The Answer to – Did Theo die?


There has been some speculation as to my whereabouts and health these last few years. There have even been rumors of my death. The truth is more interesting, though. Here is my story…


In 2002 I started to get about four migraine headaches a week accompanied by constant pain in all the muscles of my body. I would often be curled up in a ball on the floor, rocking back and forth in pain. I became a regular at various hospitals and pain clinics around the country. But nothing seemed to help. In fact, many of the medications I was taking actually seemed to aggravate my condition.

The pleasure center of my brain shut down and the pain center became overactive. My brain started interpreting all stimuli as pain. This condition lasted for two years and tested every fabric of my being.

I started getting migraines around the age of 10. At the age of 13 my parents, in desperation, took me to a doctor who taught self-hypnosis. Being so young I was open to new ideas. I learned to raise and lower my body temperature, change my heart rate, and control pain, to a degree, using various Bio-Feedback and meditation techniques. These experiences opened my mind to the possibilities that lay within me, as well as provided me with pain relief.

At fifteen, I went to India as an exchange student for eight months, which further opened my eyes to spirituality. I meditated quite a bit and became addicted to the bliss that comes with concentration in meditation. I thought I could have a happy life if I could permanently hold the bliss state. I still remember my spiritual teachers commenting on my lack of participation in life. My body was present, but my attention was somewhere else. I was constantly focusing on bliss, or trying to be in bliss.

It is not too surprising that when my illness hit, pleasure was the first thing to go. Not only could I not get to the bliss state anymore, but I couldn’t feel any pleasure at all. I only felt pain.
Soon all medications either stopped working, or were accompanied by horrible side effects. Every spiritual belief I had was tested, and it is quite humbling to admit that 95% of what I believed in didn’t help me in any way. I decided to only believe those things that helped me with the pain I was in. I got very practical.

One day I remember being in so much pain I ran around the house, jogging up and down the stairs, yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs. All this was to distract myself. The pain got so intense I finally gave up. I cried out to God, “enough, I cannot take anymore, I give up!” I surrendered. I then sat down on the couch. I felt as though I was watching from behind my eyes, instead of through them. Amidst all the pain I now felt myself also resting in peace. I was now watching the event more than being trapped by it. In this watching state I felt a deep peace I had not felt before. I had never let myself even recognize such a state existed in my struggle for bliss. I had been too stubborn to hear this truth from the spiritual teachers I had been studying with!

I started to feel a little better so I ventured off to Egypt. I meditated in the Great Pyramids, and accrued some pretty cool experiences. I then traveled to Africa, and finally India. Previously, a friend of mine had shown me a picture of great Indian teacher. I had such a profound experience from seeing the picture that I just had to meet the man. Indeed it was an experience of grace, power, and beauty!

If you have ever heard the expression, ‘be careful what you ask for’. It is true. I asked this teacher to be purified! Immediately following the visit I got very ill again. I felt like I was teetering on the edge of life and death. At times I simply could not even move my body. I remember seeing in black and white and being afraid for my life. I knew I could die at any moment. To me living became simple. I was either alive, or dead!

Nothing I or anyone else was doing was making any difference in my condition. I felt truly helpless. I could barely think straight and physically I had difficulty even walking. Then one day I knew I was about to die if nothing changed. I had a choice to make. I could either be really obnoxious and scream and yell for more help. Or I could be a loving compassionate person, grateful for the help I had gotten, and accept the fact that I would die. I chose to be compassionate and let myself die. I figured I would at least die being the person I truly wanted to be.

In that moment I looked for ways to die while being in service to others. I noticed a car parked in a driveway with its lights on. I used all my energy to knock on the door of the house the car was parked in front of. I told the owners of the car that their car light was on. This small act of service felt wonderful. It was a fantastic shift of my attention off of my fear of dying. This was the first step in my recovery!

After that moment, and to my dismay, I started to get healthier. My wife contacted my spiritual teacher in Colorado and I got her blessed help too. My doctor had a great heart and helped me the best he could, but there just wasn’t much that he could do medically. My illness was still a big mystery.

I have always believed my thoughts could affect my happiness. But now I needed to know if my thoughts controlled my physical well being too. If this was true, then all I needed was to change my thinking, and have faith in my healing. I needed to ask someone I truly believed knew this answer though. So I went to see a great Indian saint well known for performing miracles. I figured someone who could perform such miracles would understand the nature of physical reality.
So I asked him, “is all pain simply a test of faith?” He answered me with one word then got up and left the talk. The word was “YES!” I cried! I realized that at a deep place inside of myself I had chosen this painful experience. I had asked for all this pain in order to learn to be the master of my own life! I knew that by being grateful for my pain, I would heal. Healing was up to me, not the doctors!

