The Healing Power of True Stories

I feel blessed and lucky to have had the chance to speak and attend the Denver IANDS conference this summer.  At the conference, I heard Dr. Eben Alexander and Mark Anthony’s talks.  Proof of Heaven and  Never Letting Go were influential and helpful books on my journey.

Many NDErs say the same things in different ways.  Because I loved Proof of Heaven so much, I considered not taking the time to write my own story.  However, at some point, I realized that my journey as a woman, a survivor, a traveler, a teacher, a dreamer, a poet, and a mystic needed to be written.  True stories have powerful healing potential for the writer and the readers.   We long for community and connection, and the journeys of others bless us in countless ways.  A book written in service of others should be raw and honest enough to connect with the right audience, crafted well enough to entertain, and sprinkled with inspiration.

Most people long to transcend the patterns and blocks that hold them back.  They want to break through these blocks like high school football players running through a banner into the best game of their lives.   I am certain that the world needs more true stories of eventual triumph, a deep connection to others, and communion with the divine.  We live to learn how to shine, to light the way, and to pass the torch on to others.

Tell your stories to the world.  Stand in your creative power, your connection to the light, and watch your world transform.




 

Community College Professor’s Response to Campus Carry

jacklove

The love in my heart and soul is a billion times stronger than a gun strapped to my hip.  Love is what has transformed my life and other’s lives.  Love is the only thing that matters—the only thing that lasts, transcends, and lives on in the realms beyond this one.  Love is all that we take with us.

Teaching is the way that I have been guided to give love and to serve this world, and my hope has always been to create a brighter world through education.  I love my community college students even before I meet them.  I love them so that their journeys will open to wider paths and their options for success will be more plentiful.  I love them so that their fears will subside, and they can learn with greater understanding.

Teaching in junior high, high school, and at the college level has been a holy profession for me. While doing my training to teach in the public school, I remember viewing a video about a teacher who was informed that her students were gifted.  In turn, she treated these students as if they were gifted, and they excelled because of her expectations.  I imagined that if I walked into each classroom with unconditional appreciation for students and belief in their abilities, no matter what they had suffered or no matter what delinquent behaviors they exhibited, then miracles would occur.

Although the threat of an active shooter is a topic of concern at all schools, I chose to focus on ways to pinpoint, defuse, and bring healing to volatile situations before they spiraled out of control.  I started teaching in public schools after the Columbine High School tragedy and quickly realized that many teachers have been on alert to catch possible threats before they materialize and that seems like the best defense.

At the community college level, campus police are proactive and frequently walk the halls; there is a general feeling of safety at my campus.  My students are often adults with full-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities.  Other students have recently graduated from high school, but even these students often work and have quite a few responsibilities.   Certainly, I’ve  encountered a few students in need of disciplinary interventions, but I never thought that concealed weapons would make us all safer.

Campus carry is the strangest change I’ve witnessed in education. Texas legislation has thrown the possibility of guns into the middle of my love fest, and now I don’t know whether the most loving thing I can do is to be a loving person carrying a concealed weapon or to be a loving person without one.

I’m at ease and skilled with guns, and I’ve taken several self-defense classes and weapon training classes over the years.  I’m a victim of rape, theft, harassment, and stalking. Owning guns was never problematic for me, but bringing guns to school seems odd.   To my friends in Europe, the policy seems insane.

good shot

Whatever I decide to do because of this change, I know that I will be incorporating more meditation and mindfulness exercises into my English classes.  I will be praying for the safety of our students and that everyone makes wise, safe choices.  My primary message to students is that education can be a path to a better life, to healing, and to greater opportunities.  I don’t ever want fear to be stronger than hope.

On a basic level, it makes sense that more guns will cause more violent crime, but I do understand why people think guns might make them safer.   Certainly, from a victim’s point of view I wonder how certain situations might have turned out differently if I had a gun and the other person didn’t. But, I also know that the type of men who stalk, harass, and rape women might also use weapons to try to assert power over others.

Will Sam Colt be the great equalizer of the sexes?  I’m not sure. Will more women, especially young women who are extremely vulnerable to these situations, learn how to use and carry guns?   I certainly hope that more women do take self-defense classes in this current environment.

Having guns on a college campus doesn’t fit with my ideas about talking openly about intense topics.  The University of Houston has suggested that professors avoid sensitive topics and that prospect saddens me.  If having guns on campus does not create an environment which encourages students to think critically and deeply about their world, then guns should not be allowed on campus. 

