Sunday, March 3, 2013


Friedrich (Frederick) Salomon Perls, better known as,Fritz Perls, coined the term Gestalt Therapy with his wife Laura Perls.

(For those unfamiliar: Gestalt Therapy is an existential/experiential form of psychotherapy that emphasizes personal responsibility, and that focuses upon the individual's experience in the present moment, the therapist-client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person's life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation.)

In January, I began a one-year training in Gestalt Therapy.  I told myself it was to make me a better practitioner with my patients.  But I think deep inside I really wanted more tools to better understand me. Yesterday was my second class.  Starting at 9am and finishing at 6:30pm, needless to say I know a little more about me. See part of the training requires us to participate in a process so others can observe and learn.  Essentially what this means is a small group of 7-8 people sit in a circle on the floor, the remaining students sit on the outside of the circle and observe the process. The group is compromised of first year students (me) and advanced students. The inner circle is called the fishbowl.  In the fishbowl two facilitators begin the process and get the students to relax and eventually someone the in bowl is the focus of discussion.  Only the people in the fishbowl can speak, the others are merely observers.  I quickly learned it is difficult for me to be an observer. The healer in me comes to the surface and wants to rescue the person on the hot seat.  During our first class I attempted to negotiate with a facilitator the option to speak from the outer circle. He was quick to let me know I am always welcome to enter the bowl but if seated on the outside I was not able to speak, merely to observe.  I was quick to let him know I was not anxious to have my shit addressed and therefore feared entering the bowl.  He smiled and some how I knew in that smile he understood me but was not going to let me negotiate what I wanted.  So with a deep breathe and all my shit in tact later that day I entered the circle. Nothing profound happened to me during that class, and I was grateful. Sitting with this group of 18 people, most of whom are therapists I wondered how I was going to share my inner most thoughts.  I learned long ago having worked in mental health how to block myself so they could not peer into my soul and steal my shit that makes me who I am.  Good, bad or indifferent.

Fast forward to class two.  Still unfulfilled with merely observing I jumped head first into the bowl.  Putting on my therapist repellant I was ready to venture into the circle and claim my space so I could speak.  I was quick to share I thought this process took too long and how I wish some of the participants would just speak their truth so we could move this along.  You would have thought I had a bomb strapped to me and was going to detonate it. There I sat with my shit in the middle of the room as the wolves began to circle. It did not take long for me to understand not only had I laid my shit out for the group, but I stepped in it.  In a very nurturing and compassionate manner they started to peel away my layers and address my need for speed.  I now understand the brain, and clearly the mouth move quicker than feelings. It is through this experiential and tedious process we learn what is really happening inside of us.  So in short I needed to dial myself down and trust the process. 

I was certain I had dealt with my issues in my early 20’s, when I was Gestalt-ed.  I often refer to Gestalt as something that was done to me, not something I participated in.  I think I referred to it in this manner because so much of my early work was interactive, not just talk therapy.  My greatest memory of my early Gestalt process involved three chairs.  The chair on the left represented the head, logical and processing.  The chair on the right represented the heart, the feeling part of me.  The chair in the middle was a space for the two to come together and have a serious and gut wrenching discussion. This space was reserved for the two to have a serious talk about working together to make me a whole person.  Suffice to say it took me a year to make it to the middle chair.  I was certain she wanted to sit me in the middle chair tie me down and force me to have this discussion.  But she never pushed and told me some day I would make it to the middle chair.  I remember thinking I hope I win the lottery or the insurance pays because I had no intention of sitting in that fucking chair, my mind and heart were just fine running their own shows.  

Who knew almost 30 years later and in training to learn Gestalt I would again encounter the same issues, patience and working the process. I am almost embarrassed to say I am still working on these things but I will chalk it up to being a slow learner when it comes to working on me.  I always give my patients a wide path to explore and take their time. Even cautioning them to slow down and work the process.  Sound familiar?

