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NHNE News Brief 47
Friday, February 7, 1997
"A thought-provoking exploration
of the extraordinary times in which we live."
1,057 days until January 1, 2000
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Be Careful What You Ask For
Like Father, Like Son
All of You Like Me
The Decline of Service Clubs
Call for Congressional UFO Hearings
Space Wheat Fails to Germinate
Send your Message into Space
The Allure of Junk Food
The Benefits of Breast Milk & Fish
NEWS BRIEF SPONSOR:
Options for Growth
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
NHNE Video Review
The Mystery of Mary
Alien Autopsy "Cameraman" on TV
CROP CIRCLE WATCH
Colin Andrews on Crop Circles
Courtney Brown's Fall from Grace
Ed Dames on the Art Bell Show
A Conversation with Dannion Brinkley
ABOUT NHNE & HOW TO JOIN US
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR
"If God wants to punish you, he gives you what you want."
---Walter Murch, Sound Editor of "Apocalypse Now"
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
(Source: Gregory Dennis, NEW AGE JOURNAL, Jan-Feb/97)
Following in the footsteps of his father, Deepak Chopra's 21-year-old son, Gautama, has just finished publishing his first book, a novel called "Child of the Dawn." The book features a protagonist named Hakim who undertakes a quest for wealth and power which leads him to several villages and teachers. Along the way, he learns many of the same "laws" laid down in the elder Chopra's work. Gautama worries that bookstores are displaying his fiction book in the "New Age" or "Self Help" sections. "I'm only 21 years old," he points out. "Who am I to write a self-help book?" 100,000 copies of the book have been printed in the initial run, and already Hollywood is expressing interest. (JG)
ALL OF YOU LIKE ME
(Source: Stephen Foehr, NEW AGE JOURNAL, Jan-Feb/97
20 years ago, anthropologists discovered a group of stone-age nomads roaming the mountains between the Orinoco and Amazon river basins of Venezuela. The Hodi, a name that means "all of you like me," are a community built on the principles of generosity and non-competition. When a hunter is successful, the meat is distributed equally to all in the tribe. "Not being generous" is considered a crime. No member is concerned that he or she will ever want for food or shelter. Their only fears are jaguars and the evil spirits of underworld ghosts. It was inevitable that the group could not be kept isolated forever. In 1982, a group of Catholic nuns established a mission nearby and introduced the concepts of Heaven and Hell into the tribe's belief system. And the Hodi have started to trade their traditional headdresses of macaw feathers with the outside world for useful items like colored beads and plastic combs. "We can't practise cultural apartheid to keep the Hodi isolated, as if they were some specimen we want to preserve and study," says Robert Storrie, a British anthropologist who studied the culture for his doctoral thesis. But he believes we can be sensitive to their world and learn from their generosity: "One reason I keep coming back here is to learn more of that lesson." (JG)
THE DECLINE OF SERVICE CLUBS
(Source: Randolph E. Schmid, ASSOCIATED PRESS, 1/12/97 via Joya Pope)
Elks, Moose and Lions are on the verge of becoming endangered species in America's cities. Many people, it seems, are just too busy to join fraternal and service organizations, which have traditionally offered a place to socialize and do charity work. The reasons for declining memberships echo changes in American society. In the LOYAL ORDER OF MOOSE, membership has dropped considerably in the past 20 years. Tougher drinking laws have had an impact, according to Moose administrator Dennis Marcinizyn. Membership in the SHRINERS, which supports children's hospitals, has fallen to around 600,000 from 940,000 in 1970. "Years ago, men were more interested in spending time with other men," said Michael Andrews at Shriners headquarters. "We suffered an awful lot because of Vietnam. There was a generation of men who weren't joiners," he added. The story is the same at the ELKS. Membership has fallen some 300,000 since 1980, although it remains at more than 1.2 million across the country, according to spokesman Frank Garland. "The older generation were more inclined to be social while the baby boomers are too busy to get involved," he said. LIONS CLUB membership in the U.S. is about 500,000, down slightly, according to spokeswoman Karen Goldsmith. "Our current membership is getting older and we are finding it difficult to attract baby boomers," she said. "Probably the most powerful instrument of this revolution is television," writes Robert D. Putnam of HARVARD UNIVERSITY in the JOURNAL OF DEMOCRACY. Increased mobility, fewer marriages, more divorces and a drop in real wages may also account for the decline in civic engagement, he notes. Not all service club news is bleak -- because of life's slower pace outside big cities, rural lodges and chapters are alive and well, and some city clubs show recent signs of growth after opening their doors to women or broadening activities to include families. (JG)
