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late Friday afternoon February 26th, 2010; a cold, snowy mid-winter day in the Pacific Northwest when this unresolved childhood conflict surfaced again. Indeed it was the bottomless pit of hell seemingly, the source of symptoms, mental and physical, that controlled my entire life story until now. The original catalyst for my crash and burn was the abandonment by my father in Seattle at age 5. He left my mother, Catherine, and my two brothers, Ron and Steve, homeless and penniless, so he could hire on with a fishing fleet as its chief marine mechanic trolling in the deadliest catch waters up and down the coastlines of Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, and California. I never saw him again until I was 32-years old. In fact, as I shared in the Second Edition of my book, Tranceformers: Shamans of the 21st Century, my perceived reality since the 1950s was nothing but the symbolic cutting down of my family tree reenacted through me, and my heroic efforts to stop it from happening to those I loved, again and again and again. Clinically, this is a borderline personality disorder known to psychotherapists as third degree emotional burns. In short, I felt a swarm of toxic emotions sting me that evening and I reacted as a helpless child alone in the dark would not an adult. I truly did not have a life yet, an authentic sense of self that was symptom-free and able to engage the world on its terms. But the scenario that led to my sinus symptoms was Claritin clear enough. My beloved 20-year old granddaughter, Kathryne, who had been living with us for the past 3 years, was embarking on her first solo cross-country road trip from Spokane, Washington to Jacksonville, North Carolina, and I was deathly afraid for her safety. Katie was en route to Andrea, a girlfriend she had known since 14, to share a recently purchased home. Andrea was a proud U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, awaiting the return of her husband, high school sweetheart Joshua, likewise a soldier but now fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan until summer 2010. Specifically, in a panic-stricken spur of the moment decision that gripped my head and heart like a steel vice, I decided to drive our gas-miser Honda Civic in front of Katie s car for the initial one thousand miles of this four thousand mile journey to the East Coast. I wanted to blaze the trail, so to speak, make certain she, and co-driver Jody, got safely through the snowy mountain passes in Idaho, Utah and then into the first city they planned to stop on Saturday afternoon: Las Vegas, Nevada. I even paid for a deluxe room-in-advance at the Luxor Hotel for my wife, Connie, and myself, before we departed Spokane. However, my optimism overstretched my capacity to drive around-the-clock anymore, as I did easily in my pre-retirement years, and we never made it. For I collapsed from emotional exhaustion early Saturday morning while driving on Interstate 84 through Boise, Idaho and was
forced to exit the freeway prematurely and pull into a Hampton Inn at approximately 3:30AM PST. Connie called Katie s cell phone and explained what had happened to me and wished her and Jody a fun weekend in Las Vegas, but without us. We would rest a few hours we said and chart a new course back home via western Idaho, eastern Oregon and central Washington, avoiding the mountain passes we had crossed in the middle of the night. Only with hindsight, I recall that my grandfather was born in Salt Lake City in 1890 and my great-grandfather actually helped lay the stones on The Mormon Temple I have been told. Moreover, my father in fact died at Las Vegas Medical Center on February 25th, 1991 so my advice is pay attention to symbolisms for they are sprinkled throughout this autobiography. They of course are meaningful to me but let me give you a hint: Your life is an open book too! Clinical psychologist Wilson Van Dusen, Ph.D. (1923-2005), worked with the mentally ill all his career but upon retirement wrote about the nature of existence, sharing his lifetime insights in many inspiring books. The great spiritual adventurers found the whole of creation and every part of it symbolic, he declared in one of my favorites, Seeing Through Symbols: Insights into Spirit. I also have investigated mystical and near-death experiences for over twenty years now. (See www.near-death.com/experiences/experts13.html) Anatomy of an Illness In the days, weeks, and months to follow, my symptoms increased from sinus to serious and I lost the ability to control my neck muscles and it collapsed. A pinched nerve in the upper region of my spine at the base of my skull became so painful that it demanded medical intervention. This