I wrote a book and changed my life.
In 2014, I released Dyingto Know – is there life after Death? where I subjected myself to a series of experiences to see if I could validate for myself if I would live on after I died. What became apparent to me in the later stages of putting the book together was that I had made a fundamental shift in the way I was ‘searching’ for evidence. I was forced to stop looking physically, using my own senses and focus inwards and actually let go of the search altogether and that’s when I got the sense that something amazing was unfolding and thankfully it continues to this day. I got more than just evidence, I got deep a personal knowing of things that resonated deeper than if I’d read about in a book. I began to trust this new part of the journey and continued to go deeper into it after the book was out and I’ve unearthed a wealth of information, knowledge, guidance, joy, love and adventure that I could never have thought possible.
I think my life is pretty average where nothing really special happens, but I have to look back on moments and say ‘what the fuck was that about?’ and giving birth to a frog was one of the moments. And in true Josh Langley fashion, it’s not an easy story to explain because strange mind bending things happened that even I still haven’t worked out yet.
I’d been about two months into planning Dying to Know and working out what experiences I wanted to have and the idea of a past life regression really got me excited, not because I wanted to find out if was someone famous, but to see what, if anything, would come up? Could I even be hypnotized? I’ve always avoided those silly entertainment hypnotist shows were you’re made to run around and cluck like a chicken or take your clothes off when someone said the word “Pyjamas”.
I turned out that yes I could be hypnotised and I had some pretty interesting past life stories to tell but that was only a precursor to what would happen two months later. While sitting at the computer, I just randomly started to draw stick figures and put simple wise quotes to them. Firstly, I’ve never had the desire nor the inclination to draw or even had the training and the quotes were quite deep and profound. Even though I was widely read on many afterlife and spiritual topics it seemed the messages of the cartoons came from somewhere that wasn’t from my intellectual head. I then had the courage to show them to world, even though they looked like they’d been done by a 7 year old dyslexic boy, the facebook page got a huge following and I when I decided to buddle the crazy images together for a book, I got a multi book deal within 4 months. Yeah, I hear you say… ‘what the fuck?’.
I remember Sharon, the publicist for my publisher kept asking me for ‘my story’ on where the idea of the frog books came from and for the life of me I couldn’t tell her as I didn’t know myself! Even though I told her they’d magically appeared after a past life regression, she didn’t buy it!
The first book, Frog and the Well: Unconventional Happinesswhich was published one year after I first sat down at the computer, was rough and raw which reflected the messages on the inside about loving yourself, don’t look for happiness out there, look inside yourself for answers, be brave, watch your thoughts, be curious about life and so on.
The second book, Follow Your Heart: everyday Wisdom for anExtraordinary Life, focused on the journey from your head to your heart, where the messages where: trust yourself, be gentle on yourself, spend time with yourself, be creative, be free to express yourself, let go of being in control etc. After it was published and I’d continued my reading of afterlife topics I realised that the exact same messages I was writing about were what people had been reporting after having a Near Death Experience. I was confused. How could I know such stuff when I haven’t had such an experience?
Dying to Know.
I’d taken a hiatus from my search for the evidence of the afterlife, to publish the two frog books but I still needed to finish my freaky journey about death. I quickly realised it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and nearly ruined many a good dinner party my bringing the topic up. Diane at Big Sky Publishing seemed keen to publish the book regardless of the tabooness of the subject matter, which I tentatively titled ‘Dyingto Know – is there life after death? and that gave me the momentum to finish it off.
By the time I’d finished writing it I knew I’d changed slightly and some of the experiences had almost been close in feeling and information to a Near Death Experience. I was starting to understand where the frog books may have come from and wasn’t from my head. But how do you explain that to a public obsessed with reality TV shows and who about to buy their second investment property?
Now I had these two cute, fun and transformative illustrated books where I ‘told’ people what to do and how to be happy, like I was some guru Frog. Then on the other hand I had Dying to Know, which was about my own personal journey to find if we survived death or not. And it seemed the answers to that question came to me at the beginning of the search in the form of the Frog and The Well books yet there was no way anyone was going buy that story however true it was.
Even though the books where inexorably linked and I couldn’t have done one without the other, trying to explain that to people was near on impossible and I was met with blank stares of confusion whenever I tried. Now you can hopefully understand that as a writer and author it was hard for my myself and my publisher to market me and the books to a straight shooting public.
If the Frog Books had come after Dying to Know, then it would make sense. I could promote the frog books as the ‘wisdom’ that evolved from my search and that would be palatable to the general book buying, happiness seeking public, but strangely it was the other way round. It made my small mind cave in trying to work out a good ‘pitch’ to the audience that didn’t make me sound like a weirdo, false guru or worse still that I was completely off my trolley.
So that is my beautiful conundrum and I haven’t found out the answer to it yet. But I’m in no hurry.