Spiritual Awakenings International™ Conference 2022
"Bringing us Together"™
Bringing Us Together As a Global Spiritual Family
Saturday June 11 - Sunday June 12, 2022
FIRST EVENT starts at Sunday at 8:30 AM Pacific Time, which is 11:30 AM Eastern Time, 4:30 PM in the UK & Monday, 1:30 AM in Sydney Australia.
LAST EVENT of the day starts at 6:00 PM Pacific Time, which is 9:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday, 2:00 AM in the UK & Monday 11:00 AM in Sydney Australia.
NOTE: All event start times are listed in Pacific Time
NOTE: All events will be 1 hour and 15 minutes in length, with a 15 minute break before the next event begins, except the morning meditation which will be 15 minutes long.
Connecting with Stillness. Brian will lead a 15-minute guided meditation focusing on awareness of one’s stillness. By relaxing into the spiritual core of one’s beingness, accessed by placing both hands over the sternum and focusing our attention there, we connect with simply being completely secure and OK. Some of the tools used will be softening, resting and amplifying Presence. Allowing the peace of this to radiate is both calming and loving. The meditation offers a chance to experience this for oneself.
Dr. Brian Sackett, PhD, is a psychologist, previously in private practice in San Jose, CA, USA, and is a recent Toronto, Canada resident. He specializes in working with clients dealing with trauma and abuse, spiritual emergence, anxiety, and couples’ communication issues. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Stanford University, a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Brian has presented to the Toronto Awakenings Sharing Group, to the Spiritual Awakenings International first annual conference, to Toronto Awakenings Sharing Group and many other local and national groups. Brian facilitates an online meditation/self-inquiry group and currently does spiritual guidance and coaching. Brian Sackett serves on The Board of Directors of Spiritual Awakenings International, as Treasurer.
Dr Fenwick has a long-standing interest in brain function, consciousness, Near-Death Experiences, and the dying process. He has carried out research projects in hospices and nursing homes in the UK and Holland, looking at the experiences reported by the dying and their carers around the time of death, and the importance of spiritual support in palliative care. This was written up in “The Art of Dying”. He has published a large number of research papers related to altered states of consciousness, Near-Death Experiences, end-of-life experiences, and abnormalities of consciousness and behavior. He has researched meditation and continues to be interested in the relationship between meditative states, cognition, and brain function. He examined the EEG of a meditating “Beatle, George Harrison”. His main interests are Near- Death Experiences, consciousness and the dying process.
Dr. Peter Fenwick is an internationally renowned British neuropsychiatrist and researcher on Near-Death Experiences and end-of-life experiences. He was Consultant Neuropsychiatrist Emeritus to the Epilepsy Unit at the Maudsley Hospital, England, which he ran for twenty years, and at The Institute of Psychiatry. In 1982, he was the first person in the UK to broadcast on TV as a scientist-researcher on Near-Death Experiences. In 1987 he presented a TV program Glimpses of Death, which further raised public awareness of the topic. He then received over 2000 letters and wrote the book “The Truth in the Light”. From 2000 to 2009 he spent several months a year working in the field of magnetoencephalography in a neuroscience research laboratory in Japan. His present interests are the development of non-dual consciousness and anomalous mental states which manifest as the siddhis, (STEs), and the path to death. Dr. Peter Fenwick has been recognized for his groundbreaking work as an Honoree on the Spiritual Awakenings International Circle of Honor.
We are living in unprecedented times. As the world is being rocked by a pandemic, ecological destruction, severe mental and spiritual crises, violence, despair, and political division, what exactly does “Living the Sacred” mean? Judith will discuss how a deeper and more authentic spirituality must occur as we enter the next phase of consciousness evolution. She will focus on what kinds of spirituality and ways of being no longer work, and what must occur at both individual and collective levels if we are going to be able to transform ourselves and our world. Judith will share perspectives on what must occur in order for humanity to go forward, derived from mystical teachings of the wisdom traditions, prophecies from sacred texts, worldviews from highly acknowledged contemporary thought leaders, Dr. Miller’s own spiritual experiences and insights, and the spiritual imagery experienced in altered states of consciousness from the hundreds of seekers she has worked with from different parts of the world for the last 25 years.
