Love Letter from God

stars

Dear Everyone,

I’m sorry for all the times you were not loved

by those around you. I’m sorry you were left alone

when all you wanted to do was to make people smile.

It is a shame that others didn’t want your silliness,

your goodness, and your sweetness.

They didn’t see that you were made in my image

and that you are a part of me, a part of God.

 

I’m sorry that you were born with a sensitivity

that should have been protected, a gorgeous sensitivity

that should have been cultivated and honored

but instead was sent harsh words, gaslighted, ignored,

degraded, and abused.  Your trusting nature and openness

was used against you time and time again,

but you met the world like an open flower,

full of love and sunshine. When you learned to close yourself off,

they called you damaged, as if you were

the one who did this to yourself.

 

I’m sorry that people were driven by jealousy, greed,

unchecked rage, fear, and other dark places in their minds.

I’m sorry that they lashed out at you without provocation.

You did nothing wrong.  I’m sorry for their torture

and all the moments afterwards that you carried

shock within you.  As much as I wanted to turn my face away

when people yelled at you, hit you, or otherwise abused you,

I stayed with you and observed everything.

I could never leave you.   I am the life that wants to live,

wants to continue no matter the amount of trauma.

When your world was turned to rubble by fire

and you had only a handful of food,

I was the hand and I was the food.

I was the bird in the sky that made you dream of flight.

 

When people hated you for your religion,

the way you worshiped, your politics,

the color of your skin, your gender, your sexual orientation,

your country, your home, your clothes, your accent, your IQ level,

your school, your car, your age, your optimism, your sadness,

I was never sorry to know you intimately.

I love you without reserve.

 

I’m glad you invited me in when no one else was there.

I’m amazed by your capacity for love and grateful

for all the times you sent swirling,

beautiful energy in my direction.

 

You are the love you give, not the love you receive from others.

I see the love you give and remember it.

This is all that I remember.

I want you to love yourself the way I love you–

exponentially always expanding, infinite in potential.

I love you and want to give you complete peace,

joy, wonder, grace, and a miraculous, triumphant life of love.

© 2016 by Tricia Barker

flower

I also made a video to accompany this letter from God.  For years, I have required students to pick images to accompany some of their writing or another person’s writing on a video presentation.  I enjoyed finally trying one myself.  Here it is!

Sexual Assault, Rape Culture, Healing from Trauma, and Anchoring Love in Our World

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I’m excited to have a narrative piece featured in OTV Magazine about sexual assault and the need for change in our society.  Click here if you would like to read it.

Sexual assault and violence against women is sadly common.  Over the years, many junior high, high school, and college students have confided in me about trauma in their lives currently or in their pasts.  As a junior high teacher, I became a quick expert at handling CPS and police officers.  This was a part of my job that I never imagined while taking college classes and planning lessons.

Changing Rape Culture:  Though some people are dismissing the Trump comments as locker room talk, they are actually part of rape culture, a culture that needs to change, not just for women but for men as well.  In the future, let’s hope more men are caught on tape calling other men out on bad behavior and anchoring a better, safer world for women, other men, boys, and girls, not bragging about assault. At the very least, these men won’t lose as many of their jobs, clients, friends, family members, and elections if they start behaving differently.

I hope someone starts a YouTube series titled “Men on Tape” which catches men all over the country doing great acts of service, protecting their children and strangers, offering food to the homeless, and exhibiting humor that doesn’t demean others.  I know there are more good, decent people on earth than not.  We need to be reminded of this right now.

Healing:  Most of all, I hope women who have become more aware of all the assault and trauma they have survived find even greater healing. Recovering from trauma can lead to growth and a greater connection to others.  There are many different methods of counseling and healing modalities to consider.

Each journey is individual, but I encourage every survivor to keep searching and trying different modalities until you find what benefits you the most.  Here is an interesting blog piece about healing the chakras through breath work and yoga.  Life-long patterns of fear and anxiety can be unraveled and reversed.  Many people realize that the mind, body and spirit must be healed after trauma. Here is another beautiful piece about holistic healing after sexual violence. 

