Sunday, November 4, 2007


TORONTO - Healing and Revelations

I don't really need to go into too much more about California. I look forward to coming back, hopefully next time with Jessica. So hear I am, 18 hour later after being stuck at the Toronto airport. I checked in to the hotel, and a relaxing night watching Kubrick's last film "Eyes Wide Shut" all I can say is that film is fantastically messed up. I am a huge Stanley Kubrick fan, strangely I was introduced to him via a skinhead (friend?) at high school. yes I seem to befriend even the most philosophically vile people. anyway it was high school, and the dude was mis-led, besides his brain washed and simpleton views he was actually a decent guy. He would always be listening to classical music on his Walkman, I never understood, I figured he would be into some white supremest punk rock or something, no he loved classical music. So he actually turned me on to Beethoven via Kubrick's soundtrack for "A Clockwork Orange" another fabulously fucked up movie, and one of my favs to boot. How did I get onto this topic anyway??? Oh yeah, my movie watching last night, anyway because Eyes Wide Shut is such a long movie I does off around 2:00 am and woke up at 8:30.

My "standby" flight isn't until 2:00 pm, I really hope I can make it, I woke up early so I could go down to Atwell Street and visit the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship to got to Church (yes, even when I'm on the road I need to get a gas station fill up at church sometimes). I have made mention to this place before. Truly this building holds a big piece of who I am as a person, and where my spiritual walk sort of started. TACF is where spiritual renewal happened in the Christian church in the early 90s. It was here where thousands of people have been healed both physically and spiritually, it is here where a whole new style of free form worship was created, very similar to how the church that I go to is (Saint John Vineyard), it was here as well where much of the new sound of worship music originated from. I have played in bands for years and I always get a buzz out of playing live, but when I play bass guitar Sunday mornings at my church, there is no feeling like it. The difference is we are collectively offering our worship and energy's to our Creator when I play at church, so the "I" disappears and I become part of the collective. This is different when playing elsewhere where it is far more about the "I" then the "We". Also there is a lot of room and space for improve and groove playing bass with this sort of so called "worship music".

I have great memories of some VERY intense spiritual experiences that I had at this church back in the late 90s when I was going to film school at Niagara. I would come up to this church whenever I could, for a regular Sunday service, a mid week service, a youth conference, whatever, just to get filled up with the Spirit. Although my religious position in life has changed a lot since then the reality of the Spirit is still ever present in my life, and I feel empty when I get disconnected. I remember working on a Disney movie called "The Color of Friendship" in Toronto. To be honest I had a real hard time working as a camera trainee on that show. I grew a lot then, professionally and spiritually. It seemed that the 2 things that gave me comfort were "The New Riders of the Purple Sage" (the band that Jerry Garcia plays Pedal Steel in, fantastic albums) and the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship , radical!


So hear I am again 2 hours after I wrote that great timeless word "Radical!" And yes I'm still at the Air Canada lounge. They wouldn't fit me on the last flight, so I will wait until tonight at 9:00, 7 hours later. I will have been delayed for 26 hours by then, all the more time to update my journal I guess! ( I have a Johnny walker, a Southern Ontario red wine, and a Baileys & coffee at my side ready to hang out with me for the rest of the night.

It has been an emotionally packed day to say the least. Where do I start, I guess because I was introducing my spiritual life earlier I will continue with it. Years ago I was really "into" the new wave of Christianity, radical left wing Christianity if you can imagine such a thing, BUT IT'S TRUE, IT EXISTS, I FEEL THAT I AM A LIVING EXAMPLE! I won't get too into it, but basically without contradicting myself too much (earlier in the blog I said I don't like to establish my religious beliefs in writing in fears of being dogmatic) anyway, I feel that living a life in the Spirit, in my case I am a follower of the teachings of Yeshua (Hebrew for Jesus)?I feel that my positive experience 2 nights ago with the Polyphonic Spree in LA can be slightly connected with my spiritual Christianity; Joy, Freedom Love and openness? "Hey! It?s the sun! And it makes me shine!" If people actually followed the fundamentals of their religion there would be no war?LOVE LOVE LOVE"most of the world's religions are based upon love as their foundation, why do we always fuck it up? Selfishness and greed are at the root of dogmatism, which I think is the most powerful tool of the devil?LOVE and UNDERSTANDING,I need to keep reminding myself of that.

