Imagine being trapped under water for 15-30 minutes. Picture a shadowy creature with metal protrusions in the form of tin crowns, spiking off its seven heads. Consider picking up a paintbrush, never having had a lesson in your life, and watching as strange, powerful and mythical brush strokes flow from your hands as if someone else were controlling the movement.
If this sounds like elements of a sci-fi thriller you’d be wrong because these experiences are truths, offered directly from the lips of three very regular-looking talk show guests as they recounted their individual tales of near death and spiritual experiences to host, and the QD (Queen of Daytime) herself, Katie Couric.
America has long loved and respected Katie Couric for her engaging, warm and grounded approach to broadcast journalism. But even for Katie, the topic of this past Monday’s show, “Do You Believe in Heaven”, was anything but regular. Then again, Katie is a far cry from the typical talk show host. With a long and stellar career as special correspondent, author and journalist, Katie has recently launched her new and highly successful first-run syndication talk show.
Katie’s ‘strip’ is so successful, in fact, that among the 25 daytime talk shows that have premiered in the last decade, Katie’s show tied for the highest ratings with Dr. Phil, which made its debut a decade ago. Her new show even includes an initiative to invite special bloggers to observe, participate and share their personal experiences as they relate to the show’s themes — lucky for me!
While spirituality and psychic phenomena may not be Katie’s forté, they are right up my celestial alley, and unlike Katie’s honestly offered skepticism, I am a true believer because I am not just a writer/speaker, but a Cantor, Interfaith Minister and certified Past Life Regressionist who has also had a near death experience.
Staff comic Harrison Greenbaum warmed up the crowd while I surveyed the studio audience from my specially reserved seat. Being there was a joyful opportunity to bridge my worlds – as writer and spiritual maven, and I was on hand to observe, connect, report and blog on the day’s broadcast. In advance of the show I was asked to share one of my own spiritual experiences, which I did with a special blog “How My Near-Death Experience Gave Me a Second Chance at Life.”
The show’s first guest, Theresa Caputo – aka the Long Island Medium – stepped onto the stage with garishly long white-tipped nails and red plaid platform heels. TLC’s beloved Medium brazenly informed Katie that she didn’t care if people believed her. Her job was simply to present information for the living, to support them in their knowing that their loved ones were still there, wanting to make their presence known. In Theresa’s opinion, no-one really needs a medium to connect with the energy and memory of their departed family and friends. I agree, but with the caveat that until people become more attuned, aware and trusting in this knowledge, Theresa’s job is safe as there will always be seekers who request psychic support services.
Katie’s next guests were there to share their stories of near-death experiences. Dr. Mary Neal and 13 year-old Colton Burpo discussed in vivid detail what their heavenly visits were like with the heartfelt compassion you would expect. Having had a similar experience, I was curious and excited that stories like these were being welcomed into the pop culture through mainstream media.
The last guest was 18 year-old visionary artist Akiane Kramarik, whose portrait of Jesus was jointly acknowledged by Dr. Neal and Colton as being a highly accurate representation. At the conclusion of the show Katie said: “Even if you don’t believe, there is certainly something to think about.”
I wish there had been more time to discuss what these experiences look or feel like for those outside of the Christian faith. I am a fan of all the Ascended Masters, which include Christ, but there are plenty of people in the world who observe differently, or not at all. A suggestion Katie – perhaps you could do a follow-up show to acknowledge and represent a more expansive spiritual demographic.
I would love to see a show specifically on past lives, for example, which could be meaningful for people of all faiths, backgrounds and traditions. Mainstream media has a great opportunity to present these subjects to audiences hungry for more. In my own past life regression practice, I am finding an increasing number of clients coming from “atypical” or non-spiritual backgrounds. Regardless of their unfamiliarity or disbelief in “this kind of stuff” more and more people are open to considering and possibly accessing what it is that Monday’s guests have already found – true connection to themselves, their family and Source.
Long gone are the days of mocking Shirley McClain for her outlandish claims of what the after-life looks like. Now, respected outlets such as the NY Times run front page stories in their lifestyle sections on past lives and market research reflects a continuous growth trend in publishing within the health/wellness and spirituality genre.
Topics such as life after death, past lives, heaven, celestial beings and Spirit are no longer foreign or frightening and I feel blessed to be a part of this transformational shift of consciousness. Shows like Katie’s this past Monday move and inspire us to take a step towards expansiveness, while bringing us closer to each other.
So thank you Katie, for opening up the door and encouraging conversations like these to begin. I for one, will stay tuned to see where you take us next.
[Photo credit: ShroudStory.com - Prince of Peace by then 10 year-old Akiane Kramarik & Aceshowbiz.com]