You see, when I was 16, my wisdom teeth came in, (ha... maybe I really was the 'old soul' me mum always called me at such an early age), but they were impacted and needed to come out immediately.

Well, in the 'old days' as I humorously view my timeline, they used Thiopental Sodium (or Sodium Pentothal) to knock you out. Nowadays, oral surgeons don't use it and it's rarely used in hospital surgeries.

Anyway, I believe I was given too much by the nurse attending the oral surgeon and while on this drug (or IN it) I indeed left this earthly plane. I know this because when I awoke, (I don't know how much time had passed), I found the dentist straddling the chair I was reclined in, frantically pounding my chest and screaming in my face, "BREATHE!!! BREATHE!!! BREATHE!!!" To this day, I even remember the look of absolute fear on his face.

When the nurse and surgeon saw I’d finally revived, they whispered back and forth, working quickly and I recall him saying to her, "Okay, let's do this and get this kid out of here." I will affirm this experience until the day I die, for I am certain what I heard and felt during that office visit was completely real... it wasn't solely the drug making me hallucinate... that was only the catalyst that gave me probably the most wonderful experience I’ve ever known; surely like nothing on earth.

Throughout the rest of the surgery, I lay there awake yet, physically paralyzed because of the drug with only a seemingly never-ending stream of tears trickling from the corners of my eyes and into my ears while I considered and committed to memory all that I'd thought and felt when I left my body and my sadness for being brought back.  The weight of LIFE is more tremendous than any of us realise in comparison to "the other side".

At that time and for quite a few years afterwards, I never told anyone what happened... for I knew even if I tried, the oral surgeon would more than likely deny the whole thing... and, I was all of 16. Who would believe a teenager trying to explain death, the great beyond or "Heaven"?

What was it like? is the question most asked when I share this very private story with people... and so I'll tell you what I tell them...

As a kid, did you ever go through your mother’s kitchen herb and spice rack with the intention of concocting the most wonderful soup ever known to man? You know, getting the biggest pot you could find, filling it with some water, and any other liquid ingredients at hand or preferred, and then shaking in the most glorious scents from little, ornate bottles; half of which you could barely pronounce the labeled names of...

Anise, (an acquired taste, I'm sure), Basil, Bay Leaves, Celery, Coriander and Cumin Seeds, Cinnamon, Cloves, Dill Weed, Fennel Seeds, Ginger, Garlic, Lemon Peel, Mint Leaves, Mustard Seed, Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsley, Paprika, Pepper, Pumpkin Spice, Rosemary, Sage, and extracts of Almond, Butter Pecan, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Lime, Peppermint and Vanilla.......

Okay, you get the general idea... and then basically sprinkling in these wondrous aromas and flavors... stirring them all together in the heating pot... and truly believing they would collectively become such a delectable sensation that every human on earth would desire this breakthrough cuisine.

Well, maybe I was a weird kid, but I did it. Anyway, the outcome? In short, a rather disappointing brownish-black liquid that was entirely tasteless.

Now, for a child that was adorably literal, I took this culinary defeat as quite a blow. How could such great things blended together become really nothing at all? For the life of me, (all of about 8 or 9 yrs), I couldn't fathom the 'why and how' of all those incredibly beautiful, individually fabulous things once combined ended up being dumped down the kitchen sink.

So, it bothered me for a little while, but I was soon back on my bike and racing toward my next skinned knee... yet now, I can parallel my NDE/OBE with that youthful cooking experiment.  Where I 'went' was, "The Big Soup".

You see, when the drug took effect, I do recall a sense of 'traveling', although not physically but mentally, and I didn’t see a tunnel or white light or any family members already passed on welcoming me or some spiritual being beckoning me... It was rather like in a slow-motion blink of an eye, I found myself enveloped in complete blackness.

I had no bodily form yet, I was somewhere unearthly-- with no gravity-- and although it was darkness (or I was sightless) I sensed I was surrounded by and part of this exquisite and pure energy of every thing. I mean, EVERY THING... and, we were all swirling IN LOVE.

My next thought came as a sudden surprise... “Hey, I’m still me... but, I'm a thought.”  While at the same time, I sensed I was also part of every thing, and every thing that made up the utterly peaceful and loving blackness was part of me... and it was absolute bliss.

I couldn’t hear anything, like others thoughts or voices, but I was still thinking as who I am. And while IN this state, or realm or ethereal plane, I felt I was very much still alive-- but as energy with it all in this gloriously loving blackness.

I sensed I was ONE with all the universes, galaxies and planets and life on earth; all things seen and unseen, breathing or still... atoms to molecules to quarks and beyond. And it was infinite and pure.

I don’t think there are words in any language that could adequately describe it... the only thing I’ve been able to come up with is “Orgasmic Consciousness”.  Wherever I was, I knew my own Separateness AND, at the same time, my Oneness with every thing and the greatest sensation of LOVE in and of all of it... and me.

Well, what I gleaned from that is we take our SELF with us when we go, so we’d better like who we are; because we’re stuck with our SELF.

Additionally, from that experience, I consider myself to be doubly blessed, for there’s not a day I live here now where I spend a nano-second of my time or energy fearing death.

So many people waste moments worrying about dying, when it will probably be the best thing they ever know. The French call orgasms, “La Petite Mort” or literally translated, little death... and maybe they’re on to something there, because dying, for me, was a great spiritual orgasm and I’d do it again in an instant if given the opportunity.

Okay, I’m not jumping in front of any buses or trains, but let’s just say say I’m not afraid to go when my time comes. My body might instinctively fight to remain here, but my soul is looking forward to the ONENESS again.

From my experience, I believe I know that what is beyond this earthly realm is more beautiful than any of this, including all those we love and all our happenings.

And perhaps I'm just one flake in the universal big jar of parsley... maybe we're all just a grain of spice on that heavenly kitchen rack and we're only waiting for our time to add flavor to The Divine Big Bowl of Soup.

I mean, I’m thinking the creator has got to be a much better chef than I’ll ever be... but, I still like to cook... although now I use all my ingredients in palatable moderation.