Interview with Angie Fenimore
We recently had the pleasure to interview Angie Fenimore, who had a Near Death Experience (NDE) when she tried to take her life in 1991, at the young age of 27 years old. She had a tremendously insightful experience that turned her life around, a story we thought definitely worth sharing with you…
Hi Angie, welcome to Horizon Self Discovery! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Marleen and Horizon team, well thank you!
Yes, sure. Well, I’m 52 years old. I was born in Phoenix, Arizona in January of 1964.
I have 5 children, 3 grandchildren, an amazing sweetheart, and a loving and amazing extended family. I live near Salt Lake City, Utah.
I facilitate Calliope Writing Coach writers’ courses and conferences, I provide private writing coaching and I’m a bestselling author. I survived a suicide attempt 25 years ago and had an extraordinary near-death experience that I wrote about in “Beyond the Darkness”. I’m currently revising the book to include details from my life that I didn’t share in the original book so as not to cause harm to family members (who are now deceased, or have come to understand that the truth makes us free) that would make a significant difference for the reader to know. I’ve also included what has happened since the book’s original release in 1995. The 20th Anniversary Edition of “Beyond the Darkness” has been available since July to coincide with the IANDS Conference in Florida.
That sounds like a full life after quite a confrontational experience. Glad you were granted a second chance at life. How has that affected your life and the choices you make now on a daily basis?
My life looks nothing like it did before my NDE.
I am not the person who was willing to leave two little boys behind and end it all. The bottom line is that I now take responsibility for everything. For example, I’ve had husbands who cheated on me while I was expecting their babies. If I remain a victim and blame them, I am powerless to have anything but more of the same. As long as I choose the view that I’m not accountable for every moment of my life, all I can have is what is dosed to me by others, by circumstances, by life. If I choose responsibility, then I have all the say-so in how my life will go.
I take responsibility for everything now. I look from who I am being that my husband would cheat on me. When I take that view, my context expands such that I can also see through his eyes. When I can see through his heart, his experience, all that is left for me is compassion and forgiveness. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be a doormat, it means I’m in charge of my life: I can choose.
I take responsibility for the weather, for the traffic, for the growing number of criminals, for war, suicide, hunger on our planet. When I take responsibility, do not blame, but I own every injustice like I’m responsible I’m left with access to do something about those things from a powerful, compassionate, effective place.
Taking full responsibility is quite a vivid paradigm, a great one indeed! What else would you say is an important skill you’ve developed over the years?
How to write masterfully and also teach writing skills to others, such as filmmakers, musicians, authors, who have access to reaching millions. I empower others who have important stories to share that will change lives, and ultimately change our planet and how we relate to each other. I could write ten more books in my lifetime, or I could empower and train a thousand people to write ten books in their lifetimes and exponentially change our planet for good.
The latter would have much more impact on this world we live in, grand choice! As for impacting your own daily life, what are some of your most important daily rituals, practices and habits?
Hahahaha, not what you’d expect! I sit on the front porch with my morning coffee in my jammies with my sweetheart and commune with the tree in my front yard. The door didn’t close to the other side completely when I came back into my body. I can still hear and see light and darkness on an energetic level. Trees are sentinels on our planet, filled with pure light; they serve. I can hear everything around me vibrating, “We are molecule, serving you serving God. We are couch, serving you, serving God. We are tree, serving you, serving God. We are planet, serving you, serving God. We are universe, serving you, serving God. We are all creation, serving you, serving God.”
The molecules that aligned by choice to create my tree, in the beginning of creation, are aligned with the molecules in the wood that was used in the construction of my house, from the beginning of creation, for the purpose of providing me, and all those who pass through the threshold of the house, with shelter so that I, we, might fulfill on our promises to serve each other, to serve all creation that shares our planet, to serve the planet itself, to serve the universe, to serve God. It’s all one and the same. Service is the action arm of love. Love is the ultimate purpose of creation.
Another practice, which is actually organic, something that my entire family engages in naturally, is laughter.
If I am not laughing until I ache on a daily basis, I’m doing a personal check-in with God. I church hop. I have received the Tao. I have a buffalo skin drum that I made and painted with a wasp. My drum told me its name is Wasp Medicine. I practice Native American drumming. I eat with the Sikhs. I go to church sometimes with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, the Utah polygamists, the Born-Again Christians, the Buddhists. What I have found is that wherever two or more are gathered in worshipping God, by whatever name they call Him by, there is access to the divine. I get far more out of being with people who are in the state of worship and the energetic creation of their co-worship experience than I get out of any doctrine that they preach. I don’t go to bed mad. I listen. I relate to my children as capable of choosing for themselves. I choose my beliefs and I choose my experience of life.
You’re making very mindful choices. I’m moved by the insight “we are molecule, serving you, serving God”, thanks for that! I also admire that you engage diverse groups of people, that’s a delightful example to live by and for your children to follow. As a child, what were you like and how has your childhood led you to be the person you are today?
My parents described me as precocious. My sister says I was bossy, that I took charge of her and related to her as her sister and her mother, even more so after our mother left when I was nine.
