Calling in Reinforcements

Gus had been missing for eight days.

I walked the aisles filling my cart with a few things for dinner, distracted by my concerns for Don and Marlies. I fought hard to hold onto gratitude that Gus was safe and coming home. It was easy to switch over to doubts and sadness and I had to constantly remind myself that I had a choice—to be in reaction and fear or use my thoughts to help create the reality we wanted.

Ginny was fighting pneumonia, unable to provide additional information. I was trying to think of ways I could help from hundreds of miles away. A favorite store in Front Royal came to mind that sells an assortment of books and crystals, incense, and items used for different healing practices. On weekends, psychics often set up their tables in the corner of the store to provide readings for clients.

A petite older woman with delicately penciled eye brows sat at a table behind three rotating racks of artistic greeting cards. Her gentle face spoke of knowing and experience as she looked at a deck of cards spread out on the table before her. 

“My brother lost his dog,” I said. “Can you provide information to help us find him?”

She nodded as she waved her hand toward the chair across the table from where she was sitting. 

I shared some basic information about Don and Gus while Marci quietly shuffled the cards.

With one motion, she spread them out on the table and then began to interact with them, touching them, pausing, receiving information. It was almost like seeing someone work with Tarot cards except she was using a regular deck to access information from the mysterious field of all that’s known.

“The person who has your brother's dog is a smoker.”

She looked up at me and saw the tears in my eyes.

“He’s safe you know,” she said with a slight Spanish accent that might have been South American. “He is coming home but it will not be right away. There will be some delay before he is found.”

She was quiet for a few moments and then described a structure where she could feel his energy. It was a home on a cul-de-sac, located in the direct center of the street.

I was amazed.

“You are describing my brother’s house,” I said softly.

“Ah, well his energy is there. This is another good sign he is coming home.”

She shuffled again and spread the cards back out on the table, taking her time, searching for other hidden messages to share. She touched a card, shifted it slightly, and paused. It was fascinating to watch her engage with the cards—her own language that accessed things her five senses could not.

“There’s a woman. And another dog, medium size. It’s brown.”

Each detail reinforced the image I was trying to construct in my mind, to hold onto, so I could visualize with gratitude, with certainty, that Gus was safe in someone’s care.

“You can do this too you know,” she said as she motioned toward the cards and gave me a long knowing look that I tried to interpret. It felt as if she was reading me like an open book which might have been unsettling but her gaze was kind and maternal and I didn’t mind.

She offered a few more statements to me and then concluded the session with a positive and confident tone of voice. “He is safe and he is coming home but it will be a while,” she said.

I settled into the car seat and called Don to share her perceptions—inputs from a second intuitive who offered the same information as our first.

Marci's description of Gus's caregivers clearly matched details Ginny had provided. And her matter of fact confidence that he was coming home filled my heart and fueled my belief that this was true.


My introduction to the power of thought was provided by a surgeon at Fairfax Hospital when my husband was diagnosed with cancer thirty years ago.

Months of misdiagnosis had allowed the malignant cells to spread throughout the lymph node system in his abdomen. The surgeon's reassuring tone helped numb our shock as he described the course of treatment we were facing—the initial surgery and an additional surgery for a lymph node dissection normally performed for malignant nodes. But then he said he could not perform a dissection because the malignant mass in Dave's abdomen was too great. Instead, he recommended several weeks of chemotherapy to shrink the cancer followed by surgery to remove any remaining affected nodes.

The stillness in the room was filled with the weight of his words and the confusion of our thoughts as he provided advice that changed the course of my husband's illness and our perceptions of reality.

“In addition to using medicine and prayer, there’s something else you need to be doing to heal your cancer," he said to Dave. "You need to use visualization and guided imagery.” 

And then he turned to me and said, “And you need to be using visualization and guided imagery to help heal your husband.”

It was our first exposure to this powerful practice. 

It was the early 90’s during the popularity of PacMan video games so he encouraged us to envision the malignant cells as red dots in Dave's abdomen with a PacMan moving along, chomping through the dots until there was nothing left but clear, healthy space remaining. We gazed at him through the blur of his descriptions of medical procedures and alternative approaches and then we politely said our goodbyes without giving much thought to his unusual advice. After the initial surgery, we began our new routine of daily trips for out-patient chemotherapy.

I watched as my husband’s appetite disappeared and his energy slipped away and his hair began to fall out in clumps. And then late at night when our children were sound asleep and we were lying in bed, I began to practice the visualization and guided imagery that the doctor had recommended. I wasn't sure what I was doing but decided to give it a try and explore the possibilities… For just a few minutes each night, I closed my eyes and imagined PacMen chomping through the malignant lymph nodes in Dave's abdomen, scooping them up and leaving nothing but healthy white space behind.

After three long months of chemo, blood markers indicated the cancer was still present and the oncologist recommended a fourth round of chemotherapy. We were devastated. Dave had lost thirty pounds and was having trouble keeping food down.

Something made me doubt the markers. I believed the cancer was gone. I had seen his healthy abdomen during my visualizations.

We asked the oncologist about the reliability of the blood test and he tried to assure us that false positives were very rare. After my insistence on a second test to confirm the need for another round of chemo, he said we could try a CT scan if Dave could swallow enough barium for the images to be captured. With every measure of determination he had left, he managed to drink enough of the thick, chalky substance to complete the scan. 

To the doctor's amazement, the CT images showed the cancer was completely gone.

Over the years, I have shared our story with family and friends. Many have politely listened in the same way they would engage with a three-year-old who is describing an encounter with magical creatures. Since Dave's recovery, I have continued to use visualization and guided imagery for sore throats, backaches, sprained ankles, and other health concerns for myself and loved ones. With all my heart, I believe it promotes healing.

Instead of believing our experience is determined by forces beyond our control, we can close our eyes and explore the possibilities… of the power we have to use our thoughts with love and gratitude to bring healing to the world and to create the reality we desire. The choice is ours.

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