Love:  Most of all, I am a big believer in loving yourself enough to heal all that has happened to you.  Matt Kahn’s basic message of love as the answer is a message that resonates with me personally as an NDEr.  Our world needs love that is stronger than all the hate we have witnessed in society.

I’ll leave you with a quote Marianne Williamson recently posted.  “At a time during which the world seems to be falling apart, the antidote to global chaos is a critical mass of people within whom the unintegrated fractals of life are finally coming together. This collective mutation, this alternative to the maladaptive behavior of our species, is appearing out of the mists even now. And from this ragamuffin, international smattering of souls groping however clumsily for enlightenment, there is emerging a forcefield of love so powerful and lasting that hatred itself will fall away in its presence. It is a light that when having attained full brightness, will shine away all darkness from the world. Our task is to assume this, stand on this, and add to this, with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our might. The light is here because it is always here, but we must be its lamps.”

 

Goddess Poems in Praise of Women:  Positivity to Combat the Insanity

  • Some of the links in this post might be triggering.

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Though I usually have plenty to say about the happenings in our world, I’ve gone silent for a while with the latest from Trump and his defenders.  We should live in a world where women are valued at the most basic level by all men.  I hate reminders that we don’t live in that world.  I create safe spaces.  I teach empathy.  This is what I do, and then I see overflowing hatred in our world and I’m shocked for a few moments.

Instead of focusing on those who are on the wrong side of history and fighting inevitable change and progress, I’ve spent some time revising more goddess poems in order to praise all that is lovely about women.  I want the divine feminine to be remembered by everyone.

Kelly Oxford:  I also want to send healing, and I want to honor the many women who bonded together on Twitter when Kelly Oxford posted a tweet about her first assault.  Millions of women contributed to the hashtag #notokay posting their own moments of assault.  They often had a difficult time picking one of many.  Here is a great example of a woman who spoke for the first time about the many times she has been assaulted.  I’m encouraged to read the many new authors tackling this subject.  However, it is overwhelming to see how many women have experienced this type of trauma.

Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine:  For now, I need to focus on all that is beautiful in humanity.  The divine feminine and divine masculine can be a part of our lives and encourage us to make wiser choices.  We can all access both divine masculine and divine feminine aspects of ourselves whether we are male or female.  There are men who are divinely guided, protective of others, and kind.  There are women who are in their power, responsive, and loving.  To honor and access the divine feminine, we only need to appreciate our senses, to feel our feelings, and listen to our intuition, and we need a safe world to express the gifts of the divine feminine fully. My hope is that the world will grow more beautiful and safer because of the ugliness that has been exposed lately.

We need more awakened men who support the divine feminine and are able to be of service to awakened women.   An awakened man never uses strength and force to dominate and knows to listen for a clear yes or no when it comes to sex.  An awakened man knows these boundaries and other  boundaries.  He knows that hurting others has nothing to do with masculinity.  Supporting, encouraging, and protecting the birthing process of ideas, inventions, companies, and people are a few key qualities of the divine masculine.

These poems are more than an escape for me.  They are a way to praise and remember the beauty of the divine feminine.

Venus, Rhiannon, and Danu: These three goddess poems celebrate goddesses, female choices in love, a connection to nature, and the wisdom of the divine feminine.  The first one was written a long while ago to show how these ancient goddesses show up at unexpected, beautiful moments in our lives today.

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Venus at Thunder Bay   

Moonlight scattered across the dark blue waves,

swelling, turning turquoise, breaking,

becoming foam the color of a seagull’s underbelly.

 

A woman, wearing a silver, flowing shift

sat meditating on a small cliff above us.

When she opened her eyes, she saw my lover

bend and spring across a ledge, agile as a deer.

Her smile widened with appreciation,

and she winked at me as she shook out

her long, Venusian curls.

 

I looked at my lover through her perspective,

noticing his balance and grace, the shiny lines

of energy flying out of the ends of his hair

and fingertips. I watched him and watched

the waves, knowing I would need to remember

this striking moment in a year of great love

as a safeguard against time, loss, and tragedy.

© 1995 by Tricia Barker

 

Here is a poem for all the women who loved horses long before they loved a man….

