by Barbara Ireland, Seattle, WA, USA
After her near-death experience Barbara Ireland started to learn to break the cycle of negative mind loops. Her story, along with many others’, are featured in Penny Sartori and Kelly Walsh’s upcoming book The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences.
Think about a tremendous, debilitating worry you have. One that distracts you from work, diverts your cherished dreams, puts stress on your relationships and knots in your shoulders – all because you keep replaying a painful memory or dreadful future possibility over and over in your head like a bad horror movie? Now imagine all of that GONE. Whether or not the actual situation has changed, your worry about it has simply vanished.
Sound ridiculous? Impossible? It’s not. Because that’s exactly what happened to me – and can happen in your life too – thanks to my near-death experience.
My brush with death occurred in 2010 while I was attending a camp specifically designed to “push boundaries and develop courage.” My impulse to sign up, came one night after I experienced something bizarre while performing onstage in Brooklyn.
I was co-singer in a band with Stone Gossard, the guitar player from Pearl Jam. Soon after the show began, I inadvertently tuned into a stream of self-critical thoughts the likes of which I had never “heard” before. It was as if I had found my very own “Let’s tear Barbara down!” radio station, and it shook me to the core.
Somehow, I made it through the show. But that night as I laid in bed I wondered, Are these negative thoughts going on in my head all the time?
I was no newbie to therapy, and was shocked to hear comparison-oriented, fear-based, self-doubting thoughts streaming through my mind like toxic smoke from an old factory dirtying a clear blue sky. The camp sounded like just the sort of drastic measure I needed to knock the negative thought loops out of me.
For an entire week I faced terrifying ordeals and sleep deprivation. I was doing great… until the last day. During an endurance event, my senses started to scramble. Bursts of light punctuated my vision. Voices sounded distorted and far away. Most disturbingly, people’s movements appeared jerky and strobe-like. I felt as though I was walking in a nightmare.
I later discovered it was a combination of heatstroke and hyponatremia (dangerously low sodium levels) that sent me into that surreal space where life meets death…
A stunning 4-hour life-review began. At its conclusion, I was given a choice: “Do you want to stay… or go?” Curiously, the decision wasn’t easy, because life on the “other side” felt indescribably welcoming, loving, and peaceful. I felt I had more to do and experience on earth, so I chose to come back.
I’m extraordinarily happy I did. Because what I learned from my life review changed the entire course of my life. I had gotten the answer to the question I had asked that night in Brooklyn: Are negative thoughts going on in my head all the time? The answer was yes.
I now call these unconscious, repetitive, negative thoughts: Mind Loops. Mind Loops come in many flavors. They tell us we aren’t good enough, create fear, jealousy, resentment, depression, and anxiety. They scare us away from following our dreams and moving into our greatest potential.
For the next 4 years I researched how to interrupt these “loops” by changing the neural pathways in my brain. The more I “de-looped,” the more my life took off in ways I never could have imagined. My energy, relationships, money flow and purpose improved dramatically – and a deep sense of happiness replaced worry, resentment, judgment, and self-criticism.
One of the biggest realizations I received from my NDE was the clear understanding that we’re all deeply and mysteriously interconnected. It was that revelation that led me to shift my career and focus to sharing what I’d learned during my NDE. I now train individuals and corporations in the De-Looping Method, and wrote a book: “How To Stop Negative Thoughts: What My Near Death Experience Taught Me About Mind Loops, Neuroscience, and Happiness.”
I’m thrilled to now be included in the stunning new book, “The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences,” alongside 19 other authors with incredible stories and powerful messages to share.
Life surely has its surprises. What appears up, is sometimes down, and what appears bad, is sometimes wonderful. Such is the case with my terrifying brush with death. Who knew it would become the greatest gift of my life.
About the author: BARBARA IRELAND struggled with “Mind Loops” – repetitive, self-critical thoughts – for years. During a near-death experience in 2010, she was “taught” what Mind Loops were and how much they were holding her life and happiness hostage. She developed the De-Looping Method to change her brain’s neural pathways and “overwrite” destructive thoughts and beliefs. Ireland now trains individuals and corporations to replace anxiety, stress, self-doubt, and worry with confidence, peace, and joy. Ireland is founder of the Mind Loop Group in Seattle, WA. She is also a musician, singer and composer, award-winning filmmaker, and collage artist. Barbara welcomes connection! Email her at [email protected] .