Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. Most of you who are watching this know that. I’ve been doing it for over 10 years now, and there have been 520-something of them so far. If this is new to you, however, and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com and look under the past interviews menu, where you’ll see all the previous ones organized in various ways. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers, so if you appreciate it and would like to support it, please go to batgap.com and there you’ll see a PayPal button on every page of the site. My guest today is Vicki Woodward. Woodyard, sorry. I’m thinking of your almost namesake, Bob Woodward different guy. Vicki is a spiritual writer living in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a meditator, a webmaster, and has a lifelong interest in the spiritual path. Her late husband, Bob, died of multiple myeloma in 2004, and they lost their only daughter to a fatal childhood cancer when she was 7 years old. This equips Vicki to write about her path in an honest and humble way, opening the reader’s own heart to what is worth living for. The light of her path is tinged with humor as she lays down the bottom line and invites you to consider what you are living for. Awakening is but a dream until you sink into the heart. When you are caught in the dream, it just means you have temporarily forgotten. Here’s a little quote from somebody, “Vicki catches one off guard, waking people up to their mortality and infinite being at the same time.” She is the author of “Life with a Hole in It,” I have these books up here, “Life with a Hole in It,” and “Bigger than the Sky,” and also several e-books. As usual, I’ll be linking to her website and also to her Facebook page and to these books from her page on batgap.com. So, welcome Vicki.
Vicki: Thank you, nice to have you as a guest here.
Rick: Yeah, good to have you. Vicki and I have been in touch since shortly after I started Batgap back in 2001, and she sent me one of her books, “Life with a Hole in It,” and I never read it because I never have time to read books other than in preparation for the interview I’m going to be doing in the next few days. So finally, it was great to be able to read that and her newer book, which she hadn’t written when she first got in touch. And at that time, I think I asked her if she’d like to be on the show and she said, “Nah, I don’t feel ready,” but now she says she feels ready. So I’m sure the timing is just perfect and I’m glad that you have finally come on. And Vicki, I didn’t mention it in reading her intro, but Vicki has a degree in, what was it, English and philosophy?
Rick: Psychology, okay, from a university in Memphis. And she’s an excellent writer, as someone said in the intro that I read. Here’s an example of some of her writing, I just kind of thought I’d give you guys an example. “Saying ‘I do’ is not something a twenty-something does consciously. When he came to me after his death,” referring to her husband, “in a dream and said to me, ‘Your prayers are written on the wall of my heart every day,’ I realized what our marriage had been about. It was about coming to terms with what love really is. It is something we are, and in the last analysis, is better off undefiled by the ego’s touch.” I just thought that was a nicely written paragraph. And she’s also funny, here’s an example of something humorous. “I am sure if Jesus had lived long enough, someone would have had to prompt him on the Beatitudes. Blessed are the…” What? “Buddha would have had to wear a medic alert bracelet, and Krishna would have scooted around in a walker with a blanket.” (laughs) Or with a basket, sorry, with a basket. Anyway, so as I was reading Vicki’s two books, I highlighted a number of passages that I thought would be interesting to talk about, and then this morning I sort of organized them into categories. And those categories are, and we’ll probably talk about other things too, but I organized them into categories suffering, fear, healing, love, surrender and humility, acting in accord with nature or accord with the Tao one might say, and also of course Vicki’s personal experience of, she doesn’t like to say awakening, but whatever it is. She says that for the past seven years, you know, she’s been living in what she calls the great silence. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s genuine. So, again Vicki, those categories I just read out, we don’t have to restrict ourselves to that. We’ll just have a conversation. I’m sure it’ll go this way and that, and people will probably send in some questions as we go along, and it’ll take us down avenues that we wouldn’t have gone down otherwise.
Vicki: Okay, okay.
Rick: So, one thing about Vicki is that she makes these little YouTube videos, and she’s made about 250 of them or something, and I’ve listened to over 100 of them in the past week. They’re just two, three, four minutes each, and they’re really nice. I mean, just sort of a, I really got to know Vicki listening to these little videos, very authentic and down to earth and wise, you know, lots of good little tidbits in them. So, maybe I’ll also link to your YouTube channel so people can easily find those.
Vicki: Yeah, please do.
Rick: Yeah, I will. So, your life has been blessed in many ways, but has been very difficult in many ways, and so our first topic here is suffering. As I mentioned in the intro, your daughter died at the age of seven from cancer, and there were several years before that where she was very sick. So, that was, I can’t imagine it, having not had children, but I’m sure many people listening, or some people listening could imagine such a thing. But one of those things that it’s easy to be glib about and to say, “Oh, yeah, she went to a better place,” and all that stuff, but I’m sure that when you’re actually going through something like that, it really rips you to shreds.
Vicki: It does, and there is no outside help in a case like that. I mean, you realize quickly that you’re going to have to bring something forth from within yourself because you’re the only one that has had that experience, and it affected the whole family. It affected my older son, Rob. He was seven when she was diagnosed, and she was seven when she died, so then he became an only child. There were no grief groups for children back then, for siblings. They didn’t exist. There were four of us, and then there were three of us, and none of us could help the other. Bob was an engineer and he was very intellectually oriented, and he was on his upward climb at a major airline. He became a workaholic. That was his way of dealing with the whole. My book says “Life with the Hole in It,” and what I meant was, in the picture postcard now of my family, there was a hole where the person used to be. So he dealt with that hole by becoming a workaholic. My son is quiet by nature. He withdrew, and I withdrew to the extent that my only brother told me. He said, “Vicki, it was like your soul was bruised and no one could reach you.”
Rick: At that stage when your daughter was sick, were you already into spirituality in some form or not?
Vicki: Yes, my mother had been on the path, and she was an A.R.E member, which that’s the Edgar Casey Foundation. I remember she sent me the book “Autobiography of Yoga” and a Joel Goldsmith book called “Man Was Not Born to Cry.” And so after my daughter’s death, I studied Joel Goldsmith fairly deeply and found him very meaningful. He also teaches the I Am Awareness. Of course, I didn’t have it at all. All I had was broken pieces of who I used to be.
Rick: Did you have any kind of spiritual practice, or basically you were just reading the books?
Vicki: No, I didn’t. But Bob was quite spiritual by nature, and so was I. So we had that going for us. I mean, there was never any question that we would do drugs, have a breakdown, or just run away. We both had this deep commitment to hang tough. After she died, she finished the first grade, and after she died, her little friends were told that she had just moved during the summer. The grief, the loss went unacknowledged. And if I went to the grocery and saw a neighbor, sometimes they would turn around and go take their cart in a different direction.
Rick: Because they just didn’t want to have to face the discomfort of talking to you.
Vicki: Exactly. So when I was 44, and Bob was a year older than I was, coincidentally or synchronistically, I ordered a tape by Vernon Howard. Bob had bought a book of his, and I wanted immediately to go to Boulder City, Nevada, and sit in one of Vernon’s classes. I had also had…
Rick: So let’s just say Vernon Howard was a spiritual teacher based in Boulder City. What year was that by the way?
Vicki: This was 1984.
Rick: Okay. I was just curious because in 1977, I taught a couple of meditation retreats in Boulder City, and I was just wondering if he was there at the time. I had never really heard of him much until probably since talking, studying your stuff.
Vicki: He died in 1992.
Rick: Okay. Anyway, that was a bit of an interruption. So you got tuned into him.
Vicki: Plus I had had a dream of traveling to the desert with my son and my husband and my sister, and when we got out there, in the dream, my sister wanted to go to the gift shop and we had to ride the escalator down. So we went down, and then I looked over to the right and I saw an elevator, and the doors opened, and there was a woman guide standing in the elevator. I went and got in, and the door closed, and the elevator went down. Then she looked up and she said, “You have to go down to look up.” and I saw the cosmos.
Vicki: And she said, “Two stars are not in right relationship to themselves.” I’ve never figured out what that meant, but later I realized that was dream guidance. I had also gotten beside finding the tape and the books. And once I got out there, I knew I had found my teacher. He was very intimidating.
Rick: I heard that from listening to talks, your YouTube videos. He was a bit of a tough cookie.
Vicki: Well, but see, I was too. I needed that.
Vicki: And I had grown up-
Rick: You drew a sergeant approach.
Vicki: I had grown up in the South where nice women just sort of repressed everything, but I was a warrior. Inwardly, I was a warrior, and he had a way of separating the sheep from the goats, and it was just to be really tough, and the people that were offended would hit the road jack. And then those of us that were there, we were all called, and he just dealt it straight like it was.
Rick: Yeah. It’s kind of a personality thing, I think, as well as a teaching style. I mean, Nisargadatta was pretty gruff, you know, and really gave people what for.
Rick: And I think Ramana could be that way, but from what I’ve heard, he had a more gentle approach, you know, but obviously, different strokes for different folks.
Vicki: Yes, as I said, this was a part of my life plan.
Rick: Yeah, yeah.
Vicki: So, I was with him for seven years, but not all the time. We would just fly out a couple times a year, but I listened to his tapes all day long every day, and you never got it. He never got to the thing where, and now I’m going to tell you what enlightenment is. In fact, once he said that, none of you have gotten it. None of you have gotten it. And he spoke the truth. Enlightenment is not something you get.
Rick: Well, in your book you have a chapter entitled “Enlightenment is a Dirty Word.”
Rick: I kind of like that because it sort of is for me too, just because it, there’s a lot of confusion around the word, and it has this sort of static, superlative connotation that gives people the impression that they’re going to reach some aha moment, and that things are going to be, you know, all perfect ever after.
