Update on 1/19/19: My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now. It is a #1 new release in several categories. I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.
National Poetry Month: To celebrate National Poetry Month, I’m posting “After the Wreck,” a poem published by the Binnacle in 2007 which is inspired from moments during my near death experience. I’m also including a poem by Rilke from Book of Hours: Love Poems to God which I adore.
Writing on Morphine: I wanted to document my NDE as soon as I possibly could. I stayed in ICU for a few days after surgery, but once I was moved to a hospital room, I asked for a pen and paper. My surgeon confirmed that I had died, but she didn’t feel inclined to talk about the spiritual experience with me. The nurses were a bit more willing to listen to my experience but most seemed busy and hurried. Some people only nodded and looked at me strangely when I wanted to talk about the powerful experience of being in God’s presence.
While in the hospital bed and hooked up to a morphine drip, my greatest fear was that I might forget those beautiful moments outside my body. The pain and disorientation made it difficult to write in a straight line, and the words bled down the page. I persisted in the hope that a few lines would be salvageable and used later. The lines about the angels in this poem were lines I wrote days after the experience.
Memory: To this day, I remember the vividness of the angels, the light, and the love from the divine intensely. I’ve never forgotten the experience and the images. What faded a bit were the direct messages given to me by light. I remember a lot of what was communicated, but the information flowed into my spirit body so quickly that it was difficult to slow down the information and remember it as specific words. Mainly, I knew that I had immediately and forever changed in that moment.
Outside of my body, I remember feeling slightly worried for my body as I looked down at the operating table, wondering if I would walk or run again. The angels assured me that I would have complete healing. In fact, they assisted in that healing, and my questions were answered not only with information but with demonstration.
Trauma and Forgetting the Beauty of the Light: I have not forgotten the NDE in the way some dreams are forgotten, but there are times in life when the material world, when trauma, or when stress has overwhelmed me. When overwhelmed and burdened by life, I can forget the beauty of that moment. The memory though remains incredibly vivid.
Certainly, the actions of others have startled me, shocked me, and sometimes horrified me. In my memoir, Healed, I write about being harassed by friend in a writer’s group, raped while living overseas, and beaten up by my first husband. I thought my life after experiencing an NDE would be pure bliss, and I would live a protected, purely pleasurable life. This was not my experience, and I wasn’t prepared to write about these traumatic moments until years later. Though I had greater moments of intuition after the NDE, I didn’t always know how to trust or use this intuition. In those first years after the experience, I also had an almost child-like openness, trust, and belief in others and that trust sometimes put me in close contact with desperate people.
Service and Healing: When I examine all my experiences together, these experiences sometimes seem like more than one person should have to endure. However, I have survived and thrived, and I realize others have endured far worse events. Perhaps part of my legacy is to experience the horrors that many women have experienced and to report that what remains after harm has taken its best shot at me is light and hope. I heard Matt Kahn say something similar about harm in his latest video, and this idea seems accurate to me. What also remains after the harm is a deep desire to heal myself and to help others heal. At certain times, I certainly forgot the light and its message. At other times, I became angry at God on this journey, but I always came back to the belief that I should help others and should remind others of their connection to a loving, forgiving source.
Self-absorption and all too human wishes and desires vanish the moment I ask my students about their lives or when I am of service to others somewhere in this world. There is no greater way to make the world a better place than to offer help or kindness. We are freed of ourselves in those moments. Who knew that freedom from the self would feel so wonderful? It does though.
AFTER THE WRECK
How could I know that the world would have compassion
and that at the moment of impact my back would crack,
but I would retain the sensation of this body, first floating
away from it, then returning, silvered and open-mouthed
like a fish caught on the hook of a reoccurring dream,
struggling, flapping about, and jerked up to the surface
of a room full of florescence, tiny desires to survive
pulsing through my body in rivulets?
How could I know that the angels I recalled from paintings
would become bright, intelligent companions at the end of my bed
and that the torrential light from their eyes would answer my questions instantly?
How could I know that this peace would disintegrate like ice chips
in my mouth and this calming knowledge would drown in refills of morphine.
How could I know that I would forget specifics in the way we forget dreams?
In these bodies, we are often anxious, but I love how Rilke reminds us that God is around us and in us from the beginning. Certainly, the light on the other side of this life felt familiar. This light is the same light we have in our eyes as infants, and the same light that comes for us at the time of our death.
I am, You Anxious One
I am, you anxious one.
Don’t you sense me, ready to break
into being at your touch?
