To All Near-Death Experiencers

man in yellow field

Write and speak about your experience.

People want to hear your story.  Go to local IANDS groups and get to know other experiencers sooner not later.  Hearing from other experiencers will make you feel less alone in your travels outside of form.   (Also, if you have a friend or family member who has had a NDE, encourage this person to get involved and talk more about their experience.)

I always feel like I’ve found a brother or sister when I meet another experiencer because we immediately share a certain knowing, a knowing that is difficult to put into words.

First, we know what it is like to be outside of form.

We know what it is like to shake off this body and look down at our physical body and realize that we are more than form.  We know what it is like to be only our soul, without the body.

Though people talk about spiritual experiences while in form, a near-death experience is unlike any other spiritual experience.  Since my NDE, I’ve felt the presence of masters, guides, angels, and archangels while in form, but nothing has ever compared to my near-death experience.  When the veil is lifted and form is shrugged off, that environment is a clear reality.  I’ve had amazing meditations, lucid dreams, intense relationships, paranormal experiences, and instant healings, but nothing comes close to the experience of leaving this body behind and realizing that our journey is never-ending.

This experience cannot be exactly duplicated without physically dying, and the physical pain that accompanies this is NOT something NDErs are excited to replicate. However, we don’t fear death because we know our eternal nature.

I’ve heard that some people have used Ketamine to induce experiences similar to a NDE and Ayahuasca for healings and spiritual experiences.   Here is an example of someone who compared a drug induced experience to his NDE.  Personally, I am not open to experimenting with these substances to compare them to my near-death experience.  I am more interested in focusing on health, healing, and deepening connection to the divine.

Though these drug induced experiences might allow some people to transcend their senses and come to many of the same conclusions as NDErs, I can’t help but think that the actual physical trauma of a real death induces something more intense.   What is interesting about these drug-induced experiences is that most people believe that they have accessed a portal to the other side.  Like NDErs, they are filled with certainty that this is not the chemistry in their brain but their brain simply allowing them to perceive reality that they were not able to sense before.

Secondly, many NDErs have met with angels or guides while outside of form.

We know what it is like to communicate telepathically and receive information quickly.  Information can be many things at once—it can be healing, comforting, uplifting, upgrading, and transformative.   We might be healed by these guides or prepared for the next part of our near-death experience.  Sometimes, they help prepare us to return to our bodies and remind us of certain truths.

I continue to communicate with angels, guides, masters, and loved ones on the other side, but my communications with angels during my surgery and NDE were particularly powerful. These angels were large, intelligent, focused, and glowing.  I couldn’t stop staring at them.  When I communicate with angels now, the communication feels different from that moment.  I might hear messages or feel as softening or healing of something.   I might find an answer to a problem in an unusual way because of an angelic message.  The NDE placed me literally in a life or death situation, so the stakes were higher; the drama was intensified, to put it mildly.

Some mediums and psychics have communicated with the other realm for most of their lives.  NDErs were often not interested in gaining this ability, but the NDE can open people to these gifts after their experience.  Aftereffects can be disorienting.  I made a video about some of my aftereffects.

Thirdly, many of us have seen loved ones on the other side, and these loved ones usually appear in peak condition, younger and healthier than they might have been in life. 

My grandfather died when I was ten years old, so I hardly recognized the younger version of him in the afterlife.  His essence comforted me though, and upon later reflection when I looked at a picture of him as a younger man I realized that the man asking me if I wanted to continue toward the light of God was my grandfather.

A friend of mine recently pointed out that seeing our relatives in their younger states is a common trait among NDErs.  For those who still worry that NDEs are only a function of the brain shutting down, it might be worth noting that these commonalities during NDEs probably can’t be explained as a function of the brain shutting down.  And, on a logical level, if you had to pick a spiritual form after death, wouldn’t you pick a form when you felt healthy, happy, and vital?

Fourthly, I’ve never met ANYONE who had a NDE who thought that what they experienced was a dream or their brain shutting down. 

