As a little girl I remember wondering why everyone was so unhappy? My parents clearly were; my older sister and brother seemed hurt and miserable and I certainly was. I couldn't understand it. Surely, I thought, it doesn't have to be like this? And deep down I knew that it didn't because I could remember a different way of being: a way of unconditional love, in which all things were connected and at one with each other. And somehow I knew that the point of being human was to embody that unconditional love and oneness here on earth.
As a child of course I couldn't articulate any of this. I had no way of understanding it and no vocabulary with which to try and explain what I felt. But I wanted to be happy and so when I was eight years I vowed to myself that I would learn how to be. It was a vow I have renewed at different times and in different ways throughout my life, always driven by the longing in my soul: the longing to be happy, to be loving and to discover who I really am. Deep down I think we all have this same longing. It is the desire to come home and discover the source of our being - the great mystery that we so often refer to as God.
So that is what I have spent my life doing. I haven't always known it, I certainly haven't always wanted to do it and there have been plenty of times when I've been lost and stuck and confused. Like so many people, I was completely disillusioned by religion as a teenager and I wanted nothing to do with God. But despite having a successful career and a glamorous lifestyle in my twenties, something essential was missing and I was haunted by the longing in my soul. So I began searching and to my astonishment when I found what I was looking for it was God. Not the judgemental old man in the sky I had learnt about in school, but the invisible and ineffable presence that is the source of all.
With that understanding came an ecstatic feeling of boundless peace and joy and I knew I had at last come home, back to the source of the unconditional love I had remembered as a child. And I realised that this love that is God is the source of everything, including us. That it is our "true nature" as it is called in Buddhism. And I felt once again that the point of life is to manifest this love in daily life through our every thought, word and deed. In essence this is what it means to live a spiritual life and I renewed my commitment to doing so.
But I am getting ahead of myself, because there are many steps to every journey and along the way I have experienced all sorts of things, both wonderful and terrible. I have climbed mountains, swum naked in the wild cobalt blue waters of hidden lakes and slept under the bright white burning truth of the stars. I have produced documentary programmes in England and presented a radio show in Northern California interviewing people about their spiritual life. I have been in love and out of it. Wealthy and poor. I have been through the nightmare of my mother's death when she died in a car crash right next to me, while she was giving me a driving lesson. I have lived with the unbearable misery of guilt and grief that I did not know how to deal with. I have been depressed, despairing and suicidal, full of self-doubt and self-hatred.
But as a result of these experiences I have discovered that no matter what happens to us it is possible to heal. More than that I have discovered that it is possible to become truly happy and to experience a depth of joy and peace and wholeness that I once only dreamed of. This is the story I tell in my book Carry Me Home. A story of tragedy and transformation, of healing and self-discovery, of forgetting and remembering again, of spiritual awakening and the search for true wholeness: a story of a soul on its journey home.