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Rhiannon Rides

Last week, I traded my Quarter horse

for a snow white Arabian mare.

She understands my dreams and desire for peaceful speed.

Each morning, I bury my head in her thick mane

and breathe in the beautiful scent around her velvet soft nostrils.

Then, we are off.

 

Nothing holds me back anymore.

The wind and my voice are the same.

My desires and the sunlight blend together

making my day wavy and psychedelic

without any undesirable side effects.

 

I don’t need another human being.

I don’t need anything other than sustenance

and to flow through illumined green pastures.

I would’ve been content without him.

 

There was always a him somewhere behind me

who I paid little attention.  I could’ve spent

my life alone, perfectly content with my horse,

my journeys, my books, and my Netflix queue.

 

Some people brag like this, but I mean this:

I wanted and needed no one, and that trait

has always made me irresistible.

 

I’ve watched girls fight over princes

and players and laughed at such foolishness.

What a waste of time to want someone who will

never want you back fully, someone who will be there part time

and let you down part time. I often wished I could grant women

a moment of how good it feels to treasure themselves

more than anything or anyone else.

 

The only real test for love is endurance, honesty, and stability.

When he chased me that was only part of the equation,

and when he asked me to open my heart to him,

I considered his words and actions.  He told me why he was worthy

in facts, unequivocal truths, and a steady gaze,

not a predatory gaze, just a gaze from a man

who was no longer a boy, no longer a young hopeful

wishing on stars and throwing coins in fountains,

no longer a silly romantic writing love letters

because he has nothing else to give.

 

He wasn’t a “I’ll give this a try kind of guy.”

His gaze said, “I’m a man who can deliver

a lifelong kind of love and want this with you.”

He didn’t say this with rhymes or with a bundle of imagery.

He said it directly and truthfully,

and for that, I stopped.

© 2010 by Tricia Barker

 

The Golden Eagle’s Tribute to Flowing Danu

From the eye of an eagle, a river

is healing force through the land,

a beautiful divider,

a reminder of the passage of time

and the constant change of life.

 

Beneath his sky filled journey,

the blue reflects the sun and all of life rests

in a bubble of beauty  called his eye.

 

The eagle knows the goddess as God.

He accepts her wisdom and all the wealth

she gives to those who seek her.

His heart doesn’t yearn for more.

 

With each beat, the young eagle is certain

of his connection to the light of the land

and the divine light beyond the land.

 

He knows there are no riddles to unravel,

no spells to learn,

no necessary witchcraft.

There is only oneness with the air, the sun, the earth,

and the river which fills his wingspan

with gratitude and love.

© 2014 by Tricia Barker

Three Goddess Poems: Wise Sarasvati, Persephone’s Darner, and Patient Euzulie

While working on my MFA, I went through a phase of writing about goddesses, insects, and the natural world.  “Persephone’s Darner” comes from that time period.  I returned to this theme throughout the years.  Tonight, I needed a break from the work of revising a novel and returned to my first love—poetry.

sara

Wise Sarasvati

Golden waves of light descend from the heavens

and fill my being.  You need only listen to be healed.

 

As a kind soul, you must protect your kind nature.

Mention a small difficulty in your life

and observe the reactions of others. Connect with those

who draw near you with empathy. Like butterflies,

dart quickly from harm but do so lightly,

knowing your essential nature can never be injured

and resides in a realm beyond the physical.

Learn whose beaming smiles are insincere,

whose compliments manipulate,

whose presence will drain your energy

or add to your life force.

 

Prepare for what is destined to be.  The notes of a symphony

will crescendo and fall in a universe made up of the love

inside of you. There is freedom in truth

and truth in a love that is free as wind blowing

across the earth, free as the spirit you will become

and fly into a space I have opened for you now.

© 2016 by Tricia Barker

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Persephone’s Darner

Persephone is gone in the winter,

and Demeter blames herself,

refusing to eat.

The effort of movement

from the bathroom to the bedroom

is strenuous,

and all the Kamut flour

has gone to hell in her cabinets.

 

To love someone beyond control is torture.