My murmurings surround you like shadowy wings.
Can’t you see me standing before you
cloaked in stillness?
Hasn’t my longing ripened in you
from the beginning
as fruit ripens on a branch?
I am the dream you are dreaming.
When you want to awaken, I am waiting.
I grow strong in the beauty you behold.
And with the silence of stars I enfold
your cities made by time.
14 thoughts on “National Poetry Month and Other Reflections”
Thank you for sharing. I love both poems and I am certain that your openness will help many. I can feel the beauty in your heart and soul.
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Hi, I love how we connect sometimes. In a break from writing an biography about one of my clients I read the article in National Geographic about you and other NDE survivors. I looked you up and read this blog.
I am constantly enthralled by the content of the book I am writing and the experiences that my client transcribes to me. Here is a transcript.
“I was walking on the beautiful harbour foreshore of my home city of Sydney, and as I was looking up at the clear blue sky, a bolt of light stuck me in the chest. It burst through my body close to my heart centre and then beamed out back to the sky from whence it came. The words “Divine Spirit” then rang through my head. The state of mind that followed was one of pure bliss, and for the next few months, without the confines of any work related commitments, this state was my constant companion”.
I sent him the link to this blog and am keen to see his reply. I will look for your book now.
Good luck with getting your message out there. I know Alan, my client struggles with it and I know I can help him with that. the book will be published this year. The title he was instructed to call it, ‘Divine Spirit, Touches a Common Man’.
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Thanks for your comments. That state of pure bliss your client describes is an amazing state to live in for any amount of time. I know I had several moments of reconnecting with that source, especially in the first few years after the NDE. Good luck with the writing projects.
I’ve found a couple of good communities for those interested in out of body experiences and near death experiences on Facebook. I also joined this group. http://nhneneardeath.ning.com/ You might pass this link on to Alan. Feel free to give me his website. I want to feature other people on my website. It takes time to read their work and post about them, but that is my eventual goal. Have a great day!
I can’t help but ask…
In your reply you stated that you had “several moments of reconnecting with that source, especially in the first years”. Do you feel bereft, since you don’t feel that connection as often now? Do you miss it?
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Thanks for your question. I miss the constant state of bliss I lived in after the NDE. I saw every encounter with a human being as an opportunity to interact with love and grace, often sharing what I knew from the other side. Mostly, I came across wonderful people, and I have valued each moment in the classroom. My students have been amazing.
In my twenties, a few years after the NDE, I was harassed by an acquaintance from a writers group, stalked by a man I briefly met, and raped by an acquaintance while living in South Korea. Those three moments shut me down for a while. I felt angry that I had to return to earth and experience trauma. Now, I see these moments as tragic but something that many women have experienced. I feel connected to the many women who have their own healing journeys around the issue of sexual assault and harassment. I’ve had a long journey toward healing, but that healing has opened up a greater connection to source again. God’s message during the NDE was for me to return and teach. Oddly, no matter what has been going on in my life, I completely forget myself as soon as I am at the podium. Teaching immediately connects me to my source because I believe that anything I have experienced and overcome to some degree might help my students find their own strength, healing, and perseverance to continue with their education. I also believe that if the angels could work through the surgeons during my surgery, there must be a chance that they can work through me on occasion. I live with the hope that they do.
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you beat me with that question by a whisker. And Thanks Tricia for your reply. I am so sorry to hear of your suffering. If I can help you in any way with the pain that those events brought to you please don’t hesitate to contact me. My main purpose in life is to end suffering. (I thank Buddha for giving me that simple purpose). The end of suffering always starts from within. (go to my website to see what I do, http://www.stephenconnor.org) . Ok,thats enough about me.
I am so fascinated by what I am learning from working with, and writing Alan’s book. His had an OBE, but it looks like it is the same as a NDE. (This is all new to me so sorry if I am not quite there yet). There seems to be a common thread with what happened to you both, which is to get a message out there. The underlying message is the same, we just get to it from different circumstances, different perspectives, different agendas, different approach and different goals and more. The driving force in Alan’s life is get the message out there. This has presented him with a big chunk of fear (like really big). You could call it synchronicity about how I came into the picture, but I am here to help him with that. (its all in the book).
There is so much more I want to write here but I will keep this short. (I could write about excessive male dominance, male female energetic balances, emotions, suffering, mental illness, independence, freedom, grounding and anchoring, self-trust and all the other selfs, beliefs, opinions and ideas, the mind, consciousness and more).
