For me, an idea conceived is as exciting as any new life that’s forming, growing and pushing itself out to see the light of the world to connect with other life forms. The idea for “Live the Gift” came to me towards the end of Melissa Indot’s Playground of Dreams group coaching program. In January of this year, she’d taken us on a journey where music served as the springboard to our dreams and to that magical land somewhere over the rainbow. I was still in the daze of the long summer days and COVID cloud hung in the air as increased social gatherings brought the illness close and we spent so much time at home as a family, playing and having fun. I was a child again and then I conceived an idea. What if there was a book about the people who inspired me to keep writing? The book would write itself because it’s a book of inspiration!
What’s more, my friends and family were going to love this idea and they were going to back me 1000% because they understand this creative path that’s unfolding before me as I take my leaps of faith. I’m creating my own life now. I’m in charge and what can be more beautiful than a person who’s become aware of their own creative powers? Those closest to me had to have sensed the changes in me. I was not in Kansas anymore, for sure.
Tests, Allies, Enemies
A strong wave of emotion was going through me at the beginning of the year. I was ready to answer the call of my own creativity like the proverbial fool jumping before looking. I made the call be known to my brother. I was so excited to share this great book idea with him. I messaged him. There was no response. Not a darn emoji for what seemed like days. What kind of a brother leaves a sister hanging? I had to face myself. What was I? Oh, no. A monster! What else could I be in his eyes? Every time I called him, it was to demand that he do something for me.
My world shattered.
Full disclosure, I am a Scorpio. I dwell on the deeper and darker realities of life, like sadness, loss, grief, the shadow aspects of our personality – the things one doesn’t bring out in polite company. Like all that’s venomous, small doses are intensely therapeutic so I have over the years, learnt to adjust the dose of what I deliver. My poor brother, he’d received too full a dose growing up. It wasn’t surprising that we hadn’t developed a healthy bond and we are now well into our 40s. At the beginning of this year I made the conscious decision to just be there for him no matter what, fully present at all times.
Next person I went to was Mum. When I asked for a nominal amount to become a sponsor she shamed me for asking for money. She said she regretted she ever supported my “hobby” as she was the person who set the wheels in motion by once leaving $500USD on my desk, which I used to take a screenwriting course. Now she was saying what a waste of time it all was. How strange that people can place their trust in stocks and bonds, which are to me totally faceless, but not their closest of kin when it comes to money.
Dad was not interested and he was very good at remaining emotionally detached that I didn’t even get as far as mentioning there’s an opportunity for him to sponsor my book.
And friends? How would they fare?
Dark Night of the Soul
Some of my closest friends are four ladies I met when I first gave birth nearly six years ago. There are expiration dates on friendships, I find. They were fully supportive when we were chatting about the challenges of bringing up children but completely at a loss when I brought up teething issues with my creative project. In our conversations I found that they could not even bring themselves to ask me about how my book was going. I believe this happens because it is still a very rare and eccentric thing for people to go full force on a creative project that may not bring any financial returns. Yet, here I am 6AM in the morning, while the family sleeps, awake to the cries of my creativity and playing an active part in bringing it out into the world in the form of a book.
I’m not going to say that creating this book “Live the Gift” has been a pure joy thus far. Like all of life, there’s pain, loss, sadness and grief in here too. Besides realising how loose my bonds with my family really are, and how much they’ve turned their back on the humanities and their own humanity, I also left some friendship groups because people ignored that I had this book coming out of me, which is creative and spiritual and is as real as any other “work”. We forget that caring, bearing witness, creating, connecting, writing, painting, composing, singing and dancing, these are all work and are sacred.
However, the straw that broke the camel’s back was around the longest night of the year, Winter Solstice on June 21st. John, one of the people I wrote about in “Live the Gift” had lost his beautiful wife Ronelle to cancer about a month ago. You’ll see his story of joining forces with his sister, in the story “Learning From A Tale of Two Siblings” (would this be in the cards for my brother and I?). As I’d gotten to know John closely, his loss impacted me and I prayed he would find the strength to carry on for himself and his four teenage children.
It was around that darkest time of the year we’d finally contracted COVID as a family and were in isolation. I was low on energy, unable to get up and write even if I didn’t have a massive creative block. I was not in a gratitude mindset. My thoughts went to all the people who didn’t understand my creative work and I could see that maybe they were right. This was all a massive waste of time and who was I to write a book? I had no qualifications saying I could write. A nobody. That’s who I was. The thoughts festered and kept me down for a few days. Then a magical moment of clarity emerged, and I could see myself as She-Ra with her sword up in the air connecting to the forces in the ether. The sword I carried was my smartphone, which is my connection to the creative super forces within me – even when I’m in bed. With that smartphone, I had the power to choose what I saw, whose ideas got through and who I could edit out so I could keep going with this project I had so much passion for at the beginning of the year.
Pivot and Upswing
I cut my ties with the people who could not witness the writer I was developing into. I left WhatsApp groups, muted social media so I could once again hear the sanity of my creative inner child. My health improved and yet, I still could not get out of bed to get back into my writing.
I also had some bizarre dreams and was certain therein lay some answers, learnings and gold. So I turned to my dream interpreter Bethany (our story is “Your Dream Interpreter”) and then to Kath Prior, a leadership coach to help me take action against the forces of resistance, cold weather and my warm bed, which all conspired to keep me in a foetal position when it was time to get up and write and grow as a creative professional.
After our session with Kath, I had strengthened my gratitude practice. Every morning when I wake up, the thought that goes through my head is “I am grateful for this opportunity to write this book. I am grateful for this contribution I’m making today towards this book.”
When I get to my desk, I affirm to myself and to the universe “I’m open to my subconscious supporting me. I’m trusting me. I’m loving who I’m becoming and I’m accepting all of me. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to write.”
Aiding my upswing was a birth. My favourite financial advisor Tristan and his wife Renee (whose story is in “Financial Practice”) welcomed their beautiful daughter Haven on the 4th of July and with the promise of renewal and Spring after Winter, I’m back in flow.
Eid Al Adha is the Sacrifice Holiday for Muslims and this year it fell on the 9th of July. I made the landmark decision to forgive everyone in my family of origin and let go of all the anger, which is really hurt, I carried with me. They’d never fully seen, appreciated, supported, encouraged and inspired my creativity. As soon as I let go of the pain, as if by magic, my brother called me on the phone. He wanted to attend our family Sunday Dinner, held at my Mother-in-Law, the matriarch’s house with my Australian family.
At that Sunday dinner, there was presence and presents. My brother and his girlfriend had gotten back from Bali and brought back some gifts for us. An incense blessed by a priest to bring prosperity (and truly, I am the one, when connected with the creative spirit, who brings prosperity into my own life), an incense holder with a Ganesh (remover of obstacles) and a red sarong with elephants in a circle was received with deep gratitude. May our matriarchy flourish for many years to come. It is time.
I’m grateful to our community chaplain, Rev. Karen for being a powerful female community leader and bringing my attention to the Bible where inspiration also abounds.
“For everything there is a season,
A time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.”
Over to you…
What’s a project you started where you hit a block? What helped you get back in touch with your creative flow? Take a moment to feel the gratitude in your heart for those people who inspired, encouraged and supported you on your journey to keep creating your own path in life.