Self-Love and Healing


The journey of life is a beautiful and strange one, filled with joy and loss.  The trick might be to see these moments as simply part of the whole of our existence.   A focus on our spiritual purpose balances out these experiences.

Self-Love: I’ve recently started blogging for The Relationship Blogger.  In this post, I talk about how one of the lessons from my NDE was how to become more of my best friend through the journey of this life no matter what I survived.

Without self-love, there is manipulation and drama in relationships.   However, self-love grants us peace that no grasping at satisfaction will ever bring.  That feeling of being o.k. as you are is priceless.

Healing: The manuscript that I recently completed has a small portion which talks about learning to parent the wounded inner child inside of me.  Wounds can’t be wished away or pushed aside; they will continue to crop up and get triggered if you don’t actively work to release and heal them.  My strongest desire for young people is that they work on family of origin wounds and release these patterns early in life before these patterns get played out in various ways.

It would be amazing to see larger groups of college students open to the potential of energetic healing, as well as traditional forms of healing through churches, counseling, programs of recovery, mentorship programs, and success/inspirational workshops. Relationships are vital and important to everyone, and some college classes like sociology and psychology offer helpful information to students about healing and transformation.  However, healing sometimes comes from having a loving focus on oneself and an intent to heal.   Every human being is different and the modalities for healing are numerous–everything from nutritional therapy, functional medicine, sound healing, energetic healing, etc.

After my NDE, I am particularly sensitive to energy.  I’m a fan and connoisseur of energy work. Because of this, I’ve decided to share the names of those whose work I have tried and deeply benefited from. I recently had an amazing session with Tara Rose .  I’ve worked with shamans and had affirming, healing sessions.  However, something about this session with Tara blew me away.  I’m always looking for ways to bring more of the divine light into my life, and her session encouraged and greatly facilitated that experience.  The healing work focused on a major wound in my life, and I still feel certain energetic changes many days later.  If you try a session with her, I would love it if you let her know that I recommended you.

May each of you love and take great care of your inner child.  I know mine better now that I have ever known her.  Get to know yours, and be playful about the process.  One of the lessons from my NDE was to remind people to be like a little child.  Find a way to deeply enjoy life and be in the moment.

My inner child dances under the stars. She sends her wishes to the moon when it is full, and watches those wishes magically descend into her life. She has unexpected, divine messages and intellectual breakthroughs. She finds peace and healing in the embrace of nature. She is amused by creative, fun moments, and powerful, intuitive realizations. She feels the love and healing energy of angels and archangels all around her. The part of this inner child that is in touch with the light will never die.  

The part of you that is in touch with the light will also never die.  There is healing in remembering this truth.

As Tara Rose reminds us on her website,  a true healer shows us our own capacity to heal and transform our lives, and love is always the greatest transformer.  I wish everyone much healing and happiness no matter where your journey might be leading you.





Recent Interview and A Few Thoughts about Prayer

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.

Forgive Everything with Every Breath You Take


For fans of healing geometry, here is a link to an artist, Ann DeRulle, who works in this medium. 

Forgiveness:  Many spiritual teachers talk about the necessity of forgiveness.  The sooner we can get through the stages of grief and get to forgiveness, the better of our inner worlds become.  I know we don’t take pain and trauma with us when we die.  I know it is washed away.  Bringing the light of the heavens, the love of the heavens into our own hearts to heal all that we have experienced is important.

In a sense, this kind of focus does bring more success into one’s life.  Although there is a basic truth to manifestation, the theory doesn’t explain everything about living in this complex, unpredictable world.  However, a positive focus, no matter one’s difficulties, makes for an easier journey.

The Now:  My near-death experience taught me to live in the moment and treasure each moment.  Forgiveness can be accessed quicker simply by switching one’s focus to all that is beautiful about the world whether this is a meal with friends or family or a walk in a beautiful park during your favorite season of the year.

To deeply access a place of forgiveness takes courage; forgiveness doesn’t mean that you continue to hang around people who harm you.  Forgiveness simply means you choose to love and appreciate yourself and your life, no matter what occurs before, behind, or beside you.  You are the embodiment of love.

Try to remember that when you are near death, you don’t want to yell at those who have hurt, shocked, abandoned, abused you, or otherwise wronged you.  Instead, you want to be surrounded by the people who love you.  You want to tell everyone you love how much you love them and how much you want only goodness and happiness for them.  And when you die, love is what you take with you.

