Book: Chapter of the Month
From Trish's book series
Essential Joy: Finding It, Keeping It, Sharing It



As a child, I remember the many hours I spent enraptured with my fantasies of the life I imagined unfolding before me. There were wondrous adventures, filled with joy and excitement. I dreamed of travels far and wide and I saw myself soaking up the delicious aromas and experiences of exotic cultures and magnificent vistas. I imagined lush surroundings, beautiful clothes, wonderful people to meet and an endless supply of fun. I envisioned myself as an ambassador of love wherever I went, doing work which would inspire others and bring happiness to all.

My favorite cartoon was about the opposing lands of light and of darkness. The people in the land of light were happy and playful and lived in beautiful surroundings of green meadows and colorful flowering trees. Then there were the people from the land of darkness. These grumpy souls lived in a land of black and white and walked around with their hands clasped behind their backs as they solemnly chanted the tome, “We’re happy when we’re sad.”

What tickled me so was that the happy people would fill up milk bottles with sunshine and lob them over to the land of darkness. Wherever these “bombs of delight” would land, the surroundings would break into radiant and lovely color! The people, too, would become happy and gloriously awaken to the light side of life. What a joy for me to witness! I wanted to be one of those happy people and bring joy to everyone!

As life weaves its threads of joy and pain, alas, my fantasies faded as I grew older and wiser about the world and its challenges. Being raised in a complex, lovingly dysfunctional, boisterous family of nine (six brothers and sisters), I learned very early how to shut down my emotions and that emotions needed to be channeled and manipulated in order to get what I wanted. True joy began to elude me as I experienced the pain of dysfunction.

To complicate the matter, we were trained in strict Catholic schools, and were the products of our mother’s parenting bible and book series How To Raise Good Citizens (yes, it’s true!). She was utterly devoted to all of us and loved us to the highest degree of which she was capable. In her fervor for doing the best parenting job possible, she was the product of the school of thought that children must be controlled in order to reach their highest potential. We loved her dearly and rebelled against her philosophies. And to add to the melee, we were outwardly happy and had moments of true joy, but inwardly we were a very dysfunctional family.

We were a product of the fifties, the times which reflected society’s dictates about good being “normal” and bad being “different.” Remember when one needed to “have” as much as (or at least something comparable to) the Joneses next door in order to be accepted and included? Those were the times in my young impressionable life when all were keenly aware of their places in the order of things. To be loved meant to have. To be loved meant to be similar to. To be loved was to be accepted as a part of the “norm.” I became afraid that if we did not meet the criteria of the requirements of upper-middle class status, our family would be outcast from our community.

The challenge in this equation was to try to express my own spirit, my own uniqueness and fledgling belief system within the matrix of the family, our Catholic community and in society at large. We didn’t have the money or resources easily available to us to compete with the Joneses. Due to family circumstances and the war, my dear father missed out on completing his college degree. At that time, this led to the unending spiral of the horrendous job search and disappointing prospects for work. This awful challenge continued off and on while he had seven little mouths to feed. He found solace in alcohol while my mother’s emotional and mental state was pushed to the edges of extreme stress. This created an atmosphere in our home which induced fear within us little ones. How would we be taken care of? Who could listen to our concerns? How can we get our needs met? Even as a three year old, being keenly sensitive to all around me, I held the awareness that we were in dire straits most of the time.

As the days unfolded in those early years I found my spirit shrinking within and beginning to hide away as I courageously tried to be the “perfect child” so as to alleviate the stresses on my parents. I couldn’t really have my own feelings because my mother just couldn’t handle it. She had more than a full plate and I wished to contribute to her happiness rather then cause her pain by expressing any of my own fears and concerns. The real me began to gradually disappear as the me I thought I should be began to show itself to the world. I began to “run” my parents’ emotional energy instead of my own.

Looking back on those times, I can see that the challenges I faced in those early years brought me out of the balance of the masculine and feminine and into a distorted and negative expression of the yin/yang qualities within. Rather than being open, as in the positive feminine, I became closed and contracted, hiding away in my own little world. Instead of learning to listen to my feminine intuition, I fell into confusion. In the place of the expansive expression of unconditional love and acceptance, I became rigid and judgmental.

I also began to exhibit distorted masculine qualities, such as moving from the logical or analytical mind into confusion. Instead of utilizing the positive quality of imposing order in my world, I began to want to control everything. Rather than initiating action, I learned to procrastinate.

Oddly enough, though my religion in those days, was the source of much of my confusion and anguish about life, my saving grace in those years was my ultimate belief in the presence of the saints and spiritual masters in my life. When I went to Catholic mass, I would fervently follow every word of the prayer book. I “saw” Jesus and Mary within the statues and felt their presence whenever I called upon them for help. I knew that they really did exist in the other realms and that I could talk to them . . . and they really listened. I said the rosary every night (albeit, at the same time that I would listen to the radio and follow along with the songs with every word, which I knew by heart!). It is wonderful, now, that the Catholic Church has moved from fear-based teachings to love based teachings.

Though my father had his inner demons to contend with, he would always speak to us of “positive thinking!” I remember echoes of “Never give up that ship!” rattling through my brain and giving me hope. He was the first one in my life to encourage this way of living. He always carried this wisdom on the tip of his tongue. This profound contribution to my inner life was a bright star within the darkness of the dysfunction and fueled my drive to find happiness and inner peace as best I could.

As I grew through the teenage years and into young adulthood, I began to question and seriously examine my Catholic beliefs. When my young marriage began to fall apart I discovered psychotherapy; what a revelation it held for me! This began a journey of inner questioning and self examination with monumental proportions, for it opened within me the possibility that anything is possible. I no longer had to limit my experience to the tenets of a religion, but could explore any avenue I wished in order to find the Truth for me. Freedom!

My husband and I had married young and soon had a family of two wonderful children, Katie and Sean, who were divine gifts to our troubled relationship. Their light shone brightly within the darkness as my spouse and I struggled to make our marriage work. We did not really know ourselves and had much inner work to do to discover the jewels hidden deep within. With the help of psychotherapy, I was able to see the truth of our relationship that we were just too different to live together compatibly. After thirteen years of trial and separation, counseling and trying everything we could to make our marriage work, my husband and I divorced in 1980. It was the most painful experience to have to break up our family and cause this trauma for our children, but we knew that it was best in the end. Katie and Sean now understand fully why we divorced and see that we each are living lives that are best for us.

