This is an abridged version of my account. The full account can be found in the book "Awakenings from the Light."
Since the day was just about perfect
I decided to run some errands around town on my mountain bike. I thought that since it was more stable and had wider tires, the mountain bike would perform better if I ran into any sand or dirt on the road. The other reason I chose my mountain bike was that this was my first ride in over a month and I wanted its stability and more upright posture in case I had lost some of my cycling mojo. Balance is key on any bike, but even more of an issue with the skinny, slick tires of my road bike than the fat, rugged treads of my mountain bike. And since I was a little out of shape from the previous month off, I planned a slower, shorter outing than usual. The slower ride would also allow me to bask longer in the warm, winter sunlight.
The ride started out promising enough. I intended to go out for a quick and easy jaunt south out of town toward the hospital, then stop at some stores, the library, and the post office before calling it a day. I rolled my mountain bike out of the garage, put air in the tires, cleaned the chain, and donned my cool weather clothes and helmet. In what turned out to be a lucky happenstance, I filled up my backpack with clothing in case it was cooler than I thought. The sun felt warm as I prepared my bike but I knew that I might feel colder once I got out on the open roads. When the bike was ready, I rode south from my home for about 1/2 mile. I felt physically strong, alert, and glad there was very little traffic. My legs felt good getting back into the cadence of pedaling again. I reveled in the feeling of my leg muscles pushing the pedals.
At just shy of a mile from my starting point, I cautiously rode into the new roundabout that recently replaced a three-way intersection. No one in town that I’d spoken with liked the roundabout – the lanes were very narrow, the turns were very tight, and the concrete dividers made navigation difficult. It was difficult enough to drive through it in a car, so I used extra caution as I rode into it on my bike.
Once in the roundabout, I continued riding south in the bike lane. A small car followed me into the circle but stayed a couple of car lengths behind me. I kept my eyes on some vehicles approaching on the road to the right, but I didn’t worry too much since they appeared to be slowing down to yield to traffic already in the circle. As I began to cross in front of the incoming traffic, it appeared that the driver of the lead vehicle, a very large SUV, saw me and was stopping. A split second later, though, I realized she was driving straight into the circle without even slowing down. Panic gripped me and knotted in my gut. I knew without a doubt I was going to be hit and thought I would likely die. The odds of a cyclist coming out alive in a confrontation with an SUV were pretty low.
Thoughts of my daughter, sisters, and niece flashed through my mind. In a split second I realized how devastated they might be when they found out I had died. I wouldn’t witness my daughter grow into the amazing woman I knew she would be. I wouldn’t see my niece marry the man of her dreams, or her daughter grow into a beautiful woman. I regretted that my sisters would be grieving over me. Losing another sister in our family would not be easy for them to endure.
I tried to steer my bike to avoid a crash but I couldn’t get out of the SUV’s way fast enough. The roundabout was narrow and while I started to veer to my left to avoid a crash, I didn’t have much room to maneuver. I remembered the car behind me and I didn’t want to do anything that would cause it to hit me as well. I felt trapped. The SUV continued into the circle as if the driver didn’t see me. The worst thing I could imagine, happened. The SUV hit me broadside, from the right, impacting my right leg and ribcage. As it did, I tried to push off it with my right hand hoping to propel myself out of the way of its tires. It didn’t work. I felt my bike slipping away from under me and knew I was going down. In a flash of odd clarity I figured that was it, I would die right there. Thoughts of my family and friends again went through my mind. Oddly, though, I didn’t feel any physical pain.
Somehow I ended up on the SUV’s hood. I remember looking through the windshield to the driver and passengers before slipping further down the hood. It appeared that the driver was holding a cell phone in front of her on her steering wheel, but I couldn’t be sure with the brief glance I had of her. Up on the hood, I couldn’t find anything to grab so I began to slip down the front of the SUV. Without understanding how I got there, I soon found myself clinging to the front grille of the truck, hoping against hope that I wouldn’t get pulled under the vehicle. Time seemed suspended. I felt as though I clung to the grille for hours. In reality, though, only seconds passed.
I didn’t know what had happened to my bike. I assumed by now that it was under the truck’s rear wheels. I had no idea why I wasn’t there too.
