I recall as a child sleep walking through our huge old yellow colored farm house located on the north side of the city of Chicago. It sat nestled between large brick apartment buildings and oak trees lined the front streets keeping this area dark and hidden from the sun. In waking reality this house I lived in frightened me. It was such a humongous hollow old house that held large rooms within it, three floors and a large dark basement. I image that the people that built and lived in this farm house, decades ago, owned all the land on the block and maybe even the surrounding area. The stories, the souls, that roamed around this area, I used to feel as a child, may have had a history of deep pain and unhappiness. It just felt as if the balls of energy from lives past curled up on our street and congregated at our house waiting for me to acknowledge the decay of energy that existed in one a lively form but over the years had nowhere to go. Or maybe the energy was attached to the ring leader that resided in my house, a spirit that roamed through the hollow halls and peered out the front windows every so often just waiting for someone or something.

It’s easier for me to contemplate conceptualizing what existed around me as a child. I envisage myself stepping between two worlds, ascending and descending; being pulled each way through an enigmatic portal residing in my childhood house within a parallel room on the second floor. I do not recall anyone in my family recognizing where I traipsed off to, disappearing and reappearing before their eyes. I recollect existing as an invisible being in the same room as my family. As they sat watching TV, playing games, or reading, I sat alongside them speaking with the ghosts that wandered the hallways of this parallel universe. My sisters and brother would be walking through a room, walking through me, calling my name, not noticing my presence right beside them; I would remain in silence with only my breath creating a movement enjoying their confusion over my disappearance. I felt as if my clairvoyance and clairsentience were my only competencies as a child, without my gifts, without this portal and without this other realm, I was weak, I was sensitive, and I was too emotional for anyone to deal with me. I was left out, lost, nu-nurtured, neglected, and nonexistent.

I feel as though the spirit that haunted my childhood house was aching to be set free, as I was too. And I imagine it attached itself to me because we were both living in a sense of darkness, of nonexistence, where no one could really see us, trapped within our own inner turmoil that we were unable to lay to rest. It took me years to actually conceptualize that I am a beacon for spirits wanting to cross over into the light.

I cannot recall one night going by without sleep walking or communicating with spirits as a child.  When I now take a glimpse back it makes sense why my waking life had always been a dense fog, why everyone thought I was never present while awake. Growing up I was always tired and slow when awake, in a daze, always absent in the presence of others, never attentive in the way expected as a child. At night I would sleep walk through my large house, from back stairs to front stairs, speaking to the spirit(s) wandering around in limbo, they had found my beacon of light, attracted to my wide open crown chakra they would swiftly attach themselves to me. Sleepwalking through the stairwell ascending and descending the steps seemed to be some sort of an initiation for me; an inaugural ceremony into the boundless depths of my Self. I had to travel near and far, all alone, depending on if I was going up or down the stairs. Each step seemed to represent a different realm, or a piece of the universal whole. One step illuminated the afterlife; another step brought me to a foreign landscape in a European country side far beyond where I presently resided; the bottom step represented the darkness of my soul where my dreams turned to nightmares and where I could always hear a voice whisper “go ahead try and step deeper into the pit of the unknown”. The top step for me always represented a vision of my freedom, where I would fantasize some picture of truth about Self; dreams of healing, of happiness, dreams that led me down paths to a luminous view of sparkling energies dancing around in a spiral. I was never able to remain in these dreams or on this top step for very long. I would always feel a tap on my right shoulder, and within seconds someone would grab me and yang me down a stair or two. I was called upon to visit the top step more often as I grew older; when lessons had been learned as I began to evolve into something more then what I first started out as in my childhood years.

The spirit that resided in my childhood house became my worst nightmare and my only friend. He led me to the bottom tiers of the spiral staircase and pushed me often over the edge; and at times he invited me to envision what the stairs beyond the top one would be like. He wanted to give me hope that this lifetime would evolve into something beautiful and eventually the afterlife for me would entail a big leap towards enlightenment. He never taught me to be unafraid; he only taught me about the world beyond our waking reality, and the world within my deepest Self.

I find myself sitting in the dark on the front landing of my house. I can see in the dark here, it is cold and scary. I stare out the colorful stain glass window as if I am comatose. I listen to the voices that circle around my head. The voices become too many and too loud and I become irritated. I can’t see anyone speaking around me; I can only hear and feel them. My body shakes in fright. Rocking back and forth, I close my eyes and wish this all to go away.

