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

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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.

 

 

 

Just Remember Compassion

 

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Go ahead and work hard to manifest every single one of your dreams.  Build the company you wanted to build.  Start the non-profit.  Win the awards you dreamed of winning, but don’t forget compassion.

Go ahead and marry the guy or girl many others wanted.  Travel to Cozumel, Tahiti, and Rome.  Get a new home every decade and move up in your company, but don’t forget compassion.

Go ahead and train for your first race.  Win and keep training.  Take your efforts to their maximum and beyond. Smile for the cameras as everyone watches as you blast into fame in those blessed 500 meters of your life, but don’t forget compassion.

Go ahead and write the novel that gets a big publishing contract.  Get the movie deal and the house in Encinitas, but don’t forget compassion.

Because…the business can fail, the non-profit can flounder, and awards can be a thing of the past.  Divorce, sickness, and disaster is the rain that falls into many lives, and athletes whose faces were known around the world in their twenties sometimes have trouble getting out of bed in their forties or fifties, their bodies wracked with pain.  The writer who was the envy of all his or her peers sometimes dies alone with a television or a cat, so extend compassion to everyone like it is breath.

When you judge another’s weaknesses, you judge yourself because we will all succumb to frailty.  The flower blooms, but even when we are green, we are also dying.  Even when we are dying though, we are sometimes simply learning what it means to live with compassion for all beings.

So, why not learn the lesson now?  Why not live as if you are already home?  Have compassion for everyone on God’s green earth and everyone who has come before you and everyone who will come after you.

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During my near-death experience, one of the aspects of the divine love of God was compassion.  There were many aspects to this megadose of love, but compassion was one of the feelings.  To simply feel God’s acceptance and love as I was without judgment seemed way out of the ordinary for me.  In my life before my NDE, I encountered people who were often judgmental, and I didn’t always extend compassion myself.

The longer I live, the more I realize that one of the most important things we can do is to extend compassion both to ourselves and others in all moments of life, even in small moments when we are frustrated in traffic or unable to sleep.  Try showing yourself a bit more compassion.  The very act of showing compassion for yourself seems to free up space and allows things to shift.

Holes In The Veil By: Chris Brethwaite

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I am pleased to feature another guest post.  Chris Brethwaite’s beautiful story about a loved one’s communication from the other side of the veil is remarkable for several reasons.   Please enjoy!  I would love to hear your comments about after-death communications with loved ones.  

There is a flip side to NDEs, ADC – After Death Communication. Rather than a percipient visiting the other side, someone on the other side makes their presence known to the percipient. This can occur in a number of ways – lucid dreams, symbolically (e.g. a rainbow arching over the cemetery on the day of their funeral), synchronicity (e.g. a meaningful coincidence at a meaningful time), sensing the deceased person’s presence, smelling an associated fragrance like perfume or aftershave, hearing their voice, being touched or held by an unseen presence, or seeing them in either a ghostly or solid form.

My first ADC experience took place during my senior year in high school. I had come home late one night from my job at a local pizza parlor, and had gotten a bowl of cereal. After I finished eating, I just sat at the table, unwinding from a long day of school and work. When all of a sudden, I saw and heard the cereal bowl move about four or five inches across the table. I was stunned. I had never witnessed anything like that.

I knew the bowl hadn’t slid across the table on a layer of condensation. We lived in Phoenix, and there was no condensation because of our extremely low humidity. Additionally, the table had a crinkle-like finish, and I actually heard the bowl scrape across the table surface. Not knowing what to make of the experience, I simply went to bed.

Several days later, I mentioned it to my dad. He had something quite interesting to add. A friend of his had recently dropped dead at work from a massive heart attack. One night, and quite possibly the same night I saw the moving cereal bowl, my dad saw his friend’s apparition standing in his bedroom doorway. I remember my dad telling me that the hallway light had been on, and that there was no mistaking who it was. Consequently, I believe it was this man’s soul who moved my cereal bowl. He wanted to make his presence known to me, and chose a simple, non-threatening way to do so.

About three years later my dad passed away from diabetes. About a month after his passing, my sister Maryanne awoke one morning at her apartment to find him standing at the foot of her bed, looking at her. He was only there for a moment, but long enough for her to be freaked out by it. It unsettled her enough that she slept with the lights on for the next couple of nights.

