Joy's Story Part 2

Hawaii, Death by Email

In 1968, when I was separating from Kalon’s father, I was told in meditation that some day I would meet a man considerably older than myself, and that we would do a work in the world together. In 1990, I met G. Raphael Gordon at a gathering that blended meditation, visualization, dancing and singing. Raphael had long gray hair and a long gray beard and though I rarely see auras, I saw a beam of white light coming out of his third eye We had a powerful mutual attraction. I was 46 and he was 56.

We agreed to meet two days later at his home, and I discovered that he was an erotic artist. He challenged my attitudes about sexuality and about the human body, and gave me a whole new way of looking at these things. I loved his mind and his unconventionality. Two weeks later he asked me to marry him. Two weeks after that I accepted. Six months later we were married and we both took the name Gardner-Gordon. During the first two years we had some rough times, but we were blessed to be able to consult with Pink Tara. She helped me to understand Raphael, and she helped him to understand me. Our relationship entered into a whole new dimension. (You can read some of these readings in the booklet, Pink Tara, a Goddess of Gentle Strength.)

While visiting the crater of Haleakala Volcano on Maui in 1989 (the year before I met Raffi), Pink Tara came to me and said that the crater was her home. She asked me to create a shrine for her in Hawaii. I was getting ready to do this when I met Raphael and he said that he would be willing to move to Hawaii, but the time wasn’t right. In 1996, I received Guidance that we should go to the island of Molokai for four months.

As always happens when I follow my Guidance, the universe provided. I met a woman who spent a couple months on Molokai and she gave me the name of the man she stayed with. I contacted him and he agreed to help us find us a house to rent on the East End. Just two weeks before we left, he found what we wanted: a two bedroom house with a huge lana’i (porch) in the back that looked out onto a wild mangrove swamp. While we were there, one of my students invited me to teach on the Big Island. When I went there, I fell in love with the small community of North Kohala, which is like a cross between the east end of Molokai and Big Sur (where I lived alone when I was 17). Eventually Raphael and I moved to Kohala, where we rented a house next to a stream that runs all year round. The back of the house bordered onto a tropical jungle and Tara’s shrine was a simple sacred place under a huge mango tree, where crystals and goddess images filled the crevasses of an old Hawaiian rock wall. Many people who visited this shrine experienced Tara’s energy, and she spoke to some. Then I understood why she wanted a physical location. It was a place where she could thicken her energy so that others could feel her directly. You can see photos of my backyard where I am standing near the shrine and you can see a distinct pink orb in photos that were taken on two separate occasions and by two different people.

In 1998 a mysterious lump appeared under Raphael’s left arm. The M.D. we consulted thought that it was Cat Scratch Fever, a benign problem that would go away by itself within 1-5 months. There was some chance that it could be lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes), but this could not be diagnosed without a biopsy. Raffi decided to fast and do coffee enemas, to cleanse his system.

The test came back positive for Cat Scratch, and several doctors and naturopaths assured us that there ws nothing they could do except to give antibiotics, which wouldn’t necessarily do any good. After five onths the lump became appallingly large. When Raffi became so weak he could barely stand, and his blood pressure dropped dangerously low, we rushed him to the hospital. The doctor in Emergency took one look at the test for Cat Scratch Fever and told us that 20% of the population would test positive. The results of the test, he said, clearly showed that it was not an active infection. He strongly suspected lymphoma, and Raphael was admitted to Intensive Care.

From the time Raphael went into the hospital, there were many close friends and family members who wanted to know about his daily progress. I was by his side almost constantly, and did not have the time nor energy to answer all their well-meaning phone calls. Fortunately, most of the people who were concernedabout him had Email. So every day, while he napped or slept, I wrote long letters about his physical condition, as well as the transformative process that we were experiencing as we rode that fine line between life and death. Sometimes Raffi would have insights that I typed as he spoke. Our love of each other, the challenges that we met on a day-to-day basis, our sense of humor and his outrageousness permeated these communications. We would have long discussions about our relationship on tape, which I later transcribed. Or I would wake up at 4 AM and write on my laptop, as if it were my journal, sharing my dees feelings and concerns. Or I woud type as Raffi spoke.