For us, these experiences are usually more real than this reality.  I explain it as adding several more dimensions to this reality.   Although I was initially afraid that all the morphine I had to take after surgery might wash away my memory of the other side, I quickly realized that I was changed as a person.  My insights were deeper and more layered.  I was much more sensitive to sights, sounds, and experiences.  I was not the same person after my NDE.   However, NDErs do return to our lives, our psychological wounds, and our proclivities.  My up-coming book examines the journey back to a place where I could fully incorporate the truths of the NDE.

Last of all, for those of us with NDEs that included being in the presence of a  powerful, divine light of God we often feel great wonder and amazement at how good we felt in the presence of God.

I had never felt that loved, that alive, that healed, that joyful, that peaceful all at once.  I was whole, complete, and connected to the most amazing force imaginable.  God wanted me to know that I am a part of God and should remind others of their light and connection to source.  Life is much better when we focus on the light of God and not all that is at odds with perfection.

Get Involved:  I’m writing this piece to encourage all NDErs to communicate their experiences.  If family members are not interested in your experience, find friends who are open.  Find IANDS groups and other supportive communities.   Even though it might prove difficult to translate these experiences into descriptions that make sense to others—keep trying.  When you have transcended the senses and experienced life beyond the body, language sometimes seems inaccurate.  Use analogies.  Make up terms that make sense to you.  We will follow where you go.

Skeptics and Others:  Don’t fear that others will think you are crazy.  Some of them will.  Who cares?  There is a big tribe of people who are believers, and there are plenty of experiencers themselves who will talk with you.  These experiences are becoming more common.  It gets harder to deny them the more of us who speak openly.

Just as I have enjoyed meeting other experiencers, it is a great pleasure to meet others who have read widely about this subject or who have had paranormal or transformative spiritual experiences themselves. You will find people who understand your experience, so don’t be afraid to get involved.

Certainly, some people will attack you, mainly evangelicals if you didn’t see Jesus, or people who would prefer to believe that there is a scientific explanation for our spiritual reality.   You might lose some friends, but you will enlighten others and gain plenty more friends.  You will comfort countless others who have lost loved ones and long to know that they are safe and loved.

Some skeptics might simply ask you more questions.  I had a fellow writer ask me to describe with more detail the healing light the angels sent into my body during surgery. He asked if the light was like a laser beam or a headlight.  How can I describe a light that is both intelligent and healing?  It was both like a laser like and like headlight.  It entered my body and healed my body while it communicated to me what was occurring.  Simply put, this is not like any other light we have experienced on this plane of existence.

Uncommon Elements:  Don’t be afraid if your story contains elements that are not common to NDEs.  We are all individuals, and I believe that the other side meets us where we need to be met and teaches us the lessons that we need.  Even those who have had disturbing NDEs or hellish experiences, have gained a lot from these experiences and returned to life full of greater resolve and optimism.

I was happy to feature a story on my blog about Ethan Michael Carter’s eight deaths.  I’m not certain that I’ve heard of anyone who has had more than three NDEs.  Ed Salisbury and Dannion Brinkley have both had three NDEs.  I feel like I’ve discovered someone who has traveled frequently to the Other Realms, as he calls it. Though Ethan Carter’s NDEs were recent, I hope that he continues to unpack and write about his experiences and the lessons learned in these Other Realms.

My NDE:  When I had my NDE, I was young, wild, and lost.  It was amusing to write about all my friends reactions to my experience, and I was never the same after that moment.  Even when I tried to forget my travels to the other side, I couldn’t forget.  Even when I was angry with my life experiences and challenges, I couldn’t deny that healing of these experiences could happen quicker because of my connection to the other side.

Awakening accelerates when we walk through challenges because we are connected to more people and capable of helping many others both for overcoming our challenges and for our ability to manifest beauty, peace, compassion, and freedom in our lives.

When we all remember our connection to God, we allow ourselves to let go of all that we don’t need and embrace all that we want to experience on this journey.  On the other side, pain and darkness immediately washed away.  Love is what remains and what matters.