 

Memories of her small, delicate

daughter replay in her mind

and in the ether.

 

Persephone’s light body bends and jumps

in a luminous meadow.

She is surrounded by friendly dragonflies

(Zigzag Darners, Spine-crowned Clubtails

Fine-lined Emeralds, Faded Pennants).

 

This child could be any child

with a step light and happy enough

to enter the world of wings.

 

When Hades stopped his truck beside her,

forcing her in and ending her childhood,

surely at least one Phantom Darner steeled his airy body

with dragon-like determination,

staying beside Persephone

as a witness,

strong enough to migrate

down to the underworld.

© 2000 by Tricia Barker

phantom-darner

Patient Euzulie

I’ve got time spent in luxury,

and I know how to wait pleasantly

for you to see what I have always known—

life is overflowing with sensual delights and blessings.

 

I know a guy named Sky who showed me the world,

and another whose emotions run deep as ocean waters.

However, I waited for a gift-giving hero who moved here

and rescued me from the boring, petty squabbling of others.

 

We live on an enchanted mountain, and we flirt and dance

by the light of the moon in June and every other month.

We text each other pieces of our red hearts and know

that the meaning will last long beyond the symbol.

 

I hardly remember the darkness,

separation, or pain, the nights when my heart

was a prison for a howling wolf.

I am the fire now.  I am love,

scorching love.

© 2011 by Tricia Barker

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God and the Afterlife Part II:  Heaven, Hell, Reincarnation, and Religion

 

 

I had to make one more post about God and the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near-Death Experience by Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry because the many subjects covered in the book are certainly interesting ones.

Heaven:  The vast majority of NDErs experience heavenly realms, and one of the quotes that struck me came from a woman who talks about art as something reaching for the beauty of Heaven.  She states, “I realized that everything we create that is beautiful—all paintings, woven rugs, tapestries, carvings—all have their seed from Heaven.  We saw all this before we came to earth, and we try to recapture some of Heaven while on earth.”  The discussion of music that NDErs hear is also well-developed and lovely.  I didn’t hear music during my experience, but I can only imagine that it would be more pure and alive, as the grass seemed to be more pure and alive on that other side.

Other NDErs write about how everything is about love.  I heard the exact statement, “Love is all that matters.”  Another NDEr named Diane sums up this idea by saying, “It is all about love.  We must love ourselves, and in this way we love God.  He is within each of us.  We then can love others, even our enemies.  We are here to love life, and to express back to our Creator our joy at having life and seeing how beautiful our world is regardless of how we make it.”  The heavenly realms described in this section are similar to the one I saw, and the peace NDErs discuss offer readers lovely images and thoughts.

Hell:  The authors of this book reassure us that only a very small percentage, “…of all NDEs shared with NDERF are hellish.”  They point out that these types of experiences are difficult to study, but ultimately end up providing motivation to the NDEr to reconsider their lives prior to the experience.  The authors use the term “a walk through the Valley of Death” instead of hell as many of these experiences are simply just a glimpse at a hellish realm, and some souls choose God or call out to God and move onward in a more heavenly direction.

The authors also make it clear that “bad” people do not only have hellish NDEs, and “good” people do not have heavenly experiences.  Some of the hellish experiences may not be NDEs and could be intensive care unit (ICU) psychosis, illicit drug experiences, and so on.  However, some of these hellish experiences are experienced as real and intense, but many experiencers walk through these scenes and end up heaven.

The vast majority of NDErs experience a God who is made up of a powerful form of love and is deeply compassionate and resides within everyone.  Forgiveness may be the specialty of God and a form of love we can’t fully understand while caught up in the details of these lives.

Reincarnation:  One NDEr profiled in the book talks about the possibility of reincarnation and says that God showed a hall that had “…millions and millions of doorways leading off the hall.”   Basically, these doorways were particular paths back to a life on earth, but God let this NDEr know that souls have the choice to stay in heaven.

Not every NDEr comes back with this kind of knowledge about reincarnation.  I didn’t receive specific knowledge about reincarnation during my NDE, though it has always seemed like a possibility to me, perhaps because certain places in this country and around the world have felt familiar to me and not because of what I’ve read in books or seen in movies.

