Patience 

October 17th (18th, insomnia writing), Sailing towards Cabo San Lucas 

 

Let’s say I want to order some food; bam! Done and delivered in under 30 minutes. If I want to see my friend who lives on the other side of the world; boom! Doable within seconds by video calling through my phone. Maybe I want to find a date; I can just swipe left or right. Quick sex? Even that isn’t a problem in today’s world. I want to learn a skill? There are hundreds of online programs without even having to wait for a new session to start. Everything has become accessible. Everything is fast. The extraordinary has become ordinary. Life is now so easy that it has actually become more difficult emotionally. 

We don’t know patience. As a friend mentioned to me earlier this week, we are raising children in a world where everything is immediate, stealing away their chance to learn the art of waiting. Despite all of this technology, there is one thing in particular that I have found could not be greatly accelerated; our personal growth. 

As spiritual beings, we are constantly growing and transforming into the people we are supposed to become. There isn’t a book or a website in the world that will ever give you life experience. You’ve got to go through the process on your own. Programs, books, coaches might give you knowledge, but what is knowledge without wisdom? You’ve got to do the work, possibly fall flat on your face and start again, maybe even hundreds of times. I know I have… 

If like I, you are at a crossroad in your life and struggling to figure out your next step, I encourage you to do this: 

 Wait. 

I’m not talking about passively waiting for life to pass you by while you sit on the couch eating potato chips (I’m not judging, believe me, I’ve been there)… The kind of waiting that I’m referring to is the active one. The one where you understand and acknowledge that maybe things aren’t happening for you right now because it simply isn’t the right time. Maybe things aren’t happening because you are not done preparing for them and you must work harder. Maybe you’ve not planted enough seeds to reap the rewards or maybe what you think you want isn’t what the universe wants for you. Maybe you don’t really know what you want after all. Whatever the reason is, if things aren’t happening, don’t panic. Breathe in. Breathe out. And wait… Wait with the conviction that everything happens in due time and that if you have faith, things will eventually work out the way they are supposed to. In the meantime, go on with your tasks and do everything with love and gratitude, even if you're not exactly where you want to be.

Working on ships for the past few years has taught me to accept that patience is necessary in order to live a happy life. Every time I’ve been on a ship, I’ve been impatient to finish the long contract and go home meanwhile every time I’ve been home, I’ve been looking forward to getting back on a ship and feel busy (needed, useful). I’ve wasted so much time being miserable because things weren’t going my way but how could I have known any better when I’ve always been surrounded by a world of NOW? Instant gratification is not our friend. Patience is. 

To help me deal with everything that has happened to me in the past years (none of which I had planned or hoped for), I started meditating and journaling, like, a lot! In moments of anxiety about the future, connecting with my soul calms me down wonderfully. By meditating in a natural context such as by the sea, in the woods or simply outside in the grass or the sand, I remember who I truly am and why I’m here. 

I’m not here to change the world. I’m here to change myself. 

I'm simply here to exist and that should be enough. Does the tree pursue any goals and worry about the future or is he simply happy to be a tree? Does the river feel small compared to the ocean or does the river know that he is as important and as beautiful? Nature simply is. We are the only beings who question ourselves, who feel unworthy, who create new desires every minute and who don’t let life run its course. What if we simply stopped for a moment and embraced the beauty of simply existing? We are as beautiful and worthy and important as the tree and the river. We are here, we are enough. 

So I’ve decided to be patient. I’ve decided to accept where I am and that as the tree, I am always growing. Who will I be tomorrow? Someone different than I am today for sure. This process will happen and I’ve got to be patient with myself and accept that I can’t have it all in an instant, compared to the popular belief that every other aspect of our modern lives throw at us. Healing takes time. Progress takes time. Transformation takes time. Take your time friend. 

Eventually, even the smallest snowflake can become part of a beautiful glacier that will have the power to transform an entire mountain. Patience.

Si toutes nos larmes pouvaient éteindre les feux en Amazonie…  

24 Août 2019, Wrangell, Alaska  

 

Le poumon de notre terre, qui produit 20% de notre oxygène, suffoque présentement sous la fumée et les flammes.  Je pense aux animaux, aux plantes, aux arbres, même aux insectes. Qu’ont-ils fait pour mériter cela? Mon cœur est en miettes. 

