Safe, Eternal, and Free

We are all part of love and all part of God.   We are all capable of living as love and the light of God which knows that it is always safe, eternal, and free no matter what is occurring on the physical, three-dimensional plane.

I know that the minute I left form, I forgave everything and everyone instantly.  Pain is contained in our stories and in this physical realm, but we do not have to wait to find freedom only in death.  Freedom can be found through walking in faith and practicing forgiveness.  The concept of faith seems simple, just as forgiveness does, but these feats are heroic.  To step into the unknown and believe that God will meet us at every step requires the courage of a seer who has lost sight of the future.  To be beaten down at every turn and still have faith, requires the strength of a warrior. To be betrayed, abused, neglected, wounded, and abandoned and to forgive, so that one’s own life might grow bright again, requires a terrifying amount of strength. 

For many NDErs, our mission (whether to work as ministers, teachers, healers, speakers, writers, or simply to walk through this world as love) is mainly to do our best to hold on to the memory and energy of God’s love and show others how to access this love of God.  That is what God showed me when God told me that my purpose would be to teach and remind others of their light.  Our connection to God’s love is aptly symbolized through light because light makes things clearer. 

We can all access love, healing, and peace at any time.  Anyone can have a mission focused on love.  All it requires is communion and faith in the most loving force imaginable, a love that we all need more of in our lives.

The more often I hold on to the energy and love of God, the more often I can help others access this love.   As a teacher, there were so many times that I couldn’t believe that it took so little effort on my part to open a student’s heart. All I had to do was see any one of my students– really see them, witness their struggle, and then offer some hope, not a ton of hope either, just a thread.  It takes so little effort to be kind to others, yet it makes such a major difference in the quality of their lives and our own.

Many NDErs feel disheartened about returning to form because too often people do not go out of their way to be kind.  Navigating a world of people in great pain who have forgotten their connection to light is a tough hike.  Still, I am glad that God sent me back against my wishes.  I may have suffered, I may have cried on this journey back in form, but I have stayed determined to keep pushing forward, to keep believing in the beauty of a higher calling–a calling which forces me to remember and to teach what love truly is. Love brings us great peace and moments of knowing that we are perfect just as we are. 

Is It Possible to Make Peace with an Abusive Parent After Experiencing the True, Amazing Love of God?

The Love of God:  One of the most shocking experiences of my near-death experience was feeling the love of God.  This love of God accepted me exactly as I was—all my thoughts and feelings.  I did not have to change my thoughts to please God.  I did not have to worry about whether God liked the look on my face or my interpretations of the world.

God loved me infinitely just as I am.  I didn’t have to change or pretend in any way.  God didn’t call me names, hit me, lock me in a closet, or invalidate anything about me.  God loved me without end.  I felt completely supported and without a single worry, experiencing only bliss, peace, and deep understanding. God immediately forgave me for all self-harm and showed me how to love myself more deeply.  God did not make me relive or see any of the abuse I had survived in life. I had never known a love like this  growing up or what it felt like to be supported.

One of the most common attributes of a narcissistic father or mother is the inability to understand or care about their child’s thoughts and feelings.  This parent is not able to validate their child’s feelings as real or important.  Empathy is simply out of the question.

motherMy Story:  Growing up, anything that I thought or felt, especially if it was different from my mother, made her angry, withholding, cold, or critical.  Often, this abuse was even spiritual in nature because she used the Bible as a reason to beat me.

However, Mom allowed and encouraged reading, so that was the way I could escape my lonely life.  I read at a 12th grade level by second grade, and I devoured any book I could get my hands on in the library or garage sales, often fantasizing that I might be sent away to a boarding school or that I might magically encounter a nice couple who would mentor me.

In the isolation of my home as an only child in the country, Mom painstakingly taught me to worry about her sadness, her depression, her angry feelings about my dad, her physical complaints, and her thoughts about the world and everyone in it. She coached me on who to like in her family and who not to like in her family.  If I liked someone she didn’t like, she rolled her eyes.  If she stopped liking one of my few friend’s mothers, then I was told that I no longer liked this close friend of mine either.  She taught me to be her counselor, her best friend, and her confidant.  I pretended as best that I could to survive my childhood, but honestly, at best there were only fleeting moments of fun.

takingcareNo one really witnessed the full extent of my mother’s abuse.  My father was rarely there, and I’m an only child. When my father’s parents stopped by unannounced, mother made us hide in the closet to avoid them.  They loved me so completely as their only grandchild, and she didn’t like it when I received that kind of adoration.  I remember a moment when she argued with my grandmother that I didn’t need a toy that I wanted.  My grandmother looked at her and said, “I want this child to know that we love her.”  The moment felt powerful to me, and I remember feeling excited at the cash register. We didn’t see them as much after that moment.

Around Mom’s family, she controlled of the narrative and talked about everything she sacrificed for me.  Mom certainly worked soul-crushing, blue-collar jobs to pay for my private Christian education through seventh grade.  The problem is that I would have rather had more food, decent clothes, trips to the doctor, and a public education where there were more people in my class than three or four students. I longed for more socialization.

Mom presented herself as a loving, doting mother, but in private I felt sucked dry.  She wanted me to make up for all the love she felt she didn’t receive from her own mother and her husband, but this scenario seemed a setup for a dramatic failure.  When did I get my needs met?  I don’t doubt that she feels that she loved me, but from my perspective most of what I experienced didn’t feel like love.   I feel compassion for the young, lost woman who raised me, but my biggest lesson in life has been learning how to feel great compassion for myself.

Mom rarely considered my honest needs. Sometimes, I got lucky and wanted the same things that she wanted.  We both enjoyed walks in nature, fresh fruit, and dogs as pets.  We both enjoyed a few of the same movies, though my tastes eventually changed and different from her always meant wrong.  For a few years in childhood, I experienced the bliss of owning a horse, and that freedom to ride fast and far away from my life meant everything to me.

pleaseSince Mom was all I knew of love, I thought love meant sacrificing every one of my feelings and ideas to make someone else feel a little better in their miserable life.  When her mental illness took a turn for the worse when I was in high school, I realized that she needed help; however, she refused help from the people I told about her frequent suicide threats.  There were many nights when she was alone with that pistol in her drawer, and when she threw the door open suddenly I always ran out of the house to put distance between us.  I didn’t know if she was going to shoot me first before she shot herself, and that level of terror changed something within me.