When I discovered the power of psychotherapy and the inner journey, what thrilled me about that first year of inner freedom was that I was beginning to get to know me. I was able to extricate myself from my mother’s overbearing and controlling energy and to find my own emotions and feelings. I was learning to express my feelings in a real way and to allow myself to feel anger (and to express it). This was so liberating for me and I knew I was on the road to health and joy. I began to know what I felt and to be able to express it. The little girl whose spirit shrank away was coming out!

For a while I fell into despair as I perceived that in order to be healthy emotionally, I needed to let go of my spiritual self. What I was learning in therapy seemed to be in direct opposite to what I learned in catechism. Could I really take care of myself first? Did I really have the power to make my own decisions from my own wisdom? I was my own authority? I just couldn’t put it all together. So I chose to leave religion and spirituality behind and begin the long journey to mental and emotional health.

Finally, I could begin to see my childhood fantasy again - the vision of life as I could make it. I began to feel joy, real joy, as I ventured into deeper waters. Though my journey into my psyche held within it a rediscovery of deep wounds and pain from childhood, I knew I could manage to find my way out of the quagmire and enter into joy if I just kept on going. A dysfunctional family teaches us to limit, distort and hide our true emotions, our true expressions of masculine and feminine energies within us. And the task of spiritual growth is to discover how we separated from the true joy and balance we were born with, regain it, and continue to develop as adults in the light of that freedom and joy. I was on my way.

After that first year of inner growth I found, quite by accident, how I could merge my psychological learning with a new form of spirituality for me. While recovering from my husband’s and my first trial separation, I stumbled upon a class at the recreation center called The Art of Letting Go. It sounded perfect for me as I could see that I needed to learn how to let go of the relationship and I thought this was the topic of the class.

The class, I found out, was not really about letting go of love, but about balancing and synthesizing the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of self and letting go of the obstacles to that balance. I was ecstatic! The background information of the class was based upon “Psychosynthesis,” a system of knowledge and exercises which assist us to connect and balance all aspects of the Self. It wasn’t really about letting go of love, but letting go of our concepts of limitation and coming into our true inner knowledge and spiritual power. I found a way to integrate my thirst for spirituality and emotional health at the same time.

I discovered the power of guided imagery and its ability to help us to access the contents of our subconscious minds. The following was my introduction to it: We were taken into our inner selves in meditation and guided into a sacred forest. All of my senses responded. I could feel myself there and could see, in my mind’s eye, the lush green carpet of grass beneath the trees. I could smell the sweet aroma of the pine trees and was surprised at the clarity of it all. We were asked to see in front of us a house, which symbolized our psyches (subconscious, conscious and super conscious). What appeared to me was a small house which clearly showed me a basement (subconscious), ground floor living area (conscious) and attic (super conscious).

Within the basement stood a fierce bear. I felt he represented the fearful part of me which was hidden in my subconscious, my shadow. In the living area on the ground floor stood a simple wooden chair. I immediately felt that it represented the fact that the real me had not been present in my life as yet. And in the attic I saw a large crystal ball. To me this symbolized all possibilities and my power to know truth.

As I allowed the images to penetrate my mind, I asked myself, “What would happen if they all came together?” What occurred astonished me because I understood it immediately. I saw the bear come up to the living room (conscious level) of the house, sit on the chair and hold on his lap the crystal ball, which had been in the attic. What this all signified for me was that if I could befriend my shadow self, or that part of myself that resided in my subconscious, I could “show up” in life and access the knowledge which lay in my super conscious. For the first time on my inner journey I could see that I held within me answers to my search for my true self. This gave me great hope. It showed me that I could indeed integrate my psychological learning with my hunger for a spiritual connection to God.

This began for me a journey of many years . . . a journey to find my soul and to express the unique aspects of my true self to the highest degree that I could. My meditations led to many encounters with my spiritual guides such as Jesus, Mary, Buddha, and many others. I continued my search to ferret out any emotional blocks which would keep me imprisoned in my pain and confusion about life.

Through those many years, I learned to understand myself and to trust my inner guidance. I took scores of workshops about personal growth and spirituality, experienced many therapies to unlock the secrets of my psyche, and read almost every book under the sun about finding one’s way out of the quagmire of confusion (this story I will save for another book I am sure.)

By the year of 1989, I had come to a place of relative inner peace. I had learned how to love myself and manifested into my life my perfect spiritual partner and husband, Doug Hackett (another story to be told!). We were married in 1992 and made the commitment to follow Spirit and our hearts in every decision which would come before us. We had known from the beginning that we would be doing spiritual work together some day. I had received training in spiritual counseling and healing and Doug had devoted many years to the study of meditation and spirituality. Our deepest desire was to be catalysts for personal empowerment for others - to be beacons of Light and examples of what it means to live a totally fulfilled life of meaning and service.

We would regularly meditate together and call upon beings of Light from other realms and dimensions to assist us in our relationship and our work in the world. I had many visions of these glorious beings and felt their presence daily. I learned to trust the wisdom they shared with us and believed, most of the time, that we were totally guided and taken care of. There were the times, of course, that I would slip into my old patterns of doubt and skepticism. These were the times of darkness for me when I could feel myself being pulled into the downward spiral of negativity and fear. In those moments, I knew that unless I immediately dealt with the darkness, not ignoring it, and turned toward the light and positive thoughts, I would be lost for hours (or days) in that dark hole. I would pay attention to the content of these negative thoughts and emotions and always seek help from spiritual counselors and healers to find the source and to transmute them into higher learning about myself.

Doug and I helped each other to become aware of the remnants of dysfunction and limiting beliefs from our childhoods as we sailed the sometimes stormy seas of relationship. We believe that a “sacred partnership,” such as ours, can be the perfect catalyst for this exploration. Though ninety percent of our time together was wonderful, the other ten percent held the challenge of emotional discovery and the call to healing. Our commitment to this task has paid us endless rewards as we grow ever closer in intimacy and love. Our willingness to see each other through the eyes of our spirituality allows us to support each other in our continued commitment to heal deep wounds, open our hearts and give service to the best of our abilities.

