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Part 1: From Killer to Hunter to Photographer - an Awakening Spirit

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

On my walk with Coco today I ran into a neighbor at the dog station on the grassy knoll. It is a beautiful autumn Friday, clear skies, bright sun, leaves beginning to glow with orange and gold, still warm enough for a hoodie and sweats. And time, lots of time.

I need to preface this story with saying that as a recovering codependent, I've been in the habit of avoiding most people in the neighborhood because they tend to want to talk to me forever and dump all their stuff out in one go, usually complaining about something negative like lack of money or unruly neighbors. I'm a magnet. But today I had some free time so I allowed the interaction to unfold naturally.

I've chatted only briefly before with John. Once when he expressed how impressed he was with my stepson Matthew and the magic tricks he had been showing to random neighbors. John went out of his way to make sure to tell me how much he appreciated Matthew. He said how he'd been feeling grumpy that day and the magic tricks made him smile and shifted his mood. He was impressed that Matthew, at only 11 yrs old, understood his adult jokes and sarcasm and could give it right back to him. Something that his own nieces and nephews failed to do. Matthew could go toe-to-toe so to speak with the grumpy, sarcastic old man and I could tell that he earned John's respect.

John is a hunter, an older single guy, I would guess in his 60s, who lives alone with his dog. I forget exactly what breed she is but it's some kind of pointer bred expressly for hunting. "It's in her DNA," he says. John appears somewhat hardened by life, the outer shell is a bit gruff and acts as a wall to keep people away. However, I can see the smile lines in the corner of his eyes and feel that underneath that wall is a warm, sensitive heart with layers of protection around it.

I asked him about hunting season, how it works, what the dogs do, etc. He was quite keen on talking about it and I can tell how much he enjoys it. There's something magical that happens when you listen to someone express their passion, how they fall softly into the memories and how their energy expresses joy.

He tells me he's been a hunter all his life, since his childhood when he'd go out in the woods with his dad who died when he was 15. He was born into it and his companion, Bella is made for it. As we were chatting she was following her nose to some small creature in the bushes, whining because he wouldn't let her find it. They have a sweet yet respectful relationship.

John tells me how when he gets their equipment ready on Friday nights for the weekend of pheasant hunting, Bella gets so incredibly excited that she literally sleeps by his head just staring at him waiting to go. She howls in the car as they're getting close to their destination and it rings through his ears. I can tell that he really doesn't mind because the joy of her pure excitement outweighs the annoyance.

I used to be really judgmental of hunters but I felt quite neutral, just listening, curious about this human and dog. I think about all the unconscious things I've done throughout my lifetime and now choose to reserve my judgment.

Then he says something surprising. "Ya know, I don't know what it is but I can't kill them anymore. I used to work with a bow without even thinking and take out deer. I just can't do it anymore. The last few times, I didn't even bring my gun."

I see the somewhat perplexed but curious look in his eyes as if wondering where this newfound feeling is coming from. It feels weird and strange to him, different, foreign. It feels like Dolores from Westworld as she's beginning to see through the veil and I feel like I'm in a movie.

I respond,"You just said it - You weren't thinking about it, you were just doing. Just following along. When your conscience kicked in and you started actually thinking about what you were doing, it changed things and you started to feel differently. You started seeing, not just from your perspective, but through the eyes of the animals."

He explains that the pheasants are bred to be hunted, they live in cages all their lives and are released into the woods for the sheer pleasure of humans that want to shoot them. I can tell he is feeling compassion for the pheasants, maybe for the very first time. He shakes his head, "yeah what a shitty life that must be."

I ask him about the dogs role in hunting and his face lights up and his eyes twinkle with sheer pride and admiration as he talks about his beloved Bella. He expresses how instinctual it is for her finding the birds, how it's in her DNA, how he watches her body language, her breathing changes, she becomes completely still as she holds her breath, pointing with her toes, eyes darting side to side from bird to dad from dad to bird waiting patiently in anticipation for him to catch up and praise her for a job well done. She's waiting for the familiar sound of the gun to go off but it doesn't this time. John describes with amusement her utter shock and disappointment. If she could talk she would say, "I just found this pheasant for you dummy, and you didn't shoot it!!," he laughs.

He goes hunting now, not for the killing but for the pure satisfaction of the tradition, to be in his favorite place, to spend time with his beloved Bella and to derive pleasure from watching her in her unadulterated instinct and pure alignment with who she is.

He then tells me another story, feeling almost embarrassed to say it.

He laughs to himself, "ya know this might sound nerdy... " I stopped him and assured, "nothing you say to me will sound nerdy, trust me."

