I first met Steve Adams while attending a music show at Life Force Arts Center (LFAC). A jovial looking gentleman sitting behind a table covered in beautiful crystals and stones, he was there doing Tarot readings for that evening’s guests. Walking up to the table with my 12-year-old nephew, Michael, I was instantly drawn to Steve’s effervescent personality. Like Steve, Michael and I share a fascination with these magical rocks. With the wide-eyed innocence and wonderment of a child soaking in the intrigue of his new, mystical surroundings, Michael began peppering Steve with an endless series of questions as I stood by the sidelines and watched. I was particularly struck by Steve’s graciousness and selflessness as he indulged this young, pre-teen’s seemingly boundless curiosity, answering each of his questions with infinite patience and a welcoming spirit – despite the long line of people waiting to pay for a reading.
I recall his generosity as he asked Michael to pick out three crystals, causing him to beam like a child full of glee in a candy store. Before we left, Steve did a reading for him – Michael’s first. It was a pure joy to watch Steve explain this magical craft to Michael, as well as the way in which he skillfully and gently proceeded to empower this precocious pre-teen – instilling confidence and a sense of purpose in him – by providing him with divinely inspired insights regarding his path. I felt such appreciation that Michael’s first encounter with these magical arts was such a positive and enlightening experience, thanks to Steve’s authenticity and his genuine gift as both an artist and a healer.
Remembering that night, it was with a bit of shock that I found out about Steve’s illness. When Joan asked me to interview her longtime friend, and one of LFAC’s healers, about his battle with AIDS, I couldn’t believe it was the same person. When you’re in Steve’s presence, you would never guess that he has a terminal disease, or that he regularly spends several days and nights at home resting so that he may build up his energy and be able to attend one of these events, lovingly sharing his craft with others and supporting his friend, Joan.
My preconceived notions of what someone with AIDS should look like couldn’t be further from the truth. Steve defies any shadowy images that may creep up in our subconscious: rather, he epitomizes the pure, luminous light and energy of Spirit embracing you in a circle of divine love.
That same, upbeat spirit flowed through just as effortlessly when we spoke on the phone, and he told me about his incredible journey, relating all the lessons he learned. Steve spoke with such passion and pride about all of the accomplishments he’s made – creatively, spiritually, and holistically – and with a deep, heartfelt gratitude for all the wonderful blessings he’s received. I felt genuinely humbled speaking to him – and utterly inspired.
Most of us are familiar with the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” In this case, the 17-year-long journey set in motion by Steve’s illness would offer invaluable lessons and blessings that would transform his life. It would become a teacher not just for him, but also for all those whom he would encounter along the way. His is a story of enduring hope, divine grace, and unshakable faith and fortitude. It’s an inspiring testament to the power of human connection and spiritual healing when one is empowered to move beyond mere survival towards transcendence and growth.
A former managing editor at one of the pioneering, self-improvement publishing firms during the ’80s and ’90s, Steve was unexpectedly diagnosed with full-blown AIDS in 1993. For 15 years he had worked with some of the top motivational coaches in the industry helping countless individuals realize their full potential. Positivity was abundantly flowing all around him.
For many years, he juggled both his job and his artistic and magical crafts on the side – sleeping four to five hours a night as he carried on at a frenzied pace. In the time leading up to his diagnosis, Steve had been struggling: as the days drew out, he felt weary to the core and fought to stay awake at work. Looking back, he reflects that he innately knew something was amiss.
With his T-cells below 100 and his energy rapidly draining, Steve came to a painful crossroads when he decided to quit his job. Experiencing anger, frustration, and confusion, denial and resistance settled in for the next couple of years as this incomprehensible stroke of fate stunned and rattled his senses. The Universe was testing his resilience through a mind-altering explosion of whirling emotions and physical hardships. During this period, Steve also suffered some devastating losses as he sorrowfully watched his friends pass away – one by one – from this same disease. Feeling vulnerable to the core, he initially questioned his faith, wondering: “Why me? Why now?”
For several years, Steve cocooned himself at home in order to preserve his delicate energy and frail health. He moved his bed down to his living room, where he spent most of his days and nights praying and waiting for some glimmer of hope. Following a 12-day stint in the hospital, where his septic body lay in a coma, Steve awoke to discover that he could not walk. This defining moment was the catalyst that led to Steve’s awakening and a peaceful acceptance of his “now.”
It was a pivotal turning point because he finally surrendered to divine wisdom, and he resolved to take a spiritual path, walk towards healing, and leave the past behind. Not giving up, and taking one day at a time, Steve relinquished any semblance of control, and he began to set limits on his time and his energy, listen to his body, treat it with care, and follow his heart. This enabled him to return to his original, divine state of being, and to align his soul with the highest expression of his authentic self.