Fast forward to the fall of 2006. I was now living in Kansas City, and working as a humor writer for Hallmark Cards. One night I got a call from my mom telling me that she had gone to Urgent Care, and that they had diagnosed her with some kind of respiratory infection. Unfortunately, after a week or so, she wasn’t any better. So I flew to Phoenix to check on her situation in person.

Two days after I got there, I accompanied her to the pulmonologist’s office. He put her x-rays on the lightbox, and I was shocked to see all these white masses scattered throughout her lungs. The doctor said they could be benign and didn’t seem overly concerned. Her next step was to get a needle biopsy done at a hospital.

I forget all the details, but it wound up being a huge hassle getting the hospital to release the results of her biopsy to me. In any event, I’ll never forget sitting in the hospital parking lot and reading the lab report saying she had stage 4 lung cancer. This seemed unbelievable to me because my mom never smoked a day in her life.

I drove home, walked in her room, and sat on her bed. I then held her hand, and broke the heartbreaking news to her. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.

About a week later, my sister-in-law, Rena, and I took her to see an oncologist. The three of us waited in an exam room for what seemed to be an eternity while he looked over her medical records. Finally, he came in the room. He said he was sorry, but that my mom’s cancer was too wide spread to be surgically removed or treated with radiation. He added that even the most aggressive chemo would only extend her life a couple months. He said if she chose to do nothing, she’d have about three weeks to live. Rena and I both comforted her. It was not the news we were expecting to hear.

My sister immediately took leave from her job in Denver and flew home. A couple days after she arrived, I flew back to KC to take care of some personal business. While I was home, I picked out a song to play at her funeral. It was “O-h-h Child” by the Five Stairsteps. It had been a Top Ten hit in the summer of 1970. I picked that song because the lyrics made me thinks of NDEs, particularly the line, “Some day, yeah, we’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun. Some day, yeah, the world will be brighter.”

We had some odd things happen in the final weeks of my mom’s life. One night I was sitting with her watching her sleep, when I heard her closet door shut. I looked over my shoulder, and saw that it was open. I got up and checked inside, but nothing seemed amiss. Another time, I had just laid down on my bed when I heard the brass bell my mom would ring when she needed something. I was in her room no more than three seconds later, only to find her on the opposite side of the bed from the nightstand where the bell sat. It was obvious she hadn’t rung it. I don’t even think she was awake.

One night my sister was in the living room watching TV when she saw a pen on the coffee table roll 360 degrees for no apparent reason. She hadn’t jarred the table or anything. We pretty much shrugged off these events because we were physically and emotionally drained.

When my mom needed more care than us kids could provide, we admitted her to a hospice. One morning, about two days before she passed, while I was sitting with her, she seemed to see something or someone to my immediate right. There was nothing there but a blank wall. I asked her what she was looking at, but she was no longer able to speak. She had a look on her face of shock and surprise, as though she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. My personal opinion is she had a death bed vision. I’m assuming she saw my dad, or her parents, or an angel standing next to me.  I was happy for her, and found the experience interesting, if not a little bit spooky.

My mom passed away at 1:47 a.m. on the morning of December 6, 2006. She was surrounded by those who loved her the most – me, my sister Maryanne, my brother Terry, and his wife Rena. After the nurse declared her officially deceased. We quietly gathered her possessions and left.

The next afternoon Maryanne and I had to go to the funeral home to finalize the arrangements, and to give them the CD of “O-h-h Child”. When I started the car, “O-h-h Child” was playing on the radio. My sister and I couldn’t believe it. I realize this could be nothing more than a coincidence. However, future events would cast serious doubt on that as an explanation.  In any event, what would come in the months ahead would defy all rationality.

My mom had been a devout Catholic, and if you asked us kids, a very loving and saintly person. She had spent her whole life sacrificing for others. In the months leading up to her death, she had struck up a special friendship with Father Ben, a priest from her parish whose job was to minister to the sick and dying. My mom would frequently tell me that if Father Ben stopped by and she was sleeping, to wake her up. I assured her that I would. When she passed, it was Father Ben who celebrated her funeral mass.

Probably my mom’s one and only hobby was collecting small clocks. They were displayed proudly on a decorative shelf in her living room. I had one clock at my house that was similar to the kind she collected. In fact, I’m reasonably certain she gave it to me. On the one month anniversary of her passing, I noticed that it had stopped working. I figured it just needed a new battery. A couple days later I got around to replacing it. When I went to set the correct time, I realized that it had stopped at the time of her death, 1:47.

