To be a professional pioneer in our times you need to stand strong in yourself, be bold and vulnerable as you head into the unknown, face criticism and judgement and keep going, catch your own judgements and surrender them, deconstruct as well as construct, move with the waves of evolution, confront aloneness and relax there, have your eyes on the changing horizon and the waves rolling in from behind, all at the same time. A pioneer needs to believe in the future and the ones who will come after you as deeply as you believe in yourself and the ones who came before you.
Recently my teacher Barbara, the co-owner of at the Bert Hellinger Institute in the Netherlands, sent me an invitation which referred to me as a pioneer. The description, ‘pioneer’ ran deep into me, especially coming from Barbara. I am a pioneer and in fact I always have been. I never wanted to be (so I thought) and since my systemic training in the Netherlands and establishing my new business, I imagined I could escape the pioneer’s destiny by travelling overseas to places where systemic work is known. Surely this would be easier. In most of Australia, systemic work is almost unheard of so I set my sights elsewhere and then of course came Corona! Consequently, between the ocean and the outback is where I am.
My first career was in outdoor recreation. I literally spent a decade leading people through the Australian wilderness. The pioneer spirit was so obvious, so strong. Then I moved into new territory as I moved up the ladder wearing business suits. The pioneer had “made it” so I thought she had gone. Recently I looked back again and I realised that in all the professional roles I have taken on, there has been this common thread. I have always been working on something new, something not yet quite done, or something better than we do now. I have always been challenging, stretching and discovering; inviting others to a new edge. It turns out that she has never actually gone at all; my pioneer was there all the time.
Over the years I have sometimes longed for the mainstream, while I have been exploring the tributaries. I wondered what it would have been like to be an accountant, a teacher who taught straight from the syllabus, a manager, a nurse; a job with one word in the title, where everyone knows what you do and you turn up and do it; full stop. The wonder was momentary as I realised I would have barely lasted in these roles. Not because they are bad (gosh we need these people) but because something in me would have dulled my pioneer’s spirit. She is so much a part of me that I did not realise how much she existed.
My ancestors came to Australia from the UK, Granny Mc George and Co. via the Group
Settlement Scheme, clearing and farming land; Nanna Dulcie and Co, early school
teachers in the outback who threw the syllabus out the window. The others before them
descendants of Jeramiah the convict, forging their way through the beginning of colonised
Australia. My grandfather Clifford (aptly name for his ability to stand on the edge) was
planning an explorative boat trip to Canada and in the last moments literally jumped ship for
the vessel to Australia. My father John surveyed swathes of the remote land he loved in the
south of Western Australia where I now live. Then those who were never spoken of, excluded or lost through the generations; I found you and the origin of my Middle Eastern Tinge.
They were all so courageous, resilient and full of spark! God I love them. Hence, when
Barbara described me as a pioneer, I felt proud and I also knew for the first time it was really
true! I realise today we are always discovering more of ourselves: pioneers to our own
interior, perhaps the greatest discoveries of all.