Still the truck continued to drive — it didn’t stop when it hit me or when I was up on its hood.
After what seemed like forever but was probably only a few more seconds, I lost my grip on the SUV’s grille and have a clear memory of grasping at the license plate, hoping again that I wouldn’t be pulled under, terrified that I would be pulled under. I was in animal survival mode, doing anything possible to hold on and stay alive. Exactly what I feared would happen, did. I lost my grip on the license plate.
In another second I was under the SUV, my helmeted head and left shoulder hitting the pavement with a pair of loud cracks. Oddly enough, though, I don’t remember feeling any pain through this. I felt no pain at the initial impact with the truck and still felt no pain as I struck the pavement.
But I did feel fear deep in the pit of my stomach.
The terror that I would be run over almost paralyzed me. By a stroke of luck I somehow retained consciousness. Why I didn’t black out, I still don’t know. Now, several months later and after speaking with my doctors, I am more convinced that the blow to my head should have knocked me out cold even with my helmet on. Most people in this situation would have lost consciousness but if I had, there is no doubt I would have died. The vehicle’s rear wheels would have run over me. While remaining conscious turned out to be a terrifying experience that would later cause me some post-traumatic stress, it turned out to have been a blessing. Staying conscious saved my life.
As the SUV pulled me under, my sternum caught on its transfer case at the same time that I reached up and grabbed the axle with my right arm. Again, I was doing anything possible to hang on. I have no memory of knowing that I needed to grab something. My instincts simply told me to find something to grab and the axle was mercifully within my reach.
The SUV still moved and dragged me with it, my body pinned between the transfer case and the asphalt. My backpack, hips, legs, and shoes made direct contact with the road’s surface for approximately 50 feet. My pack and shoes even left a long skid mark that police would later use to determine the speed of the SUV and the duration of the accident.
In those moments under the SUV, I whimpered like a hurt animal with only thoughts of survival in my mind, and the need to stay away from the deadly rear tires. Oddly, my memory flashed back 27 years to a raccoon I accidentally struck and killed while driving home from college one night. I now had a small glimpse into the terror that little animal probably felt in its last moments. Empathy, sadness, and remorse overwhelmed me as the SUV continued to drag me under it.
Then I noticed something very odd. At that moment I realized my consciousness was in two places at once.
I didn’t think much about it at the time except “Wow, that’s weird.” But later, even today, I still find it difficult to wrap my brain and emotions around that experience of dual-consciousness. My training as a scientist couldn’t provide an explanation for this, but the experience stuck in my memory.
It seemed like the animal or survival-focused part of my consciousness stayed under the truck in my body, hanging on to the axle, whimpering, and trying not to get run over. That part was all about fear, raw emotion, and survival. But another part of my consciousness watched the whole accident unfold from out in front and to the side of the SUV! How could this be?
The displaced and “observer-me” was oddly dispassionate about what unfolded. While it was definitely me, this part of my consciousness did not feel any panic or fear. She maintained an oddly calm state of being, thoughtful yet loving. She felt she was witnessing something sad but also something that was supposed to happen just the way it was unfolding. I distinctly remember that this observer-me felt everything would be OK, so why be frightened?
My observer consciousness saw the front of the truck, read the license plate, saw the driver inside, the people from other vehicles stopping to help and intervene, and eventually it saw the SUV stop.
I had this dual sense of consciousness for what seemed like hours but in reality was only a few minutes. Being in two places was an odd state of being and one I had no experience with.
It turned out that after the initial impact, the driver dragged me for approximately 50 feet under the vehicle. In those few minutes while I laid under the truck and before the paramedics arrived, the animal part of me wanted to get up and run away as fast as possible. I guess that’s not an uncommon survival instinct, but in my case it would have done me more harm than good.
But my animal-mind didn’t know that. When I thought it was safe, I tried to squirm out from under the axle. My fear screamed at me to get up and run as far away as I could. All the while, the observer- me simply watched and waited.
When I began my struggle to move, searing pain ripped through my pelvis and lumbar spine. I screamed, then collapsed back to the pavement, frustrated and afraid. The pain felt more horrendous than any I had ever experienced. I thought for a moment that my hips had been ripped from my body! At the very least, I thought that my back had been shattered.
