I feel compelled to preface this post with some additional context. Prior to what I experienced in the early morning of April 6, 2012, I had never been a formal member of any particular tradition or religious institution. Other than the occasional wedding or funeral, I did not carry any official religious conviction. I attended two Catholic institutions throughout college (Marymount College and Georgetown University), but was not involved with attending mass or other services. While at Georgetown University, I did take an interest in Theology, as an overarching topic, in order to understand how religion impacted the various societies that we studied. My major, however, was International Relations with an emphasis on Culture & Politics, so it was only a portion of my focus.
I grew up with parents who were very open-minded… both spiritually and socially. It was instilled in me from an early age that being accepting of others would be key to my long-term happiness… as would being honest, grateful, and humble. My Dad always reminded me of my size and stature as well. He encouraged me to speak with a quieter voice and to be cautious not to allow my physical presence to intimidate others. So, as you can imagine, with my upbringing in mind, I’ve always been one to engage in some pretty random, and usually interesting conversations. Everyone, for me, represents a perspective that I have not intimately considered. Within my personal belief system, each person has value and plays an important role. Learning and embracing a wide array of perspectives, and the people who carry them, is a way of life for me.
After the entirety of the events that I’m about to describe unfolded, and with subtle nudges from Kelly, I met with Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Counselors, Medical Doctors, and even Scientists to share what had happened and pursue a worldly explanation for what I was experiencing. With some potential answers in hand, yet lacking resolve in my understanding, I started to pursue spiritual guides from many traditions to help me piece together the puzzle. To this day, I am not a follower of any particular church or religious institution. Further, I am a firm believer that each person is entitled to their own spiritual path… wherever that journey may take them is exactly where I’d imagine they’re supposed to go.
The event on April 6, 2012 changed my life in some amazing ways. It also opened a path for me that I never expected and certainly never asked for. But, I guess the universe had other plans in store. And so, I’ve had to grow comfortable with my path over time and accept myself as a participant in a mystery that will continue to shape my life going forward.
If you missed the prior posts, click here to search through the Awakening category.
In the previous post, I had just finished describing my third dream. In it, Kelly had been killed in a hotel room. Before entering the room to confront some of my deepest fears, a figure appeared in my dream and offered me one last minute with her. It was the purest and most unconditional moment of love I’ve ever felt. I woke up from the dream and eventually shared the quote “Love is… just Love. Just love.” on my Facebook feed in the early morning hours of March 17, 2012.
Fast Forward – April 5-6, 2012 (Part 1)
The week had been grueling already. Public speaking, a tornado outbreak, a spiritual epiphany about Agape, road trips, a late night lesson on Forgiveness, and more…. it was starting to get a bit overwhelming. But, come Thursday morning, I still went into the office looking forward to what came next. Little did I know, it would be one of the most intense days yet.
After arriving to headquarters that morning, one of the team members informed me that my boss and a couple of co-workers apologized about the mess in our area. Apparently, they didn’t realize the severity of the situation we had gone through in Dallas… nor that most of us were still processing the experience. It ended up just being a friendly prank. But, seriously, hats off to those involved. When you go for it, you get it done.
Beyond processing the lesson from the night before about Forgiveness and how it applied to my life, my focus kept shifting to my third dream and how it may play out. I knew it had something to do with Agape Love, but it didn’t make sense that I would learn the same lesson twice. So, I went about my normal day filled with meetings, some team huddles, writing, and taking pictures around the office.
In this time period, Kelly was on bed rest with Jack due to some of her early-pregnancy complications. I would text and call her occasionally throughout the day to check-in and see how she was feeling. At that point, the priority was that she stay hydrated as to avoid another visit to the ER. She had already lost 15 pounds in her first trimester because the condition wouldn’t allow her to keep food down for more than a few minutes. Hyperemesis is brutal.
A work trip to London had been booked for that upcoming Sunday evening. As a leadership team, we were scheduled to meet with our international colleagues to discuss global topics that we could align on. I was looking forward to the London trip as travel always had a way of raising my awareness and broadening my perspective. I was also excited to see our U.K. team, both to discuss business and catch up a bit since the last time we visited.
The workday came to a close without any significant or out-of-the-ordinary events.
By that evening, and after Sophie was in bed, I went to sit with Kelly to see how she was feeling. By her face, you could tell that she was in bad shape… sunken cheeks, a ghost-like complexion, cuddled up in fetal position on the couch just hoping that her nausea would subside. I encouraged her to keep drinking water as it was the only thing that would keep us from another late night hospital visit.
