Dying for a Change is the gut-wrenching, inspirational true story of William Murtha’s fight to survive hypothermia and drowning in the freezing waters off the coast of Britain. It is a riveting story of survival that will captivate readers with a compelling, life-changing message about miracles and the power of choice.
In 1999, William’s life was rapidly spiraling out of control when all meaning and purpose had vanished. While riding his bike along a channel one evening, William was swept out to sea by a twenty-foot freak wave and had a close brush with death. Only this wasn't any “ordinary” near-death experience. As his body finally began to shut down, and the excruciating pain subsided, William suddenly became acutely aware of a Presence close by.
What followed, and the book vividly recounts, is the enlightening and heart-warming conversation he had with this Higher Presence. Caught someplace between this world and the next while struggling to stay alive, William “re-lived” many pivotal moments in his past and had every question he had ever asked about life answered with absolute blinding clarity.
Without warning, a wave crashed over the top of the seawall, hitting me full in the face. The water was ice cold, and I was thrown backward off my bike by the force of the wave. I banged my head on the wall that separated the coastal pathway from the railway line. Shocked and dazed, I scrambled up on one knee. I was soaked and shivered violentlyEmbarrassed, I looked around. Thank goodness nobody was there to see me. I laughed and imagined what I would say to Alison.
Suddenly, a second wave slammed into me and caught me off balance. Thrown backward by the force, I was knocked against the wall again and landed on my back. With nowhere for the water to go, it hit the back wall before rushing back into the sea. My bike was scooped up and disappeared over the edge. Panicking, I scrabbled frantically at the hard ground, desperately trying to grab something, anything to hold, but there was nothing. Then I knew for sure: I would be next. In that instant, I was swept over the edge of the seawall by another wave.
Those next few seconds seemed like an eternity. Falling twenty-something feet, I imagined the worst. Directly below me were jagged rocks. Then I hit the water. Every muscle flinched. My left leg thumped into the bike frame, sending a shudder through my whole body. The shock of hitting freezing water was like an electric current. A putrid stench overwhelmed me. I had landed close to the sewage outlet pipe. Coming up and gasping for breath, I instinctively punched the air. I was okay, at least for the moment.
My elation was short-lived, though, and I knew I was in trouble. Frantically paddling water and struggling to breathe, I instinctively stretched out and touched the menacing seawall, which was covered in algae. I had no way of seeing over the wall, and I was in the shadows. Nobody could see me. Nobody would find me. I started yelling, but the crashing waves drowned out my cries for help. I soon gave up. Shouting was useless. As I turned to look at the dying sun, a huge wave hit me full in the face. Gagging, I struggled for breath again. My lungs filled with contaminated water, and I threw up. The smell of sewage was overpowering. Then another wave threw me hard against the wall. And then another. And another.
Still swallowing sewage and seawater, I couldn’t stop being sick. I wondered if I were drowning. The waves were powerful, relentless. The noise was deafening. The smell disgusting. Wave after wave pummelled me against the wall. My eyes were stinging, and everything was a blur. Thrashing around, I was struggling to stay afloat.
Shaking violently in the bitterly cold water, I began to convulse. Crying and whimpering, I felt weak and pathetic. Pumping my legs madly to keep my head above water, I could feel them giving way beneath me, as if heavy weights were attached to them. I wondered how much longer they would hold ou. All I wanted was to be at home and warm, with my wife and childrenSafe and in the company of those I loved most.
For a brief moment, I considered giving up, but the thought of my family lifted something deep inside me. In a split second, I knew I had to keep fighting. An unexpected surge of optimism raced through me. It was an energy surge like I’d never felt before. My whole body felt lighter, stronger. I actually believed that somebody would find me and save me.
I stopped crying and tried to pull myself together. I let wave after wave belt me in the back of the head, which was now throbbing. I rubbed my stinging eyes and cleared seawater from my nose. But rationality soon returned. I knew it was hopeless and sank back in despair. Nobody would be out walking around here after dark. For the briefest of moments, I held onto the fragile belief that my wife Alison would raise the alarm. Perhaps she’d realize that something was not right, and then call someone out to search for me. But I soon realized it would be useless. After all, I could be anywhere along my five-mile bike route. And even if the emergency services were alerted, I’d be dead well before they could find me. It was up to me to save myself.
