I next headed to the room where Michael Tamura, the man who had so tickled me the prior summer, was scheduled to speak. Imagine going somewhere and knowing that, without question, you are going to laugh. Many times I go to comedies at the movie theatre and am let down when they don't make me laugh or not as hard as I was hoping. The true belly laugh is something that is hard to come by, so when it comes, you really have to appreciate it.
I was surprised to see open seats in the front row and hustled up there. The room seemed bigger and more airy then the others. The Spanish lady from Neale's 'shop (the one I just left) sat next to me. A few minutes later, the Spanish lady from lunch asked if the seat on the opposite side was open. I answered in the affirmative.
I next proceeded to tell the ladies what they were in for: a happy man who exudes positivity, so much so that he has a tendency to laugh at his own jokes: sometimes he's the only one. As he was being introduced by his wife, he was making faces and rolling his eyes a bit as if to say, "Hey, I'm not all that".
He started with an account of the time he had some type of attack and the ambulance was rushing him to the hospital. Tamura then said, "It didn't look like I was gonna make it...and I didn't." He described leaving his body and seeing his wife driving in an SUV behind the ambulance. She, being a clairvoyant, saw his spirit in the sky and Tamura said she shook her fist at him as if to say, "Get your ass back into that ambulance!"
He said all this with a smile on his face and the story may have been the occasion on which I laughed the hardest that weekend. From time to time, I would look at the others around me, most with a serious look on their face, unsure of what to make of this man.
Lots of wisdom was shared during those 90 minutes, but the lightheartedness made it so much more enjoyable. It's amazing how the way certain words are spoken can translate into convulsions in the ribs, but it is, without question, one of life's greatest pleasures.
He teased that one of the things expected of those who took one of his advanced classes was being able to hold one's breath for four hours. We closed with a meditation that had me smiling, not least when he directed us to "Look at the ceiling...even though it's not very interesting".
I looked forward to seeing him again the following day, though that workshop would take a more serious turn.
After relaxing for the next hour in my room, I headed downstairs to see Marianne Williamson. She was going to be discussing her new book which was about weight loss. Being at a normal weight, I had no interest in the subject, but felt I could get up and leave if it became intolerable.
I wound up finding the older ladies I'd sat with the night before and was happy that I'd get to sit on the aisle again; I was in about the ninth row. When Marianne came out, a lady behind me took the words right out of my mouth when she said, "She's so tiny!" I thought, at first, that she was referring to her weight which I somewhat doubted was in the triple digits, but came to see that she may have been referring to her petiteness with regards to heights as well.
Being a bit bored at the beginning, I shared a few wisecracks with the lady next to me. At one point, I leaned in to her and said (referring to Williamson): "Do you think she's wearing a girdle?"
I noticed an older man sitting one row in front of me across the aisle. Wearing glasses, he had a can that looked like Gandalf's stick and held a crystal in his hand. He stared at it for quite some time, more fascinated by it that what was being said. I gather that he purchased it from one of the dozens of vendors that were selling their goods at the conference. I've no use for crystals myself. If everything that occurs is for my highest good, what point would there be in owning such a thing? If it gives others comfort, however, well, good for them.
Thankfully, Williamson moved on to things that I had more of an interest in. She shared a piece of wisdom that has stayed with me since I first heard it in the early 90's. The line is, "My safety lies in my defenselessness." Many times when I stressed, those six words soothed me and told me that things would go better if I just let things be instead of fighting against them. I was reminded me of another line from one of her books: "The sky is always blue, even when a gray cloud passes by."
There was one bit I disagreed with, however. At one point, she said, "If you fight yourself, you're gonna lose." I instantly thought, "Well, wouldn't that mean, that a part of yourself won?"
Near the end, she took audience questions and I loved it when she was standing just a few feet in front of me. Below is a pic from that moment; I can be seen on the left wearing a light blue shirt with a bit of a bald spot. The crystal-watcher can be seen on the right wearing green pants.
Hearing this woman speak so eloquently right in front of me is why I come to these conferences and Williamson was the first self-help New Age-type author I ever read.
I skedaddled out of there pretty quick once Marianne finished up. Having signed my copy of one of her books last year, I wanted to hit Popeye's one more time before leaving town the next day. I made it about twenty minutes before they closed. They were out of corn on the cob, but the chicken more than made up for it.
I returned to the hotel with the beverage I'd bought at the restaurant. I held the cup up high to my right shoulder with the Popeye's logo facing out so that those who walked past me would not escape knowing where I'd just ate. As I got off the elevator, a man looked directly at the cup and then at me, receiving the message I'd been trying to send.
I walked through the bar to see if there was anyone around that I knew before heading upstairs for my last night at Celebrate Your Life. Little did I know that the following afternoon, just like on Friday, I would be called up to the front for a demonstration, only this time, it would be in front of a much larger audience.