THE WHISPERS OF MY SOUL

Although it has been 15 months since Mackenzie and I returned from our road trip up the east coast of Australia, I still love talking about it. It was a joyous and unique adventure that offered a beautiful space to learn about each other, to sit quietly and listen to the song of our hearts, to unveil the depths of our characters, learn new skills, gain clarity about our purpose and needs, and to break away from the chaotic life we’d lived up until the moment we left. I seek any opportunity to casually drop into a conversation about it. As time has passed and life in Sydney has been consumed by the monotony of structure and routine, I started to feel a niggling sensation in my gut that the journey couldn’t be spoken about in the same excitable context as when we first came home. It feels like time has disengaged the wondrous and awe-inspiring story it was and that, perhaps, it’s time to find a new adventure to talk about. I mean, it wasn’t like it happened yesterday. It didn’t even happen last year. As the memory fades I have noticed a little internal struggle with releasing the excitement of having an epic tale to share. During a meditation I realised something that took me by surprise. I sought any opportunity to share the story because I was attached to how it showcased me to the willing listener. It spoke about a part of who I am, or how I want others to see me. Brave, courageous, outgoing, gutsy, adventurous, free spirited, nomadic…the tale of a single mum and her blind daughter tackling over 14,000km with a caravan in tow provided a gateway to converse with others, and was a way for me to shed light on my soul’s burning desires. I believe it said a lot about my character – a wild spirit that creates the path less travelled and rebels against societal expectations to bypass normality and the boundaries I feel suffocated by. As a naturally shy and introverted person, it also gave me something easy to talk about. Sharing my current situation of sleeping in a caravan on my parent’s front lawn is hardly comparable for juicy conversational content. I’m not ashamed of it. But it’s not congruent with how I want to live my life. It has, however, been a necessary transitional phase that has been just as important and exciting as that amazing adventure on the road.

sunrise

When I reluctantly parked the caravan on the lawn in October 2016, I didn’t envision we’d still be here at the beginning of 2018. Mostly by financial necessity, the decision to stay was a hard pill to swallow. It took me many months to settle the horrible feeling of anxiety swirling in my tummy and the irregular heartbeat pounding in my chest every time I carried Mackenzie into the caravan to sleep at night. The 2-hour drive to take Mackenzie to school almost ruined my body and I battled the whispers of my soul to make some decisions I was scared to face. What I didn’t anticipate was that I actually needed this patch of lawn in suburban Sydney. I needed a familiar space to offer my life some grounding. It has allowed me to practice the art of acceptance and truly understand the art of gratitude. And so amidst 2017 being a year of sitting with some discomfort, it became a year of reflection and greater self-awareness so I could achieve some phenomenal personal growth. It was the space I needed to find myself again, to reconnect with who I want to be and how I want to continue to serve, to live my purpose, and to be the best version of myself possible. I have evolved, exponentially, in this time living in our caravan on the front lawn at my parent’s home. And for that, I am so grateful for the patch of grass that has died underneath the shadow of a caravan. It has given me more than I could ever imagine.

 An artist specifically recorded a Christmas song for Mackenzie. This is a photo of us smiling, listening to the song that was loaded on Instagram on Christmas Eve

An artist specifically recorded a Christmas song for Mackenzie. This is a photo of us smiling, listening to the song that was loaded on Instagram on Christmas Eve

There have been many nights when I wished for things to be different. Cold winter nights are horrible here. My parent’s home isn’t big enough for us to live in so we don’t have a bedroom, an office, our own living space, or a spare bathroom to house us. We live amongst my parents and brother but it can feel a little claustrophobic at times. I never know where I’ve left my things. It could be in the caravan, the kitchen, the living room, the garage, in my storage unit, or any one of the bedrooms, who knows? The caravan acts like a mobile bedroom that we sleep in and store all our clothes in. I put Mackenzie to sleep in my mother’s bed at 8pm so I can keep a close eye on her whilst I work inside on the kitchen table. Clean washing, sewing machines, scraps of paper, food crumbs and fruit bowls clutter the space I need to work and create at. When I am ready to go to bed I carry Kenz outside, exposing her warm body to the icy cold air as I transition her from her from one bed to another. In those moments, when she nuzzled into my neck and I struggled to haul her limp body down the stairs and through the tiny doorframe of the caravan, I hung my head and let out a huge sigh of frustration and dis-ease. I was frustrated by the physical struggle and the need to disturb Mackenzie’s peaceful slumber, subjecting her to the harsh evening elements. I was sick of not having a space to call my own, or a neatly organised workspace to write and work at. I hated that we had to tackle the cold again if we needed to go to the toilet. It became emotionally taxing, my heart heavy and my hopes high for another adventure or a home to call our own. Every time I had to rummage around the house looking for something I’d misplaced. Every time I had to walk back to the caravan because I forgot something I needed. Every time I needed to pee in the black of night and I couldn’t be bothered running inside. Every night I had to take that short walk with Kenz’s tired body pressed heavy against mine. I was tired and I felt trapped, confined to a single bed barely wide enough for my small frame that I had slept in for over a year.

