This is the first in a series of blog posts about living with HIV/AIDS and my journey “downward” into a very serious health crisis where I went from a healthy 175 pounds with a genius IQ of 173, to 125 pounds with dementia so intense that I couldn’t even figure out how to dial a cell phone, and my eventual emergence back to life, to a place I never dreamed it would take me or lead me to become and HIV positive bodybuilder.

I will alternate (for now) between a daily post of the story leading to where I am now (and it ain't pretty at times...will show all of the photos I rarely share with anyone from my sick days) and a chronicle of my days leading up to the Games with tips, insight, tools and training which just might help you along the way! Or maybe not. All I know is, I felt a "calling" to return to the Gay Games and sign-posts seem to be happening on a daily basisi confirming that I am indeed doing what I need to be doing.

The “journey back” culminated at the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago, where almost 12,000 athletes and participants from around the world came together to celebrate diversity and compete in every sport imaginable from bodybuilding, track and field, wrestling, and even ballroom dancing and figure skating.

Today marks my return to the Gay Games, this time happening August 12 in Cleveland, Ohio whereas, before the Games helped save my life, this time, it’s to celebrate and share that life indeed goes on and anyone can not only survive, but thrive with this disease. In 120 days I will be onstage competing again.

My wish is to help you get information and guidance, that you may never have to experience what I went through, and gain inspiration by what I did to achieve my success with coming “back from the dead”.

The Journey of an HIV Positive Bodybuilder

I start my journey in 2000. I was 45 years old and it was right after that dreaded “Y2K”. You remember the time. It was the “could it really happen” scary scenario where there was a good chance that all of the computers would crash, planes would fall out of the air, and we would pitted “neighbor against neighbor” as we hoarded our guns and food and water supplies.

I was living in Las Vegas at the time, the home of EVERYTHING electric and neon, so you can imagine the fear that “Sin City” experienced.

Well it, of course, didn’t happen, but little did I know that I was in the early phase of my own personal “meltdown”.

I was a swing in the National Touring Company of “Chicago”, which was staged and directed by Bob Fosse’s protégé, Ann Reinking. 

For those of you who don’t know “theatre lingo”, a “swing” is someone who covers all of the chorus (or ensemble) roles and has to go on in a moment’s notice if someone is out or injured before, or even sometimes during the show, and has to learn everyone’s staging and be ready to go on in a moment’s notice.

It was a position that I loved and hated, as I crave variety and get bored easily if I am doing the same show the requisite 8-shows a week, and I get to draw on all of my talents and skills, but hated because I’m rarely on for opening nights, I have the stress of always having to be ‘ready’ and not knowing from day to day what I’ll be doing that day for the show.

I was tested as being HIV positive in 1993, and in subsequent posts, I will go into more detail about what led to this, and my own White Light experience . Suffice it to say, that experience led me to a phase of personal healing and self-discovery that led me down new pathways of self-discovery and appreciation of the gift of life we live every day.

I heard there was an audition for the tour of Chicago in LA while I was living in San Francisco after this White Light experience, and knew they were casting older Fosse dancers (like me) and always stayed in shape. I flew down, auditioned, had a couple of callbacks, and was thrilled to once again be in a major show on the road with a steady lucrative paycheck!

Having been cast in Chicago was a “reemergence” into life and career for me.


I was back doing what I loved and in a high paying, high profile show, and as any actor knows to have at least a year or two of work like this is a blessing.


“Chicago” was playing at the newly opened Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, and ours was the first show ever to play there. It was the antithesis of Vegas which has a reputation of ‘tits and glitz”, as this show was all in black with none of that.  Doubly exciting because Chita Rivera was playing the role of “Roxie” for the first time (she was previously “Velma”) and Ben Vereen was “Billy Flynn”. HUGE deal for the cast and for the casino.

I was sharing a house outside of the Strip with my friend and assistant musical director Michael Horsley, and we lived about fifty yards from a wonderful raw food restaurant called “The Raw Truth”.

Raw Food and the Big Decision

Not only was the food amazingly tasty, but I could just feel that it was doing good things for me as I ate it. Even the raw pizzas were amazing. Marilu Henner (who is a huge health food advocate and has written numerous books about it) was the replacement for Chita, and I was even delivering her meals from them from time to time.

