Interviewed by Natasha Stone
Pizazz News Interview Exclusive
8 November 2018
“Celebrities and Death”
3 Part Series
Master Speech and Voice Instructor
Gary Ramsey is what God would sound like if he took on a human form and sang an Opera. Don’t listen to Gary’s interpretation of Rigoletto; the aptly named infamous Opera divided into three Acts and composed by Giuseppe Verdi, unless you are prepared to be a weeping blubbering mess, irrespective of the fact that you are no Opera expert and can’t say more than ‘Pizza’, ‘Pasta’ and ‘Al-Pacino’ with an Italian inflection. Imagine being covered in warm melted chocolate and having a long wet tongue lick it off – that’s how intoxicating it feels to listen to Gary’s voice. Gary’s deep Baritone vocals are seductive, delicious and soothing. In person, he exudes raw animal magnetism; which is even sexier because he is completely unaware of his effects on the human race. Gary is Head of the Voice and Speech Faculty for the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York. He is also an Acting teacher at St Mary’s in New York. Privately, as a Vocal Coach, he employs his technical skills in the Alexander Technique in a one-to-one capacity. So when Gary Ramsey was told he had Cancer and was going to die at any moment, it came as a complete shock to Gary, and to everyone else who knows Gary. Gary’s Cancer has now disappeared completely. He is committed to sharing his intimate relationship with Cancer and his journey with it, in order to provide comfort, hope, compassion, and inspiration to anyone facing grim news. Gary has written an outstanding book titled, “Bliss: One Hero’s Journey”. It is simply quite splendid.
Gary Ramsey, what a sublime gift you are to this world which needs your light and grace. Thank-you so much for sharing your extraordinary voice, energy, talent and story with us. I am deeply honored and ever so “Blissful” to have you join me in this interview for Pizazz News.
About your miraculous book “Bliss: One Hero’s Journey”, it has been highly endorsed by Anita Moorjani. Anita Moorjani is a New York’s Time Best Selling Author of the book “Dying to be Me”, as well as being a distinguished presenter and leader in the self-development and business community. How did you and your book “Bliss: One Hero’s Journey” cross paths with the ever so enchanting Anita Moorjani?
I learned about Anita Moorjani years earlier from her first interview with Dr Wayne Dyer. Dr Dyer had recently discovered her story and while taping a show with Diane Ray, Anita called into the show and Dr. Dyer then asked her to reveal her story. This was my first introduction to Anita and afterwards I anxiously awaited the release of her first book “Dying To Be Me.” Although I became a huge fan and advocate of hers, I never dreamt that I would find myself facing a similar situation just a few years later. Not long after I received my deadly diagnosis, Anita came into my mind and I was instantly filled with the courage and resolve to move forward. After I was cured of cancer, I saw an announcement that Anita would be doing a small workshop at the Omega center near New York City. The Synchronicity was simply too overwhelming for me to pass up. I attended the workshop and during it an issue arose surrounding a topic specifically pertaining to my recent predicament, so I raised my arm to respond. At the end of that workshop she had invited me to appear on her Hay House radio show.
“Bliss: One Hero’s Journey” includes a perceptively intuited forward by the charismatic and witty American celebrity Stand-Up Comedian, Colin Quinn. Can you share with us how someone who makes a living successfully as a teller of jokes and you met? Colin Quinn is part of your journey to, as he is one of the people you told about your diagnosis. How did he receive your news?
I work as a voice teacher in New York City and I am the head of the voice and speech department at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. Colin was referred to me by another teacher and when the two of us met he was experiencing serious vocal problems. The two of us really hit it off and because of our work together and his determination, he was able to overcome all his vocal issues. From then on, I was as good as gold in his eyes. As I mention in my book his lesson was the very last one I taught in New York before I left for Mexico. He was of course shocked and could not believe it because I did not appear sick at all. I believe that because Colin had been a longtime client and friend, he trusted and knew that I would do the very best I could do for myself in this deadly situation.
What was life like before you were diagnosed with Cancer?
Before cancer my life was absolutely terrific. I had been having an incredibly good time with my work at the Neighborhood Playhouse and my career as an opera singer. I had recently gained respect and recognition from my operatic singing and was loving my very busy schedule. Unfortunately I was also burning my candle at both ends because I did not want to disappoint anybody or to say no. I strove way to much to do a great job in my double life. I’ believe that the strain and constant stress greatly facilitated my cancer to make its award winning appearance. In the end I inadvertently opened the door to cancer and welcomed it to walk into my life.