When I first met Doug, he invited me to join him at his weekly meditation group in San Francisco led by the most grounded and clear spiritual teacher I had ever met. David embodies the balance of masculine and feminine and integrates his spirituality into all aspects of his life. He focuses his mental abilities in his work as an attorney/mediator while utilizing his intuitive side to expand into esoteric spiritual realms of knowledge. I remember that first night, feeling my heart burst open and expand to take up the whole room! Through his gentle guidance I was able to open to higher knowledge and exploration of my true Self. I learned that true security is within, how to trust by paying attention to my belief systems, how to be really present in the moment by utilizing awareness and focus. He taught us how to know truth. The most wonderful spiritual healer, Pat Woody, was a member of the group. She worked with Doug and me for years to heal our past emotional wounds and gave us hope for spiritual expansion on many levels.

One year after our marriage took place, we received an invitation we could not refuse. At the beginning of 1993 we had the opportunity to experience three months of personal coaching. This process was designed to help us to open to living a totally fulfilling life. We both had harbored many reservations and negative beliefs about that subject. We thought that it was really impossible to be totally fulfilled. Our upbringing and cultural conditioning taught that we need to work hard to get what we want out of life. We needed to sacrifice some of our dreams if we were to truly be able to create security for ourselves and our families. It was ridiculous to think that we could have everything we wanted in life!

Through the skillful guidance of our coach, we sailed through the three months, stripping off those limiting beliefs and negative thoughts and ended up with the same vision. We saw ourselves living near water, in a large house with a high ceiling, with many people coming through. It was a wonderful vision, but we had no idea where we would be living and what we would be doing? We were satisfied with the coaching, even though we had no clue what our life’s work would be. We trusted that it would be shown to us at the appropriate time.

The next month, in May, our good friend, Joan Ocean, came to visit us in our home in California. Joan’s life was a perfect demonstration of the power of living by following your heart. I met her in 1983 and became the first participant in her meditation group in Belmont, California. She soon began to receive messages of love, peace and harmony from the dolphins. They seemed to ask her to be their ambassador to the world bringing their wisdom and beautiful energy of love to all. She and her partner, visionary artist Jean Luc Bozzoli, left the lives they knew, packed a few suitcases and began a journey around the world bringing the dolphin message to all. Not knowing where the next flight would lead, or where they would get the money to pay for it, they lived on pure faith and were totally taken care of. Joan ended up in Kona, Hawaii, living on the ocean and swimming with the dolphins every day, learning their immense wisdom and sharing it with the world through books and dolphin seminars.

We were in awe as we viewed Joan’s extraordinary video and listened to mind-expanding information about the dolphins and their multidimensional consciousness. Their energy drew us into their magical spell and we looked at each other and said, “We have to go and swim with the dolphins!” Two months later we found ourselves in the ocean with these magnificent beings. The experience blew open our hearts and brought us into a state of being I can only describe as ecstatic - the adventure of our lives!

To be met one on one by these creatures, both joyous and otherworldly, was astonishing in its intimacy and in its awesome connection. We felt that they came to us with the desire to communicate and share their magical world with us, in this third dimension and in higher dimensions also. When we were with them, all concerns or feelings of limitation disappeared. We were brought into the present moment in a way that had never been experienced before. It was pure bliss. We could see what Joan was talking about - the dolphins assist us to touch the higher aspects of ourselves and to seek joy through an expansion of consciousness. We knew we would never be the same.

Before leaving for home, Joan said, “Why don’t you move to Hawaii and help me with this work?!” She said that there would be more and more people drawn to be with the dolphins in their ocean home and that there needed to be people to help them have that experience. Since I had attended some spiritual training seminars with her in the past, and Doug and I had made the commitment to do our spiritual work, whatever that was, we felt that Joan must have been guided to ask us about this. Even so, we were not prepared to say yes to this fantastic suggestion. We said to her, “We can’t do that - we have our lives in California!”

Upon returning to California, to his surprise Doug realized that we didn’t have lives! His experience was that what he had been doing no longer had that spark of aliveness or spirit behind it! For several years Doug had been feeling that he was supposed to leave behind his career as CEO of the energy conservation company he had founded, however had not found anything that he would rather do. Upon meditating on it, the only thing that had that spark of aliveness, or spirit, behind it was selling everything and moving to Hawaii to work with the dolphins! However, he refrained from telling me right away, knowing that the perfect moment would come in the next few days.

My experience was a bit different. On the following Wednesday, after returning from Hawaii, I was driving over the San Mateo bridge on my way home from work. While thinking about the dolphins and Joan’s invitation, I suddenly had an incredible experience. A “lightening bolt” of white light shot right through my body and I heard the words, “Go do this work.” It was as clear as day and I knew this was a powerful message from the universe, the dolphins, and my Higher Self.

I had experienced this same extraordinary “white light” two other times in my life. The first time the universe gave me this kind of unmistakable message was when I was guided to end my first marriage. The experience left no doubt whatsoever that I was to leave “now” with no turning back. It was so powerful that even though I was not prepared financially to go it alone and live the life of the single mother, I was compelled to seek a divorce. My husband and I had dedicated thirteen years to the attempt at making a successful marriage. I felt that we had exhausted every avenue in our search for the truth of our relationship. Was there enough love to keep it all together? What about the children? I just couldn’t leave unless every stone was turned and we had tried everything possible to make our marriage work. Should we stay together or seek happiness apart? The “white light” answered the question for me. We parted right away and sailed into lives which fulfilled our true natures and brought us more happiness and fulfillment than we had felt for many years.

The second time that I was visited by the “white light” occurred a few years later. This lightening bolt shot through my body out of the blue one day and “said” to me, “Go to so and so and see your friend . . . now.” I had no idea why I was being told this and what in the world I was to do when I got there. This was not about getting in the car and driving a few blocks away. I was being told to get on the next airplane and travel 3,000 miles to see this friend! At that time in my frugal life, it was unthinkable that I would take that kind of money out of the bank and take off just like that! But this message was so powerful and compelling I did just that. I arranged the ticket, got on the plane and, feeling sick with anxiety about what I was doing and what may be ahead, I painfully endured the five hour flight. Never having traveled alone, I found it such a challenge to get the rental car and then to find my way in a strange city to my destination. When I reached my friend’s home and knocked on the door, after announcing who I was, I waited for twenty minutes before she opened the door. Upon first sight I could see she was in a state of deep depression. She was about to commit suicide that day and I had come at the precisely right moment. We talked for twenty four hours and I was able to convince her to get the help she needed to get through that challenging time. Oh yes, I trust that white light!