CALL FOR CONGRESSIONAL UFO HEARINGS
(Source: CNI NEWS, 2/1/97)
Dr. Steven Greer, founder of the CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE (CSETI) has announced that a number of government and military witnesses are prepared to testify before Congress concerning the reality of UFOs as spacecraft of non-human origin. According to Greer, these witnesses will first convene in a closed "get acquainted" meeting this spring in the Washington, D.C. area. This meeting will provide an opportunity for invited members of Congress and the Clinton administration to privately meet these witnesses, as a step toward the possible convening of Congressional hearings in the future. Greer claims that the government's "extra-constitutional" management of UFO secrets has nullified the secrecy oaths of government and military witnesses. In the event that Congress does not choose to convene hearings, there are other plans in development for bringing the testimony of these witnesses before the public. (JG)
SPACE WHEAT FAILS TO GERMINATE
(Source: USA TODAY, 1/24/97)
For the third time, an attempt to grow wheat aboard Russian space station MIr has produced a seedless crop. The study is part of a $3 million UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY experiment to grow self-perpetuating crops in space. Success of the experiment is essential to accommodate long space voyages, but scientists fear that gravity may be needed to produce fertile crops in space. (JG)
SEND YOUR MESSAGE INTO SPACE
(Source: REUTERS via CNI NEWS, 1/16/97)
Now is your chance to make first contact. THE EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA) is collecting signatures and messages to place on board its Huygens space probe due to blast off on October 6, 1997 for a seven-year voyage to Titan, Saturn's biggest moon. The messages will be recorded on a CD-ROM as a "token of human life." You can add your signature or message to the list for free on ESA's special site on the Internet: <http://www.huygens.com>. Deadline is March 31. (JG)
THE ALLURE OF JUNK FOOD
(Sources: TOWNSEND LETTER FOR DOCTORS via SPECTRUM, Jan-Feb/96)
A recent study by the AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION (APA) has revealed that there is an epidemic of brain dysfunction in America with 50 percent of the population suffering from significant Axis 1 disorders and brain chemical imbalances. While there are many contributing factors such as lead poisoning, asbestos, fluorescent lights, and drugs, one of the main causes is junk food containing neurotoxins which damage the brain. In a strange twist of fate, the very substances which cause brain damage also temporarily relieve the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia caused by the disorder. Researchers from the NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE have found that some people who crave junk food do so because they are trying to correct an existing brain imbalance. For example, people with damage to the frontal lobe of the brain are frequently depressed. When these individuals ingest sugar, their electrical brain activity becomes temporarily normalized. Unfortunately, relief does not last long, and with repeated abuse the abnormalities worsen. (JG)
THE BENEFITS OF BREAST MILK & FISH
(Sources: PSYCHOLOGY TODAY and THE NEW YORK TIMES via SPECTRUM, Jan-Feb/97)
Most people know that mother's milk contains vitamins, minerals, proteins and sugars necessary for a growing baby, as well as protective antibodies and hormones to keep baby healthy. But did you know that mother's milk also contains a substance similar to that found in anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium? Why should a natural sedative occur in breast milk? Scientists think it is Nature's way of calming an infant and relieving the mother of the demands of a wailing baby. Research shows that breast-fed babies cry less than their bottle-fed counterparts. In a related story, scientists have also found that fish is rich in omega-3 fats which are necessary to maintain proper psychological functioning. In one study, when animal fats were replaced with fish in the diet, participants' depression declined. In countries with a high consumption of fish, such as Japan and Taiwan, there is ten times less depression than in North America. (JG)