Vicki: And that you’ll get something to wear on your breasts so other people will know, you know.
Rick: Yeah, and you can rest on your laurels and just relax and have people feed you grapes or something.
Vicki: But he said this, he said, “The hard way becomes the easy way, and the easy way becomes the hard way,” and that’s so true.
Rick: What do you think he meant by that?
Vicki: Well, I meant people who make a lot of money and they spend it all at once. That’s easy, but then maybe in 20 years they’re living, feeding out of a dumpster, you know, because they didn’t have the wisdom to really learn.
Rick: Yeah, to be responsible with it. Yeah, there’s a saying in some Vedic literature or something that, just sort of talking about how certain things are sort of unpleasant in the short term but beneficial in the long term, and other things are pleasant in the short term but, you know, deleterious in the long term.
Vicki: That’s what he meant.
Rick: Yeah, yeah. And we can probably all think of examples of that. I mean, you know, if you’re so inclined it probably feels really good to take some opioids or something, but that lasts a couple hours and then things are worse.
Vicki: Exactly, exactly.
Rick: So, it sounds like you got involved with Vernon Howard before Bob got sick, is that true?
Rick: And then probably during those seven years Bob got sick.
Vicki: Yeah, you know, I can’t even remember now when, yeah, Vernon died before Bob did. Bob died in 2004 and Vernon in 1992, so, but the studying didn’t help me one bit with the grief.
Rick: Yeah, I was going to ask about that, because some people would say that they derive solace from spiritual study, at least from the conviction, like if you read near-death experience books, you know, you begin to have this, it’s almost like the veil between this side and the other side becomes more porous and you begin to feel like, “Eh, you know, do we really die? No, we just kind of drop the body and we continue to live,” and most of the people who have had near-death experiences say, “Hey, I’m looking forward to dying.” You know, it was a really nice glimpse, not that I want to check out early, but it doesn’t frighten me in the least anymore. So I mean, you know, sometimes you think spirituality will give you more of that perspective.
Vicki: I had a good friend by the name of John Logan who was online a lot, and he told me that this lifetime I had not wanted to be in touch with the other side. He said, “I can get in touch with it for you.” I hear your dog now. But he said, “By your own choice,” and this is true, I’m not in touch with the other side. I only had that one dream about Bob when he said, “Your prayers are written on the wall of my heart every day,” and that was it.
Rick: But one doesn’t have, I mean, I’m not in touch with the other side either, but I just have this conviction that there is another side, which not all people have, I think.
Vicki: Oh, absolutely.
Rick: The majority of people don’t have that conviction, or if they do, there’s a lot of doubt in there. And somehow, having that perspective as opposed to thinking that this is all we are and when this dies, that’s the end of me, seems to me it would totally change one’s orientation to life.
Vicki: Yeah. Anything you receive like that is a great gift, like a near-death experience, or like the dream I had about Bob. I have something interesting to share about another confirmation about Vernon Howard. Before Bob got sick, he saw an ad in the paper for the Oxford bookstore that a woman was going to be selling copies of her book. And I told Bob, I said, “You know, I’ve just got too many books. I’m not going.” And at the last minute, I ran out and jumped in the car and went with him. So when we got there, this beautiful blonde woman was sitting on the carpeted steps at the Oxford bookstore, and there was nobody. She had a stack of books, but she didn’t have any interested people. So Bob and I sat down there and began to talk to her. And all of a sudden, she looked at me and she said, “You better be at the bus stop or it’s going to go on without you.” And I said, “How did you know about the bus stop?” And then I told her, and I’ll tell you, Vernon Howard’s last talk was about a girl taking an express bus back to her hometown. And the analogy was, if you want to really make progress on the spiritual path, you really have to get on board with it all the way and it will take you. You don’t do this yourself. And so she told me, she said, “Last night before coming here, I heard a booming voice and I saw a giant silver bus covered with eyes, and the voice said, ‘She better be at the bus stop.'” And so after that, Shelley said, “You better dig in the hole that Vernon Howard started digging for you and keep making that.” In other words, don’t go off and study a bunch of other teachers.
Rick: Oh, okay, yeah. So the old dig one deep well rather than many shallow wells analogy, right?
Vicki: Yeah, so that shocked both of us. And the other thing was that after that Vernon, after he had died, I had another dream. Much of my spiritual journey has been led by my own dreams. And let’s see, I’m losing the thread. I had this second dream. It’s just, it’ll come back to me.
Rick: Yeah, okay. And it’ll come back to you. A question came in from someone that I think is relevant to what we’re talking about. This is from Ruth in Tronadora, Costa Rica. Ruth asks, “Do you feel that you can still influence your daughter and husband from this side in your life presence, in your work, and can they influence you? How interconnected with people on the other side are we, especially we as mothers to our children?”
Vicki: Well, I believe that they influence me more than I influence them. I did have a session with a psychic and she told me that they were very much with me. And she said, “Vicki, they want you to cross the sea of sorrow and stand on the other shore with them.” She said, “You’re lingering in the sadness now and you need to go on. They want you to be happy.”
Rick: Sure. Yeah, I mean, you know, I’m sure you know the term “spiritual bypassing,” where people use spiritual concepts to kind of bypass emotions and things that they would otherwise naturally feel, right? You’re familiar with that term.
Vicki: I hate that, yeah.
Rick: Yeah. And there’s some, I wrote down a quote here someplace that was, I thought, rather pithy about the neo-Advaita non-duality scene and how I can’t find it at the moment. But in any case, so there’s that. And it seems to me there’s some kind of balance point because on the one hand, one can sort of get real checked out emotionally and spiritually bypass like crazy. On the other hand, one can sort of, one’s suffering can be more painful than it perhaps needs to be if we don’t sort of introduce a deeper perspective or a broader perspective. And I don’t know, there’s something I’m trying to get at here that pertains to finding a balance between those extremes that’s appropriate for oneself.
Vicki: I’m just by nature a very practical person. That’s one reason I found a practical teacher. He says, you got to be practical on every level. You don’t spend much money. He said people that go out and spend all their money on expensive meals are lost. He said, that’s just, we don’t do that. And there is a spiritual austerity that’s right and proper. And you have to find that for yourself. Bob and I both found it quite easily. I remembered that dream now.
Rick: Okay, good, I knew you’d remember it.
Vicki: And I was talking to Shelly, the mystic on the phone. She lived in a little town outside of Atlanta. And Shelly, I said, Shelly, I had a dream last night. And I was talking to Vernon on the phone. And I said, then he put his hand up, and then I put my hand up to his and he read me a contract. And all of a sudden she said, whoops, I got to go. And she just disappeared. Shelly didn’t admit it until she came back. I said, what happened? She said, Vicki, the power coming through the telephone was so bad I got dizzy and my head started spinning. She said, I couldn’t handle that amount of power.
Rick: What do you make of that?
Vicki: Exactly what it was. And another quick story, a young man wanted to come and visit me on his way to someplace else. He was very young, he’s very new to the path. And he sat with me for 30 minutes or so and I could tell nothing was happening. And I went in and I got a David White book called The House of Belonging and I read it to him, read him this poem. And then he started to weep and then I knew, okay, now something shifted in him. And we finished up and he left. And an hour later he called me down the road and he said, I just want to tell you that you really can transmit. And I laughed and I said, I think so. I said, three power stations went off just boom, boom, boom. After he left and I’m just sitting here in the dark.
Rick: That’s interesting. Yeah, that’s actually a thing that a lot of people experience where they kind of mess with electronics and stuff.
Vicki: Yeah, spiritual energy is a reality for me. It really is. And I think the videos that I make are hopefully are imbued with that. I keep them simple, chop, chop, chop. It’s hard for me to elongate anything I write or say.
Rick: It’s okay, you know. I’m sure you’ve heard the term sutras, like the yoga sutras and things like that. It’s a very pithy little saying. There’s a bunch of sutras in, I don’t know about other traditions, but in the Vedic tradition. And there’s also, and each one is just this short little thing, but it encapsulates tremendous wisdom in it. And there’s a saying, said for the wise only an indication is necessary. So you know, the whole thing can be unpacked from just a really seed thought.
Vicki: And I recognize people by their energy field. That’s how I know what I need to know. And Bob would get frustrated with me because I can’t read maps. I’m a terrible driver. I have no sense of spatial anything, but I can read people just like that.
Rick: That’s great. You’re a human GPS.
Vicki: Yeah, except I can’t get anywhere with it, except in here. But I do believe that energy is the bottom line. Once you get rid of all the intellectual teachings about God, truth, and reality, it’s all energy. What did somebody say? Gospel of Thomas, the kingdom of heaven is spread over the earth.
Rick: But men do not see it or some such thing, right? That was the rest of that one.
Vicki: Yeah, and Sufi, here’s another saying I like about that. Sufis say you’re the outermost out and the innermost in. It’s endless, but it’s very particular.
Rick: Ah, interesting.
Vicki: Very particular.
Rick: Yeah, there’s something from the Upanishads that goes, “Anor Aniyan Mahato Mahiyan,” which means smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest simultaneously.
Vicki: And it’s so easy. We’re talking now on a wavelength, but after this is over, it will be very easy for me to go in there and start working a crossword puzzle and thinking I’d like a pizza.
Rick: Sure, why not?
Vicki: We have to know that it’s like this, you know?
Rick: Yeah. I mean, it seems like your life, if we had done this interview 20 years ago or something, it would have been a very different story because when you read your books, when one reads your books, there’s a major emphasis on how much suffering you went through, how difficult the whole thing was.
Vicki: You can imagine that having put the death of a child behind us, now Bob was just 57 when he was, our daughter lived exactly three years.
