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

Dying to Wake Up by Dr. Rajiv Parti: Book Review and Personal Response

rajivparti

“I have learned my true religion.  It is very simple.  My religion is kindness and love.  It welcomes all religions by looking for the sameness in them, not the differences.”  Dr. Rajiv Parti in Dying to Wake Up

The book Dying to Wake Up is a fascinating book not only for Dr. Parti’s exceptional NDE but also for his journey through life after his NDE.  Dr. Parti must first convince his wife that his experience will be a guiding force in their lives.  Next, he is called to scale down his materialism and change his profession.  Overall, Parti’s life changes dramatically and switches from one focused on materialism and personal achievements to one of deeper interpersonal relationships and work that focuses on helping others heal from what he calls diseases of the soul.

Dr. Parti’s NDE:  I connected with several aspects of Dr. Rajiv Parti’s near-death experience.  For one, we both woke up outside of our bodies during surgery and remembered our surgeries, but when we tried to talk about our experience with medical professionals these medical professionals hurried away from us.  Dr. Parti’s experience is particularly interesting because he was the type of doctor who treated patients the same way before his near death experience.  After his NDE, Dr. Parti realizes how he could have treated patients with more respect and listened to their experiences.

During his NDE, Dr. Parti initially found himself on the brink of hell.  An unlikely savior came for him—his father.  In life, his father had been harsh and abusive at times, but in the afterlife Parti’s father demonstrates great love and helps Parti better understand how generations of pain are passed from person to person without intentional malice.  Forgiveness is a theme Dr. Parti links to healing and discusses in greater detail in his book.  Although I didn’t experience a hellish landscape in my NDE, I have realized how forgiveness is an essential part of the healing process in our lives.

Angelic Healing:  Shortly after meeting with his father in the afterlife, Dr. Parti encounters angels and receives beautiful transmissions of love and knowledge.  The writing in this section of the book is lovely, and I completely relate to this part of his experience. I know that angels can use us and work through us in the ways that we are already gifted.  It makes perfect sense that Dr. Parti would return to medicine but use his knowledge in a radically different way with a focus on true healing.  After his NDE, Parti works on healing his own wounds with divine assistance, and then he looks for ways to be a source of light for others.  He sums up his new mission with the statement,

“I have discovered my true calling:  to endow others with a knowledge that encourages the body, mind, and spirit’s natural ability to heal addiction and depression without following a pill-based approach.”

Dr. Parti hopes to cure diseases of the soul which can manifest as addiction.  He also writes about the importance of service and states,

“I have learned that materialism is an addiction that takes our focus away from selfless service to others, seva, the most rewarding thing we can do for ourselves.  Seva is not just any kind of service, but service performed with a sense of gratitude.  In India, it is called ‘work offered to God.’  This type of work will change the world and can even be a way of connecting deeply with others while in relationship or in the bedroom.”

Connection to others and caring about their experiences in life is certainly a beautiful trait in all areas of life. To do this well, we must be fully present for each life experience.

During Parti’s recovery after surgery, he does not abuse pain pills though this was a struggle for him before his NDE.  I can relate to this as well as I chose not to take any pain medicine after the nine days in the hospital and the several months I stayed in a body cast.  I didn’t want to risk becoming addicted to pain pills and inherently knew to stay away from them.  The first few nights without pain medicine were excruciating, but I practiced meditation and mind control to disconnect from the pain.  I wanted to keep my mind clear to be in direct connection with the other side I had experienced.

Dr. Parti clearly understands the spiritual component to healing addiction.  Though he doesn’t mention twelve step programs, which I believe are essential for many people who need a group of people for support, he shows how a spiritual change is one of the most parts of a healing journey.

After Death Communications and SDEs:  In Dying to Wake Up, Dr. Parti describes a shared death experience with his close friend who passes away.  This is an important part of the book as many NDErs can communicate with those who have passed on or they simply have a heightened awareness of the dying process.  Parti is in touch with angels, the spirit of Jesus, and holds some traditional Hindu beliefs about reincarnation.  I can relate to his mix of ideologies and beliefs.