Il est facile de se blâmer les uns les autres pour chaque maladresse infligée à notre Terre Mère. Il est moins douloureux de fermer les yeux devant chaque conflit et horreur que de se relever les manches et venir en aide. « Parlons de quelque chose de plus positif, tout cela est lourd  Karine»… Il est beaucoup plus simple de rester fixé dans nos habitudes que de changer, mais mon ami, ce cri d’alarme, ce cri qui est parmi des milliers veut nous réveiller. Nous DEVONS changer et ce changement, il commence par soi, chacun d’entre nous, un par un. 

J’entends beaucoup de gens dire qu’il y aurait trop à faire, qu’une personne ne fera pas la différence, que la bataille est perdue d’avance, qu’on ne sait pas par où commencer. Voici ma réponse : Commençons par nous. Commençons là où nous pouvons car chaque geste, aussi minime qu’il puisse nous sembler, chaque geste compte. 

En « boycottant » l’huile de palme, on sauve des forêts et des orangs-outangs. En bannissant le plastique à usage simple de notre vie, on sauve tout plein de créatures marines, on réduit la pollution, en réduisant notre consommation de viande, non seulement on aide les animaux, mais on réduit la coupe d’arbres qui se produit pour l’élevage de bœuf. Il y en a quelques uns qui vont venir m’obstiner que le plastique a plusieurs bienfaits, par exemple en médecine, oui, ok, mais peut-on réduire le nombre de smoothies ou cafés glacés et pailles et trucs non nécessaires? Peut-on trimballer son plat réutilisable et sa tasse ou sa gourde d’eau? Hyper faisable, il suffit d’y penser jour après jour. Lorsqu’on oublie, on se pardonne et on reprend nos efforts la prochaine fois, mais on AVANCE. 

On a pas besoin de savoir exactement comment chaque chose a une influence sur une autre, tout ce qu’on doit faire, c’est avoir conscience que TOUT et absolument TOUT ce qu’on utilise et consomme en tant qu’humains a un impact sur notre environnement. L’électricité doit être produite, l’eau être chauffée, l’essence creusée du sol, le papier produit à partir d’arbres. Tout a un impact. 

« Je veux bien là, mais il faut aussi vivre sa vie ». Oui, vivre notre vie. Parfait argument. Cependant, si nous voulons avoir une vie à vivre et possiblement créer de la vie, ne serait-il pas préférable justement d’apprécier chaque ressource comme étant un véritable cadeau du ciel et de s’en servir qu’au besoin, comme si c’était quelque chose de précieux? Car, petite nouvelle, chaque ressource est précieuse et l’a toujours été. C’est notre devoir en tant qu’êtres humains de protéger la Terre sur laquelle nous vivons, cette terre qui nous donne si généreusement. Qu’est-ce qui pourrait être plus important que la source de toute vie? 

La bonne nouvelle dans tout ça, c’est que lorsqu’un esprit s’éveille, il lui est impossible de retourner en arrière. Lorsque le déclic environnemental se fait dans une conscience, on fini par voir « l’ennemi » partout. Dans la dernière année, j’ai consommé des produits contenant de l’huile de palme à 2 reprises. 2. Et je me suis sentie si terriblement coupable que je me souviens exactement de quels produits il s’agissait et quand… J’ai utilisé quelques tampons et serviettes hygiéniques en situations d’urgence où je n’avais pas ma superbe coupe en silicone tout près. La culpabilité me ronge encore un peu, mais la bonne nouvelle, c’est que j’ai entamé tous ces changements dans mon mode de vie et que je progresse, un pas à la fois. 

L’environnement, ça nous concerne tous. Point final. N’attendons pas que le gouvernement s’en mêle, la force d’un pays est son peuple! J’aimerais tant savoir que je peux compter sur vous, sur NOUS et que nos futures générations nous remercierons de nos efforts pour réparer les dégâts des générations précédentes. L’humanité est encore jeune, nous apprenons, chaque erreur doit être pardonnée et entourée d’amour. Alors rien ne cesse de grogner et de montrer les dents, soyons simplement l’exemple de ce que nous voulons voir dans ce monde. Soyons RESPECT, AMOUR, COMPASSION et avançons ensemble dans la bonne direction. En se guérissant de chacune de nos blessures, nous guérirons la Terre. 