(Sources: SCIENCE NEWS via SPECTRUM, Jan-Feb/97; USA TODAY, 1/10/97)
The French consume more fat than Americans, yet have a lower rate of heart disease. Why? It seems to do with their drinking and eating habits. One factor is that the French drink a lot of red wine which contains anti-oxidants that prevent fatty deposits from building up on the arteries. Grape juice seems to have the same heart-friendly benefits as wine, for those who would prefer not to consume alcohol. Another factor just being examined is the great diversity of the French diet. A recent survey found that 90 percent of French adults regularly include all five of the food groups in their diet, as opposed to only 33 percent of American adults. In a related story, scientists have found another compound in wine called reseratrol that appears to prevent and treat cancer in humans. More research is needed before they can be certain of their findings. (JG)
(Source: THINK SMART, 1/6/97 via Sandy Ezrine)
Ever wonder where Bill Gates gets his vision and creative ideas? "USA Weekend" recently discovered his secret. It has to do with his taking the occasional break from the fast lane to get some perspective. Gates explained, "Many years ago, I decided to take a week every year and absorb myself in thinking many years ahead. I get colleagues to put together what Ph.D. theses I should read, what products I should play with, what memos I should look at. Except for sleeping a little bit, it's day and night all by myself uninterrupted. Now, because things are moving so fast, I do it twice a year." (JG)
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
NHNE VIDEO REVIEW
"I recently received your video. I found it entertaining. I especially liked the sacred hike -- the view was beautiful! I have done some hiking up Doe Mountain in Boynton Canyon, but I was amazed at the panoramic view from the top of the Sphinx. It must be wonderful to be able to take frequent hikes in such awe-inspiring scenery. Keep filming for those of us less fortunate. The KHOU film on the "Prophet of Doom" was interesting, but I felt the commentary by the news anchors could have been edited out. Your outtakes at the end added a touch of humor to the video. Overall, a good effort for a first attempt."
---Mike Oberg, Olathe, Kansas
[Thank you for the kind words. We are already in pre-production for our next video which will be devoted exclusively to sacred hikes in the Sedona area. JG]
THE MYSTERY OF MARY
"I think your past few News Briefs have been great -- so full of interesting info and perspectives. I particularly liked the "Mystery of Mary" article in News Brief 41, especially the last comment by Forrest Church: 'I would like to think that... someday, a human Mary who represents our mothers could be a bridge between religions. We [could all] come together through Mary.' What a wonderful possibility that such a Mary would come and be among us!"
---Mary Anne Buchowski, Ottawa, Canada
ALIEN AUTOPSY "CAMERAMAN" ON TV
(Source: Rebecca S. Keith, CNI NEWS, 2/1/97)
Rebecca S. Keith, Editor of the weekly CNI NEWS Media Watch, has acquired a videotape of an interview of the alleged Alien Autopsy cameraman. She reports that in the interview, which was videotaped by the man's son and shown on Japanese TV in December 1996, the man answers questions supplied by Robert Kiviat, U.S. producer of "Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?" During the same program, Roswell researcher Kent Jeffrey, former military cameraman Lt. Col. Dan McGovern, producer Robert Kiviat, and Alien Autopsy film owner/producer Ray Santilli also appear.
The "cameraman" in the interview seems to be elderly, although not as old as Ray Santilli had intimated (over 80). The "cameraman" is plain-spoken with a distinctly American accent, probably Mid-western. This is at odds with the "Cameraman's Statement" issued months earlier by Ray Santilli which included frequent use of "British-isms" such as "the Forces" when speaking of the military. His Mid-West accent also does not square with an earlier report of British researcher Philip Mantle, who said that Santilli arranged for him to speak by phone with a man who claimed to be the cameraman who spoke with a Brooklyn accent. After watching the video, Keith was of the opinion that the "cameraman's" grammar and enunciation were so good that he might have been an actor.