In talking with my father in the afterlife, I know that my father wishes to return to form again, so I have opened my mind more to the possibility of reincarnation.  As a child, I had distinct memories and recurring dreams about the end of my last life on earth, so I cannot say that I was closed to the idea of reincarnation. My NDE didn’t focus on past lives, but it did guide me to many of the same conclusions as Dr. Parti.

I especially liked Dr. Parti’s Manifesto and typed this out.  Here is his list of seven basic principles he learned.

Manifesto

  1. Consciousness can exist outside the body.
  2. There is life after death.
  3. We have past lives, and our experiences therein can shape our current realities.
  4. We are all connected to each other because we are all made of the one and same energy that manifests as differentiated matter.
  5. Divine beings exist to help and guide us.
  6. There are different levels of consciousness.
  7. There is one, all-pervading supreme love an intelligence that is the source of the entire universe, and that love is the supreme source of creation.

In one lovely section of the book, Dr. Parti talks about loving deeply, forgiving easily, and healing quickly.  This idea of love, forgiveness, and healing is a beautiful part of this book and certainly inspired me.  I hope this section of the book might inspire other readers to bring more forgiveness, love and healing into their lives.

Though forgiveness can be difficult at times, it is important to work on becoming more of an observer of your life and allowing for the heavens, the divine beings, and God to help you begin the healing process even when you feel you personally cannot forgive.  Disconnection from all stories, roles, and misunderstandings is a wonderful place to begin.  NDErs know that as soon as we step out of form, forgiveness is easy.   May we all feel more of that ability to move beyond our pain and into healing.

This is a wonderful book, and I hope you enjoy reading about Dr. Parti’s journey as much as I enjoyed it.

 

 

My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life by Howard Storm–Book Review and Personal Response

howard-storm-paintingOverall, My Descent Into Death: A Second Chance at Life by Howard Storm is a fascinating book.  Storm’s experience is unusual, not simply because of his descent into hell and rescue from hell, but also for the many answers he receives to important questions while in his near death state.

During my NDE, I did not experience a hell like state, but I understand how reliving and retelling such an experience would probably be traumatizing.  I admire Storm’s bravery for telling his story as openly as possible and for reminding us all of the importance of these personal stories and the importance of living a life of service to the world.

One of the biggest life changes I experienced after my NDE is the desire to live in service for others, and Storm describes the importance of service in this beautiful quote,

“The best way to grow spiritually is in service to others.  We will find purpose and development in relationships to other people.  We imagine that we are isolated from others but the opposite is true.  How we interact with others is our soul journey.  What we think we are is not who we are.  How we live lovingly with our brothers and sisters is who we truly are. If you want to grow spiritually, examine how you are expressing love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, patience, and faithfulness toward others.”

Christ:  Howard Storm discusses his profound encounter with the deep love of Jesus during his NDE.  In fact, Jesus is the one who rescues Storm from hell.  After a long stay in the hospital and several months of recovery back at home, Storm recounts a moment where he is called to visit a church for the first time in a long while.  His description of this experience in church is touching.

When Storm enters a church near his home, he sees images of angels and the heavens and immediately falls to the ground in awe and praise. This is not the type of church where people behave in this way.  Storm’s innocence and intense, overwhelming emotion reminds me of how many NDErs deeply desire unification and communion with God in the way we experienced this connection on the other side. His  pure, open, and humble desire for this type of connection with the divine is moving.  This particular section of the book is also slightly amusing because of his wife’s reaction to his public display.  She expresses embarrassment and threatens not to take him to church again.  Luckily, the minister reaches out to Storm and becomes his friend.  Several years later, Storm becomes a minster.  Personally, I would have enjoyed hearing sermons from an NDEr.

Though I did not see a religious figure during my near-death experience, several years ago in a healing cathedral named El Santuario de Chimayo outside of Santa Fe, I felt the loving presence of Jesus.  In that sweet moment, I cried and felt the weight of all of my rebellion against authority figures and churches who did not embody Christ’s love melt away.  I no longer saw Jesus as a part of these people who were abusive, judgmental, sexist, racist, non-inclusive or otherwise toxic as representative of the true energy and love of Christ. I saw that Jesus, like the God I experienced in my NDE, is truly loving and accepting.  He wants to remind us to be like little children and love each other and our world in simple, straight-forward ways.