Un être qui a su pardonner et se pardonner, qui a fait son cheminement intérieur et qui aime sincèrement la vie et la nature ne voudra pas participer à souiller sa planète. Sors de la ville mon ami, va faire un tour en forêt ou sur le bord de la mer, ce sera assez d’énergie et d’amour pour te convaincre de faire attention à cette terre. Alors voilà ce que je nous souhaite chère âme, je nous souhaite guérison et amour. Nos larmes ne parviendront pas à éteindre les feux dans la forêt amazonienne, mais peut-être que notre amour, lui, pourra. 

 

Shedding Your Skin - Mourning Self Identity 

August 2019, Somewhere in Alaska...

 

I’ve come to realize that if I learn something and don’t apply it, the lesson tends to repeat itself until it is fully understood. 

You see, years ago, I gave good advice to everyone. Any time a friend would feel stuck, I’d surprisingly find the right words, having either read them from a book with perfect timing or having words of wisdom flow out of my mouth almost magically. And now, all of a sudden, months and/or years later, these same words of wisdom I used to give to others are returned to me by different people. The lesson remains the same, only this time, I am no longer the teacher, but the student to the exact same lesson I thought was so obvious. Yet, the teacher in me is failing. 

It’s easy to tell someone to move on. It’s easy to dictate that letting go is always the answer, but what about the times when it isn’t? What happens when you are the one being told to move on? 

« You must shed your old skin in order to liberate your new and replenished one ». Okay… « Life is constantly changing and holding on to anything keeps you from progressing. If you hold on too tight, you suffocate your dreams »… Sure. I’ve read these sentences many times, in various forms, but the lesson remains the same : let go. Yes, all of this makes sense. But what about reaching for the stars? What about « life will test you and make sure you are committed to your dream » and what about « never give up »? These contradictory thoughts have caused me confusion and pain for years until I learned to differenciate them by their underlying emotion. Here’s where I’m getting at : 

If a relationship causes you more misery than happiness, of course, move on. If chasing your dreams is causing you anxiety and pain, let these dreams go. If you no longer feel that you’re doing whatever it is you’re doing in order to fulfill yourself and help others, but only by habit or for the paycheck, stop. 

But if you hold on to the dream because you feel deep down inside of you that it is your duty and your calling to accomplish such dream, that’s when you shouldn’t give up. Quite simple, right? Some dreams are put on our path to help us grow. When we’ve learned all we had to learn thanks to the lessons brought by such goals, accomplished or not, we can release them in peace. 

Identifying oneself to what we do is one of the biggest mistakes we can make. What happens to the rugby player after he is injured and can no longer play? The ballerina who turns 40 and who’s perfect body is slowly decieving her impeccable technique? The singer who never made the career she dreamed of? The doctor who realizes he only practiced medecine to gain his father’s love? 

Mourning. 

There is no greater pain than the one of mourning oneself. We build our lives around what we think we are. We give so much importance to our careers that we let them define us completely. And when we are forced to let go of these careers along with the labels we’ve given ourselves, we feel lost.   "I am a dancer », the ballerina will say for at least a year after she has hung up her points. » . Then after a while once she starts slowly accepting the fact she may never dance professionally again she might say « I used to be a ballerina ». « I had songs on the radio », « I used to be the best lawyer at my firm », « I was the top salesman of X company »… 

We put so much energy in defining ourselves by what we did. We want to show we made a difference. We want to prove to others and ourselves that we were usefull, that we mattered and therefor that we still do. 

But the truth is we’ve always mattered, no matter what we’ve done. « I am a spiritual being having a human experience and learning every day ». What could be more wonderful than that? What could be more useful to our planet than bringing joy and love to the world by simply being ourselves, in whatever way we choose to express who we are? 

We are many things ; parents, teachers, lovers, daughters, writers, employees, customers. None of it matters in the end. 

Are you happy? Are you growing? Are you expressing yourself fully? Are you a being of love and joy? Are you sharing any of this love with others? 

Be patient with yourself. Be what you want to be, but don’t let labels define you. When you step out into nature and take time to breathe it in, you come to the realization that we are one and the same. We are immensity. We are beauty. We are love. That’s all I’m striving to be now. No more pressure, no more deadlines, just the beautiful thing called life. It’s all I wish for you. Go out there into the world and be YOU, no matter what it is that you do! 

