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Apple Tree

by Colleen-Joy

My entire life has been focused on being financially independent. I vowed early in my life that I would never give anyone the power to control me with money. I supported myself by living my dream! Cooking and spending time with people! I ran my own catering company but sold my business shortly after I married my husband, Gys, and my second son, Josh was born in 2001.

Fortunately, Gys was extremely supportive of my decision to be a stay-at-home mom, and supportive of our family financially. I loved being a mom, but an inner voice kept niggling that somewhere out there was something else that I could add value to. I was also not entirely comfortable with being financially dependent on someone and kept wondering what was next for me? Where am I going?

In the midst of my inner turmoil, I fell pregnant with a little girl in 2003, the same year that my father was senselessly killed in a high jacking. To my mind, my pregnancy with Chloe was a treasured and timely gift and I felt it was the universe compensating me for the loss of my father. But loss would be mine for longer, as Chloe was born at 7months with only half a heart. I got to hold her for a few precious moments.

In this time of overwhelming grief, I still had my sons Ryan and Josh to look after, and I did the best I could. Shortly after losing my daughter, I collected Josh from school only to be ambushed and held up at gunpoint with my 2-year old son witnessing the entire event.

Have you ever felt so much sorrow so deeply that it feels too much to cope with? I struggled to breathe in this time, my sadness was everything, and it filled up my whole world.

These experiences brought me to a personal crossroads. I could so easily have fallen apart, accept defeat and retreat into a world of hopelessness and despair. But then I discovered Colleen Page and her beautifully written story “Apple Tree”. After reading her book, I spent a year journey with her (2004), fighting for my survival, my sanity, and my life purpose. I desperately wanted to explore ways in which I could use my experiences positively for my life going forward.

My learning from Apple Tree

Don’t try to be an orange tree in an apple orchard. Colleen-Joy illustrates with this beautiful story that our true purpose in life is about being – it’s not about what we do, but by being true to ourselves. Colleen-Joy says “Fulfillment comes through the experience of being your truest self freely in the world. If your focus is on doing, you will miss the point. You’ll miss out on the adventure of unfolding who you are in the world. You’ll also risk putting time and energy into paths that don’t reflect who you are; paths that lead to a life that feels empty and unfulfilling.”

Reading the Apple Tree challenged me to ask: “Who am I?” I needed to discover the ‘real’ me in order to fully live my true purpose.

I always knew that I was intrigued by the world of financial planning, and this journey made me realise that I wanted to add value, I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to teach and share… You cannot separate people from money, and I knew intuitively that traditional financial planning missed the essence of how people view money differently, that they have very unique and personal relationships with money.