You’ve got to have something to eat and
a little love in your life
before you can hold still for any damn body’s sermon
on how to behave.
Are you familiar with Paul Harvey? A renowned journalist, he hosts a nationally syndicated radio show called “The Rest of the Story.” On this program, Harvey relates stories about both new and well-known topics. His unique approach is to first emphasize what appear to be the obvious facts of the story. Then he presents the surprising “Rest of the Story,” filling in the audience on hidden truths lying beneath the surface of the story. He gives his audience the “real scoop” behind the scenes, sharing unusual circumstances or unexpected consequences of the event. Paul Harvey covers a story more thoroughly than what the general media superficially report. He examines the human or spiritual side of events for us to consider before passing judgment.
I am an ardent fan of Paul Harvey. In my career as a journalist and therapist, I have observed the same phenomenon Harvey emphasizes on his show: what appears to be true or conclusive about a story is often, upon closer inspection, false or incomplete. A little additional digging usually exposes deeper social and spiritual meaning hiding below the surface appearance of human affairs.
In my mid-twenties, I became fascinated with this multi-layered nature of human experience. I prayed for more direct information on how this phenomenon actually works. I wanted firsthand exposure to how multidimensional reality plays out in everyday life. As usual, I soon received the personal evidence I longed for.
After ten years of flowing with easy rhythm from nurturing job to job, love to love and abode to abode in Boston, I hit a brick wall on all fronts. A fun job ended. No new employment adventure was showing up. I had lost out on a unique, spiritual teaching opportunity. My last romantic affair ran its course and I couldn’t connect with a new soulmate. For the first time since I left college, I couldn’t even land a suitable living arrangement. The message was evident and undeniable on all fronts and levels: “Move! This place is no longer right for you.” The only problem was, I didn’t have a clue as to where I should move.
Then, out of the blue, as they say, I received an offer to housesit a friend’s empty home in Seattle for three months. Overriding my personality and its fears, my inner coach got me into my car and on the road to Seattle and my awaiting destiny. The drive across the country was leisurely and relaxing.
The pale autumn sun was calling it a day as I traversed a narrow country road threading a mountain pass through the serrated peaks of the Grand Teton Mountains of Wyoming. Even though the aspen were resplendent in their golden fall colors, there was no snow in the weather forecast. I checked my fuel gauge as I passed a sign that read “No gas or food for the next 100 miles.” The tank was almost full. I wasn’t hungry. I would be on the other side of the pass and near a town in time for a late dinner.
As I approached the alpine gap, it began to snow. At first the snowflakes were light, spiraling delicately to the ground and melting. I wasn’t worried. Then the downy puffs descended faster. The ground was soon covered in white splendor. The snow became so heavy, my wipers could barely keep the windshield cleared enough to see the road. Very quickly, the pavement and roadside began to blur together. Finally, my little VW bug could no longer get enough traction on the slippery asphalt to continue up the peak. I pulled over, turned off the motor and watched the feathery pageant unfold. I’d spent my youth in the mountains of western Pennsylvania and driven in scores of snowstorms. I’ll just wait this out. No problem, I concluded.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I was caught in a bona fide blizzard. Thick sheets of sparkling crystals covered my windshield. My option of driving to the nearest town was buried under three feet of fluffy powder. The road was obliterated. I knew if I waited much longer, I wouldn’t even be able to open the car door. I’d be trapped inside and suffocate under the quickly mounting snow.
Snuggling my jacket around me, I forced the door open and started tromping through the drifts. Before I’d walked twenty feet, my car disappeared beneath a white blanket. By the time I shuffled another twenty feet, the mound demarcating my car was barely discernable. The entire landscape was one vast, wet, heavy expanse of whiteness. There were no signs of civilization. I felt extremely lost and alone.
Darkness fell. I no longer knew in what direction I was headed, or if the road was still under my feet. Looking for shelter where I could take refuge from the tempest, I trudged forward until the snow accumulated to such a degree I couldn’t lift my legs. Exhausted, I collapsed. My tired mind decided it would be warm and cozy to curl up in a drift and let whatever happen . . . happen.
Just as I started to nod out and possibly fall asleep for keeps, I noticed a light. It was too bright to be a star. It appeared to be quite close. I mustered the energy for one last push. The snow was too thick and heavy to tread through, so I focused my eyes on the glow and crawled, pushing my body through the wet, white weight around me.
After what seemed an eternity, I reached the light. It was spilling from the window of what appeared to be a small hunting cabin. Pulling myself to a standing position, I tromped up the freshly swept stairs and knocked on the door. A little old ladywho was everybody’s archetypal grandmotheropened it. She had gray hair, small, wire-rimmed glasses and a little apron tied over a frilly pink and blue dress. The faint fragrance of fresh roses scented the air around her. She smiled angelically and greeted me with a sincerely caring voice.
“Oh, we’ve been expecting you.”
I stared at her. My cynical mind snipped to itself, Oh, yeah, sure. In a blizzard!
