Harassment, Stalking, and Rape Almost Destroyed the Beauty of a Near-Death Experience But in the Long Run Spirit and Love Wins

I’ve written about harassment, stalking, and rape before, but with everything in the news from the recent Time article about silence breakers to the up-coming resignation of Al Franken  and the possible election of Roy Moore,  I wanted to address these topics again, and ultimately from the perspective of healing, both personally and socially.

I had a slightly different experience from some older near-death experiencers because I returned to the body of a woman in her early twenties.  Navigating this culture and another culture in South Korea proved challenging.

However, in the end, we are not defined by what we experience but by how we overcome these moments, how dedicated we are to focusing on creating a brighter future for ourselves despite the harrowing aftereffects, and how we are able to help other heal.  I also believe we all–male and female—have a responsibility to create safer power structures.

My healing came from group therapy, many types of therapies and healing modalities, many types of self-defense classes, community, helping others, energetic healing, meditation, yoga, writing, speaking about these topics, safe relationships, and time spent creating many beautiful, peaceful moments.

Ultimately, the near-death experience and the beauty of that event returned to me fully, but there were some dark years of living with some of the aftereffects of harassment, stalking and rape when I all I could do was survive.

I believe that love is a transformer of darkness in society.  I found a way to love all the many students I met who suffered in ways similar to me or in much more horrifying ways.  Supporting them in the ways I wanted to be supported made me feel as if I was working to create a better world.   In the end, isn’t that what we are trying to do on a soul level–create greater connection, greater understanding, and greater healing for everyone?

I reiterate time and time again that no victim is ever required to formally forgive, engage with, or talk with anyone who has harmed them, but it is also important to let go and focus one’s energy and time on goals, dreams, and beauty in the world.  Writing helps me let go of these moments even more.

It is no longer just my story.  As I am connected to countless stories from my students and may have worked to eliminate some of their sorrow, or at least pointed them in the direction of a brighter future, anyone who reads my story also helps me let go even more.  You lessen my burden.  You help me carry it, and set me a little freer.

I know our spirits long to fly.  Our spirits do not identify with this form–the PTSD or the pain.  We are the love that we give.

The Life Review in a NDE

 

Life-Review:  One of the common experiences during a near-death experience is a brief or extended cinematic view of one’s life.  Seeing our connection to others and seeing life through the vision of another person is a powerful lesson.  During my life review, I saw into the hearts and minds of people I had not known very well.  In life, I had judged them as not particularly interesting for a variety of superficial reasons.  During my life review, I clearly witnessed that a good heart and spiritual connection made these people very beautiful and precious to God.

I learned from that one scene in my life review to connect more frequently with people around me and to see people’s hearts, not their outward appearances, their accomplishments, their money, their charisma, etc.  For instance, wealth can be a tool to bring more goodness and prosperity to many people, or it can be used to use and manipulate others. There is nothing negative about accomplishments, money, or power, but the heart matters more.   Just like the line in the song “Desperado,” it is important to remember that “The Queen of Hearts is always your best bet.”   The same applies for the King of Hearts.

My life review was quick and zeroed in only on what I should learn and what I could do better in life.   I judged myself and my actions mainly because I could see into the hearts and minds of others and observed my limited thinking.  God seemed to be guiding this life review and let me feel what I needed to feel from these scenes.  I understood that people I had written off had love and concern for my well-being, and I wished that I had been more open and kinder to them both in my thoughts and in my actions.  I saw that God sees our hearts much more than anything else.

According to the website www.nderf.com, there are four categories of life review descriptions.  “NDErs categorized them based on  1) how the life review physically happened; 2) content; 3) aftereffects; and 4) other.  Many described the life review like a re-run of a play, a film, or watching it on-screen.  Others commented on the content of the life review.  NDErs generally noted that they were the ones who judged themselves.  During the process, they saw the good, the bad, and cause and effect of their choices.  Many reported that they had a review of feelings, rather than a review of events.  Some say that their review consisted of feeling others reactions to their earthly actions.  The other large category were the aftereffects.  Not only did participants state that it was important to love and help others, but they also indicated that their relationship with God/Jesus was more important to them.  NDErs appreciated life more, and stated that it was important to have a sense of purpose.  The smallest category was ‘other’ in which NDErs reported not learning anything or they had a life review but couldn’t remember it.”  (Quote taken from www.nderf.com)

Throughout my life since the NDE, I have tried to be more open and supportive of others.  I don’t judge people in the same, superficial ways that I once did.  We all are works in progress, but I know that lesson was catered especially for me at that time in my life. Young people can be overly concerned with fads, fashions, musical tastes, literature, and sub-cultures in a way that doesn’t matter as much as we get older.

