THE ASCENT CHAPTER TEN

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CHAPTER TEN

 

A NEW GIRLFRIEND

She’s beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; She is woman, and therefore to be won[1]

                                                    William Shakespeare

                                                                  

Before they left, I asked Eli what he meant when he said: Oh, and why not, since it seemed a curious response. Was there someone he knew? The question begged to be answered. Rather than say anything, he just smiled, got up, and walked out the door into the moonlight with Mo.

The suspense still lingered in my mind when they arrived at the cabin the following morning. Even before I had a chance to bring the subject up, Eli picked up on where we left off yesterday.

‘I think it’s time we discuss your love life, James,’ he said. ‘We sense this is something you wish to talk about some more.’

‘Maybe; I suppose… I don’t know; guess it depends on what you have to say. But I’m not sure I need counselling so much as a little female consoling which I’ve noticed is notably absent on this Summit.’

‘Certainly, none that you’re aware of,’ Eli said. ‘Rather than receiving counselling from us, perhaps we need to find James someone to console him. What do you think?’

‘You know, I think we probably should do something,’ Mo said. ‘Just look at him… sitting in the corner looking so forlorn; yet he’s suave, debonair, and smart… though probably not as smart as he thinks he is. It must be frustrating for him not to find the woman he’s looking for, be it here, there or anywhere else.

‘Do you think we should try to help him, maybe talk to him about things… provided, of course, he’s prepared to listen to what we have to say.’

‘Yes, that would be a splendid idea, Mo,’ Eli said as he turned towards me with a straight face. ‘At least it might give him some hope.’

‘So, James, Mo and I have been talking… you might have overheard us, but we think you might need some assistance in finding a woman, one that won’t give you so much grief. From what we can tell, it seems things haven’t been such a romp in the playpen lately.’

‘Frankly, Eli, I’d prefer you not get too involved in my private affairs, even if they amuse you.’

‘But, James, we’re concerned.’

‘I’m sure you are. Okay, I’ll admit I’ve had a few setbacks with women walking out on me recently, still, that’s nothing compared to their loss. Anyway, it wasn’t that much of a loss, considering how seldom they pitched in for food, rent and hydro. However, I must say they each did their part keeping me warm at night.’

‘That’s nice, so what else can you tell us? Remember, we’re your friends; you can tell us anything… we promise not to be scandalised.’

‘You already seem to know a lot more than you should.’

‘In the infinite field of consciousness,’ Mo said, ‘there can be no secrets since there’s nothing to hide.’

‘Are you saying there’s someone out there in these higher realms that has access to all my secrets?’

‘The past is the past; only the present has meaning,’ he said. ‘Secrets are just an attempt to avoid guilt and judgment. Our domain knows nothing of these since whatever is of fear is the absence of love, so they can’t exist in higher planes; no more than darkness can exist in the light.’

‘Is that so? Well, where I come from, there are plenty of dirty little secrets. Not so much mine, mind you, but others.’

‘I’m sure,’ Eli said. ‘When you think about it, darkness has no reality, only the absence of light. There are no secrets where there is no guilt, sin, or shame; those qualities that fester and flourish in the world’s domain of fear. Best of all, there’s no one to judge you but yourself, not even God.’

‘Eli’s right,’ Mo said. ‘Only light and truth exist where unconditional love prevails. Whenever you fear, you already sense how much it contrasts with feelings of love. It should tell you how much you don’t want to tolerate these feelings. They are toxic, that’s evident, however, few on earth seem to make the connection.  Source flows outwardly as a Ray of Creation through all dimensions, from the inner celestial realms to angels, humans, amoeba, rocks and all that is.’

‘That’s fine,’ I said, ‘however, don’t you think we’re getting a bit off-topic? For now, I think we’ve already talked enough about your magical ray descending from somewhere above; I’d prefer to discuss more down to earth matters.’

‘You mean you want to talk more about your relationships with women?’ Eli asked.

‘Maybe, just be sure not to wound my delicate sensibilities. You know how easily I cry,’ I said, chuckling.

‘We would never hurt your feelings unless it made us laugh. If you laugh with us, however, it’s better than us laughing at you. So, if we laugh, it’s only because it’s funny. Besides, I’m sure there is much in your life that makes things even more amusing when you get defensive.’ 

‘Now you know why the Buddha always had such a big goofy grin on his face all the time,’ Mo said. ‘In his lightness of being, he found amusement.’

‘Maybe,’ I said, ‘if one day I achieved enlightenment like him, I too might find it easier to laugh at my own comedy of errors.[2] I remember one young woman once told me I was too serious and that she’d prefer a man with more humour and fewer brains. That stung since she seemed to enjoy my sharp wit.’

‘Still, if all you have is wit,’ Eli said, ‘that can get tiresome after a while. It might have impressed her at first because it appeared clever. However, wit doesn’t have the same attraction as humour. Didn’t someone once say that if you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything?’ [3]

‘There might be some truth to that,’ I said. ‘Too bad the same can’t be said about wit. Perhaps my problem is that I try too hard to impress women. Which, of course, I always do, at least in bed if I get that far.’

‘In which case,’ Eli said, ‘that might be better than having them laugh, depending on what they’re laughing at.’

‘Yes, you’re right; awe is better. Maybe I need to lighten up more like you two comedians. You’ve given me plenty to laugh about this whole time.’

‘Indeed, we like to keep things light and even frivolous at times to offset our heavier discussions,’ Mo said. ‘Most philosophers aren’t particularly known for their levity of spirit; are they? When was the last time you saw a philosopher do stand-up comedy?’

‘Not since George Carlin,’ I said. ‘Not that he was a philosopher, per se, yet his social commentary was often even more insightful than hilarious, just like here. When I return, I’ll miss these jovial times with your off-beat humour, Eli, should I be able to remember these happy days here.’

