Bliss: One Hero’s Journey

A Brief Encounter with Gary Ramsey’s

“Bliss: One Hero’s Journey”
Foreword, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2

Natasha Stone

Part 1

Gary Ramsey’s “Bliss: One Hero’s Journey”, is an intensely poignant and chronological autobiographical account of Gary’s uniquely intimate experience with his cancer.

The Foreword has been written by one of Gary’s clients and friends, Stand-Up Comedian, Actor and Writer; Colin Quinn. Colin Quinn accurately pinpointed the complexity of describing the nature of the work Gary does; it is physical and equally intangible. Truthfully, it is challenging to verbalise or articulate; except to say that Gary’s energetic synergy at work is wordless, flawless, positive, and powerful.

Chapter 1 offers a comprehensive introduction to Gary’s professional work as an Opera Singer, an Alexander Technique practitioner, and the Head of Voice and Speech at New York’s legendary Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre. It is here where we briefly touch on imagining how hectic a day would be for Gary in his capacity as an Opera singer; from performing as the ancient God Pan, to stepping into a contemporary Opera and filling the leather cowboy boots of legendary NFL Coach Bum Phillips. Further along in this chapter, the day to day of the business of the arts becomes the back drop and the scenery as Gary’s body, and its functions, propels itself further and forward into the foreground.

Chapter 2 is where we get the news almost as unceremoniously dumped on us as Gary did; that he has cancer, and his tumor is terminal. I thought the brash delivery of this critically grave news was excellently executed by Gary. There might be a better way to tell someone they are dying then what this doctor managed to muster, but putting that medic aside, this chapter really begs us to examine the most significant question that this book repeatedly and silently asks us to take into consideration: How would any of us react to a doctor telling us in common spoken English that we could die at any minute?

The author brings us to the universal truth that “ANYONE can die at any minute.”

He escapes into a dream like state and the name “Anita Moorjani” comes to him. For anyone who doesn’t know, Anita Moorjani had a real life Near Death Experience (NDE) where she was dying of her terminal cancer. She went into a coma, came out of it on her own, and her cancer completely disappeared by itself while she was in hospital. Another word for this is a miracle. This story of Anita would be the marker in the storyline; the critical juncture which can be clearly sequestered where Gary’s consciousness expands exponentially.

*More will follow as I travel through this book while I am processing my own experience with the death of my mother.
Much Love and Many Blessings,
Natasha Stone


A Brief Encounter with Gary Ramsey’s

“Bliss: One Hero’s Journey”

Chapter 3 and Chapter 4

Part 2

“I sensed a delight in the developing competition between me and death.”
Gary Ramsey, 2018, Bliss: One Hero’s Journey.

Continuing on from Chapter 2, Gary consults with his doctor and he learns that he has cancer and a deadly tumour. He relies upon his intuition which guides him to seek treatment outside the United States and in neighbouring Mexico.

Gary’s reasoning to go to Mexico can best be supported as being utterly rational given the magnitude of issues circling medical insurance, making and supporting claims, exorbitant out of pocket medical costs, and other critical issues too broad, frightening, and downright unjust to appropriately contemplate and discuss here. Despite all these barriers that don’t support the principles that underpin universal health care, Gary shares in his story that he had long ago adopted a savvy financial strategy which he reserved specifically for medical and health costs.

In the next Chapter; Chapter 3, Gary delicately mulls over his decision and takes into consideration how he will appropriately share with significant others this news of his diagnosis, and his intention to seek treatment in Mexico and not the United States.

The odds were stacked against me here in New York because of my role as a caretaker. This habit would enslave me.”

Gary Ramsey, 2018, Bliss: One Hero’s Journey.

Chapter 3 poses a curious predicament; how does Gary manage to care for himself when he is concerned with how other people will react to his news? What happens when a caretaker/caregiver is in need of care themselves?
It is reasonable to acknowledge that there is very little energy to give or extend towards others when energy is needed for one’s own self to heal. Gary reflects on his dilemma well in this chapter. One of the beautifully crafted messages contained in Gary Ramsey’s book, “Bliss: One Hero’s Journey”, is that we already know what feels right to us and we should trust our feelings because if we listen to what others tell us, perhaps they are right but what if they are not? What then?

All I can think about in this chapter is that if he indeed was going to die then he wanted it to be on his terms, somewhere by the ocean, surrounded by the beauty of the sea, and not in a hospital. If his situation was as dire as his doctor had told him, imagine if it were you, wouldn’t you want to live your end as happily as possible? To extend this question further, why do so many of us wait until we are dying before we make the decision to live our lives as conscientiously, or as “happily” as we can?

“He discussed how my own mental and emotional states were of the

utmost importance and would be major factors towards a successful outcome.”

Gary Ramsey, 2018, Bliss: One Hero’s Journey.

Chapter 4 introduces the concept of the inextricable link between the mind and the body and how this holistic approach is not divorced from treating cancer (or anything else really). We discover that his treating doctor straight out advocates for Gary to continue embracing an organic diet AND to continue exercising a positive mental and emotional state.

Gary’s reality that he could die at any minute opens his heart to appreciating the truth that life can be very beautiful, people can be loving, supportive and wonderful while also contemplating an alternate perspective; life is astonishingly fragile and death is imminent.

