This year I will turn 60! Coming of age (it’s taken me a little longer than most) has highlighted many things for me as I dive deeper into contemplative and reflective states of being. This has not only happened naturally but consciously. Going through some stuff does that to you. I’m guessing you can relate because you have also been through some stuff and maybe you have come through the tragedy and the drama a little wiser but not before you experienced a little pain. It’s the way it goes. You dream, you plan, you set your intentions and then life happens and you wonder what it’s all about.
With some years behind me and hopefully some years ahead of me, my recent experiences have made me a little more aware that if I don’t take a deep dive and decide what I want my future to look like, life will…. well…. Just happen! That’s ok if I was living under a rock, at the mercy of predators with no brain but I have a mind – and it’s full of ideas, dreams and visions and fortunately, with some wisdom, I no longer listen to my mind but I check in with my heart (most of the time) to see how I feel rather than how I think, and that my dear, has made all the difference.
I have seldom written about my family, as who I am “out there” I used to believe, had no bearing on who I am “at home.” But, I have come to realize that who I am internally, at home and when I am on my own with my own thoughts and words and deeds, has had a really big impact on who I am out there in the world. How could I be authentic and real externally if I am behaving and acting in an inauthentic way when it matters the most – with the people I love who support me and value me according to the way I support and value them?
I recently had to put a small CV together for a school telling them the reasons why I believe I can help their young people cope with the pressure and stress of our modern life. I am particularly fond of coaching young people. They have an energy and humour about them (no doubt modern TV has given many of them license to joke) that I find delightful. Somehow, I have never struggled with receiving respect from them as I do not treat them as broken but simply as humans trying their best to please and navigate the complexities of life.
Putting this document together made me so aware of the love I have for my family and how proud of them, I am.
Part of the reason I feel qualified to coach young people is because I have raised two amazing sons who are now men in their 30’s with families of their own. I also co-parented two young women, my step-daughters who are now 25 and 21, for the last 20 years. Now, as a grandmother with three beautiful grandchildren of 9, 6 and 5, I can honestly reflect and say – it’s been an incredible journey. None of this happened without pain. All of it happened in pure love – not that I was always aware of it at the time. Reflecting on life will either make you feel happy and content or make you feel sad with regrets. Uncovering a truth for myself about what my purpose is, gave me an incredible gift.
The gift was a growing consciousness that who I am is exactly who I need to be. That every event and situation and pain and grief and sorrow was necessary to give me the skill to be a good life coach. That regrets were a waste of time and that if I was to live a divinely inspired life, I should drop “the shit” and pick up “the joy” of being who I truly am. I feel ok about using such expletives to describe the gift I uncovered, as it is exactly the way my spiritual teacher gave me this gift, a number of years ago – it’s ok to say it if a holy man did – right?
For a while after my first marriage ended and before I connected with another divine soul, I felt huge regret and guilt and shame that I was to blame for the pain of my family. That somehow it was my fault that my son’s friend was in an accident on our property and that his parents had to turn his life-support machine off and say farewell to their 16 year-old son. The year was 1996. In 1998, it was clear that our marriage was soon to be a statistic, according to the grief counsellor. For a very long time there was separation and pain until I decided that if I was to live the life I dreamt of, I had to take certain steps to heal myself first and then I could help my children.
It was only last year, at the funeral of my ex-husband, the father of my children, that I came to the most powerful realization of my life. In one defining moment, as I stared at the map on the wall, that my ex-husband’s biking friends had put together to mark the thousands of miles he had travelled around the country, over the last 20 years, that I had the greatest epiphany of my life.
You see when I met the father of my children, I was a young girl full of dreams and ambitions and they did not include traveling around the country on a very powerful motor-bike. In fact, the first time he turned up at my house on his Honda 1000cc motor-bike, my mother flatly refused to let me see him, unless he got rid of “that monster.” So he did. And that was the end of his dream. It was 1973. We married 4 years later.
Fast forward to 2017 and I’m staring at the map at his funeral, all marked up with amazing trips around the most spectacular parts of South Africa, and it finally hits me, like someone punched me in the stomach. If the circumstances around the death of a young man, had not happened, our marriage might not have ended. The counsellor at the time, warned us that these extreme events, either create a closeness or a distance.
Our stories define us and years after we divorced and both of us remarried, did I decide that the negative emotions were no longer serving me, and I changed my story. I always felt like we were victims of some cosmic joke but staring at that map, made me fully and completely realize, that there is a divine plan. He might not have been able to fulfil his dream, or go on incredible journeys, mostly on his own, and leave a legacy for his sons to follow their own dreams. I am so grateful to him!
My sons are caring, loving and sensitive men and I can never claim to be the only one who encouraged these wonderful ways in them. Regardless of the circumstances that they found themselves in, there was never any doubt, both for their father and for me, even though we were not together, that should they behave in any way that did not fit our idea of how to be a good person, we would call them out on it and encourage them to change their ways.
With deep compassion, I also realize that I have my sons to love to enjoy and there are mothers who do not – my heart aches for them. Not in a way that prevents me from living a joyous life but in a way that humbles me with extreme gratitude, for all that I have, as part of the divine plan.
These days, I find myself living my own adventurous life, mostly into the unknown, in the hope that I will inspire both my children and others, that the model of the world does not always allow you to live fully, love completely and give generously – and that is my only goal for my future!
I found this wonderful video on why this celebrity is done with trying to be man enough. It reminds me of my sons and of my amazing husband Rob, whom I have been married to for the past 14 years.
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