In the Japanese video, the "cameraman" answers 12 questions, although Robert Kiviat says in the actual interview there were a total of 25 questions. For the most part, the cameraman's answers are short and vague. He begins by saying, "I am the person who shot the film. I will not tell you my name, but I want you to know that I am not happy that I have betrayed my country." He goes on to clear up a mystery about the source of the air supply for the protective suits: "The protective suits made my job very difficult. The air feeds into the feet on those things, and the surgeons were always getting in the way." The cameraman ends the interview with the statement: "Frankly, I wish I had never sold the film. I needed money. I'm not proud of it."
Still pictures of the cameraman are posted at several locations on the Internet. AMERICA ONLINE members will find a picture posted at Parascope (keyword "Parascope," then click "Nebula," then click icon for picture). A picture is also posted on the Web at: <www.uforeport.com/unusual.html>. CNI NEWS asks that if anyone thinks they know the identity and whereabouts of the person in the pictures, that they report this to CNI NEWS (email: "CNINews1@aol.com" or phone 805-682-8185). (JG)
CROP CIRCLE WATCH:
COLIN ANDREWS ON CROP CIRCLES
(Source: Eric Beckjord, CNI NEWS, 2/1/97)
Much has been made of a video (referred to as the Oliver's Castle (OC) video) showing the anomalous and almost instantaneous formation of an elaborate crop circle in an English crop field last summer. Most experts who have viewed the video claim that it is legitimate and not computer enhanced, although none is willing to make an official statement until they see the original footage (News Brief 45). One lone voice of dissent is Colin Andrews, a world-renowned crop circle expert and founder of CIRCLES PHENOMENA RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL (CPRI)
Comments Andrews: "There are some very worrying aspects to the OC video as far as... the man who is in the center of it all, Mr. John Wabe [Waleigh?]. Wabe set up business with a video/TV company in Bristol, where they make high quality videos for the television and pop music industry and have all the equipment that is needed to have made the several versions of this OC video. It is clear that something very well planned is involved. It is also clear that more than one film version is involved. A version shown to Freddie Silva and Jane Ross in the Barge Inn [a favored UK hangout for circle researchers] is now known to have been a completely different film than the version I was given by John Wabe."
A detailed report, written by Freddie Silva, of events surrounding the initial appearance of the Oliver's Castle crop formation and at least two distinct versions of the OC video can be found on the Web at: <www.nh.ultranet.com/~lovely/ocrep.html>. In his report, Silva says, "The film we were shown on the night of August 11th [the night after it was allegedly shot by John Waleigh] is not the film that was given to Colin Andrews six days later. It is also important to note that no one at the table that evening, including John himself, mentioned that they had seen in the film a crop circle being formed -- the discussion was limited to the amazing balls of light captured on the film."
Andrews also has some remarkable news about some previously unreported crop circle activity in India. According to a high-ranking Indian scientist who contacted Andrews in mid-January, the scientist first become interested in the subject when he investigated a huge "Star of David" formation in a wheat field in India in 1987. The scientist said the six-pointed star was more than 1,600 feet across and was set inside an equilateral triangle, placing it among the largest and most elaborate of all formations. The scientist told Andrews that he is now amassing data on some 2,000 other crop formations that have been reported in India in recent years. This information came as a surprise to Andrews, who claims to have the most comprehensive crop circle database in the world. Until he heard from the Indian scientist, his global database at CPRI did not include even one report from India. (JG)
COURTNEY BROWN'S FALL FROM GRACE
(Source: CNI NEWS, 2/1/97)
Courtney Brown is the founder and President of the FARSIGHT INSTITUTE as well as an Associate Professor of Political Science at EMORY UNIVERSITY in Atlanta, Georgia. Brown's credibility as a remote viewer has taken a number of hits recently. He was quick to jump on the "Saturn-like object" bandwagon when Chuck Shramek first went public with his theory of a companion to the Hale-Bopp Comet. This claim was later roundly discredited by all experts in the field of astronomy, including Alan Hale, one of the discoverers of the comet. Then there was the matter of photographs of the companion that Brown was distributing, that he claimed came from a well-known astronomer at a prestigious American university. At least one of the photos has since been proven to be a fake, leading to the resignation of Prudence Calabrese, Web Master at the FARSIGHT INSTITUTE.