In college, I loved hearing diverse opinions and solid, academic research, and I would hate to think of professors feeling intimidated enough to make a blander, watered down curriculum in response to the policy.  I hope that we can have more discussions about power, privilege, and why gun violence can not be our new normal.

One professor I know tells students on the first day of class, “Please don’t shoot me. Come talk to me and let me get the help for you that you need.”  The students think that their professor is joking, but this statement is not a joke.  Other professors I know who are nearing retirement are now considering changing paper topics to more fun, upbeat assignments that will encourage group work and laughter, not debate.

This summer in Raleigh, North Carolina, I got the chance to talk with the artist David Hess who built 100 mock assault rifles with household items like vacuum cleaner parts. The mood at his show is considerably different than the mood at an actual gun show. Lots of people of all ages smiled and picked up his fake guns for pictures.  Many people pointed them at one another and laughed.  Hess hopes to facilitate more discussions about fear and control, and he rejects polarized conversations about guns. However, he does want to make a difference in the tragedy of so much gun violence in the U.S.

Because of my near-death experience, I have a strong belief that my very life was saved so that I might reach as many students as possible. Right now, I am struggling to determine what the most light-filled, uplifting response is to campus carry.

I went into teaching in order to create greater peace, prosperity, and harmony in the world. I never pictured myself doing this with a gun strapped to my thigh or my hip, but I am a survivor, and I will do what I believe is the best, wisest choice for myself and for my students.

I am trying to adapt to a reality which is not acceptable.  I don’t like this change, but Texas is the place where I have a coveted, full-time position.  I have no choice but to bring as much lightness, peace, wisdom, and levity as possible to this new landscape.

But, really, if we are going to bring guns and knives to school like this is the Wild West, can we at least ride horses to class, talk around campfires by the river, look at the stars, and put away the cell phones?
love

New, Extraordinary Identity

4914320-if-you-want-to-be-happy-quotes

I’ve heard it said by many people that the words “I am” are powerful words.  Why not claim the best for yourself?  I am the light, a transformer of darkness.  I am lucky.  I am the embodiment of love, peace, and goodwill.  I am blessed, grateful, effulgent, healthy, free, and optimistic.  I am washed clean by every rain, and made stronger with each sunrise.

Claim whatever positive traits you desire, even if you are in truth working toward these states of being.  You’ll get there quicker by telling your subconscious what you want instead of what you don’t want.

Last week, I realized that someone, most likely movers from a moving company, stole my checks and other personal information.  I was out of town when I realized my bank account had been drained, and the violation was shocking.  I reached for equanimity in the middle of that storm, but I was shaken up and had to lean on others.  Luckily, I realized that I have many supportive people all around me.  Those who do not know how to be supportive have drifted out of my life, and I live in a calm, beautiful state of being.

Life simply couldn’t get any better.  Why?  Because I claimed it, focused on the good, and refused to let a demanding situation be anything other than it is—a place which connects me to others.   Every trying circumstance in my life has allowed me to help others, and this will not different.  I am a part of something greater than myself.  Like a symphony, a storm, a comet, an eclipse, a thunderous herd of elk under bright moonlight, a floor of dancers with good rhythm and smiles, I am part of the flow of life and fully present for every moment of this ride back to the stars.

It is possible to walk into any situation free and happy.  You can also walk out of any situation just as free and just as happy.    You can walk away from rooms of discord, and walk into ones of peace, harmony, festivity, bliss, and sweetness.

Someone stole my identity.  So what? They can have that old identity.  They snatched the last of my troubles.  They took the lingering remnants of my negativity.  They stole my wounds and left me free and happy with a new bank card, a membership with LifeLock, greater happiness, and a new way of looking at this amazing world.

Though I have learned to be more protective of myself and others, I have also learned to let go of pain that isn’t my own and doesn’t serve me.  Bad things sometimes happen to good people, but many extraordinary, uplifting, miraculous, fortuitous things happen to good people as well.

2fa8573d5b55489027a6da118e785549

Healed: A Memoir About Survival, Recovery, and Transformation Following a Near-Death Experience

 

Why I Wrote This Book:  Why does anyone write?  I’ve loved books since I was a child in East Texas and needed a good escape. In grade school, I read widely and read books way above my maturity level.  I learned about the pain of racism from books like Invisible Man.  Other books like 1984, The Painted Bird, and A Wrinkle in Time intrigued me at young ages.

