More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife covers many aspects of the dying and grieving process and sheds light on euthanasia, suicide, near-death experience, and spirit visits after the passing of a loved one. ___________________________________________

Monday, March 30, 2009

Introduction to More Than Meets the Eye

There are many commonly held views regarding death and the existence of an afterlife. Some Westernized Americans view death as a fearful tragedy, the end of a life, a sad finality. Most view it as a separation between the physical and non-physical realms. In contrast, the Ancients grieved when a baby was born and rejoiced when someone died. Regardless of our religion or culture, most of us are curious about where we came from, and what our existence after death might hold.

Our physical body is not who we are. It is only the container or vehicle for our soul. When we see someone riding a bus we know that they still exist even when they get off. It’s the same with us. We exist regardless of whether we have a physical body or not. Like photosensitive eyeglasses that turn dark in the sun or transparent in the dark, a soul may choose to alter its expression or change its appearance in order to better suit its needs. Removing the limitations of a gravity-bound human body allows the soul to travel in spirit form and complete tasks in another dimension. Be assured that if your loved one has passed on, they are in spirit form and they have work to do in other worlds and realms. They are likely to be near you even though you may be unaware of their presence.

I was raised in a Southern Baptist home and continued in a fundamental religion until I was forty years old. You may be wondering how someone who was raised in such a dogmatic environment ever came to believe in reincarnation. I have to admit I was adamantly opposed to the idea when a friend of mine first mentioned it. She recommended a book by Elizabeth Clare Prophet titled Reincarnation: The missing Link in Christianity. After reading the book, I saw with new eyes, the many references to reincarnation throughout the Bible and became even more curious. I began researching and found more information that seems to indicate that we are eternal souls with ongoing missions; that time exists only on earth; and that everything is happening simultaneously. It dawned on me that being in human form is only one way we progress spiritually on our path back to our Creator.

As most people do, I’ve always believed in angels. As a child, I interacted with what is often believed to be “imaginary playmates” and thought nothing strange of it. As a teenager, I continued to be a spiritual seeker, but as I became an adult, my curiosity and openness to the spirit world caused me to feel like a misfit. Questioning the dogma and legalistic practices dictated by the clergy, I was cast out of several churches that adhered to a rigid, traditional belief system. I finally realized that I was never going to fit into a mainstream denomination. Against my first husband’s approval, and in spite of his fearful warnings about what I might be getting into, I began attending churches that were more accepting of spiritual phenomenon. A few years after being “baptized in the Holy Spirit” in a Pentecostal church, my ability to sense the presence of an angel or spirit increased. At times, I was afraid of what I was experiencing and thought that maybe these were the “demons” my religious instruction had warned me about—or perhaps I was going crazy! The church I was attending taught spiritual warfare tactics, so I began doing battle with these entities, using Bible scripture and commanding them to leave me or other people alone! All the while, day visions and night dreams were becoming more conversational and involved more loving beings who had no intent to harm me. I started listening more and battling less.

In 1988, my grandfather died. He began coming to me in my dreams and sharing his experience in the Afterlife. He even gave me helpful advice regarding a problem I was having with my daughter. I followed his advice and the problem was quickly solved. In 2000, my life fell apart and I began to challenge the belief system I had held. I began researching church history and other religions. I explored other spiritual paths to see what they had to say about spirits, angels and afterlife. Slowly, I learned to trust my inner guidance and as a result, I embraced a more compassionate approach to dealing with the deceased spirits who kept finding their way to me. Many were afraid and confused souls. Now I know they wanted help in finding the Light of God and crossing over to the Other Side.

After I read Sylvia Browne’s book, Past Lives, Future Healing, I knew reincarnation was not only possible, but that the theory of cellular memory was very credible. After having a past-life regression with a Karma Releasing audio tape by Doreen Virtue, I was convinced that I had lived many times on earth. Today, I never doubt it. Memory of my past lives actually helped me resolve some unfinished business and clarify my present journey.

The point of this book is not to persuade you that one way is correct or incorrect, or to create a new doctrine, but rather to offer information and insight that may assist you in creating your own beliefs about this mysterious process of transitioning back to God/Source. Many people refuse to consider any explanation that doesn’t match the viewpoints they already own. If you are convinced ahead of time (like I was years ago) that something is or isn’t true, you will be tempted to find data that substantiates your belief. Therefore, I encourage you to keep an open mind and consider the ideas presented in this book as if you were in your car, curiously trying out a new road to see where it might lead. You may find that it brings you to a new or better understanding of death and afterlife. You may discover a road less traveled, and realize it was running parallel to your familiar route all along. Perhaps you, too, will see more than meets the eye.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Then, what are ghosts?