Rick: After she got sick, yeah.
Vicki: Yes, Bob was told by his oncologist, “You have less than three years.” Now, he made it four and a third, but you can imagine how I felt. Now, he had been my rock and now he was going to go. So I’ve spent about eight years or ten years of my life being a physical caregiver to somebody that then died and I had then to go through the grief process.
Rick: Yeah, and it really wore you down. I mean, you talk about how kind of rubbed to the bone you were by the intensity of all this.
Vicki: Yes, and to this day, I’m very careful about my life’s energy. I lead a very simple life. I’m satisfied with the minimum of interaction with people and the writing, I’ve done thousands of essays. They’re all written not from my head, but from the spirit. They’re written like that, boom, I’ve got an essay, boom.
Rick: That’s great. You could turn them into more books if you wanted to.
Vicki: Oh, I could, yeah.
Rick: They’re on your blog?
Vicki: Yeah, my blog. I have three e-books that are relatively new and I probably have a fourth one.
Rick: Yeah, regarding energy, you quoted Vernon Howard as saying that one should work hard gathering energy when you have no problems.
Vicki: This is huge.
Vicki: Do you get, how do you interpret that?
Rick: Well, it’s, Shakespeare had a trivial use of it when he said, “Gather your rosebuds while you may,” but I think life is all about energy, the accumulation and the expenditure of it.
Rick: And obviously, there are ways of squandering it, you know, you waste the energy and it doesn’t really get you anything of benefit, and there are ways of conserving it. And there are ways of gathering it also, which in terms of spiritual practice, kind of soaks you up more and more with the kind of energy we’re talking about. But that doesn’t mean that one should sort of, you know, not get exercise or not do anything dynamic
Vicki: Oh, no no no.
Rick: because you’re going to be wasting your energy. In fact, you gain more energy by doing those kinds of healthy things.
Vicki: But most people are in a state of walking sleep. They’re not interested in the path. They’re interested in the day to day, in the immediate, and they’re losing energy. To try to be conscious for even five minutes is to gather energy. You know, it’s a matter of wanting to be present.
Rick: Did you ever read Carlos Castaneda’s books?
Vicki: Oh, yes.
Rick: He talked a lot about that, and his teacher talked a lot about that culturing, you know, energy.
Vicki: Well, you know, I met a shaman about four years ago, and had I told you about this or do you know much?
Rick: I know about it from listening to your audios, your videos.
Vicki: He worked on my body. He’s a curandero, a natural healer. They work with plants and things like that and energy. And when I lay down in this room, it was a darkened room, and I immediately started to cry and I kept my eyes closed. So it could have, I said it could have been rose petals, but he went like that as he blotted my tears. There’s no hurry. He waited until I had completely gotten cried out, and then he went on and he finished adjusting me. And a couple of weeks later, I realized that he had lifted about 90% of my grief. It’s gone.
Rick: Wow, that’s cool.
Vicki: I see him a couple times a year, and he is a person that, he says, “Don’t think, just be.” Just be.
Rick: You mentioned, you say in your book, “Spirituality is about silencing thought.” And at one point in one paragraph you say, “And then the great silence began. I have experienced seven years of it now. It is not always present, but it is genuine. I have won my freedom. Did it the hard way. Hung in there, kept the faith, learned to know myself, learned to know simplicity and grace are the same thing.” And here’s another paragraph that I want to read on this point, “The only solace I have ever found is here, before creation starts up. Not in this moment, which seems a silly catch word amongst the non-dual crowd, but rather before this moment, before anything.” So do you feel that you’ve kind of shifted from an active mind, kind of trapped in the individuality, trapped in the ego sort of existence, to one in which you’ve, as you say, you’ve settled into the silence, and that residing there lies, therein lies contentment or freedom from suffering?
Vicki: Yeah, and I think I was born a solitary. I think my life’s pattern was to have things removed from me. And my son is a natural solitary. He loves to take his bike and go out to the Silver Comet Trail and just ride for miles and miles and miles. And so we live a very quiet life. I say my home is like an ashram, you know, it’s very silent.
Rick: That’s great. I’m going to go through some more of these notes here, because there’s interesting points we could talk about. Here’s one, feel free to comment on these. One of the passages that kind of jumped out at me as I was reading your books, “Even though suffering abounds, so does its remedy, which is being whole. It takes no effort to be whole, just intention. My intention is to be what I need to have, to rise above the opposites and live in paradox.” Comment on that.
Vicki: Well, you know, people, I don’t go on discussion groups online anymore, because the paradox is out the window. Then there’s talking from the divided mind. One says something and some other person is just waiting, ready to kick them in the rear and say, “No, you’re all wrong.” So I tell people on my Facebook page, I say, “Don’t come on this page looking for an argument or discussion. It’s not, you’re not going to find it here. You don’t get it here.”
Rick: So regarding being whole, you say it just takes intention. I’m sure people would like to be whole. Did you find that when you finally had the intention in the right way, then wholeness kind of flooded in or dawned?
Vicki: Yeah, and I lose it. I lose it and get it back, lose it, get it back. It’s moving, you know? It’s not the static. I’m whole now. It’s more of like the Tao, and we have to remember that the Tao is everything. Every great religion speaks about that, that which we can’t capture, that which we can’t control.
Rick: Yeah, there’s, since you mentioned the Tao, here’s a quote from the I Ching that you had in your book. “One should rest when it’s time to rest and act when it’s time to act. True resting and putting to rest are attained through the disappearance of the ego, which leads to the harmony of one’s behavior with the laws of the universe. Resting in principle involves doing that which is right in every position in which one is placed.” Now, a person might hear that and say, “Well, that’s easier said than done.”
Vicki: Well, sure.
Rick: But, I mean, the key point there is that if one actually is in tune with the Tao, then one’s life tends to flow just as that passage described.
Vicki: Absolutely. I have a little book of Zen sayings with little in an ink sketches, and one of the sayings is “When I put a foot wrong, the universe screams.”
Rick: That’s great.
Vicki: And Leonard Cohen, who’s a great spiritual figure for me, wrote a poem where he says “Sometimes all I do is help the daffodils to sway in the breeze.”
Rick: Again, this shouldn’t be misinterpreted as a recommendation to be passive in any way and just, “Oh, whatever happens, I’ll just let it happen.”
Vicki: Oh, no, no.
Rick: Yeah, go ahead.
Vicki: It’s hard work.
Vicki: Waking up. It’s like somebody said at Vernon School, they said, “This is like pushing a wheelbarrow full of lead uphill every day.” And Vernon made it very hard. He set people to specific tasks. You know, we had to go to little work sessions where, like, somebody would put 500 envelopes in a stack and they’d give you three different kinds of postage stamps and then say, “Now put all these on, but make sure to get them all on straight because somebody’s going to come along and double check what you do.” Well, after the first 100, you’d be going, “I got to get out of here. I got to get out of here. I’m starting to put them on wrong.” So there was, he wanted us to see how much we were suffering. All these little daily chores showed us that we were just a pasted storefront commercial for who we really were, that inside we were just a nervous wreck. He wanted us to see that.
Rick: Did he himself, who was his spiritual teacher or influence?
Vicki: He had a book he put out, just like the sayings of, like the book was big about all the enlightened people all over the world. So he did it himself. He was a self-made man. He was very, I’m guessing he didn’t even go to college. He seemed relatively uneducated. His brilliance was in telling these stories. He never told the same story twice. They were always stories that you could meditate on and reflect on, but you couldn’t remember them. One day he came through the hall and he said, “Has anybody remembered, do you remember what I said like last night?” We said, “No.” He said, “That’s okay. It’s getting in. No, it’s getting in.”
Rick: Well, I hope he wasn’t abusive in any way. Sometimes,
Vicki: No, no, no, no, no. Not abusive. In fact, it was said that he only gave strict teachings to those who had given him permission. Otherwise he was a perfect gentleman. And he did not interact with the students. I did not know him personally. But his secretary said he knows all about all of us. But there was no personal. He had a box and somebody said, “If you have a question, you can write it down and fold it up and put it in Vernon’s box.” Now, he didn’t answer them, but there was a felt sense that yes, it was answered, just not … He said, “Never answer a question on the level of the question.” Now that’s brilliant.
Rick: In other words, take it to a higher level?
Vicki: You know, there was a teacher, Rudy. I’m sure you know about Rudy.
Rick: The guy in New York who ran the antique shop or something.
Vicki: Yeah, I read all of his books. But it was said of him that if a student came up to him with a low energy, he would not talk to them until they had brought their energy up to a high enough level. And Vernon also said, he gave one talk about some people are at the bottom of this canyon and they’re wailing and they’re weeping. He said, “Do not try to help them. Do not throw down Bibles and food and all that. Don’t throw it down. That won’t work.” He said, “You’ve got to encourage them to climb up about halfway. And when they get up about halfway, then they can grab a hold of the rope and you can push them out.” And what he was saying was, “Don’t waste your time on people that haven’t gotten serious yet.”
Rick: Yeah, I think there’s something to that. I mean, there has to be a certain amount of seriousness and sincerity when one approaches a teacher, otherwise one won’t be receptive.
Vicki: Humility, a certain amount of humility that you see you can’t make it by your own ego strength.
Rick: Well, synchronistically, a question just came in about humility from Ivan in Bulgaria. He says, “Does Vicki have any thoughts on humility versus humiliation? Both words have the same core from the Latin humus, meaning earth.”
