Who do I see about this? I want to add a new book to the Bible. It’s approaching 1,700 years since we closed the book on the Bible. Isn’t it about time we think about putting a new one in there? Did God stop talking when the last gospel writer sat down his pen? I think not.

I’ve got the perfect candidate for the book. It’s every bit as theologically and philosophically sound as Paul’s letters. It discusses the true nature of God and Jesus and their relationship to us. It’s Biblically sound in that it doesn’t contradict with what is already in the canon. It makes perfect sense of what can be a confusing issue; how God could be both infinitely merciful and infinitely just. It blasts that damnable doctrine of “penal substitutionary atonement” back to the pit it came from. It makes sense of why and how God could punish us and be merciful, at the same time. It gives us a picture of the true meaning of the word Justice, not the distorted and petty human justice that we’ve projected onto God- returning the favor of His creating us in His image by creating Him in ours. And, we can read it in its original language. No need for The Message type translations, or even literal translations. It’s right there in plain old English.

The book I’d like to propose is simply titled “Justice”. It’s a sermon by the Scottish author, poet and minister George MacDonald. It’s in his book “Unspoken Sermons” available via the Internet and in hard copy. But, don’t worry, I’ve created a PDF file for you that you can download here.

“Why do we need this book in the Bible?”, you might ask. When the Bible was canonized, we didn’t need it. But, that was before Jonathan Edwards (the author of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”), John Calvin, Saint Anselm, and others gave us the image of a god who doesn’t know how to forgive without blood and who punishes simply to inflict suffering. That was before we were given the image of a god who would prefer to inflict suffering on One perfectly innocent than allow His honor to be besmirched. That was before we were told about a god who would create imperfect creatures bound to sin eventually, and then eternally torment them for being just as he made them. We didn’t need the book “Justice” in our Bibles 1,700 years ago. But, we need it today!

I reread Justice over the past couple of days. It’s probably the fourth time I’ve read it. Each time, I just try to soak in as much as possible and make it a part of me. I read it when I get weak and begin to think “Maybe God really is the monster I was told He is.” When I feel that way, I read George MacDonald and all is right with the world again.

I wanted to pull out some highlights from the sermon. But, if I begin, I’m afraid I’ll just end up writing the whole thing over again. So, I’ll just pull out one. Each time I read the sermon, something a little different really hits me. This time it was this passage. And, it actually actually made me feel ashamed. I had to pray for forgiveness after reading it. George pulls no punches, that’s what I love about his style. He writes…

Where there is no ground to believe that God does a thing except that men who would explain God have believed and taught it, he is not a true man who accepts men against his own conscience of God. I acknowledge no authority calling upon me to believe a thing of God, which I could not be a man and believe right in my fellow-men. I will accept no explanation of any way of God which explanation involves what I should scorn as false and unfair in a man.

Ouch! That one hurt. I had to reflect on how through so many years, I allowed people to tell me things about God that I just knew couldn’t be true. Things that made me wish God had never created me. What’s also weird (well this happens all of the time now, so it’s not really that weird), just a few days before I decided to read George MacDonald, the Quaker Pastor I met with said something similar. When I told him how I had uncritically accepted the atrocious things people had taught me about God, he said that when people told him things that he knew were not consistent with God’s character, he simply rejected them as not true. Oh, how I wish I could have done that!

Back to the point, I’ve uploaded the Justice file as a PDF for your easy reading. It’s pretty long and George was Scottish and lived a long time ago. So his English can be a little difficult to read. But, I think this (and all his other sermons) are well worth wading through.

Let me know what you think… Click here to download Justice. Until we can get it officially added, you can just print it out and stick it in your Bible

Recently, I’ve run into cynics who say that mediumship is impossible. They look for any alternative explanation of a claimed communication. If they can find one, they declare this must be how the medium got the information. Why? Because they start with the presupposition that mediumship is impossible.

