In 1984, after more than a few “coincidences”, I started on a path that eventually led to the founding of Serenity, a music label committed to the creation of music for relaxation. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could have been any further from the world that I had been a part of.
As an aeronautical engineer, with a Bachelors and Masters Degree as well as a military jet pilot that made a living by landing on aircraft carriers, the thought of working in anything other than science had never crossed my mind. In fact, it was downright scary!
What prompted these most unusual thoughts was pressure from a relentless source that I could not identify.
Okay, let me stop for a moment. Before you write me off as a complete basket-case, let me clarify myself by taking a giant step back from that 1984 time frame to March of 1980. March 12 to be exact.
On that particular date in history I realized that I made alcohol my “god” and if I had continued to “bow” to it, I would eventually lose what little bit of life I had left. In plain English, I admitted that I was an alcoholic and my life had become absolutely and totally unmanageable.
Later that day I went to my first 12- Step meeting and have not drank alcohol again. End of story? No, just a beginning of another chapter in a book that continues to be written today.
Now back to 1984. With four years of sobriety and nearly 750 “12-Step meetings”, as well as two additional years of college psychology, I had a pretty good understanding of “self” when ‘they’ started. The ‘they’ I refer to were dreams that to this day I do not understand. For nearly 30 straight days I would wake up in the morning knowing I had dreamt the exact same dream the night before. And when I say ‘exact’, I mean ‘exact.’
In every dream I was in a retail store looking at a rack of cassette tapes that were identical. Each one had my name at the bottom and the words “Search for Serenity” at the top. There was also music in each dream.
Every night. Every night. Every night. Finally, with sheer frustration, I yelled out loud as I drove home, on a Friday afternoon, from my aerospace job near Los Angeles. “God, I don’t know what these dreams are supposed to mean, but if you are responsible then You better tell me what to do about them because they are driving me crazy!”
Instantly, a Voice so clear that I honestly looked in the back seat to see if there was anyone there. “I will tell you at work on Monday.”
I never had that dream again. By Monday I had all but put this foolishness out of my mind as I walked down a long hallway on my way to lunch. As I approached a fellow employee that I only knew by first name the Voice returned. “Ask him.”
In the next 15 seconds as the two of us approached I had a supersonic conversation with this Voice that included such questions and comments as “ask him what?” or “I don’t know him” and “he’s going to think I’m nuts” and lastly “why are You doing this to me?”
When I had completed this one-sided argument, the Voice again stated, “Ask him.”
Too late. He was now just a few steps from me. “Hi, it’s Tom, right?”
“Yes it is and you’re Jim, if I remember right. In sales, right?”
“Right.” After pausing and taking a deep breath in hopes incoming air would include a bit of wisdom, I told him that someone had suggested I ask him for some advice. I explained that I was considering the creation of a cassette tape that would have a focus on serenity and music.
Tom only thought for a second before he responded with the name of a person in his church that had often written music for specific projects. He added that he had one of his cassettes in his desk drawer if I wanted to listen to it.
With the cassette in hand I headed to my car in the parking lot. Within seconds I knew I had heard the music before. What I was listening to had been the background music in every one of my dreams.
I sat motionless in total disbelief as I listened to a cassette that led to a meeting with Rob Whitesides-Woo, Serenity’s first artist and then Serenity’s first album, Miracles. In 2007 Serenity released album number 74. This is a long way from aerospace!
At the suggestion of another I had started to journal my experiences shortly after becoming sober. By the time I reached the “month of dreams” I had already filled more than a stack of notebooks with the good and bad things I was experiencing and learning.
Many of the people I have shared my written words with have suggested I get them off my bookshelf and into the hands of others who would appreciate them. That is what this new addition, my first book, A Journey of Reflections is all about.
If this interests you, climb aboard. I will share with you all that I have learned, the mistakes I have made, and the struggles I continue to fight. Remember, living a spiritual life does not make life easy, it gives one the support when things just seem too tough!