This IANDS Conference in Bellevue, Washington was a beautiful experience. I was so happy to meet Ingrid Honkala for the first time and hear about the beautiful light beings who so obviously guide her through life. I was blessed by the wisdom that Robert Kopecky shared with me in this video interview and look forward to reading his book How to Get to Heaven. And, it was great fun to talk with Chris Batts, a newcomer to IANDS conferences whose mission is to remind everyone that they are loved by God. Peter Panagore and I talked with him about his angel guides and lessons from his near-death experience.
One thing I have learned from dying is that death is not real but feels like birth into a new realm of understanding. We go on, and we keep learning and exploring. We continue to understand our connection to God and how deeply we are loved.
One thing I have learned from communications with my father and others in the afterlife is not to focus too much attention on our little world when it is minuscule in comparison to the universe. Focus on being kind and loving, but don’t overestimate your importance or influence in the vast expanse of the universe. We all, even the smartest and most spiritually advanced, know very little.
In other words, you might think you know what is best for yourself or for another person but that doesn’t mean that you are right. It is best to leave things to God and to continue to find wonder and awe in the experience of being alive and connected to infinite bliss, love, and creativity. The more you remember to connect with infinite love, the happier you will be on the roads and paths of your life.
“True spirituality is a thing of joy and of the earth, and has nothing to do with fake adult dignity. It has nothing to do with long words and sorrowful faces. It has to do with the dance of consciousness that is within you, and with the sense of spiritual adventure that is within your hearts.” —Jane Roberts, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul
Lisa Smartt’s newest book, Words at the Threshold: What We Say as We’re Nearing Death, includes a collaboration with Dr. Raymond Moody. I enjoyed talking with the linguist and writer, Lisa Smartt, and in this conversation we talked about after-death communication, how to relate to those who are transitioning from this earth plane, and how some of the phenomena at the end of life also relates to near-death experiences.
I loved hearing about some of the poetry inspired by her father in the afterlife. Not only are the poems lovely, but they are a document and testament that love survives death. I must say that as I write this, my grandparents on the other side are sending me much love and appreciation. These bonds of love do survive death, and I want others to know this at a deep level.
Dorothy Rowe, a wellness educator and intuitive consultant, offers wonderful energy healing webinars, distance healing sessions, and personal energy consultations. You can find out more about these opportunities from her website.
Dorothy also has a YouTube channel with energy healing information about relationships, manifestation, and a variety of health concerns. Personally, I have experienced a healing from one of her videos, so I encourage you to check out her offerings.
At the end of our conversation Dorothy offers a healing session for viewers. For me, this was a profound moment of this video, and I am pleased to share this video interview with you.
Jeff Olsen’s story has touched many people, especially those of us who have experienced the grief of losing a loved one. In this interview, I got to hear about his connection to his son and wife in the afterlife, his afterlife journey, and a bit about the shared death experience his trauma doctor relayed to him.
Check out Jeff’s newest book titled Knowing: Memoirs of a journey beyond the veil and choosing joy after tragic loss.
Jeff Olsen and many others will be speaking at a symposium in Austin this March. I will also be leading a workshop at this event. For more information, here is a link.
You are unconditionally loved, and this is an easy enough concept to understand but a difficult one to always feel on your journey. So many thoughts understood by the mind are more deeply experienced when they are integrated into your heart and a part of your being. When you are silent, when you simply breathe, when you wake up, do you feel that unconditional love? What about when you are ill, heartbroken, or unsure what step to take next, can you believe that you are unconditionally loved? I hope you do feel that love every step of your journey.
Guides and angels do not always give us the exact information we are searching for. Maybe we are given an image which touches our heart or inspires us in some way. Maybe we are led to a book which helps us take a different action. Perhaps, we are guided to be more in the flow of divine love. You do not have to sacrifice or deny a huge part of yourself to be in the flow of divine love. God already has you and understands what you need better than you understand. When you trust in divine love, you will be lead in the direction where you can express more of that love to others.
The Love of God: We near-death experiencers often talk about the love of God and how it is better than anything we have experienced in physical form. There isn’t anything more profound than God’s love. It is, of course, easy to miss that completeness and wholeness. However, I also love the brokenness and the humor of being human. I love trying to love myself and love others with more wholeness and completeness.
In a way, spending too much time missing the love of God, denies the sanctity, the mystery, and the importance of community and love between friends, co-workers, and significant others. I have an unusual perspective at the end of any type of relationship whether this be through death, through misunderstandings, or through taking different paths in life. I completely honor my experience and other’s experience of trying to love. Maybe the experience was a little fractured or uncomfortable in places, maybe it wasn’t all that we wanted it to be, but the attempt to love is all that matters and is what should be honored.
