Season 2: Episode #2
What makes a hero?
According to Philosopher and Scholar Joseph Campbell, a hero is an archetypal figure who takes a journey from his or her ordinary world, goes out on an adventure, through a decisive crisis wins a victory, then returns home transformed with gained wisdom to offer others. This podcast features inspiring stories of real people on The Hero’s Journey and the pivotal moments that changed the course of their lives forever.
To me, that's what meditation is all about. You know, it's not about just relaxing a little or finding some inner peace. It's about becoming the best person that you can be and tapping into that higher potential.
Known affectionately as the brain whisperer, Kelly Howell has been in the ears of countless people, including mine. Her soothing meditations have helped me fall asleep on many a restless night. She didn’t become this calm, clear, voice of healing without pain and sorrow. I’m thrilled to share her journey of loss, searching, and revelation. May you be inspired as to what is possible in your own life. I’m Belinda Lams and this is The Moment When…
Kelly Howell is a 6-time national bestselling audio author, and founder of Brain Sync. She is widely recognized as one of the leading innovators and pioneers in sound healing and mind expansion. Her brain optimization programs are used in hospitals, biofeedback clinics, and by millions of individuals worldwide.
Her book, Brain Power: Improve Your Mind as You Age is recommended by the Mayo Clinic Health Review. And, she teaches her unique approach to meditation at Fortune 500 companies, retreat centers, and online.
I usually start with this question, “How do we know each other?” And in this particular case we've never met. So I will tell you how I know you…of you. There is this gentleman named Brian Johnson who has an online community. It's called, I think, Optimize Me or something like that.
Optimize Me, I know Brian, yeah.
He had mentioned this meditation that he had done that really helped him in his life and it was with you. And it was the Destiny Meditation. So I immediately bought it. That's how I found out about you and I started listening to your various meditations and I found them very helpful in my life. And then, since I've been doing this show, I've been thinking about who’s been on the Hero's Journey or who is on it right now? And your name popped in my head and I reached out.
Oh, well thank you. Well, I love Brian and I think what he's doing is great. And I know he told me that that Retrieve Your Destiny audio program really helped him a lot. So I'm glad he recommended it.
Yeah, and that's how I know of you and now I get to chat with you which is an honor. So let's start with your ordinary world before you got your call to adventure. What was your world like?
We're going back in time to the early 1980s. I was about 21 and I had just gotten married and I was madly, madly in love with my husband. But I don't think he felt the same. A few months after we had gotten married, he got a job offer that required him to travel a lot. So turned out he was gone maybe 70 or 80% of the year.
And we lived in New York City. I had been a fashion stylist but then I had gotten into film production and I worked for a book publishing company in New York. And then, I was also the party planner for Studio 54. And I traveled a lot. I went back and forth from New York to LA. It was exciting but there was always that empty part where I had gotten married and my husband was gone.
So I wasn't very happy. I think it kind of maybe went on for about a year with just basically having a long-distance relationship with my husband; phone conversations, missed calls, middle of the night, that kind of thing. And I was going into a dark space and going from New York to LA, everybody in the music video business was partying all the time. So there were a lot of drugs and rock and roll and drinking and parties. And so, I was distracting myself with this, but very empty. You know, I just felt really empty.
Kelly received her call to adventure through a succession of painful blows.
I was very close with my grandmother. She was about 87 years old and she lived alone in Manhattan. And so, I would call her every night before I went to bed. And one night I called and she picked up the phone and she couldn't talk. And I called my mom. She lived in Connecticut. You know, I just said, “I don't know, I'm going up to her apartment.” And when I got to her apartment she was on the floor. She had had a stroke. She was paralyzed. So my mom panicked and basically got rid of her apartment, moved her into her own house and, you know, was committed to taking care of her. They had a nurse for her to help her because she was basically quadriplegic..
The next blow came when she got a call from her stepfather with some bad news.
Your mother has cancer. It was so sobering and real and hard. And my conversations with my husband went to a new level about whether we were going to stay together or not, whether we should give it a shot, see if we can patch up our marriage. And so we planned a trip.
