It was clear, from a very young age, that I saw the world
differently to my friends. Although I was said to be bright, academically, I was
completely unmotivated throughout school, and the year of my leaving, 1989, was
to be the start of my education.
In November that year I attended a Psychic Fair, full of
oddballs and strange types. After swerving an induction into the Church of
Scientology (they were very persistent, but I resisted) I decided that I wanted
to have a Tarot reading with a very attractive woman from Liverpool. I put my
name down on her list and waited patiently. Through a series of slips and
misses, all my attempts to actually have a reading with her that day failed.
This did cause me to doubt whether my motives were more about her
attractiveness than they were about spiritual enlightenment, but I was only 17!
Anyway, I returned the next day to try again but my hopes
were immediately dashed when I saw that she was now absent. “Called home in a family
emergency” said the organiser. Downcast, I scanned the room for something else
to do, before I made the long journey home.
Immediately my eyes alighted on an old man with twinkling
eyes, sat in a light blue sweater in a corner of the room. His presence and
energy was stronger than anything else around him, yet I had only just noticed
him. I stepped forward and requested an introductory reading, “a little bit of
tarot, palmistry and numerology” I said, looking at his menu of offerings. He
introduced himself. His name was Arthur Norris.
He proceeded to tell me all manner of stuff about me and my
life, as well as issuing forth a series of precise yet absurd predictions, all
of which seemed both incredible and impossible. Although this man certainly had
presence his words failed to strike any chord and I dutifully paid him and took
the tape recording home with me, where it immediately went into a drawer to be
Fast forward 6 months, and my life had disappeared down the
toilet. Through all manner of desperate circumstances everything I had held
dear had collapsed in a heap on the floor and I was in dire straits. Shuffling
through my things I came across Arthur’s tape from 6 months previous and put it
on to play.
Arthur’s voice reverberated around the room as I heard him
predict every single thing that had happened in the past six months. Every
slip, every miss, every error, every failure had been laid out by him, 6 months
ago, along with advice on how to avoid it. Why had I not heard this before? I
had! But why had I not listened? How had he been so accurate? I needed to find
out, so I wrote to him. And thus started a 20-year long association where he
taught me everything he knew.
Throughout those years it was fair to say that I was not
exactly a model pupil. If there was an argument to be had, a conflict to enter
into or a piece of advice to ignore then I did. But such is the way that we
learn. And learn I did.
In 1989, when I first met him, I was a shy, awkward,
unconfident-yet-a-bit-cocky teenager. I had neither driving licence nor
girlfriend, lived in perpetual conflict with my parents and was just about to drop out of school with
little to show for it. By the time of Arthur’s passing in 2010 my life had been
transformed beyond all recognition. I credit the wisdom and practices of Arthur
for this, and am grateful to have been passed them for custody.
The intervening years saw business success and failure,
romantic upheaval and satisfaction, travel, study, change, movement and
adventure. Mistakes - large and small, and successes - grand and trivial. It took
me from midnight raves in English fields to 100mph night-time dashes across the
Polish countryside; from plush boardrooms in London to run-down factories in
Wales; from conversations with trees in California to addressing eager crowds
in Yorkshire. It saw many, many weird,
odd, mind-blowing experiences and what could only be described as a series of
initiations into an entirely different way of living. I could not have imagined
how it would all turn out. Indeed, if someone had told me in 1989 where I would
be today I would have poo pooed them. In fact, to my shame, I did. But there are no regrets. How could there be?
Where next? Well, I continue to
write books, give talks, readings and workshops and provide training and
guidance for those who seek a better way but have not yet found it. There’s a
big world out there, and to make the most of it I will continue to just be myself.
Here’s to the second half of life!