As far as what made me who I am today, there is a saying, “All that I’ve been through has made me who I am today.” Another version of that saying is “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I disagree with that premise. I definitely developed some of my default behaviors and viewpoints based on having suffered a great deal of trauma as a child, and even as a wife. I could’ve just as easily become an addict and spent my life on the streets given my upbringing. I ultimately became a crusader -an advocate for all underdogs- but that left me with the experience of never being able to do enough, never being able to effect enough change in the world.
What truly gave me access to who I am today was choice.
What gave me access to choosing my existence, choosing my path, was being able to see that there is choice. What’s the difference between someone who has no choice, and someone who has all the choice in the world and doesn’t know it? None. What gave me access to seeing choice, was a seed…a willingness to believe that I have choice. Now, there is no mountain that I cannot move. There is no cause that I cannot embrace and see my influence in. So the short answer is, choice.
Default settings, behaviours and paradigms can be very tricky to change. Our free will is certainly a tremendous gift from God, choosing to be our unique self is a very deliberate choice. That brings us to educating and parenting today’s youth, what do you believe is best to focus on?
Listen and love. I don’t discipline my children at all, ever: We talk, we share, we communicate. My oldest child is 30 and my youngest is 12. And there are five of them. My children can tell me anything, they are free to disagree with me. We create family rules, and if something isn’t working, we renegotiate, but they have as much or more input in what our guidelines will be as I do. The kids each have a day of the week when they are in charge.
When we remove the resistance between parents and children, life is peaceful, and rewarding. We see the amazing human beings we get to share our lives with rather than feeling like we have to somehow survive the experience of parenting, as if our worth as a human being is somehow tied to our children’s choices. When we empower our children to choose their lives, they will surprise us. All human beings at the core want to serve, want to contribute. When we remove the hierarchy in any society, even in a family, what emerges is every human being’s natural desire to be amazing.
What a wonderfully loving approach to life and parenting. Growing up, emotions can be challenging; how do you handle your emotions and those of others?
I get angry, upset, heartbroken, like anybody else. I separate out my emotional experience from the facts. When I can see from facts, I can see that mine is but one point of view. That changes everything for me. I also give myself permission to experience every emotion and then allow those emotions to pass through me, so I can then choose a new emotion.
Great skill to not interpret and consciously regain poise. How important is a sense of calm, focus or meditation in your life, and can you share any tips?
I’m not a calm person. I’m a passionate, fiery, kickass, rock the boat and rock the world kind of person. I’m lucky if I can slow down to meditate the traditional way for more than ten minutes. I don’t make that wrong about myself. I am a Reiki Master, so I will perform self-Reiki, or I’ll lay down in the grass, jump on the bed, make a pie, do the dishes, listen to music, whatever my own internal Guru is prodding me to do. I don’t believe there is a right pathway to God: Every branch of a tree leads to the sky.
Haha, “All roads lead to Rome”! Anything can be meditative if we remain present with what we do. As for fulfillment, what would you say, is your proudest accomplishment so far?
I’m actually quite accomplished by the world’s standards, but what I’m proudest of is the relationships I have with my children, their spouses, my grandchildren, my sister, my mother, my father even though he is deceased, and with my sweetheart. We have created so much joy, peace, love and fun that we constantly acknowledge the blessed lives we have and our gratitude for each other.
A blessed life! You’ve chosen to be a writing coach, helping people get through to publishing agencies and get published, what are your main motivations for this choice?
I had moved to a new place and left my job to get married about 10 years ago. There was a great deal that didn’t work in the marriage, but in particular, we had very different views in disciplining children. I chose to honor my word to my youngest child, who was 4 years old at the time and got him out of the situation quickly. In the process of that divorce I lost my home, my car, my income and moved in with a writing partner; me and my 4 children in one bedroom.
I was really upset with God that my life was so unfair but more than that, that life is so unfair for so many people in the world. Even going through what I went through, I knew that there were billions more people who had been through worse. I had an epiphany: being upset that life isn’t fair is like being upset that apples aren’t blue; they just aren’t. So, if life isn’t fair, I can either be upset or I can choose who I’m going to be in the face of life being unfair.
From that place I asked new questions, one that I could answer: What will I give my life to? What is my life for? Who will I be? I chose to be. I chose no more war in my lifetime, no more hunger, depravity, violence, vast expanses of poverty and pockets of wealth, no more social injustice, in my lifetime.
I’ve taken on prison reform. I served as programmer for the film festival for The Parliament of the World’s Religions. I’ve raised some amazing children. There is much that I have done and continue to do, inside of the context, what will I give my life to. I also support people of every skill level, at every stage of manuscript completion -from idea to full draft- and of every genre to navigate the road to publication.
When it comes down to it, human beings spend most of their life eating, sleeping and using the bathroom. And we have jobs to pay for the refrigerator, the bed and the toilet. There are two things that we do that really create life, that we look back on with fondness, that create our experience of living a satisfying life: entertainment and making a difference. People who write books provide both. Writers change the world.
Even fiction can empower us to elevate human life. To Kill A Mockingbird contributed to elevating human consciousness. Star Wars invited us to listen to a higher voice. Writing books and writing coaching give me access to changing the world, even if through other writers.
