This day, Each day, Every day is auspicious.

To commemorate World Mental Health Day, I would like to acknowledge my mother Olivia Margaret Fernandez nee Pereira, who succumbed to a lifelong battle with chronic mental health. Childhood in my household was painful; enduring the wrath of an illness that was not understood as it was perpetrated on the family. In my adolescent years, my mother’s mental health worsened and heightened my awareness of a mental condition that had a limited diagnosis and had the potential to progressively deteriorate. Medical professionals in my part of the world did the best they could with whatever resources were available at the time. My mother’s illness was not acknowledged as a condition of the mind; instead, she was labelled and ostracized as being a “mad” woman and as her daughter, I was also dubbed “mad.”

As I moved from adolescence to adulthood, I became aware of the vulnerability and sufferings of individuals who are challenged with mental illness and their ability to cope and survive against all odds. These personal insights about the devastating effects of mental health that can ravage an individual and negatively impact all those around them, helped me translate my painful childhood into one of compassion and empathy. I am fortunate that this circumstance, so early in my life, awakened in me a deep desire to learn more about the mind and how it works. I did not make it to med school, and could not avail of full-time studies in psychology. Still, it is no wonder that I chose the profession of Human Resources which transitioned into Professional Coaching.

My mother was a trailblazer, one of the first in Pakistan to graduate from Maria Montessori’s International program and methodologies, using the Absorbent Mind to stimulate the minds of preschool children. She chose to work with challenged children from 1966 to 2011, contributing to Dar-ul-Sakun till the time of her passing away.

On the eve of the anniversary of my birth, I rejoice and stand indebted to the blessings bestowed upon me to have lived the first experiences of my mother and then to be the chosen one to have held her as she bid farewell to this world. I promised her that I would continue her legacy to help people to live a life of fulfillment and abundance by opening pathways of their minds in ways they never thought possible. Hence the creation of my guidebook, 26 Pathways- A guide to a Life my Way.

Today is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada where I live. It is befitting for me to thank the Universe and those individuals all over the globe, who in my lifetime have supported me in formulating my guiding principles. I also want to appreciate those individuals that labelled and judged me as it forced me to grow in ways that I never deemed possible.

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Today is a gift, how you open it reveals your future.