The heart, however, is the gem, the treasure, the best bet.  

When Carl Jung asked Chief Mountain Lake why he thought all white people are mad, Mountain Lake replied, ‘They say they think with their heads.’  “’Why of course, says Jung, ‘What do you think with?’  “’We think here,’ says Chief Mountain Lake, indicating his heart.

Let us all think more frequently with our hearts.

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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.  If the child of a narcissist expresses displeasure with a parent, the parent will often explode with fury, threaten, storm, or rage.  The parent might become violent, beating or confining her child or otherwise engaging in classic physical abuse.   Once the child is strong enough to fight back, coldness and verbal abuse are usually the tactics.

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, and I had no idea how to work on healing.  By the time I had my near-death experience my senior year of college, so much inside of me felt devastated and then in a single instant—-healed.

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

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.

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Community College Professor’s Response to Campus Carry

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The love in my heart and soul is a billion times stronger than a gun strapped to my hip.  Love is what has transformed my life and other’s lives.  Love is the only thing that matters—the only thing that lasts, transcends, and lives on in the realms beyond this one.  Love is all that we take with us.

Teaching is the way that I have been guided to give love and to serve this world, and my hope has always been to create a brighter world through education.  I love my community college students even before I meet them.  I love them so that their journeys will open to wider paths and their options for success will be more plentiful.  I love them so that their fears will subside, and they can learn with greater understanding.

Teaching in junior high, high school, and at the college level has been a holy profession for me. While doing my training to teach in the public school, I remember viewing a video about a teacher who was informed that her students were gifted.  In turn, she treated these students as if they were gifted, and they excelled because of her expectations.  I imagined that if I walked into each classroom with unconditional appreciation for students and belief in their abilities, no matter what they had suffered or no matter what delinquent behaviors they exhibited, then miracles would occur.

Although the threat of an active shooter is a topic of concern at all schools, I chose to focus on ways to pinpoint, defuse, and bring healing to volatile situations before they spiraled out of control.  I started teaching in public schools after the Columbine High School tragedy and quickly realized that many teachers have been on alert to catch possible threats before they materialize and that seems like the best defense.

At the community college level, campus police are proactive and frequently walk the halls; there is a general feeling of safety at my campus.  My students are often adults with full-time jobs, families, and other responsibilities.  Other students have recently graduated from high school, but even these students often work and have quite a few responsibilities.   Certainly, I’ve  encountered a few students in need of disciplinary interventions, but I never thought that concealed weapons would make us all safer.

Campus carry is the strangest change I’ve witnessed in education. Texas legislation has thrown the possibility of guns into the middle of my love fest, and now I don’t know whether the most loving thing I can do is to be a loving person carrying a concealed weapon or to be a loving person without one.

I’m at ease and skilled with guns, and I’ve taken several self-defense classes and weapon training classes over the years.  I’m a victim of rape, theft, harassment, and stalking. Owning guns was never problematic for me, but bringing guns to school seems odd.   To my friends in Europe, the policy seems insane.

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Whatever I decide to do because of this change, I know that I will be incorporating more meditation and mindfulness exercises into my English classes.  I will be praying for the safety of our students and that everyone makes wise, safe choices.  My primary message to students is that education can be a path to a better life, to healing, and to greater opportunities.  I don’t ever want fear to be stronger than hope.

On a basic level, it makes sense that more guns will cause more violent crime, but I do understand why people think guns might make them safer.   Certainly, from a victim’s point of view I wonder how certain situations might have turned out differently if I had a gun and the other person didn’t. But, I also know that the type of men who stalk, harass, and rape women might also use weapons to try to assert power over others.

Will Sam Colt be the great equalizer of the sexes?  I’m not sure. Will more women, especially young women who are extremely vulnerable to these situations, learn how to use and carry guns?   I certainly hope that more women do take self-defense classes in this current environment.

Having guns on a college campus doesn’t fit with my ideas about talking openly about intense topics.  The University of Houston has suggested that professors avoid sensitive topics and that prospect saddens me.  If having guns on campus does not create an environment which encourages students to think critically and deeply about their world, then guns should not be allowed on campus. 

In college, I loved hearing diverse opinions and solid, academic research, and I would hate to think of professors feeling intimidated enough to make a blander, watered down curriculum in response to the policy.  I hope that we can have more discussions about power, privilege, and why gun violence can not be our new normal.

One professor I know tells students on the first day of class, “Please don’t shoot me. Come talk to me and let me get the help for you that you need.”  The students think that their professor is joking, but this statement is not a joke.  Other professors I know who are nearing retirement are now considering changing paper topics to more fun, upbeat assignments that will encourage group work and laughter, not debate.