That’s fine if that’s what you want to do. But, what gets me is these cynics think they are “scientific.” They have bought into a materialist paradigm, thinking it’s the only way to view the world.

I use the word “cynic” with a purpose. They would claim to be skeptics. I disagree. A skeptic is a person who is slow to persuasion. But, a skeptic is a person who examines the evidence and goes to where the evidence leads. A skeptic doesn’t declare something as untrue simply because it’s impossible from the perspective of his current paradigm. A cynic will look at something like a medium reading and declare that if there is any way possible the medium got the information through normal physical senses that must be what happened.

Imagine if I could transport myself back 200 years. I’m there speaking with scientists of the day, with my current knowledge of technology. It would be a fascinating conversation if I started talking about something that we take entirely for granted today- radio waves. If I told them that there is an invisible form of energy that is entirely undetectable by sight, sound, or feel they would think I had gone insane. This energy can and does permeate solid matter effortlessly, I add. They look at me incredulously.

Furthermore, this energy can be used to communicate around the world; instantaneously allowing me to send my voice to someone across the world. Now, these scientists are ready to lock me up.

If I tried to tell someone pre-Copernicus that the Earth revolved around the sun, I would be declared mad because clearly, the sun revolves around the Earth. We can all see it with our own eyes as it rises in the East and sets in the West every day.

Since we as a species discovered the scientific method, the hubris of thinking we know all there is to know has been calling us. In 1889, Charles Holland Duell, the commissioner of the Patent Office, declared that the patent office would soon shrink and eventually close because “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

We have come to believe that if we can’t prove it scientifically, it’s not possible. Recently, I heard someone correctly say that science can only tell us about repeatable things, and the vast majority of life is not reproducible. People who call themselves skeptics or scientists will often dismiss personal experience because it didn’t happen in a laboratory.

Interestingly enough, science is starting to reveal that the Universe is not as mechanistic as we once thought. Science’s own discovery are putting the scientific method into jeopardy. This made Einstein very uncomfortable as he fought quantum physics for most of his career. He didn’t like the idea of the Universe not being deterministic. As we learn more, we find the Universe is an even stranger place than Einstein found it to be. The Double Slit experiment and more recent thought experiments are flipping the ideas of cause and effect on their heads. Recently, I read an article about Quantum Gravity that posits that, given the right conditions, what we usually perceive as the cause can be the effect, and vice versa, as time gets flipped. From our ordinary experience, this seems impossible. Yet, it is.

My point? If you experience a phenomenon that you deem impossible, you are going to have to either declare it’s not genuinely happening or find a way to explain it. When it comes to mediumship, the cynics will say it must be a hot reading (the medium looking up information o the sitter), a cold reading (the medium using cues from the sitter to make educated guesses), or some combination of the two. Mediumship is impossible in their minds.

A scientist would test mediumship, controlling for these alternative explanations. Some scientists have. Dr. Julie Beischel is one. She is with the Windbridge Research Center. Her protocol is fairly complex. I can’t do it justice. But, the medium is given only the first name of the “target” (the spirit person. The medium gives a reading. The experiment that interfaces with the medium never interfaces with the sitter and does not know who the “target” or the sitter is. This eliminates all possibility of hot or cold readings. The medium is asked to describe the target- physical characteristics, personality, etc. The reading is given to the sitter along with a reading that is not for the sitter. This eliminates the possibility of sitter bias, giving the medium a higher score to please the medium or the experimenters. The sitter scores both readings and tells which reading she believes is for her target.

Dr. Beischel’s studies eliminate every alternative explanation I’m aware of that any cynic has put out there. And, her results are significant. Interestingly enough, as the true skeptical scientist she is, she does not claim that her work proves that mediums communicate with the discarnate. There are other possibilities, such as the medium tapping into a field of knowledge that we’re not aware of. But, for most of these cynics, that would be replacing one impossible phenomenon with another. We have to rely on the mediums themselves to tell us what their experience is, that is that they are communicating with the “other side”. And, that is precisely what they tell us. What we do know is they can come up with information that is “impossible” to find by ordinary means. We can control for those means and eliminate them as possibilities.