‘If that’s the case,’ El said, ‘would you be interested if we could find you someone that could keep you happy all the time back home?’

‘What are you saying, Eli? No one can do that, at least not all the time.’

‘So how about a beautiful young woman that would make you so deliriously happy you’d have to medicate yourself each day before going out the door.’ 

‘Where do you think you’re going to find someone like that when I, with my considerable charm, haven’t been able to find any such a woman? I’d say not bloody likely!’

‘Well, guess what, Cassanova? We already have.’

‘Of course, you have, and on which dating site did you find her? Even if you had, why haven’t you already told me about her?’

‘We assumed you didn’t wish to be distracted from your course work here.’

‘You’re right,’ I said. ‘Why would I want to be distracted with such a person when I can sulk in loneliness and despair for the rest of my life? I suspect you’re making this up; if not, tell me her name. Who is she?’

 ‘Let me find out. Say, Mo,’ Eli shouted out to Mo, who had gone out to split firewood, ‘do you remember the name of that woman we were discussing the other day.’

Mo didn’t seem to be paying attention to what we were saying, at least not that he let on.

‘What woman?’ he asked.

‘You know, the one we were discussing that we thought might be a good match for James. It appears Miss Lonely Hearts[4] here wants to know her name. Do you remember since the name seems to have escaped me?’ 

This was sounding more all the time like another one of Eli’s setups. I wasn’t sure if Mo was complicit in this mischief since he seemed, supposedly, more concerned about piling his firewood than paying attention to us.

‘Now that you mention it,’ Mo said as he came back in with an armful of wood. ‘I think I remember us talking about someone. Do you recall which side of the border wall she was on?’

‘If I’m not mistaken,’ Eli said, ‘I think she might have been on the earth side, which would be good for James if and when he goes home.’

‘Ha,’ Mo laughed. ‘I’m not sure James can wait that long.’

‘You’re probably right,’ Eli said. ‘He seems to think about women a lot. Maybe we should try to find him someone up here, perhaps one of those mountain nymphs he likes to imagine. I’m not sure, but isn’t there one that comes by at night to stare at James through the window?’

‘Carry on if you like,’ I said. ‘I’m not being taken in.’

‘No, no, not her,’ Mo said. ‘He’s not nearly ready for her… not even close.’

‘You’re right,’ Eli said. ‘Likely, he wouldn’t know what to do with her if she showed up in his loft one night. Probably he needs someone more down to earth... so to speak. So, why don’t we arrange for him to meet this other one next time we go to London. He’ll just have to learn to wait.’

‘Now I think I know the one you’re talking about,’ Mo said. ‘That’s the one who lives not far from his flat, probably less than a few miles away. And a very charming young lassie she is. You know, it’s possible he might have bumped into her at the deli coffee shop below his flat.’

‘Wouldn’t that be a coincidence?’ Eli asked. ‘Still, I’m concerned that James may be a bit much for her. What do you think? Such a lovely smile and disposition… it would be a shame if he upset her.’

‘I hope you two are enjoying your little charade. But you know, even if I were to believe you, I’m not sure any woman, lovely or not, would pay much attention to me considering my current state of existence... or lack thereof. I mean, what would I say if I met her – Boo?’

‘Why not?’ Eli asked, chuckling. ‘I’m sure she wouldn’t be the first woman you scared off. If you like, however, we’ll see what we can do to set things up for you to meet her.’

‘Sure, go ahead, Eli. You seem to know all about setups.’

‘Nothing wrong with being set up if it makes you happy for all the remaining years of your life on earth. Considering how badly you got bashed about, I’m sure she could make your body feel much better. Your life might be rather dismal if you don’t find someone to get you back on your feet and dancing.’

‘I’m not sure my medical plan covers that,’ I said.

‘Are we talking about the same thing?’ Mo asked. ‘Your body will still require plenty of rehabilitation after being discharged from the hospital. I think she could do that for you.’

‘I’m sure my body would be most grateful for whatever consolation she might offer after all the suffering it’s endured. Do you think she might be willing to give me massages too? You never know where that might lead.’

‘Don’t push it, James, unless you want to lose this prize.’

‘Yes, that’s it,’ I said, ‘consolation prize: she could be my consolation prize.’

‘You mean the massage or the young woman?’ Eli asked.

‘Maybe both… hopefully both.’

‘I’m not sure if she trained to be a masseuse,’ Eli said. ‘Regardless, I’m sure she would be excellent for James, whatever she does. Don’t you agree, Mo?’

‘Without a doubt, she would be a jolly prize for him… most consoling.’

‘Okay, that’s splendid; just how serious are you blokes? Tell me you’re not just making this all up. Sometimes, I find it hard to understand what you two are up to.’

‘Oh, we’re serious, alright,’ Eli said, ‘yet, we can’t be sure how serious she might be about you once your body wakes up.’

‘Then at least tell me who she is. I need to know.’

‘Should we tell him,’ Eli asked, ‘or should we make him wait a while longer?’

‘It’s probably best if he waits,’ Mo said. ‘He might appreciate her more when he’s ready for a meaningful relationship rather than the kind he seems to think he needs.’

‘I think you’re right, Mo. It might be good for him to wait until later on when he’s ready for a real relationship. Besides, if we were to tell him about this prize now, he’d never graduate from Summit U. or focus on anything else.’

‘No, likely he wouldn’t,’ Mo said. ‘That’s why he needs to wait before he meets the woman of his dreams.’

 ‘Woman of my dreams you say? About now, I think I would settle for almost any woman that comes along, in or out of my dreams. But let’s dispense with the bull. If you’re serious, tell me who this is unless you’re running some dodgy escort service? I never know what to believe around here.’

It was apparent they were having a little too much fun as they milked their story for all it was worth. I wanted it to be true; still, I remained wary this might be another one of Eli’s pranks.

