ANECDOTES FROM MY PAST
FROM MY ARCHIVES: A TOUCHING STORY FROM A HEALING CIRCLE
During this lockdown I’ve been collating boxes full of archive material stretching back decades. I came across this lovely story from the 1990s, from a lady who had taken part in one of my healing circles:
“One year ago today I participated in your healing circle in Kensington. I remember you saying how much you’d welcome feedback and I have been meaning to write for some time.
“I had been trying to have a baby for five and a half years and had almost given up hope when a friend suggested I went to one of your circles.
“During the course of the hour we sat linked together, I had many thoughts. I worked quite hard at constructing positive mental images of people I knew who were ill but then an astonishingly clear picture of myself with a fully pregnant belly, and one even more clear of a wicker cot on which holly leaves were attached just spontaneously came to mind with no effort on my part.
“My husband is half Chinese but has little contact with his family on that side. I found myself conversing with his Grandfather who had long since died and saying how much I wanted to extend the ‘Lee’ family.
“After the session I went to buy bread in a department store. The cashier was Chinese. I signed a cheque with my married name ‘Lee’. He commented that it was his name too. When I said that mine was also from China, he held the queue up and wrote the Chinese characters on the back of the till receipt saying that the ‘Lee’s’ were a very big family.
“Two weeks later I was pregnant. I hardly dared to bring myself to write to you because I couldn’t believe my luck. On November 23rd, exactly nine months after that day in Kensington, our little girl was born. She is absolute heaven and I am totally convinced that this is as a result of your healing circle.
“For this gift I cannot possibly convey enough thanks. To my mind it is also an extraordinary string of events which can be added to what must be a vast collection of similar such anecdotes from people who have had the benefit of your healing.”
THE EVENING I WAS INVITED TO SPEAK IN THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
In 1997 I was invited to talk to the Parliamentary Group for Alternative and Complementary Medicine about healing. The group had been set up in order to try to give legal status to the various different complementary therapies.
Thanks in no small measure to the enthusiasm of David Tredinnick, MP, it had succeeded in getting such protection for acupuncture and osteopathy and was looking to extend it to include other complementary therapies, including healing.
My visit to the Houses of Parliament on 28 October was quite an experience. The committee room was completely packed with a wide cross-section of MPs who had never previously attended the group’s meetings. I was surprised at the high level of interest shown in healing.
After talking about my work I told them about the antagonism towards healing shown by the German authorities. Earlier that year I had been scheduled to do a healing demonstration in Berlin. Upon arrival at the airport I presented my passport which was promptly taken away whilst I was left waiting, without explanation, for a considerable time. I’d obviously been recognised by the advertising and posters for the event. I was eventually allowed entry but presumably only after the relevant authority had been alerted.
When I later reached the venue, I was met by police officers ready with a threat supported by the relevant documents: if I gave a healing demonstration, I would be arrested and the organiser would be fined the equivalent of £20,000. I had no doubt that they would keep their word and the event was cancelled at the last moment. It wasn’t the first time I had run into problems with the police preventing me from demonstrating healing in public in Germany.
In a letter of thanks David Tredinnick sent me a few days after my talk to the parliamentary group, he seemed to have taken my concern seriously:
“Your experiences in Germany gave a stark warning of the threat to healing in this country, which we must address in Parliament, perhaps at some stage in the near future. Certainly it is essential for us to be vigilant concerning all European legislation and Directives.”
It was later brought up in the House of Commons but was of less importance than other EU subjects being debated. The rest, as they say, is now history - although healing still lacks the same legal protection afforded to acupuncture and osteopathy.
THE DAY I HAD TO CHOOSE DIFFERENT MUSIC AT A HEALING CIRCLE ...
In rather strange ways my life has sometimes been entwined with Mike Oldfield’s music. We’re about the same age and come from not dissimilar backgrounds. Finally, in 1996 our paths crossed although the story had begun decades earlier with the release of the horror film ‘The Exorcist’ in 1973.
Some of the scenes in the film were disturbingly reminiscent of the poltergeist activity I’d endured in 1971, including an event when a bed in which a 12-year-old girl was lying began to shake and levitate violently. Mike’s debut album ‘Tubular Bells’ formed much of the soundtrack and launched his career. In the meantime, my first book ‘The Link’ was published in America and I spent three weeks promoting it with coast to coast press interviews.
Time and again I had to endure the sounds of ‘Tubular Bells’ as I made my way on set for another TV chat show. Every producer believed he was the first to have cleverly associated my story with that of ‘The Exorcist’ and thought it would be funny to play the theme tune as I appeared. I rapidly became irritated by it and was unable to ever listen to the album again.
Thankfully, Mike has been prolific over the years so I enjoyed his later work. In late 1994 he released ‘The Songs of Distant Earth’, a concept album based on Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction novel of the same title. Beautifully crafted it was chilled, restful and relaxing without being boring or lifeless, I listened to it over and over. I also used it during my healing sessions and found that children particularly loved it.
Becoming a little more adventurous, I would sometimes play it during healing circles as it often led participants on a very visual journey to inner and outer worlds.