As would go to the restaurant daily, and over a short amount of time, I started to read more about raw food living, and healing stories of recoveries from cancer and the like.

It made such perfect sense. Raw foodists believe that any kind of cooking destroys the essential nutrients we get, and that when we eat cooked foods, we are in a way, killing ourselves slowly.

Feeling so good from it all, I remember the day.

I was standing in the kitchen with my housemate Michael and I  took the two bottles of HIV meds I had (I believe the “cocktail” was 3TC and Crixivan back then) and tossed them away, saying that I was from her on in and forever more off of meds and trusting the raw food way of life.

I was immensely liberating and empowering to feel that I had taken steps that rang true for me despite what the “experts” were saying.

The next few weeks of no meds and raw food l living (having purchased practically every meal from the restaurant) I was flying high.

I felt more confident that I had in ages and cast members were commenting on how terrific I looked. HOT even.

But then, about three weeks in, things started to shift rapidly.

The story of how I became an HIV positive bodybuilder continues in PART 2!


This blog post will show you how to be more productive in business by using simple Zen habits strategies.

There is a wonderful book called “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig, described here.

With this, the book details two types of personalities: those who are interested mostly in gestalts (romantic viewpoints, such as Zen, focused on being “In the moment”, and not Zen habitson rational analysis), and those who seek to know the details, understand the inner workings, and master the mechanics (classic viewpoints with application of rational analysis, vis-a-vis motorcycle maintenance) and so on.

Pirsig aims towards a perception of the world that embraces both sides, the rational and the romantic. This means encompassing “irrational” sources of wisdom and understanding as well as science, reason and technology. In particular, this must include bursts of creativity and intuition that seemingly come from nowhere and are not (in his view) rationally explicable. Pirsig seeks to demonstrate that rationality and Zen-like “being in the moment” can harmoniously coexist. He suggests such a combination of rationality and romanticism can potentially bring a higher quality of life.

Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without the distortion created by your own thoughts. I submit that we (Westerners) are often so distracted in our multi-task-driven lives that we barely have time to breathe, let alone find anything near the aim of the Mahayana Buddhists

Zen Habits as described by spiritual leader

Eckhart Tolle  author of “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth says, “How” is always more important that “what.” See if you can give much more attention to the doing than to the result that you want to achieve through it.

Dan Millman, author of “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” says, “There are no ordinary moments.”

And though not a “real” spiritual leader, Frank Zappa had his handle on Zen Habits too!

‘The most important thing in art is the frame. For paint, literally. For other arts, figuratively—because, without this humble appliance, you can’t know where the art stops and the real world begins.”

What he’s saying is that how we frame something, like an idea or a problem, for example, has everything to do with how well it turns out. He’s saying that there is an art to framing. That framing is an art.

And Deepak Chopra says

As you embrace the present
and become one with it, and merge with it,
you will experience a fire, a glow,
a sparkle of ecstasy throbbing in every sentient being.
As you begin to experience this exultation of spirit
in everything that is alive, as you become intimate with it,
joy will be born within you,
and you will drop the terrible burdens of defensiveness,
resentment, and hurtfulness…
then you will become lighthearted, carefree, joyous, and free.

I recall years ago hearing, after one of the many spiritual retreats from various “gurus” I attended say, “make a Zen apple pie this weekend.” Meaning, that everything you do, from picking up the knife to slice the apples, to opening the spice jar to adding the cinnamon, to rolling out the dough, to placing the pie carefully in the oven, you do it with full awareness that you are the observer that is making the pie.

To this day, I still remember making that pie as it was the total joyous focus that remained and incorporate that into my daily Zen habits.

The key then, is focus and JOY, aware that you are the observer doing the action, making the choices, and you choose happiness in every moment as you do the action.

When you practice the art of awareness in every moment, coming back to it whenever you can (hey we’re human, our minds are usually non-stop chatter), it becomes much like the practice of “sit with your legs crossed, focused meditation” in that, you “shoot for stillness”, you find your moments, and the thoughts come in again.

The more we can stay focused on the present moment, knowing that you are the observer of this moment, and thus, the eternal creator of each a moment, suddenly everything becomes more joyous, more focused, more fun, and thus, more productive.

