What about 1986? Stories and Photos from Studying Faith Healing and Developing Psi Skills in New Hampshire and The Philippines

What about 1986? Stories and Photos from Studying Faith Healing and Developing Psi Skills
in New Hampshire and The Philippines

We were living in southwestern and central New Hampshire, almost two dozen people in our 20s, 30s, 40s. Most of us were new to each other as we gathered to attend some classes on “Psychic and Spiritual Development” developed by Lisa Leghorn (then, also a feminist activist and author) and then also taught by (Al)Wyn Fischel (then, also a Waldorf educator) in Hillsborough and Peterborough, then Keene, in the winter/spring of 1985. We were each quite interested in “developing” ourselves, and in that spirit, we attempted to learn and practice: reading auras; dowsing with divining rods and sticks; channeling spirit guides; following guided visualization and meditation instructions, doing body scans; moving energy with our hands and minds (energy medicine/hands-on healing as well as Polarity and Reiki healing methods); identifying and clearing chakras; engaging in telepathic communication; and, trying on other associated skills. Some students and some skills garnered some successes.

These weekly classes continued throughout 1985, including one weekend seminar conducted by a “faith healer” from the Philippines known as “Choy” Lisa and Wyn had invited, having met him the previous year. It was at that seminar that I discovered I had a talent for “seeing” others’ health and physical condition, much to my surprise. After that, my studies intensified and my abilities grew. Not everyone was as inclined or committed. By the end of the fall, some of us wanted to “go deeper” while some had begun to miss classes.

In the winter of 1986, those of us available and wanting to study with Choy planned to continue to study with Lisa and visit Baguio, The Philippines, where Choy lived and worked. However, extreme political unrest (The “People Power” or “Yellow Revolution”) forced us to postpone our trip from early January to mid-March, allowing time for things to settle down after the late February departure of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and the celebrated and confirmed election of Corazon Aquino as the new President .

In preparation for that residential study time, Lisa planned an “intensive” retreat which Wyn volunteered to host at his property in Temple, NH. Eighteen students—a mix from all three classes—lived together and continued our studies for 10 days in the late winter of 1986.

Some of the photos here are from that retreat. The rest are from our time in Baguio, The Philippines, in March, April and May of 1986.

I can hear the laughter and feel the atmosphere even now, almost 40 years later. I know Ben Ladd unexpectedly passed away several years ago, but I’m not sure about some of the others. as of 2022.
From top left: Kathy, Wyn, Carolyn, Anita, Ben, Debra, Shireen, Marina, Carolyn, Ben, Anita, me, Debra, Shireen,

Each of us had been having inspiring experiences in the classes which did intensify during this retreat: revelations, recovered memories of past traumas and/or revisited other early memories to develop a better set of insights about ourselves and each other as witnesses, participants and/or the center of the “work.” Lisa was using a variety of techniques derived from NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Gestalt, peer counseling, rebirthing and holotropic breathwork, and conventional therapy.

Some who attended the intensive retreat couldn’t be away from home or work for a month or had no interest in going and so didn’t join our travel group. We had shrunk from 18 to 13 members by the time we departed the USA.

Top pic: Don’t know man and baby; Choy, Wyn;
Group pic, back row: Me, Jill, Ben, Tim, Kathy, Lisa, Wyn, Kathryn, Caroline, Marina (in hat);
front row, Anita, Shireen, Debra, Nancy.
Not pictured: Jeremy and Jill
Bottom pic: Lisa and Debra

We embarked on our adventure to The Philippines. The trip, from Boston to LA to Honolulu to Manila, then by bus to Baguio, took more than 24 hours. We were hot, exhausted, hungry, and dazed when we arrived. Being there was the first time being in a foreign country for most of us, so the next few days we were in culture shock/adjustment, big time.

Right before we arrived, the USA had bombed Libya (April 15, 1986). Lisa advised us to pretend to be from Canada to avoid anti-American attacks. I remarked that I had no idea how to “be Canadian,” to which she replied: “Never mind. You are a quintessential American. Don’t even try.”

It was hard work, challenging, scary, fun, community-building and strange. We opened, broke and strengthened each others’ hearts daily.

The toilets had no seats and the bathroom floor drains didn’t work very well. The firtst bathroom we encountered en route from Mainal to Baguio had over a foot of water on the floor between the dor and the toilet with who-knows-what in that water. But, we wer edesperate and used it somehow.

Then, we got to the large, suburban house we’d all share for 4 – 8 weeks. The showers had no water pressure and almost no drainage. They used the same drains as the toilet, facing it in the large tiled bathroom. There were no curtains on the shower area. After some of us took a group sprinkle/sponge bath, we found out Baguio was in a serious drought and water was limited. We had to purchase it and ration it from then on.

Similar to the area that Choy had his store and “Healing Room” in Baguio. Image from https://www.theworldorbust.com/the-most-interesting-city-in-the-philippines-baguio/

The Filipino teacher/healer, Choy, was invited to return to the USA that summer and stayed for about three months. After Choy had taught some more classes in Temple, NH, Lisa talked with me about my seeing clients on my own.

However, he did not turn out to be trustworthy and hurt many people. He was forced to leave because of these bad behaviors. I didn’t find out about these egregious trespasses until months later. I was devastated. However, by then, many people believed I that had known all along and protected Choy, which led to a terrible, irreparable schism between me and some dear friends.

Nevertheless, I started working with individuals utilizing my newly honed skills of chakra clearing/ healing, anatomical/medical clairvoyance, energy work and psychological support, while also drawing on Caroline Myss‘ archetypes constructs (with her permission; from her book, Sacred Contracts) in my healing work that fall. I continued as a Personal Evaluations Counselor (Caroline’s idea) for about two years, mostly in Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts.

Tragedies that unexpectedly befell some clients and changes in my own life led to my leaving that work entirely in the fall of 1988. I never to returned to it.


Lama Shenphen with photo of H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche circa 2016 in New Mexico

Two of the key people (Lisa Leghorn and Wyn Fischel), pivotal in my life from 1985 onward, later became Buddhist practitioners and then were ordained as Buddhist teachers by His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche in 1995 (Lama Drimed) and 1996 (Lama Shenphen). For more on those experiences, see other posts on this blog.

They taught many of these same students in Tibetan Vajrayana Nyingma Buddhism, including me. Lama Drimed is teaching me still, for which I am eternally grateful.

Lama Drimed (Wyn Fischel) circa 2017 in California

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