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.

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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

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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

 

Energy Connoisseur & Energy Giver

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Good energy workers are valuable and can facilitate tremendous emotional and physical healing in people; however, there is not a ranking system for analyzing their abilities, expertise, and beauty.   Though I am broaching this subject with lightness, I do think the world could benefit from energy connoisseurs.  Much like sommeliers who have an extensive knowledge and understanding of wine and make recommendations based on budgets and personal tastes, energy connoisseurs could offer suggestions to consumers.

I would sign up for that job.  I would love to travel around the world to visit energy workers and review the experiences with an interested audience.  I can imagine suggesting good pairings and coining new, descriptive terms.  Many years ago, I giggled when I heard wine described as “leathery” because terminology like that fascinates me.  I could imagine saying, “Her energy work is luxurious, munificent, and salubrious,” His work pulls in the multi-layered knowledge and love of the universe in colorful waves,” or “Her work is effulgent and effervescent with a slight twinge of giddiness.”

To paraphrase a friend of mine, the most effective healers know that they have a team of angelic entities working with them and have access to all knowledge for what is needed in certain situations.  Being an effective healer means reaching for humbleness and becoming one with the energy instead of claiming it as their own and taking credit for healings.  In other words, being a clear channel of healing energy/love/knowledge from God is the most important factor in any healing session.

Energy Connoisseur:  I was born sensitive to energy, but my near-death experience has made me extremely aware of the subtleties and nuances of energy work and energy blessings.  I have been amazed by certain people’s skills and highly disappointed, even disgusted in a couple of instances.  Though my experience might differ from another’s experience, the intent to categorize the skill levels of energy workers would mainly be done to help people.  Wines have a ranking system, so why not rank energy?

50-59 (Flawed) There are energy healers who have reached a level of fame who have lost their gifts along the way.  Although some energy workers are like a good wine and improve with age, not all of them do.  I am not going to call anyone out in this post, but I can say with certainty that I have worked with someone who may have been a miraculous healer and one point in his life but has little to no energy behind his expensive work now; he did not even have a kind demeanor.  There are also those with much intellectual knowledge about spiritual practices but have negative or manipulative identities.

60-79 (Flawed but Might be Used on Occasion) There are those working as healers who work with an open heart and basic common sense, but they are not utilizing much actual spiritual energy.  Additionally, some energy workers who do work with spiritual energy might be compromised because they are not skilled at setting aside their egos and operating from a pure divine flow of universal light and God-consciousness for clients.

80-84 (Above Average to Good) There are healers with only a few years into their various practices of Matrix Energetics, Pranaic Healing, EFT, Reiki, TheataHealing, Tong Ren Therapy, Emotion Code, or Qi Gong who enter the practice with passion and commitment.  They might do very good work, but they may not receive any recognition beyond their community and could benefit from a bit of publicity.

85-90 (Good to Very Good) There are healers who are life-long learners and connoisseurs themselves.  These healers combine passion, knowledge, skill, and expertise.  They are focused on their client’s needs and highly intuitive as well as in touch with healing, spiritual energy.  These skilled energy workers would also benefit from greater publicity.

90-94 (Superior to Excellent) You might not be able to schedule an appointment easily with superior to excellent energy workers because word of mouth can spread quickly.  That said, I would love to offer a perspective on those who have skills, which might benefit certain clients.  A high price does not always mean a highly-gifted energy worker, just as a high-priced wine does not always equate with the best wine for a particular dinner. However, in some cases, it might be worth waiting for someone with the skills that match specific needs.

95-100 (Benchmark and Classics) Some energy workers and blessing givers have reached a level of fame that draws large crowds.  The Medical Medium gives light blasts to his crowds, and Braco heals with gazes.  I haven’t seen Braco in person, but I have watched Ann Albers, who has been called to continue Braco’s healing through her gazes online.  In one session, I felt beautiful healing from an emotional wound that occurred many years ago.  Life confirmed this healing in real time by facilitating a conversation I hadn’t had with someone in over twenty years.  Although everyone might report a different experience through healings like these, a connoisseur might be able to dissect the type of energy transferred.  Through Ann, I felt an essence of pure love radiated into my life, and this pure love is something we all need more of in our lives.  Love is always healing.