Previously I had wanted someone to save me, help me, or cure me. I wanted someone else to fix me! But now I believe we all have the power of the creator within us. I know I can choose health and happiness. All it takes is faith!

I had heard this knowledge before from my spiritual teachers. More recently even in the movie “The Secret”. I even thought I already understood these truths. But until put face to face with my own death, I did not really let it in.

Without the knowledge and support of my spiritual teachers and family I could not have started the healing process. I realize now that I am the one that decides what my life looks like. I am not a victim to anyone, including myself. My teachers, friends, and family are there to support me. Not to run my life, or to fix me. Gratitude has become a cornerstone of my life. Everyone who supports us along the way is a guiding Angel. I pray to continue a life of gratitude!

One day while meditating tears of gratitude welled up in my eyes for all the spiritual help and guidance I had been receiving. Exactly at that moment thunder and lightning struck simultaneously. There was a big boom with a flash of light all around the house. A few moments passed and I looked down into the basement and heard another boom and saw light streamed up from inside the basement. The lightning was hitting the house! I then looked up and called out in huge gratitude once again to all my teachers and BAM, a third time thunder and lightning struck simultaneously. Then it all stopped. That was it. It was over.

The next day a meteorologist came out unannounced and showed us a satellite photo of the storm. Surprisingly the storm had only hit right around our property. He said it had been an odd, tiny storm, located right on-top of us. Another interesting fact is that there was NO damage to the house at all. The only indication of damage was that the tap water turned dark brown after the copper pipes were hit by the lightning strikes. But two days later all the water became crystal clear. The lightening had struck the copper pipes and loosened all the rust and grime in them. Once the rust was flushed from the system, the water became even clearer than it had previously been.
I thought this was a beautiful metaphor to my illness. The lightening is like my pain, which in its own fiery way is flushing the rust out of my system. The end result is I got what asked for. I got purified! It just didn’t happen the way I thought it would.

My health steadily improved ever since then. I weaned myself off the little pain medication I was still on, and went to a rehab center to support myself in staying pain medication free.

I felt incredibly guilty and shameful while being ill. I thought there was something wrong with me. Accepting myself as perfect just the way I am, healthy or ill, has been incredibly healing. I also learned to include myself among those I love. Rather shockingly to me, the knowledge I have gained from being so ill far outweighs the pain. I am grateful for the experience. Life really is that big! A big Thank You to my spiritual teachers, family and friends for supporting me in all the purification and growing that has taken place within me.

I now accept the connection between my physical well-being and my mental well-being. I know there are larger things going on with illness and pain than I understand. The life lessons we all go through are huge. I have compassion for all those who are ill and suffering in the world. My heart goes out to you! I can now imagine at least part of the pain some people live with!

My illness was also quite challenging and illuminating in my marriage. We both discovered more deeply who we are and what we want out of life. When we discovered these things were different, my wife and I chose to get a friendly divorce. Kudos to my X-wife for all the patience, love and support she gave me during the most difficult period of my life.

My attention is now even more firmly rooted and centered in spirituality. Quite simply put, spirituality is what ended up saving my life. Wanne, Inc and Theo Wanne Classic Mouthpieces are now also donating a percentage of all profits to related medical and spiritual charities in the United States and India.


22 Responses to “The Answer to – Did Theo die?”

  1. John Delia Says:

    Theo, that’s the most amazing life experience I’ve ever heard and you are to be congratulated for your perseverence. May your good health continue.

  2. John Delia Says:

    Theo, that’s the most amazing life experience I’ve ever heard and you are to be congratulated for your perseverance. May your good health continue.

  3. James Spaulding Says:

    Theo, welcome to your return to the state in which communication can exists on this plane. I appreciate your introspection and subsequent choice to communicate with us again. What is “SPIRITUALITY?” Does it mean that there is no further need to search for the “LIGHT”
    or to follow the “LIGHT?” Can this new found state be shared with a loved one, or will there from now on be only humanitarian offerings?

  4. James Spaulding Says:

    Glad you’re back.

