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Stories: Political

An Interview with Jeffrey Kimball

Jeff Kimball, a political campaign strategist, experienced an unusual connection with a campaign team considering a U.S. Senator’s bid for the presidency. In this edited interview with Renee Levi, Jeff describes what it feels like to work on a level that often required no words to communicate but felt deeply satisfying and was highly successful.

I was in my late 20’s and working in the United States Senate. My boss was considering a run for the presidency and had assembled a small team of three to begin the process.

I remember a day in my boss’ office, sitting with the chief of staff with whom I worked closely and waiting for the Senator to finish writing a letter. I always knew how he was feeling and I could sense he was struggling with this letter. He wrote a lot of letters, insisting that he personally respond to every single person who gave him a donation. But when he wrote to this particular person, he would concentrate and really put himself into it, because this person meant the world to him. So we just sat there in silence, comfortable in the silence.

Many of my conversations with the two of them were conducted without words. We would just finish each others’ sentences. It was remarkable. It was like we read each others’ minds. It would seem like we were cutting each other off but it wasn’t like that, it wasn’t rude. It was just that we would finish each others’ sentences. We never rehearsed this but I would start a sentence, get through one clause, and then my supervisor would pick up and then back to me. It was like one long, continuous sentence that ran for about two minutes.

The other thing is that we would sometimes have this conversation with our bodies, almost before we started having it with our words. My supervisor would be here and the Senator over there working through this letter, struggling really, and I’d be turning to my supervisor and having this conversation without words because I didn’t want to interrupt the Senator. And then I remember the Senator opening up. He’d write and then he’d open his body, almost like moving it towards me. He wasn’t coming up completely, he was writing like this and then he would pause and he was turning towards the couch, towards me, and then he’d go back down. He did that like two or three times, and I remember thinking, okay, he’s coming up. Now here we go. Kind of like a dance, you know? Wow, I’m feeling it again, right now, as I’m describing it to you. Part of it was knowing the Senator’s thinking so well. It was part of our jobs to be in touch with him, like letting him know when to stop talking about something. At first it was some predetermined signals but then it began to be so natural that we would just communicate on an energy level.

I knew when we were in the flow because I could feel it. It wasn’t exactly like tingling, but it felt like a blanket. It’s one thing to say love, but I think that was what it was, even though that’s an abstract term. And I felt it with my supervisor, too. We didn’t talk about it because, you know, it’s kind of a macho thing. We’re three guys…you know, and it’s kind of a sensitive thing to talk about. But when we were in a groove, eye contact was all that was needed to converse.

I remember during the Democratic convention in 1992, my supervisor and I had been working around the clock and we were in the hotel, watching C-SPAN at about 3:30 in the morning. We had just had another wildly successful day and we were just sitting in the dark, watching TV and talking. I remember my supervisor was brewing coffee. It’s funny I remember that, but now that I’m thinking about it, I remember being very sensitive to both smells and also to colors during this period.

Anyway, there we were, just exhausted and sitting there, and my supervisor said that it’s sometimes scary how I’m in his head. And I said…and I made a joke of it…that it’s always scary in his head. And we both laughed, but he said nobody in his life had ever been able to anticipate what he was thinking the way I could. And he said he knew the Senator felt the same way about him, that they sometimes talk about it, and how valuable that was and how very grateful they are for that connection.

When I made that connection with my supervisor, it felt like a release of endorphins, like a biochemical reaction, maybe. It was like I imagine someone pouring water, warm water, and you could open up the back of my neck and let it run down my arms and into my trunk, and then the rest of my body. And then, as it came through, I remember feeling very happy, physically warmer. It definitely had a temperature element to it, but not all over, not systemic. It was most concentrated in my upper body and then seemed to work its way down, sort of flowing downward and out of my feet. I felt this on a number of occasions with these people.

And then there was a different kind of sensing I experienced. I don’t know if it’s helpful to bring this up or not, but a strange thing happened with the Senator that was…well, it was just strange. After the Senator had decided not to run for president but still during the campaign, he decided to host a debate among all of the candidates. There were about six people at the table in New Hampshire. It was being televised live and then re-broadcast nationally. The Senator was at the center of the table as moderator. I was in the first row, right on the aisle, kind of there to give him cues, not really to stage manage, but to make sure he knew when to stop and start. My job was to focus on him exclusively.

I was looking at him and I could see something in his eye…I just felt something. And for reasons I can’t explain, I got out of my seat during the live debate – which you almost never do because it’s live – and I just stood like this in the aisle. I had sensed something or someone coming from behind and I just put myself in the way for no explainable reason.

Well, it turns out that someone was rushing the stage. I looked over my shoulder to see what was happening and by the time they got a little closer I started stepping back because the thing that went through my mind was I’ve got to kick them off their feet. So I started to move back and then the Secret Service came in and all that.

It turned out to be a fringe candidate, an extremely radical person, who wanted to be up on state and decided to make a charge. But there I was, standing in her way. I just stood up without having any idea why and, again, that’s very unusual because nobody wants to move during one of those live debate sessions. I just got this sense that something was happening and all I knew was I just had to get in the aisle. Get up, get in the aisle. Very strange.

But, you know, I’ve learned to trust what I sense, maybe even more than I trust my thinking process. I can go into any conversation and train myself what to say or how to think, but what we’re talking about today is the truest, or at least part of the truest, form of who we are. I can betray my mind but I can’t betray my body. Those feelings that I described – that flow of energy – I could never trick myself into not feeling that! And I think we need to begin to trust those signals that we’re getting all the time because they’re coming from another place.

I believe that it’s the substance of life. This may sound a little crazy, but I really, really believe that that’s what we came in with, that when the conscious world is left behind, the experience I had with the Senator and my supervisor and the other people I’ve had connections with, that’s what will carry on. So I place enormous value on it.

Jeff now works in the educational arena and says he still experiences Collective Resonance frequently. He has learned to understand and trust his physical intelligence and acknowledges that it has made his life fuller and more satisfying.

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