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Review by Spirituality Today

My new book, Dreams at the Threshold: Guidance, Comfort, and Healing at the End of Life has been reviewed favorably again, this time by Spirituality Today. See the review here, http://spirituality.today/categories/dreams-and-dreaming/dreams-at-the-threshold-by-jeanne-van-bronkhorst.  I am a bit speechless here, and very grateful.

Here are a few snippets:

Written with an immense sense of warmth and care this is a book that holds within its pages fascinating insights into the valuable role that dreams can play in helping a loved one to pass over, [and] to prepare them for that final journey…..

In short this is simply a book that empowers everybody and everyone who are deeply involved in the deeply dark issues that invariably present themselves at these challenging times.

It is one of those books that is so utterly invaluable to those who need its wisdom that its value is inestimable and for that I highly recommend it.

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Basic Dream Appreciation for a Busy Life

Dream appreciation doesn’t have to wait for the end of life.

Too often we have been taught to see dreams as either nonsense, or as too deep to explore without a lot of education or a trained guide. I think most dreams lie somewhere in between these extremes. Many dreams relate directly to our lives, which makes them both meaningful and fairly easy to gain insight from.

When you remember a dream, ask yourself three quick questions: What was the dream? How did you feel in the dream? What does it remind you of? Within a couple of minutes you can draw together the dream images, your emotional response to the dream, and how it all relates to your waking life.

In this way your focus moves from the dream to daily life, allowing your dream to take its place as one important or consistent source of insight for you.

If the dream makes no sense, you are under no obligation to force sense onto it. You can explore the images, or you can simply throw it out and wait for the next one.

Want to learn more? Dreams at the End of Life can be found at Amazon.caAmazon.comIndigo.ca, or Llewellyn Publications.

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My new book is almost here!

I am pleased to announce my new book, Dreams at the Threshold: Guidance, Comfort, and Healing at the End of Life will be available in July 2015 by Llewellyn Worldwide. You can order it through Amazon.caAmazon.comIndigo.ca, or Llewellyn Publications.

Dreams at the Threshold explores how dreams can help all people who must face the end of life, whether it be their own or that of someone they love. It is based on my years of working with people in hospice care, the research literature, and interviews I conducted with other hospice professionals who ask about dreams in their work.

Something almost miraculous happens when we ask about dreams at the end of life. Dreams can bring comfort or challenge, but most often dreams help people find hope and courage in the most frightening moments they will ever face.

Dreams can help people begin important but difficult conversations with loved ones. Dreams of deceased beloved family members bring comfort and help prepare the dreamer (and all who listen) for the next great leap into a mystery no one can fully comprehend. Dreams help families and caregivers prepare for a loss by imagining their own future, and dreams comfort mourners with images of their deceased loved ones. Sometime dreams remind people of past regrets, hurts, or traumatic events, but even these come with hope for reconciliation.

One simple invitation to talk about dreams helps dreamers strengthen the bond they have with their inner lives. Asking about dreams engages us as human beings, facing together the biggest questions of life and death.

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Who has premonitions?

Research has shown premonitions can happen o anyone: men and women, children and adults, scientists and artists, waiters, farmers, police officers, nurses and teachers, business consultants. Premonitions can happen to anyone, regardless of their personal comfort with them. Most people I know can tell at lest one story of a moment in which someone—maybe a friend, maybe themselves—seemed to know what was going to happen before they should have known it.

Surveys throughout the world have shown somewhere between half and three-quarters of the people report have had some kind of psychic experience at least once, with about half of those events being premonitions, according to Dr. Richard S Broughton, Director of Institute Laboratories. That is an enormous number of people acknowledging an experience our culture insists cannot exist. Even if researchers are correct when they estimate only 10 or 15% of the general population have experienced something that cannot be explained away as anything but a premonition, that sill adds up to tens of millions of people in North America alone.

Stories about premonitions appear in every culture and in every time period, including our own modern western culture. In nearly every other culture premonition are welcomes as significant events, but here they are often greeted with confusion and fear, or dismissed as so much nonsense.

Still, our disbelief doesn’t stop premonitions from showing up, pushing their way into our modern daily life regardless of our carefully reasoned arguments against them. Their intensity and irrational clarity challenge us to respond to them as if they are real.

We don’t have to feel lost or confused by premonitions. After researching them for nearly a decade I have come to think of premonitions as fundamentally a human experience. Whether we believe they originally descend from a higher guiding spirit or spark from the firing synapses in our brains, we all live through them in a similar human way. They are us, they are a part of being human. They can give us comfort and occasionally they offer us the most radical of all freedoms, the chance to chose our actions as second time and so possibly change our futures.  