Returning to the story of our return home; when I told Doug about my experience with the lightening bolt, he reacted with assurance that we were on the right track. He said, “well, we made the commitment to follow Spirit and it looks like we are both being called and are being tested.” Happily we both knew that this was the direction we should go and though it meant leaving behind security, we agreed to “jump off the cliff” and follow our guidance.

We sold everything, packed up our books and some kitchenware, and left for Hawaii the following February of 1994. It wasn’t easy leaving our children, friends and families on the mainland. Though my daughter and son were adults and on their own, and Doug’s two teenage daughters were living with their mother and step father, our hearts tugged at us to stay close by. We made a pact with the universe that we would see them at least four times per year in whatever way we could.

That first year was exhilarating, magical, transforming and challenging. For me, the prospect that we did not have paychecks would prove to be terribly frightening. I had spent many years as a single parent working very hard to create some sort of security for myself and my children. Before I met Doug, I had bought a condo, paid cash for my car, had money in the bank and a retirement fund. I was all set for the rest of my life! Interestingly, I had an astrological reading six months before I met Doug in which I was told that I needed to lose everything to gain everything. “No!” I said, “I refuse! I have worked too hard to finally feel secure!!” But alas, I knew in my heart that if detachment to it all was to be asked of me by Spirit, I would indeed have to surrender to it if it meant my spiritual empowerment.

When we moved to Hawaii, we began working very closely with Joan, who became our mentor and inspiration. She told us in the beginning that she could not support us completely financially, but would pay us to assist her in her dolphin seminars and help her with her work. She also encouraged us to create our own dolphin seminars so as to manifest a source of livelihood.

We founded and co-created Dolphin\Spirit of Hawaii and began our adventurous life as facilitators of monthly seminars including dolphin swims and spiritual transformation. While our seminars began slowly at first, we found that facilitating them was the most joyous, stimulating and fulfilling work we could imagine. Our life had completely changed and began to bring to us magical adventures, interesting and wonderful people from all over the world, and deep satisfaction in the knowledge that we were contributing to the spiritual awakening of the people we served.

In the first year, though we were on an incredible adventure, all my fears reared their ugly heads to taunt me and remind me that we had no real sustained income. We began assisting Joan with her seminars and our own seminars were beginning to grow in attendance. But this did not bring in an amount of money that could sustain us without dipping into our savings. As with any new business, it was a challenge to have our income support the outgo of funds required to live in Hawaii. We began to use up our savings and entered the dreaded realm of credit card debt. This was for me the ultimate test.

In all my years as a single parent, I had never let myself use credit cards in an amount more than five hundred dollars. I was religious about it. To say that I was frugal was an understatement. I knew every penny spent and what it was used for. Though we went without many of the normal luxuries of life, my children and I got by without going into debt. So when it became necessary to enter into the realm of plastic, all of my deepest fears visited me. I would awaken at two or three in the morning with gut wrenching fear and pain in my stomach. I would stumble into the living room so as not to awaken Doug, and I would try all of my spiritual practices to allay the pain. Nothing worked. My saving grace was that in the morning, when we would go on our daily swim with the dolphins, the pain and fear would magically disappear in the presence of their loving energy. I kept hearing the message from the dolphins, “Keep on going. You are totally supported.” This would save me for another day until gradually, as the fear subsided, the abundance came forth.

Our dolphin seminars became very successful in the following years, until January of 1999. As new years day unfolded, Doug and I went into meditation and asked the universe what we needed to learn in the coming year. What we heard startled us and moved us to examine our life and our way of living it. What we heard is, “To receive the abundance of the universe, you need to do three things: one, let go of all of your fears and trust totally; two, surrender everything to Spirit, and three; radiate your energy and light into the world.”

That will be easy, we thought. We can do that! Well, what happened next surprised us and led us to the next step. All of a sudden, in January of 1999, the phone stopped ringing! Whereas the fall before this, all of our seminars were over-booked, suddenly people stopped registering for the coming year. We had to cancel several seminars within that year. Our business slowed down dramatically — what better way to ferret out all of our fears than to be faced with financial drought!

It was interesting to see how each of us reacted to this challenge. Doug had already weathered this kind of test of faith years before he met me. He had made the decision, years ago, to follow his spiritual inner guidance, leave a very financially rewarding lifestyle and lucrative profession and strike out on his own to live his passion at the time. He tried several kinds of work and found his joy in establishing an environmentally conscious company called The Light Connection. This was a company which retrofitted existing flourescent lighting in office buildings with full spectrum lighting, perfect for an engineer.

Of course, in his years of transition, he experienced times when money was very tight, and sometimes nonexistent. But this did not deter him from his spiritual quest for fulfillment and service, even in the face of financial burdens. He had passed the test before I met him. In fact, I have never met a person with such complete faith. He is my rock.

1999 was the time when I allowed all remnants of fear to come forth to be examined. In doing so, I found that many of my inner demons and emotional challenges, though thinking they were handled in the past, came back to haunt me. A part of me was so discouraged, but I knew on the deepest levels that this was the perfect opportunity for my soul’s growth.

For most of my life, I really didn’t think that I could exhibit my highest potential — that I could really be the best I could be. I never gave up the search for truth and for joy and inner peace. But, I figured that I was too wounded by my dysfunctional past to reach the heights of joy and confidence that were possible for others. In fact, I wouldn’t even entertain the possibility for fear that I would be disappointed. I had too many weaknesses, too many fears, too much emotional baggage. Though I managed to heal much of my past, I was aware that the inner journey is a lifetime task.

At the same time, I knew that our work with the dolphins was extremely helpful and beneficial for people. I knew Doug and I were making a contribution to the world and assisting people in making life changing transformations. The feedback was astounding sometimes. But, there always seemed to be a little doubt that I could really be who I am.

Swimming and working with the dolphins had made such a tremendous impact on my life. I enjoy sharing with people my estimation that if we had not taken this step, it would have taken me two more lifetimes to reach the spiritual awareness I am experiencing now! Emotionally, I had made such incredible progress. And that year of 1999 afforded me the opportunity to delve even deeper.

