I’m fully aware of how this is all going to sound, but it also happens to be the truth. I woke up one day six years ago to discover that I had inexplicably gained the ability to see and hear angels, demons, auras and ghosts. This was not something I was chasing or even really believed in. I was in my early 30s, living in New York City and working the daily grind. I had a string of unsuccessful relationships and was just kind of treading water. As far as any kind of spiritual life — it could not have been the furthest thing from my mind. I hadn’t stepped in a church in over 20 years and truthfully, the mere mention of God kind of annoyed me.
And then came San Francisco. I arrived to finish work on a film and after checking into my hotel room, I started to see things that I’d never seen before. I can best describe it as moving clouds of energy. I had no idea what was going on. The temperature in the room plummeted, which added to my shock. The more I looked around, the more I could see. Geometric patterns came out of the walls, spirits moved across the room, masses of light swirled around me, all kinds of wild stuff both beautiful and horrifying. Over the course of the night spirits told me to expose what was happening.
I finished the job, an incredible feat considering, and flew back to New York. I was still very rattled and wasn’t exactly announcing to the world what had happened. Still, despite my efforts to keep it all under the radar, this new ability — I call it a “gift/curse” — followed me back to the city.
Sometime later I met my now girlfriend, Mara, to whom I had to reveal this because I was falling in love with her. I kind of put it all on the table, which was really unnerving because she was as skeptical as I would have been in her shoes. But she loved me and said we’d take it on together. No matter what.
Randomly, new people entered my life and somehow it all sort of connected and I found myself and this story as the basis for the documentary film Wake Up. Now, being the guy who puts himself on film is the last thing I ever wanted to do. I resisted it and even when I started to be filmed, I didn’t love the idea of sharing with the world that I had suddenly developed these unique abilities.
One of the first things we did was get an MRI of my brain and a psychiatric exam. The doctors confirmed I was not schizophrenic and that nothing was abnormal about my brain. That was an enormous relief, but it left a lot more questions. We spent the next two-plus years traveling around the country and hanging out with all sorts of amazing people — a Sufi mystic, a healer/acupuncturist, researchers, academics, an enlightenment teacher, a Buddhist Roshi, Native Americans, etc. During this whole time, Mara and I were navigating our relationship in the midst of trying to understand why this happened to me and what I was supposed to do with it.
Making Wake Up was no joy ride. It was incredibly difficult to put myself out there, but it was also an incredibly profound experience. I looked for meaning as a child growing up in a small town in Georgia, but the whole God-fearing Southern Baptist approach never sat well. I found myself, decades later, confronting the same issues I struggled with in church. This journey helped me process not just this sudden ability to see and hear the extraordinary, but also to get on a path of understanding.
I don’t claim to have all the answers — it’s still unfolding for me — but what I learned in Wake Up dramatically changed my entire perspective on everything. I’m hoping that this film will not only be a source of enjoyment for people but also be a place of discovery and inspiration as it has been for me… and the amazing people that went along with me on this journey of waking up.