How did you know, and by that I mean, what were the signs or symptoms in your body that you experienced that alerted you that something wasn’t quite right?
The loss of weight was the major key to knowing that something was very wrong. As I wrote about in the book, there were a series of small coincidences that prevented me from noticing that anything was even remotely askew. After a bout with what was thought to be a kidney stone, I developed a nagging stomach issue that would disappear as quickly as it would appear. This issue finally prompted me to cut sugar and processed food out of my diet. Within a few weeks the weight loss became extreme and I knew something was very wrong.
What did you think, what was going on in your mind, when your doctor told you that it wasn’t the flu you have, but in fact Cancer, and a deadly tumor?
He actually worded it in a very deliberate and straightforward manner. He simply looked at me and said that I could die any minute. I was in total disbelief and at first did not believe him. I was sure that there was some sort of mistake or perhaps he was joking. I was sure that there must have been some sort of a mistake. The more he explained, the more the reality of my deadly predicament set in. I was beyond dismayed as to how this could happen to anyone? I had never heard of tumors could be so deadly that they could cause an aneurysm to occur at any moment. I always thought people would cancer had months, weeks or at least days to live, but minutes? This was a new one for me, but I was wise enough to Immediately gain get control over my entire system. As a teacher of the Alexander technique, I had long learned to not let my mind run away with my emotions. I centered myself and remained as calm and composed as he continued his explanation.
The United States has a somewhat globally controversial health insurance system; you raised some points of worthy considerations about this in your book. What are a few of your personal opinions about health insurance?
To be honest I don’t have a lot of personal opinions about health insurance. As I mentioned in my book I was without health insurance at the time of my diagnosis. One of the reasons that I finally gave it up is that it became far too expensive and did not provide me with the kind of healthcare options that I desired. I always took a more holistic approach to my health and none of the insurance companies at that time offered anything of the sort. What I decided to do instead proved to be one of the most beneficial things I’ve ever done in my life. I began my own personal insurance account free from any outside companies and would bank the amount that I formerly paid on monthly insurance premiums. After 20 years that afforded me to both pay for my own healthcare and the ability to seek alternative options that ended up saving my life.
What did you find out about Cancer and its relationship to the mind and the body?
First of all, one’s relationship to their mind and body is crucial to everyone’s general health and well being. If those relationships are not good, the outcome will very likely be the same. If cancer or any other disease is involved in the mix, these must also be included in the equation. I no longer believe in any separation between our experience and the one who experiences it. The two are one in nature. With disease it is crucial to provide the best relationship as possible between the patient and his or her disease because after all, the disease has been created within us. My personal attitude toward my disease will either facilitate a good outcome or not according to how I am relating to them. It is just like having a roommate, you are either compatible and having a lovely time with each other or you are incompatible and in a terrible state. I caution everyone to look closely at how they operate in the world however, because there are those or us who function quite adequately in dysfunctional relationships. To those of you who like aggression and abuse, I would discount everything I have just said. As far as food lifestyle or even treatments I would advise the person to follow their intuition and instincts first and external advise second. There are many roads that will lead toward health if you believe in the road that you have chosen to take.
Why did you decide to go to Mexico for treatment as opposed to getting treated in the United States?
I decided to go to Mexico because my chances of survival seemed much better and my medical regime appeared to be far more logical. The doctor here explained to me he did not even think I would make it to surgery. Mexico was fairly confident that I would at least make it that far.
Sanoviv Medical Institute is where you went for your treatment and your book discusses the treatment in great detail, how did people react to the news that you were going to Mexico for treatment?
For the most part, people reacted badly to my decision to leave the country. I could clearly see that most of them were thinking inside the medical box of the United States. That everything here is the best and that we have the top medical care. I found out that this is not entirely true. The United States may not be among the worst in cancer treatment, but we are certainly not the best. There were even those that felt I was committing suicide by leaving.
You referred to your tumor in your book as a baby! You called your tumor “Rosemary’s Baby”, can you tell us about how you were intimate with your tumor and the reasons why?