Books like The Afterlife of Billy Fingers offer greater depth on the possibilities in the extended version of the afterlife.  I know that my communications with my father in the afterlife have let me know that he is willing to return to a form because he loves so much about being human and wants to live better the next time.  Personally, I fantasize about not coming back to form and exploring how I may be able to help humanity on the other side.   This topic isn’t a large part of this book, but since one of the NDErs mentioned it, I feel compelled to address the topic briefly.

Religion:  One of the most fascinating parts of the book to me is the section on religion. Some NDErs directly asked God, “What is the right religion?”  One man received the answer, “They all are.  Each religion is a pathway trying to reach the same place.”  He was also told to “…always look at who benefits with regard to rules that religions make.  If it is a particular people or the power structure of the religion itself chances are that the religion isn’t of God.”  I have always loved the parts of the Bible where Jesus speaks directly, but I since I was a child I have resisted the ideas of certain sexist passages in the Bible.

Another NDEr asked whether only one religion will make it to heaven and was given the reply, “…everyone who believes and has faith, even those who don’t think they do, will make it.  It depends on what’s in their hearts.”  Again, this rings true for me.  Kindness and goodness seem to be the true indicator of a person who is on the right path.  Most NDErs, myself included, know how fragile life is and how we shouldn’t waste any of it on anger.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, and we should have gratitude and excitement about our lives.  Faith makes the journey all the more beautiful.

Most of the NDErs profiled describe a God who is powerful and deeply loving.  They struggle to find the vocabulary to describe a God who is everything that exists and everything that doesn’t exist.  One NDEr describes our purpose as learning how to “…experience life and learning how to love, create, and develop to the highest we can be.”  Sometimes, the best we can do is work towards harmony because “..the universe is full of order, so it always finds a way to balance everything because it can’t exist without perfect balance.”

When NDErs are given information about religion, “…they generally understand that no earthy religion is the ‘chosen religion’ or ‘the one true religion.’”  When or if they return to the same religion, they sometimes feel differently about the experience.  One NDEr writes, “Many times I’d like to take over the pulpit and tell people what is really on the other side and that the guilt preached by Christian churches is completely inappropriate.”

During my NDE, I was aware that I judged myself much harsher than the light of God judged me.  I know that guilt isn’t the way to overcome an addiction or an issue in one’s life.  Self-love is the first step that helps.  If we begin to love ourselves enough not to harm ourselves and look for ways to heal the wounds and deep seated pain that is often the cause of addiction, we begin to heal.  The few times I have attended a Baptist funeral or evangelical sermon, I usually want to pick up a Bible and hit the pastor in the side of the head.  Of course, I don’t do that because that wouldn’t be loving or kind, but that is how I feel after experiencing first-hand a love that surpasses all understanding and then hearing harsh judgements in a place of worship.

I agree with an NDEr who writes, “My God is loving and compassionate and lives within me as spirit lives within every one of us.”  God lives inside Christians as much as the Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, and the spiritual/not religious.  Though this may be a difficult concept for some, it is a concept that makes complete sense if you fill your heart with love for all living beings. That love for all brings you closer to the love of God.

Reflections on God and the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near-Death Experience by Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry

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God and the Afterlife: The Groundbreaking New Evidence for God and Near-Death Experience by Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry is a fantastic book if you are even somewhat curious about conclusions that can be drawn from examining over 3,000 different accounts of near-death experiences.

For some reason, I only recently discovered the NDERF website .  This website allows NDErs to submit their own accounts of their experience and requires them to answer specific questions.  These questions allowed the researchers to compare various experiences and helped in the formation of this book.  I can certainly see how it would be both a long project and an inspiring one to examine so many of these accounts, and I’m grateful to the authors for examining this topic in such great depth.  I will create another post for some of my favorite moments in the book, but I want discuss the experience of God and the purpose driven lives so many NDErs talk about in this first post.

