The Woman Who Traveled
By Carin Chea
Author Theresa Dominquez-Weiss, holds many degrees and titles, including (but not limited to): Licensed Vocational Nurse, Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioner (retired), metaphysician, and owner-Director of a world-renowned international tour company.
But, one title not known by many that Dominguez-Weiss holds is that of Deathwalker.
In her debut book, Deathwalker - Journeys of Life, Death & Beyond, the multi-faceted author shares the literal and emotional journey she embarked on decades ago when she helped her beloved grandmother transition from this life to the next. Her extensive needed breath of fresh air during these uncertain and perilous times.
You have an extensive background as registered nurse as well as a nurse practitioner. How did you manage to bridge both your science and spiritual backgrounds?
I was raised Catholic in a traditional lower-middle-class neighborhood 10 miles south of LA in Whittier. I was the oldest with seven siblings and 2 awesome parents. We were the only Hispanics in the all-white neighborhood at the time. All 4 of my grandparents came across the border from Mexico during the Revolutionary War in the early 1900s. It was fortunate for us that they all lived in the Los Angeles area.
Grandma Rosie (whom I get the title of the book from) lived in Highland Park and we were very close. Mom and I had to live with her and Grand-pappy for the first years of my life because my dad was called into the Korean War.
Grandma Rosie had a beautiful garden and lots of birds were always around. When I was really little, she'd ask me, "What do you think that bird is saying? What is that flower telling you right now?" When you're a kid, anything's natural, and it was through her example that I grew up knowing there were other worlds around. It runs in my lineage form her side - she's very intuitive.
In the Hispanic world, there's a different level of spirituality that happens. It is generally accepted about other worlds of existence, the other world you go to after you die. Most are comfortable with the sense that there's another side. That and Catholicism in my growing up years was how my spirituality developed.
In the mid 70s, that's when I really went into my metaphysical search. However, my first existential crisis occurred when I was 15. I fell in love with a cute, blonde-eyed surfer guy and he was just as crazy about me as I was about him.
What more could a Mexican-American girl ask for! In my era, there was so much naivete; we were all good kids. But we started French-kissing. However, in the Catholic church, that's a mortal sin, French-kissing. My existential dilemma quickly developed itself. Every week the entire family would go to Mass, including all of us going up to receive Holy Communion. If I'm French-kissing my boyfriend I'd crossed the portal on the way to hell, thus becoming ineligible to receive communion.
Always being a resourceful, I came up with a solution. I'd go see my boyfriend on Friday, we'd French kiss the heck out of each other (nothing else I swear!), ride my bike on Saturday to church to go to confession. Satisfy my penance right there on the spot, usually a few very long Rosaries, and perhaps a Confession of Faith and some Our Fathers. Sunday I could confidently attend Mass with my parents and all and received Holy Communion, sin free.
I quickly realized this path did not make sense. I reasoned with myself, "I'm happy. I have a boyfriend and we're deeply in love, and things are so sweet between us. Mom & Dad are crazy about him. God wants me to be happy! And I am, so why would I be committing a sin if I am so happy?"
I quit going to confession, but I still went to get communion, and did not experience any negative ramifications from God. Shortly thereafter I asked myself "Why can't I go to God directly? I always have prayed directly to him, so why do I have to go to a priest to ask forgiveness that something that I don't think is a sin?" That's the moment I completely started breaking away from organized religion.
In the mid-70s, I had my first experience with meditation. In the paper, there was an ad for a meditation experiment at USC. I did that for a few weeks. Afterwards, I really like my experience doing meditation, finding a dark room and unloading my mind. I started deliberately reading and looking at other meditative practices, starting with "The Relaxation Response" from Dr. Herbert Benson from Harvard, moving on to Be Here Now by Ram Dass.
My dad was a medic in the Korea War. If we ever got banged up getting a "koko" (slang for a little wound in Spanish," my dad would pull his medic kit from the war out of the medicine cabinet. He would fix our wounds, drawing little butterflies or dragonflies with mechurechrome over the wound, while telling a little story to distract you from the pain.
This would be pretty awesome to get this rare one-on-one time with dad, if you can imagine having 7 brothers and sisters always vying for his attention.
At first, perhaps I wanted to be like my dad, but medicine turned into my calling. I started out as a candy striper and went onto licensed vocation nurse school at Rio Hondo. I went on to get an RN degree at Cal State Fullerton. In the early 80s I took the nurse practitioner route through UC Davis.
How has your medical background influenced your understanding of the spirit world, and vice versa?
It brings in a simultaneous sense of compassion for those who are in pain and in need while having to really be completely focused. When you're doing medicine, you want to be practicing the "art" of medicine at the highest and most potent level, actuating the person's own inherent power of healing.
Tell us about Deathwalker -- Journeys of Life, Death & Beyond. Is this your first book?
This is my first book. When my beloved Grandma Rosie died I deathwalked her to the other side, and then came back. I suppressed that memory for 17 years.
In 1999 I was running one of our international conferences in Crete called Life, Death and Beyond. I conjecture due to the theme of the conference, the memory of deathwalking Grandma began bubbling up. I went to my hotel room one afternoon, and the whole first chapter flooded out of my subconscious.
I then started thinking of my transformational experiences at Power Places, like spending the night inside the Great Pyramid in Egypt, getting lost and almost dying in the Palenque Yucatan rainforest, and being around some intense death and dying experiences.
I kept journals while traveling to Power Places. I felt compelled to write down my experiences in medicine and death and dying and tragedy, and how to my shamanic transformative experiences deeply changed me to live a life with meaning.