I intuitively realized that becoming intimate with the tumor was the best way to handle my situation. I happen to adore babies and so imagining my tumor as one, was very helpful to me in order to see my tumor with more love and compassion. Besides it was growing inside of me, it was causing me discomfort and to have to rearrange my life as may occur with a pregnancy. Therefore I was determined that come hell or high water, I was going to be help deliver it to the best of my ability. I chose to see all that was happening to me as joyous birth instead of a deadly event. The only little twist I added was my joke about delivering “Rosemary’s baby.” I did this to remind me to remain buoyant and humorous about my upcoming “delivery.”
I was stunned when I saw your filmed performance as Rigoletto, I cannot listen to it without weeping, and that’s just how beautiful and unforgettable it is. How did it feel to you when you were given the part?
Receiving the part of Rigoletto was the most amazing event that had happened to me after returning home from Mexico. It was the one role I had always wanted to sing and had never been given the opportunity. I decided to take the Rigoletto score with me to Mexico. I did this only because if I died, I wanted to be cremated with the score. I loved it that much. Therefore, to arrive home and to be offered the role only a few months after my return was beyond my wildest dream. I could barely grasp the divine providence of it all.
Gary Ramsey Rigoletto
In what ways did having Cancer change your perceptions about the work you do as an Actor, Opera Singer, educator and human?
Since cancer I now see life as one huge glorious unity expressing itself. I see no separation or disparity with all that is or occurs, even in the bleakest of circumstances. It is as though only the divinity of everything appears before me and all the rest falls away. I feel as much delight singing an aria onstage as I do teaching a class or washing a dish. Everything is of equal importance and brings forth bliss and joy in equal proportions.
What is a typical diet for you now? Are there things you have permanently changed in your diet as a result of your experience with Cancer?
Yes there are a great many things that have changed in my diet and lifestyle. However most of these changes come from my own personal choice rather than from any external pressure. There were only two recommendations that were given to me from the center in Mexico that I chose to abide by: I no longer eat red meat nor do I drink alcohol or caffeine. This was recommended to me because of the loss of my right kidney, not because of my having had cancer. They believe that red meat, alcohol and caffeine are very hard on the kidneys and when someone only has one left, why put it at risk? I wholeheartedly agreed with this philosophy and chose to follow their suggestion. All of the other changes that I have made were for personal reasons and Ii mostly choose what to do based on how I feel in the moment. For example, I know that a diet with heavy flour intake is not advisable but, If I am out to dinner, I will go ahead and perhaps have some pasta with a couple of slices of bread. I don’t deprive myself, but I wouldn’t continue that kind of behavior on a weekly basis
What would you advise to anyone who either has Cancer or who knows someone with Cancer?
The only advice I give to people who either have cancer or are dealing with people who have cancer is to honor yourself and to be as kind as possible to yourself and to others around you. Other than that I really don’t offer any advice. I basically listen to what people have to say and to the issues that they may be having. I encourage people to embrace what is and to let go of whatever it is that they cannot control. Oddly enough it has some of the basic principles of the 12 steps in Alcoholics Anonymous. I also encourage them to see beyond their fears and to know that everything will be fine if they will only trust and allow it to be so.
Have you helped or assisted people as a result of your experience with Cancer? What kind of ways do you help others?
I have now talked to and have helped a great many people who are facing cancer and/or death. Most of the time they are just looking for someone to listen to them without any judgments or opinions about what they are going through. Surprisingly People who have cancer or are gravely ill are often attacked. I have found that many people who are close to those in dire circumstances often become extremely frightened or anxious and they want the afflicted person to do what they think they would do in their place. This is of course absurd because they are not in that person’s situation so how can they possibly know what they are going through? I believe this happens because disease and death can press some pretty big buttons in most people. Ironically, the patient becomes the unfortunate target for their friends, family and perhaps even their doctors, because of the fears being projected on to them by those around them. It literally becomes pure insanity. I have now witnessed this so many times that I think it needs to be given more attention.
You could have died but you didn’t, does death now colour your world differently and if so, how so?
Death and I have now become intimate friends. I know that he will come calling for me one day and I will be ready and waiting to welcome him with open arms
What message would you most like to convey in your book to us?
You are the best and most renowned expert that you have been given to follow. You and only you know what will lead you to your greatest growth and good. Listen to those inner stirrings and let no one try to steal you away from what you deeply know to be true!
How can we get your book?
Gary Ramsey, a million blessings unto you, thank-you so much for providing me with this stellar interview, and I wish you every Bliss, blast, contentment and happiness heavenly possible.
All My Love, Natasha 😊