I Know I Should Ignore Trolls, But I Decided to Respond Because Responding Made Me Happy

gordonia

Although I usually delete and block trolls on YouTube, sometimes I can’t keep up with the comments because I am too busy.  During a layover on my flight home from a great vacation, I decided to respond before deleting these comments.  I hope that my responses might make others who are putting themselves out there in the public sphere feel better.

GMan IV writes,

 “why would you go to any church anyways? You been on the other side, what could you gain from any church? Be it Christian, Mulsum, New Age or whatever. Plus why are you so “nice” not to offend anyone? Why dont you blast these religions and tell poeple No there is no Jesus that you must believe on or else you will Burn forever in Hell or No there is no Allah where a woman must dress from head to toe even in the 120 degree desert and there are no 30 virgins waiting to greet you when you die. What good of a TEACHER are you to just sugar coat everything and not tell people the TRUTH but allow them to continue on in their silly worldy view of religion and God? I thought you came back to TEACH humanity???

My Response

Dear GMan IV,

The Dali Lama says kindness is his religion. Amma says love is her religion. I say do whatever it takes to give yourself and this world more loving kindness. If church helps you become a kinder, more compassionate person—go there. If dancing in the forest and making organic popsicles makes you a kinder person—do that. If my YouTube videos make you angry and make you want to blast me, find something that gives you peace brother.

Find something that makes you want to spread kindness…it matters more than you realize. You get to feel the perspectives of others in your life review, so you should spend your time trying to uplift others. Create moments filled with love for yourself and others.

As a side note, I do believe in Jesus, and heard the words, “Be like a little child” coming from the light of God.  My problem with some Christian churches is the fear and judgment that is often emphasized.  Love is all that matters and all that we take with us.

Additionally, if it is teaching that you so deeply desire, as luck would have it I happen to be an English professor. Please note that Muslim is not spelled “Mulsum,” and people is not spelled “poeple.”  “Wordly” is an unusual spelling, and I’m not sure if you meant loquacious, verbose, circumlocutory, or prolix.  Perhaps, you simply meant to type “worldly,” but in the context of your statement you might search for a more appropriate word like “limited” or “outdated.” Remember “You been” should be “You have been” or “You’ve been.”

To better understand the variety and nuances of world religions, you might consider reading books or even taking a course in comparative religion.  Be sure to review apostrophe rules, and avoid all caps.  I appreciate your interest in near-death experiences.  May you be blessed, and consider yourself schooled.

Sincerely,

Professor Barker


Getty’s Randomness writes,

Btw people confuse NDE’s with obe’s. Obe can happen and Satan/lucifer the angel of light. Can & does give people awesome experiences that are in fact life changing to mis lead & mis guide people with good hearts & good intent. he gives them very real experiences. if you have an exp & you come back & your not putting Jesus christ #1 in your life then your exp was from the angel of light. very real, yes but not from or jesus.

My Response

Dear Mr. Randomness,

I think people must be afraid of what they haven’t experienced themselves and don’t understand.  Shortly after my NDE, I was handed a pamphlet, much like what you are saying Mr. Randomness, and I laughed loudly.  You see, I could feel the very energy and vibration of fear in this pamphlet even before I read the words.

The angry minister who wrote these words felt threatened by near-death experiencers, and he desperately wanted to discredit them.  Their open-mindedness and inclusiveness of others didn’t jive with him.  He preferred to sell limited world views, fear, fear, and a little more fear.  The Bible was written by man, but the spirit of Jesus is a very modest, humble, loving, tender, gentle spirit.   You might check out The Book of Q:  The Original Sayings of Jesus.  It is important to strip away interpretations of the Bible and meditate on the love of his messages.  The message of love runs through many religions and teachings.

You can always talk yourself into a box and stay there by hating everyone and everything that challenges you, or you can open your mind and be o.k. with continually growing and learning.

I’m a fan of Jesus, but not a fan of churches or people who try to discredit the most amazing, life-altering moment of my life.  I know it scares you to think that you may not have everything figured out, but take a deep breath and relax. As for my experience, I was dead, not dreaming.  What I experienced was not an OBE or voodoo/hoodoo from Satan/The Angel of Light.

Though I don’t have everything figured out either, Mr. Randomness, I do know that I connected with the most powerful force imaginable—God.  Every crevice of my soul was filled with the light of God.  I wanted for nothing, and I didn’t want to return to this world full of darkness. However, God told me that I had to return and teach.  I was instructed to remind others to live in the light and to spread this goodness across the earth.