In that moment I didn’t fear death as much as I did the thought of never being able to walk again. I had enough consciousness left in my body to understand that the pain in my back and my inability to move were not good signs, and I had a very real chance coming out of this in a wheelchair.
Even then, with all of that pain and the gut-wrenching fear of paralysis running through my mind, my animal instinct still wanted my body to get up and flee as I continued to squirm in panic and desperation. Eventually, I managed to wiggle enough to get my head and shoulders to a point where they were out from under the front of the SUV.
I glanced over to my left and saw a pickup truck and a man with a cell phone. He seemed to be on the phone even as I whimpered something about calling for an ambulance. I turned my head to the right and saw the driver of the SUV. She screamed something to me in a foreign language. I had no idea what her words meant but my animal-mind didn’t care — it wanted me to get up and confront her. I’m not terribly proud of that instinct now, but in hindsight I was in fight-or-flight mode. Since the pain was too intense to allow me to stand, I instead screamed back at her. With me yelling at her, she ran to the side of her vehicle and out of my line of sight. I later learned that she had jumped back into the driver’s seat of the SUV and appeared to bystanders as if she were going to drive off.
As I continued my struggle to get up and run, a blonde woman, a pony-tailed angel, ran up to me from my left. She knelt down next to me and said her name was Ann or Annie — I can’t remember which now — and that she was a trauma nurse. She put her hands on my shoulders and gently told me not to move.
It turned out that this simple gesture saved me from becoming a paraplegic, and I am utterly grateful to her from the depths of my soul. Unknown to me at the time, my first lumbar vertebrae (L1) in my lower back had shattered. Any attempt to stand and that damaged vertebrae would have collapsed around my spinal cord, severing it and leaving me paralyzed.
Ann stayed with me until the first responders' arrived, then she moved off to one side, still speaking with me to keep me calm. In a rush, firemen, police, and paramedics converged on the scene. My body remained mostly under the SUV, so two paramedics knelt down next to me to try to figure out if I was pinned and how badly I was hurt. It turned out that my sternum was now free of the transfer case and the paramedics decided they could simply roll the truck backwards to free me. I heard the firemen yelling to the bystanders to clear the area. Several first responders' then pushed the vehicle away so the paramedics could stabilize me for the trip to the nearest trauma center.
Once the truck was moved, the paramedics surrounded me. It was then that both parts of my consciousness finally came back together. I can’t explain how it happened. One moment my mind was in two separate places and in the next, both parts were back together in my broken body. I didn’t feel or experience anything different or unusual. I simply noticed that “I” was back to being in one place again.
The paramedics then did a check of my potential injuries. One of them gently cradled my neck in his hands. He gingerly touched my neck vertebrae one at a time and I screamed in pain. He then asked about other pain and I mumbled something about my lower back and pelvis.
Another of the paramedics managed to gently slide a hard, plastic collar around my neck, and eased my helmet and backpack off. With great care, three of them worked to slide me first onto a backboard, then a gurney. Ann stayed with me during all of this, asking me questions to keep me focused on her while the paramedics worked to stabilize me. She asked if I wanted her to go to the hospital with me. I said yes — I wanted company, someone friendly to hold my hand and help keep my panic at bay. But once the paramedics moved me into the ambulance, Ann disappeared. I never saw her again. She didn’t accompany me to the hospital and I was never able to remember her full name. Whoever she was, I am truly grateful that she showed up that day just when I needed her.
The paramedics stabilized me in the ambulance as quickly and gently as possible. They locked the gurney to the floor with a loud click, then made sure the straps securing me to the backboard were snug. A medic asked me questions about my name, birth date, medical history, and allergies. My mind really wasn’t focused on him, though, even as I answered his questions. Pain consumed me. It felt as though everything hurt — my neck, back, shoulders, thighs, and arms all complained. Nothing seemed normal anymore. And I just wanted everything to be normal again. I wanted to be running my errands. I wanted to enjoy my afternoon off, at home, working on an oil painting, cooking dinner, and watching a movie. But all of that would have to wait.
I did feel grateful for the short ride to the emergency room. In a way I was fortunate. The crash happened less than 1/2 mile from a hospital with a trauma center. The transport was a blur of IVs, vital signs, and EMTs' making sure I was stable and not moving.