Though I had good grades, I didn’t realize how broken I was emotionally by the time I left for college.  I didn’t know how to heal, and I tried to alter those feelings of pain and inadequacy with drugs and alcohol.  By the time I had my near-death experience my senior year of college, so much inside of me felt devastated and then in a single instant—-healed.

The near-death experience granted me a huge dose of optimism, love, and connection to God and angels.  Immediately, I felt whole and alive inside, despite my wounded body.  During my physical recovery Mom took care of me, and we got along better than ever before.  She had remarried, changed jobs, and seemed much happier.  I wish I could say that the near-death experience completely healed our relationship, but I can only say that the near-death experience eventually helped heal the gaping hole inside of me.  We don’t choose our family, but we can choose supportive friends.

neededAnd, no matter what happened in life, I could always remember and return to what it felt like to be loved by God.  No matter who validated me or didn’t validate me, that moment in the presence of God showed me my worth.  I never knew that I was worthy of even an ounce of that love and consideration.

I’m sure my mother doesn’t realize she is worthy of that level of love.  Her religious beliefs are ones that validate her narcissism and deep need to feel superior to others.  In her mind, only she, and a few select others, know the “truth.” The way everyone else interprets the Bible and God is incorrect.  She owns the market on being right as she stockpiles food and fears the apocalypse is around the corner.  She’s been fearing that since the 1980’s.  I wish she felt less fear and more connection to a loving God.

I’ve seen interviews with other near-death experiencers whose parents felt blessed to hear their stories of the afterlife.  My mouth dropped open in amazement at what it might have felt like to have a mother who learned something from me.  There were snippets of time when Mom understood the power of that love I experienced on the other side, but ultimately she tried to convince me that I had experienced a lie—tricks from the devil.  How ridiculous!  Most of my life with her felt like a trick, not love.

When To Tell Your Story:  Many people wait until their abusive parents die before they talk openly about their experiences.  Tony Robbins waited and describes deep love and forgiveness for his abusive mother.  However, several others have decided to not have  contact (or minimal/harmonious contact) with abusive, narcissistic parents and speak openly to help others come to the best, safest conclusion for their lives.  I am enormously grateful to the work and teachings of Lisa A. Romano who speaks openly about her experiences and helps so many people.

The sooner people begin a healing process after surviving an abusive home, the sooner they can begin to heal and have healthier relationships.  Abused children sometimes don’t have children of their own out of fear, but if they start healing work soon in life they realize how different they probably would be as parents than their own parents.

During my NDE, God told me to return and to work as a teacher.  Since that time, I have been a mentor and caring person in the lives of many of my students who have survived abusive homes. Abuse of many varieties is all too common in family units.  Telling a snippet of my story to students who were in pain allowed them to tell me what was occurring in their lives so that I could get help for them.  One of the greatest gifts of pain is the ability to point others in the direction of healing.

I know that many spiritual people want to center love and peace in all situations, no matter how toxic their family members might be.  For those who can do this, I honor that ability.  I tried to do this with my mother, but I recently had a defining moment when I realized that my life, my health, my well-being, and my trip to the emergency room didn’t matter as much to her as the contents of her refrigerator.  She endangered my life and did not care.

When I realized how little my life mattered to my mother, I knew I had to take a break from her.  I don’t know the future, and I don’t know what healing might be possible in her life.  Maybe a rebirth can occur and a different type of relationship between us can manifest, but this might also be the death of our relationship.  I know people with childhoods like mine who haven’t spoken to their parents in ten years.  All I know right now is that I want people to pray for her.  I want other people to center love and peace in her life.  I want her to know the love of God that I felt in the afterlife, and I want her to know that I wish our story was a different one.

img_1882Your story might offer a different outcome with a toxic family member.  There might be a way for you to calmly listen to your family member and center kindness without putting yourself in danger.  Your love might transform this person over time.  I hope so, but if you decide not to have contact with someone in order to heal yourself from narcissistic abuse there are many support groups online and otherwise. Choose the sanctity and healing of your own life.  Life isn’t a “who is the most spiritual contest.”  In fact, if someone is playing that game, that person is probably a narcissist.  Love who you can authentically love.  Love is not torture; rather, it is easy as breathing when it is right.

freedom

The Healing Power of True Stories

I feel blessed and lucky to have had the chance to speak and attend the Denver IANDS conference this summer.  At the conference, I heard Dr. Eben Alexander and Mark Anthony’s talks.  Proof of Heaven and  Never Letting Go were influential and helpful books on my journey.

Many NDErs say the same things in different ways.  Because I loved Proof of Heaven so much, I considered not taking the time to write my own story.  However, at some point, I realized that my journey as a woman, a survivor, a traveler, a teacher, a dreamer, a poet, and a mystic needed to be written.  True stories have powerful healing potential for the writer and the readers.   We long for community and connection, and the journeys of others bless us in countless ways.  A book written in service of others should be raw and honest enough to connect with the right audience, crafted well enough to entertain, and sprinkled with inspiration.

Most people long to transcend the patterns and blocks that hold them back.  They want to break through these blocks like high school football players running through a banner into the best game of their lives.   I am certain that the world needs more true stories of eventual triumph, a deep connection to others, and communion with the divine.  We live to learn how to shine, to light the way, and to pass the torch on to others.

Tell your stories to the world.  Stand in your creative power, your connection to the light, and watch your world transform.




 

Healed: A Memoir About Survival, Recovery, and Transformation Following a Near-Death Experience

 

Why I Wrote This Book:  Why does anyone write?  I’ve loved books since I was a child in East Texas and needed a good escape. In grade school, I read widely and read books way above my maturity level.  I learned about the pain of racism from books like Invisible Man.  Other books like 1984, The Painted Bird, and A Wrinkle in Time intrigued me at young ages.

