Crossposted from Reflections Journal.
Today I find myself contemplating where I was and what I was doing when I first learned of the sweat lodge tragedy that took the lives of James Shore, Kirby Brown, and, ultimately, Liz Neuman. I was enjoying the long weekend with my husband's family when I read about the shocking deaths in the news. I thought, what a horrible, horrible accident. I was only barely aware of James Arthur Ray and thought his crime to be one of the kind of ignorance so typical of The Secret, with its stripped down versions of complex myths and traditions.
I was wrong. Ray's actions and inactions were so much worse than I could have ever imagined. The James Ray I came to know through watching every broadcast moment of a very long trial was a power thief who exploited the vulnerabilities of wonderful, beautiful people -- those who died and those who courageously testified about what they had experienced under his tutelage. Ray's was a very long trail of wreckage leading up to that stunning tragedy in the Arizona desert.
A year ago, I found myself waiting seemingly endlessly for the sentencing of James Arthur Ray, found guilty by a jury of his peers for causing these three deaths. Then as now my heart goes out to the family and friends of three very bright lights, snuffed out because of James Ray's recklessness. It goes out the family and friends of Colleen Conaway who also came to a tragic end at a James Ray seminar. And it goes out to the many people who were injured physically or emotionally by Ray's myriad abuses. Blessings and peace to you all.