Amma, sometimes called the hugging saint, transmits love to people and individualizes her energy to match what is needed from the person she hugs.  Additionally, she gives an energy which facilitates enlightenment.  I’m not saying that one hug from Amma grants complete enlightenment; rather, the energy that she transfers allows for the receiver to disconnect with his or her individual self to feel the bliss of unconditional love and connection to others.   This might be for a split second, the length of the hug, or for hours/days afterwards.

For several minutes after receiving a hug from Amma, I felt my soul connect briefly to millions of other people across the globe, possibly the other people who have received a hug from Amma.   I didn’t feel any type of healing energy, but I did feel an energy of connection to others in a profound way.  Disconnecting from the self through meditation is healing, and receiving this gift from Amma is in itself healing.

I don’t want to get into controversies or the background of any energy worker.  I’m not the type of person who is in danger of becoming a “devotee” of anyone.  I simply like to experience various energy experiences, and I’m open-minded.  I’ve been blessed to meet and experience many others besides Amma, and I hope to write more about these experiences in future posts.

Personally, I’m also a huge a fan of energy work backed by science.  People like Joseph Pierce Farrell have created a bridge between science and spirituality and helped many people see the potential of energy work in the lives of people in great need. His book Manifesting Michelangelo shows how we all have the ability to manifest on the level of the miraculous.

A modality like Nucca Chiropractics is highly healing and is also backed by scientific principles.  Some practitioners seem to work on an energetic level as well.  Psych K and Emotion Code make great sense to me based on psychological principles.  For those who are skeptical of energy work without a specific modality connected to this work, you might want to research all the many different types of modalities categorized under integrative medicine.

Lighthearted, Energy Givers: You don’t have to be a professional energy giver to give beautiful energy to this world. I love positive, uplifting people, and I enjoy being one of those types of people whenever possible.  Happy energy givers live our days with an intention to make others feel more peaceful and lighthearted.  Energy never lies and can’t be faked though.  To quote my friend again, “…it carries a specific code and resonance which is decipherable through awareness.”

You can fulfill a mission to be an energy giver with serious intentions or just through being you.  You can give others honest compliments, silly jokes, and the occasional singing or dancing at appropriate and inappropriate times.  Some silly, dancing energy givers like Matt from “Where the Hell is Matt” have made quite a big splash on YouTube.  Happy people make us happier.  In many ways, finding your bliss allows others to find theirs too.

Whatever the case, I wish you all much bliss and happiness.  Be your wild and funny selves, and don’t fear the energy.  Just drink it up and pass the good stuff on with honest, kind reviews of your experiences.

Two Corinthians Walk Into A Bar

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I’ve felt uninspired this week to create new content for my blog, mainly because I’ve felt more like reading.  There is a time to speak and a time to listen.

A few weeks ago, Marianne Williamson said, “If this is the religious right, we need a religious left” in response to the religious right’s lack of morality.  Growing up in the Bible belt, surrounded by the religious right, I’ve always thought that we need stronger voices from the left as spiritual teachers because a lot of compassion, tolerance, love, and beauty is missing from the political and religious right.

I admire spiritual teachers who come from a place of great love for all people, no matter their beliefs, and try to unite us all through love.  Love does awaken great compassion for all beings.

Though I aim for that ideal, I’m also an English professor who analyzes language, and I cannot find love in the rhetoric of the current administration or in the religious right for anyone except white males and fetuses.   

The God-consciousness I experienced during my near-death experience included everyone.  This God consciousness showed me a greater love, acceptance, and compassion than my human brain could comprehend.  I couldn’t bottle that astronomically powerful love force of God and take it back with me, but I remember what it was like to be in the presence of an all-knowing, all-loving God.

I can share what it is and what it isn’t.  God-consciousness was instantly enlightening, and it is my belief that the division between all people can be instantly dissolved in that light.

How do we get there though?  It is easy and instant on the other side.  It takes a lot more time here, and sometimes it isn’t achieved in one life-time.   Perhaps all we can do is work to enlighten the minds of those we encounter.

The God consciousness that awoke inside of me at a very young age taught me to care about the children in other countries, to care about the poor children in my own country, and to look deeply into the struggles of those who face racism, sexism, and homophobia and work to create a safer world for all people.

This work is hard.  This isn’t “snowflake” work because what a person does when he or she stands up to a bully or someone deeply established in patterns of hate and ridicule is the most difficult work on the planet.  To be a loving person capable of transforming the hate of the world makes you a superstar in the moments of your life when you succeed.  John Pavlovitz says this perfectly.

