In 2012, nearly 7 years ago, I returned to Canada after 14 years.
I was determined to make my dream come true.
That dream started long before I even returned to Canada.
My dream was to live close to nature and connect deeply with my inner self.
I quit my job overseas and came back home to bring my dream into reality.
7 years on I look back now and wondered what the hell happened?!
How can a dream I nurtured for so long get lost?
As I sit with the disappointment of an unrealized dream, I know that not all is lost.
In fact quite the opposite.
That is what I want to share with you today.
The making of my deepest most passionate dream, and bringing it to life.
Dark Night of the Soul
It was a very difficult time for me, these last 7 years. Dare I say these years have been the hardest of my life.
John the Cross would call this … the dark night of the soul.
It was for me, truly a time of reconciling with who I really am.
This is my first personal blog about this dream and the realization that it needed a major adjustment. The dream then fell apart in front of me and I became more of the person I was meant to be. It wasn’t easy.
For years I could not admit to myself that my deepest desire, had evaded me and I would even say… it failed me. But I knew I had to make some changes and take the risk of losing everything dear to me.
I know now that actually, it was all about me coming to terms with the parts of myself that feared to be alone without support, feared being lost, feared growing spiritually weak.
So it is with deep humility that I write this blog… for myself as proof that the worst is over.
If you have ever thought you lost something precious and you don’t know how to get it back in a new light… perhaps my story will help you reconnect with your dream and with your deepest desire.
This blog is about waking up fully to the depths of who you are and being able to read the signs along the way that are there to help guide you to your deepest desire and greatest dream.
For as long as I can remember I have connected deeply with nature. I am always happiest, more grounded and most creative when I am either in or near a forest, gardening, and/or walking through natural green spaces.
It astonishes me how disconnected I have become at certain times throughout my life, from nature. When I think back on all my happiest moments they have always been when I was in or at least near nature on a regular basis.
When I finished university where I studied earth sciences, I was really lost about what to do next. I could be a geologist but I had become hardened in the field as the job was unfortunately not all about walking through beautiful forests. You would often have to work with hardened and rather anti-social men who I’m sure were lovely outside of work, but there was this unspoken code of honor back in the ’90s that said women should not be in the profession. Read the blog, Connecting With Nature... for more on this.
Only ‘men’ could be real geologists. If you were a hardened woman and ready to take on that flawed belief and prove those men wrong; power to you. But I was not and never was that woman. I didn’t want to fight that battle.
Beautiful Ontario, Canada
I decided to pursue teaching. I was, however, so sick of school at that point I decided to take a year off before embarking on another year of school. I accepted a conversational teaching job in South Korea and jumped at the opportunity to travel and go somewhere completely different and foreign.
I won’t go into the details of that adventure here, I write about it in my book ‘Journey Within’, but lets just say it was one of those ‘character building’ experiences that nearly broke me but yet, as always, I worked through it and came out the other end, wiser from it all.
When I returned from South Korea, I picked up where I left off a year previously and went to teachers college. It was a noneventful year with its own challenges. The good thing was I made it through the year and graduated, a qualified secondary school teacher at the age of 34.
I could not get a job as a teacher at that time because that was the year the government decided to reduce spending, and they focused on laying off teachers. However, fate came knocking and a friend with whom I had met in Asia from my Korean adventure, told me about a job that was available in his school in Singapore. Make a long story short I applied and got the job and within 10 days I was in Singapore.
Wham bam thank you universe!
In 1997 I parked my dream of living near the Canadian wilderness, left Canada and left the magical forests of northern Ontario. I traded them in for the urban concrete jungle of Singapore with manicured tree-lined streets and a Hollywood lifestyle. Later I lived in the jungles of Borneo which were as mysterious and awesome as the northern forests of Canada.
Those 14 years were full of adventures and life’s usual ups and downs, but I would have to say most of those times were definite ups. I lived in two countries during that time and had 4 different teaching jobs in overseas international schools. Besides Singapore, I also lived and worked in Brunei Darussalam on the island of Borneo and traveled all over Asia and from Europe to Japan.
Yet… deep down I always missed the natural beauty of Ontario, Canada. The northern lights and the majestic forest. The wide open fields dotted with wildflowers in Thunder Bay and Lake Superior, a lake so big you would swear it was the ocean! The soft rolling hills of southern Ontario with miles and miles of corn fields and cows grazing as cows should, on green green grass. Yes, that was home, where I made contact with mother earth and would return one day, but at the time I had no idea when…
Reconnecting with the Dream and more…
When I left Asia and returned to Canada in December 2011 I was determined to make my dream a reality. I moved to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I was determined to reconnect with the forest, with nature and hopefully find a way to live freely and happily without too much stress.
