Eros: Happy Valentine’s Day 2018

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Today is a holiday for Eros, for romantic love, and I don’t talk about that subject very often.  It is probably a topic I could have a lot of fun with because I have seen it go awry in humorous ways, tragic ways, and ridiculous ways in my life and in other’s lives.  In other words, I have some stories to tell.

It cracks me up how people idealize one another, and it breaks my heart to see other people’s hearts break.  On Valentine’s Day, I want to offer inspiration about romance, especially to those who are immediate, warm, and not completely logical about their affections and affairs.

Everything in our modern world is built for speed and convenience, but it isn’t convenient or speedy to get to know another person deeply.  Whatever speed you roll, consider slowing it down as far as possible and deeply listening and talking with someone before getting involved.  Maybe this idea doesn’t seem as sexy as love at first sight, but talking deeply is part of building a strong foundation.

A Little More Conversation:  A little over a year after my NDE, I met a couple at church who seemed unbelievably in love, and I asked them their secret.  A light glowed around the two of them, and if I had ever seen two people who were soulmates, I felt certain these two were it.  I asked them if they thought they were soulmates, and they smiled and said people often asked them this question.  They told me that they had waited a long while before ever kissing or becoming intimate.  They knew from the first meeting that they were attracted to each other, but they both had wounds from their past and unresolved issues from childhood and didn’t feel ready for a relationship.

They made a vow to talk for an entire year before kissing, and they managed to do this by sitting and sleeping on separate couches—all the while, never touching.  Let me emphasis that point. My twenty-three-year-old brain thought that I would probably have to do most of that talking on the phone.  I doubted my own resolve.  For instance, if I don’t want to eat cookies, then I don’t keep them in my house.  Because if cookies are in my house, I am probably going to eat those cookies.

This couple, however, talked late into the night and deeply listened to one another.  Much of what counselors get paid to do is to deeply listen, so I can imagine that listening brought them both peace and healing.  She said that she knew almost every one of his childhood wounds, romantic wounds, his wishes, his dreams, and desires by the end of that year.  He also understood her fears, wounds, desires, and hopes. Of course, I asked if it was difficult not to kiss, and they both laughed, saying they also heard that question a lot.

She said that they felt completely one before they ever kissed, often dreaming of each other and feeling each other’s presence long before the consummation of those desires.  I thought about how even at an early age, many of us have many wounds.  Most people don’t take the time to get to know one another deeply before becoming intimate.  Intimacy opens many wounds, and then people end up getting triggered and terrified when all they needed was more understanding and compassion.

Twin flame/Soulmates:  In my recent interview with the lovely Tara Rose, I couldn’t hide my cynicism about the twin flame phenomenon that populates countless blog posts and YouTube videos.  I think people too often simply don’t know one another like this couple knew each other, and then they feel a powerful rush, pull, soul connection, and intensity.  However, if they haven’t dealt with their wounds, they might be nearly crippled by some of these wounds and run from each other.  Though powerful feelings can show us the outer edges of how we are able to love and how we are not able to love, maybe it is important not to attach a label to anyone or any experience and to be open to a better, soulful experience with someone else later in our lives.

Those of us who have seen a lot of life, can see patterns.  There are people you might encounter who mirror deep parts of yourself, and you will feel extreme levels of passion. However, sometimes this isn’t healthy because the feelings aren’t grounded and partly exist in the realm of fantasy.  There are other connections that grow a little slower and have a slower burning fuse.  Maybe you complement each other and function beautifully together.  When you are very, very lucky, you might get high levels of passion upfront and long-term compatibility.  Maybe you are also at a place in life where you know how to communicate calmly, honestly, and directly.  Maybe you can weather the storms of life with grace.  And maybe, you can simply see the whole thing with some detachment.

There are no guarantees, of course.  Maybe that couple I met years ago is divorced now.  In my fantasy, they aren’t divorced.  But, even if they are, I know they gave themselves a great start.  They did the best they could for their hearts at the time, and that is what I wish for you.  Do the best that you can for your hearts.

