ANITA MOORJANI: Interview with the Catalyst
On the 2nd February 2006, Anita Moorjani had a near death experience (NDE) and came back to share what she discovered. With her incredible New York Times best-selling book, Dying to be Me, about to be made into a movie by Ridley Scott, Anita graciously gave me an hour of her precious time and shares her awesome story and her brave and beautiful heart in my interview below:
When I finished reading Anita Moorjani’s Dying to be Me last year I had tears in my eyes. If you haven’t read it I strongly recommend you do, as it is a book of courage and heartand wonderful healing and inspiring words for body, mind and soul. During the course of our interview Anita tells me that Ridley Scott’s wife had a similar reaction when she read the book for the first time and passionately urged her husband to make a movie of it, which he is currently in the process of doing. When I jokingly say to Anita that it must have been out of this world to have a NDE but it will be even more surreal to watch her life acted out on screen she finds that very amusing and admits she can’t quite believe it either – but is grateful with all her heart that heaven has given her another powerful medium to promote her message. And that mixture of humility, humour and heartfelt sincerity is what makes talking to Anita and reading her book such a magical and moving experience.
As soon as I heard I was going to talk to Anita I was thrilled. Obviously, my admiration for her struggle against cancer and her courage in the face of great suffering, pain and death and her potent message of kindness, love and healing resonated powerfully with me but on top of all that I realised that she was the first woman I was going to chat to in my serious of interviews with spiritually influential people. Some spiritual girl power at last! I have loved every one of my interviews so far but it was amazing to at last get the chance to speak to a woman who was leading the way spiritually on a global level. It got me thinking that we need more women out there talking about spirit and what truly matters in life as although men have so many amazing insights to share hearing things from a woman’s perspective is truly refreshing. I knew instinctively from reading her book that I was going to love talking to Anita. How could I not? This brilliant lady’s advice for a fulfilled and happy life involves living authentically, loving yourself unconditionally and doing things you love, eveneating chocolate, if you love chocolateJ
I just loved talking to his lady and I hope the love I felt shines through in the transcript of our interview below. At the end she very graciously offered me a ticket to a talk she is giving in London on 1 October at the Troxy Cinema in London organised by her UK publisher, Hay House, and I am counting the days….
May I take you back to 2nd February 2006 and what happened to you in hospital?
Sure. I had been suffering from cancer for the last three years and experienced the hell and unbearable pain and loss of dignity that a cancer sufferer goes through including rounds of unsuccessful treatments and chemo. On the morning I arrived in hospital I wasn’t able to move anymore and doctors gave me hours to live. I had the most awe inspiring near death experience or NDE. I won’t go into detail here as you can read it in my book but when I came back from visiting heaven my cancer just disappeared. It was nothing short of a miracle. Almost ten years on I am completely cancer free and every one of those days since has been a miracle. My life is a miracle.
What did you learn from your NDE?
Just one thing, but the most important thing, and that is to be true to myself and to love myself. Before my NDE – and I am sure what I am going to say with resonates with many women – I always thought it was selfish to meet my needs before I met my own, but now I know that if I do not love myself I can’t give love to others because I can’t give what I don’t have. The more I love myself and am true to myself and have my needs met the easier it is for me to be loving and generous to others.
I agree with you Anita, especially when you say women often feel it is selfish to put their needs first but aren’t there occasions when you have to consider the needs of another above your own, especially if you are a mother?
I see the point you are making, Theresa, and women do tend to put themselves last but I’d like you to think about it this way. If you were told that everyone in your life, your mother, your family, your friends etc. did things for you out of obligation rather than heart, how would you feel? You wouldn’t like it would you? So my message is only do things from the heart. If there is no heart ask or find someone else to do it for you.
Before my NDE I was a typical people pleaser. I always put other people first. I was afraid of being myself. I wasn’t true to myself and always felt drained because I was doing everything not for myself but for others. I saw other people in need of help or less fortunate than me and thought I had no right to think about myself. Now I completely understand that it is not selfish to think about me or be here for myself and put my needs first. Indeed, as I think I said earlier when I consider my own needs it makes me feel happier and healthier and more generous. I also know that now I am not trying to be someone I am not I am depriving others of getting to know the real me.
Thank you Anita for saying that and I completely understand. I knew I was going to like you very much before we talked because I remember reading somewhere that your life rules include eating a little chocolate if it makes you happy?
Ha! Yes, of course. I am all for anything that makes you feel happy as long as you are sensible and do it in moderation. I also recommend laughter and not taking life too seriously, enjoying your life and doing what brings you joy. Make your life choices on what makes you feel good and not based on what you think you should do or what others tell you that you should do. Fear of failing or disappointing others is also no way to live your life – make your life one of passion.