Shine your light my friend, I believe in you! xx

Where We Belong 

Rawdon, Easter April 2019

 

I've felt like an outsider as long as I can remember. I've felt like I didn't belong within my own family, at school, with many of the friends I've made along the way, in relationships, in my own province, town, towns to be honest, cities, even with some of my own music. There have been these short moments where I've been lucky enough to get a glimpse of what it feels like to be in the right place at the right time, but I can count these moments on one hand.

I've come to understand that many artists feel like outsiders. I often get overwhelmed by all the emotions that flood over me as an empath. on top of it all, I was born with a strong environmental conscience and a vivid desire for justice. Everything to make life easy right? ;) Recognize yourself?

So what does one do when one feels like an outsider? Here's my advice to all you passionate big hearted loners like me.

It took me many years to understand how I was feeling and why. Let me save you a bit of time, you are different, and that is okay. You may be prone to depression because the world has always weighed heavy on your shoulders, and that's alright. You want to save everything and everyone, all the seals and the dolphins and the trees, elephants, orphans and orangutangs and that's beautiful. But love, you gotta let all of that weight go. Saving the world starts with yourself. Now I know you've been making all of the necessary efforts and cautioning people about their actions and taking part of marches and donating to foundations and all and I do deeply love and respect you for it, even though you may be tired of fighting for what seems like a lost cause that no one cares about, but you do. You care and so do I.

But I also care about you. About your well being. It is imperative that you learn to keep your compassionate heart in quick repair mode. It will break every time you hear about another disaster, natural or man-made. You must learn to heal quickly in order to keep shining your light and continue spreading love into the world. We need you, but YOU need to be happy and free first. It's not up to you to change the world. But it's up to you to change yourself, to be the best version of yourself you can possibly be! Don't be one of the many who waste their lives, I beg of you, don't play the victim. Staying in a state of sadness and darkness will dim your light and will not do you or the world any good, so please gentle soul, learn to heal.

I've stayed in the darkness for years, until I realized it was enough and that yes, I was allowed to be happy in a shitty world full of hate and superficiality. My survival depended on it and so does yours.

How did I achieve such happiness you may ask? Well first, let's be clear, it's a journey I'm still on, fighting every single day. I've never been your typical happy person, but I've vowed to try. What helps? Prayer, meditation, devotion. It's all the same to me. Every time disaster strikes, I sob like a child for a few minutes thinking how terrible this world is and how I must have been a terrible angel to be sent down here as a punishment, and then, after my egotistical psychosis episode has passed, I close my eyes, I take a few deep breaths and I imagine a world of peace. I envision my life as I want it, I visualize the planet as I know it can be (possibly in a billion years if we've survived!). I immediately start feeling grateful. I suddenly remember I am loved, we are all loved and LOVE itself, and I take all of that love and spread it back out into the Universe. Meditation helps me remember we are one. The trees, the rivers, the stars, the sky, even the people who do horrible things, we are one and the same. Contemplation is another way to get there. If you don't live in cold Canada, you can sit by a river, in a garden, in tour backyard, by a tree, anywhere outdoors really, and feel the same connection to the Earth. Nature has the most incredible healing properties. Devotion doesn't necessarily mean spending your time praying to a certain God, but it can be devoting yourself to taking control of the things you can, like how you feed your body and your mind, what you do to help others. This will give you a sense of "control" and allow you to fuel up on energy to prepare for the road ahead.

Peace is accessible to every single one of us, if we cultivate it within ourselves. It is definitely a journey and not an overnight feeling, but try it and you will never want to go back to feeling sorry for yourself and others again. Do you want to come with me on that journey and help show the corrupted a**holes of the world that love will always win? (Just kidding I love everyone including the a**holes, they need love the most!) Keep in mind that a single ray of light can outshine any darkness.

And so my warrior activist, social ninja, god and /or goddess of healing and love and light, remember to take care of yourself. Don't wait 34 years to figure it out like myself. Remember we all do belong here on this Earth, with the people we are surrounded by who may not understand us. They don't have to, just keep setting a positive example, heal yourself and you'll slowly see this transformation impacting everyone around you.

Be love. Be light.

Special thoughts go out to the people of Sri Lanka tonight and all the victims of the bombings and their families. May you all find peace.

 

Karine xx

 

Reflexions about Strength, Dreams and Singing 

Rawdon, Québec

A photo popped up onto my Facebook page today. The first photo I was ever tagged in, exactly 12 years ago.