‘Oh, she’s real alright,’ Eli said. ‘Better than a bouquet of freshly cut flowers by your hospital bedside, although she may bring you that too. However, we don’t wish to force her on you if you don’t think you’re ready. You know, love can’t be love if there isn’t a choice.’

‘Yes, of course, Eli. Now quit playing with my mind.’

‘Before we say more,’ Mo said, ‘we probably need to have a wee discussion on the topic of love for James’ sake and what it means since we haven’t covered that unit in the course’s syllabus yet. Most people don’t have a clue, and I’m not sure he does either.’

‘Yes, that’s an excellent idea, Mo,’ Eli said. ‘It would be most apropos for him to understand what love means before he gets too involved… for his sake or anyone else’s.’

‘Would you both please stop talking past me,’ I said, ‘especially while I’m sitting directly across from you. Love is no laughing matter, so if you don’t mind, let’s get serious here.’

‘Then you must already realise there’s nothing more mysterious than love in the universe,’ Mo said.

‘I’m not sure if mysterious is the kind of love I had in mind.’ I said.

‘Perhaps not,’ he said, ‘since love is something that can’t be taught. Nevertheless, it can be recognised. It’s never contained but contains. As I often say, it’s the very glue of the universe, the unity we all desire.’

‘Lovely metaphysics, Mo. Thank you for your edifying homily about the nature of love, I’d prefer, however, if you cut to the chase and tell me what else you can about this, supposedly, woman of my dreams. And if you can’t, stop dangling her like a carrot before me.’

‘You know something, Mo,’ Eli said, ‘I’m getting the impression he really wants to know about her now rather than later. Do you think we should tell him?’

‘I suppose he’s not likely going to stop pestering us until we do.’ Mo said. ‘It seems patience isn’t one of James’ greatest attributes.

‘If you’re both done,’ I said, ‘just come clean and tell me once and for all what her name is. If you don’t, I’ll assume she doesn’t exist.’

‘Have you come up with anything yet, Mo?’ Eli asked.

‘The name Julie seems to ring a bell. What do you think?’

‘You might be right, Mo. However, I’m not sure that’s her real name; maybe something more like Julianne.’

‘Charming,’ I said. ‘I like the name Julie; reminds me of Julie Christie. I hope she looks as good as her in Dr Zhivago. Yet, a name doesn’t tell me a lot, does it? So, is there anything else you can tell me?’

‘Did we mention that she was a prize?’ he asked.

‘Yes, I think you did, more than once. Now tell me why you think she’s such a prize.’

‘I’d say more than just a prize; she’s a catch,’ Eli said.

‘But that’s the catch,’ Mo said. ‘You know that, right, James? There’s always a catch.’

‘With women, it seems there always is,’ I said. ‘So, what is it this time?’

‘The catch is you first need to catch her,’ Eli said. ‘If you’re able. Yet, even that’s not good enough since you must also be able to hold on to her. Your old catch and release approach won’t work once she goes downstream.’

‘Fine, so, what makes her such a great catch? Do you have any files on her? Stats? That’s a good place to start to determine if she makes the shortlist in the selection process.’

‘I’m not sure stats are the best place to start,’ he said. ‘More importantly, let me first ask if you like challenges.’

‘Depends; what kind of challenges? If you mean high maintenance challenges, I’m not interested. I’ve already had my fair share of those, so just tell me what she looks like, and I’ll tell you if I’m interested.’

‘I guess I can say this much,’ Eli said. ‘She’s a delightful twenty-six-year-old woman; 126 pounds, five feet and seven inches. Since we’re aware of what you consider most important, you’ll be pleased to know; she’s exceptionally well sculpted for your viewing pleasure. I’m sure she would more than meet your aesthetic criteria and make you feel proud to be with her should you be so lucky. 

‘Besides the merits of her outward qualities, she’s particularly talented in singing. In the past, she even performed a couple of operatic scores with a choral group she belonged to. We understand she also studied drama and, at times, enjoys writing poetry when feeling melancholy. However, you should know, she is also skilled in less delicate arts which ought to be of some concern for you.’

‘Oh, really? Like what?’

‘Let’s just say you should be ready to cover your gonads should you ever cross her; her wicked jiu-jitsu moves could mean trouble,’ he said, chuckling. ‘But at least she’ll keep you on your toes – or possibly off your toes.’

‘So, how did a mild-mannered poetry writing, opera singer suddenly become so aggressive?’

‘After being assaulted by hooligans near Hyde Park, she decided to do something about being a victim rather than remaining traumatised by the experience. Just so you know, Julianne has perfected several lethal manoeuvres to defend herself. She might appear harmless, still, if she wanted to, she could leave you sprawled out on the floor… so be aware.’

‘Wait a minute, Eli. How is it that you suddenly know so much about her when a few moments ago you could hardly remember her name?’

‘Good question,’ he said. ‘Possibly we’re making it all up. How would you know unless you saw her for yourself?’ Do you want to?’

‘Of course, as soon as I get back, but for now, carry on. Just don’t embellish her; I hate being disappointed.’

‘So, what else do you wish to know?’ Eli asked.’

‘Everything. What’s she like?’

‘As we were saying, Julianne has become very secure in herself, especially after mastering her martial arts classes. She’s no longer fearful about going out alone at night, and with this new inner confidence, she has become much more caring. It’s why she enjoys her chosen career. And guess what, James, you have had something to do with this.’

‘How’s that possible? I don’t even know her, so how could I, especially with me being here and her being there?’

‘Perhaps you’re more charismatic than you realise, James. In fact, she’s been all over you.’

‘Ah, so I do know her! She must not have given me her real name since I don’t remember any Julianne. Was it just for a night?’

‘No,’ he said, ‘there have been several nights!’

‘Really… you don’t say! So, when will I get to see her again, so I know which one she was?’