bracing against pain 24/7 began a decline in my health with sleepless nights and even more miserable days spiraling towards disaster; I no longer had a life really; rather I became a walking, talking set of symptoms constantly seeking a magic bullet : over-the-counter and the scheduled medications available only by prescription listed in the encyclopedic Physicians Desk Reference (PDR). To my primary care doctors credit at Group Health Cooperative in Spokane, Tim J. Meyer, M.D., and Jan H. Mueller, M.D., I began a course of drugs that did address the PAG (periaqueductal gray), the pain control center of the brain. So we started down the right track pharmacologically even if I was to derail later. Writing in Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel, biochemist Candace Pert, Ph.D., explains, Pain researchers all agree that the area called the periaqueductal gray, located around the aqueduct between the third and fourth ventricles of the midbrain, is filled with opiate receptors, making it a control area for pain. It is also loaded with receptors for virtually all the neuropeptides that have been studied. Understanding neuropeptides is not easy since they act more as fields of energy says the late Francis Schmidt of M.I.T.; he called them information substances or messenger molecules. Dr. Pert proclaims, This complexity has led to their being classified under a variety of
categories, including hormones, neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, growth factors, gut peptides, interleukins, cytokines, chemokines, and growth-inhibiting factors. Ideally, these information substances give us a sense of bliss or euphoria and make life worth living in plain terms. But my brain quit making them, so I was prescribed the opiatederivative equivalent drugs hydrocodone and oxycodone for that reason as I underwent a comprehensive diagnostic work-up over a 3-month period from June to August 2010. These tests included the cutting-edge in X-Ray/MRI for the spine, laboratory analysis of blood and urine for general health baselines, as well as cardiac enzyme function examination at Sacred Heart and Holy Family Hospitals. This is where we shine in the West, our high-tech quantum micro-scopes save lives every single day because we can see into the living brain-body-bone matrix now. Though in terms of psychopharmacology we have only scratched the surface of potential protocols and therapeutic non-toxic medicines known to the shamans worldwide. Equally, I was referred to integrative medical specialists in our community that included acupuncture with Rebekah Giangreco, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., at New Moon Family Acupuncture, chiropractic sports medicine with Ryan Johnson, D.C., at Pearson and Weary Pain Relief Clinics, and massage therapy with Marlene Sullivan, L.M.T. Indeed, I could not ask for a more dedicated professional health care providing team: I publically acknowledge and give thanks to all of you today! I am blessed to live in Spokane, a word that means in the native language, Child of the Sun! And while all of these skilled practitioners helped me cope to a certain extent, I came to the conclusion over the span of excruciatingly painful days and nights, weeks that stretched into months, that I was missing a couple critical keys to opening the locked gates to wellness: 1) Amino acids administered intravenously (I.V.) as well as orally; and 2) Applying Christ-centered, earth-honoring, energy medicine and meditations to my spiritual prayer routines: the myths and rituals of native shamanism in particular. I had over the years come to the same conclusion as Chief Seattle did in 1854: I was the voice of the Earth. And its eyes, ears, arms, legs, brain, heart, and so on and so forth. Catholic priest Richard Rohr has captured the spirit of what is common to all traditions and teaches these truths at the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (See www.cacradicalgrace.org) Overall I needed to factor into the wellness equation the need to restore the communication circuitry and message carriers of the nervous system via the ligands: the precursors to amino acids and proteins; the building blocks of cosmic consciousness itself I am quite convinced too. Anthropologist Jeremy Narby, Ph.D. told us as much from his field work with indigenous plant teachers, medicines of the Amazonian rainforests in The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge concluding that nature is minded! So had psychiatrist Rick Strassman, M.D. at the University of New Mexico in his clinical experiments in DMT: The Spirit Molecule. Since 1996, Dr. Strassman has been exploring models for the DMT effect, and has focused primarily on the Old Testament concept of prophecy. This is a spiritual experience which takes into account the apparently external, free-standing nature