Dr. Judith Miller, PhD, has been a professor of Developmental Psychology and Spiritual development at Columbia University for the last twenty years. She has just left academia in order to work more in-depth and authentically with students and clients who are searching for new ways of living and being during these times of upheaval and chaos. Her psycho-spiritual work with others has included Holotropic Breathwork, consciousness expansion, and in-depth psychotherapy with individuals from US, Europe, China, S. Korea, and the Middle East. She is the author of “Healing the Western Soul” (2015) and “Direct Connection: Transformation of Consciousness” (2000).
Raymond O’Brien - UK
The Medical and Spiritual World: Psychological Impacts upon the Survivor through Surviving Cardiac Arrests. Raymond will share his experience as a multiple cardiac arrest and NDE survivor, of a lack of understanding about how some survivors are not coping well – due to the ripples of surviving a cardiac arrest, and also attempting to process such an event, in addition to perhaps having an NDE. Raymond will discuss some of the issues that many cardiac arrest survivors are now experiencing. Some feel a sense of hopelessness, abandonment, and isolation in the search for qualified help in such a specialized field. He will talk about the sense of spiritual isolation, the complex Post-Traumatic Stress and the need to identify the grief process of the loss of the organismic self, or even the loss of a partner or family connections. These all play a role in helping the survivor to start to process such a traumatic event. Raymond’s own experience of the “Gap of Care” within the medical and social world was at times life threatening to him, in the form of suicidal ideation. The crisis he entered post cardiac arrest and NDE was something he was not told about. He saw last year with his own eyes whilst recovering from a serious heart issue. He found it deeply disturbing how countertransference played a big role in some of those who care for or treat survivors.
Raymond O’Brien is a British Seer, multiple NDE Experiencer x12, multiple STE Experiencer, and a survivor of ten cardiac arrests and six heart attacks over a period of 13 years. His first arrest was an out-of-hospital arrest, with a survival rate of 1 in 10. These experiences have led Raymond down the road to become a qualified Counsellor and Psychotherapist solely dealing in the Spiritual and Psychological themes that come about from such an event. Raymond has given talks to the British National Health Service (NHS) to help to educate them on how cardiac arrest survivors may struggle to cope on a daily basis. He has taken part with Professor Ken Spearpoint on the BBC Victoria Davenport Show, and he has presented with Professor Chris French at the British Film Festival. Raymond has been a featured speaker twice, for Spiritual Awakenings International, and other international groups. Raymond worked on a Chemotherapy Unit as a Seer in the UK, assisting with Pain Management. He has had some remarkable results and still today endeavors to help others around the world on a daily basis. Raymond O’Brien serves on the Advisory Board of Spiritual Awakenings international.
Robert Bare MPA, PhD - USA - SAI Vice-President
There is No Normal: The Challenge to Resume Life after NDEs when double-downed with PTSD from NDEs & a 23-year career as a First Responder in Law Enforcement. Robert will share how recovering mentally and physically from death and also a NDE “reckoning” with a life review in the presence of the “Higher Power”, triggered Post-Traumatic Stress issues that needed to be dealt with to function normally until reality told him “There is no normal anymore”. He was forced to adjust to a life-changing emotional event while rehabilitating his health, and a lifestyle that once existed but didn’t work anymore. Adjusting to a completely different mindset, values, his introduction to the spiritual world, and the challenges of NDE after-effects, made him a different person. Having to deal with PTSD from a previous 23-year career in law enforcement virtually double-downed a recovery process that is still ongoing. In reality, during his NDEs he did die, and when brought back to life a part of his life also died, because he came back a different person, one that could not be comfortable with many previous relationships with family, friends, and at work.