We can talk for months about co-dependency, love addiction, sex addiction, narcissistic abuse, and all the twisted ways that people try to navigate through their wounds and get to love, but why don’t we honor the human attempts at love more often? There is less stigma around divorce than in the past, but no one ever seems to say to a recently divorced person, “Wow, you really tried. You gave that relationship your best shot. You loved as openly and fully as you could. Good for your for trying.” I think that is the way God will look at me and anyone else who is divorced. God will simply love me as I am, and I know that love will also swallow up the person I loved with an ocean of peace and joy.
We will understand the journey fully in that place of completeness. I am grateful for the love that is in my life, and I try to honor that love and never take it for granted. That practice should also be key for anyone in a relationship. When you see through the eyes of love, you see new ways to love someone.
Forgiveness: There are stages of grieving, stages of forgiveness, and stages of letting go. All of this is fine. Last year, I struggled putting into words how I honestly forgive everyone everything. Although there are people who I don’t want to associate with or hear one single word from for the rest of my life, I do forgive them. From afar, I hope they are much better to others. I wish them great peace, complete healing, success, and happiness. I imagine them loved by the divine and comforted by angels.
When you have suffered a lot, the climb to forgiveness is higher. The beautiful part is that once you reach that place of forgiveness, it is like reaching a mountaintop and seeing so much of this earth spread out before your eyes. You know that in every valley, in every small light, all that you want to do is send love to every hurting soul. You know that at your core, you are nothing but love. You know that you are worthy of God’s unconditional love, and worthy of all the good that you send to others.
I hope you know that you are loved, and I hope you honor all the ways that you give love to this world. Love is your guide, your magic, and your best way home.
With the holidays coming up soon, I thought it might be important to talk about depression and suicide and offer my perspective. I know that many people who have survived abuse, neglect, or trauma in their families are often ostracized by these family members. Holidays become all the more of a painful reminder of how alone they might feel in the world. Those who are awakening and realizing spiritual truths that may transcend the perspectives of their family members might also feel some disconnection.
Whatever your situation might be during the holidays, I hope that you might treat yourself with great love and compassion during this time of year and through out the rest of the year.
I have a unique perspective on suicide because I viewed my suicide attempt while in the afterlife. At the end of college, I had a profound near-death experience after a car wreck and was clinically dead for over two minutes during emergency spinal surgery.
During my life review, I saw my suicide attempt (which occurred a few months prior to my near-death experience) through the loving gaze of God. God had enormous love and compassion for me during this sad time in my life. I felt completely supported by this loving force of God, and I could hear some of God’s thoughts about that time in my life.
When God viewed my suicide attempt, I felt that God wanted me to love myself more and know that I am deeply loved and supported by the universe, even when it does not seem that way. God wanted me to place a high priority on my health and healing. There were a myriad of choices available to me besides making an attempt on my life. I saw all these choices spin out around me as various light-filled paths. I could have contacted friends, acquaintances, certain family members, called a hotline, looked for free or affordable resources through my university, searched for help at churches, or joined a recovery group. There were many options I had besides the one that I picked in that moment.
At twenty-one, I did not know how to walk through the painful parts of my life, but if I reached out to others, I might have made a choice other than swallowing a ridiculous amount of painkillers and washing these painkillers down with a decanter of whiskey. Amazingly, I woke up 36 hours later and realized that I had vomited, which probably saved my life.
At twenty-one, I didn’t realize that I could’ve tried new things I had never tried before. Help might not have come from the people I wanted it to come from, but help and healing was available to me, and it is available to you too. If you are suffering from a deep depression, keep walking through the pain and know that you are not alone on this journey, no matter how alone you might feel at the moment. Find connection somewhere.
Through my life review, I saw that God also wanted me to be kind to others and ask them more questions about their lives. An obsessive focus on myself led to greater depression and sadness. Getting out of myself and listening to others would have brought more joy to their lives and to mine.
Suicidal plans and thoughts should be taken seriously. If you are very close to taking your life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you are not in the U.S., please look up a local or national hotline and talk with someone immediately. Utilize all resources available to you, and reach out to someone you know who is a safe, caring person in your life. If you are not suffering from depression but know someone who is, encourage this person to take healing, self-care, and therapy seriously.
If you suffer from depression but have energy to focus on your health and want to apply the deeply loving force of God to your own situation, I can offer you some ideas. Every journey is an individual one, so please keep searching for what works for you. These are only suggestions.
