Alice Chan, Ph.D., a former award-winning Cornell professor and seasoned business consultant, is an inspirational personal empowerment author, speaker and coach, devoted to living consciously. Following a near-fatal car accident in December 2008, she reconnected to her soul mission in this life—to help others rediscover their true selves and love their lives. Her first book, REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life, is hailed as a “compelling and acutely honest guide to creating an inspired and passionate life.” Learn more at www.dralicechan.com and download your free REACH Your Dreams tools.
We all experience life challenges that looking back we can see were the catalyst for living a deeper, more authentic life. What has been your greatest personal challenge that you’ve overcome that served as your pivot point to transformation?
On December 30, 2008, I was nearly killed in a car accident. While I was still unconscious in the hospital, I had a near-death experience. While being enveloped by a bright white light, the warmest Unconditional Love that simply wasn’t of the human world, and a certainty that all was perfect and exactly in right order, I was informed that I almost died, but was kept alive because there was more for me to do in this life.
Having sustained severe head trauma and being truly lucky to be alive, my recovery was long and arduous. In hindsight, for some 6 months after the accident, I suffered from post-trauma stress. There were countless times when I’d lie in bed, physically sick and having little will to live. I’d ask, “Why didn’t I just die? That would have been so much easier than this!”
But, deep down, I was unwilling to accept that I was kept alive to suffer. So, I dug deep and summoned every ounce of strength I had to thrive again. In November 2009, one week before Thanksgiving, I quit the job I had long since outgrown to venture into self-employment. Never mind that the year end was a lousy time to start a consulting practice, there was a historic recession going on as well. All logic pointed to how stupid leaving my job at that time was. However, my inner wisdom had gnawed at me for months to leave my job in November.
By then, I knew that I couldn’t ignore that nudge, even in the face of how illogical and truly frightening that move was. I had no idea of how things were going to work out, and there was no guarantee that the professional leap of faith I made would pay off. In 2010, the first full year I was self-employed, I went on to having my highest income-earning year of my entire career up to that point—again in the midst of a historic recession.
Nearly dying and having a glimpse of the Love, Perfection and Right Order in the Spirit World gave me a chance to experience what I had only read and heard about. That is, no matter how things may appear objectively speaking, and how much life can challenge us sometimes, when we’re living our mission in this life, we’d never, ever be left stranded.
Going through the difficult recovery also gave me a taste of what being in surrender mode is like. We hear all the time the need to give up control and surrender to life. Yet, it’s a difficult proposition for most, and certainly for me. In the first 8 weeks after the accident when I couldn’t drive, I had to let others take me anywhere I needed to go. As independent as I had grown to become, it was truly unnerving for me to be so vulnerable and dependent on others. The accident was symbolic of losing control completely and having no choice but to surrender. It was a tough lesson to learn at the time, but I can appreciate how that experience strengthened my faith and my ability to trust my inner wisdom to direct me into the unknown.
It was this experience that finally got me over my inner critic’s objections to my writing a book on personal empowerment. I got the “Divine download” in March 2008 to write this book. But I didn’t feel I had the credibility to author such a work, nor did I believe I was worthy of being the channel of such a message. I finally realized that writing this book was a piece of the mission I was kept alive to fulfill. So, in the first quarter of 2011, I’ve finally cleared out enough internal blocks to birth “REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life” in 3 months, while holding down a consulting practice. The writing flowed, and it was the most exquisite experience of co-creating with the Divine I’ve ever experienced in my life!
In sum, I can honestly say that that accident changed my life forever. And, having had that near-death experience was a priceless gift, as it was what kept me going through many moments of immense fear and self-doubt, as I know that I’m living the life I’m meant to live, the mission I was kept alive to fulfill.
Describe the transformational moment or wake-up call when you realized that life change was necessary? For many, it’s a spiritual awakening, an emotional downfall, or a life-altering experience that shakes us awake.
As mentioned above, the accident itself was the wake-up call. However, long before the wake-up call, my life wasn’t working. For years, I had questioned what my purpose for being in this life was. In March 2008, the same year I had the accident, I had come to a crisis point of feeling that, if I had to continue living the life I was living, I might as well be dead! I accepted a friend’s invitation to go to Sedona and sit on Bell Rock. She said that the energy of that site had the power to set in motion change whether or not I was ready for it. And I certainly was.
It was while in Sedona that my torments in life all made sense. I was meant to experience all the struggles, heartbreak and pain so that I could relate to those I was born to serve. I was supposed to write a book and create programs to help others who suffered like me and needed to find a way out of the rubbles to live with passion and authenticity, being in alignment with who they really are.