Shaman Tommy Mueller says that ghosts are confused souls who did not resolve their emotions before death, or for some reason didn’t fully cross over. This may happen when death occurs suddenly as in the case of a traumatic experience such as murder, suicide or a vehicle crash.

Many times these souls do not realize that they are dead and will attempt to interact with their living loved ones. This reminded me of Patrick Swayze’s character in the movie Ghost when he tried, as a spirit, to get his girlfriend’s, (played by Demi Moore), attention.

Personally, I have had my own ghost experience; like the time I put the scissors on the table, walked across the room to get something then walked back and the scissors were gone! I looked all over the house, and finally gave up on finding them. When I walked back to the table a little while later, I found them exactly where I left them. I thought I was crazy or going blind.

Sooner or later these departed spirits will move on—probably to another incarnation where they progress at a higher vibration or level of awareness. It is not uncommon for ghosts to hang out in the auric field of a person who vibrates at a high level or has a lot of light emanating from them. They may influence a person’s life in a negative way. Focused energy work or verbal command will remove the spirits and send them on their way. Remember the stories of how Jesus verbally cast demons out of people? These may have been confused souls who were looking for the light.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Voice of Angels

My book, More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife, has been featured in Voice of Angels Magazine.

Look for the magazine in spiritual and new age bookstores in your area or read the magazine online at

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why do humans believe in a dark power such as the devil?

When we make a mistake we might jokingly say, “The devil made me do it!” That may be a true statement considering that the word “devil” is referred to by the ancients as ego, free will or choice.

The ancients did not personify or assign deity status to the terms “god” and “devil.” They were symbols which represented choice or free will. Without the ability to choose, we have no power at all!

Evil or devil is simply a shadow side of ourselves that we have been taught to hide because we consider certain behaviors or character traits unacceptable. The Bible teaches that there is no condemnation in Christ and that we should not judge, yet we spend a lot of time and energy trying to repress or get rid of something that is a vital part of us.

Humans assign value to things, situations and one another by passing judgment or rendering an opinion. For example, our society believes it is wrong to be angry and that crying is a sign of weakness; yet psychologists have shown that repressing our emotions is dangerous and causes depression and other mental illness. We can find ways to express our frustration and allow our shadow side to have a voice without harming ourselves or others.

I suppose it is harmless to conclude that the vastness of “God” or Divine Infinite Intelligence contains both light and dark. You certainly can’t have shadows without light. Everything in the Universe is a manifestation of God in some way. Even the most negative energy is able to teach us a lesson.

People like Adolph Hitler had purpose in life; they just operated totally out of their ego or dark side rather than from their spirit or light side. Sylvia Browne in her book, Past Lives, Future Healing, says there are dark entities or spirits who are estranged from God’s unconditional love and are remorseless, manipulative, often charming and seductive. They are completely without conscious and attempt to draw people away from God by destroying their faith, self-respect, and peace of mind. They have no angel or spirit guide to direct them on their life’s journey, and have no desire to progress spiritually. They do not go to a place of joy when they die; instead, they go to a hollow, bottomless void called the Left Door and return to earth in utero. They continue this cycle for centuries until a rescuer from the Other Side embraces them and brings them into God’s light. Note that they do not have a “between” life time and therefore are not the ghosts or apparitions many people see.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What is CANSO?

by Elke Zilla

"The soul is healed by being with children." Fyodor Dostoevsky

Did you know that the CANSO SOCIETY is looking for members? And what is CANSO, you ask? We are two modest, yet enthusiastic and powerful ambassadors for healing who envision CANSO as “a spiritual foundation that ignites and offers great hope--through non-medical support--for people living with life-challenging illnesses and grief” (Elke Zilla). My partner, co-founder and president of The Canso Society is only five years old. We met at the Kingston Regional Cancer Centre on March 25th, at approximately 10:35 a.m.

It was my first visit to the Center and, so far, the day had lived up to its forecast: gloomy, frigid, dull, and, for me, angst ridden. I couldn’t find a parking place within 3 blocks of the centre. “Complimentary valet parking should be the first compassionate offering to any ‘still living’ being on this challenging journey,” I noted to myself, but alas, it was not to be. My entire reproductive system was in turmoil. Internally, I was a quaking wreck, yet outwardly, I, a drama teacher and performer well-schooled in strong entrances, presented as poised, balanced, primed, and prepared. From my perspective, any break in emotion might suggest to the waiting room audience some life threatening condition, thus setting the stage for a one-act play with the expected tragic outcome.

The audience could have cared less. Each was invested in his or her own circumstances, which, to my eyes, oozed despair and fragility. Even the plants drooped with fruitless, pathetic doom.
“This is not your story,” I reminded myself. “This is not you. This does not have to be you. This will never be you!!”

