Going Home

What does it feel like to die? By Anita Moorjani

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Oh my God, I feel incredible! I’m so free and light! How come I’m not feeling any more pain in my body? Where has it all gone? Hey, why does it seem like my surroundings are moving away from me? But I’m not scared! Why am I not scared? Where has my fear gone? Oh wow, I can’t find the fear anymore!

These were some of my thoughts as I was being rushed to the hospital. The world around me started to appear surreal and dreamlike, and I could feel myself slip farther and farther away from consciousness and into a coma. My organs were beginning to shut down as I succumbed to the cancer that had ravaged—no, devoured—my body for the past four years.

It was February 2, 2006, a day that will be etched in my memory forever as the day I “died.”

Although in a coma, I was acutely aware of everything that was happening around me, including the sense of urgency and emotional frenzy of my family as they rushed me to the hospital. When we arrived, the moment the oncologist saw me, her face filled with shock.

“Your wife’s heart may still be beating,” she told my husband, Danny, “but, she’s not really in there. It’s too late to save her.”Who is the doctor talking about? I wondered. I’ve never felt better in my life! And why do Mum and Danny look so frightened and worried? Mum, please don’t cry. What’s wrong? Are you crying because of me? Don’t cry! I’m fine, really, dear Mama, I am! I thought I was speaking those words aloud, but nothing came out. I had no voice.

I wanted to hug my mother, comfort her and tell her that I was fine, and I couldn’t comprehend why I was unable to do so. Why was my physical body not cooperating? Why was I just lying there, lifeless and limp, when all I wanted to do was to hug my beloved husband and mother, assuring them that I was fine and no longer in pain?

Look, Danny—I can move around without my wheelchair. This feels so amazing! And I’m not connected to the oxygen tank anymore. Oh wow, my breathing is no longer labored, and my skin lesions are gone! They’re no longer weeping and painful. After four agonizing years, I’m finally healed!

I was in a state of pure joy and jubilation. Finally, I was free from the pain caused by the cancer that had ravaged my body. I wanted them to be happy for me. Why weren’t they happy that my struggle was finally over, that their struggle was over? Why weren’t they sharing my jubilation? Couldn’t they see the joy I was feeling?

“Please, there must be something you can do,” Danny and my mother pleaded with the doctor.“It’s only a matter of hours for her,” the oncologist argued. “Why didn’t your other doctors send her to us earlier? Her organs are already shutting down, and that’s why she has slipped into a coma. She won’t even make it through the night. You’re asking for the impossible. Whatever we administer at this stage could prove too toxic and fatal for her body, as her organs aren’t even functioning!” “Well, maybe,” Danny insisted, “but I’m not giving up on her!”

My husband held my limp hand tightly as I lay there, and I was aware of the combination of anguish and helplessness in his voice. I wanted more than anything to relieve him of his suffering. I wanted him to know how wonderful I was feeling, but I felt helpless in trying to convey it.

Don’t listen to the doctor, Danny; please don’t listen to her! Why is she saying that? I’m still here, and I’m fine. Better than fine—in fact, I feel great!

I couldn’t understand why, but I experienced what everyone was going through—both my family members as well as the doctor. I could actually feel their fear, anxiety, helplessness, and despair. It was as though their emotions were mine. It was as though I became them.

I’m feeling your pain, darling—I can feel all your emotions. Please don’t cry for me, and tell Mum not to cry for me, either. Please tell her!

But as soon as I started to get emotionally attached to the drama taking place around me, I also felt myself being simultaneously pulled away, as though there were a bigger picture, a grander plan that was unfolding. I could feel my attachment to the scene receding as I began to realize that everything was perfect and going according to plan in the greater tapestry.

It was then that the realization truly set in that I was actually dying.
Ohh . . . I’m dying! Is this what it feels like? It’s nothing like I ever imagined. I feel so beautifully peaceful and calm . . . and I feel healed at last!I then understood that even if my physical body stopped, everything is still perfect in the greater tapestry of life, for we never truly die.

I was still acutely aware of every detail unfolding before me as I observed the medical team wheeling my near-lifeless body to the intensive care unit. They were surrounding me in an emotional frenzy, hooking me up to machines while poking and prodding with needles and tubes.

I felt no attachment to my limp body as it lay there on the hospital bed. It didn’t feel as though it were mine. It looked far too small and insignificant to house what I was experiencing. I felt free, liberated, and magnificent! Every pain, ache, sadness, and sorrow was gone. I was completely unencumbered, and I couldn’t recall feeling this way before—not ever.

I then had a sense of being encompassed by something that I can only describe as pure, unconditional love, but even the word love doesn’t do it justice. It was the deepest kind of caring, and I’d never experienced it before. It was beyond any physical form of affection that we can imagine, and it was unconditional—this was mine, regardless of what I’d ever done. I didn’t have to do anything or behave a certain way to deserve it. This love was for me, no matter what!