of the DMT worlds, in which one s sense of self is highly preserved and interactive. This is in contrast to previous models that borrow more heavily from Eastern religious systems, ones that emphasize unitive, ego-dissolving experiences. In addition, the prophetic model deals directly with ethical and moral concerns, adding a crucial element to our ability to understand and integrate the content of the psychedelic experience. He is developing these ideas in his next book, The Soul of Prophecy, due to appear in 2011. (See www.rickstrassman.com) One morning at my wits end with drugs that did not yield cures only side-effects, I remembered a dialogue I had on Facebook with Steve Sewell, the founder of Mind & Body Works in Durango, Colorado, a year previously. So I contacted him that day. He speculated that, perhaps, my brain could no longer create its endogenous, morphine-like pain killer substances known as endorphins to give me the so-called runner s high? I agreed that was a reasonable conclusion given my free-floating symptoms that seemed even to me to be a case of hypochondria; that is, more psycho than somatic! I needed ligands! Again, I defer to Dr. Pert, formerly Research Professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and her aforementioned textbook on this topic: Ligands are generally much smaller molecules than the receptors they bind to, and they are divided into three chemical types. The first type of ligand comprises the classical neurotransmitters, which are small molecules with such unwieldy names as acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine, histamine, glycine, GABA, and serotonin. (See www.candacepert.com) After a brief consultation by telephone, Steve told to be at the clinic on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 for a physical examination by Paul Glanville, M.D., an anti-aging specialist schooled in complementary and traditional medicine to achieve optimal wellness outcomes for his patients. I was impressed: they had exactly what I was looking for no doubt about it. For from my own decades of study in the nutrition sciences and practice in Community Health Administration and Wellness Promotion with the U.S. Navy Hospital Clinic, Keyport, Washington, I knew that the future of healing disease would be through the integration of the East and West, what Larry Dossey, M.D. in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and his wife, Barbara Dossey, R.N., Ph.D., calls ERA-III Medicine. They do not mince words or split-hairs and neither do I for this the emerging health care paradigm of the future: We are literally thought forms co-existing within the Universal Mind of God, and we need to apply this eternal truth to our lives here and hereafter. Taking nonlocal mind seriously can, as I describe in Reinventing Medicine, widen the dimensions of consciousness. We can tap into sources of wisdom beyond ourselves and beyond the present: Creative breakthroughs and prophetic knowing become ordinary in the context of nonlocal mind. Empathy and compassion flower as a result of our felt linkage with one another. And the awareness of immortality, as I've described, takes the pressure off living and dying. This will not happen automatically, however. We have to do our share and set our biases and prejudices aside. These are urgent matters. As Andre Malraux said, "The twenty-first century will be spiritual or it will not be at all." (See www.dosseydossey.com)
Rocky Mountain High For the record, it is an absolutely divine drive into Durango. Colorado from all directions but we had come by way of the northern Interstates: I-90E, I-15S, I-70E: Spokane-Billings-Salt Lake CityGrand Junction, and then south onto Colorado Highway 550. This is the breathtaking scenic route by automobile with big timber, wildlife views at somewhat oxygen-starved elevations: over two miles high at its jagged-rocky top peaks. But what a beautiful clear-blue unpolluted sky! Then as we descended into the City of Durango itself, we saw clean streets, a well-planned city center and marketplace that highlighted its southwestern cowboy theme. The focal point was the restored train station for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Of course, the antique brick hotels with crystal-chandeliers and gun-fighting saloons of the 1800s helped set the stage, literally. Actually, Connie remarked that we had come to a 5-star vacation getaway not a sterile-looking typical medical district as we had envisioned. There was even a gorgeous fast-moving river running through the city park. This in fact was a sacred space nestled within the Four Corners of the USA. Upon