From certain angles life can surely seem unfair, reclaiming our responsibility in this aspect and concentrating on what we ourselves can do to change anything, is a graceful way of living. The books and films you mention surely are reaching a great amount of people and conveying an important message. Regarding work, what would you say is the most rewarding part of coaching and what is the most challenging?
I love seeing someone who couldn’t write to save their lives when I started working with them signing with a top agent or signing a publishing contract and the joy they feel, the sense of accomplishment they have, the experience that they have that they can do anything, and that their voice matters.
My biggest challenge is that I tend to want to give it away, and I do have my own bills to pay. I do understand that an exchange of anything, whatever the commodity, is energetic. We must empty the vessel to receive. I find that my clients who are willing to invest the two things that human beings relate to as concrete; time and money, are the ones who learn the fastest and see their work reach the right hands and come to fruition.
Both are relatable, reward and challenge and it helps not to have to deal with things alone.
OK, as a coach and writer, who do you turn to for ideas, motivation and growth for writing?
I have a complicated writing ritual that involves a playlist that includes music that evokes memories of emotional states. My writing playlists include songs with a wide and surprising variety. I sit in the same chair; the chair knows it’s my writing chair and serves me as such. I load up my end table with every imaginable beverage. I keep the lotion that my mother used as a child, chapstick, my baby blanket, every possible thing I’ll need to write close by. Then I hit the loo, check email, Facebook, etc. and then I flip my hourglass. When the hourglass is flowing, the rule is that I can’t do anything but write. It’s highly effective. I also read a lot and binge-watch highly acclaimed TV shows that use storytelling devices well. I follow when God moves me. I don’t question, I just go. I also receive downloads and on occasion, visits from those on the other side.
I can conceive that outlining specific time frames without any distraction naturally helps you focus, connect and be guided. As for people, who would you be most keen to work with?
I really love working with people who are about being authentic, who are willing to be coachable, and who are willing to be vulnerable. The process of writing anything from YA (Young Adult, red) sci-fi, fantasy, to gut-wrenching memoir takes a great deal of vulnerability, there’s no way around that. Someone who can be terrified by the whole experience and be coachable at the same time can do a great deal in a short time.
On the subject of experiences, you’ve gone through major life challenges including suicidal ones, and made a major turnaround, what would you advise others who experience a tough life and are going through suicidal tendencies?
Seek support, tell someone, and if they don’t provide assistance, then tell someone else until you reach someone who can take your hand. Call a suicide hotline or see your doctor. Get out of bed and get out in the sunshine. Wear white or brightly colored clothing. Find ways to serve, move those spiritual muscles. Read books that will empower you to see beyond yourself. Go to church -any church that teaches principles of light; surround yourself with spiritual light. Watch my YouTube videos on how to deal with harmful thoughts.
It is our willingness to see, that expands our consciousness: You aren’t alone! What you do and don’t do impacts people you will never meet. You and your life matter, regardless of what you think. Connect with nature. Connect with other people. Create agreements with others that you will talk to them if you feel like harming yourself. Attend a SafeTALK training. If you really are considering taking your life, don’t be alone. Literally, make sure you are not by yourself.
We’re all interconnected, it is absolutely necessary to realize our choices have extensive effects and to be aware others would love to be there for you, just as you would for them. Sounds like good advice! Some short questions, now that we are nearing the end of the interview, what would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?
The queue of books that I have at various stages of completion published and out in the world.
What would you say are 3 chief positive and 3 negative character traits you possess?
Positive: I am a powerful creator, I can forgive on a dime, and I relate to the world like family.
Negative: I am also a perfectionist; I’m often accused of having OCD. I like what my youngest son says: I’m a completionist; but that can get in the way sometimes. When I’m disempowered, or feel cornered, like I’ve been misunderstood or accused of something that isn’t true, I tend to stop talking, hide out or withdraw. I can sometimes dream big and assume that my entire family is on board, so the way I can occur to others is like a bulldozer that way.
Thank you for being so candid about yourself! What special message would you like to share with Horizon Self Discovery readers and your growing fans and followers around the world?
The minute you think you have the answers, to anything, that’s the lid, you’re done growing! Be vulnerable, be alive, be courageous, have fun, love yourself, be willing to say “I’m sorry.” Be willing to give-up that you think you know anything, in particular, about what another human being might be thinking, why they are doing what they are doing, or what is in their heart. Don’t ever judge, and forgive always.
Where’s the best place for readers to find out more about you?
Well they can visit my personal website, and I’m on Twitter and Facebook. For those who want to learn more about learning to write and getting published they can certainly check out my website Calliope which is also on Facebook.
Finally, what inspiring or motivational quote has helped shape you into the person you are today?
“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.”
Thank you Angie, for your kind participation in this eye-opening interview. We hope it gives our readers an interesting glimpse into your unique life and career. We wish you all the very best for your upcoming projects and do keep in touch!
You are very welcome, Marleen and the Horizon team! Thank you for putting real thought into your questions.
You can learn more about Angie through her extraordinarily candid book which you can find on Amazon.