It is a pleasure to to interview Dr. Sharon Prentice today. Soon after completing her graduate studies in psychology, Dr. Prentice found the world of secular psychology lacking – her patients needed “something more”. So, she set out to investigate and explore alternative methods in the field of mental health that would incorporate that “something special” she believed existed in each and every individual soul. Her journey would take her through the great religions of the world as well as to a discovery of ancient, time proven alternatives to modern therapeutic models of counseling. She is the author of the bestselling book “Becoming Starlight: A Shared Death Journey from Darkness to Light” which attempts to answer the question “Is this all there is?” Dr. Prentice can be found, in her off time, with family (which includes an assortment of furred, feathered, scaled and finned sentient beings) or sitting on the beach with the ocean sounds and sights for company.
Can you please tell us a bit more about yourself?
I always have to chuckle a bit when I am asked this question! Why? Because this is the exact question I ask of my patients when I first meet them…and then I laugh a bit as they struggle and “um and uh” their way through to some kind of answer! I ask this question for a very specific reason…and I have often thought “Does anyone really know how to answer this?”
But, since you ask, I will “um and uh” myself through it too!
Born into a military family, I was part and parcel of a family of unique over-achievers and lucid dreamers! The middle of three sisters, I was brought up traveling the world. Knowing that our lives were exceptional, our small band of individuals, bound together by love, saw the world together and reveled in the sights and experiences that could only be found living the life of nomads and gypsies. Being a military family-Air Force brats to be exact-afforded me (we) the opportunity to live in and visit, for extended periods of time, places like England, Scotland, Germany, France, Italy and many other exotic and far-away lands. Trips to Israel, Egypt, Greenland and so many of these United States forged a life that few others ever dream of yet alone live. I had nothing but exciting hopes for the future and reveled in the fact that I could do and be anything that I wanted-as long as I worked hard for it and believed in myself.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? It was! Until, at age 20, my world came crashing down around my feet when my daughter died in my arms and the man who was my rock in life-my husband… followed her into death shortly thereafter. I had virtually no wherewithal to handle- let alone, understand the why’s or how’s of life and death…and I fell hard. Really hard… I lost myself and life became a tangled up, messy, topsy-turvy, upside down, turbulent squiggly line in the sand…a line I had no idea how to cross.
That’s when my journey began. I searched and questioned and searched some more for the answers that my Soul yearned for…and what I found was nothing short of a miracle for me. Their deaths determined my path in life. Having very few to talk to about the tragedies of my life and being virtually alone in this world of darkness, I sought out teachers and spiritual leaders who could possibly help me find the answers to the questions that burned holes in my skin with every waking moment. Those teachers and spiritual guides transplanted my feet from the path I had been on to one I had never before considered-becoming a helper, a guide to those who, just like me-needed to recover their faith in life and find peace once more. The joys and sorrows of everyday life can be so very daunting-and having been privy in a very personal way to almost all of them-I found my path to salvation lay in helping others sort out their own divine plays.
So- who am I? I am a perpetual student of life who can’t stop asking questions! I am a licensed Psychologist and board certified Spiritual Counselor and am a member of so many Professional organizations (won’t bore you here). I am a mom, a Daddy’s girl, a second wife and a Nana and sometimes answer to many roles ascribed to me by others hoping that I will actually play the part they need me to play (which I hardly ever do!). But, I can say that every day I try to just be true to myself and true to the very nature of the being that God had in mind when He breathed life into me.
What is your definition of consciousness?
For me, consciousness has only one meaning- Spirit. It is the whisper you hear between breaths; the thought between thoughts; the very force that gives life; it is the vital principle of the everlasting nature of Creation. It is what and who you are…your true nature in this universe and it is the animating force that is eternal and everlasting. The consciousness is unique to each Soul but is also, at the same time, absolutely essential to the Whole that is all of Creation. The consciousness never dies… Nor is it transformed upon death! It is now, has always been, and will forever be the very breath of God…the very thought of God that became YOU… that was created before time began. I know- I have seen it in all its unique glory within Starlight…as I wrote in “Becoming Starlight.”
How did your awareness process start?
Geez…my process? I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! The deaths of my daughter and husband left such an expansive void in my physical, emotional and spiritual life that I was literally forced onto a path where I was totally alone, a path that was dark and scary! I had to let go of everything I had believed to be true and relearn how to live in the world again. The Dark Night of the Soul- trust me- there’s something in there that reaches into your Soul and pulls out the truth of All Creation… even as you kick and scream and cuss to the high heavens! I call it the “underbelly of the Soul”. That’s where truth lives…
What are you most aware of in your daily life?
My answer is somewhat strange! After my spiritual quest began in earnest, due to the NDE/SDE I experienced at my husband’s bedside- I am somehow able to “see” the shadows that literally cover the light of the Soul in people I work with. I am extremely aware of the personal sorrows and struggles of those I encounter. I am called an empath, a mind reader, a “feeler of sorrows”… and, almost every day, in my office or even at the grocery store, I am approached by someone “wanting to talk”. My family used to try to shield me…but to no avail! I spend a lot of time standing in lines now!!
What is the deepest internal change that you have personally experienced?
To be perfectly honest- everything about me changed. My religious, social, interpersonal…intimate relationships and views about the world all shifted… a shift in everything I do, think and believe is now based on prayer and meditation…realizing that everything I need-I already have within the consciousness that is the true “me”… living within that “heart of hearts” the mystics revere-changes all of life. That’s where the Divine- consciousness lives…your connection to God within you. Can you see me smiling?
What is your best advice / words of wisdom to share about the importance of becoming more conscious?
Yikes! That’s one heck of a question, isn’t it? But to answer, just let me say this- if you want to truly live the life of your dreams- go within your Spirit and find your birthright. What birthright you ask? The peace and joy that is inherent in that very thought of God that you are now and have always been! Rip off all the labels that have been plastered onto your face- kick them to the curb and ask yourself the hard question- who am I…then LISTEN!!
Are there any current projects you’d like to share with us?
Lots of truly unexpected things have happened for me since “Becoming Starlight” was published! The most thrilling is the fact that “my girl” is being made into a screenplay and being considered for a feature film! YAY!! Stay tuned…
What do you consider to be the biggest problem in the world today?
I wish I were a wiser woman and could give that one correct answer that would bring some joy back into the world. But, to answer as best I can, from my vantage point as a psychologist and Spiritual Counselor- I see so much anger. Anger- where does it come from? What I see is immense loneliness which stems from so many feeling unseen, unheard, unrecognized, unappreciated and unloved. These all lead to depression, addiction, fear, suicide and a whole host of other spiritual and psychological issues that eventually put one on the path to anger and rage- which, when acted upon- well, its simply brutal. It seems we have forgotten who we are and lost our moral and Spiritual identity and our connection to each other and to all that truly just “IS”…
Sharon Prentice, PhD