Interestingly enough in the two fishbowl sessions I participated it was the men who took the center stage.  Sitting across from me was a younger more unenlightened version of me it was like watching myself in the early years struggling to find me and who I would become.  Sitting next to me was an older version of me successful, retired yet lonely and struggling to find his space at this point in his life.  What I am about to say I already knew and often talk to patients about this very thing, but I fail to use my words on myself.  It occurred to me in the safety of the fishbowl we are never done with the journey, there is never a coasting period, only a small eye of the storm then back to it.  If we are seekers of the truth and desire to suck the marrow out of life we must be ever changing, patient, and open to the experiences around us. Bearing my soul and in my best therapy speak I relayed to the younger me how he always made me feel as if I wanted to hug him and tell him it would be okay.  He stared blankly into my eyes but I knew he got what I was saying. It was then time to turn my attention to the older me sitting to my left.  Shortly thereafter a facilitator and the woman to her left, who by this time was crying, touched his leg and said I give a shit about you and what is happening in your life.  At that moment I knew I was in healer mode his energy leapt into the room and seized my body.  Shaking his head and struggling not to cry he told her, the other student, that was overwhelming to hear. No shit it was overwhelming and I too began to struggle with not loosing my shit for the group.  Taking a deep breath I allowed the tears to fill my eyes but not over power my face, it was as if he was crying through me.  I know he touched something deep inside me because as humans we all have the same feelings and emotions.  We only differ in how these emotions and feelings play out for each of us.  During the time he was struggling to compose himself I inquired if he asked for what he wanted in life, “hell no” was his response. Then we chuckled.  It reminded me when we are un-happy with how things are it is okay to ask for what we want. We may not get it but at least we know we have asked. I also found it interesting that I connected to the young guy and his blank stare, I have given that to so many people as a young man. Interestingly enough I empathized with the older man and his desire for more unable to ask but finally being in a space to loose the stare and own the feelings.

I must report this experience as difficult as it was changed me for the better.  I know the journey never really stops; retirement is what we do at the time of death.  Fishbowl be dammed, I am sure next month the desire to participate and be able to speak will overtake me I will once again be in the bowl vomiting up crap I had no intention of sharing. I am also reminded that all things have a price.  The price of this ticket is leaving the old behind and embracing a new way of thinking about how I interact in the world. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


It’s true my wife hates rice, there I finally said it.  I often wonder if she will come to terms with the rice people.  I have asked numerous times over our 30-year relationship, what is it about rice that makes her so crazy?  She has yet to give me a firm answer.  It seems so strange for her to have such an aversion to the short grains of goodness but she does.  She is not prejudice against any one type of rice.  She hates all rice.  The brown varieties, white, long grain, wild.  It is all suspect and she simple refuses to allow it in her eating space. 
It seems as if some cultures just cannot accept her aversion to the rice people. For years when we have “ese” food, you know Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, she makes one simple request, no rice.  This seems like a simple request but you might be surprised to find, it is not.  The Chinese restaurant we frequent has known for years she does not eat the rice people.  Even thou they can recant every single item we eat from memory, from the hot and sour soup to each entrée without us muttering a word.  They simply cannot remember to skip the rice.  We know they are going to forget so we all brace ourselves for the arrival of the white starchy dome of perfectly formed pile of rice.  This is when the dance of the rice people begins.  My wife tries hard to ignore the fact they have once again placed it on her plate.  The server says, “oh I forgot to leave rice off your plate, is that okay?”  My wife tries hard to not explode and has even said at times it is okay but really she is thinking, “are you kidding me?” One time when the server asked if it was okay I could no longer hold my tongue.  I firmly and lets be honest aggressively said, “no, it is not okay we eat here all the time and yet you cannot remember to bring her entrée without rice, it is not okay now take it back and bring it out without one grain of rice.”  The server stood there looking at me with her head slightly bowed and smiling.  I could not believe my eyes, was she really smiling at the crazy man making such a big deal over rice.  I later learned in the Asian culture when embarrassed they bow their head and smile indicating embarrassment and humility for the error.  I admit when I learned this fun fact I did feel like the biggest asshole on planet earth. I mean really it is only rice. 

It was at that moment I realized my family had waged a war against the rice people, all in the name of my wife.  Mind you my son and I eat rice and rather enjoy all varieties. This means we cannot share foods with rice accompaniments. A rogue grain of rice might jump on the food and attempt to enter my wife’s mouth if we were to share food.  I am unclear what might happen if one fine grain of rice escaped and ended up in her body. 