The letters touched people deeply. The depth of our sharing inspired others to look more deeply at their relationships with their loved ones, their creativity, and the actual or possible deaths they might be facing. Raffi joked that I was writing a book, and many people said that these letters ought to be published. One morning I woke up with a title: Death by Email. We both loved the sardonic humor, and decided that it would be appropriate, whether he lived or died. This was an amazing time in our lives. Raffi had been a TM teacher, and he always wondered why other people could see auras and things that he could not see. During those lat two months he began to see angels. He called his ex-wife and everyone that he had unfinished business with. He was radiant. People would come to visit him to cheer him up and they would go away beaming.

After a couple weeks in the hospital we brought him home where a group of close friends and Hospice helped me to care for him. His last days, the moment of his passing when the whole house was surrounded in a night rainbow, the bathing of his body with my two dear women friends, the gathering of friends after his death as a group of us sat in a circle around his body and shared memories of him, our cat Silky’s reationship to him, and my vsitations after his death—all of this is shared in the compilation of 66 Email letters written to family and friends during the five weeks, from the time Raphael entered the hospital, until his death, and for several months afterwards. This book has comforted many people who have gone through similar transitions. This Ebook is available through my online Store.

Rock Art & Healing Stones

Two years after Raffi’s death I went to visit my aunt in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While I was in South America, I went to Machu Picchu in Peru. I arranged to meet my friend Angela there, and we went up to the ruins. She and I were among the few people still lingering there at sunset.

One of those great rocks was calling to me. Placing my right cheek and ear against the cold stone, I had the distinct impression that it was talking to me. I’ve been communing with rocks for years, and they have generously revealed their healing powers to me. But this venerable sentinel was giving me advice, like some ancient Oracle. I did not hear it with my ears yet it was clear, like a telepathic message. It told me to simplify my life, travel less, get rid of my computer (I had two) and it said that I should study with a Navajo jeweler.

I never thought of making jewelry, but I have a good eye, I told myself. I love color, I have a deep appreciation for stones, and I enjoy working with geometric shapes. Then I remembered standing at the center of the ruins and thinking, This builder must have enjoyed his work. How satisfying it must be to commune with the stones as part of your work, instead of sitting in front of a computer.

Though it was hard to imagine that a Navajo would want to teach a white woman how to make jewelry, six months later I did go to Navajo Country. After a long search I found a wonderful man who agreed to work with me. (I tell this story—and many others—in an as-yet-unpublished book, Living from the Inside Out. To my surprise and his, I turned out to be quite talented and caught on remarkably quickly. I probably did this work in a past life.

The skills I learned from Mel Begay enabled me to make a unique form of Rock Art, using natural stones in a mosaic pattern to create scenes from Hawaii and elsewhere. I also enjoyed shaping Healing Stones. I ask permission of the stones to cut and grind and polish them, and they tell me whether they want to be cut and how to cut them. I love this work and the stones bring great happiness and healing to many people.

The story of my Journey to the Navajo Nation took up two long chapters in my book, Living from the Inside Out. I have not yet found a publisher for this book, but you can read selections at this website (follow the link).

A CD of my Shamanic Sounding with Aleho’s didjeridoo (a long wind instrument used by the Australian Aborigines, originally made from the hollowed-out trunk or branch of a tree) called Altered States of Planet Earth, is also available . These Shamanic sounds usually come through only when I do healings, but when Aleho plays the didj it awakens and inspires the sounds to come forth. We both went into a meditative state in the recording studio and asked the Guides to play through us.


In mid-October of 2004 my Grandson Keanu was born. My son Kalon and (former) daughter-in-law Petra had a beautiful piece of land in Huelo, Maui, with several structures including a sacred yurt (a round structure about 24 feet in diameter) that became my home. It was a blessing for us to live near one another, where Keanu could be a part of all of our lives. He seems to be a Crystal Child: sweet disposition, loves music, enjoys making all kinds of sounds, loves flowers and animals. What a delight he is! I was finally able to fulfill the dream that began when I was with the Hopi, of raising a child in a close family situation, where the child has access to many family members and friends.

I stopped teaching for a year, and I wasn’t sure if I would resume the Intensives. But while I was in Thailand in June (where I went for some dental work), I had a dramatic encounter with Quan Yin (a sister aspect of Tara), and she told me exactly how and where to begin teaching again. I feel so blessed to have these wise and loving Guides.