Battered up and down with the waves, I desperately tried to kick myself away from the wall, but I was barely moving anywhere. I stared up again at the high, oppressive seawall. It felt like my prison. Is this where my life would end? I had never been so afraid. Never been so cold. Never felt so utterly alone.
The thought of dying petrified me.
. The reason you continued with this behavior was that you didn’t wish to challenge your thinking. You didn’t want to contradict what your head and collective thoughts were telling you. Yet I shine this truth inside you: Always go with your intuition first. Listen to your body. Your initial instinct demonstrates, through bodily feelings, what your truth is. When you follow your head, you are following your collective thoughts, which have been assembled from the beliefs of others. Therefore, when any life situation arises, always challenge your own thinking.
Always challenge my own thoughts. I like that.
Challenging your own thoughts is the most important step to becoming more conscious.
Do you mean more aware?
Yes, more aware of what is going on inside you. Don’t just observe your outer reality. Give equal attention and awareness (consciousness) to your inner universe and what your body is showing you. Feelings always lead you home to the truth because they are your truth—manifested.
you tune into the energy of another, you are using your emotions as a
bridge. The emotional state of empathy enables you to feel what another
is thinking and feeling. Empathy is the ability to tune into someone
outside of you and literally feel his or her emotions as though they were inside you. By being open, you create a channel and tune into someone.
3. is always enough in the world. There are always enough sales orders, food, housing and clothing. There’s an abundance of water, shelter, love and compassion. The question is never about whether there is enough. It is about whether people want to share what they hoardPlease do not make the mistake of believing that life should be one constant fight and battle from birth till death. When life is approached in that way, it will be empty of the joy you are so desperately seeking in the world.
And, please, do not confuse passion with fighting. They are direct opposites. One leads you to disconnect from both your heartfelt dreams and other people. The other leads you, wonderfully, to a place of fulfilment. A place where you discover what it means to truly be a human being.
Passion leads to freedom. Fighting leaves you imprisoned.
4. That is wonderful insight that you have demonstrated. You were wise to listen to your instincts. Always go with your first impression because the impression you paint for yourself will always portray what’s happening on the canvas of your outer world. Remember, you are constantly painting your own picture of life. You choose the brushes, the colors and what light to use. You could also say that you are the paintbrush itself, constantly choosing what to create.
I love that interpretation. It is so poetic. I am going through life painting what I want to portray.
Your life demonstrated on the external world is a direct expression and portrait of your inner world. Know that in every moment of your life, you are the one constantly creating. You are the artist of both your inner and outer worlds. But instead of brushes, you use thoughts and feelings. Instead of colors, you use words.
And instead of light, we use actions. This insight is incredible. I am blown away by all of this.
I could not have put it better myself. And here’s something more. The insight becomes deeper, richer and more profound. The canvas you are painting in life is actually a mirror. And the color you inject into your physical world is a direct representation of what colors you mix up in your inner world.
5. There is no sixth sense as such. But there are several other senses that cannot be defined by scientific instruments or analyzing or measuring. These other, inner senses could be termed as ESP (extra sensory perception) because that’s precisely what they are. These senses are extra to your normal perception. They are hidden senses that you perceive and become aware of as you gradually increase your awareness. Your consciousness. When you become more conscious, you throw a new light onto everything. You see more. You feel and perceive more.
That’s a very good way of putting it. I like that.
Good. And perception is nothing more than a combination of all these hidden, inner senses brought together as one. So, in a sense, they could be referred to as pure, channeled senses. They are innocent, pure and free of corruption from the physical, outer senses.
You could say that these extra senses should really be your first senseThey should be the senses that you feel first because they interpret data before the known five senses kick in.
Perception and intuition are tools of the right brain, the artistic and creative side of the brain.