I felt completely bathed and renewed in this energy, and it made me feel as though I belonged, as though I’d finally arrived after all those years of struggle, pain, anxiety, and fear.

I had finally come home!

Spring Break Skin Care

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Spring break is here! Whether you are heading out for some Spring Skiing or headed south for the sun and fun, it’s important to prepare and pack the right clothes and skin protection for the outdoor fun.

First of all when it comes to preparing for the sun and fun…you have to remember that your skin hasn’t been exposed to sun for quite a while and the rays in the south are much stronger than those here in the north.

For your body…and face: Be sure to apply an SPF of 15-20. Reapply every hour while laying out in the sun. Sunscreen doesn’t last all day and that is the number one reason many people who wear sunscreen still get burned. Even if it says waterproof or resistant. Still reapply. Bring a hat, and protect your eyes from the sun too. Sunglasses are a must and be sure to purchase a pair that has uv protection.

When skiing, you still need to be sure to wear an SPF on your face. The reflection of the sun off the snow can really burn your skin. Whether I am on the beach or on the slopes, I love to wear a tinted moisturizer that not only gives you a nice glow, but has an SPF of 15 or above.

When you are in the warm or cold elements, be sure to moisturize the skin. Many hotels have soaps that are harsh on the skin. I love to throw a moisturizing bar of soap in my bag. First of all, it’s not a liquid, so I don’t have to worry about airport security and I know I have my moisturizing properties included every time I wash.

Lastly, shaving often times something that we don’t do every day during the winter months. To avoid razor burn and to again continue to moisturize your skin…try the venus shaver that includes the moisture strip. These are my favorite razors and gentle enough that I feel safe with my teenager using them. You get a close shave with moisturizing benefits.

Wherever you go and whatever you do, keep these simple tips in mind and above all else… have a BLAST!

Love,
Michelle

Stuck with What’s Safe?

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Holding on to a false sense of security often lures women away from the challenge of embracing their fears. Traditionally, men are the risk takers—they’re encouraged to play hard, get dirty, and try new things. Women, on the other hand, typically grow up with messages about the importance of being safe and secure. When I was on the verge of leaving my marriage, for example, my father was very afraid for me. “You’re giving up your security!” he warned. Even though I knew I had to leave, I was terrified. My own fear made it nearly impossible to take the next, right step.

At that moment, I needed a reality check. Maybe you need one now, too. We women take care of our households, our families, our friends, our careers, our health, our looks, and our finances. If we can handle all that (and more), we can handle anything! We wouldn’t have come so far in life if we weren’t capable.

So the first step to embracing fear is to give it a good dose of reality. Remind yourself of everything that you are already successfully managing in your life. Do you see that you’re stronger than you might think?

What no one else may tell you is that the sense of safety you’re used to isn’t as safe as you think. “Sure things” can always fall through, and here’s a perfect example: Recently, a friend approached me with a dilemma. She was stuck in a job she hated but made good money. Then she was offered her dream job, but there were some unknowns and risk factors. Agonizing, she asked, “Do I go for my dream and give up my security or should I stay with this job?”

As we discussed her situation, it became clear that she should go for it, but in the end she chose to let the opportunity pass her by. “I decided to stay where I am—it’s just safer,” she explained. Several months later, though, her “safe” job was eliminated, and she found herself without her sure thing or her dream job. If my friend had eliminated her excuses and embraced her fears, she might have noticed some red flags in her current job and realized that her magic-wand dream perhaps wasn’t as risky as it seemed.

Remember, don’t get stuck with what’s safe because nothing is set in stone.
You’ve heard the story about the frog in a pot of warm water, right? The frog becomes complacent and doesn’t realize that the heat is slowly increasing until it’s too late. Perhaps it was afraid to leap into the unknown despite its growing discomfort, which leads me to the point I want you to understand: Anything can eventually become acceptable, if you let it.

Why do we live in circumstances we dislike? Why do we tolerate the intolerable? Excuses. We all have them: “What will others think?” “I’m not good enough.” “It doesn’t matter.” “I don’t have the time [or money].” “My family needs me too much right now.” “I don’t know how/I don’t know the right people.” This is the voice of fear, and it sabotages our chances for a beautiful life. Those little words debilitate us and shut us down.

I tell my clients that once you eliminate your excuses, you can make better choices and have a much greater chance for achieving real, lasting security. When you do, you will be aligned with your foundation values and start to live your best life!

