By Nancy Rynes, author of Awakenings from the Light
I'm sorry to report that having an NDE does not lead to instant enlightenment, at least not in my case. I know, kind of a bummer, eh? I was gifted with a vision of a lovely-looking spiritual path that I could take, one that promised to be amazing, challenging, fun at times, and loving, but I still had to take the steps to walk the path. I had to do the work.
It's recently become apparent that I still have a lot of work ahead of me on this spiritual journey.
A couple of nights ago I was having dinner with my dear friend, Jacqueline, and another friend of hers whom I hadn't previously met. As the evening progressed and we talked about spiritual matters, I noticed I was having a lot of trouble finding the right words whenever I spoke -- a lingering effect of my TBI (traumatic brain injury) that often worsens when I am tired. Anyway, I felt increasingly frustrated with my brain and how it just didn't seem to be working right, so I mentioned something to Jacquie and her friend. I do this often...stumble with my words and apologetically tell folks why it's happening so that that they understand what's going on. But something about my apology this particular night tugged at my heart. I let it go, knowing that I would have time to deal with it once I was home.
When I arrived home later that evening and relaxed, it dawned on me why tonight's apology for my brain didn't feel very good. The motivation driving the apology wasn't simply about giving information, as I had fooled myself into believing all this time. What was really fueling the apology was a very small, almost undetectable, undercurrent of shame that I had been carrying with me since my accident. The shame I felt was about how my brain functioned "differently" now. It didn't work the same as it did prior to my accident, and I was focusing on the differences that I perceived as "bad" or losses: occasional speaking difficulties, word-finding, ability to do math, and computer programming/technical work. And because I focused on the negatives, I felt embarrassed or ashamed because part of me felt I no longer "measured up."
I had one of those "Ah-Ha!" moments: I was not being very loving to me and my brain! Would I treat someone else in this way? Would I be ashamed if someone else struggled? No way, so why was I being that way with me?
I allowed myself to acknowledge the mix of things I was feeling, and then I simply cried. With the tears came compassion and the gentle release of the embarrassment. I eventually switched gears and visualized myself and my brain encased in an energetic rainbow of acceptance and love. Many positive changes came as a result of the accident, the near-death experience, and yes, even the TBI: enhanced artistic ability and creativity, being more in touch with feeling and emotion, being more sensitive/psychic, feeling calmer and much less fearful, heightened intuition, and more. I took time to celebrate the positives, then realized that feeling shame at the losses didn't serve me anymore. They were nothing that I could control and I was doing the best that I could, so why be embarrassed?
Feeling shame with parts of ourselves seems to be all too common these days, whether it is about our appearance, a personality trait, or how we choose to live our lives. And our culture is often all too happy to reinforce our own sense of shame. It doesn't do us any good, though, because shame is just another form of non-love. It doesn't feel very good.
Spirit loves each one of us. There are no conditions. Divine love is on a scale that our human brains and hearts cannot grasp. But it is not our jobs to love at God's level. It IS part of our jobs to try to love as best as we can at the human level, though, and that includes learning to love and accept ourselves through all out faults, foibles, and awesomeness. And yes, we each ARE awesome in our own individual way!
If you are directing a bit of non-love at yourself, please don't ignore it. Ignoring it won't make it go away; it will just lurk like a huge pink elephant in the corner of the room. Instead, try to give yourself the love and compassion you would gift on a dear friend who was dealing with the same issue. Acknowledge what you feel. Embrace it with acceptance and compassion. Take some quiet time, pray or meditate, and ask for help releasing the non-love. Visualize yourself being surrounded by a beautiful, warm, glowing light of love and compassion. Understand the non-love is only making you feel bad, then allow it to dissolve as best as you can. To fill the space where the non-love used to be, make a daily habit of celebrating at least 3 good things about you. Repeat as often as you need.
If you are truly hobbled by shame, please get some help from a counselor or spiritual advisor. You deserve to feel good about YOU!
Thank you, and Blessings...
Posted by Nancy Rynes, author of Awakenings from the Light ( http://NancyRynes.com )
All content copyright Nancy Rynes, 2015-2016