Follow Your Heart No Matter What Others Say!
It took me 45 years to follow this video’s advice.
My parents loved me, but it was considered a complete luxury for me to spend my day playing. My mom perceived reading as a play time occupation, so the moment she saw my escape in a book, she would quickly find a chore around the house for me to do. Needless to say my mom never read a book!
I would often hide my book inside my school work folder and pretend to do homework, but she knew. The other trick was reading on the loo, but then my sister would tell on me. She too has never read a book in her life!
Was reading as a favourite pastime a clue about my heart’s desire?
My dad did read, but he was never home. Being a sea captain took him away from his family for three to six months at a time. We were brought up by my mom, who was lonely and looked for company in my sister and me. It was she who kept saying: learn a trade, or skill that pays money so that you can always be independent.
- Was that because she was dependent on my dad financially?
- Was reading for me an escape?
- What made me so eager to learn through reading, since I could not write for toffee?
I hated school with a passion!
Being a rebellious child I often bunked school, especially grammar classes. My dyslexic handicap, called leesblind in Dutch was not yet recognized as treatable, so I was often made fun of in class. My parents were advised to send me to a special needs school. That made me so angry, I called everybody stupid, but deep down I believed that I myself was dumb.
Learning a trade, skill or being an expert in something.
Bringing up a family in Holland after the war must have been stressful. Many immigrated to Canada or Australia, but my dad remained a sea captain because that was how he could provide for his family. Both of us girls were prepared for marriage, not for learning a trade or profession. That was considered a wasted investment. Becoming a teacher or a nurse was OK for a girl, but since I was not the academic type, learning a household skill was considered preferable.
Leaving home at an early age
My first priority was to explore the world without my parents breathing down my neck. In the sixties nurses training was done as an intern, and that meant having to leave home! My grades were not up to standard but my determination was enough to get me through an oral interview. The people who questioned me were more aware that being a dyslexic did not mean I was incapable of studying. They did require me to have a passion for nursing. The romantic Mills and Boon type novels about hospital wards were enough for me to believe that my calling was in this field. I was 17 when I left home.
Seeing the suffering and experiencing what went on in an academic hospital, especial in a trauma unit, made me determined to study neurology during my first and second year. I wanted to understand what made people tick, but instead I found that we were the dog’s bodies of the third year students. I learned that not every nurse or doctor reflected the characters in the romantic novels
Story telling was one of my favorite times in the children’s ward.
I devoured during those teenage years. Turning to more intellectual works influenced me towards the creative arts for my escape. The works of Rudolf Steiner had a great influence on me. Studying Art therapy in my spare time was the result.
Story telling through drawing was what kept me inspired on night shift. Most of my days were spent in the neurological wards; therefore telling stories through pictures was well received by the children there.
I was getting bored with the repetitive chores we were compelled to do as trainee nurses, so my next enthusiasm was traveling. My parents were not very impressed with me trying to find a job that would give me that opportunity, instead of finishing my studies.
Would emigrating give me the freedom I so longed for?
Reading about far away tropical places during the cold winters in Holland, and having found a boyfriend who wanted to immigrate to Australia was just the answer! Getting married at twenty was what my mother had prepared me for, but not becoming a mom at twenty one. It was an eye opener to arrive in Melbourne with a six month old baby girl, only to find that the promise that my husband was qualified to get a good job was not true. Here we were, thrown in Fishermans Bend Hostel in Port Melbourne. Our accommodation was in a large corrugated-iron hut divided into a living room in the middle and a bedroom at each end. Bathroom and toilet blocks were outside. The first eight months was a nightmare. We shared breakfast, lunch and dinner in the hostel canteen with many other immigrants from all over Europe.The only job I could get was as a waitress, and my husband ended up in a car factory as a laborer. During the next 8 months our focus was to earn enough money to get out of a situation we both never wanted to be in
Life’s directions can show us many things if we just listen
My break came while waitressing as a non- English speaking immigrant. My drawing ability was discovered by the MD of Myers. Instead of writing the orders for the kitchen, I drew them, since writing in English was impossible for me. I remember that my drawing of chicken a la king was doing the rounds. The next day I was transferred to the sign writing department. I was pregnant at that time and many days I was too sick to go to work, so I lost the first job I loved doing.
We had arrived in Australia with enough money for a down payment on a house, so my husband started a house painting business and could prove enough income to buy one. The four years we lived in Melbourne taught me to be responsible for my actions. Having two children and having to budget every cent awakened the entrepreneur in me. Going out to work and caring for two babies was impossible, so freelance work from home became my only option.
My education and life experience had not prepared me for much.
Our time in Australia was difficult and returning back to Holland felt like total failure, but we nevertheless emigrated back to Holland, since there were no other options available to us.
We both felt that we were not meant to be in Holland, so when the opportunity presented itself for us to immigrate to South Africa eight month later, we took it up with great optimism. This time my husband had a job to go to and we were a lot wiser.
What one wishes for one does attract.
I knew that our marriage was not what the novels portrayed, but I was still determined to make it work. I longed to be independent, but leaving my young children with a nanny was not an option for me. I knew that I wanted to work for myself, and that it would be in the creative field.
My husband was often away from home due to the nature of his work, which suited me very well. I taught myself the skill of working with leather. During the hippy times that was all the rage and I had a talent for original design. I started to make money! Here I was earning enough to support my family and what my husband earned we could save to buy a house again. What I never expected was that he wanted to be home more often, so he changed his job to one with less pay and we ended up in a coastal town living in a house of our own. I refused to go out looking for a job; choosing to stay home to building up my own business.
When does one start to question one’s reasons for living?
My children were growing up, my business went through ups and downs and I was again bored with life. Having just enough energy to hold down a dull job was what I saw in the people around me, but for how long could I myself continue in a tedious, brain-dead relationship?
I wanted change and attracted the experiences I wrote about before.....
Reading was all I could do in those years to keep me sane. It taught me that our greatest accomplishments are achieved through the unconscious, intuitive mind. Learning that consciousness is a "reducing valve" that filters out the enormous amounts of information potentially available to us, that made me realize that I was the only one that could change my life.
Every life skill we learn over the years will come in handy
I started giving art therapy classes from home. I wanted to bring out in people what I wanted to know for myself. What was my heart’s desire? I was still running my leather business, and concurrently designed a drawing course to teach people how to see. I included my Art Analogue exercises. Later I enrolled for a marriage counseling course at a university, when my children were about to leave home. I also started to practice story telling by typing them out, but this time on a computer I had purchased from my son, who needed money to emigrate to New Zealand!
My English was still appalling, but having a spellchecker helped. Reading was still a passion but this time I wanted to challenge myself by writing my own novel! I was now following my heart’s desire that the video at the beginning so clearly suggested. If someone would have asked me that question, would I have known the answer?
It took me 45 five years to follow my heart. No my own novels and workbook do NOT pay the bills, but what it did and still does is that I can help others in publishing their book with the help of a partner who is both my dictionary and editor .
What we can imagine we can make real.
Further recommended reading
- Where do Authors get their material from?
The Awakening Clan – A Light Worker’s Journal Ingrid Barendse is dumbfounded by bold text that appears on her switched-off computer. She knows of no technology that can do what she witnesses.
- The World of a Dyslexic
Dyslexia is an inherited learning disability that is neurological in origin and people are born with it. Like most dyslexic as a young child I saw some letters backward from how they actually were.