hours upon hours trying to absorb what was contained within those pages.
My love, my teacher, my guru…Paramahansa Yogananda. I still have such a soft spot for him to this day. Him and his teacher Babaji. My friend Mark who lived in West Hollywood gave me a tiny blue book of Yogananda’s and said I should go check out his sanctuary in Pacific Palisades. I followed the lead and was in Heaven. His book Autobiography of a Yogi changed my life and opened me up to the possibilities of the miraculous. The literal grounds of the Self Realization Fellowship are gorgeous and I still love to walk around them when in Los Angeles. I never did pursue Kriya Yoga, though that is a path some can take if it calls them.
Teacher Training at Yoga Works included an in-depth exploration of yogic concepts, thoughts and ways of living and being. I studied there with the old owner prior to them having sold the business and gone totally corporate. Thank goodness I was in the right place at the right time for that.
Bodhi Tree Bookstore was my safe spot. I loved it. Before Urth Cafe got all hip and cool, I would love to spend hours on that block. Go to the book store, go to Urth, go to the Auric Blend shop from London across the street. OMG was I in Heaven. I worked in the world of entertainment on the business side and pursuing spirituaity was my passion. I could care less what “famous” people came in to the office on any given day, all I wanted was to get the hell out of the office and head to Bodhi Tree or yoga in Santa Monica. At the time, I would do 2 or 3 yoga classes a day along with going to the Sports Club LA. Spirituality, physicality and learning to eat differently marked this period of my life. I tried veganism for the first time after having been a vegetarian since 16 years old.
Oh, a car accident while en route to breakfast at the Beverly Hills Hotel, got me into learning more about holistic health, in general. It led me to the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego, osteopathy, and EFT – the tapping stuff.
New York City:
I hated moving with my entertainment job to Chelsea and missed Venice Beach desperately. I tried to find solace at Yogananda’s place but they said my short skirt was inappropriate. I left crying in tears. I knew spirituality wasn’t about judgement. Years later, however, I know I was turned away because that path was complete for me. It was time for something new.
I really didn’t find much solace or spirituality in NYC. It was more a time to start practicing what I had learned all those years in California. It was hard and it kinda sucked. Being inundated with city crap left and right while trying to maintain a yogic zen attitude was most definitely a challenge. It drained my energy and nearly broke my spirit. I yearned to return to Los Angeles and the beach.
Eating healthy in NYC at that time, 2001, was a joke. Though luckily a raw place called Quintessence did exist. I will never forget seeing David Wolf sitting next to me and my Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority friend visiting from Minneapolis. I didn’t know who he was at the time but I thought he was cute. She says to me very sternly…”I will NOT let you date a man who wears a poncho!”
Desperately missing California, I was at a loss for where the hell to be – which coast. I had no clue. My family was in Connecticut and I had not lived there since leaving for boarding school. To bide my time while there, I found a local spiritual school in Connecticut led by husband and wife team Gretchen and Chip. They were loosely affiliated with the Rocky Mountain Mystery School out of Utah. Gretchen and Chip hosted many speakers at their home from around the world and I was introduced to many different thought systems.
I traveled to Ireland with the Mystery School for a week long event and felt compelled to walk out on Day 2. Everyone else was drinking the Kool-Aid and I was perplexed. It felt like a bunch of nonsensical shit to me. They wanted me to open up other people’s DNA with some wand and it felt completely fake. I called Gretchen in the States crying what was wrong with me? Everyone else seemed on board. Why not me? She guided me to go with my gut. I ended up leaving the event and traveling around Ireland visiting Relais & Chateaux inns still perplexed why I did not gel with the Kool Aid drinkers. Fast forward many years later, that group got outed for being a complete fraud and a fake. So my intuition was right on at the time though I did not know it then.
Shortly after returning from Ireland I met a Kabbalah teacher from Michigan thru Gretchen’s school and embarked on a 3 year personal Kabbalah study course with her. I learned so much. It was truly invaluable. Each month we would study a Sephiroth on the Tree of Life. Inevitably, the situations I would be faced with during that month were learning examples of that particular Sephiroth – pretty cool actually. We made it to the top of the Tree of Life and I kept Karen on as a sort of Spiritual Advisor afterwards. Let’s face it, there are not many people one can talk to when on this journey and not seem crazy.
Karen introduced me to Derek O’Neill and back to Ireland I flew for another workshop. Again, it was full of Kool Aid drinkers and Americans wearing white Indian yogi type garb. A couple from NYC sitting next to me had Derek’s picture at their feet and they were crying looking at it. I tried to explain to them he was no better than them. In fact, Derek would proclaim this loudly with expletives during his workshop but people couldn’t hear that. They wanted to put him on a pedestal. Karen’s son came up to me during a smoke break and said, “you know you could be teaching this class, don’t you”? I did know…
Then my spiritual journey came to a crashing halt.
I was back in Los Angeles staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I went to Bodhi Tree to find something to read but my knowledge ran the gamut of most everything they had available. I had never before ventured into the section which contained David Icke – I forget what it is called now – but that is where I went and picked up And the Truth Shall Set you Free... The information contained within was mesmerizing and earth shattering. I would sit by the pool each day thru dusk completely engaged in absorbing the mind boggling information. I even missed my red eye flight on my last day because of being so engaged in reading the book.
….TO BE CONTINUED at a later date….