For Easter of ’07, my sister and I sent Father Ben a check to help with his ministry to the terminally ill. We knew this was something our mom would have wanted. Shortly afterwards, I received a Thank You card from him. The next day I went out to my garage to put a new license plate frame on her car, which I had driven back from Phoenix.  The moment I set foot in the garage, I smelled votive candles, like you’d smell in a Catholic church. There was nothing in my garage that would smell even remotely close to candles.

Days later I was sitting on my couch reading a book about NDEs and ADC when I suddenly smelled votive candles again. I called my sister to tell her about the experience, and learned that she, too, had smelled votive candles. On the day I received the Thank You card from Father Ben, she had come home from a business trip to Houston, and had smelled them the moment she walked in the door. The smell was strong enough that she asked her then significant other if he had been burning candles for any reason, he said no.

Around the end of June, I experienced the votive candle smell again. I had a potential buyer coming over to look at her car and was busy straightening up the living room, when I suddenly walked into a “solid wall” of candle smell. It was overwhelming. I stopped dead in my tracks and stood there for a good thirty seconds inhaling the scent. Interestingly, this wall of smell was directly in front of my entertainment center, on which sits, the one cherished item I have from my mom – A Kachina doll in a glass case that she received when she retired as a nurse from St. Luke’s Hospital.

Things remained quiet until the morning of November 8th, when my sister called me at work. She told me that while she was getting ready for work, she had opened a compartment on her dresser to take out a piece of jewelry our mom had given her, and had suddenly smelled mom’s perfume. At that precise moment, the TV in her bedroom went gray. She knew she hadn’t lost cable reception because she could still hear the downstairs TV.

She went on to say she had nothing of mom’s that would smell of perfume, and added that it wasn’t even a recent scent, but rather, something our mom would have worn back in the ‘80s or ‘90s. Also, neither one of us could think of any significance to the date. Not that there necessarily had to be one.

That night I called my brother Terry in Phoenix and told him about Maryanne smelling mom’s perfume. I mentioned that we couldn’t think of any significance to the date. He quickly interjected, “I can.” He went on to tell me that he and Rena had gone to court that day to gain legal guardianship of our brother Mark who has severe Down syndrome, and that the guardianship was granted. It was the last piece of unfinished business from our mom’s passing.

This may or may not have a connection to my mom. Everyone can decide for themselves. About a year and a half before she became ill, I bought her a nearly new 2003 Oldsmobile Alero. She was so appreciative that she started crying on the showroom floor. I remember saying to her, “Mom, please don’t cry at the Pontiac dealership.” On a beautiful Saturday morning in November of ’08, I was sitting at my computer, and just for fun, was perusing the used cars on my Ford dealership’s web site. To my amazement, they had a nearly new Mustang for sale at 40% off the sticker price! I couldn’t believe it!  It had only been driven for six months and had 6500 miles on it.

It was a beautiful candy apple red, and everything about the car was as if I had ordered it from the factory myself. I couldn’t get down to the dealership fast enough. I drove it around the block and bought it on the spot. My salesman told me I got the deal of the day. They even had to call a guy in Dallas who was getting ready to fly up to look at it, and tell him it was sold. I couldn’t help but think that my mom just paid me back for getting her the Alero.

On December 6th of 2016, the tenth anniversary of her passing, I had to run some errands. Plugged into the stereo of my Ford Escape is an iPod loaded with 647 songs. The first song that played? You guessed it. “O-h-h Child”.

Chris and Mom in Sedona (1)

Author’s Bio: Chris Brethwaite is a cum laude graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Additionally, he holds a Master’s degree in liberal arts from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. He is a long time IANDS volunteer, and former chapter head. He is currently working on a book titled, “A Paranormal Life”.  He can be reached at  ChrisBre@aol.com.

What I’ve Learned from One Year of Blogging

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If You are Prolific, Be Specific. 

After National Geographic interviewed me about my near-death experience, I started this blog. Seventy-nine posts and over 100,000 words later, I’ve learned a few things about blogging.

Being extremely intentional with your posts could help you create a novel.  The manuscript I’ve completed, Healed, sits at 96,000, though the revision process might bump the word count up or down.

If I would have realized I would write that much on my blog in a year, I might have been more focused.  I don’t regret the journey because learning is always exciting.  I’ve enjoyed writing book reviews as much as writing about after-death communications, writing about messages from my NDE as much as reflections about teaching.  This journey has taken me through a wild and beautiful landscape.

