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.
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.
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.