I love books and learn so much from them, particularly those where the story and the learning is the author’s journey. With exquisite timing, Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani came my way recently courtesy of Petra Vasileva at Animas Coaching Centre – thank you Petra! The insights Anita Moorjani shares from her near death experience and recovery from terminal cancer dovetail perfectly into my recent learning from completing coaching certificates in Health and Wellness, and Mindfulness together with my own experience of personal transformation.
I’ve gradually become aware that over the last couple of years that I’ve drifted away from ‘being’ back towards ‘doing’ and lost some of the connection to myself. Not only have I started to feel lost at times, my mood, my concentration and my ability to get stuff done have declined. I made a commitment after attending the Mindfulness course to live more mindfully and Anita Moorjani’s book seems to express perfectly what I’ve learned about living and healing, as well as teaching me more about the nature of forgiveness and the power of being non-judgmental. For this I am truly grateful.
In the spirit of simply ‘being me’, I am moved to write this review in this moment to share this learning with a positive intent to serve whoever might read it. There is so much of value in this book that the only way to appreciate if fully is to read it, so I simply offer those points which resonated most strongly with me, together with my reflections on them.
P115, “What I mean by being ‘centred’ is experiencing being at the center of my cosmic web, being aware of my position. This is really the only place any of us ever are, and it’s important to feel our centrality at the core of it.”
Comment: this adds richness to my understanding of the first meditation taught on the Mindfulness course, Expanded Awareness.
P117, “Because of my experience, I absolutely do strongly believe that we all have the capacity to heal ourselves as well as facilitate the healing of others. When we get in touch with that infinite place within use where we are Whole, then illness can’t remain in the body. And because we’re all connected, there’s no reason why one person’s state of wellness can’t touch others, elevating them and triggering their recovery. And when we heal others, we also heal ourselves and the planet. There’s no separation except in our own minds.”
Comment: this provides a basis for how coaching can be a healing process. There is so much that modern science doesn’t know about the universe – the 95% of the universe that is anti-matter is as yet a closed book – yet the incontrovertible evidence of Anita Moorjani’s recovery from terminal cancer demonstrates that seemingly impossible healing is possible. This inspires me as I begin my journey as a Health and Wellness coach.
P128, “I detach myself from preconceived outcomes and trust that all is well. Being myself allows the wholeness of my unique magnificence to draw me in those directions most beneficial to me and to all others. This is really the only thing I have to do. And within that framework, everything that’s truly mine comes into my life effortlessly, in the most magical and unexpected ways imaginable, demonstrating every day the power and love of who I truly am.”
Comment: wow! It is an astonishing revelation that the best way to live is simply to be ourselves. It took me nearly half a century to accept myself as I am and no longer try to be anyone else. When I’m in that state is when the magic happens and I’m keen to get back there – I feel another Mindfulness meditation coming on!
P135, “In that expansive state [during her near death experience], I realized how harshly I’d treated myself and judged myself throughout my life. There was nobody punishing me. I finally understood that it was me I hadn’t forgiven, not other people, I was the one who was judging me, whom I’d forsaken, and whom I didn’t love enough.’”
Comment: been there, done that and I’m doing it again! In the last few weeks I’ve noticed that when I feel negative emotions, it’s almost always because I’m judging myself. The first Mindfulness attitude of ‘non-judgmental’ is so powerful for me.
P137, “The dichotomy is that for true healing to occur, I must let go of the need to be healed and just enjoy and trust in the ride that is life.’”
Comment: the Mindfulness attitudes of ‘non-striving’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘letting go’ come to mind here. And of course it’s a wonderful paradox. I’m reminded of the Zen prayer as quoted by Rick Carson in Taming Your Gremlin, ‘I free myself not by trying to free myself, but by noticing how I imprison myself in the moment that I’m imprisoning myself’. There is also that wonderful quote from Eckhart Tolle, ‘All suffering comes from resistance to what is’.
P140, “Selfishness comes from lack of self-love….In order to truly care for someone unconditionally; I have to feel that way toward myself. I can’t give away what I don’t have”.