Zen Monastery

Invitation to a Zen Buddhist Monastery
Friday, May 11th, 2007

It all started during a book tour, flying between Portland and San Francisco. I found my seat, and prepared to hoist my heavy pack full of crystals up into the baggage compartment when the woman sitting on the aisle sprung up to assist me, and we gave each other big smiles.

As I made my way past her to my seat, I could not help but notice that not only did she have a bald head, but she appeared to be wearing Japanese robes. Yet she seemed to be a Westerner. How fascinating! “Excuse me,” I inquired, “Are you a Buddhist nun?”

“Yes!” she replied, “I’m the translator for one of the last true Zen Roshis.”

“Really!” I responded, almost falling over in my seat. I wanted to know Everything about her life. I asked endless questions. And she never hesitated to answer, even when I asked, “Did you take a vow of celibacy?” and “Was that difficult?”

My new friend, Chisan, had been active in the Women’s Movement in New York City in the sixties. She was a Tarot reader! She went to Japan to learn to throw pots in the traditional way, and she found a master of pottery who would say, “No, that bowl is too tight, too pinched. You need to go to the mountains and breathe deeply, and then come back and throw another one.”

Then she became interested in Zen Buddhism, and she set out on a quest to find a true Zen Roshi. But everyone told her that no, all the true Zen teachers had died. Finally she found the very last of the teachers who truly walked his talk and embodied the qualities that she yearned to experience. That teacher was the only one who allowed women to join the monastery. But the training was so rigorous and demanding (because it was designed for young male monks) that the women would drop out before their training was complete. Chisan was the first woman to stick it out.

Though she was fairly new to the Japanese language, she had an intuitive understanding of it. After her teacher died, his most promising monk, Shodo Harada Roshi, became the Abbott of the Sogenji Temple, and Chisan became his translator. That was thirty years ago. Most people spend just 1-3 years at the temple, which is really a monastery, and is intended as a place to train monks to become priests or roshis. Chisan and Shodo Harada Roshi are the only ones who have stayed there from the beginning.

During the first 15 years, she confided, she did have lovers, and that was acceptable. But fifteen years ago, she took the vow of celibacy, and has never regretted it. She is in her early sixties now, and she is radiant, robust, and absolutely embodies a divine spirituality that is riotous, irreverent, and outrageous. There was nothing taboo; nothing too sacred. We laughed so much that the Japanese girls in front of us turned around several times to give us sour looks.

I told Chisan that when I was 13, my older brother gave me a book called Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by D. T. Suzuki. It made such a deep impression on me that I started to meditate. The principles in that book have influenced me all through my life. I used to think that I wanted to become a monk (not a nun – never a nun) and live on a mountaintop. I did camp out alone on a ridgetop in Big Sur when I was 17, and I camped on another mountain top in British Columbia for three months, and then I lived for a year in a little cabin on a mountaintop with Reuben when he was 13.

Just before I conceived Reuben (when Kalon was 4), I went up on a mountain in New Mexico and asked Spirit, “Should I have another child? What about my spiritual practice?” And Spirit answered me and said, “You’re young enough to have one more child, and then when they are both grown, you’ll still be able to pursue your spiritual path.”

And now, here I am, with both my boys grown, having entirely forgotten about my interest in Zen Buddhism, and I meet a woman who has done what I thought I might have done!

Chisan was as interested in my life as I was in hers. She, too, asked endless questions about my books, my healing work, about the crystals. She told me how much she would have liked to have become a healer, but she had no time to pursue those interests. Once she met Susun Weed, the herbalist, and invited her to come to the monastery. Susan came with her mother, and they stayed for two weeks.

“By the way, said Chisan, “you are very welcome to come to the monastery as my personal guest, and to stay in the guesthouse. I would love to have you come and visit. And many people there,” she added, “would benefit from your Vibrational Healing work.”

How could I refuse an invitation like that? “I’ll come!” I said. I had no idea how or when, but I was sure that I wanted to do that. Of course we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses.

Even after the plane landed, we could not stop talking. She helped me pull my pack down from the overhead compartment, and we walked down the runway together. Then, knowing we had to separate, we bowed to one another. Then it struck me with perfect clarity. “You are living one of my alternate lives!”