My best advice for you is to open yourself to the love and light of God instead of engaging in YouTube squabbles.  Jesus wants you to love your neighbor as yourself. First, you must learn to love yourself, so that you can love your neighbor and all those on those interacting in online environments.  Jesus doesn’t want you to bully near-death experiencers. Please set an example of the love of Jesus with love, not with attack.  May you be blessed.

Sincerely,

A Woman of the Light


Another YouTuber writes,

Looks like she’s gained some weight since her last video a couple of months ago.  She needs to work out and take care of her God-given temple.”

My Response:

Dear Troll,

First, camera angle is something that everyone should understand when snapping selfies or making a video.  If the camera is eye-level, people will look much more like themselves.  If the camera is positioned below them, they may end up looking like they have put on weight or have a double-chin.  The camera was positioned way below the stage in that video.

Whatever though.  I speak to give others comfort, not to participate in a runway show. One woman dying of cancer saw that particular video and communicated that it gave her peace about the dying process.  She was a teacher like me, and she passed away recently.  Offering hope to the terminally ill is one of the many reasons why I tell my story.

Secondly, I freakin’ love myself, even though I battle like the warrior that I am with thyroid disease, fibromyalgia, and anxiety.  I love myself even when I have to teach eight classes and am pushing hard to revise a manuscript, leaving me little time to work out.  Life is about harmony in the long run, not complete balance simultaneously. Sometimes, a person must sacrifice one portion of their life when they are working intensely in another area and that is fine.

Next time you comment on a woman’s appearance, consider the fact that she might have a terminal illness or might have suffered a miscarriage.  Wouldn’t you feel bad if you made someone who is hurting feel even worse?  I would like to protect that woman from your comments.

There will always be people who love me and those who talk badly about me, but I choose to feel good about myself constantly.  I also know that having a bright soul can illuminate someone who is mostly skin and bones or several hundred pounds overweight.  This body is something we should treat with great care, but a heart that doesn’t look at others with compassion is a heart in deep need of healing.

Troll, you need the love and light of God much more than the “perfect woman” you keep looking for and never finding in real time. If you do have a woman in your life, I am certain that you will not make her happy or make her love you more by cutting her down with your words. 

Someday you will become frail, get sick, and die.  You will shed your attachment to form and realize the truth of your journey.

I promise you, the truth of your journey is not to get on YouTube and troll and track people.  You might actually create ripples of harm and have to examine this in your life review.  I won’t take your words with me, but you will.  You own them.  Be careful what you say to others.

I’ll leave you with a poem by Lucille Clifton because her life force, her energy, her celebratory tone is something we all should embrace.  We should all love ourselves this much.  I know I do!  May you be blessed, Troll!

Sincerely,

Fine Just as I Am

homage to my hips

these hips are big hips

they need space to

move around in.

they don’t fit into little

petty places. these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips.

i have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top!

 

 

Recent Interview on Wisdom from North and A Few Thoughts about Prayer

Update on 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 loved talking with Jannecke Øinæs in a recent interview, and she challenged me to think about concepts in new ways.  In other posts, I’ve briefly mentioned the prayers I felt during my near-death experience, but I wanted to write more about prayer.

Prayer:  One of the saddest questions I’ve been asked by a reader of my blog is from someone wondering why prayer does not work in some cases. Prayer isn’t a way to manipulate reality; instead, it is more like a gentle, healing wind.  When my spirit was out of form, I felt the prayers of people I knew, and the prayers that moved me the most were the ones that were full of love.

Maybe the best that we can do when we pray is to pray with deep, unconditional love and to pray for the highest good in any situation. Even if our vision of world peace and a deeper connection to nature is at odds with the world around us, even if we don’t have the power to immediately shift the world to a better place, we can embody the type of love we want to see and send this love to the world with our prayers.

This isn’t easy after tragedy, but the best stories are the ones that make us cry with a rare form of joy and awe.  We are amazed by people who overcome incredible odds.  We are amazed when love wins in the darkest of situations.  I was surprised recently to see Tony Robbins talking more openly about the abuse he survived growing up, and how this abuse motivated him later to help others.  In an article in Men’s Journal, he reveals,

“I really stopped feeling sorry for myself. I stopped blaming my mother for everything that was wrong in my life. She was addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs. She also was abusive and would smash my head into a wall or fill my mouth with liquid soap until I threw up because she thought I was acting out of line. I never talked about her while she was alive, and I still love her to this day. The fact is if my mother had been the mother I hoped for, I wouldn’t be the man I am proud to be today. All of this is inside me somewhere, driving me to visit 14 countries in a year and work 50 hours on a weekend. I suffered so much, I didn’t want anyone else to suffer and I was obsessed with finding answers. Now I am obsessed with having the answers and sharing those answers.”