6. We do live most of our lives honoring the intentions of other peopleCompassion, love and empathy are good examples of how we react to the needs and intentions of others. In fact, if we did not follow our intuition and are sometimes led by the intentions of others, life would become meaningless. We would soon become detached from the world.
not disputing that we must, at some time, be led by the intentions of
others. Service to another is a key element in what it means to feel
human. It is the glue that holds humanity together. My point is this:
Do we constantly challenge where we are being led? Do we continually
question the underlying intentions of others? Do we let our emotions,
and those of others, manipulate our lives? And, finally, do we analyze
where our beliefs originate from?
7. We are now living in changing times. And, as a consequence, our emotions are rising to the surface. As a race, we are truly coming-of-age. You could say that we are now entering the emotional age, a time when we all have the opportunity to heal the misgivings of the past.
The consciousness of planet earth is evolving onto new levels, and as an integral part of that interconnected system, so, too, are human beings.
It was fine for emotions to be repressed and denied in the past. Much of the planet was living unconsciously. People were not aware of their immense creative potential. They were too busy just living and surviving.
But a radical shift is now under wayNew levels of consciousness are forming. New ways of thinking are
developing. We are slowly but surely beginning to realize that there is
infinitely more to the world than we ever imagined. We are awakening to
the fundamental truth that the world resonates with us.
8. Let us clear up something here. First, do not feel shamed by your actions or reactions to the drugs and alcohol. Whatever behavior you demonstrated was simply a manifestation of your innermost feelings rising to the surface. Whatever anger and emotion you were repressing mirrored itself in a physical form. That is the power of unexpressed energy in the form of emotion. It wants to come into the light of your consciousness to be healed, and the only time this was possible was when your guard was down. Plying yourself with chemicals gave your true emotions the perfect chance to escape into the light.
many other controlled ways of bringing your true emotions out into the
open, be it meditation, therapy, art or any number of other creative
channels. But, unfortunately, you denied yourself such opportunities,
which therefore left your emotions with no other avenue. And with no
release or escape mechanism, it was only a matter of time before
something would give.
9. Emotions that are not healed, resolved or brought through into consciousness sit under the surface of your life, waiting to pounceThey are prowling for the perfect opportunity to arise when they can finally break into the light of your conscious mind. Remember, your emotions are the combined life force of source energy, manifesting in a physical form. They often have messages for you, which you may not always wish to acknowledge. Sadly, because it is often neglected and denied, repressed emotion explodes at the most inappropriate time. It is very often misdirected toward an issue or person who is unrelated to the root of your core anger.
10. First, no amount of positive thinking in the world will change anything if practical action is not brought into the picture. You could pray for peace every day of your existence, but until your life becomes a visual demonstration of that peace within you, then nothing will ever alter in your world. Second, do not imagine that positive thinking alone can resolve the suffering felt by your soul. To believe that you can suffocate your emotional pain under a thin gloss of positive thoughts will still not make your soul’s pain vanish. This practice simply mutes your internal pain. It suspends it, but definitely does not eradicate it. All positive thinking does is block off your emotional pain until you are ready to pick up your trauma once again and deal with it.
Emotional hunger is really a disguise for the hunger of the soul that wishes to express itself in a physical form. Your emotions are your truth, and in every moment of your life, they want to be heard. .
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
William was involved solely in construction and development management until 2005. He then sold his share in the business he had founded, and instead concentrated fully on writing and other creative projects. One of those initiatives is The Imagination Project, an innovative non-profit organization that promotes, supports and encourages young emerging leaders and writers in the sectors of change, human rights, corporate social responsibility and personal development.
To fund and kick-start this exciting innovative, William has pulled together written 'vision statements' of hope from a wide array of globally renowned luminaries and change-makers, with the intention of publishing several books under the title, Visionaries for the 21st Century. All profits from the Visionaries branded series, and all donations from philanthropists, will go towards supporting writers on scholarships within the Imagination Project.
William has three
daughters and lives in the country, close to the city of Exeter,
England, UK. William is a member of several globally recognized
organizations who are committed to positive change and the education of
eco-literacy. He is also is a coordinator and speaker for the
Scientific and Medical Network, a non-profit establishment that
explores the frontiers of science, consciousness and spirituality.