The next three lectures represented the heart of my Saturday, all given by men that I'd seen before. It started off with a visit with Michael Traub, a man whose talent is to allow himself to be possessed by a man with an Irish accent who passed many moons ago. I'd found the spirit extremely amusing, probably funnier than most stand-ups the previous year, so was looking for more laughter as morning wound down.
I found a good seat in the second row between two younger women. I told them a bit about what to expect and to have a question in mind right away so that the mic runner could make sure to get to them early on before the whole room had their hands raised. The college-age lady to my right had a great deal of excitement on her face as she eagerly awaited hearing the wisdom that was to come forth for her that day. I was somewhat envious of the joy she displayed, but happy that I was able to share it in some small way.
She asked if she would be happy in the profession she'd gone to school for. O'Brien, the spirit, said, "There is no right or wrong way to go. But will you be happy there? No". She was given direction on a path to pursue that would give her more fulfillment and she quickly wrote it down once O'Brien moved on to the next person.
The lady to my left also had questions about what path to pursue career-wise. O'Brien asked if she was drawn to music as she had been a composer in past lives. A bit to her chagrin, he also stated that she and a friend liked to steal from villagers during medievel times. I didn't laugh as much as I had the year before, but seeing people get suggestions on ways to live more happily was enjoyable in its own right.
By this time, the neck ache that had bothered me the day before had crept back. Since the massage gals were located just a few feet from where Traub's conference was letting out, I hurried to the check-in and said I needed a massage. Wondering if they'd let me be seen a second time, I was glad that the lady in charge wasn't the same one as the day before.
I was directed to where a young lady was giving a massage to an older woman. I was only too happy to wait 10 minutes before she worked on my upper body. After telling her about the discomfort I was experiencing, she really went to town. She'd done something I'd not experienced before; going deep into my armpit to help alleviate the pain. What she was doing hurt, but I wasn't going to complain. She said to let her know if it did, but like the most stubborn man, my lips were sealed. I thanked her as I headed to the banquet room to have lunch.
Like prior years, it consisted of a turkey wrap, a soda, potato chips, an apple, and chocolate chip cookies. I found a table that wasn't completely filled and began by taking all the cheese off the turkey wrap. Silly dairy industry, wanting us to ingest things that come from the tits of another species. I conversated a bit with two ladies sitting to my left, one was from the Houston area, the other from nearby.
One of the main questions that attendees would ask each other is what speakers they'd seen and which ones they were scheduled to see. To do this quickly, all one had to do was look closely at the badge that the other person was wearing; it listed their complete itinerary. In some ways, this was like looking into their future. You could see the laughter they would experience if they were seeing Michael Tamura later that day, which I was scheduled for, or the talk about 2012 if you had plans to see the man whose charisma drove many of the women there crazy: Gregg Braden.
I noticed that the lady two seats over was scheduled to see Neale like me, so I asked if she wanted me to save a seat for her. She said she'd liked that, so I headed to the bathroom before waiting in line for the big guy. Coming in behind me was a young mixed-racial woman who'd brought a yoga mat with her. She said the yoga class offered that morning was fantastic.
We were let in about 15 minutes later. I got front row, center and saved the two seats to my right for the lady from lunch as well as the Latino who'd I'd had lunch with the day before. The jaw on the lady from that day's lunch dropped a bit when she walked in and saw that she was going to be sitting so close. She was like, "Damn...".
As Neale greeted people, the Latino asked if I'd take her picture with Neale. I said, "Sure" and got in close for a good shot. I said, "OK, ready, 1....2....3" and pressed down on the digital camera button. It hadn't take the pic for some reason, however. They said to try it again, which I did, but the same thing happened. The lady's face showed a bit of strain now, afraid that she wasn't going to be pictured next to her new favorite author. Neale asked that the lady take a picture of me to be sure the camera was working properly. She did and it did. It turned out that I wasn't holding down on the button like I should have been. No harm, no foul, however, as the third time wound up being the charm.
The lady from that day's lunch then asked if I could take her pic with Neale which I did. This was followed by another lady doing the same. I started to feel like I was the go-between for Neale and his many fans. Neale began his 90-minute discussion a minute or two later.
The subject was one I'd heard him speak of numerous times before. It involved having a conversation with God. He talked of how many religions don't believe that this is possible for Joe Schmo. I mean, they believe it's possible for God to communicate with man as they have books that were obviously written by men, but for the most part, these religions feel that that stopped at some point. The point that it stopped would depend on what religion one belonged to: depending on your disposition, it could be John the Revelator, Joseph Smith, or Ronald Reagan.
For those wondering, the exercise done as the seminar wound done was one in which a person asked a question they'd like the answer to. Notebooks were then put down as Neale led the group in a 8 to 10 minute meditation. As we came out of the meditation, we were told to write the answer that came to mind. The replies that many got sounded like they came from a very high place, as if God had actually spoken to them. This makes the point that all the answers we need lie within us.
I had two books for Neale to sign, so hung around afterward as he headed to a table where he would be affixing his John Hancock. What a laugh, I thought, if he signed his books by writing, "God". While he was signing my books, I said, "That purple shirt looks great on you". Neale responded with, "My wife said the same thing". Once he was finished, I said, "See you tomorrow" and headed to my next workshop.