Buoyed and restored by positive affirmations, I approached the reception desk, once again projecting the admirable traits of self-confidence, self-assurance, and self-control that clearly indicated to any observer that I was completely and gloriously okay. Then, I saw my file. It was THICK. It had MY NAME on it, also MY NUMBER, MY LABEL, MY DIAGNOSIS…


Shaken, I walked back to my seat and waited, exhausted from my failed audition. I glanced discreetly around the waiting room to inspect the decrepit premises, an area where I very well might be tossing my cookies in the near future. No one noticed me. No one cared. I closed my eyes and prayed. One tear, en route to my knees, had liberated itself from the restraints of my eyelids. Then, I heard a voice.

“You got canso?”
I remained still, suggesting to the speaker that interrupting someone during prayer was ill-mannered. The same voice again, a young voice that perhaps would go away if ignored.
“You got canso?”

“You got canso?” I heard the voice, now loud, and opened my eyes to the presence of a tiny angel…a hell’s angel that is.

I had seen the little boy earlier on one of the parking levels. He was dressed identically to his Mom: camouflage army pants and shirts, Harley Davidson “headkerchiefs” sporting the scalp in that new and popular hip-hop fashion. They had been the recipients of my first judgment of the

“O.K…I understand that ‘Born To Be Wild’ is still a favorable theme for some of us, but a five year old bearing tattoos, reflecting the untamed, restless hallucinating spirit of the 6o’s? What happened to ‘Born to Be Child’?”

“You Got Canso?” This time Little Fonda was looking directly into my eyes. In the captivating rapture of that moment, I chose to surrender. Abandoning the superficial act and agonizing role-play, I answered him with as much conviction as a person trapped in the tender domain of denial and anxiety could muster.
Me: Canso… me? Maybe…I think so…I don’t know.
He: Why else would you be sitting here, waiting to go in there?
Me: Good point.
He: What were you saying to yourself?
Me: They’re called affirmations. They’re kind of like positive reminders you repeat to yourself to feel better.
He: Oh. Could that help my Mom? She’s really feels bad.
Me: It might. It could. Maybe. I think so. I don’t know. Perhaps.
He: What?
Me: Yes, it could help.
He: Craptastic! But maybe you should stop crying cuz it don’t look at all like it’s helping you so good!
(Laughter… Release…. Forgiven.)

And so, my first teacher: A Steppenwolf Mini-Me had offered a valuable first lesson: Acceptance. Acceptance in response to any diagnosis or circumstance calls for honest, direct and clear communication. First and foremost? Be honest with yourself. Be willing to really look at, confess, acknowledge, own up to, recognize and admit to the craptastic truth of what is.

The minutes that followed remain some of the most precious care- free minutes in my life. We told jokes, sang and danced some back-up to “Wild Thing.” And we played Canso ‘Knock Knock’ Games:

Who’s There?
Canso who?
Cansomeone tell me what to do about this Canso?

Canso my reservations… I’ve got Canso!

Who’s there?
Canso Society

Canso get you down?
Canso lose your hair?
Canso…make you sad?

I glanced at the little tyke’s Mom occasionally during this playtime. She looked at me with deep appreciation for the distraction offered to her little one. I felt such unfathomable compassion for her. She had moved from the nurse’s desk ashen and fatigued, her hollow frame beaten and weak, possibly the result of whatever treatment she was enduring. How amazing her attempt to create a theme of rebellion with her child, this little, energizing bunny, bursting with optimism and exuberance! My heart fell open as I noticed their identical tattoos, small hearts carving the outlines of Mommy on his arm and Charlie on hers.

“God,” I marvelled, “How can she be so present and available for her child in the midst of her own diminishing energy?” And I berated myself for my earlier thoughts, asking, “What kind of loser judges a display of such bonding, creativity, boldness and courage while careening through a parking lot?”

My name is called, and I give a final high five farewell to my new BFF. I express my heartfelt best wishes to Mom, and disappear in pursuit of the aid, who, while clasping my file, offers good natured comments about the state of the weather and the world. While taking my blood pressure, she launches a monologue that runs like a shock through my system:

“I see you met brave little Charlie…Charlotte Lilly…Isn’t she an amazingly sweet little tomboy? Only 6 years old! How sad for the family to have such a young child diagnosed with this rare cancer. (She gives it a name, some sort of leukemia, I don’t remember.) Isn’t she a tough little tyke? Promised her Daddy that she would handle it like a man. I think that’s why she wears the biker gear. You should have seen her before…beautiful long blonde hair…Her mom, Dianne (so sad) finds it unbearably tough. I don’t know how she keeps going! It’s so much more unfair when this happens to a child. Anyone’s child.”