In February of 2000, we found ourselves swimming with humpback whales eye to eye in the Dominican Republic with Joan Ocean for a week. What an astounding experience! We knew the transformative energy of the dolphins, but were unprepared for the whale experience. The spinner dolphins of Hawaii exhibit and create a light and playful energy full of joy, while the whales were a different energy altogether.

To my surprise, I was guided many times during the week on the boat to stay on deck in perfect silence, rather than go out with the group to swim with the whales. I would lay on the deck and feel the immense and enormous gentle energy of the whales bringing me into higher and higher states of consciousness. In these quiet inner states, I heard over and over again “I wait and it comes.” I knew I was being asked to quiet my life, go within and be in a state of inner silence for the coming months. Doug and I knew that we were being gently nudged toward new work — an expanded version of our dolphin work. I felt it was absolutely essential that I listen to these messages from the whales in order to allow the new work to emerge. We knew the new work must come from intuition and Spirit and not from the ego. The whales assisted me in the waiting.

I consider that week with the whales the catalyst for the next stage in the evolution of our Essential Joy work. When we returned home from that extraordinary experience, I immediately began the inner process of retreating from the world and going very deep into my psyche and journey of my deepest inner world. This meant letting go of all activities regarding promotion of our dolphin work, doing the fewest possible actions necessary to continue our work, and allowing all my remaining inner demons to manifest. During our monthly seminars, I was fully present and enjoying them with the usual great fun and exhilaration. In between seminars, when we weren’t traveling, I found solace in staying in bed all day at times and generally letting go.

For an Aries, type A, achievement-oriented being such as I am, this was a delicious hiatus of precious “slothfulness” and a challenge too. I just could not believe that I could actually retreat so thoroughly and enjoy it while facing my deepest inner fears and psychological obstacles. I got help from spiritual healers and counselors and from powerful workshops on personal growth and spiritual expansion. I revisited the realm of inner exploration in a manner similar to the journey which I thought had ended, for the most part, ten years earlier. All my fears came to the surface and all my inner doubts. I felt as though I was regressing spiritually, but knew at the same time that I was actually progressing. I knew I needed to surrender the whole process in order to learn what was important for our next step.

Finally, in November of 2000, after much inner work, the beginning of the inspiration for Essential Joy came to me. Doug and I were inspired to spend one hour each day for one week in deep meditation. This we did with much joy and commitment. When that week ended, I went into a state of quiet and asked my Spirit guides what was next.

The information I received surprised me. I was asked by Spirit what Doug and I wished to do for the world. What would our service be, and what would we like to see in the world? What came to me was that we would like to be catalysts to empowering people to be in their joy, expressing their highest potential. We would love to see each person on the planet, all their needs met, exhibit their full talents and gifts for the good of all.

Suddenly I saw in my mind’s eye a large triangle with a line down the middle. I asked what this meant and received the information that our human needs can be realized if we balance the masculine and feminine aspects of our beings. I was guided to place on the outside of the triangle, in a distinct order, the basic of human needs necessary to live in essential joy. First came the need for sustenance, then security, then trust and so on, as will be described in the introduction to balance. Inside the triangle, on the right side, I was given all the masculine qualities within us to assist us in fulfilling those needs; and for the left side, the feminine ones. When I looked at the finished visual, I could clearly see how this formula would work to bring us into joy. I was thrilled! Finally, I had received the information which would allow us to begin our new work. At that time it was called Essential Joy: The Art of Balance.

When I examined the formula, I could see that one example of living in the balance was my experience with the whales in the Caribbean. Instead of going ahead and following the natural inner masculine tendency to take action and get in the water to swim with the whales, I followed my feminine guidance to stay on the boat and be in quiet and meditation. I used my masculine power to take the action to be in a feminine space of openness. This served me very well in that it allowed me to receive guidance from my inner self that has broadened my life tremendously by leading me to this work of Essential Joy.

For months I happily explored the meaning of the formula and its application to everyday life. I played with it in my own exploration of life and discovered that, while being an excellent life map, I could use the process to extricate myself from immediate emotional challenges. One day, finding myself in an upset about something, I discovered I could utilize the formula and the levels of needs with their corresponding masculine/feminine qualities to determine how I was out of balance. By systematically looking at each need, I could bring to consciousness what needed to be adjusted in order to bring joy into the moment. The process only took about fifteen minutes to complete. Through that experience, and many times hence, I developed what I call the Immediate Process of Essential Joy. It proved to me that this process and view of life can work. We developed a week long seminar in Hawaii, which would include dolphin swims and the full Hawaiian experience and included the information in our 2001 brochure of seminars. We were on our way...we thought.

As the year 2001 unfolded, not only did our dolphin work continue to slow down, but registrations for our new retreat did not materialize. There were many more people coming here to Hawaii, bringing their own groups for dolphin swims, and our own seminars’ attendance was gradually thinning. This, of course, meant less income and more chances to practice letting go. I saw it as a gift, of sorts, from the universe, allowing us time to develop the new work and my confidence in bringing forth the information about Essential Joy.

I had the basic information down pat, but I found that as I went deeper into the information, my doubts about my ability to receive the information reared their ugly heads. I came into direct confrontation with my deepest fears about my spiritual abilities. What better way was there to establish my vulnerability, patience and surrender to the universe? I still had issues with balancing masculine and feminine and with radical trust. All I could do was to keep on keeping on and to trust the process as much as possible. I held onto the belief that this was information given to me to better mankind in some way.

To shore up my confidence in the work, during the next months I sought assistance from several well-respected psychics and spiritual teachers. Each of them (four in all), intuited that this new work of Essential Joy was highly evolved material, but could also be understood by beginners on the spiritual path. We were told that we would be “out in the world” in a big way in the future and to just keep on going. I held onto this wisdom as I kept my heart open, sensing that I was on the path to radical trust by being willing to open to it.

Somewhere in those first months of 2001, Doug suddenly “got” that the triangle was not really a triangle but a tetrahedron (a three-sided pyramid). This was perfect as it established a new meaning in my mind, and brought a fullness to my understanding of what the work really meant. I could see that, while the feminine qualities inhabited one side of the triangle, the masculine qualities the other, the third side represented the neutral place of oneness where both are expressed in wholeness. In third dimension, duality exists, and this duality was expressed in this symbol in this way.

