Sunday, August 01, 2004

A Story of Awakening

STORY OF AWAKENING FROM BRIDGET: Bridget has given me permission to carry her wonderful story. I know it will speak to all of you. After her story, I will make a few comments. Here is Bridget's story:

P.M.H. Atwater, I know you are extremely overwhelmed by letters, and for this reason, I want to assure you that I don't need a reply. I just really need someone to whom I can tell my story. As I sit here, in my home at my computer covered in goosebumps, I am beginning to understand what happened to me one year ago. To be certain that I was correct on the date, I just phoned my husband for a confirmation of the date. I am correct.

For the better part of my adult life, I was a devout atheist. I could find no reason to believe. I could find nothing that even remotely suggested anything beyond this life. I firmly believed that I was simply living here until I died, at which time I'd be history ... with nothing beyond that. Life was humming along with no burning passion, no feeling or sense of involvement with life. When my daughter's competitive cheerleading group journeyed to Dallas for a competition, my husband and I loaded up our daughter, her cheer paraphernalia, and our luggage and set out for Dallas. We truly enjoyed the trip after having spent the last ten years in a small town in Arkansas where we'd moved from Houston.

On Sunday morning, we had an extended time in the hotel room before having to leave for the arena where the competition was being held, so I did my favorite thing: cozying up with a cup of coffee perusing the newspaper in a leisurely manner (which doesn't happen often for a sixth grade English teacher with 100 students and mother of three teens). On a page in a section of the Dallas paper was a story about a woman's near-death experience. It caught my eye, and simply out of bored curiosity and the fact that time allowed, I read. And as I read, I had a sensation like I'd never had before but have had many times since and have come to welcome. In short, the woman had been caught under a waterfall and 'died' only to be returned to her body. She recounted the story and changes in her life since the experience. Suddenly, as if struck by lightning, I "knew" the truth. How from reading the article I knew, what at that particular time I suddenly knew, who seemed determined for me to know - I can't begin to explain or understand. But I knew. And with a passion, I knew. I tried to tell my husband who smiled and nodded in a very condescending way, as if to say: "She needs something to believe, to hold on to." However, I knew this went far beyond a need. It was a divine epiphany. That day my entire life changed.

I began reading anything and everything I could about NDEs. My father had been a devotee of NDEs and gave me stacks of his books to read. I bought my own. In late August of 2003, my aunt was dying of cancer. I was feeling quite guilty from a past event in which I'd slighted her in a terrible way: I didn't invite her to my wedding. That's a whole other story which isn't important anymore, but it explains what happened the night she died. My mother had phoned me one evening to tell me that she was very ill and wasn't expected to live much longer. At the exact same time, a neighbor and friend two houses away was also dying. I had just visited her that afternoon. Although I was thrilled for them to be shed of their earthly pain and suffering, I knew their families would be devastated.

That night I went to bed with a heavy conscience. I began to cry thinking of my how hurt my aunt must have been from my deplorable behavior. Quite unexpectedly, a complete calm enveloped the room and me. I looked up to see a small star-like light near my ceiling. At first I thought I was having the precursor to a migraine caused by my crying, but the light didn't move with eye movement nor did it disappear when I blinked. I got out of bed and looked for a source of the light, possibly a reflection from somewhere or something. Nothing could explain that light. And then, I understood. My aunt had died and was letting me know that I needn't be guilty. She understood the stress I was under planning a wedding under the uncompromising eye of my mother (who hated my aunt). The next morning, my phone rang. It was my mother calling to say my aunt had died the night before. I thanked her and told her that I already knew. Although I never told my mother why my aunt had visited me, I did let my mother know that he and I had had some unfinished business which had been resolved during her visit to my room the evening before. My father knew and understood. But I always thought it curious that not for one minute did I consider that light could have been my neighbor (who died one day later). Since then I have had many experiences only confirming my belief in my Father and his Son and the Holy Spirit. In times of need, in times of great joy, in times of confusion, in times of hilarity....They are with me - sharing my happiness, sharing a joke, sharing my awe at a miracle, sharing a sadness, sharing whatever They can just to let me know that in the same "I love to be with the ones I love," They love to be with the ones They love. I am a part of the wonderful family relationship we share.