After putting a book down, I always wanted to know about the writer’s lives. I intuited things about the author’s pain, longings, and dreams, and I had to find out more information.  I wanted to know what Ralph Ellison’s real life was like.  I wanted to know about the situations that influenced George Orwell, Jerzy Kosinski, and Madeleine L’Engle.  Once I started down this path of curiosity, I never gave up my love for memoirs and biography.  Many years later, when authors like Mary Karr hit the scene, I took mental notes, hoping to find the time to write my own memoir.

I have also enjoyed reading all the many books about near-death experiences.  However, my purpose for writing Healed is not to become a definitive source of near-death experiences, but to help spread good energy into the world and help others find their way to greater healing.   This manuscript addresses timely issues including child abuse, suicide prevention, sexual assault, and addiction.  More importantly, it examines how the focus to heal (spiritually, energetically, physically, and psychologically) can miraculously transform one’s life.

There are many best-selling books about near-death experiences, but my book stands out because I was much younger and wilder than these authors when I died.   I was an agnostic, party girl attending college and working as a cocktail waitress.  As a lost, materialistic young woman, the closest I came to thinking about spirituality was reading the poems of Walt Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau for my English classes.  After my near-death experience, I was immediately drawn to books, practices, and gatherings that focused on greater love, peace, and understanding among people.

My NDE was hugely transformative, and awakened me to spiritual realities that I did not consider previously.  Giving love to this world and working to help bring more light to the lives of others was one of the key lessons of my near-death experience.  

Healed is written in the tradition of literary memoirs like Wild, Lucky, and Lit.  It captures Austin in the 90’s, international travel, family, relationships, and a mission from God in classrooms across America.

I am actively searching for a literary agent and publisher for my book and would love any recommendations.

Thanks for reading!

The Other Side is On Your Side

free

What if you didn’t worry about limits or restrictions? What if you could dance around doubts and jump over boundaries with grace? What if you gave your best effort and didn’t care about the results?

What if your cultural conditioning led you to all the wrong destinations and situations, and I told you that you could dive into the unknown, break through your current circumstances, and glide, possibly even jitterbug, around obstacles?

sunsetarizona

What if you could easily stop doing things that stifle your potential and create your own way of living?  What if you could stop suffering by accepting everything as it is, but also by shifting into the energy of creation of what you want?

What if I told you that the person, place, or situation that you keep banging your head against will never change?  You and your actions are the only thing that can change.  What if I told you it is o.k. that you have made the same mistake countless times, but you don’t have to make the same one this time?

mandog

The past is the past, but you can walk into the world now as if you are entering the greatest race of your life.  You can bet all of your money on yourself.  Whatever the outcome, you are going to run your heart out and get closer to your destination than if you stay stuck in fear.

On the other side of fear is freedom.  On the other side of the dark, cavernous, unknown places we must traverse to get where we want to go is a great, new beauty.

horse

Your soul has markers, breakers, and when you swim out beyond where you have gone before the sunlight is brighter and the landscape is different. You emerge with a glow, with an undeniable, intangible, distinctive quality.

Your ego is the right size, but your aura is huge.  Your smile gleams in the nighttime, and there is no doubt that the other side is on your side.

couple

 

 

 

Questions from Readers: What Can We Do? How Can We Help?

helenkeller

People often ask me about how to find optimism or how to anchor love in a world full of tragedy and horrifying acts.  I am stunned sometimes myself by life because I am human and vulnerable like everyone else.  I only know with certainty that we do not take the pain with us.  We only take the love.  That tells me that when something unthinkable happens; for instance, when your friend’s daughter or son has been murdered, you must be the one to be willing to do anything to help your friend grieve and feel more loved.  You become the love that works to counter unthinkable tragedies.

You cry and grieve with your friend.  You stay there even when your friend pushes you away.  You remind him or her that grief is necessary and takes a long time to process.  You tell your friend to join a support group of other grieving parents.  You tell him or her to reach out and comfort others, so that you friend will be reminded how we are all connected. You tell your friend to keep doing loving things for himself or herself even though the grief is so intense that he or she can’t even taste the food or hear the music.  Eventually, a little joy will break through.  Going through the pain is the only way to slowly get out of it.

