Saturday, February 14

living the dream, pt2

So in my first post I set the scene, of a woman who spent too much time living by Fear, living by other people's expectations, and generally being a barrier to her own life.

When you live by what society/parents/partner expects of you for so long, you disconnect from your Soul.

I know, sounds a bit full on doesn't it? But you see, when your decisions are based on someone else's beliefs or wishes, you are working from a foundation not within yourself. And if you do this for long enough, you forget how to tune into your own desires.

From as long as I can remember, my mother tried to drive one very strong idea into my mind - to become a doctor. Her wishes were not for me to be happy or a good person, but to be financially independant, to be rich, and to have status.

The prospect was incongruous enough to who I was, that I never persued that route. However, something like that, a parent's powerful desire for you, leaves it's murky print upon your psyche.

As a child, I adored writing creative stories and reading, reading, reading. In my 'tweens', I discovered a love for understanding people. As early as the age of 10, I was interpreting dreams. My thoughts on what I was going to do with my life, my career that is, changed often, but eventually settled on pyschology.

My psyche could not identify the seed - the desire to understand and help others - and allow it the slow maturation to grow into whatever that seed was meant to be. Instead, I pushed and molded it into the shape it 'should' be - a proper career with money and status. I was headed all the way to PhD.

And so I embarked on my university studies, and I was frustrated. Very frustrated. I didn't want to learn about, well, so much that I was forced to learn. I wanted to be out there, helping. and I felt stifled in so many ways that I could not name, because I was disconnected from my soul.

My heart did not sing nor was I not filled with passion for my studies. But I perservered, and I took more courses, and then I changed direction trying to find my passion for living, by taking a Fine Arts degree. I did find joy there, but it wasn't my calling. Yet it gave me a taste of expression, and limitlessness.

In the society that I lived in, everyone would ask the same question within minutes of meeting each other - so, what do you do?

I always asked - so, are you happy?

I had freed myself from an academic hamster wheel, and an abusive relationship, but I was lost.

So I packed up my belongings in a car and tiny trailer, and left Sydney. Left for good, left to find my passion for life again. I travelled, met all sorts of people, hitch-hiked, danced, sang, ate by open fires, slept under the stars or under neighbourly roofs, made cash when I needed it and no more, wrote weird poems, met nature face on, learnt from Life.

Lismore, Australia


Then before I had reached the meat of this journey, I met my husband to be, fell in love, moved to England, And before you could say, God Save the Queen, I found myself in suburbia, in a suburban life, tying to create a life that my partner wanted, not me.

I found myself in university yet again, this time in education and more psychology. I was aiming for Educational Psychology. Why does everything have to have a name, an aceeptable purpose? I found myself being someone I thought I had left behind, yet there I was making 10 year plans. I had worked out how I would fit my Master degree and then PhD around two children. I still have that crazy list somewhere, just to have a chuckle and knowing nod at.
I had it all worked out, how I would be pregnant around the exam years and then take a year off for baby, and then start the next course, and on and on.

I asked myself, why don't I feel joy when I contemplate my career? I certainly felt excitement and that was misleading. It was an excitement about reading and studying, which I do love. It was an excitement about Achieving, which I fooled myself thinking it was for me, but was really for others.

My husband wanted to be financially stable, he wanted the mortgage paid, he wanted to fit into his social group. In his legitimate needs, in his own Fears, he forgot about the wild free-spirited girl he met and married. He wanted me to Fit In too. And as a disconnected soul, I allowed it to happen. I tried, but I was always a round peg in the proverbial square hole.

Stonehenge, England


And every single instance of trying, was a further disconnection from my soul. Courses, jobs, whatever.

Many tearful nights, much emptiness, and two miscarriages later, it all seemed so trivial, so pointless.

I began to let it all go. And we all know that a marriage where two people want two very different things is going to be tough.

Over time, I brought back into my life what brought me joy. Little things like being creative on a regular basis. Big things like dragging DIY Dad through Latin America and Asia.

Sacrifical altar, Isla del Sol, Peru


And from then on, life changed.

I started to recognise the seeds again. I didn't try to push and pull and punch them down to fit mine or anyone else's molds. I let them sprout and grow and only watered them and kept them alive.

I discovered desires and passions that were pure and unadulterated. And this led me to help others without ever trying to help them. Without certificates or titles or appointments or even conscious effort. Suddenly, people walked into my life when they needed what I had to offer. I found that less and less people entered my life without a strong purpose.

I discovered knowledge and wisdoms from the wind, the stones, the chit-chat between those waiting for a bus. My intuition was open and in full receiving mode.

Much superficiality was melting away. The way my soul moved, the force it emanated, left little room for the meaningless.

And this power, this force, is nothing more or less than living an authentic life.

20 comments:

  1. Forgive me for not having something much better to say, LOL, but I liked your story. It was very interesting and had some sort of special inspiration in it. :D

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  2. ("In the society that I lived in, everyone would ask the same question within minutes of meeting each other - so, what do you do?
    I always asked - so, are you happy?")

    YES!!! And here I thought I was the only one who felt this way.

    Beautiful, candid writing. What a story you have!
    It's so good to read that you made the journey back to yourself. So many people loose themselves trying to fit into situations or a life they're not happy in.
    You are a model of identity, maturity, and honestly.
    I feel so much better now about my own life, and some of the non-conforming choices I've made. lol
    Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. Beautiful post. I recognize your journey - one that I've been on for 38 years. I'm not sure I'm as far along as you, but I'm hopeful I'll get there!

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  4. I really enjoyed reading that.I too recognize your journey and although I am still in the early stages I can't believe the difference it has already made to my life.