I practically ran out of my preliminary examination eager to be reunited with Charlie and embrace her one more time. She was no longer there, but her energy lingered in the sunlight streaming through the room. The plants stood alert; protective gentle giants, glorious and shimmering. A lighthearted, optimism permeated the now lovely waiting area, and I felt deeply connected to each person sharing the space with me.

“Your story is also my story…I’m not separate from you…we are travelling together...searching for whatever means to heal us, to empower us… with whatever tools or teachers that life can provide for us.”

I humbly acknowledged that my vision had been clouded by the tainted lenses that reflected my anxieties, judgments, and terror of the very word, ‘Cancer’. I believed that everything and everyone in the room was weak, hopeless and sad. I believed I could fake my way through by being some sort of brilliant example to all. I believed that Charlie was a boy. I believed that it was Mommy who was ill. I believed that I was there to support her by entertaining her healthy, lively, child.

Craptastically, I was wrong on every level!

Lesson number two: We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. Then we see what we believe.

I now realize that the ways we perceive become the context in which all content arises, the basis for interpreting anything we experience and the stage on which the dramas of our life take place.

It took the tender love of a child to literally change my mind, to remove the veil of hard-rock illusions, and to rock and roll me into unwavering acceptance, honesty, clarity and joy. I never saw Charlie again, despite my enthusiastic efforts to trace her. Yet through her exuberant fearless presence, this small child invited me to a new and juicier perspective, one that holds hope, humour, optimism and a wildness of spirit as its highest virtues. May she continue to coast through life as the true embodiment of an Easy Rider.

The CANSO Society is founded in her honor.


Monday, March 23, 2009

My dear friend, Reverend Juliet Nightingale, had a number of near-death experiences (NDEs) resulting from life-threatening illnesses she had endured since childhood. One of them occurred in the mid-70s while battling colon cancer, which caused her to lapse into a coma. These experiences, along with many out-of-body and spiritually transformative experiences (STEs), have had a profound and lasting effect on her life. Initially, however, she rarely spoke about them because of being grossly judged and misunderstood when she did. Later, she became a spokeswoman, who helped many people understand these types of experiences.

I met this lifelong mystic and seer from England when she was facilitating a near-death study group in Nashville. She wrote the foreword for my book, More Than Meets the Eye True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife.

It was Juliet's calling to help others vocalize their spiritual experiences and find meaning in them. She spearheaded study groups such as her Ning group, offered personal help to others through her Web site Toward the Light, a hosted a weekly radio show on BBSRadio, and shared her near-death story to offer encouragement to all.

Even after she moved to the northeast, Juliet and I networked online for many years after. One such event was on Samhain (Halloween) in 2008. She was suffering and in pain during our interview, but never complained while she spoke about her NDEs and her involvement with the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS). Soon after our interview, this dear woman entered hospice where her needs were met by her daughter--a woman as loving as Juliet.

I continued to keep in touch with Juliet's daughter when Juliet was no longer able to sit at the computer and type. She continued her radio show until January 25. One month later (Saturday, 28 February 2009), Reverend Juliet Nightingale passed into the spirit world and is no longer encumbered by a frail physical body. She is in the afterlife where her spirit continues to soar in freedom.

I can still hear her say, "All there is is love, and love is everywhere!"

For more information, you might enjoy reading the complete book More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife available on

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chapter One: Fear of the Unknown

Screaming, moaning, groaning, and sorrowful sobs could be heard from the medical intensive care unit of Vanderbilt University Medical Center all the way down the corridor on the seventh floor. The ventilator had just been turned off for a young woman who was dying of AIDS. The woman never took a breath once the support was removed. She passed immediately and without a struggle. However, the family completely fell apart emotionally and were not prepared to accept the passing of their loved one with any amount of understanding or peace. In contrast, Terry Emge shares her story:

Upon arrival, I found Mother in her chair. Her respirations were agonal, her pupils were fixed and dilated and she had a strong steady pulse. I asked my grandmother, who was ninety-one, what had happened and she said, “Virginia grabbed the back of her head and said, ‘Get Terry.’ Those were the last words she spoke.

Despite my efforts at resuscitation and my medical background (I am an RN, CRNFA for a busy cardiac surgical practice), I knew in my heart that she had come to the end of her life on earth.

A definitive diagnosis was made by CT scan. She had suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke. Our options were to temporarily monitor her in ICU on a ventilator or make a decision to withdraw life support. Her chances of survival were minimal at best.

