As we reflect back on our life, we come to recognise those significant moments – the times when we reached a fork in the road, the times when we were offered the red pill or the blue pill.
Our decisions in those moments shape the rest of our life.
I married my first husband when I was 24. He was twice my age, and an eccentric (by that time many years sober) alcoholic. Together, we lived a philosophy of “anything goes, so long as we do it together”.
Those were my wild years, where I plunged into spirituality, self-exploration, sexuality, and….well….anything and everything.
Dancing through life in such an uninhibited way has given me the incredible gift of being able to hold the space for those around me, regardless of what is going on for them. I’ve been there. I’ve seen both darkness and Light, and gazed into both of their faces.
At the time, Clive and I were both living in Sydney. We’d met on a personal development course, and within weeks were totally hooked on each other. I felt like I’d found the other side of myself…..and in many ways he was. Clive was born on the same day as me, 24 years apart. He showed me so many parts of my own personality that I’d not given expression to.
But then we encountered a challenge. We’d just married, when Clive lost his well-paying job as an architect, and was on the job hunt.
One day, he came to me with a proposal. There was a job on offer in Indonesia. It would mean moving there for 3 years. My answer was immediate – I told him it would be very cost effective for him there. He’d be earning lots of money, and he wouldn’t have a wife.
Yes, that’s how I got my own way in those days. So why was I not wanting to move? I’d just left my job as a Zoologist for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and had started up as a consultant ecologist. I was growing my business, and excited about the future. A move to Indonesia would mean I couldn’t work for 3 years, and would be the “expat wife”. Good money for my husband, for sure. But what about my career?
This was my Red pill or Blue pill moment.
And you know what happened next? A little voice in me came to the surface, and began talking to my sense of adventure.
Here I was, being ever so responsible in my work life, building a career for myself. But what if I chose differently? What if I decided to plunge myself into the third world, to go to a far away land that is dotted with Mosques and another tongue.
What if I just threw myself into the unknown?
I’d like to say the deciding factor was my love for my husband…but that wasn’t the case. I knew we’d be together either way. The deciding factor was actually my father, and a little seed of history that was buried deep within me.
My Dad was Dutch in heritage, yet he was born in Muara Tebo, a tiny village on the Island of Sumatra. He grew up in Indonesia until he was 18 and the war broke out. His father worked in Indonesia for the Dutch Government, and was something akin to a Governor in that region. And my Dad always thought of Indonesia as his home, much more than the Netherlands….in fact, I grew up loving Indonesian foods like Nasi Goreng. They were just a natural part of our diet.
This was an opportunity for me to somehow bridge the huge gulf that existed between my Dad and I. And so I said “Yes”.
I still remember that incredible moment as the plane began to descend into the airport in Jakarta. There were rice paddies all around, and palm trees….and it literally was like walking into another world.
Living as an expat is a unique experience….and all the more so when it’s in a third world country. In first world countries we are used to being able to get our own way. We turn on a tap, and water comes out. We ask for something to be done in a particular way and by a certain time, and it usually is.
The greatest gift of living in a third world country is the loss of control. Whilst this is agony to the ego, it’s a blessing to the Spirit, which either feels like it’s trapped in hell, or set free.
For me, it was the latter.
Whilst the lack of control did challenge me at times, I chose to thrive. And my time in Indonesia (which was spent initially in Jakarta, and then in Surabaya) allowed me to see the power of attitude. I saw how natural it is for me to see silver linings.
Whilst I wasn’t able to do paid work as a Zoologist, I opted to do voluntary work for World Wildlife Fund. I ended up designing their monthly newsletter. This gave me a crash course in graphic design, which I still use today when I’m designing materials for my Young Living business.
I loved the expat lifestyle, and made incredibly strong bonds with the eclectic mix of people from all walks of life who were thrust together into this mutual heaven or hell. It was on one of my adventures with a group of friends that I met a lady who was growing and distilling her own essential oils. I bought some, and loved them…and that was the very, very beginning of my interest in essential oils. It was sewn way back then, many years before I came across Young Living and the beautiful essential oils I use today.
I learned to speak Bahasa Indonesia, the local language. I learned from my pembantu (my house maid)…so whilst it was not the more formal language used in business settings, I became so proficient at communicating that the language barrier essentially dissolved, and I was often complimented on how well I spoke the language. I was fast, and could excitedly get my points across at supersonic speed, with all the colourful inflections in my voice. It was FUN!!!
But something occurred which was even more significant than any of this. I was BORED. Not from the amazing adventures. Not from the rich culture, the joy of waking to the singing of the mosques, the treasure chest of new foods, people and experiences that I could drink in at every street corner.
But I was bored because I missed my zoology career. My volunteer work and expat adventures accounted only for a small proportion of each week. How was I going to fill my time in the rest of the week?
It’s said that nature loves a vacuum…and I sure had created a vacuum for myself.
It was in this vacuum when a miracle happened, and I chose the red pill.
I knew I needed to do something to fill my days. It needed to be life changing, inspiring to me, it needed to involve learning new skills and being stretched. It needed to allow me to give value to the world, and to know that I was making a difference. These are all the things that are important to me.
So one day, I decided to set up my own Spiritual Centre for the expat community. I called it “In Reach”.
Clive had already opened my eyes to the wonders of tarot reading, past life regression, meditation, and many other spiritual concepts. He loved everything spiritual. I had an enormous library of his books to munch my way through. And through this process, I’d discovered a natural talent for tarot reading.
I had that knack of looking at the patterns and meanings of the spread of tarot cards, and making sense of it. It was like reading a story.
In Reach became a hub of self-awareness and discovery, where I could offer readings and healings and rebirthing. It was also a place where I could invite other teachers to come and present on spiritual topics, or to teach healing modalities. It was a huge success, and touched a lot of lives.
But perhaps the most important life it touched was mine.
When Clive and I returned to Australia 3 years later, I was no longer the same person who had left. I had discovered a very real part of myself – my Spirit – and it has never left me.
Many seeds were sewn in those amazing 3 years.
My love of essential oils transformed into a 23+ year journey with Young Living Essential Oils. My intuition has continued to grow and blossom, and carried me around Australia, helping others open to their innate gifts. My passion for meditation and hands-on techniques inspired me to learn and create modalities using essential oils, such as Raindrop Technique and Egyptian Emotional Clearing Technique. And my love of animals never died – I had a menagerie of incredible creatures in Indonesia, and I now spend my spare time volunteering as a wildlife rescuer.
Yet above all else I am a spiritual traveller, here on the Planet to change lives and bring light to others. And if you are reading this, so are you.
So next time you are offered a red pill or blue pill, which one will you choose?