Happy Valentine’s Day 2017: Wanting For Nothing Else Other Than This Moment

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God’s Love:  Ask a near-death experiencer about love, and we are liable to talk about the best love of our lives which is God–the divine all-encompassing light, the filler of all empty spaces and sadness.  God is the true love who finally made me want for nothing else, the one who gave me undivided attention, care, concern, and compassion.

The presence of God during my near-death experience washed away all feelings of insecurity and of not being good enough.  There were no flaws or negative thoughts in the presence of God.  There was only I AM LIGHT & LOVE.

I was a part of God and God was a part of me.  God was also inside everyone else, so I felt a part of everyone too.  This divine intelligence was a love much better than the best romance.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good love story, especially ones like Wings of Desire, Bridges of Madison County, Before Sunrise, Amélie, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Silver Linings Playbook, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Annie Hall, and even The Notebook, but these stories always contain struggle and yearning.  In the presence of God, all yearning is filled with love.  There is no wish for anything because everything is complete and every desire sated.

Earthy Love:  Perhaps as spirits we choose form in order to celebrate the moment when our own spark of God is ignited again and we remember that connection.  Sometimes, we see a spark of God in another, but the real challenge might be to learn to see the spark of God in ourselves and in every moment of our lives.

Maybe we have to ask ourselves if we can we hang on to the beloved even when the spark isn’t visible and wait for it to ignite again?  Can we love someone through their own darkness until they find the light?  When do we need to love ourselves more than the desire for a relationship and separate from someone?  Abuse is a sure sign that a relationship is over.  Let that sink into everyone’s head and stay there permanently.

Chronic cheaters are also not a great gamble, but there are the random stories of reformed wild men and women.  And, oddly, some people I’ve met feel comfortable in open relationships; there are many ways to love and be with someone.  If abuse is not in the picture, consider what you both can do differently to have the love that you both desire.  Even small changes can make life more enjoyable.

If you have no pressing questions about your romantic life, don’t stress and enjoy the now. We are not promised forever.  Love your loved ones deeply.

Divine Purpose:  If you are at a true crossroads in a relationship, ask yourself what your divine purpose is.  Then ask yourself if the person in your life helps you fulfill your divine purpose.  Do they support your goals?  Do you learn how to love more because this person is in your life?  Do you learn how to communicate differently and understand how someone else thinks?  Do you give each other peace?  Are you becoming a better person because this person is in your life?

Most of all, no matter your romantic status,  love yourself immensely.  Imagine the love of God  is with you at all times because it is.  When you love yourself this way, space opens inside you to love others better and with a more open, joyous heart.

Occasionally, I get questions on my YouTube channel from people who feel despondent about the lack of love in their lives.  I don’t have many answers for these viewers, but I can say that the more peace and love I feel within myself, the better my relationships have become.  

As Langston Hughes said in the ending of the poem, “Life is Fine”, it is important to remember that life is indeed fine, grand, and wonderful in all of its seasons and expressions. Romantic love is only one part of the expression of love and definitely not something to make you want to die when you were so clearly born to live.

....I could’ve died for love—
But for livin’ I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry—
I’ll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

     Life is fine!      Fine as wine!      Life is fine!

Your primary and most important relationship is with yourself.    Think kind thoughts about yourself and others, and love will be who you are not something you are searching for in another.   

What I think is the best part of being back in form is the attempt to love others in small and large ways as God loves us.  We fail, but when we try there is nothing better that we can do for this world.

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Problems with Manifestation Theories

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Manifestation:  I’ve always had some trouble with the idea of manifestation.  Though I know manifestation of things that we want is possible with some effort and in the right state of mind, I also know that we live in a chaotic world and bump up against the free will of others.  Surely, we are not manifesting everything in our lives.

One of the most damaging ideas that ran through my head after my rape was the thought that somehow, I had manifested this occurrence.  That thought made me feel great hopelessness and despair, and I lost a lot of my connection to a loving, abundant God because of manifestation theories.

A better explanation is that rape is common in the U.S. and other countries and women are widely abused around the world.  I’m a woman and live in that world.  Even other women, like my roommate at the time when I was raped, are systematically taught to victim blame and dislike other women, especially the ones who shine.  Many times as women, we even blame ourselves before looking outward at the problem that needs to be addressed in society.

I’m also not sure that I came into the world with a soul contract to experience rape, but if I did then my purpose surely must be to bring more awareness and healing to this problem. If believing you have a soul contract brings you to a point of greater forgiveness, then that theory might benefit you.  What I felt on the other side during my NDE is that pain is simply not important and not what we take with us.  Our mission is one of love and remembering our connection to the divine, and what we encounter here is not planned out in full before birth or when coming back after a NDE.