Brown has also aroused strong criticism from some of his university peers for delving into these UFO and ET investigations. In Brown's case, the criticism is compounded because his methodology -- remote viewing -- has not been established as a reliable investigative tool by academic standards. The following comments are representative of Brown's detractors at Emory:
-- Dr. Scott O. Lilienfeld, Assistant Professor of Psychology, EMORY UNIVERSITY: "In his book, 'Cosmic Voyage: A Scientific Discovery of Extraterrestrials Visiting Earth,' Courtney Brown claims to use powers of remote viewing, which are 'as rigorously controlled as those used in any solid social science text,' to visit Mars and observe the actions of aliens. He purports to have uncovered indisputable evidence that two races of extraterrestrials -- Martians and Greys -- left the Red Planet centuries ago and have taken up residence in the dark recesses of Earth; that Adam and Eve were architects of a genetic-engineering project; and that numerous Star Trek episodes were written with the assistance of aliens.
"In light of Brown's claims, I recently challenged him to a test of his alleged psychic abilities. I proposed that he appear at a meeting of my undergraduate seminar on Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology, where my students and I would subject him to a simple controlled experiment examining his capacity to remotely view stimuli in an adjacent room. I assured him that he would have considerable input regarding the selection of stimulus materials, and agreed to publicize the results of this test in both Emory newspapers regardless of its outcome. Brown categorically refused. His reasoning was curious: He asserted that 'tests of the type you have talked about are very old hat' and that the current status of remote viewing 'goes light years beyond that which your letter suggests.' But if Brown's psychic powers are as advanced as he claims, shouldn't he be able to pass an elementary test of these powers with flying colors? Brown also declined my offer on the grounds that he did 'not want to drag Emory into my other activities' and that he is 'rigorous about not mixing what I do elsewhere with what I do at Emory.'
"Brown apparently wants to have it both ways: He publicizes his association with Emory when it might afford him the imprimatur of academic legitimacy, but refuses to submit to scientific tests by Emory colleagues on the grounds that he does not wish to 'drag Emory' into a firestorm of controversy. But it is too late: Emory's reputation has already been besmirched. As George Armelagos of the DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY notes, "Brown is naive if he believes his fantasies do not affect the image of the University."
"So how should Emory respond to Brown? I would argue that Brown's academic freedom be protected unconditionally, and that we defend his right to pursue his interests without threat of official sanction or penalty. Nevertheless, academic freedom also gives Brown's colleagues license to criticize him openly. It is incumbent on qualified Emory faculty to inform the public that Brown's assertions are scientifically irresponsible, and that his money-making ventures and refusal to submit himself to independent tests of his paranormal claims are ethically reprehensible."
-- William M. Chace, Office of the President, EMORY UNIVERSITY: "Professor Courtney Brown has recently established and runs THE FARSIGHT INSTITUTE, an organization having no relationship whatever with EMORY UNIVERSITY. While I do not agree with the content of Professor Brown's non-Emory activities, the principles of academic freedom, as well as the liberties granted to all American citizens, do not permit this university or any other university to constrain the ideas or opinions of any of its faculty members."
ED DAMES ON ART BELL RADIO SHOW
By James Gregory
As remote viewer Courtney Brown of the FARSIGHT INSTITUTE apparently self destructs, NHNE was counting on his colleague, Ed Dames of PSI TECH to provide a balanced voice of reason within the remote viewing community. On January 30, Dames appeared on the Art Bell Radio Show and his comments on a number of topics made us suspect his credibility.
As an example, here is a summary of his comments on the Hale-Bopp Comet: Dames said that his remote viewing sessions had revealed that there was a cylindrical object affixed to the Hale-Bopp Comet which contained a plant pathogen engineered by an alien intelligence. As the comet passed near the Earth it would leave behind a trail of debris. In a little over a year, the Earth would pass through this debris, resulting in a meteor shower. Particles of the shower would first hit Africa and eventually spread around the world. The result would be food shortages which would decimate 80 percent of the population of the world, mostly in Third World countries. Most religions would consider this "Wormwood" -- the long-predicted cleansing of the planet. Dames speculated that the reason for the Comet Hale-Bopp/Wormwood plague was rid the Earth of "the disease of mankind" and that he considered this a good thing.