After putting a book down, I always wanted to know about the writer’s lives. I intuited things about the author’s pain, longings, and dreams, and I had to find out more information.  I wanted to know what Ralph Ellison’s real life was like.  I wanted to know about the situations that influenced George Orwell, Jerzy Kosinski, and Madeleine L’Engle.  Once I started down this path of curiosity, I never gave up my love for memoirs and biography.  Many years later, when authors like Mary Karr hit the scene, I took mental notes, hoping to find the time to write my own memoir.

I have also enjoyed reading all the many books about near-death experiences.  However, my purpose for writing Healed is not to become a definitive source of near-death experiences, but to help spread good energy into the world and help others find their way to greater healing.   This manuscript addresses timely issues including child abuse, suicide prevention, sexual assault, and addiction.  More importantly, it examines how the focus to heal (spiritually, energetically, physically, and psychologically) can miraculously transform one’s life.

There are many best-selling books about near-death experiences, but my book stands out because I was much younger and wilder than these authors when I died.   I was an agnostic, party girl attending college and working as a cocktail waitress.  As a lost, materialistic young woman, the closest I came to thinking about spirituality was reading the poems of Walt Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau for my English classes.  After my near-death experience, I was immediately drawn to books, practices, and gatherings that focused on greater love, peace, and understanding among people.

My NDE was hugely transformative, and awakened me to spiritual realities that I did not consider previously.  Giving love to this world and working to help bring more light to the lives of others was one of the key lessons of my near-death experience.  

Healed is written in the tradition of literary memoirs like Wild, Lucky, and Lit.  It captures Austin in the 90’s, international travel, family, relationships, and a mission from God in classrooms across America.

I am actively searching for a literary agent and publisher for my book and would love any recommendations.

Thanks for reading!

The NDE As A Preview Of Awakening, Enlightenment, and God-Consciousness

 

Many people on a spiritual path long for an awakening or feel that they are awakened and struggling toward more frequent moments of enlightenment.  What is different about a near-death experience is that the experiencer may be far from interested in spiritual matters before his or her experience.  He or she may not be on any spiritual path of any kind, yet the experiencer comes back with a deep knowledge of a spiritual reality.

To be taken from 0 to infinity in a few seconds is a life-changing experience.   For those of us who have had profound NDEs, we scramble afterwards trying making sense of our life before and after the event.

In that first year after my experience, sometimes my connection to the other side was intense and all-consuming.  Other times, I looked forward to returning to the business of my life back at college; however, I knew I would never be exactly the same.

Though NDErs are often not capable of holding on to the blissful states they experience in the afterlife, these states are memorable.  In a recent video, I saw Howard Storm discuss the importance of loving others.  Though love appears to be a “simple” mission, it is actually a VERY tough mission.  To send love and light to people who seem intent on destroying us requires us to reach new heights of patience, understanding, and wisdom. Love is sometimes simply preventing someone from continuing to harm others.  Love might be anchoring a consciousness of healing for those who have been hurt in similar ways.  Love is action and energy.

In this video, I’m not asserting that NDErs are all enlightened souls, but I am putting forth the theory that many NDEs awaken the experiencer.  What we do with that awakening depends on each life situation.

Awakening: The minute I stepped out of form and saw “behind the veil” or rather saw that my spirit form continued after death, I was in a sense awakened.  I comprehended many things through telepathic communication and simply being in the very visible presence of angels/light beings whose presence I had never seriously considered.

No matter what happened in my life after my NDE, I could never brush away this knowledge.  I could not unlearn what I knew to be true; there is much more to reality than the material world.  In fact, from that vantage point, the earth experience appears to be a place where we choose to forget our connection to divinity and focus on our individuality.  In that darkness, some of us wake up and realize there is more to life than struggling.  A NDE shows us clearly that a growing connection to the light of God is what is most important.

What is true in the spiritual realm is goodness, mercy, and love.  I took none of the pain of my life with me, and pain and struggle didn’t seem to be the point or worth remembering.  Love and kindness to others seemed to be the main point of existence.

After a NDE, many experiencers feel less fear and more love.  They become less judgmental, have changes in sleep patterns, extra sensitivities to light, taste, touch, electronics, and energies.   As those on a spiritual path struggle to make sense of their awakenings, NDErs also struggle to integrate their profound experiences into their lives.

Enlightenment:  During my NDE, I moved from a place of observing what was happening to my physical body and the awareness of my spiritual form to a growing connection and awareness of many others and the consciousness of God.   As I left the hospital, my consciousness merged with the consciousness of others. I began to lose track of what was “my consciousness” and the consciousness of God (who seemed to be leading me through this experience) and other people. This non-dual state is the real deal (enlightenment) and what so many people long for while in form.  I felt a transcendental, awe-inspiring oneness with others, nature, and God in that state.

Most NDErs are disappointed to return to our personal perspectives, our corporeal forms, and lives because in that eternal space we were connected to many other people and had a much clearer, greater understanding.  We know that returning to form will be like being born again.  Life situations will surely force us back into our individuality, our wounds, and our experiences.  Many of us would rather stay in that place of great unconditional love and connection but choose to come back for the sake of loved ones, or in my case, a mission from God.

The beauty of that heavenly landscape in the afterlife seemed all the more beautiful because I longed for nothing else.  In form, our mind and emotions often trick us into dissatisfaction, but in that place I had no dissatisfaction.  I wanted for nothing.  I believe this part of my NDE gave me a glimpse of enlightenment.  I longed for nothing other than that moment.

Returning to form largely shakes us out of this place of oneness, but to be there even for a short while is amazing.  I’ve heard people talk about enlightenment as fleeting states and something we strive for as humans.  Maybe there are certain states of mind that are associated with higher levels of our potential, and as we calm our nervous systems down we can stay in these states for longer periods of time.  In a world of irritating, triggering news stories and other disturbances, it is hard to stay in these states for long periods of time.

So, how do we deal with a toxic world?