Connection and helping others is one of the most profound gifts we can give ourselves.  On days, when I could barely get up all the floor for all the grief I carried inside of me, I know my grief evaporated from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. when I was surrounded by the joy, confusion, pain, anger, silliness, happiness, and grief of my students. Solving one of their problems, or even just being a present, caring witness to their pain, made me feel that my life was of value and not random or meaningless.  Look to God for the strength that you feel that you don’t have at certain times.

People often ask me about why someone they know or barely know would threaten or terrorize them.  For that question, I want to use the wise words of a friend and energy worker who works for the greater good of this world.

He says that, “Each time someone threatens or terrorizes, they are working with the opposite of love, and no good will come from this state of being to the person making the threats. These people’s minds are horribly confused and fearful, and there is no respect for the existence and goodness in others.”

I think it is also important to realize that what terrorizers say is not the truth and only a reflection of their own darkness and pain.  As sensitive beings, we can internalize these attacks and wonder if there is any truth to their words, but there isn’t.  There is no truth in darkness, and there is no eternal quality to hate.

My friend goes on to say that, “….to be effective as a healer and actually work for the greater good, and have energy flow from ascended masters, angels, and the Divine Feminine, you need to come from a place of unconditional love. This means you need to ask for help in stepping away from the ego. You work for universal and unconditional love. Viewing the self through the lens of unconditional love empowers your work and elevates you tremendously, and your abilities increase exponentially.”

Sometimes, we simply learn how to help heal others who have been terrorized in the ways we have been terrorized.  We bring in that unconditional love for ourselves until we are free and we pass this love on to others.

People often ask me how they can help others and what they can do with their limited time and resources.    

Years ago, I read the book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life and decided to secretly (though not now) give gifts in one certain way for each month of the summer break.  During the school year, I am busy helping students, but in the summer, I only teach online classes and have more time. This is a hot month in Texas, so my focus this month is on homeless people.  I give whatever I can or have on me when I see a homeless person—usually I give money, but sometimes a water bottle, an extra pair of sunglasses, a smile or wave if I have nothing, an apple, a meal, my leftovers from a restaurant, and once I simply gave a man my prayer beads.  I give a part of myself to every person I see on these hot streets; their faces are now etched into my mind.  I am connected to them, instead of being completely separated behind the glass of my car window. What I am doing is not much; however, I know connection and helping others is where stories begin.

Years ago, I also read the book Same Kind of Different As Me which will soon be turned into a movie.  The setting is Fort Worth, Texas, and the story is about a deeply religious woman dying of cancer and her wish that her husband mentor a homeless man. All three of their lives are transformed by this connection.

If you are stumped as to how to help others, you might simply begin by reading about all those who have helped others, and you might get some great ideas.  Also, you might simply wait and listen.  When someone says that they need something, try to provide it or guide them to the right resource.

Sometimes, simply listening and being fully present is a great gift, especially in a society where too many are glued to their phones, not grounded, and not present even for their loved ones.  There are many organizations that need volunteers.  You can find ways to help, and remember that the people who you connect with are where the stories begin.  Design an amazing story for your life.  The greater the love, the better the story.

chacha

 

 

 

 

 

I Know I Should Ignore Trolls, But I Decided to Respond Because Responding Made Me Happy

gordonia

Although I usually delete and block trolls on YouTube, sometimes I can’t keep up with the comments because I am too busy.  During a layover on my flight home from a great vacation, I decided to respond before deleting these comments.  I hope that my responses might make others who are putting themselves out there in the public sphere feel better.

GMan IV writes,

 “why would you go to any church anyways? You been on the other side, what could you gain from any church? Be it Christian, Mulsum, New Age or whatever. Plus why are you so “nice” not to offend anyone? Why dont you blast these religions and tell poeple No there is no Jesus that you must believe on or else you will Burn forever in Hell or No there is no Allah where a woman must dress from head to toe even in the 120 degree desert and there are no 30 virgins waiting to greet you when you die. What good of a TEACHER are you to just sugar coat everything and not tell people the TRUTH but allow them to continue on in their silly worldy view of religion and God? I thought you came back to TEACH humanity???

My Response

Dear GMan IV,

The Dali Lama says kindness is his religion. Amma says love is her religion. I say do whatever it takes to give yourself and this world more loving kindness. If church helps you become a kinder, more compassionate person—go there. If dancing in the forest and making organic popsicles makes you a kinder person—do that. If my YouTube videos make you angry and make you want to blast me, find something that gives you peace brother.