Anyhow, when I was a bit younger, like I mentioned a second ago, I was really into this Christian revival thing, it was very experiential, I had many times laying on the floor feeling the electric power of the Spirit flow through my body as I gave thanks and praise for life, love and all the blessing that are continually bestowed upon me. As time moved on I feel like I have become far more secularized, even surfacely ashamed of my beliefs, not having the energy or desire to defend my beliefs. I don?t like arguing politics or spirituality. Spirituality is its? own thing for everyone, mine is mine and mine is what makes me, well me! Blah blah blah, back to today.

It's been a while since I have really sensed the Spirit within me, I have been connecting to the Creator ONLY through music for so long (not that there is anything wrong with that on its own, that is my medium, but), its like religion was wiped out of me, and I have proudly tried to make it through my recent life (full of distractions, success, disappointments, love, broken relationships, debt etc) by myself. I have really adopted a protected "I'll do it myself" attitude. This is no way to grow as I have found out in so many aspects of my life. This morning I was urged to wake up, get out of my comfy hotel bed and hop in a cab and make it to the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship to go to church. I arrived, it was nice, great memories of a seemingly "much more spiritual" time of my life. The worship band came on, I went through the motions, it was nice, nothing mind blowing, but comforting in a safe environment (that is one thing that this new revival is a master at, making people feel comfortable and wanted and loved, not persecuted, judged and hated like many other dead factions of Christianity).

Then something profound!!!

A couple got up and told of their recent trip to Alabama for a week at a youth detention facility. They had a chance to minister to these kids, many with physical illness, drug addiction, emotional and physical pain, and how they witnessed with their own eyes healing that was a direct result of faithful prayer. I am always filled with joy when I hear these stories, but equally filled with skepticism. I feel awful saying that, but I feel that even though my faith is still foundational in my life, I have developed much doubt in many things as of late, especially healing, why, I don't know. I hope that I can soon get over that.

Recently my brother Mark found that he had a tumor in his inner ear, as a musician for so many years, scar tissue had developed and formed into a tumor. Why him and not me? I play way more music then he does and go to way more concerts, man its me that deserves that, not him, anyway suffice it to say it has been a scare to him and his family, and to our whole family. If Mark had to get this tumor operated on, there is a small risk that he would loose his motor skills in one side of his faced, leaving him slightly deformed, and a slight risk that he would have to re-learn how to walk.

A few months ago he came to my church with me, and after we got a few people together and prayed with Mark that he would be healed. Last week he went to a specialist in Toronto and as it turns out he doesn't need it to be operated on now and it isn?t at a stage where it will spread. We are all very thankful for this, I DON'T WANT CANCER to be in anyone close to me, I have already lost my good friend Randy Cable to this killer, and some other people close to me are battling it as we speak, I hate cancer. Was this a miracle that Mark doesn't have to get operated on? Maybe? Or is it just the way it is? I'm not sure, my faith is based very much in realism and logic, so I?m convinced that it is a miracle of natural design, or at least I think it is? my spiritual faith is up and down so much these days.

Then this morning happened. Wow, I haven't cried in so long, I have cried twice in 7 years. The first time was with my friend at Evolve this year as we both came to term with our friend Leslie's death. It was profound in the fact that we both realized that Leslie had to go at that time and at that place and that she was in a good place. It was 7 years previous that I cried before that on New Years Eve at a Phish Concert in the Florida Everglades with a head full of mushrooms and a spirit full of emotion.

As a side bar, I would like to remind the reader (family, friend, business acquaintance, etc) that my primary life desire is to me real and honest and truthful with everyone. Despite popular belief (haha) I am not a pot smoker, I have smoked a few joints in my day but I just have never enjoyed the buzz, always made me paranoid and antisocial, mushrooms however I have experienced a few times which I will write about someday, are a whole different experience. I have ALWAYS had deep spiritual / emotion experiences when I had a mushroom. Don't get me wrong, I experiment with these only 2 or 3 times a year, but it, like my spiritual Christianity, and like music, and like, family, friends and love, is what has made me who I am today, and I wouldn't trade my life experiences thus far for anything. So instead of me hiding the fact that I have from time to time experimented with mind altering drugs, let's just realize that every time in this blog I mention "chocolate", really I'm talking about tasty chocolate covered psilocybin mushrooms. Not to go on a tangent, but I do want to write about this sometime, I have had some very profound Holy Spirit experiences with mushrooms, I know it sounds crazy, but I will try to remember to write about Phish in Toronto 99 and NYE 2000, my weird zoomy experience with Grand Theft Bus, and again with my Evolve zoomy experience with my friend while dealing with Leslie's death while listening to drum and bass DJs in a field. Oh man, I am totally going off on a tangent here. The basic philosophy here that I am so pathetically trying to get across is reminded to me by a dead head I met, actually right here in Toronto at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship during the Fresh wind Youth Conference many years ago.he said;

"Greg, when I die, I want everyone from every part of my life to know the real me"

I have quoted that for years since?what that means to me is that if we are all honest with ourselves and our friends and family, the no matter how painful it may be, we will create a better world, and a better understanding of ourselves. For example, at my funeral, I want my brothers and sisters from my church community to talk to my family, my friends, my business acquaintances, my party friends, my drinking buddies, people I have had profound "trips" with, etc to all know every aspect of my life. I don?t want my friends I smoked a joint with to say:

"I didn't know Greg was a spiritual Christian"

And also I don't want my church family to say.