This summer in Raleigh, North Carolina, I got the chance to talk with the artist David Hess who built 100 mock assault rifles with household items like vacuum cleaner parts. The mood at his show is considerably different than the mood at an actual gun show. Lots of people of all ages smiled and picked up his fake guns for pictures.  Many people pointed them at one another and laughed.  Hess hopes to facilitate more discussions about fear and control, and he rejects polarized conversations about guns. However, he does want to make a difference in the tragedy of so much gun violence in the U.S.

Because of my near-death experience, I have a strong belief that my very life was saved so that I might reach as many students as possible. Right now, I am struggling to determine what the most light-filled, uplifting response is to campus carry.

I went into teaching in order to create greater peace, prosperity, and harmony in the world. I never pictured myself doing this with a gun strapped to my thigh or my hip, but I am a survivor, and I will do what I believe is the best, wisest choice for myself and for my students.

I am trying to adapt to a reality which is not acceptable.  I don’t like this change, but Texas is the place where I have a coveted, full-time position.  I have no choice but to bring as much lightness, peace, wisdom, and levity as possible to this new landscape.

But, really, if we are going to bring guns and knives to school like this is the Wild West, can we at least ride horses to class, talk around campfires by the river, look at the stars, and put away the cell phones?
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New, Extraordinary Identity

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I’ve heard it said by many people that the words “I am” are powerful words.  Why not claim the best for yourself?  I am the light, a transformer of darkness.  I am lucky.  I am the embodiment of love, peace, and goodwill.  I am blessed, grateful, effulgent, healthy, free, and optimistic.  I am washed clean by every rain, and made stronger with each sunrise.

Claim whatever positive traits you desire, even if you are in truth working toward these states of being.  You’ll get there quicker by telling your subconscious what you want instead of what you don’t want.

Last week, I realized that someone, most likely movers from a moving company, stole my checks and other personal information.  I was out of town when I realized my bank account had been drained, and the violation was shocking.  I reached for equanimity in the middle of that storm, but I was shaken up and had to lean on others.  Luckily, I realized that I have many supportive people all around me.  Those who do not know how to be supportive have drifted out of my life, and I live in a calm, beautiful state of being.

Life simply couldn’t get any better.  Why?  Because I claimed it, focused on the good, and refused to let a demanding situation be anything other than it is—a place which connects me to others.   Every trying circumstance in my life has allowed me to help others, and this will not different.  I am a part of something greater than myself.  Like a symphony, a storm, a comet, an eclipse, a thunderous herd of elk under bright moonlight, a floor of dancers with good rhythm and smiles, I am part of the flow of life and fully present for every moment of this ride back to the stars.

It is possible to walk into any situation free and happy.  You can also walk out of any situation just as free and just as happy.    You can walk away from rooms of discord, and walk into ones of peace, harmony, festivity, bliss, and sweetness.

Someone stole my identity.  So what? They can have that old identity.  They snatched the last of my troubles.  They took the lingering remnants of my negativity.  They stole my wounds and left me free and happy with a new bank card, a membership with LifeLock, greater happiness, and a new way of looking at this amazing world.

Though I have learned to be more protective of myself and others, I have also learned to let go of pain that isn’t my own and doesn’t serve me.  Bad things sometimes happen to good people, but many extraordinary, uplifting, miraculous, fortuitous things happen to good people as well.

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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 Other Side is On Your Side

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What if you didn’t worry about limits or restrictions? What if you could dance around doubts and jump over boundaries with grace? What if you gave your best effort and didn’t care about the results?

What if your cultural conditioning led you to all the wrong destinations and situations, and I told you that you could dive into the unknown, break through your current circumstances, and glide, possibly even jitterbug, around obstacles?

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What if you could easily stop doing things that stifle your potential and create your own way of living?  What if you could stop suffering by accepting everything as it is, but also by shifting into the energy of creation of what you want?

What if I told you that the person, place, or situation that you keep banging your head against will never change?  You and your actions are the only thing that can change.  What if I told you it is o.k. that you have made the same mistake countless times, but you don’t have to make the same one this time?

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The past is the past, but you can walk into the world now as if you are entering the greatest race of your life.  You can bet all of your money on yourself.  Whatever the outcome, you are going to run your heart out and get closer to your destination than if you stay stuck in fear.

On the other side of fear is freedom.  On the other side of the dark, cavernous, unknown places we must traverse to get where we want to go is a great, new beauty.

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Your soul has markers, breakers, and when you swim out beyond where you have gone before the sunlight is brighter and the landscape is different. You emerge with a glow, with an undeniable, intangible, distinctive quality.

Your ego is the right size, but your aura is huge.  Your smile gleams in the nighttime, and there is no doubt that the other side is on your side.

