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Fwd = Near-Death Experiences Under Spotlight At Seattle Conference

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl (Frits Westra) URL: http://www.100megsfree4.com/farshores/pnde4.htm Original Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2001 05:25:16
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2001
      Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
      URL: http://www.100megsfree4.com/farshores/pnde4.htm
      Original Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2001 05:25:16 -0700

      ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================

      Near-Death Experiences Under Spotlight At Seattle Conference

      [Original headline: A glimpse of the 'other side': Seattle conference unites
      near-death individuals ]

      Not afraid of dying, not afraid of living: Kimberly Clark Sharp has
      experienced near death.

      The day Kimberly Clark Sharp died was the day her life really began.

      It was 1970 in Shawnee Mission, Kan., and she was registering her car
      at the Department of Motor Vehicles office. Leaving the DMV, she
      suddenly collapsed. She had no pulse. Cardiac arrhythmia, Sharp
      learned later, a wild fluctuation of her heart.

      Several firefighters tried to revive her through cardio-pulmonary
      resuscitation, but couldn't.

      By medical definition, Sharp was dead but strangely, she never felt
      better.

      Her spirit was alive.

      She remembers entering a warm, dense, gray fog. She waded through the
      fog, comfort and serenity surrounding her. It was a new world, where
      the past, present and future existed as one.

      Suddenly an explosion erupted beneath her, and Sharp saw a light what
      she later described as the light of God and of love. She learned the
      answers to the eternal questions, answers not in words but in a
      feeling.

      She felt she was home.

      But she didn't last long there. She yearned to stay but was pulled
      back to earth, to a lifeless body that lay on the ground.

      Sharp's life should have ended right there, at age 22, a tragic end to
      an innocent and sheltered life. But her life had merely begun.

      Now, 30 years later, Sharp is living in Seattle a retired professor of
      social work and author of a book based on her story and the stories of
      thousands of people like her who came to the edge of dying.

      And she'll be one of the expert speakers at the annual conference of
      the International Association of Near-Death Studies, which runs
      through tomorrow in Seattle.

      (The featured speaker at tomorrow night's banquet will be Betty Eadie,
      the Seattle-area author whose 1993 book about her own near-death
      experience, "Embraced by the Light," became a best-selling
      phenomenon.)

      People come to the conference for many reasons. There are health-care
      professionals who want to know how to deal with people who have had
      near-death experiences. There are researchers who will present the
      newest findings in the field. And there are those who, like Sharp,
      arrived at the brink, then came back, and want to know more.

      Seattle may be the most appropriate place for the meeting: The city,
      Sharp says, has one of the highest rates of near-death incidents
      reported in the country.

      One reason could be the level of emergency medical knowledge here. In
      Seattle, more citizens know CPR than any other city, and fully 64
      percent of heart-attack victims get CPR from a citizen before
      emergency services arrive, one of the top rates in the world.

      Good place to live
      The city's nationally known emergency medical service, Medic One, has
      one of the best resuscitation rates in the world. Emergency-service
      workers here brag of the city's 30 percent survival rates in emergency
      situations, compared to 5 to 10 percent in the average American city.
      These factors give Seattle residents better odds of having a
      near-death experience.

      After graduating from Kansas State University the year of her
      collapse, Sharp expected a steady life as a secondary schoolteacher in
      Kansas. But after her event, she enrolled at the University of
      Washington's School of Social Work and soon became a social worker in
      the intensive-care unit at Harborview Medical Center.

      There she met Maria.

      Maria was the first in a long line of more than 2,000 near-death
      experiencers Sharp interviewed while working at Harborview and
      researching her book. Maria, a Spanish-speaking migrant worker who had
      a heart attack while visiting friends in Seattle, was admitted to
      Harborview's critical-care unit.

      After she stabilized, Sharp came to calm her. Maria told Sharp she had
      floated to a corner of the room, hovering over her body as doctors
      worked on her. She was able to describe exactly what the doctors did
      when she was unconscious. Then, she said, her body floated out of the
      room, and she described the scene outside.

      Living proof
      As if to prove her out-of-body experience, Maria described a dark blue
      tennis shoe, scuffed a little on the left side, sitting on a window
      ledge not visible from Maria's hospital room.

      Skeptical, Sharp searched for the shoe. She found it, just as Maria
      had described it.

      Maria was the also the first Sharp felt comfortable sharing her own
      near-death experience with. There would be more and Sharp would use
      her experience to calm others in Harborview who were spooked by their
      glimpse at the other side.

      In the 1980s, Sharp started the Seattle chapter of IANDS, which is now
      the organization's largest, with as many as 100 people attending each
      meeting. They meet monthly to discuss how their near-deaths changed
      their lives.

      And Sharp feels it did change her life. She worked at Harborview,
      taught for two decades as a social-work professor at UW, married the
      man of her dreams a former director of Medic One in Seattle and wrote
      her book. None of these things, Sharp feels, would have happened to
      her if she had not had her near-death experience.

      She beat breast cancer after the doctors told her she had eight months
      to live. She says it was because she was comfortable with death knew
      it wasn't an ending but a beginning.

      From near death to marriage
      Paul Carr met his wife, Libby, through IANDS. They both had near-death
      experiences in the 1970s, and they married four years ago. Paul said
      the unique part of Seattle organization is that they aren't
      proselytizers.

      "Perhaps what's unusual about this group is that we're sharing a
      memory from our life experience," Carr said. "We're not asking you to
      believe. It's not a religious discussion. It's just a discussion about
      an experience."

      "Plenty of people have these experiences," Sharp said. "But they don't
      talk about them because that's often a one-way ticket to the
      psychiatric unit and lots of scary medications.

      "As weird as all this sounds, to me and all these people it seems very
      natural."
      Story originally published in
      The Seattle Times / WA | Reid Forgrave - July 27 2001

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