Hard to know what to believe. Time will tell... soon. (Source: The Art Bell Web Site via Jim Kopf Sr.)
A CONVERSATION WITH DANNION BRINKLEY
(Source: Kathryn Peters, IN LIGHT TIMES, 11/96)
Once a year, Dannion Brinkley agrees to be interviewed by the IN LIGHT TIMES. Here are some of his comments on various topics drawn from his latest interview with Kathryn Peters at the Whole Life Expo in Las Vegas [some editing has been done for brevity and continuity]:
On being struck by lightning: "If lightning had not struck on that fateful day, I certainly don't think I would have come to the spiritual understanding I have today. I think that I would still be the biggest jackass, probably worse than ever, or I would have somewhere met someone who talked a little louder, hit a little harder or shot a little faster. Even now it is embarrassing to be a spiritual lecturer seeing an audience of 300 to 2,000 people who all got to the exact same point I'm at without having to die!"
On near-death experiences: "I do think what happened to me was necessary because at some point in time an event had to take place which would help me to do that which I was destined to achieve. [However,] we do not need to have near-death experiences to become great healers and great consciousness awakeners. If everyone could just end each day with a panoramic life review [that typically occurs as part of the near-death experience], becoming every person you encountered during the day, thereby feeling the direct results of your personal interactions, then you would surely be better able to deal with all the issues going on in your life. When you realize that you don't die, then you can really start to live. The entire nature of our psychology is fear based, and death is one of the greatest fears that religions and governments have ever placed upon us. The moment that fear is lifted from us, we begin to see life as a freedom, a wonderment, and a glorious time of change and evolvement."
On his centers: "21 years ago, I never would have never believed the things that I watch happening today as I work through the centers that are now established. The true significance of the centers is that they are midway between the two evolutions. The centers serve as a middle ground where a person can go through a program that allows them to be a physical being but enter the spiritual realm. In doing so, they can explore whatever levels of spiritual consciousness they individually need in order to evolve."
On his work with the dying: "I went thorough the near-death experience and gained the knowledge that the way we leave the world is infinitely orderly and wondrously designed for great and powerful spiritual warriors to return home. I came to realize that I could be of the most service by helping people deal with the issue of leaving this world. Now after almost 18 years of doing this work, I see that it is not just the 152 people I've helped to leave this world, it is the inner dynamics that go on in those 152 families that I have also influenced. I have seen most vividly the difference that one person can make. There is nothing more comforting than a hospice volunteer helping a family through what can seem like the most isolating and heart-wrenching experience of their life. The hospice volunteer has the greatest opportunity of anyone to expose a spiritual being preparing to go to the other side to the true power and love of God. What troubles me most is that I cannot single-handedly stop people from dying alone in this country. What pleases me most is that there are people who are helping. As people do hospice work today, especially as they use the techniques I teach in 'At Peace in the Light,' they create an uplifting of consciousness that helps us to recapture the circle of life."
On the New World Order: "The real worry we should have is in watching the health care system and the identification system because of the vision I had concerning "the chip." A congressman has put a bill before Congress that creates a way in which we will have a biometric identifier implanted in us. A biometric identifier is an electronic identity system so that they know who you are and where you are every second of the day. In the CHICAGO TRIBUNE last May (1996), there was an article about the uses of chip implantation in health care and in the prison system. For example, a prisoner wanting to be paroled would first have to agree to a chip implantation so he could be monitored and tracked. Also, all soldiers would have chips implanted so there would never be another MIA. When you place the chip in health care, they control, from cradle to grave, your very existence. The battle for health care is a battle for the control of our lives. I am not against the medical establishment -- the medical establishment helped to keep me alive -- but the system by which we have come to explore the spiritual nature of our mental and physical way to wellness needs to be adjusted. We as Americans must take a really good look at what is happening and become activists dedicated to changing the issues. If we are not dedicated to doing that, we are destined to become part of a system that is out to control us."