After a discussion with her physicians and caregivers, it was decided to withdraw life support. During all of this, my mother’s condition remained unchanged—fixed, dilated pupils, strong pulse, and normal blood pressure. Her ventilator was disconnected and her pulse and blood pressure remained stable.

The hospital chaplain student that was with me, my husband and best friend, Diane said to me, “Sometimes you have to tell them it’s okay to go.” As I was holding my mother’s hand, I kissed her, told her that I loved her and that I would take care of Mom-Mom and for her to go to the Light. Within five minutes, her pulse and blood pressure slowed and her spirit went to be with God.

My mother had had a near-death experience earlier in her life. When my brother was born in 1952, she had a post-partum hemorrhage. She relayed to me that she had walked through a misty grey valley and was aware of relatives that had died when she was a child. She was drawn to the Light, the brightest and most pure she had ever seen and she had a sense of “utter peace”. Her only thought was of how beautiful it was there and how she longed to remain, but she knew she had two small children to care for. Suddenly a voice like thunder said, “Ye shall live.” She awoke in her hospital bed and began to realize what she had experienced. From that moment in her life she was not afraid to die.

As I stood beside her stretcher in the ER, knowing there was no chance for her survival, but not yet wanting her to leave me or those who loved her here on earth, I felt a sense of peace. Mother was not afraid to die—she had reassured me of that “beautiful, wondrous place” and I knew she was finally in heaven.

Some families are able to let go and even assist their loved one in transitioning. Why do some families or cultures process death so differently than others? Perhaps the fear of the unknown is what makes death so intimidating. If only we knew what was on the Other Side. Is there an afterlife or not? Do our deceased loved ones live in another dimension or reality? Are they near us? Can they see or hear us? Knowing for sure what lies ahead might make a difference in how we handle death.

Much of what we believe about death and dying is taught to us by religious doctrine. Our main attitudes about death and afterlife are deeply connected with our religious beliefs which may either confuse or comfort us. For example, if someone believes in a legalistic or angry God that punishes for sin, then death for that person may be frightening. If someone believes that we all go to a better place after death, regardless of our earthly behavior, that person may not have as many concerns about dying.

There is a huge difference between Eastern and Western cultural views on death; specifically about beliefs in salvation, reincarnation, and the afterlife. Buddhism, Hinduism and other Eastern religions believe in a progression of the soul after death. These philosophies teach that an accumulation of bad or good karma affects rebirth into either a favorable or unfavorable situation. Western religions tend to look at the present life as a one-and-only chance to “get it right” with the end result being an eternity in either Heaven or Hell. Most Catholics believe in an interim state called Purgatory where those who are borderline between deserving Heaven or Hell work their way up. Jewish beliefs most often do not include the typical Christian idea of an eternal hell. Jewish people see hell as a separation from God rather than an actual place of fire and brimstone. Therefore, Heaven may be considered as a reuniting with God's light or spirit and not necessarily as a physical place with streets of gold as many Christians believe. The Aramaic word for death is interpreted “not here, present elsewhere” and shows a belief in an afterlife. Modern day scientific studies show that there is a consciousness of mind after death and that the mind and the brain are not one in the same.

Many of our fears are rooted in delusions or distorted ways of looking at life and the world around us. Generally, our fear of death is an unrealistic fear. We tend to either ignore the subject altogether or become morbidly obsessed by it. Perhaps the best way to overcome the fear of death is to remember that our present physical life had a beginning. There was a time when we were not on Earth in these physical bodies, and there will be a time when we shall return to a non-physical state of being. The rational mind has difficulty believing that any reality other than the third dimensional world of time and space, in which we currently live, could possibly exist. We have been trained since birth to thrive in it. We know ourselves to be who we are by our external experiences; however, looking inwardly may give us a different perspective.

The sorrow, grief and sense of loss are real, but our fear about death is only an illusion. You’ve faced many things in life that are more frightening and unknown than death. For example, public speaking is said to be the greatest fear a person can face. So, if you’ve ever spoken in public then you have faced a fear said to be worse than the fear of dying. The famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld once said, “If you're at a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy!”

Death should be feared no more than birth, for there is no real separation between the physical and non-physical realms. The separation seems real because there is a very thin veil (i.e.: our skin and physical body) between the two realms that dims our ability to interact with those in other dimensions. But more than the physical sense of separation, we limit ourselves with the false belief that we have only five senses with which to explore and experience life. This belief hinders us from accepting what our inner knowing tells us is true. We are multi-sensory spiritual creatures able to sense the presence and energy of non-physical beings. Those who do interact with the non-physical realm are sometimes considered insane or in need of psychiatric help. Many are shunned and ridiculed. Some children are even punished for talking about seeing angels and spirits.

