Wow! Forty years . . .
For those of you that knew me well in High School, you knew that I'd rather be doing anything else that going to school. In fact, I can't recall how many times I was sent home for wearing 'love beads', not wearing socks, trying to grow my hair long (remember, the next year 'non-discrimination' laws passed and schools stopped their standard 'dress code' rules), or for 'inciting a riot' (like when I was caught aiming a raw egg at the Vice Principle during lunch break :~) Things certainly have changed . . .
Here are a couple of era photos of John when in 1981 he bacame a San Dimas mounted officer and in 1996 with his wife Celeste.
- 1963, At Pasadena HS - Singing is Gary Samaha,
While in high school my focus continued to be on playing original music. I started to learn guitar when I was 9 years old, joined my first band at 13 (a surf band), evolved through to 'Beatles' music, Blues and eventually began writing my own originals.
During my senior year the band was called 'John Charleston Group'. We played mostly at school functions due to our 'under age' status. However that did not stop us from becoming a well known band in San Gabriel / Pomona Valley areas.
One of the things I've experienced in life is that I am a 'partner' person. The 'John Charleston Group' experience left me feeling empty, as if I was not a good enough leader. As we (members) continued to grow up - we also grew away from each other (and I must add that over the years many of us have grown back as great long-life friends). But, it was inevitable that the band would dissolve.
We played together for just a few months in the area; in clubs and wining every 'battle of the bands' we entered. And in 1970 we decided to leave Southern California and seek life as a band on the road (more about this later).
In 2004, Ross Mayfield, a friend of both bands from the era, ran into Hai at a Las Vegas music industry convention. He got my contact info and that resulted in transferring reels of recordings from tape to CD's. Because of that I can share with you both groups music!
It is interesting to note that all the players in these bands continued to play or work in the music industry to this day. Some are cutting film, editing sound, working sound stages and some are still recording. All were true 'players'. Hai Muradian not only is one of Coast Music Wholesale's main sales persons (for decades) but he works tirelessly in several local bands including 'The Ravelers', a professional 'covers' band featuring songs from the 60's, 70's and 80's.
Featherstitch was a unique band - very popular in the San Gabriel and Inland Empire valleys, but, the 'big break' was not on the horizon. In 1970 'Featherstitch' took off on a journey. Our intent was to go to Elizabeth Town in upper New York State and use our Los Angeles 'status' to make a name in the music business. What happened was that we got as far as Ohio and discovered the house that was waiting for us was sold! So there we were; 9 people with 3 vehicles and $150! (that was not quite nuts as you may recall gas was $0.29 a gallon back then).
So we made our way north to Cleveland where Scott Sheridan's brother had a place and was a bass player in a local 'working band'. This was a new term to us - Ohio had an 18 year old drinking age - so many fine musicians could find real work in local dance bars and clubs and actually earn a great living; if the band plays covers. We didn't, and so we had an uphill battle. Within a week were had relocated to Kent, Ohio (where Kent State is located) and had acquired a steady gig at JB's. This was the club Joe Walsh (of the James Gang - aka Barnstorm; later with the Eagles) got his start at.
Over time Featherstitch became a well known name in Ohio and Eastern Pennsylvania. They played with Prochol Harem, Cat Stevens and King Crimson. Our most popular venue was playing as the 'Lead Group' in the concert series for the very popular recording band; 'Glass Harp' with songwriter, guitarist and singer Phil Keaggy. Phil has stayed a mainstream 'Christian' rock star for over 40 years!
It was actually warming up before the gig's with with Phil Keaggy that changed the direction of my life.
This led me to ask friends 'What do you know about Christianity', which led to a couple of books coming my way via our road manager. The books? The Greek Iliad (where the Christian belief of a burning hell came from) and a book that I still have; 'The Lost Years of Jesus Revealed, a Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls'. The latter book was so intriguing to me as I had previously learned from my mom's friends (the WOW's - Weirdoes of the World - as my brother affectionately call them) that Edgar Cayce readings had indicated way back that these scrolls would be found, and that they would be confiscated by the 'church' in order to keep the truth of their contents a secret!
Well, this had me all excited! What was this about???
Well this was even more intriguing - and as the Universe has it for me, when I got to this query a knock came to my door. Clary, son John and I, were now living in a converted mule barn, in the back yard of a house on a dirt alley in the 'black' neighborhood of Kent. And as I opened the door, here is a man dressed in a suit, holding a book in his hands, and proclaiming something about something.
