I was born in a town of 7,000 people in Germany during the 1960s to East Indian parents who were Catholic by faith. (Yes, that’s unusual in India but my parents were from Goa where, as history has it, the Portuguese landed and converted the locals to Catholicism.) Years later, we moved to a small town in Canada where, as you can imagine, we didn’t immediately blend in with the locals.

Every Sunday, our family attended mass. At first, I didn’t connect to the formal church, but I must have found some peace in prayer because, as early as 13, I remember praying to God to take me far away from this small town life. I prayed to be taken to a place where I would fit in, and where kids wouldn’t call me names. Late at night, I would stare up at the moon or at the photos on my wall, which mostly consisted of famous actors and singers, and ask God to get me to Hollywood. That’s where I wanted to be.

At 16, I was sent on a weekend retreat with other high school kids who needed some sort of guidance. It was a transformative event in my life. On this trip, I realized there was a world so much bigger than my own little town – and I just had to get to it. And years later, another watershed spiritual moment happened after seeing the movie Jesus Christ Superstar. (Okay, it didn’t hurt that I had a crush on Ted Neeley…) Believe it or not, that movie helped me understand that there was a higher power that existed for all of us – and I just needed to tap into it.

At 23, I would have that chance. I was living in LA, living my dream, and calling upon God when I needed some extra love and support: like when my car broke down on the freeway at two in the morning, when a boyfriend broke my heart, when I needed to make it back on the Raiderettes or when I needed a miracle check to fall out of the sky to help pay the bills.

I found God kept me out of danger, gave me the strength to get through the breakup and made my deepest wishes come true. As time went by life’s challenges became greater: waiting for my mom to make it through quadruple by pass surgery was a big prayer moment for all of our family. And through it all I’ve learned that a relationship with a higher power serves me well, and is an integral part of what keeps me well in spirit.

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