What if you were suddenly to realize that this is heaven (or nirvana)—this physical life we are living right now? I know it sounds crazy, and I can sense some of you thinking, “If this is heaven, then why does it feel like hell to me?” And I hear you. It sure felt like that to me when I was being bullied as a child; taunted and discriminated against for the color of my skin and my family origin—things I had no control over. And it certainly felt like hell again when I was going through cancer, being in constant pain and fear for all those years. But play along with me for a bit.

What if the reason my life felt like hell all that time was because I didn’t know how powerful I was, or what I was capable of doing? After all, no one ever taught me how life worked, and we aren’t born with an instruction manual. Life truly was a struggle for me, and I lived in immense fear well into adulthood. I believed that life happens to us and that I was a victim, so I was always reacting to my life circumstances instead of creating them. Who would create a childhood of bullying and discrimination that would leave her with such horrible low self-esteem? Who would choose to be born as a woman into a culture that still believes women are inferior to men? Who would create cancer in her own body—cancer that would nearly kill her? Of course, I was a victim of my circumstances, or so I thought—until I died.

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