Some of the stories

This section will give you some of the highlights of what I’ve been involved with over the years. It’s more of an “anecdotal resume” than a biography.

I don’t often write these stories down and have forgotten many of them as a result. Let me encourage you, if you ever start making changes in your own life, to keep a journal of all of it!

A woman called me when I was in Hawaii. She said, “I want to take a job that makes a difference in the world, but every time I try it falls apart. It’s like something is blocking me.” I asked her the same question I always ask, “What do you want?” She replied that she wanted to help people, in a non-profit type job. I *felt* it for a moment and told her she didn’t. “I do!”, she protested. “It’s what I want most.” “No. You don’t.”, I calmly insisted. She started to get defensive so I backed up and led her in through the back door. She had a good job and made a lot of money. She was from a minority group. Her father and brothers did not respect women. They respected her however, because she made more money than them. If she went to a non-profit job and made less money she would lose their respect. I explained this to her. It took under three minutes. She was astounded. “Oh my God! That’s true! I never realized…. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

I was painting a woman’s house. She came out to talk to me and said, “I’ve heard about you. What can you tell me about me?” I told her she wouldn’t like it, but she insisted. So, I explained. “You have too much ego. It’s because you are afraid. It’s affecting your physical body. Your knees are failing, especially your left one. If you don’t correct this, you won’t be able to walk in a few years.” She gave me a disgusted look and walked away. Two weeks later I was back at her house, painting the trim. She came out and apologized. When I asked what happened, she explained. She and her husband had managed to get tickets to see John Edward. When she was there, she said, both her parents came through. They told her that she had too much ego and that it was causing her knee trouble, especially in her left knee. She told me that they told her she’d have trouble walking in a few years if she didn’t deal with it. She said she had already started making a difference.

When I first arrived in Wisconsin, I went to an inexpensive all-night restaurant. The young man who was the waiter there stopped by my table. Unprompted, I told him a little of what he really wanted in his life. He looked confused, took my order, and left. About 20 minutes later he came back, sat down, and burst into tears. He told me what I’d shared with him was exactly what he needed to hear.

A young woman was dealing with anorexia, and it had seriously impacted her health and her life. I showed her how to sit and breathe and, within three weeks, she had left all of that behind.

A young man and his friends walked up to an outdoor table where I was sitting in Mountain View, California and demanded, “I’ve heard about you! You’re the guy who … knows stuff, right?” I told him I was and he asked what I needed to do what I do. “Just a first name will do.” He gave me the first name of a young woman. Now, normally I am polite when doing this work. For this fellow though, I was less so. I got very intense when I told him to stay away from her. He was a good guy but he had a problem and this problem was screwing up her life and her little one. Till he got it sorted out, he needed to stay away. I was a bit shocked when I stopped talking, since that seemed harsh. Suddenly though, all his friends started laughing and pointing at him. He looked abashed. It seems he had a serious drug problem, had just gotten out of prison, the young lady was his girlfriend and the child was his. She had taken out a restraining order against him and he could not even get close to them until he got his drug problem under control.

There was a woman in Italy who was in her 30s and still single. She dated and told many people she cared about them (“Io ti voglio bene”) but she had never understood love. She said she’d never felt love and had no idea what it meant when someone talked about it (“Io te amo”). This had been an increasing concern of hers for years and she was very upset about it. How could she, at her age, have never cared enough about someone to say “Te amo?” We spent a day talking and sharing. Late that night we were sitting by a dock, watching the boats rock and listening to ropes creak and the small waves slap against the hulls. She started laughing maniacally. When she asked me why she was laughing I told her it was because she was afraid to cry. At that, she burst into sobs and started asking me why. “Perche!? Perche!? Perche?....” When she trailed off, I asked her “Perche che?” (Why what?). She got very silent for a time and then, tears flowing down her face, she asked, “Perche te amo?” (Why do I Love you?) It was the first time in her life she had ever felt it… and the greatest gift she could have given me.

I spent a few months as a novice monk at a monastery in Egypt. The man who was my senior is one of the most brilliant and knowledgeable Christian scholars I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He taught me so much in my time there. When I left however, he surprised me. He seemed near to tears when he said, “I’m not sure how much I’ve taught you. I’ve given you the very best of my words, but… you’ve given me the best of your silence. I feel you’ve taught me so much more than I’ve taught you.”