One of my favorite photos was taken when I was an infant. My parents had it taken, likely at Sears, and there’s a pin in front of my smiling gurgling chubby face that reads I ❤️ Everybody. ​ ​I’ve always loved that photo because it reminds me of our innocence as children. How we come into this world without imaginary slights and resentments and always with forgiveness and love at the very center of our beings. Well of course we grow up, we get older and sometimes we get hurt. If you’re lucky enough to live long enough, you may even be betrayed by someone you love and then we can become cynical and guarded.

When my good friend and awesome photographer, Eric Striffler and I did this photo shoot, this shot was taken at the very end of the shoot. I remember he said, “ooh yeah that’s great, make that heart shape again with your hands and really FEEL happy”. He didn’t say try to look happy or even be happy, just.... really FEEL happy.

So I did, I recall truly feeling happy, with the sun shining on me, being at the ocean (always where I feel most truly happy and full) and in that moment having so much fun doing this shoot and being grateful for everything my life is, for what I’ve created for myself in my life and for that awesome day with my friend. And it showed, there is a green orb directly over my third eye and it stayed with us for most of those last photos!

You see, when we truly feel happy, our spirits are free, and love is at the helm.

I did not have an easy first half, losing my sister and my best friend when I was just 12 and she only 17. I’ve chosen to step into my life after that loss and help others who have been pained by tragedy and loss. I’ve lived my life to the fullest, never perfectly, please don’t misunderstand. I just want to say that I have turned my tragedy into great joy and feel my sister walking beside me every day. We always have a choice.

I ❤️ Everybody, in my heart of hearts, that has always been my truth. What’s yours?

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