3 weeks in Egypt seemed like the perfect remedy for their ailing marriage. Since her mom was now responding to cancer treatment and went on a getaway herself, Kelly felt free to leave the country. Or so she thought. It was Christmas Eve, the night before their trip. Kelly and her husband were out for dinner with friends in The City.
We were having champagne and laughing and it was snowing out and you know, it was all Christmassy. And we were going to leave on our wonderful trip and get our marriage back together and live happily ever after and all that. In the middle of dinner, this voice, actually it's like an energy and a voice came through my body and I blurted out, “There's going to be an accident!” Everybody looked at me like what are you talking about? And I just laughed and changed the subject because I was kind of shocked. The conversation went on and the whole time I'm sitting there thinking, What was that?
You know, we left the restaurant. They were all going to a party, but we had to go home because we were going to pack. So we got a cab. They opened the front door of the cab for me to get in and I thought, I don’t know if there's going to be an accident, maybe I shouldn't be in the cab.You know, I was scared. So, I got in the back of the cab in between my husband and another friend and then there was another guy in the front and we're going downtown and it’s snowing and we're singing Christmas carols and it's just happy and…
I woke up in the hospital. I didn't know where I was. I was just flat on the x-ray table in a room. And everything was white and glowy and these people were standing around me and I thought they were angels. They're looking at me and I'm just saying, “You're so beautiful.” I could see their essence. I could see their beings, you know ike their whole aura, everything. And they're looking at me going, “You're gonna be okay, don't worry.” And I'm like, “No, no, you don't understand. You are beautiful.” And then, I pass out again and the next thing I know, I'm in like a gurney in the hallway and I'm just like where am I? And then, I hear my husband. He goes, “We're in the hospital, we were in a car accident.”
Those fleeting moments of hope were dashed, one after the other. Although everyone survived the crash, Kelly had broken her neck and was paralyzed in her left arm. Her mom, who was thought to be better, had to be airlifted from her island vacation. The cancer had spread to her brain. She wouldn’t be able to take care of Kelly’s dependent grandmother any longer. And then, within a month, Kelly’s husband moved out.
I was very lost. I had no anchors. All the friends that I had were gone because it was sort of you're in a relationship and you have all these other couples. And I couldn't work, I lost my job and he had left.
Your world just blew up.
My whole world just completely blew up. So I was terrified. I was afraid to go out of my apartment. I had gone into a paranoid depression.
In the Hero’s Journey, the Hero meets a mentor who helps them navigate their new world. Worried about Kelly’s depressive state, her friend Alyson suggested that she visit a clairvoyant who had been studied and highly rated in accuracy. After questioning the idea, Kelly decided to give it a try. So she took the train up to Connecticut for a session with Marcy.
She's sort of like Glenda the Good Witch of the North. She has blonde hair and she's blue-eyed and she lives in this little cottage and her address, I'll never forget, was Wishing Well Lane. And she has opera music playing and little dogs running around. (Laugh) Like I've never been to a psychic before. You know, it was really like, Oh, this is weird.So I sit down on the sofa across from her and she looks at me and then her eyes start to roll back in her head. And she closes her eyes and she just goes away. And then a couple of minutes later, she jolts back and she goes, “Ah. Oh I have to get out of there. Your subconscious is a mess.” I'm thinking, what is she talking about?I don't think I had ever heard that.
I wanted to cry. You know, she can't even help me. She's just kind of picking on me. You know like, “You're a mess,” she said. I wanted to leave. I just said, “You know what, I'm sorry. I don't really have a lot of money and my life is trashed.” I'm sitting there in a neck brace that I camouflaged with a scarf and my face is still crooked, you know, because my head had slammed into the bulletproof divider in the back of the cab and I had the concussion, brain injury, broken neck…
She said, “No wait, wait, wait.” She goes, “You really need some help.” I'm like, “Yeah I know I need some help. That's why I'm here.” And then, she gave me this book and she said, “I want you to just read the meditations in the back of the book into a tape recorder. Do you have a tape recorder?” I was like, “Yeah, I have a tape recorder.” She said, “So you read them in and then you listen to it every night before you go to bed.” And she said, “This will help program your mind and clear out your subconscious.” And I'm thinking, I hate the sound of my voice. I can't do this.
