Passed away. Passed on. Laid to rest. Crossed over. Bit the dust. Kicked the bucket. With Jesus in Heaven. On the other side. Sleeping with the fishes. These are some of the ways we refer to people who have gone to their eternal rest or, in other words, are dead.
There is nothing ambiguous in the word “dead.” It has a finality to it that many people eschew. Benjamin Franklin promised that there were two certainties in life: death and taxes. Taxes are for sure. But most people, including myself, aren’t really so sure about death, at least not insofar as to call death a permanent situation.
I have friends who are so staunchly atheist they say with absolute certainty that death is final. One and done. Lights out. Nobody home. Maybe they’re right. But come on, man. If you are a living, breathing human being, you have to wonder and have some doubt.
You have to ask yourself, what happens after we’re pushing up daisies?
We’ve all had feelings of Déjà vu, dreams that seem more vivid than normal, and have traveled places that just seemed oddly familiar even though we’ve never been there before. When my physical therapist told me a reincarnation workshop was to be held at her studio, I was intrigued. After giving it some thought, I decided to sign up. Wanting to know a little more about what to expect, I contacted Mica Cascarano Berg, the woman who would be leading the workshop. After exchanging a few emails, we decided to meet for coffee; in this life, not in another.
Mica has spent her life searching for answers about the soul, death and reincarnation through her company Soulitary Journey. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Instruction, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration, and she worked in Milwaukee Public Schools for 30 years. She is a certified yoga instructor and reiki practitioner, a life coach and a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists. She is also a certified Fairyologist. (Yes, it’s a thing.)
Mica admits she doesn’t believe in reincarnation. Whaaat?! She believes that we live parallel lives in which the possibilities are far more infinite and non-linear. In her philosophy, I could be me, sitting here in the now with a cat on my lap typing on my computer, and at the same time be me, living another life without the confines of time, place, and space. In an odd way, that makes more sense.
I told her my skepticism about reincarnation experiences. She acknowledged that this is cutting edge stuff. Forty years ago, she said, yoga was considered a counter-culture activity. Mica’s right. We’d have been hard pressed to find a yoga class or studio in Milwaukee in the 1970s or 80s. Now, they are everywhere because people are seeing the physical and psychological benefits from it. Mica believes that parallel-life regressions will become more mainstream with time just as have yoga and other alternative mind-body practices. She encouraged me to keep an open mind and give it a try.
The day of the reincarnation workshop finally arrived. I walked in with my blanket, pillow and a whole lotta what-the-hell-is-gonna-happen. Honestly, I didn’t expect much. Mica warns people not to over-anticipate, especially for first timers. Mica, seven other women and I sat in a circle, introduced ourselves, shared why we were there and any previous reincarnation experiences. Some participants had done this numerous times.
I was a reincarnation virgin.
When we were finally ready to get down to it, we all chose our spot on the floor, got comfortable, closed our eyes and Mica began to do her hypnosis thing, speaking in soft…slow…gentle…tones. Deeper and deeper. Down. Down. Down.
So, what happened? Honestly, nothing happened to me that I would classify as a reincarnation experience. I did experience a really nice meditative state of relaxation. Even more relevantly, with Mica’s hypnosis treatment, I remembered some things about my childhood; really sweet memories that I hadn’t thought about in years. These memories were extremely vivid and clear, dare I say, almost like I was there.
In one instance, I was standing before my grandmother’s dresser that she had in the entryway to her bedroom. It had a huge mirror, several drawers, and on top she kept all of her jewelry, powders and creams. I was standing there, picking up and examining her rings and pins and other lovely treasures, just as I had when I was a kid. In another vivid experience, I was lying with my head on my mother’s lap as my father drove the family car home at night. These were the days when kids didn’t fall asleep in car seats in the back, but in their mother’s arms; seatbelts were optional if they existed at all. I was sleepy and my mom was rubbing my head. I could hear the muffled voices of my parents talking while I looked out the window at the dark night sky filled with stars and a crescent, winter moon.
I guess if there were two people I would have wanted to connect with in this experience, my grandmother and mom would be the two. Reincarnation? No. A beautiful, hypnotic and meditative journey into my deep psyche that brought up memories and feelings I hadn’t felt or thought about for years? Absolutely. Not reincarnation, but perhaps regression.
Others at the workshop said that they had more vivid experiences. One woman admitted to doing reincarnation activities dozens of times which included visions of her own brutal deaths in other lifetimes. Another woman reported, through tears, to have had an encounter with beings from another place and time who told her she was “chosen” because she had a “higher understanding” than other human beings. Hers was a far more emotionally turbulent experience than was mine.
I must admit, these reactions concern me. I have a hard time believing one woman communicated with “alien” beings. I also wonder why during reincarnation experiences, people often say they recall a brutal or bloody death, when in reality, most people simply die unremarkably of old age, sickness or disease. I have to wonder if this experience is good for people who are perhaps desperately looking for answers to questions that simply have no answers.
For people who want to try some sort of reincarnation or past-life experience, my advice is to go in with an open mind and don’t expect to have some earth-shattering experience. Better to expect nothing and experience something rather than to expect everything and then have to live up to your own preconceived notions.
Would I try this experiment again? I’m already thinking about giving it another go. I didn’t have an epiphany of being born into 17th century Scottish nobility, or that I was shot and killed during the war of the Bolsheviks, of communing with other-worldly beings, or even of my dream previous-life as a cowboy herding cattle on some lonesome Western plain. But I did have a pretty nice meditative experience looking through my grandma’s jewelry and taking one more nap on my mother’s lap. Honestly, those are parts of my previous life, times when I felt as safe and loved as any kid would want to feel. Yes. I’d do it again. I’d go back to that life anytime.
Learn more about Soulitary Journey here.