Comment: I first heard this expression on an Animas coaching course and it really resonated with me, ‘How can we give what we don’t have?’ – thank you Amina!
P147, “I have discovered that to determine whether my actions stem from “doing” or “being”, I only need to look at the emotion behind my everyday decision. Is it fear or is it passion? If everything I do each day is driven by passion and a zest for living, then I’m “being”, but if my actions are a result of fear, then I’m in “doing” mode.”
Comment: I’ve used this today to help me make a decision, which I’ve been wrestling with for weeks. I realised that fear was driving me and when I made the decision to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’ I felt so much better – this stuff really works!
P153, “The external world mirrors what we feel about ourselves. By letting go of any negative self-judgment, we allow our world to transform; and as it does so, we’ll be able to feel greater and greater trust. The more we’re able to trust, the more we’re able to let go of trying to control the outcome. When we try to move with this flow rather than adhere dogmatically to the doctrine or the beliefs we once had that no longer serve us, we more accurately reflect who and what we truly are.”
Comment: I want to get back to this flow so I’ve made a decision to let go of old ways of working, which no longer serve me and put me in ‘doing’ mode – I feel liberated!
P161, “Since the tapestry of all time has already been woven, everything I could ever want to happen in my life already exists in that infinite, nonphysical plane. My only task is to expand my earthly self enough to let it into this realm. So if there is something I desire, the idea isn’t to go out and get it, but to expand my own consciousness to allow universal energy to bring it into my reality here. Pursing what I desire only reinforces separation, whereas allowing means realizing that since we’re all One and everything is connected, that which I desire is already mine.”
Comment: this won’t seem far-fetched if you’ve read Dying To Be Me and understood the transformation of consciousness that Anita Moorjani achieved and brought back with her.
P173, “When something comes from the center [sic] of our being, it’s no longer an action – it becomes who we are. We don’t need to think about it or work at it. We become an instrument for service to manifest on this planet. This is the difference between being of service and performing a service.”
Comment: there are similarities here to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of being in ‘flow’, when time seems to stand still and nothing else matters. I liken this to a state of Grace – the French expression for flow is ‘etat de Grace’ (state of Grace). This is probably my best indicator of when I’m ‘being’ – if I’m ‘doing’, I lose this lightness and energy. I’m becoming more aware of this and more committed to ‘being’.
P175, “What matters is how you feel about yourself, right here and right now, because that’s what determines how you conduct your life here. There’s no time except the present moment, so it’s important to be yourself and live your own truth.’ And on P176, ‘I feel that the present moment is the only point in time we have to create our reality. Please note that I intentionally don’t say, “Create our future.”
Comment: this reinforces the Mindfulness learning that life is lived in the present moment, which is the only point in time when we can create anything. I still spend time going over what happened in the past and worrying about what might happen in the future – bringing myself into the present moment simply be engaging my senses and awareness helps me to be more in the moment.
P181, “I do suggest, however, not viewing illness or symptoms as “something to be gotten rid of,” like an enemy. This is a fear-based reaction. For me, the appearance of these symptoms is my body’s way of trying to heal me. I know that if I try to eliminate the illness with an adversarial attitude, I end up doing the opposite, antagonizing it and embedding myself deeper into the illness mind-set.”
Comment: illness played a huge part in my journey and still does: surrendering to illness rather than fighting it opened a door to transformation and healing for me. Now I see illness as a messenger – I don’t always listen, which is when I have to pay the price!
P183, “The only thing you need to learn is that you already are what you’re seeking to attain. Just express your uniqueness fearlessly, with abandon! That’s why you’re made the way you are, and that’s why you’re here in the physical world.’”
Comment: what better way to explain the central importance of being ourselves and living our passion and purpose?
P186, “Our life is our prayer. It’s our gift to the universe, and the memories we leave behind when we someday exit this world will be our legacy to our loved ones. We owe it to ourselves and everyone around us to be happy and to spread that joy around. If we can get through life armed with humour and the realization that we are love, we’ll already be ahead of the game. Add a box of chocolates into the mix, and we’ve really got a winning formula!”
Comment: ‘nuff said!