    In real life I have been lucky enough to have people come into my life who have helped me on my way and that has happened in the blogospere too. I find just the right post to read or just the right link to someone who can help me make sense of something or someone starts following my blog that opens up all sorts of other area for me to think about:-)Thanks for sharing xx

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  5. Thanks for sharing! I too recognise your journey and identify with it. Also, as I'm in the early stages of this journey, I find it greatly reassuring. Hoping to see more posts in this series if you're planning on them.

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  6. Thank you so very much for sharing this. I recently discovered your blog so please go on.
    lots of love,
    Eva

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  7. Beautiful story. So good to see someone following their path and resisting the judgement and pressures of the world around us.

    Having 'conformed' to these pressures and the desires of others, largely for the first time in my life these past two years, I understand how this happens to people, and how important it is to resist, and follow your heart. It's a challenge to hold on to that vision at times, and it's inspiring that you are doing just that.

    And I can't stand the "what do you do?" question either. It's putting people in boxes, and we're so much more than this.

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  8. Hi everyone, welcome Eva!

    Docwitch- I can understand to a degree when someone's work is an enormous part of who they are, but ultimately, it is still only one part, as you say.
    I find that most people who ask this are really wanting to put you into an income bracket or status level, don't you feel?

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  9. Thank you for your beautiful, deep reaching post! I came across from "Bohos by the field" and as soon as i started reading i recognised myself in your words. For most of my adult life i too had been disconnected from my own soul, little by little chipped away, living my life for others. It is such a wonderful feeling to slowly awake to the real you isn't it! wishing you love & happiness in your life x

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  10. Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself in this post. Like many others who have commented, I too am on a similar journey. I find the more I allow myself to live in the present moment without worrying about how everything is going to end up, that is when I find the most peace.

    Wendy

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  11. Thank you for such a candid and honest post. Reading the comments above it's heart-warming to see so many people for whom this resonates. We are all on a similar journey really, but sometimes it just takes us longer to recognise it!

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  12. Hmm, so many familiar aspects to your story. I think I'm somewhere in the middle of mine. I've tried on many hats and am slowly discovering which ones fit me and which ones - while they may look good - just are not comfortable on my head. I feel like I'm currently in a transition stage in my life and hve been trying to put it into words but it hasn't been possible yet. Still much thought to put into the subject before I can articulate it...

    ~Tara

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  13. Funny how we confuse "what we do" with who we are. They are intertwined, but not the same. I guess for some people it's safe and fulfills their needs to conform and identify themselves that way.

    Thank you for sharing this, Mon. It's wonderful that you were able to find a way to be true to yourself.

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  14. So timely!
    You must be an inspiration to many. A mentor. Sometimes I think this is what has helped me on the path to living my truth, letting mentors into my life that encourage it or live theirs. Others who don't live their truth or are unhappy don't seem to let 'mentors' into their lives...I believe we and the world is in a constant state of evolution. Evolving to live one's truth is the ultimate. I adore Joseph Campbell and his quote "the privelage of a lifetime is being who you are". I can see you are one to help others by being you. And I just commented on LB Zen's blog in response to something she posted that is very related. :)

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  15. Lovely to hear from everyone, as well as your own stories. Welcome Ruth, Ciara and Ruthie. :)

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  16. Thank you for your profoundly honest and inspirational post.

    I've only recently found your blog, a result of continuum parenting and giving in to intuition, and finding out as much as possible about it that has developed since the birth of our first child.

    I notice that the majority (if not all) of the comments are by women; I wonder if I'm one of only a handful of men reading your blog.

    But this post couldn't have come at a more appropriate time in our lives. My wife and I (now both 30) have insulated ourselves in academia, thinking that this was the way to find meaning and fullfilment. With the birth of our son, my wife took time off her PhD, but now has no desire to return; she simply see's no value in it whatsoever when compared to what she derives from being a mother: she had found fulfillment. I'm nearly finished my PhD, but wow! is it hard; I also see no value or importance in it; I get nothing from it, only stress, pressure and unhappiness. I could be the NASA scientist, but I'd much rather spend my time with and covetting those that mean something to me. I question the value of continuing, but the feeling that I'd be mad to give it all up prevails.

    But I find it hard being a man and feeling this way; society dicates that I should WANT a career, and that I should WANT to earn money, to have a house and things. But I simply don't. A 9-5 lifestyle dicates that I'd essentially be a weekend dad; I don't want that; life's far too short.

    So we're trying to figure out how we can nuture these feelings, to go in the direction in which we feel ourselves pulled; to turn our backs on the 9-5, 2.4 lifestyle. But how to achieve that? That is the question that knaws every minute of every day!

    Many thanks once again. Your post has given some structure to the raging contradictory battle in my mind.

    Colin

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  17. Hello Colin, welcome.

    I think mothers tend to blog more, but there are many great blogging dads out there.

    Anyway, yes, I totally hear your doubts, anxieties, and so forth. And I know how the pressure of career is there doubly for a man. That's something my husband battled with, he was brought up to believe it was his duty. It's not an easy thing to shake up!

    Hope to see you again, especially further thoughts as I write more on this.

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  18. Thank-you for your reply, and the welcome.

    Yes, it is a battle, which has proved impossible to ignore. This belief that it is my duty, my responsibility; it's contrary to how I feel, how we both feel. I know we would both be unhappy, with even just me 'doing the 9-5', never mind both of us, with our son in care; that's just a completely alien, abhorrent idea. Why should we condemn ourselves to a life of unhappiness?

    You've obviously been here, done it, bought the t-shirt; I wonder that my fledgling thoughts don't seem naiive. But oh! to have the answer!?

    Would you mind me asking how you guys overcame it, how your husband (you both) was (were) able to turn his (your) back(s) on the expectations of society?

    Colin

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  19. That's my focus for part3, if you can wait. :D

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  20. Great! I await part 3 with eager expectation!

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