By May, I was feeling desperate for answers to my questions about the full work of Essential Joy. I was still being challenged to trust in the work and myself completely. Why hadn’t The Art of Balance been successful so far? Why couldn’t I feel confident about the material? What more was there to learn? I felt incomplete with it and knew that the fullness had not been revealed yet. What impatience in waiting for the information to be complete!

This is when we were introduced, long distance, to a wonderful energy healer from New York, Camille England. Our spiritual counselor at the time, Jaison Starkes, suggested that we were ready to work with Camille. We had rave reports from many of our friends about her amazing abilities to clear the body of negative patterns and energies, and she could do it long distance, without the need to travel to New York. This was an answer to our prayers.

In making the first contact with Camille, I felt an immediate rapport. I knew that she knew my journey on a deep level of her being and her gentle nature helped me to open up to my core. She asked me to first make a list of what I wished to accomplish in the session with her, as well as all of the things that I wished to manifest for the year. Then I was to spend some time in surrender of all of my pains, sorrows and challenges . . . as well as all of the things I love. I was to surrender all of these things and people to God with no attachment whatsoever. This process took me six weeks to complete!

Imagine the thought of letting go of your attachment to your spouse and family? I had to think about this very carefully. Doug, the cornerstone of my life, and my children, family and friends represented the most difficult challenge in this surrender. I knew on a deep level that letting go of my attachment to them did not mean I would lose them necessarily. But, in order to really surrender, I needed to be willing to let them all go if need be in order to be healed at the core of being and be open to the purity of my connection to God. Since I knew that the new work needed to come from the core, from Spirit, I knew that the surrender needed to be that complete.

Over and over I would go into meditation and see in my mind’s eye all the things I love being sent up to the heavens in a big balloon. This was my way of visualizing the process. Since I am basically very visual, this worked for me and eventually I felt ready for the healing.

At midnight on June 25 of 2001, I lay in bed while Camille began to work on my body, removing the energy blockages and negative patterning I had held for lifetimes. For the first half hour or so, I felt the blissful feeling of coming home. It was a feeling that I had never experienced before. My body energy expanded and I felt like I was floating. This told me that it was really working. This feeling was not something that I could have produced on my own. There were many times in meditation practice that I would know my consciousness was in another realm, but this energy work was affecting my body even though I was thousands of miles away from the healer. I fell into a blissful sleep for the next five hours. When I spoke to Camille, later, she told me that this was a five hour healing session.

Awakening that next morning, I felt full of joy! I knew that something had shifted within me — something that had not happened before. I knew that the old patterns of belief and behavior had been moved out of my body. I felt renewed and refreshed as never before. Now I could be who I really was without the heavy load of past emotional scars and challenges! Camille did tell me that the healing would take six weeks to be complete. I could expect some return of the old patterns from time to time within that stated time, but they would fade away and eventually be gone forever. There was also one more piece that needed to be done later.

As in most spiritual healings, Camille told me that I may experience flu-like symptoms afterward for a week or so. This I had heard from some of the others who had had this healing. For the first few days I was flying high and feeling so clear . . . and then the weakness came on. My body reacted like a flu had taken over, but I knew and felt that it was the old patterns literally seeping, like poison, out of my cells, to be swept away. I rested and took care of myself.

As the week wore on and my ability to move in any significant way lingered, I noticed that the inactivity invited within me a mild depression. I realized that one of my destructive patterns was to feel disempowered when I couldn’t take action. I began to think that the healing really didn’t work and that I would never receive the information that would complete Essential Joy and our new work.

I fell into despair as the worst of my negative patterns returned with a vengeance. I was a failure, I thought. A week after the healing, I felt as though I had hit bottom. My inner knowing was that I was just going through the clearing, but my emotional self was devastated. I was a failure and there was no more hope, I thought. Falling into a heap of tears, I knelt at our altar and begged my spiritual guides in the other realms to help me. It was that moment of pure surrender when I realized that I just could not do it all by myself. Like an alcoholic, my “bottom” revealed itself and I just let go and asked for the help of God.

A wondrous gift appeared during that hour of pain. I found a small, very clear, crystal on the floor in front of me while moving into our room toward the altar. It just showed up and no one claimed it. I found out later that it had just sheared right off of a necklace that was hanging on our closet door. I felt it was a sign of hope from God that all was well.

When my despair eased and I felt the presence of God and my spiritual guides, I knew that was the end of my real suffering. I had let it all out and I could feel the fresh light feeling of my true self emerging again, as I had felt it right after the healing session. From that moment on, the healing took hold and I progressed beautifully each day.

Eleven days after my bout of despair, as I was in meditation, I had an extraordinary experience in the other realms. This was my initiation and this was the culmination of the two and half years of search for our new work.

I found myself being brought up a bright beam of white light farther and farther into higher dimensions. It was as though I were being brought beyond the cosmos and beyond the universes. I could literally see myself traveling through the cosmos and into the black expanse of nothingness. My awareness became crystal clear as I saw myself being brought into the center of a circle of Light beings. These were immense beings who shimmered in Light bodies, about twelve of them. Their essences were as bright and beautiful as any I had encountered in other meditative visions and I knew that they were of the highest vibrations. I felt immersed in the most exquisite love while they sent streams of unconditional love into my heart. Stunning and sacred!

My first impulse was to throw myself on the “floor” beneath them in the center of the circle and to literally surrender everything to them and to God. I begged for their help in making this a total surrender, with nothing held back. This was it - I was completely letting go of control. I felt it in every cell of my body and knew that this was true for me.

After a while, and when I felt complete surrender, they asked me to join them in their circle. I did so and as we connected our lights, I became as one of them. The light entered my hands first and as it spread throughout my body, I could see my body filling up with this shimmering light. My physicality gradually disappeared as I became a radiant Light body pulsing and vibrating with the most ecstatic joy and bliss. It was, for me, the most exquisite encounter I had ever experienced in all of my years of spiritual exploration.