It was a picture taken on the set of "Popstars 3: The One", a reality TV show I had taken part of at age 17. Seventeen years ago exactly. Looking at that photo, a mixture of sadness and pride arose within me. When I was 17, half way through the life I have now, I had no strength. I had no wisdom. I hadn't been through much, therefor, had nothing to say. But there is something I did have that I seem to have lost along the way : ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE IN MY FUTURE.

I was even somewhat arrogant to be honest. It's ironic because I was a very timid child, scared of her own shadow but somehow singing made me believe in myself and it pushed me out of my comfort zone and into a world of being social, having friends and a newfound confidence in myself and my life mission. I was going to change the world with my voice!

Looking at that Popstars photo, there is no doubt in my mind that the only reason that little 17 year old french Canadian with an average voice made it to the Top 12 out of 5000 people  is that she believed in her dream more than anything in the world. The 17 year old me believed the world was her oyster, that she could have it all, no matter where she was from. If it was one in a million, she was going to be the one. Hell at 17, I used to work 2 jobs on top of school to pay for my dream. All the singing lessons, interpretation, the old car that would get me places... I was fierce!

 

So what happened?

Life will try and bring you down. Some lessons will humble you, while other moments will teach you inner freedom.You'll take the good and the bad and all of these moments will help you grow. Nothing is ever done in vain, no time is lost when it carries a lesson. But yes, life will try to knock you down many times. The bigger your dream, the brighter your vision; the stronger the blow, the harder the fall. Just get back up. Get up, and up, and up again, every time you fall, because you will.

I've been knocked down at least hundreds of times.I've been tricked by fear and ego, I've been let down by practically every human being I have loved or cared about, I've been cheated by the ones I trusted and been disappointed so many times that I started losing sight of my dream and stopped believing good things could happen to me. Don't lose sight of your dream. It's the only difference between succeeding and failing.

So why is it that some succeed faster than others?

Maybe the ones who succeed never lost track of their dream. Maybe they got lucky. Maybe they worked harder. Or maybe it's part of their life plan and ours is simply meant to be more difficult. Maybe we come from a negative environment and we must constantly work on fighting that negative energy! I can't say I know why it's taking so long, but what I will say is that every time I think I can't get back up and that I need to pick a new dream, something happens to remind me not to quit. A hand suddenly appears and helps me get back on my feet. I always get back up, and so can you.

People sometimes tell me I'm lucky! And then I laugh to myself because every single good thing that has happened to me has been the result of sweat, tears and so much work and let downs! Nothing happens on its own. No one will hand you your dream, it's your responsibility to go out there and get it! Make it happen! You want to sing, sing! Organize those shows, sell those tickets, do the work! The days of a super manager discovering you in a karaoke bar are over. And that's a fact we must accept. The work load is 100x heavier than it was 20 years ago and it can be frustrating and unfair at times, yes, but if you've got a voice and you know you were born to sing, SING!

Sing because it makes you happy! Sing because it brings you peace! Sing because it makes you feel alive and because you want to transmit all of those wonderful feelings to the people listening to you. Sing to share your heart.

The world may never know me, but I will know the world. Maybe the past 17 years have been filled with empty promises and unsuccessful record deals but they have also led me to the person I am today. A woman who now knows why she sings. A woman who is now 17 years wiser and knows that in order to change the world, she must first change herself! Change starts through healing So go out there and sing my warrior gods and goddesses! The world needs your voice!

 

Namaste

 

Karine xx

 

The Day I Decided To Love Myself More Than Him 

Nashville, TN

 

It took me a long time to get over him. It took me longer than the length of the relationship itself. He was the man I thought I would marry. I wanted for us to build a family, me, the independent career-driven environmental activist who had never wanted kids. I wanted to have his baby. He was the one, but really, was he?

 

The relationship ended in a dramatic and quite frankly traumatic way. It felt like a surreal scene from a movie in which I was watching things unfold without having any authority in the direction of the script, The end was sudden and cruelly harsh.

I went through every possible emotion that night. From compassion to confusion, betrayal and anger, I tried everything to make him change his mind and give us a fair chance. We had never even had a fight, how could it end so abruptly? But it did.

As I sat on the 3 connecting flights to return to my country, depleted and violently drained emotionally, I cried what was left to cry. I cried and sobbed in bed for over 10 days. It wasn't my shattered ego that was hurt, I loved that man profoundly. I loved the person I thought he was. The image he had projected of himself upon me. I loved him enough to forgive the unforgivable. I loved him with all of his imperfections. Have you ever loved that way?