Find something that makes you want to spread kindness…it matters more than you realize. You get to feel the perspectives of others in your life review, so you should spend your time trying to uplift others. Create moments filled with love for yourself and others.

As a side note, I do believe in Jesus, and heard the words, “Be like a little child” coming from the light of God.  My problem with some Christian churches is the fear and judgment that is often emphasized.  Love is all that matters and all that we take with us.

Additionally, if it is teaching that you so deeply desire, as luck would have it I happen to be an English professor. Please note that Muslim is not spelled “Mulsum,” and people is not spelled “poeple.”  “Wordly” is an unusual spelling, and I’m not sure if you meant loquacious, verbose, circumlocutory, or prolix.  Perhaps, you simply meant to type “worldly,” but in the context of your statement you might search for a more appropriate word like “limited” or “outdated.” Remember “You been” should be “You have been” or “You’ve been.”

To better understand the variety and nuances of world religions, you might consider reading books or even taking a course in comparative religion.  Be sure to review apostrophe rules, and avoid all caps.  I appreciate your interest in near-death experiences.  May you be blessed, and consider yourself schooled.

Sincerely,

Professor Barker


Getty’s Randomness writes,

Btw people confuse NDE’s with obe’s. Obe can happen and Satan/lucifer the angel of light. Can & does give people awesome experiences that are in fact life changing to mis lead & mis guide people with good hearts & good intent. he gives them very real experiences. if you have an exp & you come back & your not putting Jesus christ #1 in your life then your exp was from the angel of light. very real, yes but not from or jesus.

My Response

Dear Mr. Randomness,

I think people must be afraid of what they haven’t experienced themselves and don’t understand.  Shortly after my NDE, I was handed a pamphlet, much like what you are saying Mr. Randomness, and I laughed loudly.  You see, I could feel the very energy and vibration of fear in this pamphlet even before I read the words.

The angry minister who wrote these words felt threatened by near-death experiencers, and he desperately wanted to discredit them.  Their open-mindedness and inclusiveness of others didn’t jive with him.  He preferred to sell limited world views, fear, fear, and a little more fear.  The Bible was written by man, but the spirit of Jesus is a very modest, humble, loving, tender, gentle spirit.   You might check out The Book of Q:  The Original Sayings of Jesus.  It is important to strip away interpretations of the Bible and meditate on the love of his messages.  The message of love runs through many religions and teachings.

You can always talk yourself into a box and stay there by hating everyone and everything that challenges you, or you can open your mind and be o.k. with continually growing and learning.

I’m a fan of Jesus, but not a fan of churches or people who try to discredit the most amazing, life-altering moment of my life.  I know it scares you to think that you may not have everything figured out, but take a deep breath and relax. As for my experience, I was dead, not dreaming.  What I experienced was not an OBE or voodoo/hoodoo from Satan/The Angel of Light.

Though I don’t have everything figured out either, Mr. Randomness, I do know that I connected with the most powerful force imaginable—God.  Every crevice of my soul was filled with the light of God.  I wanted for nothing, and I didn’t want to return to this world full of darkness. However, God told me that I had to return and teach.  I was instructed to remind others to live in the light and to spread this goodness across the earth.

My best advice for you is to open yourself to the love and light of God instead of engaging in YouTube squabbles.  Jesus wants you to love your neighbor as yourself. First, you must learn to love yourself, so that you can love your neighbor and all those on those interacting in online environments.  Jesus doesn’t want you to bully near-death experiencers. Please set an example of the love of Jesus with love, not with attack.  May you be blessed.

Sincerely,

A Woman of the Light


Another YouTuber writes,

Looks like she’s gained some weight since her last video a couple of months ago.  She needs to work out and take care of her God-given temple.”

My Response:

Dear Troll,

First, camera angle is something that everyone should understand when snapping selfies or making a video.  If the camera is eye-level, people will look much more like themselves.  If the camera is positioned below them, they may end up looking like they have put on weight or have a double-chin.  The camera was positioned way below the stage in that video.

Whatever though.  I speak to give others comfort, not to participate in a runway show. One woman dying of cancer saw that particular video and communicated that it gave her peace about the dying process.  She was a teacher like me, and she passed away recently.  Offering hope to the terminally ill is one of the many reasons why I tell my story.