One night I walked outside, Kenz wrapped around me like an oversized koala bear, and I allowed my gaze to follow the white glow peering through the clouds. I stopped on the wet grass and what I saw took my breath away. A vast black sky sprinkled with stars and moonshine lighting my path to the caravan. I felt the expansiveness of the world wash away my worries and was graced with breath-taking beauty every time I stepped into the fresh air. I just hadn’t allowed myself to see it. Its stillness wrapped me in comfort as I trudged across the dewy grass, reminding me of the nights I sat alone outside the caravan, free and open to the world’s offerings, keeping watch for shooting stars as we travelled to unfamiliar lands. The evening beauty presented an opportunity to create a conscious shift in thought. Rather than feel sorry for myself, victim to the experience I was living, I chose to inhale the crisp air, looked to the sky and marvelled at the grand beauty of the night. I reminded myself that it was a choice to be here and that the effort of carrying Mackenzie to the caravan was incomparable to the struggles faced by so many. Rather than express frustration I chose to express gratitude. So I said to the night sky, “I am grateful we have a place to call home”. I reminded myself, “I am grateful I own a caravan that is a financial investment, offering security should we need it.” I sent gratitude everyday for our for six month trip exploring this amazing country that lead us to this moment, supported by my family and living freely and loved amongst a community of familiar faces. There aren’t enough bedrooms to house us, but there is certainly enough love.

Whilst I have remained stationary in location, I have made some major changes over the past 12 months. The adventures did continue, just in a different light. I could no longer suppress or deny the aching in my soul that whispered in my ears over a 6-month period. A desperate calling for me to leave a profession that has given me many of my closest friends, a lot of satisfaction, an opportunity to serve, a skill set to support Mackenzie in her early and ongoing development, and freedom to be a single parent and sole income earner for my little duo family. I have worked as an Occupational Therapist for 17 years, and was in the same role for almost 5 years in Sydney under the direction of my friend. I became so, physically, emotionally, and personally invested in the role that I burnt out. It’s one of the main reasons I left to travel on The Road Unseen in the first place. Every time the phone rang I would freeze, starring at the name wanting a moment of my time and precious energy, unwilling to answer it. Every time a new referral came into my email I cried. Every time a client asked me to do “just one more thing” a little piece of me died inside. Every time I had another report to write or a call to make I procrastinated until I couldn’t leave it any longer. I knew I wasn’t performing and I didn’t want to let my friend down. It was a phone call with a client who verbally abused me that broke me. I sat in my car, tears quietly streaming down my face as I tried to calm him down and empathise with his warranted frustrations. I had to compose myself every time I needed to speak, tears dripping down my neck, saturating my shirt, sticking my words in my throat. I knew my heart and soul had nothing left to give. My body was telling me it was time to go and the challenges I faced with many of my clients was a constant reminder that I didn’t want to be there. I was exhausted, I felt sad, I had an inflamed tummy that caused me to feel sick when I ate, and I was anxious all the time. On top of that, I was afraid. I feared stepping into my power and making the decision I knew would change my life. But that phone call was the final breath. I couldn’t invest my energy in that space anymore and with some divinely timed meetings and valuable conversations I made the decision to follow my heart. The physical and emotional relief I experienced when I sent that final email just past midnight on the 30 June 2017 telling my friend and boss that I quit, effective immediately, was palpable. I slept knowing I had just made a decision that would change the course of my life and I woke up feeling light, free, unemployed, but happy.

The moment I made the courageous decision to listen to the whispers of my soul, doors flew open. I was ready to create and excited by the opportunity to follow my soul’s desire. I was born to serve. That, I know to my very core. It’s why I was an OT. But I knew it was time for me to serve in a different space. It was no coincidence that owning that decision, allowing myself to say ‘yes’ and listening to my innate wisdom and desires, brought people into my life that have supported and encouraged some profound decisions that have been paramount in the evolution of my Being and my work. There is no fear now. Just full trust, a lot of self-belief, and plenty of action to make these dreams become my reality. Because if I am not living a life that fills me up and lights my soul on fire, then help me to understand what is the fucking point?

So what have I been creating whilst I’ve been a little stationary?