During my near-death experience, God didn’t say bulldoze sacred lands and pollute all water ways.  Instead, God said, “Go to nature for wisdom, for healing, for energy, and release of your worries.  Treat nature as sacred.”

During my near-death experience, God informed me that I needed to turn on the light of knowledge in others through education.  I’ve always believed that enough facts and logic can change the minds of people.  Logic is part of the light as much as love is part of the light.

It is logical to care about all people, and I am tired of defending “people.”  Love doesn’t need a defense.  Love simply is and accepts everyone where they are and tries to lift them up to a better place.  Through the eyes of love, we see that all human beings suffer, and we want to lighten that suffering for all beings. We shouldn’t have to first see their suffering to wish for their healing.  We shouldn’t have to first see their pain to wish for their joy.

In many ways, creating a more loving world is tough work, but love calls us to rise above our own wounds, educate others, and protect ourselves and others.   And through it all, we should love our own brave hearts more not less.  Whatever the life journey takes out of us, we love ourselves more when we choose to be on the side of love.

That said, shock value has its place.  It wakes us up from a sleepy day, energizes our system, and often makes us chuckle.

This is a time for belief systems to be shaken up, not stirred.

Two Corinthians walk into a bar and grab women in inappropriate, illegal ways. They get away with it because they are rich and powerful.  When told that they are wrong, they scream, “An Eye for an Eye.” (The Newly Revised Trump Standard Version of the Bible.) Later, they swear on a book they’ve never read and go out and destroy the earth for the almighty dollar.

Some spiritual teachers will disagree with me and not want to alienate anyone or make anyone wrong, but I am an educator first, and a woman with a spiritual message secondly.  The angels I encountered during my near-death experience were intelligent beings, and they did not traffic in lies and misinformation.  What they knew was clear, sound, healing, and solid.  It doesn’t take a master’s degree to intuit that our president does not speak based on solid, intelligent facts and traffics in hate.  I do not defend hate.  I shed light on it.

I said what I needed to say in an earlier post, and I have nothing more to say today.  I’ll let John Pavlovitz say it for me.

Sexism and the belief that women are inferior is fully exposed from the religious right’s point of view now.  Hopefully, the majority of Americans, no matter their vote, will not be silent in the face of hatred.

Fear is a lousy religion. 

I wish you were really pro-life.

We are not sore losers.

We have our reasons. 

This  is why we grieve.

And, most of all, when did compassion become partisan politics?

Finally, here are fifty more reasons to keep going, fighting, loving, and resisting.

And, if you like TED Talks, this one is interesting about how the political division is growing and how it could heal.

donjuanito

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017: Wanting For Nothing Else Other Than This Moment

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God’s Love:  Ask a near-death experiencer about love, and we are liable to talk about the best love of our lives which is God–the divine all-encompassing light, the filler of all empty spaces and sadness.  God is the true love who finally made me want for nothing else, the one who gave me undivided attention, care, concern, and compassion.

The presence of God during my near-death experience washed away all feelings of insecurity and of not being good enough.  There were no flaws or negative thoughts in the presence of God.  There was only I AM LIGHT & LOVE.

I was a part of God and God was a part of me.  God was also inside everyone else, so I felt a part of everyone too.  This divine intelligence was a love much better than the best romance.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good love story, especially ones like Wings of Desire, Bridges of Madison County, Before Sunrise, Amélie, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Silver Linings Playbook, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Annie Hall, and even The Notebook, but these stories always contain struggle and yearning.  In the presence of God, all yearning is filled with love.  There is no wish for anything because everything is complete and every desire sated.

Earthy Love:  Perhaps as spirits we choose form in order to celebrate the moment when our own spark of God is ignited again and we remember that connection.  Sometimes, we see a spark of God in another, but the real challenge might be to learn to see the spark of God in ourselves and in every moment of our lives.

Maybe we have to ask ourselves if we can we hang on to the beloved even when the spark isn’t visible and wait for it to ignite again?  Can we love someone through their own darkness until they find the light?  When do we need to love ourselves more than the desire for a relationship and separate from someone?  Abuse is a sure sign that a relationship is over.  Let that sink into everyone’s head and stay there permanently.