Secondly, I freakin’ love myself, even though I battle like the warrior that I am with thyroid disease, fibromyalgia, and anxiety.  I love myself even when I have to teach eight classes and am pushing hard to revise a manuscript, leaving me little time to work out.  Life is about harmony in the long run, not complete balance simultaneously. Sometimes, a person must sacrifice one portion of their life when they are working intensely in another area and that is fine.

Next time you comment on a woman’s appearance, consider the fact that she might have a terminal illness or might have suffered a miscarriage.  Wouldn’t you feel bad if you made someone who is hurting feel even worse?  I would like to protect that woman from your comments.

There will always be people who love me and those who talk badly about me, but I choose to feel good about myself constantly.  I also know that having a bright soul can illuminate someone who is mostly skin and bones or several hundred pounds overweight.  This body is something we should treat with great care, but a heart that doesn’t look at others with compassion is a heart in deep need of healing.

Troll, you need the love and light of God much more than the “perfect woman” you keep looking for and never finding in real time. If you do have a woman in your life, I am certain that you will not make her happy or make her love you more by cutting her down with your words. 

Someday you will become frail, get sick, and die.  You will shed your attachment to form and realize the truth of your journey.

I promise you, the truth of your journey is not to get on YouTube and troll and track people.  You might actually create ripples of harm and have to examine this in your life review.  I won’t take your words with me, but you will.  You own them.  Be careful what you say to others.

I’ll leave you with a poem by Lucille Clifton because her life force, her energy, her celebratory tone is something we all should embrace.  We should all love ourselves this much.  I know I do!  May you be blessed, Troll!

Sincerely,

Fine Just as I Am

homage to my hips

these hips are big hips

they need space to

move around in.

they don’t fit into little

petty places. these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips.

i have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top!

 

 

Book Review of Dying to Fit In by Erica McKenzie

erica

When a friend of mine suggested that I read Erica McKenzie’s book Dying to Fit In, I both wanted to read the book and didn’t.  I don’t read many self-published books because I am a bit of a snob when it comes to what I choose to read in my spare time.  However, I want to support other NDErs, and I knew McKenzie’s book examines the subject of addiction; this is part of my story as well.  I appreciated Dr. Raviv Parti’s description of his struggles with prescription meds, and since he wrote the foreword to her book I gave Dying to Fit In a chance.

What I Loved About the Book:  McKenzie covers many topics in her book, starting with bullying and the deep pain it can inflict on others.  This topic is timely and relevant as bullying continues non-stop for many students in online environments.  Junior high is a tough time for many, and McKenzie captures the cruelty of this age early in her book.  Her descriptions are relatable, and I hope that young women who are being bullied, struggling with bulimia, or a body dysmorphic disorder might find her book.  Dying to Fit In might give solace and spiritual solution to such pain.  Wounds from our early years can indeed affect our emotional health for a long while if we don’t actively work to release them.

We live in one of the cruelest, most materialistic cultures, and women are punished for a lack of physical attractiveness and punished because of their physical attractiveness.  The beauty of a woman’s soul and mind is often neglected in favor of judging her corporeal form that is only young for a brief part of her overall life. It is no wonder that so many girls and women consider shuffling “off this mortal coil” when they are under constant assault for their appearances and not seen for their true self.

To make matters worse, women rarely bond together to support one another and care for one another’s souls and journeys. The gossipy nature and judgmental nature of many women is disheartening, and the author clearly captures these disappointing interactions.  I was reminded of why I preferred to give unconditional love to my students and stay in the mode of helping them, than to sit in teacher’s lounges and listen to complaints and judgements about students who I adored.

One of the most well-written chapters in the book is the discussion of prescription medications for weight loss and the author’s reliance on these pills.  Her background as a R.N. is evident, and that makes her argument for how the medical community should change in response to NDEs even more powerful.

The Near-Death Experience and Aftereffects:  The descriptions of the unconditional love of God is always my favorite part of everyone’s near-death experience.  Basically, no one has a clue how to love themselves completely the way that God loves us.  To feel that love, is to experience the greatest force imaginable, and Dying to Fit In demonstrates how profound and life-changing a moment like that can be.  I won’t give away the details of her experience.  She talks openly about her NDE, and you can view her story on YouTube.  In Dying to Fit In, McKenzie comprehensively covers her experience in the afterlife, and these lessons stayed with her.  McKenzie chooses to continue to hear the voice of God and believe in this connection, and she works to help others see their unique value.