The lesson you must learn during your earthly experience is to refuse to populate your mind with the people who have wronged you.  This kind of focus can rob of you of precious time and health.  Forgiveness of others grants you a wonderful, blissful life.

Your forgiveness lets others fly free, and most of all puts you in touch with the love of heavens.  Your hope that others might live better lives works to create a better world.

Our legacy eventually becomes how much we were able to love and forgive despite the conditions of this world.  So, forgive it all as if every breath might be the last one.

Death and Dying:  Even those who have the power to heal both themselves and others will eventually die.  We all die.  We don’t necessarily manifest death.  Death is just part of life.  Nature teaches us this.  You’re not losing the game by leaving the world early.  No one is losing by dying; it is just part of the life experience.

You are only losing out on the joy of life when you refuse to love deeply and forgive everything.  However, even if or when you are consumed by bitterness, try to remember that you are loved more than you can imagine. This might open your heart to forgive others.

A few years after my NDE, I remember meeting an older gentleman who had also recently experienced a NDE.  He decided to sell everything, retire, and live way out in the country in Montana.  His family freaked out and kept asking him what he would do if he had a heart attack out in the middle of nowhere.  He replied, “After making the 911 call, I would simply walk out into my gorgeous backyard, lie back on the ground, look up at the stars or the clouds, and send my love to this earth and everyone in it.  If I died there, I can’t think of a better way to go.”

I can’t think of a better way to go either.  Since you will probably send your love to everyone in the end, you might as well send your love to everyone in every moment of your life.


This art piece by Ann DeRulle is called Ascended.

Messages from My NDE

I hope these seven messages are inspirational.  It is important to focus on the good we can do in the world and work to create a world with more love and compassion for ourselves and others; most NDEs teach us this truth. This video discusses a few important messages from my NDE, but here is the abbreviated version.

Message #1: Be Open to Communication and Assistance From the Other Side

Our world does not celebrate the gifts of intuition and being right-brained as often as it celebrates the left-brain types of accomplishments.  However, the right brain is a lovely place to live.  Guided meditations might be one way to open more to imagination and connection.  Stilling the mind through mindfulness meditations might facilitate more receptivity.  The realm between sleep and waking can be a place to access messages as well.  However, these activities are not necessary for communicating with angels and guides.

These are simply possible ways to open your mind to divine communication.  Taking a walk might be a way to open to guidance.   Lorna Byrne says to simply ASK for communication from angels, and Ann Albers gives a beautiful overview of connecting with guides and angels in this article.

Message #2:  Be of Service to Others and Angels Might Work Through You

I wrote a post about how being of service is one way out of depression.  It is not the only way, but simply one part of shifting one’s focus off all that is wrong with one’s life to what can be done to help others. In serving others, our hearts open to the world.  During my NDE, I saw how powerful it was to help others and realized that the beauty we create in the lives of others is one of the main memories we take with us.

Message #3: Be Open to Others and Don’t Judge

During my NDE, I understood that many people were just like me.  They were doing their best, struggling to make sense of their lives, and trying to survive.  I saw that they needed as much grace and compassion as I was given in the afterlife.  Consider many different possibilities when interacting with others.  For example, those with poor social skills might have a disability or be suffering from an anxiety disorder.  Offer as much mercy and kindness to people as possible.

We are not that different; we are all more similar than we think.  During my NDE, I saw clearly how my judgments prevented me from knowing lovely, spiritual people in my vicinity.  Be open to kind people especially. However, personal boundaries and self-protection/love is a theme I come back to often. Abusers in spiritual communities and other areas of life can trespass on the boundaries of very loving, open people.  Love and openness given to others must be balanced with protection and love for the self.

Message #3:  Go to Nature

I made a recent post about this idea and believe that nature is healing, calming, and important for our mental health. Additionally, many people who experience an awakening have a greater awareness of the energy of certain foods and the importance of treating our bodies like temples.  I have found a lot of healing at different times in my life from a diet focusing largely on fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.

My grandmother, who lived in the country, picked fresh beans and vegetables from her garden and often said, “Food tastes best when the sunlight is still in it.” She had a good point!  Not many of us have access to food that fresh, but look for possibilities to eat the freshest possible foods.  Spend time enjoying the beauty of nature; it will reset your energy level and often erase your worries.

Message #4:  Be Like a Little Child

In Matthew 18:3 Jesus says, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you change and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

It is easier to access the love of God with an open, trusting heart.  Children do this more effortlessly than adults.  Look for ways to be pure of heart and gleeful about your connection to the divine.  Greet your life with immense gratitude.  On a basic level, NDErs will always know the fragility of this life and how easily our lives can be ripped from our grasp.  We appreciate being alive, but you don’t have to have an NDE to be grateful, joyful, and peaceful.