Now ... to come to the heart of the matter. This morning I was reading my NDE newsletter when I began to look at different areas on your site. I was scanning the list of workshops. The name of one of the workshops was
The Age of Meaning and I was dumbstruck. Once I'd phoned my husband to check the date of my Dallas trip, in particular the following hit me like a ton of bricks!

Splashed down into the water world of the deepest and most complicated of all zodiacal signs - Pisces. Symbolically, Pisces describes a realm of emotion, intuition, spirituality, and surrender that is forever tied to a type of restlessness that is at odds with itself, wanting to go in all directions at once yet constrained by the very limits and physicality it seeks to escape. Think of it as a move from left-brain thinking to right-brain, from thinking to feeling, from mind to emotions.

Making meaning will require all of us to step back, take a deep breath, and seek a different answer. Energy merges and diffuses in the sign of Pisces: borders, boundaries, laws, rules, even traditions lose definition. We must be the change we want to see happen, become the peace we seek, or we could be lost as well.

On March 9, 2003 (true enough, it's a day early, but I've always been prone to impulsivity), I was sitting in a hotel room in Dallas reading my newspaper and having coffee when I was moved from thinking (atheism) to feeling (spiritualism). Unbeknownst to me, I was seeking a different answer. And I am now at peace embracing the changes in my life with utter and complete joy. I am found.

Thank you for listening. --

PMH Atwater's comments about Bridget's story: More people are changed from reading about near-death experiences than people who have them. It never ceases to amaze me how interconnected we all are, how what affects one person affects all persons. We get a sense of this with television news casts. We are suddenly front and center to occurrences anywhere in the world. We're not just reading about something or hearing about something. We are there. Right there, watching it, feeling it. Our modern technology has enabled the world to spread itself across our lap. This is both good and not-so-good. Good in the sense of realism and emotional involvement in now-time. Not-so-good in that we have fewer filters and less time to process what we have witnessed. Nor do we have the privilege of sharing with a group, the family and friends. That newscast was both a blessing and an intrusion into the safety of our home and our lives.

In a way, this is what transformative experiences are, awakenings. They just sort of plop themselves down in our lap unannounced and we are profoundly changed by them and faced with having to figure them out by ourselves. It takes time to open up to others, to have the confidence and strength to talk about what happened, face it, deal with it.

There are so many people doing this. Bridget, you are not alone. Synchronicity strikes again. Unrelated but meaningful "coincidences" come together and something pops, something in your head or your heart or your soul. And you are never the same again. Never! That I could be a part of this for you, I am grateful. Continue on for there will be more. An awakening is just that - step one. There will be many more steps. Enjoy them.

I would urge Bridget, and everyone else intrigued with this notion of awakening, to read my book Future Memory. It is readily available and can be ordered from any bookstore. Publisher is Hampton Roads. But let me warn you first: the book is a real labyrinth. It is the only book I have written that is mathematically calculated on the format of a labyrinth. Every sentence, every paragraph, every page is part of the math. Like a site labyrinth, once you enter the path (start reading the book), you must stay on the path to its conclusion, or you will miss the labyrinth effect. Thus, the book. Don't skip read or jump around or read the last first. If you do, you will wonder why I ever wrote such a dumb book. It is a labyrinth, stay on the path. It will enfold on you again and again. Just when you think you know where the book is going, it will turn around on you. This format works on your brain as you read the book - exactly like a labyrinth works on your brain when you walk it. Labyrinths are healers, they clear your head. The book Future Memory is literally a psychotronic device in that it enables you to move up to the next highest level of consciousness possible for you at that time. What you do about this rise is up to you. There is no subtle programming in the book, just the mechanism that will enable you to undergo a simulated brain shift, like what a near-death experiencer goes through. My notion is, why just read books. Why not have a book that is alive and moves with you as you move through it, massaging you, teasing you, moving you ever upward and onward. The book is not just something to read; it is an experience.

You are ready, dear Bridget. Try the labyrinth of FUTURE MEMORY and see where it takes you. You don't have to understand all that's in it. Just read through the pages and be delighted with the results.

Many blessings to all of you. See you next month.

Many blessings,
P. M. H. Atwater, L.H.D., Ph.D.