I am writing to you from my ignited state of mind from 30,000 feet. I’m returning from Hay House’s “You Can Do It. Ignite” conference, where I spoke along with a band of seasoned and inspirational authors, speakers, and documentary filmmakers. As I listened to each of them sharing his or her story, I noticed a common theme: each one of us had had doors slammed in our face—running up against seemingly insurmountable walls—we had also each persisted. This is more than a coincidence.

If you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, if you feel burnt out, if you have been or are addicted to alcohol or drugs or have experienced any form of substance abuse, if you are battling cancer, if your last project failed, if your partner betrayed you, if you are an actor or artist that has been rejected, if you are trying to get back in shape, if you are in a stuck marriage or in a job that you feel like a phony, if you are wondering if your time will ever come for finding love, success, recognition, happiness—

Then you are in GREAT company, and exactly where you need to be for the next chapter in your life in finding—no not Nemo—YOU!

We all come with a blueprint, whether or not we realize it, that says, “I want to get to the essence of me, no matter what.” We long for it. We strive for it. We go about it with gusto. And what we seek doesn’t come from someone else giving us permission to be ourselves, from someone else saying, “We choose you.”  We learn we have to choose ourselves.

I am speaking from experience. Let me give you the short version. (Below, there is a link to the full story, from “St. Joan in the Bus,” a chapter from my book, Unbinding the Heart.)

After having studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and being recognized as a talented actress, I tried for years to land parts—big parts, small parts, extra roles. Nothing was happening.

One day I auditioned for a six-hour adaptation of all the Greek plays for PBS, thinking that I would get a small part at the very least. After the audition, the director called to say that he thought I was a very talented actress, but he didn’t know where to fit me in. I didn’t have a big enough name to be cast in one of the lead roles, and I had “too much personality” to be in the chorus. I would stick out, he said.

That’s when I realized I didn’t fit in in any Hollywood model—or any model for that matter. I had to create my own model. The chapter linked below, as you will see, is an inspirational story about how I found my voice on a bus on 72nd Street in Manhattan, when my heart suddenly leapt to another human being; my spark was ignited.

Once I realized that it was my spark; nobody could take it away from me. I also saw that I could ignite it with many others who were ready to receive it.

I wrote Unbinding the Heart for exactly that reason, to inspire others with the notion that in some miraculous way we are all the same, and that our manufactured differences and delusions of self-importance or self-diminishing are false. The delusions are like a house of cards; if you try to build anything on it, they will all collapse.

In our minds, it’s almost as if there’s a little Scrooge in his own little Scrooge-iverse, feeding all kinds of negative comparisons with others, conjuring feelings of being undeserving, unworthy, or invalidated. When this happens, we need to be ruthless with ourselves and take dominion over little Scrooge and his negative, undermining thoughts. These thoughts, however untrue, infiltrate our system and pollute our inner environment. Throw them into the Aegean. Or the Atlantic, whichever you prefer. It’s time to have a mental detox and open our hearts. Otherwise this stupid mini old man wins.

I say, “Enough already!”

The outside world may not always roll out the red carpets and make the doors fly open. Remember, this is the setup. The road back to ourselves is full of challenges, adversities, and hard knocks—until one day it dawns on us: Why the hell have I been waiting for someone else to give me permission to summon all of my glorious self, to live my life?

Find your spark. Create your venue. Cast yourself in the leading role of your life and find some others for supporting roles—and write your own script.

Imagine if every time you experienced a knockdown, an adversity, a closed door, or an obstacle, a sign appeared that reads, “This is a test.” If you choose to stay open and resist that urge to close down, there is abundance waiting for you. There is grace waiting for you.

If you close down, you won’t get a chance to experience that grace. If we don’t see the sign, we fall into the trap of shutting down, of putting the lid over our ever-blossoming greatness. Now is the time to make a different choice.

No one in this beautiful world is more important or less important than another human being. We can be each other’s pathfinders, hold the ladder for each other to climb higher than we can alone, open doors that we cannot open on our own, be each other’s lighthouses on our journey home, and realize that we are safe and never alone. And then our life on earth can be transformed.

Please share your thoughts and stories with me. I’m excited for you to discover and share your own spark, as well as to help others ignite their spark, too. I am here for you. Whether your life is going fantastically or you need a helping hand, just know that love is real.

Click the link below to the full story, from “St. Joan in the Bus,” a chapter from my book, Unbinding the Heart.

I share this chapter from my book, Unbinding the Heart with you in hopes that you will be inspired to ignite your own spark and find your pathway to what really brings you happiness and makes you feel alive, whatever that is.

Unbinding the Heart: Chapter 8: St. Joan in the Bus

Agapi Stassinopoulos is the author of the new book Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity, and Unconditional Love (Hay House). While her sister, Arianna Huffington, was doing research for her book about Greek mythology, Agapi’s love for the gods and goddesses was ignited and led to two books of her own—Conversations with the Goddesses and Gods and Goddesses in Love—as well as a one-woman show and a PBS special. She also co-produced and cohosted a documentary called “Quest for the Gods,” shot on location in Greece.

An inspiring teacher, Agapi conducts seminars worldwide for both men and women, empowering them to recognize their individual gifts and create the lives they want. She is a frequent blogger for The Huffington Post. For more on Agapi please visit her website.