I was nearing completion of this book when my good friend Harry died in his sleep from a heart attack. At the time, I was on the road, doing talks and consultations in Virginia, through Richmond, Manassas and Alexandria. Receiving the news was a shock, and it was a challenge to "keep on truckin'," doing all that I was committed to do on my trip while grieving the loss of my dear friend.
I had lost relatives, and that is a deep hurt. But never a friend, a child or a partner. With a beloved friend I have shared a rhythm of life, I have shared in play and in mutual support during times of challenge. A friend stimulates and complements me with differing perspectives and enlivens me with whatever he or she feels passionately about. A male friend anchors me when my intuitive, creative, visionary self takes over and needs to be grounded. A female friend knows how that feels.
My life has been deepened now, grieving the loss of a special friend. It has increased my compassion for the clients who sit before me, some of whom are struggling to keep marching while they grieve for a loved one. I'm learning how to acknowledge and allow myself to feel the void, the pain that will inevitably increase my capacity to feel more joy. We are here to feel fully in this physical dimension.
It is unusual for me to experience grief while being the recipient—rather than the deliverer—of wonderful, synchronistic signs that are sent to us to confirm that we are watched over and that the heart-link with another is never lost. One of my apprentices said it beautifully, "The shift and realization of that which is lost and that which is gained leaves us feeling sad one moment and a bit giddy the next."
I met Harry my first New Year's Eve after moving to Manhattan. I felt a nudge to get out and about, and took the subway to check out the film library at Lincoln Center. Then I made my way across Broadway in search of a good bowl of soup. That's where I met Harry—at O'Neal's—this handsome man with gorgeous white hair and a dazzling smile. But it was his hearty laugh that prompted me to turn in his direction on my right and ask him subway logistics for my return trip. Later, we stepped out into the street to watch the midnight fireworks together. It was the beginning of a wonderful, very special friendship.
Harry knew how to "work the room," delivering bear hugs to backstage buddies, writers, dancers, musicians, locals from the neighborhood, and employees from ABC and NBC. Harry was cool. Some of his friends called him, "The Man." Everyone loved his showbiz stories, recounting the days of illuminating the stage for Jimmy Durante (his favorite), Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. He infused smoke onto a stage where Charlton Heston was making his first live TV appearance, as a character sitting in the facsimile of a fizzling electric chair. Harry received a cigarillo from Basil Rathbone and toured with Angela Lansbury. He took dinner breaks down the street—oftentimes sitting next to Larry Hagman—where Bruce Willis tended bar.
One evening Harry and I practiced telepathy at O'Neal's. I "sent" him the song "Ebony and Ivory." He smiled, then started playing the table, like a piano. He was extremely intuitive. Fascinated by metaphysical principles—welcoming the concept that our lives do relate to a greater plan—he enthusiastically passed around my Intro Tape to his friends. When he first heard it, he said, "I really like that word you came up with, 'enlightenment.'" As if I thought of it!
Harry was intrigued by the exercise I suggest on the tape: to "visualize putting all your cares and worries in the basket of a big, beautiful air balloon, seeing it lift up into the sky, releasing from your consciousness to a higher level of resolution." At first, Harry confessed that when he tried the exercise at night, just before sleep, it was a bit unnerving to cut the string and let his worries float away. He preferred to tether it. Eventually he would report amazing "serendipitous" events that would result when he let go. Whenever it was time to part, after having dinner together during Harry's break between shows, I would say to him, "Harry! Go forth and illuminate!"
Harry occasionally shared details about his more rough-and-tumble days, during the years before I met him. He seemed relieved when I told him that I didn't think that he'd be going to a less than holy place when it was his time. He was happy to hear that he'd one day meet up with some of his buddies who had gone on before him—sooner than we ever imagined.
Our lifestyles and our pasts differed dramatically; we came from—and lived in—two very different worlds. Yet our paths crossed, our hearts connected, and in doing so, we created the link that now connects us eternally, beyond time and space.
Harry and I have been in communication since his passing. He visits in my dreams and he sends telepathic messages for me to deliver to his family and his friends. His family is also experiencing confirmation of their lasting connection to Harry, through some entertaining synchronicities. It's as if he is still working his magic backstage.
This is what is available to all of us when we open up to a new perception about the nature of our timeless existence, when we observe "self" from the perspective of the soul, when we take responsibility for the choices we make—choosing wiser ones after learning from less effective ones—when we trust the intuitive gifts that are part of our natural, multisensory nature, and finally, when we surrender to the Source.