On cataclysms around the turn of the century: "I see a series of cataclysmic events occurring because this planet is evolving in consciousness. We may have contributed somewhat through our wastefulness and by the way we pollute, but not very much. The Earth is a conscious, living entity which is growing and spiritually evolving, just like we are. These events have begun to occur and will continue to manifest as a result of her need for evolvement. I think it will get really bad geographically, but spiritual consciousness is going to grow in leaps and bounds. Between 2011 and 2012, we will experience the return of an energy system that existed here a long time ago. You can call it a spiritually uplifting consciousness, the Second Coming, or the birth of the Aquarian Age. I wouldn't miss it for the world!"
On the next sector of spiritual awareness to be targeted: "I hope to forge an expansion of the awareness of simple issues that are fundamentally shaping our reality, such as the issues surrounding health care, what's going on in Bosnia, Iran, and Iraq. By becoming aware of these issues, we mobilize ourselves mentally and physically as we become motivated into spiritual activism. I am also looking forward to continuing my investigation into shamanism, not as a mythology, but in the context of a cultural relationship between lightning and shamans. For there I know I will find my true identity, along with the meaning behind what happened to me."
On other ways to get involved: "There are two ways to exist and define meaning in this life. You help those entering this world, or you help those leaving this world. The first breath of birth is joy and celebration, the last breath of death is fear and anguish. Most people are somewhere in the middle of those two breaths, so by helping babies come into the world, or by helping the elderly to make their transition out of this world, you will find yourself in spiritual balance, and the world will begin to change around you and everyone else."
On Dannion Brinkley: "A lot of people seem to have the misconception that I am somehow different from them. I am in this world as a spiritual being at a certain point and place in history, and as that, am no different from anyone else. All I may have is a better understanding of certain things, but they may have an understanding of other issues that I do not have. We are all heroes and we must never let anyone or anything deceive us into believing otherwise."
On the ultimate meaning of existence: "To recapture your glory as a mighty, powerful spiritual being, while remembering you are also a playful one." (JG)
By James Gregory
In the '70s you could hire a therapist to help put your life in order, in the '80s, business consultants got you organized, but these days, life coaches are the ones to help you define and achieve your personal and career goals. Part consultant, part motivational speaker, part therapist, and part rent-a-friend, life coaches are a distinctly '90s profession. For a fee ranging from $150 to $500 a month, you get to consult with your own personal coach on everything from selling a business to shopping for snow tires.
Typically a coach gives a new client some sort of kickoff assignment to identify goals and basic issues. Personal coach and President of INTERNATIONAL COACH FEDERATION Cheryl Richardson asks new clients to write their life story, identify three goals to be accomplished in the next three months, and list ten concerns they have about their lives. Coach and client then talk in weekly sessions lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more, usually on the phone or by email. During a session, the coach helps the client to not only develop realistic, concrete steps to address problem areas and achieve stated goals but also to think more creatively and expansively.
A personal coach will occasionally serve as a prod, urging their clients to push themselves beyond self-imposed limits. "There are times when I ask much more of my clients than I imagine even I would be capable of," says Richardson. "But time after time, I'm amazed by the results they achieve." Marguerite Rigoglioso shares her feelings about the times when her coach, Lynn, urges her to let go of a sure thing and take a risk: "I sometimes feel as though I'm suspended in that terrible moment between trapezes. But it helps to know Lynn is on the ground beneath me with her arms outstretched, cheering me on as I sail through the air."
Learning to live without struggle is one of the primary goals of the coaching process. There is a paradoxical coaching maxim: If you want to achieve more, begin by doing less. "People who want to earn more money or expand their businesses think I'm nuts when I tell them that part of their strategic plan will be to throw out their 'To Do' lists and begin taking vacations," says Richardson. "But I tell them, 'You cannot welcome anything new into your life unless you have the space for it.'" "Most of what coaching's about is having you find out what you really love to do and then setting up your life so you're just doing stuff you love," explains Talane Miedaner, a Manhattan bank executive who coaches in the evenings. "People start living their dreams." Interestingly, many clients decide that living their dreams means a career change... to job coaching. Often people who become coaches come out of other "helping" professions such as business and financial consultants, social workers, therapists, counselors and even athletic coaches. These people find that, in a sense, they have already been providing "life coaching" for years.
