Love by Anita Moorjani & Angie DeMuro and a Poem by Derek Walcott

“Be your own best friend. Love yourself just as you are!”

is the message that Love: a story about who you truly are teaches children to embrace.

Anita Moorjani, author of Dying to Be Me and What If This is Heaven and illustrator Angie DeMuro have co created this book to help parents teach children how to love themselves, especially through the hard times, and to know and understand that this is something important and valuable for all of us to learn.

Within the beautifully written and illustrated pages of the book, children are taught how to have compassion and acceptance for themselves, and how to love themselves through many everyday situations. The happiness and confidence that can come from learning this ability is a gift that children, even grown-up ones, will carry with them their entire lives.

“You can’t love another unconditionally until you love yourself unconditionally, and when you truly do achieve that, you will never allow anyone to use you or abuse you.”

Anita Moorjani, What If This Is Heaven

At the end of the book is a Love Yourself Pledge, with a space to write the name of the person who has been given the book. Anita Moorjani believes her own childhood might have been changed had she had access to something like this.

Although I have not yet bought a copy for myself, this is a book that I’ve gifted, and one I recommend gifting to anyone who might have the opportunity to read to children and to impart positive messages of love and compassion in today’s increasingly stressful world.

I can’t think of any child that wouldn’t want to be exposed to something as reassuring and heartfelt as this, and it may just make a difference to some who needs to hear its message now, especially as we become more aware of the widespread silencing of victims of bullying and criticism, events or experiences that too often children are too afraid to share with parents.

It reminds me too of a wonderful Derek Walcott poem, which since today is Valentines Day, I share below for you, for not everyone can rely on another to express loving words or gestures on this day, but as Derek shares with us below, we have it in us to do that for ourselves.

So what loving thing are you doing for yourself today?

L O V E   A F T E R   L O V E

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

 Happy Valentine Everyone!

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What If THIS is Heaven? How Our Cultural Myths Prevent Us From Experiencing Heaven on Earth by Anita Moorjani

anita-moorjani-heavenAnita Moorjani wrote her first book Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing after being tracked down by the late Wayne Dyer, who’d come across her story on the internet and wanted to know more about what she had experienced on the day she had been expected to die but miraculously returned from stage four cancer to heal totally and live.

Prior to Wayne Dyer’s intervention and guidance Anita hadn’t really wanted to share her story anymore after she came under the intense focus of doctors and the medical community all trying to understand the science behind how she recovered – because it wasn’t attributed to any medical intervention and defied all medical logic. She found these engagements emotionally stressful, and energetically draining – all she could really tell them was what she had felt and experienced – something not one of those medical experts had ever experienced themselves, yet despite the proof of her living self in front of them, they seemed to not want to accept it, because they had no paradigm within which to explain it. So she stopped sharing the story and refused all further invitations.

She wrote one description of what happened to her and posted it with just her first name on the internet and went back to her life. Some long time after, a friend asked her to speak at an event for people interested in healing and she explained again the reasons why she had to say no. Within those reasons, lay the very essence of what this friend wanted her to share with the group and with a little persuasion, albeit reluctantly, she agreed. She went to the event and was surprised at the difference in the reception, a very different group of people and energy, those who had some inkling of what she had experienced and were open and eager to hear about it without judgement. The day after she opened up to this welcoming group Wayne Dyer’s assistant contacted her and that became the beginning of her sharing her story more widely and led to the publication of that first book mentioned above.

I haven’t read her first book, I came across her after listening to a one hour conversation between her and Colette Baron-Reid (one of my favourite intuitives to listen to). Colette has a book coming out at the end of September Uncharted: The Journey through Uncertainty to Infinite Possibility which I’ve pre-ordered and can’t wait to read and in the lead up to her publication, she recorded 12 conversations with very interesting and enlightened people working in the spiritual/quantum physics world, in a ‘real and raw’ series of unplanned conversations. After listening to Anita Moorjani talk, I decided to get this, her new book, What if This is Heaven to read more about how what had happened to her had changed her life in this second phase – after the focus on her NDE (near death experience) had cooled and how the things she learned have continued to manifest and inform her life today.

And it’s brilliant – it reads like just the beginning of the gifts she has been given in terms of insights into how reality really is and how she is called to respond to them, because the reality is that she is back living in the material world, where we perceive little of the other dimensions that exist but aren’t able to be perceived with the 5 senses of the physical self – and our 6th sense, intuition (or as some call it – the 1st sense) while well-developed at birth and during childhood has often by adulthood been drowned out by culture, system, society, parental direction, media, politics, Fear + noise.

The most significant truth she experienced in that state between life and death was the connectedness of everything and everyone and the great power of unconditional love, a phrase that is often used and little understood, but one that by the end of this book, we understand better than ever and in particular the importance of first applying it to ourselves, before we are ever able to apply it to others.

You can’t love another unconditionally until you love yourself unconditionally, and when you truly do that achieve that, you will never allow anyone to use you or abuse you.

