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What do I truly want?

Journey to recovery. image courtesy of shutterstock

Journey to recovery. image courtesy of shutterstock

I recently revived my Morning Pages to recover my creativity. It is Week 4, and I am experiencing emotional pangs. My friend Anne tells me that the moon seems to be in a certain alignment to cause our human tides (after all we are 80% water) to be pulled in this direction. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Julia Cameron speaks of how the recovering artist can often feel like being in terra incognita. Why? Because creativity isn’t about fantasy. In finding oneself more, the original unique truth of who you are starts to play out. Any false self begins to fall away.

“Art lies in the moment of encounter. We meet ourselves and we meet our self-expression. We become original because we become something specific: an origin from which the work flows.” – Julia Cameron

Awake I see more. I am clearer in observation. More sensitive in my energetic encounters.

I was recently asked to prepare a keynote for LeanIn Malaysia Career ProgramGraduation Awards. Exploring the historical perspective of What Women Want, I found the voice of many women of the ages come through me.



More open and real….  ”The snowflake pattern of your soul is emerging” whispers Julia Cameron off the pages of her book The Artist’s Way …. as if it had been frozen for decades. In preparing for this keynote, I visit my Duty as a woman in this life, and the conflict with Love (of Who I am, What I wish to do, How I would like to spend my time).

I feel numbed by conditioned expectations through the ages, other people’s definitions of who we should be, and blurred by undersleep, overwork, underplay, Facebook, YouTube, toxic relationships  - all junk food for the soul! The more I am writing these Morning Pages, the more I am erasing these smears on my consciousness.

Love vs Duty

As I perused the achievements of women through history, it seems that most stay the norm of anonymity. Yet there are always outliers. Duty usually calls for us to be what is expected in society. However, there are many that desire their passions fulfilled beyond duty. They pursue what they love.

There is a tale often retold about Sir Gawain and The Loathly Lady. In this legend, King Arthur had to find the answer to “What Women Want”. Is that not the most mysterious and difficult of questions?!  …. When the answer is revealed that what women most desire is: their will – the sovereignty to decide and choose their way – the spell that binds the Loathly Hag in her misery is broken. So how are you going to release your being bewitched into what may seem your duty? What do you truly love to be? Are you willing to pursue it?

There is no doubt the pursuit of what one loves has its costs.

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” – Henry David Thoreau

Still – I now have a choice. Either: Love of what I desire. Or: Duty to be what is expected of me. It is up to me. If the will is there, then no obstacle appears a barrier. Ah … What will I be? What will I do?

What if – Love is our Duty?

As I consider the smorgasbord of feelings and experiences I can opt for  - as I pursue what I love…. I have the sense that I am no longer like a thoroughbred chomping on my bit, tethered to a pole, anxious to be in a race to be won. Still in a yard close to the stables where I feel safe, I am more relaxed. Awaiting nothing yet expecting everything.

When the right call comes for my soul, I know I am attuned to it. I am listening with all my senses. I will hear it. I will answer to what ‘feels right’. (I can always post-rationalise it!!)

This week, I will allow ‘buried dreams’ to surface. I will tune in to the sirens of their melodies. Be resonant with those souls that are meant to co-create what we are purposed for. I can already sense it all coming together.

Opening up my mind, I am training my antennae to the pulse of these wavelengths. Opening my heart, I am receiving the integral rhythm of these energies that are leading to the greater good of humanity. Opening my will, I am tapping to awaken the inner Force that fuels the truth that I am.

Flowers blossoming. image courtesy of shutterstock

Flowers blossoming. image courtesy of shutterstock

I am feeling my life is like a flower. The bud is on the vine, and not completely open. Yet the promise of the beauty and brilliance of colour and fragrance is already there to be shared. Those that recognise it awaits. Those that are yet to notice it is on the fringes.  For some will arrive when the flower is blossoming. Others when it is in full bloom. There will be those that will remain until the blossom withers, until it is a memory of its former glory. Not because of what the flower was, but for the gift that we shared when the flower bloomed for us. The gift remains, and gets passed down not only as a vision of when it held our attention, held court so it seemed. But it will forever be etched into our hearts for those who wish to meaningfully remember … and tap into our dreams.

