“There is a subtle energy penetrating the body, a higher Intelligence that I can recognize because I’m a human being. With a very active attention, I can receive this energy. When this energy is there and I am aware of it moment by moment, I begin to be. All my thoughts, feelings, ideas are nothing compared to this precious treasure, this quality of energy that is not mine but what I am. The living mystery… I AM.”
On a summer’s day, a group of Americans arrive at a chalet in Switzerland for a week on retreat with a rare guide. Each of them hears the call of the higher. Yet who among them, despite baggage and type, crosses the threshold to awaken? At any moment is there enough attention to join with the vital force of life?
It’s a bumpy week. The tug of beliefs and self-image. Yet an indescribable energy, usually hidden, brings an entirely new state of being. As their guide puts it, “With attending to presence, allowing higher forces to enter, staying collected, returning, we can live in a new way.”
In these stories of the I AM, even as we are we rise.
“Something opens our wings.”
Up at the Retreat
Higher Consciousness at 6000 Feet
Alice questions her judgment.
When Ego Left Town
Can Nicholas and Tom repair the past?
The Only Way Out Is Up
Seymour takes a blow.
All the Other Voices
Angie can’t find the right note to sing.
The Masks Keep Falling
Laurence identifies with his role.
Half-Baked or Fully Cooked
Things heat up for Mary—but what about Jason?
Dancing in the Moonlight
Irene takes a leap of faith.
Removing the beam from Dan’s eye.
The Most Natural Thing in the World
Can Murphy begin a new chapter?
Another Kind of Love
What counts for Paulina.
Notes from a Meeting
Higher Consciousness at 7000 Feet
The Only Way Out Is Up
“The jungle grows up quickly every day. Must make a path every day. Keep something of this inner secret life alive while in activity in the world.” LeClair’s words are a call to consciousness. Seymour intends to honor them—and to learn the name of every one of the ninety international guests who have come here to Switzerland to work with LeClair on retreat at his chalet.
——It’s Seymour’s first time on the mountain. His assigned task is to clean out the cupboard in the dining hall to prepare for painting. When he cannot reach the top shelf, he takes the nearby piano bench, steps up onto it—
——He looks around. The room is empty. Quickly he hides the broken bench in a closet under some linens.
——All day he carries that bench. To break something his first day—and then to cover it up! Where is the Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow, who after all these years still prides himself on being trustworthy, honest, helpful, brave? How can I know myself when I pretend to be someone else?
——The next morning in the dining hall, he sits at a table with other artists sketching designs for the cupboard. So many creative types make it hard to agree. The discussion comes haltingly, with seriously hushed tones and knitted brows.
——Legs crossed at the knee, Seymour is unaware that under the table his shin moves up-down, up-down. Monasteries make him nervous….
“Expect moving, expect funny, expect joyous, and above all, expect enlightening…. This is truly a work of high attention and great love.”
–Whitley Strieber, best-selling author of COMMUNION and JESUS: A NEW VISION, unknowncountry.com
“Every foible we encounter in the book is our own foible…. And in the transformation that takes place as they are stripped down to their bone and revealed for the love that they actually are, rather than the torment we believe we suffer, a new idea arises…. I found myself crying during some of the stories in this book. I can’t even exactly say why. I just did. I am reminded of myself by it, perhaps; of how I forget, of how involved I am with myself, and how I have the potential and the opportunity to come back to something real…. Descriptions don’t do this book justice. It’s an experience that needs to be engaged in…. I doubt another book of this quality will emerge a second time from the bosom of the work’s results any time soon. It is a superior idiot of a book.”
–Lee van Laer, Senior Editor of PARABOLA, doremishock.com
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT I AM Stories
“The stories put the substance of THE NEXT ATTENTION into the very human context of interpersonal relationships.”
“I loved, loved, loved this book. These stories are delightful, colloquial and lyrical at the same time, imbuing the mundane with the profound. I was swiftly transported into the participants’ experiences sharing with them their struggles, but mostly lifted and enlivened by the nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout. She eloquently transmits a beautiful teaching.”
“5 stars. Wonderful Stories full of life and wisdom.”
“So thrilling to me. The words in I AM Stories are as engaging as the cover is beautiful allowing the reader to experience retreat in the Swiss Alps. It is the perfect companion to THE NEXT ATTENTION.
“What a great little book. Light, delightful, truthful.”
“It evokes the extraordinary memories of the many work periods that I have been part of, the profound and touching experiences that those times evoke that still vibrate.”
“It brought me many feelings about sublime moments and people I have known, and the feeling of ‘presence’ and ‘attention.’ A lovely blend of humor, storytelling, with a character study too. Most of all, it made me want to go high up on a BIG mountain and stay for a while!”
“These stories are Love flowing.”
“It’s great to savor. I can relate to Alice’s never getting it right, then opening to another influence and everything falling into place.”
“Beautiful book. I am touched by the wise choice of detail and skill in sustaining the theme of opening to what is here with us just Now. I know this volume is a work of love and it will be accessible to all those with eyes to see and ears to hear.”
“I loved the I AM stories. I absolutely just loved it.”
“I laughed out loud many times and it feels terrific! Describes so clearly so much that is familiar about intensive work periods and about myself.”
“One isn’t left high and dry with abstract theory and metaphysical ramblings like many other books of similar genres, but one is left, instead: uplifted, energized, inspired, as if That Mysterious Something has finally reached you and touched you and elevated your entire existence. A beautiful gift of a book, and a fresh repository of key reminders to BE.”
“Lovely book! Very inspiring. I work with a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, so I really appreciated it. Very meaningful to me. Such beautiful quotes from the teacher. I copied out a few.”
“A wonderful gift to us and all humanity. I feel energized and inspired, a boost greatly needed at this particular moment.”
“It’s magical. It’s just like being there. A perfect ride.”
“Meaningful and enjoyable to read. I am drawn to the richness of individuals’ experiences.”
“The book is so wonderful.”
“It took me to the mountain, again and again.”
“I am savoring it, story by story. So deftly handled. I ended up crying after reading the third story. It hit feeling very strongly. I think that says much about the quality of what is passed along here. This book is exactly the kind of humanizing influence needed now. It isn’t—like so much I run into these days— about argument or theory or philosophy or technique. It’s about being alive.”