Update 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.
I’ve written about harassment, stalking, and rape before, but with everything in the news from the recent Time article about silence breakers, I wanted to address these topics again, and ultimately from the perspective of healing, both personally and socially.
I had a slightly different experience from some older near-death experiencers because I returned to the body of a woman in her early twenties. Navigating this culture and another culture in South Korea proved challenging.
However, in the end, we are not defined by what we experience but by how we overcome these moments, how dedicated we are to focusing on creating a brighter future for ourselves despite the harrowing aftereffects, and how we are able to help other heal. I also believe we all–male and female—have a responsibility to create safer power structures.
My healing came from group therapy, many types of therapies and healing modalities, many types of self-defense classes, community, helping others, energetic healing, meditation, yoga, writing, speaking about these topics, safe relationships, and time spent creating many beautiful, peaceful moments.
Ultimately, the near-death experience and the beauty of that event returned to me fully, but there were some dark years of living with some of the aftereffects of harassment, stalking and rape when I all I could do was survive.
I believe that love is a transformer of darkness in society. I found a way to love all the many students I met who suffered in ways similar to me or in much more horrifying ways. Supporting them in the ways I wanted to be supported made me feel as if I was working to create a better world. In the end, isn’t that what we are trying to do on a soul level–create greater connection, greater understanding, and greater healing for everyone?
I reiterate time and time again that no victim is ever required to formally forgive, engage with, or talk with anyone who has harmed them, but it is also important to let go and focus one’s energy and time on goals, dreams, and beauty in the world. Writing helps me let go of these moments even more.
It is no longer just my story. As I am connected to countless stories from my students and may have worked to eliminate some of their sorrow, or at least pointed them in the direction of a brighter future, anyone who reads my story also helps me let go even more. You lessen my burden. You help me carry it, and set me a little freer.
I know our spirits long to fly. Our spirits do not identify with this form–the PTSD or the pain. We are the love that we give.