The seminar was listed in a local paper. It stated that it was a weekend and that it would be “transforming to your life”. It sounded good. I was thirty-three years of age and I knew that I had issues as everyone does, and I also knew that they were holding me back from being happy. Yes, I could use some transforming. My soul was bruised and I didn’t think that I could make it through life without some help.
Life had been difficult from the start. Parents who didn’t realize what parenting was and who lived day to day, making decisions based on egos and alcohol. This left a great deal of work in hands of the children. Being an older one, and a worker I got more than my fair share.
Abundance was the title of the seminar and it would teach you how to trust the universe and get what you want and need out of life. Truly, this was something my parents and school had not told me, so “let’s gets started”. We met at a church in Philadelphia and it was not dedicated to a particular religion. There were about fifteen of us registered and everyone looked like a nice person just trying to get some personal answers. You can only go so far and then it is time to stop and figure out what happened and why so that you can proceed and hopefully be successful. It was not inexpensive and I do not remember the cost, but only that it was more than I had to spend on this recreation . However, justification is a plus when you feel that this might be the answer to your questions. So, I paid and arrived on time. The group was a friendly bunch and the conversation was directed at each one of us to draw out the personal reasons for being there. We explained our backgrounds and everyone but me had a degree of some sort. I considered myself a professional sales person so I was not totally unnerved by this, but felt weak in my credentials. The seminar was instructed by the minister who was quite intense and he had several helpers who observed and directed us to achieve the levels laid out for us. First, we had an exercise of trust. And believe me; I did not fare well on this one. Blindfolded and walked out to the city street, you are listening to the sound of cars and strangers and it is not a comfortable place to be. So, of course I wanted to rip the blindfold off but was encouraged to continue and that I would be OK. The balance of this weekend went well and was conversational and deep with intense moments for all who attended, but rewarding emotionally and there was a level of bonding that took place. I had a new found respect for myself and for these people who were like me looking for answers. Funny, I thought if you had a law or medical degree that you got the answers along the way and now I knew that was not the case. A personal struggle is so entirely different than looking for a career. Sometimes you are lucky enough for the two to meet.
We graduated on Sunday of this weekend and it was required that the participants join in on the service at the church that day so that you could give thanks for the blessings received in this experience. No problem for me as I am a spiritual person and found this part very comfortable. There were a couple people who I had met that wanted to keep contact and so we exchanged our personal information.
A few days later, I receive a call from one of the guys who played my partner in a role play. He said that he had been prompted to call me because someone from his church had spotted me in the service and would like to ask me out. OUT? A date with a retired police officer who thought I was attractive and he and his wife would attend . Well, it seemed a little soon to try on the new trust hat, but I agreed only if we were doubling and going for brunch in a public place did not sound too risky. Of course when the day arrived, the other couple cannot make it and so I am on my own to meet this unknown person. I can handle it or so that is what I tell myself but my gut is screaming “STOP”. I met Richard, and we were supposed to go to brunch, however he insisted that I go with him in his car which was not cool as far as I was concerned. But, he had a police officer nature about him and appeared gentleman like after all; I had met him at the church. We drove over to Philadelphia and into an older neighborhood. I could not understand why we were going there and then he explains that this is where he used to live as a child. Well,” thanks for sharing but, I don’t even know you so can we go into the city please” It seemed odd from the start. He wasn’t going to take me to brunch at the Four Seasons which was what I had accepted with two other people attending. Instead, we wondered South Philadelphia and he told me of his beat experiences. Then, he chooses an Indian restaurant for our meal. I had never had Indian food and had my reservations about it but didn’t get an option so at this point; I just want to get through this day with this strange man. As we waited for the food, that he ordered, I listen to the music and the smell of curry permeates my mind with “God, when will this be over?” Richard is staring at me intently, almost trance like. I’m feeling very uncomfortable to the point; I excuse myself and go to the ladies room. When I return, he tells me that he is amazed at how much I look like his Mother. This is not a compliment for me and I’d love to go home. He tells me that when he was ten years old he came home from school and found his Mother napping upstairs, except she wasn’t napping, she was dead.
All right, I am so sorry, but my feelings are telling me that whatever I learned last weekend about trust has not kicked in so can we leave now?
On the way home, he once again goes through the old neighborhood and giving me his childhood tour. Over the bridge to New Jersey, I begin to withdraw. Richard picks up on my mood and starts to insert religious and psychological statements that are pushing my emotional buttons. I do not even know this person, nor do I want to. We arrive to my home where he insisted on taking me as opposed to dropping me where I was picked up. So now he knows where I live.
He begins to tell me about his many guns, and how he thinks of killing himself since his Mother is gone. Given, that I had a brother commit suicide, I am not happy about the conversation and of course I do not want to be the blame So, I invite him to coffee where I begin to explain in my best communication skills that I am not interested in a relationship at this time. I am trying to figure things out in my life. Thanks for your kindness and it was nice to meet you and all that stuff.
I wish that I could say that it ended there, but no, it continued for about three months. He stalked me, watching and calling me and threating to use his many guns to take revenge for the hurt and loss in his life. Of course, the unspoken words were that I had not provided the completion of whatever deranged story he was creating with me, the girl that looked like his Mother!
I did call the church and spoke with the minister about this man Richard who I had met there and could they please help me as I was scared of what could come of this situation, but the minister asked me what where my intentions for going out with him? Did I think he had money? What did I do that caused this situation? I knew that help would not come from him or His Abundant Universe. Finally, I contacted the Philadelphia Police and was able to find out which precinct he was from.
There, I put a restraining order on him and so it ended.
Lesson learned, “always trust your abundant instincts”.