Yesterday I lost my medium virginity. During a visit to Hollywood to see my daughter Celeste and her husband Patrick, Marcel Cairo was kind enough to treat Celeste, Laurel, and me to a reading.
Marcel is an afterlife medium and spiritual therapist. (Check out Marcel’s website for more info). Last Tuesday I got an email from Marcel that said, in part:
I came across your site and really got a kick out of it. I like how you present thought provoking concepts with a sense of humor. I kind of take the same approach to my work. I am a medium, and have been for 23 years now, and humor is a key bridge that unites the here and the hereafter.
Anyway, on occasion I co-host a weekly radio show called Conversations from Beyond with fellow medium, Lenny Feldsott. The show is part Crossing Over w/ John Edward and part Car Talk from NPR and on occasion, a bit of Howard Stern “Lite”. It would be interesting to talk to you about your blog and your Church of the Churchless.
I replied with a “sure” (though now it looks like I’ll be on the “In Good Spirit” show on October 11). I told Marcel that coincidentally, if there is such a thing, my wife and I would be in his Hollywood neck of the woods in a few days.
I wasn’t (consciously) expecting anything to result from that comment, but Marcel responded that he’d try to fit us in for a free reading if we wanted and our schedule, and his, permitted. Which, it did.
So there we were at 10:30 on Sunday morning, lined up in skeptical order on Marcel’s couch. Celeste to the left of me, Laurel to the right.
Laurel has been to several mediums and psychics. She’s a believer. I’m open-minded, though I probably lean toward the skeptical side. Celeste, like Patrick, is about as here and now as they come. They believe in what they experience.
Me too. Marcel started out by asking me to summarize my Church of the Churchless philosophy in a couple of sentences. I think it took me a couple of paragraphs, and I was just warming up. He cut in and tried to summarize.
“So it’s a matter of seeing and believing, right?” “Yes,” I said. “I like to say that I’ll believe it when I see it, not that I’ll see it when I believe it.” From there we were off and medium’ing.
I won’t try to describe all that transpired in the two-plus hours we spent with Marcel. The bottom line is that I enjoyed our session. I found Marcel to be genuine, humorous, sensitive, and spontaneous. He made some observations that hit me hard, though I can’t say that they knocked me for a loop.
I mean, it seemed unlikely, though not impossible, that the information he was conveying came solely from his purely human brain.
I’d give examples, but the most intriguing messages conveyed through “spirit” (departed souls) were directed to Celeste and Laurel, and were quite personal.
Interestingly, Patrick got a lot of attention from spirit even though he was at home watching football and is even more of a spiritual skeptic than Celeste. Marcel shared some zingers about Patrick that were right on the money—specific enough that they seemed unlikely to be lucky guesses.
But again, not impossible. Given this semi-skeptical attitude of mine, I guess this is why spirit declined to pay me much of a visit. I probably ended up getting 10% of the departeds’ attention. They just didn’t have much to share with me.
Marcel did say that my mother pitied me. Which I can believe, I suppose. Marcel asked if my mother was a strong, independent woman, the feeling he was getting. I said, “Yes, indeed.”
Basically her message to me was that I should stick with the intuitive non-verbal connection I have with “God” when I go on my nature walks and put to rest my questioning intellectual side that is always saying, “But then again…” My mother, or whoever, made sense. Still, I’ll have to think about it.
One thing I need to ponder is that my mother was much more intellectual than I am. She also was much less attuned to nature than I am. So she must have been working on the Taoistic side of her soul during the twenty-one years since her death.
Somebody else—maybe it was Evie, my sister who died as an infant—told Marcel that I was a know-it-all. Well, I do know a lot. But I’ve never considered myself a know-it-all. Maybe that message was meant for someone else. Like my ex-wife.
I also was advised to duke it out with my dark side. Borrowing from the first Star Wars trilogy, Marcel passed on the word that I’m Luke Skywalker. Yet also Darth Vader. (Aren’t we all?) The two sides of me are supposed to take up psychological light sabers and finally determine who’s going to rule Brian’s Brain.