Robbins also talks about the books that influenced his thinking, as well as his newest book.

How does prayer help others?  It can give a lonely wanderer strength to make it to an oasis.  Prayer can be the wind that carries the drunk safely home.  Prayer can be a message to someone departing the planet like a secret note.  It can be a nod of farewell or greeting, a bow of respect, or a heart shaped text from one mind to another.

I never liked listening to pompous, showy prayers spoken out loud in the churches I grew up attending. Even as a child, it was obvious to me that the majority of those prayers were about the ego of the one speaking.  The one praying wanted others to see how much of the Bible he knew by heart.  If the child wasn’t impressed, then there probably wasn’t much unconditional love attached to the prayer.

As a child and as an adult, I was moved not only by authentic prayers, but authentic deeds. I was always motivated and moved by those who transformed pain into a mission to help others.  Robbins is a good example of that kind of mission.

Can we pray for angels to assist in certain situations?  I know we can and should pray for their assistance.  At different times in my life, I’ve been gifted the sight to see how many angels are around us all, and there are so many of them.  To not call on angels is to miss out on a great resource.  My angels were assistants in my surgery, and angels are available to us in dramatic situations and ordinary situations where we sometimes struggle.  The medical medium suggests calling on specific angels for specific needs.

Why are some prayers answered and not others? Everyone struggles with this question, and the angels say to simply not struggle.  When you are in a state of love, you are doing great things for your own physiology and psychology.  The outcome is not as important as the act of being in a state of love and connection like a flower blooming.  Reach for the sun, reach for your own nourishment, and shine. Be aware of the process of life, and send great love into the world.

Certainly, studies have proven that meditation and prayer can reduce crime when enough people are consistently anchoring that kind of peace in the world.  You may not immediately see your prayer’s effects, but some tragedies might be avoided because of the authentic, loving prayers you pray.  Light may dawn in the lives of those who would not have otherwise awakened.

Problems with Manifestation Theories

world

Manifestation:  I’ve always had some trouble with the idea of manifestation.  Though I know manifestation of things that we want is possible with some effort and in the right state of mind, I also know that we live in a chaotic world and bump up against the free will of others.  Surely, we are not manifesting everything in our lives.

One of the most damaging ideas that ran through my head after my rape was the thought that somehow, I had manifested this occurrence.  That thought made me feel great hopelessness and despair, and I lost a lot of my connection to a loving, abundant God because of manifestation theories.

A better explanation is that rape is common in the U.S. and other countries and women are widely abused around the world.  I’m a woman and live in that world.  Even other women, like my roommate at the time when I was raped, are systematically taught to victim blame and dislike other women, especially the ones who shine.  Many times as women, we even blame ourselves before looking outward at the problem that needs to be addressed in society.

I’m also not sure that I came into the world with a soul contract to experience rape, but if I did then my purpose surely must be to bring more awareness and healing to this problem. If believing you have a soul contract brings you to a point of greater forgiveness, then that theory might benefit you.  What I felt on the other side during my NDE is that pain is simply not important and not what we take with us.  Our mission is one of love and remembering our connection to the divine, and what we encounter here is not planned out in full before birth or when coming back after a NDE.

What I am certain of is that what defines our soul is how we react to the situations of our life and the world.  When we respond with forgiveness, we create a better life for ourselves.

Possibly if I never left my room at night, never interacted with the world in friendly open ways, married early, stayed behind my husband in supporting roles, never traveled alone, never flirted, never wore form-fitting clothes, never insisted on equal pay, never called men out on sexism, never voiced an opinion different from a man, never earned a wonderful education maybe I wouldn’t have been raped or targeted by a stalker.

But, there is still a chance that I would have been abused by my husband and not have the power or funds to leave him.  There is still a chance that a neighbor, acquaintance, stranger, or friend might have raped me in my house as I hid from the world, and what a tragedy that would be to lose out on the whole world because of fear.

Women deserve to walk through this world safely, and we can only do this if rape culture changes.

I treasure my moments of travel around the world and all that I learned about other cultures.  On a basic level, I remember reading newspapers from Australia years ago and realizing how nationalistic and myopic our focus is in the U.S.  Seeing the U.S. from a foreigner’s perspective is eye-opening.

I don’t tie all the wonderful memories I’ve experienced as a free, curious soul to the trauma I’ve experienced.  I see trauma as simply an unfortunate part of living in this world.  What are we going to do about it is the bigger question?