Vicki: Well, humiliation is dealt to you from without. Humility is your own inner self recognizing your emptiness, that you’re essentially nothing, that is everything. But humiliation, Vernon didn’t humiliate us. He was using shocks like Gurdjieff did. He said, “The soft touch won’t do.” That was his way, and I didn’t mind it at all because after all, I had buried a child, you know?
Rick: But do you think that life circumstances, which seem to come from without, can culture humility? It’s in a couple places you quote Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” And if we know the story of Job, he really went through it because God was testing him and probably whittling down his ego to the point where he became an open vessel for the grace of God. So again, the question would be when trials and tribulations happen to us, and they certainly happen to you, do you feel that in the big picture there’s a sort of a mercy and compassion and beneficence in, if we want to talk in terms of God and what God is doing, so as to help kind of crack open the ego and make it receptive to God’s grace?
Vicki: Yeah, it has to be cracked open. But to answer his question, yeah, humiliation is completely different, and that’s more an ego thing. The ego can be humiliated. The soul learns humility through going down into the lower places. You know, Vernon had a lot of stories about going down into the cellar. He said, “Don’t hesitate to go down there and look at what’s down there, so you can bring it up to the light.” I mean, that’s Carl Jung.
Rick: Yep, here’s the quote from that. “Going down into the depths is healing, no matter how hard it may seem. Once we choose a conscious descent, everything is instantly transmuted into light. The truth becomes as clear as aqua waters. We are everything. We can begin to unite, uplift, and recreate.” That’s from your book. You know that.
Vicki: I forgot, no, I’ve forgotten what I’ve written. I write so much.
Rick: Yeah, but you write so well.
Vicki: Well, you know, I was born to write, and I was born to the path. I can’t think of anything, any other talents or interests I have. So it’s been all absorbing for me, and I have given up a lot, you know. You give up the world, and you can be lonely. Yeah, I can get lonely. Holidays are hard. My son and I just choose to sort of ignore them, you know, rest and eat, but I don’t decorate or anything like that.
Rick: Yeah, we’ve been alluding to God, and I think the implication is that the universe isn’t just sort of a mechanistic, meaningless thing. There’s some kind of intelligence involved in it. And a question came in from Jay in Victoria, British Columbia, who asked, “If everything is predetermined, why would there be a need for dreams or guardian angels?” Of course, this presumes that everything is predetermined. Do you feel that it is?
Vicki: Yeah, pretty much. I think that, as I said, over the course of my lifetime, dreams have led me. There’s another funny story how I was led to a teacher in Hawaii. But when I look back, my soul knows things about the earth. I knew about the desert. When Vernon’s group, part of it, moved to Arizona, I dreamed about Dolomite, and when we got there, the natural bridge out there next to his school is the largest Dolomite foundation in the United States. Well, see, Vicki didn’t know that. Vicki didn’t know that. But a dream came, well, people in the Bible found, they learned through dreams.
Rick: Oh, yeah, a lot of people do. I’ve had some doozies myself.
Vicki: But yes, I wrote a letter to Ramesh Balsakar, the student of Nisargadatta, and he wrote me back. I had asked him about the same question that this man is asking, and he wrote back and he said, “Yes, everything is destined, but not to you, to everything.” In other words, we all move as a group. Everything is one.
Rick: Yeah, he was big on everything being sort of predetermined by genetics and conditioning.
Vicki: Oh, yeah.
Rick: Yeah, and this is a question that philosophers have wrestled with forever, whether free will or destiny. Personally, you know, you brought up the term “paradox,” and I think that a question like this and many other questions are best dealt with by saying yes to both sides of them.
Vicki: Exactly. Patricia’s son said this, she said, “Paradox is the point of power.” Paradox is what we need in this world. It’s like the political stuff. I don’t get into anything political because it’s so intellectual and so emotional. We need the ability to go back and forth. I take Tai Chi, you know, I do Tai Chi, and it’s about being with what is.
Rick: Yeah, going with the flow.
Vicki: It’s about keeping your balance. And another story I love is an adage is a guy falls down and he said, “Ask his teacher, what should I do?” And the teacher says, “Get back up.” And then about after the seventh time, the teacher said, “Look, the next time you fall, just get back up.”
Rick: Yeah, you don’t need to ask me.
Vicki: Right. Yeah. And so, we as egos, all we do is fall down.
Rick: Yeah, as egos.
Vicki: Yeah, because if ego gets too right, then it’s full of itself. And it’s like, then you need to get your ego pounded down.
Rick: Yeah, here’s something you wrote, “Victory is assured when we choose humility over the ego’s height. You can’t think your way into wholeness, you’ll be broken in the attempt.” Who wrote that stuff?
Vicki: That’s why I don’t do discussion groups anymore, because somebody is wanting a determined winner to the argument, you know, and it’s like, “Ugh, enough is enough, please.”
Rick: But I think the universe itself is, we could say, paradoxical, maybe a better word would be multidimensional. I mean, you know, if you look at different levels of it, there’s a level at which, you know, it’s ultimately very fundamental, there’s only quarks and electrons. And down there, it’s like, everywhere you look, it’s only quarks and electrons, there’s nothing else. There’s no cows, no bowling balls, you know, no dog poop, no pizza. And that’s definitely a reality on that level of creation. But obviously, more manifest levels of creation, more laws of nature emerge and greater complexity emerges, and so we have all this diversity. And you know, you could say that one or the other is absolutely true, but you’d be wrong. Both are part of a larger picture.
Vicki: Yeah. I wanted to tell you about this Hawaiian guru I met through a dream. I had a dream before Bob got sick, and this lady guide said, “You have a teacher, but you’re going to meet a teacher from Hawaii.”
Rick: This lady guide seems to have some insights.
Vicki: Yeah, it’s different. But she was living in an old-fashioned motel court, you know, like you don’t see anymore. And in the dream, Bob and I were driving along in Hawaii, and clouds came over the car, and a voice said to me, “It will be like this until you reach the rainforest.” And that’s when we went into the motel court, and the lady said, “It’ll be like that.” Anyway, so I told Bob, it was our 25th anniversary, and I said, “Let’s go to Maui. I think I can find this teacher. I think he’s on Maui.” Bob said, “Yeah.” He was up for any spiritual adventure I wanted. He would not take responsibility. He would say, “It’s Vicki’s crazy idea.” But off we go. So we got to Maui, and we drove the whole Hana Highway, and Bob was terrified of heights. And it’s one of these scary drives. And I was looking for something that looked like this motel court, and I said, “Finally.” I said, “I didn’t find it.” And he looks at me like, “Oh.” So we got back to this Stouffer’s Hotel, and oh, it was fabulous. It was gorgeous, plush. And I opened the Gideon Bible, and it said, “Turn your heart to the highway. Turn again, oh daughter.” And I looked at Bob, I said, “We got to go back.” So we got out, and we went to, I saw a bookstore. I’m not making any of this up. And it said, “Miracles Unlimited.” That was the name of the bookstore. I said, “Let’s go in there.” So we went in, and I bought a couple of secondhand books. One was written by a man that lived on the Hana Highway who was a guru. His name was John Ramsey. So we got back to the hotel, and I told Bob, I said, “Go for a walk or something. I’m going to call this guy.” And Bob left. And I called him, and I told him, and he just died laughing. He said, “Yeah, you have to come. You have to come meet me.” So then we had an address for the Hana Highway address, and we drove up there. It was like a tin round hut he had built, and he had some funny sayings on the outside. We went in, and he was this tall, lanky, brown-skinned, blind guy. He surfed every day. He was on the bed. It was a circle bed. He had a TV like in a hospital up on the wall. And Bob moved his chair back. He was backing toward the back of the place, and I was up talking to this guru sitting on the bed. And he was a character. He was funny as hell. And we laughed and laughed. And he said, “Well, you know, you’re the Self.” And I said, “How do you think I found you?” And he said, “Oh, you just fell into the collective unconscious.”
Rick: That’s kind of amazing. I mean, you went all the way to Maui from Atlanta on the basis of a dream, and one thing led to the next, and you ended up finding this guy.
Vicki: Yes, and it was so light and easy. And Bob wasn’t, he was uncommitted, and he didn’t say anything. But there are other synchronicities. I had bought a book on mudras, and as we were talking, John Ramsey said, from his reclining position, he said, “Well, I know a mudra. When you point one finger at somebody else, you’re pointing three back at yourself.”
Rick: That’s a good one, yeah.
Vicki: Also, Bob and I had been in a grocery before we went to meet John, and I saw tamari almonds, and they don’t have those in Atlanta. I was tempted to buy some and take them back, but I said, “No, they’re too heavy to take on the plane.” Well, what did John Ramsey have on his side table but a dish of tamari almonds? And he offered them to me. And he said, “Now look,” he said, “if you were going to pick up this dish of almonds,” he said, “you wouldn’t go, ‘Ooooh!’ You wouldn’t lift it up like that. You would just reach over and pick it up.” And he was talking about force versus effort. So that was a teaching. So the whole visit with him was fraught with synchronicities just got to be ridiculous, you know, but it was all very funny. So I went home and I wasn’t enlightened. We went back again after Vernon died. I caught a virus on the airplane and was so sick by the time I got off. I said, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this. We’re driving down the highway.” And Bob said, “Look on that license plate in front of us.” He said, “Isn’t that John Ramsey’s address?” And I said, “Yeah.” And I started to laugh. We got back to the hotel. I was running a fever. I lay down on the bed and laughed like you do when you’re spiking a really high fever.