Soon, the beings asked me to individuate again and become my separate self. When that was complete, they asked me to lie on a thick amethyst table in the center of the circle. When I did this, I could literally feel the smooth, cool surface under my skin. The first thing they did was to place a “star” of light energy into my third eye. The feeling was incredible as my third eye surrendered to this luminescent light, allowing it to unfold my inner knowing to the depths of my being. As this miraculous opening was occurring, I could also feel the energy center at the top of my head, my crown chakra, open and receive the most exquisite energy of grace. I was being filled up with grace and beauty. What a glorious feeling!

When my body had had its fill of this gentle grace, the beings of Light then began a process that I can only describe as miraculous. From the third dimension, from matter, they brought up into my body, through the amethyst table, a beam of light in the shape of my body. At the same time, from the energy above of the Source of Creation, they brought down into my body a beam of light also in the shape of my body. These two lights entered into my form and began to mingle and merge with the most wondrous feeling of joy. The intensity of this merging of spirit and matter within me grew to such a high degree that I almost went unconscious. I was in total bliss.

When it became almost too much for me, the energy stopped and the beings asked me to now become transparent so that I could radiate this merged light out in all directions. They told me that my purpose was to bring spirit into matter and to share this energy with the world. It was an awesome message and I felt a tremendous responsibility to be another conduit of Spirit, along with many other “light workers.”

As I was laying in that sacred space being filled up with this powerful energy, I noticed that I had a slight pain in the left side of my neck. Having had much experience in learning about body signals, I knew that I needed to check this out and see what my body was trying to tell me. I used my mind to put my awareness in the space that was in pain and I found there a small wooden box with a large lock on the outside. I asked the beings of Light to please help me to unlock the box to see what was inside. They did, and as I opened the box I discovered inside a small, round, many-faceted diamond. The beings relayed to me that this was the diamond of Truth. If I were to become this diamond of Truth, I could melt away the box and do just about anything I wished.

I brought my consciousness into the diamond and felt its enormous power. As I became this diamond of Truth and radiated this energy, the box began to disappear. Nearly the entire box melted away, leaving just a small piece visible to my inner eye. This must be, I thought, representative of the last piece of work I needed to do with Camille. So I just surrendered it. I surrendered everything — all of it.

At that moment of complete surrender, suddenly and spectacularly, the full information I had been searching for appeared to me. The Art of Balance was only a part of Essential Joy! There were two other levels and these levels became crystal clear to me in that instant.

The Art of Balance, integrating our masculine and feminine qualities to fulfill our human needs, was level one. This was the information which could assist people in their search for meaning, fulfillment and essential joy. The next level would be an exercise on the three pieces of wisdom that Doug and I had received in 1999. This was to be about letting go of fear, surrender and radiating light. We call it Surrender to Magnificence. Perfect! And then the third level would assist participants to access the highest spiritual energy which would be appropriate for them at their particular stages of spiritual evolution (Into the Light). This was exactly what I was praying for! Yes, I could see it all fitting in so perfectly. It was divine wisdom and a gift of knowledge which made my heart sing. Essential Joy was complete! These three levels will comprise the book series on Essential Joy.

One of the joys of receiving this information at that time was that it did not limit Doug and me in our contribution to service for the world. We could share anything within our spiritual range of knowledge without limitation. It held within it the possibility of any expansion of spirit that was appropriate at any given time. I was so happy.

With great humility, I thanked these radiant beings of Light for this experience, which I knew was an initiation of the highest degree. I was grateful for the wisdom and energy which was imparted to me, and I made the commitment to follow through and to bring this information out into the world. The vision ended and I brought my consciousness back to this plane and into my body. I felt complete.

From that moment on, I knew I had come into my spiritual power and was ready to do whatever it took to be true to my calling. Doug and I began the task of getting very clear about how to bring this out to the world. We utilized our inner masculine energy and worked very diligently to create the new web site and brochures. Our good friend and talented graphic artist, Adam Walker, created the vision of Essential Joy within the beautiful logo and brochures he designed. We were all set.

Two days after my initiation, a miraculous thing happened. Our dear friends, Gil Gray and Danna Louri, came here to the islands to visit and play. They sell beautiful crystals and jewelry. On this particular day, soon after my extraordinary vision, we went to their condo to visit. When we arrived, they had all of their jewelry trays spread out displaying all of their gems. An exquisite ring of gold, amethyst and opal beckoned to me. It was the only thing I could see and its beauty drew me under its spell. I was mesmerized by its design and on closer inspection, I could see that it was a perfect symbol for Essential Joy! It contained four triangles, two meeting at their bases between four small diamonds, and then two others on each side. They symbolized to me the initiation of spirit and matter in my body (amethyst and opal), the diamonds being representative of Aries, my astrological sign, and numerology (22-4). The two opal triangles on the sides represent the balance of the masculine and the feminine, and the three blue triangles, to me, represent the sacred number of the trinity and the three-sided pyramid within our logo. It was for me as though the great Spirits manifested this ring for me to demonstrate the magic of spiritual expansion and to give me confidence that I was truly onto something. And we even could pay on time at wholesale cost! A double blessing! What a gift.

Now I was ready to move into our new work. With Doug’s expert wisdom and help we began the task of creating one and two day Trainings with which to share this wonderful information about Essential Joy. We delved into the world of the unknown with our hearts on fire with the passion of truth. We jumped off the cliff once again as we used all of our resources, time and money to create Essential Joy. Onward with this new adventure!

The Tragic 9-11-01
This day of infamy seared our souls with its terrifying power. The attack on the world trade towers in New York by members of our own human family scorched our hearts and made us ill with its horror. It brought home to us what has been experienced by mankind throughout history, the devastation of man’s inhumanity to man. How could human beings perpetrate such inhumanity on each other? What was wrong with us as a species?

We were told in our meditations that this was the “Great Awakening,” a shocking, albeit violent, awakening of our senses to the true value of life and peace and the interconnectedness of the whole world. All around the world people were examining their value systems and looking at what was really important to them. We were forced to look deeply into the complexities of global relationship, political conflict, religious fanaticism, terrorist activity and the human condition.

We, ourselves, had the opportunity of looking deep within and asking ourselves if our new work, assisting people to find the deep joy of life, was appropriate after such horrendous suffering. How would people be able to relate to joy when they were consumed with shock and fear?

