City of the Living Dead

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For some unknown reason a relative bought my 76-year-old mother tickets to hear a psychic lecturer.  No, it wasn’t a “reading”; it was a lecture at the Writers Guild in Los Angeles. The lecturer’s name was Rebecca Rosen.  At 5:30 we dutifully got in the car, audibly trying to stay positive whilst driving through rush hour traffic. I don’t know why it’s called rush hour because it is always longer than an hour. Truthfully a 20-minute drive to the Guild took an hour and a half. It all depends on your route in Los Angeles, and it is a game of roulette.

Back to the psychic.

I wasn’t sure what a psychic might lecture about, and being from a slightly demented family, one relative said to ask (the spirits) when another relative would die, while another said to contact a beloved dead dog.  I’m not exactly a cynic when it comes to the “unexplained” because I’ve seen some strange things happen that are eerily coincidental, have smelled my grandmother’s perfume at odd times, and have experienced plenty of déjà vu in my life. I’ve spent years studying the true intent of yoga (remember the body is only the by-product), have a fairly healthy spiritual life, watch a lot of the History Channel (?), eat my fruits and vegetables, and have faith that there is more to life than just the material.  Living in Los Angeles you might just forget this so be careful.

My mother was very patient even though I knew this was way out of her comfort zone. Our seats were very good and despite the traffic we arrived in time.  The theater was almost full, mostly of women of a particular kind. There were a handful of men as well.  When le psychic began to talk I knew I would be slightly bored because for me it was a bit like going to the same class over and over. If you have a spiritual life or take steps in life to better yourself as a human being you should be well aware of the rules: Trust your intuition, do not live in fear or act from fear, give back, let go, let God and be here now, etc.

Okay I do sound cynical but all I could think of was the rolls of cash this woman was making on advice we all have internally. She gets paid to remind us of what we already know in our hearts…BUT she uses the dead and “spirit guides” to mask this information and make it sexier I guess.

Rebecca is a beautiful woman, sweet in her demeanor but not saccharine sweet. Actually she reminded me of an attractive, skinny and polite Millionaire Matchmaker. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, don’t bother looking it up. The woman from Millionaire Matchmaker will haunt you for the rest of your life so trust me on this.

Rebecca began to talk and said she usually likes to lecture first and do “audience readings” after and that we could expect it to go over 2 and a half hours. At this point my mother looked at me like a child sitting at the DMV. The look was, “oh please don’t make me stay here.”  But we stayed.

The lecture nearly put me to sleep but it was nice. A 10 min “meditation” was pleasant and an extra rest period for me. There is nothing wrong with doing a few positive affirmations but remember, asking for money or a new car isn’t going to work. The trick is asking for nothing and being grateful for what you already have.

After the meditation came the group reading. This meant she was going to talk to her spirit guides, counselors and dead relatives (she looked up), throw out some names and see who raised their hands in the audience.  Right off the bat she nailed some woman who was reduced to tears, and with that the hankies came out. You could hear sniffles throughout the audience and most of the skeptics were sold. Most of the skeptics…

We are a hard lot, my family. We are not hardened but we are tough with a pudding-like center. When a certain name was called out my mother looked over at me and I gave her a look of “don’t raise your hand” and she relaxed.  Sure enough the name was intended for someone else…or was it?

We’ve all seen how easily humans can be tricked, fooled or coerced into believing something but it’s truly a lot easier to convince people of something when you know they want it badly.  All the worlds a stage, remember?

If you are Catholic, you might be aware that we have just entered Lent. Lent is usually equated with fasting, no meat on Friday’s and kind of a bummer all around. But I see it as a time for reflection, and like New Year’s, a time to try to let go of certain bad patterns we have found ourselves in.  Living consciously and being aware of how you act, what comes out of your mouth and how you react will put you under a microscope and it’s fascinating what you will see. I have tried to crucify negative thought and all it’s many forms but the drive to the psychic was a real challenge.  Every time I began to spew anger at a bad driver, I had to say out loud “don’t be negative”.  This in itself was funny but not easy to do.

A few days ago I came across the teacher-training group at my yoga studio, and the irony of their actions nearly bowled me over. I had barely stepped inside the building and they had made me angry (or did I allow them to?). 2 students had taken up 4 parking spaces (bad karma), bodies were sprawled eating and talking, garlic filled the air, bawdy laughter shook the glass doors of another (private) class and egotistical posturing (is that a redundant statement?) was taking place in the lobby.  There was absolutely no acknowledgement of their surroundings, no awareness, no consideration for others, and true, no malice of forethought towards me.  These are our future yoga teachers in Los Angeles.

I’ve seen this before and I was somewhat prepared but it still rankled. So I stood quietly watching these nubile, self-absorbed people, and I quietly blessed them. I looked at the worst offender and I sent her love.  I was still pissed off mind you, but I had to let go.

This ultimately is Rebecca’s message…I think.  I was surprised at how desperately people wanted to connect with the dead but every single person she contacted basically had the same message: I am well and happy, don’t worry, please let go and move on with your life.

Let go, let God and be here now baby!

Mom began to jones for a ciggie, and my back couldn’t take much more communing with the dead so after 2 hours we left.

So according to the dead (via Rebecca) you only have yourself to blame for your life, good, bad or indifferent…but nobody is blaming you. You made your choices and it either worked out or it didn’t work out, choose again!

Move on while you still can!

PS: I can’t help myself; during the lecture I kept hearing Joe Strummer‘s voice screaming: “This The City Of The Dead”. Like Henry Rollins doing pushups before a spoken word gig, I imagined Rebecca pogoing behind the curtain getting pumped to commune.