I first moved to Florida in 1993, three months after my daughter Zoe was born. My son, Max, was only 18 months old. We moved down to Astor, and lived on the St. John's river in a little 800 square foot cottage. Life was rustic. Snakes, gators, bears, manatee, eagles -- no air conditioning or washer/dryer in those first years. I swear mold grew in between the fat folds of my daughter's legs.
My favorite activity was to pile the kids in the car and drive half an hour to DeLand to the laundry mat. It was on one of these trips into the metropolis, when Max was just about three, that he said to me "Mom, don't worry, when I die, I'll come back and you can call me Christopher." Verbatim. I wrote it down. After this statement, many times when we were in the car, Max would tell me about his brothers and sisters on the "Camel" planet. He would talk about watching me and his dad, and asking God when he could come down and play with us. Needless to say, I was terrified by his first statement (triggering every mother's worst fear of losing their child) and intrigued and perplexed by his other statements. Statements that were very matter of fact, and not imaginative play.
I had never heard of Cassadaga, the Spiritualist Camp located not far from DeLand. But, somehow, I ended up there in 1995 and wandered into the Cassadaga Bookstore. I was looking for any book that might explain Max's pronouncements. Little did I know in that moment how much my life was about to change. I pulled off the shelf a book that had "Reiki" in the title. "What is Reiki?" I asked the store manager. As he began to explain, he stopped and said, "Ask him," pointing to a man who had just walked into the bookstore. "He's the Reiki Master."
1995 was a year of extraordinary growth and change. I devoured every new age, mystical book I could get my hands on. I became a student of the Reiki Master, taking Level 1, 2, 3 and eventually becoming a Reiki Master myself. We started a Reiki healing circle that continues to meet to this day in Cassadaga. I found myself in a profound healing journey where I was able to address deep issues, enabling me to dismantle dysfunctional behaviors and be more available and present for my children.
I re-visited Cassadaga today with my sister Becky. She met with a psychic. I traveled down memory lane fondly remembering the people I had learned so much from. It seems like another life time. But, as I walked the streets of this little town, I honored the incredible impact Cassadaga has had on my life.