"Deathwalk-Journeys of Life, Death and Beyond" I wrote 21 years ago, and it took this long for me to get the courage up to publish it. The content was so controversial and the story of my grandmother so bizarre and strange I didn't want anyone to think I was wacko.
One chapter in the book is about my grandfather. He was a character actor in the 40s and 50s, in mostly Western movies with the likes of John Wayne, Anthony Quinn, Frank Sinatra and Wallace Berry. And because he was in the movies, we kids were in the movies as well.
Some of my favorite childhood memories was being on the set in the world of make believe. It's fun to see myself in One Eyed Jack with Marlon Brando.
Would you mind sharing about the death of your Grandma Rosie?
I took abuelita Grandma Rosie to the Other Side, the first point where people go immediately after they die. Then came back. This was in 1982 and I had gone to visit grandma the day before, one more time in the hospital as she was lying in a coma, dying. I said goodbye to her and left.
The next day I had been working all day at my first job as a family nurse practitioner in a Santa Ana barrio clinic. Suddenly I felt as if I was going to fall flat on my face if I didn't lie down. Luckily I found an empty treatment room and lay down on an empty gurney.
Lying on the table I found myself flying to the hospital like Super Girl. I arrived at Grandma Rosie's room and saw her spirit self was standing at the bedside, looking at her dead body. I walked up to Grandma, turned her around and we started going up in what felt like an elevator.
The next thing I know we're on this hilltop in this beautiful pasture, a gorgeous forest in the background; the air diffused with a golden- turquoise light, but no discernible sun. I starkly remember having the most peaceful feeling I've ever felt.
All these animals, birds, and insects were coming up the hill and communicating with her, and yet there was total silence. But, I knew they were telepathically communicating to her. It was like all the animals and birds and insects she'd ever come in contact with were communication with her. Now, I don't know how an insect communicates with humans, but they did to her.
Then, I leaned back against an ancient giant tree and found myself falling down and going through the roots of the tree. Next thing I see "myself" lying on the table. Walk up to the table, took a deep breath in and I was back in my body.
To be honest, I didn't want people to think I was wacko, or that I was having a schizophrenic break, and this is a pretty far out experience. That's why it took me 21 years to get the courage to publish this book and these stories.
Do you think spiritual mindfulness should play a bigger role in today's medical and health sciences?
I think spirituality should play a bigger role in everyone's life. The timing of this book coming out is interesting seeing as how we're all living in this new COVID reality. People are scared, fearful - they're not eating or sleeping well. They're irritable, easy to anger, unable to concentrate or focus, depressed. The only thing they get along with are their pets.
The unknown of not knowing that's going to happen career and business wise, life wise has been shattering. People have had a nuclear meltdown with this COVID reality with every single aspect of their lives. The whole planetary consciousness is set adrift. We're all trying to surf on quicksand and maintain a balance.
In Deathwalker- Journeys of Life, Death & Beyond" I provide a treasure map for making a meaningful life by re-creating a new personal you. In this COVID reality, people have to admit to themselves: Nothing will ever be the same.
In Deathwalker, I have 3 wisdoms that provide a treasure map for re-creating a new you for your own new personal world. You can't change the world externally, but you can change your own internal world.
These 3 wisdoms are:
- Stop, be still, stay in the moment.
- Trust your intuition, your gut feeling, no matter what.
- The power of self-love.
All of us have heard these in one form or another. In the first wisdom - we must just stop. If one inhales and slowly exhales with our lips puckered, and does that four times, actual brain changes take place to start a relaxation process.
By stopping and being still, we can then move our internal self to be in the "moment." When we are in the "moment," we can start to feel our intuition, which is the highest level of communication we can receive. And, that helps us into wisdom #3.
Does that transition to Wisdom #3?
Notice I didn't say the power of love. The reason I say "the power of self-love" is because if we truly have a potent sense of self-love, the love that we convey is going to be that much more powerful, healing and grounding.
With those 3 wisdoms, we will be able to re-create our new inner personal world to make our future more meaningful in any aspect - relationships, career, getting sleep, feeling healthy, having fun.
You're also the Director of Power Places, an international custom tour group. How did you transition into that career?
I met the love of my life, my beloved husband Toby, who passed a few years ago, in 1975. He had his PhD in the History of Consciousness from U.C. As a nurse it is required to take continuing education classes. I saw a class on Laying On Hands, the class he was teaching, and it changed my life.
We re-connected at a Christmas party in 1979. Then a few months later went on our first trip together as a couple to Cozumel, a tropical island in the Mexican Caribbean. From the beginning we notice the very special energies there. Having these inner experiences was providing inspiration and deep internal revelations.
At the end of the week, Toby said, "This is a real "Power Place." We should bring people here to this island because we can come back here and have these experiences!" Toby was still teaching, and I was still practicing medicine. He transitioned to leading transformational groups to go to these places.
We researched and traveled to Power Places around the world, the obvious ones and the ones that weren't so well-known. He started Power Places in 1980l leading tours, and, after about 6 years, I left medicine and started working at Power Places full time.
National Geographic Traveler's Magazine named Power Places "the grandfather of spiritual travel."
Are there any upcoming projects you'd like us to know about?
I have about 7 other books in mind, and 2 movie treatments.
The next book I'll be doing with a dear friend of Toby and ours, Emil Shaker. He's a world-renowned Egyptologist and understands the hidden wisdoms and teachings that are written inside the ancient Egyptian temples.
Emil and Toby led groups together in Egypt in decades. They had always talked about writing a book together on ancient Egypt, and I'm hoping to write this book with him.
For more information and updates, please visit https://TheresaDominguezWeiss.com.
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