Forgiveness — the great karma cleanser

“My son was always a brilliant, endlessly creative rabble-rouser while growing up. He drove me nuts. Now people pay him for it. I’m proud of Scott, but I’m very glad he’s not living at home anymore.” — Audrey Kalechstein (Scott’s Mom)

by Scott Kalechstein —

When I was a boy, I was quite the troublemaker. I would invite my more demonic friends over for a Saturday afternoon of creative hell-raising, and we would go downstairs into the recreation room. I would tell my parents we were playing Monopoly, or some other innocent activity. We then proceeded to use the telephone for our entertainment, dreaming up some of the most clever prank phone calls in the history of the art. Without going into unnecessary details, the calls often ended in the recipient sounding very angry and we, the merry pranksters, laughing uproariously.

My friends and I eventually grew tired of such thrills and developed several other interests, such as girls, dating and sex. As time went by, I pretty much forgot about my days of prank phone calling, storing the memory deep within my unconscious, in a folder marked “Embarrassing Boyhood Adventures Not to Be Included on My Resume.”

I’m sure you can appreciate the logic of my ego in developing prank phone call amnesia. I wanted to be considered as a reasonably kind and thoughtful person, not as someone who was capable of ordering free-delivery pizza, Chinese food and delicatessen sandwiches to a house down the street, and then hiding with my friends in a nearby bush to watch the ensuing mayhem at their front door. (Oops! Too much information there. I must have needed to unload some of the guilt.)

Fifteen years later, my friend Stephen and I fell into being partners in a very different kind of crime. We discovered the joy of Angel Calls. We each collected telephone numbers of people we didn’t know, usually people on some sort of personal growth or spiritual path. Then we would designate one night a week to get together and make calls.

We prayed, got centered and dialed a number. Stephen would begin by saying, “Excuse me, do you have a few moments to receive a special message from the Universe?” Sometimes they would say “no” and hang up before we could get started — but, if we had their interest, we would begin.

Stephen had the gift of being able to tune in to the person and use his intuition to deliver personal, poetic and insightful messages, full of love and honoring. I played classical guitar in the background while Stephen played the spoken word — and when he was finished, he would hold the phone close to me while I sang a song that spontaneously sprang up from my heart to theirs.

Being serenaded by a stranger offering intimate lyrics of truth and encouragement was quite an experience for most of our recipients. Usually, when we were done, they would be moved to the point of tears, and we would all be in amazement and gratitude. In our innocent and inventive playfulness, Stephen and I reached out and touched people in some very significant ways.

When people would ask, “Who are you guys?” we would remain mysteriously and deliciously anonymous. Our friends began supplying us with phone numbers, even telling us a little of what the targeted person was working through in his or her life. This helped us zero in and become more attuned to them.

After many months of developing and enjoying our phone ministry, I suddenly recalled my days as a telephone prankster. The memories flooded my mind and emotions, and I felt guilty as I realized that my past actions had annoyed and even hurt some people on the other end of the line. But I also realized that with the Angel Calls, I had unwittingly stumbled upon an action that was having the opposite effect on people. I was blessing instead of terrorizing.

Being angels for others was even more fun than the devilish adventures in our youth. And I was just following my heart. I did not start out by saying, “I have some heavy karma to clean up, so I’d better do these calls to make amends.” I simply let joy be my compass, and joy pointed me in a direction that helped me heal my past while having fun in the present moment.

That experience caused me to give up any concern I had about my karma. By doing what brings me joy, I could trust that I was both serving God and paying my karmic phone bill, if there really was such a thing. Perhaps, when we finally forgive ourselves for being human, we discover that the billing and accounting department in the Universe has resided solely in our minds.

A few years ago, I got a taste of my own mischievous medicine coming right back at me in the form of my phone ringing one Saturday night. “Hi, Dad!” a young female voice said. “You can pick us up now. We’re ready to come home!” I thought I might have heard another voice giggling in the background. Suddenly my instincts kicked in and I knew I was on the receiving end of a prank call. How did I know? I just knew. A criminal can always spot one of his “kind.”

I responded in an unexpected way: “Oh, honey, I’ve been waiting by the phone for your call. I’ve been worried. Where are you? I’ll be right there!” Muffled giggles gave way to loud fits of laughter. The girls were exposed. I asked them their names, and we ended up conversing for an hour.

A friend of mine was over for a visit and she, too, got on the phone and chatted with our two new prank-calling, teenage friends. They told us all about their lives, their interests, their dreams and their challenges. I sang them some of my songs, and sent them one of my recordings. For a week they were our phone pals, calling every few days with some new topics to discuss.

It was a precious experience that started with a prank phone call. Because I had been there and done that, I recognized that underneath the monkey business, they were really reaching out for connection, relief from boredom and greater aliveness. I remembered just how bored and frustrated I had felt when I was their age, and I was able to respond to their hearts, rather than just react to their behavior. In the process I felt compassion for myself and for my history. Forgiveness, the great karma cleanser, had done its magic. My slate was clean.


Scott Kalechstein is a modern-day troubadour and inspirational speaker. He travels through the United States, Canada and Europe giving concerts, talks and workshops, as well as presenting at conferences.,

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 4, August/September 2006.

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