Chronic cheaters are also not a great gamble, but there are the random stories of reformed wild men and women.  And, oddly, some people I’ve met feel comfortable in open relationships; there are many ways to love and be with someone.  If abuse is not in the picture, consider what you both can do differently to have the love that you both desire.  Even small changes can make life more enjoyable.

If you have no pressing questions about your romantic life, don’t stress and enjoy the now. We are not promised forever.  Love your loved ones deeply.

Divine Purpose:  If you are at a true crossroads in a relationship, ask yourself what your divine purpose is.  Then ask yourself if the person in your life helps you fulfill your divine purpose.  Do they support your goals?  Do you learn how to love more because this person is in your life?  Do you learn how to communicate differently and understand how someone else thinks?  Do you give each other peace?  Are you becoming a better person because this person is in your life?

Most of all, no matter your romantic status,  love yourself immensely.  Imagine the love of God  is with you at all times because it is.  When you love yourself this way, space opens inside you to love others better and with a more open, joyous heart.

Occasionally, I get questions on my YouTube channel from people who feel despondent about the lack of love in their lives.  I don’t have many answers for these viewers, but I can say that the more peace and love I feel within myself, the better my relationships have become.  

As Langston Hughes said in the ending of the poem, “Life is Fine”, it is important to remember that life is indeed fine, grand, and wonderful in all of its seasons and expressions. Romantic love is only one part of the expression of love and definitely not something to make you want to die when you were so clearly born to live.

....I could’ve died for love—
But for livin’ I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry—
I’ll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

     Life is fine!      Fine as wine!      Life is fine!

Your primary and most important relationship is with yourself.    Think kind thoughts about yourself and others, and love will be who you are not something you are searching for in another.   

What I think is the best part of being back in form is the attempt to love others in small and large ways as God loves us.  We fail, but when we try there is nothing better that we can do for this world.

morjanilove

Problems with Manifestation Theories

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Manifestation:  I’ve always had some trouble with the idea of manifestation.  Though I know manifestation of things that we want is possible with some effort and in the right state of mind, I also know that we live in a chaotic world and bump up against the free will of others.  Surely, we are not manifesting everything in our lives.

One of the most damaging ideas that ran through my head after my rape was the thought that somehow, I had manifested this occurrence.  That thought made me feel great hopelessness and despair, and I lost a lot of my connection to a loving, abundant God because of manifestation theories.

A better explanation is that rape is common in the U.S. and other countries and women are widely abused around the world.  I’m a woman and live in that world.  Even other women, like my roommate at the time when I was raped, are systematically taught to victim blame and dislike other women, especially the ones who shine.  Many times as women, we even blame ourselves before looking outward at the problem that needs to be addressed in society.

I’m also not sure that I came into the world with a soul contract to experience rape, but if I did then my purpose surely must be to bring more awareness and healing to this problem. If believing you have a soul contract brings you to a point of greater forgiveness, then that theory might benefit you.  What I felt on the other side during my NDE is that pain is simply not important and not what we take with us.  Our mission is one of love and remembering our connection to the divine, and what we encounter here is not planned out in full before birth or when coming back after a NDE.

What I am certain of is that what defines our soul is how we react to the situations of our life and the world.  When we respond with forgiveness, we create a better life for ourselves.

Possibly if I never left my room at night, never interacted with the world in friendly open ways, married early, stayed behind my husband in supporting roles, never traveled alone, never flirted, never wore form-fitting clothes, never insisted on equal pay, never called men out on sexism, never voiced an opinion different from a man, never earned a wonderful education maybe I wouldn’t have been raped or targeted by a stalker.

But, there is still a chance that I would have been abused by my husband and not have the power or funds to leave him.  There is still a chance that a neighbor, acquaintance, stranger, or friend might have raped me in my house as I hid from the world, and what a tragedy that would be to lose out on the whole world because of fear.

Women deserve to walk through this world safely, and we can only do this if rape culture changes.

I treasure my moments of travel around the world and all that I learned about other cultures.  On a basic level, I remember reading newspapers from Australia years ago and realizing how nationalistic and myopic our focus is in the U.S.  Seeing the U.S. from a foreigner’s perspective is eye-opening.

I don’t tie all the wonderful memories I’ve experienced as a free, curious soul to the trauma I’ve experienced.  I see trauma as simply an unfortunate part of living in this world.  What are we going to do about it is the bigger question?

I hope that we are going to transform this darkness with our love, forgiveness, and instance on change.