Yet her greeting sent chills up my spine. I’d heard a similar line beforefrom the people in Montreal who led me through the first spiritual initiation of my young life. In retrospect, this line should have been my first clue that something was fishy hereor shall I say, that something was occurring way beyond superficial appearances.
Graciously ignoring my silence, Grandma donned a shawl. “Come with me,” she said sweetly, leading me through the snow.
I followed her to a one-room log cabin a scant twenty feet away. When she opened the door, I gazed upon a king-sized bed in the middle of the room with the sheets expectantly turned down. A lighted candle sat on the rustic nightstand. An inviting fire roared beneath the roughhewn beams of the fieldstone fireplace. The room was warm and welcoming. I walked through the portal. In front of the fire was a very comfortable, over-stuffed chair. A TV tray boasted a large plate containing my favorite meal, steaming roast beef and mashed potatoes smothered with gravy.
I mused to myself, Wow, they really have their timing down here. She must have seen me crawling up to the cabin and sent someone over here to set everything up: the fire, the hot food, the prepared bed. I hadn’t been standing on the steps of her cabin for more than a couple of minutes before she brought me to this cabin and opened the door for me. These people are pros. I’m impressed. I turned and thanked her. She bade me to eat and have a good night’s sleep. Then, patting my shoulder, she left, gently closing the door behind her.
Cold, starving and somewhat delirious, I immediately sat in the chair before the fire, wolfing down the delicious meal. With my stomach full and tingling warmth creeping through my veins, I peeled off my wet clothes, draped them over the chair to dry and climbed into bed. Pulling the plush, goose down comforter up to my neck, I instantly fell into a heavy, dreamless slumber.
The bright glow of morning beaming through the frosted windows woke me. The fire had burned itself out. The room was ice cold. I felt rested and revitalized. I quickly pulled on my clothes and walked outside. The storm was spent. Virgin snow sparkled like diamonds under the brilliant, cloudless sky. Walking over to the lodge where the elderly woman had so cordially greeted me the night before, I was anxious to pay my bill and respects, and be on my way.
Strange. The lodge was completely boarded up. Plywood sheets were nailed over the door and all the windows. Heavy, thick cobwebs and built-up dust lay on the windowpanes and behind the screen door. It was obvious the cabin had been closed up for a number of months, maybe even years. I walked around the deserted building, leaving a trail of footsteps in the pristine snow. There was no sign of the old lady, or any other human being. There was no indication of a car or a road that I could discern.
I was bewildered. I rushed back to the cabin I’d slept in to see if it was still in the state I’d left it minutes earlier. The cabin was, indeed, there as I’d experienced it all night: open, unboarded, clean and comfortable. I laughed out loud, “The maid hasn’t changed the sheets yet!” I was determined to humor myself through this one. Otherwise, I might go nuts. Or realize I already was!
To keep myself from dropping immediately into a serious panic, I began to sputter aloud the tune of the old, familiar theme song of “The Twilight Zone” television show, the notes that played when the lead character began to realize that everything was not normal: do, do . . . do, do . . . do, do . . . do, do! This tactic gave me some breathing space to lighten up, reconnoiter and review my situation before my emotions spun out of control. I told myself I’d just gone through a very traumatic twenty-four hours. I’d been nearly buried alive in the snow. So, I deserved a little leeway until I got my bearings back. If I didn’t cut myself some slack, I’d have to declare myself crazy right then and there! I wasn’t willing to believe I’d lost my mind. Not yet, anyway!
I decided I was still a little dazed from my ordeal. As I cleared my head, the mystery would unravel and everything would start to make sense. Besides, being saved from the blizzard was definitely a miracle in my book. If my ordinary sense of reality needed to be rearranged a little for this magic to occur, so be it! Who am I to argue with the way God saves my skin?
Baffled by the enigma of the boarded cabin, I was suddenly desperate to find my car and locate civilization. I distinctly remembered the direction from which I’d come. I began walking, my rested legs breaking through the crusted powder easily. Within a mile, I heard a snow plow and followed the whirring sound to the road. The plow operator spotted me and stopped his noisy machine. I climbed into the toasty warm cab and told the obliging fellow where I sensed I’d left my car on the road.
“Where did you spend the night?” he asked immediately.
“In a cabin about a mile from here. Are you familiar with the place?” I answered.
“The only cabins I know of around here haven’t been used for years. Hey, did you bust into a shack and use it? I’d certainly understand with the blizzard and all. You’re one lucky son-of-gun!” He exclaimed.
Of course, I couldn’t agree more. Seizing upon an easy way out of trying to explain my bizarre adventure at the cabins, I went along with his reasonable assumptions concerning the situation. In my perplexed state of mind, I didn’t feel up to dealing with his reaction to my inexplicable encounter.
We found the mound of snow where my car sat buried. The plowman was generous enough to help me shovel the car out. He wouldn’t take any money for the favor. What a good-hearted guy! I followed him as he plowed the rest of the road through the high mountain pass. Grateful to be alive and still in a daze, I drove off to Idaho and my next escapade.