I wish I had written about my NDE sooner.  I wish I had been more involved in IANDS throughout my life.  However, I am involved now, and this involvement had enriched my life.  Writing about my NDE has kept the light of God in the forefront of my consciousness and that is a beautiful gift.  I hope you embrace that gift.

If you are interested in a book that comprehensively covers the various types of NDEs, I wrote a review of Dr. Jeffrey Long’s book God and the Afterlife.  

Most of all, if you are an experiencer, I hope that you find local groups and online communities that support you on your journey.


Teacher Appreciation Day, Rita on Netflix, Mother’s Day, and Compassion


I love a blank page.  The cursor never blinks for long because my fingers can’t keep up with my mind if they tried, even at 80 wpm.  I might have to delete or reorganize later, but I don’t ever think, “Oh dear…what am I going to write?”

I swear, since birth, the repressed desires of centuries of oppressed women have flowed through my veins, and I came into this world ready to rumble, not to conform.  Generation Xers are not all rebels and renegades, but certainly that possibility was real for us.

Rita and Teacher Appreciation Day:  Speaking of rebels, this weekend I watched several episodes from a Danish comedy-drama on Netflix called Rita.  The way that she fights for some of her students, especially the ones who were overlooked by the system or harmed by their parents reminds me a bit of myself when I taught junior high and high school.  Luckily, I don’t smoke like her, and I managed avoid physical intimacy with all co-workers and administrators.  I was blamelessness in those areas, but some of my ideas and ways of teaching were off-putting to some parents.  I taught mindfulness and meditation in the early 2000’s, long before it was in vogue.

The practice facilitated deep change for some of my emotionally unstable students, but lots of parents in that small town went to war with me, making all kinds of assumptions.  In their minds, I was a witch to be burned for teaching their kids how to breathe and calm their minds because the practice originated from Buddhism.  I did my best to educate the parents, but their dramatics eventually got the poor superintendent involved when all he wanted to do was watch a football game.

He listened to the CD I played for the kids and said he didn’t see anything wrong with it; however, he also didn’t want to be bothered by the commotion the parents caused. I continued to reserve breathing time with relaxing music, but it wasn’t the same as the guided meditation that taught the students how to breathe deeply and let go of their worries.  Eventually, we stopped the practice, and we missed it.

Early in the Netflix series, the character Rita is asked why she became a teacher, and she finally answers, “To save them from their parents.”  Though I’ve taught plenty of students who came from loving family units, I encountered so many who didn’t.  Those were the students who needed me the most.  Sometimes, their destinies were altered, as mine was, by a teacher who could see their value and remind them of it.  And even the students who came from wonderful families, sometimes thanked me for introducing them to new perspectives or new pieces of literature.

This is my first day of summer break.  I’m exhausted.  It’s been one of the roughest overloaded semesters I’ve ever experienced, clumping through the long hallways in my boot after a very badly sprained ankle.  I am beat up.  I’m not even sure that a summer will be enough time to recharge.   I’ve spent most of the weekends for two months doing little besides grading essays.  And I do, like many teachers and professors, teach summer classes.  Luckily, these classes are online.

Sure, sure…I can list all the things I’m grateful for right now—a wonderful job, health insurance, my health, lots of travel on the horizon, a completed, mostly revised manuscript, friends who have recently helped me locate the typos and missed words, new friends, old friends, free time for reading, and time to swim in the sun and reverse my vitamin D deficiency….but I want others to understand that when teaching is done well it is a holy and wonderful profession that takes an enormous amount of planning, creativity, and energy.

I’ve mentioned before that I received a loud message from God, that my spiritual contract to teach is completed, and I can do what I want now.  I am in the process of determining what it is that I want to do, so for now I continue to teach because I still love working with the students.

However, I know that manifestation is sometimes just a matter of becoming clear about what you want.

Mother’s Day:  Biologically speaking, I’ll never be a mother.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever adopt or foster a child, but if I was to die tomorrow, I would probably be more pissed about never traveling to Italy and Greece than about not having children.

