I’ve come to realise the beautiful thing about growth is that it offers us the ability to see how far we’ve come. The longer the paths we have walked, the more opportunities we have had to exchange smiles for wisdom. The larger our shelves of experiences, the more comprehensive our encyclopedia becomes. There is much to be gained by looking backwards at the years of life we have collected.
35 was a flourishing achievement and a noteworthy feat to add to my collection. I’m not too sure if the word flourishing is fitting enough to describe the growth I experienced this year. The English language seems to be full of adjectives to describe the external yet lacks the kind of descriptive language to explain how we feel internally; how we grow internally. There is a word for this in the language of the native Aboriginal peoples of Australia’s Northern territory: Daddiri. In English, it translates to ‘inner deep listening, quiet still awareness and waiting.’
I spent a lot of 35 alone. Perhaps, on a subconscious level, this was to facilitate the voyage within, to achieve the quiet still awareness where we see and hear without using our eyes or ears. I had to allow myself to grow, I gave myself permission to grow, as opposed to accepting stagnation disguised as comfort.
Many events and decisions transpired to guide me to that place of stillness. Firstly, my heartbreaking decision to leave Australia, my home, last September and embark on a journey guided by intuition alone. And secondly, my decision to press pause on the various responsibilities that clouded my mind and instead move to Malta in early January to focus on healing my heart, and to pour my soul words into the beginning of a memoir that is ultimately an ode to the past 7 years of my life.
The stillness, the healing, the discomfort, the time and the space – all these things have been gifts for me this year. They have been my spiritual alms, enigmatic opportunities that have ultimately led me to 36, to write these words and feel illuminated as I type them.
Pain is opportunity. Opportunity is growth. Growth is what we are here for, isn’t it? As the poet, Ellen Bass so eloquently states, “There’s a part of every living thing that wants to become itself, the tadpole into the frog, the chrysalis into the butterfly, a damaged human being into a whole one. That is spirituality.”
As I embark on the journey to 36, I will continue to grow into wholeness, to show up for myself, as myself; to become the butterfly.
Or perhaps I already am.
If so, then may the winds continue to lead me through this wondrous land, guided by the whispers of my soul.