The Change Agent

From 30,000 Feet

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The Change Agent – Life Lessons Learned

I recently was asked to participate in a 2022 documentary that covered my late sister’s serial killer and celebrated the lives of his victims.  The documentary was featured at the Sundance film festival. My sister’s traumatic loss in 1977 created forced order change in my life and from a perspective of the human condition I had to evolve.

At seventeen I was ill equipped, and my only coping skill was to self-medicate the pain.  There was no grief counseling or traumatic loss support groups referred to my family at that time in history.  It was seven years before my human condition evolved to the point to where I had to address this deep wound.

The result of the traumatic loss of my closest sibling resulted in night terrors initially, and the unusual transference of this loss to living relationships.  At age 24, upon rare occasions, I would manifest in my dream’s loss of my young son.  I was ill equipped to deal with the human psychology involved with these manifestations reaching out from my subconsciousness screaming out in my sleep.

The change agent in my life was my sister’s murder, the publicity, and the inability to find peace or solace at this unsolved murder screaming out for attention.  So, I did what any twenty-something-year-old would do, when confronted with this dark side of the human condition.  I started counseling.

Though I drank alcohol and smoked pot recreationally, I never considered myself an addict.  My counsellor suggested that I cease drinking and self-medicating with alcohol and pot while the therapy was going on.  His goal was to allow whatever manifestations were coming from my subconsciousness in my dreams to surface naturally, and to be processed – – – not self-medicated.  That meant allowing the trauma to flow to the surface naturally.

Another tool that was encouraged involved me actually writing, putting pen to paper, and slowly feeling the feelings.  I was even encouraged to place a post it note in my line of site reminding me I survived this trauma whenever writing.  Anchoring oneself in the NOW, while looking at past life may seem unusual, but I followed my counsellor’s suggestion.

When I wrote, my mind took me back emotionally to the devastating events, and fresh tears flowed as I wrote on the paper about my traumatic loss.  The hopelessness, pain, anger and unfairness that someone I loved, my source of comfort, had been brutally sadistically murdered and raped was crudely felt.  Even the unfairness of a closed coffin funeral due to the serial killer’s brutality was one of the initial night terrors experienced by me. 

At 17, even while working for a local newspaper, the national televised, radio, and international print media coverage of my sister’s death lived on.  Each story that I then had self-medicated was re-felt allowing the natural grief of my human condition to be processed.  Though not being an expert in human psychology, I trusted the process proffered from my counselor to slowly navigate these past events screaming from subconsciousness.

This loss of a loved one, traumatic loss, created forced ordered agents of change in my life.  I learned to honor my feelings and not to bury, self-medicate, trauma. So, at age 24, as a young adult, with an unsolved murdered sibling, I was learning how to grieve, let go, and transcend loss.  Fear of the loss of loved ones no longer controlled my subconsciousness.  The transference of my late sister’s loss was what was manifesting on rare occasions in my dreams to some new relationships or my son.  I had to learn to surrender my fears onto the care of God consciousness or the universe.  I was powerless and my life, dreams, had been absolutely unmanageable.  Learning to process these past life events, and surrender the fear aided in my recovery from the dark side of the human condition.  These were new life lessons in my ability to process my sisters unsolved murder, and its impact on me trusting any god consciousness.

For the next decade, life went on with no reoccurrence of night terrors related to loss of a loved one. Therapy seemed to have been a success.  I moved to California from NY, and my family made an unusual inquiry of me.  Some asked, “Have you been to where my sister had been murdered?”  The answer was no.

But, to this inquiry a thought came to me to contact the LAPD Homicide Cold Case files and ask about looking into my sister’s unsolved murder.  I wrote a few times in the early to mid-1990’s and got one letter in response.  No new leads had been generated.  Where this was frustrating, I knew that for me I had implemented the serenity prayer to accept the things I could not change and had the courage to change the things I could.

Another decade would pass by with occasional frustration that my sister’s murder remained an unsolved mystery.  In fact, I was contemplating writing the television show “Unsolved Mysteries” as a way of again finding the courage to change the things I could and the wisdom to know the difference.  My life lesson was to be empowered to take action and surrender the outcome.

However, this action was not necessary, when out of the blue, a new agent of change had manifest in reality.  It was 2005, and I received a postcard in the mail from the LAPD Homicide division asking me to call them.

This postcard became the new change agent in my life.  The LAPD through DNA had identified my sister’s killer 28 years after her murder.  My father had passed away, and my mother had moved and changed phone numbers.  They contacted me from the letters I had written in the 1990’s and had asked that I be the point of contact for my family for all things related to the trial as I was in California, where the trial would occur.

Fate, life, had placed me living within 6 physical miles of my sister’s jailed murderer.  As I contemplated the possibility of a trial, I reached out to a traumatic loss support group.  There was strength in numbers, and I didn’t want to inadvertently relapse back into night terrors, so I learned to speak my truth of my emotions. 

I was told to set aside 10 minutes to grieve during the day, and only grieve during that time.  Buckets of reservoirs of loss came up, the press coverage, no quiet place to hide, my sister’s loss, abandonment to me, all were re-felt.  I became proactive for other murder victims of the upcoming trial by attempting to get the serial killer to confess the inescapable DNA evidence and avoid a trial. He refused to admit defeat, and it took the California Supreme Court, and nearly 5 more years before the trial would take place.

I had engaged a life coach during the trial to also help guide me through this period of unchartered waters.  There was no prior life lesson from which I could draw upon.  Shocking to me was my life coach’s suggestion that I take my life lessons, agents of change, and write a book concerning my experiences and human condition.  At first, I balked at the idea, but I did have the initial writings from age 24 still present.

I was more than one loss of a loved one, traumatic loss, when considering writing a life lessons book.  I meditated, prayed, and wrote what I felt, and the book naturally formed its own evolutionary path as an amateur writer with a major life lessons book on the human condition.  My processes, human psychology, were naturally shared encompassing many of the unusual aspects of the change agents in my book, “The Change Agent: From 30000 Feet”

My “life lessons book” looked intrinsically at the human condition and human factors psychology as they applied to any individual.  Oly three chapters covered the loss of my late sister and my overcoming trauma and being empowered to act for my sister and others.

As I looked at how fate had taken me from an obscure teenager at age 17, to being honored to participate in the Sundance documentary, I was amazed that my journey and evolution of my human condition had become a change agent for myself and others.  The Change Agent : From 30000 Feet had encapsulated my story and countless other victims from that time in history.  As I watched the documentary, I realized that not only had I overcome deep human psychology trauma, but that I had transcended my wounding to be voice for others along my path.  I share this not from ego, but from the unmerited grace that divine providence had guided me to these events.  These were never accolades that I ever sought out for self, but always for others.

In 2023, I began work on a Screenplay covering my journey, not for self, but so that anyone going through traumatic loss can find a pathway for true healing and grace.  For me, these life lessons from The Change Agent : From 30000 Feet reflected we are all empowered to seek a higher calling, purpose, then to remain as collateral damage due to bad faith actors on our stage in life.  Our job, life lesson, is to take action and surrender the results.  Nothing more is required.