‘To be honest,’ Mo said, ‘you haven’t actually met, at least not formally. Although, you’ve spent plenty of time with her. In fact, she knows your body rather well, perhaps more than you may wish. Or possibly, as you wish!’

‘In this case, however, it’s her job!’ Eli said.

‘To know my body, you say… what is she, some backstreet prozzie off King’s Cross?’

‘Of course not! Your comatose body could hardly respond to any such services, even if there were an opportunity. Remember, it’s in the hospital.’

‘Let me explain,’ Mo said, ‘since Eli seems to enjoy holding out on you. Are you ready for this?’

‘Of course, it’s about time.’

‘Your consolation prize, Julianne, is a nurse at the hospital where your body is!’

‘Ah, so that’s it!’

‘In fact,’ he said, ‘if you were to ask your body, it would tell you Julianne is its favourite nurse. And why not, she is the one who spends the most time with it and the one most dedicated to your body’s survival?’

‘Love her already… so what else?’

‘She’s relatively new to her career and very idealistic, believing she can make a difference with her patients’ recovery – a most committed health worker that’s willing to go beyond the call of duty.’

‘Especially for you,’ Eli said. ‘Well, maybe not you so much as for your body.’

‘That’s understandable,’ I said with a cocky grin. ‘Notwithstanding the wounds, I’m sure it still has some carnal appeal.’

‘Or perhaps,’ Mo said, ‘she just feels sorry for it considering what you put it through. Nevertheless, there might be more to her attraction to you than just your body. She’s fascinated with what she’s heard about your remarkable climbing adventures in the Andes. Though she thinks you must be very courageous, she also suspects you would have to be a tad demented attempting such a daring expedition all alone. On this, we all agree.’

‘It’s interesting she wants to know all about me,’ I said. ‘Makes me feel good all over. So, what can you tell me about her past?’

‘From what we understand,’ Eli said, ‘she was a lively adolescent, although a bit misdirected at times by some of the friends she hung out with. Guess that’s normal enough; the lads wanted to be with her. So, what could she do? She didn’t want to disappoint.

‘After dropping out of her Fine Arts programme in music and theatre, she decided to study nursing, which dumbfounded her friends and disappointed her parents, who wanted her to be a musician. Compassion and healing won over drama, although I’m sure she can do that too when it suits her.  

 ‘Julianne has matured a lot over the last couple of years while working at the hospital. Lately, she seems to have adopted a much more reflective quality. Not to say she doesn’t like to have fun at parties with wine, laughter and plenty of admiring men where she often finds herself to be the centre of attention.

‘Increasingly, she has less time for vapid talk, preferring more meaningful discussions amid the frivolity. If she can’t find it there, she prefers to go home early to read an interesting book. Recently, her more contemplative life has put a bit of a strain on some of her more outgoing friendships.

‘And you know something else, James, she thinks about you… in fact, quite a lot. Of course, that’s not quite the same as saying she thinks a lot of you since she doesn’t know you. Nevertheless, you intrigue her in ways few men have, but not just for your extreme adventures.

‘After hearing how your body was discovered by a forestry helicopter that happened to be flying by, she believes it wasn’t by chance your body survived. She considers this to have been a miracle, and of course, she’s right about that too, more than she realises and far more than you realise.

‘During her youth, she faithfully attended Church of England services with her family. And now, on occasion, she attends morning chapel services in Westminster Abbey. Perhaps she goes there to pray for your healing and good fortune.’

‘If you call good fortune being in a coma for God knows how long. Or, worse, what if I have to live out the rest of my days as an invalid? I mean, how lucky is that?’

‘What’s happened to you has nothing to do with luck,’ Mo said. ‘Rather, it was providence, and it’s always present with you, more than you know or can understand. Not only are you fortunate; you’ve been offered an opportunity very few humans receive.’

‘Are you saying the Almighty set me up for a fall?’

‘Or perhaps, you did, without any intervention to avert what was bound to happen sooner or later! Remember, you awoke in a fitful panic at the end of your dream that infamous pub night, feeling you were about to fall off a mountain. And then, just a few months later, there you were, halfway around the world, ready to take your plunge. Do you have any idea what drew you to that unstable ledge across the chasm?’

‘I don’t know, maybe I was overconfident or careless; it just seemed it was the only way to get across. Still, flying straight down the abyss wasn’t exactly what I planned when I booked my flight to Chile.’

‘However, there was more going on than you were aware, was there not?’ Eli asked. ‘Is it possible the real you, the James within, intended to have this adventure across the chasm, even while dwelling in the Lowlands? I’m sure this could have occurred in any number of ways, yet at some conscious level, you chose the most direct approach to the Summit since that’s what’s most natural for you.’

‘Think about it,’ Mo said. ‘You were an accident waiting to happen. No companions with you, inadequate climbing gear, barely enough food or emergency provisions to survive an injury. Then, to top it all off, you selected the most difficult mountain you could find, not even bothering to tell anyone where you were going. Surely you must recognise your part in the setup, be it blame or credit, as you choose to believe.’

‘Fine, sure, okay… I suppose so. Perhaps I could have been better prepared. Let’s not talk about that, though; I’d prefer we get back to this fair lassie. I think you said she’s well-sculpted; perhaps you could elaborate on how well.’

‘Let’s just say there’s a whole lot more to her than what meets the eye,’ Mo said. ‘Since you’re an academic, presumably one with refined affections, I’m sure you’re more interested in what kind of music she enjoys, what books she reads and what topics she likes to discuss. Surely that means more to you than just her body.’

 ‘No, not really,’ I said. ‘Well, okay, sure, still, I was wondering if you have any pictures of her.’

‘I’m sure most men would find her more than acceptable,’ Eli said, ‘yet, as Mo suggested earlier, don’t let her soft feminine body and religious devotion deceive you. She wouldn’t hesitate to give you a swift knee to your balls if she thinks you have it coming. The problem is, it’s always the woman’s prerogative to determine when retribution is warranted.’