Here's the deal. I hadn't. I had never loved enough to step over my principles and forgive infidelity. I had never loved enough to try and know more about why people do what they do, enough to dig into their past and help them heal. For him, I did everything. He was changing. He was working on his demons as I was working on setting my ego aside and being a more forgiving person. But here's the truth ladies...

YOU CAN'T CHANGE ANYONE BUT YOURSELF. NO ONE CAN CHANGE YOU.

Change is a choice. You may think your love can save him, that he can do and be better, but in most cases, he can't. Until he really wants to change and does it for himself on a deep and spiritual level, he will not change. You will see improvement, and then BAM!! You get dumped in the middle of nowhere in front of all of his friends and sent on the next flight home!

I blame movies like "Beauty and the Beast" for this. I blame our dearest mothers and grandmothers and the women on TV. The women who are so afraid of being alone that they stick it out hoping that one day, he will change and that they'll be happy. I'm not judging these women. They lived in difficult times where religion controlled everything and where their voices had been shut so many times that they could not find a way to speak up. But we have that chance. We can speak up with love and compassion. We can speak our truth. This doesn't mean accepting all the crap guys put us through, but it means having so much love for OURSELVES that we can find someone who will love us just the same. These men exist. I promise you.

After the break up, we decided to try staying friends for over a year, which only made things harder. It seemed easier at first for me to be his friend than to hate and resent him. Until he unwillingly broke my heart again and again. That's when I decided to love myself more than I loved him. That's when I decided that I had learned what I had to from this relationship and that letting go of the past didn't make me resentful, it only made me stronger and free. To "unfriend" someone, as childish as it may seem may be the best decision you'll make. Let him know you forgive him. Wish him well. Move on.

So here's what I wish for you ladies, go and fall in love with yourselves. Be the person you want in your life. Accept your flaws, embrace your strengths and work on your weaknesses if it makes you happy, observe the feelings you experience without judging them, the sensations going through your body, your moods, evaluate your life, set your goals and map them out! This is YOUR life! Learn to be happy on your own and only then will you be able to be truly happy in the presence of someone else.No one is going to save you. It's your job to save yourself. It's your job to make your dreams happen. In this day and age, nothing is handed to us, but if we open up our eyes and our hearts and face the world with enthusiasm and kindness every day, miracles will happen!

Now go and thrive you beautiful goddesses and take back the power that is yours!!!

 

Karine xx

 

 

Looking Back 

Buenos Aires, January 2016.

I knew my life was about to change forever. You know how you can feel it inside yourself when you're on the verge of something important? This was my moment. I was happy for the first time in a long time. My life was taking meaning. I was about to travel the world, sing, perform, meet incredible people, condense 10 years of life lessons all into one and get paid for it, good money. I wasn't scared anymore. I felt strong, I felt like a mountain standing tall and ready to take on any storm willing to attack it. Bring it, I thought.

This inner strength and sense of calmness were new to me. See, I had always been the weak girl who struggled to be heard. I got teased a lot and bullied within the first years of my existence, I just wanted to go unnoticed. Until I sang. Music was my refuge. Music was my way to freedom. As a child, I would sit in the back yard swing set all day and sing anything that came to mind. I did this for years. My mother eventually pushed me to sing in front of people. She had always been shy and didn't want me to suffer as she had, so she pushed me to sing in front of anyone and just about everyone who came to the house. Eventually, I enjoyed the recognition. But it was never a big enough reason for me to sing. I sang because I had to. It was an urge. It was all that made me happy. Music was my connection to the Universe, whatever God may be.

As I was standing on a sidewalk in Buenos Aires, I closed my eyes and thought about that little girl. The shy, awkward and cooperative 5 year old Karine. The one who never said no to anyone, the one who preferred to suffer instead of letting anyone down or standing up for herself. Music had made me change. Music had forced me to get out of my comfort zone, to face many fears one by one, because I was afraid of everything. My love of singing was the one thing that was stronger than my fears, and so I let it take me anywhere it wanted to. Music had turned me into a rebel. Music had transformed me into a fighter. Music had healed me. Music had made me a winner. There I was, 30 years old, ready to take on the most amazing journey of my life.

 

I looked towards the ship that would become my home for 6 months to come, I took a deep breath, and embarked on

 

THE GRAND VOYAGE