I don’t remember arriving at the hospital or being wheeled out of the ambulance into the emergency room (ER), although what happened there remains clear in my mind. Frenzied activity greeted me in the ER. While doctors worked on managing my pain, nurses tried to contact my family on my partially-crushed phone.
Time slipped past in a blur of vitals and medical evaluations. By 3 PM, a neurosurgeon arrived from Boulder. His expertise was in surgical intervention for severe back traumas and he came highly recommended by the hospital. My trauma doctor and one of the nurses arrived to consult with the surgeon. The surgeon studied my scans and proclaimed bluntly that it was a miracle I wasn’t paralyzed or dead. I wasn’t sure whether to be scared or relieved at that! The trauma team had previously told me that most people normally don’t survive the type of accident I’d experienced, but it somehow felt even more ominous when the surgeon corroborated their sentiments.
All in all, I felt deeply grateful to have been spared.
After talking among themselves, the doctors came to my bedside to explain my injuries to me. The good news: all signs pointed to a full recovery in about a year to eighteen months. I had a major concussion with bleeding apparent in my brain, a broken left collarbone, five broken ribs on my left side, bruised ribs on my right side, minor internal bleeding in my pelvic region, a minor crack in my pelvis, a cracked sternum, many compression fractures in my spine (neck, middle back, and lower back), my L1 (first lumbar) vertebrae shattered and burst apart in my lower back, and many transverse process fractures up and down my spine.
In total, at least 24 of my bones were visibly broken, the majority of them in my spine. The most immediate problem was my L1 vertebrae which had shattered and sent sharp bits of bone into my spinal canal, coming dangerously close to severing my spinal cord. I was within a millimeter or so of being a paraplegic. That made me sit up and take notice, so to speak.
Another shocking thing was that my neck injuries were so severe that I was close to being paralyzed from any one of them, too. My neck hurt less than my back but the fractures and ligament damage there were so traumatic that any ill-timed movement could cause the damaged vertebrae to shift out of place and sever my spinal cord. I was hovering close to being a quadriplegic. That sobered me more than anything else. The thought of my legs not working was hard enough — I could likely deal with that in time — but the possibility of having my entire body paralyzed was more than I could conceive of.
My most damaged vertebrae, the first lumbar in my lower back, would need surgical stabilization as soon as possible.
Most people don’t look forward to Mondays. I usually counted myself in that group, but today, 3 days after my accident, was my first step in getting my mobility back, so my impatience could not be held in check.
Closer to 3 PM, my surgeon and his team arrived to explain the actual procedure in more detail. After I was in the operating room (OR) and anesthetized, they would move me, face-down, on to the operating table. The surgeon would open an incision along my lower back, pull the muscles and other tissues out of the way, and clean out the dangerous bits of vertebrae near my spinal cord. Next, they would attach titanium rods across my three lower-back vertebrae to stabilize the one that had burst. Eventually, all three vertebrae would fuse together into one piece of solid, safe bone. The surgery itself would last about two hours, after which I’d be brought back into recovery and eventually return to ICU.
At 4 PM, an hour later than the originally scheduled start time, one of the nurses came to wheel me to the operating room. Finally! The doors of the operating room stood in front of me, gleaming white from the bright surgical lights shining through their windows. An odd thought about the doors’ resemblance to the Pearly Gates passed through my mind, but I tried to put that aside. I didn’t want to somehow jinx myself or the surgical team.
As the nurse pushed me inside, I noticed the unusual color of the room: bright, sunflower yellow instead of the usual cold, sterile white I’d come to expect in hospitals. I didn’t pay much attention to the nurse as she prepped my IV tubing and anesthesia drugs, and I hardly noticed the anesthesiologist come up on my left side. Instead, I devoted most of my mental energy to stilling my nervousness. The anesthesiologist adjusted the IV drip and joked about it being time for cocktails, then I drifted off.
