When we were in Chicago at our IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies) annual conference in June 2004, I was speaking with PMH Atwater—a noted author, researcher and speaker on the near-death phenomenon—who told me that it was God’s will for me to be back in Nashville—that I had very special work to do centered on the near-death experience (NDE) that would reach people far and wide. I had recently returned to Nashville, but was uncertain as to why I was called back—having left Nashville to return to the northeast to be with my daughter, so that we could be closer to each other. I’d thought that my time in Nashville was complete—that my mission had been accomplished and that I’d not return. I’ve since given it the analogy that returning to Nashville was like having an NDE; I had to come back to fulfill a special mission…
I started a local Friends of IANDS (FOI) discussion/support group in Nashville in 2002, but it was a very small group. That being the case, I didn’t think that I would be needed again in Nashville, once I had left—especially since there appeared to be little interest in the NDE or any real need for support at the time, or so I had thought. At this point my whole life had become a vocation centered on the NDE and similar experiences, death, dying, the Afterlife and the immortality of the soul. One of the main reasons I was sent back from the Other Side, time and time again, was to proclaim the truth that, indeed, we live forever! This was no longer a theory for me; it was fact, because I’ve been there, as have countless others.
Upon returning to Nashville I did re-establish the FOI and found, to my delight, that more and more people were showing interest and attending the meetings! At our meeting on 14 June, 2004, WSMV Channel 4 News appeared and put us on the news that very night! This happened after having only been back in Nashville for two months!
More and more people started attending our FOIs and what a treasure trove of individuals they’ve been indeed! People who’d had near-death, out-of-body and other spiritually transformative experiences were present—very talented people, including Yvonne Perry, who were currently working on, or who have written books or produced films, art and music—all inspired by NDEs, OBEs & STEs! Look at all of these extraordinary people!—I thought. I’ve since come to find out that Nashville is loaded with experiencers—experiencers from all walks of life and backgrounds—all sitting here together and openly sharing from their hearts. We’ve shared stories of our experiences, questions, insights, laughter and tears … and I was so moved I could hardly contain myself. The ‘Love vibe’ was everywhere! I felt gratitude in the deepest respect. Something special was, indeed, unfolding right before my very eyes and I’ve never failed to be in total awe.
While back in the northeast, I became the Membership Chair for IANDS and was very busy encouraging NDErs and other interested individuals to join IANDS—the premier global organization for experiencers, researchers, health care providers, etc. that provides support, resources and amity with kindred spirits. As one who’d been silent about my NDEs for so many years, I was utterly elated to find out about such an organization being in existence and that I could now connect with other experiencers all over the world and gain access to resources that would help me in ways I never could have imagined! Being a member of IANDS, and particularly facilitating a support group, has afforded me the opportunity to compare notes with other experiencers and for all of us to be reassured that, indeed, we are not crazy! We’ve had experiences that, undeniably, change and transform our lives forever—experiences that, in many cases, have enabled us to tap into and remember who we really are! We’ve also been able to experience direct communion with the Light Source, or All That Is—as well as other spirit beings—and to know, firsthand, what unconditional love is. Now what, pray tell me, can be “crazy” about that? Personally, I cannot think of anything more liberating or validating! This, to me, is the real meaning of being “born again”—a term so misconstrued by Christian fundamentalists!
For so many years, experiencers have been “in the closet” about their having had an NDE or similar experience for fear of being misunderstood, judged, ridiculed or even persecuted. Some experiencers have ended up in a mental ward or put on drugs … and some child experiencers being slapped and shouted at and silenced by a parent or other relative, because of the prevailing ignorance surrounding the NDE! It was rare to see anything featured in mainstream media about NDEs—least of all in broadcast media. People just didn’t talk about it. In fact, I didn’t even know about IANDS until 1997 nor was I even aware of Dr. Raymond Moody, who coined the term ‘near-death experience’. Yet IANDS has been in existence since the early 1980s! So one can see why so many of us have remained hidden—more for the sake of self preservation—and trying to lead as normal a life as possible. Therefore, in order to avoid persecution or being “excommunicated”, as it were, we fell into silence…
Now, the NDE is not only being openly talked about, it’s receiving widespread media interest—in both print and broadcast media—everywhere across the globe. You’ll see NDE-related material all over the place and it’s even become a household term! In recent years, even I have been featured in various print media as well as having been on radio and now TV! There’s nowadays a wealth of material, resources, support and individuals right within reach—including right here in Nashville! On a daily basis, I receive emails from around the world—all from individuals who are interested in or who have had an NDE (or what I prefer to call an Eternal Life Experience, ELE).
Not only that, but the whole issue of death had remained such a stigma—something you just didn’t talk or even hardly think about—something that was utterly taboo! There are countless individuals in our world who are still terrified of death. Why? Because they think that that’s the end---end of the story. Poof! That’s it! You’re gone forever! Nothing could be further from the truth and that’s why so many of us have been sent back from the Other Side—to affirm that life is eternal and that we do carry on … as conscious, living, thriving beings with incredible power and love!
With a subject that had been silent and hidden for so long—now emerging into the light of day, imagine, then, the joy that I felt when I was approached by Yvonne Perry, who was writing a book on death, dying and the Afterlife. I was only too pleased to work with her—the FOI also proving to be a magnificent source for material and support from other NDErs in this special project. It is time for the taboo to be broken. It is time for all of the lies and fear about death to be abolished once and for all! And it is individuals like Yvonne Perry who are truly helping to accomplish this great task. Yvonne has done such a splendid job in bringing forth such vital and pertinent information that covers all facets of death, dying and the Afterlife—a subject that must be faced squarely in order to free us of the illusions and fear that have plagued us throughout human history.
Returning to Nashville and being a conduit for generating support for and a community of people who’ve had near-death and similar experiences has proved invaluable, indeed. This is a special time that we’ve just entered into. It’s time for our coming out—coming “out of the closet” as NDErs … because it is safe now to do so. It is time that we, as experiencers, are no longer an invisible, silent minority. Alas, for every NDEr who’s come forth and spoken out about his or her NDE, there are the same number—if not more—who have yet to boldly come forth and declare , “I, too, have had an NDE!”
There is a Bulgarian proverb that states: “At birth we cry. At death we understand why”. The book that you are about to read will provide loving and clear insight into the meaning of this profound statement. As you read these pages, you will begin to experience a sense of what it is like to be truly liberated and free—as a bird that’s suddenly freed of its cage and allowed to fly. This book is a real page-turner that is so lovingly conveyed in a language that’s easy to understand. It is empowering and uplifting material that will leave you no longer in a state of doubt or fear. Outside of having an NDE or similar experience yourself, these pages will bring forth wisdom, hope and a profound peace of mind.
Rev. Juliet Nightingale
Toward the Light