You may be laughing at this point saying to yourself, “is he really writing about this phenomenon known as the dance of the rice people?” Well the truth of the matter is, yes I am writing about it.  It has become hard wired into the very fiber of our family, no rice for Shelly. This fun fact is as well known as the fact her favorite cake is German Chocolate. 

I have queried her mother numerous times about the rice issue.  I wondered if perhaps a rice kernel had attacked her as a child.  Perhaps she was forced to eat only rice for a year.  Maybe she grew up working in an “ese” restaurant and could no longer look at rice.  My mother in law can remember no run ins with rice that would preclude my wife from eating it.  She actually even offered up my wife would eat creamed rice as a child.  She is as perplexed by this hard line as anyone.   

You might wonder why after 30 years of being together and married 27 of those years I have finally opted to speak of this family secret.  Well, this week we carried out from a new restaurant called “The Gyro Place.”  Thinking Greek food would be safe we placed our order.  She selected the fajita bowl from the massive menu.  I know really a Greek restaurant had a fajita bowl, but they do.  She arrived home with our carry out order and we were all doing the food dance, which quickly turned into the dance of the rice people.  She popped the lid on the Styrofoam container to find a big glob of Spanish rice placed perfectly on the top of her entrée.  The room quickly came to a suffocating silent halt.  Shit, the rice people were in the room. We knew they arrived even thou not one word was uttered.  She simply closed the lid and left the room.  I spent the next 10 minutes trying to remove each grain.  She returned to the kitchen and encouraged us to eat stating she was fine. We knew she was not fine.  The intruders were in the house and had jumped on her dinner.  She meticulously picked each grain of rice from the container, as if someone had sprinkled poison on her food.  Actually I think she would be more amenable to sucking down poison. 

I hope for her well being that one-day she can make peace with the thin grains of goodness.  I don’t hold out much hope.  She is screwed if she ever finds herself on “Survivor” that is a main staple on the show.  Something tells me she would make herself a nice bowl of mud pie soup and hope for the best.  I dream of a day when they name her condition, rice-a-phobic and she attends a rice haters recovery meeting and I hear her say, “hello I am Shelly and I am a recovering rice hater”, and hearing the group reflect back, “welcome Shelly.” 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Photo by Greg Colbert

Is a constant state of happiness even possible?  I ask this question because it seems we have an epidemic of happiness hunting spreading across the nation.  Wait, I meant to say the illusion of happiness.  Happiness is rumored to make us whole; and too complete us.  Do you know anyone who says “I am in the pursuit of sadness?”  Probably not, most everyone you know is in search of “happiness”.  I believe we would have a better chance of capturing a lightening bolt than the elusive creature, “happiness.”

I do believe in happiness, I just don’t subscribe to it as a constant state.  The ability to achieve emotional nirvana and maintain it for all eternity is not reality.  Getting honest with where we are at and how we feel is a form of happiness. Is it possible to be sad and find happiness in the sadness?  I believe it is most certainly possible.  Achieving emotional stability requires the ability to feel the full range of emotions.  The secret is not getting trapped in one state for to long.  A healthy physical state requires us to eat a various diet of nutrients so why would emotional stability be any different?  Eating a steady diet of carbs will deplete the body and most certainly end in poor health.  Experiencing a steady diet of any one emotion such as happiness, sadness, joy, anxiety, fear, or confidence will end in poor emotional heath. 

Humans want to put their best foot forward. Yet in order to do so it requires us to be honest about where we are.  Happiness is fleeting, just as all emotions are or can be.  In Asian Medicine we seek to find balance in all we do and what we do for and with our patients.  When I ask patients how they feel in general they will more often than not answer, happy.  I always ask this question late in the interview once they have disclosed why they are coming to see me.  Is it possible to be in a state of happiness if you cannot sleep, your job sucks, you are in a horrible relationship, your body has constant pain, or your body is carrying a disease that will change you forever?  Is it possible to be totally happy in these states of disharmony, the short answer is yes.  But happiness is fleeting and not a state of being.  All emotions are fleeting and not a state of being.  Experiencing the full range of emotions is the closest we can come to happiness.  The full range promotes health and healthy is the best state of being, mentally and physically. 

