There is something important you still need to do… realizations from a near death experience
Almost five years ago, I had an experience that changed everything at precisely the right time. I was never a believer in the near-death experience (NDE), but while in the hospital, 39 days into a 30-day life expectancy diagnosis, I found myself standing on an edge looking at a ball of moving light as a man’s face suddenly appeared before me. There were few words, but as I touched his cheek he said there was “something important” I still needed to do. I’ve written about my entire journey, including the full account of my experience in my book titled Twenty Seconds: A True Account of Survival and Hope. (www.twenty-seconds.net).
I made a choice that day to scratch and claw my way back to life. It would take that will, coupled with a collective of compassionate, caring people, to save me over the next four years. Surgery after surgery, illness after illness, it has been a rough road, but I made it through that terminal diagnosis, which even included a jaunt in hospice. From that day forward, nearly everything about me changed — mannerisms, personality, attitude, and most definitely… purpose. During my medical treatment, I miraculously found beauty and positives in almost everything. According to science, my brain shifted. It was a ride I will never forget — actually a ride that isn’t over yet.
My experience caught fire in the NDE community and has been shared around the world. But my story has several layers of complexity (as if having a NDE wasn’t complex enough!). In fact, there was a secret that I had held until I was able to come to terms with it myself, one that I also share in my book.
I was a 41-year-old, married, heterosexual, non-IV-drug-using man who had been diagnosed with end- stage AIDS.
Not having been considered among the “risk factors” when I first exhibited signs of illness, I wasn’t tested for AIDS until it was nearly too late. My journey has been heartbreaking, yet full of hope and lessons. It has taught me about the potential of mankind — the remarkable magnificence of each and every one of us.
There are so many gifts I was given during my NDE, and that I continue to receive. The greatest was the discovery of an overwhelming sense of oneness. And more than anything, what that sense of oneness imparted to me was the notion that in a mere twenty seconds we can transform the world. Via a simple gesture of compassion or kindness, we can shift the trajectory of everything around us — in our own lives and in the lives of all those around us. Its ripples spread out and continue on. Conversely, negativity is toxic — it literally makes me bleed. We need to choose what we want to put forth in the world and what we want to surround ourselves with.
There was much I had to let go of in the process as well. Basking in the light during my NDE, I understood that it was essential to find peace, to stop judging everything and everyone. This over-analysis specifically had to start at ground zero – with myself. I can’t explain how I knew – I was just flooded with a sense of peaceful understanding, and thus I began the process of forgiving myself and others. And now each day when the first rays of sun warm my face, I simply say, thank you for another day.
Love yourself for being fabulously flawed and human.
The same pertains to everyone who crosses your path. Find peace in the pace of life and understand energy is everything and everywhere and its flow is in direct proportion to your attitude. I fully grasp that what you passionately put into this world for the betterment of all is exactly what your purpose in the universe is. Better mankind in whatever way you can and it will be reflected back tenfold. This is how I heal every day, with only one-tenth of an average healthy immune system. I understand that fear is an illusion, one that I consciously work to prevent from further interfering with me.
Still lingering today is that “something important” I am supposed to do. You would think they could be more specific up there. I can only assume that the figuring-it-out part is the path. I gladly chase the carrot of that “important something” every single day. I doubt it is one single great thing, but rather a collection of many things propelled by my shift in consciousness.
I do, however, feel compelled to instigate a new conversation about HIV and AIDS. There was a time when the president of the United States wouldn’t even say the word AIDS and there were no celebrities speaking on behalf of the cause. Despite the shift in perception and despite the fact that it is a disease that is highly treatable today, the stigma and fear of getting tested remain. HIV is no longer a death sentence if detected early on. There are medications to reduce the virus in your body so the risk of transmitting it is almost impossible, but there are still frightening statistics that need to be talked about. 40 percent of new HIV infections occur in heterosexuals, mostly women, between the ages of 16 to 24. Worse yet, the CDC says 60 percent of those infected do not know they are infected.
Just because we aren’t talking about it doesn’t make it go away.
I know that each and every person who crossed my path along this journey arrived divinely timed to assist me in my survival. In conjunction with my book launch, I created a campaign called “Give a Buck” to raise HIV / AIDS awareness and to promote testing. I am donating a dollar from every book sold to the “Give a Buck” campaign and I am encouraging readers to join me. You don’t have to buy my book to “give a buck.” This is a disease that can literally be wiped off the earth using human consciousness alone. “Unite and fix it” is a calling for me. Together. The way it is supposed to be.
I urge you to join me in this conversation. United we can create the momentum required to engage mankind as a whole team — a collective, one person at a time.
Today, I am alive and happy and mostly healthy. I still have a severely compromised immune system, but I believe a positive attitude and outlook keep me alive every single day. Being loved and loving, quite honestly, is healing. As clichéd as it may sound, time is indeed precious. I try to never waste a minute. Not one. Make your moments (and your twenty seconds) count.
You may also enjoy reading Twisted: Bending or Breaking To Life’s Challenges by Bonnie S. Hirst