Toward the end of his book, Storm reflects on the challenges of working as a minister in a Christian church and writes,

“The biggest challenge that I have found in pastoring a church has been raising the consciousness of the congregation toward compassion for people beyond the boundaries of the church.  The work of the church is not simply to comfort the members of the church; rather, the work of the church is to be like Christ to the world….For reasons that I do not fully understand, I have found this difficult for many Christians to appreciate.”

Answers to Major Questions:  I recommend this book for several reasons.  Storm’s descriptions of how he prays for healing in his life are lovely anecdotes.  However, the most powerful and interesting moments in the book come in his descriptions of the answers he receives to several important questions.  During his NDE, when Storm asks God about war, he learns that heaven’s wish for us is that we never to go to war and to avoid it through loving others aggressively and caring for all people.   This quote from the book sums up part of the reply he experiences from God.

“People have tried to hide their base desire for domination and exploitation through collective pride under the banner of nationalism.  This primitive tribal instinct has blinded you from seeing the divine within other people.  God loves all people as God’s children and wants ever one of you to see every person as a child of God.  You are to resist and oppose evil in others and in yourselves by every means possible.  You are to find ways to resist evil by good means rather than killing.” 

Storm continues to ask questions about why wars are allowed to happen, and God replies that we are given free will and says,

“Wars happen because of the spiritual sickness of people.  We are to care about all people and be willing to help heal the spiritual sickness before it leads to the desire to kill.  The way to prevent war is to love aggressively and care for all people.  Sufficient wealth, food, and resources exist for every person in the world.  Wars result not because there is a scarcity of resources, but because of our desire to possess the resources to the exclusion of others.  God loves every man, woman, and child on this planet more than we love our own children.  God wants all people to have food, shelter, meaningful work, and an opportunity to be creative: to learn the truth, have freedom from fear, have self-esteem, be procreative, live in community, find complete joy, trust in God, and become the wonderful people that God created us to be.”

Storm has particular points about the greed in the U.S. and the possible directions our country could take in the future.  This section is a bit chilling, and I certainly hope there are a cumulative mass of people who care deeply for the world in a way that surpasses their own need for gratification.

Storm also asks God which religion is the “right” religion and he  is surprised by the answer that there is no right or wrong religion.  Only the religions that promote love for God and others are of value.  Within very loving religions, there might be narcissists, sociopaths, and child abusers leading congregations, temples, or other gatherings dedicated to spiritual matters.  For example, the essential teachings of Christianity can be completely distorted by non-loving individuals.   God communicates to Storm that…

“…our cultural bias is collective egocentric pride.  Since we are finite creatures raised in specific cultures, we are shaped by our culture.  To know God, we have to surrender our individual and collective pride/ego if we are ever to know God’s love.  Too often we claim God’s love for our closed group.  We exclude everyone outside the group as being outside God’s love.  This is opposed to God’s will.  God loves everyone beyond anything we can imagine.”

I could continue to keep typing out all the beautiful, thought-provoking quotes from this book, but if you are interested in Storm’s extensive time spent in heaven and the knowledge he brought back, you will simply have to read his wonderful book.  You will hear about the many lessons from his NDE, including the knowledge that God is always with us and loves us more than we can comprehend and that God wants us to share our journey and emotions with heaven.  I agree with Storms points that self-examination and awareness is an important part of the journey as well as sharing love and truth with others.  May you be blessed and find blessings in this book if you feel called to read it.

See Howard Storm’s website for more of his paintings.

howard-storm-painting-2

Brief Review of Life-Changing Foods by Anthony William

Vaseofberries.jpg

Anthony William’s new book Life-Changing Foods: Save Yourself and the Ones You Love with the Hidden Healing Powers of Fruits & Vegetables is a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it.  My favorite section gives in-depth analysis of many different fruits, vegetables, wild foods, herbs, and spices.  Each food or herb profiled is given an overview of its benefits, as well as an analysis of the specific conditions and symptoms that might be addressed by eating more of this food.  Additionally, the emotional support each food provides as well as its spiritual lesson of that food is included.  The many healthy recipes will certainly inspire readers to incorporate more of each food in specific, healing ways.