Message #5: You Are Loved and You Are the Light

Before my NDE, I lived in an almost constant state of worry and fear.  I survived a lot, but this fear was not improving my life in any way; rather, it was destroying my well-being. The immediate knowledge of the immense love of God  during my NDE altered my perception of reality. It is important to know that fear can be dismantled and forgotten.  Remembering our connection to unconditional love can ease much of the strain of this life.

Message #6:  Be Good to Yourself and Others

This is a golden rule of most religions.  To me, goodness is more than simply doing no harm.  Goodness is making the world around you brighter, healthier, and a more positive experience for others.

Message #7:  Live a Purposeful Life

The last part of my NDE showed me that I needed to return to earth and teach.  You do not have to be a teacher to live a purposeful life. You do not have to have a NDE to know your life purpose.  You only need to infuse your actions with goodness and blessings for others with whatever it is you do in this world.

Years ago, I read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.   If there is a quote from that book that sums up my major life lessons, it must be this one: “Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you. Don’t waste your pain; use it to help others.” ― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for


Additional Lessons From My NDE:  Disconnection, Doing Your Best, and Adding Goodness to the World


Free yourself from the psychological structure of society, which is to free yourself from the essence of conflict.  –Jiddu Krishnamurti

Disconnection: There’s no disconnection like real disconnection.  Leaving the body behind during my near-death experience gave me a perspective that I never imagined possible as an agnostic.  I carried none of my wounds to other side.  I was free as a bird, curious as a child, and smart as a dolphin outside of my body.

My consciousness survived, but I no longer had a deep, emotional, psychological connection to this human form.  That alone healed my wounds.  All the chattering of the mind, the repeating of offenses of others, and the storyline we all cling to evaporated instantly.

A Different Perspective:  I try to remember that perspective as I journey through life.  Whenever I am caught up in the drama of “she said this, he did this, and then they all did this,” I take a break and wonder what those situations will look like or if they will matter at all on my death bed.

I wonder if those situations will materialize during my life review.  If I was the one who was wronged, these situations probably won’t be in my life review.  The beauty and compassion of God is stunning and deeply loving.  God doesn’t replay the things that harmed us.  We do that to ourselves countless times while in form, but part of freedom is loving yourself enough to begin untangling and disconnecting from your wounds.

Goodness: I know that on the other side, I will look at my life to see if I eventually used the situations of my life to be better to others.  Did I continue to increase my ability to do good in this world no matter how people treated me?   Did I find more ways to be joyful, more ways to be whole, more ways to be lighthearted and uplift others? Did I make my interactions about healing and helping others?  Did I add goodness to the world?

Did I deeply enjoy my time on this earth?  Did I play like a child?  How often did I stand in wonder and awe at the beauty of nature?  Did I love as often as I could, even if that love was love for myself and a bird flying by me?  Did I use my intuition, my wisdom, my bravery, and my connection to the other side?  Did I love more than I thought I could when I first began this journey?

Did I retain some of my innocence?  Did I try to fashion myself as the hero of a situation with words, false and true, or did I simply do what is right and true?  Did I leave when I should leave?  Stay when I should stay? Did I climb to the top of a mountain, breathe deeply, and pull in a great stream of light from the heavens and send that light to every human being on the planet?

Did I do my best?  Did you do your best?

If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation. — Jiddu Krishnamurti

The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed. Jiddu Krishnamurti



Remind Them to Go to Nature–A Command From the Heavens


At the end of my life-review, I ended up in a vividly green, lush, heavenly landscape. Much like my spirit body felt eternal, the grass, trees, and the natural landscape of heaven appeared deeply and completely alive without a hint of desecration.  I wondered if this is how beautiful nature could be if we lived in greater balance.

There is healing potential in nature.  I have known this at various times even before my near-death experience, but to hear the command, Remind them to go to nature as a direct message from the heavens has stayed with me.

Great thinkers like Einstein have recommended nature as a way to deepen our peace and awareness saying, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” And, great poets like Whitman have extolled the power of nature as well saying, “After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on – have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear – what remains? Nature remains.”

I remind my college students to eat as many whole foods, especially raw fruits and vegetables, as possible.  I remind them to take breaks and breathe deeply by the river.  I take each of my classes outside to meditate at least once a semester, but there is more to the importance of this statement. We all need reminders to live closer to the natural rhythms and wisdom of nature.