From then on, Steve began to focus on “living” and evolving, rather than fading away or giving up. Instead of sitting in the darkness, he began to walk in the light. Through his acceptance, he could now concentrate on healing himself from the inside out, and, by extension, help others along the way. By making the conscious shift from merely surviving his disease to actually flourishing, Steve took that quintessential leap of faith. Once he understood that his being was much more expansive than his physical body, Steve was no longer defined by his “illness,” thus helping him achieve a deeper state of spiritual awareness.
Steve began to move through his illness, improving his quality of life and growing stronger each day through relaxation, meditation, and exercise. Feeling empowered, Steve renewed his commitment to bliss and to being, focusing on learning and engaging in what he enjoys most. He began to re-prioritize and shift things around, keeping his energy light and balancing his life. This wonderful opportunity to heal and transform allowed him to become more discerning about the foods he ingested, the friends he selected, and the energies he absorbed. At one point, he even started swimming and singing back-up vocals for a friend’s band, miraculously causing a significant boost to his T-cells count for a brief period.
Re-discovering his divine nature, Steve returned to using the healing energies of crystals and stones and creating jewelry art with meaning, as well as attending psychic fairs and reading tarot cards for others – activities that blossomed into a fulfilling career that honors his true passions. Engaging in his magical arts really brought out his inner spark. Once he got back to his roots, his creativity began to unfold in countless ways, like when he recently created some sacred mandalas for his first art show in 20 years.
Admittedly, there are times when Steve finds it frustrating and challenging to set limits on what he can do, or wants to do, yet he doesn’t allow his illness to burden his spirit. For example, one day not long ago, Steve was stuck in traffic, encountering red lights at every intersection. Instead of reacting, or becoming frazzled and frantic for running late to an event, he rolled down the windows and took it all in stride – breathing in the fresh air and feeling alive. Accepting that some circumstances are just beyond one’s control, Steve regarded the lights – much like his illness – as a sign to stop and reflect – to be present, learn one’s lessons, connect with one’s creative source, and make the time for Spirit before one’s life passes one by.
Steve is quick to point out that compassion and love are vital ingredients for inspiring a tranquil and joyous state within one’s being. He says, “It’s not the illness that kills, but the stress that wears you out.” Death is not up to him, nor to anyone else; one must simply take responsibility and believe in a higher power. As we all know, our thoughts create: we alone have the power to plant the seeds, for in our hearts, we hold the key.
Allowing Spirit’s wisdom to be his guide, Steve was blessed with many insights – discovering his truth and his light. By shedding those habits and choices that impeded his authentic nature, he was able to unleash his highest creative potential. Steve stresses the importance of talking to others and feeling one another’s art, instead of holding it all inside. Art is about communication, love, interacting, and sharing: if we just wait and listen, we can experience others and be inspired to become more than we ever thought possible. Fueling his creative fire opened up beautiful doorways that led to a wondrous journey of enlightenment and significance. He explains that, when we give without expectations, we create a more meaningful existence because we become a part of something larger than ourselves. Thus, by sharing our bounty and our divine light, we infuse our beings with a loving presence and transform the energy surrounding us.
True to his beliefs, Steve began to volunteer, heal, guide, and teach others – positive life-affirming actions that took him outside his lonely bubble to a beautiful, serene space where he could experience peace, as well as a deep sense of belonging, support, and friendship.
Steve is a survivor in every sense of the word. His journey has been an arduous path, but Steve was given a new direction in life when unexpected blessings arrived to teach him lessons about love and presence. By surrendering to flow, and by expressing and expanding the footprints in his heart, he allowed Spirit and art to create a divine spark within his gentle soul. Now, every blessing and life itself takes on a luminous glow, and he is a caregiver having fun, sharing his knowledge with others, and pushing on. Living with AIDS for nearly 20 years, Steve has no guarantees, but rather, daily opportunities to share and embody love, to cherish and celebrate life, and to touch and motivate others to follow their own divine paths through his awe-inspiring example of human courage and spiritual resilience.
About Steve Adams
An artist and designer who works with natural materials, such as stones and crystals, to create symbols with spiritual resonance, Steve is LFAC’s Associate Artistic Director and store designer, and he also creates spirit-based jewelry, which he displays and sells at the store. The son of an astrologer and reader, Steve has been doing readings professionally for over 30 years for both corporate and private clients. Steve combines his readings with the healing properties of stones. By picking up energy from you in the moment, he can intuitively sense what kind of healing you need most. According to Steve, reading the Tarot is not about fortune-telling, but rather, “it’s about reading your energy in the present and getting you onto the path you’re supposed to be on. Once you’re on the path you’re supposed to be on, that’s when all the good things begin to come to you.” Steve attributes meditation, art, ritual and spiritual connection as instrumental catalysts in his path towards healing.
Shantal is a creativity and transformational life consultant, event and program manager, Reiki Master practitioner, Raindrop Technique facilitator, and holistic marketing consultant for individuals and organizations. Her passion is to empower individuals to transform their lives and nourish their creative dream-making process by providing creative and holistic “soul-lutions” for personal growth and healing. To learn more about Shantal, please visit her website: www.evoyoution.com