It’s the morning of April 15, 2002, about 5 o’clock in the morning. Irina, my daughter, is hugging me tight: “I don’t want you to leaaave… again!”. Still holding her in my arms, I start crying, big tears coming out from my eyes. It’s sooo painful … I don’t want to leave either! I continue to cry, harder … and harder … until suddenly … I wake up … with real tears on my face! I continue to cry, deeply touched by such a vivid, emotional dream, hiding my face under the blanket to not wake up my roommate. I was in a hotel room, a balneology centre where I came to heal my knee, dislocated in a ski accident last winter. These strong emotions bubbled up a thought: I have to continue the immigration process, I have to go to Canada to be closer to my children!!!
And here I am, in a hotel room, not knowing if I’ll be able to walk normally again, but decided to continue the immigration process. The process that I’ve started two years earlier, hoping that Canada will bring me closer to my children, which I was separated from 3 years earlier. I allowed them to see their father in States during the summer vacation, but he didn’t allow them to come back to me in Romania. My daughter was devastated by this separation, she wanted to come back to me, as I found out later. All that time since they left I had an inner knowing that one day I will see them again. I start searching for information about Canada, and the immigration process. After receiving the DCS (the document supposed to facilitate my immigration to Quebec), I put it aside … I didn’t have the courage to take such a huge leap.
I kept myself busy, which helped to keep the pain away, the pain of not being close to my children. That vivid dream in the hotel room was my inner voice giving me a strong signal: to continue the immigration process! It also gave me the strength and courage to immigrate … alone… in a new country: Canada. And I followed through!
Here I am now, September 2003, at Pearson airport, so happy that I’ll get to see my children again! They came to welcome me. Tired of a long flight over the ocean, pushing a dolly with two huge luggages, I stepped out of the doors into the area where people are waiting. Looking around … moving slowly … I suddenly felt that someone was gazing at me from a side. I turned, and recognized my children! I’ve already passed them!
Ashamed for not recognizing my own children, I reached out and hugged them! Five years passed by since I last saw them, they were 16 and 13 when they left. They are taller now, my son’s face almost unchanged, but I recognized my daughter only when she start talking. Her liveliness and charm was still there!!! With longer hair, and huge thick glasses, her face wasn’t easy to recognize. She didn’t wear glasses when she left Romania, and their father didn’t sent me any photos with them all this time. I was so happy to see them again, and the fact they came to welcome me… warmed my heart. They stayed with me only three days, three days of ME being the child now … being guided my own children into learning the ABC of this new world: how to push the yellow button if I want to cross a street, how to open a bank account and ask for a secured credit card … They even brought me food and other necessary things to live by for a few days, until I get along with the new environment.
We finally bridged the gap that separated us, and continued to build our relationship on new ground. The great relationship I had with with my daughter seemed to continue the same way, even after all these years of separation. My son gave me great advice since. One of the things he told me was to always have money aside for at least six months, in case something … happens.
And … it did!
On January 21, 2012, just back from a 6 days visit to States to see my son’s newly born baby, the manager gave me the “big” news: the government cut the funding for the program I’ve started 5 years ago, and developed since. Even more, he told me that I have only 2 more days to come to work, and, by then, he forced me to choose between two options: either going in unemployment or taking over someone else’s position. That “someone” was a friend of mine, who was going through a very tough time: she has three children, was facing a divorce without getting any money from the father, and having only a work permit for the contract with this organisation (while waiting for her permanent resident application to be processed). How could I send her on streets … with three children?! Torn between anger (being forced to make such choice) … pity (for myself, for not having any money put aside to pay my bills, mortgage and debt) …. fear (of leaping into unknown) … eagerness (to work on my business, which didn’t grow enough to sustain me full-time) … and compassion (for her situation), all kind of thoughts start clouding my mind: What should I do now? How come they give me only two days? How can I wrap up a 5 years program in 2 days (close all the files, let participants know, pass on the files, databases and all processes to my colleagues in case they need them later… )? How come another colleague that came only 6 months ago can keep his position, and I have to leave after working for them for 5 years?! WHY DO YOU LET ME GO?!, I wanted to shout out! Why do they put a bigger burden on my shoulders, while it’s in their power to make that decision! How will I survive, not only without money, but with all my monthly bills, and payments for debt and mortgage? What should I choose???
Yes, I wanted to have more time to grow my business, but how to grow a business when you have no income, only bills, mortgage and debt to pay?! Stressed out by this sudden burden, I asked to be off for the rest of the day. I couldn’t focus on work anyway. After almost two days of stress, worn-out, I fell asleep exhausted!
Two formless creatures start pulling me apart from the feet in two opposite directions … it’s sooo painful!!! If I don’t make quickly a decision, I’ll be split in two parts!
With the urgency of making a decision, still feeling that pain deeply in my body …. I woke up! Another vivid, painful dream! In that semiconscious state, a new thought bubbled up to the surface: I want to focus on my business, to bring system coaching into private companies, to make them more … human! That sudden thought … brought such an inner peace! I knew it’s the right decision!
Three years AFTER coming to Canada, I’ve decided to change my career from engineering to coaching (a profession that really resonated with me, which I’ve discovered in Canada). I knew for years that I don’t get satisfaction from engineering, although my managers always appreciated my work. I immigrated to Canada hoping for a change in both my personal and professional life, so I’ve start stepping on the new professional path with confidence. My son didn’t like the idea of coaching, but I was really drawn to this profession … another inner knowing I can’t explain! I took a lot of courses in this new direction, starting my own business in parallel … quit the engineering position, and took another full time job (where I start using my newly acquired coaching skills). Fast forward 5 years: my business didn’t grow enough to bring the income that I wanted, to pay the debt accumulated by putting the courses fees on credit cards. By then I was still having the full time job, not getting enough money to cover the minimal credit card payments, barely making meet ends from a month to another. That was my situation when I received the news about the program ending!
Looking back from this present moment, I am so grateful for my decisions based on what I call … my inner voice showing me the path! I’ve learned in time to listen it more often, not only in difficult situations. And its advice helped me get out of debt, focus on my business growth, and express myself in an artistic way. It even helped me narrow down my niche, now willing to help other introverts reconnect with their inner voice and follow through, to become happier and more successful in a world that appreciates more the extroverted behaviour.
Are you following your inner voice?