For myself, I remain skeptical of mediums, as individuals. Some are no good. Some are downright frauds. I recommend that everyone be wary when seeking out a medium. But, my studies and my personal experience with mediums, both professional and amateur, have proven to me beyond any reasonable doubt that mediumship is far from impossible. Maybe one day, science will tell us how it’s done. However, keep in mind that things we now take as a given were once deemed impossible by science. The fact that science cannot tell us how something is done doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

Our 14-year-old lab mix began slowing down a few months ago. I knew the day that we would have to say goodbye was coming soon. I could not bring myself to let her go. She was no longer able to go up and down the steps to the deck. Her legs would give out on her, and she would collapse to the floor.

On Tuesday, we took her to the vet to see if there was anything we could do to help her. What we were told is what we knew. She was a 60 pound (down to 53 pounds due to muscle loss), almost 15-year-old dog. Her body was preparing to go home. The gray hair, cataracts, the hearing loss all told the tale that I turned a blind eye to. The seizures were what finally woke me up to the reality that the day I had feared was approaching fast.

By Thursday Zoe was so bad I knew it was only a matter of a few days. I happened to have scheduled a reading with a medium in training. We planned it a few weeks ago. Thursday was an incredibly stressful day for me. Zoe spent the entire day in her room. She couldn’t get up to get out of it. Normally, she would spend the day in my office or Tywana’s office. I avoided walking by her door knowing she’d look up at me with eyes that seemed to say, “How much longer are we going to do this, Daddy?”

I had a test medium reading scheduled for Thursday afternoon. I thought about canceling because I wondered how my energy would be. I had arranged this meeting weeks ago when I had no idea Zoe would be this sick. The reading opened with Andy saying to me, “I saw you before we got on the Zoom. You were in a room, with falling red hearts. They are all shades of red.” She continued, “I see in your aura an almost heartache. This is a heartache that isn’t here yet. But, you know it’s coming. You are going to have a conversation about it.” I broke down in tears. She told me, “The spirit world is at the ready. This is the greatest gift you can give. I see fur hugs all around you. Fur hugs.”

Friday, I had to carry Zoe out of the house to do her bathroom stuff. She collapsed, trying to get back into the house. I heard a voice say to Tywana, “It’s time.” The voice was mine.

We made arrangements to take Zoe in the following morning. We had a full day of moving Kayla, my 22-year-old daughter, into her new house. Zoe took precedence though. We didn’t want her to suffer one day longer than necessary.

Zoe made a peaceful, quick transition. After we left the vet’s office, Kayla told us that she saw Shayna in the corner of the room, waiting to greet Zoe. I had told Shayna that morning that she better be there to greet Zoe. I was elated to hear this from Kayla.

I spent the rest of the day at Kayla’s house assembling her IKEA furniture. It had been an exhausting day, physically and emotionally. I nearly quit and opted to finish on Sunday. But, I wanted to get it done and finished up. When I got home, I saw a Facebook notice that Cyrus Kirkpatrick was hosting an event with Susanne Wilson on Sunday. Since I got the furniture done on Saturday, I penciled it in on my calendar. I’d attend if I were up to it. I had been trying to reach Susanne to tell her about my book because she had encouraged me to write it several times. Also, in my first real medium reading, three years ago, she told me I would be working with Victor Zammit. I was in the Friday Afterlife Report this very week. I wanted to give her the validation of her reading.

