As a child, I had an imaginary friend who spent almost all of his time out of doors, with loved ones, in nature, tending to sheep or goats or cows, (it varied). If he thought an idea was nonsense, so did I; a practice I called my goatherd boy test.
Baptized and raised with Methodist and Baptist influences, I was born in the USA, but grew up in England, where I received a strict boarding school education, and where I was confirmed in the Church of England when I was fourteen. I had a deep desire to be a nun but also a writer, and a teacher/healer of some sort.
It wasn’t until my finals at Oxford, when I faced the collapse of my family, an existential crisis, a nervous breakdown, and a near death experience, that I read about someone very like my imaginary friend in the books of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. He wrote about a transcendental cowherd boy, Lord Sri Krishna. As I learned more about and from Krishna’s bhaktas or devotees, I found limitless opportunities, guidance, and support for my spiritual journey.
For many years I practiced alone, sometimes visiting Radha-Krishna temples in the UK. Against great adversity, my three younger siblings and I created a healing home together among the multicultural communities of East London. When the youngest of us was ready to move on, I retreated to the mystical Isle of Avalon (Glastonbury) for a lunar year.
During this time, I had a series of dreams in which Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja told me I should go to the Southwest of Colorado, in the four corners region, where I would meet my husband, and together we would meet our spiritual master soon after. So I flew to Denver with $500 and all I owned in a duffel bag and hitchhiked to Durango, where everything happened exactly as he said.
In 2007, my husband and I were married on the lost coast of California. That same year, we met our spiritual master Nitya Lila Pravista Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Goswami Maharaja and received initiation into the Gaudiya Vaisnava spiritual line from him on Father’s Day, about five minutes away from the hospital where I was born. We finished out that year with our first pilgrimage in India, where we’ve continued to go as often as we could ever since.
Our Guru Maharaja wanted us to have shuddha bhakti (pure devotional service) rather than children or anything else. After he concluded his pastimes in this world (12.29.2010), we took shelter of his teachings from Srimad Bhagavatam (1.7.7) that by hearing that scripture with great faith from the lotus lips of the Maha-bhagavata (pure devotee), pure devotional service will manifest, and soka, moha and bhaya (lamentation, illusion and fear) will all leave our hearts.
“The process for achieving success has nothing to do with controlling; it has to do with universal love and affection.”(Srila Gurudeva, 1999, Badger, CA)