Sunday, May 7, 2023

El's NDE Experience and Not Wanting to Return to Earth

Some weeks ago -- I believe it was in late March -- I had a very interesting conversation with my friend Bob.  Bob is interested in all things theological and spiritual.  At one point in the conversation, Bob told me he hoped that reincarnation didn't exist, because he never wanted to return to Earth.  And in my great surprise, I told him that I had had the exact same thought over the years, and I said in a half-joking manner that if we ever came face to face with God that we "should ask to be designated for assignment somewhere else," rather than come back to Earth.

Then I watched an episode of Jeff Mara's podcast.  In this episode, Jeff interviews El Serumaga.  El experienced a profound near-death experience while in a coma.  Among her many fascinating observations from her NDE:

- Everything alive is conscious, including plants.

- That Earth is a sort of "boot camp" for the soul.

- Thoughts on extraterrestrial life and their interactions with humanity.

- El gaining psychic abilities through her experience.

- That humanity is living in a dystopian existence right now.

Then I read some of the YouTube comments from others who also listened to the interview, which bore an uncanny resemblance to the conversation Bob and I had several weeks earlier.  From "Jennifer":

"My 15 year old nephew told me today that he knew when he was 13 that this earth was a terrible place. He says he's not going to have children (his 19 year old sister says same). And, he says he's not going to come back here (reincarnation). I think a lot of us are waking up to the fact that this is a prison planet."

On a somewhat more humorous note, there was this comment from "Amy":

"In my humble opinion,  the Earth is basically like that Summer Camp we all went to with the runny oatmeal, the cold dorm rooms and scratchy blankets complete with the instructor that had not yet realized he was no longer in the Marines. I wonder if on the Other Side they advertise Earth with glossy photo images like they use in pharma commercials with scenes with strolling on the beach with a loving partner at sunrise and a happy puppy and a shiny SUV in the background for good measure."

All of this brings up a fascinating yet disturbing possibility: if our souls existed before our births, is it possible that a lot of us were duped or misled into coming to Earth in the first place? If coming to Earth was necessary for our spiritual growth, is it possible that there were spiritual entities that convinced us to come here without fully explaining the disappointments and trials and grief we would encounter, knowing that we would likely decline the offer to come here if we knew?  Until now I never had even conceptualized of such a possibility.  On the surface, I know this sounds like a ludicrous and far-out concept, but sometimes I just have to wonder.

As a counterpoint, some people in the comments mentioned that life on Earth in itself is not miserable, but that many of the people who hold huge amounts of wealth and/or power make it miserable for everyone else.

Anyway, if you're a believer in NDEs, I strongly encourage you to watch Jeff's interview with El in its entirety.  I do think that listening to stories such as El's can give us reassurance about the life that is to come for us and our deceased loved ones. Jeff is a wonderful interviewer with his calm and inquisitive demeanor, asking relevant questions while allowing his guests to talk without interruption.  And El tells her story with such thoughtfulness and genuineness and sweetness -- it's just an amazing interview all the way around.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Personal Musings: 9 Ways Grief Has Changed Me

I've been working on this post for some time, as I've tried and struggled to put my thoughts into words.  There's no doubt about it -- grief changes us, in many ways permanently.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Oftentimes the biggest losses and traumas in our lives can also lead to the most growth, if we can find a way.  I very well might add on to this post as time passes and I can gain greater perspective.

So how has grief changed me?  Here are 8 ways my life has changed over the last two years:

1.  Less Interested in Material Things

Yes, we all need money.  But the amount each of us needs varies.  There are two big things money can't buy: true friendship and more time.  Buying more things will not bring my mom or the pets back.  I've also realized that I don't need anywhere near as much "stuff" as I thought in order to be content.  Because of that, I've been much more willing to part with my things, especially when I realize I haven't made use of a lot of my possessions for a long time.  I figure a lot of my things would be better off in someone else's hands.

2.  Trying to Live More in the Present

I'm trying to not dwell excessively on the past.  And if I do, I make every effort to focus more on the good memories.  Until recently I've had a bad habit of replaying my final moments with my deceased loved ones instead of focusing on the numerous good times we had.  

As for the future, who among us know what tomorrow will bring?  My track record for accurately predicting the future has been absolutely dismal.  And I had absolutely no idea two years ago that my life would be where it is today.  The past is done and the future is unknown.  The only thing we each have is the present.  And as I read from somewhere about living in the past: "Don't look back -- you're not going that way."

3. More Grateful for the Little Things

There's a quote I heard recently that really resonated with me: "If you're not happy with your morning cup of coffee, you're not going to be happy if you're placed on a yacht."  If we don't appreciate the little things in life, having the big things won't make us feel any better.  And at the same time, appreciating the little things can help when we're unable to acquire the big things.  Make no mistake, I've totally failed at the "big things" in life, especially when it's come to matters of careers and relationships.  But appreciating the smaller things, like a delicious meal, or enjoying a beautiful sunny day, or having a good conversation with friends, can really take the edge off a day when you're struggling with grief and sorrow

4.  Not in a Hurry -- for Anything 

Running around, being in a hurry, and stressing out over deadlines doesn't accomplish anything.  I'm learning to detach myself and accommodate myself to "slower living".    When I look back over my life, I wonder why I got so stressed and bent out of shape about things that ultimately didn't matter in the long run.

