The Big Loop

A story about finding your calling later in life by Heidrun Roach, published in Seniors’ Stories, Volume 5.
It is republished with permission.

We had lunch under the awning of our caravan overlooking the picturesque Meadow Creek.

‘I don’t want to go on travelling,’ stated Michael.

The duck in front of us dived head first and stuck its tail out of the water.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked.

‘I don’t want to live on the road anymore.’

‘But we planned this trip for years, it was our dream to do the Big Loop around Australia.’

My partner was adamant: ‘We have been on the road for a year. I have had enough of it.’

I left the remainder of my lunch and walked down the main road of the small town of Gunning.

My mind went into overdrive.

‘What had I missed?’

Michael had purchased the best off‐road caravan once he retired. I had given notice at my work once we had found suitable tenants for our house and we joined the Grey Nomads.

Life was about discovering new places. We explored remote Western Australia, snorkelled at Ningaloo and hiked in The Kimberley. Each campground was a meeting point of like‐minded travellers. Sitting around campfires with a glass of wine in hand, we compared caravans and shared travel tips. Along the way we found a job for a few months and managed a caravan park. We joined fossickers to find that elusive nugget and volunteered at a National Park campground near Margaret River as campground hosts.

I had reached the southern end of Gunning and was still shell shocked. Slowly I made my way back to Barbour Park.

That evening we talked, but Michael’s mind was made up. He wanted to go home. Next morning, we packed up and headed off.

Historic towns on the way would have been a pleasure to explore. Now we just drove. Our conversations were limited to arranging our life. Putting on a nice face with our friends, children and grandchildren was a chore. But Michael seemed to have a new spring in his steps while a black mood was weighing me down.

‘Now what?’ was a question which popped into my mind, morning, noon and evening and thousands of times in between. It kept me up at night. What do I do with my life?

My neck tightened and headaches became regular companions. But worst of all, our relationship went from bad to worse. We just co‐existed. I was resentful, that he had destroyed my dream and had taken away a lifestyle I had enjoyed. He had not consulted me, asked me or discussed the issue with me. He had not even danced around the topic. He just made up his mind.

‘Go and see a Bowen Therapist,’ a friend recommended when I was once again blinded by the pressure stretching up my back into my forehead.

‘What can a Bowen Therapist do where a physio and osteopath had miserably failed, except to further deplete my savings?’ I argued in my head. Life on painkillers was not a life worth living and I finally made an appointment.

Even though I googled ‘Bowen Technique’ and read about Tom Bowen whom the therapy was named after, I had no idea what to expect as I finally arrived at the Bowen clinic. “I will be making moves over certain parts of your body and will then pause to allow your body to process,” Dianne explained before I laid face‐down on the table.

‘Is that all she is doing?’ I silently questioned proceedings before I fell into a deep calm. I left the clinic exhausted. That night I fell into a deep sleep, the first for quite a few months.

‘What is involved in becoming a Bowen Therapist?’ I enquired at my follow‐up appointment.

Within a week I was enrolled for my first module in the Certificate of Bowen Therapy.

Weekends were taken up with classes and within months I perceived a change in myself. I was happy again, content and focusing on the joys of life. Friends, neighbours and most notably my partner Michael volunteered eagerly as bodies for my logbook hours. The studies came with frustrations as well as I had to complete modules in Anatomy and Physiology, clinic management and health regulations and the grey matter had to be woken from its slumber. But there was never a question of giving up. I had a goal and I was going to succeed.

We sold the house and found a more suitable residence in a central location where I could set up my clinic. Straight after I received my Certificate I started to practise. I enrolled in the Diploma course and continued to study while seeing patients. There was a new challenge to set up a web page, acquire a business and domain name, get stationery printed and fit out my clinic. Slowly my appointment book filled with patients. Word of mouth was the most powerful advertising.

Now I enjoy work more than ever before. Most of all I enjoy that I can make a difference to people’s lives and that has made a difference to my life. I get out of bed and have a purpose. I am linked to thousands of practitioners by social media and exchange ideas. Seminars and courses are part of my on‐going training and a great way to meet therapists. I meet patients every day with their unique personalities and issues.

At the age of 77, Ita Buttrose was appointed as chair of the ABC and commented: ‘You are never too old to achieve great things’. She has become my role model.

I was distraught and disappointed when a change was forced upon me. Now I can see that it was an opportunity to develop and grow. Working as a Bowen Therapist made me into a stronger person, a woman I am proud of. I have found my calling in life, at the cusp of my retirement age and enjoy every day with all its challenges and joys.

The Certificate IV in Bowen Therapy 10846NAT and Diploma of Specialised Bowen Therapy 10847NAT are nationally-recognised qualifications delivered by Bowen Training Australia RTO#41134. It’s never too late to learn Bowen therapy! Click here to find a class near you.

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