I hope that we are going to transform this darkness with our love, forgiveness, and instance on change.

feministmayaangelou

I Stand for Love, Compassion, Unity, and Community

expectmyresistance

I can no longer abide venom or anger on either side politically.  I will not let fear and outrage enter my body when I read the news or social media posts.  I will no longer label anyone as racist, sexist, xenophobic, nationalistic, ignorant, or ill-informed. I will not shame or alienate anyone on social media.  I will look at every human being on the face of the earth as my brother and sister, and I will do what I have done my entire career.  I will embody light and truth.  I will educate and speak my truth from a place of love and light no matter what kind of darkness I encounter in this world.

As Martin Luther King stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

No Fear:  I will be a teacher with a microphone and megaphone in our world so that I can reach beyond the walls of my classrooms.  Though I might take you to church in a few lectures, you will know that I respect you and want the best for you.  I don’t want you to live in fear of others, so I will not live in fear of you.

What do I stand for?  I stand for love, deep compassion, empathy, unity, community, wellness, equality, child-like joy, authenticity, freedom, passion, intellectual curiosity, truth, beauty, safety, and healing.

I stand for reverence and deep honor of Mother Earth so that we all might have clean air, water, unpolluted food, and organic, affordable produce.  The Native Americans have much to teach us, and I stand with Standing Rock.

I stand for taking care of all life from the plants we eat to the darling kids in Head Start programs to the college students graduating and entering the work force to the retirees.  I honor the accomplishments and beauty of disabled children as much as the star athletes. I love the kids from the country as much as I love the immigrants who just arrived on our shores and at our airports. I love them all, and I want you to see the light and divinity in everyone.  Though I am more of a Democrat than a Republican, I am mostly an independent lightworker.

I will speak loudly for all the young women who come through my classrooms to show them that sexism, misogyny, and narcissism will not crush them or their dreams.  I speak to show certain males that certain behaviors of our president will not be normalized.  For example, this man at a Pensacola Women’s March needs reeducation.  Don’t turn away from him.  Don’t criticize women for marching.  Ask the women why they marched, and keep this man’s image in your mind because he exists and needs a transformation whether he is a prankster, a rapist, or a future shooter.

rape

I will write letters, march, and do whatever is necessary for all the students I have known who have faced staggering health issues and deserve health care no matter their economic background, sex, or mental illness.

After all, I might not have died on that operating table had I gone into surgery earlier, and I would have gone into surgery earlier if I had health insurance. I overheard a nurse confirm this.  I suffered so that others might have an easier path.  My gay and lesbian friends fought for equality because they know and I know that no loving couple should ever fear their loved ones will be torn from their grasp.

I love all my students, and I speak in praise of all of my students including Christian gay, white males; brilliant, teenage Muslim girls who want to be doctors; kind, respectful, smart children of undocumented workers; Jewish poets; single mothers of all races and nationalities, veterans who are conservative and veterans who are liberal.  I allow every voice to speak and write their truths.  My classroom is a classroom of tolerance and free-speech.  I hang a flag on my wall because my father was a veteran.  I don’t burn flags, but I burn fake news to the ground in this post-truth reality; I know he’d be proud.

fact-check

Pro-Life and Pro-Innocence:  I will shout into my microphone all the love I have in my heart for the many young men and women I’ve met in my lifetime. I want to protect all of the elementary, junior high, high school, and college students.  I want to protect the six-year-old girl who is molested and doesn’t have the voice to tell her family what happened as much as I want to protect the fourteen-year-old teenager who wore a miniskirt to her first party and was raped by three boys.  Though I care about the boys who raped her, I want them to face appropriate consequences for their actions.  I want to live in a world where men and boys see that violence and destruction of innocence will not be tolerated.

More than that, I want men and boys to honor women and to protect the innocence of life around them.  We have to first acknowledge that there is a problem with misogyny and racism because these attitudes lead to violence.   Men who are protectors are worth their weight in gold.
cherokee

I pray for the fifteen-year-old girl who was raped by her father while her mother only asked him to pay for their daughter’s counseling. I wish that man had served time for such a grave offense and was not allowed around other teenagers without supervision.  I wish that this young woman knew her true value and brilliance.  I wish that she didn’t feel that she had to drown her trauma in drugs and alcohol, only to be revictimzed by many men.

My personal suffering has become a thread tying me to countless other survivors so that I might show them how to heal a little quicker than I healed. If you have one-fourth the compassion that I have, you too would hold this young woman in your heart whether she chose to get an abortion or to have a child or made both choices at different times.  She is one of the many lives that I serve and honor.

I will shout into my megaphone because I care for the women in their twenties who were raped by exes, beat up by boyfriends, or assaulted by friends of the family.  I want better community services for students I have known who were assaulted by family members and then ended up on the streets.  They deserve a chance at success, and I do my best to make sure they get that chance.  I want better services for all the veterans who have come through my classrooms.  I care about all the young men who were raped by another man when they were only five, seven, or eight.  These are similar stories to the stories of countless students of mine, and I pray for them every day.