I give this advice with love and with hope for you, especially those who are young and dreaming of an amazing relationship. I hope you find it.  However, take loving care of yourself.  Love yourself first. Get to know someone as deeply as possible before becoming intimate. Don’t manipulate to “get” the love you think you need.  That will never work. You have an endless supply of love from the divine, and if you choose to love another, stand in your own flow of love.  Give love.  Let the experience make you more whole, even if it rips part of you a part if it must.  Know that you are o.k.  You are fine.  You are loved.  No matter what.  You are loved.  You are not alone.  You are loved.

Unconditional Love is All Around You

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Update on 1/19/19:  My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now. It is a #1 new release in several categories.  I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.

Unconditionally Loved

You are unconditionally loved, and this is an easy enough concept to understand but a difficult one to always feel on your journey.  So many thoughts understood by the mind are more deeply experienced when they are integrated into your heart and a part of your being.  When you are silent, when you simply breathe, when you wake up, do you feel that unconditional love?  What about when you are ill, heartbroken, or unsure what step to take next, can you believe that you are unconditionally loved?  I hope you do feel that love every step of your journey.

Guides and angels do not always give us the exact information we are searching for.  Maybe we are given an image which touches our heart or inspires us in some way.  Maybe we are led to a book which helps us take a different action.  Perhaps, we are guided to be more in the flow of divine love.  You do not have to sacrifice or deny a huge part of yourself to be in the flow of divine love.  God already has you and understands what you need better than you understand.  When you trust in divine love, you will be lead in the direction where you can express more of that love to others.

The Love of God:  We near-death experiencers often talk about the love of God and how it is better than anything we have experienced in physical form.  There isn’t anything more profound than God’s love.  It is, of course, easy to miss that completeness and wholeness.  However, I also love the brokenness and the humor of being human.  I love trying to love myself and love others with more wholeness and completeness.

In a way, spending too much time missing the love of God, denies the sanctity, the mystery, and the importance of community and love between friends, co-workers, and significant others. I have an unusual perspective at the end of any type of relationship whether this be through death, through misunderstandings, or through taking different paths in life.  I completely honor my experience and other’s experience of trying to love.  Maybe the experience was a little fractured or uncomfortable in places, maybe it wasn’t all that we wanted it to be, but the attempt to love is all that matters and is what should be honored.

We can talk for months about co-dependency, love addiction, sex addiction, narcissistic abuse, and all the twisted ways that people try to navigate through their wounds and get to love, but why don’t we honor the human attempts at love more often?  There is less stigma around divorce than in the past, but no one ever seems to say to a recently divorced person, “Wow, you really tried.   You gave that relationship your best shot.  You loved as openly and fully as you could.  Good for your for trying.”   I think that is the way God will look at me and anyone else who is divorced.  God will simply love me as I am, and I know that love will also swallow up the person I loved with an ocean of peace and joy.

We will understand the journey fully in that place of completeness.  I am grateful for the love that is in my life, and I try to honor that love and never take it for granted.  That practice should also be key for anyone in a relationship.  When you see through the eyes of love, you see new ways to love someone.

Forgiveness:  There are stages of grieving, stages of forgiveness, and stages of letting go.  All of this is fine. Last year, I struggled putting into words how I honestly forgive everyone everything.  Although there are people who I don’t want to associate with or hear one single word from for the rest of my life, I do forgive them.  From afar, I hope they are much better to others.  I wish them great peace, complete healing, success, and happiness.  I imagine them loved by the divine and comforted by angels.

When you have suffered a lot, the climb to forgiveness is higher.  The beautiful part is that once you reach that place of forgiveness, it is like reaching a mountaintop and seeing so much of this earth spread out before your eyes.  You know that in every valley, in every small light, all that you want to do is send love to every hurting soul.  You know that at your core, you are nothing but love.  You know that you are worthy of God’s unconditional love, and worthy of all the good that you send to others.

I hope you know that you are loved, and I hope you honor all the ways that you give love to this world.  Love is your guide, your magic, and your best way home.

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