When I began searching for her (and by her, I mean me… but the real me), I had no idea where it would take me. I was answering a deep, primal call within to go beyond the physical ailments. Beyond the suffering and symptoms. To the heart… to the core.. to my soul. This, I knew, held answers not only to my current predicament and illness but also to that search for wholeness. Enoughness.
The search to feel loved.
I had ideas of who I was – without the job or the career or the relationship or the heady social calendar. Little vignettes of wholeness that recurred when triggered by a sensory experience.
Incense in a crystal shop evoking memories of the young girl fascinated by ritual and candles and witches.
The smell of eucalypt seeping from the gum trees on a hot summers day reminding me of my absolute, unabated attachment and connection to nature – the mother.
The waft of sweaty fur and hay carried on the wind bringing with it memories of the pure, wholehearted joy I felt when riding horses.
The prickling sensation of aliveness emanating from my heart felt after teaching a workshop – evoking memories of teaching, performing plays and concerts and speaking any chance I could get as a younger girl.
The embodied memory of getting lost in writing stories – imagined lands scribbled in notebooks and later, on clunky lap tops.
The absolute excitement and energy of landing in a new place – senses inundated by smells, sights and sounds. Pristine moments of awareness captured by transporting oneself to another land.
The happy, exhausted contentment of lying in bed at the end of a day swimming, running, laughing, digging and cavorting in the Murray river.
My hands – now growing older, triggering memories of my mum’s hands and her mum’s hands cooking. Working. Gardening. Digging. Caring. Nursing. Patting animals. Preparing things for loved ones and relishing the pure joy of giving.
These things I knew for sure – were things that my soul yearned for – nature, space, loved ones, adventure, ritual, sisterhood, teaching, writing, caring, cooking and animals.
The problem was …. My actual life … the life where I had prioritized the voices of others of my own… had led me to be living half way round the world in a crazy, hot, crowded Asian city. Working in a career that – while I loved it – depleted me to the core. There was very little nature. The more I pushed myself to attain the worldly experiences and possessions that I thought would fill me up, the more empty my cup became.
As I began to heal – by shedding the attachments to who I thought I was, quitting my job, healing my body, following what I KNEW to be true, I had a deep understanding of the need to prioritise my physical space.
Having spent a year decompressing, travelling and housesitting around Australia (fulfilling the need for space, animals and adventure), we found ourselves at a crossroad. By this time I was pregnant and every inch of my conditioning was telling me to move back to the city where I was born.
Get a good job. Get a house. Settle down. Be close to family.
And yet my soul was whispering ‘you know what to do’.
Weeks turned into months and my husband’s search for work in the city – now hampered by the Christmas break – remained elusive.
And so… without really knowing why, we decided to follow our hearts and move to the country. Hoping that by doing so we would encourage our metaphorical ducks to fall into line.
And follow they did.
Within a week of making the decision to move to the country, my husband got part time work in a nearby town and a consulting contract that would fulfill his need to continue contributing overseas. We had made a decision some time earlier that neither of us would work full time ever again if at all possible, prioritising time with our baby and as a family and ensuring flexibility to travel and bushwalk.
We looked at rental houses and decided on a little block in the middle of this country town – still not thinking too much about it but KNOWING that it was the right place to be.
We got all our stuff out of storage. And promptly decluttered our lives leaving only the bare essentials in our empty cupboards.
All of this was part of the alignment process. Aligning our outer world with our inner values and desires.
It was hard. Like purging for days and months on end. Feeling vulnerable and unsure and alone.
At a time when everyone around me screamed ‘STABILITY AND SECURITY’, here we were in a new town, in a new house, with short term, part-time job options and about to have a baby. We had spent a year working minimally and living in other people’s houses – as such our financial situation was far from abundant. It would have been so easy to choose alternatively.
I’m bloody proud of us for choosing us.
It’s nearly been one year to the day that we moved to our little paradise. On the edge of a town that’s at a foot of the mountain.
The mountain watched over us as we packed up the car late one night and drove, supported by some greater force, to the hospital to meet the most important person in our lives. A birth so empowered, so perfect and so full of love that there are no words that can accurately capture the essence of that moment.
The mountain has watched over us as we’ve battled sleep deprivation, post natal anxiety, running two businesses, feeling like outsiders at times and the extreme weather.
The mountain has watched over us as we’ve learned the way the soil responds and what we can plant when. The mountain has watched over us as we’ve explored this beautiful part of the world – sleeping babe in the back of the car as the endless kilometres stretch out before us. Little towns. Eclectic coffee shops. Beautiful walks. Some absolute gems of friends and acquaintances found on our way.
The mountain has watched over us as we’ve battled with the expectations of living a more simple life. Learning to let go of unrealistic notions of sustainability and reassuring ourselves we are doing the best we can – even with having to drive more and buying packaged items from the supermarket.
The mountain has watched over us as we’ve upgraded out car and rescued chooks and saved a silly dog called Chester who hits his head many times a day and licks … ALOT – completing our little family for now.
The mountain has watched over us as we’ve learned more about ourselves, our world, our community, our environment than any year previously. Pushed to the absolute limits but leaving us so breathless with gratitude and satisfaction that sometimes I lie awake and weep with joy that I get to wake up every morning and learn and grow more.
The mountain has watched over us as we’ve become more confident at standing up for what we believe, speaking our truth and letting go of relationships and ideas that don’t resonate with our values.
The mountain has watched over me as I’ve had moments – just moments – of stepping into my power as a mother, an empowered woman, a teacher …. Giving me a taste of what is to come if I continue to honour my soul’s whispers.
That taste is so thrilling, so enticing, so perfect in all its joy and energy and elusiveness and brilliance that it warrants all the fear and the vulnerability and the scariness that it takes to show up every day in the best way I can.
So here’s to 2017 – and the mountain witnessing more empowerment, more wellbeing, more purpose, more community and much, much more love.