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Forgive Everything with Every Breath You Take

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This art piece by Ann DeRulle is called Ascended.

I Stand for Love, Compassion, Unity, and Community

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I can no longer abide venom or anger on either side politically.  I will not let fear and outrage enter my body when I read the news or social media posts.  I will no longer label anyone as racist, sexist, xenophobic, nationalistic, ignorant, or ill-informed. I will not shame or alienate anyone on social media.  I will look at every human being on the face of the earth as my brother and sister, and I will do what I have done my entire career.  I will embody light and truth.  I will educate and speak my truth from a place of love and light no matter what kind of darkness I encounter in this world.

As Martin Luther King stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

No Fear:  I will be a teacher with a microphone and megaphone in our world so that I can reach beyond the walls of my classrooms.  Though I might take you to church in a few lectures, you will know that I respect you and want the best for you.  I don’t want you to live in fear of others, so I will not live in fear of you.

What do I stand for?  I stand for love, deep compassion, empathy, unity, community, wellness, equality, child-like joy, authenticity, freedom, passion, intellectual curiosity, truth, beauty, safety, and healing.

I stand for reverence and deep honor of Mother Earth so that we all might have clean air, water, unpolluted food, and organic, affordable produce.  The Native Americans have much to teach us, and I stand with Standing Rock.

I stand for taking care of all life from the plants we eat to the darling kids in Head Start programs to the college students graduating and entering the work force to the retirees.  I honor the accomplishments and beauty of disabled children as much as the star athletes. I love the kids from the country as much as I love the immigrants who just arrived on our shores and at our airports. I love them all, and I want you to see the light and divinity in everyone.  Though I am more of a Democrat than a Republican, I am mostly an independent lightworker.

I will speak loudly for all the young women who come through my classrooms to show them that sexism, misogyny, and narcissism will not crush them or their dreams.  I speak to show certain males that certain behaviors of our president will not be normalized.  For example, this man at a Pensacola Women’s March needs reeducation.  Don’t turn away from him.  Don’t criticize women for marching.  Ask the women why they marched, and keep this man’s image in your mind because he exists and needs a transformation whether he is a prankster, a rapist, or a future shooter.

rape

I will write letters, march, and do whatever is necessary for all the students I have known who have faced staggering health issues and deserve health care no matter their economic background, sex, or mental illness.

After all, I might not have died on that operating table had I gone into surgery earlier, and I would have gone into surgery earlier if I had health insurance. I overheard a nurse confirm this.  I suffered so that others might have an easier path.  My gay and lesbian friends fought for equality because they know and I know that no loving couple should ever fear their loved ones will be torn from their grasp.

I love all my students, and I speak in praise of all of my students including Christian gay, white males; brilliant, teenage Muslim girls who want to be doctors; kind, respectful, smart children of undocumented workers; Jewish poets; single mothers of all races and nationalities, veterans who are conservative and veterans who are liberal.  I allow every voice to speak and write their truths.  My classroom is a classroom of tolerance and free-speech.  I hang a flag on my wall because my father was a veteran.  I don’t burn flags, but I burn fake news to the ground in this post-truth reality; I know he’d be proud.

fact-check

Pro-Life and Pro-Innocence:  I will shout into my microphone all the love I have in my heart for the many young men and women I’ve met in my lifetime. I want to protect all of the elementary, junior high, high school, and college students.  I want to protect the six-year-old girl who is molested and doesn’t have the voice to tell her family what happened as much as I want to protect the fourteen-year-old teenager who wore a miniskirt to her first party and was raped by three boys.  Though I care about the boys who raped her, I want them to face appropriate consequences for their actions.  I want to live in a world where men and boys see that violence and destruction of innocence will not be tolerated.

More than that, I want men and boys to honor women and to protect the innocence of life around them.  We have to first acknowledge that there is a problem with misogyny and racism because these attitudes lead to violence.   Men who are protectors are worth their weight in gold.
cherokee

I pray for the fifteen-year-old girl who was raped by her father while her mother only asked him to pay for their daughter’s counseling. I wish that man had served time for such a grave offense and was not allowed around other teenagers without supervision.  I wish that this young woman knew her true value and brilliance.  I wish that she didn’t feel that she had to drown her trauma in drugs and alcohol, only to be revictimzed by many men.