When I came home from Sedona, I started writing, but couldn’t continue because my human self—the part that was controlled by my ego, my inner critic—didn’t believe I was worthy of the “assignment.” I was nobody. Who would want to read anything I had to say? Who am I to teach personal empowerment? Before long, fear and doubts around survival completely took over, and I reverted right back to living the life that I had long since outgrown—and loathing myself even more for being stuck doing that and not having the courage to change.
It took the wakeup call of almost dying and continued spiritual study to get myself ready to really embrace what I was called to do. So, it was an experience of spiritual awakening that came with a lot of necessary physical recovery, emotional cleansing and mental preparation. I started to realize that, in sharing my story and sharing tools on conscious living, I’d be doing my part in encouraging others to know that their struggles don’t define them, and that, no matter how much existential pain and discomfort they might be enduring, they could never miss their lives if they kept their faith and remained open to being guided.
After experiencing your personal wake-up call what were the most powerful steps you took to change your life?
The first most important step I took after the accident was to make the decision to thrive again. As mentioned above, the recovery was very difficult physically and psychologically. I realized that, if I didn’t make the mental and emotional choice first to feel better, I’d be resigning myself to scraping by one day at a time indefinitely. So, that conscious decision to thrive again was pivotal.
Then, I engaged in months of gratitude and forgiveness work. Almost every day for months leading up to quitting my job, I wrote list upon list of things to be grateful for in my life. Also, I wrote list upon list of all the anger and resentment I felt for the owners of the company I was working for at the time. I knew that if I didn’t do that, I’d carry the bitterness and resentment of being over-worked, under-paid and under-appreciated into my consulting practice. So, even though the initial lists were really just empty words, I kept at it until I actually felt the release of the trapped negativity. I was actually able to forgive them—and myself for being a spineless doormat for way too long.
The third most powerful step I took was honoring what I was ready to do at the time. I knew that it would be too drastic of a life change to leave my job to become an author, coach and teacher in a completely different field. I simply couldn’t do that. Instead, I said “yes” to leaving my job in objectively bad timing and a historic recession, but choosing to take an intermediate step of becoming self-employed in the same consulting field to give myself some time to get used to giving up the security of a regular paycheck with benefits. This decision to honor my humanness helped me build faith. It has served me well ever since, and I’m a huge advocate of honoring our humanness while we continue to awaken spiritually and carry out our soul’s mission in this life. After all, it’s ultimately about living a human life with a consciousness of our spiritual truth.
Please share a Positive Mental Shift tip that woman can implement today to support them on their journey of transformation and empowerment.
If I were to name one critical Positive Mental Shift to implement today, it’d be to practice knowing that we are inherently whole, complete and enough without any conditions. It’s unfortunate that just about everybody learns unworthiness during the course of our lives—and then we have to spend the rest of our lives unlearning this untruth! It’s this unworthiness at the root of our identity that feeds the self-doubt and fears that allow our inner critic to run our lives.
When we don’t believe we’re each truly magnificent Divine Love in human form, that’s when we keep ourselves trapped in a life that’s unsatisfying, because we don’t know that we can do better, that we deserve better. We stay in abusive relationships and/or jobs that make us feel like spineless doormats. We struggle to pay our bills and sustain our lives. When we’re able to “deprogram” ourselves from all the messages about what we must do and what we must have in order to be worthy, we can get reconnected to our Authentic Truth and live from that knowing. When that happens, our self-worth isn’t contingent upon what we do for a living, how much money we have in the bank, what kind of an objectively successful life we can proudly flaunt to a critical, judging human world.
When we can shift our mindset to knowing that we are enough without having to qualify for it, and that we don’t need to be fixed to be deserving, that’s when life circumstances can’t bring us to our knees—or at least not keep us down. Because we know we have the power to shift our mental state, and the outer parts of our lives have no choice but to transform to match our inner state. It’s by Universal Laws that this is so.
How do we do make this mental shift? Learn to cease self-judgments. That is, we don’t call ourselves a failure or stupid because our lives don’t meet the marks of some arbitrary yard stick we’ve learned to use to compare ourselves to others. We don’t make ourselves wrong when we feel low-energy emotions, such as jealousy, depression, angst, etc. It’s true we don’t want to dwell on these emotions. But, the first step to knowing and accepting that we’re whole, complete and unconditionally worthy is to not make ourselves wrong for being human. Instead, we honor our humanness in having these emotions sometimes, and know that we have the power to choose lovingly to shift away from them.
When we can accept ourselves unconditionally, even through the times we’re crabby or feel like a failure, we can then accept and love ourselves unconditionally. When we can accept and love ourselves unconditionally, we return to knowing our truth of being whole and complete. When that happens, the world around us will also magically follow suit and see us the same way, too.
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