She gave me a big grin and said, “I was just thinking the same thing!”

We gave each other a big hug and went our separate ways.

So that is why, after being a live-in Grannie for over a year, when it became clear that the in-law thing wasn’t working out as well as we had hoped, with great deep regret I took leave of my precious grandson, packed all my worldly goods into a 5X7 storage locker, and decided that I would go “on the road,” to follow Spirit, wherever I was led to go.

All I knew was that I would spend 3-6 weeks at the Monastery, about a month in Bali, and then I would go to Alaska, where I would be the keynote speaker, along with Rosemary Gladstar, at an Herbal Conference. After that I would head to Denver for the New Age Trade Show, where I would sign books.

Arriving in Asheville, September 2007

After I left Alaska, I thought I would go back to Oregon. But my book, Vibrational Healing Through the Chakras, received the second place award in its category, so I signed 200 books at the International New Age Trade Show in Denver (INATS West), and I was invited to many places. I organized a book tour that would take me through New York, Boston, and Asheville, North Carolina.

When I went to get my plane ticket, I had a strong sense that I should not get a return ticket to the West Coast. In fact, I had clear Guidance that I shouldn’t make any plans after Asheville. I wondered why? Would I meet a special man? Would I be invited to teach my Vibrational Healing program on the East Coast?

It was hard for me not to make plans. My whole career is based on giving talks and workshops that have to be scheduled well in advance. But I decided to trust in Spirit.

I was well received at East West Living, “New York’s largest source for spiritual, holistic health and metaphysical books and supplies.” I was invited to come back and teach at an elegant home in Briarcliff Manor, in Westchester County, just outside of New York City.

Boston went well. I had a great connection with the people at Circles of Wisdom in Andover, and they invited me to return and do the Whole Health Expo’s with them in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

I was feeling much more useful on the East Coast than in Hawaii or on the West Coast. It seemed that my skills and talents were needed and appreciated more.

Next stop was North Carolina. I had only been to North Carolina once before, to Ocracoke on the Coast, to visit my friend and co-facilitator, Cynthia Mitchell. Cynthia was enthused about my coming to Asheville, and agreed to meet me at the airport and we would hang together for ten days, and maybe do some teaching tat a place called Crystal Visions.

Cynthia picked me up at the airport in Raleigh and we drove west for many hours to Asheville. I never even heard of Asheville before. The Blue Ridge Mountains were lovely, and it’s true, they definitely did look blue! But they were paltry compared to Alaska, and to the Canadian Rockies, and even the California Rockies.

When I woke up the next morning, I felt good. I couldn’t quite understand why. People told me that these are the oldest mountains in the world, which is why they’re so worn down, and they are full of crystals. They’re called the Grandmother Mountains. Maybe that was it!

A couple days later (it was the middle of October) I got a real clear message in my meditation: “Stay here until the end of the year.”

Cynthia took me to Greenlife, the local health food store, and I saw some notices about rentals. I jotted down two phone numbers. A couple days later I had some spare time and the use of Cynthia’s car, so I went to look at the rentals. The second place was perfect.

The neighborhood had lots of trees. The big yellow house had a big stone chimney. It was on a lot with a huge yard, set back from the road. The owner was on the white swing seat on the front porch where the pink petunias grew in profusion. I sat down alongside her and we spoke for half an hour before I even stepped inside the house.

We had everything in common! She was an RN who did natural healing work, specializing in BreathDance, to help people who have breathing problems get off their inhalers. She just bought the house and moved in a month earlier, but she lived in Asheville for the last year, and had lots of connections. She belonged to the dance collective; she helped out at the herbal conference; and she has a room in the house for doing workshops.

I hoped to find a place right away, and this place was available. I wrote a check, and Dorisse looked at my full name and said, “I know you! I have your book!” She had a copy of my first book, Healing Yourself, the herbal.

A few days later I moved in. Immediately I started making connections, meeting people, and feeling extremely welcome. Almost everyone I met had their own story to tell about being mysteriously guided to come to Asheville. And there were lots of sound healers. That was true in Hawaii, too, but it didn’t surprise me there. Why Asheville???