What I am certain of is that what defines our soul is how we react to the situations of our life and the world.  When we respond with forgiveness, we create a better life for ourselves.

Possibly if I never left my room at night, never interacted with the world in friendly open ways, married early, stayed behind my husband in supporting roles, never traveled alone, never flirted, never wore form-fitting clothes, never insisted on equal pay, never called men out on sexism, never voiced an opinion different from a man, never earned a wonderful education maybe I wouldn’t have been raped or targeted by a stalker.

But, there is still a chance that I would have been abused by my husband and not have the power or funds to leave him.  There is still a chance that a neighbor, acquaintance, stranger, or friend might have raped me in my house as I hid from the world, and what a tragedy that would be to lose out on the whole world because of fear.

Women deserve to walk through this world safely, and we can only do this if rape culture changes.

I treasure my moments of travel around the world and all that I learned about other cultures.  On a basic level, I remember reading newspapers from Australia years ago and realizing how nationalistic and myopic our focus is in the U.S.  Seeing the U.S. from a foreigner’s perspective is eye-opening.

I don’t tie all the wonderful memories I’ve experienced as a free, curious soul to the trauma I’ve experienced.  I see trauma as simply an unfortunate part of living in this world.  What are we going to do about it is the bigger question?

I hope that we are going to transform this darkness with our love, forgiveness, and instance on change.

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Forgive Everything with Every Breath You Take

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For fans of healing geometry, here is a link to an artist, Ann DeRulle, who works in this medium. 

Forgiveness:  Many spiritual teachers talk about the necessity of forgiveness.  The sooner we can get through the stages of grief and get to forgiveness, the better of our inner worlds become.  I know we don’t take pain and trauma with us when we die.  I know it is washed away.  Bringing the light of the heavens, the love of the heavens into our own hearts to heal all that we have experienced is important.

In a sense, this kind of focus does bring more success into one’s life.  Although there is a basic truth to manifestation, the theory doesn’t explain everything about living in this complex, unpredictable world.  However, a positive focus, no matter one’s difficulties, makes for an easier journey.

The Now:  My near-death experience taught me to live in the moment and treasure each moment.  Forgiveness can be accessed quicker simply by switching one’s focus to all that is beautiful about the world whether this is a meal with friends or family or a walk in a beautiful park during your favorite season of the year.

To deeply access a place of forgiveness takes courage; forgiveness doesn’t mean that you continue to hang around people who harm you.  Forgiveness simply means you choose to love and appreciate yourself and your life, no matter what occurs before, behind, or beside you.  You are the embodiment of love.

Try to remember that when you are near death, you don’t want to yell at those who have hurt, shocked, abandoned, abused you, or otherwise wronged you.  Instead, you want to be surrounded by the people who love you.  You want to tell everyone you love how much you love them and how much you want only goodness and happiness for them.  And when you die, love is what you take with you.

The lesson you must learn during your earthly experience is to refuse to populate your mind with the people who have wronged you.  This kind of focus can rob of you of precious time and health.  Forgiveness of others grants you a wonderful, blissful life.

Your forgiveness lets others fly free, and most of all puts you in touch with the love of heavens.  Your hope that others might live better lives works to create a better world.

Our legacy eventually becomes how much we were able to love and forgive despite the conditions of this world.  So, forgive it all as if every breath might be the last one.

Death and Dying:  Even those who have the power to heal both themselves and others will eventually die.  We all die.  We don’t necessarily manifest death.  Death is just part of life.  Nature teaches us this.  You’re not losing the game by leaving the world early.  No one is losing by dying; it is just part of the life experience.

You are only losing out on the joy of life when you refuse to love deeply and forgive everything.  However, even if or when you are consumed by bitterness, try to remember that you are loved more than you can imagine. This might open your heart to forgive others.

A few years after my NDE, I remember meeting an older gentleman who had also recently experienced a NDE.  He decided to sell everything, retire, and live way out in the country in Montana.  His family freaked out and kept asking him what he would do if he had a heart attack out in the middle of nowhere.  He replied, “After making the 911 call, I would simply walk out into my gorgeous backyard, lie back on the ground, look up at the stars or the clouds, and send my love to this earth and everyone in it.  If I died there, I can’t think of a better way to go.”

I can’t think of a better way to go either.  Since you will probably send your love to everyone in the end, you might as well send your love to everyone in every moment of your life.

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This art piece by Ann DeRulle is called Ascended.

