“By understanding that death is neither an enemy nor an ending and that there is no judgment anywhere in the universe, we can release our fear-based notions of punishment rather than correction, judgment rather than support, and an eternity of idleness rather than limitless opportunity for growth.”
These are the words of author Terri Daniel, from her new book, “Embracing Death: A New Look at Grief, Gratitude and God.” The book explores cultural and religious myths about birth, death and the afterlife, and offers a path to alternative perceptions via the use of intuitive tools such as meditation and after-death communication. Terri’s work has been praised by theologians, physicians and grief counselors as providing revolutionary insights into death and dying that offer enormous comfort to the bereaved.
“In Western culture, our fear of death is so all-encompassing that most of us neither live nor die peacefully because of it,” Terri explains. “The idea of death as a terrifying experience to be avoid at all costs is instilled in most children by everything from religious doctrine to video games. Even the so-called ‘positive’ images of death — sitting next to Jesus on a throne or floating on a cloud playing a harp for eternity — keep us from a meaningful understanding of the sacred transition from physical to non-physical existence. These images do nothing to explain or justify our purpose on earth, and they offer a stagnant, rather pointless afterlife.”
Terri’s previous book, A Swan in Heaven: Conversations Between Two Worlds,” is based on after-death dialogs between Terri and her son Danny, who died from a degenerative metabolic disorder at age 16. Her experience with Danny, during his life and his afterlife, prompted her to become a hospice volunteer and grief guidance facilitator with a unique metaphysical focus. Since the publication of A Swan in Heaven in 2008, Terri has traveled around the U.S. speaking to bereavement groups, hospices, churches and private gatherings helping the bereaved to navigate the grieving process with an inspiring, non-traditional perspective. Via guided meditation and intuition-development processes, her audiences learn to see the connection between a death and the shift in consciousness it provides for the bereaved. In this sense, any death, no matter how tragic, has a purpose, and the ability to see that purpose can help the bereaved feel less victimized.
“Yes, my books and teachings are channeled,” says Terri. “But I don’t consider myself to be a psychic or a medium. We are all capable of receiving guidance from the higher realms. I just happened to have an experience that opened that conduit for me, so I think of myself as a spiritual teacher who has a little help from the Other Side. It is not a special gift; everybody is able to receive these messages.”
Terri has worked with grieving individuals from every religious perspective, particularly parents who’ve lost children, and they all have one burning question… Why would God let this terrible thing happen?
“It depends on what you think God is,” Terri explains. “If you assign human characteristics to the concept of God, and you believe that this God will reward you with a conflict-free life in exchange for your devotion to a particular set of beliefs, then you’re going to question those beliefs whenever conflict arises. This questioning is one of the hidden gifts of grief because it presents an extraordinary opportunity for growth and expansion.”
Terri teaches that pain forces us to change our positions, and the pain of grief is our greatest teacher.
“If you get a leg cramp from sitting in an awkward posture, the pain will signal you to change your physical position in order to regain your sense of comfort. Emotional pain signals us in the same way, and this is particularly true with the pain of loss, whether it’s a death, a relationship, a job or a house in foreclosure,” says Terri. “We can respond to these events with panic and helplessness, or we can find meaning and purpose in the event, allowing it to lead us to a higher understanding of human experience. In this view, illness, loss, trauma and death are not experiences to be avoided, but to be embraced with gratitude for the shifting of perceptions and gifts of growth they provide.”
Thousands of bereaved individuals have found an unexpected peace through Terri’s books and workshops. Lisa Melaerts, past president of The Compassionate Friends Las Vegas chapter says, “I see a need for an alternative approach to grief, as many bereaved are looking for bigger answers. I’ve watched Terri work with an audience using guided meditation, and the room shifted from heavy sadness to hope and amazement. ”
Dr. Ken Stoller, a pediatrician who lost his teenage son in a train collision, found that Terri’s counsel helped him shift his perspective and feel more grounded.
“Terri’s support was key to my surviving the death of my son,” says Dr. Stoller. “She addresses death with profound analysis, compassion and insight. We all need to draw on this type of wisdom.”
Terri believes that the time has come to take death out of the closet, and because baby boomers are now watching their parents die and facing their own mortality, death must be looked at in the harsh light of truth.
“Many popular spiritual teachers are beginning to address this, and I’d like to think that we are pioneering this new territory, which is not new at all, but quite ancient,” Terri says. “As spiritual teachers, have a responsibility to include death and after-death in our work. I hope that we will be the first generation in post-industrial America can talk about death in an intelligent, conscious way. ”
Embracing Death: A New Look at Grief, Gratitude and God, will be released by O Books in September 2010.
Terri Daniel is an author, spiritual teacher and Certified Transition Guide who works with assistance from the Other Side to advance a metaphysical perspective on birth, death and the afterlife. Her recent book, “A Swan In Heaven” is based on after-death dialogs between Terri and her son, who left the physical plane at age 16. Her new book, “Embracing Death: A New Look at Grief, Gratitude and God,” examines cultural myths about the afterlife and offers a path to alternative perceptions via meditation, visualization and channeling.
Terri conducts workshops and metaphysical study groups around the U.S. and also counsels bereaved individuals by offering alternative perspective s on the experience of grief and loss. She has spoken on the topic of conscious death to community gatherings, churches, bereavement groups and spiritual conferences, and her articles have been published in Whole Life Times, Neurology Today, Exceptional Parent, Pure Inspiration, Special Child, Children’s Hospice.org and related websites. More about Terri can be found at www.AfterlifeAwareness.com