  5. bob cesari Says:

    your life story is a tribute to the spiritual beings we all are.
    perhaps your journey will inspire us to look deeper than we normally do and accept ourselves as more than we appear.
    thank you for sharing your journey…..
    all love

  6. Bobby Says:

    Man..what a fascinating story. I don’t know what your religion is but would be interested in a books, reading, or teaching that you would recommend. FYI…I’m drooling waiting for the store to open so that I can get one of the tenor pieces. I’m glad you are doing better are back in buisiness. Thanks

  7. Daryl Dunn Says:

    Wow, Theo, that’s intense! Thanks for sharing some of your journey with us and for being so “transparent” about it in your blog. It’s hard to be that honest but I think it means a lot. All the best for you……..daryl

  8. jeff coffin Says:

    hey theo, i’m very glad to hear you are back in the fold…i had no idea what you had been going thru and it is an amazing story to read and to be moved by. thank you for sharing your journey. it’s truly inspiring. i hope to see you sometime soon. wishing you peace, jc

  9. Nick Bisesi Says:

    Hi Theo,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I, too have had pain issues, though not of the same magnitude as yours. It has taken me 5 years now to re-learn how to use my body in a healthy way. All in all, I see it as a gift. I found your story to be inspiring and I’m glad to get to know the man behind the mouthpieces a little better.

    I’m very excited about your new Amma mouthpiece! I look forward to trying one soon!

    Nick Bisesi

  10. Howard Brown Says:

    Dear Theo,
    I read your story with great interest and compassion. I have experienced the same type of un-diagnosable illness for 10 years. I’ve tried every modality I can find without success. The only control of symptoms I can affect is by keeping my diet as pure as possible. I make my living as a saxophonist in upstate NY and this illness has greatly hamperred my studies. I can totally relate to your description of the sensation that you could die at any time. I’m very happy to hear of your progress and wish you all the best. I would greatly appreciate any info you could give me on what you did to get to this new enlightenment if you found the time. I know you must be quite busy. I’m looking forward to trying your new mouthpiece. I’m still on the quest for one that does what I want it to. I’m playing a Link 7 refaced by Norbert Stachel.
    Thanks for sharing your experience,
    Howard Brown

  11. Brian Axelrod Says:

    I’ve known you and been very fond of you and our relationship for almost 15 years and I never had a clue as to your painful condition. I am so glad that you have come thru this to that new place you are in. You seem to be very happy and I’m so glad for that. I wish you every good thought possible with your new venture and I hope that I will be a great friend and customer for many years to come.

  12. Neony Says:

    So really: The Lord Works In Mysterious Ways.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Hope you’ll still grow.

    Stated in the absolute: Perform action!

    LOVE Neony

  13. Jason DuMars Says:

    Theo, welcome back from the chrysalis! I, too, suffered debilitating migraines until I figured out it was 75% food and 25% chemicals. I am now headache-free, and would be more than happy to share the changes I made to get here… drug-free.

    All my best, always,

  14. Giganova Says:

    I was very touched by your story — best of health!

  15. Hank Says:

    Hey Theo,

    It sounds like you’ve gone thru your struggles and come out on top, feeling great and come back full ciricle to the thing that you do best–congratulations and best of luck,

    Hank C.

  16. Alan Brady Says:


    I just saw your new Website and read of your amazing spiritual/physical journey. I’m happy to hear of your recovery.
    I always greatly enjoyed my visits to your shop and continue to enjoy your mouthpieces.
    Good luck in this and all of your future endeavors.

    Alan Brady

  17. Jon Lavieri Says:

    Welcome back! You have been sorely missed during your “absence”. And thank you for sharing that difficult chapter our of your journey. Your experience, your attitude and spirit, are just exactly what we all need to hear now and then. It helps us remember why we play music in the first place.

    I hereby, and officically, number myself among the many who await the welcome arrival of the AMMA. Congratulations. It has been years of more than just hard work in the making. I just know Grover would be playing one if he were still with us.

    be well, JL

  18. Mike Mellia Says:


    All the best!

    Mike Mellia

  19. Pete G. Says:

    Fantastic story Theo. We all face our challenges, but yours have been unique and intense from the sound of it. I admire your dedication to finding a path of health that works for you, and I’m looking forward to seeing/hearing/playing the result of your healthful re-emergence! Congrats.

  20. Kimmie Says:

    Ahhh Theo,

    As always you amaze me. You’re inspirational and relating your profound journey will only serve to help others. Through it all you remained compassionate and empathetic to others trials. I so appreciate you for that. It’s so wonderful to have you. See, you were well missed.

    No flies on you, Theo Wanne. Blessings abound. I send thanks to your dear ex-wife as well. Now let’s get to work. Loving the new site.


  21. J. Edin Says:

    In a way, you did die and have been reborn! It is wonderful that you can share your experience, strength and hope with so many through your website! You are inspiring as are your mouthpieces…It is easy to see that you were surely missed by many. Keep up the good work, Theo, you are well loved.

  22. Patrick Philip Greenberg Says:

    Theo, I came across your story after spending hours wrapping my mind around your products and concepts. You have made an amazing journey, and I am truly blessed and grateful for the opportunity to walk with you in this life. I get you, man. I love you, man.

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