‘Sounds rather high-spirited,’ I said.

‘Well yes,’ he said, ‘but considering your current state of existence, that might not be so bad since you’re outwardly spiritual and she’s inwardly spiritual. You’re both high-spirited, each in your own way. Of course, it’s always possible one of you could trip up the whole affair.’

‘It happens all the time on earth where there seems to be a propensity to sabotage relationships long before they have a chance to mature,’ Mo said. ‘That’s why, when you return, it will be important for you to live by your heart and not just your mind. That’s what she is learning to do.’

‘That’s because women are naturally more right-brained, yet that’s not me. I’m more factual, evidence-based. Besides, I’m not sure I’m interested in having my mind go to mush, where I start writing poetry and painting butterflies. Even if I did, how would that teach me anything?’

‘Women have their ways, as does Julianne,’ Eli said.

‘Of course, they do,’ I said. ‘We all know that, however, I make my living using my mind, not my heart.’

‘That may be, although I’m sure Julianne could teach you. Without the heart, the mind always remains confused. Which might explain a lot about how things worked out as they did for you on earth.’

‘I’m sure,’ I said, not sounding convinced. ‘Still, I’m curious; neither of you told me how you both know so much about her.’

‘We have our connections,’ Mo said. ‘In this case, a very fine liaison well acquainted with her, about as reliable a source as you’ll find anywhere.’

‘Well then, maybe I need to meet this source to make sure she’s for real. So how do I make contact, some Ouija board?’ 

‘At this point,’ Eli said, ‘we prefer you don’t do anything until we have her permission; otherwise, you would just be wasting your time. Don’t worry, I suspect when the time comes, she will make contact with you. I’m sure you know how delicate these situations can be.’

‘Not really, but okay, that’s fine, keep your secrets if you must. Still, I thought you said there are no secrets here.’

‘This is more about withholding information for your good, at least for a time.’

‘Well, to me, withholding information sounds much like the definition of what a secret means. So, what else did your classified source say about Julianne, if it’s not too big a secret?’

‘That’s about it,’ Mo said. ‘Just remember she’s a very straight-up, no-nonsense type, perhaps more than you’re accustomed to with some of your prior roommates.’

‘Let me add,’ Eli said, ‘so that you’re aware, she has little patience for anyone who puts on contrived airs.’

‘That’s good; I don’t have much patience for those types either; it’s not my style.’

‘Are you sure about that?’ Mo asked. ‘Have you ever tried to impress anyone with clever philosophical extracts and assorted witticisms while attending sophisticated dinner parties? Or have you ever bragged to a new date about your outstanding achievements, perhaps with a little name dropping thrown in for good measure?’

‘If I sometimes over-compensate for my humble beginnings, I do it to make an impression on those who can influence my future career. If I wish to advance, I’ve got to play the part since no one else is going to do it for me.’ 

‘We’re not implying there’s anything wrong with this,’ he said, ‘especially when you represent what you have achieved. We’re just saying such tactics may not work that well with Julianne if she thinks you’re conceited. She would prefer to be with your authentic sailor, even with the rough edges rather than a pretentious academic snot.’

‘That’s fine,’ I said, ‘still, she needs to know she’s also with a Renaissance man, not just a sailor.’

‘If she needs to know anything,’ Eli said, ‘she will instinctively know. Remember, she’s a bit hyper-sensitive towards anyone who might evince cultivated affectations, especially after enduring several students in her drama class who got carried away playing their roles off-stage.

‘Ever since then, she seeks authenticity in others. That’s what she wants in a man. So, if you happen to find yourself around her, you might wish to stifle whatever personas you might have acquired; otherwise, she is going to see right through you.’[5]

‘I would never indulge in such blatant self-aggrandisement,’ I said with a snicker, ‘unless, of course, it helps snag some warm companionship for the night.

‘Julianne is not the kind of woman you can snag, which is why we’re saying you might wish to remain your humble best if you wish to get anywhere with her. That’s the man that’s going to win her. So, if you hope to impress her, impress her by being genuine.

‘Even if you have to fake your authenticity,’ Eli said with a wry grin.

‘Not to say you shouldn’t be proud of your achievements and passionate dedication towards scholarship,’ Mo said. ‘Just don’t flaunt it. Julianne already knows quite a bit about you, so the less you say, the better. If you think you need to strut your stuff, she will consider you insecure, which is a huge turn-off for her. She much prefers unassuming, confident men. But then, what woman doesn’t?’

‘Are you saying I’m insecure?’

‘Why do you ask; unless…?’

‘I only am when I don’t get what I want.’

‘You mean like all the women who don’t get what they want?’ he asked.

‘Touché, I supposed that’s a fair comment. Nevertheless, what can you tell me about her family if not her?’

‘Her father was, and remains, a strong role model for her,’ Mo said. ‘An excellent man whose qualities she hopes to find in her man. He was regarded as an outstanding instructor and administrator in a Fine Arts Academy, much admired for his talent, leadership, and personal integrity.

‘Recently, he completed his career as Headmaster and is now retired with his wife in Melbourne, Australia, where they plan to spend their winters. In fact, Julianne’s mother is from Sydney. That’s where they met; at a musical symposium being held there.’

‘Sounds like a decent family,’ I said. ‘However, she might be looking for a long time if she’s looking for someone as stalwart as her father. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that.’

‘Just relax and be who you are, and not someone else. Whether you realise it or not, you’re at your best when you don’t think you have anything to prove.’

‘That sounds too easy,’ I said.

‘Only because you’ve never tried it,’ Eli said. ‘But as we’ve already indicated, be prepared for a challenge. She comes armed, at the ready with several zingers. We understand that she once was on a date with an obnoxious graduate student in English literature. Having put up with enough of his conceit, she finally offered him a lesson in Shakespearean poetry he wouldn’t forget. God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.’[6]

‘That’s most clever… and witty,’ I said. ‘I like that. However, I might have fared better by quoting her another line from the same scene: To a nunnery, go.’[7]

‘And what if she did?’ Eli asked.

