Researching Nathan James, Part 1: Finding a Past Life Regression Therapist
Leading up to the release of The Many Lives of Nathan James, I wanted to share with you all how I researched the themes of this novel. Let's start with the obvious part, location! I live there, so that was easy. Next, the problem: Nathan feels like he has lost the passion he came to New York to pursue and is now stuck in a stagnant job just trying to pay bills in this city. Real life experience? CHECK!
Here comes the hard part, past life regression, which is the meat and potatoes of the novel. I have read extensively on the subject, both fiction and non-fiction material, but I felt like I needed to go deeper and really explore everything I had read first hand. Like most people, I was, and to an extent still am, skeptical of supernatural experiences. After reading documented real-life accounts from the famed Dr. Brian Weiss, I was intrigued and, for Nathan's sake, figured I better give it a shot myself before trying to write about it. When I began researching people to lead me into a regression, I got a list of everyone from the psychic on the corner to a registered psychotherapist.
Let me back up a moment and explain a little bit about regression. Regression is a real technique that actual doctors use to help a patient reach into their pasts and recover memories that they have blocked out from trauma. Once the memory of this traumatic event is recovered, the doctor can then begin to diagnose and heal the patient. During a past life regression, you are essentially doing the same thing, except you are looking back further, before your birth. By many accounts, past life regression has helped people who carry the burdens of a past life into their present life, a theme that radiates throughout The Many Lives of Nathan James.
My first choice to lead my regression was the Dr. Brian Weiss, the man whose books I have read and reread as research for this novel. Unfortunately, he is basically booked up for the rest of his life because he is super famous. My second choice was a woman named Barbara Pisick, a registered nurse and psychotherapist. Her office is fairly close to my home, so I decided to give her a shot.
I had no idea what to expect when I arrived and tried to stave off any judgement of what her office would look like. To my surprise, it was actually pretty normal, not like a doctor's office, but more like a comfortable living room. She was very inviting and took a long time to talk to me about my goals for regression and how the actual process worked. Many people use hypnosis to achieve a regression, but that is not the route we took. Barbara placed me into a "meditative state", which basically means you are kind of between sleep and awake. Your body is incredibly relaxed, almost as if your body is asleep, but your mind is still working. It took me about ten minutes to achieve this relaxed state before she started to prompt my mind with questions.
"Imagine your favorite place. Stay here for a moment. Allow yourself to feel safe," she said. This was a way to put my mind at ease and allow it to open up to thoughts beyond what I would normally find realistic. Next, she asked me to envision a path, any path, and plant my feet on it. I imaged a path that my brother and I used to play on when we were kids that lead to a river behind our house. She asked me to walk down that path and to tell her what I saw.
"It's dark behind the trees. I don't see anything."
Then, she said that I could shine a light on it if I wanted to, but that I should walk into the dark. As I walked toward the dark, the area behind the trees started to brighten and reveal a place I had never seen before. This was the first of three past lives I experienced during that session.
Each week going forward, I will release a short story of my past lives as I experienced them and how it they impacted my upcoming novel. If you can keep an open mind and allow yourself a little whimsy, you might find these pretty entertaining. Tune in next week for the story of my first past life, which took place during the Civil War.
Till Next Time,