Vicki: I just laughed. I was delirious. But I didn’t go back to see him. I ended up in an emergency clinic with a rapid heartbeat. The doctor said, “If it doesn’t slow down, I’m going to put you in the hospital.” I said, “No, trust me. I can get it down.” It did go down and we got out of there, terribly sick. And I told John Ramsey, and he said, “That was because you didn’t want me to tell you that Vernon Howard wasn’t your teacher, that there’s not a teacher. You’re it.” But we kept in touch through the years.
Rick: Synchronicities are an interesting thing, aren’t they?
Vicki: They’re God speaking to you.
Rick: Yeah, I think so. There’s a guy named Skye Nelson who gives a talk at the S.A.N.D. Conference the last couple of years about synchronicities, and he’s doing a whole scientific study on them. And I think, I went to his talk at the conference, but I think that the fact that synchronicities happen, and in some cases, in some people’s lives, they happen like you were just describing, so frequently and so ridiculously obviously, you know, that you’d be crazy to just dismiss them as coincidence. They just keep happening. And so, it begs the question, well, how do they happen? What orchestrates them? You know, there’s some kind of intelligence coordinating things that are making these things click like this. And like you just said, would you say it was God’s something?
Vicki: I don’t know.
Rick: But it’s definitely, to my mind, there’s a sort of an intelligence that orchestrates everything and if you’re in tune with that intelligence, then the orchestration becomes obvious and it often is in favor of what you desire, because what you desire is in tune with what it desires, the big it.
Vicki: Carl Jung writes a lot about, not Carl Jung, him too, but…
Rick: No, he did. He wrote a lot about synchronicities.
Vicki: I’m thinking of the guy Maurice Nicole that was a student of Gurdjieff, and he said synchronicities frequently happened in their group, but a lot of times they were never figured out, they were just little oddities that they would remark on.
Rick: Well, often if you’re in a spiritual gathering of some kind, it becomes like a synchronistic mosh pit or something, if you know what a mosh pit is, that rock pit where they all mush together. Because everybody is living a synchronistic life and then when you get them all together in one place, it sort of multiplies exponentially.
Vicki: When we would visit Vernon’s group out in Arizona after he passed away, I told her I wasn’t sleeping at all, and she said, “You made me stay up last night.” I didn’t sleep either, and she said, “If I’m awake,” she said, “everybody else in the group is going to be awake, and that’ll just go on for a while.”
Rick: Everybody’s in sync.
Rick: Yeah. You know what often happens in nunneries and all is, all the women’s menstrual cycle gets into sync.
Vicki: I’ve read that, yeah, I’ve read that.
Rick: With each other. There’s some kind of group coherence or I don’t know what you’d call it. i; Pheromones.
Rick: What’d you say, Irene? i; Pheromones.
Rick: Oh, pheromones, she thinks it’s because of pheromones, could be.
Rick: Yeah, pheromones are like these subtle things that our olfactory nerves pick up unconsciously.
Vicki: Yeah, that’s like with perfume, yeah.
Rick: Anyway, you know, one of the topics that’s very popular in spiritual circles is this issue of whether or not we have a self. You know, people argue about that or have discussions about it ad infinitum. And so Mary, someone named Mary from Poplar Grove, Illinois asks, “Do you still experience a self? Do you have a point of reference?”
Vicki: Talking about me?
Vicki: Oh, yeah.
Vicki: know my body, mind, emotions, and my spirit. I know all of it. I’m not some kind of zombie, walking dead. No, I mean, in Vernons talks, you know, you’d be very practical, you know, don’t make mistakes in your daily life, be careful. Don’t fall down, you know, be mindful. Mindfulness is the yoga thing, you know, there’s many, many mindfulness courses and mindfulness teachers out there.
Rick: Yeah, and you know, on the paradox note, for instance, in the Gita there are verses which say you have control over action alone, you know, do your duty, be responsible, you know, take charge, all kinds of things, you know, saying, you know, get on the stick. And then there are other verses which say, you don’t do anything, you know, it’s all God’s doing it and the gunas of nature are doing it, you don’t act at all. And they’re in the very same chapter sometimes, these kinds of verses. And again, paradoxically, they’re both true, it’s just a matter of which kind of frequency you’re tuning into.
Vicki: Once we started this conversation, it’s sort of out of our control, you know, it’s just happening. It’s happening.
Rick: You know, you just said about, I have a spirit, I have a body, I have a mind, I have this, this. Do you sometimes feel as you’re going through your day that, you know, there’s definitely you and you’re making choices and you’re doing things and you have initiatives and so on, and at the same time, paradoxically, you’re not doing anything. Nothing is happening.
Vicki: Yeah. Well, my writing just happens. I don’t know where it comes from, I don’t know where it’s going. Sometimes it’s really funny and I make myself laugh, you know?
Rick: Yeah, you often introduce your videos that way too. You say, I don’t know what I’m going to say here, I’m just going to say something and then you start talking and some great little thing comes out.
Vicki: I think that after Bob got sick, I wanted to make a tape about what I was going through and he and I drove to Gatlinburg to attend a speaking circles session. People that were very nervous about public speaking.
Rick: Like, toastmasters kind of thing.
Vicki: Exactly. And Lee Glickstein is brilliant. He started it and he was a comedian who was paralyzed with fright doing stand up and so he founded speaking circles. But what I learned from Lee is that you should speak from your heart, your center, your gut, never speak from your mind. Speak from something deeper than that and be spontaneous. And he told me, this is 20 plus years ago, I sent him a tape and he said, Vicki, you’re a natural. He said, you should be on the speaking circle. And that terrified me and I knew that was not for me. But words are my thing.
Rick: One interesting thing about you is you actually wrote jokes for professional comedians. You wrote some for Phyllis Diller, for instance.
Vicki: Yeah, and when my daughter was sick in her last year of life, I’ve been writing for Joan Rivers for years and Joan got Bob and I tickets to see Hollywood Squares, remember that show? And so our whole family of four went out there and a friend kept the kids while Bob and I went to the taping. And we went to Yogananda Shrine and had Laurie blessed spiritually. We wanted to take her there. But when we got back, her cancer came back in a rush. She was six, she was still six, and it had spread to her lungs. And she entered the first grade and she almost made it through the first grade and she died. But we had that wonderful trip.
Rick: It’s amazing that you were able to write jokes when you’re going through this tragic thing. Did the humor writing kind of help you make it through the tragic stuff?
Vicki: Yeah, and before she got sick, I wanted to be the next Irma Bombeck. I was more interested in writing humor. But then I realized that wouldn’t work. And so I switched over and started. Where I found my voice, I have to say this was on Jerry Katz’s non-duality Yahoo site. And Jerry has a great sense of humor. And that’s how I met my friend Peter. Peter came on there and I had written one of my essays about suffering through Bob’s cancer and Peter responded. And I wrote back and I said, it sounds like you might be sick yourself. And from that my book came. It just started happening. The letters, the emails just started.
Rick: Yeah, if people listening end up reading your book Bigger Than the Sky, it’s mostly about your emails with Peter.
Vicki: Oh, it’s totally that.
Rick: Yeah, and Peter was this interesting guy who you never met and you didn’t even know where he lived or what he looked like or anything else, but you guys had this great spiritual friendship. And he was so sick he could barely move. He would have to crawl sometimes and he would just sit in the sun for hours with his cat. It was very sweet to read.
Vicki: He was a powerhouse and Jerry was the one that told me that he had founded sentient.org, one of the first spiritual websites. Were you familiar with it or was that before your time?
Rick: It was before, I never checked it out. I looked it up the other day when I saw it in your book.
Vicki: It’s gone now.
Rick: It’s a technology website.
Vicki: don’t even know when Peter died. He just wrote less and less. But many people who have read this book and far too few people know about it. It’s with New Harbinger Press and they don’t even put it up on paper back in Amazon anymore. I’d rather people get it as an e-book from me.
Rick: Yeah, I imagine you’ll get a little boost in sales as a result.
Vicki: He was beautifully literate, he wasn’t. He was the essence of simplicity and humor.
Rick: Here’s a question, you know, you’ve talked about sort of being conscious and then being unconscious and shifting back and forth, and we’ve also talked about conserving energy and so on. And a question came in from Kranti in Freehold, New Jersey. She asks, “Could you elaborate more on how one can perform his or her tasks more consciously? From an energy body perspective, what really happens when one behaves unconsciously?”
Vicki: Well, Vernon used to tell us, he said, “When you are walking across the room to turn on a light, know, know that you are walking across the room and know that you’re turning on the light.” And he would say things like, “If you have a lamp and there’s something broken,” he would say, “get it fixed. Do not approach it a hundred or a thousand times knowing that it’s broken and make no effort to fix it.” So he was very, very practical. So all spiritual teachings come down to being conscious, whether it’s being conscious that you’re the outermost out and the innermost in, or that this is tea, and I just took a drink and it was good. When you cry, know that you’re crying. I called his teacher after I had a hysterectomy and had gotten the flu in the hospital was quite ill. And I said, “What can I do? What can I do?” And she said, “Know that you are lying on the bed.” She said, “When you’re ill, the false self has a field day. So just know.” And I said, “That’s no help at all.” And she said, “Well, it’s the truth. It’s the truth.” So we have to begin to notice everything that we can. And then you’ll see that most of your life you’re sleepwalking through. Most people don’t know that there’s a difference in just talking to somebody and in talking to somebody consciously. And once you get to know that, you’ll learn who you don’t want to talk to because they’re giving you negative energy.
