Miracle 3./ The Fall and Rise of Deegan: GodSelf Commanding Reality
The third miracle I encountered represented a transformation in my perception of self. The location was Vancouver and the event occurred at the 1999 Molson Indi Raceway. Each year two close friends and I would attend the great annual racing event. Captivated by the explosive cars and the exploits of our favorite racers, the Indi was one of the premier events of the summer schedule. Ideally we would sneak in, or try to scoop some free tickets. However, more often than not, we would find ourselves relegated to our usual perch, high up a Hemlock tree, adjacent to the track, only about 20 meters from the action.
If I may introduce the star of todays show Deegan. Deegan is a large svelte man 6'4", about 190 to 200 pounds with not an ounce of fat. For quite a while I thought he was fit but not solid, until we wrestled one day. Being ten years younger than me he was fast, however most notable was his mass. In short order I was overwhelmed, having to tap out. He looked down with a wry grin saying " You thought I was skinny didn't you ". His muscular body marked by the odd tattoo, short shaved hair and boyish looks proved to be a winning combination in many ways. He is a most lovable chap, always quick with a smile, which invites you in a warm sort of way. Deegan never really cared much for school. His mind was always more concerned with finding innovative ways to skip out, so he could partake in the two greatest loves of his life; drugs and skateboards.
With high school done, but not completed, Deegan set out to make an impression on the world. His was the stamp of drugs, skateboards, sex, raves and hip hop. There was simply no time for work, I know this first hand as I was his boss. When he did show for work, he was a great salesman. Cuddly as a little girls favorite teddy bear, he wooed everyone's attention. Shortly after dazzling some poor unsuspecting consumer, I would see him typing in their credit card number as he casually notched another sale for the day. He was well liked by all the staff and management. We wanted to move him into a lower management position, but his wild lifestyle, would not allow us to consider giving him responsibility. I envied Deegan in many ways, he was unique, courageous, fun, honest and trustworthy. More than anything, I had to admire how, at 28 years of age, he fulfilled the role of skateboard sex God. I mean this guy woke up with a different girl (or girls) four or five days out of a week. He was the quintessential babe magnet.
So that we may balance the picture in your mind, Todd, the other character in our drama, deserves some background. Todd or " Toddy " as we affectionately called him, was my best friend. He stood 5'9", weighing about 160 pounds, he was a handsome man with an intelligent flair. Short hair, with the casual business look so common in Vancouver. Having graduated from university, coupled with a penchant for reading, left Todd was well suited to speak with intellect on many subjects. Oddly enough, Todd was the kind of character who, much like myself, tried too hard to be liked. Deep, unresolved insecurity of being abandoned by his birth parents caused him to be overzealous in demeanor. Todd was always trying to please, thereby, attempting to gain the love he so desperately desired. Having experienced the same abandonment, and being a good few years older, I could well relate to his plight. I saw Todd as a younger self, I desired greatly to ease his burden with spiritual truth. My means of manifesting insecurity was to be a know it all braggart, you can imagine the torment I created with that little foible. The tell tale sign of Todd's mangled fingernails reminded me of my days wrapped deeply in the darkness of egoic embrace.
For years I lived the exact same mental hell of ego. I knew Todd better than he knew himself, I could see the matrix behind his every thought and action. Having been there myself, I helped him make sense of his working ego mind. It was synchronism which brought us together making us close friends. Often, we fail to recognise how we attract from the cosmos all souls which further our path, especially the ones which wreak havoc in our lives. However, when looking at the relationship of Toddy and I, anyone could see the natural bond. For those who did not know him well, Todd was a captivating and enchanting gentleman, well liked by all. Todd was one of the rare individuals you could absolutely rely upon. If I ever had to go to battle, I would want Todd at my back. Tough as nails, honest, deep integrity, compassionate, all the characteristics of a noble friend.
