Isn't it ironic that my first blog comment would come out of a place that is less than joyful? I uploaded this image of myself because a fellow coach once told me that this is how others see me. I battle to look at photos of myself and still haven't done a photo album in 12 years of having children! The photos remain in boxes in a deep dark cave taken for the purpose of being seen, yet hidden with cobwebs, untouched by a smile prompted by a fond memory. I am a thinker, an analyser, one who ponders everything that engages my mind, which of course is limited by my curiosity, but I cannot look here, at me, in the mirror or at a photo because I am always disappointed at what I see. I am devastated that I was not born with big blue eyes, brown skin and a tall willowy body. This, I am sure, would have made me happy and filled me with joy. I would have been popular, interesting, worth knowing. And so this disappointment has followed me my whole life. I am like the birthday girl who upon receiving her gift that was not the one she wanted, pretends that this one is lovely nevertheless, big grin plastered on her face, blinking back the tears, disappointment written on her brow and the edges of her smile. Why was I not born beautiful? Over the years, I have grown to see beauty in parts of myself but my life is littered with self-loathing that extends beyond the physical. I have grown to understand that this is my particular challenge in life : to love myself unconditionally. Now to some this may be a breeze and sound like the most pathetic whine in human history! But not to me. It is like being born in a stainless steel lead-reinforced tomb that only on certain (but ever-increasing) occasions manages a slit of light in and then the joy bursts out of every seam and the tomb is well lit and forgotten for the beauty of the forest that lies beyond! Because I am so invested in my mind, I have committed myself to understanding this state of being by educating myself in all manner of things: from psychology to life coaching to positive affirmations to shadow work to limiting beliefs to energy medicine to reiki and crystal healing to charity work and helping others suffering from HIV/AIDS to prayer and meditation to silent retreats to oil painting and art therapy to journalling and writing to shouting and screaming to falling in love (highly recommended to let the light in!) and getting married young to having 1, 2 then 3 children ( a roller coaster of light and dark) to spiritual support groups to channellings and psychics to watching EVERY single Oprah recording to doing healing myself on others to living authentically to saving the planet and growing my own veggies, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseam and nauseating... Exhausting, really. And sad. But true. I look for answers and really commit myself in pursuit of an answer. But there is no single answer, I have discovered. There is no place to reach. There is just the journey. And sometimes, like today, I am in my cave. And that is okay. (Thanks, Martha.) And sometimes I frolic in the forest outside the cave, sometimes contemplative and quiet and sometimes loudly joyful where I want to inject some of my joy in everyone I meet so that they can experience the blinding light I see in those moments. And that's okay too. Starting this blog is a commitment to my Essential Self. My Essential Self is not bogged down with self-doubt : it sees the value in my lessons and wants to share this with others by giving me a career in Life Coaching, Healing, Painting, Teaching, Whatever (it doesn't care for labels too much) and this was a medium with which this can be revealed. So be it and so it is.