‘It would be most unfortunate for her.’

‘And possibly even more for you,’ he said.

‘Possibly,’ I said. ‘Still, the question remains if Julianne would want to be in a relationship with me once she finds I have no money or tenure. I’ve never been rich, and at this rate, I doubt if I ever will be.’

‘I suppose it depends on how you define rich,’ Mo said. ‘Fortunately for you, money isn’t her primary criterion. She’s more interested in a man with inward substance rather than only outward substance.

‘Not to say, a little financial stability wouldn’t be of interest to her since she hopes to raise a family one day. For now, though, you have her full attention. As we said, she’s grown rather fond of you, or at least your body.’

‘Which is a good thing,’ Eli said, ‘considering you’re not exactly Mr Congeniality these days, are you?’

‘Perhaps that means she goes for the strong silent type,’ I said, chuckling.

‘Yes, very silent, yet in your case, not so strong,’ Mo said. ‘However, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know your more delicate organs remain intact, those you deem most vital. Provided your body survives, likely all parts will recover to full capacity.’

‘Most reassuring,’ I said, smiling; ‘if not, I might have to jump back into that damned abyss, this time for good. Speaking of which, what happened when I first arrived at the hospital; was Julianne there to greet me?’

‘She was among the first to attend to your body since she was assisting in Emergency that day,’ Mo said. ‘However, the good doctors in Santiago had already done an excellent job stitching together your wounded body. There was little left to be done, except give your body more tests, then attach it to the life support machinery, insert the plug into the wall and hope for the best.’

‘Julianne immediately took to your body as her special restoration project. As the days passed, she made it her business to learn whatever she could about you, questioning every visitor who came to pay their last respects to what they assumed to be you. There’s no one in the hospital whose been more dedicated to your recovery than her. When no one is around, she even whispers words of encouragement into that vacant head of yours.’

‘I’m grateful for her attention,’ I said, ‘but a lot of good that will do if my body continues to atrophy.’

‘You might be surprised,’ Eli said. ‘Realise that each of the seventy trillion cells in your body, with their astonishing complexity, remain fully conscious, even while you’re here with us.

‘Specialised medical researchers are only beginning to understand and appreciate the significance of what goes on in the body’s micro-universes. Valves and vibratory sensors contained in each infinitesimal microtubule can, astonishingly, sense Julianne’s impassioned prayers.’

‘You probably won’t hear this from the medical community,’ Mo said, ‘nevertheless, it’s true. Whenever a healing intention is intonated towards it, a heightened resolve to heal occurs within each of these units. Each contains oxidised water molecules that bridge the dense material body with the subtle energy of spiritual consciousness.’

‘Still,’ Eli said, ‘some of the more open-minded scientists in biological sciences are beginning to suspect this, albeit tentatively. I predict this seemingly mysterious spirit-matter nexus in the microtubules will gain acceptance as evidence for cellular intelligence increases.

‘For now, though, there’s still plenty of resistance to what might be going on besides biological processes.[8] Much of what happens in the cells has yet to be comprehended; when it’s better understood, however, it could do much to shake up medicine’s established paradigms. Already, much is coming to light through cutting edge sciences. One example would be the emergence of Epigenetics.’[9]

‘Eli’s right,’ Mo said. ‘Though some intransigent scientists might fear metaphysical implications, others concede that there is more at work than previously considered possible. They’re finding there’s something extraordinary deeply embedded within the consciousness of each cell. What occurs in one cell is known instantly to all; a perfect example of how quantum entanglement functions within biology.

‘This ought to be obvious to more medical scientists, unfortunately, it remains largely outside their medicine chest. The tendency in traditional Western culture is to either glaze over these less established modalities or oppose them, even when results are evident. Still, that’s how the allopathic world operates; interested in knowing organisms from the outside in, rather than the inside out.’

‘I’m afraid, Mo, your views are at complete variance with the medical community’s approach to wellness. I suppose that’s your right, yet what does this have to do with Ms Nightingale?’

‘I was about to make the point,’ he said, ‘not only is this dedicated young nurse very bright, but much more open-minded than most others in her profession… which is most fortunate for your body.

Even though she has been trained almost exclusively in allopathic pharmaceutical remedies, she suspects there is much more to healing than injecting and ingesting drugs.

'In all fairness, it ought to be recognised that there are many medical doctors who also acknowledge there are limitations to the old order and are beginning to recognise certain complementary approaches that are less substantiated.

‘Just so you know, Julianne has done some studying into other healing modalities such as acupuncture, homoeopathy, EFT and reflexology, which she considers less invasive and perhaps more effective in working with the body’s natural healing processes. She doesn’t say much about this at work because it may sound hokey to the more orthodox practitioners. No one wants to be ridiculed or censured.’

‘Most interesting, still, what does this have to with my body.’

‘Perhaps more than you, she or the doctors realise,’ Eli said. ‘Even without applying any alternative modalities, her spiritual connection with your body had much to do with your body’s survival and remarkable progress to date. This was especially so in the first couple of critical weeks when she spent hours with you each night, even while off her shift work.

‘Every fibre of your body senses her prayers when she projects her healing intent. Her loving kindness brings emotional strength and light to each microtubule that exists within each cell of your body’s organs.’

‘Wonderful,’ I said, ‘though I’m not sure I understand how her prayers could have a causal connection with my body – sounds psychosomatic to me.’

‘However, if you’re not aware of her suggestions,’ Mo said, ‘how can it be psychosomatic? Still, it’s true your body’s cells are aware of her healing messages and touch. Because it’s a spiritual connection, they are naturally susceptible to healing suggestions.’

