Monday, 21 July 2008

PMH Atwater ~ A Bold Pioneer in NDE Research!

It was truly a delight having PMH Atwater back on Toward The Light on 20th July and it was just so easy to converse with a friend and fellow NDEr. In fact, my daughter stated, 'I enjoyed your show. You two are like listening to old friends having tea or something like that.' And it's true, we became instant friends—recognising each other on a soul level from the get-go.

PMH is not only an amazingly prolific author, a fellow NDEr and friend, she's been a tremendous role model for me. It's really because of her encouragement and example, that I've been able to give talks and even allow myself to be on the TV news whilst in Nashville. If anyone would have told me that I'd be a speaker or on television, I'd reply with 'you're out of your flipping mind!'—that's how adverse I was to the whole idea! Just thinking about being on television or speaking made me want to faint! That's how crazy the whole notion was to me ... and now I'm 'eating my words'... :)

In fact, I still resisted the whole notion of speaking or being on television ... but two things happened: 1. someone had insisted that I give a talk on NDEs and that all I had to do was speak from my heart—whatever came to me and 2. Spirit would not allow me to say 'no' to these requests! Twice I was asked to be on Channel 4 News in Nashville and hard as I tried to refuse, my tongue was tied until I gave full permission to appear.

What I had to realise about all this is that, despite my fear and inhibitions about being visible in the public eye (I'd rather be INvisible; that's why I do radio!), I was serving the greater good by allowing myself to speak and be on the news. Alas, it wasn't like being on a big-time TV programme, granted, but it was still huge for one who's extremely timid of the camera and public visibility!

I thought of PMH ... and the fact that she had told me that it was meant to be that I was in Nashville to do this work ... and she was the perfect role model that enabled me to feel strong, move forward and flow into this.

It was in Nashville—of all places—that I had my 'coming out' as an NDEr; i.e., not only admitting that I am a multiple NDEr, but actually doing public service centred in the NDE—speaking, writing, facilitating support and interest group meetings, being featured in various media and ultimately hosting my own radio show! Who'd-a-thunk-it?, as the saying goes!

Mind you, I'm not a pro-speaker like PMH Atwater or others who do lots of travelling and give talks all over the place on NDEs, but I do give presentations periodically and no longer resist the call to do so. In fact, I'll be speaking here in Virginia Beach on 6 September at the Virginia Beach IANDS meeting at the Edgar Cayce ARE Centre and I still think of PMH every time I'm booked to speak. Her loving encouragement has granted me the strength to boldly come forward and just do it!

It is quite striking how much PMH and I have got in common, but there are differences as well. One huge difference is that, where it took me over 20 years before I started this work centred in NDEs, PMH was catapulted right into NDE research only a year after her three NDEs in 1977 ... and this ultimately resulted in the writing of her book, Coming Back to Life. However, things were very rough—even traumatic for PMH. She was met with severe opposition in the early days. In her own words, she states:

"I still find discussing the reprint of my first book, Coming Back to Life (revised edition just out through Transpersonal Publishing) a challenge. After all, it was my first attempt to write about my research and in order to do that I had to stand 'naked' in the sense of taking a huge risk talking about the protocol I used (police investigative techniques) and baring all about myself and what I found.

I was 'fried' for writing that book. You would think, as did I at the time, that conservative religious folk would pounce on me for writing it—as I told the story of the near-death experience as it had never been told before. Wrong. I had no problem whatsoever with fundamentalists or conservatives. It was with my peer group and fellow researchers. I had stepped out of line (without knowing so) and had committed some 'errors'. First, I was a woman (in those days that mattered, and don't believe anyone who says it didn't); I was an experiencer and who believes an experiencer is capable of objective research; I did not have a degree of any kind (had to scurry afterward to pick up a doctorate—which I did in Canada—took me several years). But the most grievous 'error' was, I told the whole story—about hellish experiences as well as heavenly, about how psychic people tended to become afterward, about children's episodes, about suicides, about physiological after-effects and a much deeper look at the psychological after-effects, about depressions and divorce, and how most experiencers were deeply challenged by what they went through, and on and on.

...After seven years of almost constant attacks against me and a winter of tears, I knuckled down, worked harder, did more. Book after book followed, about my continued findings—some of which have now been clinically verified. I get butterflies in my stomach talking about the book, not just because I hit the 'wall' with it, but because a brief version of my own three near-death experiences is in Chapter Two, and some of my own challenges as an experiencer, sprinkled throughout the book. Coming Back to Life is very personal to me. Talking about it to people ... on radio shows is a new experience, one that brings butterflies to roost in my stomach.

...Miracles come in all shapes and sizes, even in the colour black that heartaches sometimes paint, and depression and disaster sometimes wear. That book also guaranteed me a spot in the Dutch study of near-death experiences that electrified the world, and it started a chain of people, thousands of them (and that's no exaggeration), who flooded me with thank-yous afterward, saying 'Your book saved my life'.

Who would have known? I still get goose-bumps just touching the book."

These are just some of the examples of what has set PMH as a most significant role model in my life as a fellow experiencer, researcher and facilitator. However the main difference between us is that I was, indeed, a very late bloomer—still being well hidden in the closet, as it were, and not entering into this work until the beginning of the millennium. And even after the NDE has become a household word, I, too, am sometimes met with opposition and setbacks. But I will no longer be daunted ... thanks to the examples set by PMH and others who've come before me.

PMH was not given the choice to stay on the Other Side ... or remain silent once she returned to this plane. She was given a specific assignment during her third NDE and there was no refusing it. The very same thing was true for me.

Again, this is all about the sharing of love and truth—whatever format we may be called to present it in—and the fact that this was my assignment—and PMH's—whilst on the Other Side: to share the fact that we live forever and that there is NO death! It is because of the actual experience ... and not mere hypothesis ... that enables people like PMH Atwater, myself and a host of others, to speak from authority and make this powerful declaration. Life IS eternal! YES, indeed it is! And what peace of mind can be granted to countless individuals from the comforting realisation that people who've BEEN there can attest that death is, indeed, an illusion and there's nothing whatever to fear.

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