Back to our story, shortly after 8 am Deegan loaded up his water bottles with meth amphetamines while Toddy and I shared a good size hash joint. We had one golden rule, no hard drugs until we were all stowed away in our respective track side tree perch. The morning was crisp, fresh sea air wafted across my nostrils as we made our way across Denman bridge. With the first easy hash rush kicking in, the tranquil morning city eerily contrasted against the synaptic havoc of my buzzing mind. Rounding the corner of the domed B.C. Place stadium, our Hemlock tree stood majestic in the distance silhouetted against the morning sun. Seeing the great tree in the distance anticipation whirled, my head danced a little jig, while my belly went south for a moment. Very soon we would be way up there, cranked up senselessly on a cocktail of assorted hallucinogenics. In short order, we were relaxing under the shade of the big old girl. Puffing on a pre-rolled fatty, we took a moment to compose ourselves prior to the big climb.
The old girl yielded gracefully to our ascent. I have always loved climbing trees, the feeling of accomplishment is only slightly tarnished by the fear of falling. Limb by limb we picked our separate paths, the smell and ambiance of the climb was especially invigorating with the hallucinogens accentuating every beautiful detail. Having finally reached the top, we were welcomed by the amazing view of the tight winding race course, way down at track level were bleachers chock full of excited race patrons.
Picture the following in your mind reader; we are approximately 100 feet off the ground, or about 9 floors in condo lingo. My buddy Deegan was first up the tree, as a result he was perched at the very top. Deegan had to deal with the smallest branches for support, the upside was he enjoyed the best view. I was about four feet below casually perched upon the next largest branch which could be relied upon to sustain my weight. I had a good spot, the exact location on the tree I take every year we find ourselves sitting in her embrace. The branch was big enough to allow me to straddle it comfortably, another branch about two feet up, slightly to my right, made a most perfect backrest. Just under me by three feet was Toddy, this was his favorite spot as well. In fact, without the security of the two big branches for his seat, we would never get him this high.
Brave as a bear, yet, Toddy was too smart to be cavalier in the presence of danger. I always admired the fact Toddy could play hard as a bulldog, whilst being smart as an owl and sly as a fox. Additionally, Todd always insisted on having a safety belt which firmly secured him closer to the tree than a teenager holding his date on prom night. I doubt a hurricane could have dislodged Toddy from his little nook. The time was 9:15, in about 45 minutes the long anticipated auto race would commence.
I passed out the LSD, Todd passed about the mushrooms. We had agreed upon 2 hits of LSD and about two grams of mushrooms each. Along with the odd joint, we surely would have more than drugs in the system to ensure a memorable racing experience. I know what you are thinking reader, this is insane. Possibly so, but in our mind, we were experienced cosmonauts performing an annual tradition. Nothing could have made more perfect sense. The event preparation, as always, was exquisite, poised over the most exciting series of racing corners in all of North America, we could see a good 80% of the track. This was a very special ritual, as such, adequate preparation was mandated. I guess, in retrospect, most people don't roll quite so hard, however, in the summer of 99', that's just the way things were.
The goal of weighing ones level of impairment was always the same; get stoned enough to forget you were 100 feet in the air, but not so stoned you loose your balance. Get the mixture right and it was heavenly, get it wring and you likely die. The logic really is impeccable, that is, if you are high enough to understand! Heads spinning in a kaleidoscope of colour, nose filled with the stench of high octane exhaust fumes, ears rumbling to the tune of roaring engines, this fine morning we were convinced we had hit the proverbial ball right out of the park. This was going to be a very memorable day.
Having finished the warm up laps, cars and drivers reappeared on the track to a huge roar of fans excited by the grand entrance. Swerving side to side, the race cars lapped the track warming up their tires. Great mechanical beasts rumble at the crowd as they pass, speaking surely to the pent up power begging for release. The mid morning sun burned away the last vestiges of freshness in the air, it was going to be a hot day in Lotus land. By now, we were all getting our jags on right proper. Colors twirled in wild rainbows, sounds and smells represented personal mini events each to be admired in awe. Looking at my hand intently, I could hallucinate on the whorls of finger and palm prints. The patterns spun in little circles moving in and out in a rhythmic dance. The life lines seemed to be long deep ravines, I poured a little water in the palm of my hand and the ravines flooded across my "hand world". For those of you who may not be familiar with the universal litmus test for hallucinations, you just read a first hand experience, excuse the lame pun.
