Sunday, 28 April 2013

Confidence in Self

Some people are just born lucky.  Good fortune and luck always seems to come their way.  They are the people who get the breaks, gain promotions, get the girl (or guy) and seemingly have opportunities fall into their laps.  There is a saying that fortune favours the brave.  But bravery alone is not the answer.  When it comes to matters of good fortune and luck, bravery has a partner, and that partner goes by the name Self Confidence.

When I reflect on my own life, it is absolutely clear to me that my self confidence has played a key role in two distinct areas of my life, those of work and love.  In terms of my self confidence, these two areas are poles apart, as different as night and day, and because of this, the luck and the opportunities afforded me, are remarkably different too.  In the one where I consider myself to possess a high degree of self confidence, I seem to have been blessed with some very good fortune and many great opportunities, which I recognised and seized upon.  In the other, where my confidence is low, if not lacking entirely, I consider myself cursed by ill luck and misfortune, where opportunities are few and far between. 

When I first started my working life, I suffered from a general lack of self confidence.  But what I found in the office and among my fellow colleagues, was that I was able to leave behind everything that had gone before and I entered a new world, a world where I quickly felt comfortable, a place where I felt I belonged.  More importantly perhaps, was that in the office, no one knew who I was.  None of the people who had been in my life, putting me down, teasing me, telling me I was no good, were around.  I was able to be myself, to start over with a clean slate.  I discovered that here was a place where I was respected, where I was able to learn and understand the processes and how things were done, and where my way of thinking allowed me to excel.  My confidence began to grow and as it grew, so I worked hard and pushed hard, and in return, so too did the responsibilities that I was given increase.  The more responsibilities that I had, the more my confidence in myself and what I was doing grew.  I entered a phase of positivity, where my success grew my confidence, which in turn led directly to further success.  I was able to see potential opportunities and I worked hard to make them mine.  With my confidence, I pushed and I made it known that I was ambitious, that I had the ability, and I proved it to my superiors and to myself.  I felt as though there was nothing that I could not do and I believed that I was just as able, if not more able, than anyone else.  In this guise, I possessed the confidence to stand up in front of 800 fellow employees and deliver a presentation; I could voice valid points and concerns at important meetings; I could dial in to teleconferences with some of the corporation's vice presidents and they would seek my opinions on certain subjects where I was deemed an expert in my field; I was offered and secured an international assignment overseas; and I held multiple management positions.  In short, from humble beginnings, I was able to enjoy a successful career, one in which opportunities arrived and one in which I feel I benefited from great fortune and luck to have experienced. 

Then there is my love life.  This is an area of my life in which I have zero confidence.  From my being overweight as a child and adolescent, and from asking girls on dates and being constantly rejected, my self confidence ebbed away and for many years, there was nothing that came along to replenish it.  With each new rejection, it became increasingly difficult for me to find the courage to ask again.  I began to believe that I must be ugly, worthless and offer nothing desirable to the opposite sex.  Even after I had my first girlfriend and first experience of love, this lack of confidence was so strong, I could do nothing to change it.  If I saw a girl I liked and was attracted to, I could not walk over to her.  I knew that if I did, I would not be able to find any words to speak, at least no words that I believed would be of any interest to her, and more than likely, my advances would be rejected anyway.  At a nightclub, if was dancing next to a girl I liked and another guy came along and began to show her interest, I would immediately back off, believing that the other guy had the better chance and that I should just save myself the embarrassment and humiliation.  Because of my actions in these situations, my chances and opportunities to find love remained low.  I did nothing to enhance them, nothing to grow my confidence.  So entrenched in my psyche was the idea that I was ugly and worthless, that I was unable to alleviate this way of thinking.  Every action that I took, served only to compound and exacerbate the problem.  And it remains this way even now.   

Let me use a recent situation from my own life to illustrate how confidence plays its part in luck and fortune.  Only a few weeks ago, there was a girl, Marie Claire, who came out diving one morning, and whilst I was giving the dive briefing prior to our first dive, I felt a strong sense of attraction towards her.  It was a powerful, overwhelming feeling, one that I had not experienced since the break up with my ex last year.  As I was in my work mode, I was confident, happy, and engaging, easily making conversation with everyone, keeping everyone entertained.  The attraction to Marie Claire continued throughout the morning and by the time we surfaced from our second dive, I had decided that I would ask if she would like to have a drink with me that evening (as I knew she was leaving Costa Rica the following day), when a suitable moment presented itself.  However, the closer we came back to shore, the more I felt my confidence beginning to ebb slowly away.  By the time everyone was back at the dive centre, my confidence, which had been brimming over back on the boat, out in the ocean, was now almost non-existent.  A perfect opportunity arose to talk to Marie Claire, as she was standing quietly and alone outside.  I looked at her standing there and I made the assumption that if she was interested in me, then she would not be standing outside on her own, away from where I was.  I wanted to act, but I froze, my self confidence was gone and with it, my ability to walk out to talk with her.  In this moment of self doubt, and in this moment of hesitation, so too was my opportunity lost.  Marie Claire left and I was left wondering what might have been.