Kelly took the book back to her empty, lonely apartment in New York. Sitting on the edge of her bed, she recorded the meditations, as Marcy had prescribed. Every night, she listened and would fall asleep before the tape ended. Marcy had told her that it didn’t matter if she fell asleep or not. Just treat it like a sleeping pill.
After about two weeks, I started feeling better. Like the headaches started going away. I started feeling more optimistic. I still had all these things going on with my mom and grandmother but I started feeling like I was getting better.
And then, I started having all these synchronicities happen and it was so bizarre. Like somebody called me from California who didn't know what had happened, you know, that I'd broken up with my husband and my mother was dying and all that. He said, “Look, I have a friend who's got this really sweet place in LA in the Hollywood Hills, beautiful view, and she leaves every summer. She's looking for somebody to sublet her apartment and I know you come out here a lot and I thought maybe you might want to rent it this summer.” And here it is it’s like March or April and I'm thinking, Wow, that would be great. But I don't know what's happening with my mom. Somebody else called and said, “I have a project that I'm working on and I was wondering if you wanted to come out to LA this summer and be the Associate Producer on it.” And then, another person called and he said, “I have a friend. Can I give him your phone number? I just think you guys should meet.” He knew I was separated with my husband. So it was sort of like insta-boyfriend, apartment and job.
In April, Kelly’s beloved mom died. In May, she moved her grandmother to a new home. And in June, Kelly moved herself to the promising glitter of LA. Life revved back up to the fast lane where she distracted herself from all the losses she had left on the East Coast. The little tape had been set aside.
I started feeling the grief and the pain and the loneliness and the heartbreak. And you know, it was just gradually all coming back to me. And I could only stay in LA for about a year. And I just, I couldn't take it anymore.
So I called Marcy the Clairvoyant and I said, “You know, you told me a lot and you gave me that book and you gave me the tape. Can you teach me to meditate?” And she said, “Yeah.” And so I said,“Well if I come back to New York, I can come to study with you?” She said, “Absolutely.” Like in a way, when I left New York and I left with my tape, I kind of resisted following the mystery, which was, What happened with that tape? You know, Why did that happen? Why were all those coincidences happening? Why was all this other worldly support coming in to help me?
I’m Belinda Lams and this is The Moment When…Today we’re talking with Kelly Howell about the life shattering events that led to severe depression and her quest to reassemble her world… Her story continues.
Kelly moved back to New York and slept on her Dad’s sofa while looking for a place to live. It was during a medical check up that her doctor learned of her housing situation. He just happened to have purchased an apartment in the West Village and offered it to Kelly as a sublet. So with a great place to live, she enthusiastically began her weekly meditation training with Marcy, which was much more rigorous than she expected.
Oh, I hated it. I'd be home in my little cute little apartment and I couldn't stand meditation. I was just like this is insane. I'd sit there and listen to my mind and like I should go buy cat foodand oh, I forgot to do this and maybe it's okay if I have a glass of wine, maybe that would help. [Laugh) I was not good meditation material, you know. I kept looking at the clock and to have somebody start meditation with a full hour with very little guidance, no help really.
When I was with her, it was great because she would guide me. And I complained to her. I said, “Why is it so easy when I’m meditating with you and then when I'm home, it's horrible?” And she didn't really have a good explanation. So I would go there for my weekly hit and then I get home and it was just back to the boring, horrible meditation practice. So Marcy had like little things for me to do because I called her and I'd go, “I meditated and nothing's happening and I don't feel better and this isn't working.” So she said, “Okay. Well you have to meditate at the same time, same place and maybe you should get a crystal or....”
Did you have any skepticism at that stage or were you just all in?
I was fully in. I don't know why. I had a super high expectation. I expected that meditation was going to change my life. Don't tell me why or how I had that expectation. I think I was desperate, I was so miserable and I wanted to change my life and this was something that was inexpensive. I could do it. I didn't have to go to India or join a cult. Like I said, I was in a very deep grief and the idea of going to a monastery was very appealing to me, because I wouldn't have to be in life, I wouldn't have to worry about paying the rent and getting a job and getting my life back together. So I was all in for meditation. If I hadn't been so desperate, I don't think I would have done it.