Try incorporating Zen habits into the little things in life, even if just for a moment, and discover for yourself how everything can shift with a simple act of awareness.

I’m Doug Graham, Journeyman

If you want to hear a story of a man who inspired me to become part of a movement of empowerment that is changing lives, click below.

Dave Sharpe



Are you interested in getting some hands-on training this Saturday from a
panel of expert internet marketers to teach you winning internet marketing strategies?

Join us this Saturday, March 30th, at 12:00pm ET for a powerful 2-hour in-depth training from a panel of successful internet marketers to train you on a variety of topics.

We were going to charge $99 to attend this webinar training, but we decided to make it available to anybody who wants to attend for just $25!

When you click the link below, you will have the opportunity to join EN & Team Take Massive Action for $25.00, and once you are registered you can reply to this email and request your private link to watch this powerful webinar on Saturday (as well as access the recording if you can’t make it live).

Click here to join Team Take Massive Action for $25.00!


Now, let’s take a look at the powerful schedule for Saturday and exactly what internet marketing strategies you will learn!

The first hour of Internet Marketing Strategies

The first hour will be run by Layla Black & Arthur Tubman, and their panel of internet marketing experts. Both Layla and Arthur combined have earned well over $500,000 in the past year and a half, and in the process they have developed some amazing internet marketing strategies skill-sets that you are about to learn.

And most importantly, they are bringing an all-star panel out with them of leaders who have followed their training and achieved massive internet marketing strategies results themselves! Here are some of the topics they will be training on Saturday:

• How to Release your Barriers and Step Into Your Power
• The Power of Visualization and How to Get Anything You Want
• Adopting the Traits and Mindset of a Successful Entrepreneur
• The Difference Between Success and Failure Online
• How to “Pimp” Your Facebook Campaigns to Go Viral
• The Psychology Behind Edification on Facebook
• How to “Market” to Find Power Women Online
• Access to Resources to Market to Female Business Rockstars
• How to Personally Sign Up 100+ New Customers in 6 months
• Phone Skills – The Exact Formula for Making Winning Calls
• Branding 101 – Video Marketing Branding and Positioning
• Viral Video Techniques to Create Massive Exposure
• How to Take Massive Action and Increase Your Belief
• What Daily Income Producing Activities Should You Focus On
• The Habits of 6-Figure Income Earners Online

The second hour of Internet Marketing Strategies

And if you stick around for the whole 2-hour session, we will make some bonus announcements at the end that you don’t want to miss!

Click here to join Team Take Massive Action for $25.00!
After you register using the link above, you can reply to this email, and get access to register for this powerful webinar on Saturday!

Crazy mix of topics, but yes, it’s possible to have any passion of yours lead to opening the heart to your highest level of joy, which as anyone who knows about the Law of Attraction knows, is how we create anything we want in our life!

Knowing what I know about the Vortex, the Law of Attraction, and how it all works, there are certain songs that get me right to that place of opening the heart, and fills me up with such immense emotion and love, that a song will pop me right there in an instant.

I’m sharing four such songs for both my fellow Broadway fanatics and my fellow “friends in the vortex”!

Opening the heart with Broadway ballads

In His Eyes is a song from the Broadway show “Jekyll and Hyde”.

opening the heart

Coleen Sexton plays the role of Lucy, the lady-of-the-evening, and Andrea Rivette plays Emma, from a well-to-do family who both fall for the “alternate selves” of Jekyll/Hyde. It’s all about the last few bars of this, and the final note, when they hold the last “money note” with no vibrato, into the full vibrato is stunning beautifully sculpted song and to this day my favorite female duet of all time.

I Will Never Leave You is the penultimate number from Side Show

opening the heart

Side Show is a musical by Bill Russell (book and lyrics) and Henry Krieger (music) based on the lives of Daisy and Violet Hilton, a circus act of conjoined twins who became famous stage performers in the 1930s.

The twins were played by Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner. The show only ran for 91 performances, but both of them were nominated for a single Tony Award as a team.
In this song, the two men who they loved and who loved them, decide they cannot handle that kind of a relationship. This song comes right when the last guy walked out. They are singing this at the 1998 Tony Awards.

