gailI courteously made my debut in 1958 on a warm and sunny morning in Queensland, Australia. The majority of my childhood was spent playing outdoors or with my hands on my hips—sometimes both. At age ten I won first prize in my school writing contest and was awarded a copy of The Secret Garden. Instantly, I was mesmerized by the fellow-aged characters in this fascinating tale, and began daydreaming about my own secret garden and of life in faraway exotic lands.

By 1978, after several uninspiring teenage years, me and my free spirit gave Australia a kiss on the cheek and took off to explore the big wide world. After touring Southeast Asia for a year or so, my life did a surprising headstand and I entered a phase of fanaticism and submission to a guru. For two decades I lived in India and served as the personal attendant to Amma, nowadays known as “The Hugging Saint.” Those intense years of faith, devotion, and pure madness have shaped who I am today and are the basis of my memoir.

At the end of 1999, I made my daring escape from the organization and fled to Hawaii.

Nowadays “balance” is the only mantra I chant. I strive for balance between giving and receiving, work and relaxation, and nurturing myself in addition to those around me. Spirituality is no longer about self-denial, but about becoming whole. It is about the healthy development and well-being of every aspect of my self—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

The writing process of this memoir has been exhilarating, exhausting, excruciatingly painful, eye-opening, heart-warming, strangely comical, liberating, frustrating, tedious, demanding of determination and discipline, therapeutic, deeply empowering, and highly rewarding. Did I leave anything out?

The rarest of gems are found in the deepest and darkest caverns of earth. When life forces us into the dungeons of our soul we must adjust our eyesight, discover our gems and through faith, resilience and the loving support of friends and family find our way back to the light.

May my past

Rest in Peace