Preface

"How’d they do that?" I asked myself time and time again.

As a journalist and documentary filmmaker, I witnessed ordinary people performing extraordinary feats on countless occasions. I documented individuals in moments of crisis and emergency going beyond the limits they and society believed possible. Caught up in earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and accidents, I watched mild-mannered people become super-heroes.

When extreme circumstances demand action, paranormal abilities arise from normal folks. Women lift two-ton trucks and hold them aloft until their child or husband is freed from beneath the vehicle. Young boys perform successful medical procedures as if they were trained professionals. Men lead victims to safety through burning buildings, pitch-black forests and raging floods. Teenagers bend steel and rip open closed elevator doors to liberate loved ones. Scared people jump ten feet over a chasm to safety. Given a death sentence by doctors, people heal themselves spontaneously.

"Where do human beings get the power and knowledge to perform such implausible feats?" I wondered. I observed that when life offers a person a choice between their beliefs in what is possible and the necessity to save another from harm, people often scrap their perceived limitations and choose to do whatever needs to be done. Very often, people choose life, caring and rescue over the restrictions of their belief systems.

"If we can break out of our belief box when life has us up against the wall, why can’t we release our limiting beliefs at will when we are not in a crisis?" I inquired within myself.

I looked around in my world for examples of people who know how to free themselves from tribal collective limitations— mainstream cultural beliefs—in order to access fresh possibilities of human potential. I discovered my models through reading biographies of dynamic individuals and interviewing adventurous people. I found that people who are forerunners, pioneers and explorers in social, political and artistic expression invariably refer to one or more moments in their lives in which they opened to a peak experience. And not only do these resourceful people make reference to these extraordinary moments, they draw strength, wisdom and compassion from these glimpses of their true power. They have learned how to tap into these past moments of heightened awareness and achievement in order to surmount present life challenges. Whether it be excellence in athletic or artistic expression, or success in business or romance, these potent moments of "transcendence of the ordinary" act as wells of inspiration and inventiveness that enable people to handle current predicaments.

With a degree of benevolent innocence, I decided that if these people could break free of their restrictive belief systems and tap into the power of previous peak experiences, then I could as well. Their successes inspired me to try this approach myself—to reach beyond my perceived boundaries. The stories in this book report my exploration of inviting magic into my life and welcoming miracles into my world. It is my heartfelt wish that my stories inspire you to go beyond your own self-created limits.

Keith Varnum

Phoenix, Arizona

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