Inner Michael » III. Finding Neverland, Finding Nemo, Finding Self by TW

III. Finding Neverland, Finding Nemo, Finding Self
by TW

My experiences from the first visit to Forrest Lawn, I have to say left the strongest impression on me the whole trip.  When we drove up in the vehicle I was focused on videotaping.  We stopped in front of the window that we had learned was his.  We gazed up at the window from the car for a couple of minutes while a steady gentle breeze blew. We then drove around to park the car and meet up with the others. 

We had made a poster from everyone in our spiritual circle and I grabbed my camera again to record the placement of the cards and poster board and then simply just walked around with my camera taking candid shots.  It was so quiet as fans were trickling in to place things and sit and mingle with others. There were people who were unexpectedly meeting each other and as they talked, found that they already knew one another from online exchanges in forums and on websites. I watched people coming together through Michael, for Michael.  I set down my camera and silently sat on the stone stoop taking it all in.

As that little breeze found me again, I reflected: ‘This is the closest to Michael I have ever been physically.’ A ball of confusing emotions began to well up in my chest and I worked to reflect quietly while simply absorbing the moment.  The branches of what appeared to be a small willow tree swaying in the wind caught my attention.  I don’t know why but I became intrigued by that tree and its swaying.  I felt so much peace watching it. In my head I asked “Michael is that you?”  The breeze continued and the ball of emotions seem to melt away.  A sense of calmness, of acceptance, of love comes over me.  “Yeah,” I heard myself thinking, “It’s you, Michael” as the quiet calmness settled inside me.

 Leaving Forest Lawn, we set our GPS and our internal compasses for Disneyland and Captain EO. Traffic was slow and tangled and the GPS was trying to find us a way around the congestion. A recovering Road Rager, I stiffened when a truck maneuvered suddenly and dangerously into our lane; my relapse was immediate as I raised my hand and made a gesture and although it was not an obscene one, I lashed out in anger. As my hand began its movement into the gesture, everything around me and time itself slowed down as I sensed being pulled out of myself to observe my own behavior. It was like someone had tapped me on the shoulder to say: “Time out; let me show you something.  See? That is not you.  You know that.”

It was as if I was watching someone else being this angry person making angry gestures. For a moment, I wondered ‘did that just happen’ Had I really just reacted or did I imagine it?  I tucked it away in memory to ponder later with a brief… ‘hmm, that was an odd sensation.’ Since then I’ve put the whole day together, and considered that maybe the calmness and peace I felt at Forrest Lawn had stayed with me.  I wonder” “Was it Michael, still with me, saying: “Look at what you are doing.  When you react, you are disturbing your own peace.”

 At Neverland, the exit led us to where we could see the mountain range and the scene took your breath away. As the GPS circled us around the block and doubled back to where we started so I grabbed my camera. The driver was a little flustered with the GPS but I understood the reason for the loop and as I told her “it gave me time to get this shot,” Will You Be There, from the Dangerous Album in the CD player began playing on the radio. A moment ago the CD was background noise but now it was a question. “Yes, we are here, Michael.”

 As we wound our way through the mountain pass I thought ‘this is the road Michael traveled on many times; this is the view of the mountains that he saw.  The driver and I both fell silent and simply took in the majestic mountain range on the horizon.

The two of us arrived a little bit before the rest of the group and we found a large rowdy bus tour group already there and they pulled me out of my state of awe. After going to the gates and looking around, I wanted to go back to the car where it was quiet. I grabbed my sketch book and sat with the car door open parallel to the fence around the ranch and the security hut. I focused on finishing my sketch and when I glanced up to see a single large Buck walking back beyond the gates. There was no sense of fear but of just walking and eating and peacefully looking around. I grabbed the camera once again. Now I don’t believe that animal sightings are random; and I believe in totems. The deer was no accident.

When I first contemplated going to LA, I decided to include a surf lesson. Instead of a surf lesson, I got a lesson in trusting the universe and in recognizing and listening to my inner voice.  I arrived at the pier by taxi where my lesson was to take place only to discover there was some kind of mixup. No one was there to greet me and after a rash of phone calls and a little panic over the rapidly draining cell battery, I learn that the instructor wanted me to come to Malibu instead and I explained that I had no car, don’t know the area or the beaches and am essentially stranded.