I Stand for Love, Compassion, Unity, and Community

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I can no longer abide venom or anger on either side politically.  I will not let fear and outrage enter my body when I read the news or social media posts.  I will no longer label anyone as racist, sexist, xenophobic, nationalistic, ignorant, or ill-informed. I will not shame or alienate anyone on social media.  I will look at every human being on the face of the earth as my brother and sister, and I will do what I have done my entire career.  I will embody light and truth.  I will educate and speak my truth from a place of love and light no matter what kind of darkness I encounter in this world.

As Martin Luther King stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

No Fear:  I will be a teacher with a microphone and megaphone in our world so that I can reach beyond the walls of my classrooms.  Though I might take you to church in a few lectures, you will know that I respect you and want the best for you.  I don’t want you to live in fear of others, so I will not live in fear of you.

What do I stand for?  I stand for love, deep compassion, empathy, unity, community, wellness, equality, child-like joy, authenticity, freedom, passion, intellectual curiosity, truth, beauty, safety, and healing.

I stand for reverence and deep honor of Mother Earth so that we all might have clean air, water, unpolluted food, and organic, affordable produce.  The Native Americans have much to teach us, and I stand with Standing Rock.

I stand for taking care of all life from the plants we eat to the darling kids in Head Start programs to the college students graduating and entering the work force to the retirees.  I honor the accomplishments and beauty of disabled children as much as the star athletes. I love the kids from the country as much as I love the immigrants who just arrived on our shores and at our airports. I love them all, and I want you to see the light and divinity in everyone.  Though I am more of a Democrat than a Republican, I am mostly an independent lightworker.

I will speak loudly for all the young women who come through my classrooms to show them that sexism, misogyny, and narcissism will not crush them or their dreams.  I speak to show certain males that certain behaviors of our president will not be normalized.  For example, this man at a Pensacola Women’s March needs reeducation.  Don’t turn away from him.  Don’t criticize women for marching.  Ask the women why they marched, and keep this man’s image in your mind because he exists and needs a transformation whether he is a prankster, a rapist, or a future shooter.

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I will write letters, march, and do whatever is necessary for all the students I have known who have faced staggering health issues and deserve health care no matter their economic background, sex, or mental illness.

After all, I might not have died on that operating table had I gone into surgery earlier, and I would have gone into surgery earlier if I had health insurance. I overheard a nurse confirm this.  I suffered so that others might have an easier path.  My gay and lesbian friends fought for equality because they know and I know that no loving couple should ever fear their loved ones will be torn from their grasp.

I love all my students, and I speak in praise of all of my students including Christian gay, white males; brilliant, teenage Muslim girls who want to be doctors; kind, respectful, smart children of undocumented workers; Jewish poets; single mothers of all races and nationalities, veterans who are conservative and veterans who are liberal.  I allow every voice to speak and write their truths.  My classroom is a classroom of tolerance and free-speech.  I hang a flag on my wall because my father was a veteran.  I don’t burn flags, but I burn fake news to the ground in this post-truth reality; I know he’d be proud.

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Pro-Life and Pro-Innocence:  I will shout into my microphone all the love I have in my heart for the many young men and women I’ve met in my lifetime. I want to protect all of the elementary, junior high, high school, and college students.  I want to protect the six-year-old girl who is molested and doesn’t have the voice to tell her family what happened as much as I want to protect the fourteen-year-old teenager who wore a miniskirt to her first party and was raped by three boys.  Though I care about the boys who raped her, I want them to face appropriate consequences for their actions.  I want to live in a world where men and boys see that violence and destruction of innocence will not be tolerated.

More than that, I want men and boys to honor women and to protect the innocence of life around them.  We have to first acknowledge that there is a problem with misogyny and racism because these attitudes lead to violence.   Men who are protectors are worth their weight in gold.
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I pray for the fifteen-year-old girl who was raped by her father while her mother only asked him to pay for their daughter’s counseling. I wish that man had served time for such a grave offense and was not allowed around other teenagers without supervision.  I wish that this young woman knew her true value and brilliance.  I wish that she didn’t feel that she had to drown her trauma in drugs and alcohol, only to be revictimzed by many men.

My personal suffering has become a thread tying me to countless other survivors so that I might show them how to heal a little quicker than I healed. If you have one-fourth the compassion that I have, you too would hold this young woman in your heart whether she chose to get an abortion or to have a child or made both choices at different times.  She is one of the many lives that I serve and honor.

I will shout into my megaphone because I care for the women in their twenties who were raped by exes, beat up by boyfriends, or assaulted by friends of the family.  I want better community services for students I have known who were assaulted by family members and then ended up on the streets.  They deserve a chance at success, and I do my best to make sure they get that chance.  I want better services for all the veterans who have come through my classrooms.  I care about all the young men who were raped by another man when they were only five, seven, or eight.  These are similar stories to the stories of countless students of mine, and I pray for them every day.