- Self-Love: Read everything you can get your hands on about self-love. Louise Hay is a great resource with many mantras that might begin to change some of your negative thought patterns. Ingest a daily diet of uplifting material—posts, podcasts, videos, and books. I can personally recommend the book How to Love Yourself (And Sometimes Other People) by Lodro Rinzler and Meggan Watterson, especially if you struggle with romantic relationship difficulties. Here is a blog post I have written about self-love. Self-love is essential and necessary. Too often we are much hard on ourselves when we could offer ourselves great compassion instead.
- Start a Healing Journey: Every healing journey is individual, but consider researching diets and supplements that can help your mood. Reference books like Prescriptions for Natural Healing might be a place to begin. Focus on simple healthy pleasures each day. Exercise and get vitamin D. Try new things. Depending on your financial situation, invest in a therapist and try out various healing modalities. Everything from eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) which might help with PTSD to energetic healing modalities might offer you relief. Addressing subconscious blocks through modalities like Psych K can be beneficial. Even if you do not have the funds for some of these modalities, you might be able to trade with certain practitioners if you have skills in a certain area. You can learn specific yoga moves or Tai Chi exercises online that can improve your mood. You might also be able to learn more about healing modalities and practices, and find comfort in the talks and free information from healers. Start with therapy and work outward in the directions that you are led.
- Commit to a Spiritual Practice: Commit to a support group, recovery group, spiritual practice, church, or gathering that makes you feel connected to love. Do not go somewhere or stay somewhere where you feel judged and bogged down by the negativity of others. During my near-death experience, I clearly saw that love is all that matters. Go somewhere where you feel love, optimism, joy, and release from your struggles. I highly recommend a meditation practice, but like a healing journey, a spiritual journey is an individual one. I can only emphasize the importance of commitment and practice. A spiritual practice is beneficial when you commit to it over the long haul and through the many ups and downs of life.
- Volunteer: There is usually someone who is less fortunate than you. Even if you are in a dire position in life, you can volunteer at an organization that already helps you. While volunteering, you might meet others and listen to them with love and with hope. The point of volunteering is to do something to make the lives of others easier or better in some way. As you give what you can give, your troubles lessen and you feel connected to a greater whole. Like exercise or any other activity that we know is good for us but we resist, volunteering can have a profound effect on our consciousness. When we feel useful or helpful, our self-esteem and self-concept changes for the better. Mostly, we simply find joy in being connected to others versus suffering in isolation. We are communal and need one another. Find safe people and form bonds. If you are too anxiety ridden to volunteer somewhere, then find a way to connect with others and do not suffer alone.
- Feel the Love of God: Take time in your day to imagine the force of God that near-death experiencers talk about with longing and love. Try to imagine the most loving force on earth. What would that feel like to you? Write down what you would like God to be like for you and what you would like to feel from God right now. Take those positive feelings and multiply them by 70 million. Believe in this love as a reality and not a concept. Close your eyes and imagine what this love would feel like. Bring this love into every single one of your cells. Fill your body with a glowing light that is the purest form of love imaginable. This is your birthright and your true essence. Know it. Share it. Believe it.
- Gratitude can rewire your brain: Keep a gratitude journey and write down what you are grateful for each day. Watch this Ted Talk and try some of the other suggestions at the end for creating more happiness in your life. Hopefully, this speaker makes you chuckle a bit. Laughter is one of my favorite medicines.
We are all part of love and all part of God. We are all capable of living as love and the light of God which knows that it is always safe, eternal, and free no matter what is occurring on the physical, three-dimensional plane.
I know that the minute I left form, I forgave everything and everyone instantly. Pain is contained in our stories and in this physical realm, but we do not have to wait to find freedom only in death. Freedom can be found through walking in faith and practicing forgiveness. The concept of faith seems simple, just as forgiveness does, but these feats are heroic. To step into the unknown and believe that God will meet us at every step requires the courage of a seer who has lost sight of the future. To be beaten down at every turn and still have faith, requires the strength of a warrior. To be betrayed, abused, neglected, wounded, and abandoned and to forgive, so that one’s own life might grow bright again, requires a terrifying amount of strength.
For many NDErs, our mission (whether to work as ministers, teachers, healers, speakers, writers, or simply to walk through this world as love) is mainly to do our best to hold on to the memory and energy of God’s love and show others how to access this love of God. That is what God showed me when God told me that my purpose would be to teach and remind others of their light. Our connection to God’s love is aptly symbolized through light because light makes things clearer.
We can all access love, healing, and peace at any time. Anyone can have a mission focused on love. All it requires is communion and faith in the most loving force imaginable, a love that we all need more of in our lives.