Consider Cultural Happenings and the News

Although we do not know which posts will get the most traffic, current events grab the attention of people, especially if you are writing about something that occurred in your area.  Also, being intentional about the world around you and anchoring love in the middle of chaos is a good practice.  The news can focus on the negative, but you can add your light, depth, and insights to certain situations.

Write Something Timely That Helps Others

One of my most popular posts is the post about completing the Medical Medium’s 28-day cleanse.  I wrote this because I hoped that my healing journey might encourage others with similar issues with chronic pain and autoimmune disorders to try the cleanse.  I was one of the first bloggers to document my experience with the 28-day cleanse, and I received a lot of support from Facebook communities devoted to the advice of The Medical Medium.  Facebook groups and Twitter groups can be a way to extend your blog’s reach.

Pay Attention to Those Who Reach Out to You and Pass on the Love

Shareen Mansfield who created OTV Magazine was one of the first bloggers to reach out to me.  I fell in love with many of her posts and the posts of those she publishes on OTV Magazine.  I even felt inspired to write an article for OTV.

Not only did I find supportive Facebook communities dedicated to topics of interest, but I found several wonderful writer’s blogs.  I witnessed several success stories and watched people like Raymond Baxtor take off with The Relationship Blogger this year.

Become a fan of blogs that move you.  Don’t just like posts, take the time to post thoughtful comments.  Create your own community and make it supportive and uplifting.  Consider showcasing the work of other bloggers and writers on your blog.

To My Friends!

Blogging, like social media, can lead to real connections and friendships.  This year, I’ve met angel communicators, NDErs, alien communicators, political activists, protesters, life coaches, health coaches, artists, poets, writers, ministers, college students, hospice workers, hospice volunteers, yoga teachers, meditation teachers, healers using a variety of modalities, mediums, naturopaths, shamans, and lots of people who read blogs.

Thank you readers, and thank you everyone for your emails.  I loved hearing from you whether you have shared your most profound loss, your greatest joy, deepest longing, or your earnest curiosity.  You are the you I was hoping to connect with in blogosphere.  I have a much larger tribe across the planet than I realized.

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What’s in a name?  Sometimes you are your own brand.  When you think Lorna Byrne http://lornabyrne.com/  you most likely think of her communication with angels.

When you think Gabby Bernstein, you most likely think turning fear into faith and living with divine guidance.  https://gabbybernstein.com/

When you think Tony Robbins, you think high intensity motivation.  https://www.tonyrobbins.com/

I simply guessed that after the National Geographic article, which featured a short blurb about my NDE, people would Google “Tricia Barker NDE” or “Tricia Barker Near-Death Experience.”   And they did.  To my surprise, tens of thousands of people used that specific search term.

In retrospect, this might not be the catchiest name for my blog, but it worked to a degree.  Will I change it in time?  Probably.

What should you name your blog?  Something you are happy with long-term.  Your name is not a bad idea if you are working to become a brand.

I hope that when my memoir, Healed, is published readers will think, “If Tricia can experience that kind of divine sense of purpose and healing, then I can certainly live a greater life of divine purpose.”

Be Careful with Your Tags in a Porn-Infested Internet Landscape

I wrote several posts about rape culture and my experience with rape in South Korea.  Unfortunately, some people search “Teacher Rape South Korea Porn” and are directed to my post about being an English teacher, living in South Korea, and experiencing rape.

Porn can be toxic to healthy relationships, and Dr. Robert Jensen spoke about pornography at one of the colleges where I taught English; his message transformed the lives of many young men and women.

The Relationship Blogger caught my attention with his post about porn.  Whatever your level of comfort is with writing about sex, trauma, pornography, or otherwise, realize that tags can filter the wrong crowd to your blog.

On the other hand, if you have a sense of humor, you might use lots of kinky tags for of non-related articles to boost your stats.  “Two Girls Making Out” might direct someone to “How to Complete Your Taxes in Under Two Hours.”  Together, we could start a blogging revolution.

Other Technical Stuff

I have a basic WordPress account, and largely the format has worked for me.  I like the set-up, and the layout.  It is easy to use, and graphics make the posts look nicer.  Would I like a snazzier looking blog?  Sure.  Do I have issues that I haven’t fixed?  Of course.  I don’t even know how to delete the extra category.  I have “book reviews” and “Book Reviews” as categories.  Lol.  Help me!  Somebody…help me.

