I was recently invited to speak for the Young Women Organization (YWO) at my daughter's school. It took me over a week to think about what I would speak about. And then I dawned on me, I would tell them who I am, and what I'm really all about.
Here is what I had to say:
بِسْم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Good evening everyone, my name is Modia Batterjee. Tonight I'm going to tell you a little bit about myself.
In 1992, I was one year shy of my 20th birthday. That summer something happened to me that changed my life forever. It changed my understanding of this world and why I was living in it.
I had a near death experience.
I won't go into the details of how or why it happened because of my limited time to speak, but I will say that it was a freak accident. A near death experience is when your soul leaves your body for a very short time but then quickly comes back. The experience of my soul leaving my body was a beautiful experience. The most beautiful I have ever had.
There was nothingness; JUST ME.
No light, no sound, just me.
Me in a globular form that I did not recognize.
But I was ok,
Actually I was quite content and happy.
I was relieved from the weight of my body and excited to move forward.
A gentle force began to pull me towards it through a dark tunnel that had a very bright light at the end.
I could hear echoes of soft voices chattering and a great deal of laughter.
I anticipated my arrival and knew that I would go through a check-in like process at a reception area. Similar to a hotel.
But one that would ask me specific questions that would determine where I would be placed. I was not worried at all.
In those few minutes or what felt like minutes I was eager to join the laughter, the love, the joy, the comfort, and the pure acceptance.
As soon as I felt the movement of my spherical soul pick up momentum, there was a sudden halt. This startled me in the most gentle way. I then felt a being approach me to my left. I couldn't see anybody but I most definitely felt its presence. It had a very warm yet authoritative existence. Something similar to a teacher whom you love and respect at the same time.
This being was very apologetic in its tone, it wasn't a he or a she but it had some kind of authority that I understood immediately. It communicated to me that I was not supposed to be there; I had to go back. It said "you still have work to do". My response was "no I don't, I'm only 19" but before I could even finish my sentence I found myself stuffed back into my body like you'd stuff a large pillow into a small pillow case.
I must admit it was painful.
Once I was physically conscious again and had full awareness that I was injured and needed medical assistance I knew that this experience was special.
This experience taught me that I had a purpose in this life. And I was not allowed to leave and go back to that laughter filled place until my purpose was complete.
Since that day I have never passed on an opportunity to do good, to give, to help, to share, to educate, because I know that one of these or all of these together are me fulfilling my purpose. At age 36 I completed my doctorate degree in Health Administration, while I was the mother of three, the Sindi kids, you may know them Omar, Maryam, and Eisa. Five years prior in 2004 I co-founded Albidayah Breastfeeding Resource and Women's Awareness Center in Jeddah. The only center of its kind in Saudi Arabia. That lead princess Reema Bint Bandar AlSaud and I to become partners on her national breast cancer campaigns with Zahra Breast Cancer Association. Together a forceful team we broke the Guinness book of world records for the largest human awareness ribbon TWICE, in 2010 & 2015.
These records are special because they are the largest gathering of women in the history of Saudi Arabia, and in 2010 it was in an all male soccer stadium which has never happened before or again since then.
Because I'm on a life long search for my purpose I tend to do several things at the same time. In 2013 my sister and I founded two businesses. The first, Beejewelboutique a cause oriented jewelry brand where we celebrate female resilience by designing and selling our symbol the Queen Bee. Resilience is that core energy that a woman feels in her heart to keep herself going despite the difficulties she may face. I believe that Middle Eastern women display the best examples of female resilience.
In 2013 we also founded a Date Paste exporting company named Date Middle East boutique, the acronym reads DateME.. this business takes advantage of one of the kingdoms most abundant resources DATES. You have to make money at some point and we are hoping that this will grow into a huge money making cow.
I was asked to talk about my barriers, and honestly besides being a woman in the Middle East the only crippling barriers I face are the ones I find in myself. These are unfounded fears and misconceptions I have about my own capabilities.
Sometimes I surprise myself and do things I never thought I could do. As a certified Lactation consultant I wrote and published a book title "A fading art. Understanding breastfeeding in the the Middle East" this book is listed on the required reading for volunteers currently helping with the Syrian refugee crises in Greece.
I created my own worth, and my achievements were an uphill battle that I am proud of.
I strive with perseverance, wit, and drawing power from my internal resilience.
I advise young women to:
-Don't focus on your obstacles,
-Stay focused on your goals and they will happen.
My grandmother always said "Smart people never get bored". If you are smart, do something. I have a strong belief that I am here on earth for a purpose. I try to find my purpose on a daily basis.
Its all about time management and setting priorities.
Study, finish school, focus on your degrees, don't be afraid to ask, put yourself out there. Embrace your own resilience. Have faith, prepare yourself and JUST DO IT!