Food as our Healer:  Years ago, I purchased The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall, and enjoyed researching the benefits and blessings of crystals.  Though crystals are powerful, beautiful, and healing, how much more important are the physical, emotional, and spiritual qualities of the food we ingest each day?  After my NDE, I have been deeply enthralled by the senses and food.  Though the spirit world is a lovely place to exist, I can’t help but be grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the senses while living in this body.  Food can be a joyful experience but also a powerful form of healing.

I am immensely grateful for William’s comprehensive look at the healing properties of food.  He beautifully explains the significance of the growth of plants and what qualities and gifts they bring to us because of the way they grow.  Personally, this book helped me connect many ideas that have floated in and out of my consciousness.  For example, I have often thought that if one apple “keeps the doctor away,” then perhaps we need more apples in our diet when we are not well.  According to this book, we should eat more than one apple when possible.  I’ve also thought about soil, rain, and sun quality in our increasingly polluted world, and William addresses this problem early in Life-Changing Foods.

Unexpected Solutions:  Many of the solutions and revelations in this book are not expected and are certainly ones I never imagined.  For instance, did you ever imagine that berries could reverse stains on the brain such as lesions, gray areas, calcification, or heavy metal deposits?  Did you ever consider that cherries might be a liver tonic or think that cranberries might help you better deal with criticism and rejection?  A cranberry dish (with honey and not sugar) might be a necessary food at some family dinner tables over the holidays.

Did you ever think a mango might help you sleep better or that artichokes should be listed in the top ten of superfoods?  We all want to stay young or look younger, and who would have guessed that asparagus is one of the foods that might be a fountain of youth food?  Some foods even live up to their sayings.  For example, “cool as cucumber” is an appropriate thing to say as cucumbers might help with anger issues.  I knew the basic benefits of many herbs, but now I am curious to see if licorice root (not in an alcohol based tincture) might be a great support for Hashimotos.

William also asserts that cruciferous foods like kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are wrongfully accused of harming the thyroid and causing goiters.  He assures readers that these foods help the thyroid.  Other foods that get a bad rap include potatoes, both sweet and regular, though he suggests not using dairy toppings or frying them. Many humble foods like pears are given the praise they deserve.  Whatever your symptoms might be, you are certain to find a food in this book which might help with your healing journey.

I cannot recommend this book enough.  I enjoyed his first book, Medical Medium, and posted a review earlier, but this latest book inspired me to look at my food with even more love, reverence, and honor.  Feeling more closely connected to Mother Earth is an important reminder for all of us, especially during trying times.

The holidays are often a time of overindulgence, but what better time to start focusing on health. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to have a banana and berry coconut “milkshake” tomorrow and lots of greens, papayas, onions, celery, and cucumbers throughout the day.  May we all glow with greater health throughout the holidays!

fruit

Here is a receipe for berries and cream that you might want to try one morning.

 

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

godandtheafterlife

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.

 

quote-god-and-the-afterlife-and-all-that-is-certainly-a-subject-that-s-interested-me-and-i-stephen-king-120-93-68

Following the Advice of the Medical Medium’s Plan after the 28-Day Cleanse

fruit

The Medical Medium’s Cleanse:  I made it!  I ate raw, organic fruits and vegetables for 28 days.  Besides a great reduction in pain from Fibromyalgia and an end to flare ups from Hashimotos, one of the best outcomes of this cleanse is a growing love and desire for more fresh fruit and vegetables in my daily diet.  I am drawn to what is naturally good for me.  I thought I ate a lot of healthy food and a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables before the cleanse, but participating in this cleanse taught me I can certainly add a whole lot more spinach, kale, and other greens into my daily diet.

