The people in charge asked me to be the “distinguished speaker” at the 2023 International Association for Near Death Studies, IANDS conference in Washington, DC, the weekend before Labor Day. In addition to speaking to the entire conference on Thursday evening and being live-streamed to the international audience, I had the honor of hosting a workshop on Positive Intelligence and a speaker lunch. I’ve been attending IANDS meetings for several years.
Arriving At The IANDS Conference
We arrived on Tuesday. We had all day Wednesday before the IANDS conference began. Kayla and Tywana attended with me. Kayla didn’t have a ticket to the conference. So, she and Tywana spent quite a bit of time touring DC. On Wednesday, the day before the meeting began, we toured the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, quite an experience. I didn’t know much about my people’s history in the United States until a few years ago when I created my Overcoming Racism course and dove deep into researching it.
Starting at the lowest of three floors of exhibits, you walk your way through our history. I gained a new appreciation for how much Black people have endured in America, our contributions to our country, and the progress we have made. By the time we finished the tour on the top floor, I felt proud and empowered. I visited the gift shop and bought a couple of souvenirs. I couldn’t find a t-shirt that inspired me. So I passed. But when we walked out, I was just about to go back and purchase one when a street vendor with a cart approached me. I immediately knew which t-shirt I was supposed to buy.
I got the one pictured below, feeling good about supporting a small business and saving a few bucks in the process.
The Conference Begins
Finally, the IANDS conference began. The energy at the conference was palpable. This was my first time at IANDS in person. However, I’ve attended an Afterlife Research and Education Institute (AREI) conference and two Helping Parents Heal conferences. Being around like-minded people for a weekend is like a family reunion with family you’ve never met. People approached me and told me how much my work has helped them. I met a few clients I’ve only seen over Zoom and several people who have been guests on my podcast. I met some of my heroes in person, including P.M.H. Atwater, possibly the most prolific Near Death Experiencer and researcher of all time.
The Upcoming Synchronicities at the IANDS Conference
On Thursday, I met Kim Clark Sharp. Kim has been on my show twice. I felt an immediate connection with her. We spent quite a bit of time together. Kim is the founder of the Seattle IANDS group and a hoot to get to know. Kim asked me to be sure to attend her talk the next day, Friday.
On Friday, as I sat in the conference room between sessions, I looked down and saw a dime on the floor just at my feet. Dimes are my sign from Shayna. Ever the skeptic, I began to try to calculate the odds of a dime being on the floor in the conference room. Why would anyone pull out change in the meeting room? Hmm… But there it was.
Kim’s talk was phenomenal. She mentioned a very unusual cause of her NDE in her medical records. Surprisingly, they used the word SNAFU, not a common word. It’s an acronym from the military for Situation Normal All F*cked Up.
Kim wrapped her talk with a slide with the attached cartoon, inviting us to get into trouble with her.
As soon as I saw the slide, I thought of the t-shirt I had purchased just two days before. John Lewis’ invitation to get into “good trouble.” I had to send Kim a picture of the t-shirt I felt I had to purchase.
The Trip Home
The trip home was uneventful, just as Kim had prayed over me the night before. She recited a traveling prayer her family uses that ends with “no hitches and no glitches.” We drove the 500-mile trip home the next day in beautiful weather with nary a traffic jam. The next day, I had to go out for groceries since we had been gone for over ten days on our 1,500-mile journey. The IANDS conference was preceded by a few days in Myrtle Beach. On the way into the store, the license plate below caught my eye, reminding me of Kim’s cause of “death” when the medical team put the resuscitation device on “suck” instead of “blow” and collapsed her lungs.
Pleasantly, the trip was not SNAFU’d. I had a wonderful time. And travel went as smoothly as it possibly could. I’m a homebody who was not looking forward to ten days on the road. It was well worth it.