Most of us need more time with our feet in the earth.  My student’s faces look more relaxed and happy even after a short meditation outdoors.  Though some of them might think meditation outdoors is a waste of time or a way to get out of lecture, I know that meditation in nature is a focus on health and a focus on decreasing their stress levels.  This combination always makes for a more successful life, and their success is my success.


Most of my students light up when I ask them questions like, “Should I buy a Mac or a PC?” or “Do you prefer Instagram or Snapchat?”  They tell me their opinions hurriedly and with excitement in their voices.  When I ask them about hiking or camping, many of them don’t have experience with it or they have one or two pleasant memories about camping. Students who grew up in other areas of the country like Oregon or California often have a greater appreciation for nature.

I don’t hate technology; in fact, I love it and spend a lot of time on it.  However, I have more fun when I’m in nature and keep my phone usage to a minimal, and I want students to know this form of therapy is there for them throughout their lives.  I feel reset after time in nature.   I feel cleansed, renewed, and rejuvenated.  I look at my life from a different perspective, and answers to problems that eluded me often occur easily and spontaneously.  I give my worries to the natural world and in return I’m given joy.

Many people have this insight and understand the importance of spending time in nature.  Time magazine published an article this summer titled, The Healing Power of Nature, and a researcher in 2005 coined the term “nature deficit disorder” for many children alienated from time in nature.  There are movements to address anxiety, depression, and stress through what is called “eco-therapy” by researchers.

God said it simply to me with the words, Remind them to go to nature.

I don’t know how many times I need to remind them/you/me/us, but here is our reminder for the week–GO TO NATURE!  Play, have fun, relax, take a break, breathe, let your worries go, and soak up all the love that is available to you.


More About the Angels From My NDE


I will never stop being astonished by the size and intelligence of the angels that I met during my near-death experience.  These two angels were wise, caring, and full of insight. Most of all, they had the ability to heal both emotional and physical issues.  I would love to meet a sketch artist who might be able to bring these beautiful light beings into focus.

Connecting with Your Angels:  If you are interested in connecting with your angels to assist you with a certain situation or to help you be of greater service to others, you might simply say a prayer that the angels might be with you and guide you.  Call on specific angels by name or even unknown beneficial angels.  I like this list which starts with prayer and meditation as a way to connect with angels, but it also includes writing or spending time in nature.  The angels brought me peace during my near death experience and afterwards in several situations; I know they can do this for you.

Peace:  Angels are not only messengers and healers, but they are also there to comfort us and anchor peace in our world.  There are many remarkable accounts of experiences with angels.  This woman from the IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) website received messages from her angels when her doctors could not figure out the cause of life threatening infection.  For four days she spent time with the angels and describes them in detail.

“I saw an outline of form filled with golden white Light that radiated past the faint lines. As if I was a star shining brightly in the Heavens. The Light was fluid, iridescent and connected with ease to the Angels near or beside me. I connected with the stars and the vastness of the Universe. I was a part of everything in existence all at the same time.”

When she asked the angels about our purpose here on earth, she received a few amazing messages.

“Our purpose here is to discover unconditional love within ourselves and then offer it to others. We are all on the path. What differs between us is the road we take, the experience we choose, and how much we have learned about love. No one road is better or more important than another. It is all a matter of what speaks to your heart and feels like home within.”

To read more about her story, you can click here.

Consider calling on angels for anything type of healing in your life.  May you be blessed!

One of the Aftereffects of NDEs: Seeing the Divine in All Living Beings Including Ourselves


After my accident, back surgery, and near-death experience, I had a lot of time to think about the afterlife and lessons.  Many mornings, I felt like a kid again and woke up with a joy I hadn’t experienced in a long while.  Some mornings, I simply stood by the window and looked with joy at a robin in the tree. I spent hours staring into the sweet eyes of a kitten one of my stepdad’s workers scooped up out of the middle a crowded freeway.  Though more of a dog person, a shy, scared kitten suited me better at that stage of my physical recovery.  I named the tiny kitten Crystal, and she perched and purred on top of my body cast, seeming to send me white threads of Divine love and healing. She felt safe with me, and I felt safe with her.  We were one, and the love I had for life, even the smallest moments, carried me through my days and nights.

Eventually, I learned to send all the over-flowing love I had in my heart into my own heart.  The love I had been sending to others, I focused on myself for a while, observing the waves of emotional pain from my past until these waves subsided.  I gave myself the respect and attention I desired, and eventually, I cried a whole lot less and laughed a whole lot more.  My life before my near death experience needed my loving attention and the type of healing I felt from God and the angels while out of form.