I stand at my microphone for the lives of all the many children waiting to be adopted in this country and other countries.  I cry for my fellow human beings as much as I cry for animals in shelters.  I pray for the children enslaved in human trafficking and the children starving to death or injured from the destruction of war and violence.  If we can work together to create a world free from abuse, rape, human trafficking, war, hunger, and violence, we can also start creating amazing communities where single women can go and receive free health care and education during their pregnancies.  When all children are safe and loved, we will be living in a pro-life world.

I will continue to broadcast my message about how important it is to end human trafficking, war, hunger, and all abuse of innocence because we have real work cut out for us.  And in the face of this light and love, if you are still focused on birth and fetuses, I ask you to please adopt children who are here right now, dying for your love.  Sign up to foster children who need you.  Make that financial sacrifice.

If enough of you do this in mass, abortion rates will decrease.  Please realize that most men, even highly conservative ones, will chuckle and admit that if they could get pregnant after a one night stand or night when they drank too much, they would want the abortion pill available over the counter.  Their tone changes when they consider abortion and women’s rights.  This issue is obviously about control over women, and I will shout repeatedly that men would not tolerate this kind of control over their bodies and lives. I will say this on loop this until it begins to sink in to your consciousness.

pro-birth

I will get out my microphone and remind you to put pressure on all work environments to provide free health care and day care, so that abortion rates will go down.  This will be a much better, loving way to address the abortion issue.  I am for the success of women as much as for the success of men.  One does not cancel out the other.  It never has.  As long as women are abused, assaulted, raped, and stalked at alarming rates, we need to focus on their protection.

I live to protect the innocent and to heal the wounded.  That is the meaning of my life.  Stand in my way of working to heal this world, and I will gather a crowd of loving human beings together, and we will counter all hate and darkness with a brilliant light that cannot be denied. God bless the marches!   God bless our right to protest with love.  God bless us all in every country and every place in this world.  I’m here to make the world great in a way that it never has been and that starts with changing the minds of many of my fellow Americans.

I realize this article probably hasn’t reached who it needs to reach, but I am just now getting warmed up.  Give me a chance, and give love a chance.

dalilamafeminist

  •  Special thanks to spiritual teachers like Marianne Williamson and Matt Kahn for reminding me to focus on love and what I stand for and not give in to fear.

Bringing the Invisible into the Visible World:  Healing the Divine Feminine and Becoming a Womb Keeper

butterfly2

Earlier this week, I began the journey to become a Womb Keeper after participating in a Munay-Ki Shamanic Rite.  This powerful rite for women allows for generations of misaligned energy stored in the womb to be released and cleared, benefiting her personally and the collective of women.  If you are a woman interested in healing the divine feminine energies, you can most likely find a practitioner in your area at this link.

Ceremony and Rituals: Personally, I love ceremony and rituals.  Though I was raised in evangelical churches, I enjoyed attending mass with my grandmother.  I loved kneeling, chanting, and playing with her rosaries.  I loved reading about all the different saints, and I especially loved Mother Mary.  I was born a feminist and hungered for a deity or saint who resembled me as a female.  I longed for holiness and sacredness to be seen in women, not simply because women could be wives and of service to their husbands and sacrifice themselves for their children.  I longed to see women’s power, strength, and intuitive abilities celebrated openly.

Feminism: I hoped to see women’s ideas and creativity openly greeted and supported by men in loving, affirming ways.  I didn’t want to experience a relationship as a basic exchange of “I work long hours to pay for this house so you can stay home with the kids.”  That idea bored the crap out of me the first time I heard it, and I felt lucky to be born in the 70’s and to come of age during the third wave of feminism.  I was born to work, and equal pay for equal work made complete sense to me.  I didn’t want a traditional life, and when I was teenager I thought the world outside of my small town would soon be my oyster.

I entered college as an agnostic, mainly because I was disgusted by the political and judgmental views of churches.  My life as an agnostic only lasted a few years because a near-death experience my senior year of college profoundly changed my spiritual set-point. Soon after my NDE, I incorporated prayer rituals, meditation rituals, shamanic rituals, lucid dreaming rituals, and drumming rituals into my life.  Though I went to some church events and gatherings, largely I was buoyed by my own private sense of worship which incorporated various traditions.