I planned to use it during a healing circle in London in 1996 and before the event began, as I was meeting and greeting those who were joining me for the healing, Mike Oldfield walked in. For once I was pretty much dumbstruck! Knowing that he would probably not relax particularly well while listening to his own music during a 50-minute healing circle I had to make a last minute change and instead played the album ‘Mandala’ by Kitaro.
Afterwards Mike told me he loved the music - I never told him that my original choice was ‘The Songs of Distant Earth’. But we did have a laugh about my aversion to ‘Tubular Bells’!
A PROJECT OR BUSINESS MAY BE RIGHT - BUT THE TIMING IS WRONG ...
As the 1980s drew to a close, technology and media were changing as an exciting new era unfolded - we had satellite TV and the worldwide internet would arrive in 1991.
At this time that I was introduced to Nick Austin, co-founder of the Beggars Banquet record label. His most successful signing had been Gary Numan and Nick was looking for a way to invest the money he’d made in a very different project. Setting up ‘The Landscape Channel’ in 1988, he was one of the first visionary entrepreneurs who could see that entertainment and television were about to change.
It showcased classical and instrumental music accompanied by beautifully relaxing videos and began airing on Sky Channel. In 1990, Landscape provided Channel 4 with 200 hours of morning programming as The Art of Landscape before it then expanded in Europe.
Nick wanted it to be available in hospitals and doctors and dentists surgeries as a way of relaxing patients so I was excited to join the project as part of a group of signings who included, amongst others, Rick Wakeman and Tim Wheater.
I re-recorded several of my older cassette tapes including ‘Fighting Back’ which now featured Rick’s music and also produced my first relaxation video - which cost a fortune. Although it was completely innovative, I now can’t bear to watch it - high-definition filming was still a way off and having not then learned to imitate Leonard Cohen’s voice, I sounded very plummy! (You can still find it on my YouTube channel).
Technology was evolving fast and The Landscape Channel ultimately suffered from a lack of funding. As satellite viewing gave way to the internet, the company sadly folded. With hindsight, Nick Austin had an wonderful vision of marrying together new technology, music and video but was probably ahead of himself by a few years. Maybe if the project had been set up as the internet was born, it would have been a lasting success.
Decades later, I bumped into Rick Wakeman and asked if he’d heard anything from Nick. “No”, he replied grumpily. “He still owes me £50,000 in unpaid royalties”.
Life isn’t all about money. Sometimes it’s about taking a risk with an idea that is innovative, highly creative and potentially groundbreaking - even if ultimately it doesn’t succeed.
THE DAY ROBERT GODFREY ROCKED THE MBS FESTIVAL IN LONDON!
It’s hard to believe that Robert Godfrey and I have been friends for 40 years - we first met in 1981 when I was in my 20s and he was in his 30s.
Although he didn’t start to play the piano until the age of twelve, his talent was prodigious enough for him to gain admission to the Royal College of Music, then the Royal Academy of Music. In the early 1970s he formed the progressive rock band ‘The Enid’ and although its membership has undergone many changes, Robert has always been at the helm.
In 2012, the band’s thirteenth album ‘Invicta’ was voted 9th in The Guardian’s “Readers albums of 2012” poll and two years later Robert was the winner of the Visionary Award at the Progressive Music Awards. ‘Q’ magazine once said that he was the greatest composer never discovered by Hollywood.
He jokes that we’ve known one another so long that I’m considered part of the band. Over many years we’ve worked together both with live performances and recording projects. In the 90s I was asked to hold a mass healing from the stage area of London’s Festival of Mind, Body, Spirit at the Horticultural Halls so invited Robert to join me to provide live music.
Early on the morning of the event an enormous multi-ton lorry arrived outside and roadies began bringing in the PA equipment used by The Enid at concerts and festivals. Over the next hour loudspeakers were piled up twelve feet high on either side of the stage. Having explained to Robert that it was a quiet event for people interested in healing and meditation, I grew increasingly concerned as to what he might do.
There was an audience of thousands as we took to the stage later in the day. I’d virtually pleaded with Robert to not play too loudly but Being familiar with the band’s equipment I knew that he had a volume control in the form of a wheel on his keyboard. I tried to keep half an eye on him as he launched into the hauntingly beautiful ‘Reverberations’ and I began leading everyone into a healing meditation.
During Enid concerts Robert would often teasingly admonish the audience saying, “Boys and girls, don’t be naughty”. I was now thinking, “Robert, don’t be naughty!” as I caught a glimpse of his hand on the keyboard volume control. I knew what was coming. As we went into the final section of the healing, Robert pushed the volume up to maximum and the huge old Victorian hall began vibrating!
I was anticipating a barrage of complaints afterward from deafened participants - but they never came. As the last note faded there was a silence that lasted at least 20 seconds during which you could have heard a pin drop anywhere in the hall.
It was an exhilarating experience both for us and the audience and a reminder that music for healing doesn’t always have to be played quietly. Sometimes there is enormous power in a majestically sweeping piece of music played at great volume!