So many patients get stuck when they have a severe illness, such as cancer.  I have been told so many times, “I just want to be as wonderful as I was before. This has changed me forever. I just want to be what I was before.” What does that mean?  Take a close look at who you were before, was it all that wonderful? What makes you think you wont be better than you were before?  Asian Medicine philosophy is rooted in if you are balanced there will be no disease.  What if this is the wake up call to be better than before?  What if this experience is about being better?

I stopped searching for happiness; instead I seek contentment with achievable goals. I believe all things are possible so really all goals are achievable.  It may not look exactly the way we initially envision, but did we come close to hitting the mark? 

The universe is constantly sticking obstacles in my path; I am practicing a new mantra, “what is the opportunity here?” Personally I am currently in the middle of a shit storm. I am trying to stay in the eye of the storm because I find calmness there.  The happiness is in the uncertainty, what will my life look like when the storm stops?  That does not mean I don’t have terrible days where I shut he world out it simply means my happiness looks different today.  My contentment needs an infusion.  

Americans tend to think possessions will bring contentment.  Not one possession I have ever owned brought me long-term contentment.  But the energetic exchange with the universe and those who I love and love me has never let me down.  Sure I get disappointed but these disappointments make me so much more appreciative and grateful for the good times, the content times. 

I am so fortunate in my work because I learn as much from my patients as they  hopefully learn from me.  Interestingly I have had an increase in Eastern Indian patients. It has been an incredible experience learning of their culture and views.  Their approach to life is so different from Western culture. Unlike Western culture where we are raised to believe we can be anything we want, to some degree their lives are planned.  Yet there is a void of restlessness and a healthy level of acceptance. One of my favorite things an Indian man recently said to me was, “Westerners spend thousands of dollars and travel halfway around the world to find peace. When all they had to do was look inside.” It made me smile and reflect on our approach to contentment.  Westerners seek the truth outside themselves and rarely turn inward to find peace.  There is no self-help book that will make you find nirvana.  It may spark you to take a fearless look at yourself, but if you are unable to get honest you will not find happiness or contentment.  

I challenge you to find your contentment. Push yourself to find happiness in a full range of emotions.  You are sure to find balance and you are certain to find contentment.   

Photo by Greg Colbert

Saturday, December 24, 2011


I assume Christmas and the Holiday Season in general is upon us.  I say assume because it is more difficult to tell since the retailers have been playing holiday music and had decorations since July.  The biggest indicator is the 110-degree weather has been replaced with gloomy overcast cold days, and the trees have lost their leaves.  I remember as a kid the holidays would creep up on us.  Fall was still a season and winters seemed so much simpler.  Waiting and wondering if school would be closed from the wintery weather. The weather forecast seemed more accurate with less sophisticated instruments for prediction. 

As a kid everyone congregated at my parents for the holidays.  It seemed as if all the major holidays occurred in the winter.  The day post Thanksgiving started the countdown to Christmas. Yes, for the purpose of this writing I am going to use the word Christmas I know it is not politically correct but as a kid it was Christmas.  Where I grew up I had no idea anyone else celebrated anything else.  My family is not the picture Norman Rockwell painted.  I wonder if any family actually measures up to his creations.  My family however is always full of adventure and there is never a dull moment.  We are a rather eclectic group with strong opinions. 

Christmas started Thanksgiving evening with the tree and all the accompanying adornments.  My mother would begin purchasing gifts the day after Christmas and finalize her purchases right before the big day the following year.  We always had amazing Christmas’s.  Growing up in a typical middle class family in the 60’s and 70’s everyone, or most everyone, had an artificial tree.  Dad would drag the tree box out of the attic and mom would sit and try to resurrect the bottlebrush limbs so they had the appearance of a real fir tree.  With enough lights, icicles and the ever-popular Hallmark ornaments you could almost believe this group of toilet bowl brushes wired together was a real tree.  Mom sprayed artificial evergreen scent periodically through the house during the season.  I am sure it contained carcinogens but it created such a great moment. If you closed your eyes and took a deep breath and managed not to inhale the actual spray, you could imagine being in the forest surrounded by evergreens.    

Christmas programming riddled the television with classics such as “Rudolph”, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “The Grinch”, “White Christmas” and the ever popular “It’s A Wonderful Life”.  My brother and I would negotiate time to watch the television.  In those days we had only one television, one telephone and no one knew what a computer or an iPad were.  We would stare at the screen as if it were the first time the Grinch stole the town’s presents.  The Norelco Santa would soar through the air on his electric razor at commercial breaks.   We devoured popcorn chased by coke in real glass bottles and real sugar. 