If that sounds cold, please understand that I was quite clear that I could only save myself and possibly influence the lives of some of my students in positive, uplifting ways.  That was the extent of my abilities, given the emotional damage of my childhood and young adulthood, and given how difficult I know that some relationships and marriages can become.  I watched too many parents who hoped for the best and had kids with limited financials and deep-seated emotional and personality disorders. They went on to create massive drama, not realizing what they were doing to their kid’s lives.  They didn’t invest in themselves first and develop the spiritual, mental, and physical strength that would make them stronger support systems for their kids.

As a teacher, I practiced damage control with the self-esteems and minds of many students.   After all, this was my mission from God.  After my NDE, I was told to be a teacher.  Given time to heal physically after a massive surgery, I thought deeply about all the teachers and professors I had experienced in my life and tried to take the best traits from those who were amazing and avoid the mistakes of those who were rude, sexist, narcissistic, or bored with the profession.  God didn’t tell me to, “…return and have a child or many children.”  God implied that my journey was to speak with thousands of people and remind them of their light and divinity.

Do I ever have moments of emptiness or miss the joy and innocence of a child of my own?  Certainly, I do.  But, these are fleeting moments, and they usually only happen around Christmas or Mother’s Day.  I spend a lot more of my time, waking up late on the weekends, stretching leisurely after awesome sleep, and going to movies, concerts, plays, museums, and restaurants that aren’t exactly kid friendly.  I found time to write a manuscript while teaching full-time with extra classes added to my load.

I know that there are people who can “have it all…and do it all…”  I would not have been one of those people.  Without making the choice to not have children, I could not have been as effective of a teacher and professor.  I could not have worked full-time throughout my entire adult life, and I could not have healed to the degree that I have healed from my past.  People will want to argue with me and say that having kids might have healed me quicker or in a deeper way, but this is my life, and I vehemently reserve the right to wholeheartedly disagree—teaching is what healed me.

My grandmother once chastised my cousin for not having kids. (She’s given up on me:-) I’m respectful and didn’t argue with her.  However, her main reason was, “You’ll die alone.”  My grandfather died very young, and my grandmother had a boyfriend for several decades.  When he died, his offspring were not with him and they didn’t visit often.  My grandmother was with him, rubbing his back and reminding the nurses to check on him.

Sometimes, even the children you have may not be the ones with you at the end.  They aren’t brought into this world to help their parents transition to the next part of life.  They might very well do this, but that might not be their sole purpose.  Maybe my grandmother’s boyfriend wasn’t a super father; maybe he was a better boyfriend than he was a father.  Maybe the exact right person was there for him to help him transition.

I wanted to remind my grandmother than my cousin will probably not outlive his fiance/soon to be wife. Whether they have kids or not, she will most likely be the one by his bedside. I wanted to remind her that I’m a near-death experiencer.  I will greet death with a smile and a leap into the afterlife, no matter who is in the room with me or not.  I don’t like the physical pain that takes us there, but I’ll take that leap with joy in my heart, even if I can’t muster a smile.  If there is one thing a near-death experience gives most people it is a complete and utter lack of fear about the dying process.  How and where I die was not a reason to have kids.

In Kate Chopin’s book, The Awakening, the quote, “A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before…” has always stayed with me as both a warning and a reward.

I knew that I could swim farther and faster and still return because Chopin and planted the seed that it is o.k. for some women not to want to be mothers.  They are beautiful as individuals and worthy of respect.

Maybe these women have more time for contemplation and diving deep.  Perhaps they might be one of the ones helping you transition to the other side because they don’t have children to run home to that day.  Maybe they are they are the ones who stay up the long nights with you in hospice.  Possibly they are the ones who spend trying evenings on the phone with CPS, working to find a way to keep their students safe when other teachers didn’t even bother to ask what was going on in the lives of these students. And, maybe, someday, our country might have a female president who chose not to have kids.

I’m not saying that mothers can’t also do these things.  I’m saying that not having kids does give a person time to help the world in ways that others might spend time with their children. Those who don’t have kids have societal value, and it is a shame people don’t automatically realize this.