This wasn’t new news to me. I’ve been wrestling with the various sides of myself for as long as I can remember. (Again, haven’t we all?) However, I appreciated being reminded that it’s best if only one entity inhabits the cranium where the sense of Me resides.
But then again, when I shared the Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader insight with my Tai Chi instructor this afternoon he said, “There is dark and light, yin and yang, in everyone.” Yes, opposites make the world go round. That’s the nature of Tao.
I can’t speak for Celeste and Laurel. What I got out of the session were some fresh viewpoints on my psyche and approach to life. It doesn’t matter much to me where they came from: Marcel, the spirit world, or both.
I didn’t experience anything that made me a firm believer in life after death. But I’m probably a bit more open to the possibility now. Marcel said that I should repeat to myself, “I believe in the survival of consciousness.”
Well, I want to. The thing is, I’m still a “I’ll believe it when I see it” kind of person. Marcel advised that I open myself to signs of spirit, which might come from any direction.
That was good advice. Communicate away, spirit. I’m open 24/7. Once I see, I’ll believe. To me, the best form of spiritual belief is an empty receptivity to whatever reality may exist beyond what I know now--not blind faith in some dogma or theological assertion.
Lastly, we got to meet Marcel's charming wife and child after the session. Nina, his daughter, is a red-haired bundle of cute. In the course of searching for information about Marcel to share in this post, I ran across a Cairo family video on Google Video. Watch "The Art of Sharing." Nice music, nice family.
[Next day update: OK. I get the message.
When I read this post to my wife last night, she said, “You didn’t mention your father.” When I checked my email this morning, I read a message from Marcel that said about my father, “You failed to mention him at all in the story.” When I perused the comments to this post, I saw that Roger asked, “Did Marcel discuss anything about your Dad?”
So…Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. To put it mildly, he was a Force to be reckoned with. He turned to the dark side until, at the end of his life, he saw the light. My own father never did, so far as I know.
Yesterday evening my psychotherapist wife observed to me, “From what I know about your father, he was like Darth Vader: powerful, domineering, highly intelligent. You may think that he wasn’t much of an influence on you because you only spent an hour with him in your entire life. But no matter how little or how much kids know about their dads, the influence is there because fathers are so important to us.”
Yes, Marcel mentioned him. I can’t remember all of the details. And I don’t feel like listening to the tape of the session right now. My father is my dark side, my Darth Vader. I tried to convince my wife that the reason I didn’t mention my father at first in this post is that everyone has a dark side, like Warren, my Tai Chi instructor, said. So why focus on my father when I’m speaking about that aspect of myself?
“Because he wasn’t like most fathers,” Laurel told me. “Your father was strongly dark. Not just a little. A lot.”
I know. As I said in my “One hour with my father” post, ever since I got to know what a jerk my father was, I’ve been wary of the paternal genetic heritage that’s lurking in every cell of my body. Identical twin studies seem to show that about 50% of personality has a genetic basis; he’s one-half of my genes; so I figure that a quarter of who I am, more or less, is Pure Jerk.
Which feels about right. I keep that side of myself fairly well hidden, but it’s there. Probably that’s why Marcel advised that the climactic battle between my Luke and my Darth has to take place. Or maybe it could be a reconciliation. Whatever. I’m not going to force the two of them together. We’ll just see what the Force has in store for us.
I get glimpses of what that energy is. I suspect that I’m not firing on all cylinders because I don’t trust letting myself go. I enjoy feeling the higher revs of my inner engine, but am afraid that if I unhook the horsepower limiter I’ll take a turn too fast and do a Thelma and Louise over the cliff.
And yet…in just about every Tango class I’m reminded that tentativeness is a kiss of death for the male lead. Last night my partner and I were having some problems with a clockwise basic turn. I tried to figure out what was going wrong, then got frustrated and said to myself, “Screw it. I’ll just do it.”
Which I then did. Just fine. In Tango the woman only knows what to follow when the lead is unambiguous. Passionate Darth Vader energy melded with pure Luke Skywalker intention.
Get them together and you’ve got something. Good.]