(English) Anita Moorjani‘ „Dying to be me“ – book review part 2

anita It’s official, my tumor is back. My MRI taken on the 29th January 2015 revealed that parts of it have grown again. This news sheds a new light on my book review . And it took me days, to actually sit down and start writing.

What is the bottom line of Anita Moorjani’s book? What is her insight from her NDE? She says ‚I understood that my body is only a reflection  of my internal state. If my inner self were aware of its greatness and connection with All-that-is, my body would soon reflect that and heal rapidly‚. What does that mean for me? I do believe, that we are all connected. I am sure of it. Am I aware of my own greatness. I have self-doubts like probably most of us. I feel not pretty enough, not slim enough, not successful enough. I could be a better daughter. Definitely a better wife. I am a pretty good mum though. But I am trying to love myself. I am trying to see the beauty in myself. I am trying to accept myself. Didn’t I paint that self portrait? And didn’t  I – oh, no I didn’t ONLY like it, I also saw the flaws. I didn’t like the nose Stehaufmännchen and I didn’t like how I had drawn the lips. But overall I loved it. Is healing connected to seeing ones own greatness and does that mean if I don’t manage to love myself enough I won’t heal?

My outer life is actually only a reflection of my inner state… Living more in harmony with who we truly are isn’t just forcing ourselves to repeat positive thoughts. It really means being and doing things that make us happy, things that arouse our passion and bring out the best in us, things that make us feel good – and it also means loving ourselves unconditionally.‚ When I finally quit chemistry in 2000 after having studied and worked in that area for 10 years, to actually follow my passion and take photos, I was happy. I felt nothing could stop me. I went to Palestine to be in the middle of the conflict, to take photos and to show them to the world. I really believed that was my path – until – I had a bullet flying so close over my head that I could feel the movement of the air. That was the moment I smoked probably my fifth cigarette in my life and I suddenly realized my soul was not made for so much heart-ship. All the pain I saw, all the hate, all those emotions  and I had no way of releasing them. They were all in me and I didn’t find a way to express them. So I buried my dream of becoming a professional photographer.

Parallel I had started to teach English to long term unemployed people. And here I found my talent. I had a way to teach that made these people feel good about themselves. We had fun together and at the same time discussed difficult personal issues. I felt needed. I felt I was making a difference. I loved it. Things changed when I started to teach German – and later leadership – in Switzerland. Although my students were also mainly job seekers, I didn’t manage to win them over. Was it because I am German and there were and still are some significant cultural differences? Was it my way of teaching? When students luck motivation, or think they know it all, when they show a limited amount of respect for my work – for me I am feeling worn out and drained of all my energy.

So what is my passion? I love giving seminars and workshops on leadership topics, I love showing people how to make SoulCollage® cards. I love coaching people. But doing only that doesn’t pay the bills. Workshops I organized were canceled because there weren’t enough registrations? What does that mean? Am I not good at what I love doing? What is missing? Am I doing it for the wrong reasons? Why is the Universe not helping, supporting me? What is it trying to tell me? I have been thinking for a while of not teaching any longer. But what else could I be doing? What is my unique gift to the world?

And then there is this… loving myself unconditionally. How am I doing that? Just a couple of days ago I came across an article by Megan Bruneau on WHAT “LOVE YOURSELF” MEANS AND 3 WAYS TO GET CLOSER TO IT. I want to live. I want to see my daughters to grow up. Let’s learn how to love myself unconditionally. Her advice is…

1. When you become aware of your critical voice, thank it for showing up with its good intentions. Her formula which is a sentence structure is for me too artificial. I like the general idea of first of all noticing that critical voice. That already is a challenge for most of us – including me. While writing this blog, I had numerous encounters with my inner critic. Why is my inner critic so strong. I am a perfectionist. I know that. And I am trying to let go of that pattern. And I am trying not to do the same to my children and my students. However, I have realized that I have high standards. The good intention is usually giving my best, making a difference, changing something for the better, but also getting recognition, being praised, loved, appreciated.

2. Practice a compassionate meditation towards yourself. The idea of going inward and scanning what I am feeling physically and emotionally and then bringing up feelings of warmth, patience, empathy, sympathy, comfort, appreciation and compassion and sending them to myself is a challenge. She describes it as ‚enveloping you like a warm blanket or a comforting hug‚. I particular like her suggestion  of doing the mountain pose  DSC_1103DSC_1102 in front of a mirror and noticing what thoughts and feelings come up as I look at my reflection and once I am comfortable doing that ‚sending love to the person in the mirror‚. I remember somebody suggesting nearly a year ago I should stand in front of a mirror and tell myself ‚I am healthy.‘ And I remember how difficult if not to say impossible that was for me. It never became a daily ritual.

3. Consider how you act towards yourself in response to success, compared to how you might react to someone you love. Her argument is that ‚our society overvalues modesty, to the point at which people feel guilty if they own or congratulate their successes.‚ Well thinking about this… when was I told the last time ‚job well done‘? It was actually after the last SoulCollage® introductory workshop. I felt good about it and I have learnt to just hear these compliments without giving into that urge of responding. When however the compliment was repeated in front of somebody else, I felt embarrassed. Why is that? On one hand I am complaining about students who don’t appreciate and value me enough and then if there is somebody who is giving me exactly what I need and want – I feel embarrassed and can also not enjoy that moment. So whatever people do – I am unhappy? That can’t be. I believe I am a good trainer. I believe I am a good teacher. I am competent, skilled and experienced. When I was doing my Transactional Analysis training our trainer gave us a metaphor for how different people hear acknowledgement. There are those whose opening for hearing compliments is pretty big. They will fill their daily need of recognition sooner vase6 than those whose opening is smaller. vase6b Maybe I belong to the second group.

Having said all that, what does it practically mean for me? Well on the odd occasion I write down what I love about myself, what I am good at… but I am miles away from unconditionally loving myself. I know though what it feels like. I love my children unconditionally. Which leaves me at exactly the same place I was at the beginning. If loving myself unconditionally is the key to healing than I am far far away from it.