He said he would get back to me after contacting someone else. At that point, I was ready to give up on the lesson and just go jump in the water, or rent a bike or something just to make sure that I enjoy some fun at the beach even if there is no lesson. Twenty minutes later he returned the call and I made my request: “I’ll just take a refund” before letting him speak. He then told me that he had arranged to meet me at the very beach I was standing, and he would give me a ride back so I wouldn’t have to take a taxi and he would even extend my lesson. I agreed and while waiting for him to arrive, I explored a really cool open shopping area with street performers. I noticed a lot of homeless people milling around and since I had some leftover food, I shared it. Another moment with Michael’s hand in it.

As my lesson ended, I began to get really nervous about taking a ride back with my instructor because he was a stranger to me. He also had a friend with him and while I have learned to be very street savvy and conscious about safety, there are those stories… But I heard in my head and my heart that ‘all will be well,’ so I trusted that inner voices and all was well. I even got a lot of information on how it was to live in LA from a Native’s perspective. I shared a bit about why I was out there and found that I now have two new California friends.

I was, of course, glad to arrive home once again when it was over, but I felt a sense of emptiness.  I could not stop thinking about my LA roomies and the warmth that developed in our rental house.   I noticed over the next period of days that my diet and sleep patterns had shifted. I am normally very conscious about what I eat and limit my intake of certain foods.  I also don’t usually eat a lot of dairy products because they feel heavy on my stomach. Here I was, now craving heavier foods like pasta, cheese, ice cream, and cookies. There was a real eye brow raiser too—Mac Donald’s filet’o fish sandwiches, something I’d not eaten in more than a year after swearing off those fast food. I realized that my body was craving these foods in reaction, possibly attempting to ground itself or to fill itself.  In attempt to recover and fill in the emptiness from that warm space and feeling that haunted me. I spent time online connecting, which I read as a physical representation of the connections to my LA Family.  On our forum, on Facebook and through emails, I was slowly able to get back into my routine but not without some sadness.

I believe that when people come together with a common connection, that bonds are indeed established.  I’ve experienced this very few times in my life within basketball teams, among my family, and within workshops geared to teach self improvement skills.  Sometimes the effects last a long time and sometimes they diminish immediately.  With this group it became extra special because we had already connected in spirit and relationships prior to the gathering.  When we got together, the space and energy created was so immediate, so uplifting, and so natural it was truly like feeling at home.  We fell into a pattern with each other naturally that fit our attributes; we worked and moved together as a unit.  I feel a deep sense of knowing that this kind of community is eventually the type of existence where humanity longs to dwell permanently. Eventually we will get there. I feel the connections we had and the experiences we shared were only the beginning.  I love each and every one of my LA roomies.  I thank them for coming out for Michael with love in their hearts and a willingness to bring the best of themselves to contribute to a wonderful celebration of Michael in LA and also an enriching experience of Oneness.  Namaste` all.


*Note from B: The “deer totem according to Ted Andrews in Animal Speak: The deer is a wanderer. The hunt of the deer is what transfers our civilization to the wilderness. There are many stories of deer hunting humans by luring them into the woods until they are lost and experience new adventures– one example recounted in King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Deer represent innocence- especially the whilte-tailed deer. A deer has acute senses and is designed for clarity at a distance.

When a deer shows up it means a new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened or born. New adventures will arrive. Deer lead us back to the primal wisdom of the old teachings.


  1. Kim said . . .

    Ah what a story! Thank you TW for sharing and thank you Rev. Barbara for posting. Since I was there in LA TW’s words absolutely resonated with me. What a journey, what wonderful lessons learned, what loving and last relationships that were created and what an inspirational and spiritual awakening. To see things from another perspective is a blessing. Thank you and Namaste!

    Posted August 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink
  2. Sheryl said . . .

    Oh my gosh, TW’s words here nearly mirror our trip to LA, Neverland, Disneyland, FL, etc. in June. Could we have been in each other’s midst? I did not have the surfing lesson, however. But rooming with “the roomies” in a West Hollywood rental house (with women I only had known via the internet) was INCREDIBLE. We had met “through Michael” and we cannot stop thinking about our trip either!

    Posted August 8, 2011 at 12:58 am | Permalink
  3. Michelle C said . . .

    I can relate to the feelings and thoughts approaching Neverland. As we drove down Figueroa Mountain Road, I experienced the same thoughts of Michael riding this road countless number of times. The calmness and peace I experience there cannot be duplicated anywhere else; its so hard to explain, I feel like I am supposed to be there. Its like a magnetic draw for me, I want to stay there and never leave.

    Posted August 12, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

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