Is it Worth It?

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What is it inside of us that makes us instinctively do some of the things we do? If we, for instance, see a small child fall off their bike or drowning in a swimming pool, we automatically, without taking the time to think “Is it worth it?” move to help or save the child in need. I would say that we are born “wired” this way. If we do not naturally react in this way, we have somehow “unlearned” the innate compassion of Oneness, Unity and Connection that is born within every one of us.

There is much talk today about Oneness, Unity, Connection, Coexisting, Being Spiritual, Loving Everyone, etc. For some these are just words that are generally understood, or seen as an almost ethereal “out there” concept that is just “out of our reach.” If we have forgotten our connection to one another there is a way to remember.

And I promise you that there is only ONE thing that changes when you shift the way you think about everyone on the planet and that is EVERYthing. You will be amazed how your life seems to flow, how you seem to move with the flow, and how without even knowing it, you will change the lives of others around you.

When you begin to live from a place of Oneness, Unity, Connection, etc., (leaving behind patterns of living in a “me” world of “it’s only about me and my life” to a “we” world that really understands our connection to each other, and the pebble in the water metaphor) it will be quite natural for you to open the door for someone else, to pick up something that someone has dropped, to stop and help someone change a tire. In fact, it will become quite unnatural for you to simply walk by without the thought of helping, just as unnatural as ignoring a child in need.

Just the other day I was in the grocery store when a young college student knocked over an entire grocery display. The young man’s face was as red as a tomato as he stooped down to begin picking up the dozens and dozens of packages off the floor. Immediately, my son and I began to help him put the display back together. I told the young man about the time I pulled a lemon out of display and hundreds of lemons collapsed and rolled into 45 different directions. He smiled instantly.

We so often feel alone in benign circumstances such as these and even though we know intellectually that we are NOT the only person that has ever experienced such a blunder, at that moment, it feels like we are the ONLY one. The minute I shared my story with this college student, you could tell a difference in the way he felt, the way he looked. There is a quote I love ~ Friendship doubles our joys and divides our sorrows (unknown). In this moment, the college student and I became friends. This is living in Oneness ~

It did not cross my mind to NOT help in this situation. It was automatic. Another appropriate quote comes to mind, one that is in every religious philosophy on the planet ~ Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The trick is to REMEMBER this golden rule. And trust me, the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Stick a note with this rule on your bathroom mirror, in your car, on your computer and even make a bumper sticker ~ get the word out to help remind others.

I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Well, what if I cannot help? What if my daughter is waiting for me to pick her up? What if I’m not feeling well? What if the problem is happening half way across the world, like the recent earthquakes?” I love what Wayne Dyer says about this: “Everything is perfect in the universe – even your desire to improve it.” This implies that even your desire to want to help, though you may be unable to physically help for whatever reason, is a positive action and will raise not only your own energy, but the energy of those around you.  And there is always the power of prayer and meditation.

If you are questioning the entire concept of Oneness, Unity, Connection, etc., because you aren’t sure you believe that we are all inextricably connected, then you must visit National Geographic’s The Human Family Tree ( ). National Geographic’s study called The Genographic Project ( ). A National Geographic Team took hundreds and hundreds of DNA samples to create their study showing how we really are all connected. “Where do you really come from? And how did you get to where you live today? DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who—about 60,000 years ago—began a remarkable journey.” You cannot get to the end of this movie without a sense of awe and seeds of remembering and awakening.

Is this about God, Buddha, Allah, The Source of all that is, Christ, a higher power? That is up to you. It matters not what you call it. It only matters that you re-awaken to the idea that we are all of the same infinite life source. An ancient Hindu proverb says: There are many paths to the mountain top. It matters not which path you take, so long as you take one. This implies there is only One destination, and for me and many, many others, that destination is the realization that we are all One.

Show that you have hope and faith that we, as a planet, can and will make it. If you have not signed the petition, please sign Humanity’s Team Oneness Day Petition ( stating that we are all connected. In May 2010, Humanity’s Team Global Council will present this petition to the United Nations so that an official day of Oneness will be recognized the world over.

Make Oneness, Unity, Connection, The Human Family, INSTINCT.

Is it worth it?


Nannette Kennedy

March 25, 2010
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Quote Recipe for 2010

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quotesRemember what the airlines say~Put the oxygen mask on yourself first~

1. Drink eight glasses of water a day~heath practitioners everywhere

2. All happiness depends on a [leisurely] breakfast~John Gunther

3. An apple a day keeps the doctor away~anon

4. If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough~Meister Eckhart

6. It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes~St. Thomas Aquinas

7. The more that you read, the more things you will know~Dr. Seuss

8. If you are doing mindfulness meditation, you are doing it with your ability to attend to the moment~Daniel Goleman

9. If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking.  Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk~Raymond Inmon