We detach from it at times, and we engage passionately and lovingly with it more often. We send love to every human being on the planet.  That’s hard, but we can start with the easy ones and the people in our vicinity.  We are striving to have minds that are no longer focused on thoughts of greed, hatred, and delusion while living in a world filled with these things.  This is difficult, but we don’t dislike ourselves if we fall into negative states; rather, we give ourselves love and attention and heal these parts of ourselves so we might be able to show others how to heal.  We are less attached to feelings of all kind, and they tend to blow through the nervous system quicker with this type of practice.

Gratitude is, of course, also important.  That was an easy thing to do right after my accident.  I was literally grateful for each breathe, each painful step, and each bite of food.  Clearly, I was alive, and this alone seemed a miracle.

I remember holding on to grudges for a long while before my NDE.  I’m not saying this isn’t a trait I still work on in myself, but I am surprised when I allow myself to feel something completely and then watch the feelings wash away.

States of enlightenment/equanimity doesn’t mean being walked on by others or not protecting the innocence of those around you.  Equanimity doesn’t mean acting sulky or aloof.  In fact, the more jubilant states of mind are a better indicator of equanimity.  Being compassionate, present, and fully engaged is a hallmark of equanimity.  A deep love for life and a desire to make the lives who are near you better in small in large ways is an indicator of equanimity.  Instead of judging everyone, you might pray for their healing, joy, and freedom.  Freedom is something we are, a space inside of us that makes us smile, not something we try to create.

Dysfunction and drama seems to be in the very DNA of the American culture from our movies to our families, so how do we become more peaceful and less reactive?  How do we let go more quickly?  I can’t answer this in a post because thousands of books are written on this subject.  I only know that a focus on what is lovely and true can begin to undo what is not lovely and true.

In the presence of God, there is no “I’m right/You’re wrong” dynamic.  There is only love, acceptance, oneness, and beauty.

God-Consciousness:  For NDErs who journey to the presence of God, we usually feel speechless about this experience.  My heart completely opened and was completly healed in the presence of God.  There were no cracks, no holes, no darkness, only pure bliss.  The deepest form of connection with the most loving force imaginable is hard to describe.  God told me to remind others of this instant connection to source, and I wanted to stay in that place because it felt amazing.  There was nothing better, so why would I want to return?  I knew I couldn’t hold on to the power of that connection and love.  Back in form, I’ve realized that remembering the oneness with God is my true, real journey in life.

How can we possibly embrace everything as part of the divine while living this life?  It is easier to accomplish when you focus on your spiritual purpose.  If that purpose is to bring joy and happiness to others, then that is what you do.  You live out your purpose relentlessly.  In my life, I am grateful to have a platform as an educator.  I feel goodwill toward every student who walks down the hall or sits in my classroom.  I want these students to have the best possible educational and emotional experiences.  I want them to learn all that they need to learn. I see education as a form of heaven on earth.

As our nation is highly divided right now, I’ve found it difficult to extend the same goodwill to some people on social media or in other areas of life.  At some point, I stopped and asked myself, “Are you a teacher in all walks of life or just at that campus?” I decided that I want to be a teacher in all areas of life.  Much like it took some time to become a seasoned professor, this goal might take time, but my intention is to center the energy necessary for bringing greater awareness, knowledge, love to everyone I encounter.

God is pure, divine light, and God-Consciousness is living in that state of absolute divinity.  In the presence of God, there is simply love and immediate healing of anything that needs healing.

NDErs might sometimes think that spiritual paths complicate ideas that instantly manifested for them in the afterlife.

However, one of the powerful lessons from NDEs is that these enlightened states of being are part of who we essentially are, and we can access these states with faith, practice, and intention.

 

 

To All Near-Death Experiencers

man in yellow field

Write and speak about your experience.

People want to hear your story.  Go to local IANDS groups and get to know other experiencers sooner not later.  Hearing from other experiencers will make you feel less alone in your travels outside of form.   (Also, if you have a friend or family member who has had a NDE, encourage this person to get involved and talk more about their experience.)

I always feel like I’ve found a brother or sister when I meet another experiencer because we immediately share a certain knowing, a knowing that is difficult to put into words.

First, we know what it is like to be outside of form.

We know what it is like to shake off this body and look down at our physical body and realize that we are more than form.  We know what it is like to be only our soul, without the body.

Though people talk about spiritual experiences while in form, a near-death experience is unlike any other spiritual experience.  Since my NDE, I’ve felt the presence of masters, guides, angels, and archangels while in form, but nothing has ever compared to my near-death experience.  When the veil is lifted and form is shrugged off, that environment is a clear reality.  I’ve had amazing meditations, lucid dreams, intense relationships, paranormal experiences, and instant healings, but nothing comes close to the experience of leaving this body behind and realizing that our journey is never-ending.

This experience cannot be exactly duplicated without physically dying, and the physical pain that accompanies this is NOT something NDErs are excited to replicate. However, we don’t fear death because we know our eternal nature.

I’ve heard that some people have used Ketamine to induce experiences similar to a NDE and Ayahuasca for healings and spiritual experiences.   Here is an example of someone who compared a drug induced experience to his NDE.  Personally, I am not open to experimenting with these substances to compare them to my near-death experience.  I am more interested in focusing on health, healing, and deepening connection to the divine.

Though these drug induced experiences might allow some people to transcend their senses and come to many of the same conclusions as NDErs, I can’t help but think that the actual physical trauma of a real death induces something more intense.   What is interesting about these drug-induced experiences is that most people believe that they have accessed a portal to the other side.  Like NDErs, they are filled with certainty that this is not the chemistry in their brain but their brain simply allowing them to perceive reality that they were not able to sense before.

Secondly, many NDErs have met with angels or guides while outside of form.

We know what it is like to communicate telepathically and receive information quickly.  Information can be many things at once—it can be healing, comforting, uplifting, upgrading, and transformative.   We might be healed by these guides or prepared for the next part of our near-death experience.  Sometimes, they help prepare us to return to our bodies and remind us of certain truths.