I often tell people to start the day with their favourite, upbeat song – Dancing Queen does it for me – and sing along to it. I try to laugh at myself every day. I don’t take myself too seriously because I know that the more I can enjoy myself the closer I am to heaven. I laugh at myself a lot these days. I laugh at my flaws and no longer beat myself up if I make mistakes, which I do often. I laugh because I know to be human is to be perfectly imperfect and all I have to do is be myself and I can’t get life wrong. I look in the mirror and tell myself I am a child of the universe and my only purpose is to be true to myself. I deprive the universe of who I truly am if I try to be someone else. It helps to start each day afresh and to forget about the troubles of yesterday. Think of each day as a blank canvas on which you can paint any picture you like. It really is your choice what you paint. You can paint with joy, love and laughter or with anger, worry, fear and regret. The choice is yours. Make it the best and most uplifting and positive choice for you.
So could I sum up your message as simply as this: Be true to yourself and enjoy life?
Yes, you could. If you are true to yourself, you will enjoy your life and attract into your life what is truly yours. If you listen to your heart and do things with your heart you can’t go wrong. The universe will oblige and help you. It really is that simple. The more you try to be someone you are not, the more you push away what you deserve and the reason we deny our own truth is fear – fear of not being good enough or pretty enough or clever enough or deserving enough. Just believe that you are enough and be yourself with joy and without fear and then you will attract what is truly yours.
Also – and perhaps I digress a bit here but all one and the same – my NDE experience taught me a lot about forgiveness and relating to others. In my NDE state I knew the love for myself was unconditional and that I was one with everybody. I also realised that if people hurt or are rude to me I do not need to forgive them. There is nothing to forgive because when people hurt others they do it out of their own pain. Or if we perceive hurt when there was no intention then we are perceiving hurt out of our own pain. If, however, I love myself unconditionally and remember we are all one and part of the same whole then it is so easy to love others unconditionally because they are all part of the same whole and forgiving others is the same as forgiving myself.
So, to sum up: if we live our lives from a place of total acceptance for self and unconditional love of self it is easier to live from a place of unconditional love and acceptance of others.
I know that the late Wayne Dyer had a huge influence on your life? I am deeply sorry for your loss.
Yes, it has been a very sad time and I miss him greatly. When I posted my NDE online I did it for cathartic reasons. I thought hardly anyone would read it. I had no idea it would go viral in such a short space of time and none other than Wayne Dyer would read it and help me get a book published about it. You would not even be interviewing me today if it was not for Wayne. I am beyond grateful to him for trusting that everyone should hear my message and giving me such an amazing opportunity to share my message with the world. He has been my rock and my support. I miss him so very much but am grateful to the universe as it could not have conspired to bring me to the attention of a kinder, more suitable and altogether wonderful person than Wayne.It took a massive amount of synchronicity for my online story to reach Wayne’s hands and become a book in such a short period of time. I also feel deeply honoured that since his passing I have been asked to fill his mighty shoes in some of the talks he had been booked for in the months ahead. One of those is in London on the evening of 1 May, Troxy cinema in London. I would be happy to organise a ticket for you if you like?
That would be an honour and a privilege and, yes please, thank you very much. Apart from Mr Dyer, of course, who else do you admire or get inspiration from?
That is an easy question to answer. I am inspired by people who don’t necessarily get recognition, money or praise for what they do but do it quietly anyway – the unsung heroes in this life. The parents who adopt foster children from challenging backgrounds or with special needs; the nurses who care for the terminally ill; the animal charity workers who rescue and care for abandoned animals. These are all people who bring heaven closer to earth but most of us barely recognise or hear from them. So I am inspired and humbled by the invisible angels in our society.
And, apart from chocolate, what brings you the greatest happiness?
I was hoping you would ask that because my answer is so clear and simple: nothing makes me happier than to see others helped and empowered by my story. Every time someone tells me my experience has healed their heart I want to dance for joy. It makes all the pain and suffering I went through with my cancer so worth it. I would never wish that suffering on anyone else so I hope I went through that pain so others would not need to.
I’d like to say that nothing would also give me greater joy than to see a world where people lived without fear. I understand that sometimes fear is essential because it warns and protects us but the great majority of our fears are irrational and eating away at us. I truly believe that fear and anxiety create illness because it wears down our immunity and it is also at the root of all violence and cruelty that we see on the news. Our world today is very fear centred. Decisions are made based on fear rather than on a desire for joy and doing good things for ourselves and others. As a result our emotions revolve around a centre of fear. Nothing – not even chocolate – would bring me greater happiness than to know that my experience, my story, my words has been a catalyst for change and making people see themselves and this wonderful world differently. Our only responsibility is to be the change we want to see in the world.
Can I take you back in time to before your NDE? What were you like? Were you the kind of person people wanted to talk to then?
Yes, I have always been the kind of person people seem to want to talk to but back then I was ruled by fear and I was a people pleaser. I did things out of obligation and not from the heart. I was afraid to listen to my heart and did things to fit in. I felt I had to work very hard to be liked and would only be thought worthwhile if I did things that deserved it. I used to think being spiritual was all about hard work and I never felt I need to live up to other people’s expectations. I now know with my heart and from my NDE that we are all spiritual and don’t need to work it at all, just learn to recognise and connect with it because we come from spirit and return to spirit.