Want to learn more? Book One Cover

          Llewellyn Publications

Barnes and Noble 


The problem with premonitions

The problem with premonitions is not their rarity. Research has shown premonition can happen to anyone: men and women, scientists and artists, nurses and business consultants, teachers and engineers. Most people I know can tell at least one story of a moment in which someone—maybe a friend, maybe themselves—seemed to know what was going to happen before they should have known it.

The problem we face with premonitions is not their rarity, but our inability to talk about the. Premonitions may be one aspect of normal human perception, but without a common conversation about their value or their meaning, most of us have a hard time bringing them up with friends. We don’t learn how to handle a premonition as we learn how to handle our dreams.  We don’t learn how to recognize a premonition in its initial moment, and then we feel shocked when a future event connects to our earlier impression. We don’t learn how to distinguish a likely premonition from all the other ways we think about the future then feel  stuck with two rather extreme choices: Believe everything is a premonition or believe nothing is a premonition because premonitions can’t exist.

No wonder so many people feel scared, overwhelmed, or even threatened by a premonition. Without a few basic skills to sort through the difference between a premonition and all the other ways we think about the future (such as a fear of flying), or a grasp of the choices still available, or the support of friends, many people have no idea what to do with a premonition’s warning.

—Excerpt from book: Premonitions in Daily Life

 The first step to making friends with premonitions is finding someone who can talk with you talk about it.  Who do you talk to about your premonitions?

Want to learn more? Book One Cover

          Llewellyn Publications

Barnes and Noble 

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How do you know it’s a premonition?

Premonitions come in all shapes and sizes. You can have a sudden hunch, a rising uneasiness, or something as startling as a vision or a voice in your head. They can warn you away from danger or tease you with a glimpse of tomorrow’s hairstyle.

Here are five common markers for a waking premonition that can help you recognize one of your own.  These markers come from the interviews I did for my book, and from stories gathered over the past century.

1. SUDDEN APPEARANCE Waking premonitions come suddenly, from out of the blue, with no connection to anything we had been thinking a moment earlier. It yanks us out of our usual train of thought ad into something completely different.

2. CERTAINTY waking premonitions carry a certainty that goes beyond good sense. Whatever it is that we know or feel, we feel sure about it, even more sure than our own rational assessment of the situation. We just know. It feels important, clear, and urges us to pay attention.

3. CONFUSION When we can’t shake the certainty and can’t trace the thought back to a source we often feel confused. How did I know that? Why am I feeling so anxious about nothing? Most of us will try to scold ourselves back to rational thinking, until the future event happens and connects with our concern.

4. VAGUENESS Waking premonitions are maddeningly vague. We feel anxious but don’t know what about. We see a vision of an event but who knows where or when or how it will happen? For all the certainty we seldom have enough details to understand what is coming.

5.  PHYSICAL MARKERS we might get chills, a tingling down the arms and back of the neck. We might have a clawing at the pit of our stomach. We might feel hot and bothered, restless and full of unnecessary adrenaline as our body gets ready for something we haven’t yet tracked.

6. PERSONAL MARKERS Over time we can build our own personal list of markers that tell us which images and feelings to watch and which we can push aside. For one person a dream of flowers might mean a funeral, but for most people a dream of flowers just mean flowers.

Want to learn more? Book One Cover

          Llewellyn Publications

Barnes and Noble 


Have you had a premonition?

“I knew this was going to happen! How did I know that?!”

Nearly every story of a premonitions includes these two exclamations. A complete certainty that the event before us is not new but instead more like a re-run, a repeating of something we have already seen, or felt, or imagined, or thought.  We wonder how such a thing could be possible, especially those of us living in the middle of a culture that remains firm in the conviction that such moments cannot be what they seem.

What are premonitions? If you are looking for a scientific explanation you might be out of luck. Researchers are still at the beginning, arguing about whether or not premonitions exist. I have a few links to researchers and organizations, but they all come with their critics and detractors. The argument is far from settled.

But if you are looking for an explanation you can live with, an explanation to help you settle back into daily life, then this might be the place for you.

There are almost as many explanations and reasons for premonitions as there are people who have them, because at their core premonitions are a human event. They are subjective and fluid, just as our lives are subjective and fluid. What a premonition means depends on just who is having the premonition and about what kind of event is being seen (or thought or felt or imagined). Premonitions are more like emotions. We don’t look to science to validate emotions are real, we just get on with feeling them, figuring them out through stories, songs, poetry, movies. We all know that what love is depends on just who is loving what (or whom).

I hope we can share our stories here, along with the explanations we each like best.