I stand at my microphone for the lives of all the many children waiting to be adopted in this country and other countries.  I cry for my fellow human beings as much as I cry for animals in shelters.  I pray for the children enslaved in human trafficking and the children starving to death or injured from the destruction of war and violence.  If we can work together to create a world free from abuse, rape, human trafficking, war, hunger, and violence, we can also start creating amazing communities where single women can go and receive free health care and education during their pregnancies.  When all children are safe and loved, we will be living in a pro-life world.

I will continue to broadcast my message about how important it is to end human trafficking, war, hunger, and all abuse of innocence because we have real work cut out for us.  And in the face of this light and love, if you are still focused on birth and fetuses, I ask you to please adopt children who are here right now, dying for your love.  Sign up to foster children who need you.  Make that financial sacrifice.

If enough of you do this in mass, abortion rates will decrease.  Please realize that most men, even highly conservative ones, will chuckle and admit that if they could get pregnant after a one night stand or night when they drank too much, they would want the abortion pill available over the counter.  Their tone changes when they consider abortion and women’s rights.  This issue is obviously about control over women, and I will shout repeatedly that men would not tolerate this kind of control over their bodies and lives. I will say this on loop this until it begins to sink in to your consciousness.

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I will get out my microphone and remind you to put pressure on all work environments to provide free health care and day care, so that abortion rates will go down.  This will be a much better, loving way to address the abortion issue.  I am for the success of women as much as for the success of men.  One does not cancel out the other.  It never has.  As long as women are abused, assaulted, raped, and stalked at alarming rates, we need to focus on their protection.

I live to protect the innocent and to heal the wounded.  That is the meaning of my life.  Stand in my way of working to heal this world, and I will gather a crowd of loving human beings together, and we will counter all hate and darkness with a brilliant light that cannot be denied. God bless the marches!   God bless our right to protest with love.  God bless us all in every country and every place in this world.  I’m here to make the world great in a way that it never has been and that starts with changing the minds of many of my fellow Americans.

I realize this article probably hasn’t reached who it needs to reach, but I am just now getting warmed up.  Give me a chance, and give love a chance.

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  •  Special thanks to spiritual teachers like Marianne Williamson and Matt Kahn for reminding me to focus on love and what I stand for and not give in to fear.

Comp Romp: Narrowing Down Comparable Titles/Inspirations For My Memoir:  NDErs (Brinkley, Alexander, Parti, & Moorjani) & Others (Winterson, Sebolt, McCourt, & Orloff)

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Comparable Titles:  Part of the publishing journey is figuring out where your book fits in amidst many published books.  Since this is my first manuscript, I want to share my writing and publishing journey with students and others.   I completed the first draft of my memoir Healed at the end of the summer, and I am working on my second, third, and fourth revisions.  Healed chronicles my journey from the moment of my accident and near-death experience through many years of teaching and other fortunate and unfortunate life events.  One of the main themes of the book is the power of the unconditional love of God to assist in our healing.

The Joy and the Agony of Writing:  I’ll be honest—writing a longer work like this can be fun, therapeutic, and exhilarating.  Revising and rewriting entire sections or scenes of a manuscript can be challenging, but even the challenges can be important lessons.  When writing a memoir, we learn how to tell the truth gracefully and what parts to emphasize or eliminate.  My editor reminds me that Jeanette Walls revised her lovely memoir The Glass Castle eight times, but that doesn’t make the process any easier.  I can only pray that my writing will occasionally be as lovely as Jeanette Wall’s prose.

Though I have more revisions to go, two small presses have contacted me after seeing my NDE video and reading this blog.  The interest in my story has given me incentive to keep working and look for an agent soon.  Some agents ask for a lot of information including a synopsis, detailed outline, cover letter, author bio, comparable titles (in some cases), and the first 50 pages.

Writing a manuscript is not a quick, easy task, especially when you work full-time; nonetheless, it is a labor of love and an obsession.  As Charles Bukowski says in the poem “So You Want to Be a Writer,” “unless it comes out of / your soul like a rocket, / unless being still would / drive you to madness or/ suicide or murder, / don’t do it. / unless the sun inside you is / burning your gut, / don’t do it.”

Despite warnings like these, many English majors and others continue to dream of writing a memoir, novel, or screenplay.  I hoped my first book might be a book of poetry or categorized as literary fiction.  However, when National Geographic interviewed me about my near-death experience, I realized that the brief blurb featured in their magazine did not capture the complexity of my journey, and I knew I had to write this memoir.  I’ve never tried to sell a manuscript before, and I hope my process might benefit students and others in their writing journey.

