What happens when there’s enough space to finally connect to yourself? You begin to hear your soul’s calling…
It’s known as the land of the Never Never. And in my world, I’d never never had such space and freedom to connect with myself.
Even though there wasn’t a moment without my children – we were all in one room, all three sleeping peacefully around me each night, exhausted from the day – I felt more free than I had for such a long time. No phone connection, no internet connection, no Netflix connection. There was nothing but me, my children, my parents, and this land. And oh, this land.
We didn’t make it far into Kakadu in those five days. Three kids and a limited timeframe meant we went as far as the aptly named ‘Aurora Hotel’. Two stops along the way turned the usual ninety minute drive out of Darwin into a couple of hours, as my parents insisted we stop at the obligatory roadside huts without walls but with super cold beer and Barramundi burgers. It’s a tradition they have been following since they met in Darwin, over 40 years ago. No wonder whenever I’m in the Territory, sipping beer in the stifling heat and staring out at the wet season’s greenery, I feel so at home: it’s in my DNA.
And so, there we were. My three children, my parents and I, set up with our camping stove and fold out table in front of the basic but somehow beautiful rooms (or is that just because of how I was feeling inside?), watching my daughters and son connect with a forgotten part of themselves amongst the frogs, lizards and icy cold pool.
Five days. That’s all it took.
I changed in those five days. After a year of feeling so lost despite such monumental achievements as having my first book published and leaving my safe salaried role to focus solely on my business, it had been ten months of drifting. And despite the change in lifestyle, my thyroid disease had somehow gotten worse, and my enthusiasm for work had almost disappeared. I was doing what I had to – the inner guilt-driven Super Woman ensured I was always pushing on to some extent – but I wasn’t where I thought I’d be at all.
And we’d had a shocker Winter. All three of my kids had tag-teamed their illnesses, meaning that I seemed to be losing my working days almost every week for months on end to little ones’ high temperatures and trips to the doctors. I was grateful that I didn’t have to call a boss anymore and negotiate another sick day, but I also had clients and deadlines that I seemed to constantly be moving around. Things just didn’t seem to be working.
So by the time sweat was dripping down my back as I sipped a cold beer in that spectacular and magical part of the world, I was pretty sure I was done with the whole thing. My business, my health, the lot. It was too hard. I simply couldn’t juggle three kids, a husband who’s career was climbing at a rapid rate, and my own dreams. Perhaps it just wasn’t that time in my life for my dreams? And a part of me was OK with that.
When things aren’t working, I don’t believe we should push. Not anymore, anyway. I’ve spent my life pushing when all the signs are saying stop: ignoring the symptoms in my body and in my life that I was climbing the wrong ladder.
This is not the life we’re striving for. We’re not here to just ‘survive’ each day. And when the world is throwing a million warning signs at you, like it was to me last year, you’d better start taking note. Because if you don’t, those warning signs turn into stop signs.
And so I surrendered.
I let it go. I put my hands up to the Universe and declared that it was time for ‘it’ to take over. I’m not doing this anymore, unless it’s easy. And then, I lay by the pool. I played for hours in the water with my son clinging onto me like a little Koala. I watched my daughters learn how to do backwards sommersaults, and responded to the endless ‘Mummy, watch this!’ calls. I sat in the back of the car as my Dad drove us around the rivers and magical lands of Kakadu, searching for crocs, just like we did when I was a little girl.
And I didn’t think about anything else.
I was completely and utterly in the moment.
And it was so freeing.
In the space comes the answers
On the third day, I heard it.
Lying by the pool, gratitude for this space and this family and this life flooding my body (there’s always gratitude right before the ahas, mamas), I heard three simple words so clearly, it was like someone was standing behind me speaking into my ear.
Simplicity. Creativity. Connection.
And there it was. The answer that I had been searching for for years. The three things that, when you look at everything I have played around with, studied, written about and taught over the past eight years of mamahood, summed it all up.
We desperately need simplicity in our lives. We need to disconnect, declutter, slow down and focus on the real abundance around us.
We must reconnect to our creativity as women. We need to find the creative beauty and wonder in everything we do again. We need to be creative creatures.
And we have to connect. To ourselves, to our partners, to our children, to our Universe.
Simplicity. Creativity. Connection.
If I’d been in Sydney when I first heard the answer, it never would have worked. My connection to my phone, to google, to social media would have meant that the whispers that I heard of what it was I really wanted to do with these three words would have been swallowed up by comparisonitis and doubt that it had all been done before faster than my finger could swipe right. I’m just too plugged in.
As modern mamas, sitting with our own thoughts and letting them percolate is almost impossible. We search for answers before we even finish forming the question.
And so if I’d heard these three simple words while in the middle of my busy mama life in the Innerwest of Sydney, I don’t believe I would have listened. I certainly wouldn’t have stopped long enough to really hear it. And I never would have been brave enough to dream of this magazine because my Inner Mean Mama would have grabbed onto all the doubts creeping in after fifteen minutes on instagram.
But, with the space (and lack of internet connection), I kept dreaming. I asked what it was I was meant to do with these words. I couldn’t check what was involved with creating an online magazine or how many people were already doing it, so I just kept dreaming.
Dream on, mama
And that’s all we need to do.
Perhaps your world feels too busy, hectic and overwhelming to connect with that whisper of your soul right now too. Maybe your world is so connected to what everyone else is doing that your dreams are squished before they can take shape.
Whether it’s a career change, or stepping back from your career to focus on your family, I promise you the answer is there, waiting for you to give it space to be heard. Don’t pick up your phone. Don’t put your future into anyone else’s hands – especially not the filtered world of social media personalities.
Grab a notebook, book in a babysitter or your partner or the neighbour for a few hours, and take yourself to a place that helps you feel connected to Mother Earth. Flood your body with gratitude for what you already have, breathing in and really noticing the wonders around you. It’s all right there – the beauty of this world we have created. And then, once you feel that deep freedom that comes from really connecting with the moment, ask yourself…
What do you want to tell me?
And then wait. The answer is coming.