It has been just over 6 months since I made my big life-changing decision to uproot myself and my daughters and experience living somewhere else.
I would like this blog to be a reflection on what this experience has been like so far.
Firstly I would like to state that I completely underestimated the enormity of what I was doing. I sit in awe now and reflect on the fact that I really did do it! I sold my house of 24 years, said good bye to my fledging but much loved business, took Paris out of school as she was about to enter dreaded year 9, waved goodbye to friends and a very familiar and comfortable life style to begin again.
However despite the above statement I still know it was the right decision for me. I would like to share with you an exercise I do at times of uncertainty that helps me work out if things are right for me or not. It’s very simple and it has become an important daily practise for me.
I stop and PAUSE whatever I am doing, I become still and I close my eyes. I then slowly breathe into and out of my heart space as I bring to mind whatever I am contemplating. As I do this I bring my attention to notice what I am feeling. I’m interested to observe if there is a sense of openness and expansion or if it feels tight and contracted. A feeling of openness and expansion is my green light to go ahead or just stick with what I am doing. However if it feels tight and contracted then that is my right light that lets me know that something isn’t right for me and needs further inquiry.
I really urge you to try this exercise if you ever feel stuck. I have spoken of it a lot in meditation class and counselling sessions. It is all about tapping into the wisdom of our bodies. Our bodies don’t lie while all that stuff that comes out of our heads is really not to be trusted and certainly not to be believed!
For five months of our time here I have made the trek back to Melbourne to see my clients and keep the flame of Innercalm alive. Having the opportunity to immerse myself in the work that I love and seeing many of you has been fantastic ,but the truth is that I haven’t enjoyed being in Melbourne and that contracted feeling that I just wrote about was always very strong. Melbourne is no longer my home and I realised that my energy needed to be now flowing towards establishing myself in my new home.
However life has a way of panning out not always as we expect it to.
We are blessed to be squatting in my mum’s house which is in the most divine location, on the river facing natural bushland. I have never lived in a place that has given me so much joy and peace. It is absolutely the healing place I craved for after the chaos and craziest of our big move. I’ve planted 2 big vegies patches and I bound out every morning eagerly checking their progress. We are already eating freshly picked lettuce and kale varieties and I’m looking forward to the tomatoes and strawberries that are not too far off.
We are indeed fortunate to be in such a beautiful and peaceful place as we navigate our way through the more trickier parts of our new life.
Olivia my nineteen year old is doing very well in her navigating She is loving Griffith University and is enjoying psychology very much. In fact this blog was interrupted as she needed mum’s wise input as she works her way through her first essay.
Paris’s path on the other hand has not turned out as I had hoped. Year 9 can be a notorious year under the best of circumstances. The school Paris was enrolled in turned out to not be such a happy experience for her and finding another local school has turned out to be a nightmare. The schools are very strict on their catchment areas and we have been knocked back by at least three other local schools. . The one school that will accept her is over an hour and two buses away. The solution we chose was enrolling her in the Brisbane School of Distance Education. This is just like a regular school but classes are attended online. I am now her home tutor, which is a much bigger more daunting task than I had envisioned. As I write I still haven’t quite got my head around it.
My focus these past few weeks has really been trying to sort this out. Supporting Paris as she settles into this new way of learning, helping her meet requirements to enable her to pass year 9 so she can move back into mainstream next year has become a priority . It is also imperative that she finds some kind of social activity where she can meet real friends as opposed to cyber space ones. I’m thinking of joining the lifesavers but she’s not so keen. All suggestions gratefully accepted!
Out of all of us I realise I had the expectation that Paris would find it the easiest to settle here. But this has turned out not to be the reality. I have had to do a lot of rethinking to find a way to be here for my daughter at this vulnerable time. None of my mindfulness ‘speak’ about ‘acceptance’ and ‘surrender’ have been of any help to her at all. In fact she is always quick with the reproach that she is not one of my clients!
There have been other things that haven’t quite worked out as I had thought. My first mindfulness for beginners 5 week group that I had planned for August didn’t happen due to lack of numbers and the place I thought I would use as my counselling space isn’t suitable at all. I am not disheartened, it just going to take time, perhaps more time than I thought. I may have to look at approaching what I do from a different angle and not assume that what worked in Melbourne will necessarily work here.
In the meantime as I practice patience and get my head around my new home tutor job I do get to take advantage of living in this beautiful place. I have tennis to play, new friends to meet for coffee or a meal, the beach to walk on and of course my river and the joyous bird song to listen to.