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  • Sue Shanahan

Anita Moorjani: To Heaven and Back

Updated: May 1



"We are born knowing our magnificence, but we are conditioned to believe it's bad to love ourselves.’” - Anita Moorjani

On the quest to follow my heart, one of the most influential creatives I’ve come across is Anita Moorjani. Her book Dying to Be Me, changed my life. It’s where I first grasped the relationship between connecting to an inner guidance system and loving myself. Without the trust born of self-love, it’s impossible to listen to your inner knowing on a consistent basis.

On the surface Anita and I couldn’t be more different, but at our core we share many similarities. As children, each of us was trained to put other people’s wishes before our own. We were taught to look outside ourselves for answers. After reading her book I made a concerted effort to stop the negative self-talk and to trust my intuition. Yet, I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Interviewing her would be a chance to get more clarity for my journey. As children, each of us was trained to put other people’s wishes before our own. We were taught to look outside ourselves for answers. After reading her book I made a concerted effort to stop the negative self-talk and to trust my intuition. Yet, I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Interviewing her would be a chance to get more clarity for my journey.

I emailed an interview request along with the premise behind my Porch Light Profiles. Surprisingly, I received a response a couple of hours later. Anita was in.

The next day when we spoke, I felt an immediate connection. For me, reading Anita’s book was akin to being lead through the door to freedom. In Dying to Be Me, she details her spontaneous healing from stage four lymphoma after a near-death experience (NDE). When she crossed over, she was informed from loved ones on the other side that it wasn’t her time. There was still work for her to do on Earth. If she stayed in Heaven, she would miss out on many gifts that awaited her in the physical realm. Anita understood that when she returned to her body she would no longer have cancer. She was to go back and to live her life fearlessly. That meant to be fully herself and to love who she was unconditionally.

“I came back knowing that just about everything that I believed or thought was a myth. It was scary to realize this whole world is built on false beliefs. I comprehended that truth is anything that is liberating and freeing, basically not fear. We were never meant to suppress who we are. Being our true selves is why we are here. Plants and flowers grow toward the sun. We grow toward our passion. We forfeit our power when we allow any religious, medical, or educational system to control us.”

Before Anita’s NDE she didn’t live by her inner light. She was disconnected from that source. She had no idea who she was. Raised in Hong Kong by Indian parents, she was taught to deny her true self at an early age. She grew up pleasing people to fit in. By the time she was diagnosed with cancer, she was at an all time low. She was so used to taking care of others, she thought, “Good. Now I have a reason to take care of myself.”

Anita assured me that if we all listened to our intuition, our lives would unfold better than we could ever imagine. In Anita’s case, the voice of her soul led her to writing about her NDE on an internet forum. Through that, renowned author, Wayne Dyer, discovered her. With his help, she was given a publishing contract. After her book, Dying to Be Me, was released it quickly hit the New York Times bestseller list. It has since been translated into over 45 languages and has sold over a million copies worldwide. A full-length feature film of her memoir has been optioned by Hollywood Producer, Ridley Scott. In addition to all that, she travels the world speaking her truth with grace and humor to sold-out audiences. Sharing what she discovered in the afterlife has become her life’s work.

Anita believes that we are all born connected to an inner guidance system, but we are trained not to listen to it. "Our lives are regulated by outside rules. Because we are constantly trying to be what other people want us to be, we end up not living our own lives.”

Anita’s experience in the other realm set her free from all of that. When she came back, to remain healthy all she had to do was be true to herself and follow her joy. She grasped that trusting her inner knowing is the ultimate act of self-love.

“I soon learned that when you live like that it doesn’t mean you no longer have any challenges. The problems you attract from following your heart are like a check and balance system. They put you back on course. Once resolved, they take you to the next level of your deepest self.”

Anita’s message is a radical one for many of us. To some extent we’ve all been indoctrinated by the cultural dos and don’ts. It’s common for women to base their course of action on outside expectations. “Am I being nice?” “Will it make them angry?” “Is it a sin?” All these questions are no longer given any credence in Anita’s world. Today the minute the word 'should' comes up she thinks, 'Why should I? Who made that up?"

“Not listening to our hearts is a kind of spiritual crisis. It can lead to conditions like depression, addiction or in my case cancer. We all come here with a destiny, but many of us lose our way. Our only purpose in life is to shine our light. Like how a plant or flowers always grow toward the sun. We grow toward our passion. When we do that our highest potential unfolds before us. Loving ourselves allows life to draw in gifts and solutions that we never dreamed existed.”

At first, coming from within felt risky to me. As time went on, it felt risky not to. Trading in my authentic self for other people’s “shoulds” is no longer an option. Day by day, my life confirms the truth of what Anita learned on the other side. Following my instincts instead of my fears has given me a newfound freedom. I’ve gotten to know and accept the person I was born to be. For years, my heart longed to be loved for itself. Today, I know that love must begin with me.


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Text and artwork © Sue Shanahan


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