 “Help me.” A whisper blows across my right ear. I turn, opening my eyes. I see a figure standing right next to me. It leans forward towards my face. “I hear you can take me into the light.” I scream.

I wake up.

I find myself sitting in the dark on the steps above the front landing. I stand up quickly and run up the stairs into my bedroom. This ends up being the one room of my house that always has a lamp turned on all night long. I jump into my bed and pull the covers over my head. I breathe heavily and wonder in a soft whisper “Will I die too if I continue to breathe under the covers without fresh air.”

My first encounter was mind blowing for me as a child, but as nights went by and I grew to know this spirit he would offer me information and show me another unearthly world.

He would appear in my dreams a lot in the beginning. Waking me up into my dreamtime, he would pull my covers off me and grab my shoulder giving it a little shake. I would open my eyes and tell him I was too tired to go with him. ; but he would not accept a NO from me. So for him I would have to get out of bed. He would clasp my hand and ask me where he should take me tonight. I would shrug sheepishly and always say I don’t care.

“Tonight I will show you the place where our souls go before entering into eternity”.

“Don’t they go to heaven or hell?” I snickered. “That is what they tell us in church and school, what everyone tells me in this waking life I am forced to live out.”

“Yes, well Souls go into their own hell if they are not capable of letting go of the physical world. And Heaven… well heaven is whatever one perceives it is right after death, that beautiful illuminated place in which one knew to be true within their mind.”

“Oh. Do you hold that beautiful place in your mind as your body lives beneath the ground? They say it is just blackness.”

“It is blackness if that is what you believe the afterlife to be.”

“No. That sounds scary. Why do they want to scare us and act as if death is icky and morbid?”

“Because they have lost themselves in the literal words and well…now is not the time to explain this to you. Let me just show you where we go. You will understand it all one day, you see and feel it also. Meredith this is your life lesson, it will not feel good but if you can emerge from this lifetime there will be great karmic awards.”

I was taken aback by what he just said. I did not understand any of it and my feelings were all twisted. Life was so hard and encouraging. “Look inward Meredith. Not upward in your mind.” I no longer touched the ground with my feet. I was floating above my home and out into the dark skies of the night. Soon the dark skies turned into bright stars and then we arrived. The energy field was different here. There was a peaceful bright place filled with energetic colors twirling around; gold’s blues, whites, yellows rays of light as vibrant as a field of flowers.

“Are we here?”

“In a sense yes, but we are always here.”

“I don’t understand.”

“This is the frequency vibration you human souls should always be at. But you are no longer.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Soon enough you will.”

“But why are you still here roaming earth, living in my house?”

“I thought I was waiting for someone to help me cross over. It has taken me many years to accept my death and let go. Whenever I meet someone who has the capability to help me they do not. Then I realized it is I who was waiting for someone in my soul family. I won’t allow myself to go anywhere until I know I can meet them all on this dimension, and then we will reincarnate together. For now, I am here to help guide you.”

“Guide me where?”

“Oh your soul is old but you’re still so young.” I heard him laugh and the next thing I know we are back in my bedroom and I can see myself sleeping.

“It is almost morning for you. Go back to bed.”

I climbed into bed, stirring awake not to long after. The memory of the dream was vivid. 

That morning I recall my brother mentioning I had been sleep walking again and he had to take me back to bed. I imaged my whole family wondered what was wrong with little ole me. I could hear their minds rambling to themselves about how odd I was and wondering if I was mentally unstable. I had to learn to listen to their thoughts because nobody had any sort of discussion out loud. My mother chose to ignore these nightly wanderings and seemed to have chalked them up as my childhood emotions not able to accept any type of life oddities or tragedies. I could tell, by the way my mother looked at me with her disapproving eyes, and the way she stared at me when she thought my focus and attention was elsewhere, my mother was convinced I was a fragile emotional mess.

I love sleeping, it is a safe place for me to wander and explore the outer limits of my waking life. And as a child I would usually sleep in late, always still tired after 10 hours of sleep. ..for my sleeping world was (is still) where I live out adventures and where I travel the world through different realms. I would wake with vague memories of speaking to spirits and setting them free into the light. With no concept of what this meant while awake I felt so lost and depressed as I roamed the tiny area of my waking realm within the daily routines I was given to follow. No one to talk to in my family, no one to relate the journeys of my dreaming mind too, and no one to nurture this natural gift within me that I thought as a young child was just mere insanity. I was trapped pacing within my mind up and down the spiral steps of my young waking life. I would long for the night time hours to return so I could go back to asleep, even the fear I felt for some of my dreams or some of the spirits could not keep me from my dreaming world.