A few days later, I needed to ask Marie Claire something related to the diving the day that she had been with me, and so began a conversation via e-mail.  After a few exchanges, I decided to let her know that I had wanted to ask her for a drink, because I knew now that since she was back home in the States, nothing could come of it and I thought it would be nice for her to know the impression that she had left on me.  Marie Claire replied that she had been thinking the same, that she too was going to ask me for a drink that evening, and that I should have asked her.  An opportunity was missed, a chance wasted, the curse of my bad luck had struck again.  And why?  Only because I severely lack confidence in myself when it comes to matters relating to the opposite sex. 

How many opportunities have I missed due to my complete lack of self confidence?  How many times could I have crossed the dance floor to ask a girl to dance with me?  How many times could I have asked a girl to have a drink with me?  Too many.  In the same way that I consider myself very lucky in my work life, I consider myself unlucky in the extreme in my love life.  But this is actually nothing to do with luck.  I have experienced just the same amount of luck and opportunity as the next person.  What separates them from me is our own level of self confidence, our ability to believe in ourselves.  The lucky guy who always gets the girl, is the confident guy.  Confidence breeds opportunity, since those people who are confident will push themselves and will take the opportunities that come their way.  A lack of confidence means less opportunity, and less opportunity inevitably is seen as meaning less luck.  It really is very simple.
If you find yourself cursing your poor luck or the lack of opportunities in your life, ask yourself whether that is actually the truth, or whether perhaps, the truth is more a question of your confidence in the given situation.  How do you build confidence?  The only way is to push through the doubt and the fear and to seek the truth for yourself.  Even if what you find is not that which you looked for, knowing that you sought it in the first place makes all of the difference.  And each time you try, each time you push yourself forward, you will generate opportunity and with that opportunity will come luck and success.  That is how confidence is created.  Through trying, we dispel all fears of failure.  We learn to understand that through trying, we create more opportunities, we increase the probability of success, and therefore reduce the chances of failure.

Watch a baby trying to learn to walk. It totters on its legs, takes a step, perhaps it falls.  It gets up again, totters, takes a step, then another.  Maybe it falls again. But the baby has learned something very important.  It has learned that it could take two steps, the next time it will try to make three.  Slowly and surely, the baby grows confident and learns to walk.  We each must do the same in our lives.  If you lack confidence, do not shy away from the fight.  Instead, climb to your feet, take a stand, and take a step forward.  Perhaps you will fall and be defeated.  But perhaps you will not.  Perhaps you will be victorious.  Unless you try, you will never know.  And from each step that you take, you will grow your confidence.  The journey along the one true path is just a series of small steps after all.

I shall not regret that I did not ask Marie Claire to have a drink that day, since regret is useless and wasteful, but I shall do my best to not let it happen again.  After all, fortune favours the self confident, right?


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Price That Must Be Paid

Walking the one true path is the greatest gift that you can possibly give to yourself.  The rewards of seeking out and of discovering your true purpose in life are truly remarkable, and in so doing, you will experience among other things elation, joy, a profound sense of happiness, total pleasure in what it is that you do, a sense of true purpose and accomplishment, a deep connection to life, and more than anything else, a sense of love.  But let me warn you.  Each step that you take along the path, does not come for free.  There will be tough decisions which must be made, and there will be a price that must be paid for your discovery and the enlightenment with which it brings. Are you ready to pay that price?

A man walks along the sand of a deserted, tropical beach.  The sun radiates down from a cloudless sky.  Yellow against blue.  The turquoise of the water is broken only by the rhythm of the waves, that create lines of white, that move perpetually ever on toward the sand, and to their ultimate doom, in the eternal cycle of the ocean.  Walking alongside the man is a dog.  Playful, barking with joy, running in and out of the water, trying to coax the man into throwing a stone, into throwing a stick, into throwing anything that can be chased and retrieved.  Together, man and dog, dog and man, walk ever on.  And the dream is made.

