You know those quiet moments that come from time to time when your pragmatic ego is off duty and the sub conscious unimpeded bubbles the profound question to the surface – ‘what is my purpose, why am I here?’
For some years now, like many others, I have been on a quest to find the answers that philosophers over the centuries have tried to answer. I am in a hurry for answers as my lifetime time has fleeted by but as George Eliot, pen name of the Victorian ‘Mill on the Floss’ novelist Mary Ann Evans, said ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’
So a few years back, with some determination and a pinch of courage, I began some serious transformational work. The marrow of the work I chose, posed a question, ‘what do you love?’ The authentic answer to this will be intuitively, rather than egoically, received. Of course the work is much, much more than that but scrape away all the fripperies and that is the nub of it. The ego is complex and clever and develops strategies to queer your journey as you endeavor to answer this. The answer came for me all too neatly at first – love of family, theatre, reading, cooking, communicating to an audience and writing. Yes I loved so many aspects of my life but writing/communicating connecting with others was my signature. But that was the starting point, the real journey of discovery came as I drilled down for gold. Always asking my intuition with each step of the way ‘what do I love?’
We unconsciously allow life to drag us away from whom we are and our dreams. For me, the first glimpse of what I love and ultimately who I am, started well over seventy years ago in London when as an emotionally ragged child I grew up in the blitz and deprivations of World War 2. Frequently when the air raid warnings did not pierce the air but still a growl of planes could be heard overhead I would take refuge beneath the blackberry brambles at the bottom of the garden. It was here that I confided to my imaginary friend Sonny, who lived in my Father’s old attaché case, that one day I would write a book.
That childhood dream was mugged daily by an impoverished sense of worth and fused by a wartime loss of education. Living out decades of soul blackout, till in the end the dream disappeared from the horizon. Bereavement, single motherhood, new relationships, family growth and building a business with no experience and no capital became my world. But the constant thread was the short stories I scribbled, the odd bits of food and travel journalism, and the creative writing courses coupled with a twenty-year membership of a speaking club, all dimly fuelled the dream. My writing was a hobby. Communication to a wider audience through my public speaking performances was a hobby.
Hobbies – yes simply hobbies but somehow they stayed with me and the more I wrote and communicated the more I began to see the dream once again. In the last decade of my working life the intuitive nudges and reoccurring coincidences about writing a book were becoming more and more dogged. But while the real dream was to write a novel I still was looking to others for direction, most advice was to write about something that I knew inside out, upside down well.
Most authors will tell you that a title for a book can be most illusive in fact my first novel must have had a baker’s-dozen names before deciding on Losing You. But even before I had fleshed out an overview of a definitive book on public speaking, the title ‘Finding Your Voice’ came to me loud and clear. I even drew and colored an example of the cover and pinned it to my work board one wet weekend. My concept of a comprehensive self-help guide to public speaking had a dream run. The first publishers I approached loved it and celebrities willingly gave their speaking tips. When the book was in the final stages of proof reading the publishers emailed me their design for the cover. It was goose bump territory as I looked at the screen – theirs was identical in color and design to the one that was still pinned to the board that I had crafted twelve months earlier.
Coincidence – yes maybe but I believe the universe curves to meet us when we start to take action to live authentically. And somehow that title Finding Your Voice has been prodding me ever since it was published.
Next blog – find out how by following the crumbs – Finding Your Voice has created a new paradigm for me.