Once asleep, communication with spirits eventually grew easier for me; my dreaming mind welcomed these souls that were connected to life after death. I spoke to the spirit that resided in our home. When I slept walk he would follow me around the house, up and down the stairs, protecting me from any intrusions seeping through my dreaming world. He would spend, what seemed like, hours energetically sending me messages of the afterlife. My brother would find me wandering the house late at night having a conversation in a tone that I image he could not translate.

“Let me show you something. Wake up.”

Another night of being dragged out of my bed lost in deep sleep. I opened my eyes and saw my friend, my teacher of some sort, standing over my bed. Slowly I threw my blankets off me and I stood up. I rubbed my eyes.

“Why can I see you better some nights and not others?”

“Do you see me now?” Energy particles sparkled brightly. I nodded yes.

“You see me in my true form. What we all really are. Sometimes you see me as my human silhouette because during the day, when you are awake, your coping mechanism is to view me as a human. During your waking hours you are still digesting and coping with what you see and live out in your dreamtime.”

“Ok.” I shrugged. He grabbed my hand and off we went. I looked down and once again I can see my physical body tugged into my bed sleeping, I can see us floating above my house, the city, the planet, and into the galaxy. I am always still stunned each time this happens. A wave of energy twirls us around as we float through an energy tunnel into a vibrational field that is at such a beautiful high frequency I can only feel pure love.

“I love it here.”

“I know. We all do.”

“What is god?”

“This is God my dear. This is all God.”

“Why do they teach us something different?”

“It is all part of life lessons, of contracts, of life purposes. But the sad thing is that many souls get lost in their human form, in their mind, in the power, wealth, and control. And when they choose to forget there is a purpose, a contract, a plan they had created, than they forget you they are. It is easier to forget than to forgive.”

“I don’t understand. Why are many people who are rich or in power so mean?”

He pulled me through the swirling bright energetic colors. “They have forgotten how to feel pure love. They have replaced it with material wealth and power.”

“Are the people in power and control somebody else?”

No answer was given.

“It is time to go now. I want you to remember this feeling in your waking life, remained everyone how this feels and what their purpose is.”

“But I don’t know anyone else’s purpose.”

“He laughed. You do my child, you know everyone’s purpose.”

In catholic school they always tried to tell me what we were suppose to believe about the afterlife. I never understood why they thought they were right. I never understood why they did not let us question any of what they told us. I suffered inwardly in my own child like knowing, lost within the silence. Digesting what I was told, believing in the stories of the bible because I could not fathom how not to believe in what they forced fed me.

I am wandering around the inside of my school church. I hated it here; it frightened me as a child. I must be sleep walking again. How did I get in here? Oh no did I wander outside of my house down the street into the night?!

I ran up and down the pews. Where is out? I need to get out of here! I shouted loudly in my mind. I began to panic. Why would I return to the one place where the voices are so loud and I cannot find any peace? Why do people find peace in the loudness of the voices? Why do they find peace in a place I do not?  I began to shiver feeling so alone, I need to walk back home. I need to go home. A light up above began to flicker and the candles on the altar, in front of the church, lit up.

“I need to go.” I heard a voice brush past me.

“I hear you can tell me why I am here and not there where you are.” I closed my eyes shut tight and began to scream.

I woke up. My throat was sore from screaming. I was on the front stairs above the landing. I stood up and refused to look around me into the darkness. Instead I stood up and ran quickly up the stairs through the dark and into my bed, pulling the covers over my head. Breathing softly until I fell asleep.