Returning was not easy. This was the beginning of my dark night.
Although I had a beautiful home, near the forest as I had always dreamt I would, it still had a mortgage and I struggled to find work. Insecurities around money and security ate me alive with worry almost every night and morning. I fell into depression.
I also had to come to terms with my marriage, to a good man, but I had fallen out of love. I then met another man with whom I fell in love with and that made me acutely aware of another aspect of what I wanted and needed in my life.
During this time I connected with the forest just outside my doorstep and took long walks every day into the mystic magical pathways through tall Douglas Fir trees. Just before the elephant burst, I was so ready for something to change that I could almost taste it.
I left my husband and divorced a year later. We sold the dream home in the forest. I started a new life with a new man and together we experienced a sequence of events over the next three years that were challenging, beautiful, stressful, enduring, real, honest, harrowing, uncomfortable and enlightening. But before it became enlightening it all fell apart. It all unraveled.
Three years into my new relationship, the strain of my lost dream, including stress from my family who didn’t agree with my decision to leave my husband, all mounted. I also lost my job because the business closed down and I was now struggling to get work, once again.
I was in my dark night of the soul. I lost sight of my dream completely and was lost in the storms that ensued.
Everyone in my life at the time had their own version of what happened and they all judged me accordingly, and I am sure they still do. The difference is I am navigating my own ship now on a true course that is right for me and what they think or say isn’t going to change that.
My family, the new man in my life and an old friend all showed me my own chaos and if nothing else they had their opinions. I had lost contact with all my friends from overseas, and one dear friend dropped me completely when I left my husband. My brother didn’t speak openly to me for well over a year. I struggled a great deal with my family after my divorce and the new man in my life wasn’t comfortable with my family either. For all sorts of reasons… whether right or wrong… it was a mess and I was lost in the middle of it all. It was truly the most stressful time of my life and at times I just wanted to die.
It amazes me now that I can talk about this dark night of my soul that lasted about 4 years. I had to pull myself out of it. In the midst of it all, I left Canada once again and took a job overseas, for financial reasons as well as for my own sanity. I started teaching again and that at least brought me back to something familiar and something I was good at. Leaving Canada once again actually brought some calm and normality back into my life and it distanced me from the very heavy relationship problems I was experiencing.
Coming back to Canada, 7 years ago did not go as I had hoped or planned. Instead, it brought me face to face with all the uncertainties in my life and I quite simply had to deal with it all.
I currently live in Istanbul. My family situation is calmer, a reflection I am sure of the fact that I am calmer. I’ve established some healthy personal boundaries that keep me safe and secure within myself. I also learned something about chaos during this very trying time. When you are in the middle of a storm in your life, you MUST be your guide, you must navigate yourself out of it. If you listen to the people around you, even those who love you, you will be like a lost ship in a storm, knocked between one big wave to another.
In the chaos, there is no way to anchor yourself… that isn’t the time to set your anchor, you have to ride it out, you have to hang tight to the steering wheel of your life, you have to go it alone, and find your inner strength. You simply have to do hard self-reflective work on yourself… and deeply pray a lot!
Today, October 18th, 2018 and I’m able to see from a new perspective the events that have shaped my life these last 20 odd years… not just the last 7 years. I’ve actually come full circle. From the original dream of living in nature in Ontario to parking the dream and moving overseas to returning and reconnecting with the dream and reconciling relationships. All of it includes endings and new beginnings, letting go and finding, eventually, a balance in my life.
The Dream is Coming True
So now, my wonderful dream is alive again. I’m nurturing it and reconnecting with it fully and completely.
The man I fell in love with when I left my husband has stayed by my side through all the stormy seas and through the darkest nights. Together we have the same dream and this time I feel it so close and I can feel every intimate detail of it.
I am so happy to share this story with you because I firmly believe dreams come true. When we stay true to who we are… no matter what chaos or uncertainty is thrown or brought up along the way… if we dare to live our life through truth and deal with the uncertainty that comes with it, we will get through it. It might not be easy. It may even take you through the darkest night of your soul but if you stay the course, you will get through it.
It has taken me a long time to see this for what it really is… to rise above the drama and chaos and really see it from a higher vantage point, like a bird flying overhead. A bird sees the top of everything and that is what I see now, the top of my dreams, the top of my world and the top of the trees that pierce the sky.
After a critical adjustment, I have reconnected with my dream and know I am a creative and productive creature, living my life in the most joyous ways possible. This dream is as much a part of me as it is me.
My dream lives on as do I…
Nearly 7 years ago,
I had a dream
And today it’s coming alive.
Do you have a dream? Has it come alive yet? If not what do you think is blocking it? If your dream has or is coming alive please share it here, I’d love to hear from you.
And once again thank you with all my heart for visiting my site!