At the moment there is no regulation of the profession and coaches are free from any licensing requirements. Most rely on word of mouth to generate business. Coaches generally ask new clients to sign up for six months. The most successful earn six-figure incomes, and proponents say that the field is exploding. "Within the next five years, people are going to say, 'Who is your coach?' not "What is a coach?'" adds Miedaner.
Dr. David Wadler, a Houston orthodontist, says his coach helps him stay on track. "I didn't have anyone to answer to, so if I said I was going to do something, there was no one keeping me focused. [Having a life coach] is like having a friend who has my best interests in mind to bounce things off." Life coaching "is a very optimistic, upbeat, fun kind of profession," says Lee Smith, a full-time coach in Dallas. "I also like that it's very portable. You can do coaching from anywhere, anytime, as long as you have a phone."
Thomas Leonard has taken the concept one step further, by founding COACH U, an entirely virtual institution to train new coaches. Would-be coaches can download training modules and self-administered tests from the COACH U Web site and dial into regularly scheduled conference-call "teleclasses." The training program last two years and costs $2,495. Leonard believes that the strength of COACH U's approach lies in its metaphysical and spiritual underpinnings -- compassion and caring are at the heart of the coach-client interaction. COACH U-trained practitioners encourage their clients to believe that anything is possible and that the universe is abundant and friendly. "Operating from this kind of framework," says Leonard, "the coach really becomes a partner in the person's life." COACH U has more than 500 coaches on their rolls; Leonard estimates that there are 1,500 to 2,000 coaches across the U.S.
Linda O'Keefe and Lance Botthof are a husband-and-wife team of counsellors with 21 years of collective counselling experience. They recently began to shift their practice towards a more "coach-oriented" approach, and make these comments:
"We started introducing coaching to our counseling clients in November 1996 and have already switched several of our clients over from therapy to coaching with great results. For some people who have done a significant amount of personal foundation work, coaching represents a way to integrate new behaviors into the kind of results that make life truly fulfilling. While therapy tends to focus on the past issues, coaching involves action-oriented strategies that have the potential of changing the way we make a living, have relationships and look at ourselves. Coaching also tends to produce changes much more rapidly than traditional therapy. We feel it is the best personal support system that we can offer our clients therapeutically and spiritually.
"We ask each potential client, 'Is your work fun? Are your relationships nurturing and fulfilling? Are you receiving as much as you are giving?' If any of the answers are no, we suggest that perhaps it is time for them to enlist the help of a coach. Coaches are 'in your corner' and are committed to what you want to create in your life. When selecting a coach it's important to choose someone that you feel comfortable with, someone who has a background and experience in the same kind of activities that you do. The best advice we can give is to let your intuition do the selecting."
At some point in the coaching process, most clients begin to experience what Thomas Leonard calls "irresistible attraction" -- automatically drawing to them whatever they need. He explains, "When we are living a life of integrity, peace and creativity, we feel really good. And when we feel really good, we become irresistibly attractive to other people. All kinds of abundance flows from that." Coach Shirley Anderson adds, "I know I'm doing my job when life starts to get effortless for my clients."
For more information check out: COACH U <http://www.coachu.com> and THE INTERNATIONAL COACH FEDERATION <http://www.coachfederation.org>. (Sources: Kendall Hamilton, NEWSWEEK, 2/5/96; Marguerite Rigoglioso, NEW AGE JOURNAL, Nov-Dec/96)
David Sunfellow (DS)
James Gregory (JG)
Gail Rossi (GR)
Lea Harwood (LH)
Joya Pope (JP)
Palden Jenkins (PJ)
Sandy Ezrine (SE)
Kathleen-Blake Frankel (KBF)
Karol Ann Barnett (KAB)
Mary Koch (MK)
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