5. Be More Understanding and Forgiving of Others 

My mom, Carter, and Milton all loved me unconditionally.  They didn't seem to mind in terms of what I had or hadn't done with my life.  

I realize that for far too long that I've struggled with insecurity, envy, and holding grudges, even if I did a good job at concealing those feelings.

Over the years I've encountered a number of people who were mean, hostile, rude to me.  On more than one occasion, I eventually discovered it wasn't really about me -- they were having a difficult time of things in life and didn't know how to handle it, or weren't handling it well.  When I look back on my own life, I can see times where I didn't treat others in a fair and respectable manner, and I deeply regret that.  So I would say that we need to give everyone a fair shake -- we all fall short at times in the way we treat others.

6.  I don't play games anymore.

Not with people -- I don't believe in doing that.  There were many times, however, when I would play video games to pass the time or escape boredom.  For some reason, I just haven't felt the need to do it since my mom and the pets passed.  Maybe I don't have the energy or focus, or maybe my interests in life have shifted.


7. I've been forced to confront my fears, insecurities, resentments, and addictions.

Maybe I'll explain more in a later post, but I've come to realize that most of us are dealing with things that we're afraid of.  Many of us feel resentment and envy towards those who seem to have life much better than we do.  I've come to realize that a lot of these feelings are misplaced.  A lot of the time, people who seem to be enjoying a "good life" are just doing a better job with hiding their problems.  And as much as we may look down on people who are addicted to alcohol or other drugs, many of us have our own addictions to cope with the difficulties in life, whether it's food, exercise, social media, mindlessly surfing the internet, or whatever.  I realize I have no reason to look down on others when I have my own bad habits.

8. Not Having a Home Anymore

Ever since my mom and Carter and Milton left this world, I've been living more of a nomadic life.  I don't really have a single "home" anymore.  Rather, home is in multiple places.  At first, I found this very stressful and disorienting.  Now, I've grown used to it.  I've come to know different people in different locales, and I realize now that "home" for me is nowhere, yet everywhere.

9. Knowing I'm Not Alone and that Life Goes On

There were many times, especially over this last year, when I wasn't sure if I wanted to live anymore.  I still feel like that from time to time, although the frequency of these thoughts has decreased.  I've discovered that there are a LOT of people who have endured loss, including multiple losses, over the last few years.  I think the whole COVID pandemic has affected a lot of us permanently, and that there is no going back to the way things were before.  All the more important for each one of us to treat each other with gentleness and mercy in the aftermath of all that has happened in our world

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Podcasts Worth Listening To: Give Grief a Chance

One excellent podcast I've been listening to more is Give Grief a Chance, hosted by Diane Morgan. Diane grew up in England before moving to the United States.  She works as a certified Grief Therapist and Hypnotherapist.   Diane has a lot of experience dealing with grief and loss in her own life -- she lost both her parents and her brother over an 8 month period in 2008.

Diane's podcast covers the whole gamut of the grief experience, covering numerous topics, which include talking to children about death, steps and techniques to deal with our emotions while we grieve, dealing with the loss of a pet, making peace with our pasts, and how to find purpose and motivation in life again after losing a loved one.  I can't recommend Diane's podcast enough.  She speaks with such wonderful insight and compassion that she makes the whole grief process a little more bearable.


Monday, April 10, 2023

Words to Ponder Over: Our Lives Are Filled With "Little Deaths"

Over at Wounded Birds Ministry, there is an insightful article, "Grieving the Little Deaths in Our Lives".  Money quote:

"Commonly, when we think of grief, we think about death: the death of a spouse, a family member, or a close friend. These are big, profound losses that alter the shape of our reality and cause us to alter our sense of identity in some way.

What we miss in this simplistic definition are all the little deaths we experience in our lives. Every time we hit a change in our life, we experience a little death. In my story, it was the death of my team that upset me: we would have layoffs, people would quit – it would all happen quickly, and outside my control.

We live a lot of little deaths in our lives. When we marry, we experience the death of our single-life. When we become parents, our childless existences depart from us. Relationships die, lives change.

As a society, we don’t acknowledge these little deaths enough."

After reading this, I realize that we deal with all kinds of deaths and losses throughout our lives: Co-workers quit or get fired.  Our workplaces go out of business.   Friends move away, or we lose touch.  Favorite stores and restaurants close.  Hopefully when we have to deal with these "little deaths" in our lives, we can seek out and find new people, places, and things to take their place.  Looking ahead is what we need to focus on, instead of looking behind with regret.  As a certain B-rated actor from a B-rated movie once stated: "We should all be interested in the future, because that is where you and I are going to be spending the rest of our lives."

El's NDE Experience and Not Wanting to Return to Earth

Some weeks ago -- I believe it was in late March -- I had a very interesting conversation with my friend Bob.  Bob is interested in all thin...