Sunday rolled around, and I connected to the Zoom. I quickly told Susanne about my book and the Afterlife Report. She and Cyrus did their interview, and it was time for questions and answers. Usually, I would hang back and let others ask questions. And, I already knew the answer to my question. I just had to hear her say it. I asked, “Susanne, I had to put my dog to sleep yesterday. I’ve heard that when people cross over their pets are there to greet them. Have you ever heard that when a pet crosses over, their human is there to greet them?” She assured me this happens. Then, she paused, and a quizzical look came over her face. She asked if I saw Zoe’s soul as it left her body because she was being told that I experienced her crossing. I had prayed for a shared crossing experience. I hoped to see Zoe and possibly Shayna taking her Home. I didn’t get it directly. But, at one point, I felt like Zoe’s soul passed through me. Susanne described it as a not going up but going through, a “whoosh.” A “whoosh” is precisely what I felt. I wish I could say I experienced it as joy as Zoe’s soul was released. I experienced it as pain, as I knew my baby was gone.

Susanne said she saw Shayna with braids rubbing her braids across Zoe as Zoe lay on her lap. Then, she said, “Shayna says she was in the corner of the room.” This stunned me. Shayna in the corner was exactly the way Kayla had described it.

The synchronicities were not quite over. On Monday, Tywana told me about a podcast interview with Gretchen Bickert. Gretchen was on Lisa Jones’ show “Exploring Death”. What Tywana didn’t know is that Gretchen was in a grief class I taught with Terri Daniel last year. Gretchen is a pet grief expert. So, Gretchen and I know each other. The podcast was released just a few weeks earlier, on Tywana’s birthday. Tywana and I listened to the podcast. I was amazed and comforted by Gretchen’s stories about her dog, Ernie. Lisa mentioned that Gretchen might be looking for stories about dogs’ crossings. I thought about emailing her. But my week got busy.

Then, I saw that Gretchen was going to be a guest on AREI’s Global Gathering on Sunday, eight days after we put Zoe to sleep. This meeting would be the time to share my story with her directly. I called into the meeting and was able to have a conversation with Gretchen.

It’s been nine days since Zoe crossed. The grief comes in waves, as grief does. The gratitude does as well. I am joyous when I think of Zoe’s loyalty and love. I give thanks for 14 years of excellent health. Even during all of the pain, I am glad that I am open to see how the universe continues to support me. I am conscious that as we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, we should keep our eyes up so that we can see that we never walk alone. The timing of the reading with Andy was no coincidence. I easily could have canceled. The timing of the meeting with Susanne added to this. Gretchen’s appearance on Lisa Jones’ show and the AREI makes the magic undeniable. And the message of validation of Shayna being there in the room brings me great comfort by letting me know for sure my two girls are together!

It’s been three days, just about 72 hours since I was at the vet’s office seeing Zoe off for her transition back Home. This grief is a whole new kind of grief for me. I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t faced a lot of grief in my life that wasn’t the expected kind, like the passing of a grandparent, or my father-in-law who had dementia for several years. He was like a father to me. 

The grief that is still freshest in my mind and the most prominent in my heart is from Shayna’s passing four years ago. One might be tempted to think all grief is the same; au contraire. Grief is as unique as the individuals who experience it. And, I am learning, it is also as unique as the relationship with the one who passes.

When Felton, my father-in-law passed after those years of dementia, it was like a release for him. He hadn’t been the man he was for years before he passed. His body was barely a shell of the man I remembered. Dementia had taken his wit and his intellect, or at least his ability to express them. He got to the point where he was non-verbal before he passed. Releasing him to be was not difficult. Watching him live in a state I knew he would have detested was the agonizing part. I grieved the loss of Felton long before his physical body finally released him.

On the other hand, Shayna passed suddenly. There was no chance to say goodbye; literally. I told her goodnight the night before, and those were my last words to her. I was in shock. Four years plus and am still in shock. There was zero anticipation. That’s the kind of grief that takes your breath away, and you feel like you will never breathe again.

With Zoe, it’s somewhere in between the two. With Zoe, I experienced some anticipatory grief. She was almost fifteen years old. But, she was in good enough shape up until two weeks of her passing that I could remain largely in denial. I could not completely deny that she was nearing the end of what a dog’s body can endure. I could still look at her and see the puppy in her eyes; even eyes clouded by cataracts. I denied her hearing loss. Her inability to get up and down the steps, I passed that off as just a touch of arthritis. I bought glucosamine tablets for her only two weeks before she passed hoping they would fix her problems which were most likely neurological, not arthritis.