My personal suffering has become a thread tying me to countless other survivors so that I might show them how to heal a little quicker than I healed. If you have one-fourth the compassion that I have, you too would hold this young woman in your heart whether she chose to get an abortion or to have a child or made both choices at different times.  She is one of the many lives that I serve and honor.

I will shout into my megaphone because I care for the women in their twenties who were raped by exes, beat up by boyfriends, or assaulted by friends of the family.  I want better community services for students I have known who were assaulted by family members and then ended up on the streets.  They deserve a chance at success, and I do my best to make sure they get that chance.  I want better services for all the veterans who have come through my classrooms.  I care about all the young men who were raped by another man when they were only five, seven, or eight.  These are similar stories to the stories of countless students of mine, and I pray for them every day.

I stand at my microphone for the lives of all the many children waiting to be adopted in this country and other countries.  I cry for my fellow human beings as much as I cry for animals in shelters.  I pray for the children enslaved in human trafficking and the children starving to death or injured from the destruction of war and violence.  If we can work together to create a world free from abuse, rape, human trafficking, war, hunger, and violence, we can also start creating amazing communities where single women can go and receive free health care and education during their pregnancies.  When all children are safe and loved, we will be living in a pro-life world.

I will continue to broadcast my message about how important it is to end human trafficking, war, hunger, and all abuse of innocence because we have real work cut out for us.  And in the face of this light and love, if you are still focused on birth and fetuses, I ask you to please adopt children who are here right now, dying for your love.  Sign up to foster children who need you.  Make that financial sacrifice.

If enough of you do this in mass, abortion rates will decrease.  Please realize that most men, even highly conservative ones, will chuckle and admit that if they could get pregnant after a one night stand or night when they drank too much, they would want the abortion pill available over the counter.  Their tone changes when they consider abortion and women’s rights.  This issue is obviously about control over women, and I will shout repeatedly that men would not tolerate this kind of control over their bodies and lives. I will say this on loop this until it begins to sink in to your consciousness.

pro-birth

I will get out my microphone and remind you to put pressure on all work environments to provide free health care and day care, so that abortion rates will go down.  This will be a much better, loving way to address the abortion issue.  I am for the success of women as much as for the success of men.  One does not cancel out the other.  It never has.  As long as women are abused, assaulted, raped, and stalked at alarming rates, we need to focus on their protection.

I live to protect the innocent and to heal the wounded.  That is the meaning of my life.  Stand in my way of working to heal this world, and I will gather a crowd of loving human beings together, and we will counter all hate and darkness with a brilliant light that cannot be denied. God bless the marches!   God bless our right to protest with love.  God bless us all in every country and every place in this world.  I’m here to make the world great in a way that it never has been and that starts with changing the minds of many of my fellow Americans.

I realize this article probably hasn’t reached who it needs to reach, but I am just now getting warmed up.  Give me a chance, and give love a chance.

dalilamafeminist

  •  Special thanks to spiritual teachers like Marianne Williamson and Matt Kahn for reminding me to focus on love and what I stand for and not give in to fear.

Comp Romp: Narrowing Down Comparable Titles/Inspirations For My Memoir:  NDErs (Brinkley, Alexander, Parti, & Moorjani) & Others (Winterson, Sebolt, McCourt, & Orloff)

healing-from-trauma

Comparable Titles:  Part of the publishing journey is figuring out where your book fits in amidst many published books.  Since this is my first manuscript, I want to share my writing and publishing journey with students and others.   I completed the first draft of my memoir Healed at the end of the summer, and I am working on my second, third, and fourth revisions.  Healed chronicles my journey from the moment of my accident and near-death experience through many years of teaching and other fortunate and unfortunate life events.  One of the main themes of the book is the power of the unconditional love of God to assist in our healing.

The Joy and the Agony of Writing:  I’ll be honest—writing a longer work like this can be fun, therapeutic, and exhilarating.  Revising and rewriting entire sections or scenes of a manuscript can be challenging, but even the challenges can be important lessons.  When writing a memoir, we learn how to tell the truth gracefully and what parts to emphasize or eliminate.  My editor reminds me that Jeanette Walls revised her lovely memoir The Glass Castle eight times, but that doesn’t make the process any easier.  I can only pray that my writing will occasionally be as lovely as Jeanette Wall’s prose.

Though I have more revisions to go, two small presses have contacted me after seeing my NDE video and reading this blog.  The interest in my story has given me incentive to keep working and look for an agent soon.  Some agents ask for a lot of information including a synopsis, detailed outline, cover letter, author bio, comparable titles (in some cases), and the first 50 pages.