Robert Bare MPA, PhD, is the Vice-President and Co-Founder of Spiritual Awakenings International, a 3x NDE Experiencer, and Multiple STE Experiencer. Robert is a 22-year retired California Highway Patrolman, who had assignments in South Central Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland & Santa Cruz. After retiring from police work, he worked a variety of positions; an Adjunct Professor, a General Manager/City Administrator for three communities, the Executive Director of a community resource center, a tribal administrator for a Native American Nation, and as a Staff Executive/Consultant for an international consulting company. But his 2009 Near-Death Experience shook him to his core. It occurred shortly after he boarded a plane on March 22, 2009. He had a massive heart attack and was deceased for approximately 45 minutes. His NDE was profiled on the TV Show “I Survived… Beyond and Back”, and he was a featured case study by author Debra Diamond in her book, “Life After Near Death.” Also, he is currently featured on the National Geographic show “Visiting the Beyond”, William Shatner’s new show “Unresolved” and has been interviewed for other featured documentaries. Robert Bare currently lives in Oregon, where he is working as a grant and technical writer.
Dr. Yvonne Kason MD - Canada SAI President
Circle of Honor Honoree
Breaking the Silence: Both are True – NDE Bliss and Post-Traumatic Stress. Over the years, many people have been eager to hear the stories of Dr. Yvonne Kason’s 5 Near-Death Experiences. But what people wanted to hear was about the Out-of-Body Experiences and Mystical Experiences in the Heavenly realm of Love and Divine Light that she glimpsed while on the other side. Yes, it is true that those glimpses of “Heaven” transformed her spiritually, uplifter her, and have inspired her for the rest of her life. However, a fact that few know is that 2 of Dr. Kason’s Near-Death Experiences also gave her Post-Traumatic Stress afterwards, from the traumatic impact of the fatal and near-fatal accidents. Dr. Kason will describe her two NDEs that gave her PTS, describe the PTS symptoms she had to deal with, and share the challenges of dealing with PTS and integrating a powerful NDE at the same time.
Dr. Yvonne Kason MD, MEd, CCFP, FCFP, is the President and Co-Founder of Spiritual Awakenings International, a 5x Near-Death Experiencer, multiple STE Experiencer, author, and in-demand speaker and media resource. She is the person who first coined the phrase “Spiritually Transformative Experiences” (STEs) in 1994, and has written extensively about STEs in her last 3 books, her most recent Touched by the Light (2019). A renowned international expert on Kundalini Awakenings, Near-Death Experiences, and Spiritually Transformative Experiences, Dr. Kason is a retired MD-Psychotherapist and Family Physician, previously on faculty at the University of Toronto. She has over 40 years experience researching STEs and counseling STE Experiencers. Dr. Kason was the first Canadian medical doctor to specialize her practice in 1990 in the counseling and research of persons having diverse types of Spiritually Transformative Experiences. In 1990 she was Co-Founder of the Kundalini Research Network (KRN), and became Chair of the KRN Questionnaire Research Project. In 2000 she was Co-founder of the Spirituality in Health-Care Network. She Chaired the University of Toronto’s first international conference on Spirituality in Health-Care in 2002. She is also the Co-Founder (2019) and Group Leader of Toronto Awakenings Sharing Group. Dr. Yvonne Kason has been recognized for her groundbreaking work as an Honoree on the Spiritual Awakenings International Circle of Honor.
Father Nathan Castle, O.P., has helped more than 400 “stuck” and not-so-stuck souls who died suddenly and traumatically to adjust to the afterlife. Victims of fires, automobile accidents, shootings, stabbings, drownings, and suicides come to him in his dreams seeking help to resolve their “Interrupted Death Experiences”.™️ Father Nathan believes that providing such help is something the Holy Spirit has given him and his prayer partners to do. In his Afterlife Interrupted books, Father Nathan is quick to point out that not everyone who dies suddenly gets stuck. He also addresses questions like: Is death survivable? What does he do to help people cross over? Does time exist in the afterlife? Do deceased relatives help us adjust to moving through our deaths.