This was not just a dream. This was my dream.  This is my dream.  Only, now it is no longer a dream, it is my waking reality.  The man and the beach.  The dog is still to come.  I chose to follow my heart and to find a way of making my dream become my reality.  It wasn't easy, it's still not easy.  It has involved a lot of hard work, dedication, sacrifice, determination, luck and most of all, courage.  And yet here I am.

I was born in England.  I grew up in the south of England.  I experienced snow in winter and hard frosts on the ground in winter.  On any given day of the year there is the possibility of rain.  Oh! the endless days of rain.  Grey clouds settle over England and stay there, uninterrupted for weeks at an end, denying the people any glimmer of sunshine.  It becomes oppressive.  The clouds seem to push down, to suffocate the life out of those below.  It is possible to swim in the sea during the summer, but that requires stamina and hardiness, to endure the cold water.  The local beach where I grew up is a  mixture of shingle and sand, with large wooden groynes that run perpendicular to the coastline, at a spacing of around 50 yards.  All along the expanse of the beach that lines the residential area, a stretch of around six miles, these large wooden monstrosities lay, their purpose, to prevent the shingle and sand from being washed away by the long shore drift of the tide.  I longed for a soft, golden, uninterrupted, natural, sand beach, fringed by palm trees, and with warm, clear, tropical water.  England did not fit the picture that I had created in my mind for of dream.  England was not the place where I could live out my dream.  To do that, it would be necessary to move overseas.

Life is full of tough choices and hard decisions.  Anything that is worthwhile is not obtained easily.  Walking the true path is like this.  To fulfill my dream, to discover my true purpose in life, it was necessary for me to go overseas and in doing so, to live my life away from my parents, away from my brother and my sister, away from my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.  It was necessary to leave behind those people I have known since childhood and count as my closest, dearest and oldest of friends.  It was necessary to leave behind my best and closest friend.  In short, to achieve my dream, I left behind every singe person that I cared for.  That is the price that I was willing to pay, that is the price that had to be paid.  There was no other option.  Actually, that is not strictly true.

Of course there was another option.  I could have chosen not to pursue my dream.  I could have chosen a life in England, close to my family and friends.  And in so doing, I would not only have denied myself my dream and the chance of finding true happiness,  I would have chosen the path of pain, misery and regret.  Had I not left England, I would forever have been unfulfilled and forever questioning my purpose and existence.  Forever wondering and asking myself, "What if..?"  My life would have been plagued by remorse and regret.

That I left my family behind not mean for one instant that I do not love them dearly.  I do.  It does not mean that I am not close with my parents, with my brother, or with my sister.  I am.  It does not mean that my family does not love me.  I know that they do.  What this means is that in fact, I love them all the more because of it.  Never once have my parents tried to stand in my way or stop me.  Never once have they tried to talk me out of going overseas.  They know me.  They know that I am driven by a passion to do what I must, and so they let me.  They understand that I must find my way.  That is the greatest gift they could give to me, and I am so very grateful for it, as I am grateful to them for all that they have given to me.  I could not be here, living out my dream, if it were not for their love and the opportunities that they have afforded me.

I return to England and visit my family and friends every 18 months to two years on average.  The thought of leaving, knowing that I do not know the next time that I will see them breaks my heart.  It rips me apart.  But I have to do it, if I am to follow my dreams.

That is the price to be paid.  There is always a price.  I pay my price for following my dreams.  I know that I must, I understand the sacrifices I must make, in order to pursue my purpose, in order to walk my one true path.  Yes, I pay my price, are you willing to pay yours?


Saturday, 20 April 2013

When We Encounter Setbacks On The Path

There will come certain days, when you suffer a disappointment or a setback. Everything feels like it has gone wrong, that no matter how hard you struggle to do the right things, nothing you try works out in the way that you had planned.  It is possible to feel the clouds swirling around inside your head, clogging your thoughts, denying you the sunshine and the light.  It becomes difficult to stir yourself to action.  Your limbs feel heavy and weary, and seem to resist your every movement.  You ask yourself, "What is the point in all of this?", "Why do I try so hard and only seem to suffer as a consequence of my actions?", "Why is life unfair to me?", "Why do I work so hard and not get anywhere?"  The urge to give up comes upon you like the rushing storm waters from the broken levee.  It is easier to succumb, to give up, than it is to continue the fight.  Everything tells you to quit, to give in, and to give up the fight.

