Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
We all have our stories, and today I am going to share a snapshot of mine. We all have our struggles and I think as long as we keep perspective on them, we will be OK. I’ve tried to put my life so far into perspective and here’s my shot at it:
I grew up with my life in constant turmoil. By the time I was twenty I had moved at least once for every year of my life and my parents divorced when I was around seven. My older brother tormented me, as older brothers are wont to do, (he’s a year older) and my mother, who was barely out of her teens had no parenting skills and botched the job badly. My father whose parenting skills were no better, escaped by working a lot.
After the divorce, my two brothers and I went to live with my father, but he married a very insecure woman with two children of her own. It’s as if he walked up to the McDonald’s of Family Turmoil and said: “Supersize Me!” All I remember of that era was the constant fighting, either verbally or physically. It was totally out of hand.
For me, an already extremely sensitive child, my stress level was insanely high. In grade school I got sent to a child psychologist because I was running around telling on everyone all the time and getting into fights. In middle school I can remember being in at least five fights. My handwriting had turned completely illegible, I was incapable of answering the phone and taking a message and wanted the drapes closed all the time. I would take out my anger on those who were weaker than me and hate myself for it and I had fantasies of murdering people. I was constantly finding things to either burn or blow up. (Mostly plastic models I had built.)
Finally, I moved out of my father’s house and into an apartment with my mother and things began to get slowly better. Part of this was that my stepmother was such a difficult person to live with, but the other part was that I needed a much quieter environment.
I bring this all up because our childhoods do a lot to help form our personalities. I had a rough, stressful childhood which, while not nearly as bad as what some people have gone through, was certainly difficult enough to force me to toughen up far more than the average highly sensitive kid. In retrospect, I feel as if I was doing a high wire act. If I’d had much more stress I would have gone over the edge and perhaps never recovered from the emotional damage. If I’d gone over the other way I wouldn’t have been tough enough to overcome later challenges. What ended up happening was that I had a head start on creating a better life for myself. But that’s all it was, just a head start. There was a lot more work to do.
I was drawn to learning about aliens, ghost, out of body experience and such and started to read about them as early as High School. I think the reason is that these things are easier for highly sensitive people to relate to than, say, science. It’s more in keeping with the world as we experience it. More than that, I absorbed psychology. I needed to understand people. My Mom was going for an advanced degree in counseling at the time, and I learned a lot from her. (I finally stopped taking an obsessive interest in psychology in my early thirties. I simply learned most of what I was going to personally need at that point.)
All during this time, my stress level was way too high to understand that I was psychic. That came later when I was in the dorms at Berkeley. I was around other people so much that I started to realize that I could pick up on the feelings of others. I should also mention that the stress for me of being with so many people wore on me until I finally lost it one night when some roommates played a prank on me. I was running around screaming and yelling and had to be calmed down. The next day, I got up and went to school again. Life goes on. Although I got a liberal arts degree, I found that I liked the undergraduate science courses I had to take. I still remember a lot of what I learned from them.
One day, after I was on my own and living in a house I owned with friends as roommates, I made a phone call to volunteer for an organization that had sent me overseas as a foreign exchange student for my last year in High School. I remember thinking: “I’ve set things in motion to get married.” Because I made that phone call, I met the woman who was to be my wife and knew it almost immediately after I met her. We were engaged two months after we met and married eight months after that. It’s been 21 years now. Up to that point, it was the most clear psychic experience I’d ever had.
I should add that I was positively driven to marry her. This was a huge leap in my life and an enormous commitment, and I remember being scared, but very decisive. It will probably always remain the best decision I have ever made in my life.
After we were married, my wife encouraged me to take a class from a local psychic. While taking the classes I learned a few things.
1. I was psychic myself, but not quite in the same way as the guy teaching the classes.
2. I didn’t seem to have as many problems coping as others did.
3. I had a lot more confidence than just about everyone else, including the teacher.
Let me explain the confidence part, because this says a lot about psychics in general. In terms of having confidence, when it comes to psychics, the bar isn’t very high. Because of our emotional sensitivity, we take rejection especially hard. Our freakish talent is not well respected and often disbelieved and that wears on our self confidence. Particularly since we can’t prove it on demand. Psychics are almost always very talented and resourceful people and are generally very good at whatever task they put their minds to, but still don’t feel like they measure up.
I was getting better than that. When we sold our first house we had not yet bought a new one and time was running out. We were probably going to have to put our stuff in storage and live with family until we made something happen. We made an offer on one house, only to have it rejected out of hand. I sat in the realtor’s office with my wife on a Sunday and told everyone that we would buy our new house by the end of the week and not to worry. Monday I was on the job and at around 2pm I looked up from my work and thought “the house is on the market.” I rushed home at the end of the day and found the fax I was looking for. It had been sent a little after 2pm.
I told my wife we had to do this RIGHT NOW! She couldn’t, so we went early the next morning even before the sign went up. I had a huge sense of urgency and now I knew why: The house was priced very very low to sell as quickly as possible. We made an offer the same day and got it accepted in principle. We closed the deal that Friday as five other offers were coming in.
I had spent a lot of time and effort in sales, and in purchasing, where I had to be tough. I had to face rejection and demands on a regular basis. Although I did not like it and was happy to get out, I also developed a much thicker skin. I had been a person who had to make everyone else happy, even at his own expense, and that was changing.
I’ve seen many psychic people run away from themselves and the world, retreating into a comfortable world of mutual agreement by immersing themselves in New Age stuff or simply retreating from the world altogether by limiting outside contact.
I received an e-mail from another psychic man in his 50’s a while back that asked the question:
THANKS for being there. Do we all end up killing ourselves??? really, I’m asking.
I understand exactly what he’s talking about.
The answer by the way, is this: No, we feel like that when we’re on the verge of emotional change. We just need to hang on because things are about to get better.
It’s a concept I understand and in order to get tougher, I started a process in the morning, with a lot of help from my wife, of bringing up things that were upsetting to me in such vivid detail that I could clearly feel the fear. Then I talked myself down from the fear. It’s a therapy shortcut. I’ve found that internalized fears that keep coming up, no matter how much we don’t want them to, can only be changed when we’re in the act of feeling them.
The process of continually facing my fears has been very helpful to me over the years. The constant blanket of depression that I had almost my entire life lifted, I got out of office jobs and into construction, which has been a good run for me by giving me all kinds of control over my life. I can get to sleep right away most nights instead of laying awake for hours. I stopped drinking, started eating better and began to take better care of myself.
All of this has occurred over the course of probably 12 years, but seems to have sped up in the last couple of years.
My wife is thrilled. Our pointless arguments have all but stopped. I treat her a lot better and appreciate her more and I’ve been feeling something that was previously entirely foreign to me: Happiness.