Meditation started really going deep for me, I started having great experiences. And I got very clear in my mind that I had nothing. I had been stripped bare. Like my ego had been destroyed from all that had happened. My identity was so wrapped up in what I did and who I knew and all of that, it had all been taken away.
I got very clear that I wanted to know my path and purpose in life and that's all I wanted. I knew I had a path and a purpose and a mission, I didn't know what it was. I had no idea, none. I started kind of reading other books about meditation and you know, hypnosis and prayer. And so I did the practice that Marcy taught me and then towards the end of the meditation, I would go into a prayer basically where I did feel connected. Like I knew on some level there was a God and that I could get guidance and spiritual direction. But I wanted to know for sure. Like I really needed proof somehow. I expected some big explosion or something. And so every day at the end of my meditation, I would pray and I would ask God to show me my path and purpose. Then, I would wait and nothing would happen.
The moment when is a pivotal moment that shifts the course of the Hero’s journey. Kelly’s pivotal moment arrived during her prayer practice.
In my mind's eye above my head, suddenly this giant sphere of golden lightappeared. Like huge, brilliant, gold ball of light, like a big giant ball of light. In my mind, I'm going, Oh my God. Oh wow. You know, I'm just like in awe. And the ball starts to slide down and down you know, like the New Year's Eve Ball it’s like coming down, coming down, coming down, coming down. It comes and it slides into my head and then it exploded into a thousand million like golden sparks. And it came through my whole body. My whole body was just vibrating and I heard a voice and the voice said, “Make tapes.” And in the light I was getting so much information. I don't know how long it went on for, but I do know that when I came out of the meditation, I knew without a doubt, not a single doubt in my mind, that I was going to make tapes to help people because I really had been in touch with so much suffering. And the way I suffered, I hadn't experienced that in my life. And then, something happened with the light. It was like I needed to help people that were suffering. I knew exactly what I needed to do. In the light, there was a plan.
This Divine Download continued to unfold over the next hours and days. She kept the experience to herself until her friend Alyson reached out to get together. During dinner, Kelly shared the whole thing with her. As she spoke about the idea, she felt a powerful energy flowing through her.
And the first thing she said is, “I want to be involved.” And I was sort of stunned, you know. And she said, “I want to get involved and I think I know someone who will invest.” In like a week later this guy comes from Europe, we have dinner, I tell him the whole vision, you know, of making these self-help audio tapes. They weren't in the stores then. So we did a deal on a cocktail napkin. And he gave us six figures and we were in business.
Shortly after producing and marketing her first audio program, Kelly was connected to a key person at Bantam Books.
And the next thing I know, I'm in the boardroom with the president, the vice president. You know they pulled all these people together and they were just about to launch an audio division. So it was one of those perfect timing moments. Yeah, so we ended up with a big contract with Bantam and we were on the bestseller list that first month and well on our way to selling millions of audio programs. Yeah, that was the beginning.
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Today we’re exploring how tragedy can birth Divine Inspiration with my guest Kelly Howell.
The meditation programs were moving along with great success. With the bestseller list, big advances, and more contracts coming in, Kelly now had time to take her knowledge to another level.
It was the year of the brain and I was going to all kinds of workshops about the brain and the new research. And it was kind of a tightly knit group of people that were on the edge of the evolution of human consciousness. It was just all really happening then and I got to connect with a lot of scientists and brain researchers. And I wanted to know what's going on in the brain. What happened to me? What's happening to other people when they meditate? And so I started reading a lot of books on biofeedback and brain research and we began experimenting with binaural beats.
Can you explain that a little bit for people that are listening?
Yeah, binaural beats are pure sine-wave sound frequencies that you deliver to either ear and they balance right and left hemispheres of the brain. And they can guide your brain activity into deep states of meditation or sleep or high focus and more energy, depending on the frequencies. It's a technology and it's been around for a while.
I read an article in Scientific American that they had done research on this and they saw that your brain cells resonate to this binaural beat. And you can create different beats with different frequencies and you can entrain brainwave activity. And so we started experimenting with that. And then we got another deal. I was so excited because to me, I wanted to help people meditate. I thought, you know, if I can help people meditate, that's a real game-changer. And I realized very few people would do what I did to sit for an hour every day.