Early in the book, the authors sum up the significance of the similarities of the many NDEr’s accounts by saying, “It is highly unlikely they could all by lying or tricked by a subjective experience, since their reports are so similar.  Can these people be wrong?  For the evidence of the reality of God in the God Study to be dismissed, each one of the NDErs would have to be mistaken that they were aware of God…”

I have always looked at my near-death experience and encounter with God as the most real and important moment of my life.  When I was in the hospital and given heavy doses of morphine, my biggest fear was that I might somehow forget those moments outside of my body.  Quite the opposite occurred, and the memory of the experiences outside of form have stayed bright and clear over the years.

Accounts of God:  This book covers many accounts of God and the light, especially focusing on the unconditional love and mercy so many experiencers describe.   I still get emotional talking about the beauty of the light as I neared it, and I struggle to find the words to accurately describe a love that is both familiar and a part of me, but also incredibly immense, powerful, free, natural, and merciful. The light is love, knowledge, peace, and understanding.  When I struggle to describe God and the light, I am apparently not alone.  Many NDErs in this book mention the struggle to find the words to accurately describe an experience that lies beyond the scope of what we understand while in these bodies.

Many NDErs also want others to understand certain key concepts about this love.  At the basis of my experience, love seemed to be a deep, calming, complete acceptance, and I am also not alone according to the reports. Love is described as not judgement but as a profound, enveloping kind of love.  The authors sum up these experiences by saying, “…God’s love for each of us is complete, deep, and without reservation and extends to everyone and everything.  It is probably worth imagining what would happen if this revelation where embraced worldwide.”

Perhaps if this revelation were embraced, people’s energy would be spent on ways to make this life experience beautiful, peaceful, and happy for all of us.  That might seem like a far-fetched proposition, but it actually isn’t.  Life is meant to be enjoyed in simple, beautiful ways.

God’s Appearance:  NDErs experienced God’s appearance differently at times.  I experienced the afterlife as a place where form is easily mutable.  Since it is such a shock to be out of the body, the light/God seems to want us to feel at ease; thus, people and experiences may take on forms to put us individually more at ease in that environment.

The idea that God may take on different forms was repeated by many other NDE accounts. After telling a few people about my NDE, I was told by agnostics that what I experienced was a dream or the brain shutting down, and I was told by a few Christians (including some in my family) that my experience was “of the devil.”  Nothing could be farther from the truth, and God and the Afterlife might be the very book to open a few of the minds and hearts of people who continue to rely on these worn-out refutations.  The environment outside of my body was more real than this reality, and the love I encountered from God surpasses all human experiences, beliefs, creeds, religions, and philosophies.   That love seemed to be my true home, and I can only assume it is the true home for everyone.

NDErs Missions on Earth:  When NDErs have a moment where they must make a choice or they are told to return to earth, their reactions vary.  Some experiencers were lucky enough to ask what they should bring back to their lives with them.  I briefly saw that I should remind others of the light (which is knowledge, love, joy, appreciation of the moment) and to dispel fear in others while I worked as a teacher.  Other NDErs had longer conversations about the purpose of life, and this section of the book is fascinating.

One NDEr writes about our purpose for returning by saying, “I was told that I was here to learn how to love and to gain knowledge.  This wasn’t said with words, but by thoughts, with all connotations of the words “love” and “knowledge” shown to me.  I knew this wasn’t just about book knowledge or physical love.  It was about learning how to accept every race and have no prejudice; I was to keep expanding and learning about earth, nature, animals, and people.  And this was the mission of all humankind, not just me.”

This statement ties in perfectly to the idea of God’s profound love extending to each and everyone one of us.  There are other aspects of this book I hope to cover in another post, but for now I will leave you with these ideas.  It should be encouraging for everyone to realize that we are loved more than we can imagine, and that as we continue to grow in understanding we are more in touch with a loving God.  I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in the conclusions of extensive research based on the accounts of near-death experiences.

Unlike the Stephen King quote below, I have been interested in this topic since I was twenty-two and had a life-changing couple of minutes outside of my body.  I hope more people might become interested in this topic at younger ages.  I believe that most NDErs only want to share the peace and love they have experienced.

If you want to read my next post about this book, here it is.

 

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