What people sometimes forget is that dying is itself a physical trauma that can cause panic attacks, and in many cases the accidents or the reason behind the experiencer’s death can leave the experiencer with health issues.  Dying to Fit In covers the author’s journey to greater health which is usually found through detox and rebuilding of the body.  Holistic medicine and approaches make a lot of sense to me, and I couldn’t agree more with her focus on health.

Paranormal Occurrences:  I am a very open-minded reader, and communicate with spirits, guides, angels, and God.  I, too, experienced premonitions and pre-cognition after my near-death experience. The reminders McKenzie gives us to pay attention to the voice of God and our intuition is an important message, especially when we might be able to help others with this information.  I felt lucky, blessed even, to have so many students flowing through my classrooms, and that kind of insight came to me unexpectedly when I opened myself and asked to be of service to my students.  I don’t doubt that the author has helped many people with her insights and psychic abilities.

In my life, I have also received messages about when someone was going to die, much like the author. It is quite common to have a biological and spiritual tie to those in our families and know when they might die.  Psychic abilities, after-death communication, out of body experiences, lucid dreaming, and angels appearing in human form are not out of the ordinary, and I did not have a problem with these descriptions while reading this book.  I even relate to what she is saying about Heaven School and how she continues to receive guidance from beyond.

However, claims of psychokinesis or telekinesis are harder claims to digest without verification.  If this can be verified and duplicated, then that needs to happen.  For centuries, these claims have been proven false, so most readers are not going to accept this part of her story as fact.  The description of moving pages of a phone book with her mind as a child comes unexpectedly and early in the book.  If telekinesis is something many people have experienced or witnessed firsthand, I would like to hear about this from readers.

I am more than familiar with the aftereffects of NDEs, and I know that my energy has an effect on light bulbs, watches, cell phones, and computers.   I was skeptical in the beginning, but over time I cannot deny this phenomenon.  I also know firsthand that energy work can be powerful and healing, even from a distance.  However, levitation is another claim that is difficult to believe.

I occasionally listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson, and he has a humorous bit about swami levitation.   Basically, I need further convincing to believe that telekinesis and levitation are possible. So, if you happen to witness a NDEr float on the way to the bathroom, for the sake of the rest of the world please pull out your phone and capture this moment.  I want to be as open-minded as possible, so this is only my reaction based on what I have experienced and read.  However, I can imagine that some readers might also have problems with the descriptions of telekinesis and levitation.

Sweet Moments:  The author’s description of animals and the beautiful patients in hospice are heart-warming moments in this book. Animals do teach us unconditional love, and being near those who are dying and supporting them in that transition is easy and natural for NDErs since we do not fear the dying process.

Overall, the author’s heart seems to be in the right place.  She describes her struggle, so that others might find a way out of pain and choose to bring more of the light of God into their lives.  She speaks with the hope that the medical community might better support NDErs and certainly never classify these experiences as a mental illness.  A connection with a divine, loving God is the exact opposite of illness; it is healing.

Dying to Fit In is written with the intention to help others, so I don’t want to play the role of a literary critic and discuss sections that might have worked better eliminated, or told in flashback without an adherence to chronological order.  This book reminds us of our connection to one another and the importance of being gentle and loving with our words and actions.  This book reminds us of what is possible and what might be possible.

Kindness and compassion for others was one of my biggest lessons after experiencing a oneness with others during my NDE, and I especially enjoyed the descriptions in the book when the author bestowed great kindness upon those around her.  I know the author’s soul is greatly blessed by those moments when she helps others, and I thank her for bringing more attention to near-death experiences.

Journalist Leslie Kean with more impressive evidence for an afterlife — Sharon Rawlette

(I don’t have time to review all the books people have suggested that I read.  However, I enjoyed this book and found a helpful review of the Leslie Kean’s new book Surviving Death. She is an impressive journalist and adds much credibility to the topic of NDEs.  Enjoy this review!)

I almost didn’t buy Leslie Kean’s new book Surviving Death, because I was worried it was nothing more than an overview of the afterlife evidence I’m already quite familiar with. But while there was certainly some description of the seminal case studies, there was also so much new material that it was absolutely worth the money I paid for a […]

via Journalist Leslie Kean with more impressive evidence for an afterlife — Sharon Rawlette