The Shared Crossing Project
Founded by William Peters in 2011, the Shared Crossing Project is a local organization with a global vision - to help create a world where death is honored and where the mysteries surrounding life, death, and possibilities of an afterlife can be openly discussed and explored.
The Shared Crossing Project’s mission is to positively transform relationships to death and dying through education and raising awareness about shared crossings and their healing benefits. We aim to bring people together in community to support open exploration and discussion of this important topic in a safe place.
A series of personal experiences and stories from his bereaved psychotherapy patients led William to launch the Shared Crossing Project with the aim to provide a different, heart-felt way to look at end of life.
In 2011, William hosted an eight-week pilot workshop titled “Life Beyond Death?” at the Family Therapy Institute in Santa Barbara. People flocked to his groups to learn and share their stories, their anxiety, and fear around death and dying, and their desire to have something more/different. These people found a safe haven with like-minded souls and William found his life-calling.
During the workshop’s run, members expressed enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity to speak openly and honestly about their own fears and experiences around death. Even before the workshop ended, William received requests that he offer a series of additional courses. Over the next few years, William led a number of workshops with a total enrollment of nearly 200 participants. These workshops evolved to include meditations, the sharing of personal stories, and various experiential exercises, all of which served to assist participants in deepening their understanding and relationship to death, dying, and the beyond.
During this time William was also developing the Shared Crossing Protocols to enable people to have shared death experiences. He began practicing and teaching these to both individuals and families. The benefits of these Protocols were immediate. People reported deepening their relationships with loved ones, gaining a better understanding of meaningful experiences available during the dying process, and reawakening personal commitments to live more fully in the here and now.
The popularity of these workshops and the success of the Shared Crossing Protocols led William to establish the Shared Crossing Project in 2013. As the name suggests, “Shared” denotes the experience being shared with loved ones of the dying and “Crossing” highlights the transition from this human life to what may lie beyond.
The Shared Crossing Project’s mission was broad, yet simple: to raise awareness and educate people about the profound and healing experiences available to the dying and their loved ones at the end of life. In service to this mission, William wanted to expand the Shared Crossing Programs and Protocols to a larger audience that included end-of-life professionals and health care workers. As he worked with more people who had had a shared death experience, clear patterns, features, and typologies emerged that needed to be documented. He realized that scholarly research was needed to demonstrate the merit of the Shared Crossing Protocols and Programs and to perform the first rigorous study on the shared death experience.
In 2013, the Shared Crossing Project and the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara came together in collaboration to form the Shared Crossing Research Initiative. William invited Dr. Michael Kinsella to join him in examining the efficacy of these and other Shared Crossing Protocols, and later to investigate shared death experiences.
The Spectrum of End-of-Life Experiences was developed in 2014 and the research into SDEs deepened. Hundreds of interviews have now been undertaken with experiences of shared crossings and shared death experiences. The findings have been used to educate and inspire many people and we are proud to have had our first book, At Heavens Door – What Shared Journeys to the Afterlife Teach About Dying Well and Living Better, published in 2022.
"I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am that there are people in the world who are looking at this. You are the first people that I have felt have some understanding of what I went through." - Angela D.