Themes: My memoir, Healed, echoes themes from many books besides books about near-death experiences, but the beginning and ending of my memoir centers around my near-death experience.  Some of the titles listed below are more inspirations than comparable titles, but when I explain my book these are the titles that come to mind.  Though my NDE was a life changing event, I wrote Healed mainly to help spread good energy into the world, and to help others heal from personal wounds which might be similar to mine.

Near-Death Experience Comparisons:

Saved by the Light by Dannion Brinkley:  This was the first book I read about a NDE after my own experience.  Like Brinkley, I was no longer the same person after my near-death experience, and I realized how kindness to others is one of the most important things we can practice.  The movie Saved by the Light came out a year after my accident, and I was happy to see a story about a near-death experience reach a wide audience.

Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander:  I enjoyed the fact that Dr. Eben Alexander has a strong science background, argued that near-death experiences were impossible, and then had one and changed his mind.  I was agnostic before my near-death experience, but the minute my spirit left my form and I saw the operating room, my surgeons, and angels, I knew I had more than enough proof that the spirit does goes on.  I enjoyed many of Dr. Alexander’s beautiful descriptions of the afterlife.  The writing in his memoir is lovely, and the descriptions about the love of the divine reminded me of my experience with God.

Dying to Wake Up by Dr. Rajiv Parti:  Though I did not experience hell or past lives during my NDE, I identified with several themes in Dr. Parti’s book.  I grew up poor, and my focus after high school was getting into a good university and landing a high paying job.  Material success was a drive before my NDE, and when God told me to return to my life and work as a teacher I struggled with the idea.  However, I found that the divine light’s mission was exactly right for my life.  Teaching and serving others healed me and expanded my life in ways I never could have imagined.  In Dying to Wake Up, Dr. Parti also touches on his struggle with addiction, and this is a theme present in my memoir.

Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani:  Anita Moorjani’s story is inspirational and exceptional.  Though I cannot claim to have experienced a healing as profound as hers, I saw angels sending healing light through my surgeons.  These beautiful light beings wanted me to know that they were their to assist and help.  They also wanted me to be aware that they could work through me in the future, and that they work through many others on the planet.  Moorjani’s message of self-love and listening to one’s intuition is one that I discuss at the end of my memoir.  Of all the near-death experiencers, her loving message is one that I resonate with the most.

Other Comparisons:

Why be Happy When You Could be Normal by Jeanette Winterson can be added to the list of inspirations mainly for her examination of dysfunctional parents and a difficult childhood.

Lucky by Alice Sebold:  Lucky is a searing memoir about a rape that occurred when Alice Sebold was a freshman in college.  The book examines how this moment in time affected her friendships, her relationships with her family, her identity, her attempts at romance, and her sense of safety in the world.  Rape is also a part of my story and occurred while I lived in a foreign country.   The aftereffects of rape extend for years.  PTSD and sexual trauma is profoundly painful and can even threaten to diminish the light of an experience as profoundly beautiful as a near-death experience.  As Sebold says, “You save yourself, or you remain unsaved.”

Teacher Man by Frank McCourt:  Frank McCourt became the hero of many English teachers and professors when his first book Angela’s Ashes came out.  Besides the near-death experience, my favorite sections to write were the sections in my book about my teaching experiences.  I went into the teaching field fully believing that God and the angels might work through me.  The love and hope that I had for my students transformed my life in ways I could never have imagined.  Their journeys taught me much about myself and helped me find the courage to heal my wounds.  Their success became my success.  I can tell that McCourt enjoyed writing about his moments in the classroom, so I include this book on my list of inspirations.

Second Sight by Dr. Judith Orloff:  I list this book because Dr. Judith Orloff felt more comfortable incorporating her intuitive gifts into her practice as a psychiatrist.  Directly after my NDE, I feared my intuitive gifts and didn’t want to be labeled a psychic, intuitive, or medium.  Using guidance in the classroom as a teacher felt perfectly natural, and I never labeled this type of guidance.  I simply helped the students I could help and opened myself up to assistance from the other side.

When I received a message from God that my contract as a teacher/professor was completed and that I could do “whatever I wanted to do” (even continue to teach if I wished), my mind raced in various directions.  I wondered if my contract was up because I might die soon.  This made me want to write my story in case I didn’t have much time on this earth; I wanted others to know the lessons from my near-death experience. Eventually, I realized I probably had more time on the earth, and if I applied the same principles I learned during my NDE to any work, all will be well.  In other words, work to inspire and help others grow.  In the process of helping others, we open ourselves to guidance and light from the other side, and that is a beautiful experience.