Opening the heart with even “Bonnie & Clyde”

opening the heart

Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad with the Amazing Laura Osnes in her song from the VERY brief Broadway run of “Bonnie and Clyde” ran just four short weeks. It has some beautiful music by Frank Wildhorn. This song (also the penultimate), sung by “Bonnie”, tells how she knows their end is no doubt near, but when one has love…well…the song is all about opening the heart.

And last by surely not least, and then there’s “Smash”!

opening the heart

What better show for a theatre enthusiast than one centered on creating a Broadway show!
The show they are trying to put on is a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe, and all the drama that goes on offstage AND on.
In season one’s closer, Katharine McPhee, who plays the role of “Karen”, is “thrown a number last minute” to save the show from closing. It’s hokey in essence, but perfect for “theatre magic”.
I could not stop rewinding my VCR and listening to and watching this.
Have a listen to “Don’t Forget Me”…I’m sure you won’t!

There are many ways to open the heart. But when you do, joy comes in, and from there, ultimate creation happens.

Here is an amazing story of someone who had his own experience of opening the heart and finding his way back to create a movement of empowerment.

Dave Sharpe




How strangely perfect and I take this as a very good omen.

On the heels of day two of the Supreme Court hearing the case for marriage equality tomorrow, there are two things happening now.

First, today is the first day of Passover where The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs, and their birth as a nation under the leadership of Moses.

And second, tonight there is a full moon, the full moon the American Indians call the “Worm Moon”.

This from the Farmer’s Almanac

Full Worm Moon – March As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins.

So Passover being a celebration of liberation, and the Worm Moon being a sign of new beginnings, I choose to think we have nature and natural law on our sides for the big day tomorrow when the case will be pleaded.

Marriage Equality and Palm Springs

There as a great turnout tonight at the rally for  marriage equality here in Palm Springs across from the courthouse.

Many wore red as the chosen color or solidarity, and there was a diverse crowd from married gay couples, couples who want to be but are unable to, singles, those (like myself) who don’t believe in the institution of marriage but will fight for everyone’s right to have their choices honored, to straight families with kids.

One of our speakers pointed out that 81% of young adults between 18 and 27 believe that same-sex marriage should be legalized. Wow. We need these young people to grow up fast and run for office! There is indeed a new world coming…a new world HERE!

Here’s David Sanchez speaking first

There was a contingent from Gay/Straight Alliance from Cathedral City High School speaking of marriage equality. When I went to high school in ’71-’74 this would never have even been a consideration.

A group of any Pride Parade favorites, PLAG also came out to speak of marriage equality.

One of the highlights was our newly elected Congressman, Raul Ruiz speaking eloquently about basic human rights for all.

And the highlight for me personally was hearing the children speak of equality. Truly, you’ve got to be carefully taught to hate as these children speaking know the truth of love and loving.

Marriage equality on trial tomorrow

As it seems to stand now, both sides of the Supreme Court are divided

And CNN says

The gay community, which of course includes me, (I’d say “proudly”, but that connotes something that was something to be ashamed of originally…which of course is ludicrous), is rooting for the two “key plaintiffs are Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, a Burbank, California, couple who want to marry but can’t because of Proposition 8. They say the state is discriminating against them for their sexuality.

If the court decides in their favor, it would mark a historic shift in how the law treats marriage, striking down laws across the country banning same-sex marriage and matching an apparent cultural shift toward acceptance of same-sex couples.”

Just who are these guys upon whom so much rests?!

They live on a quaint, tree-lined street in suburban Burbank, California. They have two cars, two dogs, one cat and a mortgage.

At first glance, they seem to be a couple like any other who has been together for almost 10 years.

But while their situation may be typical, their circumstances are anything but.

Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo never set out to make history or be a part of it on such a large scale. But that’s just what’s happening. All they wanted to do was take the next—what they call “natural”—step in their relationship. They wanted to get married. But that simple notion flew in the face of social conservatives across the nation and bigoted or confused voters throughout California who voted in November 2008 to take away the right for two men (or two women) to commit themselves to each other through matrimony.

Paul and Jeff Celebrate Prop 8 Victory

Whichever way it goes, one thing I am certain of.

Just as Abraham Lincoln said, and stuck with his core belief that “all men are created equal”, so I know truth, therefore, marriage equality, will always win out in the end.







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