The journey on the one true path is like this.  Never be fooled into thinking that the discovery of your one true path means that the fight is over, that now come the easy days of glory and reward.  No.  The discovery of your one true path means that the true fight is only just beginning.  You fought before.  You may have had just cause and held strong beliefs and convictions in what you fought for.  On the one true path you will understand what it means to fight the true fight.  To fight for the very thing that grants you the ultimate gift in life.  You fight for your heart and you fight with your heart, since your heart is both your companion and your weapon.  And together you fight for your dreams, and you fight for the true cause: to keep walking your one true path.

Not every day can be filled with joy and happiness.  That is impossible.  Life teaches us that there is the need for balance and the need for harmony in everything, and that includes our own journey.  Birth is balanced by death.  Growth is balanced by decay.  Summer is balanced by winter.  Light is balanced by dark.  Everyone suffers disappointments and setbacks.  That is how it is, how it is always going to be.  But when you walk your one true path, those setbacks will not deter you from walking on.  On the true path, nothing can throw you off, nothing can defeat you.  If you are truly on the path that is right for you, then you will understand that moments and days will come when you need to pause on the journey, and you need to take some time for reflection and meditation.

Everyone, every single one of us, no matter our circumstances, will suffer a disappointment or a defeat at some point in time.  I know beyond all doubt that I am now walking my one true path, but there are days when I too feel disappointment, when I suffer a setback, and when I question what I am doing.  It is too easy to look upon others and think that they have it easy, that good luck and fortunate falls their way, since they never show disappointment nor sadness in life.  Do not be fooled though.  These are the people who perhaps suffer more than any one else.  These are often the people who hide their true feelings in order to spare others their pain, anguish and problems.  These people suffer quietly, privately and alone.  I am like this.  I try hard to avoid giving my problems to others, I suffer in my own silence and suffer I do.  I show only the positive side of myself to the world and I hide my pain.  I work through my feelings, I come to terms with them, and I move on again.

It is not the setback, pain, despair, nor the disappointment that defines where we are, nor who we are.  It is how we deal with them that determines everything that is to come.  Every disappointment that we encounter is an opportunity to learn and to better understand ourselves, and by doing so, to evolve the spirit.  When we feel joy and elation, we do not feel any need to self-analyse.  We readily accept the good times as they are, we welcome them, and we bask in their glow.  When the bad times arrive, and they inevitably will, then we have a choice to make.  The easy option is often to give in and retreat, turning a disappointment into a loss, perhaps even turning away from the chosen path.  Alternatively, you can accept what has happened, analyse it, understand it, and to learn from it.  When we choose this course of action, then we parry the blade of defeat and we deflect its blow.  We are not victorious, but we remain undefeated, and more able to continue the journey at a later date.

If you give in and retreat, then you have surely lost the battle.  If you decide to take the easy way and to lose in this manner, then you learn nothing from the experience.  You deny yourself the chance to learn and from that learning, the chance to act differently, should the same, or similar, situation occur again in the future.  And what life shows us, is that the same situation will come around again, until you are able to deal with it in the right way.  If you feel a strong conviction in your heart, then never be put off, never be thrown off the path on which you walk.  If the path that you walk is not your true path, then a defeat, even a small defeat, will easily deter you.

By learning from this disappointment, it is possible to take a negative situation and to turn it into something positive.  To progress in life, it is imperative that we each learn from our mistakes and from our setbacks.  A setback should be seen as an opportunity to learn, to better understand, and in understanding, to prevent the same thing from happening again, or at least, if it does, to handle it differently.  Perhaps you'll ask yourself the following questions:-

- What went wrong?
- Was it something that I did that caused it?
- Could I have acted differently?
- Can I change what has happened and make a different outcome?  (If yes, then go and do it!)
- Were my expectations too high?
- What will I do the next time I encounter a similar situation? (Because you surely will.)

Those that walk their one true path know that setbacks are just a necessary part of the journey.  They see them not as problems, not as barriers to success, nor as reasons to give up, but as opportunities to learn, to evolve, and to grow the spirit.  That is what our journey through life is all about.  And one day, you will reach your destination, fulfil your dream, and live out the life that is your true purpose and calling.  On the true path, your one true path, no amount of setbacks can prevent you from reaching the light and from reaching the love.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

We Are Born To Be Butterflies

A friend of mine recently posted some pictures of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.  Over the course of a few days, she posted a series of photographs, as the caterpillar transformed itself into something quite remarkably different, and emerged as a beautiful butterfly.  A simple miracle of life?  Yes, but it is also a perfect metaphor for our own lives.