I didn't think Greg ever experienced drugs, other spiritual avenues, and great Scotch Whiskey!?

It means a lot to me that I am honest, so from this point forward in my blog, no more bullshit, I respect you the reader enough to give you all of me in this. Why? Well maybe it's more interesting to you, but also maybe in a selfish way when I am gone these will be my words. And if I want people to remember me as the WHOLE GREG, then it is my responsibility to write it.

Back to my brother, and church in Toronto this morning?it?s been a very tearful day and I don't know why, not out of sadness, but out of love for my family and out of hope?it?s weird. I just got off the phone with Jessica telling the story I am about to tell you and I started to cry (it felt good by the way), I couldn't even talk to her, I tried to tell her I'd call her back because I was talking on the phone crying, trying to get my words out on the phone at the Air Canada executive lounge with all of these first class passengers sitting beside me eating cucumbers and drinking Scotch (mmmmmmmm, yummmmy!)

Back at church, as the couple where telling amazing stories of healing with these young offenders in Alabama, people started getting up and giving testimonials about their personal healing experiences, then they started calling people to stand up who had illnesses that needed to be healed, and people where being healed in the room, it was crazy, I've seen this many times before, and still my faith is week, weird eh? But peoples arms, legs, lungs, whatever, where being healed in front of all of our eyes. Then they said;

"If any one has cancer, or has someone in their family with cancer or a tumor please stand up!"

So I got up for my brother, I wanted prayer for his healing, my lack of faith didn't hold me back from standing up. When I stood up a bunch of people came over to me and started to pray over me, I immediately said "This is for my brother" and then I had to start trying to hold my tears back, honestly I'm not the least bit afraid for Mark, I know he is going to be ok, I just think it was this immediate and unexpected lowering of my emotional wall that brought me to tears. Anyway the Spirit was very present and our Creators' love was warm.

As people where praying for Mark through me, (I know that sounds weird, but whatever, I don't care anymore) other people where still getting up on stage giving testimonials about healing and faithfulness, I heard with my eyes shut as people still surrounded me, a woman say that she has $80,000 of credit card debt and it had been really breaking her spirit. I as well have been plagued with exactly $80,000 of credit card debt, yes its true, man I?m ballsy to admit it, but I am dying with debt, and this is the price of past business mistakes and of putting 150% into a small business, I am in debt and sadly I feel like I have lost a bit of myself as a result of the stress resulting from this stress. I feel that my family, friends and employees have all seen a different Greg with a slightly less "joy of life" in recent times SOLEY DUE TO DEBT. Trust me, I am crazy passionate and exited about where my life is right now, man I travel the world doing a job that I absolutely love, its nuts how blessed I am. This coaching experience has really helped me preserve my hopes and dreams, it has been truly invaluable. However there is still a stress that is bringing me down in a major way, it is this debt. I am a risk taker and I have such great dreams of what is possible for my business and my life that I dive straight in hoping for the best, in most cases it works out, I am still trying to manage this "illness" of debt though.

Anyway as people where still praying for my bro by laying hands on me, I heard the pastor say "anyone with debt issues, please stand up and lets pray for you?" typically I would take advantage of this opportunity, man I'll try anything at this point. I'm getting married, the last thing I want to worry about are my credit cards, I just want to live a happy and humble and successful life, I don't need much, but I know if there is one thing I don?t want are stressed due to something as stupid as credit card debt, responsible debt at that which came because of my entrepreneurial dreams. I am a VERY responsible person with my money, if I didn't have the plans to change my world through following my dreams I would probably have little or no debt, and a cushy, less than passionate job that pays the bills, but also makes me miserable, I guess it's the initial price to pay.

The temptation was there to take my mental focus on asking for healing for my bro and focus on my own problems, but it only took a split second to realize that it was far more important to keep focusing on my brother. I prayed to God that I would give up any debt relief for any amount of debt that I am ever in if it would heal Mark of his tumor. I didn't even think about it, its was my natural response, and truthfully I'm happy that my nature proved to be a somewhat selfless one, I have been worried about that in recent times.