I continue to communicate with angels, guides, masters, and loved ones on the other side, but my communications with angels during my surgery and NDE were particularly powerful. These angels were large, intelligent, focused, and glowing.  I couldn’t stop staring at them.  When I communicate with angels now, the communication feels different from that moment.  I might hear messages or feel as softening or healing of something.   I might find an answer to a problem in an unusual way because of an angelic message.  The NDE placed me literally in a life or death situation, so the stakes were higher; the drama was intensified, to put it mildly.

Some mediums and psychics have communicated with the other realm for most of their lives.  NDErs were often not interested in gaining this ability, but the NDE can open people to these gifts after their experience.  Aftereffects can be disorienting.  I made a video about some of my aftereffects.

Thirdly, many of us have seen loved ones on the other side, and these loved ones usually appear in peak condition, younger and healthier than they might have been in life. 

My grandfather died when I was ten years old, so I hardly recognized the younger version of him in the afterlife.  His essence comforted me though, and upon later reflection when I looked at a picture of him as a younger man I realized that the man asking me if I wanted to continue toward the light of God was my grandfather.

A friend of mine recently pointed out that seeing our relatives in their younger states is a common trait among NDErs.  For those who still worry that NDEs are only a function of the brain shutting down, it might be worth noting that these commonalities during NDEs probably can’t be explained as a function of the brain shutting down.  And, on a logical level, if you had to pick a spiritual form after death, wouldn’t you pick a form when you felt healthy, happy, and vital?

Fourthly, I’ve never met ANYONE who had a NDE who thought that what they experienced was a dream or their brain shutting down. 

For us, these experiences are usually more real than this reality.  I explain it as adding several more dimensions to this reality.   Although I was initially afraid that all the morphine I had to take after surgery might wash away my memory of the other side, I quickly realized that I was changed as a person.  My insights were deeper and more layered.  I was much more sensitive to sights, sounds, and experiences.  I was not the same person after my NDE.   However, NDErs do return to our lives, our psychological wounds, and our proclivities.  My up-coming book examines the journey back to a place where I could fully incorporate the truths of the NDE.

Last of all, for those of us with NDEs that included being in the presence of a  powerful, divine light of God we often feel great wonder and amazement at how good we felt in the presence of God.

I had never felt that loved, that alive, that healed, that joyful, that peaceful all at once.  I was whole, complete, and connected to the most amazing force imaginable.  God wanted me to know that I am a part of God and should remind others of their light and connection to source.  Life is much better when we focus on the light of God and not all that is at odds with perfection.

Get Involved:  I’m writing this piece to encourage all NDErs to communicate their experiences.  If family members are not interested in your experience, find friends who are open.  Find IANDS groups and other supportive communities.   Even though it might prove difficult to translate these experiences into descriptions that make sense to others—keep trying.  When you have transcended the senses and experienced life beyond the body, language sometimes seems inaccurate.  Use analogies.  Make up terms that make sense to you.  We will follow where you go.

Skeptics and Others:  Don’t fear that others will think you are crazy.  Some of them will.  Who cares?  There is a big tribe of people who are believers, and there are plenty of experiencers themselves who will talk with you.  These experiences are becoming more common.  It gets harder to deny them the more of us who speak openly.

Just as I have enjoyed meeting other experiencers, it is a great pleasure to meet others who have read widely about this subject or who have had paranormal or transformative spiritual experiences themselves. You will find people who understand your experience, so don’t be afraid to get involved.

Certainly, some people will attack you, mainly evangelicals if you didn’t see Jesus, or people who would prefer to believe that there is a scientific explanation for our spiritual reality.   You might lose some friends, but you will enlighten others and gain plenty more friends.  You will comfort countless others who have lost loved ones and long to know that they are safe and loved.

Some skeptics might simply ask you more questions.  I had a fellow writer ask me to describe with more detail the healing light the angels sent into my body during surgery. He asked if the light was like a laser beam or a headlight.  How can I describe a light that is both intelligent and healing?  It was both like a laser like and like headlight.  It entered my body and healed my body while it communicated to me what was occurring.  Simply put, this is not like any other light we have experienced on this plane of existence.

Uncommon Elements:  Don’t be afraid if your story contains elements that are not common to NDEs.  We are all individuals, and I believe that the other side meets us where we need to be met and teaches us the lessons that we need.  Even those who have had disturbing NDEs or hellish experiences, have gained a lot from these experiences and returned to life full of greater resolve and optimism.

I was happy to feature a story on my blog about Ethan Michael Carter’s eight deaths.  I’m not certain that I’ve heard of anyone who has had more than three NDEs.  Ed Salisbury and Dannion Brinkley have both had three NDEs.  I feel like I’ve discovered someone who has traveled frequently to the Other Realms, as he calls it. Though Ethan Carter’s NDEs were recent, I hope that he continues to unpack and write about his experiences and the lessons learned in these Other Realms.

My NDE:  When I had my NDE, I was young, wild, and lost.  It was amusing to write about all my friends reactions to my experience, and I was never the same after that moment.  Even when I tried to forget my travels to the other side, I couldn’t forget.  Even when I was angry with my life experiences and challenges, I couldn’t deny that healing of these experiences could happen quicker because of my connection to the other side.

Awakening accelerates when we walk through challenges because we are connected to more people and capable of helping many others both for overcoming our challenges and for our ability to manifest beauty, peace, compassion, and freedom in our lives.

When we all remember our connection to God, we allow ourselves to let go of all that we don’t need and embrace all that we want to experience on this journey.  On the other side, pain and darkness immediately washed away.  Love is what remains and what matters.

I wish I had written about my NDE sooner.  I wish I had been more involved in IANDS throughout my life.  However, I am involved now, and this involvement had enriched my life.  Writing about my NDE has kept the light of God in the forefront of my consciousness and that is a beautiful gift.  I hope you embrace that gift.

If you are interested in a book that comprehensively covers the various types of NDEs, I wrote a review of Dr. Jeffrey Long’s book God and the Afterlife.  

Most of all, if you are an experiencer, I hope that you find local groups and online communities that support you on your journey.