For some creatures, their destiny is mapped out for them and their purpose in life is clear.  A caterpillar must become a butterfly.  It has to evolve and change, because it is programmed to do so.  Life wrote its story, life determined that this would be the way of things.  There is nothing to stop it.  Even if it could, the caterpillar is powerless to stay as a caterpillar, it has to change, it has to become something else, something more than it was.  No amount of effort can prevent it from becoming that which it was always destined to be from its birth.  The life story of a caterpillar perfectly illustrates two very important truths of life.  First, that inside of each of us there resides a great beauty waiting to be revealed and second, that each of us has one true destiny to fulfil.

My own soul and my own heart, spent many years as a closely guarded secret.  I kept them hidden from the world at large, too afraid to show my true self, too scared of what other people would say about me, or think of me.  I hid my true soul from my family and my friends.  I struggled with my weight from a young age and this had a massive impact on how I viewed myself.  In short, I viewed myself as ugly.  Ugly on the outside, ugly on the inside.  And I viewed myself in that way for many years.  That opinion of myself took a hold of me, it buried in roots deep in heart, it corrupted the way I thought of myself, it poisoned me against myself, and rather than step out and be all that I could be, I hid myself away.  I was embarrassed to be me.   A flower needs the sun and without it, will slowly wilt and die.  I denied myself sunlight and my heart and my soul began to wilt and fade.  Slowly, imperceptibly, I was killing myself.

There is one thing that holds true for life on this amazing planet.  Life is never beaten.  Life always finds a way.  In the arid, scorching, desolate sands of the desert, life exists.  In the deepest, darkest, abyss of the ocean, life thrives.  In the cold, desolate, bleak, freezing, whiteness of the poles, life finds a way to hold on.  Once created, life is a force that will keep on trying to survive, no matter the odds, no matter the conditions, no matter the adversities.  So it is with our hearts.  Our hearts are our life force.  All the time that your heart continues to beat, you have life coursing through your veins.  That life cannot be denied.  It cannot be halted.  It cannot be contained.  Life rescued me.  Or rather, I saw a break in the clouds and the emergence of a ray of golden light, and I saw that I had a chance to be more than I was, to go in discovery of my true self, to unleash the power and the beauty that resided in me.  And at the same time, I was given a chance to find my own true destiny.

Through a combination of events and circumstances, I freed myself from the shackles that had bound me.  I began to walk on my true path, I began to believe in myself.  The doubts and the fears about who I was subsided and were replaced by hope and confidence.  The more time I spent walking my own path, the stronger my convictions grew about who I was, who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do.  I did not need anything from my past to define me.  Everything that I needed to be me already existed within me.  I had always known that my heart was sensitive.  I had felt it all of my life.  I had always known that I was very much in tune with my emotions and felt joy, loss, elation, and sadness keenly.  Now, walking my path, I listened to my heart, I heard its voice and I heeded its call.  I began to let my true self emerge, I began to understand that I had no reason to be afraid of who I was.  I finally understood that it is not how we look on the outside that defines the person that we are, it is through our actions, our words, our thoughts and our hearts that we are defined.  It is what resides on the inside, that truly reveals our beauty as a person.

I see these two things as intrinsically linked in my life. I was not able to began to reveal my true self, until I began to walk my true path.  One led to the other.  Perhaps it was that at some point I showed my true self first, and though doing so, I discovered my path.  Yes, now that I have had that thought, I can feel the truth of it.  There was a person to whom I lowered my guard, to whom I showed my true self, my true spirit and in me, that person saw the struggle that I had to be free, and they offered me the hand of friendship and of fellowship.  They helped me to see the way ahead could only be my own way, my own destiny, my one true path.

I learned to stop hating who I thought I was and instead, to love who I am.  I learned to accept myself and to forgive myself, and this is an act of love - perhaps the greatest act of love.  Love reveals our inner being and beauty.  Love reveals our destiny.  I now walk the path of love.  It is love that unlocks the door to life and to the discovery of the light that resides within.  Through loving your own heart, you are able to truly set it free and to become everything that you were born to be.  Through love, I reveal my true self.  Through love, I walk my true path.