Excerpt: “The Beauty Blueprint” by Michelle Phillips
http://www.michellephillips.com/book/

A Case of the What-Ifs

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After years of coaching woman on how to make positive changes in their lives, I have noticed that some women jump right in to action while others need a little extra help. This is especially true if they have a bad case of the what-ifs: What if I lose my job? What if I make people mad? What if I fail?

For those of you that fall in the later category, overcoming your negative, fear-based thoughts and feelings, including your own what-ifs may take a little work. Here are a few ideas I have shared with clients that have proved to be powerful tools to help the process.

First, think about all of the things that will be positive about the changes you want to make in your life. Write them down. Then ask your self these few questions: What if it does create everything you’ve always wanted? What if your journey takes you in a different direction than anticipated, and it’s much better than what you could have hoped for? What if your new experiences create positive energy and enthusiasm despite the difficulties that come with change? What if you find that you’re an even more incredible person than you ever thought you were capable of becoming? What if you realize that you do have the strength to handle anything that comes your way? What if people notice how incredible your life has become because you took a risk and believed in yourself? What if you inspire your friends and family to improve their own lives?

Well, I can tell you that most likely the positive things I’ve just mentioned will occur. That’s what makes me so excited about leading you on this journey. I know there are some amazing, unexpected realizations that are waiting around the corner for you. I can also guarantee that dealing with a temporary case of the what-ifs is a lot better than a lifetime of “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s” hanging over your head. So live without regrets!
Excerpt: “The Beauty Blueprint” by Michelle Phillips
http://www.michellephillips.com/book/

Schedule Time to Take Action

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It’s important to schedule your Master Action steps just as you would a trip to the dentist or an oil change for your car. Not many people can “quit” their current life to work on inventing a new one, but everyone can find 30 minutes every day to journal, make a phone call, or meditate. You can begin living your dream right here, right now. Remember, if you want to supercharge your success, don’t just write down your goals and action steps. Share them with a friend or members of your coaching circle, and check in weekly.

Although your intentions can guide you toward your dreams, you still have to get out there and make things happen. This may feel uncomfortable or even risky, but I’ve watched all my clients experience similar feelings as they move through the process. When you understand the steps of transformation and what each step entails, you can move faster toward your ultimate goal, with less chance of getting stuck or hung up somewhere along the way.
For some of my clients, taking action and asking for help also involves facing certain fears they’ve been avoiding. If that sounds familiar, be encouraged! I’ve been in your shoes, and I have some wonderful tips in the next step to help you shake your fears and walk confidently into the light.

Affirmation: I make time to nurture my spirit and honor my life’s purpose. I ask for and accept help when I need it.

Excerpt: “The Beauty Blueprint” by Michelle Phillips
http://www.michellephillips.com/book/

Small Steps Make a Big Difference

th A Harvard economist conducted a study to determine whether offering rewards to children was an effective way to motivate them to do well in school. Interestingly, some of the findings suggested that students who broke goals down into smaller steps—which were immediately under the control of the student, such as “Read one book this week”—had greater academic success than their peers who had goals but no clear plan to achieve them.1

Remember, you don’t have to be an expert in every step toward achieving your dream. Many women give up because they don’t think they can get there alone. I have news for you: you don’t have to go it alone! Think of a chef creating a delicious gourmet meal. If she can’t locate a key ingredient, does she throw out everything and order takeout? Of course not. She goes to the store and asks someone for help.

If you’re a mom, you probably already know how to ask for help. If your little one needed medical attention at midnight, for instance, you would call someone regardless of the time or inconvenience. You wouldn’t care how you looked to others, either, because your child is more important to you than someone else’s opinion of your parenting skills.

Here’s an exercise I practice when I am feeling overwhelmed. I break my to-do list down into small steps, I think about what my possible needs might be. Then I jot down the names of everyone who can guide me along the way. For me, this includes individuals who could help with specific steps such as putting together my website, writing my manuscript, and learning about the publishing industry.

I refer to this as a Master Resource List, which is an essential component in achieving the steps necessary for success in all areas of your life. So pick up your pen and get to work on your own Master Resource List . Tomorrow I will discuss how to use these resources to accomplish your Master Action List.

Excerpt: “The Beauty Blueprint” by Michelle Phillips
http://www.michellephillips.com/book/

Enjoy the Rewards!

Many people want to change but aren’t willing to do the work. When you have faith that the difficulties you face can be healed and fixed, our wonderful minds begin to use their subconscious energy to create solutions, there are physical effects as well. Frown lines begin to soften, worry lines disappear, mindless eating stops, and quality of sleep improves. We can breathe deeply and laugh more often. As life starts to look brighter, our faces do, too.

Affirmation :I am courageous and strong. I face the truth in every area of my life, and I reap the rewards.

Excerpt: “The Beauty Blueprint” by Michelle Phillips