arrival at the clinic the next morning, I already knew that I came to the right place to kickstart my immune system. If I needed a booster shot of confidence, I was greeted with a warm smile by Julie Frank, the office administrator, and Steve Adams, my co-counselor for the next 10-days. Then I reported for my physical exam at 10AM to Paul Glanville, M.D., and read these inspirational words on his business card from Psalm 103 that made my day: Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. You know what an eagle can do, right? It can grow brand new feathers no matter its age! Indeed I needed new feathers, and bones to support them, if I were ever to fly again, and this proclamation of Saint Paul was also fresh on my mind: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) Pastor Bob Lindseth of the Life Church located at the corner of 25th and South Grand Boulevard in Spokane had invested countless hours ministering to me on my back porch this past summer as we prayed together for answers to my situation. I even asked for baptism a week prior to departing for the clinic. Interestingly enough, Mona Klinger, a shaman in Bend, Oregon had likewise started the healing process within me many months prior to my arrival in Durango and that no doubt was a critical factor in what I experienced from a psychological perspective. That is to say, I knew that God had sent me earth angels and I was not alone anymore. Once more, it was a synchronistic chat on Facebook with Mona that resulted in her flying, and later driving, to Spokane to help
me reorient my focus from illness to wellness again. She conducted not one but two 3-day treatments a month apart at my residence. From the first session, it was clear that Mona was directing me to my future life work: that I was being asked to walk the talk of the shamans as I had written a couple books on this topic too! In a nutshell, be careful what you pray for but also extremely sensitive to what you write about, and who, for they may very well return to validate, or not, your claims about them be they among the living or dead. You ll see what I mean when you read the First Edition of my book Tranceformers: Shamans of the 21st Century. But, in brief, you will learn why the analytical psychologist Carl Jung, M.D., stated Modern, behaviorist psychology reduces psychic happenings to a kind of activity of the glands; thoughts are regarded as secretions of the brain, and thus we achieve a psychology without the psyche. The lesson we are learning from amino acid therapy is straightforward: the mind of the mystic, shaman, and prophet is lying dormant within us all now. We have the power to heal ourselves and playing possum is not the answer! In other words, we have removed the psyche soul from our world as an independent reality when the truth is we re entangled forever in messenger molecules because matter is minded. Spiritual encounters are merely synchronistic clues profoundly meaningful coincidences that speak to a multi-dimensional, layered, hyperspace, cosmos. There is simply no wiggle room anymore around this fact says National Public Radio award-winning correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty, and acclaimed author of Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality. In the same way that Dr. Dossey implied we could live self-empowered lives if we but surrender our false sense of self, ego, to Our Higher Self: God. For once we really accept that matter is minded and myth is fact as do shamans, we can consciously reclaim our lost souls, the disowned, fragmented, painful selves that we collect in our unconscious psyche and awake within the dream that we know as the nightmare of history. To the point: what we call our human personality and life story can become alive again but integrated to make sense in the larger scheme of things: The Big Picture. That is, the author of creation, God, writes the Book of Life and illustrates it with our life experiences each and every moment throughout space-time. Silently, I wept tears of joy for I knew now that my prayers had been answered: my deliverance from pain was at hand and my walk into wellbeing had begun finally. Although I was optimistic, and looking forward to treatment, I was about to take an unexpected swan dive, and it was not the 6,500 foot elevation in Durango that made me swoon either. I Died in Durango Are you okay, John? my nurse, Jessica Dehen, R.N., asked. She had skillfully inserted the first of ten-day intravenous (I.V.) feeding tube needles into my arm, but suddenly my mind relaxed its tenacious grip on the pain in my neck. I unwittingly started to slump into what I imagined was the darkness of unconsciousness, so replying softly, I said what I felt was true: I m dying.