After sitting with her for a bit, she turned to me with a concerned expression and said, “Michael… I’m really worried about your third dream. I already feel like I’m going to die from this sickness in this pregnancy. Do you think I might not actually make it through this or something?”
I responded, “Kel, baby, please. I don’t think you’re going to die. It’s probably just symbolic of something I’m supposed to learn. Calm your nerves. You have enough to focus on already.”
As I sat there wondering what I might be headed towards next, I suddenly realized the significance of losing Kelly in my dream. It wasn’t that she needed to die… it was that I had to let her go.
I turned to Kelly and told her that I realized what the dream meant. Not to worry and that she was fine. But, that I needed to go for a walk and think through what I was supposed to learn. I told her to text me if there was an emergency, and that if not I would be walking around the neighborhood.
I left our house to walk at around 11:00pm on April 5th. I remember feeling the anticipation regarding what was about to be revealed. If it were anywhere near as powerful as the last two lessons, I knew it was going to be impactful.
As I walked around the corner, I slowed down to look up at the stars… perhaps hoping for some divine guidance or clarity again. Almost immediately, I was in tune with my higher self. This time, it wasn’t urging me to simply experience the world around me. Instead, the challenge became to walk through the pain of letting go in order to understand the deeper lesson.
I realized that true unconditional love was larger than something exchanged between two people. That, in fact, love was more of a life force that fueled the entire universe. And that in order to truly express and receive this powerful force into my life, it would require the loss of my worldly conditioning that love is simply an emotion expressed in physical form. That, in the absence of my human emotions to desire the physical presence or existence of a person I love… I would have to release each person I loved to my higher power… to universal love itself. And that in doing so, I would be liberated from the shackles of anxiety over the well-being and safety of those I care for in my absence.
Reflecting back to the third dream, I realized that the pain and anxiety I experienced were purely a result of my own human conditioning regarding control. That, had Kelly in fact been killed, I would have probably spent the rest of my life beating myself up over not having been there in the moment to defend her. But, that a higher power still existed, even in the realm beyond normal understanding, that kept her love and spirit safe.
I rounded another corner as I walked through the neighborhood and it dawned on me that in order to truly liberate myself from the human constraint of anxiety, I would have to emotionally release everyone I loved to my higher power. That I would have to put Faith before fear, and trust in the universe to keep all the love we share safe.
I started to mourn. One by one, I mentally put myself through funeral after funeral… allowing each and every person my heart felt love for go while maintaining a deeper soul connection with them even after they ventured into the afterlife. It was emotionally grueling. I experienced the loss of my wife, daughter, parents, brother, sister, and the many friends and family that have surrounded me throughout the course of my stay here on this planet. By the time it was over, I felt emotionally cleansed, but physically drained.
At around 1:30am, I started walking back towards the house. Almost to our driveway, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a further realization. While true Agape Love is something I could feel for others… it was also something I needed to feel towards myself. And that in loving, forgiving, and releasing my own physical attachments to self, I would be free from any fear going forward about my own physical existence and path. That in allowing my fate to be controlled by a much more capable force, I would be freed up to continue sharing my love and spirit along my path in this life.
I didn’t expect the direction, but I realized that I would need to mentally and emotionally attend my own funeral. That I would have to dive to a very scary realm in order to displace the ego’s hold on my physical survival… release fear from the factors that influence my path.
As I walked closer to the house, I took a deep breath and thought, “Yeah, this is pretty heavy stuff. I might need to take a break and go for a drive before I let myself go.”
I grabbed the keys from my pocket and unlocked the Tahoe as I walked into the driveway. After taking a seat, I put my keys in the ignition, but, for some reason, I couldn’t get myself to turn the key.
Then, without warning, it just started happening. I felt myself transport to my own deathbed. I started experiencing it as myself and as an outside witness. My last living moments. The thoughts, feelings, and emotions were powerful. It was as if every inch of my being resisted the idea of my own death, yet I couldn’t help but let it proceed because I knew of the liberation I would feel once I had lost my physical attachment. So, I continued to push through it.
At around 2:30am on April 6, 2012, for a period of just over two hours, I was launched into a realm that I had never before dreamt possible. What I learned there would go on to shape the majority of my perspectives and understandings surrounding the nature of existence and life going forward. It was a trip beyond anything I could have imagined.
Looking Forward, Michael