10.Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together~Thomas Dekker

Personal Growth

11. Be grateful for what you have~not envious for what you want~anon

12. If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought~Mildred Lisette Norman

13. Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened~Dr.Seuss

14. Twelve laughs a day keep the doc away~Mary-Anne Reed

15. If you have nothing kind to say, don’t say it at all~all moms

16. Dream more while you are awake~anon

17. Sometimes you have to let go to see if there was anything worth holding on to~Unknown

18. Find something to love in everyone~anon

19. No one is in charge of your happiness except you~anon

20. Realize there is a gift in every moment ~ even the obstacles~anon

21. Whether you say you can or you can’t, you are right ~unknown

22. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but you can agree to see things differently~anon

Your human family

23. Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born~Anais Nin

24. Each day do something good for another~anon.

25. Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die~Unknown

26. What other people think of you is none of your business~W.Dyer


27. And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years~Abraham Lincoln

28. Declutter~anon.

29. Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’~Yoda

30. Allow the best days of your past to be the worst days of your future~anon

31. We Are all One ~ me and many, many many others ~


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Serendipity (conclusion)

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The next morning, Sunday, I had an eight-thirty seminar. I didn’t care. I was going to the rosary instead. At 6 wayneda.m. my eyes opened without the use of the alarm. I showered, dressed, had a cup of coffee, pulled the rosary from the bottom of my computer bag and headed off to the lobby. I couldn’t find Immaculee anywhere. Instant disappointment. I scrambled my way to the front desk and asked about it. Nobody knew anything. They referred me to the registration desk for the conference. I asked the women at the conference registration desk who all looked at me like I was some kind of nut. I explained that this was an impromptu sort of thing arranged late last night. One of the women got on a walkie-talkie and someone radioed back that Immaculee was meeting with some people in the bar. I took off running and laughing at the fact that this rosary was taking place in a bar.

When I arrived there were about fifteen women sitting on couches and chairs around Immaculee. There was one space left on one couch. I promptly sat. Immaculee was answering some questions regarding her experience during the genocide. Then she passed out copies of information about the rosary. By now it was eight-thirty and the group had dwindled (people left to get to their seminars). Immaculee explained the rosary itself, holding up her rosary. My eyes almost popped out of my head. Other than the fact her rosary was clear crystal beads (mine are blue crystal) our rosaries were identical, same crucifix—an unusual crucifix—and everything. While I’m fairly certain this rosary I held came from my mother’s home, I’m not sure just how it came to be in my computer bag.

When the prayer/meditation of the rosary eventually got underway, Immaculee interjected throughout the meaning of the sorrowful mysteries. From the time we made the sign of the cross at the beginning until the sign of the cross at the end I wept. It was like someone turned on a faucet. I wasn’t heaving or hysterical, but tears kept a slow steady trickle down my face. The small space we sat in had such an incredible spiritual energy that it is beyond any words. As we prayed I noticed we were now down to eight, the exact same number of women who spent 91 days in the bathroom in Rwanda together. It was so powerful. I had no Kleenex with me and at one point I stood and walked over to the closed bar to grab a napkin or two—no napkins. I’d asked the women on either side of me if they had a Kleenex and they did not. Consequently the dress I was wearing served as sponge. When we finished the rosary, I hugged and thanked Immaculee. I bought a cup of coffee, walked outside, and sat by the pool. It was Sunday morning, early still, and I was the only one there. The following is my immediate written response:

November 13, 2005

Chills surround me from my feet to my head even though it is probably seventy-five degrees out here. I’ve just said the most powerful rosary with Immaculee from Rwanda. To feel in my heart even the secondhand pain this woman has endured and her glowing energy of forgiveness is so much for me to take in and accept that the emotion has risen to the point which my body cannot contain it. My cry comes from deep within and cannot help from spilling down my face and on to my breasts, where I can feel my heart pounding beneath. I have no Kleenex now, nor did I during the rosary. The tears are so deep. Immaculee has suffered so much, spending 91 days in 3 x 5 bathroom with seven other women, going in weighing 120 pounds and leaving the tiny cubicle weighing only 65 pounds. Her father, mother and brothers were hacked to death with machetes—ethnic cleansing. I do not understand this hatred. She said the rosary everyday, several times a day, with the rosary her father gave her when she fled into hiding, and she knows that her love of Christ and God are the reason she survived. Every time she got to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” part of the Our Fathers, she stopped as she says she always does whenever she says the rosary because she doesn’t know how she could ever forgive those that trespassed against her family, but she knows she did. How powerfully beautiful for her to be able to say the rosary at all, but to say it with an honest knowing of those words, and to be reminded each time she professes this part of the prayer that she does know the true meaning. It’s beyond my scope of comprehension. She begged and prayed for God’s favor and had a faith that willed it so. While she led the rosary with the seven of us, every one of us cried. I have no rights to complain. Just before the sorrowful mystery of Christ carrying the cross, Immaculee said, looking into each of our eyes, “What we must remember is that Christ carried His cross under such painful conditions,” she paused and began to cry. “What we must remember, is that God, Christ, do not want us to cry, but rather remember that Christ died for us, and that all of us make sacrifices, and that we are very connected. We are all one as is evidenced by our tears.” I will never be the same person as I was yesterday, never. And here I sit beneath a gorgeous blue sky, bathed in sunlight, sobbing into a pool towel. Oh my God, thank you, thank you, thank you. Immaculee, bless you and thank you.