She calmly helped me into a black lounge chair and discretely summoned Dr. Glanville to check my vital signs, if that was needed. But it wasn t, and of course I was not dying but being reborn in fact into a new way of living. Yet I didn t know that until a few days later after I shared what had happened to me with Jessica and she corrected my distorted perceptions of this incident. She informed me that I did not faint nor have any type of adverse reaction to the amino acid nutrients whatsoever, rather I simply slipped into a deep state-of-sleep and snored to high heaven! As I reflected upon her words, that made perfect sense since I had not slept without a sleeping pill in months. I knew I had stopped dreaming once I began taking Ambien and my educated guess was that rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep is much more critical than we have imagined. Perhaps, the brain-body cannot repair itself properly if we induce sleep with drugs of all types: alcohol, prescription, and/or street? Maybe the organic messenger molecules created by nature such as serotonin, dopamine and melatonin, for examples, are arrested with artificial analgesics and thereby cannot exchange genetically coded-memory via ch i with the brain-heart-immune system network, I pondered? I recalled that author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism, Daniel Pinchbeck, shared the conclusions of Dr. Carl Anderson of McLean Hospital, Virginia: disparities between the left and right brain disrupt REM sleep, which as Anderson notes is essential for emotional regulation, learning, and memory consolidation. In particular, I agree with Dr. Anderson, although I acknowledge that Pinchbeck, a wise urban shaman in his own right, is not totally convinced yet with respect to this physician s hypothesis: Interhemispheric struggles, primarily a result of child abuse, may be a fundamental psychological root of drug addiction. (See www.breakingopenthehead.com) Accordingly, drug addiction and stress-related disorders are getting worse every year in PTSD breeding environments: military combat zones, inner cities, and Native American reservations. This is the siren song warning that our children and grandchildren are at risk for self-destruction in untold numbers if we do not intervene now, if for not any other reason we are a nutritionally bankrupt nation! The obesity we see is symptomatic of high sugar-low exercise diets and that will have only one long-term outcome for the Western world: premature pain, suffering, and death and runaway medical costs. So I asked myself: Can amino acid therapy rewire our genes towards not only optimal wellness and personal happiness but world peace too? Is it that simple: Let food be our medicine in the way that the father of medicine, Hippocrates, meant it? It s a visionary idea for certain and will require considerable scrutiny if and when taken seriously enough to have federal government funds assigned to it. In the meantime, I d reflect upon the meaning of the epigenetic medicine model findings of Dawson Church, Ph.D. relayed recently in his book The Genie in Your Genes: The healing power of consciousness and intention appears to be independent of time as well as space. Prayer seems to work retroactively as well as across great distances. Perhaps the whimsical injunction is true: It s never too late to have a happy childhood! (See www.soulmedicineinstitute.org)
This much I know from my observation: a brain is a terrible thing to see waste away on junk food! Slowly I stitched the pieces of my addiction disorder that included a 12-pack of beer for forty years and pain puzzle together with the help of the staff assigned to me for that purpose: co-counselors extraordinaire Steve Sewell, Steve Adams, and shamanic practitioner Marie Redfeather. Though my life story is not unique, it is totally relevant to you my friends regarding how to heal from childhood traumas, symptoms, employing specific steps I took along the way that I methodically, painstakingly but also joyously, outlined in the Second Edition of my book, Tranceformers: Shamans of the 21st Century. (See www.johnjayharper.com) Not surprisingly, every one of the lessons-learned on my own from decades of research, I saw incorporated into the wellness model employed at Mind & Body Works. Go figure! By the way, my two books are also directly related to what is happening to people and planet today in era2012: We are threatened with extinction. As cell biologist Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. has said: It s the environment stupid! Our toxic technology has turned our agricultural soils and drinking water sources into septic tanks and our dysfunctional attitudes, behaviors, and lifestyles are eating away at our immune system. Therefore, amino acid therapy is the key to survival in our efforts to offset climate changes that will become challenging beyond measure and what near-death researcher at the University of Connecticut, Professor of Psychology Emeritus Ken Ring, Ph.D., knowingly calls us to embrace: the shamanizing of humanity! (See www.brucelipton.com and www.iands.org) Thus I cannot emphasize enough the importance of shamanic tools and techniques for our day and age for it is indeed the myths by which we live that determine our life story individually and collectively as a civilization. What is it we want to experience, in other words? It could not be said more clearly and forcefully than this prophet: As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7) The Key is Under Your Mother s Pillow Over the 10-day course of I.V. treatments with amino acid nutrients, what I came to call Love Potion Number 9, I also had sessions with other outstanding health care providers including Healing Touch with Linda Marie Ambrose, as well as in the downtown Durango community. Namely massage therapy at Amaya Natural Therapeutics, and acupuncture at Animas Oriental Medicine clinic. Macushla F. Hobin, L.Ac., MSTOM is a graduate of the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, San Diego, California and her expertise in clinical diagnosis and needle placement really opened the door chakras and meridians to my healing. For the first time in six months, I finally heard an assessment of my situation that made sense of the symptoms that was a true mystery to me. Yet I agreed with her immediately, intellectually and intuitively, as to the underlying causeeffect relationships: Sleep Deprivation. More so, I was told that my neck symptoms presented itself in a way that was well-known to the classical oriental medicine model and therefore had specific treatment protocols that could be followed.