Father Nathan Castle, O.P. is from Groves, Texas. Father Nathan received MA and MDiv degrees from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He served in campus ministries at Arizona State University, Stanford, and UC Riverside. Father Nathan has chaired the Executive Board of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association (CCMA). He believes the Holy Spirit has given him a “night job” of helping souls who died suddenly and violently find afterlife peace. He is the author of “And Toto, Too: The Wizard of Oz as a Spiritual Adventure” and “Afterlife, Interrupted (Books 1 and 2): Helping Stuck Souls Cross Over.”
Our world has changed irreversibly over the past 2 years. Nicole will describe how during these intense times lives have been turned completely upside down. As values and paradigms get challenged in the global disarray, it has created the perfect storm for spiritual awakenings to occur individually and collectively. But then what? What we do with our awakening has become a key invitation of our times—one that is significantly shaping our future as a human species. Will we spiritually mature and embrace the opportunity for co-creating a more wholesome planet? Will be potentiate the gifts of our awakening experiences? Will we rise to the occasion and be the change we truly desire to make this world an even more beautiful place…even a heaven on earth, as so many spiritual experiencers have tasted?
Dr. Nicole Gruel, PhD, is an Australia based author, speaker, mama, and specialist in spiritual health, who descends from a 450-year lineage of samurai. A Near-Death Experience as a teenager and numerous other Spiritually Transformative Experiences since have inspired her to cheerlead others through their extraordinary experiences towards life prosperity, joyful livelihood, and to become the “Agents of Awesom” they were meant to be. Nicole has a Doctorate in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology, has mentored for IANDS and ACISTE, is a certified counsellor and life coach, and has trained in various healing and energy psychology modalities. But most importantly, she’s deeply passionate about co-creating a more beautiful world where each and every person shines their quirky light unabashedly bright. Dr. Nicloe Gruel serves on the Advisory Board of Spiritual Awakenings International.
Betty Guandango - USA
Waking Up – A Life Transformed. Transformation and metamorphosis through a spontaneous kundalini awakening. Betty’s origin story begins in darkness, trauma and tragedy -drug addiction, sex work, atheism, the double suicide of my parents, poverty, and a myriad of abuses. In March of 2019, she had a spontaneous kundalini awakening that transported her to the space between life and eternity. She will share how she was taken through her pre-birth planning and was instantly shifted from a victim of circumstance to a divine co-creator of reality. She was shown her mission and alternate life paths. Her life transformed after returning to Earth. It was as if every cell in her body was reborn in a 180-degree metamorphosis. She went into a cocoon in the form of a long-term drug treatment center, met mentors, attended school, completed the program, and now creates a conscious communion with all that she encounters.
Betty Guadagno went from a drug addicted, sex worker, and self-described radical atheist to a devout believer in long-term recovery, working as a recovery coach, and manifesting a life beyond her wildest dreams. She will take you through her awakening journey where she was shown her pre-birth planning, her divine mission, and the interconnectedness of all things.
Emily Burfoot - UK
Awakening Experiences in the Context of Spiritual vs Material Power Dynamics. Emily’s experience was that when she shared her thoughts and visions of Near-Death Experiences and altered states of consciousness with friends, family, and other devout “materialists”, she was persecuted through psychiatric sedation and imprisonment. She began to reflect on how the religion of materialism provides its followers with the comfort and security of a fixed world, which they need to survive and thrive. By contrast, Emily’s ability to thrive depended on the allowance, sight and discussion of dimensions beyond the material 3D+time dimension. She then reflected on how these conflicting needs between materialists and spiritualists result in a “power war”: with the spiritualists needing spirituality to thrive, and the materialists needing the exclusion of spirituality to thrive – at least on the verbal and behavioral level. In Emily’s experience, nowhere did this war seem more fiercely fought than in the psychiatric ward. The psychiatrists seemed to be the guardians of the material world, while spiritualists seemed to be a potentially devastating threat to their identity and belief structure. As a peace-and-harmony seeker who would like to create more space for polarities such as this to co-exist, Emily invites discussion as to how we, as humans who need grounding in BOTH the material AND the spiritual world, can serve to bring peace in this arena through education and coherent action.