Comparable Titles:   Many unknown writers make the mistake of comparing their manuscripts to great books which have sold millions of copies and that is not my intent.  Of course, I’m tempted to compare my book to Wild by Sheryl Strayed , but I didn’t hike the PCT to overcome my personal struggles.  I know that nature has the power to heal us, and her story is a great testimony of this truth. My near-death experience was the awakening that I needed to find my way to greater healing, and my memoir is an attempt to bare my soul, as many other writers have done, in the hope that readers might relate, connect, deepen their own healing journey, and perhaps have the courage to tell their own stories.

 

 

Messages from My NDE

I hope these seven messages are inspirational.  It is important to focus on the good we can do in the world and work to create a world with more love and compassion for ourselves and others; most NDEs teach us this truth. This video discusses a few important messages from my NDE, but here is the abbreviated version.

Message #1: Be Open to Communication and Assistance From the Other Side

Our world does not celebrate the gifts of intuition and being right-brained as often as it celebrates the left-brain types of accomplishments.  However, the right brain is a lovely place to live.  Guided meditations might be one way to open more to imagination and connection.  Stilling the mind through mindfulness meditations might facilitate more receptivity.  The realm between sleep and waking can be a place to access messages as well.  However, these activities are not necessary for communicating with angels and guides.

These are simply possible ways to open your mind to divine communication.  Taking a walk might be a way to open to guidance.   Lorna Byrne says to simply ASK for communication from angels, and Ann Albers gives a beautiful overview of connecting with guides and angels in this article.

Message #2:  Be of Service to Others and Angels Might Work Through You

I wrote a post about how being of service is one way out of depression.  It is not the only way, but simply one part of shifting one’s focus off all that is wrong with one’s life to what can be done to help others. In serving others, our hearts open to the world.  During my NDE, I saw how powerful it was to help others and realized that the beauty we create in the lives of others is one of the main memories we take with us.

Message #3: Be Open to Others and Don’t Judge

During my NDE, I understood that many people were just like me.  They were doing their best, struggling to make sense of their lives, and trying to survive.  I saw that they needed as much grace and compassion as I was given in the afterlife.  Consider many different possibilities when interacting with others.  For example, those with poor social skills might have a disability or be suffering from an anxiety disorder.  Offer as much mercy and kindness to people as possible.

We are not that different; we are all more similar than we think.  During my NDE, I saw clearly how my judgments prevented me from knowing lovely, spiritual people in my vicinity.  Be open to kind people especially. However, personal boundaries and self-protection/love is a theme I come back to often. Abusers in spiritual communities and other areas of life can trespass on the boundaries of very loving, open people.  Love and openness given to others must be balanced with protection and love for the self.

Message #3:  Go to Nature

I made a recent post about this idea and believe that nature is healing, calming, and important for our mental health. Additionally, many people who experience an awakening have a greater awareness of the energy of certain foods and the importance of treating our bodies like temples.  I have found a lot of healing at different times in my life from a diet focusing largely on fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.

My grandmother, who lived in the country, picked fresh beans and vegetables from her garden and often said, “Food tastes best when the sunlight is still in it.” She had a good point!  Not many of us have access to food that fresh, but look for possibilities to eat the freshest possible foods.  Spend time enjoying the beauty of nature; it will reset your energy level and often erase your worries.

Message #4:  Be Like a Little Child

In Matthew 18:3 Jesus says, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you change and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

It is easier to access the love of God with an open, trusting heart.  Children do this more effortlessly than adults.  Look for ways to be pure of heart and gleeful about your connection to the divine.  Greet your life with immense gratitude.  On a basic level, NDErs will always know the fragility of this life and how easily our lives can be ripped from our grasp.  We appreciate being alive, but you don’t have to have an NDE to be grateful, joyful, and peaceful.

Message #5: You Are Loved and You Are the Light

Before my NDE, I lived in an almost constant state of worry and fear.  I survived a lot, but this fear was not improving my life in any way; rather, it was destroying my well-being. The immediate knowledge of the immense love of God  during my NDE altered my perception of reality. It is important to know that fear can be dismantled and forgotten.  Remembering our connection to unconditional love can ease much of the strain of this life.

Message #6:  Be Good to Yourself and Others

This is a golden rule of most religions.  To me, goodness is more than simply doing no harm.  Goodness is making the world around you brighter, healthier, and a more positive experience for others.

Message #7:  Live a Purposeful Life

The last part of my NDE showed me that I needed to return to earth and teach.  You do not have to be a teacher to live a purposeful life. You do not have to have a NDE to know your life purpose.  You only need to infuse your actions with goodness and blessings for others with whatever it is you do in this world.