Rick: I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that. I know that a lot of people, for instance, do things in their lives and do things to their own bodies which, if they were conscious, they wouldn’t even dream of doing. How could you do things? And Jesus said of the people who were crucifying, “Forgive them, Father. They know not what they do.” So there was a sort of oblivion that they were shrouded by and they were doing things that had they been sensitive, they wouldn’t have dreamed of doing. Oh, here’s a great quote that I found in your writing. If I can find it quickly. Yes, here it is. This is from Dogen, the Zen master. He said, “Having met with his own Buddha nature, Dogen seems to have become less judgmental, less demanding. Asked what he had learned abroad,” he had gone traveling someplace, he said, “Not much, except a tender spirit.” This relates to the point I was just making, this sort of tender, sensitive, aware, perceptive spirit, and going through life with that as opposed to being numbed out.
Vicki: My mother used to remind me that everybody’s suffering. Even a rich man whose Cadillac gets a dent in it is suffering from that. But everybody, I mean, Buddha said all of life is suffering. And so here’s another final teaching, suffer consciously. Patricia’s son said, “Jesus died conscious.”
Rick: Yeah, but I would parry that by a quote from your book where you say, “At the very end of the path is a light, that I have heard. I have also heard that it is at the very beginning and at all points in between. I have also heard it rumored that we are on the path, the light and each other.” That we are the path, the light and each other. So even though in one sense life is suffering, yes, but there is sort of light, you could say, or bliss permeating all along and at every stage of the path. It’s like the goal is all along the path. So you know, because it could be quite a pessimistic thing to emphasize that everything is suffering without counterbalancing it with the fact that the bliss or the light of God permeates everything. Yeah.
Vicki: I’m not real topped off with bliss most days. I’m just doing good to get through the day, you know, keeping it simple.
Rick: That silence you mentioned that has been predominant for the last seven years or has at least been kind of the foundation of your experience for the last seven years, maybe we wouldn’t call it bliss, but isn’t there a contentment in that which wasn’t there before that became the norm?
Vicki: Another trip I took Bob to was to visit Betty Bethers. She’s deceased now, but she told me, she said, “You have a hugely peaceful aura.” And I said, “I certainly don’t feel like it most days.” She said, “Oh, it’s big, it’s big.” So I do have a lot of peace around me.
Rick: Yeah. And you get, you know, whatever our experience in life, we acclimate to it, you ya know?
Vicki: You have no choice.
Rick: Yeah, you get used to it. Even if you’re in a prison cell or whatever, you acclimate.
Vicki: And you know, I often wish that I had a social life, but truth to tell, truth be known, I have a real strong energy feeling. It’s not one people would particularly enjoy, people that were just barbecuing and looking at sports, you know? It’s like, it’s almost like the price of kissing is your life, as Rumi said. It’s like I’ve kissed the teachings and the price has been my everyday and I don’t have a social life. I mean, this is, yes, I have a lot of energy and a lot of power, but I also have a lot of fear about the future. Like it’s just my son and I, and when I die, that’s it, you know? There won’t be any grandchildren. There’s no extended family. And I can let that bring me down a little bit.
Rick: Yeah, maybe, I guess you could. I mean, Irene and I don’t have any children, and even though my grandparents had four sons, there’s no one continuing the line now, and my attitude is, so what? There’s plenty of people in the world.
Vicki: Maybe I can catch a little of that from you.
Rick: We don’t need to continue with archers necessarily. i; She said we wouldn’t want to continue our combination.
Vicki: What’d she say?
Rick: She said we wouldn’t want to continue our combination. I don’t know about that.
Vicki: That’s what my mother said. She said, really, it’s probably a good thing. My father was addicted to prescription drugs. He started a pharmaceutical company in Memphis, and so he knew all the doctors in town, and his pockets were always full of what he called headache pills. He was an addict, addicted to prescription drugs.
Rick: Regarding fear, you just said it somehow causes you fear sometimes when you consider your mortality and your lineage and so on. There’s something you said about it, “Ride the horse of fear consciously.” Choose it. Resistance to fear is what perpetuates it.
Vicki: I’m talking to Vicki all the time about that. I’m talking to myself. Something else I want to tell you, I had severe agoraphobia from the age of 13. I don’t know when it eased up, and then it changed into social anxiety.
Rick: Agoraphobia is being afraid of wide open spaces, is it?
Vicki: Yeah, and it just came on me suddenly. Betty Bethard’s the one that I was telling you, said I had a peaceful energy field. She said, “When did your agoraphobia start?” I said, “About 13-ish.” She said, “Puberty.” She said, “That’s when mine started.” She said, “People tend to be psychic. That’s sort of when they get really scared.” So that’s been a huge battle for me in my earlier life, and now it doesn’t matter. I’m just like, it doesn’t matter anymore.
Rick: Sounds like, it reminds me of something Stephen Wright said. He said, “Most people are afraid of heights.” He said, “I’m afraid of widths.”
Vicki: I love one-liners. One of them on my website says, “Straight is the way and narrow is the gate, and the ego is a double wide.”
Rick: That’s pretty good. But you know, this whole thing about social anxiety and being a recluse and being a loner and all that stuff, I think there’s more pluses to that than minuses. I mean, you can be totally a social butterfly and very much in the crowd and all that and be very lonely and very alone. There’s an old Bengali saying that says, “If no one comes on your call, then go ahead alone.” And obviously, the whole tradition of spirituality is full of characters who were loners and who were just kind of focused on what they considered important and didn’t really care what the world thought about it. And there are kindred souls out there, especially with the internet these days, and you’ve met some, and so you might be sitting in your house, but there’s a whole network of people who are connected with you.
Vicki: True, true. It’s a price that ultimately I don’t want to pay, but it’s also my karma. I mean, I just believe that everybody has their own karma in the midst of this world where there’s seemingly choices all around. You know, I was drawn to a particular teacher, and now with Tao, the Peruvian guy, he’s just brought me to that stage where you just sort of a what me worry approach to everything. You’re just like, I asked him, I said, “Some lady said, ‘Well, you’re a writer. Why don’t you help me? I want to write a book about'” she was a chiropractor or something. And I told Tao about it, and he said, “Just tell her, this is not for me.” And what was the other thing? Oh, I did have a dream about Vernon after he died. And he said this to me, he said, “Don’t be so accommodating, act a little tough.” This is a message for women.
Rick: He certainly did, yeah.
Vicki: Yeah. And so in my writing, in all of my writing, I am tough. Bottom line, I’m being tough.
Rick: You’re tough.
Vicki: You don’t think so?
Rick: Yeah, you’re okay. You’re sort of sugar-coated tough. I mean, you’re very sweet, and it comes across in your videos.
Vicki: I don’t know how my videos are influencing people, but I’m to the point of stopping making them. I haven’t made one in a couple months. We’ll see. I don’t know if they’ll go on or not. I did lots of them.
Rick: Yeah, well, if it brings you happiness, it doesn’t even matter if anybody watches them.
Vicki: Made them on my Galaxy phone.
Rick: Right, right.
Vicki: But see, I don’t use my phone. I don’t want the, I keep the ringer off on my telephone.
Rick: Yeah. Here’s something, a nice little quote from your friend Peter that I noted down. He said, “There’s nothing that you can do to obtain grace. It either happens or it doesn’t.” And I kind of wanted to take exception to that and see what you thought, and that is that, you know, there’s that saying, “God helps those who help themselves,” and like you were saying earlier about, you know, not sort of trying to teach people who aren’t receptive or who aren’t ready to learn and that kind of thing. You know, I think that one can do things in one’s life to make oneself more susceptible to or worthy of grace, and then the grace will flow more readily. So there is something you can do to obtain grace, maybe not immediately or directly or anything, but through accumulating energy, as Vernon Howard said, it makes one more and more grace-prone. You know that saying you’ve probably heard that enlightenment may be an accident, but spiritual practice makes you accident-prone. So maybe you can become –
Vicki: No, I haven’t. That’s new to me. I haven’t heard that.
Rick: Yeah, so maybe you can become more grace-prone through taking the right measures in one’s life.
Vicki: And usually grace happens when you’ve done something you’re terrified of doing, when you take a leap. That’s usually when grace will manifest. I’m taking a leap by talking to you, so maybe a lot of grace is going to manifest just from this.
Rick: Yeah, it could.
Vicki: And I was really fearful about doing it.
Rick: Yeah, I’m not so scary, am I?
Vicki: No, I think you’re delightful.
Rick: And I mean, some of the stories you’ve told us today illustrate the point. Like for instance, you took a leap and went to Maui based on some dream, you know, and then all these cool circumstances unfolded from that. So you know, I think you may have learned in your life that if you just sort of take a step, then things unfold.
Vicki: We are being watched over and I have a huge story to tell about what happened after we buried Bob.
Rick: Please do, yeah, please. >
Vicki: Right now?
Rick: Yeah, yeah, now’s a good time.