Not one day has passed since this event that I haven’t thought about it. The Prime Mover conducts such extraordinary symphonies. While I know the music is ubiquitous, it is in hearing each note and listening for its significance to the entire piece which creates the spiritual encounter. I am forever grateful, blessed and fortunate.

My daughter is still talking about her experience at the conference. She too, believes she has had a true awakening.

mmiI have shared this experience with a dozen people. I even bought the recording of the night’s lecture and transcribed it so I could read parts of it to those with whom I have shared my story. The beauty is that everyone has thanked me for sharing and I feel I have made a positive impact on their lives. One elderly gentleman, that I didn’t really even know with whom I shared the story, wept and told me that I was the best thing that had happened to him in a long time, and that that in itself was a gift I must carry on: be the best thing that happens in some one’s life every day for the rest of my life. That’s a good goal, don’t you think?

While I’ve written a thank you to both Dr. Dyer and Immaculee, the best thanks I can give to them, is to tell this story and attempt to spread the inspiration. I hope it inoculates you with just a fraction of the spiritual energy it gave me.

Nannette Rogers Kennedy
Fort Collins, Colorado

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Serendipity (part 4)

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Immaculee Ilibagiza: Thank you. Thank you everybody. Thank you for your kind welcome. I know my story is a sad story, but it has been a story that gave me experience of great spiritual growth and different understanding of how what really matters in life. So I am really grateful for what happened and what I’ve learned from that experience. When I met Wayne, [she is speaking to Wayne Dyer here] thank you so much for giving me this chance to share my story, I read his [Wayne Dyer’s] books and I listened to his tapes, I kept asking myself why someone like this wasn’t in my country before the genocide because it was all we needed for people not to think about the killing. So what I mean is, I hope you know what gift you have to have people like him teaching what he teaches.

Like he told you, I was on Easter vacation, home and we heard that the president died. My parents and my brothers who loved me very much, I was their only daughter. They insisted that I go to hide with a Hutu neighbor they trusted. I went to him and told him what my parents told me. He took me to the bathroom in his bedroom and I found there seven other women. We were eight. The space was a little smaller than this table. We sat there and were told not to say a word, not to make a noise, because if anyone knows we are there, they would call the killers. He told us he won’t even tell his own children. We were happy for his generosity. All day long we were listening to a radio which was next door in his room. All the news was talking about was how to kill Tutsis. They say to kill children, not to forget the women, old people, that they had to cleanse the country. That was said by the new president who had just taken over. The ministers, the whole country was just going crazy. They killed in public places, even in churches and then they started to say on the radio, encouraging all the Hutus to go to each house and search to see if there is any Tutsis hiding.

Then they came to our home. I looked surprised. I remember I was stretching and I saw through a curtain of a small window. I saw outside like three hundred people. I fell down. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t talk. They started searching. I had the rosary that my father had given me when we were separated. I just started to pray. I couldn’t remember for a minute any words really, in my mouth. I was so scared. I could not even tell you how much you feel when you have to experience something like that when you know people are five inches away looking for you, and if they find you, they will kill you. They searched everywhere in the house, in the ceiling, in the top of the house, in every room, they went under the beds. They opened every suit case, saying that maybe babies are hiding there. I was so scared.

I was talking to God. That was my only refuge. I begged him to save me. There was no choice. I didn’t want to die . . . I kept saying that if you say that if we ask, You will give. This is the one thing I am asking you in the world. Please make it happen that they don’t find us . . . I was really praying so hard. I remember, and I don’t really know if this was my imagination or my mind, but it was almost like a vision. I saw Jesus standing with us and heard Jesus say, ‘I know you are praying so hard. Don’t worry. I will put a cross in front of the door. And no one will ever come across.’ I saw the cross. It was almost like I was helping Him put the cross on the door. I stood out of my body and I was feeling like a spirit, and pushed the cross on the door. I was happy. I knew that we were protected. And after that I could see the cross. It was a cross of light . . . There was just a light. I was happy and a few hours later, the killers left. The only room they didn’t search: it was that bathroom. The pastor came back two hours later and said that they would come back many times. We didn’t know when they would come back. It was so painful to wait, because we heard them singing all day long outside. And any time they passed by, we thought they were coming for us. I heard so many voices in my mind, so many bad thoughts of how I was going to die. That was the only pictures that were going through my mind. How they were going to rape me, how they were going to cut my hands and my head. Just the thoughts were so heavy, so poisonous to my body without anyone touching me, and I was asking God I just wish these thoughts can stop, but I couldn’t help it.