Here's the messed up part , right after I made that prayer asking God to heal my brother and that I would rather that happen then for my finances to be cleared, a woman came up to me and opened my hand and gave my a $20.00 bill. I asked what this was for, very confused?she said it is a symbol of what God has in store for me, she was a random lady knowing nothing about my life and my financial struggle. She said ?I had a prophetic feeling that you need to know that IT IS COMING, THE REST IS COMING.

I said thank you, and she went on, I sat in my chair as the rest of the room where dancing in celebration?I didn?t get it at first, but then it clicked in, she gave me $20.00 as a SYMBOL OF WHAT IS TO COME. Maybe that is an answer to my prayer for help with my debt relief that I just voided by asking to exchange it for my brother?s healing.

I am for some reason of little faith in recent years, it is very easy for me to think that none of this could be true, it?s not logical or scientific, but you know what? It is what it is,this experience was real and brought be to cry for the first time in years,crying without the aid of a mushrooms! Ha ha, Anyway, I don't feel comfortable crying, although it is very liberating, and in fact I cry quite often in my dreams and as I sleep I realize how feeing crying really is. Sadly I have been trapped into the groove that society has carved out saying that men don't cry. I still have a long way to go on that one, but today I feel a part of that wall has been broken down.

Sometimes I feel like I am a selfish person. I have experienced deaths and sickness where I didn't feel any emotion. These are people who I loved, I just didn't feel sad. I felt like it was their time. I think I confused those feelings with being selfish. But I think between my experiences of dealing with Leslie's death, and asking for healing for my brother I am starting to realize that maybe I am not selfish, maybe I am just growing up and become closer to the ways of the spirit and of the "peaceful warrior" (The Peaceful Warrior is a pretty cheesy new age story about a man who finds complete peace in his spirit recognizing the true value of life and timeless existence, if you get a chance to read the book you will groan at some of the cheese ball parts, but fundamentally I took a lot away from that book and it can all be related to this entry into my blog.)

Over and out..let's hope I can catch the 9:oo flight tonight, otherwise I fear I will be drunk with all of the free flowing Guinness and Johnny Walker on tap in the lounge till the next flight opportunity, tomorrow at 10:00 am.

Wait a minute I can't close this off just yet. One of the most important reasons why I am so disappointed that I am not home is that my old captain Paul Whalen is in Saint Andrews this weekend and I was supposed to be there with him and Charlene and other friends to be with Paul. Paul was my captain on the Avontuur, the tall ship I lived on for many months back in 1999. Sadly Paul has recently developed cancer, it has spread all throughout, this man is the strongest (in physique and in mind and spirit) that I have ever met. Always hanging off the top of the mast untangling sails in hurricane winds, and deathly waves.

I learned a lot about life, work ethic, and philosophy working on this ship with Paul. Even though this was years ago, I will type out my journal from my experiences on the Avontuur with Paul very soon. Maybe when I get home if I ever do! Haha. Anyway sadly Charlene (the woman who got me on the ship in the first place) invited me and other close friends to hang and party with Paul this weekend, and this damned storm is keeping me stuck at the Toronto Airport. I am saddened by Paul?s cancer, but I talked to him tonight and damn is he ever positive, he lives with himself knowing that he lived a good life and is in check with his own karma. I feel at peace with Paul, he is the man in control of all things around him, and I respect him beyond words. As I said earlier, cancer is taking over, I feel like we are at war, it can happen to any of us, we NEEED TO REALIZE THE VALUE OF OUR LIVES and the lives of our loved ones, this fucking disease is taking too much. This is why I am so proud of my future wife Jessica who is taking on the fight for cancer as her full time career.

One last note about my brother Mark?I honestly have faith (blind or legit? who knows) that he is healed. I just have this feeling that his tumor will be gone next time he goes to get checked out. I know Mark has a huge task on this planet and he isn?t even close to realizing his responsibilities, Mark will be a healer of some sort as a result of this experience, I know it.

Speaking of Jessica, her younger brother Adam, who I have mounds of respect for (as well for her older bro Chris who I recorded one of my first band,s albums with) wrote a letter to Paul that I was supposed to read to him this weekend if I was able to be there?and not here writing this long drawn out journal. I don't think Adam would mind if I shared it here. After I get a chance, like I said earlier I will type out my journals of my experiences aboard the Avontuur. As a side, the very first thing that I ever filmed on my own outside of film school was my adventures with Paul, as well as Charlene, one of my best bros Jamie (Wolfman) Fougiere, amongst others as we delivered cargo between the Caribbean islands, to South America all the way up to Martha's Vineyard on a 90 year old 130 ft double masted schooner, the last self sustained, working sailing cargo ship left in the world. And I was one it. I still haven't edited that first experience, but now I'm thinking I might have to find some time to put it together. My experience on the Avontuur, like many other things mentioned in this blog, was a defining experience that has shaped me for better or for worse, into what I am today, and I thank everyone involved for making this experience available to me.