In the last couple of weeks, her decline was so rapid that I could not deny it any longer. Two weeks ago yesterday I cried myself to sleep knowing the end was near. But, I had nearly two weeks to come to grips with what I knew was coming. I was able to say goodbye. I saw enough of a decline that I knew it was time for her to go. I thought I was ready.

Yesterday, as I took my morning walk, I walked in silence spending time alone with my grief evaluating it. In these past 72 hours, I’ve alternatively felt like I am doing OK. I’ve even thought, “Maybe it’s over.” I’ve rationalized this. “Zoe was old. Dogs don’t live that long. You knew when you got her this day would come.” So, since I’ve intellectualized it, I shouldn’t have to deal with the emotion.

Then a few minutes later, I’ll cry out in agony when I realize that such an essential part of my life is over. The grief comes in waves, just as it did with Shayna. Somehow it’s different though.

You might think, “Of course it’s different. Shayna is a human, and Zoe is a dog.” While that is very true and I would not say that my feelings for the two are the same, my love for Zoe is pure and unconditional, just as hers for me. The affection for a dog is real love, and with genuine love comes genuine grief. With Shayna, I mourned not only the loss of Shayna but of all her potential. Shayna was supposed to get her driver’s license, graduate high school, go to college, get married. Missing all of that, even four years later, compounds the grief of the loss of her being here.

Zoe wasn’t going to go anywhere. Her only job in life was to accept our love and return it to us. Giving and receiving love is something she did a stellar job of for her entire life with us. I knew that Zoe would be with me the rest of her days no matter how long or short that time was. With Zoe, there is no missing her potential. She did everything she came here to do. The only thing is I would have liked longer with her. Other than that, I have no complaints.

Someone sent a comic to me yesterday with a fourteen-year-old dog, coincidentally enough, tell his owner it was time for him to leave. The owner said he wasn’t ready. As I talked to Zoe in my head this morning, I told her that I wasn’t prepared. I heard her say, “You wouldn’t be ready if I had lived to twenty. I was fourteen. What did you expect?” She was right. I had no reply. 

Another difference is that when Shayna passed, people reached out to us. Neighbors came over and brought casseroles. We got sympathy cards. When a pet passes, people are sympathetic. But, the support isn’t the same. We’re expected to get over it on our own and quickly.

Here I am on another grief journey. I am the guy who wrote the book on grief. It’s not that I thought I had learned everything there is to know. I am learning even more. I am learning yet another kind of grief. I am exploring it. I wonder how it will change me. Earth school continues. I guess this is the next class.

 

A few days ago, I was watching a video of a gentleman trying to explain what consciousness is. One of the questions he addressed was, “If consciousness is universal and if we can continue to exist without a brain, how do you explain the loss of consciousness when we’re doing something as simple as sleeping or when we are under anesthesia?”  The question that popped into my mind was “Can you lose consciousness?” I wasn’t happy with his answer. So, I came up with my own.

The premise is in the brain state of sleep, or being under anesthesia, we have no consciousness because we can’t recall anything happening. After all, we have no memory of these periods. It assumes there are times when we lose consciousness.

I don’t think we can say for sure that we have no consciousness in dreamless sleep, or even under anesthesia. What we can say is the body doesn’t react to external stimuli (for the most part). Our ears still hear. We know this because if we speak loudly enough, we will awake a sleeping person. We continue to feel when we are asleep. Something is going, some sort of awareness.

I think the premise mistakenly equates memory with experience. I think the only thing we can say with certainty is we have no memory. No memory of something does not equate to not having had the experience.