For weeks before the big event my great-grandmother created the most amazing cookies, pies, cakes, dream bars and many delectable confectionaries I am certain I am forgetting.  She meticulously painted every cookie with a paintbrush and colored icing, each a labor of love.  Her carrot cake was legendary. It was so moist and contained everything but the kitchen sink, topped with caramel icing thick like fudge.  She cut out felt ornaments, stuffed and sewed them and carefully decorated each with rickrack and sequins.  She placed them meticulously in ziplock bags and everyone received a variety every holiday. 

Each passing day we became more and more excited.  We would sit and stare at the lights on the tree and guess what each package contained.  As a momentary diversion my father loved to pack us all in the car and drive around town and look at Christmas lights.  A tradition we continue to practice even today. I enjoyed these evenings the most when snow would blanket the ground and change the terrain into a wonderland with blinking, twinkling lights. 

Christmas began for us on Christmas Eve, with my aunt and uncle, my mother’s sister.  My uncle prepared the annual Christmas Eve pizzas.  An occasional gift would be opened, but the majority was saved until morning.  Santa had to bring them of course.  So this meant we were off to bed early only to toss and turn from the excited.  It was so hard to sleep knowing there would be an amazing bounty of gifts in the morning.  How did Santa get all those presents in the house?  How did he know exactly what we wanted, what size we wore and our favorite colors?  The biggest question of course was how did he enter our house it had no chimney?

I recall several gifts I would never consider even for a second giving to my son.  Looking back my parents trusted us, perhaps overly trusted us based on some of gifts we received.  Lets start with the chemistry set, honestly who entrusts a young child with a Bunsen burner with the full array of chemicals to perform experiments. It seems so funny to think back on loading the burner with alcohol and cooking up the chemicals and conducting experiments. Wow, they either trusted me or secretly prayed for a fire so they could rebuild.  Some years later I did set the house on fire, by accident, and not from a Bunsen burner.  This is another story for another time.  The year of the child’s hunting knife, gifted to me by auntie.  I spent a lot of time in the woods behind our house. It had its own leather sheath and attached to my belt.  Honestly how I manage not to cut my hand off or someone else’s was nothing short of a miracle.  Over the years there was such an array of incredible gifts such as air hockey, stereos, Stretch Armstrong, Rock’em Sock’em robots and numerous board games.  The word board games may confuse some of you.  These were games played as a family and contained no flying birds, no electronic components or flashing lights to entertain the player.  Just a set of dice or twirling arrow that told the player how to move, and a board with writing that told the player how to proceed, simple but effective. 

Christmas morning would arrive and the energy emulating from two young boys equaled an atom explosion.  The presents were passed to us one by one as we ravenously devoured each.  We opened until our fingers bleed.  One year my mother ran out of wrapping paper and money to purchase more.  She placed the remaining gifts in a large box. Each gift placed in a brown paper bag and stapled closed to preserve the surprise as long as possible.  This was the same year I received the stereo and who can forget the 45 of “Rubber Band Man”, 45’s are a primitive plastic disk containing music and played on a primitive device called a record player.   I played this record over and over, singing and dancing.  The excitement of the gifts and the holiday spirit would calm down and my brother and I would play with our newfound bounty.  It never seemed as if we had much time to play before the guests arrived for dinner.

