This is the story of how following the call of my heart and getting in touch with my true Self transformed an abused and drug-addicted adolescent into a passionate woman living her dream. It is the story of how I discovered that what we love and God’s will for us is one and the same and ultimately how all heartfelt passions and desires lead to a life of service.
As a young child I had the most beautiful relationship with my mom. We spent hours playing and hanging out together. Then when I started school my mom missed me so much that sometimes she would tell the principal I had to go to the doctor just so she and I could play together. We would sing in the garden, watch our favorite movies in bed and eat fishes in the dishes—sardines and crackers. Our connection was clearly magical. However, when I was seven, my mom’s demons came back to haunt her and she became a raging alcoholic. My world cracked open. As a child my first thought was, ‘Did I do this?’ From then on I transformed into the black sheep in school and my world became a nightmare.
My mom and dad eventually divorced and my life spiraled out of control. At the age of seventeen I was physically molested by my brother’s two best friends. Then I got into drugs. At eighteen I was strung out on LSD. At nineteen I lived with the president of the Oakland Hells Angels. And at twenty I lived in no less than twentyone different places in one year. I was on a roll of the lost kid. One day I had the realization, ‘If I don’t stop this then I will end up like my mom or worse.’
I had a boyfriend who was not into drugs and one day when we were talking I said, ‘Do you know what I think?’ He said, ‘You don’t think. You don’t even have a brain.’ It felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer and hit me hard. I was mortified that someone I loved had said something so awful to me. In tears, I called my brother who lived eight hours away. In his sweetest voice he said, ‘It’s ok little sister, you’ll be alright. I’ve just discovered something wonderful, it’s called transcendental meditation. Don’t worry, everything’s going to be ok.’ Four days later he turned up at my door, walked into the house, packed my bags and together we moved to Santa Barbara, California, where he lived with me until I got off the drugs and learned how to meditate. That marked the beginning of my life turning around for the better and it was a big sign from Spirit. I believe that learning how to meditate saved my life.
Beginning to follow my heart
A miraculous series of events followed, which led me to go from a completely broke meditation teacher to following my dream of becoming a transformational speaker and seminar leader.
Then one day I opened an email from someone I did not know, which is unusual for me. It said: ‘Dear Janet Bray Attwood, we are group of women in Miami. We are putting on a day where we are going to bus in two hundred homeless women in transition to a five star hotel. We are going to feed them on china, give them presents and we would love you to come along and be the keynote speaker. And by the way, we can’t pay you.’
This deep inner knowing that I had to accept their invitation came over me. A light went on inside and as I sat there reading the email, I felt like crying. I knew I had to say yes. I received another message from Spirit while I was on the plane: ‘Do not give these women your usual opening speech.’ When I arrived I took one of the organizers out for dinner and asked her what the women from the shelters were like. She said, ‘Well, they have a five to ten minute attention span, many of them are coming off drugs, they’ll be running back and forth to the bathroom to smoke and they’ll probably be the worst audience you’ve ever had.’ At that point I felt very depressed. I did not want to disappoint these women and I did not have a clue how to capture their hearts.
That night before bed, I said a prayer, ‘Please let me know what to say to these women tomorrow.’ When I woke up I went straight to my computer and started writing. When I walked on stage, I took out my piece of paper and read it to them. It went like this: ‘There once was a little girl and she had a magical relationship.’ And I went on to tell the story about this little girl getting physically molested, taking drugs, riding with the president of the Hell’s Angels and then realizing she would have to change her life or else she would end up just like her mother. At that point I got real quiet, looked out at the audience, took a breath and said, ‘And that little girl was me.’
The women got up out of their chairs and gave me a standing ovation. There was not a dry eye in the house. It suddenly became clear why spirit had led me here. As I looked out at each and every one of these precious women, I saw my mother. In that moment a healing took place in my heart and it was so huge that I would never be the same again. I knew without a doubt that everything I needed to heal with my mother was healed in that moment.
I have noticed that the best moments of my life have been when I can not make sense of why I am there. I have also come to understand that all of us are here to give and it is the giving that creates happiness. When I follow the direction of Spirit—follow the Light—in the highest sense I am looking out for number one and that is where I find the biggest gifts.
There are a number of things that I have found get in the way of being able to listen to Spirit. Some of those are false beliefs and caring what other people will think. By having the courage to listen to and trust my intuition, I create the courage to listen to it again and again. Every time I listen and trust, I realize even more that it is the only voice which will guide me safely to my destiny. There are no mistakes in the universe. Every single step you take leads you right to where you are supposed to be. My desire is that everyone has the courage to listen to their true Self and follow their heart. It is always the path of least resistance.
Extract from The Light, © 2013 by Keidi Keating, published by The Light Network.