Dr Penny Sartori: Your NDE has obviously had a big impact on your life. Is that what motivated you to write your book Theater of Clouds?
Ken: I’ve had dreams of this becoming a bestseller. Self-publishing through Amazon is only a start, a way to get it out there to be read, as the message is very important indeed. Fear of death is perhaps one of the greatest corrosive influences on the human spirit. My hope is that some publisher will come across my book and put it out as a mainstream book.
I’m fairly overwhelmed by this whole path, as the book would not be published were it not for the seven weeks of recovery at home from surgery to correct the original injury – a mechanical, physical addressing of a 27 year old injury allowed me enough time to rewrite the manuscript, and edit it as well. A neurosurgeon fromSanta Fe, did the surgery, removing a messy disk from C3-4 and fusing the vertebrae with a titanium plate. The discovery of the injury occurred long into the process of diagnosis, coming to the attention of the doctor only because a pain management specialist sent me to see him upon discovering multiple syrinx throughout my spinal cord.
The syrinx were benign but the doctor saw the slipped disc, which accounted for my troubles. Twenty-seven years of chronic pain was vanquished through the doctor’s surgery this past February. I’ve no doubt that I would have been disabled by year’s end without the intervention. Very grateful, I am. Meanwhile, the book came to be.
Dr Penny Sartori: Have you noticed any other unusual after effects of your NDE? In some cases people report the ability to solve complex mathematical formulas, some develop psychic abilities and some intuitively know how to repair complex electrical items. Do you have anything like this?
Ken: Psychic abilities, big ‘yes’. You will read that in my book, where I tell about the long strange journey that followed the NDE. I did some talk therapy with a Doctor of Human Growth and Development in 1990, and she said that I was l “living on an archetypal level”. Kind of moving in and out of Dreamtime.
Also synchronicities. For example, I met Ondrea Levine on the 21st anniversary of my NDE, quite by chance, when she came to buy groceries in the market where I have worked as a cashier for ten years. Stephen Levine’s book A Gradual Awakening was a life-changing book for me in 1979. Meeting his wife on such a meaningful day was a synchronicity of great joy. We have since become friends. These synchronicities have slapped around my preconception ever since the NDE. There is a playful intelligence I feel behind them. I’ve done my best in the book to describe that, which was a task since the unfolding process was so long in coming.
In reply to my question Ken mentioned about two empathic or shared death experiences that he too experienced as he was with his parents as they were dying. Look out for future posts on the phenomenon on the empathic or shared death experience.
Ken: I had the beginnings of a vicarious NDE with my father as he sat dying. It is in my book. It was incredible to see the Tunnel appear and the figures within the Light! But I withdrew from the vision because it felt to be more for him than for me – an exquisitely private moment.
I did not see it when my mother passed but I did take care of her for seven months, helping her die from esophageal cancer. During that time I witnessed several odd and magical phenomenon connected with her dying process. We had both read Stephen Levine’s Unattended Sorrow (a gift from Ondrea) not long before she was diagnosed so she was open to my perspective on spiritual dimensions. At one point, when I increased the dosage of transdermal fentanyl I could viscerally feel her life force plummet and a swarm of “dark” spirits came around us both, which I had to battle mentally to keep at bay.
That makes a “yes” to your query about psychic powers, eh? But another thing was that for six of the seven months I was still working a full 40 hour week, so I would ask Brigid to look over mom while I was at work, and without my telling mom about this she began to see “a little girl in a white chiffon dress”. She also had other visitations. I am still considering writing about taking care of mom, as a sort of sequel to Theater of Clouds, since my interests in death have continued to this day.
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