Right. So you could be their Marcy?
I could be their Marcy, exactly Marcy to the millions. (Laugh)
Kelly’s knowledge of life altering brain waves continued to expand.
When you get into the deepest state of meditation, theta, which is where I was when the golden ball of light came down, you can reprogram your mind. Based on biofeedback, this is like one of the most powerful states of consciousness that you can go into to make really profound changes. Your visualizations have more power and impact. You're very receptive in theta, so you can absorb new information more easily. So they've done a lot of biofeedback research where you know, they help people with addiction. So you can unlearn habits and addictions in the theta state.
So it's a very powerful brain state and I think it's key to meditating and manifesting. So like if you can go into the theta state with a vision or a request or inquiry, anything can happen. It's very powerful. It gives you access to the subconscious mind and the super conscious mind. So you have access to information and knowledge that resides beyond your normal conscious awareness. Theta is a timeless state of consciousness. You're in a waking dream. It's vivid imagery. So you have access to this whole other part of your consciousness that beta suppresses. So like right now, we're in beta. We're in our everyday normal, sitting in our recording studios, looking at the meters and talking to each other and all that. We're in beta and that suppresses this non-ordinary level of consciousness. So you can't really be in both at the same time.
Yeah, well it's interesting that you went down the science path to try to understand what was happening.
I was just really curious. I've always been curious like why is this happening? Why is nothing happening? You know, how do I make this happen again? I had to kind of back track. I'd had all this information kind of come to me and then I had to get educated on it. How do you reprogram the subconscious mind?
The Hero’s Journey isn’t complete, until the Hero returns home with the Elixir to offer others.
That very first tape that I made, my little homemade tape, I remade it and it's called The Secret Universal Mind Meditation. And it's been very profound for a lot of people. I can't even say how many thousands of emails I've gotten. But it started with tapes and now it's streaming in mp3 downloads, so. My website is brainsync.com and that's where I have all of my 60 albums that are everything from guided meditations to subconscious reprogramming, to just straight up binaural beats and music for focus, concentration, sleep, sort of addressing all of our day-to-day needs.
And then, I've just started a new website called kellyhowell.com and I'm launching a Meditation Master Class where we focus on getting into the theta state and learning how to use that very powerful state of consciousness to manifest what you want in your life, and transform anything. To me, that's what meditation is all about. You know, it's not about just relaxing a little or finding some inner peace. It's about becoming the best person that you can be and tapping into that higher potential. So that's my main focus, is teaching people how to create their lives through meditation.
You know, it's been such a, such a gift to be able to help people, I mean, and to really know that I've helped people and people have had everything from healing to meeting their mates and making money and launching their careers. I can't think of anything better than that. Yeah, to know that what I've done has helped people soum that's what gives my life meaning and so that's my elixir.
I shared a few thoughts with this wise and generous soul.
You know, when people go through suffering, it can be so crushing and you were crushed. I mean, your body shattered, everything and I think what you're offering is the possibilities of what can come through the suffering that all of us go through in some way in this life. I don't know anybody that hasn't had something challenging and I think it's just part of what this is.
But, what I see that you're offering is hope that you can take that and use it to not only heal yourself but to spread healing and love and encouragement to other people. And tools and skills and how to get there and how to work through it. And sadly, not everybody goes on that path but I think that you're offering that awareness that it's possible. And you've taken it to such an incredible magnitude.
I like that word. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. And I love what you're doing. It's just a beautiful thing.
Also, out of pain and struggle and question and now what? And…
Thank you for being so willing to do this without knowing me and trusting the request and being vulnerable. And I wish you all the best and I'm excited for your launch. I'm sure it's going to be incredible. There's no doubt in my mind. Everything you do has been so beautiful and thoughtful.
Aw, thanks Belinda. It's really sweet of you and I really appreciate you doing this with me. Thank you.
You can learn more about Kelly and get on the list for her upcoming Meditation Masterclass at Kellyhowell.com. You can also find her meditation audio programs at Brainsync.com and on her phone app MeditateMe.
THE MOMENT WHEN IS PRODUCED BY SOULMINE PRODUCTIONS. MUSIC IS COMPOSED BY JEFF LAMS.
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