Today I celebrate my late Father’s Birthday… with love and gratitude in my heart..

I went to see my father before he passed away to tell him that I loved him and was grateful for everything he did for me. This picture is very precious to me — it demonstrates that love conquers all!!

Today is my father’s birthday and almost 10 years ago he passed away in a hospice having been transferred from prison where he was serving a total of 15 years having been found guilty of 5 of the 47 sample charges against him (four sentences of 12 years for rape and sexual abuse and a four year sentence for grievous bodily harm — a total of 52 years — to run concurrently).

Today I celebrate his memory with love and compassion in my heart. Something so many people find it hard to understand — for I was the ‘victim’ responsible for his sentencing having reported him to the police.

Having lived for almost two decades as a prisoner of his being raped, beaten, shot, stabbed I escaped in my early 20's and I ran as far away as I could to the other side of the world. I had to learn to integrate with society alone — as I concocted a fantasy story of my childhood life — terrified of my shameful secret.

I kept that secret in my heart for years as I learned about society, work and relationships and built an incredible life of outer fun and material wealth.

Only inside I was in living hell — leading to me taking one after another overdose — in an attempt to release myself from the agony of emotional destitution — in total I took about 11 overdoses in just over a 12 month period — once taking 3 simultaneously.

It was not until I woke up from the last overdose in yet another ICU ward, when I asked myself the life changing question — WHY was I doing this — when I had survived the most horrendous abuse, that also involved gruesome home abortions, a tremendously violent gang rape and daily fear and terror — I had created a great life of fun, sports, achievement — representing South Africa at world championships, great business success and wealth — and then the truth dawned on me — the startling truth that no therapist or councillor could tell me…

I had lost touch with my inner true authentic self — I had lost my inner connection — my inner spirit was being quashed in my daily desperate attempts to be accepted and acknowledged socially.

I was seeking acceptance — love — belonging — worth — outside of myself — an insatiable longing that grew ever more desperate as the years went by. For that worth, belonging can only be achieved from within.

And I had that inner connection and deep level of self love that comes from seeking from within and trusting from within — during the years of my incarceration — I had no choice but to draw from internal resources to survive — but what I realised lying in that hospital bed after my last overdose was that I did not only survive during those years — I actually thrived. As I grew stronger, more confident, more focused as the years went by.

I had a daily ritual that kept me deeply connected with my soul — I would look in to the mirror — beyond my physical form and I would connect with what I called ‘my something’ that was so so very deep inside me — and with that connection I grew stronger, fear-less, courageous, confident, grew in self worth, self love and self esteem…

It was that practise, that inner strength that I gained that gave me the courage, the spirit and the mindset to finally escape and create a successful life for myself — however in my efforts to ‘fit in’ I did what so many people in society do today — they sacrifice their soul in order to fit in…

A practise that I could not cope with — after years of having experienced that beauty of inner connectedness and truth. Which led me to the state of emotional destitution… once I realised what I was doing I started a transformational journey back to myself — and I have not looked back since.

Since that day, I have released myself from the limitations of judgements and negative perceptions related to my experiences — I have managed to find the perfection in the challenges — I have found infinite inner peace in gratitude for the experiences and even found deep love for my father and other rapists for being a part of making me who I am today.

It is so easy to see only bad, only negativity, only trauma in experiences when you hold judgement — but release yourself from judgements and a whole new perspective comes to light — and that perspective releases you from pain more than anything else in the world and offers phenomenal levels of inner peace and allows you to connect deeply with your own soul and spirit — and it is from this place that you can powerfully build your life of purpose accessing all the gifts and skills you have gained from your experiences — living life from this place — there is no lack, no shortage, no fear, no confusion, no stress, no conflict…. only love, compassion and gratitude — in this place the truth of who you are is revealed to you and everyone around you. From this place you are poised to create a magnificent life — living a life of impact and legacy.

So today, I acknowledge my father’s birthday and say thank you, I love you Dad, and I am grateful for everything you have done for me.

There is no greater love than the love you give from a place of gratitude and compassion — and in my compassion I acknowledge that I did not have to walk in my father’s shoes therefore I will not judge his actions instead I will give him my love.

We are all worthy of love no matter what we have done or not done. I will close off with a wonderful quote from a dear friend and mentor Dr John Demartini “I would rather have the whole world against me than my own soul”…

(If you would love to embark on a journey back to yourself and unlock the gifts you have from your experiences, I invite you to join the Celebrate Your Challenges community — a free resource with interviews, webinars and videos from global leaders who share how they have overcome adversity to achieve great success in life — )