When Shirley was 19 years old, in 1974, she was an atheist. That changed when she went swimming off a beach in Cancun and drowned.
"I saw the different stages of my life from the time I was a baby. It was like a film of someone else's life. I realized that everything was actually happening at the same time, and I understood that there is really no time in the universe.
"I felt a Presence, but there was no judgment. I was surprised to discover that consciousness continues and that the purpose of life on earth is to learn. I discovered that the universe is about love and acceptance of others and oneself, not judgment about belief or personality or even actions. We are here to learn compassion and the understanding that all people have equal value, whatever their background or situation in life.
"I was propelled very fast toward a bright Light that I thought was the sun. There was no anxiety or fear - only pervasive peace and joy, a feeling that I was going Home. I had knowledge and understanding of everything. I saw that there is order in the universe, and that nothing is by chance, and it is all okay. The Light got brighter and brighter, and surrounded me. I became merged with the Universe, and realized that I was part of the Whole. It was very blissful. There was no time, and I was there for an infinity."
Then Shirley was rescued and regained consciousness. After she recovered, she continued to have out-of-body and other spiritual experiences. Shirley now knows that everyone is connected. All humans are equal and have to look after one another. After retiring from her career as a parole officer, Shirley became a social activist working for income equality and political rights.