That was the moment I think I heard an angel make a suggestion to me. It was the best decision I ever took in my life. I told myself, maybe if I pray every minute of my life of the day, these thoughts might be able to shut down. It was such good idea. I told myself: okay, I’m going to do it. As soon as I got up, I used my rosary to say my prayers and meditate on the bible on the life of Jesus. As soon as I get up in the morning, I started to pray. I would pray from like 6 in the morning until 10 o’clock at night, to the minute I fall asleep. The next day, I did the same thing. It was so good. I was able to spend a day without having these thoughts that were burning my body. And then as I was praying, every prayer talked about love. Every prayer talked about forgiveness. I knew in my heart, there was no way I can forgive these people who are killing me. I hated them. I wanted them to go to hell. I was thinking that maybe they killed my mother. And I thought, I hope God agrees with me. I mean it was a good reason not to love them, not to pray for them. Any time I reach this part of the prayer, and for those who don’t know the rosary, on one rosary you say seven Our Lord’s prayer. And any time I reach this part, ‘Father, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,’ the first days it was okay. The next day I feel like I’m lying to God. I wish I could take this part out of the prayer. But yet it is God who say this prayer. It must be true.

So, one time I was really feeling like a liar, I sat there and I told God. ‘Look, I cannot pray for these people, but maybe help me out. I just want to be so sincere with you because I want your favor so much. That minute I surrendered everything. I give God all my thoughts, everything. Control me. Tell me what to do. I was praying one time, meditating, and I remembered the words Jesus said on the cross when He said, ‘Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they do.’ It was almost like I never heard those words before. It was so powerful. It was so clear to me that they cannot possibly know what they are causing. In that minute, I forgave them. We spent three months in that bathroom. We came out when the Tutsis liberals who have been in exile for thirty years, captured the country. And then we were able to come out. When we came out, I found out that everyone in my family was dead, my mom, my dad, my brothers, my neighbor Tutsis, my school mates. The whole country was dead bodies all over. I thought it was almost maybe the end of the world. Or the beginning, but one thing was real.

The forgiveness I’ve experienced, the love I got in the bathroom about God was so real, it was a gift that helped me relieve the pain of losing my parents. I am so grateful. I found out I was always the one concerning people. I even went to the prison to visit the killer of my parents. I wanted to find out how I would feel. As I saw him suffering, sitting down, a man who was respected. I really did feel compassion. I couldn’t believe that sin could bring somebody in a situation like that. If he couldn’t think of it himself, if he couldn’t love himself, to protect himself from coming into that situation, how can he think of me? How can he think of not hurting me? I knew for sure that he couldn’t know what he was doing. And I forgave him. My life today, all I want to do, all my thoughts, my decisions, I just want them to be based on love, on what God would do in my place if it was Him because I know as humans we make mistakes, and we can really make big mistakes. I hope and I think with forgiveness and love, unconditional love we can accomplish peace on earth. As Anne Frank said, the Jewish girl who was in hiding just like me, I really still believe that human beings I wouldn’t hurt and I hope we all help each other, pray for each other more than hating each other. Thank you for listening. Thank you. Thank you.

What a beautiful soul. What an example of life, love, mystery. By the time Immaculee reached the point in the story where she met the killer of her family and knew that he knew not what he had done, I was not ashamed of my anger and disappointment and antipathy toward my family, but moreover, I was gifted with an epiphany: It was in my power to find relief from the gnawing sensations of such negativity. The spiritual energy in that room was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. I’ve never felt like I felt during the time this woman spoke. Never.

For the next ten minutes or so, Wayne Dyer spoke about the power of spirit and faith and the fact that that was the only reason Immaculee survived. She came back to the stage for few additional minutes and talked about how she had learned the English language while she was hiding in that bathroom from a French-English dictionary that had been left on the back of the toilet before the room had became a hide-a-away. Immaculee now lives on Long Island with her husband and two children. She works at the United Nations and will be speaking for the next year on the power of faith and forgiveness.

Just before closing the lecture, Wayne Dyer briefly mentioned that one of his eight children has suffered a great deal from drug addiction and that while she is doing well now, and in recovery, he would have approached that issue differently today. It was an odd aside because it didn’t fit with anything else he was saying. He even said that he didn’t know why he’d brought it up. Then he added he would stay for a while after the lecture to sign books. I looked over to my fiancé and my daughter. “No way,” I said. It was late and we were all exhausted and had a full schedule the next day. Quietly, we walked back to our room. I was still in awe and didn’t have much to say. I was trying to process the experience. My daughter asked me if I was okay. All I could say, “right now I’m overwhelmed.”

Once in the room, I made a visit to the bathroom. When I came out, I picked up my purse, Wayne Dyer’s children’s book I’d bought earlier and looked at my daughter and fiancé who had made themselves comfortable. “We have to go back,” I said. They both looked at me as though I lost my last remaining marble. “Let’s go before everyone is gone,” I insisted. “Something is telling me we need to go back and get our books signed.” While it is nice to have books signed, it is not my modus operandi to do so. We all headed back to the ballroom.