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Questions from Readers: What Can We Do? How Can We Help?

helenkeller

People often ask me about how to find optimism or how to anchor love in a world full of tragedy and horrifying acts.  I am stunned sometimes myself by life because I am human and vulnerable like everyone else.  I only know with certainty that we do not take the pain with us.  We only take the love.  That tells me that when something unthinkable happens; for instance, when your friend’s daughter or son has been murdered, you must be the one to be willing to do anything to help your friend grieve and feel more loved.  You become the love that works to counter unthinkable tragedies.

You cry and grieve with your friend.  You stay there even when your friend pushes you away.  You remind him or her that grief is necessary and takes a long time to process.  You tell your friend to join a support group of other grieving parents.  You tell him or her to reach out and comfort others, so that you friend will be reminded how we are all connected. You tell your friend to keep doing loving things for himself or herself even though the grief is so intense that he or she can’t even taste the food or hear the music.  Eventually, a little joy will break through.  Going through the pain is the only way to slowly get out of it.

Connection and helping others is one of the most profound gifts we can give ourselves.  On days, when I could barely get up all the floor for all the grief I carried inside of me, I know my grief evaporated from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. when I was surrounded by the joy, confusion, pain, anger, silliness, happiness, and grief of my students. Solving one of their problems, or even just being a present, caring witness to their pain, made me feel that my life was of value and not random or meaningless.  Look to God for the strength that you feel that you don’t have at certain times.

People often ask me about why someone they know or barely know would threaten or terrorize them.  For that question, I want to use the wise words of a friend and energy worker who works for the greater good of this world.

He says that, “Each time someone threatens or terrorizes, they are working with the opposite of love, and no good will come from this state of being to the person making the threats. These people’s minds are horribly confused and fearful, and there is no respect for the existence and goodness in others.”

I think it is also important to realize that what terrorizers say is not the truth and only a reflection of their own darkness and pain.  As sensitive beings, we can internalize these attacks and wonder if there is any truth to their words, but there isn’t.  There is no truth in darkness, and there is no eternal quality to hate.

My friend goes on to say that, “….to be effective as a healer and actually work for the greater good, and have energy flow from ascended masters, angels, and the Divine Feminine, you need to come from a place of unconditional love. This means you need to ask for help in stepping away from the ego. You work for universal and unconditional love. Viewing the self through the lens of unconditional love empowers your work and elevates you tremendously, and your abilities increase exponentially.”

Sometimes, we simply learn how to help heal others who have been terrorized in the ways we have been terrorized.  We bring in that unconditional love for ourselves until we are free and we pass this love on to others.

People often ask me how they can help others and what they can do with their limited time and resources.    

Years ago, I read the book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life and decided to secretly (though not now) give gifts in one certain way for each month of the summer break.  During the school year, I am busy helping students, but in the summer, I only teach online classes and have more time. This is a hot month in Texas, so my focus this month is on homeless people.  I give whatever I can or have on me when I see a homeless person—usually I give money, but sometimes a water bottle, an extra pair of sunglasses, a smile or wave if I have nothing, an apple, a meal, my leftovers from a restaurant, and once I simply gave a man my prayer beads.  I give a part of myself to every person I see on these hot streets; their faces are now etched into my mind.  I am connected to them, instead of being completely separated behind the glass of my car window. What I am doing is not much; however, I know connection and helping others is where stories begin.

Years ago, I also read the book Same Kind of Different As Me which will soon be turned into a movie.  The setting is Fort Worth, Texas, and the story is about a deeply religious woman dying of cancer and her wish that her husband mentor a homeless man. All three of their lives are transformed by this connection.

If you are stumped as to how to help others, you might simply begin by reading about all those who have helped others, and you might get some great ideas.  Also, you might simply wait and listen.  When someone says that they need something, try to provide it or guide them to the right resource.

Sometimes, simply listening and being fully present is a great gift, especially in a society where too many are glued to their phones, not grounded, and not present even for their loved ones.  There are many organizations that need volunteers.  You can find ways to help, and remember that the people who you connect with are where the stories begin.  Design an amazing story for your life.  The greater the love, the better the story.

chacha

 

 

 

 

 

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

gordonia

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

GMan IV writes,

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

My Response

Dear GMan IV,

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Professor Barker


Getty’s Randomness writes,

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

My Response

Dear Mr. Randomness,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

A Woman of the Light


Another YouTuber writes,

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

My Response:

Dear Troll,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Fine Just as I Am

homage to my hips

these hips are big hips

they need space to

move around in.

they don’t fit into little

petty places. these hips

are free hips.

they don’t like to be held back.

these hips have never been enslaved,

they go where they want to go

they do what they want to do.

these hips are mighty hips.

these hips are magic hips.

i have known them

to put a spell on a man and

spin him like a top!