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Teacher Appreciation Day, Rita on Netflix, Mother’s Day, and Compassion

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I love a blank page.  The cursor never blinks for long because my fingers can’t keep up with my mind if they tried, even at 80 wpm.  I might have to delete or reorganize later, but I don’t ever think, “Oh dear…what am I going to write?”

I swear, since birth, the repressed desires of centuries of oppressed women have flowed through my veins, and I came into this world ready to rumble, not to conform.  Generation Xers are not all rebels and renegades, but certainly that possibility was real for us.

Rita and Teacher Appreciation Day:  Speaking of rebels, this weekend I watched several episodes from a Danish comedy-drama on Netflix called Rita.  The way that she fights for some of her students, especially the ones who were overlooked by the system or harmed by their parents reminds me a bit of myself when I taught junior high and high school.  Luckily, I don’t smoke like her, and I managed avoid physical intimacy with all co-workers and administrators.  I was blamelessness in those areas, but some of my ideas and ways of teaching were off-putting to some parents.  I taught mindfulness and meditation in the early 2000’s, long before it was in vogue.

The practice facilitated deep change for some of my emotionally unstable students, but lots of parents in that small town went to war with me, making all kinds of assumptions.  In their minds, I was a witch to be burned for teaching their kids how to breathe and calm their minds because the practice originated from Buddhism.  I did my best to educate the parents, but their dramatics eventually got the poor superintendent involved when all he wanted to do was watch a football game.

He listened to the CD I played for the kids and said he didn’t see anything wrong with it; however, he also didn’t want to be bothered by the commotion the parents caused. I continued to reserve breathing time with relaxing music, but it wasn’t the same as the guided meditation that taught the students how to breathe deeply and let go of their worries.  Eventually, we stopped the practice, and we missed it.

Early in the Netflix series, the character Rita is asked why she became a teacher, and she finally answers, “To save them from their parents.”  Though I’ve taught plenty of students who came from loving family units, I encountered so many who didn’t.  Those were the students who needed me the most.  Sometimes, their destinies were altered, as mine was, by a teacher who could see their value and remind them of it.  And even the students who came from wonderful families, sometimes thanked me for introducing them to new perspectives or new pieces of literature.

This is my first day of summer break.  I’m exhausted.  It’s been one of the roughest overloaded semesters I’ve ever experienced, clumping through the long hallways in my boot after a very badly sprained ankle.  I am beat up.  I’m not even sure that a summer will be enough time to recharge.   I’ve spent most of the weekends for two months doing little besides grading essays.  And I do, like many teachers and professors, teach summer classes.  Luckily, these classes are online.

Sure, sure…I can list all the things I’m grateful for right now—a wonderful job, health insurance, my health, lots of travel on the horizon, a completed, mostly revised manuscript, friends who have recently helped me locate the typos and missed words, new friends, old friends, free time for reading, and time to swim in the sun and reverse my vitamin D deficiency….but I want others to understand that when teaching is done well it is a holy and wonderful profession that takes an enormous amount of planning, creativity, and energy.

I’ve mentioned before that I received a loud message from God, that my spiritual contract to teach is completed, and I can do what I want now.  I am in the process of determining what it is that I want to do, so for now I continue to teach because I still love working with the students.

However, I know that manifestation is sometimes just a matter of becoming clear about what you want.

Mother’s Day:  Biologically speaking, I’ll never be a mother.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever adopt or foster a child, but if I was to die tomorrow, I would probably be more pissed about never traveling to Italy and Greece than about not having children.

If that sounds cold, please understand that I was quite clear that I could only save myself and possibly influence the lives of some of my students in positive, uplifting ways.  That was the extent of my abilities, given the emotional damage of my childhood and young adulthood, and given how difficult I know that some relationships and marriages can become.  I watched too many parents who hoped for the best and had kids with limited financials and deep-seated emotional and personality disorders. They went on to create massive drama, not realizing what they were doing to their kid’s lives.  They didn’t invest in themselves first and develop the spiritual, mental, and physical strength that would make them stronger support systems for their kids.

As a teacher, I practiced damage control with the self-esteems and minds of many students.   After all, this was my mission from God.  After my NDE, I was told to be a teacher.  Given time to heal physically after a massive surgery, I thought deeply about all the teachers and professors I had experienced in my life and tried to take the best traits from those who were amazing and avoid the mistakes of those who were rude, sexist, narcissistic, or bored with the profession.  God didn’t tell me to, “…return and have a child or many children.”  God implied that my journey was to speak with thousands of people and remind them of their light and divinity.

Do I ever have moments of emptiness or miss the joy and innocence of a child of my own?  Certainly, I do.  But, these are fleeting moments, and they usually only happen around Christmas or Mother’s Day.  I spend a lot more of my time, waking up late on the weekends, stretching leisurely after awesome sleep, and going to movies, concerts, plays, museums, and restaurants that aren’t exactly kid friendly.  I found time to write a manuscript while teaching full-time with extra classes added to my load.

I know that there are people who can “have it all…and do it all…”  I would not have been one of those people.  Without making the choice to not have children, I could not have been as effective of a teacher and professor.  I could not have worked full-time throughout my entire adult life, and I could not have healed to the degree that I have healed from my past.  People will want to argue with me and say that having kids might have healed me quicker or in a deeper way, but this is my life, and I vehemently reserve the right to wholeheartedly disagree—teaching is what healed me.

My grandmother once chastised my cousin for not having kids. (She’s given up on me:-) I’m respectful and didn’t argue with her.  However, her main reason was, “You’ll die alone.”  My grandfather died very young, and my grandmother had a boyfriend for several decades.  When he died, his offspring were not with him and they didn’t visit often.  My grandmother was with him, rubbing his back and reminding the nurses to check on him.

Sometimes, even the children you have may not be the ones with you at the end.  They aren’t brought into this world to help their parents transition to the next part of life.  They might very well do this, but that might not be their sole purpose.  Maybe my grandmother’s boyfriend wasn’t a super father; maybe he was a better boyfriend than he was a father.  Maybe the exact right person was there for him to help him transition.