The Earth plane is simply another facet of our experience as souls. We are spirit beings having a human earthly experience. We all come from the same Source regardless of what we call it—God/Goddess, Spirit, Energy, Creator or whatever vocabulary term one wishes to use. Even though we manifest in individual bodies and have the illusion of separateness, there is no real division in our spirit. An ethereal mist or cloud of spirit exists where every soul is united with God and with one another. From this cloud extends a line of energy or Spirit to the Earth plane where it manifests as a suit of human flesh.

Who we really are is only a small portion of what we see in each other. It is like poking your fingertip through a hole in a bed sheet draped over your body. What is hidden behind the sheet is so much greater than the fingertip—so much greater than the small portion that meets the eye!

After its mission is accomplished in the earthly realm, the soul essence simply returns to the spirit cloud to continue its work or to wait for another opportunity to manifest into human form. This return to Source may occur as a result of the body’s deterioration and inability to support the soul as a vehicle and thus death of the physical body occurs. Because the soul craves authenticity, living an incongruent life may cause us to subconsciously create disease, physical deterioration, or ultimately death as a means to leave the physical body.

According to the Old Testament, humans originally had the ability to live forever. The book of Genesis teaches that death occurred for mankind as a punishment for the sin committed by Adam and Eve. Still, some Biblical characters were noted to have lived for almost a thousand years. What happened that caused our lifespan to be so shortened? In light of the technological and medical advances, it would seem that the opposite should be true. Some, like Elijah mentioned in the Bible, didn’t die. Jesus took his resurrected body with him when he ascended as a light body. Living a long, healthy life requires us to live in integrity with our inner truth. It requires unplugging from belief systems that prevent us from living life to the fullest.

What we do with our life is our choice. Even dying is a choice we make! It is my belief that God does not infringe upon our free will or tell us what to do with our life. Instead, God very gently leads us to learn at our own pace, and never forces us to do anything we do not wish to. Life is the picture we paint by the decisions we make. Since a soul has choice (free will) it may simply choose to return to Source. I believe this is why we have SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and other unexplainable departures from a body that is otherwise healthy. The soul changes its mind about being in the physical body, or has another idea about what might best assist it on its spiritual journey. While any death causes grief for the remaining family, it is ultimately the soul’s choice to move on. Free will is something we have not been taught to accept, appreciate or consciously exercise. In order to understand and accept death as a natural part of the soul’s evolution, we must be able to allow people to choose for themselves on all levels. It is normal to feel anger towards God when our loved one leaves his or her physical body, but it is not God’s choice. God does not take a soul against its will. The soul chooses to leave in the best interest of its evolution. We may have difficulty accepting that our loved one’s death could have been a part of a greater plan—especially when it doesn’t fit our expectation.

What is death? What is dying like? The best way to obtain information about death is from those who have had a first-hand experience with death; those who have died and returned to tell about it. These are referred to as near-death experiences (NDEs). P.M.H. Atwater is one of the original researchers in the field of near-death studies. In her book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Near-Death Experiences, an NDE is loosely defined as an intense awareness, sense or experience of “otherworldliness”, whether pleasant or unpleasant, that happens to people who are at the edge of death. It occurs for people regardless of age, education, culture or religious background. Atwater began her work in 1978 and comes from the vantage point of being a near-death experiencer—not just a mere researcher. She believes there is a step-up of energy at the moment of death, an increase in speed as if you are suddenly vibrating faster than before. Using radio as an analogy, this speed-up is comparable to having lived all your life at a certain radio frequency and then someone or something comes along and flips the dial. That flip of the dial shifts you to another, higher wavelength. The original frequency is still there as it was before. Only you changed. You sped up to allow entry into the next radio frequency. As is true with all radios and radio stations, there can be bleed-over or distortion of transmission signals due to interference patterns. These can allow or force frequencies to coexist or commingle for indefinite periods of time. Normally, most shifts on the dial are fast and efficient, but occasionally, one can run into interference, perhaps from a strong emotion, a sense of duty, or a need to fulfill a vow or keep a promise. This interference could allow coexistence of frequencies for a few seconds, days, or even years (perhaps explaining hauntings); but eventually every given vibrational frequency will seek out or be nudged to where it belongs. You fit your particular spot on the dial by your speed of vibration. You cannot coexist forever where you do not belong. Who can say how many spots are on the dial or how many frequencies there are to inhabit? No one knows. You shift frequencies in dying. You switch over to life on another wavelength. You are still a spot on the dial but you move up a notch or two. You don’t cease to exist when you die. You shift your consciousness and speed of vibration. That’s all death is…a shift.

