While I was photographing an editorial piece on factory child labor in India, I had walked into a store in a small town north of Bangalore. I was only in there ten minutes when I heard a man, who looked like the owner, command the workers to shut and lock the door and draw the curtains. I looked around and realized I was the only female in there, me and five men.
What happened next is challenging to put into words, as most spiritual or divine experiences are. I stood near a shelf of scarves, scrutinizing the men who were all lasciviously eying me. Sweat pearled on my forehead and in my hands and I felt lightheaded and nauseous. My heart beat so loud I thought the men could hear it. It was as though I was wearing a stethoscope, the sound of my heart pulsating drowned out their words.Then, the pressure of the air shifted around me, becoming dense yet electric, comparable to how it felt the night I saw the warrior and when the man was in my room. A calming sensation came over me and I heard words in my mind, yet the voice was not my own, say, ‘Go tell the man sitting at the desk about your father’s illness.’ I didn’t hesitate as I had no alternative plan.
I walked over to the desk and sat across from the man and said, “My father just had a heart attack and I’m not sure he’s going to live.” The man’s eyebrows lifted and he said, “Your father! The father is everything. The mother is nothing but the father, yes, he is most important.”
I told him how distressed I was and how much I loved my dad. How hard it was to be away from him and what a good father he was to me. The man looked at the other men and said, “We’re letting her go. Unlock the door.”
I bolted out the door and ran to the hotel. I sat down on the bed and tried to calm my heart. I still felt a warm presence. The experience exhausted me and even though my nerves were sizzled from the adrenaline, I eventually laid down and fell asleep. Right before I nodded off I thought I heard the words, “You will be okay. All is well.”
e to edit.
While in my twenties, my psychic ability expanded as well as my experiences with the divine. I traveled the globe alone either for recreation or work as a photographer.
On one occasion as I was leaving on a trip to Asia to do a photo shoot, I was staring at my dad as my sister pulled out of the driveway to take me to the airport, when I saw an image of a skull, his skull, superimposed over his face. It looked like he was wearing a Day-of-the-Dead mask, dark holes protruded from sunken cheekbones, skinless. I drew back, gasping, blinked and it was gone. Then, I saw his smiling face, blowing me a kiss. I didn't know what to think. I wanted to ignore it and act like it didn't happen.
But I saw it, I know i did. While traveling, an ominous energy surrounded me. I knew something bad was going to happen. I didn't know where or how but I knew. I tried to hide from this dread-like companion but it followed me everywhere, even when I tried to outrun it. Eventually it would catch up to me and cozy up inside my stomach like a lead ball.
I was in Bali, sleeping soundly when I heard, again words spoken to me, “Rachel wake up.” I opened my eyes. The early morning light stretched across the room. I searched for the source of the voice and there was no one there. As I sat up, I knew with the utmost certainty that I had to call home.
This was in the age before cell phones and the internet. An hour later, I found a hotel with a phone and called home to find out my dad had had a severe heart attack and was recovering from heart surgery. His heart had actually stopped entirely while waiting to be seen in the emergency room, only to be resuscitated back to life many minutes later. Upon hearing the news, I crumbled. I wanted to be near him. Yet at the same time, I felt relief. The dread churned as I listened to my sister tell me our dad had a bipass. When she spoke the words, "He'll be okay. He's doing well," the dread passed through my bones into the ground.
When I was 17, I moved out of my parent’s home and into a friend’s house near Pleasure Point, in Santa Cruz. At the time, I was training for a state Karate competition so I was meditating and practicing mindfulness around my breath every day. I was surfing a lot which also helped to center my awareness in my body. Being in the ocean awakened my senses. Between the Karate and the surfing, I noticed my intuition expanding. There were days I sensed the energy everywhere I went, feeling it alive on my skin. There was nothing like the ocean’s energy calming my mind yet exhilarating my body. I felt so vibrant and awake.
Late one night after training, I lay asleep on my stomach in my bed when I heard a voice say, “Wake up and turn around.” I did and there above me was a young man, maybe in his twenties, trying to get into my bed. There was no one else in the room. The man’s exact words were, “I’m going to sleep with you now.” His voice sounded entirely different from the voice that had wakened me.
Normally such an event would be terrifying, but I wasn’t scared. It was as though whoever or whatever told me to wake up, was still in my room, protecting me. I just couldn’t see it. This thing or energy, sucked all the fear out of me. I felt a warm presence encase my body, and despite this man’s intentions, I knew he wasn’t going to hurt me. What I felt, as that man stood over me, wasn’t fear, but compassion. I calmly told him he had to leave. But he didn’t. Instead, he walked around to the other side of my bed and tried to pull the covers off. I still wasn’t frightened. I told him under no circumstances was he getting into my bed and that he had to leave. I was composed and my voice was even. I don’t think he expected me to behave in such a manner. Maybe he thought I would be terrified and allow him to do whatever he wanted, and when he saw I wouldn’t, he got confused and lost his power. The man stepped away, walked out of my room and pretended to leave. He waited in the hallway outside my bedroom. I sensed this and sat on my bed, in my t-shirt and underwear, until he peeked his head around the corner. I again said calmly but forcefully, that he had to go and that I was going to call the police. This time he left.
Shortly after, the warm protective energy dissolved and I began to feel angry. I grabbed my karate stick, which I used for practice in the dojo, and ran outside looking for him. All the compassionate energy had dissipated and I was left with rage. I wasn’t going to let a man get away with trying to violate me. But after a few minutes, I went back to the house figuring it wasn’t smart to be outside, in the middle of the night, in only a t-shirt, looking for a potential rapist. I was grateful of my training but also of the energy that protected me and allowed me to disarm violence with compassion instead of fear and rage
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
And amidst the chaos
Keep Peace within your soul-Max Ehrman
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