When I look back to those months spent in a body cast, I think of that sweet kitten who used my body cast as a place to sleep. She grew up and grew stronger as my body healed and grew stronger.  I don’t have a picture of her as a kitten, but my memory creates her like the kitten in the picture.

I received a question about animals in heaven and from what I have seen in my communications with those on the other side, animals are certainly in heaven.  I saw one young man who recently died petting a dog which was more his mother’s dog than his dog.  She confirmed this was true, so I felt blessed to receive this message.  I’m grateful to have received this message from him so that I can assure others who wonder about their connections with pets.

Our pets bring us a bit of heaven on earth, so it only makes sense that they would reside in heaven.  The green grass of the afterlife would not be the same without our beloved pets running to greet us.  We associate love with our pets, and love is a powerful bond that survives death.

One NDEr, Jan Price, talks about being first greeted by one of her pets in heaven.  She writes, “What I came to realize is that there is a love connection between the two worlds – a stream of energy that forms a heart bond between two souls that is the strongest at the time of transition. Love comes out to greet you, wearing the form that will be most meaningful to you at the time. In my case it was our precious dog, and yes, dogs have souls – Plato knew it and so did Saint Augustine, along with most other true saints and sages.”

You can check out her full story at this link.  There is a video about several NDErs who talk about pets in heaven as well.  Here is that link.

crystalThe real cat Crystal in her older years.


More Reflections on the Experience of God

I make my Creative Writing students create videos of their poems and add images.  A few days ago, I gave making a video with images a shot and used my blog piece Love Letter from God.  The English major inside of me is critical when I write straightforward messages like this, but my heart and soul smiles.

Poetry:  For most of my adult life, even after my NDE, I haven’t cared much for “spiritual” poetry.  Sure, I liked the occasional Rumi or Rilke poem, but I preferred poets who dug deep for their imagery, symbolism, and word play.  Poets like Adam Zagajewski, Wislawa Szymborska, Sharon Olds, Billy Collins, Charles Simic, Marie Howe, Carolyn Forche, Jane Hirshfield, and Mary Oliver have been some of my inspirations.

I don’t call what I’ve written a poem—more of a love letter inspired by God and meant to give comfort to anyone hurting.  We’ve all been hurt or disappointed in life, and it is important to remember that there is much love and healing possible if we only ask.  We can pull in this love from God/our source and feel better at any time.

The Experience of God:  One of my favorite parts of my NDE was being in the presence of God.  Truly, the experience is difficult to translate into words, but I find that the more I think about that experience and wish for that communion in my life, the more often I feel divine love and protection.  The book God and the Afterlife has a section dedicated to NDErs talking about God and the experience of being in this presence.  Most NDErs state that God’s love for us is complete and deep.  This love is a love without reservation and extends itself to everyone.

When I talk about God–the most loving, divine light I have encountered– I know how I sound to agnostics because I was agnostic before my experience.  I was highly critical of religious folks and just as critical of those in spiritual/new age communities.  If I listed some of my thoughts before that accident and NDE, I would offend a lot of people and make others laugh.  My point is that NDEs change us immediately and for the rest of our lives.

If there was one book I read in college that opened my mind up ever so slightly to the possibility of God, it was The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James. Quotes like the one below one helped ease some of my judgmental nature.

 “It does not follow, because our ancestors made so many errors of fact and mixed them with their religion, that we should therefore leave off being religious at all. By being religious we establish ourselves in possession of ultimate reality at the only points at which reality is given us to guard. Our responsible concern is with our private destiny, after all.”

― William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

I also dropped my prejudices for an hour or two when discussing this book and opened my mind to ideas like,

 “We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”

― William James

As an undergraduate, I imagined how this type of connection might be possible, though at the time I didn’t feel it.  I wondered if I might have a spontaneous awakening at some point in my life.  How was I to know that I would have a life-changing NDE a year after reading that book?

When I left this body and flatlined, I awakened to the spiritual realm and knew that my physical life would also be a spiritual journey.  Once grounded in my material life and professional life, I quickly realized that I would hang on to certain fears about seeming “too out there,” but I also knew there would be a time when I no longer cared and became more open about my journey.  These journeys connect us and need to be expressed.

“There are two lives, the natural and the spiritual, and we must lose the one before we can participate in the other.”

―William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience


Love Letter from God


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


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!