The more often I hold on to the energy and love of God, the more often I can help others access this love. As a teacher, there were so many times that I couldn’t believe that it took so little effort on my part to open a student’s heart. All I had to do was see any one of my students– really see them, witness their struggle, and then offer some hope, not a ton of hope either, just a thread. It takes so little effort to be kind to others, yet it makes such a major difference in the quality of their lives and our own.
Many NDErs feel disheartened about returning to form because too often people do not go out of their way to be kind. Navigating a world of people in great pain who have forgotten their connection to light is a tough hike. Still, I am glad that God sent me back against my wishes. I may have suffered, I may have cried on this journey back in form, but I have stayed determined to keep pushing forward, to keep believing in the beauty of a higher calling–a calling which forces me to remember and to teach what love truly is. Love brings us great peace and moments of knowing that we are perfect just as we are.
The Love of God: One of the most shocking experiences of my near-death experience was feeling the love of God. This love of God accepted me exactly as I was—all my thoughts and feelings. I did not have to change my thoughts to please God. I did not have to worry about whether God liked the look on my face or my interpretations of the world.
God loved me infinitely just as I am. I didn’t have to change or pretend in any way. God didn’t call me names, hit me, lock me in a closet, or invalidate anything about me. God loved me without end. I felt completely supported and without a single worry, experiencing only bliss, peace, and deep understanding. God immediately forgave me for all self-harm and showed me how to love myself more deeply. God did not make me relive or see any of the abuse I had survived in life. I had never known a love like this growing up or what it felt like to be supported.
One of the most common attributes of a narcissistic father or mother is the inability to understand or care about their child’s thoughts and feelings. This parent is not able to validate their child’s feelings as real or important. Empathy is simply out of the question. If the child of a narcissist expresses displeasure with a parent, the parent will often explode with fury, threaten, storm, or rage. The parent might become violent, beating or confining her child or otherwise engaging in classic physical abuse. Once the child is strong enough to fight back, coldness and verbal abuse are usually the tactics.
My Story: Growing up, anything that I thought or felt, especially if it was different from my mother, made her angry, withholding, cold, or critical. Often, this abuse was even spiritual in nature because she used the Bible as a reason to beat me.
However, Mom allowed and encouraged reading, so that was the way I could escape my lonely life. I read at a 12th grade level by second grade, and I devoured any book I could get my hands on in the library or garage sales, often fantasizing that I might be sent away to a boarding school or that I might magically encounter a nice couple who would mentor me.
In the isolation of my home as an only child in the country, Mom painstakingly taught me to worry about her sadness, her depression, her angry feelings about my dad, her physical complaints, and her thoughts about the world and everyone in it. She coached me on who to like in her family and who not to like in her family. If I liked someone she didn’t like, she rolled her eyes. If she stopped liking one of my few friend’s mothers, then I was told that I no longer liked this close friend of mine either. She taught me to be her counselor, her best friend, and her confidant. I pretended as best that I could to survive my childhood, but honestly, at best there were only fleeting moments of fun.
No one really witnessed the full extent of my mother’s abuse. My father was rarely there, and I’m an only child. When my father’s parents stopped by unannounced, mother made us hide in the closet to avoid them. They loved me so completely as their only grandchild, and she didn’t like it when I received that kind of adoration. I remember a moment when she argued with my grandmother that I didn’t need a toy that I wanted. My grandmother looked at her and said, “I want this child to know that we love her.” The moment felt powerful to me, and I remember feeling excited at the cash register. We didn’t see them as much after that moment.
Around Mom’s family, she controlled of the narrative and talked about everything she sacrificed for me. Mom certainly worked soul-crushing, blue-collar jobs to pay for my private Christian education through seventh grade. The problem is that I would have rather had more food, decent clothes, trips to the doctor, and a public education where there were more people in my class than three or four students. I longed for more socialization.
Mom presented herself as a loving, doting mother, but in private I felt sucked dry. She wanted me to make up for all the love she felt she didn’t receive from her own mother and her husband, but this scenario seemed a setup for a dramatic failure. When did I get my needs met? I don’t doubt that she feels that she loved me, but from my perspective most of what I experienced didn’t feel like love. I feel compassion for the young, lost woman who raised me, but my biggest lesson in life has been learning how to feel great compassion for myself.
Mom rarely considered my honest needs. Sometimes, I got lucky and wanted the same things that she wanted. We both enjoyed walks in nature, fresh fruit, and dogs as pets. We both enjoyed a few of the same movies, though my tastes eventually changed and different from her always meant wrong. For a few years in childhood, I experienced the bliss of owning a horse, and that freedom to ride fast and far away from my life meant everything to me.
