Collage by Rocio Montoya.
"What made the beauty of the moon? And the beauty of the sea?
Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I've always been a bit restless. Six months is generally my limit in one place before I start eyeing off the grass in the neighbour's paddock. Three months ago I wrote about the ongoing dance between my nomad and nester selves in this post, at a time when I was in nesting mode in the byron hinterland. I had found a beautiful home with my partner and meaningful work, but something was still missing. When I read over it now, it's plain to see that- despite my best intentions to stay put- I could feel my wanderer being called.
But I was torn. I knew that story all too well, and it seemed to lead me back to the same place of chaos. I was determined this time to plant my roots. To be disciplined, build a creative career and financial security, and set up a real home. When I stubbornly refused to heed the message, life found a way to nudge me in the right direction, so I let go of my home and hit the road yet again.
Over the past two months I've experienced life in a rich diversity of landscapes from the wild tropics of Darwin to the Brett Whiteley blue bays of Sydney and the twinkling lights of Melbourne from the 39th floor of an apartment building. I've travelled on an absolute shoe-string, and it's been rewarding (albeit stressful at times), but there was still something insatiable pacing my inner hallways.
Fast forward to now, where I'm writing from my bamboo bungalow overlooking a rice field in Penestanen, Bali (while I listen to this sexy soul/hiphop set). I'm here for a month, have no fixed idea on where I will be next, and honestly, I couldn't be happier. I've come to realise in the last few weeks that it's not so much about the 'where', but
The Balcony 2 by Brett Whiteley.
"The quest is the transmutation of self."
I could be in the most beautiful place on earth with all the things I love, but if I'm not feeling engaged in a project that inspires me and fosters a true expression of who I am, then I don't feel a sense of belonging within myself wherever I am. I've become aware that I was looking at the wrong 'where' question.
Rather than trying to work out where I wanted to settle down, what I was really looking for an answer to was "where am I going in my life?" This leads to a whole bunch of 'what' questions:
(As it turns out, we're rolling into a new moon in Sagittarius tomorrow so it's an especially fruitful time to use the inspiration of the archer to reflect on these big-picture aims.)
It's really interesting to see how much more clarity we get when we ask the right questions. For so much of my 20s I spent a lot of energy trying to find my "thing". You know, that thing that fires you up as soon as you awaken. That thing that makes time disappear into a black hole when you're doing it. It's the thing you want to shout from the rooftops so everyone can come up to join you for sunset cocktails and dancing into the wee hours.
Define Us by Bertil Nilsson.
At some point I became really exacerbated by this process of going in circles forever seeking this elusive jewel. So I decided to change my approach. I looked deeper again into the patterns in these cycles, and saw that I kept coming back to the same place. It was then that it dawned on me that the "thing" had been there all along, since I was child.
It was there in the 10-year-old who would hole up in her room writing a romance/thriller screenplay, in the 15-year-old who wanted to be the editor of a fashion magazine and the 21-year-old who was studying to become an art curator. It was thriving in the 26-year-old that went back to uni for a degree in professional writing, and the 29-year-old who did a roving performance called the 'muse bespoke' at Subsonic festival. My thing has been dancing in every book on soulcraft that I've relished, in every cup of tea I've had with friends yarning about relationships, and every conversation with my psychotherapist parents on the meaning of life.
The problem was that it was hiding on stage behind what seemed like many heavy duty red velvet curtains all layered upon each other. So I turned my attention to this question instead: what are the obstacles to me seeing and expressing my thing?
In fact, every time in my life that I overcame any kind of fear, big or small, one curtain would fall away. Until it got to the point where the inner curtains became a kind of translucent cheesecloth material and I could begin to see the shape of my own soul emerging.
The reality is, no matter where you go, you carry the same questions. As I move from place to place I understand that the real reason I hadn't discovered my passion was that I just wasn't giving myself permission to do what I really wanted- for so many reasons- but largely because I simply didn't believe in myself.
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