  • I completed a Health Coaching course with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and am now qualified to coach anyone willing to trust in my innate guidance and potential to help you live your best life through nutrition, mindfulness, self-care and connection. I am a (self titled) ‘Wellness and Life Coach’ and look forward to working with some amazing humans who are brave enough to listen to the whispers of their soul and make a change that sustains them through a healthier, happier, more fulfilling path (website coming soon).
  • I am building a business (that anyone can do, seriously!) that helps people transform their lives with a nutrition program and it is offering me financial freedom to live a life of adventure, joy, service and community. If you are exhausted, suffering from ill gut health, want to sleep better or want to lose some stubborn weight like I did, contact me. This has changed my life and I know it can help you too. It’s easy, convenient, delicious, and given me freedom to be with Mackenzie and support her needs.
  • I get to throw my hair in a bun, jump into a pair of tights, throw my shoes off and go to “work” teaching yoga in a wonderful community with some epic humans. I love it! And I am available for private or group bookings anywhere in Sydney.
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  • I completed the Author Awakening Adventure late last year. An 8-week online writing course with best selling author, Joanne Fedler. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone that is interested in writing – it has literally changed the way I write and taught me things I did not know. I am surrounded by a community of aspiring writers and am excited to read all the worthy material that will be produced from people daring to follow their bliss and share their stories. Yours is worth writing too, so grow some balls and start writing it. You never know who’s life you could impact by sharing it, or the profound healing and growth that awaits you at the end of your pen.
  • I’ve written over 80,000 words for my book (I am writing a memoir with elements of personal development) and have healed dramatically through this process. I have had some major insights, ‘uh huh’ moments, deep remorse, moments of pure joy, I’ve cried over the ink, felt fearful, brave, and immense gratitude for the process of learning, understanding and growing through writing.
  • I am currently enrolled in a 12-month writer’s course with Joanne (Write Your First Draft Masterclass) that will see me have the first draft of my book written by the end of 2018. I have so much work to do, but I am in love with the process.
  • The illustrations for my children’s book ‘The Adventures of Kenzie-Moo’ were completed by Emma Stuart Illustration and let me tell you, they are bloody amazing! I received them just a few days ago and I am so excited to see this project come to print. Oh, and a best selling author wants to publish it (holy shit!!!). I aim to have this for sale by June 2018 and have loved every moment stumbling through the dark as I figure this process out.
  • I have found a tribe and community of like-minded humans that are spiritually guided and following their bliss to live a life of service and creative freedom. Writers, reiki masters, yoga teachers, entrepreneurs, grounded and soul fulfilling humans that I am grateful to call my friends. I know they are only in my life because I listened to the whispers of my soul.
  • I have had time (for the first time in 8.5 years) to study, read, practice yoga, meditate, write, exercise, and catch up with friends whenever I want to. I have been able to fill up my own cup and boy does it feel good to be full. Living at my parents has offered a freedom I didn’t know I was lacking and whilst I look forward to the day we have our own home again, I am enjoying the support and ease of living our lives at the moment. With Kenz gone Monday-Friday 730-430pm for school, I am reconnecting with myself and slowly allowing myself to dismiss feelings of guilt for doing so. Writing and practicing yoga has been my saviour.
  • I have been able to see, surface and address some deep seeded fears and allow myself space to nurture and care for myself and grow into a better version of Me.
  • I am finally implementing the whispers of my soul and offering my services in a market that fulfils me at a soul level. I am running corporate wellness workshops, yoga classes, and I have scheduled MY FIRST RETREATS!!!
  • Retreat? Yes, retreat. Rest & Reset Retreat – for parents and carers of children with additional needs. You read right. I am running retreats for people who have faced the struggles that are so dear to my heart. See flyer below and check out the events page on The Road Unseen Facebook page for full details. I would love to have you along for the weekend so please share the news and confirm your spot. I have some wonderful, soul fulfilling things planned for you, I promise.

Oh, and I occasionally teach Goat Yoga. It’s the highlight of my life. No kidding

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I could not and would not have achieved any of these things if I remained in a job that my soul was screaming for me to leave. When you align with your higher self and listen to the information your body is giving you, you will live a life that fulfils you, nourishes you, and lifts you up higher than you ever thought possible. I am not a victim to my current situation. I make choices every single minute of every single day that allows me to create the life of my dreams. I choose to be accepting, grateful, and willing to try. I chose to take action and fail forward. I choose to be courageous to develop confidence. I choose to have an abundant mindset. I choose to set goals that align with my vision. I choose to trust and believe in myself and the process and honour whatever happens will be the right thing at the right time. I have such a strong belief in the power of thought that I know I will manifest everything I desire because I can hear the whispers of my soul.

As 2018 offers me so much wonderful opportunity I am bursting with excitement, pride and happiness! I will run my first retreats, publish my first book, travel to 5 different countries, continue to serve, do the things that fill me up like study, write, practice yoga and meditate, spend quality time with people that are truly aligned with their purpose, and continue to engage in activities that are aligned with my purpose. I know that those cold nights in the caravan are worth it. They are a part of this epic tale I continue to create and share and I have learnt to value each moment, regardless of how I perceive it to be. I know I am always having the experience I need for the evolution of my Being, no matter how joyful or challenging. I spend time learning about my needs and listening to the whispers of my soul, so I can create and live my best life.

And my dream now? To teach others to do the same.

With love and light,

Tan x

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