And if I could go back in time to my teenage self – the one who hated herself so much and was bulled I would tell myself to love myself just as I am. I would tell her she was perfect and did not need to change for anyone else. She has nothing to prove. She is loved unconditionally and her only purpose is to be herself.
I also used to be very particular about what I ate and would certainly avoid chocolate – been a bit of theme in this interview, chocolate hasn’t it J– because I feared gaining weight or being unhealthy. I was also afraid of getting cancer from certain foods or even sunshine etc. I now know that it is the feelings or emotions we have about what we eat that cause problems and not the food itself. If I eat food out of fear – even it that food is healthy – I am just putting fear based energy into my body but if I eat food with joy and enjoy every bite I put love into my body. I hope this makes sense.
It certainly does. Thank you. Indeed every word you have said has spoken to me clearly and I know it will have the same impact on my readers when they read this. Where can they find out more about you and your book and work?
I guess my website www.anitamoorjani.com is the first port of call. You can find out about my book – which of course is available on amazon – and all my speaking engagements and workshops there too. In my book I go into far greater detail than we can in an interview about my illness, what emotions I felt, what happened in my NDE and what emotions I believed healed my life and cured my cancer.
Do you feel chosen to do what you do now?
I believe I am doing now what I am meant to be doing. I know that because the universe helps me achieve my goals. The universe supports me. Things feel effortless and there is synchronicity all around to make my dreams a reality. I even had it when buying my recent apartment in California. A series of wonderful coincidences enabled me to get my dream apartment by the ocean. My soul needs to be close to the ocean. Everybody said what I wanted was impossible as the area I decided on had nothing for sale but I just happened to bump into someone I knew who knew an ocean view apartment was just up for sale. I got there in time and bought the apartment of my dreams. When things are meant to be there is that flow. I just surrender my ego’s need to control and let the universe lead me. I trust my heart you see, Theresa. I know when I am living in a heart centred way because all my decisions are present based and feeling good and inspired right now. With the brain it is all about the future and there is fear and uncertainty. It is so much easier for the universe to help you when you listen to your heart and surrender to the love all around and within you.
What about negative emotions? Do you have them? How do you deal with them?
Of course I have them. I am human. I don’t deny they exist. I allow them to happen. I accept and learn and grow from them. Negative emotions are not wrong. They are part of being human. As long as you are alive you will have emotions and thank goodness because emotions give us passion and power and the most dynamicand transformative and empowering emotion of all, of course, is love.
I’m not one of those gurus who suggest hours of meditating or denying emotions to get closer to heaven. I think we are close to heaven every time we love and laugh or get absorbed in something like walking or painting or singing or dancing or our work or the joys of family and so on. My kind of spirituality is a passionate one. I want everyone to live according to their heart. I want everyone to turn away from fear and live fiercely. I especially want to empower women to do that as so many women are afraid to follow their hearts, to trust their hearts.
It was very moving to read about the deep love you have for your husband in your books. I hope you don’t mind this personal question but you have no children. Was that a choice or one life made for you?
I am truly blessed by the unconditional love of my husband. All I needed to do from the beginning of our marriage was love myself unconditionally too and by doing that I would love him unconditionally in return but that didn’t happen until after my NDE. Before my NDE instead of enjoying his love I always felt I had to do things to make it up to him, to thank him for loving me. I didn’t realise I just had to be his wife and that was enough.
Again, this is interesting as women we often think we have to teach our husband, partners and children about the meaning of unconditional love but my illness taught me that he was the one who was teaching me. My husband is my soul mate and he cared for me through my illness. He believes that was his purpose, to care for me, so he can now help me spread my message. I am forever grateful to him.
The chemo stopped the possibility of having children and that is difficult for me as I believe I would have been a good and loving mother but I believe things happen for a reason and now everyone who reads my story and my books, and one day sees my movie, feels like my child.
Thank you Anita with all my heart.xxx
Thank you Theresa from mine and look forward to seeing you in London.xxx
As I put the phone down I feel tears in my eyes and pretty soon they are running down my cheeks. This woman has yet again touched my heart deeply, especially her closing words about everyone who reads or sees her story being like her child. I understand now why Ridley Scott’s wife demanded her husband make a movie and I understand why millions of people around the globe have been touched by her story and why if anyone deserves to step into the shoes of the late Wayne Dyer it is this remarkable, loving, joyful and humble lady. She truly is the catalyst for change and making people see themselves and the world differently that she hopes to be. Read her words, visit her website and see her movie when it comes out and I guarantee you will feel better about yourself, more loving towards others, happier about your life and more appreciative of this miraculous and beautiful world we live in.
I’ll end this interview with three quotes that kind of sum up everything about this inspiring lady with a heart full of love and a spirit bursting with joy.
Every love story needs a catalyst of some sort. Ian Somerhalder
You must be the change you want to see in the world. Ghandi
Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. Wayne Dyer