Every first Friday of the month, every Sunday, and every religious holiday known to mankind, we had to go to church. On the first Friday’s of the month, and sometimes other weekdays throughout the month, our school spent a few hours in church. I dreaded these days, for many reasons. First of all we had to practice kneeling a lot, and every time I would kneel for longer than a minute, I would faint. My body did not like the feeling of kneeling, and my knees always seemed to ache. I think it became a joke amongst some classmates; everyone seemed to know they could expect that at some point during church I would faint. Second, every time they burned incense it was so overwhelming to my senses I would feel sick, feeling weak and faint.  Third, I could hear every voice, ever thought, feel every particle of energy in the church, I absolutely struggled with maintaining my composure. As a child in this world I felt there was no escape from this. And days, months, years would go by before I was able to find a way to build up a resistance to entering through the monstrous church doors. Silence was the worse during the days we had to go to church for confession. Those spirits that found solace in the church, those spirits that left an energetic imprint within the stain glass windows of the church, awoken when I entered and they loved to speak to me when everyone was silent. I had come to find that when there was noise within the church, when the church was filled with warm alive bodies singing that the echoing of the chatter and the loudness of the priest’s voice bounced off the church walls and vibrated at a horrible frequency through my ears. I would try to shut off my hearing and left my spirit out of my body to that gray space between waking & death. And there I would sit in silence, happily shutting out both the souls of waking and of death. Until that moment when I was yanked back down by a tap of my shoulder or a stern look from an adult for what seemed to them was me not paying attention, or from a spirit needing my attention, noticing I was not in my completely in my body, as they were not either.

Growing up I was constantly sick to my stomach or pretending to be ill because going to church and school was like a prison for my spirit and soul. This is why my dream world, even at the scariest nights, was my shelter from waking life’s storm. Life to me was filled with contradictions and people making life harder than it needed to be. I could not understand humans, and every time I came to them with love, light, emotion, or a piece of information I received during my night time travels they just pushed me away. In my family I was looked upon and treated as the overly sensitive emotional mute child. Luckily because I had such a spirited soul I made friends easily; I made the cool kids laugh and I befriended the shy kids and the kids everyone ignored. Dreamtime was different, even with all its ups and downs it was more my home than my actual waking life was to me. My dream world was a puzzle and I always felt like I was a heroine on a quest to find the pieces to my dream puzzles. Sleep walking is common for me and it is something I act out when my mind is traumatized with emotions buried too deep bubbling and needing to seep out. I slept walk a lot as a child, but now as an adult I find myself sleep walking when something traumatic from my past or present is lifted to my waking life surface.  I wonder if sleep walking also was a way to tap into my own voice and my gift of speaking with spirits. My emotions were so bound up in waking life, my mind full of chatter; sleepwalking, I imagine, was at times a way for me to vent out, to release, and to get connected with my soul’s purpose.

I was a very quiet child and my parents were very strict. It felt as though I was only allowed to speak when spoken to. And I only had the spirits to communicate with; “they” were constantly speaking to me. When I did speak out loud in waking life, my voice was all tangled up and no one in my family seemed to listen to me. I look back on my childhood and wonder about all the silence that conjured up in low frequency energy balls in the corners of my house. Some afternoons I would be pulled to a corner of a room and I would stand there staring off into space, watching these energy particles moving around in a cluttered motion. I had no urge to touch them, to move into their field, or to touch them. They gave me a feeling of ickiness but yet I was mesmerized by them. Could these stagnate balls of silent energy have anything to do with the spiritual imprints of lives past I was left speaking with?! Or were these the silent energies of my emotionally angry family feeding life into us?!

When I would become ill, as a child, everything was enhanced, my dreams, my nightmares, my sleep walking. My fevers made everything brighter, louder, and more present around me, and with a high fever I would fall in and out of sleep. “They” would come in groups reaching out to me and I could see them energetically all around me. My mind would fill with their telepathic chatter asking me for help, begging me to guide them, asking me to take them home. But as a child alone, in a family of 4 (after excluding my father), I did not have one person to mentor me on what “they” so desperately needed me to know. It would become so overwhelming I would rise up and begin to wander around my room, my house, dancing with “them”, speaking with “them”, trying to give them the comfort they were looking for as they searched for some sort of light within me. As a child, I never understood any of this. I did what I could to give them what they needed within my dream realm, to help them, to listen to them, to let them feed off my light; but for many years I had no clue what was going on and why this was happening to me. As with the religion I was forced to believe in, I accepted these spirits as another belief to hold on to. I guess I figured one of these was truth and the other was not. So either way I would be saved and hell would not come asking for me to take residence. The old man spirit that lived in our home never really explained to me what to do to help them. He would acknowledge what I would tell him and that these souls would come to me for help, but he never taught me what to do or how to handle the situation. Maybe it was not in his job description to teach me certain things.

During these times when I would get very sick, when I would not hide the fact that I seemed delirious to my waking life physical family, my mom would give me NyQuil to put me in a deep sleep. I am sure it scared her when she would find me in deep conversation in her bedroom, but was unable to see anybody I was talking with. However, my mother had a little black and white TV and it was on all night long, and I imaged it looked as though I was speaking to the people inside the television. Sometimes it felt that way.

