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Macartney journeyed to the edge of life and back via a near death expe- rience (NDE); though today he is on long-term disability for epilepsy and heart damage, he feels more alive and engaged than ever before. This experience led him to

Transformative Crisis H

by Charles Swedrock

ow is it that people can thrive in the midst of crisis? Rehabilitation specialist Jim

search for the reasons that some people thrive and even transform their lives in the aftermath of crisis. Clear patterns of growth reveal themselves in the scores of people he inter- viewed and the many hundreds he counseled during the last twenty-five years. These people had somehow stum- bled upon what Macartney calls the “Crisis to Creation Cycle”, a powerful catalyst for growth and transformation. Even physical healing may be experienced; paradoxi-

Jim Macartney

cally, such healing seems to occur when seeing ourselves as already able and whole. Recent brain research demon- strates that mobilizing one’s residual abilities can actually change the brain after traumatic brain injury. Many people go on to lead richer and more rewarding lives than before their illness or injury, even if they have not fully recovered from the trauma itself. This changes the way we understand our relationship to our bodies and ourselves. This same pattern of inner growth is even more strik- ing in people who have died and been revived. The De- cember 15, 2001 issue of the prestigious medical journal Lancet featured a thirteen-year study of patients who were determined clinically dead following a cardiac arrest and then successfully resuscitated. The author, Dutch cardi- ologist Pim van Lommel, found that 18% of these patients claimed to have had an NDE. These subjects reported

feeling more compassionate, less afraid of death as a final ending, love for themselves, for nature, and for other human beings and experienced no difference be tween others and themselves. The similarity of experi- ence between people who had an NDE and that of people growing through other types of crisis is striking: both groups demonstrate increasing inner resilience, compassion for oth- ers, sharing, caring, wanting to serve and expanded clarity of purpose. We all possess these attributes deep within, ready to be unleashed. James W. Macartney, author of Crisis to Creation: Our

Power of Choice, is coming to Tucson March 17th at Unity of Tucson (see ad on page 16) to speak about his near- death experience. He will share how he had to walk the path that, as a rehabilitation specialist, he had helped oth- ers walk before him. Macartney is also offering a workshop called “Crisis to Creation and Post Traumatic Growth” on March 19th which will demonstrate how to implement these insights into your own life.

For more information, contact Charles Swedrock at 520- 395-2365 or visit Charles Swedrock is co-facilitator of the Tucson Internation- al Association for Near-Death Studies Experience Sharing (TIES) peer group that meets monthly to share near-death and similar transformative experiences. For more informa- tion on the International Association for Near-Death Stud- ies, visit

March 2011


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