Writing a manuscript is not a quick, easy task, especially when you work full-time; nonetheless, it is a labor of love and an obsession.  As Charles Bukowski says in the poem “So You Want to Be a Writer,” “unless it comes out of / your soul like a rocket, / unless being still would / drive you to madness or/ suicide or murder, / don’t do it. / unless the sun inside you is / burning your gut, / don’t do it.”

Despite warnings like these, many English majors and others continue to dream of writing a memoir, novel, or screenplay.  I hoped my first book might be a book of poetry or categorized as literary fiction.  However, when National Geographic interviewed me about my near-death experience, I realized that the brief blurb featured in their magazine did not capture the complexity of my journey, and I knew I had to write this memoir.  I’ve never tried to sell a manuscript before, and I hope my process might benefit students and others in their writing journey.

Themes: My memoir, Healed, echoes themes from many books besides books about near-death experiences, but the beginning and ending of my memoir centers around my near-death experience.  Some of the titles listed below are more inspirations than comparable titles, but when I explain my book these are the titles that come to mind.  Though my NDE was a life changing event, I wrote Healed mainly to help spread good energy into the world, and to help others heal from personal wounds which might be similar to mine.

Near-Death Experience Comparisons:

Saved by the Light by Dannion Brinkley:  This was the first book I read about a NDE after my own experience.  Like Brinkley, I was no longer the same person after my near-death experience, and I realized how kindness to others is one of the most important things we can practice.  The movie Saved by the Light came out a year after my accident, and I was happy to see a story about a near-death experience reach a wide audience.

Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander:  I enjoyed the fact that Dr. Eben Alexander has a strong science background, argued that near-death experiences were impossible, and then had one and changed his mind.  I was agnostic before my near-death experience, but the minute my spirit left my form and I saw the operating room, my surgeons, and angels, I knew I had more than enough proof that the spirit does goes on.  I enjoyed many of Dr. Alexander’s beautiful descriptions of the afterlife.  The writing in his memoir is lovely, and the descriptions about the love of the divine reminded me of my experience with God.

Dying to Wake Up by Dr. Rajiv Parti:  Though I did not experience hell or past lives during my NDE, I identified with several themes in Dr. Parti’s book.  I grew up poor, and my focus after high school was getting into a good university and landing a high paying job.  Material success was a drive before my NDE, and when God told me to return to my life and work as a teacher I struggled with the idea.  However, I found that the divine light’s mission was exactly right for my life.  Teaching and serving others healed me and expanded my life in ways I never could have imagined.  In Dying to Wake Up, Dr. Parti also touches on his struggle with addiction, and this is a theme present in my memoir.

Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani:  Anita Moorjani’s story is inspirational and exceptional.  Though I cannot claim to have experienced a healing as profound as hers, I saw angels sending healing light through my surgeons.  These beautiful light beings wanted me to know that they were their to assist and help.  They also wanted me to be aware that they could work through me in the future, and that they work through many others on the planet.  Moorjani’s message of self-love and listening to one’s intuition is one that I discuss at the end of my memoir.  Of all the near-death experiencers, her loving message is one that I resonate with the most.

Other Comparisons:

Why be Happy When You Could be Normal by Jeanette Winterson can be added to the list of inspirations mainly for her examination of dysfunctional parents and a difficult childhood.

Lucky by Alice Sebold:  Lucky is a searing memoir about a rape that occurred when Alice Sebold was a freshman in college.  The book examines how this moment in time affected her friendships, her relationships with her family, her identity, her attempts at romance, and her sense of safety in the world.  Rape is also a part of my story and occurred while I lived in a foreign country.   The aftereffects of rape extend for years.  PTSD and sexual trauma is profoundly painful and can even threaten to diminish the light of an experience as profoundly beautiful as a near-death experience.  As Sebold says, “You save yourself, or you remain unsaved.”

Teacher Man by Frank McCourt:  Frank McCourt became the hero of many English teachers and professors when his first book Angela’s Ashes came out.  Besides the near-death experience, my favorite sections to write were the sections in my book about my teaching experiences.  I went into the teaching field fully believing that God and the angels might work through me.  The love and hope that I had for my students transformed my life in ways I could never have imagined.  Their journeys taught me much about myself and helped me find the courage to heal my wounds.  Their success became my success.  I can tell that McCourt enjoyed writing about his moments in the classroom, so I include this book on my list of inspirations.