12:00pm sharp dinner would be served; we still eat at 12pm sharp.  Guests would arrive in mass groups.  The tiny house I grew up in always seemed to be full to the brim.  Someone or someone’s were always living with us.  The guest list of the who’s who arrived carrying more packages and various sweet treats. We never really knew who would be sitting at our holiday tables.  My parents embodied the true spirit of the holidays and never let anyone spend a holiday alone that wanted to be with others.   The tables were placed end-to-end beginning in the eat in kitchen and finished in the family room.  Did I mention the house where I grew up was not a huge place? A kid’s table was assembled in the corner for the wee ones.  The day I finally moved to the adult table marked a milestone in my evolution of the Christmas Holiday.  I must confess the food did not taste any better, the conversation was not more stimulating, but I believed I had arrived.  The bounty consisted of traditional dishes with very little variation from year to year.  The seasonal requests of don’t let me burn the rolls marked the beginning of the eating competition. My mother was and is an amazing cook.  She worked her tail off cooking those meals and cleaning up the messes.  I would not appreciate the finely orchestrated event until years later after I hosted a few of my own.  The shindig was full of festive interaction and never seemed to last long enough, at least as a kid. The day would come to an end and everyone would take their leftovers and scurry back to their respective homes.  The event that took so much planning and coordination would come to an end. The silence of Christmas night was perfect for one last tree gazing because as quickly as the toilet brush tree arrived it was swept quickly back into its box and stored away for another year.  We would keep the carcinogen laden room spray out for a few days fantasizing we were in the forest. 

As a father, husband and family member I see Christmas so much different than as a child.  When I stray to my Scrooge place, I embrace what the holiday meant as a kid.   It helps me embody the true meaning of Christmas lost in the rush of the machine we now know as the Holiday Season.  These memories help my tiny black holiday heart to radiate with the glow of gratefulness and spirit.  Much like the Grinch I feel a smile slowly overtake my frown.

No matter what or how you celebrate I hope everyone has an amazing holiday.  Be safe, remember your family traditions and create a few of your own. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Gazing Man From Croatia

The line was growing and the restless energy swirled in the air like thick smoke on a windy day.  This was his third visit to Indianapolis, in less than six months.  The restless crowd comprised of newbies and seasoned veterans to this phenomenon.  You could hear the speculation of the attendees.  Every attendee held the hope of a miraculous healing or wish granted.  I learned long ago that humans want something or someone to believe in.  I have also learned not everyone who claims to have the energy can deliver on what they promise.  The uniqueness of this traveler is he makes no claims to be able to do anything, in fact he dismisses the myth he does anything.   The energy and how it works through him appears to be as much a mystery to him as it is to the audience. 

The energy has peaked and everyone is aware the time is near.  Like the rumble of a beehive the sound of the crowd reaches a crescendo and maintains at a hum.  The doors open and participants are greeted with a smile and led to their seats.  Shorter people and those in wheelchairs are seated in the first three rows.  The crowd is asked to fill all empty spaces.  Some have already begun to cry, from the excitement, fear or hope that their desires will be granted.  Pictures are pinned to many of loved ones who were unable to attend.  There is calmness about he crowd even though the energy is clearly swirling rapidly within the space. 

Two levels, the main level and a higher one on top of the first form the stage.  Flowers in simple containers flank either side of the stage. It is draped in white and everything around it is also white.  Two projector screens surround the stage for projection of the event for those further back.    

The group is now in the room and the tight bundle of people sit waiting for him to appear.  Just minutes before the event begins a woman in a wheelchair is rushed to the end of the first row.  She is markedly upset and crying.  Her companion wheels her in for the event and then promptly departs.  She sits alone and crying silently to herself.  If I ever thought the human condition has dead it was restored on this day, even before he entered the room.  A tiny aging woman sitting next the crying woman began to rub her arm and leaned over clearly checking to make sure she was okay.  When she was not rubbing the woman’s arm she held her hand.  These two strangers shared a moment in time obviously intended for them to have.  If nothing else transpired that afternoon it warmed my heart to see two total strangers make a connection just as simple life forms having an experience. 

A man appeared on the stage, he was not the main attraction but rather there to explain the format.  He explained Braco would enter the room and gaze into the audience, without ever producing a single word.  The collective energy is channeled through Braco.  He further explained that Braco does not control the energy; in fact the energy controls him.  He will enter the room and gaze at the audience for five to seven minutes, he will leave the stage and we will be asked to continue to stand for an additional two to three minutes. At the conclusion of each session attendees can share current or past experiences. 

