Monday, April 2, 2012

Listen and Trust

I was asked to talk at an International Women's Day event, held at the University of Western Australia. Truthfully, I was still trying to overcome a stubborn cough the past month. I don't know what I was thinking when I accepted the request; I guess I thought those extra 4 days before the event date itself may be enough time to recover...

Well, it wasn't! But do you know what the strange thing was?
The moment I walked in the lecture theatre
and saw some old faces who came up to me to greet me, my cough refused to let me have a proper conversation, interrupting rudely every few seconds!
However, when I was called up to give my speech, those 15-20mins I was talking to the small crowd, my cough behaved extremely well and didn't start its usual rant, not even a single time!
This cough of mine truly has a mind of its own...

Let me share a little about the talk I gave.
The lovely lady who called me, Shamim Samani (who I once volunteered alongside on the Board for an NGO known as "The Muslim Women's Support Centre of WA"), told me to focus my talk on, " you have gone beyond your comfort zones to pursue what is meaningful to you and how this is important for your personal growth as well as valuable to the community."

At this point, I should probably admit that - one of my secret pleasures is actually public speaking... I realise public speaking is feared by most people even more than death, but for me, I don't know what it is about it, but I simply love standing in front of a crowd with the mic in my hand and watching, feeling the room grow still; I love connecting with people through my words and watching their changing emotions on their faces. It injects life into me.

Okay, let me stop digressing and get back to my topic - in my mental preparation for my speech, I decided to give my speech a theme. It took me quite a bit of time trying to summarise my theme, but finally, in just the last hour before I was expected in that lecture theatre, I honed my jumble of thoughts into the following words: Listen and Trust.

There have been numerous moments in my short lifespan where I have been forced to reflect and make a decision that has pushed me out of my "comfort zones". After graduating from Uni and starting out as a Highschool Maths/Science Teacher, I found myself in a position where work was a huge struggle, to the point where I felt the life was being sucked out of me; while I had dreams to 'fly' and do amazing things through my work, I could barely stay afloat.
It was a difficult decision, but especially as my health was being affected significantly, one day I decided to take a break from everything and live off my savings and focus on improving my health rather than renew my contract.

It was this time that I learnt that, sometimes when we're stuck on a path, we are meant to pause and just look in a different direction to notice an opportunity awaiting us that is better for our spirit.
Because after my health improved and I began looking for a job again, unexpectedly, I found myself working for an organisation called "The Gowrie Community Services" and, to put it simply, I completely fell head over heels in love with my job, supporting youth from refugee backgrounds settle in Australia. My job was more than rewarding - it was fulfilling because I discovered that it was actually that 'social work' aspect of teaching that I had enjoyed, which I could do, minus the things I didn't like about teaching.

But another turn of events arose after almost four years working in that role, which lead me to take away a new lesson; that sometimes we are put on a path for a purpose or reason, but once that purpose is served or exhausted, suddenly life or circumstances begin pushing you in yet another direction.
As four years in my role neared, the complexity of cases and increasing workload started impacting on my health once again, but more significantly, The Gowrie's Board of Directors decided it was time for The Gowrie to be more focused in its vision and mission and instead provide services for families and children under 12 - this meant my program had to come to an end.

Although the wonderful CEO provided me with the opportunity and support to draft a new role and submit a new grant, once again, I decided to listen to the signs around me and finish up my role with my contract, and trust as I took that leap of faith, awaiting what might be around the corner.

I'm discovering that the clue to what you are meant to do in your life is often found in that nagging voice at the back of your mind; one thing I have always been passionate about is writing, in particular poetry and fiction...
I guess I can sum things up here and say, the rest is history!

Nonetheless, on this new path I am now on, I endeavour to remain open and aware as I listen and trust...

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