For 28 -days, I primarily ate freshly blended, juiced, or raw foods, but as the new semester started I need a couple of quick snacks to get me through the day.  Rhythm Superfoods has dehydrated Kale Chips flavored with Bombay Curry.  They also have dehydrated broccoli that proved amazingly tasty. Because I missed spicy food, these two snacks were an awesome treat.

There were moments during the 28-days when I know my body was going through enormous changes, and I felt very tired.  There were other moments when I felt great–super energetic and wondered why I didn’t eat like this more often.  No matter the ups and downs, I stuck with it.  Even after the cleanse, I am continuing with many of the great smoothie ideas and all-natural dressing for salads.

Weight Loss:   By the end of the 28-Day cleanse I lost about eight pounds.  I think I’ll gain a few pounds back in the coming days, but I love how all bloating went away with this diet.  I didn’t want to lose a ton of weight, and I probably I lost the right amount of weight I needed to lose.  Everything about this diet felt right and natural.

Also, I look at food differently after this experience.  Celery is my new HCL pill.  A ginger shot is my new digestive aid.  I’m going to start growing my own spouts and an herb garden.  Green drinks call to me more than Kombucha tea or coffee.

The Body as a Temple:  We’ve all heard that we are what we eat, and I like myself more as someone who is mostly made up of organic fruits and vegetables.  During my cleanse, people I barely know came up to me and told me that my skin had a healthy glow and to keep doing whatever I was doing.  Moments like this helped me know I was on the right track to greater health.

I recommend this cleanse to jump start to one’s health.  It isn’t easy, but I learned so much about habits and how to form healthier habits.    Instead of reaching for a gluten free cookie mid-afternoon, I’m learning to stick to a piece of fruit for natural energy.  I can’t say that I’ll be perfect going forward in my eating habits, but I am certainly aiming to avoid the ten foods Anthony William suggests avoiding.

Avoid these Foods, Additives, and Supplements:  I have absolutely no trouble avoiding corn, soy, gluten, MSG, artificial flavors and sweeteners. I don’t take whey, iron, or fish supplements. I tend to avoid farmed fish and go for wild caught. I’ll admit that I will miss milk products and eggs.  I was a vegan for several years, and a vegetarian for ten years.  I tried the Paleo diet once I found that gluten had a bad effect on Hashimotos.  While eating Paleo meals, I enjoyed pork occasionally, but it won’t be that hard to avoid it. I’m not sure that I’ve ever thought to put something down if it had processed beet sugar or citric acid.  I will be checking for that now.

The hardest thing to avoid will be canola oil.  I love eating out.  I’m a busy professional, and I often grab premade foods from Central Market.  Today, I realized that the green beans with almonds that I usually pick up are made with canola oil.  Many gluten free cookies are made with canola oil.  It has been hard enough to explain that I don’t eat gluten or soy to people.  Now, I’m going to be the, “I’ll have the salad, but hold the cheese and dressing” type of eater at many restaurants.  Canola oil is a lot cheaper, and I imagine that a majority of restaurants use it in place of olive oil.

I feel great though, so I’m sticking with the Medical Medium’s plan and looking forward to the next book Life Changing Foods.   There’s a lot more to his first book than I have shared on my blog.  I recommend it!

Nine Days of Only Raw Fruits and Vegetables: Following the Advice of the Medical Medium–Anthony William

spinach soup

Nine days of only raw fruits and vegetables, and only nineteen more days to go…  Who in their right mind would give up amazing foods like goat cheese, eggs, salmon, wild rice, and chocolate for twenty-eight days?

Answer:  Someone who is desperate to cut the pain of fibromyalgia and Hashimotos thyroiditis.  I’m following the medical medium’s plan for a twenty-eight day cleanse.  Anthony William describes autoimmune diseases and the causes differently from the way the medical profession describes them.  In fact, he flat-out says, the body IS NOT attacking itself.  The body is overloaded with bacteria, fungus, viral infections, heavy metals, and other toxicities.