Lordy, Lordy, Haters and Trolls

Haters and trolls are probably in deep pain and lost in drama.  Don’t be like them.  Don’t write about the confusing, dramatic parts of your life until much later when you have wisdom and serenity.  Write from places where you are solid and can give advice to help others, not when you are bleeding half-to-death because there isn’t much clarity in that state of mind.  Write about a well healed scar and show others how to get through painful situations.

Bless the crap out of people who hate you, and even if some people behave so badly that you think they should come back as a tarantula in their next life or believe they are currently living out a reality as a tarantula in a multi-universe and that is why they are having such a difficult time being human, bless them until they go away and have and awakening far, far away from you.

Remember you only see a small picture, and God sees the entire picture.  Learn to see a bigger picture, and write to win.  Write something so undeniably transcendent that even your haters will nod and turn in the other direction because they know you are helping others.

One of my surprisingly popular posts is one about narcissistic abuse.  I’m not a psychologist, but I’ve experienced enough narcissistic abuse in my life to see the last of my innocence float away and return with understanding and with healing.  If you write about pain, write in a way to bring clarity or healing to a subject.

And if those haters and trolls still come after you, remind them how years of Krav Maga and other techniques have made you not just a fireball, but an atomic force of nature.

atomic-blonde

Who Loves You, Baby?

Nobody and I mean nobody will love your baby blog more than you do.  Your pretend soulmate, your wannabe soulmate, your twin flame for a day, the friends who are a godsend for correcting your typos and grammatical errors, your life-long best friend, your new best friend, your favorite ex, your least favorite ex, and even your real, true honest to God in the flesh stand by your side partner for life will get busy and forget to read your blog.  You and God know your blog better than anyone else, so write to delight yourself.  Write to inform or help others who take the time to read your posts. Write something you would be proud of one year or even ten years from now.

Consider Your Top Ten Posts

After you have blogged for a while, take stock of your half-year or year.

Why were some posts more popular than others?  Do you want to make more posts in a similar vein to your most popular posts?

What surprised you about the journey?  What didn’t surprise you?

Take a Break

Why?  Because you can.  Because you might work on something other than a blog for a time.  Because it excites you to take a break.

However, if it feels more exciting to keep blogging, then keep on truckin.

I guess they can’t revoke your soul for tryin.—Grateful Dead

 skystars

Top Ten Posts

  1. Excerpt About the Angels
  2. Excerpt After the Angels
  3. My Story as a Rape Victim and a Response to the Sentence for Brock Turner 
  4. Love Letter from God
  5. Messages from My NDE
  6. The Life and Eight Deaths of Ethan Michael Carter
  7. Lucky to Have Died, Lucky to Be Alive
  8. More About the Angels from My NDE
  9. Community College Instructor’s Response to Dallas Shooting

 

The Life and Eight Deaths of Ethan Michael Carter

turquoise-stream-alan-socolik

I’m excited to share a guest post today.  When I started blogging, I set an intention to find other NDErs who recently journeyed to the other side. My wish was granted when I connected with Ethan Michael Carter who told me about his eight recent deaths due to brain aneurysms.  I feel blessed to be one the first people to hear his story, and I’m pleased to share a few of his insights and afterlife experiences with you. 

I stood beside the brook and let my surroundings wrap themselves around me, warming me in a blanket of their calmness.  The water was a fragile hue of turquoises that fluctuated from deep to feint, much like the light sweep of a painter’s brush.

As it seeped and sneaked smoothly past all obstacles, the aqua even managed to hurdle the rivers boulders too. Twigs span freely as they moved along the liquid carpet, tracing a path from where they were now, right back to the mountain trees from which they originated. The brook flowed over the pebbled riverbed and sounded airy, loud and busy.

In the background, the mountains stood silently in the background, touching the sky with their high reaching majesty. And upon their lofty peaks lay peppered snow, delivered by nature to form elegant halos around the jagged heights.

From an expansive gash in a nearby rock face, a waterfall flowed without end. It looked like a continuous slide of silky-blue that decorated the mountain, highlighted only by the ice crystals that hemmed the water with silver. A distant and heavy sound emanated from the waterfall, sounding like the steady and continuous roll of a hundred drums. Glinting brightly with eye-squinting brightness, the slide of water generously fed the river.

To say I was in awe, would be an understatement.

Taking in a breath of perspective, I looked back at the swirling brook. The run off from the ice made it appear varnish clear and the surface glinted as if dream dust had been scattered over it, giving the water a glassy clarity.