Emily Burfoot had her first NDE aged 21, while studying at Oxford University. Since then, she has had a further 5 STEs as the trauma of the event has become progressively more integrated. She has been admitted to hospital three times as a result of spiritual crisis events, and as a result has become dedicated to promoting compassion towards and understanding of spiritual experiences by mental health practitioners who frequently do not have spiritual education or training. In 2021 she became a founding member of Blue Lotus Network, whose vision is for every human to feel whole, and be empowered to find optimum mental health through exploring and embodying their own unique self-actualization. Through Blue Lotus, she is creating an online course and community dedicated to learning and practicing applied spiritual principles to improve mental health and wellbeing.
Dr. Marni Hill Foderaro EdD - US Virgin Islands
My Garage Sale Spiritual Awakening. Dr. Marni Hill Foderaro’s life was forever changed after surviving trauma-induced STEs-Spiritually Transformative Experiences. Marni experienced one spiritual and divine encounter after another at an ordinary garage sale that brought about her spiritual awakening. Marni was shown numerous signs and synchronicities which led to her devoting much time to researching NDEs and STEs to gain information to understand and validate what she experienced. Marni realized the inaccuracy of what she was taught to believe about life and death, and believes there is a deeper truth regarding our existence on earth. She now knows that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Her life-changing encounters prompted her to write the 2020 Best Books award-winning spiritual fiction, “God Came To My Garage Sale”, prominently endorsed by James Redfield, bestselling author of “The Celestine Prophecy” and founding directors of IANDS, Santa Barbara’s Barbara Bartolome and Chicago’s Diane Willis.
Dr. Marni Hill Foderaro, EdD, is an award-winning author, speaker and educator. She earned her doctorate in education and completed postdoctoral studies at Harvard after a very successful and rewarding 35-year education career. Marni’s life was forever changed after experiencing numerous trauma-induced STEs-Spiritually Transformative Encounters. Marni’s 2020 Best Books Award Winning Spiritual fiction “God Came to My Garage Sale” is prominently endorsed by James Redfield, best selling author of “The Celestine Prophecy” series of books. Marni is a lover of animals, nature, music and world travel who handles life’s challenges with love and compassion. She values honesty, integrity, equality and goodness and prays for peace on earth. In addition to her speaking engagements and various writing endeavors on embracing Spirituality after surviving trauma, Foderaro is a contributing author to numerous anthology books.Ed
Cristina Mohr - USA
How to Navigate your Spiritual Emergence through our Current Mental Health Paradigm. After Cristina’s Spiritually Transformative Experience was diagnosed as bipolar disorder, she had to work through her shadow-self before reflecting light. She had to work through her 4 bodies (mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical), but she was drugged for quite a few years which left her feeling like a zombie without an imagination. She had worked through her 3 bodies but was so drugged that she didn’t even think about her physical body. She then realized that during her initiatory crisis in the Emergency Room, the practitioners assumed the problem was psychological and NEVER did physical tests. Cristina does not want to see others suffer in the manner she had, so she has created a sort-of “crisis plan”, to avoid medical misdiagnosis and abuse, which she will share.
Cristina Mohr is a Co-founder of Blue Lotus and creator and facilitator of Healing Through Creativity, and a mental health system survivor. Cristina is a Peer Support Specialist certified through NAZcare, a Mental Health First Aid Responder through the Council on Behavioral Health provided by Yavapai College, a psychology Major at Yavapai College, Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society member, and national Society of leadership and Success member. Cristina had her initial Spiritual Emergence in 2013. It’s been a long road to recovery, discovery, then action. Her experiences along the way have given her a Calling to help create a new mental health paradigm. She is now in college, on her way to becoming a doctor of transpersonal psychology, through CIIS as her goal. Cristina has 7 years of training and 38 years of experience with art (including having experienced an art therapy program that she learned and grew from). She is now grounded, thriving, and would like to share her journey and what she has learned along the way.