We returned to the lecture hall where about forty people remained. Twenty or so were gathered around Wayne Dyer, ten were huddled around Immaculee Ilabagiza, and the others seemed to be people who worked for the conference. We stood in line and listened to people praise Wayne Dyer for all of his contributions to helping people with spirituality and watched as he signed the books. Mary, my daughter, is generally quite shy, but when Dr. Dyer made eye contact with her, she immediately said, “I know what your daughter went through. I’m a recovering drug addict.” I had a knee jerk reaction of being choked up. I was very proud of her. Dr. Dyer looked at her with such kindness and said, “That’s why I said that bit about my daughter. I said it for you. I couldn’t understand why I brought it up. How long have you been clean?” Mary told him four months. He asked my daughter if he could hug her, which he did, and he kissed her—for a time she swore she was never washing her cheek. He then told her she now had a job to do, to tell others of her experience, and spent several minutes asking her questions. He did sign our books, and my fiancé took a picture of my daughter and me with him. We thanked him and began to leave.

rosaryI turned to my daughter and fiancé and said that I had to speak to Immaculee, that I needed to touch her, to hold her. I had no book for her to sign. We got in line to see her. I had no idea what I could possibly say to this woman. When it was my turn, I approached Immaculee and asked her if I could hug her. She opened her arms and we held each other. I said the only words I could utter: “Bless you.” She said, “You are so kind to me.” Then, a friend of Immaculee’s suggested to Immaculee that she might want to say/teach the rosary in the morning. I almost fell over. That’s why my computer bag made it to the conference. It wasn’t for the computer which didn’t work. It was for the rosary sitting in the bottom of the bag. I told Immaculee I would definitely be interested in saying the rosary with her. She thanked me and told me she would see me in the morning. What was happening to me? All of these “coincidences,” which coincidentally I don’t believe in, were occurring in such an orchestrated fashion that I knew I was in the mystery and part of something very extraordinary and sacred.

conclusion tomorrow

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Serendipity (part 3)

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On the morning of November 10, we stood in the baggage security area at the Denver airport. With my shoes going through the x-ray machine and my feet freezing, a guard asked me to empty the contents of my computer bag. While I was removing the computer and other miscellany, I noticed something sparkly in the bottom of the bag. It was a blue crystal rosary—origin unknown. It is true that I was raised Catholic, and am still very grounded in the Catholic Church. The rosary for me has always been reserved for wakes and funerals, and as a matter of habit, I never carry one. I repacked my computer case and didn’t give the rosary another thought.

We arrived in Scottsdale, Arizona later that afternoon. My daughter, my fiancé, and I checked into the Doubletree hotel, dined outside by the pool, and then returned to our room. My daughter and fiancé settled into a movie, and I unpacked my computer, turned it on and prepared to let the energy of the spiritual conference guide my writing. The computer turned on, but that’s all it did. After nearly an hour of exercising the opposite side of my brain, trying everything to cause the computer to operate, I surrendered and put the computer away. My thought: I wished I’d turned it on at home because had I known it still wasn’t functional, I certainly wouldn’t have bothered lugging it with me.

The next day was the day of pre-conferences. I had signed up for one, but my fiancé had not. My daughter wasn’t registered at all. I told them they’d have to bond and bask by the pool while I was raising my energies with John Holland, another inspirational speaker. At lunch break, I returned to the room and my daughter was sitting on the bed wearing a conference badge around her neck. Honestly, my first thought was that she had stolen it. She explained to me that my fiancé had taken her to the registration desk for the conference and asked about the possibility of signing her up. The woman behind the desk told them they were sold out and on top of that there was a very long waiting list. They small-chatted for the next minute or so and during this time the computer beeped at the woman behind the desk. There had been a cancellation. She looked around, “Nobody will know you weren’t on the list.” With that, she sold the ticket to my fiancé and signed my daughter up for a weekend of seminars. My daughter was ecstatic.

After a full schedule of conferences the following day, and the three of us floating around on spiritual highs, we had dinner in the room and then headed to the main ballroom with 1600 others to hear Wayne Dyer speak. Within a few minutes of him being on stage, he asked if there were any teenagers in the room. Naturally, I elbowed my daughter into coming forward, where he gave her and four or five other teenagers copies of 10 Secrets to Success and Inner Peace. She returned to her seat and was elated, “I can’t believe I touched Wayne Dyer.”

Then Dr. Dyer began speaking about the 1994 Rwandan genocide—a wholly unexpected topic on my part—I was fully prepared to hear him speak on all the things I knew he had addressed in his books and on his CDs. At first, I quit listening. I was trying to figure out why I didn’t recall this event. I realized that this was when I was pregnant and had lost my son’s twin. My pregnancy was shaky at best, and I was consumed with continuing to carry my son. I tuned back into the story and the deeper Dr. Dyer delved into the story—I have no adequate words to relay the experience which ensued—the more I felt enveloped in a cocoon of mystery. It was physical, emotional, soulful—very “other” to any experience I’ve ever had before. And little did I know, that this was just the beginning. Along with many in the audience that night, I wept as I listened to Dr. Dyer speak. I felt his passion, absorbed his compassion. Because this lecture is so powerful, and the content such a critical part of this overall story, I include excerpts of it here:

Wayne Dyer: Back in1994 on the 6th of April, the president of a country in Africa called Rwanda, was in an airplane, and the airplane crashed to the ground. The president was a Hutu. The country is divided into Hutus and Tutsis. Ninety percent of the country is Hutu and 10 percent is Tutsis—it’s a racial divide. On the radio the Hutus begin announcing and blaming the Tutsis for this plane crash and the killing of the president of Rwanda. They encouraged something that began a genocide, one of the ugliest things that has happened in the past twenty years, perhaps the last 1000 years. On the 7th of April in 1994, every Hutu over the age of 14, was issued a machete which had already been shipped in crates and was available . . . it turns out [Dyer had evidence from the UN and has read it thoroughly], that all of this was done prior to [the plane crash] in preparation to do this killing that was to take place over the next ninety-one days.

The Hutus later went on the air and took responsibility for this plane crash. The machetes were issued. The spears were issued. And for the next ninety-one days in a country the size of the state of Maryland, with ten million people, the banks closed, all of the grocery stores closed, the schools closed and, the business for the next ninety days was killing. Women, babies, grandmothers— if you were married to a Tutsis, you were to kill your wife and your children and if you didn’t, you would be killed, hacked to death. The encouragement was broadcast over the radio every hour on the hour. It was going on in the most hateful kind of description you could ever imagine and after ninety days, one million people, think of this now, and when you think of 9/11 and three thousand people dying, when you think of the tsunami, or the hurricane in Louisiana, a million people were slaughtered. Every dog in Rwanda had to be killed in July of 1994 because they had been doing nothing but eating human body parts for the previous ninety days.

In the midst of this horror there was this young woman, named Immaculee, who was in college, 200 miles away from her village. She called her father, and her father persuaded her to come home for Easter vacation. She didn’t want to go. She insisted that she not go because she had too much to do at school. Her father insisted she must come home. She took the long bus ride home. Now, traveling 200 miles in Rwanda is not the same thing as traveling 200 miles here in the United States. She got there on the 7th of April when the killing began and all the Tutsis began to head for the borders, and as they headed for the borders, massive numbers of Hutus were just out there hacking people to death. This was going on eleven years ago in our lives. And we knew it was going on. Not only did we know it was going on here, but in Europe they knew it was going on. Almost nothing was done, in fact nothing was done until ninety days went by and the French came in ultimately, and president Clinton called it the greatest failure of his administration that they didn’t go in and do something—not that it was anyone’s fault in this country or anywhere else. The killing was taking place.

Immaculee was told by her father that she had to go into hiding. She went to a pastor’s home and they had a little bathroom in the home about three feet by four feet. Immaculee and seven other women were put into this bathroom and hidden behind a clothes valet for the next 91 days. She was not allowed to say one word, not to say anything. The pastor had ten children and didn’t tell any of them that they were hidden in this bathroom. The same clothes she was wearing in April, she was wearing in July. No one bathed. No one spoke a word. She went in weighing about 120 pounds at five foot nine, and came out weighing sixty-five pounds. In that time she was hunted by Hutus with machetes that she could see five inches from her and they never found this bathroom. There had been two to three hundred people searching this room over these 91 days and they never found her. She survived by something called faith that is beyond anything I had ever heard about. She has written a book about it called: Left to Tell, How I found God in the midst of the Rwandan genocide.

[Wayne Dyer begins to read from Immaculee’s book.] “I heard the killers call my name. They were on the other side of the wall. Less than an inch of plaster and wood separated us. Their voices were cold, hard, and determined. ‘She’s here. We know she’s here somewhere. Find Immaculee,’ they were saying. There were many voices and many killers. I could see them in my mind, my former friends and neighbors who had always greeted with me love and kindness, now moved through the house carrying spears and machetes. ‘I’ve killed 399 in cockroaches, and Immaculee will make 400. It’s a good number to kill.’ A coward in our tiny bathroom, huddled in a corner, without moving a muscle, like the seven other women hiding for their lives with me, I held my breath so the killers wouldn’t hear me breathing. Their voices clawed at my flesh. I felt like I was lying on a bed of burning coals, like I’d been set on fire, a sweeping wind of pain had engulfed my body, a thousand invisible needles were ripping into me. I never dreamed fear could cause such agonizing physical pain. I tried to swallow, but my throat closed up. I had no saliva. My mouth was dryer than sand. I closed my eyes and tried to make myself disappear, but their voices just grew louder. I knew they would have no mercy. My mind echoed with only one thought: If they catch me, they will kill me. They were just outside the door and any second they would find me. I wondered what it was going to feel like when the machetes slashed through my skin and cut deep into my bones. I thought of my brothers and my dear parents, wondering if they were dead or alive, and if we would soon be together in heaven. I clasped my hands together, clasped my father’s rosary in them and began to pray, oh please God, please God, please help me, please don’t let me die like this, not like this. Don’t let these killers do this. You said in the bible that if we ask we will receive, well, God, I’m asking. Please make these killers go away. Please don’t let me die in this bathroom, please. Please God, please. The killers moved from the house and we all began to breathe again. They were gone, but they would be back, many times over the next three months. I believed God had spared my life but I’d learn over the next 91 days, as I hid trembling in fear, with seven women in a 3 foot by 5 foot bathroom that being spared is much different than being saved. But I did learn it and it was a lesson that has forever changed me. A lesson that in the midst of mass murder, taught me how to love those that who hated and hunted me and how to forgive those that slaughtered my family. My name is Immaculee Ilabagiza, and this is the story of how I discovered God during one of history’s bloodiest genocides.” Ladies and gentleman, please welcome Immaculee Ilibagiza to the stage.