My concentration flickered as some speckled trout drifted under the shady eaves of the bank, flicking their tails with elegant ease. Each time a fly happened to come to close, the trout would explode out of the water with dynamic efficiency. I could see them in almost slow motion, arcing in the air with their glistening bodies, performing their personal ballet in the river; all before landing back in the water with a plunking sound, and darting to the shadowy depths with their catch already stored safely within their bellies. The symphony and grace of the water seemed magical to me in that very brief, yet very meaningful moment.

It was a beautiful moment, but I had no idea where I was.

I did not know where I was, but I knew what I was, I was dead.

This beautiful place was what I call the Other Realm.

This was not my first time here. I had been to this realm many times. Back in Earth’s material world where I had come from, I had been suffering from brain aneurysms. I had had many episodes; some had been severe enough to cause brain bleeds and ruptures. These ruptures and bleeds on the brain had sometimes been so severe that they had caused my organs to shut down, and for me to die.

In total I had suffered 8 of these deaths so far.

Most of them would bring me to a huge house located by a hillside in what looked like Southern California, but was obviously not. I knew this as whenever I would leave that huge house, the inhabitants of the area were beings with faces made of light.

Light would emanate from every one of their orifices, and the light was as bright as car headlights, forcing me to avoid looking directly at them for too long.

On my first few visits, this would cause me great fear and discomfort. But by the fifth visit, I became accustomed to talking to these beings comfortably, if not casually, by addressing their chest regions as opposed to their faces.

The beings themselves looked like we did. Clothed, and with distinct personalities. I guess some people would call them “Spirits” or “Angels” but I prefer the term “Souls” or “Realmers.”

One of these Realmers was a man… being… called Caleb.

He stood tall at well over 6 feet tall, maybe even 7 feet. He wore a black T-shirt, unbuttoned black and white plaid half sleeve shirt, and blue jeans with black work boots. He was well muscled and his forearms revealed lean and sinewy muscle. Both forearms were decorated by a mix of scars and black tribal tattoos; tattoos that played off strikingly against the natural whiteness of his skin. His brown hair was of medium length, and his face — when I could bare to look at the light that he emanated long enough — revealed an unkempt stubble of browny grey. His voice was deep and raggedy, and he had an American accent. He had a very angry demeanor as his default setting, and a dark sense of humor.

I had met with Caleb twice. But it felt like I’d known him for a long time. You see, time means little between this world and the next. Our concept of time being linear is both laughable and simplistic when compared to the Universal understanding that Souls in the Other Realm have. In a lot of ways, our concepts feel like child’s play to them. Our greatest theories seem like the musings of children having tea parties with imaginary friends and just as imaginary food. But, just as we would humor a child, the Other Realmers view us with love and compassion; with an understanding of our misconceptions that is enlightening.

Each time I had died on Earth, my heart had stopped between 3 to 7 minutes (our time).  However, each of those minutes had felt like weeks to me, weeks spent in the other realm.

Caleb was a warrior Soul. And one that could appear to me in any way that he chose.  I had not known this on our first meeting and this fact was introduced to me in a very harsh and painful way.

Before meeting Caleb, I had encountered Realmers of peace and tranquility. Each previous death experience that had brought me to this realm had brought me warmth, compassion, fun and laughter.

But my first meeting with Caleb was very different. On my first meeting with him I was beaten so badly that I thought I may have found myself in “Hell.”

However, it turned out, or he told me after beating me, that his purpose was to address my fears and weaknesses — all with the aim of strengthening me. I also found that with Caleb, you must earn the right to enjoy your surroundings; something only earned by facing and conquering a fear.

Below I have listed some of the lessons that Caleb has taught me recently and my reflections on them.

Fear is restlessness, and restlessness is the enemy of peace.

Makes a lot of sense really. Fear is a trigger and takes you out of the moment.  It forces you to focus on your physical and emotional reaction to it.  You can’t expect to have peace within a moment if you are unable to observe a moment, especially if you’re too busy being a puppet to fear.

If you act with only the result in mind, you will fall and you will fail.

On the surface this may sound like nonsense because there are countless examples of where someone wanted something, endured obstacles, but their desire of the end result kept them motivated until they got what they wanted.

However, I feel this statement holds true because the expectations of an end result can often discourage and downplay the process in getting there.