Here is Adam's letter that I wanted to read to Paul last night, if I wasn't in this wretched airport?

Second night on the Avontuur, first night sailing. The wind direction was starboard which allowed me to see out the door from my vantage point in bed, on the bottom starboard bunk. From there the night looked dark and forbidding, nay a star nor moon in sight. Darkness and unknown invited and beckoned me to get out of bed and onto the deck. With much protest I pulled my body out of bed, stood up and kind of doggy walked up the stairs that lead out of the bunk area and up to the deck. The day previous I had chosen the VERY early morning watch for the reason of wanting to witness the sun rise - to see every inch of the glorious sun peak it's way over the horizion and then progressively fill the sky. A beautiful sight with an uninterrupted horizon.

I made my way up the stairs and onto the deck which in itself was quite the task because I was not feeling so hot. O man, SEA SICK. I had never felt anything like that before. As soon as the Avontuur left the break water in the Charleston harbor I was feeling rather tired in my knees. That feeling spread rapidly and took over my body. All I can say is that I was pretty much useless that day (and the next for that matter). So that early morning as I pulled my body up onto the deck I felt sick, but I felt ready. This was going to be great. Always up for a challenge. I stepped out of the door and was immediately hit by wind. I was then hit by the most awe inspiring sight I have ever been witness too. A vast, black, rolling sea. Water to the ends of sight. No land. Water. Shadowed hills that moved like shells of giant turtles. A visual plane that altered itself every second so nothing was constant except for the darkness, the immensity and the terror that was bestowed upon me. The Avontuur being hurled this way and that. Rocking back and forth threatening to flip over into the sea and forever be lost. I grabbed the rail and looked around. To my right was the bow where the previous day I learned the technique of laying rope on the deck when raising sail so it wouldn't get caught up in itself and get tangled. Chinese style I believe the captain called it. To my immediate left was the rigging beyond which, a faint red glow that I would later come to admire as a source of warmth and reflection.

On the other side there was Charlene, her beauty radiating through the night, holding a rope and looking up. Still gripping the rail and I'm sure a washed with sickness and terror she noticed me, smiled and waved then returned her attention upwards. Smiled and waved?! Who could smile and wave in this choas? I followed her gaze up. At first I didn't see anything. I didn't understand what she was looking at. Then I saw the Captain. He was at the top of the mast, at the very top. He couldn't have gone any higher. With his back to the mast, holding himself steady with his hands he seemed to be using his feet to untangle the sail that was up there. It was completely insane. I knew the Avontuur was rocking around but when looking at the mast it became more apparent just how much it was moving. I stared for a few minutes in disbelief. Have you ever seen a cartoon where someone is flung off a catapult and is sent soaring into the horizion never to be seen again? Well, that is what I was expecting. Like a sling shot - the Captain..... gone. Seriously. I know is sounds ridiculous but that's what I envisioned. I then started to think of ways in which I could save or catch him should he fall. As if I could actually catch the man falling from that height! I just kind of stayed where I was, watching him work, with my mouth gaping in awe. It was terrifying but thrilling. Amazing. The man had complete control. I began to relax. That happened a lot on that trip. The Captain doing some acrobatic work up in the rigging and never missing a beat. Another form of control he often displayed was more personal. For instance, patience while I grabbed the wrong line, or calmly repeating himself when I asked the same question over again.

I was 20 when I boarded the Avontuur. 2 1/2 months was the duration of the trip. I've since thought about that time over and over again. Sometimes I tell friends about it, but mostly I keep it for myself. I find it hard to relate exactly what I felt, saw and did to make telling the story justifiable. In the end the whole experience had a profound influence on my life. After working for Paul I believe that anything is possible. I know that is a very cliché statement but it's true. Paul taught me what it was like to have a passion in life. What it was like to live a non-materialistic life style. He taught me patience; inner reflection; determination; the will and drive to seek more and do more in life; to be a complete individual and be happy with choices made. These are all qualities that were developed and fortified on the Avontuur.

Paul, I thank you for the opportunity and experience you gave me. I wish I was there to shake your hand and talk with you.

Adam Guimond

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