Vicki: Well, he turned 63 on December the 12th. And I kept him at home and nursed him at home until December the 16th, when we took him to hospice in an ambulance. And there’s a little Christmas tree in the room and I hated hospice, it was terrible. And he hated it so bad that he was going to, he told his doctor to get him out of there. And his doctor said, okay, we’ll just move you back to the regular hospital on Monday. But he died that Sunday night. So we didn’t have to go through that. But my sister, who’s a devotee of Amma, and I see her up on your bookcase there, that little figure. When she heard that Bob was in hospice, she drove all the way through from Pennsylvania to Atlanta to help Robin out. And she sent Robin home when she got there, because we were just running on, we had nothing left. So she sat by Bob the night he died. And she chanted, like the chant she would chant when she was with Amma, she chanted. And she said that night when they brought his dinner tray in, of course he didn’t eat it, but she said there was one little Hershey kiss, which is Amma gives out the Hershey kisses. She said she chopped it up into tiny pieces and put it under his tongue. And so they called in the middle of the night, the matron, and she said, “Your husband has died. Would you like to come in?” And I said, “No, I don’t want to.” So Laurie came home. And from that point, we had to get to Memphis really fast, because he died on the 20th. He was buried on the 23rd. And a huge ice storm was bearing down on Memphis. We were not really aware of that because they had said, “We got to get this funeral in. And we’re not going to have a viewing.” There was a viewing for like two hours before a brief service, and then we’re going to get up and go to the grave. During the middle of that service, I started hearing sleet hitting the roof. And I knew then we were in trouble. So by the time they put us in the limo and seated us at graveside, they put big heavy blankets over us because the cemetery was beautiful then. It was covered with white ice and there were red poinsettias on the graves. So that got over, and we went back to the funeral home. And my sister, Laurie, who my daughter’s name was Laurie, named after my sister, she said, “Somebody has stolen my purse out of the car.” And Bob’s sister, Mary Frances, said, “My purse has been stolen too.” So we didn’t even get to go to a relative’s house for a meal because Laurie said, “I’ve got to go and cancel all my credit cards immediately.” By the time she did that, we were iced in at the Marriott Courtyard. So the next morning, I was talking to this waitress that was serving us, and I said, “What are we going to do? Tomorrow’s Christmas Eve. We’re snowed in here. How are we going to eat?” And she said, “Well, I have to work tomorrow. Marriott’s going to pay for me to send me to come in for Christmas Eve.” And she said, “You are going to have your Christmas dinner.” It was my sister, my cousin, and Robbie and I. So there were four of us. And she said, “Marriott gave us a baked ham with all the fix.” And she said, “I’m going to bring it in.” And she said, “Let’s all meet at five o’clock, and we’re going to sit down, and we’re going to have Christmas dinner.” So I was too tired to get out, and I went to the bed and crashed. But my son, my sister, and my cousin walked on foot to find Christmas Eve goodies. They couldn’t find stockings, so they bought liquor bags because they were in the shape of stockings. And they crammed them full of candy and silly, silly stupid stuff. And they got Mary a hat, and they put Mary in glitter on her Santa Claus hat. So even though my husband and my daughter were lying in the cemetery like five minutes away, we were surrounded by grace. Across the street was St. Francis Hospital. I asked Mary, who had fixed this meal for us, what her middle name was, and she said, “Francis.” Mary Francis, Mary Francis, Mary Francis had her purse stolen. It was incredible. But we did not feel any grief that night. We felt only a great gratitude to this black girl that had given up her Christmas Eve. And I asked her about her family, and she said, “Well, you know, my son was a patient at St. Jude’s too. Now, how about that?”
Rick: That’s sweet.
Vicki: Yeah, more than sweet, it was meant to be. But we never forgot it. And then the next day, Christmas dinner, I had a pack of crackers out of the vending machine. We got the last seats on the plane going back to Atlanta. And then we got news of the huge tsunami that struck that year.
Rick: Oh, yeah, Indonesia.
Vicki: So at that point, 2004, 2005, I felt my life had completely been obliterated, and I started all over. So here I am now, 15 years later, and I’m still writing like crazy.
Rick: Yeah, you’re like a phoenix risen from the ashes.
Vicki: I am. I’ve got nothing else to do. I got nothing else to do.
Rick: Yeah. Here’s a saying from your book, a line from your book, “Only often, God only talks to us when he gets us so low that we are willing to listen.”
Rick: Yeah, I mean, that relates to something I jotted down previous to that, which is, how could a loving God do this to me? And sometimes when people consider the horrors of the world, they think, “Oh, God couldn’t exist,” or if he does exist, he’s a sadist or something, you know, all these horrible things happen to people. But you know, it’s like if we, I said this last week, I think, if we zoom out enough, we can see or intuit that there’s an evolutionary agenda or trajectory to the whole universe, and you know, zoomed in too small, you can’t see it. It’s kind of like, there must be examples from, I don’t know, well, like the Flat Earth Society, people believe the Earth is flat because it looks flat to them, but if you zoom out enough, you see that it’s a sphere. So life can seem harsh and cruel and capricious and arbitrary and so on, if you’re just sort of looking at the small picture, as that saying, you know, losing the forest for the trees, you’re not seeing the whole forest, you’re just seeing a tree. But if you zoom out bigger, you realize that there’s this kind of divine play going on.
Vicki: Yeah, and you’re more able to forgive people who are sleeping this lifetime and are not interested in waking up.
Rick: Yeah, and on that note, you know, I think we also want to remain humble in the sense that we shouldn’t necessarily assume that because they appear to be sleeping and we appear to be awake, that we are actually better or more highly evolved or even more spiritual. You never know, you know, isn’t there something in the Bible about that, that you never know when you might be entertaining an angel in your presence, who doesn’t seem like an angel? Because that happens too, I mean here’s a quote from your thing, you say, “I say how tired I get of sophisticated non-dualism, the kind that turns you into a snob. It’s easy to sit in satsang with people who have never really suffered, but those of us who have must tell it like it is.” So there can be this sort of holier than thou thing that gets going when people get into spirituality, when they begin to kind of look down upon those who don’t seem to be into spirituality or into things the way they are.
Vicki: I found that I enjoy kirtans a lot because it’s not intellectual, it’s just sort of a, everybody’s just in love and they’re chanting and it’s a lovely experience for me to have because it’s not intellectual. When Amma does her retreats, there’s one evening on the retreat where she does a Q&A and so people are asking questions and usually she doesn’t do this, usually she’s just hugging people all the time, but you know, so for an hour or so there’s questions and answers and questions and answers. At the end of it, she always, you know, the tabla player pulls out the tablas and somebody gets the organ and she starts clapping some drumsticks together and just sings some simple little kirtans to get everybody back into the heart and then everybody goes to dinner.
Vicki: Yeah, I like those. I think Amma’s the real deal.
Rick: Oh yeah. Have you seen her down there in Atlanta?
Vicki: Just once, just once. But I dreamed about her and it was something about her taking me out, you know, but it’s a long time ago. But my sister was really, really serious. She visited her ashram and at her ashram, I will say, she was as strict, according to what my sister told me, as Vernon Howard was. She makes these people work and work hard. She puts people on overload. I mean, there’s a method to their madness. They want you to be an overload. So something in you will crack just enough that will soften you or humble you, you know?
Rick: And there have been spiritual teachers who’ve abused this kind of thing, but you know, having spent about 20 years seeing Amma every year, there’s one thing that Irene and I noticed when we first went to see her, and I still notice, I see the same people, many of them there on staff who were there 20 years ago, and they work so hard and they just have this saintly quality about them that’s developed over the years. You know, and it’s just, it’s very sweet to see, and the devotion and love between them and Amma is also very beautiful to see.
Vicki: I think Krishna Das is a wonderful example too of somebody who stayed very centered as he travels the world.
Rick: Yeah, and his master, of course, Neem Karoli Baba, was really into selfless service also. He had Ram Das and others working to, like, these eye clinics to help prevent blindness and various seva projects. So there’s definitely something about, it’s right in the theme that you just said, that the selfless service tends to kind of mitigate the ego by taking the focus off of it and onto others, and you know, culturing a more giving, selfless attitude or orientation. A question came in from Leland from Cortez Island, British Columbia. Leland says, “I had an experience recently with sadness that I had been carrying as a feeling in the background. I felt that I could never cry out all the grief and sadness. Then recently from a place of witnessing, I saw how I had been holding the sadness and that it was itself a form of attachment. So much was let go of without tears. What are your thoughts on this and on the value and meaning of grieving from your experience? Is it mostly ego-based attachment? Blessings, thanks, and love.”
Vicki: I would say that I don’t have a ready answer to that, because grief is such a powerful thing. I don’t think we know a lot about it. I mean, what I have experienced about my own grief was that there really wasn’t a remedy. And my mother would say, “Well, Vicki, when you feel like it, get out and go to the mall.” You ride grief in waves. But there’s some truth to taking advantage of when you just had a good cry and you’re all cleaned out, then get out and have a little fun, you know, because the grief is going to be waiting for you when you come back. I didn’t answer that question at all.
Rick: We can take another crack at it. So you’re saying that maybe there’s times when you might want to just really, really feel it, and perhaps times when you might want to give yourself a respite by distracting yourself or going to the mall or something, watching a movie.
Vicki: I know it’s a very lonely, isolating experience. That’s what grief is. You feel alone and you feel isolated. And it’s a matter of just getting through it as best you can, whatever works for you. Writing has helped me enormously. My interest in the path has helped me be a survivor. Because I do believe in grace. I do believe that even in your darkest hours as you’re being watched over, that something in us bigger than us knows. But this is just a part of being human, human’s grief.
Rick: There’s a couple of quotes from your book that I think are relevant. Consciousness is stronger than darkness, and we are consciousness itself. And another one, “The real can never be taken from us. The unreal was never ours to begin with.”
Vicki: I like that.
Rick: Yeah, pretty good.
Vicki: I like it. I like her, she’s a good writer.
Rick: That’s actually, I would almost think you got that from the Gita because there’s a verse just like it. It says, “The unreal has no being, the real never ceases to be.”
Vicki: Well, I have read libraries of books, but you know, I’ve got ridden, I look over at my bookcase, somebody said, “Vicki, if you love books so much, how come you don’t have any?” And I’ve just got, I don’t read them anymore. I have a few that I may open up to inspire me, but for the most part, I’ve taken them to goodwill, you know?
