Recently, my writing group had the opportunity to get pre-release copies of James Twyman’s upcoming book The Barn Dance. (September release date) I have mixed feelings about Twyman’s work. His film Moses Code was a decent next step from The Secret but last years The Proof turned out to be an over-hyped promotion for a course that had nothing to do with its supposed theme, oneness. He was taking turns founding a Franciscan Order, playing psychic and waving a Kabbalah around. Or at least his interpretation of the Kabbalah from 3 days research.
The Barn Dance surprised me. It’s presented and reads like a novel but he says that for him, it’s all true. I ended up reading it in one sitting. He tells the story of his failed marriage, his ex-wifes murder, and being drawn back to a remote cliff-side 3 1/2 years later, where he enters a kind of dream-time in a barn, “somewhere between heaven and earth.”
In a lot of these kinds of works there are glaring misunderstandings that can be quite misleading about the afterlife but this one sounds genuine to me. Certainly he and those he meets are interpreting their experiences in their own way. A few small things I wouldn’t consider the highest understanding but there’s nothing that troubled me.
The story only explores the edge of the immediate afterlife. It doesn’t touch on other lives or deeper background for the story we each tend to run with. But he does face his story head-on in a series of both beautiful and difficult experiences.
He briefly speaks of parallel realities. From my perspective, there is a field of possibilities which collapses to a single time-line once choice is made. Then there is no “alternate choices”. That said, time is relative. The Yog Vasishta, for example, illustrates how lives can occasionally be lived within lives. I suspect this is more the nature of the dream-time he experienced.
It was notable he was faced with a difficult choice but used the dream-time to seemingly choose both options, although he actually had only one choice and it had already been made years prior. What the circumstances really did was allow him to both learn a lesson or two and understand the choices he had made.
The story explains a lot about his life and drivers. And unexpectedly offered some profound insight into my own life. While his circumstances and the motivators were different, I shared some of the all too common conflicts between marriage and career. Not to mention how our purpose may sometimes seem at odds with the consequences of love. It also highlighted the great strength we need to make it all work, a strength that can sometimes fail us.
In some ways, the core of the books lesson explores some of the same things as Debbie Ford’s The Shadow Effect. But it comes to it in quite a different way. A different way of seeing what you’ve been unwilling to see that will ultimately allow you to deeply heal old wounds.
Overall I really enjoyed the book. While it may seem a little out there to some and, at times, heavy, it rings authentic and deeply personal. And I loved some of the lessons he got, like “you just have to let go” and “there is no death” and “love is forever.” The book will be available in about 3 months.