I’ve had three previous surgeries that required the same general anesthesia as I was getting today — two abdominal and one minor back procedure. I’ve also endured a few minor surgeries requiring the same or similar anesthesia. None of those experiences were remarkable in any way. In all of them, the anesthesiologist gave me the drugs, I drifted off into a gray state of nothingness (I wouldn’t call it “sleep”), and what felt like the next second I was waking up in the recovery room. No memories, no dreams, no sense of anything happening, just the experience of slipping into a gray unconsciousness one second and waking up in recovery the next. Not this time.
I did drift off as the anesthesiologist gave me my “cocktail,” but it wasn’t to the gray state of nothingness that I expected.
I abruptly found myself standing in a spectacular landscape unlike any I’d ever experienced. Warm breezes drifted across my skin. Beautiful vistas of meadows and distant mountains surrounded me. And a pervasive, loving presence overwhelmed me in its intensity.
My mind tried to wrap itself around what was happening since it felt so real. In the back of my awareness I knew I had just gone into surgery, but I wondered if I had somehow dreamed the bike accident and my injuries. This place felt more real to me than any on Earth.
Surrounding me was a landscape of gently rolling hills, flower-filled grassy meadows, towering deciduous trees in full leaf, trees taller and more grand than any here on Earth, and a sense of a light mist floating through as if it were a humid summer morning. The sky gleamed a very light, pearly blue, similar to what you might see at the ocean’s shore, with wispy clouds and a very bright but somewhat diffuse light.
My surroundings captured most of my attention. Below the surface forms and colors of everything in the landscape, I somehow also saw or sensed vibrating energy. I’m not sure how to describe it. It seemed I could see the surface of a leaf, for example, yet also see below it to an energy, a vibration of love or compassion or kindness that made the leaf take on a subsurface radiance. Everything had this radiance: trees, grass, sky, flowers, and clouds. Colors seemed intensified by this radiance. The feeling of love flowed through everything and heightened this radiance.
Through it all I sensed and somehow physically felt an incredibly profound feeling of peace, rightness, goodness, and love flowing through my body. I cried, literally wept, at how beautiful it all was and thought to myself that it was definitely an OK place to be during my surgery; much better than that gray nothingness I expected. I didn’t know where I stood or how I came here, but I felt at home, right, and at peace.
The Beauty I saw and felt in those first moments really does deserve a capital “B.” It wasn’t just pleasing to the eye, there was something deeper to it, more harmonious, more blessed, and more powerful. Everything felt tied together by an enormous amount of love and peace. Somehow I knew that the beauty of the landscape around me was the product of unconditional love on a cosmic scale.
While this beauty took my breath away, the sense of overwhelming peace and love completely ensnared me and made me want to stay here forever. I continued to feel a deep sense of unconditional love flow through all things around me: the air, the ground below my feet, the trees, the clouds, and me. I didn’t know how it was possible to feel love as if it were a physical presence, but I did. My being vibrated with love to its core. Every molecule of me seemed bathed in love. I couldn’t block it out, nor would I have wanted to. I continued to feel the energy of love flow around me like a gentle current, washing through me, and eventually capturing me by the heart. I felt supported by some kind of loving presence so powerful, yet so gentle, that I cried again. I had never experienced such unconditional love and acceptance in all of my years on this Earth.
It felt as though this place were built from love on a very grand, cosmic scale. Soon, a visitor joined me. As she approached, she welcomed me with a warm embrace of pure love. Her hazy, gradual fading-into-being seemed somehow natural for this place. Love emanated from her and surrounded me. She didn’t touch me with her hands or enfold me into a hug, she simply sent me waves of loving energy as a welcome.
She wasn’t recognizable as someone I’d known from life. I wondered if she was a spiritual being of some kind sent to bring me to whatever comes next. I hoped that was the case — I had already fallen in love with this place and wanted her to help me stay here.
While she appeared to be human, I sensed and saw that “human” wasn’t really the correct term for her. Her general appearance was female but I got the feeling that the form she held was one she took solely for me. The form seemed somehow convenient for now, and later she confirmed this for me. I did get a sense of a deeply feminine presence, though.