Gary L. Wimmer - USA
The Great Awakening. In 1977, Gary was involved in a head-on collision with a speeding car. He traveled to dimensions and worlds beyond imagination, then returned to his body, unhurt and feeling no pain. That Near Death Experience (NDE) changed his life forever. Every day we witness more political, economic, environmental, personal, and social chaos throughout the world. The entire human race, individually and collectively, is facing monumental challenges and their consequences. Why? Because humanity is experiencing a Great Awakening, and it comes with its inherent escalation of anger, chaos, division, and suffering. But unless we clearly grasp the flaws in ourselves and our systems we cannot begin to fix them and build a more enlightened, compassionate, balanced self and world society. Indeed, this is a unique and pivotal period in human history. One way or another, life is educating humanity about what needs to be fixed. Just consider how profoundly Covid-19 has forced us to re-evaluate and re-prioritize. That’s the message the Universe sending. And we can tune in and get that message via empowering techniques I will discuss that can open anyone up to the Universe within.
Gary L. Wimmer has been a professional psychic for 45 years. He has been referred to as a medium, intuitive, healer, teacher, spiritualist, and clairvoyant, and has been professionally tested many times. In 1977, Gary’s psychic ability suddenly began escalating to the point where he could no longer remember what ‘normal’ life was like. A week later, as a pedestrian, he was involved in a head-on collision with a speeding car. He traveled to dimensions and worlds beyond imagination, then returned to his body, unhurt and feeling no pain. That Near Death Experience (NDE) changed his life forever. His book, A Second in Eternity, is the powerful and moving story about that phenomenal experience, which still motivates and empowers him today. Gary is also the author of Lithomancy, the Psychic Art of Reading Stones, the comprehensive book on Lithomancy, his methodology. Both books are on Amazon and Kindle.
Ruth Clothier - USA
Gift of Life Here and Now. At 16 months old, from 1948 radiation on my spine, I returned to before embodiment and learned that Creation is within. This stayed throughout my life. As a 20-year-old pregnant in a cardiologist’s office, my heart stopped twice. When I went over I was encompassed in absolute love, and given a choice – return to a life of heart problems, or hold on to absolute Love. Sometime after I had (one of many) STEs. I had surrendered to being able to walk without pain. The answer came through my son, and it was sound. Sound opened into my life and became a part of me. An allergic reaction to antibiotics brought me to the third NDE and absolute Love I had experienced before. While there I was immersed with harmonics so expansive. When I returned I brought with me the first song we recorded – Wings of Alchemy. I was shown what is happening on Earth right now – something I did not want to see, but also what we can walk into. I was shown our absolute expansion to be able to walk through these earth changes now – because they are already happening.
Ruth Rousseau Clothier is a mother of 4 children and a grandmother of 8. Ruth’s connection with the children is enhanced by her first NDE as a child. Her second NDE at 20 years old expanded her gifts. As her life moved on Ruth began working with people – physical therapists, substance abusers, the disabled, those with terminal illnesses, and those seeking spiritual awakening. Ruth homeschooled her daughters. All of her children are exceptional. At 47 years Ruth’s third NDE combined all the growth and learning of her other NDEs, showed her the expansive vision of our present time, and our planet. She began involvement with sponsored events bringing the wisdom of her first book to others: Mother’s Conclave, Science Symposiums, PT Conference of Alaska, and others. Ruth lives in New Mexico, sharing teachings with her group from her revised edition, Wisdom of the Heart, Book of Life, Here and Beyond. She continues to be active in several NDE and Sound Associations.