It is a fantasy that many of us have, that we will all live until we are at least in our 80s, 90s, or beyond. In reality for many, life is short and a cliché; which doesn’t mean that much until we are faced with a health crisis, a loved one’s death, or some other significant and personal experience to us where we know, truly know, that life is something that can well and truly be extinguished at any moment.

*Part 3 coming soon.
Much Love and Many Blessings,
Natasha Stone

Part 3
Chapter 4

The simple relief of being accepted to the institute and finally having a plan in place was awesome. I remember telling my sister, “Whatever happens is up to the universe and the heavens above.”
Gary Ramsey, Bliss: One Hero’s Journey, 2018

In Chapter 4 Gary receives confirmation that he is booked in at Sanoviv Medical Institute in Mexico. His treating doctor rings him from Mexico to advise and attend to any concerns he presents.

Gary books a one-way ticket as the clinic advises him not to book a return flight. This part of the book serves to illustrate that there is no way of knowing with certainty whether or not Gary will be alive on the return flight.
The pivotal theme is silently reiterated; “ANYONE can die at any minute.”

Although Gary has a medical “reason” to believe that he could die at any minute; the universe, God, or whatever mystical entity one wishes to call the divine, might not to be ringing a bell to signal that “time is up” – for any one of us.

This chapter thoroughly takes us on a journey with a man who believes that he is dying because he was told so and has the paperwork to prove it. Now that he knows what day he is expected to begin his treatment, he also knows he has a few days to tie up any loose ends before departing for Mexico. The other awareness which overshadows the former ones is that he must attend to all of these practicalities fully cognizant that those might be the very last days of his life.

It is onerous to imagine; to step into and absorb, just how that would actually feel; because for anyone who is “doing” or “imagining” it, anxiety or fear would surely surface before arousing another manageable state of awareness. Some of us can, or perhaps are more wired that way, to imagine calamities quicker than others. This is something which is not necessarily detrimental, although it can be, if intentionally enriched.

A focus point in Chapter 4 is the management of sharing the news of Gary’s cancer and saying goodbye without knowing if it is a final goodbye or not. Death is unpredictable. At the same time, life must still be lived somehow, however one chooses. Life and death can co-exist. It is a fascinating and painful truth.

He considers the needs of his sister Paula, who will be meeting him and accompanying him in Mexico, and he gets in touch with the Director at the Playhouse, Pamela. Another Alexander Technique Practitioner, Anne, is also notified and upon hearing of his cancer, she in turn suggests to Gary that he consider using a healer named Debbra in addition to his treatment in Mexico.

Part 4

A Brief Encounter with Gary Ramsey’s

“Bliss: One Hero’s Journey”

Chapter 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10

Chapter 5

“I had an image of giving birth to something beyond this tumor. I even joked at times that I was carrying Rosemary’s baby. I had compassion towards this baby of a tumor and felt as though I was nurturing it as opposed to loathing it.”

Gary Ramsey, 2018, Bliss: One Hero’s Journey

Chapter 5 of Bliss: One Hero’s Journey takes us through Gary’s final day in New York before his scheduled flight that will take him on his adventure in Mexico.

It is on this day of saying final good-byes that we learn he has no way of really knowing whether his surgery will be successful or not.

I thought he did an exceptional job of representing the difficulties associated with telling people the nature of such an urgent and intensely complicated predicament.

Gary discusses his long-time friend and client the stand-up comedian Colin Quinn and his trepidation surrounding how he will tell Colin the news. He decides to tell Colin the news through a well thought out cancer monologue which was well-intentioned but didn’t exactly get applauded. After this urgent news is transmitted, Gary journeys home and begins to reflect on what will become of his future but he catches those futuristic thoughts and puts a stop to them quickly.

“The future would come to me no matter what I did, so why think about it in advance?”

Gary Ramsey, 2018, Bliss: One Hero’s Journey

Chapter 6 invites the reader to join Gary on a turbulent air-flight. It is here that Gary calms himself through implementing the Alexander technique to regain tranquility over his concern that his tumor will erupt during his flight. When I was reading this section, I found myself agreeing with him and reflecting that he does make many valid observations throughout his book regarding the issue of allowing that feeling of fear to dominate our thoughts and exacerbate our worries.

He arrives safely to his destination. In this chapter he describes the Sanoviv Medical Institute on the Baja coast in Mexico as “paradise”. Gary’s description of the medical facility is that it reminds him of a high-end spa resort and his description of the organic food would also suggest that Sanoviv is not a conventional clinical hospital facility but a unique place that incorporates holistic and meditative integrative practices. This is all detailed in his book Bliss: One Hero’s Journey.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 discusses the specialized preoperative treatment program offered at Sanoviv Medical Institute as well as the serum which is created from the tumor and kidney to vaccinate against the same type of cancer returning. In these chapters, Gary’s sister arrives to the clinic and puts him in touch with Debbra to psychically assist him during his surgery which she does, along with a prayer circle.

Chapter 9 is reassuring and confirms that Gary’s surgery was successful and he offers many insightful reflections regarding how he has interpreted the development and manifestation of the cancer.

The final chapter, Chapter 10, has Gary meeting his hero Anita Moorjani at the Omega Centre in New York. It is here where Anita listens as Gary shares his story with her and her guests and she invites Gary to join her on her radio show. The good news continues to blossom as following on from this momentous and joyful occasion is a succession and multitude of blessings which grace the life of the author of Bliss: One Hero’s Journey.

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