She appeared to stand a few inches taller than me with a slim figure and long, brown, wavy hair that fell almost to her waist. Her face was a little indistinct. It was as if I couldn’t catch a really good glimpse of it or it was slightly blurred. I felt frustrated — I wanted to really see her. What I could see of her face was pleasant enough but not remarkable in any way. She was not terribly beautiful but not unpleasant to my eyes, either. She wore a loose, luminescent, light pearl-gray, long-sleeved, tunic-type of shirt that draped and flowed beautifully over and around her. The fabric also glowed with a pearlescent sparkle of energy that radiated into the air around her body. This radiant energy was similar to what I had already sensed under the surface of everything in the landscape. She also wore either a long skirt or full, drapey pants of the same fabric as the shirt — I couldn’t really decide which. The fabric of her clothing looked as if it might be a nicely worn-in linen, or linen mixed with silk.
Kindness, compassion, and caring radiated from her face and I felt that she held that deep love for me in a way I had never experienced before from anyone. Not romantic love, but a love you might expect from an angel or a saint or the Creator. I also felt a profound, expansive love coming through her as if she was a transmitter, radiating out from her and enfolding me in its warm embrace as if she too were made of it. Somehow, she was able to embrace me with loving energy without even touching me. The love coming from her made me relax into her presence as if she were a sister or trusted friend.
In hindsight, being able to feel love and energy flowing through me seems strange. After all, it’s not how we humans normally experience things in our own lives. We touch with our skin, hear things with our ears, and see with our eyes. But the only things we typically feel are our own internal emotions, or things such as body pain, discomfort, or other physical sensations. We feel heat or a chill through our skin, but as humans we don’t typically feel love as a physical force.
She never did tell me her name or what she was. I didn’t even think to question this while I was there, but it seems strange that I didn’t ask. For now I’ll simply refer to her as “my Guide” to keep things simple. I felt that she was a being of love, perhaps even a spiritual being. But I can’t put her into a category familiar to me. For now it’s enough to think of her as simply a spiritual being who had some interest in helping me. The only thing that mattered to me was that she acted as my mentor and guide during my stay in that place.
My Guide strolled with me. We marveled at the flowers that vibrated with colors I can’t describe. The trees formed a canopy overhead, pearly light filtered through the leaves, the blue sky beyond, and that sense of utter peace and love suffused everything. I enjoyed walking, feeling healthy again with no pain, sensing the cool grass beneath my bare feet and the warm breezes on my face.
My Guide seemed to flow over the ground. I didn’t see that she took steps or made physical contact with the landscape. She just flowed gracefully, accompanying me through this beautiful place. At times I fell to my knees and sat there in utter amazement and gratitude at the beauty and love around me.
We continued to move among the meadows and into more glades of trees. I sensed that the landscape fell away or disappeared behind me as we meandered along. I questioned that in my mind, and my Guide answered it without me even uttering a word. She somehow knew what I was thinking! And yes, in some strange way, the landscape behind me did fall away as we continued our tour.
In time, as I grew more comfortable in her presence, my Guide began telling me more about this place. I wasn’t in Heaven per se, just in a place to prepare me for what was to come — a slice of Heaven you might call it. There isn’t a good word to describe it in our language, though. A human equivalent would be if you could equate Heaven to a cathedral, I was in the vestibule as you come in the exterior doors, but before you enter the main doors into the nave (the main worship area). I was in the waiting area. Heaven’s green room.
A glimmer of hope that I’d soon see the real Heaven sparked in my heart. If this was the waiting area, just imagine how amazing the full experience of Heaven would be! She went on to explain that she chose to be a voice to me from many others beyond where we were now. I got the impression that these were spiritual beings or souls who somehow communicated to me through her. She was a representative of sorts, a speaker, one who came here to teach me and to help me start on the next part of my journey. I thought she meant I was going to die and the next part of my journey was to go on to the afterlife. Frankly, I hoped that was the case. If what awaited was anything like this place I would gladly follow her there.
I didn’t know what was beyond. I couldn’t see it in any way, although I had a sense of others out there who I could not see. I also got the impression from my Guide that more existed than what I was experiencing. I was OK not knowing, and still am. I’m comfortable with many aspects of my experience remaining part of a greater mystery.
It turns out I was very wrong about what my future held. What came next was something I wouldn't have expected — not in a million years.
She began communicating information to me, messages or lessons that those in Heaven wanted to pass along to me and to others back on Earth. These teachings or messages were concepts that Spirit suffused them with constantly; knowledge that was an innate part of this place as it was beyond here. These messages contained knowledge that many of us on Earth seem to have either forgotten or never learned but were an integral part of existence in Heaven.