As I started to write to friends, to tell them about my move, they all seemed to know about Asheville. They had heard about it, or they had friends or family there. They all thought it was a very cool place. Some people called it the San Francisco of the East Coast. Some compared it to Portland. People say this it is one of the safest places on the planet if there are earth changes. The downtown seemed a bit like New Orleans.

Within a couple weeks I was told by Spirit, “You’re going to stay here.” That was fine with me.

I do miss my grandson in Maui, but I’ve already adopted a couple of Indigo kids to take care of, and they really need a Gramma, so we’re all happy.

Hillsborough & My Soul Family, September 2008

I had a great time in Asheville. I spent the summer in the mountains, checking out as many waterfalls as possible, camping, and I finally went whitewater rafting. What a hoot! (Levels 3 and 4—pretty challenging). While I was there, I met some wonderful soul friends from Hillsborough, four hours east of Asheville. I was Guided to move there. I found a beautiful apartment overlooking a natural lake, just 5 minutes from the health food store in town, 10 minutes from my friends (in all three directions).

Meanwhile, my work in the Northeast was growing, and I was teaching the whole Vibrational Healing Program (8 workshops) in four locations: Asheville; Westchester County (an hour from New York City); Phoenixville (an hour from Philadelphia, PA); and Caldwell, New Jersey (in Essex County).

A few weeks later

My new apartment is right alongside of a five-acre lake. I love to sit on my patio and watch the wind moving across the water, and the rain falling on the water, and the Canadian geese rushing in, and the big white-and-black ducks doing their dance. Yesterday I walked around the edge of the water early in the morning, and spotted a brown heron.

This morning I took my five-mile hike with my two walking buddies, and we noticed the trees turning colors. Splotches of red and yellow already showing up here and there. So exciting for me, after living in Hawaii for ten years, where there are no Autumn colors. It feels real good to be here.

There is a message from the Hopi Elders (I’m not convinced it’s really from them, but I like it anyway) that says that during these hard times, it is important to know who your friends are, who your community is, where there is a source of safe water to drink, and to have a garden. That feels essential to me now. These are things that give me a deep sense of security.

My grandson, Keanu (like Keanu Reeves), who just turned four, came to visit with his Papa, Kalon, from Maui. They were with me for ten days, and we had a grand time. I took them to the Blue Ridge Mountains and to Asheville and my favorite East Indian Restaurant, Mela. How wonderful to have them here with me, and to know that Keanu totally remembers me, after not seeing each other for over a year.

Now the trees have lost their leaves, and the big windchimes on my patio are happily ringing in the wind. I’ve nestled in for the Winter and I’m doing lots of reading and writing until mid January, when I’ll head for the Northeast again.


January 2010

I just returned to Hillsborough after 6 weeks in Vancouver, BC, to visit my younger son, Reuben, and his wife Zoey Wren (a singer-songwriter-composer who just released a remarkable CD). Then I went to Maui to visit my older son, Kalon, and my grandson. By next fall, I expect to be moving back to the Big Island.

Welcome to Winter! This was our first snow. Check out this photo for big pink orbs and colorful light patterns.


May 2012

In November of 2010, I moved back to the Big Island of Hawaii. It felt great to be back. First I lived north of Hilo in Papaikou for six months. Then I lived in Hawaiian Paradise Park (First and Kaloli) for a year. Then in Pepeekeo, 11 miles north of Hilo, for a few months. And then I bought my first house in Papaaloa, 24 miles north of Hilo. I’ve been working part time at The Exclusive Hawaii Drug and Treatment Center.such an honor to be working with an incredible staff, helping people who have serious problems to truly get their lives back. If you know anyone who has a severe addiction, this may be the best place in the world to find help—in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. We have a holistic approach, working with the underlying shame-based Core Beliefs that lead to addiction. It is so gratifying to see the profound changes that take places with our graduates.

Great Blissings to You,


I sometimes use the name JoyUs because it carries the vibrations of the joy of all of us; an affirmation that each person’s joy expands as we support one another to unfold into universal Joy. Feel free to use Joy or JoyUs, whichever appeals to you.

Do the joyful thing and do everything with joy.” —Mrs. Tipperwillow

(From Mrs. Tipperwillow’s Afterlife Adventures, by Krista Markowitz
published by iUniverse and available through

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©Joy Gardner 1995-2013