If you hear the voice of your heart and do not heed its call, then you will be destined to live out your life, just as a caterpillar does.  You'll know and you'll understand that you have a calling, a destiny that needs to be fulfilled, yet you will deny it to yourself.  In so doing, you will also deny yourself the opportunity to reveal your true self, that self that is your inner beauty.  If you do heed the call of your heart and begin to walk your one true path, then you will transform yourself into a butterfly.  You'll reveal your true self as a thing of beauty, you won't be afraid to show your fragility, since this is the very thing that defines what you are and allows you to be all that you need to be.  Through revealing your true beauty and fragility, you will show your strength and with an unfettered heart, you will flex your wings and fly free on the breeze.

Each of us is born a caterpillar.  Only those that walk their one true path will reveal the simple truth of life.  That we are born to be butterflies.


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Discovery Of Self

For so long, I believed that the path to finding love was all about boy meets girl.  I thought that the way to discover love, was through meeting another person and joining our hearts together.  My life's journey has taught me to see that before this discovery of love can occur, another, more important discovery has to be made.  The discovery of self.

In my life, I tried hard to please people and one way I found of doing that, was to act in a way that pleased them.  As children, this is how we learn right from wrong, good from bad.  When we do something that is viewed as incorrect, we are admonished or punished.  When we do something that is right, we are praised and rewarded.  This encourages us to develop behaviours and thinking that makes us seek out the rewards.  It is a form of training.  We are trained to conform to the rules of society, to our family's beliefs, to a religious view, to a teacher's needs.  In this way, we develop and the characteristics of our true selves, those things that define who we actually are as a person, as slowly and surely hidden - if we find that they do not conform to that which is required of us.

I grew up with the firm belief implanted in my mind that I had to find a good job, leave home, find a partner, get married, buy a house, create a home, raise a family, and then to eventually retire.  Everything around me told me this was so, and I firmly believed it.  In order to fit in and conform, I adopted different personality traits to suit differing situations in which I found myself.  At home, at work, out socialising with friends, with extended family.  Then it might depend on whether I was with this colleague or that colleague, my boss, my parents, my brother, my sister, my friends, my uncles, my aunts, my grandparents, my cousins on my father's side, my cousins on my mother's side, my father's friends, my mother's friends. my brothers friends, my sisters friends, my girlfriend, my girlfriends friends, my girlfriends parents and so on.  Each of these people received a slightly different version of me.  Much of it was the same, but certain behaviours and personality traits were either hidden completely, muted down, or extenuated and amplified.

I knew that I did this.  I referred to myself as a chameleon, always able to adapt to a situation and the people involved in it.  I liked that I was able to do this and viewed it as a strength.  It meant that people were always comfortable with me.  That I was able to find a way to relate to everyone on some level.  I have never really thought about why I did this until now. 

So, why did I do it?  The truth is that I was not comfortable with being my true self.  I had established a dislike of my own self.  I craved love and attention and did not wish to upset anyone or to alienate them.  I was embarrassed to be me, I was afraid to be me.  I feared that the true me would not be liked, that I would be laughed at, that I would be made fun of, that I would suffer humiliation.

For years I went on trying to be someone else.  Essentially, I was living someone else's life. I was living from a script, reading lines, following cues and directions, acting for an audience.  I was not myself.  What chance did I ever have of finding love in another soul, and of expecting that other person to love me, if I did not even love myself or respect myself enough to be the real me?

Then everything began to change.  Chance, fortune, luck.  Was it these that changed my life or was it that I had reached a place and a time where my true self could no longer be held back?  I know that it is a combination of everything.  That is what life is.  It is not one single moment that defines us or alters us, it is everything that has led us to that point.  It is every joy, every happiness, every hope, every doubt, every sadness, every glory, every loss, every elation, every fear.  Whatever it was, the dam broke and I burst forth.  My heart had been released and I began to finally become myself.  I began to allow myself to be comfortable being me.

Through that subconscious decision to finally step into my own light, my whole world changed.  I began to see life not as an endless series of mind-numbing, unthinking and necessary acts that will take me from point A to point B, but rather as one miracle after another.  By becoming myself, I became life.  By becoming myself, I became the light.  And by becoming myself, I became love.  I allowed myself to make the ultimate discovery: That love is found from within.  Once that is love is discovered, then the love from without is found not in another, but rather in a reflection of your own soul and in your own love.  Love holds a mirror and in that mirror will be reflected all that you hold in your own heart.

To discover your true self, is the true path.  To know your true self, is your purpose.  To accept your true self, that take courage and it takes an act of love.  From my own personal journey, I can tell you one thing I know for sure. The moment that you accept yourself is the moment that your truly start to live and love.