Rick: Yeah. So you just told us a little while ago that you may or may not keep making little videos. You have a lot of written material, which theoretically you could turn into more books or you could put on your blog, and there’s probably a ton of stuff on your blog. How many articles or blog posts are on there?
Vicki: I don’t know. I know at one time I had over 2,500 Facebook notes.
Rick: Yeah, there you go.
Vicki: And they were all, see, I write in full essay form. But my books don’t sell. I told Tao that, and he said, “People have to be led to your books because they contain the truth and people don’t want the truth.”
Rick: Well, they’re good little books.
Vicki: And there’s some truth in that. There’s some truth in that. People are looking for easy answers, and I never wanted to write a book on how to be enlightened, how to be a mystic. My path is just to write from the heart spontaneously and keep it fresh.
Rick: Well, I would say that for those who like to read, these are good little books to have. I mean, I read a spiritual book or two every week because of what I do. And these were just refreshing to me. Every single little chapter is usually no more than a page or a page and a half, and each one sort of draws you right in. It’s this great little story, and it’s based upon your experience. You’re not just sort of pontificating, you know, abstractly. And many of them are quite poignant with everything you went through. So I think, you know, people, and they’re small, and you can just like read them one story at a time, you know, one story at night or something like that.
Vicki: Some people use them as meditations. Somebody said, “I printed out your latest e-book, and I’m just reading it.” Like a daily meditation.
Rick: Right, it’s the kind of books that you want to just take in small doses, maybe, not try to just plow through cover to cover. You can open them anywhere. You can just crack it open halfway through or whatever.
Vicki: I have come to the end of the line with publishing, with publishing houses and agents and all that. That’s why I’m just doing e-books, and they’re for sale on my site. It’s like Amazon is pushing small publishing houses and small writers out of business. They want the small writer to publish with Amazon. And so it’s really a headache that I don’t want.
Rick: Well, thank God for the internet. In my radical days I used to say, “Freedom of the press belongs to those who have one.” But these days we all have one.
Vicki: Yeah, one might say too many of us. But I believe in what I do. I mean, I really think that I want them to be readable. I want people to laugh. I want to be able to be sarcastic, terse, whatever. I try to convey whatever mood I’m in to the reader, and usually they’ll write back and say, “I feel the same way.”
Rick: So people do want to write back to you. Is your email address on your website or something?
Vicki: Yeah, it’s on my website.
Rick: Okay, so people can get in touch.
Vicki: Many people, I only have a small blog, very few readers subscribe. But they answer, they leave comments there. But as a rule, I really am not anybody that’s teaching anybody anything. I’m sharing the journey.
Rick: Yeah, that comes across. And I mean, one of the themes of this show is that we’re interviewing, having conversations with ordinary spiritually awakening people, emphasis on the word “ordinary.” And part of the intention to that, or for that, is that we don’t want to convey the impression that spiritual development or awakening is something extraordinary, that you have to be some kind of glow-in-the-dark Eckhart Tolle type to actually experience that millions of people are experiencing it to varying degrees, living ordinary lives. Important, because if people think that they have to be super special, then they’re never going to feel like it’s kind of hopeless.
Vicki: Look at the old Zen patriarchs, the patch road monks, you know, they were just out there chopping wood and carrying water. And that’s the life I lead, going to the grocery, cooking what I buy, watching television, doing Tai Chi, walking, meditating. And through all of that, there is this mellowness, this silence of, it’s what I love, it’s what I love.
Rick: Yeah, isn’t that nice?
Rick: And actually, you know, obviously, that becomes more, it can become more and more evident for a person, and it might be a little unkind to just say, “Well, it’s just there, just notice it.” might not be able to notice it, but over time, you know, if we give our attention to that, it grows stronger in our life as anything does to which we give our attention. So I always try to, I mean, I’m always sort of wanting to encourage people in case anybody, hear so many stories of people feeling hopeless and heartbroken and having difficulties, and it’s good to get it out there that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not an oncoming train. You know, we can’t actually, if we have our attention in the right place and take the right steps, things generally can get better. Can’t make promises, but they do.
Vicki: But at the same time, we have to make room for the fact that this life on this planet is very difficult, very challenging. But the deeper you go, the more you realize that you are the whole thing. You’re an approximation of the whole thing, let’s put it that way.
Rick: Yes, and in fact, you are the whole thing. It’s just a matter of coming to realize it, and that’s a lifelong project. But you know, that which all the sages say, that which we essentially are is the totality. You know, that thou art, “Tat Tvam Asi.” And none of us start out knowing that when we come into this world, and life is a matter of growing into that more and more. And there’s no time limit.
Vicki: Oh, no.
Rick: That’s the thing too, I remember one time I was teaching a meditation retreat and I was talking about enlightenment and all that, and some older person who was there who actually also had MS or something, they started to cry because they felt like, “Oh, I’m never going to get it. My nervous system isn’t functioning properly, and I’m too old,” and all that. But as far as I, from my perspective and understanding, it’s a continuum, and you could sort of wake up to the initiative to go deeper into spirituality on your dying day, and good, that’s a good start. You’ll keep going from there.
Vicki: I remember Ram Dass telling the story about teaching, talking to a group of people, and he was talking about waking up and enlightenment, and he said this older lady kept nodding, nodding in this silent agreement, and he asked her how she had learned it, and she said, “I knit.”
Vicki: So, there’s very simple ways to get into that nicely altered state, you know?
Rick: Yeah, so knitting was like her meditation.
Vicki: Yeah, yeah.
Rick: Eckhart Tolle tells a story about a monk of some sort who got awakened watching a cat looking at a mouse hole.
Vicki: That sounds like Peter and his cats.
Rick: Yeah, just the attention that he saw the cat giving to that little task of watching for the mouse, you know?
Rick: I guess it sort of, he had trained with that focus, and it woke him up. Well, Vicki, we’ve rambled on about all kinds of things. I’ve been really enjoying this. Is there anything that you feel like you would like to say that we haven’t covered?
Vicki: It’s been a delightful chat. You’ve put me at ease immediately, Rick, and I thank you so much for allowing me to have this conversation with you.
Rick: Well, thanks for having it with me.
Vicki: It’s back and forth.
Rick: It’s been, I sort of, I get to know people each week, first by listening to them for hours and reading their stuff, and I feel like I already kind of know them even before I’ve talked to them, and then I talk to them for a couple of hours and get to know them even better. So, it’s a double whammy.
Vicki: It takes a discipline on your part to go that deep, sort of an art to what you do.
Rick: Yeah, I guess you could say that, but it doesn’t feel like a discipline. I mean, discipline has this onerous quality of, you know, you’ve got to train yourself to do something difficult. But for me, it’s just something I enjoy so much that I just naturally drawn to it.
Vicki: Well, I enjoyed the whole process. I enjoyed the guy that in Skype me to show us how to set it up.
Vicki: Yeah, learning how to wear, this is the first time I’ve worn earplugs. It’s all new to me.
Rick: Yeah, there’s a whole wonderful team of people.
Vicki: He was great.
Rick: Yeah, it’s Irene, Jerry, and Larry, and then Angel. Angel does the video post-production, and then there’s people out there who do some translating and transcribing and help with technical things and stuff. So it’s this kind of worldwide, and Dan, Dan in London has been forwarding us all these questions during our conversation.
Vicki: Well, it’s a huge thing you’re doing, really. You look at the list, and like, I was laughing, I told Robbie, I said, “Well, after this interview, I’ve got to return the equipment.” I turned back into a pumpkin. If you’ve got one of my books, you can hold up.
Rick: Oh, well, actually, I’ve been showing them. I have them in the computer. You can’t see them.
Vicki: Oh, I can’t. Oh, you showed them.
Rick: Now I’m showing the cover of “Life with a Hole in It.” Right now people are seeing it. And now I am showing the cover of “Bigger Than the Sky.” They’re beautifully designed covers. Who did your cover design?
Vicki: The first one was done by Book Locker, and the next one was done by Nonduality Press.
Rick: They’re real nice. Irene did book cover design for a few years, quite a few years. And in fact, if anybody wants to look at her covers, it’s book-cover-design.com. You can see all of her book covers. But anyway, she appreciates them. A lot of times I get spiritual books in the mail, and Irene says, “Oh, what a crappy cover. Can’t these spiritual people get good book covers?”
Vicki: They now see it, now I see it. But it’s hard to get these online. It’s better to get them in an e-book, really.
Rick: Well, they can do that from your website. I’ll be linking to that. So, I know you’re kind of a recluse, but if somebody’s listening to this and they actually feel like having a chat with you, are you open to having Facebook chat? I mean Skype chats with people, or would you just as soon not do that?
Vicki: I’m not sure. If somebody wants to, I might consider it. It’s like an I don’t know thing. I don’t know.
Rick: Well, they can email if they really feel drawn to do it, and you could say yes or no, or whatever you feel like saying.
Vicki: But certainly I would like for people to visit VickiWoodyard.com, because that’s where my fresh material comes from, and then I’ll link to my Facebook page. I’m not on Facebook as much as I used to be, but I am there at least once or twice a day.
Rick: Okay, that’s good. I’ll link to that stuff from your page on Batgap.com.
Rick: Well, thank you.
Rick: Thanks, Vicki. So take care. If I ever get down to Atlanta, I’ll give you a call, but I haven’t been there ever, really. Well, yeah, Irene and I went there when we first got married. We were traveling around teaching a bit, and we stopped in Atlanta. But we don’t do much traveling either. You can accomplish a lot just sitting in one place.
Vicki: I prefer it that way. I prefer it that way. Well, adios.
Rick: Adios, muchacha. Thank you very much.