I’ve heard theories like this before.  I’m well-read when it comes to herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, and alternative medicine, so nothing he says in the book shocked me.  I’ve already given up corn, gluten, soy, artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and cut back on caffeine.  With my own muscle testing, I didn’t react well to whey protein or iron supplements, so I didn’t take these two things.  I’ve tried a vegan diet.  I’ve tried a Paleo diet.  I’m open to experimenting with food as a cure.  When I recovered from surgery after my NDE, I ate at least 80% fruit and vegetables every day thanks to my mom’s interest in health.  She was reading books like Fit for Life and Diet for a New America among others.  I healed remarkably well and quickly during that time and realized that raw fruits and vegetables can be very healing.

I was only shocked that the cleanse Anthony William suggests lasts twenty-eight days. Throughout my life, I’ve done lots of three day cleanses, seven day cleanses, and even one nine day Master Cleanse.   After today, I’m journeying into uncharted territory as I start day ten.

The first day of any cleanse is the toughest.  After that, you don’t really feel that hungry, and you only miss cooked food when you smell it or see others eating it.  Today, I desperately missed the crunch of bean chips, but the moment passed and I felt fine.

With any cleanse, there are moments of fatigue, but I look at these moments as moments of healing for the body.  It takes a lot of effort to reverse damage, and the body needs rest in order to right itself.  I’m trying to feast and not starve, so I’m making awesome blended soups and smoothies.  Avocado dressing has been a godsend for salads.

Autoimmune Disorders:  The medical profession seems lost when it comes to fibromyalgia.  I’ve watched doctors shrug and say they can’t offer me much advice.  I’m not interested in taking an antidepressant, and most doctors who are honest say that Cymbalta will have side-effects and not help fibromyalgia as much as light exercise and diet.

My thyroid condition (Hashimotos thyroiditis) was overlooked for four years because my thyroid numbers appeared fine on the tests.  Five years ago, I sent an MRI of my neck area to two family physicians and one specialist.  None of the three doctors bothered to tell me that the technician noted that my thyroid was swollen.  Finally, a chiropractor looked at the CD and told me to get my numbers checked one more time.  I hadn’t struggled with weight issues or fatigue, but by the time I got in to see my doctor and get a blood test, my numbers were out of control.  The doctor’s office called frantically, afraid I might be in danger of a Myxedema Coma.  I’ve had a long journey trying to balance my thyroid.

I’m not bashing doctors.  I’ll be forever grateful to my surgeon and honest doctors I’ve met over the years who’ve told me about supplements they personally take or their wives take.  However, the “mystery illnesses” like autoimmune disorders, Lyme disease, depression, migraines, PTSD, PMS, and adrenal fatigue are not handled well by the medical profession.

I do recommend the book Medical Medium by Anthony William.  He covers all the mystery illnesses and offers some hope.  The section on how to heal is my favorite section of the book.  I like a detailed eating plan, so I’m following his plan.

I’ll let you know how I feel at the end of the twenty-eight days.  The celery juice in the morning seems to be helping with gut issues.  It was gross as heck the first morning, but today, I added a little cucumber and enjoyed it.  The recipe for blended spinach soup (featured in the picture) is actually pretty good–garlic, cilantro, tomatoes, spinach and spices.

I hope for much healing and health for everyone!

Takeaways from The Afterlife of Billy Fingers: Part II

newmexico

Higher Beings/Angels:  Annie Kagan’s translations of Billy’s experience in the afterlife makes for a moving and uplifting book.  Billy’s descriptions of the Higher Beings/Angels ring true for me.  As an NDEr, I have struggled to translate the experience of coming in close contact with two of the most intelligent, large, amazing beings I have ever encountered.  By default, I have called them angels, but Higher Beings seems an accurate term as well.  I got the sense that other people might have different Higher Beings as their guides, but the qualities that my protective angels/Higher Beings exhibited most were intelligence, compassion, and healing powers.  They healed me through the backs of my surgeons with their light, and I had complete faith in their healing abilities.

Perhaps at different times in our life, different angels and guides show up for us.  In Kagan’s book, Billy describes the Higher Beings as, “Whatever qualities come under the heading of benevolence, that virtue is right there in the light.  It’s different with these Higher Beings.  They’re more specific, more personal, like the Divine Presence is focused through a prism.  And the colored rays that come through the prism—these are the higher beings.”  I resonate with that description because my Higher Beings were indeed specifically focused.  Perhaps at different times in our lives we might require differently focused Higher Beings.