Since Mom was all I knew of love, I thought love meant sacrificing every one of my feelings and ideas to make someone else feel a little better in their miserable life. When her mental illness took a turn for the worse when I was in high school, I realized that she needed help; however, she refused help from the people I told about her frequent suicide threats. There were many nights when she was alone with that pistol in her drawer, and when she threw the door open suddenly I always ran out of the house to put distance between us. I didn’t know if she was going to shoot me first before she shot herself, and that level of terror changed something within me.
Though I had good grades, I didn’t realize how broken I was emotionally by the time I left for college, and I had no idea how to work on healing. By the time I had my near-death experience my senior year of college, so much inside of me felt devastated and then in a single instant—-healed.
The near-death experience granted me a huge dose of optimism, love, and connection to God and angels. Immediately, I felt whole and alive inside, despite my wounded body. During my physical recovery Mom took care of me, and we got along better than ever before. She had remarried, changed jobs, and seemed much happier. I wish I could say that the near-death experience completely healed our relationship, but I can only say that the near-death experience eventually helped heal the gaping hole inside of me. We don’t choose our family, but we can choose supportive friends.
And, no matter what happened in life, I could always remember and return to what it felt like to be loved by God. No matter who validated me or didn’t validate me, that moment in the presence of God showed me my worth. I never knew that I was worthy of even an ounce of that love and consideration.
I’m sure my mother doesn’t realize she is worthy of that level of love. Her religious beliefs are ones that validate her narcissism and deep need to feel superior to others. In her mind, only she, and a few select others, know the “truth.” The way everyone else interprets the Bible and God is incorrect. She owns the market on being right as she stockpiles food and fears the apocalypse is around the corner. She’s been fearing that since the 1980’s. I wish she felt less fear and more connection to a loving God.
I’ve seen interviews with other near-death experiencers whose parents felt blessed to hear their stories of the afterlife. My mouth dropped open in amazement at what it might have felt like to have a mother who learned something from me. There were snippets of time when Mom understood the power of that love I experienced on the other side, but ultimately she tried to convince me that I had experienced a lie—tricks from the devil. How ridiculous! Most of my life with her felt like a trick, not love.
When To Tell Your Story: Many people wait until their abusive parents die before they talk openly about their experiences. Tony Robbins waited and describes deep love and forgiveness for his abusive mother. However, several others have decided to not have contact (or minimal/harmonious contact) with abusive, narcissistic parents and speak openly to help others come to the best, safest conclusion for their lives. I am enormously grateful to the work and teachings of Lisa A. Romano who speaks openly about her experiences and helps so many people.
The sooner people begin a healing process after surviving an abusive home, the sooner they can begin to heal and have healthier relationships. Abused children sometimes don’t have children of their own out of fear, but if they start healing work soon in life they realize how different they probably would be as parents than their own parents.
During my NDE, God told me to return and to work as a teacher. Since that time, I have been a mentor and caring person in the lives of many of my students who have survived abusive homes. Abuse of many varieties is all too common in family units. Telling a snippet of my story to students who were in pain allowed them to tell me what was occurring in their lives so that I could get help for them. One of the greatest gifts of pain is the ability to point others in the direction of healing.
I know that many spiritual people want to center love and peace in all situations, no matter how toxic their family members might be. For those who can do this, I honor that ability. I tried to do this with my mother, but I recently had a defining moment when I realized that my life, my health, my well-being, and my trip to the emergency room didn’t matter as much to her as the contents of her refrigerator. She endangered my life and did not care.
When I realized how little my life mattered to my mother, I knew I had to take a break from her. I don’t know the future, and I don’t know what healing might be possible in her life. Maybe a rebirth can occur and a different type of relationship between us can manifest, but this might also be the death of our relationship. I know people with childhoods like mine who haven’t spoken to their parents in ten years. All I know right now is that I want people to pray for her. I want other people to center love and peace in her life. I want her to know the love of God that I felt in the afterlife, and I want her to know that I wish our story was a different one.
Your story might offer a different outcome with a toxic family member. There might be a way for you to calmly listen to your family member and center kindness without putting yourself in danger. Your love might transform this person over time. I hope so, but if you decide not to have contact with someone in order to heal yourself from narcissistic abuse there are many support groups online and otherwise. Choose the sanctity and healing of your own life. Life isn’t a “who is the most spiritual contest.” In fact, if someone is playing that game, that person is probably a narcissist. Love who you can authentically love. Love is not torture; rather, it is easy as breathing when it is right.