Back from la la land, I was ready for some summer fun in the sun, guess what, it was race time. Finally the cars aligned for the race start. Great anticipation always await the checkered flag initiating an Indi race. The first corner always proves to be a real test of nerves for the racer who demands the pole position into corner two. Our tree was right above corner one, Toddy, Deegan and I had made bets on who would exit corner one first. With the greatest of anticipation, we excitedly awaited the start. Gentlemen start your engines, Toddy spouts off "shit man I started my engine half and hour ago".
Beep, beep, beep, beep, bang! Off they go! Tearing down the straight, screaming engines race toward us, then, throttle down at the last possible moment, punching hard to the corner apex. Wow, screeching tires wail as drivers lock their breaks jockeying for optimal position. Smoke fills the air, tires screech. Literally one heart beat later, our favourite racers whiz around corner two, then three, before opening up the raw power of the engines. Accelerating at break neck speeds disappearing out of view down the long back stretch, the race was truly on. We look at each other, smiles all around beaming as bright as the morning sun. Burnt rubber filled our noses, engines roar in the distance as we all settle in for a fantastic event.
Pupils the size of saucers, sucking back with vigor the spectacular show of might, nothing could be better. With pounding hearts, we catch our collective breath, rapt in the moment of anticipation of yet another return lap. Around 11 am, with the race a third complete we had run out of pre-rolled fatties. As I was the fatty taskmaster, I commenced rolling a few. Not that marijuana was needed mind you, it is just a pleasure we were all accustom to enjoying. No good soldier lets down his comrades in the heat of battle. Focusing on twisting closed yet another joint, I heard Deegan make a small groan. I looked up briefly to notice he looked a little bit pale, well, maybe more than a little.
" Hey Deegan are you okay up there ".
" Yeah man, I'm fine just a little light headed.
" Why don't you buckle up to the tree like Toddy and I? "
" Nah man, I'm fine, finish the fatties, I could do with a puff. "
Obligingly I finished up the one in my hand, then rolled two more after carefully placing the filter in the first. I should have payed more heed to his pallor, Just as I was working on the fourth and final joint, Deegan collapsed.
His feet were about where my knees were, so as he slipped off the branch he slid down like a sack of potatoes landing unconscious on my shoulder. Shocked, I wrapped one arm around his torso and the other arm, dear reader, I wrapped around the tree trunk. It was completely impossible to hold Deegan with both hands and expect that somehow we should both remain in the tree. Deegan is a big man, yet I was convinced my firm grip on the tree trunk would be enough to keep us both safe. Deegan was one of my dearest of friends there was absolutely no way was I letting him go. The tree top began to bend under our collective weight. The once firm lock I had managed on the trunk couldn't be relied on for much longer. The event was unfolding as if in a dream, slow motion, but oh so real. There was little doubt in my mind, the tree would either snap or bend too far beyond vertical to offer the required support.
Deegan began slipping even further from my tenable grasp. Desperately I tried to manage both problems at once, yet no matter how I tried, the grip was being simultaneously lost on both Deegan and the tree. With one last ditch effort I used my knee to support Deegan, an act I desperately hoped would allow me time to let go of his torso long enough to re-clasp the tree trunk. I also prayed this tricky maneuver would afford me a chance to grab Deegan's belt. It worked, I regained a grip on the tree while at the same time managed to secure a good hold of his belt. Dangling precariously over 100 feet in the air, I was holding on for dear life, all the while knowing Deegan's life hung in the balance. The edge of the leather belt cut deeply into my hand as if it had a mind of it's own to seek freedom. The renewed grip on the tree trunk as well was failing equally fast. Quickly I was losing ground. Much as this emergency seemed to last forever, I believe the entire episode had probably taken no more than 20 to 30 seconds. Caught in the moment, I had failed to even realise there existed an opportunity to command Toddy's assistance. From the corner of my eye, I could see Todd rapt in the race action, completely oblivious to the disaster occurring a mere fifteen feet above him, I screamed out.
"Toddy, we lost Deegan."
"What the fuck do you mean we lost Deegan?"
"Look up Toddy we've got real trouble here!"
"Holly shit, Deegan wake up, Deegan! Deegan!"
"I can't hold him for much longer Toddy, help me."
"I'm too far down Chris. Deegan wake the fuck up!"