I’m sure as Morrie said in Tuesdays with Morrie that there is nothing to compare to the experience of having children.   However, I’ve seen so many people pride themselves on the biological act when being able to be a good parent is the main thing to celebrate.

Compassion:  Not having kids makes you more of a target of disgust, pity, anger, and other societal judgement.  I have deep compassion for the mothers and fathers of this world.  It is an incredibly difficult job to do well, and I applaud those who do and those who are trying their best.  I have deep compassion for divorced parents trying to fashion the best possible life for their child and dealing with a difficult ex-wife or ex-husband, or even reasonable one.

I have friends who had kids early, had kids after college, wanted to have kids and couldn’t, had kids and lost them to disease or an accident.  I also have friends who really didn’t want kids and definitely didn’t have them.  If I can have compassion and celebrate everyone else’s struggles and joys, why don’t we all celebrate those who didn’t have children.  Personally, I love my life!


Ego, Empathy, and a Healthy Identity


Anita Moorjani has amazing things to say about ego and connectedness to others. She talks about how we need both–a sensitivity to other’s experiences and an ability to embrace our ego.  We need a healthy ego and healthy dose of empathy in order to function successfully.  When one is out of balance, we don’t relate to the world harmonically.

Ego: The seed for growing a healthy ego might have been planted when I survived death and existed for a few moments in the presence of God.  For the first time in my life, I felt better than o.k.  I felt blessed just to be me, exactly how I am.  I didn’t feel that I needed to change or improve anything.  I could breathe with ease in the presence of God.  I wish I could bottle that feeling and drink it daily myself and give everyone on the planet a big drink of “FINE EXACTLY AS YOU ARE.”

You don’t HAVE TO buy anything, improve anything, lose a certain number of pounds, take seven more classes.  You don’t HAVE TO do anything to be fine exactly as you are. You can simply claim it and breathe this feeling in, deep inside of you.  You can later buy, improve, lose, and take classes if all these activities give you more joy, health, and happiness, but you do not have to do anything to claim being loved.  You are loved.

Moorjani writes, “”….as long as we are alive, breathing, and expressing through a physical body, the best thing we can do for ourselves and for those around us is to engage in life fully, embrace who we are, and express ourselves authentically. To me, being spiritual, and being ourselves is one and the same thing!”

All I can say is a big, “Amen.”  Right after my NDE, nothing felt more holy and true than to be authentically me, rejoicing at being alive.  Every book I read had great significance because I was reading it.  Every single moment of my life was holy, simply because I was alive to experience it.

At my core, I know I am an expression of the divine, and so are you.  Though sometimes love and light has to wiggle its way around cavernous wounds, the light and the truth always seeks to these heal wounds.  It always seeks to make you freer.  With greater love and more empathy for ourselves, we do find ways to let more light flow through us.

Empathy:  I have always felt the feelings of others.  Empathy/being an empath is a gift but a heavy one at times, especially when I have absorbed the negative emotions of others and not understood how to disconnect and practice more awareness of my own feelings.

In worst case scenarios, I’ve let energy vampires take away my good time and peace of mind.  Luckily, there is so much information  about how to identify energy vampires and deal with them.

Ralph Smart’s video has great ideas such as blasting energy vampires with your light or simply limiting the time and attention you give them.

The idea of energetically protecting myself from negative energy never worked as much as being someone who could blast light (with words or with energy) into a negative situation and change that situation so that others might learn how to be more loving and awakened.

In some cases, I had to learn when it was time to fold and walk away/run away from situations/people.  A healthy ego allows you to draw boundaries with people and protect yourself from harm.  Empathy is sometimes what you have for yourself simply for having survived what you have survived; it also allows you to help others in similar situations.

Love:  We all have the capacity to be empaths.  There is so much joy in being wide open with love for oneself and for others, and it is the best way to live.  We all have the capacity to have a healthy sense of ego and walk through this world in a way that allows us to be incredibly kind and self-protective.

You deserve goodness, and you deserve to be the embodiment of love.  Don’t let anyone take that away from you.