This is the second part of a blog that begins with the preceding post, titled ‘Magic in the Mundane.’
The vision of Thich Nhat Hanh came to me on a Monday morning, and it may have been a day or two later when I was talking with a friend that reality began to shift.
I told Claire Watson Garcia, an artist and high school classmate, about the vision. She had a friend who had a friend who was an attorney at Time Warner Cable.
Two phone calls later, I was in the office of a semi-retired attorney named Gabe Pearlman. The thrust of his advice was that I needed “a rabbi,” someone who could shepherd the project through the minefields of network television.
A few things are worth noting at this point, not the least of which is that less than week after having the vision I was already in touch with someone who knew the TV business well. Considering that I started at ground zero, that was a small miracle in and of itself.
Eager To Help
Mr. Pearlman refused to charge me for the hour we spent together — I took him some wine the next day – but his willingness to help, without pay and without self-interest, was just one in a series of instances that took place each time I put my energy into the idea.
All I had to do was mention the project, and people went out of their way to help.
Further, there seemed no end to the trail of sources and information. As long as I kept talking about what I was up to, I kept getting led to new people, new ideas, new possibilities.
‘Stick To Your Vision’
A couple of examples:
• Claire Garcia found more help, this time at her health club where she met a woman named Diane Dowling who said she was one of the people who started HBO. Diane and her counsel was enormously helpful.
“If you knew what it took to do what you want to do, you wouldn’t even try,” she told me at lunch. “But you don’t, and that’s where miracles happen.”
Later, on the phone, she offered some advice that had almost immediate application. “Stick to your vision,” she said. “Every time I’ve let someone change my vision, it never worked.”
Foot on My Throat
• A month later, I went to Seattle to collect an award from the Education Writers Association for a magazine piece I’d written. While out there, I met the emcee of the awards ceremony who was also the host of an educational show on cable TV in New York.
“You ought to do a talk show,” said. “What you want to do would cost $250,000 an episode. You can do 30 talks shows for that.”
But a talk show wasn’t what I saw in the vision, and as he continued speaking I had this weird feeling that someone’s foot was on my throat.
I knew he meant well, but thank God Diane had warned me, because here was someone unwittingly trying to compromise my vision.
Pilot in an Ashram
• I moved out of my house in early June. The plan was that I would housesit for a friend in my home town in southern Connecticut and move to Atlanta in the fall.
In the meanwhile, I was going to spend the next two weeks at Kripalu, a yoga ashram in Lenox, Massachusetts.
While at Kripalu, I told one of the leaders about the TV project and he suggested I do a pilot about Kripalu. We met with the guru, who was known as Guru Dev, and he, too, liked the idea. There was even a cameraman from Boston sojourning at the ashram and he agreed to shoot the pilot for free.
Again, it seemed that the universe was lining up behind this project.
But ten days before the shoot date, the cameraman and I had an argument. I thought we needed a second camera, and the more we talked it seemed his objections were less about an extra camera than about being unnerved about shooting the pilot itself.
It reminded me of something Richard Bach wrote in “Illusions”: “Argue for your limitations, and they are yours.”
The issue was unresolved when we got off the phone, and for the first time since I had the vision it felt like things were unraveling.
A day later, the PR guy from the ashram called. Guru Dev was going to California to spend visit Deepak Chopra and wanted to postpone the shoot.
There was nothing I could do about that, and in mid-September I moved to Atlanta. Six weeks later, I got a call from my daughter in Connecticut telling me that she’d been to Kripalu herself and that Guru Dev had been cashiered.
In other words, even when things didn’t work out as I thought they should, they worked out for the best.
But now what?
To be continued.