I would like to keep this conversation going so I won’t bore you too much, but I do want to hear more of people’s experiences and where they are heading with it. What is your meaning and purpose?
I checked out your website, and I think the idea of self-love coaching is fantastic. I think most people need more self-love and compassion for self and others. When I am hard on myself, I remind myself that I am doing the best that I can at that moment. Others are as well.
I understand Alan’s fear about putting his message out there. Skeptics abound, and I have been warned by some people in academia that writing about these topics might make me seem “unbalanced” to some. I think it is important to have a spiritual community and remind yourself of all the many respected people who have described their spiritual experiences.
I once was a skeptic, but then I died. After that, I spent so many years not writing about these topics, but I believe there are a growing number of people with NDEs and OBEs, as well as a growing number of people who are simply open to these ideas and hunger for healing. One of the messages from the light was for me to not to live in fear and to remind others to shine their lights and not live in fear. Living here on this planet, it is easy to get sucked into fear and anxiety. However, our gifts should be shared with the world. We will reach who we are meant to reach. Tell Alan I think it is great that he is expressing his truth.
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Yes, Self-Love plays a big part in how we grow and transform. It is subtle in how it embeds in us. When we do the work of inner transformation we cannot help but love ourselves more. The key is to be constantly and vigilantly aware of appreciation and gratitude, firstly to yourself and then to everyone and everything.
Yes again we do need a spiritual community to help us in our growth and expansion. We call them religions now, but my hope is that we begin to see the difference between a true spiritual community, (one with the strong intention of creating love and peace through individual independence) and the belief structures we have now that misguide and misinterpret.
Fear can be seen as a problem, but when we appreciate we are here to experience opposites, fear can be viewed as an opportunity, the opportunity to see and experience the opposite of love. It is all a matter of awareness and choice.
It seems strange that some colleagues would view sharing your story as ‘Unbalanced’. That is a nice way of saying, “that’s scary”. Scary is where we need to go. Scary is the mind and the mind is the next frontier.
By facing our fears, our true talents emerge, it is then our purpose shines through; our soul’s journey then slips into overdrive.
Contact me anytime. Steve.
If I could ask another question, do you have a daily practice (meditation etc)?
I do my best to meditate every day, but there are some days when I am too busy. I regret it when I don’t. A lot more inspiration and peace comes to me in quiet times. That passage in Psalms, “Be still and know that I am God,” came to mind today during meditation. In our culture of social media and instant connection, a practice seems all the more important. Time in nature takes the place of meditation for me occasionally. I have attended traditional Buddhist meditations, and I loved to meditate in the temples in South Korea. The incense smelled lovely. I have also enjoyed guided meditations that probably fall more in the “new age” category. I dabble. I also like solfeggio frequencies and meditating while listening to these sounds.
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Hi, Thanks so much for the reply.
Meditation takes on many forms. It is important to become aware of that. To give an examples, I look at the way I interact with people as meditation. I see that expanding our independence is a form of meditating (and crucial for world harmony). If you are very active, whatever you are doing can be like meditating so long as you are aware of that. (mantras help here). Feeling all our emotions is like meditating. Even when we are busy at work, having a mantra helps, “my job is perfect”, (which means it brings me the funds to enjoy life that little bit more – like buying your favourite chocolate, or a house; the chocolate is less stressful).
Hope that helps, Steve.
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Me again, (sorry). I just looked at the website you mentioned. WOW. It has opened up my eyes so much, thank you. This is perfect timing. I have doubts sometimes about what Alan wants me to write, but now, its full steam ahead. What a journey. I was going to take my own life a few years ago, thank God I didn’t.
Here is one of my poems (I just realised what this blog was about)
There is an immense need for you to be here
Your ever changing story is to be told
To shape it is madness
If perfection is the acceptance of imperfection
The only real choice is acceptance
For unfulfilled choices are disappointments
Our universal heritage is to prove one’s worth
But your value is missed
The purest need of all is your existence
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I agree with your points about meditation. I don’t like cleaning, but I try to make it a meditation in some ways. Mantras are wonderful. Send me some of your favorite ones if you get a chance.
Here are some. Contact me if you need a clearer direction on how to use them.
“Praise the freedom of this moment” (do five times focussing on your senses and breathing whilst putting you attention in your heart chakra) After five times take a deep breath and repeat
“Love is my life” five times and as your breathe out open your heart chakra expelling ‘love’ out into the universe. (sometimes a place or person may come into your thoughts; give it, or them, love, and of course give ‘love’ to yourself, you deserve it for having the courage to grow).