Those who are not afraid of death may actually look forward to it. Such is the case of Carolyn Smith. She is a neat, very attractive, woman, about 80 years old, who has been a widow for a number of years. She was diagnosed with lung cancer recently and the doctor estimated she would have about 1-3 years to live. Carolyn had a great attitude about her coming demise so she started making her plans and preparing for her departure as if it was a trip to Disneyland. She cleaned out all her old stuff and decided to sell her home and build a house with her daughter - a house that would be a great place where her daughter could live after she was gone. Then her doctor told her about a wonderful new treatment that would take care of her lung cancer. She was actually disgusted to find out that she may continue to live! How dare they find a cure after she put forth so much effort getting ready to die? She said to her doctor, “So, am I going to die, or did I go to all this trouble for nothing?” Carolyn plans to have the treatment, but she is disappointed to have to wait a while longer for her ride home. Carolyn’s attitude about dying is better than her attitude about living! Oh, that we all would have such an expectancy about our transition.

Get the audio version of More Than Meets the Eye at


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Are You Afraid of Dying?

Do you need comfort after the loss a loved one?

Here's hope!

More Than Meets the Eye: True Stories about Death, Dying and Afterlife authored by Yvonne Perry is for people who are facing challenges presented by bereavement. In the book you will find:

  • Information to alleviate the fear of death
  • Comfort for caregivers, friends and family of a person who is near the end of life, or has recently passed
  • Understanding for those who have had a near-death experience and lived to tell about it
  • Insight from Dr. Aaron Milstone, Medical Director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Lung Transplant Program about why physicians are ill-equipped to deal with death and are unable to comfort dying patients or their families
  • Why people sense the presence of their loved ones near them during the funeral, graveside ceremony and in the days following
  • Reasons we should address end of life issues with family members.
  • Understanding emotions regarding sorrow, grief, loss and guilt
  • How to tell if death is about to occur for a critically ill patient and how to assist a loved one in gently departing
  • Dealing with the emotional devastation of a loved one's suicide and signs that indicate someone may be suicidal
  • Discussion about euthanasia

There's also a legal copy of a Living Will, also known as an Advanced Healthcare Directive included in the book.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Having Someone Near When Dying

In an article from titled “Spiritual Care at the End of Life,” statistics were given from a 1997 Gallup survey, Spiritual Beliefs and the Dying Process.

The survey suggested that people who are dying want contact with someone they can share their fears and concerns with. Many wanted someone to touch them or hold their hand. About half want someone to pray with them and help them find spiritual peace. Many who are dying want their spouse, children, immediate family members or close friends nearby. Even though many of the people surveyed considered themselves part of the religious community of faith, very few actually wanted a member of clergy to be with them in their last days. A person who is unable to control his bodily functions or feed himself is probably not going to find much comfort in the pastor or church member sent to “make the rounds to visit the sick and elderly.”

For more information, you might enjoy reading the complete book More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife available on

Friday, March 13, 2009

How Many People Do You Know Who Have Cancer?

Today we have a guest blogging about her experience with people she knows who have cancer.

December 12th, 2008

“It’s astounding how many people in Haliburton County have been diagnosed with cancer… Astounding”… I’m seriously beginning to wonder if there is something in our water…It’s a bit of a mystery… These statistics are alarming and the last thing we want to do is give anyone false hope, but when it comes right down to it there are only three choices—chemo… radiation or surgery. One’s worse than the other .And once you’ve had it…. there is a huge chance it comes back . I hear that holistic hoo-haw doesn’t exactly cure anybody either”

I don’t know the group of women who were engaged in this conversation at the fitness center today…I’m sure they were well-meaning and compassionate people merely chatting as they were getting ready for a class. We have all heard similar fears expressed by others on different occasions and gatherings. The status of yet another’s recent cancer diagnosis, treatment, or loss of life is often a topic of discussion among the anxious, concerned, caring members of our community.

I thought about interjecting to say that the number of triumphant people in this area who have overcome cancer is just as astounding… That in fact, most survivors and especially the “exceptional” person with a cancer diagnosis feels more secure, self-assured and more empowered when they understand and participate in crafting a treatment plan. That there are countless “patients” who…take responsibility for their own healing…participate actively in their own care… are willing to investigate every alternative, natural and complimentary option that can assist them in the recovery process. There is no false hope for the person who recognizes that the healthy part of them continues to fight…that acknowledges the concept only a small percent of them has cancer…the rest of their being—their inner mental and emotional resources… their immune system…their very life force is co-operating with their medical treatment…That’s truly astounding!