He about fell over. Robert (Bob) Jacops opened his bible to the front pages where he showed me a drawing of the sacred Hebrew four letters; YHVH, which he explained to me meant "He who causes to become" and was prounced Jehovah or Yahweh.
I was blown away and immediately stated a weekly bible study with this man - actually, about 3 to 4 study periods a week.
So, my life took a huge turn. Much of it was very good; I learned compassion, and acceptance of love, and rejection. I went through 12 years of theology school and became an excellent teacher of 'the truth', and brought in dozens - over 50 people, into that religion. I was fortunate that later I found my way out and back into the world of choice.
After becoming known in the local Witness community I learned that some of the wealthier members were friends of my father, who was also wealthy. With those relationships I was able to strike partnerships and create a new career as a licensed General Contractor and began building custom 'spec' homes.
My expertise was in Victorian Restoration and eventually I had a small business with over 50 projects on the books. It was a lot of work and parts of it I did not enjoy. By 1980 I had moved into commercial construction working for a Fortune 500 company building their factories and distribution centers throughout Los Angeles.
I had lost my religion, much
of my spirituality, my home,
Whatever was to come next . . . my dreams had to come back to life.
My work in Victorian wood working and commercial construction led me to an unusual venture; Doors. Doors, frames and hardware vaulted my next business like a rocket. I had found a contract to provide doors, frames, hardware and installation as a joint venture with a Orange County contractor that provided walls and ceilings in the construction of three huge building projects in Manhattan Beach for TRW.
Things are going great . . . DUCK!
Within three months of the award - and becoming
a 'name' in the San Diego construction industry, I found out that my
51% partner was using our 'receivables' to buy drugs for resale from
South America. And, when confronted, he changed the locks on the doors,
liquidated, and left me on the streets in San Diego.
OK - so that was apparently not the way.
A couple of photos
of son John during this time - with his 'cropped' VW in '88 and
During the prior decade (1979 - 1994) I had developed a real love for sailing and Catamaran Racing. I had also become the Division 2 Commodore for the Hobie CLass Racing Association.
Many of the friends I made during those times remain true friends today.
And the influence in sailing and being on the water had certainly influenced my son John who has lived in Hawaii the past 18 years.
He is a licensed Captain and worked for Maitai Catamaran Service driving a 40' 'Cat' off the beach at the Sheraton Hotel in Waikiki.
In 2000 his band; 'Sugah
Daddy' won the 'Best of Honolulu' rock and roll band award.
So, I had new friends from a new life, and no direction, I remember spray painting houses on a ladder thinking to myself; 'What's next? What's next?'. Many days after work I'd go down to Salt Creek and walk at the oceans edge and contemplate the same thing. I continually felt myself asking for direction inside.
These were sad times again. Because of my previous experience with Jehovah's Witnesses, I was very cautions about anything 'spiritual'. Yet I found myself searching inside of me - what was missing? I kept asking the question.
It was at this time that I was meeting with a financial person that represented an investment I had gotten into several years earlier. I was meeting with him looking for advice and direction for my idea to buy the Hobie Cat factory in Oceanside and re-promote the product with newer marketing. While I was meeting with this person I was drawn to his steady, confident composure and I caught myself asking; "What is it about you? Something I feel that I want?" He smiled and said to me; "Have you ever heard of TM?" I responded, "Uh, you mean TM, that stuff the Beatles did with the Indian dude?"
Well, off I was to the book store again - and within a month I had taken the course and was meditation daily.
It turns out that he was involved in a due-diligence study of a large construction project - Symphony Towers - and he needed help.
So, I got down to work. Worked hard and long hours. Made good money and developed a new life relationship with a single mom and her two wonderful kids. We were together for several years in all and mostly had a fun life. But, commitment and partnership was not there. I knew that - but, did not want to face it until such time that the project was complete and I was offered to build more projects for the London based company. I had a choice; Hong Kong or Manhattan. Neither appealed to me and instead I struck out to create a new business in San Diego so that I could keep this family together. That was like holding back a breaking dam. Money was the thing. Without mutual goals and a vision of a future together we broke up and again I found myself on the other side of 'Status', I now had 'Stigma'.
The fledgling business idea took off a year later - just in time to help me survive and get bills paid off. The business centered around the newly passed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which I had become quite familiar with. A partnership with an architect and a lawyer, we started a company (ProSite, Inc.) which provided deferred maintenance reporting used by limited partnerships purchasing large shopping centers. The reports were used to lower the purchase price based upon the ADA law that all properties had to be in compliance with these building elements, and the existing owners were responsible to have already had the work done. This generally reduced the selling price of a property by as much as 25%.