Here she takes just a few of what she calls myths and offers an alternative truth through first describing her own experience or an encounter she has had with someone who highlighted that truth. The myths, which we have learned or been conditioned by in our society/culture/family that she explores are:

Anita Moorjani

Anita Moorjani

‘You get what you deserve.’
‘Loving Yourself is Selfish.’
‘Real Love Means Anything Goes.’
‘I’m not Ok, You’re Not Ok.’
‘It’s Just a Coincidence.’
‘We Pay for Our Sins at Death.’
‘Spiritual People Don’t Have Egos.’
‘Women Are the Weaker Sex’
‘We Must Always Be Positive.’

Ultimately, she is a woman who doesn’t set out or even believe she is here to inspire, she is following her heart and attempting to live an authentic life and through sharing her story and the things she has learned, does inspire people and help make us see things we feel intuitively but may not practise in our lives.

Authentic unconditional love means wanting for another what that person wants for themselves and allowing that person to be who they truly are – even if it requires setting them free – instead of expecting them to change to fit our ideas of who we want them to be.

Highly recommended.

Click Here to Buy a Copy of What If This is Heaven? now!

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Rachel Joyce’s debut novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry told of the spontaneous walk that became a pilgrimage, by the unassuming and little-loved ex brewery salesman Harold Fry. He went out one day to post a letter to his former colleague Queenie Hennessy whom he had learned was nearing the end of her life in a hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland.

Harold decided to keep on walking, wearing a pair of inadequate boat shoes, no money or warning to anyone, he walked for weeks, hoping Queenie had received his message to wait for him. We knew little of Queenie’s story or history and even less of what she was going through and how she perceived Harold’s act of spontaneity, until now with this second book, which takes us back to the beginning of the story, interpreted now from Queenie’s point of view.

Rachel Joyce brings us inside the mind of Queenie, who upon hearing from Harold decides to write him an extremely long letter, going right back to when she first applied for a job at the brewery where they both worked, including her first memorable glimpse of him, her undying and denied, unconditional love for him and her never spoken of relationship with his troubled son David.

As well as revealing her relationship and hidden feelings for Harold, we meet her fellow patients in the hospice, diminshed physically yes, but with their characters fully prominent, intact and proudly on display, from The Pearly King, Finty, grumpy Mr Henderson to the nuns who take care of them.

Queenie receives Harold’s letter which reads:

I am very sorry.

Best Wishes.

P.S. Wait for me.

and learns from Sister Catherine that he has called from a telephone box, in Kingsbridge, South Devon, something about waiting and that he was walking.

Harolds Journey“I knew your writing. One glance and my pulse was flapping. Great, I thought. I don’t hear from the man in twenty years, and then he sends a letter and gives me a heart attack.”

 

“I held tight on to your envelope, along with my notebook. I saw the dancing of crimson light beyond my eyelids as we moved from the dayroom to the corridor and then past the windows. I kept my eyes shut all the way, even as I was lowered onto the bed, even as the curtains were drawn with a whoosh against the pole, even as I heard the click of the door, afraid that if I opened my eyes the wash of tears would never stop.

Harold Fry is coming, I thought. I have waited twenty years, and now he is coming.”

The next morning Queenie wakes to find a new volunteer in her room who has observed her crying in her sleep, the nun, who introduces herself as Sister Mary Inconnu, reads Queenie’s hand scribbled message that said it was too late to wait for Harold and suggests she write him a second letter, that she will help her by typing up her notes each day.

She said, “I have a plan. We’re going to write him a second letter. Don’t forget, you opened this can of worms when you sent your first one. So now you need to finish. Only this time, don’t give him the sort of message he might expect from a gift card. Tell him the truth, the whole truth. Tell him how it really was.”

Harold’s walk is just one of the many journey’s represented, everything becomes a symbol of slow perseverance towards some kind of end; Sister Lucy and her jigsaw puzzle of England, the pieces placed progressively over the weeks of Harold’s walk revealing regions of England and Wales, racing towards the Midlands; Queenie’s own 20 year story of unconditional love, the evolution, growth and eventual destruction of her sea-garden; her friendship with David and the deathly progression of disease among the hospice patients, they who hold onto the very last threads of existence, their spirits given an additional and unexpected thrill in following the increasingly heard-of pilgrimage of this Harold Fry,  albeit alongside the less joyous symptoms of bodies in decline.

Despite the sad circumstances, it’s a fun book to read either alone or as a companion to Harold Fry, it is written as a second person narrative, using “you” just as she would have done in writing a letter, which has the effect of limiting the perspective, in a similar way that Colm Tóibín did in his 3rd person limited perspective of Nora Webster, reviewed here. Queenie’s narrative was less frustrating for me than Nora’s, possibly because she is reflecting on the past that can not be changed. I found it quietly compelling, tragic and humorous both, often surreal.

Love_song_by_ShinyLittleBird

Note: This was an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) kindly provided by the US publisher via NetGalley.