I wonder if we can rise above the premise that those of us who are “identified” as a result of some sort of diagnosis are less fortunate than those who are not. Isn’t it often the experience that what seems to be a big tragedy can turn out to be the greatest good in our lives? A crisis calls for change and the call for action can be a positive life altering experience. How you react to your health challenge is your choice. Many people who have been diagnosed with an illness consider their situation to be an inspiring opportunity for transformation on many levels… leading them to places of awareness, insight…even mastery.

I contemplated gathering the nerve to share my personal belief that disease can be healed if we are willing to change the way we think, believe and act….That maybe all we need is a little shift in the way we think of ourselves in order to recognize the great truth that we are, in fact, the architects of our own experience …That miracles can happen when we are willing and open to literally “change our minds”….change our perceptions out of fear and into a state of unwavering belief, and acceptance.

The sweetest thing about a moment like this is the realization that there is power and wisdom in remaining silent. It’s just not helpful to be lecturing anyone on anything at anytime. Experience is the greatest and only true teacher. We re all here to learn a few things and we can choose to learn these through pain or joy. Not very long ago, I was in a similar state of mind bearing thoughts that were also profoundly more cancerous than my pathology. Prevailing fear immediately overpowered me as I anticipated the devastating impact this cancer would have on my kids, my husband, my parents, my students, my career, my finances, my rather low tolerance for pain, the impact and risk of surgery, the best case scenario, the worst case scenario, the agony of long term suffering and the possibility of dying.

Then in a fleeting moment of stillness, a new thought emerged:

“I understand the appropriateness of this response, given the circumstances…but how is it working for you?”

So I let it all go. Thank God

Speaking of God…I did enter into frequent negotiations with the entire heavenly realm…usually around 4 am.

A few hours later, on my way to surgery, while praying for a miracle and wheeling down an insanely busy corridor, someone handed me a card. It was from woman whom I had never met.

She graced me forever with these words:

“The heroine’s journey through cancer requires toughness, resilience, patience and flexibility. During the process of coping with diagnosis, treatment, decisions, and adjustments to side effects, it may be difficult to imagine any benefits. But remember darling, you are not your illness. The essence of who you are is more than your body. Regardless of how you are feeling right now or even how others might perceive you, know that within your body is a free, wise, compassionate and powerful spirit. Trust this power and intelligence and follow your own healing abilities. Whatever is needed will be revealed to you. All is well.”

A miracle and had indeed arrived and it came with instructions.

And now, I have promises to keep and several other teachers to acknowledge on the path. I want to pay tribute to a five year old angel who embraced my life on a gloomy, March morning at the The Kingston Regional Cancer Center… this wise little being who invited me to put my faith in my “goodness rather than my sickness”. .. I want to celebrate the life of a 77 year old self made millionaire named Jim…. a pilot ...a fighter….a kindred spirit…a loving and gentle being whose last words to me were: “I’m rooting and praying for you Canadian.” And then there is much I owe to a wonderful, intuitive psychic healer, this wise woman who taught me how to “communicate with my cells” through the joy of dance and music.

I intend to share some of their stories and wisdom which I’m sure will serve as a source for inspiration for at least one other person

Today is my birthday. I have reached the beloved age of 53. Ten months ago after my ovarian cancer diagnosis, I truly had no idea what the status of my health or existence would be on this day… Yet here I am, feeling profoundly grateful, blessed and still recovering into new levels of well-being.

Today, I will not give the slightest meaning to conversations reciting alarming statistics, recurring cancers or potential malignant agents in the Haliburton waters. Rather, I can choose to spend this precious day in quiet meditation, looking over those same magnificent frozen lakes…across to that little medical building and feeling such love and gratitude for the hardest working team of doctors and staff I have ever known. How fortunate am I to live in this precious little village, a place that has become such a significant part of my life now and will continue to be through the years of follow-up care.

Today, embracing a moment of peace and gratitude feels far more appropriate than the need to impose my views on any person.

Everyone finds their own way. All is well.

Elke Zilla.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

What If You Can’t Pay For A Funeral?

In end of life care we often are faced with a question like: “My relative just died. We don’t have the money to pay for a funeral. What do we do?”

These situations are never easy, but here are some tips to consider when handling a request for funeral assistance. The good news is that you can make funeral planning choices that reduce expense, and perhaps get some modest financial help to cover some (but probably not all) of the costs. The bad news is that I personally don’t know of any way to get the full cost of a typical funeral covered by public sources.

Before anything else, it’s important to recognize that this is a common problem. In the United States, funerals are very expensive. The burdens of medical care may have already depleted family finances. It’s not something to be ashamed of. Hospice professionals are used to these questions, and helping the family face stress after a death is part of the job of providing total family support. In hospice the unit of care is the family, and facing financial facts is part of the family dynamic.

Read More here..