We sleep every night. We dream every night. Most of us don’t remember most of our dreams. Yet, we did have dreams. We know this. Some of our dreams we recall. Sometimes, the memory of a dream will come to us later, after we thought we had a dreamless night. We did have conscious experiences, even when we don’t recall them.

When we are asleep, or even under anesthesia, our brains are still functioning. We can’t say what experiences we did not have while we were “out,” only that this is a time that we can’t recall.

I think it’s the same explanation for NDEs. Why do some flatline and seem to have no experience while others have rich experiences while “dead”? Maybe it’s like the dream you remember versus the dream you don’t recall. When we wake up in the morning and say we didn’t dream, that’s not true. For someone who dies and comes back, without an NDE what we can say is they have no memory of an experience while they were in the death state. We cannot say with surety that they did not have an experience.

So, the question is, “Do we ever really lose consciousness, or do we just lose the ability to remember what our consciousness was doing for periods?” I’m going with the latter.

I am a type A personality. By default, I look at what is wrong, what needs to be fixed, rather than what is right. I look at remains to be done, rather than what I have accomplished. If something breaks, I can’t rest until I fix it.

Living like this is a recipe for misery. There is always something “wrong.” There will forever be something else to do. If we choose to focus on those things, our minds will always have something to ruminate on, and we will see the world as broken and incomplete. I have to find a way to avoid overwhelm, that feeling that you get when there are more things to do than hours in a day, or a month, to get done.

Currently, I am contracting for a part-time job, running my legacy company of the last 17 years, and I’m starting two new businesses. I just filed for an LLC for one of the new companies. I have just built a website. There is always something more to be done. I have a partner who is full of ideas. Our to-do list grows faster than we can check things off of it.

I have found myself feeling tired and frustrated at the end of the day because I don’t feel like I am accomplishing enough. Sometimes, it feels like I’m not accomplishing anything at all. I’m going to be in this transition period for the foreseeable future. I don’t want to feel this way. So, I’ve come up with some practices to help.

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Where is heaven? What is heaven? When I was in Sunday school, I thought heaven was a place way up in the clouds. Heaven was a matter of distance. If you traveled far enough, you’d get there. Later in life, I heard heaven is simply a mental state. When we die, we enter this misty, semi-reality that is a dream state. There’s no objective reality there; it’s just what we make it. I heard no two people even shared experiences.

In many things where there are contradicting views, there is a great deal of truth in both viewpoints. The people who think that we continue in physicality are right. We don’t become thought forms, “beings of light”. We will have bodies. Many of the things we enjoy doing now, we will continue to enjoy doing in bodies that are beyond what we can imagine now. We will have bodies that don’t require sleep, don’t grow old, can run without tiring, don’t require food, and never feel an ache or pain. The people who think that heaven is a realm of thought and intention are also right. We can create using our minds. We can travel with our minds.

Travel, space, and time exist in heaven. But, not in the ways we are used to on Earth. We are always as near as a thought away from someone, even though we can choose to walk. Time passes, but there are no clocks, no day, no night, no seasons, no decay.

We hear of spheres or levels of heaven which causes us to think of some above and some below. We think we travel up from the Earth to get to the next level. But, it’s not far away in distance as we know it. Those who say heaven is right here, all around us, are right. I know a medium who says heaven is three feet off the floor, an exciting image.

I think that the various levels are analogous to radio broadcasts. Radio broadcasts are invisible and undetectable to us unless we have a radio. That radio tunes into multiple stations. When the dial is at 94.9, all we hear is music from 94.9. 98.1 is broadcasting, and those listening to 98.1 hear that music. It’s non-existent to us as long as we are not tuned into it. I think our loved ones are right here beside us, operating at a different frequency. Sometimes we can get close enough in frequency to catch bits and pieces of their existence.

Yes, heaven is a state of mind, in a sense It is all around us, undetectable while we are tuned into this reality. We will travel to get there when we drop these bodies; not in distance but in a shift in perception. We will dial into a different frequency and be back Home.

