In 1975, I coined the term near-death experience in my book Life After Life.
For half a century, I have researched some of life’s greatest mysteries. As both a PhD in philosophy and an MD, I have had a strong interest in how medical realities intersect with the ineffable realm of philosophy. In my multiple roles as author, professor, public speaker and grief counselor, I have heard thousands of accounts of near-death, shared-death and after-death experiences. I never expected that my interest in the afterlife would become such a focus of my life's work, but it has led me to great associations, friendships and insights.
Throughout my five-decade career, I have explored themes related to the transpersonal aspects of death, dying and grief. In my book Glimpses of Eternity, I discuss the phenomena of shared-death experiences. I write about my inquiry into past lives in my book Coming Back and share methods for evoking the dead, from Ancient Greece to modern times, in my book Reunions.
I also have a passion for language, which I share with my colleague and co-founder of the University of Heaven, Lisa Smartt. My PhD in philosophy focused on unintelligibility and my new book Making Sense of Nonsense (Llewellyn 2020) discusses what nonsense teaches us about consciousness and altered states of being.
This online platform is a lifelong dream. For years, I have imagined a forum in which leading-edge researchers and thinkers could share their most up-to-date investigations into near-death phenomena while also drawing upon the wisdom of the ancients whose practices and customs clearly recognized a life beyond this one.
With the help of my friends and colleagues, I will share with each of you all we have discovered at the most fascinating frontiers of life and death.
I had the distinct honor and pleasure of meeting Dr. Raymond Moody when I took a seminar from him in 2012 shortly after the death of my father. I had many questions as I was not only a grieving daughter but also a curious linguist who was struck by the changes in my father's language as he was dying. As I noticed my father’s utterances shifting increasingly towards metaphor and certain kinds of nonsense, I had dozens of questions about the fascinating changes I saw--and Raymond shared in my curiosity and wonder.
This inquiry led to a six-year odyssey studying final words and establishing The Final Words Project with Raymond in 2014. In 2017, my book Words at the Threshold was published with the early findings of our informal research.
As an English professor and adult literacy specialist, most of my career was focused on teaching adults the joys of the written word. More recently, the study of language and consciousness has captivated me. I recently published Cante Bardo, a novel about a flamenco singer caught between the worlds as he makes peace with the past before returning to Earth and Veil, a book of poems "inspired" by my father from across the threshold.
Language and consciousness research continue to guide my work through The University of Heaven as does my love for learning and teaching. I look forward to sharing findings of my research from The Final Words Project with The University of Heaven participants and offering writing coaching so that others can express their deepest wonders in words.
The generosity and kindness of these donors made it possible to create The University of Heaven. We are deeply grateful to these angels and stars.