illaTears streaked my face. My mouth dropped as the mystery grew. This very beautiful woman came to the stage. I couldn’t believe she was standing before me, and all I could think about was the line about how she learned to forgive those that slaughtered her family and that it made me feel that if she could forgive and not harbor anger about an issue of this magnitude, I needed to forgive my family—in essence, I had nothing to complain about. The mystery encircled me deeper into its folds.

part 4 tomorrow

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Serendipity (part 2)

essay, non-fiction 2 Comments »


continued from yesterday

Over the next five years I read and reread this book and another Wayne Dyer book, The Power of Intention. I purchased the CD’s of both books and listened to them so much that I actually had to replace them both. I made back-ups so that I wouldn’t go broke replacing them. I have introduced so many to people to these books and CDs that I’ve been asked if I work for Wayne Dyer. My pat answer, “I work for God, as does Wayne Dyer.”

So last spring, I finally made the decision to attend a Wayne Dyer lecture. I’d first chosen the October Wayne Dyer conference in Dallas. For a myriad of “everything happens for a reason” reasons, I ended up changing my reservations to see Dr. Dyer in Scottsdale this past November.

I need to backtrack a bit and add some history here to demonstrate the synchronicities which occurred prior to my arrival in Scottsdale. In August of 2003, I moved my then 8 year old son, fifteen year old daughter and myself from Fort Collins, Colorado to Kansas City, Missouri to care for my dying best friend, my mother. It is a decision I will never regret. My mother lived just short of a year after our arrival. Six weeks later we were preparing to return home to Colorado when my son was diagnosed with a serious kidney disease which caused us to stay on for another year in Kansas City. My young son was on 70 mg a day of prednisone for seven months—a fate, in hindsight, worse than the disorder itself—and the doctors told me the next step was chemotherapy. What put my son on the road to recovery was him talking to his kidneys and demanding that they heal and me deciding to wean him off this terrible drug. He believed that if Wayne Dyer’s daughter could get rid of a chronic skin condition by talking to her “bumps” (p94, Spiritual Solutions) then he (along with prayer) could make his kidneys well. He has been in remission for several months now. During this extended and unplanned medical stay in Kansas City, is when I decided that I would somehow or another see Wayne Dyer in person. I needed a live “Wayne Dyer” fix, as it were, to get myself back into the spiritual swing of things.

Just before moving back to Colorado this past October, I ran an estate sale for my mother’s possessions, going through every closet, piece of paper, file, drawer, box, etc., in her seventeen room home to separate the seed from the chaff. This experience in and of itself is one I don’t care to do again, but the actual selling of the family home of forty years was one of the sadder good byes I ever made.

While I am the oldest of my mother’s six children, I was the only one who did not permanently reside in the Kansas City area. Therefore, the trustee and executor of the estate fell into the lap of my brother—the next eldest. Quite unfortunately, my brother is an alcoholic, and consequently, has not dealt well with the death of my mother, the selling of her belongings or ultimately the family home. In a nutshell, there were many disagreements over the handling and sale of our family home. This caused a major division of the family—something none of us foresaw at all. For my part, I was deeply hurt through words, actions, and seemingly complete disregard for the fact that I uprooted myself and my family, not only with the intention of caring for my mother, but also of making sure we all stayed as close as we’d always been despite any familial “dysfunctions.” In the end, I left Kansas City, angry and prepared to never speak to half of the family, particularly my brother and my godmother, again.

November finally arrived, and my fiancé and I could hardly wait to get to Arizona to see Wayne Dyer and several other inspirational speakers at a conference called “Celebrate your Life.” We also looked forward to a much needed respite away from family trauma/drama. Three days before we left, my laptop computer caught a heinous virus—I’m a writer and, silly as though it may sound, I wondered how I would survive the Celebrate your Life conference without my laptop—the repairman told me it was highly unlikely that he could get it up and running before my departure date for Arizona. Pens and a pad of paper would have to do—I somehow suspected the world wouldn’t end without a laptop.

Two days before we were to leave, the woman who was supposed to take care of my seventeen year old daughter while I was away, had a death in the family and could no longer help us out (my daughter has been struggling with drugs/alcohol and the law, and could not stay home unattended). I called my ex-husband out of state and asked him to please come up and stay with the kids. I re-explained how long I’d been planning this event. I reminded him that previously he assured me he would help out if anything fell through. He could not come. I became furious. He doesn’t work and has the means to get to Colorado. I picked up the phone, called the airport and bought an expensive instant airline ticket for my daughter. I was not going to miss this event. I needed to take care of myself for a change—as is suggested by all airlines, I needed to put the oxygen mask on myself first so I could then help those around me.