For example:

Rather than setting an end result of say losing 15 to 20 pounds of weight in a month and then gauging our success on whether or not that was accomplished, wouldn’t it be easier to just choose to begin to take care of our bodies by working out? Therefore, adopting a healthy lifestyle and putting our focus on the journey and not the destination. This way we alleviate pressure and fear (see above) and create habits that will naturally lead to weight loss (or whatever you desire) in a more natural way.

Stale thinking, will hurt you.

Who told you that you’d fail in your own business? Who told you that you just couldn’t learn a language, or travel? Who told you that you can only jump at a certain height, or that you’re just not “lucky” or “talented” to do the things you want?

Whoever told you these things/ planted these ideas in your head; did they set them in stone within your heart and soul?

Too often we let past results dictate what our mind and bodies can achieve.

Understand that who you were, doesn’t have to be who you are. Our lives and our existences are all in constant motion, so make sure you are too.

You can and should be — evolving.

Rushing kills enjoyment

Having a rushed/ busy mentality prevents us from experiencing the moment.

We all lead busy lives. Lives that often result in us multi-tasking (eating on the go, talking while we work, etc.)

This lesson from Caleb enforced the importance to take time to fully experience one thing at a time. No matter how mundane or complicated the task we might just be surprised by how much it has to offer when we fully give ourselves to it.

Cowards fear defeat.

Don’t run away from defeat; in fact, stop evaluating everything as a win/ loss, or success/ failure.

In the human experience, we take something out of everything. It just seems to be a lot easier to value and enjoy what we take when it gets coupled with a favorable result. Imagine we didn’t evaluate all of our results and instead focused on what we took from the experience regardless. That would mean we would always be learning, and doing so without attachment to results.

Lead your thoughts.

Most people are led by their thoughts and therefore are actually a slave to them.

It is important to observe your thoughts, and be aware of them because thoughts are POWERFUL.

We are creative beings in this realm and in the Other Realm. The essence or building blocks of that creativity are found in our thoughts.

The thoughts we have become magnetized and will attract like thoughts, situations and experiences into our lives. So it is of vital importance to keep your mind aimed on only (ONLY) the things you desire, else you will attract that which you do not desire.

So, taking charge and leading your thoughts, is a very profound step.

Blindness to life

“There is never anything going on,” or “life is boring.” How many times have you thought and felt like this?

We’ve all experienced this at times to varying degrees, but the truth of the matter is that even in the most boring of moments there is plenty going on. Next time you find yourself “bored” take the time to truly observe your surroundings. Take the time to realize that your very existence alone, is a miracle in itself.

Thinking like this (leading your thoughts) will bring very interesting and exciting things into your life.

Everything has a purpose.

Even the most difficult, challenging or emotionally engaging experiences in life have a greater purpose and servitude to our existence. It’s our choice whether we want to look internally and find it, or continue to dwell on the outward experience it created.

It’s ok to die, as long as you lived.

Death does not equal sadness. Sadness equals the fact that some people never live.

A lot of people find a great deal of peace and strength in death.

For many people, death is a lot more of a profound experience than what many of us call daily life.

This is can be for two reasons:

  1. They realize that life is not limited to this current form and realm
  2. They just plain old have had enough of life

Unfortunately, many more people succumb to number 2, than they do to number 1.

You must live life and not let it slip by while you’re too busy existing.

Never give up what you love.

Don’t give up what you love, find love in what you do. The idea of giving up something that you love only stems from a disappointment in how it has worked out thus far. Rather than letting the past bury you, find the love in what you do and realize that no matter how it plays out, it is a part of you.

“What if I can’t?” is futile.

That’s the future, throw it out. All we have and can impact is this moment. Why would we let thoughts about a future moment hold us back from doing something that in this moment we would like to do.

Our “wants” are what hurt us.

Getting caught up in wants leads to nothing but suffering. When we don’t get what we want, we define this as “suffering.”

When we do get what we want, we quickly suffer because we can’t hold onto it as it either slips from our grasp or loses its previous value shortly after we attain it.

 

ETHAN

Ethan Michael Carter has worked as a professional ghost writer, author, fight choreographer, and stage actor.  Currently, he works as a screenwriter. Check out more of his fascinating biography here.  And if you would like to read more about his afterlife experiences, here is a recent post  on his blog https://livemorethanyouexist.com/

You can also follow him on Twitter

 

Photograph of stream by Alan and Marcia Socolik   http://alan-and-marciasocolik.pixels.com/