By the time I turned thirty, I had several battle scars from being a woman in my culture.  I encountered sexist professors, sexist customers, sexist bosses, sexist police officers, sexist therapists, sexist social workers, and sexist co-workers.  I dealt with a stalker, a harasser,   a rapist, and an abusive ex-husband.  With experiences like this, I fit in perfectly in the world of third wave feminism.  I am by no means male bashing.  I am telling the truth of my life.  These are men I encountered in society.  I also experienced a range of guy friends from cool work buddies to very dear friends who were deep thinkers, sensitive, supportive, and dependable.  I had bosses who treated me with respect, and one boss from California who was incredibly fair and treated me with the same respect he treated male employees.  However, by the end of my twenties, I viewed feminism differently than I viewed it as a teenager, and I felt exhausted by what I’d encountered in the world.

Teaching:  I’m grateful for experiences I’ve had as a teacher and as a professor.  As soon as the classroom door closes, I am in control of the flow of information and the focus of our time together.  Though teachers and professors might complain about the lack of respect students have for authority figures, there is still a great deal of respect that students give teachers and professors.  For the most part, students listen politely and ask questions.  Most students want good grades, and many are more than willing to open their minds and hearts to new ideas simply for the joy of learning.  Some students may disagree with a professor’s views, but even these students must learn how to find valid sources and learn the etiquette of creating rational appeals and grounded arguments free of logical fallacies and hateful rhetoric.

A few older, non-traditional male college students let me know at the end of certain semesters that I turned them into feminists.  I wanted to chuckle because these students were far from becoming feminists.  However, I congratulated them for opening their minds to new perspectives and becoming better at potentially leading a diverse work-force made up of a lot of women.  For a while, I’ve lived in a bubble of academia, and I didn’t realize until this election how much hatred for women still flows through society.  This hatred is found in both men and women, and the election showed us how much work we must do as a society to heal the divide between masculine and feminine power and how each energy should be viewed as equal and important.  Certainly, the toxic elements of masculinity need to be reeducated in society and taught tolerance, connection to others, and equanimity.   Otherwise, jails will continue to grow, and I would rather see college campuses expand.

However, traditional academia is losing some of its luster for me.  I am longing for more ritual and more of a connection to nature.  Some tie to the ancient past always seemed to flow through me and nature solidifies this bond.  I would love to teach classes in open fields without technology.  Any time I bring students to nature, their faces light up and the learning experience becomes more of a memorable experience.  I have always needed the beauty, wisdom, strength, and common sense of nature as a teacher.  I still need nature as my teacher, and many others do as well.  Even if they do not know this about themselves, they might be over-medicated, bored, angry, sad, and deeply unaware that time in nature is a better prescription than many actual prescriptions.

The Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine:  It is now more important than ever that women and men no longer look at each other as less than or more than the other.  The energies of the divine masculine and divine feminine are within each of us, and we must learn how to balance these energies within ourselves with love, respect, and honor. The Munay-Ki Shamanic Rite is not the only way for women to honor their creativity and power and come together in solidarity, but it a beautiful, healing way to release negativity and reside in a beautiful world of your creation.

I hope that all women might heal and find healing in ways that make sense to them personally.  I hope that all men might heal in ways that make sense to them.  May we all, male and female, create more grounded ways for the divine masculine and divine feminine energies to balance within us and in the world.  May our expressions be ones of balance, love, and honor.

butterfly

 

 

Authentic Leadership and The Divine Feminine

priestess

On Being Authentic: Thank goodness for spiritual leaders like Marianne Williamson.  Her honesty about her daily struggles, her political beliefs, and her life is encouraging.  She doesn’t claim to be a fully enlightened being.  She simply shares her truth, and this makes her a highly effective leader.  Though people with “all the answers” might be comforting for a little while, they are eventually dis-empowering.  To me, something seems off when spiritual leaders cast everything in a positive light and do not share their personal struggles or their honest opinions.  For example, if a spiritual leader is an American, perhaps he or she should honestly share whether he or she cast a vote for Clinton, Trump, or a third party.  Maybe some spiritual leaders stayed home and ate ice cream and that would be worth reporting as well.  I enjoy knowing what people honestly think, not in order to be manipulated by their thought process but to know how their mind works.

Some spiritual teachers might want to draw in the biggest crowd, so they do not implicitly state where they stand and offer encouragement after the election results to help us on our journeys.  Though encouragement and empowerment is awesome, I find this stance a little “tricky” or “sneaky.”  I prefer a blatant honesty about one’s journey.  From the beginning, I have known that my expressions will offend some people, speak to others, and mean a great deal to others, but the more authentic I am, the more there is a chance for someone to recognize me as a voice that resonates with their own voice or offers a new perspective.  In a short while, I’ve tasted the hatred that some men have for women who differ politically or spiritually from their own beliefs, but I’ve also heard from many kind men and women who understand my journey.  I teach tolerance for various viewpoints in the classroom, and this type of tolerance is desperately needed in our American culture. I see this all too clearly now.