He goes on, "At work in the garage, a huge garage there's a cricket and the guys at work have been trying to find and kill this cricket for weeks. I hear them talking about it and I've seen them chase it with metal pipes."

He seems quite amused by this.

"Today, when I walked in the garage, it ran out right in front of me, I couldn't believe it. I stepped back on my foot (as if he was going to step on it) and then I stopped and thought, what am I doing? This poor guy must be having a bad day and is like 'get me outta here! Away from these crazy guys trying to kill me!' So I let it go. I don't know why but I just can't kill anymore."

It warmed my heart and I said, that's not nerdy or crazy at all. I don't kill bugs either unless I really have to. I scoop them in a cup and take them outside. Because I think to myself, "what if I found myself in a strange place surrounded by giants that were chasing me and trying to kill me? I hope that someone would have enough compassion to scoop me up and take me home to my own environment."

I could feel the relief in him, he felt validated in that moment. Shoulders relaxed. There was a part of him that knew he could tell me these things and I wouldn't think he was crazy. Because that's what people call us when we begin to wake up from the dream. Crazy.

He continues to talk with a sentimental tone about the place in the woods where he goes hunting, now with a camera in lieu of a gun, a place of remembrance, a place of connection. Life affirming, instead of life-taking. He describes with light in his eyes the lush scenery, the layers of golden rays on the grass, the light misty dew of the morning, the steam as the sun, beginning to peer through the trees, dries the dew.

He sighs, "If I could go now, I'd be happy. Take us both together."

He reminisces about watching his friend and his friend's father standing in that scene and how beautiful a moment it was. He captured photos of them from afar talking, laughing, BEing together. John expressed that not long ago, he used to feel jealous of his friend, resentful that he still had his father to spend time with in their favorite place. Now he feels gratitude and he reminds them to savor their moments together, drinking coffee next to the truck on a chilly autumn day in their favorite place, being together.

Feeling a bit bewildered at the emotion coming forward, he begins to reflect on memories of his own father. I can see them flashing through his awareness.

"I have five memories," he says. "One of those is my dad in the casket".

This is clearly a disturbing sight for him but he laughs it off with the sarcasm he has learned to use as a coping strategy. I remind him, "Your dad wouldn't want you to remember him that way. He would want you to focus on the good times you had together."

And then it came, THE memory. The one that has shaped him the most. The one he's still holding onto after all these years. The guilt. The shame. Pouring out of him right there on the grassy knoll as if it had happened yesterday.

A missed opportunity.


His father was sick with cardiac disease for a long time before he died in his 50s in a nursing home. John was only a teenager left alone by his mother and caring for himself. The nursing home took his dad for outings to the Gardens, the casino, baseball games. At 15, John would ride his bike all the way to the nursing home in another town to go with his dad on the trips so that they could spend more time together. But on this trip, for some unknown reason he opted for the high school football game instead. His dad had his final heart attack in the casino that day and died without ever seeing John again. Time. How precious it is.

The guilt, the shame, the regret pouring forth. Living with a lifetime of whys.

"Why would I choose a football game over my dad?"

In a deep moment of human connection, I share with him my own story of how my mom passed, also in her 50s, and how I regretted and felt guilty for the missed opportunity of being present for it. It was a heartfelt shared moment of grief.

I go on to share with him what I've learned over the years since then - that souls usually choose when they want to exit and sometimes they don't want us to be present for it. That being there for it would be even more traumatic than not. For John, the last memory would've been of his dad's sudden death in a public place and the following chaos that ensued in attempting and failing at resuscitation. For me, it would've been my mom dying in a hospital bed and the following chaos that ensues in attempting and failing at resuscitation. I feel that both of us were spared that trauma and the decisions we made not to be there were guided, maybe by our own Divine Selves or the Divine Selves of our parents.

I know that my mom would never have gone with any of us present. She always said, "we come into this world alone and we leave alone." She didn't want my last memory to be of her death. I carried the guilt for a long time before releasing it. Knowing that wherever she is, it's much better than being trapped in a sick body and suffering.

We've been talking a lot recently about recapitualtion in preparation for death. Recapitualtion is a review of your life and all the relationships, all the forgotten memories that begin to flood forward once the decision is made to peer into the past. I feel that process begins happening for me during and after this chat with John.

He goes on to share about his family and hints that the last month has been quite harrowing for him- his sister who helps take care of his elderly parents was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer on a Monday and got Covid that Friday. His step-dad had a stroke on Wednesday, and his mom and step-dad (after having a stroke) in their 90's, were robbed in their own house by four men pretending to be from the electric company on Saturday... all in the same week! I agree with him about how absolutely insane and unbelievable that all is and think about how incredibly twisted this world can be. It's shocking, really.

