Meeting Tom Best, who became my teacher

Whew. I can tell this is going to be some blogging that will take a few days to write, as my experience sifts itself into lasting words, and I’ll probably reread and retouch it a few times after posting as the clarifying process continues its magic. I don’t know now how it will come out, but it’s time to start writing.

Someone who has been important in my life, a teacher primarily and also a friend, since 2007 died, shuffled off his mortal coil, transitioned to a higher plane, passed away, left the planet, shed his body, entered the clear light, or however you like to put it.

I like how my friend Katie broke the news to me:

MaryAnn, I have some sad news to share, but not really.

She told me that our teacher, Tom Best, had had a brain hemorrhage on Monday afternoon. He took a nap, and when his wife Bobbi went to wake him up, he was breathing but didn’t wake up. Their dogs licked him, and he still didn’t wake up.

It sort of gets garbled here but he was taken to two hospitals because the first one couldn’t do a brain scan or something like that, and he looked like he was just sleeping and could just wake up at any moment, and with his wife and dearest friends gathered around him, the doctor didn’t hold out much hope but agreed to leave him on a ventilator overnight to see if his condition changed (it didn’t), and on Tuesday afternoon, he left his earthly body surrounded by loved ones.

People who were there said that as they stood around his bed as he was leaving his body, it was as if they sensed someone entering the room, and that energy seemed to be above them, and then it was gone.

I really want to thank Katie for telling me like that. This has been a really different experience of processing a death/absorbing a loss than I’ve experienced before, and much of it has to do with the person who died, and some of it has to do with me.

I first met Tom Best in 1998 or 1999, when I went to visit my friend Linda in Prescott, Arizona. She was close friends with Tom and Bobbi Best. We went to their place to borrow their new adorable white German Shepherd puppy Dakota and take him for a frolic in the forest. Linda introduced me to Tom, and I remember meeting a slight, wiry man with gray hair, kind of average in beauty, greeting me with a gaze that was really different from what I’d experienced before.

His eyes were very blue, a warm blue, and his attention was totally on me for those few moments of introduction with the best eye contact I’d experienced. I felt that he was genuinely interested in me. I felt an openness, a curiosity, a direct energetic connection, and a feeling of caring emanating from him in those few moments of the typical greeting ritual we all know so well in which names are exchanged and hands shaken.

I felt seen. I felt engaged. I felt cared for. Wow, all that in just a few seconds!

As I would later learn from him, I had just experienced news of difference.

I am pretty sure that was the first time I met anyone who transmitted his presence so clearly and directly to me, and I could not have described our first meeting like I just did had I not had him for a teacher later on.

I tucked that memory away, and in 2007, I was dating a man, Norm Sternfeld, who had studied NLP, and I thought of Linda who had studied NLP, and I thought to myself,

Hmm. People who study NLP use their minds well. I want to study NLP.

So I enrolled in practitioner training here in Austin, Texas, and when I showed up the first day, there was that same guy, Tom Best, whom I’d met in Arizona eight or so years earlier, at the front of the classroom, and in a very short time, I knew I was in the right place.

to be continued…