Claudia Watts Edge - USA
Soul Contracts: Our Pre-planned Promises. Claudia will share her Near-Death Experience and her memories of being shown “THE ROOM OF CHOICES” where she and her son Jesse prepared for the earth experience. Many decisions had to be made as far as body choices, not for looks but for potential adversities and circumstances for further spiritual advancement. She will describe the agreement she made to come in early to play the part of his mother and together examining potential fathers, and the importance of this DNA soup. She saw required contracts to facilitate choices made years before our arrival. Claudia will discuss this, and other personal contracts made before coming to the earth experience. She will also describe how Earth is not our true home, but that it was created for us to learn and grow. Claudia will share that although promises are made, our most important gift is our FREE WILL that takes precedence over any pre-planned situation,and can be changed or adapted as needed.
Claudia Watts Edge had a profound earth-death experience in 1984, where she and her new-born baby died together in a sea of blood and pain. She was held in a beautiful darkness that she did not understand, and the journey of her unusual Near-Death Experience has taken over 25 years to surface. Claudia has been called a modern-day mystic with the ability to pull back the spiritual curtain. She has written two books of exploring the spiritual mysteries of the Other Side, through memories and dreams in an award-winning series called “Gifts from the Edge“. Her third book “We Touched Heaven“, is a collection of spiritual experiences from all over the world.
Russell Ricks - USA
You’re Not Alone in This Journey. The well-known and respected NDEr Dr. Mary Neal suggested, “I honestly believe we are given an experience at the time of our death that will resonate with us, that will make us feel loved, that will make us feel welcomed.” After having a miraculous Spiritually Transformative Experience, at first when sharing it with others, Russell often found rejection. He began to feel pretty isolated and alone in this world. As a young child, even though he grew up in a loving home environment, he struggled with feelings of isolation, rejection and loneliness outside his home. Every time he tried to make a friend it would backfire on him. He was socially far behind his peers and couldn’t understand the cause of it. He was unaware of a neurological disability he was born with, until learning at the age of 50 through an MRI scan that he had “Complete Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum”. As a young boy, he pleaded to God through prayer to take him away– take him to a place where he would feel safe and loved. What followed was a Near-Death-like Experience, where he learned he was genuinely loved by God. He also learned that we were all given many tools to help us in our journey here. “He” loves us and wants us to know “He” is with us. Russell learned we are eternal beings. We have always been and will continue to always be. We enter mortality with a spark or portion of eternity with us. Some refer to that spark as the Love of God and others, the Light of Christ. We’re born with it infused within our own conscience or soul. If we listen to that voice within, this becomes our guidepost. When we’re blessed with having spiritual experiences which transform us, this too becomes a gift from God and resonates with the quiet voice within us. Many have discovered and developed various forms of meditation which can put us in touch with God. God will also tailor His communications with us according to our personality, gifts and talents. We also need not feel alone because of organizations such as SAI. We’re all truly loved by God.
Russell E. Ricks was born in Rexburg, Idaho, an LDS colony, founded and colonized by his ancestor Thomas E. Ricks. Russells professional career is that of a visual artist. His artwork is in collections throughout the United States. Russell has an Associates in Fine Arts Degree from Ricks College (now known as BYU Idaho). He also received years of excellent informal visual art training through his father’s nationally known plein air painting school, Painting Vacations. Russell has participated in numerous Springville Art Museum’s (SMA) noted Spring Salon exhibitions and has won various awards. September through October 2015, Russell was honored with a Solo exhibit at the SMA, displaying 33 of his major artworks. He also has a major work in the SMA’s permanent collection. He is an active member of Oil Painters of America. In the winter of 2016-2017, Mr. Ricks noted artwork, Farm Workers in a Lavender Field, was selected for the competition, which sold at the exhibition. Russell currently resides in Provo, Utah with his wife Karen. Together, they form a blended family of 14 children and 35 plus grandchildren. His hobbies include, hiking, camping and photography for art subject research and now writing.