I remember re-entering my body and finding myself in a hospital with a stiff and overbearing neck brace. I had just spoken to a “council” of six shadow figures, who told me I had more work to do in the world and asked me if I wanted to do it. I said yes, and was returned back to earth.
Hours earlier, I had been wakeboarding and hit a near-fatal wave that sent me to the hospital unconscious. What transpired when I was unconscious would dramatically shape the course of my life.
I experienced what scientists refer to as a “Near-Death Experience,” in which thousands of case studies report sensations of leaving their bodies, spending time in an otherworldly realm, meeting spiritual beings, and feeling a sense of connectedness to all things.
After my NDE, my sense of what mattered most in life was turned upside down. I used to wake up most mornings with a nagging sense that there was more I was meant to be doing with my life, without having any idea of how to do it.
Maybe you can relate to this nagging feeling or are like the 50% of other Millennials that want more direction in their lives.
While most of us will never experience an NDE—statistically they affect just 5% of the population—we can all gain value and perspective from those who live to tell about one. If you’re unsure about what you want to do with your life, NDE survivors can help shed light on what might be the right next step for you.
Meet Cherie Aimée, a fellow “NDEr” whose story is a well-known medical miracle to the world’s leading cardiothoracic surgeons. After dying in her husband’s arms, she sustained no heart beat for 90 minutes. Since then, she’s been interviewed by major news and TV networks, is a #1 bestselling author and an international motivational speaker, and has built a six figure company around living life with no regrets: Live Big Be Happy.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, I spoke with Aimée about her NDE and the lessons she learned from it.
Aimée’s story is particularly remarkable because of the resilience she demonstrated in the face of her circumstances. After receiving a bionic heart transplant and enduring a 3-month coma, Aimée went on to build a 6-figure brand.
“When I started my brand, I was in a wheelchair,” Aimée recounts. “I was thinking to myself, ‘how am I going to hold up to other experts in the field when I am here feeling broken?’”
In spite of her limitations, Aimée did everything in her power to share her story and spread a message of compassion, love, and hope. “I built my whole brand from my iPhone,” she says.
Below, Aimée shares three tips to help you find direction and meaning in your life.
Make A Commitment To Fall In Love With Yourself
First and foremost, Aimée says the foundation of a successful life is loving yourself. However, this isn’t necessarily an easy feat. Our culture values certain aspects of self and condemns others—it’s easy to love the aspects of yourself that get external approval, like being disciplined, courageous, compassionate, and assertive. But loving aspects like your laziness, your tendency to blame and resent, your anger, and your cowardice can be challenging.
The sense of stability and fearlessness you gain from loving all of yourself is worth the fight. “Make a commitment to fall in love with yourself, the way you did before you allowed all these rules and limitations to limit your greatness,” says Aimée. Say to yourself, I’m going to commit to do the work—whatever it’s going to take so I can fall in love with myself—because I have a big mission and it is my responsibility to shine my light in the unique way that I was born for.”
One practice to help you love yourself is to journal every day. Don’t worry about a time limit, or a length prescription. Write whatever comes to your mind. “Write your thoughts, as scary as they are. It’s a process of getting it out, and getting it out starts the process of healing,” Aimée says.
Studies by the University of Rochester found that keeping a journal helps you manage anxiety, reduce stress, and establish order when your world feels chaotic. Those who write their goals down in a journal are 42% more likely to accomplish them. Use your journal to help you let go of self-judgment, access clarity, and take action upon your deepest innermost yearnings.