~ A note from the author ~

I remember it like it was yesterday, that late soggy September morning, in the bathroom of my dearest friends’ home, where I had been staying with for more than three months. I sat doubled over in the bath, my body wracked with emotion, tears of frustration, self-pity, dismay, anger, sadness and rejection flowing out of my eyes, down my cheeks, and into the lukewarm water that surrounded my naked, shaking, ashamed, distraught body.

In so many ways the situation I found myself in shouldn’t have seemed so out of the ordinary. I’ve always been emotional. tears have come easily to me all of my life, through happiness, sadness, excitement, frustration, awe and joy. Though at times I have found this less than helpful, especially as an adult, I have always been grateful in being able to release in this way, rather than bottle my emotions up.

That morning was different though. That morning, that moment in time, my past, both near and far, got hold of me along with the sense of overwhelming confusion, the outright realisation that the fairy tale I had been chasing all of my life, simply did not exist.

I had been chasing knights in shining armour, Frog Princes, Prince Charmings and Aladdin's for far too long and if I was going to do, or be anything in this lifetime, a soul I could look back upon with self-respect and with my head held high, it was going to be up to me, and me alone.

I wasn’t ready for this realisation. It was like the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, stacked on top of many other events; some more significant than others, over the preceding thirty six years, all added together to play their part on that September morning. That morning, when those thoughts began to emerge, thoughts I never would have believed would have ever entered my head. Until they did.

'I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t want to do this on my own. If this is what living is I’d rather be dead'

As I sit here typing the words I have a gratefulness that fills my heart. It overflows from my eyes, down my cheeks, and onto the keyboard in big, blobby, joyful tears.

You see, those thoughts came as such a shock and with almost overwhelming intensity that my unconscious quite literally internally slapped me across my face.

I pleaded with the greatness deep within me that morning. I called for it to show its face and help me diminish those demon thoughts of ultimate defeat. To help me find a way to turn my life around. To prove to myself that I could stand on my own two feet, emotionally, physically and spiritually. To show both myself, and the world just what I was put on this earth for.

And so began the most amazing journey. A journey that has created my life as I know it now.

Within a few days I had researched, and booked a trip that was to take me deep into the Peruvian Amazon to partake in traditional plant medicine rituals, a trip that opened my eyes both to the beauty of the world and to some of the most beautiful people within it.

I met many amazing individuals, got to share unique experiences, and for the first time in my adult life, I found that I was able to be completely true to me.

As I returned home in late November, though I didn’t have a clear path in front of me, I knew that things were changing, were becoming clearer, and I was confident that the way I had been as a child, following my heart and catching my dreams, was how I had to start living again now.

Within a few weeks of my return from Peru I had decided on my next adventure. I had dreamt for many years of living in France but had never done anything about the pull. So I made it happen. I found what seemed to be a perfect little gite in South West France, in the Lot region, on a smallholding with horses and chickens, where I could take myself and my little dog Charlie.

I wanted to be in my own space, sit with myself without distraction, and allow space for the universe to help me work out what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

I didn’t know how I was going to do this, if I was going to end up back in the UK after just a couple of weeks, or if I would decide to live there for the foreseeable future. I just knew I needed to go.

It was just two weeks before I left for France that I came across a video series being recorded about the effects of continuous meditation. These were daily accounts that, when I listened to them, spoke to me in ways nothing else had. I needed to do this, I needed to understand myself in a way that was being portrayed in the videos, and it was then that I made the decision to commit to 90 days of meditation. 90 days, from the day I arrived in France.

Prior to me leaving for Peru I had no real understanding of what meditation was. I had never practiced. At that point I sought the assistance of a local practitioner who helped me grasp the concept of sitting, with and by myself for 10 minutes a day. Not only had I never meditated, I had never written either, other than journaling my experiences in Peru.

I came to realise very quickly that meditating isn’t about sitting cross-legged upon a tree stump for hours on end, assuming that all of my prayers will be answered. It’s about stopping and giving time to me, to my heart and to my soul. It’s about listening to the thoughts, beliefs, and suggestions that come my way, and understanding that when my head and my heart align, I am on the right track, able to effectively move forward in the direction of my dreams and goals.

I came to understand through the process that first I must see me. Not just believe in a better future but know it, as though it were such.

Dr Wayne W. Dyer expresses it in Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting as ~ 'You must attach yourself spiritually to what you have placed in your imagination as a future fact, and never allow anyone, anything, any circumstance, no matter how persuasive their case, to alter what you know to be your destiny.'

What I know now for certain is when the time comes and I am old and grey, laying in my bed with the last breaths leaving my body, I will look back on my life with immense joy and gratitude in my heart, most likely with those big blobby tears spilling out and running down my cheeks, a smile across my face, and with immense peace in my heart, knowing I did all I could while I was here; I made a difference and I leave this world better for having had me in it.

What follows is the day by day account of the journey I went through; journal entries of all of the emotions, the physical feelings, the mental roller-coaster, and the pure spiritual encounters that I experienced. The high days and the low ones, the amazing realisations, the profound understandings, and the thoughts, feelings, and actions I took throughout those 90 days.

The full process, from stumbling my way through the early days; battling with the onslaught of 38 years of thoughts and what I now know to be many ego related beliefs whizzing through my head, to where I felt most comfortable in practicing the meditation.

The understandings and realisations I had along the way as to what suits me best. That nothing is set in stone. There are no hard and fast rules and most importantly, just giving myself the quiet time to fully let go and process has in itself been one of the most profoundly beautiful benefits of this whole experience.

It has been the most life-affirming journey. I sit here today not a different person to the one who took those first steps a few months back, but a stronger, healthier, more focused, driven version of me. Where my love for myself is blossoming, my perception of my place in the world has changed, and how I am now on a path that suits my very soul.

Learning to stop and listen to my heart has led me on the most beautiful voyage of self-discovery. Life is exciting, beautiful, full of love from around the world, and I know as the adventures continue it is only going to get better.

It most certainly wasn’t all easy, there were times I thought I might be going crazy, but in the end it has been, and continues to be truly enlightening. My hopes, dreams, and aspirations are unfolding in front of my eyes, becoming my reality on a day-by-day basis.

Thank you for joining me on this journey and bearing witness as I lay bare what unfolds over the 90 days. I hope my journey inspires you to give more to you. More time, more attention, respect, understanding and love.

Jacqui xx