‘In fact, on a cellular level of consciousness, we suspect your body may occasionally get a special feel-good lift with her feminine touch,’ Eli said, smiling.

‘Well, whatever she does for my body, I hope I will remember how well she took care of me so I may express my gratitude when I return.’

‘If and when you do, I’m sure you will have an opportunity to do this.’

‘If I go back? So, how certain are you that my body is going to make it?’

‘Provided the doctors don’t lose patience by pulling the plug,’ Eli said, ‘we expect your body will eventually recover. With Julianne’s care, who knows, it could heal in considerably less time.

‘Imagine one fine evening while we’re sitting outside around the fire, with me playing my guitar, then suddenly – zap, you’re gone, just like that. No more James, at least not here.’

‘If that should happen, at least I’d get to meet Julianne to see how interested I might be in her. You say she looks great, but what if she doesn’t appeal to me? Not every man has the same tastes in women, you know.’

‘Perhaps you should be more concerned about what appeal you might have for her,’ Mo said. ‘Isn’t that what’s at stake?’

‘Okay, I get your point. So, what are the odds of us making this work?’

‘We have no way of knowing,’ he said. ‘How could we? It will depend on you as much as her. If we didn’t think they were favourable, we wouldn’t be wasting our time telling you about her.

‘In the past, you both viewed life differently, so if things are to work out, each will have to become more aligned with the other’s perspective. She approaches life from within, you from without. You may think this is just the result of left brain, right brain orientations; still, there’s more to it than that.[10]’

‘In what way?’

‘You are more mind-oriented, and so you’re always examining and weighing evidence, creating complexities that might not have existed before. Of course, that’s what philosophers do. However, when you over-analyse things, it’s easy to become suspicious and even cynical by looking for what’s not there. That’s what annoys her. By nature, she’s a trusting soul and so expects others to trust her.’

‘I’m not sure if relationships are that simple.’ I said. ‘My experience is that they’re all filled with ambiguity and misunderstanding.’

‘Then consider the benefits of being in a relationship where it’s accepted you might not be as perfect as the other,’ Eli said. ‘Perspectives are only perspectives, but relationships require mutual understanding, awareness, and above all, respect.

‘Julianne may be perfect for you, still, that doesn’t mean she needs to be perfect any more than you need to be perfect for her. Think of a relationship as being an opportunity to learn from the other while tempered in the crucible of life’s adversities.’

‘Oh, I like that, Eli: tempered in the crucible of life’s adversities. Excellent; sometimes you astound me with how well you can wax poetic when you want to.’

‘One might also say tempered in the crucible of love’s adversities,’ Mo said, ‘since love, when tested, becomes a crucible to temper one’s affections into an image of the divine.’

‘Unfortunately, that seems too ideal,’ I said. ‘From what I can see, most relationships become tempered into a living hell. In fact, I’ve had a few of these myself. There is nothing noble or poetic about being with someone who vexes your soul, day and night, just as you might vex theirs. Not everyone is meant to be together.’

‘That’s evident,’ he said, ‘yet, I don’t see that outcome with you and Julianne. Though we’re not assigned a crystal ball, it’s possible your relationship could become exemplary provided there was some conscious effort put into it.

‘Souls are too complex to make reliable predictions. As astute as Eli and I may be in judging character, we can only assess probabilities based on what we know, which isn’t that much. Still, we can see the trajectories of where things might be going. I suspect it might be entertaining to watch how things turn out from the sidelines.’

‘That’s why we hope you will win Julianne’s affections for a long-term relationship,’ Eli said, ‘rather than just another notch on your bedpost… she deserves better. Though inwardly secure, she still needs to be treated with dignity and respect, just like any other woman. And though she may never harbour hard feelings towards you, your body might experience some hard feelings should your remarks be less than circumspect. Did we mention she has a black belt?’

‘I like the feisty types,’ I said… ‘makes for energetic bed partners. Some can get rather kinky at times.’

With that said, we decided to take another hike along the summit ridge. Though I tried not to be too obvious about my interest in Julianne, I had to admit I was already intrigued by this young woman. It seemed peculiar that my body had met her, and yet I hadn’t. Peculiar indeed, if not ironic, that it should receive her favour while I got none!

I had to laugh. Eli was right; I was envious of me, or at least of my body. I told myself, however, not to get too worked up, at least not until I had a chance to do more due diligence.

Fortunately, it wouldn’t be too much longer before I’d have an opportunity to meet my angel of light, mercy, and sponge baths.

FOOTNOTES



[1] Henry V1, Act 5, Scene 2             
[2] In reference to The Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare’s first plays, also considered the shortest and most farcical.
[3] Marilyn Monroe, American Actress 1926-1962. 
[4] An allusion to a novel named Miss Lonely Hearts by Nathanael West, published in 1933.
[5] Considering what later occurred, this was a very prescient comment.
[6] Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1
[7] Hamlet’s words to his sister Ophelia, same scene as above
[8] Microtubules are one of the components of the cytoskeleton in the cell's cytoplasm.  One of their primary functions is to assist in cell division. Still, other functions that go far beyond this, where each contains ionised water molecules that some scientists believe register conscious impressions.
[9] Dr Bruce Lipton, developmental biologist and former professor of biology at Stanford, is one of the foremost pioneers in this new discipline. One of his first books, The Biology of Belief, provides an important description of the implications of what we are learning on this subject. This subject is discussed more thoroughly in Book Four of this narrative.
[10] The old paradigms of the brain lobe's limitations are being questioned as it becomes increasingly clear there’s nothing in the brain’s respective right/left hemispheres that can’t function in either.