The night before we left for Scottsdale, the computer repairman showed up at my door with my fixed laptop. Delighted at this surprise, I placed it next to my luggage and smiled at how things worked out.

part 3 tomorrow

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Serendipity (part 1)

essay, non-fiction 4 Comments »

I’m reposting this piece here from my facebook notes at the request of several people~

Written: January 6, 2006

ser·en·dip·i·ty: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for

Not every experience in our lives bears repeating—by a long stretch. Human nature, however, is such that we all are often compelled to remain noisy about those things that are inconsequential, at times even malign—the stories that should probably be kept silent. This experience though, is one that begs me for music and a voice to sing it loudly. This is a story of synchronicity and serendipity.

Many people believe our world happens in a random fashion. For me, this is incomprehensible, not to mention frightening. Fortunately, my mother raised me to believe that everything happens for a reason and happens just as it should. She would often remind me that this does not necessarily mean I will always know the reason. The thing that happens to me that I may not understand now, I may understand later, or maybe never. The things that happen to all of us are always a part of the bigger picture and not seemingly part of our own smaller picture—there really are no ordinary moments. In order to know this, we must all realize that if we subtractclarence one instance, one moment, from our lives it would change everything. I think about Jimmy Stewart and his role as George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life as a glaring example. When he is down on his luck and disappointed with his life, he wishes he had never been born. And just like that, Clarence, his guardian angel grants George his wish. The beautiful lesson here of course, is that George’s life does matter and without him in the world he touches no ones’ lives—nothing remains the same.

One throw of a pebble in the water does change everything. It may take some time to feel the effect, but the ripples in the water carry energy, and that energy cannot be destroyed. I long for the time when everyone on this planet recognizes this fact. This is not a story of a string of disconnected coincidences. Simply, there is no such thing. This is a story of perfectly orchestrated synchronicities and how raising my awareness and truly seeing these instances as part of one fluid masterpiece have profoundly and forever changed my life. I know that anyone who reads this, will be left with a permanent imprint of the mystery in our everyday lives—and by “chance” you don’t agree with the premises of this story, the question of the possibility will forever be with you. And that by itself is good.

I suppose this story begins with Wayne Dyer, inspirational writer and author. One of his books, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem “happened” into my life about five years ago. My brother-in-law had called me and told me that another brother-in-law of ours had just been diagnosed with a serious and rare form of cancer. He was only forty years old and the prognosis was grim. I received this phone call in the evening and I was away from home, alone at a friend’s house high up in a remote area of the Rocky Mountains. I happened to be sitting on a bed and watched myself in the mirrored closet doors as I listened to the details of my brother-in-law’s illness. My shoulders raised, my posture sagged, and I looked as drained of color as the white walls around me.

After hanging up the phone, I pushed myself from the bed and began to pace. Within seconds I felt sick to my stomach, scared, anxious, and dark—that inevitable outcome of feeling boxed into a corner. “Go outside and breathe,” a voice in my head pleaded. I stepped outside into the chilly November mountain air, inhaled deeply, closed my eyes, let my neck fall back, and lifted my arms from my sides, palms up. I opened my eyes, exhaled a visible plume of breath, and searched the sky. The stars’ distance seemed further than I remembered. It was deadly quiet and this only exacerbated my helpless and isolated sense of doom. I walked back inside the unfamiliar house and rapidly felt as if I were sinking, that my brief attempt at treading the proverbial rough water was pointless. I sat down. I stood up. I wore a path from the kitchen to the living room genuinely not knowing what to do with myself. I cried. I turned on the television and wondered how even an actor could be laughing at a time like this. I turned off the television and headed back toward the kitchen. In the dining room on the table lay a book: There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Wayne Dyer. Oh is there? I thought cynically. I picked it up and “randomly” opened it up to page 143. The bold print read: Chapter 7, Lord, Make me an Instrument of thy Peace. This first sentence of the well-know prayer by Saint Francis of Assisi, caused my shoulders to drop. Instead of reading below the chapter title, I looked at the last paragraph on the previous page:

Spiritual solutions mean you are an instrument for giving peace rather than demanding that you be given peace. This means coming to grips with the ultimate irony of a problem-free life, as expressed in the conclusion of the Saint Francis prayer. “For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Yes, we receive by giving, and this turnaround in thinking is essential to finding spiritual solutions. It begins with becoming an instrument of peace (142).

Because I was raised in a household with six children, it should come as no surprise that my mother constantly pled with us children to become instruments of peace. Consequently, my feelings of some relief from the recent news about my brother-in-law, was two-fold: the mere familiarity of the message and the message itself. In order to find peace, I was going to have to be a conduit of peace. This was my introduction to Wayne Dyer. This was a new start and I heard the message.

More tomorrow,


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