My life motto is ‘stay curious’
I’ve always been insatiably curious about what it means to live a good life and have been diving into self-development since I read Susan Jeffers’ Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway when I was 9-years-old. The book taught me that, even though I was a ball of anxiety, I could still do stuff I wanted to do.
Three months later, I went away on school camp for four days. It was the first time I’d been able to spend a night away from home without homesickness. It was also the birth of the realisation that I could feel like a hot mess and still live a rich and meaningful life.
Study and travel
After school I went to university and studied journalism and communications, then packed my bags and travelled the world alone for a year or two. It was terrifying and enlivening. I worked in pubs, slept in the odd bus station, dined with strangers, swam naked in the Mediterranean, sat through 10 days of silent meditation camp (I’d run out of money and it was free) and stared up at the stars from the Sahara Desert. I’d never felt more like myself.
Coming back to the ‘real world’ (but not for long!)
A few years later, feeling lost in the ‘normal’ world as I battled through making a living in the tough land of newspaper journalism and unfulfilling stints of bartending, I walked the Camino de Santiago alone at the beginning of Spring when it was still snowing. With just one backpack to my name, I’d never felt so happy and free.
Meeting the man of my dreams
I’d met my husband-to-be just weeks before I left to walk the Camino, and we wrote to each other every day I was away. I remember walking on the side of a Spanish hill on a rare warm morning, with endless possibilities swimming through my mind until one emerged from the teeming mess, crystalline and pure: It’s time to go home and begin the next chapter.
When I returned to Australia, my husband and I spent six months saving then packed our car and headed off to explore our land. We ate fish he caught and shucked abalone off the rocks as an entrée. We hiked into national parks and lay on our backs looking up at the stars through the trees. We fought and made up and adventured and lived with our feet in the dirt, finally winding up in Tom Price, a mining town in the desert of WA where we worked to save for our next leg.
A new chapter: Children
One night, we lay beside each other and I gathered the courage to whisper I was ready to be. He looked at me and said he’d been thinking the same thing. Months later, our daughter was born.
Nothing prepared me for the adventure of parenting. A love emerged that I never realised I was capable of, and with it, a fear I’d never experienced before: What if I’m a bad mother? I stayed up at night obsessing over sleep, food and toileting. I also marvelled at the beauty of my child and the renewed sense of purpose I enjoyed.
I’d never felt more alive, more required and less adequate. When our son was born almost three years later I worked myself into a nervous wreck as I navigated the challenges of being at home with a baby and a toddler in a town far from home where temperatures regularly reached 45 degrees and a husband who worked almost constantly.
On the brink of labelling myself with post-natal depression, I raged and cried for months – clearly not coping. And yet, in the depths of this despair, that quiet, knowing voice whispered through the gloom: It wasn’t meant to be this way. There is a more beautiful way to live.
I’ve since tried with all my heart to follow that voice and heed it – especially in the realm of parenting, where judgement is rife. It has never let me down and has grown stronger over the years through my practices of journal writing and meditation. I’ve worked as a waitress, bartender, journalist, copywriter, social media manager and now, an NLP and mindset coach, but I see my ‘real’ work in this world as simply to follow the voice, even when, especially when, it sets me on a different path to what has been laid out for me.
It is my job to walk this mysterious path and to breathe my soul’s imaginings into being, then write about it and coach others to follow theirs. It’s a job that is meaningful, rich, beautiful, wild and unpredictable (just the way I like it). I thank my children for keeping me on my path with their fierce wisdom, reflective magic and deep knowing.