A Near Death Experience, No. 158.

A Pony Ride.

As a child of three years of age, I was very expressive, vocal and confident. Often my family would exhibit this confidence by having me show others my childhood talents. “Sing for these nice people. Count to 20 for us.” My life was as normal as any child. So in this confidence, my family decided that I was ready to ride horses by myself, instead of sitting on saddles and being lead. To this day, my parents greatly appreciate horses.

My grandfather was the beginning of this family’s love for horses. He was a trainer and on occasion a horse trader. Most people, that I have known, have a very low opinion of horse traders. But in his case, an honest man, that went to great lengths to tell you exactly what you were getting . Many times Papaw refused to sell animals that he said were killers or lame or anything else.

I was an only grandchild at this time. And I was named after my father's brother, Tony, who had died as a teen, years before my birth, in a car accident. On the day that I was born, the doctor handed me to my father, who later handed me to his mother. “Here’s your Tony back, Mama.” I won’t go into that, but to give you an idea of the love this family shares, and how any accident involving me might have been the breaking point emotionally. I do remember the day that I was born. That moment in my grandmother's arms, I was happy and sad for her at the same time. As she embraced my newborn body, she began reminiscing about the Tony she lost years before. I could "feel" her thoughts. As an infant, I was still more spiritual than physical. I'm sure all or most baby's are sensitive to emotions in this way. I would have loved to tell her I knew everything was all right.

When I was three years old, my grandfather had the idea to purchase a trailer load of ponies. He began the process of elimination and found a palomino pony with the qualities he wanted. He purchased a child's saddle with the little stirrup covers, and placed me on my new pony's back with some instructions. The pony and I were standing calmly in the hall of his barn, as I listened to Papaw's directions.

We were standing there in the barn facing an open ten acre field. Papaw was about to take me off the pony. I was so small he decided to do it gradually, but I insisted that I was willing and that I understood his instructions. Papaw said, "Well, ask him to move out", so I followed his directions with no reaction from the pony. My Grandfather then decided to help me out, so he made a clicking sound with his mouth and tried to nudge the pony into walking, but Sarge was obviously content with standing in exactly the spot we were in.

There was no obvious thoughts on his part about going anywhere. My grandfather tried with a little more force until finally, he slapped that pony on the behind and we took off at a run through the field. It’s all rather humorous now. My papaw didn't think Sarge was ever going to move until that sudden burst of energy sent me on a run through the field. I was on this pony trying to hang on and screaming. I knew they were running behind me trying to catch up. I could hear my father yelling to me, "Pull the reins to stop!" So that’s what I did. The pony stopped as quickly as he started.

I flew over his head, directly in front of him, and hit my head on a rock. Then suddenly I saw myself. The view of my body began to slowly descend as my spirit floated upward. To a small child like myself the feeling made me think of sitting inside a helium balloon as it floated to the clouds. Or maybe it felt like I was a helium balloon floating gently upward. But I wasn’t frightened in the least bit. As I watched the whole thing from above, the questions began to enter my mind about what exactly was going on. “How could I be above myself looking at myself on the ground?” I thought. Keep in mind, I was three years old. This feeling seemed as normal and natural as much as it seemed unfamiliar and new. It was only three years before this that I had been in heaven with many friends and angels discussing this very thing that was happening to me at that moment.

But I had forgotten about those memories until I hung overhead at that very instant. That’s when I rediscovered many things I had known throughout eternity. As I hovered above the action of my parents and grandfather, I was re-reminded of many things I had known before birth. I was overhead about 50 feet as I saw my father reach down to grab my body from the ground. The shape of the hand on my back was all that I felt as I was instantaneously back in my body. However, I “felt” the urgency and quickness of the one behind me that pushed me back, before they actually did. (I'm assuming a Guardian Angel). I do not know who it was. I only knew that someone had swooped down from behind and above me to push me back into myself.

As I was instantly reunited with my flesh, I immediately began to cry. I was not hurting at all. There was no physical pain. I was not scared, but I was absolutely upset that I was pushed back into my body. I was just getting to like that few seconds of spiritual freedom. My father hugged me for a moment and then handed me to my mother as I continued crying. I was holding the back of my head, where I had hit the rock, but it wasn't hurting at all. I thought if they knew I was not hurting, they would ask me why I was crying. And I did not want to wind up telling them about floating above my body. The sympathy I was getting was very comforting, so I left it at that.

For many months afterward, I thought about what had happened to my spirit as I hung overhead. It was like somebody had given me a slip of paper with a reminder note written on it. In that small moment above my body, I had the chance to think as a spirit, without the limits of my physical self. At that moment I could remember many things about my life as a spirit before I was born. And now that I was back in my body, I was thinking about them constantly.

I could very clearly see memories of standing at a large book in heaven, looking into the pages as I watched myself ride my pony and fall off. (I HAVE FOUND ONE OTHER PERSON NOW WHO REMEMBERS THE LIFE BOOK ALSO.) I wasn't actually amazed at these memories at the age of three. I guess as children, we are more apt to accepting knowledge that is given to us. I had begun to forget about these memories of heaven at that age, although I still remembered the day I was born. But as I floated overhead, it seemed that my previously forgotten memories were now intensified in clarity and recall. It was as if they had happened yesterday. And what's more, I could look at nearly any individual in my life and remember meeting them in heaven, long before they were even born. I saw flashes in my mind of what their life had been like since their arrival to earth, also.

I suppose some people will say, “That’s all you saw? No Gold? No pearly gates? Big deal!!” That is exactly the thought that began to bother me once I realized that these things had happened to other people. I was only three when it happened, and it did not amaze me that it happened at that age. “Why was it so simple? Why do other people say they got to see heaven, when I did not?” I later thought.

I'm now sure that God had no intentions of showing me heaven at that time. I probably would have insisted on staying. I did however, receive the blessing of different spiritual visits afterward. I got a big dose of earth life through those flashes I got of other peoples lives, that was not at all fun. I later begged God to remove those abilities because I was not prepared to deal with the things I could see about other people.

For some reason, many of my future spiritual visits happened right there at that very spot where I fell from my pony to the ground.

Toni Atkins

I am waiting on an answer from a publishing company for the book I have since written about my experiences. There was only one NDE, but afterward I was "visited" quite often, and another older gentleman who had a NDE was drawn to me at the age of 8 years old to re-state the thought that a book should be written later.

He told me he remembered me from heaven after he had died during a surgery. He asked me if I remembered him also. He described a beautiful fountain and other things that I did remember, but I could not quite get myself to remember him. He asked me to remember to write the book, and to put him in it.

Mine is the only story of any NDE's in my book. The rest I would say are conscious out of body experiences. I need to tell the whole story. The Truth is setting me Free.


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