Realistically, there was nothing Toddy could do. With his precise, methodical, navigation of heights, Toddy was always a very slow climber, slower yet the higher up the tree we went. Additionally, he was literally belted to the tree trunk by his security rope. At times we would kid Todd about his penchant for being overly secure in the tree. However, in this horrific moment, I wish we had all exhibited the same fervor for caution.
The tree trunk was too thin for me to manage this high up. By now, the tree top had bent a good 20 degrees off vertical, I could barely hold on. Knowing we were both just about to go down, I was faced with an impossible decision. To remain steadfast, meant to hold on until we both fell. In doing so, I would be left trying to sort things out as, together, we plummeted toward our, most certain, death. The only alternative was to let go of dear Deegan, then watch helplessly as he plummeted the 10 or so stories careening off branches like a steel ball off the rubber posts of a pinball game.
I had the strength to hold on but the tree was giving out, what would you do reader ?
Deegan started falling in slow motion. Frame by frame he plummeted toward certain death. First, his head hit a branch solidly enough to emit a loud thwack similar to the sound a boxer might produce by striking a side of beef. This contact forced Deegan's head to snap back affording me a slow motion recording of his inert face. It all happened so fast but at the same time so eerily slow. Deegan careened off another branch, smacking his back, with a resounding crack which foretold of a broken limb, bone, or perhaps both. His body then tumbled forward, exposing to me the image of his back accelerating in free fall. All I could think of was that Deegan was definitely going to die. The thought of his death sickened me to the core, I refused to accept such a hideous outcome, not here, not now. Imagine the scene, a good friend plummeting over 100 feet, the chances of survival are bleak at best. I focused all my will and intent; I screamed two words.
When I say I focused my intent, I should define the emotion in my heart as empowerment. I was, in no way, making a plea to God. No begging, hoping or praying. I simply made an emphatic demand for the madness to cease.
Instantly, Deegan floated to a soft landing draped over a large branch, perched precariously 70 feet or so above safe ground. Todd later went on to describe the event with a most perfect description when he stoically stated
"Deegan was a rock, then he was a feather, it was a fucking miracle."
Todd was transfixed, motionless, white as a ghost, with a blank stare of amazement pasted on his face. Quickly I scampered down the tree, passing Toddy as he began the tedious task of undoing his triple safety belt.
"Do you think he is alive Chris?"
"I really don't know Toddy. Deeg whacked his head real hard, he might also have broken his back. All together, it was a good thirty foot fall."
"Go get him Chris, get him before he comes to."
"Toddy, I am on it!"
Finally reaching Deegan, he was clearly unconscious. Knowing it would take both of us to get Deegan out of the tree, I was terribly afraid he might become revived before Todd could unstrap himself and come to our aid. I checked Deegan's vitals, his pulse was weak but steady, as was his breathing. Knowing he was alive, allowed me to gain a semblance of order. My body started convulsing as the the impact of adrenaline became noticeable. Leaning back against the thick trunk, I allowed myself a moment to fix my bearings with some deep breathing. Deegan looked so peaceful, as if nothing untoward had happened. Moments later, Todd had finally reached us, the scare had him carefully hugging every available limb. Without his belt set up, Todd was always a little leery climbing. The accident of course had compounded his fear to almost unmanageable levels. He ventured a tentative look down from a couple feet above, I could see his hands and arms shaking as he tried to deal with his adrenal surge.
"Is he alive Chris?" came the uncertain query.
"Yes Toddy, his pulse is stable but he is still unconscious."
"What are we going to do now?" "We can't carry him down, he's too big"
"We are going to revive him Todd, but it will be risky, that is why I have been waiting for you." I need you to come down here so we can both hold on to him while I try to wake him." "Give me one of your anchor straps, so I can tie him to this big limb in case he freaks when we wake him."
Poor Toddy was white as a ghost, he shaking uncontrollably like a leaf in a wind storm. If there any chance of having all of us get out of this alive, I knew Todd had to be calmed,
"Tie one of your belts to that limb Todd, take a drink and relax, then drop one of your safety belts to me."
I looped the belt around Deegan securing him to the limb. Todd passed down his water bottle allowing me to freshen Deegans face. Having had the chance to see the situation did not unhinge Todd, gave me the final bit of needed tranquility to finish the task at hand. Poor Todd was visibly shaken, but remained coherent and competent in assisting me to deal with the beleaguered Deegan. Without Todd's ability to collect himself, I doubt we would have been successful in managing the beastly Deeg out of harms way.