Our inner wisdom told us that joy is exactly what the world needs. Joy is a resonance of knowing and feeling the connection to God and to all in the universe. When we are in joy, we cannot be in fear. We see the present moment as an aspect of the vast and endless unfolding of our path toward truth which offers us the opportunity to learn who we are. We can accept what life puts before us with the trust that there is a reason far beyond our understanding for each moment. In joy we are balanced and hold our connection with Spirit above all doubt. We are able to hear our inner guidance so that we can take the next step with confidence that we are being led ultimately to love. While our parents’ suffering and fears stifled and limited our own essential joy as children, the world’s suffering and fears can stifle our adult selves’ essential joy as spiritual beings. It is time to discover this deep joy and heal the world.

We found out the depth of people’s shock when we didn’t receive any response to our Essential Joy brochure. This gave us the chance to practice what we were ready to teach – that there is a reason for everything and all is in divine order. We were inclined to ask ourselves “What is going on? Isn’t this material from Spirit and does it really have value? Weren’t we guided to send out our brochure at this time? Why is there no response?”

Deep in our hearts we knew that the essence of the work was in right timing. We knew that there would need to be a “resting time,” a respite in the expectation of people’s understanding and desire for Essential Joy. Our understanding was complete, however, deep within me, some remnants of fear and doubt were percolating below the surface. This was not the old pattern of relentless fear, thank God, but now I was to face, full on, the very real fear of financial ruin.

Our spiritual work with the dolphin seminars was always fulfilling, however, because of the increase of dolphin retreats offered on the big island, and the effects of 9-11, our work was not supporting us financially. We knew we were being called into the new work of Essential Joy, and we found ourselves in deep debt as we were transitioning and adding Essential Joy to the existing retreat schedule. This was the big test . . . could we really live the principles of Essential Joy while experiencing hitting the bottom financially?

By the beginning of the new year, 2002, I found myself with a health challenge. My lymph glands under my left arm were swollen for weeks. I hesitated to see a doctor because I had wonderful friends here doing energetic healing on me. When the swelling persisted and reached under my breast and into the heart area, keeping me from breathing easily, I finally saw our naturopath, who ordered x-rays, heart blood tests and a mammogram. Nothing showed up, which left me with the question . . . what do I do?

Our good friend, Lisa, had just passed over from the complications of lymphoma and my doubting self began to ask myself if I was dying. Here was the opportunity for me to reach into the depths of my soul and come to the ultimate surrender. Am I willing to die? Am I willing to let go of life and slip into the mystery fully with joy and love in my heart? Yes, I passed the test. I felt ready. Within my deepest self I fully surrendered to the possibility and accepted whatever the universe had in store for me.

Our dear friend, Celeste Eaton, began my process of healing through her energy technique of working with my past lives. While lovingly opening my energy centers to the inner truth of my being, she helped me to connect with my deepest pain in being human. I saw my existence, before my soul even expressed itself in the third dimension, for the first time. My soul knew what it would be to lower my vibrational frequency to the denser energies of the human condition and the psychic pain that this would require. The Light was so bright on the “other side” and in that state I could see ahead through time the countless times I would have to express the opposite of love and create harm for others in my process of learning through my journey of lifetimes. I was able to feel the pain of that knowing and let it go.

Next, I visited our good friend, Nancy Emery, a nurse practitioner and healer, whose profound session brought me into the depths of trust. As I lay on her healing table, after some physical manipulation and massage, she moved into a state of being which allowed me to access the remnants of fear which were still held deep in my body. As I released that fear, I could literally “see” my Higher Self, in the form of a radiant crystalline goddess feminine being, coming down from the ethers into my body. This is the first time that I experienced becoming one with this being of Light. I knew it would integrate into every cell of my body and I was in deep joy.

A week after this profound experience, the swelling began to return, so I knew that a second session would be in order. In her capable hands and surrounded by her loving energy, I could see that my lower body was beginning to reject this radiant energy. It was rebelling and was afraid to hold it for too long. My body, having held fear for generations, was just not ready to surrender to the Spirit completely. Nancy did some more work with me and we could both see that my left leg was holding onto the old. I opened the energy center in the bottom of my foot and the old energy just leaked out, making space for the new. I was fully here and ecstatic!

Suddenly, I “saw” with my mind’s eye, a group of higher beings surrounding me. They appeared before me to honor me for doing the work, for having the courage to go deeply into my self in order to discover the truth of my being, and of all beings, that we are radiant spirits in physical bodies. We are the vehicles for these expressions of the divine and our outer selves are just the container of Spirit. our friend

The council of spiritual beings who surrounded me consisted of a dark-skinned man with bald head and hair flowing from below his ears down his back. He had on robes of what seemed to be an orange color. He handed me a golden feather. Jesus and Mother Mary gazed at me with so much love. Michael the Archangel laid his sword of truth on my chest. And, my dear mother, who passed over nearly four years before, gave me a gentle smile and a touch of love. The last one to appear was, our friend Lisa Hixson, whose memorial we had just attended. She said to me “You go girl!” in her wonderful way. They were all there to honor me and thank me for the journey of my soul’s truth.

From that sacred day forward I began to move rapidly toward radical trust and only felt fear occasionally! The celebration of joy within me continued on and I was amazed that I was able to attain this level of trust. Since fear was my main challenge in life, I assumed that the task of transmuting my fear completely was a dream to be realized in perhaps my next life or two! Most of the time I felt clean, clear, joyous and in the awareness of who I am. I could surrender to the “river of life” more easily than I could ever imagine. Though there were some times that fear wished to be heard within me, I had been able to be fear-free for a great majority of my life since then. Filled with gratitude, I wish to share this journey with everyone.

At this point, your own fear and negativity may be expressing in thoughts like “How could I swim with whales and dolphins?” Or “I don’t have dear friends who are gifted healers.” Or “I don’t have visions of Beings of Light.” Remember, your own soul will direct you on your own unique path to essential joy. It doesn’t have to look anything like my path. Open your heart, trust your own soul’s guidance and know that you will find your own path to essential joy.

Know that this is possible! We can move through the quagmire of life’s complexities without fear. We can rejoice at the unfolding of every moment, knowing that there is a reason for all that comes before us. We can dance the dance of freedom of spirit and live in the essence of joy, no matter what the outer circumstances. I will show you how in the following pages. Let us bring in the Light of joy!


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