Second Sight by Dr. Judith Orloff:  I list this book because Dr. Judith Orloff felt more comfortable incorporating her intuitive gifts into her practice as a psychiatrist.  Directly after my NDE, I feared my intuitive gifts and didn’t want to be labeled a psychic, intuitive, or medium.  Using guidance in the classroom as a teacher felt perfectly natural, and I never labeled this type of guidance.  I simply helped the students I could help and opened myself up to assistance from the other side.

When I received a message from God that my contract as a teacher/professor was completed and that I could do “whatever I wanted to do” (even continue to teach if I wished), my mind raced in various directions.  I wondered if my contract was up because I might die soon.  This made me want to write my story in case I didn’t have much time on this earth; I wanted others to know the lessons from my near-death experience. Eventually, I realized I probably had more time on the earth, and if I applied the same principles I learned during my NDE to any work, all will be well.  In other words, work to inspire and help others grow.  In the process of helping others, we open ourselves to guidance and light from the other side, and that is a beautiful experience.

Comparable Titles:   Many unknown writers make the mistake of comparing their manuscripts to great books which have sold millions of copies and that is not my intent.  Of course, I’m tempted to compare my book to Wild by Sheryl Strayed , but I didn’t hike the PCT to overcome my personal struggles.  I know that nature has the power to heal us, and her story is a great testimony of this truth. My near-death experience was the awakening that I needed to find my way to greater healing, and my memoir is an attempt to bare my soul, as many other writers have done, in the hope that readers might relate, connect, deepen their own healing journey, and perhaps have the courage to tell their own stories.

 

 

Three Simple Steps for Bringing Your Gifts into the World

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Step One:  Rest

I often tell my Creative Writing students that they should be well-rested in order to be their most creative.  Certainly, we can all preform under pressure when we are highly caffeinated, sleep deprived, and tense.  Stressed out states of being, however, do not allow for the miracles of divinely inspired communication to flow through us effortlessly.  Meditation and connecting with the love that is available for each of us is a much better way to open to great ideas.  In peaceful states of being, we might receive messages from higher states of consciousness and our creativity might be more inspired.  If you have ever noticed how some of your greatest ideas show up just before you fall asleep, you can understand that when the worried mind lets go of its grip on us, the great, inspired thoughts begin to flow through us.  Problems naturally work themselves out.

Keep a journal and pen on your nightstand and return to these ideas later in the day.  The ideas in your dreams or just before you fall asleep might become poems, stories, novels or a simple answer to a question.   Be receptive and open to great ideas, and more of these ideas will be sent your way.

Step Two:  Play

Go where your joy resides.  Adults do not enjoy life as much as children because we often forget how to play.  Play can mean many different things to different people.  Most of the time, exercise and time in nature can put us in a positive state of mind.  However, if you have a problem to work out, try addressing this problem from many different directions.  Don’t censor wild ideas, and try following unexpected thoughts to see where they lead you.

During graduate school, I worked full time teaching seniors in high school.  The long hours at work didn’t leave me much time to be creative on one of my twenty-page essays.  Mid-way through a particular essay, I decided that I needed to have more fun with the research and wrote something that entertained me.  I stopped thinking about writing for my professor and followed my own joy.  This turned out to be one of my better essays.  Even if playing around doesn’t lead to a great product, it is important to notice what ideas and activities bring more joy into our lives.

Step Three:  Plan

If you are an organized, detail oriented person, this should not be a difficult step for you.  Write out a one-year, three-year, and five-year plan for a certain goal.  Simply writing down a plan increases the odds of accomplishing this goal.  If you have a book idea, write an outline.  Even if you amend the outline and completely change the book later, a plan can still be an important step and a great step during the revision stages.

If you are not a detail oriented person, take a deep breath and do what you can each day toward your goal.  Imagine the repressed side of yourself taking control and dealing with the details.  Make the details more interesting or fun in some way.  Offer yourself a reward for accomplishing things you usually put off for later.  Ask your angels for help and call on God to help you.  There is no need to stress over the details.  Jump in and enjoy the journey.  The sooner you jump in and work on the things you are putting off, the quicker you will realize that the process isn’t as difficult as you imagined it to be.

Good luck!  May your best dreams make it into the world soon.

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