I met a young woman at Oregon Country Fair this summer dressed as a clown in my Truth Fairy costume. I appear in pink tights and tutu, and offer a three-minute consult to anybody who wants to ask an important personal question. I get a chance to channel my intuitive soul and sometimes inspire insightful moments (see Schlagbyte archives).

People have no idea who I am, or what I do, but they come because I look ridiculous and there is no risk; it’s free and they don’t have to pay attention to what I say.

This is a letter that was forwarded to me by my assistant last week:

Hello,

My name is M. and I met Dr. Hammerschlag at the 2012 Oregon Country Fair.  My friends had approached him, asking to take a picture (not because we knew who he was, but because he was wearing a pink tutu). He requested to take a picture with me because of my intense reaction to the wig/clown nose he was wearing (I am truly afraid of clowns).  Fortunately for me, I took the picture.

Of course, this all leads up to the reason I am writing this email.  Dr. Hammerschlag asked that if I had any future thoughts concerning this incident that I contact him, and kind of give a follow up (yes, my reaction was that intense).  I have been thinking about this event on an off since it happened, and I just wanted to pass along that I am grateful for his insistence that I take the picture.  As a person, I am astonished to realize that I could overcome this fear, even if just for a moment.  As a senior psychology student, I am even more excited about the interaction because I have had the amazing opportunity to have a first hand experience of the way in which fears/phobias can hold us back and the ways in which they can be overcome.  Don’t get me wrong, I still am afraid of clowns.  However, I wish to say thank you because during this, there was a moment when we were talking about being outside comfort zones, and trying new things that we didn’t think could be possible.  I have learned that I am a person who can do what I believe to be impossible (and with grad school around the corner, it is a priceless gift to be given the confidence to continue all of my efforts, because, after all, what is grad school compared to facing a fear?).

I just wanted to share this thought.
Thank you,
Meghan

I love your story M. and it was wonderful playing hide and seek with you and your willingness to immortalize our connection with the picture. Thanks for getting back to me, it’s a reminder us that every act of insight/creativity is just the result of a prepared mind and a serendipitous moment. If you are in the right place at the right time insight/change can happen like a bolt of lightening.

Psychologists, mystics, and healers have always known this, and now modern brain scientists can show us the areas of the brain that light up when you have such epiphanies. The key is providing the brain with new information, which allows it to create new brain pathways; that’s why we are not ruled by old habits. There are lots of ways to open the mind…listening to great music, a good meal, watching the sunset, hearing drums beating, and sometimes a chance encounter with a clown.

PS: If you’re interested in more on this subject you’ll enjoy reading:
Timothy Wilson, Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, and Jonah Lehrer, Imagine: How Creativity Works).

And there is still space in the Oct.19-21 healing workshop that Mona Polacca and I are doing. Check it out at https://www.healingdoc.com/the-science-and-spirit-of-healing.php