Divine Feminine:  I think of Marianne Williamson as the priestess archetype of the Divine Feminine, an archetype that is the least understood in our patriarchal culture which all too often subjugates women’s spirituality or recasts natural/mystical practices as “evil.”  Recently, I pulled A Woman’s Worth off my bookshelf and remembered reading it as a young woman in my twenties.  I thought I would be a lot farther along the path by now.  I had no idea I would face what I’ve had to face and overcome in this lifetime.  I also thought I would see a lot more female leaders and examples of the Divine Feminine in our culture than we currently see, but perhaps many of these women are, like me, just now finding their voices.

Several quotes from A Woman’s Worth stood out to me because all too often in my professional and personal life I’ve observed both men and women weigh in heavily and negatively about women as leaders.  For every priest archetype, there is a priestess counterpart.  For every warrior, there is a warrioress counterpart.  And God, that beautiful, all-loving force, that creative center of life is also found in the Goddess.  Our language and history may favor the masculine versions of these archetypes, but the divine feminine is real, valid, and beautiful.  These energies are found in both men and women, so it is to all of our benefits to recognize the Divine Feminine.

Women’s Voices:  The idea of women’s voices mattering as much as men’s voices is of great importance to me, not only for myself but for the thousands of women I have known as a teacher and professor.  I have read their inner-most thoughts, their research, and their responses to life and literature.  Their voices deserve equal space in society.   Williamson’s quote about female power still rings true more than twenty years after its publication date.

“Female power transcends what are known politically as women’s issues.  Female power has to do with women taking an active part in the conversation—whether in the public arena or at the dinner table—and having the same emotional space in which to do so as men.  It means women not having to fear punishment of any kind.  It means women not having to worry that we’ll be considered unfeminine if we speak up.  It means women really coming out to play and getting support for our playing—from men as well as from women….We will not be free until we can speak our minds and our hearts without having to worry that men will crucify us, women will crucify us, the press will crucify us, or our children will be ashamed.”A Woman Worth

Going forward, may we all pay closer attention to women’s voices and give these voices the same reverence, the same excuses, and the same grace we grant men.  Instead of calling a woman an “angry feminist,” try calling her a passionate voice advocating for basic, decent respect for all people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, political beliefs, or religious beliefs.  Try calling her strong and brave.

virago

Love Letter from God

stars

Dear Everyone,

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

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

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

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

your goodness, and your sweetness.

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

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

 

I’m sorry that you were born with a sensitivity

that should have been protected, a gorgeous sensitivity

that should have been cultivated and honored

but instead was sent harsh words, gaslighted, ignored,

degraded, and abused.  Your trusting nature and openness

was used against you time and time again,

but you met the world like an open flower,

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

they called you damaged, as if you were

the one who did this to yourself.

 

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

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

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

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

and all the moments afterwards that you carried

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

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

I stayed with you and observed everything.

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

wants to continue no matter the amount of trauma.

When your world was turned to rubble by fire

and you had only a handful of food,

I was the hand and I was the food.

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

 

When people hated you for your religion,

the way you worshiped, your politics,

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

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

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

I was never sorry to know you intimately.

I love you without reserve.

 

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

I’m amazed by your capacity for love and grateful

for all the times you sent swirling,

beautiful energy in my direction.

 

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

I see the love you give and remember it.

This is all that I remember.

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

exponentially always expanding, infinite in potential.

I love you and want to give you complete peace,

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

© 2016 by Tricia Barker

flower

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

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

birds

My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformationis available for pre-order.  It is a #1 new release in several categories.  I would love your support of a pre-order.  My aim is to help make near-death experiences more mainstream.

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

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

Changing Rape Culture:  In the future, let’s hope more men are caught on tape calling other men out on bad behavior and anchoring a better, safer world for women, other men, boys, and girls, not bragging about assault. At the very least, these men won’t lose as many of their jobs, clients, friends, family members, and elections if they start behaving differently.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

venus

My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformationis available for pre-order.  It is a #1 new release in several categories.  I would love your support of a pre-order.  My aim is to help make near-death experiences more mainstream.

We should live in a world where women are valued at the most basic level by all men.  I hate reminders that we don’t live in that world.  I create safe spaces.  I teach empathy. This is what I do, and then I see overflowing hatred in our world and I’m shocked for a few moments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

maine

Venus at Thunder Bay   

Moonlight scattered across the dark blue waves,

swelling, turning turquoise, breaking,

becoming foam the color of a seagull’s underbelly.