 

PREVIOUS CHAPTERS TO ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE ASCENT


1. Prologue to the Series
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/prologue  

2. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter One
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/Elysiums-Passage-Chapter-One   

3. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Two
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/Elysiums-Passage-Chapter-Two  

4. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Three 
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/chapter-three   

5. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Four
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/chapter-four  

6. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Five
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-five    

7. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Six
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-six  

8. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Seven
https://digitalbloggers.com/book-reviews/the-ascent-chapter-seven 

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SUMMARY OF

ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE ASCENT
 

 

ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE ASCENT, the first in a series of five Elysium’s Passage narrations regarding a young British philosopher named James Phillips who finds himself living in an altered state of reality while still remaining on earth.  

After experiencing a near-fatal fall while climbing to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes, James awakens in a new dimension. He soon encounters two mysterious beings who provide him with a very different perspective on the nature of his existence. Over the next year, before his body recovers from the coma, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding of life’s meaning and purpose far beyond anything he previously believed or could believe.

An engaging and sometime surreal adventure with intimations of impending romance, the narrative explores the most important questions about life, death, reality and our ultimate destiny.

The Plains of Elysium (Champs-Élysées) was described by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and many other poets as the paradisiac afterlife realm reserved for heroes. As the title suggests, this is about a journey through a passage that leads towards Elysium’s exciting realm of existence.

Press review: https://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/05/prweb15515775.htm   

 

 __________________________________________

 

PENDING PUBLICATIONS ELYSIUM’S PASSAGE SERIES

 
The ELYSIUM’S PASSAGE novel series is projected to be released as follows: 

 

THE ASCENT fall 2021

THE SUMMIT fall 2021 

QUANTUM LEAPS  2022

SURREAL ADVENTURES 2022 

MYSTICAL ROMANCE 2022

HE ELIXIR 2023

THE RETURN sometime in 2024

 

With the exception of the last novel in the series, the last three have been written but still require more editing before publication.

 

________________________________________________________

 

READER REVIEWS
 

The following comments are among the first Amazon reviews of Elysium’s Passage: The Summit. All are Five Stars! Others reader reviews are included below, along with excerpts from two professional reviews. To read full reviews, go to READER REVIEWS on www.elysiumspassage.com

"Quietly, gently, and without imposition, the Author unfolds the pages, creating an intricate, interlocking bridge spanning the chasm between mind and heart. Renewing, refreshing, restoring. In my bereavement, it was vigil and light…"

"A delightful mix of fantasy, reality, conjecture and humour; Mr Meyers draws the reader into the story with a gentle narrative that captures the imagination, leaving one anxious to get to the next page drawing you into his exceptional world.”

“Excellently written with an exceedingly deep understanding of this world and the next. The characters are very well written and engaging. I can't wait to complete this book!"

“Takes the reader on both a philosophical and spiritual journey, a journey that at times is both disquieting and tranquil. James, a British Philosopher can be irreverent and caustic, traits that should have left me cringing, but instead made me laugh out loud. Elysium’s Passage is a fun, enlightening and remarkable book.”

“This is a masterful fantasy, becoming a real possibility, as the reader is drawn into the story. The Summit leaves you anxious for the next book in the series, yet also leaves you totally satisfied with the world you have just visited. Genius! An exciting, yet calming, experience that is not to be missed."

"There was hardly a page on which I did not find at least one sentence worthy of hi-lighting for future reference. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed the main character, James, whose personality and passionate verbal exchanges with the other characters, kept me coming back for more. I am reading the book for a second time while I wait for the next one in this series to be made available."

 “N.G. Meyers has clearly put a great deal of research and thought into what the afterlife may look like and I like his perspective. It’s an altogether welcoming and exciting vision. The book gives one a great deal to think about and a reassuring confidence that the end of our lives is truly the beginning of life in the next. I highly recommend it."

“The humour interjected into a serious discussion makes me laugh out loud. Totally unexpected....l may be in the presence of at least a master, if not a genius. A fair ride into reality... seeking that which is unseen, yet absolutely real.”

“An engaging story of adventure embracing man's deepest desire to search for meaning and purpose, N.G. Meyers takes the reader on an adventurous thought-provoking journey. This book has substance. It is a perfect blend of adventure and fantasy combined with spiritual philosophy. It ignited my imagination. The author magically weaves a good story laced with wit and humour together with deep philosophical wisdom. This book has it all!”

“An evolution in thought is triggered by many fresh philosophical themes which could inspire readers to re-think their reality and former ideologies that have dictated their lives… the author fires readers’ imaginations to view what could be possible when spirit vacates the body.”

“This is the book spiritual seekers have been waiting for. For me, it granted a great read as well as increased inspiration to live every day with a heightened sense of purpose. I highly recommend it.

“The Summit is capable of hooking readers and luring them to search for Book 2 to discover more about Dr. Philip’s surreal trek into the mysterious unknown universe. This thick book is well worth the read and to share…”

“Mind-blowing statements and speculation (‘…everyone is a non-physical thought form conceived in the Mind of God, preserved for all eternity because God’s thoughts never die…’). Many will find Meyers’ journey up the Mountain intriguing—and possibly even life-changing.” (BLUEINK REVIEW)

“In its effort to grapple with fundamental questions about the meaning of life, it raises questions that have echoed throughout the ages, including about where we come from, where we are going, who we are.”  (CLARION REVIEW)

For more READERS REVIEWS go to https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/reader-reviews. 

BLOG POSTINGS: https://digitalbloggers.com/articles/elysiumspassage or the Elysium's Passage website

 

 Previous Chapters to THE ASCENT 

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1. Prologue to the Series
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/prologue 

2. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter One
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/Elysiums-Passage-Chapter-One  

3. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Two
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/Elysiums-Passage-Chapter-Two 

4. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Three
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/chapter-three  

5. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Four 
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/chapter-four 

6. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Five
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-five   

7. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Six
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-six 

8. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Seven
https://digitalbloggers.com/book-reviews/the-ascent-chapter-seven 

9. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Eight
http://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-eight  

10.  Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Nine 
https://digitalbloggers.com/book-reviews/the-ascent-chapter-nine