Twenty years after the enigma of the cabin, I still wondered what really happened to me that night of the blinding blizzard. I hadn’t found a satisfactory explanation for the appearance and disappearance of Grandma.
A nagging feeling indicated there was more to the story. I sensed that something additional happened to me that fateful evening than what I remembered. I realized I’d felt especially refreshed after spending the night at the cabin. A vibrant, inner radiance of well-being and focused purpose greeted me as I awoke. I’d felt more recharged and re-inspired than merely a good night’s sleep could provide. When the gnawing suspicion that something more had transpired at the cabin became extremely strong, I determined it was time to begin searching for “The Rest of the Story.”
In my life explorations since the night of the blizzard, I’ve discovered a very valuable tool from shamanic and other powerful spiritual practices: a way to access a deeper level of personal experience and life events. In a meditative state, using a method of inner journeying, you can recall and re-experience more of the totality of what occurred during any eventa hidden meaning that you weren’t aware of at the time, or that you buried in forgetful unconsciousness after the fact. Employing this technique, I traveled back to the night of the blizzard. What I found out blew my mind!
I discovered there was another person in the cabin while I was eating my meal and warming myself in front of the fireplace! This person served me a spiritual banquet for my soul as well as a sumptuous meal for my stomach. He was an older, white-haired gentleman who spoke telepathically directly to my inner coach. His words were gentle, but firm, as he described in detail my soul’s blueprint and my life purpose. He advised me on various strategies and options open to me in the human adventures that awaited me along my path to come. Like a mentor, he was there to guide me in successfully navigating the challenges and pitfalls I was about to encounter in expressing my spirit out in the world.
The pragmatic sage counseled me about how to deal harmoniously with the people I would be meeting in Seattle and how to recognize a kahuna teacher with whom I would end up studying in Hawaii. He briefed me on the details of my destiny and made suggestions about how I could most adroitly handle each future situation. He gave me tips about how to most harmoniously deal with the diverse people I would be meetingwhat to watch for, how to protect myself and how to reach mutual understandings. He encouraged me not to judge people and situations quickly or superficially, but rather to feel intuitively for the unrevealed soul dialogue and agenda that was occurring. In order to integrate every encounter into my life and being, he taught me to look past the formand embrace the essenceof human interaction.
As I listened to the wisdom of my gentleman mentor speak within my shamanic vision, I felt the hairs stand up on my arms. Until I did this meditative process, I had no conscious memory of anyone else being in the cabin with me during the night of the blizzard. And I realized that everything he told me back then in the cabin had since come to pass, down to the smallest detail. From re-hearing our conversations, I could now see how I had known what to do and say in the midst of my wide-ranging exploits in Seattle and Hawaii that were to follow.
By journeying back and re-experiencing that long-ago evening during the blizzard, I discovered that a very far-reaching spiritual revelation had occurred in the cabin. It’s obvious to me today that I wasn’t ready at the time of the snowstorm to consciously accept the master who appeared to me that night. Nor was I ready to fully recall the teachings and spiritual initiations of our meeting. I needed to become stronger and wiser in order to fully appreciate and absorb their significance.
In my Dream Workshops now, I assist people through intuitive shamanic journeys to consciously re-experience buried levels of past events in their lives. Participants often discover that they also have had enlightening interactions with spiritual guidesespecially during times of emergencies, crises, fever, illness, coma or other states of transition. Many folks recall talking with Jesus, Mother Mary, St. Germain, Krishna, Sai Baba, angels or other spiritual teachers. As with my gentleman in the cabin, these spiritual mentors imparted wise guidance and direction to people’s souls during these meetings to assist them in the graceful expression of their unique life purposes.
Like Paul Harvey demonstrates on his radio show, I’ve discovered there is almost always something much deeper and more profound going on beneath the surface of seemingly obvious and ordinary life events. If we take the time and opportunity to look and feel beyond appearances, we can always uncover “The Rest of the Story.” It’s well worth it!
Keith Varnum’s book, Inner Coach: Outer Power, is as enthralling as visionary fiction, but it's all true and you will very likely hang, as I did, on every exciting word. "Hide and Seek with Nonphysical Guides" is excerpted from the book, about which Neale Donald Walsch had this to say: "Keith Varnum's wondrous storytelling creates a journey so captivating that it can shift any reader beyond time and space. In a time of unfolding mysteries, Keith writes beautifully of his own fantastic adventures in a universe larger than our aspirations, and richer and more complex than all of our dreams. A compelling book for anyone!"
A writer, vision quest guide, life strategy coach, international seminar leader and healer, among many other fascinating hats, Keith travels from coast to coast and abroad to give workshops on a rich variety of topics. These are fun, exciting experiential gatherings in which participants play as equals in wisdom, love and power; reawaken their natural spiritual abilities; discover their life purpose and passion; and open to making a good living doing what they love. Be sure to visit Keith's website, thedream.com, and sign up for his free monthly e-zine, Prosperity Times.