 

A woman, wearing a silver, flowing shift

sat meditating on a small cliff above us.

When she opened her eyes, she saw my lover

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

Her smile widened with appreciation,

and she winked at me as she shook out

her long, Venusian curls.

 

I looked at my lover through her perspective,

noticing his balance and grace, the shiny lines

of energy flying out of the ends of his hair

and fingertips. I watched him and watched

the waves, knowing I would need to remember

this striking moment in a year of great love

as a safeguard against time, loss, and tragedy.

© 1995 by Tricia Barker

 

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

horse

Rhiannon Rides

Last week, I traded my Quarter horse

for a snow white Arabian mare.

She understands my dreams and desire for peaceful speed.

Each morning, I bury my head in her thick mane

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

Then, we are off.

 

Nothing holds me back anymore.

The wind and my voice are the same.

My desires and the sunlight blend together

making my day wavy and psychedelic

without any undesirable side effects.

 

I don’t need another human being.

I don’t need anything other than sustenance

and to flow through illumined green pastures.

I would’ve been content without him.

 

There was always a him somewhere behind me

who I paid little attention.  I could’ve spent

my life alone, perfectly content with my horse,

my journeys, my books, and my Netflix queue.

 

Some people brag like this, but I mean this:

I wanted and needed no one, and that trait

has always made me irresistible.

 

I’ve watched girls fight over princes

and players and laughed at such foolishness.

What a waste of time to want someone who will

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

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

a moment of how good it feels to treasure themselves

more than anything or anyone else.

 

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

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

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

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

in facts, unequivocal truths, and a steady gaze,

not a predatory gaze, just a gaze from a man

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

wishing on stars and throwing coins in fountains,

no longer a silly romantic writing love letters

because he has nothing else to give.

 

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

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

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

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

He said it directly and truthfully,

and for that, I stopped.

© 2010 by Tricia Barker

 

The Golden Eagle’s Tribute to Flowing Danu

From the eye of an eagle, a river

is healing force through the land,

a beautiful divider,

a reminder of the passage of time

and the constant change of life.

 

Beneath his sky filled journey,

the blue reflects the sun and all of life rests

in a bubble of beauty  called his eye.

 

The eagle knows the goddess as God.

He accepts her wisdom and all the wealth

she gives to those who seek her.

His heart doesn’t yearn for more.

 

With each beat, the young eagle is certain

of his connection to the light of the land

and the divine light beyond the land.

 

He knows there are no riddles to unravel,

no spells to learn,

no necessary witchcraft.

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

and the river which fills his wingspan

with gratitude and love.

© 2014 by Tricia Barker

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

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

sara

Wise Sarasvati

Golden waves of light descend from the heavens

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

 

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

Mention a small difficulty in your life

and observe the reactions of others. Connect with those

who draw near you with empathy. Like butterflies,

dart quickly from harm but do so lightly,

knowing your essential nature can never be injured

and resides in a realm beyond the physical.

Learn whose beaming smiles are insincere,

whose compliments manipulate,

whose presence will drain your energy

or add to your life force.

 

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

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

inside of you. There is freedom in truth

and truth in a love that is free as wind blowing

across the earth, free as the spirit you will become

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

© 2016 by Tricia Barker

persephone

Persephone’s Darner

Persephone is gone in the winter,

and Demeter blames herself,

refusing to eat.

The effort of movement

from the bathroom to the bedroom

is strenuous,

and all the Kamut flour

has gone to hell in her cabinets.

 

To love someone beyond control is torture.

 

Memories of her small, delicate

daughter replay in her mind

and in the ether.

 

Persephone’s light body bends and jumps

in a luminous meadow.

She is surrounded by friendly dragonflies

(Zigzag Darners, Spine-crowned Clubtails

Fine-lined Emeralds, Faded Pennants).

 

This child could be any child

with a step light and happy enough

to enter the world of wings.

 

When Hades stopped his truck beside her,

forcing her in and ending her childhood,

surely at least one Phantom Darner steeled his airy body

with dragon-like determination,

staying beside Persephone

as a witness,

strong enough to migrate

down to the underworld.

© 2000 by Tricia Barker

phantom-darner

Patient Euzulie

I’ve got time spent in luxury,

and I know how to wait pleasantly

for you to see what I have always known—

life is overflowing with sensual delights and blessings.

 

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

and another whose emotions run deep as ocean waters.

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

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

 

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

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

We text each other pieces of our red hearts and know

that the meaning will last long beyond the symbol.

 

I hardly remember the darkness,

separation, or pain, the nights when my heart

was a prison for a howling wolf.

I am the fire now.  I am love,

scorching love.

© 2011 by Tricia Barker

love