Toward the end of the book, Billy says, “There’s an impersonal quality to these Supreme Beings, but that’s not a negative—it’s a big plus.  There’s a pureness to it.  This is what I’ve imagined being in the presence of God would be like….They are pure Spirit.  Just as our bodies are the carriers of our souls, our souls are the carriers of our Spirit.”  For me, this description helps add clarity to my interactions with my angels during surgery.  They were pure Spirit, pure benevolence, and put me at ease outside of my body immediately with telepathy and strength.  I knew I would be fine whether I stayed in the environment outside of my body or returned.  For me, all signs pointed to returning, but I got the sense that everything would have been beautiful, pleasant learning experience for me had I not returned.

Nature:  One of my other favorite lines in this book is a simple but true message reading, “Nature has more light than anything else on your planet.”  In the book, Kagan takes Billy’s advice and returns to nature for healing, inspiration, and connection.  All of us need the healing power of nature in our lives.  Technology is a powerful connector, but not healing in the way that being in nature is healing.  When I am broken, I go to the mountains and let the mountains give me their strength.  When I am stressed, I go to the ocean and let the waves wash away my pain and troubles.  When I want fun, I head to nature.

At another point in the novel Billy says, “The best cure for suffering?  An enlightened experience of it all.  What does that mean?  It means finding the invisible within the visible.”  Nature is a great place for people to experience enlightened moments.  Looking down from a high peak at a city helps us put everything in perspective again.  We are a small part of the whole, but our enjoyment of our life is key.  Nature keeps us present and helps us enjoy our lives more fully and even sometimes catch a glimpse of the invisible within the visible.

newmexico2

Addiction:  (Spoiler Alert) Billy’s struggle with addiction and even his death as an active addict did not prevent him for any of the bliss, compassion, or benevolence on the other side.   Life’s purpose and a particular soul’s purpose can be grand on the other side while looking rather shabby on this side. One of the more important lessons I took away from my NDE was that the shadows I danced within during that time in my life (the drugs and alcohol) only prevented me from living more fully and connected to others at times.  I wasn’t judged by the light.  I was met with deep compassion and love.  Maybe if I would’ve stayed in the environment outside of my body longer, I might have seen how my life looked from a musical perspective—the ups and downs, the crescendos, and the drumrolls.

In recovery, people are sometimes shamed for relapsing, and there is so much disappointment around the deaths of addicts.  As an NDEer, I sometimes have a different perspective and see the struggle for sobriety as more of a dance the way Billy described it. I see those who relapse as in need of more compassion and care, not less and definitely not condemnation.  The other side greets us with compassion.  Part of our lesson on this earth plane seems to be finding a way to take everything a little less seriously, to let go of resentments quickly, to forgive ourselves and others instantly.  As Billy says, “…there is no one to forgive, because we signed up to do this dance together before we were born.  We weren’t acting out some type of I-did-something-wrong-to-you-in-another-life-and-I’m-paying-for-it-now kind of thing.  It doesn’t really work like that… It’s more a kind of experiment chosen for soul-type reasons that humans have an almost impossible time understanding.  And not understanding is an important part of the experiment.”

If there is one criticism I have of the book, it is that there is not a lot of description of how the oneness occurs.  During my NDE, I saw from the perspective of others in my life review.  That part of the life review for most NDEers shows us where we have hurt and disappointed others, not as a form of punishment but as a way to fully understand our roles and the perspective of others.  I know that there is much compassion on the other side, but the ways we harmed or hurt others is something worth noting in the life review process.  The ways that we harm ourselves are only pitied, but in my experience the light seemed to wish that I could love myself more and open up to others more frequently.  I appreciate the compassion and benevolence described and know this is correct.  There is a bit of “relearning” about our roles that goes on outside the body.  Mabye this could have been explained a bit more.

However, this is actually a minor detail.  The book as a whole is a fantastic read.  I loved it and highly recommend this beautiful, unusual, uplifting book.

newmexico3