These messages somehow helped to form or strengthen the structure there. Every spiritual entity somehow participated in these teachings, and much more knowledge as well. This part was fuzzy to me — I still struggle with describing this collective knowledge and how the spiritual world interacted with it.
The messages were also meant to be shared with others to reinforce what we might learn in our faith or spirituality. In some instances, they might be the start of someone coming to learn about spiritual matters — the introduction to deeper knowledge and mysteries.
She explained that in the past, I volunteered to serve by being a messenger of these teachings. At some time, perhaps before I was born into my life, I had apparently made an agreement to serve light and love in whatever way Spirit thought best. My Guide actually placed a vision in my mind of this happening. I stood with others in a light-filled room and agreed to be a kind of messenger. I couldn’t really see the details of those others, though, I simply sensed their presence and heard their words. But I still had a hard time believing that I somehow made an agreement before I was born. How could that happen? What if I changed my mind didn’t want to do it? My Guide explained that souls often agree to different kinds of tasks before they are born into life. We might refer to these as callings. Some tasks are small in scope, and some, like Nelson Mandela’s, are large, but they’re all voluntary.
My waking self on Earth had no conscious memory of this agreement, but my Guide gently reminded me of it. She made it clear that now was the time where I’d be fulfilling my part of the contract. But since it was voluntary, I could also decide not to follow this calling. A very palpable sense of the weight of responsibility overwhelmed me. I almost physically felt a weight settle on my shoulders and I questioned whether I was up to the task. But it seems I had no choice in my own soul. I wanted to do this at a very deep level, and felt compelled in some way to take on this task.
The landscape continued to amaze me. Colors vibrated in harmony with different emotions. Trees weren’t necessarily green nor was the sky always blue. They hummed with an inner energy and colors that radiated love, gratitude, and joy. Sometimes the trees would open up and I saw distant, low mountains shimmering on the horizon. Mists shrouded their flanks, and like everything else, they too seemed to radiate a deep, internal energy.
Sometimes she talked, passing on information like you and I might as colleagues at work. Other times the communication was more spiritually-based. These spiritual communications came to me as feelings and impressions straight into my mind and heart. Sometimes I simply felt a sense of immediate knowing, other times I experienced feelings and visuals mixed with words. This non-verbal method of communicating seemed strange at first but it didn’t take long before it became natural.
As she continued to teach me, I realized that the spiritual realm operated very differently from Earth. Verbal communication is not at all preferred in Heaven. In fact, it seemed a rather awkward and unclear form of sending and receiving knowledge. Somehow in that place, in that spiritual realm of which I had only a small glimpse, the beings there use many more profound forms of communication. These other forms are more direct, beautiful, and loving than anything we experience here on Earth.
The messages she passed on to me encompassed the basics — Spirit 101 is my term for it. She, and those who spoke through her, communicated to me the nature of love, community, gratitude, companionship, how we’re all connected spiritually, that we’re never alone, and so much more.
At times during the communication I somehow felt collective emotions from those other spiritual beings — from soaring joy to terrible sadness — for certain events, ideas, and feelings in our society. I couldn’t see these beings or souls, I just “heard” and felt many layers of knowledge and feeling coming in to me. At these times, the emotions came through as emotionally-charged “waves” in my body. Imagine a wind of electricity that instead of brushing over your skin and continuing on, literally goes right through every cell of you.
The other spiritual beings that my Guide represented were able to communicate their emotions and thoughts to me through her. I’m still not sure how this works or how to describe it. I just sensed that, at times, the knowledge and emotions of many beings were coming to me.
My Guide explained my part: it would be my task to put the messages into a form that I and other humans could understand. My job was to synthesize what she communicated to me, give it a human perspective, and then disseminate the information.
I could sense my Guide getting a little weary of my doubts and struggles about the information I was given. Suddenly, she surprised me by laying down in the middle of one of the meadows we’d wandered into, inviting me to join her like little children would, laying in the tall grasses and staring up at the sky. She seemed to be trying to help ease my fears a little by interjecting some lightness and play. It worked. We stared up into the shimmering cobalt blue sky, watching the clouds drift by and giggling like little girls. We were simply friends out enjoying the warm, sunny, summer day and gazing up into the sky looking for rabbits and dragons and horses camouflaged as clouds. I had some moments of fun staring up into that beautiful, shimmering blueness, trying to name shapes that came and went as quickly as a breath.
