James Ray

CNN’s documentary/infomercial “Enlighten Us: the Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray” gives Ray a forum to explain what HE has suffered and learned from this tragedy, namely that HE can rise above adversity, unfairness, and victimization.

I would like to share what WE have learned from this tragedy:

George and I have learned that the death of a child is a loss unlike no other. The devastation experienced for an untimely death leaves a parent always questioning their part in not protecting their child or preventing what happened. There is a bitter/sweet awareness for all subsequent life events. While being excited or happy, one constantly longs for the missing person to be present. The loss threatens to overwhelm a parent in sadness, grief, and depression. Struggling to conquer those crushing emotions challenges everyday living and one’s ability to feel compassion for others, gratitude, peace, and happiness.

We have learned that rising above those emotions is a daily choice to live with purpose, passion, and joy. It requires an acceptance of life as it is and a willingness to not have the answer to, “why?”. Rather than an explanation, we must decide how we want to respond.

We have learned that a traumatic, criminal and public death brings additional challenges. One does not enter a court of justice but a court of law where the truth can be easily obfuscated by the exploitation of laws intended to protect an innocent defendant. These laws can be manipulated to confuse, rather than uncover truth or justice for the victim. Personal privacy is invaded. While many individual reporters have been compassionate and respectful, the media can be quite capricious and sometimes untrustworthy.

We have learned that we have a responsibility to share Kirby’s story with others, to warn them of the dangers in this unregulated self-help industry. It never occurred to us that an expensive, weeklong event would not have a risk management plan or physical protections to minimize any risks participants were willing to take. Mr. Ray said this was like a marathon but a marathon event has water stations and a medical tent available in case of injury. Ray ran away from his dead and traumatized customers, allowing his injured participants to go, unidentified, to the local hospitals.

We have learned that this problem is much bigger than James Ray. And the solution is much bigger than us. However, we will continue to do our part to raise the questions, asking consumers to be more aware. We will continue to ask providers to practice in an ethical and safe manner. And we will continue to explore ways to bring greater safety to people’s personal growth journeys.

We have learned that we have a responsibility to share what we now know about this industry. This was not an isolated incident. People have been scammed, shamed, harmed emotionally, financially and physically without proper recourse for their losses. Victims do not come forward due to embarrassment, guilt, shame. We have heard that some victims when they complain are silenced and told this was their personal failure or are “paid off” if legal action is threatened.

We refuse to live with un-forgiveness, anger, or thoughts of revenge; all those corrosive emotions would poison us and claim us as additional “victims” of this crime. Instead, we pray for right purpose, wisdom, love and peace to guide our daily actions as we respond to this life-changing event in our lives. We will live with Kirby’s passion for life, with joy for the many blessings in our family, and with a firm resolve to make a difference.

Ginny and George Brown

5 comments on “WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED from the TRAGEDY in SEDONA

  1. Amayra Hamilton on

    What you have learnt feels so heart-felt!
    Thank you for the courage, the clarity and the willingness to not make yourself additional ‘victims’!
    Thank you for speaking up and for sharing!
    Much love!

  2. d variano on

    In today’s world I feel heartened to read these words, especially from a family who has had to endure such a horrific personal traumatic event. Rather than turning inward, you are choosing to use your energies to move forward and help educate others in self protection. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to help provide these very basic self rights in such an unregulated industry.

  3. ww on

    i have been in OVER 1,000 “sweat lodges”.

    traditional Lakota Inikagapi – “stone people’s lodge”.

    we do not have abuse of power.

    we do not charge ANY MONEY let alone $10,000.00 a head.

    do not confuse the PLASTIC MEDICINE MAN (FAKERY) and appropriating MURDEROUS bastard james arthur ray with REAL ceremony. this is an ANCIENT CEREMONY 10s of thousands of years old and ONLY since christianity has run rampant on this planet have there been idiots appropriating ceremony for money.

    when this ceremony is conducted PROPERLY – NO ONE DIES. I AM NOT AN EXPERT. there is no such thing. but after 1,000+ lodges over 25 years, i surely know more than jimmy ray the KILLER.

    what he suffered? that is a JOKE. an appalling joke. sickening joke.

    i will say it again – 2 years earlier THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED. but that was suppressed.

  4. ww on

    i need to leave a second comment.

    though i know that this will never happen, i wish i could bring the surviving family members into a TRADITIONAL LAKOTA INIKAGAPI – stone people’s lodge, whether with me or with my dear friend that is a Traditional Man from the Standing Rock Reservation. so they could witness the beauty and gentleness of this ceremony. here at my place, we hold about 50 lodges per year and then during the summer months at other locations, we may “do” as many as 10-20 lodges in one week as part of other ceremonies.

    once again – people do NOT die.

  5. BearHawk on

    Thank you, ww.
    Yes, it is as you say, a rather recent time that deaths could possibly happen in lodge. It is What Man’s Greed that brings it on.
    To blame the ceremony, to say the medicine is inherently dangerous, is a misapplication of concern…
    Thank you for speaking up.
    Sweat therapy occurs all over the globe, in many forms. Europe has some practices, Asia, Russia, and more. James Arthur Ray did the classic White Man’s colonization, first outlawing Native American ceremonies then stealing it.
    I weep with the families of the dead, and with others. May there be healing.


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