Years ago, I read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.   If there is a quote from that book that sums up my major life lessons, it must be this one: “Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you. Don’t waste your pain; use it to help others.” ― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for

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Additional Lessons From My NDE:  Disconnection, Doing Your Best, and Adding Goodness to the World

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Free yourself from the psychological structure of society, which is to free yourself from the essence of conflict.  –Jiddu Krishnamurti

Disconnection: There’s no disconnection like real disconnection.  Leaving the body behind during my near-death experience gave me a perspective that I never imagined possible as an agnostic.  I carried none of my wounds to other side.  I was free as a bird, curious as a child, and smart as a dolphin outside of my body.

My consciousness survived, but I no longer had a deep, emotional, psychological connection to this human form.  That alone healed my wounds.  All the chattering of the mind, the repeating of offenses of others, and the storyline we all cling to evaporated instantly.

A Different Perspective:  I try to remember that perspective as I journey through life.  Whenever I am caught up in the drama of “she said this, he did this, and then they all did this,” I take a break and wonder what those situations will look like or if they will matter at all on my death bed.

I wonder if those situations will materialize during my life review.  If I was the one who was wronged, these situations probably won’t be in my life review.  The beauty and compassion of God is stunning and deeply loving.  God doesn’t replay the things that harmed us.  We do that to ourselves countless times while in form, but part of freedom is loving yourself enough to begin untangling and disconnecting from your wounds.

Goodness: I know that on the other side, I will look at my life to see if I eventually used the situations of my life to be better to others.  Did I continue to increase my ability to do good in this world no matter how people treated me?   Did I find more ways to be joyful, more ways to be whole, more ways to be lighthearted and uplift others? Did I make my interactions about healing and helping others?  Did I add goodness to the world?

Did I deeply enjoy my time on this earth?  Did I play like a child?  How often did I stand in wonder and awe at the beauty of nature?  Did I love as often as I could, even if that love was love for myself and a bird flying by me?  Did I use my intuition, my wisdom, my bravery, and my connection to the other side?  Did I love more than I thought I could when I first began this journey?

Did I retain some of my innocence?  Did I try to fashion myself as the hero of a situation with words, false and true, or did I simply do what is right and true?  Did I leave when I should leave?  Stay when I should stay? Did I climb to the top of a mountain, breathe deeply, and pull in a great stream of light from the heavens and send that light to every human being on the planet?

Did I do my best?  Did you do your best?

If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation. — Jiddu Krishnamurti

The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed. Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Remind Them to Go to Nature–A Command From the Heavens

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At the end of my life-review, I ended up in a vividly green, lush, heavenly landscape. Much like my spirit body felt eternal, the grass, trees, and the natural landscape of heaven appeared deeply and completely alive without a hint of desecration.  I wondered if this is how beautiful nature could be if we lived in greater balance.

There is healing potential in nature.  I have known this at various times even before my near-death experience, but to hear the command, Remind them to go to nature as a direct message from the heavens has stayed with me.

Great thinkers like Einstein have recommended nature as a way to deepen our peace and awareness saying, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” And, great poets like Whitman have extolled the power of nature as well saying, “After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on – have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear – what remains? Nature remains.”

I remind my college students to eat as many whole foods, especially raw fruits and vegetables, as possible.  I remind them to take breaks and breathe deeply by the river.  I take each of my classes outside to meditate at least once a semester, but there is more to the importance of this statement. We all need reminders to live closer to the natural rhythms and wisdom of nature.

Most of us need more time with our feet in the earth.  My student’s faces look more relaxed and happy even after a short meditation outdoors.  Though some of them might think meditation outdoors is a waste of time or a way to get out of lecture, I know that meditation in nature is a focus on health and a focus on decreasing their stress levels.  This combination always makes for a more successful life, and their success is my success.

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Most of my students light up when I ask them questions like, “Should I buy a Mac or a PC?” or “Do you prefer Instagram or Snapchat?”  They tell me their opinions hurriedly and with excitement in their voices.  When I ask them about hiking or camping, many of them don’t have experience with it or they have one or two pleasant memories about camping. Students who grew up in other areas of the country like Oregon or California often have a greater appreciation for nature.

I don’t hate technology; in fact, I love it and spend a lot of time on it.  However, I have more fun when I’m in nature and keep my phone usage to a minimal, and I want students to know this form of therapy is there for them throughout their lives.  I feel reset after time in nature.   I feel cleansed, renewed, and rejuvenated.  I look at my life from a different perspective, and answers to problems that eluded me often occur easily and spontaneously.  I give my worries to the natural world and in return I’m given joy.

Many people have this insight and understand the importance of spending time in nature.  Time magazine published an article this summer titled, The Healing Power of Nature, and a researcher in 2005 coined the term “nature deficit disorder” for many children alienated from time in nature.  There are movements to address anxiety, depression, and stress through what is called “eco-therapy” by researchers.