Business was flourishing when Bob Dole was running for President and he said that, when elected, he would abolish the ADA. Well, we knew that was crazy, but in the mean time, our rocket ship business crashed.
So it was in 1995 that I again determined to create a void in my life. Striving and working hard - was not working. Mom had moved to Spokane, Washington in 1970 and I had only seen her a few times over the years since. She had recently fallen, broke a hip, and then had a heart attack. I determined to put everything into storage and move to Spokane to spend time with her, focused on being a care giver, and again waited to see what the Universe would bring my way next.
Well, it did not take long!
After a bit Cecily asked me to teach her how to meditate as I had become an instructor of the practice. I did forget to mention that, but, after taking the TM course I studied in Fairfield Iowa at Maharishi International University (TM-Sidhis Course) with Deepak Chopra and John Hagelin. I found meditation to be a natural space for me. When I drove out to Cecily's place in the country and saw her in her element, there was not much to teach her - she was in her space, what Peter Pan called his 'happy space'. I saw in her so many attributes that I wanted to be in my own life, and I wanted to be around her.
Cecily's background was in banking - and a merger had taken 'her bank' away a few years earlier. She had cashed in her stock and bought a 'job', a travel agency, and now, with the advent of the Internet coming on strong, technology was about to wipe out that industry as it was then.
This was nothing like LA where I was used to dirt, dust and smog. This was ton's of pollen and I was dying.
I went to Hawaii to look at the Catamaran business John worked for - it was up for sale and I took the time to get into some good air and get my health back. After several weeks Cecily calls to let me know that she thinks she 'found something' that could work for us . . .
And that led us to today, thirteen years later.
It was an industry that neither of us was familiar with. It was the industry of Network Marketing.
Once we 'got it' we discovered that, what we looked at and became amazed at, others thought was crazy. As we became more familiar with the industry concepts we would share what we were doing with long time friends and business contacts. I remember how bad Cecily felt when one of her corporate clients said to her, 'Wow Cecily, I didn't realize things had gotten so bad for you. I would have gladly given you a job!' She was crushed - great friendships are really so thin.
We started paying money and going to the 'best' gurus of the industry. We listened and we checked out, and after a few short years we realized that what was really needed, we already had. We had experience; both business and life experiences. We knew the principles of the industry are not only good - they work, and they are the only way for most common people to create a substantial income so they can retire and continue to live off their residual income. We knew how to do it - we were already doing it - and we were successful at it.
We became industry advocates, helping to found the Distributors Rights Association (DRA) and staying on top of the industry as a whole.
Cecily and I married in October, 2000. We rebuilt our modest home on 40 acres and enjoy our life to the fullest.
Today we continue to work our international business out of our home office, our commute is down a flight of stairs where we have a north facing view of over 70 miles. We travel a lot. We share in others experience, and we promote and host several Personal Development courses each year.
We currently sit on the Field Advisory Board of a company who is 'The World Leader in Nutritional Cleansing'. Thankfully, because of our educational focus on nutrition over the last 14 years, our health is better than most; our stress levels are low, and we enjoy a terrific life every day.
One of the biggest challenges we face in todays world is the amount of contaminates; toxins, poisons, antibiotics, hormones and steroids used in the manufacturing of our food sources. This is coming to light in meaningful ways - one of the most influential is a new movie release from Australia called 'FoodMatters' - The movie exposes many of the things that we discuss in our trainings. The trailer carries a powerful yet simple message, watch it and tell everyone you know Food Matters and help spread the health word. Watch the 3 minute trailer here:
The company that we work with has a solution to the problem that is simple to use, saves money over the cost of food, and has an appealing side benefit of losing excess weight fast and safely. You can learn about that here.
'My purpose in life is to
help others find their purpose in life,
Nothing in my life has been more meaningful than to help others become financially free - able to look at their life situation and make choices without the fear of not having enough money.
I realize that what we offer is not for everyone. Some individuals are lucky enough, or hard working (and lucky enough) to have 'made it' financially. For me, that road did not work. I began to get what I wanted, when I focused on helping other people get what they wanted first. The industry of Network Marketing provided the foundation to make that a reality in my life.
Thank you for taking the time to see where my life path has taken me. I honor every step of it - I would not be the person I am today without each step I took, and without each person that touched my life - if you were a friend - then tha includes you!