“Is when you find things you weren’t looking for because finding what you are looking for is so damn difficult.”

Erin McKean, speech at TED2007

Serendipity has to be one of my favorite movies of all times. The idea that things happened for a reason is something that has fascinated me all my life. When we aren’t looking for something is usually when something or someone turns up which shows us what we are looking for.

Even as a child I was searching for something. My parents would turn their backs on me, and I was gone, off in search of something new that fascinated me or drew me to it. If a gate was open I had to go through it. If I was told to stay put and not move I couldn’t. I had an inner sense of knowing that I would leave my hometown as soon as possible. I knew I wanted to go places, to discover and explore the bigger world outside my community.

I grew up as a child with the feeling that I was at the end of a long thread and all I had to do was keep hold of it tight and inch by inch I would move  forward in the right direction if I just kept holding on to it. My focus, strength and determination to do what I wanted was not generated by my environment but drawn from deep inside me, all I had to do was tap into it and it would tell me what to do and where to go. The more I listened to it and tuned into it the deeper was its power to direct me.

I didn’t have fear, whatever I had wanted to do I did, and nothing was ever going to stop me achieving my goals, the set backs were just a power thrust to get back up and try again. This was the pattern of my life until I moved overseas and with the challenges of navigating a new country and my new role as a mother I became less confident, my firm grip on the thread that connected me to my purpose became weaker. My power became weaker as I let go of my identity and relinquished my career to become a stay-at -home mum in a foreign land. As time went on I let go of the thread, and the link between myself and the deep intuition and knowing that had guided me all my life became weak. With responsibility and caring for others came a mind that was less focused, cluttered and busy. The full days that come with young children clouded my perception of what I thought my life was meant to be.

I got lost, the anchors of family and friends that had been the roots that had grounded me all my life were somewhere else. I relinquished the job that had been my identity and that had shaped my sense of worth. I was new in a land that I didn’t recognize, and I didn’t know myself anymore. I became a trailing spouse, happy to follow my husband’s career and put myself behind it

The first attempts to find the thread again started in Adelaide when I found myself heading down a deep dark tunnel, where getting my head off the pillow each day was a struggle. Trying to climb back up was fruitless, I was down there to figure myself out and find my purpose again. The thread that was dangling high above me was way out of my reach, first I had to really feel the pain, loneliness and disconnection before the thread was lowered further down.

Living in splendid isolation in Adelaide, buried deep in the rich diversity of the countryside I saw the journey we had taken in all its richness and I was grateful for the opportunities that had come our way, and which we had grabbed with both hands. But I had lost my hold on my own truth, the connection to my purpose had gone. I felt like I was in the wrong place and I was needed elsewhere. And with courage and faith I put both hands firmly on the thread and followed my deep intuition and knowing. I took the steps to move the family back to Perth.


After seven years away I had changed but I felt stronger in my conviction and had to trust that I was right. This time I knew where the thread was taking me. My journey which had started as a child had taken me on a long voyage, through the air, across the seas, through many lands and tears, laughter and sadness but through it I had the good fortune to hold the hands of many and grow from the knowledge and influence of others I had met along the way. I learnt that I knew not what I was seeking, only that I must find it however long it took me. I told my family to trust me, to not ask questions regarding my decision, that I knew, I just knew what I needed to do.

We sold up the house in Adelaide where we had battled to feel accepted and included in a tight knit and insular community, our daughter went to boarding school in Perth and the boys were reluctantly told they were moving again and leaving the school they loved there. I had to keep trusting my own truth, the one that I knew was the right one. I didn’t stop to think, only feel my way through the process. I was being called back, I just needed to be patient.