I remember a television commercial for Eggo waffles. The tag line for the ad was “Leggo my Eggo” People aren’t after my Eggo. But, they’re after my ego. A lack of understanding of what the ego has led to a dangerous desire to “kill the ego.”

What Is The Ego?

The word ego in some “spiritual” movements has become a four-letter word. People have turned their egos into the enemy and trying to slay them. I’ve had people brag to me that they are egoless. Ironically, the more someone argues with me that they are egoless, the more I chuckle because it’s a self-defeating argument. An egoless person would not argue at all.

ego noun a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

PSYCHOANALYSIS the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.

The ego is our sense of self. In extreme cases, an out of control ego will lead to an inflated sense of self-importance that is maladaptive. I find it interesting that the standard definition of ego, as a sense of self-esteem is different from the psychoanalytic interpretation. Setting that aside, let’s look at the standard definition for now.

Survival Without The Ego

Without any sense of self-esteem or self-importance, we would not be able to survive. We would put others’ needs ahead of ours, deeming ours to be of no importance. Some with no ego would give away all of their money. They would leave their front doors open and let anyone who wanted to come in and use our homes. At best, this ego-less being would put everyone else’s needs on par with theirs and be taken advantage of. At worst, we’d feel our needs aren’t at all important. We would not protect our bodies or even our property.

This is extreme. But, this is what it means to be genuinely egoless. I think the problem is people have taken a couple of principles to extremes. One is non-duality. The ego gives us a sense of separation. Therefore, they think, it must be bad. We are all aspects of God/Source having a physical existence. In a sense, we are all One. But, it’s important to acknowledge we are having a physical experience. We are both all One and all unique, simultaneously. We have chosen to experience separation. While we are in these bodies, we experience separation, and we need the ego to protect our physical existence.

Redefining Ego

The other thing people have done is to re-define ego from a healthy sense of self-worth to an overinflated sense of self-worth. I’ve heard ego defined as “edging God out” (cute). A healthy ego is not only desirable, it is necessary. Until, I know my own inherent, immutable self-worth and protect it, I cannot understand your worth. I have worked hard to develop a healthy sense of self.

The Danger Of “Killing The Ego”

Working to kill the ego can lead to a damaged sense of self and even self-hatred since killing the ego is not possible. This misunderstanding is not harmless.

A Common Problem- Unhealthy Ego

When I embarked on my life-coaching career one thing I noticed immediately is many of us lack healthy self-esteem, self-worth, yes ego. Early surveys of potential clients showed this is indeed common. This is something I work with clients to overcome. Unhealthy ego can manifest in us feeling undeserving and cause us to sabotage our own success.
 
On the other end of the spectrum, ironically, a lack of self-confidence can manifest as an overinflated ego. If we are highly insecure, we might overcompensate by bragging about how smart we are, how rich we are. I can think of one very prominent example in a very high position in the United States right now. A virtual master course in unhealthy ego and low self-esteem. We continually compare ourselves to others. Some, ironically, even claim that we are so enlightened that we have left the ego behind.

There are three erroneous thoughts that will keep you mired in grief. These are extremely common and widely accepted. If you can overcome these three false beliefs, you will have gone a long way toward coping with your grief. They are very simple. Overcoming them will probably require some work. But, it’s worth it.

1.) “Death is the end”

Language is important. You will rarely hear me say that someone died. The reason is that none of us dies. We so closely identify with the body that we have the mistaken belief that we are our bodies. Therefore, we think, when our body dies, we die.

It’s more accurate to say we have a body. Your body is a lot like your car. It’s a vehicle you use to get around. When you get out of your vehicle, you don’t cease to exist. You move about differently.

While the body is necessary to interact on this plane, it’s not needed for consciousness or existence. When people cross over to the other side, a common way they explain the experience is “I just woke up.”. The reports are that we feel more alive than ever when our bodies die. Death is not the end; it’s a new beginning.

