It began at Applebee's, of all unlikely places to have your life
In 1999 I was still brand-new to the Bay Area in general, and to
Alameda in particular. One evening, my then-boyfriend /now-husband
David and I decided to drive across the island and have dinner at the
South Shore Applebee's. It was a
Friday night, at the peak of the dinner rush, and we were looking at a
30-minute wait to be seated. Fine by us: we were still at that
icky-gooey stage of our relationship, when even standing around waiting
for a dinner table was "fun." (Come to think of it, we still
As we waited, we amused ourselves by
wandering around the restaurant lobby, checking out the assortment of
from the walls. Most of it was standard-issue Applebee's crap
-- faux sports "memorabilia," faux music "memorabilia," faux
military "memorabilia" from the nearby Navy Base
-- but there were also a number of framed photos of
area, taken throughout the past hundred years or so. At that
point I was
already falling in love with my adopted hometown ... the
palm trees, the beautiful beaches, the stately Victorians ...
I found the
photographs of 19th and early-20th century Alameda extremely compelling.
One photo in particular, however, got my attention like no other.
It was a photo of Neptune Beach, a popular Alameda resort and
amusement park in the early 1900s. Although the amusement
park (and the beach, actually) are long gone, the little apartment
David and I are living in now is only a few blocks from the original
looked at the photo -- a crowd scene taken during
summer of 1917, according to the plaque beneath the frame
-- I noticed a girl standing off to one side of
alone. Her back is to the camera,
but her face is turned slightly to one side, revealing the slightest
view of profile. Her hair falls in one long braid down the
of her old-fashioned bathing costume, and she clasps her hands in front
Even in a still photograph, there is an animated
quality to her
... a liveliness of
spirit, an almost palpable impatience. It's as though she's
waiting for a
friend who is late to their swim date.
As I looked at the woman in the photograph, I suddenly heard a small
voice in my head. "That's you!"
it whispered. "YOU
were once that girl."
(click to see enlarged version)
I brushed it
aside. That's just hunger
I told myself. The idea that I may have lived a
life prior to
this one was simply too weird, too fanciful
-- too contrary to everything I'd ever been taught
Over the next few years, David and I went to Applebee's maybe once
every two or
three months. Each time, I made a beeline for the
Neptune Beach photo. As I studied it, I realized
that something odd was happening: I was beginning to recognize
some of the people in the
photo. I saw a
woman wearing the same bathing costume that *I* had once purchased (and
felt a tickle of residual resentment over her impudence). I recognized
an older gentleman who had once given me piano lessons in a chilly
church basement. I
saw my second cousin twice-removed, who would die tragically at age 23
an allergic reaction to a bee sting. I could point out the
location of the public
closet, the ice vendor, the changing rooms ... none
which were identified in the photo. In short: I was beginning to
believe that I may have actually been
the girl in that photo.
I was also beginning to believe that I might be losing my
During the summer of 2005, I found myself Unexpectedly and
Unemployed -- a long
already familiar to long-time *FootNotes* readers -- while
simultaneously in the
throes of a profound
change-of-life depression. For three months I lay in bed with
laptop, stoned on Ativan and Paxil, idly
surfing the web.
One afternoon, while searching for "Neptune Beach" and
"past lives" -- yet another attempt to place myself
Applebee's photo -- I stumbled across a local
message board for people who believed they had lived past lives
specific to the Bay Area.
The board was maintained and hosted by a
Patricia (known as "Fleeta" to her online friends and
acquaintances) claimed that
taught herself to locate and identify
previous incarnations. Furthermore, she claimed that she was able to do
the same for others. I e-mailed her that very afternoon,
about my fascination with the Applebee's photo and
my suspicion that
I may have lived in Alameda in a previous life.
Fleeta answered my e-mail immediately. "I think I can help
We began a lively e-mail back-and-forth, focusing primarily on the
topics of past
lives and local history. By the end of the summer we had progressed to
conversations, then to a face-to-face coffee meeting at Noah's Bagels.
She introduced me to the concept of "reactualizing"
... a technique
that uses a
combination of self-hypnosis, antihistamines and Internet research to
incarnations, or "actualizations." Using this technique, she
had managed to reactualize over seventy of her own previous
incarnations (and hundreds more for other people). She told me that
three things made me
uniquely qualified for reactualization:
I had been successfully
hypnotized in the past.
2.) I have flexible religious
I am a lifelong
People who obsessively document and archive their lives, she
said, will reactualize with greater ease than those who don't. "It's
all about levels of self-awareness," she explained.
(For once, I was actually GLAD to be embarrassingly self-absorbed.)
Even so, I was initially skeptical. How could this possibly
encouragement -- plus the fact that she DIDN'T ask for a
major credit card -- finally convinced me that it
a shot. Our
first session took place in mid-October 2005, in her private studio in
Piedmont. Unfortunately, the first time
wasn't a success. I was weaning myself from the antidepressants at
that point, a brutal physical process not unlike my withdrawal from
drugs and alcohol years earlier, and I found it difficult to relax and
was disappointed, but Fleeta encouraged me to try again. "Lots of
preincarnates don't reactualize the first time they try," she said. I
agreed to another session, and on October 27, 2005 I experienced my
first successful reactualization as Nahknet, a young woman
lived and died in Egypt during the fourth century BC. In
subsequent sessions, four more precarnations reactualized themselves,
one per month ... including the woman in the
As my success rate with reactualization grew -- as
my friendship with Fleeta -- the two of us began to
toy with the
of jointly building a website to promote Past Life Reactualization.
we use *FootNotes*?" I suggested. I obviously wasn't planning
to continue journaling on this site. Why not use the
(and the ready-made audience) to
get our message across? She agreed that this was the perfect course of
And thus "FootNotes In Time" was born.
At this moment it is still very much a work in progress. Presented here
thumbnail sketches of my first five verified reactualizations to date,
more (hopefully) to follow as I continue my sessions.
we would like to include more detailed information about the
Reactualization Process, as well as a message board for those who have
successfully undergone the process and a FAQ page for those interested
in trying it for themselves. We are both extremely excited
this project, and although there isn't a lot here just yet, we look
someday having the most comprehensive reactualization website on the
I understand that not all of my readers will feel inclined to join me
on this journey. To them I say farewell, and thank you for supporting
*FootNotes* for so many years.
To the rest of you I say: prepare
for the most amazing experience of your lives.
Let the reactualization begin!