But I've been there. Oh how I've been there. I've had plenty of weeks just like that in my past, where everything seems to be going wrong and falling apart. I know exactly what that kind of anxiety and stress is like when the people you love are suffering and you feel hopeless, losing your grip on reality.

Another grouping of memories flow forward for me. In and out of hospitals. Checking on my parents after working nightshift to make sure they were still breathing. Countless 911 calls and ambulance rides. Watching those you love most dearly suffer and die. It seems like an old life, one that I've detached from. They say you know you've healed when you no longer have an emotional reaction and that is the point of recapitulation. To review your past, heal emotions that arise and forgive yourself and others for any hurt that was caused. A completion, mostly so that it can't be used against you in a life review on the other side. Complete your karma now, tie up all the loose ends and stop reincarnating.

I offer him my compassion by validating the absolute shit insanity of that experience. I tell him to take care of himself and have a nice break this weekend in his happy place in the woods.

"Yeah, so now I tell people, I'm a hunter, not a killer. I don't kill anymore." I smiled, "I like that a lot. You should tell them you're a photographer."

I've been thinking a lot to myself lately about missed opportunities and regret. Not only in the past but the opportunities that we don't take in day to day life. If I hadn't talked with John in that moment, maybe I would've looked back on my life one day and I would've seen a missed opportunity for connection. It was if I could see into the future, almost like a life review. Regret. A chance gone by to make a difference in someone's life just by being present.

I don't want to have regrets when I die. I want to know that I lived fully, that I loved fully and with intention while serving myself AND others. I've learned that it is possible to find balance and do both. Sometimes healing from codependency causes us to avoid and isolate in an attempt to preserve our energy but the isolation is a trap in itself. It creates walls around us that don't allow people in. The right people, of course. Boundaries are necessary in this world and we need to learn how and with whom to have those.

I learned today that sometimes humans can pleasantly surprise you. It didn't feel like the usual one-way dump of negative, complaining energy, but a symbiosis of energy, a two-way exchange.

"This is an Awakening soul," I thought.

Found in the most unsuspecting of places and faces. Slowly beginning to break free from the program, stepping away from the lifescript, starting to question what it is that he's doing and why. Learning to make choices using his own free will for the very first time. That is fascinating to me and oh so brave.

It was like rewinding time to my own Awakening from the dream and seeing the very first sparks of remembrance. It also reminds me of the hosts in Westworld and how slowly they begin to break from the programming. It's the same for us.

Sometimes as Awakening souls who've been on this journey for awhile, we forget where we've come from and that we used to be asleep too. With our arrogance and superiority complex, we look down indignantly upon our fellow humans and call them names like sheep and NPCs (Non-Player Characters) and sometimes even treat them with contempt. The spiritual ego can often be sly, disguised and unconscious.

But what if even the sleepers have the ability to awaken from the dream, just like the hosts in Westworld? To grow their consciousness past the lifescript and programming? To expand and become a real Spirited human? Our Divine Selves know better and would never look down upon anyone. Our Divine Selves have compassion for those souls because we recognize our selves in them. Having compassion for them is having compassion for the Self and the tough journey of consciousness expansion it took to get here.

I left that exchange with John feeling touched, feeling grateful, and feeling unconditional love for and acceptance of humanity and all the messiness and insanity that it entails.

I was feeling a deep sense of awe at the bravery it takes to wake up from the dream.

Questioning. Unraveling. Curiosity. Gratitude. Bewilderment. Compassion.

Choosing free will. Paving your own way. Taking one step at a time.

Because in this realm, we have to fight for free will. We are not born with it.

We are born within the program of the Matrix and the Ego self that is downloaded with information from birth to 7 years old and then hijacked by outside entities. That then creates our entire subconscious programming which then runs 95% of our life unconsciously. We have no real choice until we begin to wake up, until we begin to question and observe the Self and become Sovereign from the system and its agents that run our lives.

Why am I doing this? Why am I repeating the same patterns over and over? Who is this voice inside of me? And on and on it goes.

I walked away feeling hopeful that maybe the consciousness of humanity really is shifting and everyday folk, in everyday middle of nowhere towns in the most mundane of places and faces are beginning to Awaken, heart walls crumbling, free will choices. And I remembered why I keep coming back here. I really do love humanity.

All My Love, T




Wait!! Don't leave yet!!

Karen and I recently did an interview for MysticMag!! It was really fun to reflect over the past several years of doing this work together and I think it explains our work in simple terms for those that are new or don't quite get it yet. Plus it gives a little peek into our history and I know some of you are nosy. ;)

Check it out here and please share with your family and friends! Thank you all so much for being here and supporting us, we appreciate each and every like, comment, read, watch, whatever. We appreciate YOU!

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