I journeyed to the land of the TV. Whatever show happened to be on I somehow was there alongside the characters in the show. My fever helped me travel to these far off places inside the television, and I enjoyed the people I encountered along the way.

I recall Oprah calling out to me. She was sitting on in a chair on a platform that was created outside in a field of grass. The wind was blowing and the sun was out, it felt so warm, it felt like Hawaii to me. I could smell the ocean waters as it whisked through the air with the wind. There were chairs all lined up for the audience, maybe about 100 people sat and turned their attention to Oprah.

“Come, my darling. Take a seat. Join us.” She pointed to an empty chair near the front.

I could feel the warm breeze in the air as I sat down in the white folding chair. As I looked around me I noticed no one else was sitting in the folding chairs.


I looked up but saw no one.

“Before I read an excerpt from this book, I would like to teach something to you Meredith.”

I looked up on stage and saw a silhouette of a person.

I nodded that I was ready to be taught and she began speaking. The warm breeze kept blowing and I felt content with my teachings. I accepted what I was being taught and listened brightly, asking questions as I could.

“Now recite back to me what I just taught you.”

I stood up and my mind went blank. “I do not think I heard anything you said.”

“Lay down Meredith. Lay down Meredith.”

I began walking closer to the stage. “What?”

“Meredith lay down. Go back to sleep.”

“But I am asleep. I am not in my bedroom. I am here learning from you.” Everything began to fade.

“Who are you speaking to Meredith?”

I looked up away from the TV and noticed my mom getting out of bed. I could not move for I was not completely back in my body. I could see myself looking back between the TV and my mother.

“Wake up Meredith.” My mom put her hand on my forehead. “You are burning hot. You have a fever.”

I could hear myself say. “But my lesson is not over. There is more I must know. Without it I don’t understand why I am here.”

My mom laid me down in bed which was the very moment I was sucked back into my body. Next thing I know she is telling me to sit up and handing me a spoon full of NyQuil. “This will help you sleep”, was the last thing I remember from that particular night.

We first moved into this house when I was 4 or 5 years old. We moved out after I graduated from 8th grade, I was 13. When we moved out my sleep walking days were pretty much over. I never saw or spoke to the old man spirit ever again. I have slept walked about 2-4 times a year since I moved away from the house, but it was only during times of deep stress or traumatic waking life experiences. During my teenage years I struggled with my dreams and spirit encounters. The old man spirit was my guide and protector through my encounters, now I was alone both in waking and in dreaming.

Not only can a dreamer physically sleep walk while sleeping, but a dreamer can actually be known to wander through their dreams as if they are walking within their sleep, Dreamwalkers. I often wander the lands between dimensions, crossing boundary lines, wandering through gates that open up to realms of similar to earth and completely different from our physical lives. Sometimes as I wander drifting between doorways, windows, gates, I am pulled to complete tasks, as if I am given quests to endure in many of my dreams. I am not always intent on arriving to my destination, and sometimes it is the journey through the earth and beyond, through realms I have become accustomed to, that I enjoy most. Other times I get caught in places while I am on my next dream quest, maybe I found a place that resonates within me good or bad and I am caught up in unfinished business or karma that needs to play out (this can happen in waking life for me also). Or at times I get wrapped up in my search, or my journey, and forget the reason why I set out to reach a particular destination. Within the confines of my own mind, here between waking reality and my dream dimension, where I know the truth exists. It is also common for me to become trapped in a certain area within my dream. I will walk back and forth between the walls of my own confusion, searching for the door to walk through. But it is during my pacing, my confusion, and my forgetfulness that I become stuck, at which time after wasting so much of my energy I must take a moment and sit. This is when I begin to congregate with other spirit walkers that are also lost and confused within their wandering; and together we begin to build the confines that bind our vision. They say not all who wander are lost, and that is true for the most part, but I have found myself wandering off the beaten path into the unknown and become lost. It is here where eventually I sit and wait it out with others. Together we contain the trapped space we ourselves materialized, until we alone free ourselves from our own pain, moving through healing to begin our travels onward.


Download Flash of Spirit podcast “Handbook to the Afterlife” and listen in on the conversation between hosts Meredith Smith & Dr. Gillian Holloway while they speak with guest Jon Klimo.