Spotting cloud animals in Heaven — what a trip! I assumed that a spiritual existence would be all seriousness, solemnity, and stern faces but she allowed me to see how playful, loving, and joy-filled it could be.
She stayed there with me, remaining quiet and letting everything sink in to my mind while I watched the sky. I completely enjoyed the peace and love of this place and still felt amazed at the sense of a loving Presence permeating everything. I didn’t want to give any of that up. I couldn’t imagine leaving even though I had been told that I would return to Earth.
In hindsight, I think she was giving me one last chance to enjoy that place before coming back to life on Earth, and to a broken body lying in a hospital.
Eventually she rolled over onto her side and looked at me saying, “I need to go soon, and it’s time for you to get back to your life.” She rose to her feet and held out her hand to help me up.
Panic and anger flared through me. I did NOT want to go back. I suspected that what awaited me there would be difficult, painful, and emotionally wrenching. Grudgingly, I allowed her to help me stand. I grasped her hand and she pulled me up. I was a mess: sobbing, protesting that I didn’t want to go back to my life, that I wanted to go with her on to the real Heaven. Even though I had a commitment to keep, a part of me desperately wanted to stay. This was not a proud moment for me. I became like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum! I felt terrified to go back to my broken body, and to the unknown of the weeks and months ahead.
I believe that my Guide wanted me to have full knowledge, to prepare me for the way ahead, so she gave me a glimpse of my immediate future. It wasn’t easy to watch and, in a way, confirmed some of my fears. She showed me the painful breakup of a relationship, being alone for a long stretch of time, and that the
road ahead for me would be hard, not just physically, but emotionally, too. I didn’t want to face it and didn’t want to return.
My Guide sensed my fears and assured me that in the long term I would be OK, I would be looked after by Spirit, and would be very happy. She allowed me a glimpse of that future life of happiness with a loving partner, and a sense of deep fulfillment, but that time felt a long way off to me.
Even with the possibility that the mission I’d accepted could change my life for the better, I still wanted to go on with her. If this place was simply the portal to Heaven, Heaven itself must be amazing, I thought. Who would have guessed I’d be arguing with a spiritual being shortly after she gave me a mission to complete?
But the truth was that I really didn’t want to leave. Who would? When I was there I felt the love of a spiritual presence through every atom of my being. That love was a warmth from inside, supportive and light. I felt embraced, accepted, understood, part of an amazing family of beings of love and light, and a very real, tangible part of Creation. I didn’t want to leave it, not for a second.
She stayed firm in her stance and insisted that it was time for her to leave.
But before she sent me home, she explained that she would help me a little, to make things a bit easier for me when I returned to my body. We were now standing, facing each other. She gently raised her right arm and placed that hand on my left shoulder, at the exact spot where my collarbone was broken. I didn’t feel much contact from her hand, just a brief touch and warm energy, then she moved on to my left ribs. She placed her hand on my left side for a moment, then went on to my upper chest just below my throat. She briefly touched her fingertips on my upper sternum, then pulled her hand back.
I could feel her sadness as she looked at me. “It really is time for me to leave now. And it is time for you to go back to where you belong.”
As she turned away from me to leave, another wave of dread, fear, and anger washed through me. I opened my mouth to argue again but I suddenly awoke in a bed, confused and sobbing. Through blurred vision, I saw people milling about the room but none of them were the woman with whom I had just spent what felt like weeks. I already missed her more than I can express. Her loss and the loss of that place caused waves of grief to course through my entire body.
I wanted her at my side to ease my fears and I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t with me anymore. Tears flowed down my cheeks. I felt as a child would, pulled away from its mother by strangers, knowing it would be a very long time before I’d see her again. The struggle to come to grips with being on Earth again, began.
I was an atheist. No longer. My creativity has increased exponentially. I quit my job with a defense manufacturer and am in a completely different line of work. Some relationships have changed as well.