2.) I’ll never see her again

A common phrase among the grieving is “I’ll never see her again.” This belief is also inaccurate and unuseful. What you mean is your physical eyes will never see her physical presence again. That is very true. But, never is a long time. Eventually, all of us have our moment. We are not damned to live in these physical bodies forever. There will come a day that you will see her again. You will have a joyous reunion. And, on that day, the time that was in between will seem like only a moment. It will be a quickly fading memory. What you need to hold onto today is that this day is another day along the road to that reunion. When you close your eyes tonight, you will be one day closer.

3.) She’s not here anymore

We tend to think of the “dead” as either asleep or in some far off place. My studies show otherwise. Those who have crossed the veil are very much interested in and involved in our lives. There are here guiding us. They send us signs. They are coordinating synchronicities. I hear from Shayna regularly, in various ways, through all kinds of people and events. Shayna remains a part of my daily life. I wake up each day and tell her good morning. I tell her good night every night. And, while it’s not the same as having her physical presence, it helps me to remember points 1 and 2. Death was not the end of Shayna, and I will see her again.

Children we have it right here
It’s the light in my eyes
It’s perfection and grace
It’s the smile on my face
Tonight when I chase the dragon
The water may change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind (Time out of mind) Steely Dan “Time Out of Mind”

“It takes the edge off stupid, all-day reality,”Nic Sheff “Beautiful Boy”

Last night I watched the film “Beautiful Boy” a heart-rending tale that is sadly so common, it’s almost cliche. Nic Sheff is the beautiful son who gets caught up in the world of drugs and breaks his father’s heart time and time again. Nic is the prodigal son of prodigal sons. The son in Jesus’ parable left once and came back. Nic leaves repeatedly, putting his father in an impossible situation. Does he turn his back on Nic to save his relationship with his wife and the mother of Nic’s step-siblings or does he continue to support Nic? At what point does support turn into enabling? These are questions no human being should ever have to answer. As I watched, I deeply identified with David Sheff, the father. I don’t know what it would take for me to say the words “No, you can’t come home. I hope you get your life in order.” I agonized just hearing him say it. I think any parent can identify with David, even those of us who haven’t had a child go through this hell and put us through it. I have a close friend who is an even worse situation with her son. She was on my mind the entire time I watched.

But, many of us say we can’t identify with Nic. What is wrong with him? We think he should just quit. Why did he do the drugs in the first place? We wonder why someone would even start. No one has ever met a thriving, healthy crystal meth addict.  Nic said it beautifully, in just a few words. “It takes the edge off of stupid all day reality.” As I reflected on the movie, Steely Dan’s song Time Out of Mind popped into my head. I’ve never done heroin. I’ve never seriously considered it. But, I can understand why people do. This song resonated with me nearly forty years ago.  Who wouldn’t want a time out from this reality, to escape to a world where water turns to cherry wine? Chasing the dragon is slang for smoking a mixture of heroin and other drugs.

We tend to look at drug addicts with judgment. But, they are doing what we all do. They are seeking transcendence. The explanations of how heroin, meth, etc. make you feel remind me of the feelings Near Death Experiencers talk about- an ecstatic, euphoric experience. We all seek this. The desire for Oneness is universal. This “stupid all-day reality” makes it difficult if not impossible for many of us to find. We have created a reality that is killing many of us because they can’t handle how incredibly stupid we have made it.

I think the actor who plays Nic did a fantastic job with his facial expressions as he’d shoot up. I could see the ecstasy on his face as the drugs coursed through his veins and lit up the pleasure centers of his brain. There are, of course, other ways to find the transcendence we all seek, to escape this “stupid all day reality.” Some of us look for it in success and money. Others become sex addicts. Alcohol is a socially acceptable way of escaping. And, there are healthier ways like meditation. For me, it’s family. And, there is serving others (which Nic discovers in the film). Let’s all do our parts to make this stupid all day reality less stupid so we don’t need to escape it.