I wanted to remind my grandmother than my cousin will probably not outlive his fiance/soon to be wife. Whether they have kids or not, she will most likely be the one by his bedside. I wanted to remind her that I’m a near-death experiencer.  I will greet death with a smile and a leap into the afterlife, no matter who is in the room with me or not.  I don’t like the physical pain that takes us there, but I’ll take that leap with joy in my heart, even if I can’t muster a smile.  If there is one thing a near-death experience gives most people it is a complete and utter lack of fear about the dying process.  How and where I die was not a reason to have kids.

In Kate Chopin’s book, The Awakening, the quote, “A feeling of exultation overtook her, as if some power of significant import had been given her to control the working of her body and her soul. She grew daring and reckless, overestimating her strength. She wanted to swim far out, where no woman had swum before…” has always stayed with me as both a warning and a reward.

I knew that I could swim farther and faster and still return because Chopin and planted the seed that it is o.k. for some women not to want to be mothers.  They are beautiful as individuals and worthy of respect.

Maybe these women have more time for contemplation and diving deep.  Perhaps they might be one of the ones helping you transition to the other side because they don’t have children to run home to that day.  Maybe they are they are the ones who stay up the long nights with you in hospice.  Possibly they are the ones who spend trying evenings on the phone with CPS, working to find a way to keep their students safe when other teachers didn’t even bother to ask what was going on in the lives of these students. And, maybe, someday, our country might have a female president who chose not to have kids.

I’m not saying that mothers can’t also do these things.  I’m saying that not having kids does give a person time to help the world in ways that others might spend time with their children. Those who don’t have kids have societal value, and it is a shame people don’t automatically realize this.

I’m sure as Morrie said in Tuesdays with Morrie that there is nothing to compare to the experience of having children.   However, I’ve seen so many people pride themselves on the biological act when being able to be a good parent is the main thing to celebrate.

Compassion:  Not having kids makes you more of a target of disgust, pity, anger, and other societal judgement.  I have deep compassion for the mothers and fathers of this world.  It is an incredibly difficult job to do well, and I applaud those who do and those who are trying their best.  I have deep compassion for divorced parents trying to fashion the best possible life for their child and dealing with a difficult ex-wife or ex-husband, or even reasonable one.

I have friends who had kids early, had kids after college, wanted to have kids and couldn’t, had kids and lost them to disease or an accident.  I also have friends who really didn’t want kids and definitely didn’t have them.  If I can have compassion and celebrate everyone else’s struggles and joys, why don’t we all celebrate those who didn’t have children.  Personally, I love my life!

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Living Authentically And Dealing With Your Haters

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Recently, I was reminded of this wonderful talk from Brene Brown about authentic connection and vulnerability and how important it is for every human being to believe they are worthy of love and belonging.

I knew writing a memoir would be challenging, much like graduate school or any large undertaking.  What I didn’t realize is how much I would learn about unconditional love for myself and others.

What does it mean to tell a story or to do anything in life with your whole heart?  It means being authentic and vulnerable.  It means transcending shame and making yourself a priority.  It means being kind to yourself so that you know how to be kind to others.  It means getting out of yourself enough to be of service to others because service may very well be the meaning of life.  At least, the Dali Lama thinks so😉

Checking my intentions:  As I continue to revise my memoir, I’ve thought a lot about how the words that I have written will affect others.

I am aiming for fearless honesty but with the intent to illuminate problems in society. I’ve learned a lot about writing and the art of displaying scenes at various times in a narrative.  Mostly, I’ve learned about forgiveness, letting go, and living from a place of unconditional love for greater numbers of people.

While checking my intentions during revisions, I realized that a few blog posts were most likely written before the pain of an event had been fully processed.  For instance, my post about narcissists might have had a different tone had I waited a month or so to publish the article.  I was disappointed by a friend who became jealous and highly passive aggressive towards me, but that blog post might not have been the right time to process the moment.

In revising this manuscript, I want to be careful that I am not “avenging” all the wrongs that have been done to me by exposing these moments.  I want to show the truth of life and how to transcend pain in healthy ways, often with the insight I learned from the afterlife.

I continue to talk about my near-death experience because the wonder of that moment has returned as a healing force in my life to a variety of events.  My near-death experience taught me how valuable life is and how important each interaction with others can be.  I don’t spend a single moment of my time actively trying to hurt or harm others. People erase their own joy with such behavior, and I don’t want to do anything to dampen my own joy or separate myself from the love of the divine.

Illuminating the Darkness: Sometimes, people leave hateful comments on my YouTube videos, and I wonder what kind of shame, anger, and disgust they must feel for themselves.  I don’t want people to suffer, and when people lash out in unproductive, potentially damaging ways, I send them light, blessings, and healing energy.  I pray for their awakening.

I think thoughts like, “May the author of such hateful comments be healed of sexism and abusive relationships with women.  May he be healed of his own self-loathing and inadequacy.  May he work hard to create something himself instead of rating things negatively. May he learn how to love himself so that he might learn how to give love to others.  May he be healed of deplorableness.  May she know greater peace and security.  May she see herself as worthy of love.  May her frantic agitation be calmed and healed.  May her negativity, passive aggressiveness, and jealousy be turned into real accomplishments.  May she be healed of Stepford Wife tendencies.   And may they all get their instant karma.  (Just Kidding….)”

When I dive into the consciousness of some haters, I feel that they long for an end to their misery.  Sometimes, they even imagine that the only way to end their pain is through suicide.  I pray that through acts of kindness instead of hatred, they might learn to value their own lives and no longer feel suicidal.  Some people spread hate because hate gives them a jolt of energy and distracts them from their hopelessness, like an addiction.  And sometimes, people fear facing the truth of their own lives and beginning to forgive themselves.  Some men may fear the truth of women’s lives because they may not be ready to examine the ways that they have not treated women with dignity. If they have treated women with dignity, they do not fear the voices and perspectives of women.

My book details some creepy, criminal, and abusive behavior from some men because it is the reality of what I have encountered on planet earth.  I want these types of moments to decrease.  April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and according to the CDC, each minute, there are 24 victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking per minute. Despite this horrible statistic, I know there are so many wonderful men and women who will learn more about how to be bystanders and anchor greater peace on this planet, forcing this number to go down drastically.

