Have you ever had an interaction with someone who you believe was an angel in human form? Post your stories beneath the video. I would love to hear from you. May you be blessed!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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???”
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.
‘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.”
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.
A Woman of the Light
“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.”
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!
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!