My heart wandered, too… Not to Italy, or to France as I read about in several of my favourite “beautiful” books – women going off searching for something… their lost heart, love, romance, excitement, a different future than the one they could see unfolding before them…Nor did I did I Eat, Pray, and Love my way through three continents. I did not meet a guitar playing, vespa riding, Italian heartthrob or a melt in the mouth Frenchman who could whisper sweet nothings in my ears.
I did not enjoy weekends at a rustic and authentic Tuscan villa, or spend days in a petite but glamorous Parisian apartments with views of the Eiffel Tower, or months reflecting on life while at a Buddhist retreat…
No, these were not options for me on my heart journey… My journey is a lot less exotic, in fact a few coffees at a local French style café and an italian car is about as European as it got…it is a kiwi story, a taranaki story, a lot more local, very local in fact, but just as full of surprises and unexpected turns, inspiring moments and still, fundamentally a life journey. What was I searching for? I guess, it what was described by Carla Coulson in her book “Italian joy” and that was to be “filled with an indescribable happiness for what my life had become”.
Reality interfered with my European fantasy. Just a few little things like, well, I noticed in the books I read that none of them seemed to have children, for starters. Nor minor factors like mortgages, debts, jobs…you know the usual things. Like having 3 dependent children that I was not about to leave behind, oh… and a crippling mortgage, and a teeny small matter like a job…these may be insignificant matters when we are talking affairs of the heart, but never the less, they were more than enough for me to ensure a full blown fantasy escape to Europe for a years self indulgent sabbatical to find what I was searching for, was simply not going to be happening anytime soon.
So, this story is my story. It is the story of the painful process of untangling yourself from your marriage and starting over, the search to truly find what makes you happy, feel inspired, really loved…its also the story of an unplanned and unexpected pregnancy , but mostly it is a love story…a search for my own heart and a what I found along the way, kind of story…
My journey was not a planned out, considered vacation, thought about, researched and plotted about. I simply realized one day that the thought of spending another single day in the life that I had was simply going to swallow me up and spit me out as a bitter, angry, sad and resentful person. I felt stuck, suffocated, frustrated, lonely and tired of pretending everything was great. Like many things like this, what looks like a sudden rash decision, is simply the end result of a long painful period of desperately wanting the image I had got so good at presenting to others, to be the reality I was actually in.
And so I left. And started again. Just me, my three sons, very little money and no real plan. I gave back my wedding ring, my engagement ring, and the keys to my family home and I walked away. What defines the path we end up on is largely based on what we choose to take with us and what we leave behind, I recalled from Pia’s book, and I reflect on how true this is.
And this is what I found when I wasn’t really looking…
I found that I am a good, kind, decent person. I am not mentally unstable, or selfish, or erratic. I found that I could be a better mother to my children than I had been. I found that I was capable of giving and receiving love again. I found that I was stronger than I thought. I found out that my destiny included mothering 4 children and that I feel so incredibly blessed to have each of them. I found that it doesn’t really matter what others think, if you know you are doing the right things. I found that guilt remains for a long, long, long time. I found that if you do risk, the rewards can be far greater than you ever expected. I found that I am a nicer, better, kinder, more involved friend to my friends and family. I discovered that I actually have everything I ever wanted. It came to me when I finally believed I deserved it, believed it was possible and believed quietly it would happen. I found my creative self. And I found my heart.
This is some writing I have been doing – I hope you enjoy it. The books I loosely refer to are;
- My Heart Wanders, By Pia Jane Bijkerk http://www.piajanebijkerk.com/my-heart-wanders/
- Italian Joy, by Carla Coulson www.penguin.com.au/products/9781920989217/italian–joy
- Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
- and the many other books about women who leave their modern “life” in search of something deeper, more honest… (and frequently seem to end up in Italy or France).