Happy People Don’t Spend Their Time Being Hateful:  As time goes by, I am learning to take just as much energy from darkness as I do the light.  When confronted with darkness, I work hard to illuminate it.  When confronted with light and blessings, I work hard to spread those blessings.

One thing I know with certainty—happy people with lots of internal bliss and freedom don’t sit around posting hateful comments on YouTube. 

True happiness and joy comes from a connection to source and a deep connection to others.  To have those connections, we must feel worthy of them and come from an authentic place.  It took a while for me to learn how to feel worthy, but the memory of God’s love during my NDE was the first major step in that direction.  Today, I am blessed by the love in my life, the love of my life, and surprised by the beauty of life.

My deepest wish is that everyone might be healed. There is so much light available to us all.  However, you have freewill.  You can do as you wish, but you’ll probably regret it during your life review. You will see all the good you could have done in this world.  You will see all the ways you could have brought more love into the world with your thoughts, words, and actions.  You will see that you were not living at all when you spent your time hating others.

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Meditation & Out-Of-Body-Experiences

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I’m happy to include another guest post about a beautiful out-of-body-experience.  Personally, I know that meditation practices can make us more open to these experiences.  Enjoy this story from across the pond.

On the River by Will H.

I started meditation in my late teens and in my twenties attended a number of silent mindfulness retreats, which I very much enjoyed.  By nature, I’m a morning person and find that the early morning is the best time to practice meditation at home; the mind is usually quieter and well rested after a good night’s sleep.    Years ago, however, I would also meditate at night just before going to bed.  Somewhat to my surprise, I noticed that this had an unexpected effect on my dreams.

As a general rule, I found that practicing mindfulness for 30-40 minutes or so before going to sleep made dreams easier to recollect, deeper and more vivid…. a bit like tuning an old fuzzy TV so the picture quality improves.   I once had dream of a roe deer on the farm, which then turned into what appeared to be an old shaman.  The shaman tried his best to communicate deep and important personal truths that I strained to hear but frustratingly couldn’t quite grasp. Earlier still, another memorable dream foretold the future sale of the family farm some 7 years later when the full symbolic meaning came to pass.  Interestingly, I later read a wonderful book by Piers Vitebsky called ‘Reindeer People’ about the nomadic reindeer herders of Siberia who it turns out have a name for just this sort of pre-cognitive dream that is only later fully understood with the passage of time.

All these deeper dreams as a result of pre-bed meditation seemed to involve the local countryside and tended to have what I thought of as shamanic rather than Buddhist motifs.  I found this surprising at the time as mindfulness is really an Asian Buddhist practice.   It’s only more recently that Burmese Buddhist elements have appeared in my dreams and even then quite infrequently.

The particular dream happened about 17 years ago and was an out-of-body dream.  I lived at the time by a beautiful river in Southern England and the historical birthplace of fly-fishing.   Rivers are mostly privately owned in Britain and my family had a farm that had diversified, so we sold fly-fishing days as a way to keep the farm viable.   My home was a mill cottage, well over 100 year old with two braids of the river flowing on either side, quite something in the summer!  In the off-season winter months, we would look after the river, doing habitat and riverbank restoration work with a small team of men.  I had big plans for improving both the fishing and the in-stream ecology.

One night around this time I woke up to find myself looking down at my own body asleep in bed from a vantage point on the ceiling.  I guess you could call this a lucid dream where you wake up and yet simultaneously remain firmly in the dream state.

No sooner had I registered this most unusual out-of-body experience looking at my own body, than a luminous oval sphere of light then came in through the window – sliver blue in colour it paused by my bed.   As I looked down I could see that this ball of light exerted a suction on my left side about level with my ribcage and out popped another blue-silver ball of light.  “Ah, this must be my one,” I immediately thought to myself.

My visitor spoke to me telepathically although seemed a little uncertain of how to address me, “Come on Will, come on William – we have to go and look at the river”.

So, I left my bedroom as a ball of light following another ball of light up and out of the window.  We flew low to the river like a pair of brilliant blue kingfishers to a place upstream where the real-life team had been working that same week on riverbank repairs.  We paused and looked at the work though no further words were exchanged.

I knew without doubt who the other blue ball of light was – It was Leslie, a river-keeper who had tended the river before I was born.    What I know is that he had a heart condition, forgot to take his medication and died suddenly around the time my mother was pregnant with me in the early 1970’s.

I subsequently learned that Leslie was one of the great old-school river keepers.  A man devoted to the care of the river, he would cut the riverweed by hand wading in the water with a scythe in the days before mechanical cutting.   They told me Leslie would start work on the river at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. on summer mornings, unthinkable to our more lazy generation!

Whilst it was many years ago that I had this dream and the family farm was sold not long after, it has stayed with me all this time.  I well remember waking up and feeling this great inner conviction regards two things following that dream.

Firstly, I felt a certainty that physical death was not the end. How could it be?  I’d just met a dead person!  Secondly, I was really struck by how someone could still care about a river over 30 years after their own death; it was emotionally humbling and made me wonder again what exactly happens after we pass on.

A final strange twist was that a few weeks after having this dream, I was distributing some pamphlets advertising our fishing business; I went into the local village Post-Office and asked if I could leave some there.  An attractive woman behind the counter took a glance and then said with a smile “Oh my grandfather used to work there as a river-keeper – his name was Leslie.”   I felt close to mentioning the extraordinary dream experience but I held back, something that I perhaps regret now.  I’d never met any of Leslie’s family before (or since) so maybe I should have said something.

In my own defense, out-of-body mystical experiences involving the dead are not topics that we Brits normally talk about on first meeting!  What was I really going to say?  “Oh yes, I met your long-dead Grandpa two weeks ago, he got me out of bed to look at the river work we’re doing!”

I find it encouraging that thanks to the internet, we can now share these sorts of unusual experiences, and I hope with time all will be more accepting of them in everyday life.

Will H, England. April 2017.