Good as the rescue was going, I was still very concerned Deegan would freak out when he came to. Carefully, I placed my body in the most favorable position to assist if things went wonky. I cooled Deegan's forehead and cheeks. He quickly came to life, thank God, without a single stir. Opening his eyes, Deeg slowly focused in on me, almost casually inquiring "What happened, where am I?". I explained the events that transpired, he took it all in then said "What now?"
"What now, you silly bugger, is that you are alive. We will take some time for you to get your wits about you, then the three of us are going to safely get off this bloody tree and kiss the ground."
"Cool, let's do it Chris."
"Just hang on Rocky, you're going to have to pass some tests." "What day is it?" "Where are you?" "How many fingers am I holding up?"
"Shit Deeg, you are so whacked on drugs, I can't tell anything from your non responsive pupils."
"You hit your head hard Deeg, I'm worried about a concussion, you might slip out of it again. How does your stomach feel?"
"I'm fine, Are we trippin?"
"Just my point Deeg, yes we are tripping, do you remember the Indi?"
"Aw shit man, I passed out didn't I?" "Man so sorry to lay that shit on you guys."
"No problem Deeg we are dealing with the shit. What concerns me is I just explained all this to you two minutes ago. Yet, only now are you seeming to get the drift of what happened. You're still in a good deal of trouble Deegan."
"Man, I can see your lips were moving, but nothing was coming out, run that last part by me again will ya."
"Fair play Deeg, have some water."
"Isn't it laced tho."
"No Deeg it's Toddy's water. Remember, you were the only one who put meth in your water jug."
"I guess not Chris, I guess not."
Dear reader, you will be happy to know, within the next half hour, we all three, made our way down the tree uneventfully and with great care. We spent the next hour or so rehashing the event, covering off each minute detail from all perspectives. Almost immediately Todd piped up,
"This was a miracle man, God saved your ass Deeg."
"I don't know about that Toddy, you know I'm lucky."
"You weren't there Deeg, you didn't hear and see what I did."
Deegan never did have the benefit of participated consciously in the event, as a result, it was understandable he was reticent to believe a miracle had occurred. However, Todd and I witnessed the physical evidence, as a result we had no doubt what we witnessed was indeed a miraculous moment. What also compelled our amazement was that when we checked Deegan out, there was not one scratch, cut, bump or bruise to be found, nor did one manifest later. Imagine Deegan fell forward face first a good eight feet, smacked his forehead hard enough to drive his body backwards. Then he plummeted another ten feet, hitting his back with enough force to make a loud crack, thereby pushing his body 180 degrees back forward again. Finally, he fell another twelve feet before landing belly first draped over a big limb.
When considering the instantaneous salvation, coupled with the complete lack of marks, I was left convinced we all witnessed a miracle that summer morning. Todd in witnessing the grace of which Deegan draped like a feather over the limb, was absolutely convinced a miracle had taken place.
"Chris man, as soon as you said GOD NO, it was like Deegan changed from a rock into a feather." "Man, he floated, I don't care what anyone says, he floated." "Even the way he draped over the limb, God placed him there. I will never forget this, not in a million years."
From my perspective, I can tell you emphatically the events that transpired were not caused by a God separate from myself. My GodSelf took over, in doing so I had demanded a new reality be present. Answering such a focused cry for action, the universe simply responded to my needs. Many would see such an event as drug inspired delusion, or tactfully put, good old fashioned dumb luck.
Todd and I know it was so much more, it was a GodSelf miracle, manifest before our eyes.
In my youthful experience of being born again, I perceived a separate God had offered salvation. Later in the Congolese jungle, I thought God had again intervened on my behalf to ride the miles I could not. This experience of a third miracle in my life was much different than the other two preceding events. This time, I knew it was not God answering a call, it was my very own GodSelf which orchestrated the miracle. To this very day, I am convinced God was within me, not without as I had been taught. This fundamental transition in ideology afforded me the needed perspective to understand the existence of the GodSelf being within all of us. The genie was out of the bottle, nothing in my world would ever be the same.