Recently, I received the gift of a lifetime — A star named after me, which came into life on October 14, 1986. When I showed it to my friends, many were bewildered. Do I seriously think that I’m Mandy Moore from “A Walk to Remember”? Or have I gone delusional after all these years? Well, maybe I like to think that I’m Mandy Moore because she has an awesome voice, and maybe I’m slightly crazy. But, hear me out.

This gift came with a quote:

Ad Astra Per Aspera — A Rough Road Leads To The Stars“.

And along with it came an email that was sent a week before I received the gift:

“As you take stock of all that has happened to you (so far), be grateful that you are still alive and surrounded by people who love you for who you are, and not break into tears about what life should be like for you by the end of 2012. You told me that the new year (was a) new slate for you to start afresh. Well, 2012 is wrapping up and I think it’s safe to say that 2013 might actually be brewing something up for you…As the quote above states, a rough road leads to the stars. Be assured when I tell you that people like you are destined for the stars.”

Wow. No, seriously. That was my first reaction. Wow.

Once during my stint on the cruise ship, I practiced yoga on the top deck when we were in the middle of the ocean. With the sounds of the gentle waves crashing into the ship, and breathing in the fresh ocean air, I flipped my dog into a big chest opener. The beauty of the clear night sky that was blanketed with stars threatened to take my breath away. I was in absolute awe. Little did I know that that would be one of the pivotal moments of my 2012 journey towards self.

Since arriving back to Toronto, I was aware that something had shifted in me. Questions about my existence on this universe, my path in life, and my true self, started to surface through my meditation and yoga practice. Fortunately for me, I re-crossed paths with a yoga teacher who played (and still is) an extremely important role in my quest to find and love myself — wholly, truly, and authentically.

So, how does the gift, email, blanket of stars, current yoga/meditation practice, and yoga teacher come together as one?

As a person, I have always strived to be the best at everything that I do. From being a Patrol Leader (Guides), Captain (wakeboarding), President (AIESEC Coastal Conference & UNICEF SFU), and Vice-President (AIESEC), I have experienced major roadblocks in the career department since graduation. The relentless job search, self-expectations, and expectations others had of me, almost led me crumbling into a lifeless form. Thankfully, my yoga practice saved me. Instead of succumbing into darkness, I am using these struggles to bring my inner child to life.

Yoga and meditation, with the help of my yoga teacher, are allowing me to see past the physical world. It is taking me on a spiritual ride as I attempt to unknot the tangles of past emotional bonds. I am learning that the true self is hiding beneath this web of knots, and is bursting to shine itself to take form in the physical world. The blanket of stars that left me in awe, together with the gift of the star, reminds me that I am never alone throughout my life journey. Also, there isn’t a need to constantly reach for the stars because the star is already shining bright within me. I am the star of myself, and I am special in my own twinkling way. The power to create a unique and meaningful life is in my own hands, and I just need to fully recognize and accept it.

A rough road leads to the stars. It has been a bumpy ride thus far, but slowly and surely, I’m starting to shine like the star that I truly am.

To my dear friend:
Thank you for believing in me and everything that you have done for me. You’re a Godsend