The Call to Adventure heralds.  I am ready to cross the threshold once again on the start of another Hero’s Journey. To savour and learn from what is it that I truly love to be.

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The Call to Return

It has been several years since I returned from my adventure in the Middle East. Like Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, The Call to Return also sparked not only a resurrection of my life in a new context, it made me grateful that I have had the privilege of the adventure.

The Hero's Journey, courtesy Joseph Campbell

The Hero’s Journey, courtesy Joseph Campbell

The new Star Wars ‘The Force Awakens’ movie, made me realise that the Light side coexists naturally with the Dark. There more light, the more apparent shadows it casts. And so it was upon my Return.

I had learnt a lot in Qatar. Looking back, it was both the most unlikely place to be, and also the most perfect place to be at the time in my life. Without immersing myself there, how could I speak about feeling simultaneously repressed and free.

Repressed – because there were more constraints compared to how I had been when I was living in Australia – the dress code, the language, the climate, the food, the contradiction of old and new, the seeming divide between the genders, the chasm between the have- and the have-nots.

Free – because I can keep an open mind to notice that all is as it should be: nothing is absolutely good or bad. Celebrating a so-called good event: the privilege to come to live in a country I had never even considered to bring my family gave me the adventure of a lifetime. I realised I had an uncanny resilience to adapt to daily normalities. What a gift! A bad event at the time? Reframing it – I counted my blessings that it happened when it did, so the situation gave me a new reference structure: Now I can say I have expanded my epistemology… stretched my comfort zone! How wonderful. I learnt something.

For instance, when my assignment ended prematurely in Qatar – another occurrence of regularity in that part of the world – I found an extraordinary agility to act in adversity: a resilience to make decisions clearly, manage stress of many tasks to be accomplished in a tight deadline, and deal with roller-coaster emotions calmly. I had to move my family out within 7 days with the expiration of my resident permit. Within the week, I had to pack down the home, deregister my children from their schools, research new schools and new options of work, organise immigration and organisational exit, ……move home, move countries, move work, move my life!

A Whole New World

A new adventure in the desert

I could only see opportunities and possibilities from this.

Having begun this practice of mindfulness in the midst of madness in the Middle East: such as regular meditation, open minded/open hearted/openly willing approach  in the market place, this next chapter of co-sensing and co-creating my own future is absolutely exciting.

“The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made. And the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.”― John H. Schaar

I used to feel guilty about looking into the past – a bit hysterical about the historical! There is no way we can change the events gone by, yet we have the power to make new meaning of them. Rewriting it as I move forward by glancing back to see what I have learnt, and what still needs addressing …. I am going to re-present my essence in my future through understanding role models that have played out in my life: past and present. Review and reflect constantly in a design thinking sense: so I may reorganise my life to be more response-able.

In these next new series of blogs, I intend to journal my reflections of the new Call to Adventure in the next cycle of my Hero’s Journey. What a paradox: the more enlightened I thought I had become, certain shadows in my life became even more defined. In fact, they were magnified – shouting out to be dealt with.

I am tentatively naming this new series: Love and Duty. My first book ‘Intentional Parenting – how to get results for both you and your kids’ was the first Call to Adventure -which excited me to write my first book.

In this series of blogs, I hope to use these musings to support my penning a fiction about the life of a woman whose lessons of balancing love and duty (more often than not it was Duty OVER Love), reflecting on what she had learnt from 5 women in her family: great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, daughter and her developing self. Literary licence gives me, as the writer, to explore her insights and lessons from the past lives of this fictional female lead character (yet to be named!) whom she meets in dreams and waking meditations.

Love your thoughts and feedback! After all, the future is a place we can make, together.

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