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Theresa Dominguez Weiss’s “Deathwalker”

“Not many would be brave enough to venture inside the Great Pyramid to be in complete darkness for 3 hours, where allegedly Napoleon Bonaparte spent the entire night and refused to ever reveal what he experienced. Most of us spend our entire lives avoiding these mystifying places. For author and retired Family Nurse Practitioner Theresa Dominguez-Weiss though, the veil between the spiritual and physical realms has usually been thin. Growing up in a Mexican-American family with seven siblings she knew of Dia de los Muertos and her grandmother always taught her to have a listening ear to the subtle, secret buzz of the invisible.

But all this still didn’t prepare Theresa for what happened when her beloved Grandma Rosie called on her at the moment she died. This mystical supernatural encounter shook Dominguez-Weiss to her core and she completely suppressed it in her mind. The memory started bubbling up seventeen years later. One afternoon she sat down and the entire memory came pouring out as the now first chapter of the book. Once this was penned, the rest of her book, Deathwalker- Journeys of Life, Death & Beyond, seamlessly came together.

This fascinating book chronicles her shamanic spiritual experiences and includes Dominguez-Weiss’ travels to Power Places, a term she and her late husband Toby coined, denoting locations that are man-made or nature sites holding a special feeling or mystique to them. These experiences, she affirms, have been paramount to her transformative, personal growth.

How did you find your voice as a writer?

With “Deathwalker” I feel like it was thrust upon me, and I became sort of obsessed with it. I’ve loved to write ever since I was young, kept a diary, a journal that sort of thing. However, I would never say I was an author or a writer. But I always loved to write whenever I was inspired or by something I was experiencing at the moment. I’d write on napkins, pieces of scrap paper, whatever I could get my hands on at the moment. Remember this was pre-mobile phone days! However, even now I enjoy writing on paper instead of typing on my laptop or my mobile.

In 1999, seventeen years later after my experience with Grandma Rosie, I was running our Power Places conference in Crete with the theme of “Life, Death & Beyond.” One afternoon the memory of what happened the moment when she died bubbled to the surface. I went to my hotel room and the first chapter came out.

I was extremely close to my beloved Grandma Rosie growing up. The moment she died, my spirit met her spirit and I walked her to what I call the OtherSide, the first place we go to where we die. And then I came back. Thus, the book title, “Deathwalker-Journeys of Life, Death & Beyond.” ]

Did it scare you?

I guess I would have to say Yes as I suppressed the memory for seventeen years! But it shouldn’t have. For the first few years of my life, my mom and I were living with my mom’s parents, Grandma Rosie and Grandpappy in Highland Park, as my dad got called off to the Korean War. Subsequently, I was really close with Grandma Rosie.

I would go every summer to spend a week or two at her house from the time I was a kid until I was a teenager. I loved those times. I’m the oldest of seven brothers and sisters, and you never got any quiet, private time in our home. Thus those summer days at Grandma Rosie’s were precious. I didn’t have to do any chores and had no responsibilities. I could just sit outside on the back porch swing and read all day long!

Grandma Rosie and I would be in her beautiful garden every afternoon. She would talk to the birds and sing or hum back to them, commune with the plants and talk to the insects. She’d ask me what I thought the birds were saying with their songs, so I grew up with these other worlds, telecommunications, soundings from other life forms. To me, it was very natural. When you’re a kid, whatever is happening in your world around you, you assume is natural.

When Grandma Rosie developed cancer, I’d already been a nurse and had lots of training and studies in metaphysics including training in meditations and ancient healing techniques. I asked her one day if she wanted to have an experience with a meditation technique that could help relax her. She said yes, and we shared that experience. I don’t know why, but at the end of it, I said, “Grandma Rosie, when it’s time to die, call me.” I completely forgot about that and never really thought about what I had just said. Fast forward to the moment when she actually did die, she must have called me.

What would you say is the main takeaway from your book?

The main takeaway from the book is that […it inspires people and provides optimism and hope no matter what one is faced with in life. The book provides a treasure map of 3 wisdom's to help people create a new, meaningful life for themselves by transforming sadness, grief, or traumas that have happened in their life. This is so timely, especially right now with this new COVID reality happening. Everyone had to shut down their life in the entire world … it has been extremely frightening to people, whether we want to admit it or not. Everybody’s world has been torn upside down, topsy turvy. People then discovered that their lives didn’t fit them anyway! Now there is a search for guidance on how to create a new “inner life” for themselves. An “inner life” that will in turn be reflected in living a life with meaning, a meaningful life. I offer three wisdom's in the book on how to do that.