My attendance at this event is as foreign as the event itself.  A patient told me about him for the first time in April. She delivered flyers to our office in the event we wanted to share Braco with our patients.  The office manager and I laughed about the gazing man for days.  Really, could a man from Croatia gaze at the audience and profound things occur.  It was just way out of my realm of what I could believe or even process so I scoffed and did not attend his initial visit.  For weeks after his initial visit I was flooded with people who attended his sessions.  They reported various outcomes from total remission of illnesses, to profound healings or simple requests granted.  I was beginning to think I may have missed an opportunity to experience something very unexplainable.  I am a very spiritual person, which I consider very different from religious.  I have and continue to experience things that have no explanation.  The very work I do as an acupuncturist is nothing short of a miraculous unexplainable transformation within the human body.  Harnessing or manipulating the universal energy has always fascinated me.  Through continued discussions with people and a series of encounters I was actually introduced to the woman who brought him to Indianapolis.  I do not believe this was a coincidence since I believe there are no coincidences. She and her husband held what I now understood was a thank you get together for the volunteers who worked the initial event.  Having not been a volunteer it seemed strange that I had made it to this event.  This was clearly a case of me being where I was suppose to be at the time I was suppose to be there.  Larry, the husband led a chatting session follow by his playing of the violin.  He is an accomplished musician who’s music enters and touches your very soul.  His wife Ashley, flew to Hawaii for a healing from Braco.  Her recovery post this event is nothing short of a modern day miracle.  I would be inclined to say she had some experience but surely it was not as profound as she indicated.  But I unknowingly had treated one of her best friend for many years.  She confirmed everything Ashley had shared with me and her own personal account of what Ashley was like before seeing Braco in Hawaii.  Several weeks after initially meeting Ashley she contacted me and asked me to join her and Larry for coffee or tea.  I met with them later that week.  It was during this visit I heard directly from her about her journey. 

My only thought was I must see this man and what he can do.

Back in the room the man continues to explain Braco and how he came to do the work he is doing.  He explains that Braco is like a tuning fork who has been struck and begins to resonate.  The audience is like a room full of tuning forks who begin to resonate and vibrate from being so close to the original vibrating fork.  It is this resonance that produces the healing vibration within the crowd.  Participants are asked to huddle closely so the resonance is more powerful.  I have always believed that when you put a group of people together with a similar agenda things will happen. 

We are all made of energy; it is this energy that unites and can transform.  Some groups do this through prayer, chanting, lying on of hands, or gazing. This universal energy has been harnessed in so many ways. So once I accepted it was possible through an act as simple as gazing I had to experience this phenomenon.
The man on stage has concluded the introduction and it is time for Braco to enter the room.  You can feel the energy rise as he enters the buzzing sanctuary.  The energy mimics the flapping of bee’s wings, and enlivens the room.  Braco takes the stage and stands on the highest platform.  As promised he merely gazes at the audience. I can feel him and he has a bright white aura around him.  This is my second event so I knew what to expect.  His aura was different from the first time I saw him in June.  Braco’s shadow reflects as two separate images and seems to mimic both male and female, as if representing both energies.  You can see the energy enter his body like millions of tiny serpents and then radiating in and out through the audience.  There is nothing but pure selfless energy radiating from the stage.  At times he appears to turn into a singe ball of light. 

The experiences are as varied as there are people.  It is not my intention to chronicle at this time the experiences shared with me. This is merely a brief synopsis of some of my experiences. 

Braco leaves the stage and the room remains in silence.  It is difficult for me to stand still I have this overwhelming desire to rock back and forth.  Interestingly when I watch the Braco videos I see people swaying in the same manner.  My inner feeling is somewhat primal and simplistic.  I feel lighter and at peace and as if I have some how left my body momentarily.  I have no worries or complaints just a sense of well-being.

I cannot explain what happens when this event occurs but something does happen.  We are programmed that we should be able to explain the things happening to us.  There must  be a scientific explanation for everything.  When in actuality we all enter the world every day carrying with us a blind faith.  It is this blind faith that motivates us to leave the comfort of our homes knowingly able to return unharmed.  Cultures outside the United States are more open to unexplained phenomenon.  They open to the possibility of magical thinking.   We can transform our lives through magical thinking, and believing.  Certainly this does not mean just because we want or desire a specific outcome we will get it.  All things come to us when we are supposed to experience them.  Forcing events to occur before time can result in a negative outcome, often leaving us unable to believe beyond that event. 

I am sharing this experience in hopes each one of you will attempt to explore territories once foreign to you.  Extend an olive branch or a simple pat on the arm to acknowledge you see and validate a life and the experience they are having.  This experience only further validates for me we can make a difference without a single word being uttered.