Beyond a doubt, I benefited once these blocked pathways were opened to the flow of life force energy ch i again through my spinal column vertebras and into the skull s sinus cavities. I felt the instant relief from pain when she inserted needles into C7 vertebra that second session: these circuits began to function as intended. That is, I was no longer grid-locked neurologically between my head and heart in particular and the neurotransmitters could transmit messages full-circle in these circuits of consciousness. My nerves quieted down and restored themselves to peaceful co-existence with the natural rhythms of my lifestyle in the days and weeks ahead. Needless to say, I was awakened at needle point in Durango, Colorado! However, it was the insights of the founder of Mind & Body Works that triggered a major catharsis during his first counseling session with me. Steve Sewell patiently listened to my medical history: recitations of childhood and alcohol abuse, military injuries and related psychophysical symptoms, allopathic and integrative treatments, as he observed my body gestures, too. He then gently, nonchalantly offered this pearl of great price for me to mediate upon later that evening at the Iron Horse Inn as my homework assignment in fact: The Key is Under Your Mother s Pillow. So I mused into the night, as my wife slept alongside me, about my life s story and how I spoke it into existence with every word uttered. Specifically, I came to see the wisdom in the words of St. John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1). That is to say, I needed to wash my mouth out with soap for I spewed out toxic temper tantrums, childish concepts and emotions in nearly every sentence. I colored my world with words that had coagulated, nearly choked the life out of me with fear over many years by failing to follow my bliss as a public-speaker because I was reenacting my mother s sense of learned helplessness, also known as clinical depression, at being abandoned by my father not me. In reality, I never did know my father given my age at the time of his departure but I did incorporate make physical every negative emotion my mother felt and broadcasted into my adolescent environment. My father had little, if anything, to do with my issues was the bottomline! It was mommy dearest! In a burst of clarity, I saw that I did not get sick in a vacuum, rather my life story was the wellorchestrated script that I unconsciously followed to bring me, in my case, to a future life work with amino acid therapy! For those interested in the symbolic treatment of illness, I refer you to an eclectic new book on this topic, Psychomagic: The Transformative Power of Shamanic Psychotherapy by Alejandro Jodorowsky in Paris, France. As well as the insights of Jungianoriented psychotherapist Paul Levy in Portland, Oregon, himself a former mental hospital patient and now crazy life a fox. (See www.awakeninthedream.com) Summary To say I am objective anymore is a lie: I am subjective in that I know what works and I plan on shouting it from the rooftops! If you are seeking freedom from addictions, pain, and/or stress
disorders and are an adventurous, courageous soul willing to follow the road less travelled to achieve optimal wellness, then I wholeheartedly suggest that you go to this website right now: www.mindandbodyworks.org. Indeed, be bold and call the Mind & Body Works clinic Toll Free at 1-888-788-7348, and tell them I sent you. You will be glad you did, and perhaps I will see you there soon! About the Author John Jay Harper is a Community Health Coach specializing in the treatment of addiction, pain and stress disorders and author of the bestseller Tranceformers: Shamans of the 21st Century. He holds post-graduate degrees in Business Administration, Human Resource Management, Community Health Administration, Wellness Promotion as well as Clinical Hypnotherapy and Psychology. He can be reached for radio/TV/print media-interviews at email@example.com or on Facebook anytime. He is now serving as a consultant to Mind & Body Works in order to establish a public-speaking awareness campaign for amino acid therapy clinics nationwide.
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