So, it’s also a little bit of a guide on how to tap into spirituality?

Yes. Tapping into one’s own inner spirituality or Higher Self, or whatever one wishes to call it is key to living a meaningful life. I would say that wisdom is interspersed with the memoirs that have happened in my life around death and dying, telecommunication with pets, and my experiences at power places. These include the time I spent in the Great Pyramid [of Giza] in the dark by myself or spent the night at Machu Picchu by myself. Not exactly like, here it is, one, two, three, but the three wisdom's, with the themes running throughout the book, really provide a treasure map to recreating a new you for your own new personal world reality inside. You can’t control what’s outside, but you can only have real change that is permanent if it is anchored within ourselves. That three wisdom's help people get to that point.

I was going to ask you, initially, what prompted you to combine science and spirituality, but it sounds like spirituality was always apparent to you from a young age.

Yes, but not a religion so much. Although I love the ritual, the Latin, all the pomp and circumstance of being raised in the Catholic church, being Chicana second-generation Mexican American. The Hispanic culture has in itself an awareness that there are other realities, that when you die you go to another place. Then you can come back, which is apparent in the traditions and stories. This is apparent as depicted in the animated film “Coco.” So, regarding science, I’ve always been curious since I was a little kid. It would drive my mom crazy. She’d say something, and I’d go, why? Not because I was being a brat, but I was always curious about everything and anything. I’m still curious to this day. That led me to be involved in medicine which probably began so I could emulate my dad. He was a medic in the Korean War. I looked up to my dad for everything. My beloved mom, well she was always there. Like the air you breathe, constant, a life-giving force.

I became interested in working in the local hospital and at sixteen years old became a candy-striper. So many strange sights and sounds, but I was so intrigued and fascinated by this strange world. That led to becoming an RN and then being accepted into the nurse practitioner program at UC Davis School of Family Medicine.

After you wrote that first chapter in the hotel, what was your writing process like for the rest of the book?

There was this inner drive, for want of a better way of expressing it, to write about other transformative experiences. I pulled out journals that I’d kept from our travels, when Toby and I would travel to Power Places, or when I’ve gone there leading groups. I’d had experiences at these Power Places, so I’d redirect to the journals. In these journals, I wrote things down as they were happening. This way, the memory would be fresh in my mind. During this time of writing the rest of the stories, I started remembering things I hadn’t really thought about. They all seemed to do with the themes, the great themes of death, life, and the beyond. For instance, when I was in seventh grade, one of my classmates committed suicide and what that was like. When I was a young nurse of nineteen, my most favorite patient who I totally adored and was so sweet and a mere 5 years old, died right at my side. One minute we were chatting away and the next minute she was dead. I write about what that did to me. These stories I felt the need to write down. As I wrote I began to see how transformative, almost like shamanic experiences have led me to search for and live a “meaningful life.”

I learned how to stop, be still, stay in the moment. How to trust my intuition no matter what was in front of my eyes. And importantly about the power of self-love. Not the power of love, because we’ve heard that a million times. For me, it’s the power of self-love, because self-love is an evolved, unconditional love for yourself, which then flows to others or to wherever it is focused.

Do you have plans for a future book?

Yes, collaborating with Emil Shaker, a world-famous Egyptologist. He is the world expert in understanding the ancient Egyptian mysteries and the wisdom that can come from understanding those mysteries. He and Toby met in 1983 in the Temple of Luxor when Toby had a group. Toby had his Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness out of the University of California and had been a student of metaphysics for the previous 10 years. Toby was fascinated as he had never heard anyone speak of the spiritual metaphysical aspects within the temples, besides himself. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship/brothers between Toby and Emil. For decades they walked the temples together, leading groups together. They spoke of writing a book on ancient Egypt which never happened. I am hoping to write their book with Emil. Next year I have planned tours with Emil to take my group through the ancient temples and sites. The potent way he conveys the hidden mysteries written on the walls here, one is able to uncover their own hidden wisdom within, making discoveries that allow one to move into a meaningful life and fulfill one’s destiny.

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