God said it simply to me with the words, Remind them to go to nature.

I don’t know how many times I need to remind them/you/me/us, but here is our reminder for the week–GO TO NATURE!  Play, have fun, relax, take a break, breathe, let your worries go, and soak up all the love that is available to you.

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I will never stop being astonished by the size and intelligence of the angels that I met during my near-death experience.  These two angels were wise, caring, and full of insight. Most of all, they had the ability to heal both emotional and physical issues.  I would love to meet a sketch artist who might be able to bring these beautiful light beings into focus.

Connecting with Your Angels:  If you are interested in connecting with your angels to assist you with a certain situation or to help you be of greater service to others, you might simply say a prayer that the angels might be with you and guide you.  Call on specific angels by name or even unknown beneficial angels.  I like this list which starts with prayer and meditation as a way to connect with angels, but it also includes writing or spending time in nature.  The angels brought me peace during my near death experience and afterwards in several situations; I know they can do this for you.

Peace:  Angels are not only messengers and healers, but they are also there to comfort us and anchor peace in our world.  There are many remarkable accounts of experiences with angels.  This woman from the IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) website received messages from her angels when her doctors could not figure out the cause of life threatening infection.  For four days she spent time with the angels and describes them in detail.

“I saw an outline of form filled with golden white Light that radiated past the faint lines. As if I was a star shining brightly in the Heavens. The Light was fluid, iridescent and connected with ease to the Angels near or beside me. I connected with the stars and the vastness of the Universe. I was a part of everything in existence all at the same time.”

When she asked the angels about our purpose here on earth, she received a few amazing messages.

“Our purpose here is to discover unconditional love within ourselves and then offer it to others. We are all on the path. What differs between us is the road we take, the experience we choose, and how much we have learned about love. No one road is better or more important than another. It is all a matter of what speaks to your heart and feels like home within.”

To read more about her story, you can click here.

Consider calling on angels for anything type of healing in your life.  May you be blessed!

More About the Angels From My NDE

One of the Aftereffects of NDEs: Seeing the Divine in All Living Beings Including Ourselves

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After my accident, back surgery, and near-death experience, I had a lot of time to think about the afterlife and lessons.  Many mornings, I felt like a kid again and woke up with a joy I hadn’t experienced in a long while.  Some mornings, I simply stood by the window and looked with joy at a robin in the tree. I spent hours staring into the sweet eyes of a kitten one of my stepdad’s workers scooped up out of the middle a crowded freeway.  Though more of a dog person, a shy, scared kitten suited me better at that stage of my physical recovery.  I named the tiny kitten Crystal, and she perched and purred on top of my body cast, seeming to send me white threads of Divine love and healing. She felt safe with me, and I felt safe with her.  We were one, and the love I had for life, even the smallest moments, carried me through my days and nights.

Eventually, I learned to send all the over-flowing love I had in my heart into my own heart.  The love I had been sending to others, I focused on myself for a while, observing the waves of emotional pain from my past until these waves subsided.  I gave myself the respect and attention I desired, and eventually, I cried a whole lot less and laughed a whole lot more.  My life before my near death experience needed my loving attention and the type of healing I felt from God and the angels while out of form.

When I look back to those months spent in a body cast, I think of that sweet kitten who used my body cast as a place to sleep. She grew up and grew stronger as my body healed and grew stronger.  I don’t have a picture of her as a kitten, but my memory creates her like the kitten in the picture.

I received a question about animals in heaven and from what I have seen in my communications with those on the other side, animals are certainly in heaven.  I saw one young man who recently died petting a dog which was more his mother’s dog than his dog.  She confirmed this was true, so I felt blessed to receive this message.  I’m grateful to have received this message from him so that I can assure others who wonder about their connections with pets.

Our pets bring us a bit of heaven on earth, so it only makes sense that they would reside in heaven.  The green grass of the afterlife would not be the same without our beloved pets running to greet us.  We associate love with our pets, and love is a powerful bond that survives death.

One NDEr, Jan Price, talks about being first greeted by one of her pets in heaven.  She writes, “What I came to realize is that there is a love connection between the two worlds – a stream of energy that forms a heart bond between two souls that is the strongest at the time of transition. Love comes out to greet you, wearing the form that will be most meaningful to you at the time. In my case it was our precious dog, and yes, dogs have souls – Plato knew it and so did Saint Augustine, along with most other true saints and sages.”

You can check out her full story at this link.  There is a video about several NDErs who talk about pets in heaven as well.  Here is that link.

crystalThe real cat Crystal in her older years.