Have you ever felt that you needed the world to stop spinning for five minutes so that you can get off, catch your breath and then jump back on again? I felt that way for a major chunk of my life. Life just kept happening and the resources that I depended on began to wear thin.

Those resources were all the voices that took up space in my head and it was the reason behind my drive. It did not replenish already depleted resources nor did it nourish me so that I could keep going. It just drained me to the point that I had no will to pursue my own dreams and aspirations. Yet I did not know how to replace those resources or even if it could be replaced.

I just knew that it was not serving me.

Myself with Deon Groenewald NLP Coach and CEO of Journey To You

These were my resources:
“You are the eldest, you must hold it together”.
“You are responsible for this. You must fix it.”
“You must look after your parents.”
“You must be responsible for your parents marriage.”
“Your mother needs you. Your daughter needs you. Your husband needs you. Your children need you. Your friend needs you. Your job needs you. This organisation needs you. Your church needs you. You must take care of all this.”
“You are responsible for your marriage.”
“You know that when there is a child with a disability, the marriage is under enormous stress. You must make your marriage work.”
“Your other children will be deprived because they have a sibling with special needs. You must make sure that you don’t neglect them.”
“You are the woman. It’s on you to make it work.” (‘It’ referring to anything and everything about life in general).
“You did this. You must fix it.”
“You must hold the family together.”
It’s exhausting just writing that.

Excited and waiting for transformation

Then fast forward to a few weeks ago when my brother Darren called me after he completed a life coach course at his place of employment. The life coach who conducted his training was hosting one final course from the 19th to the 21st December and Darren was very keen for me to participate in this.

Now I’ve heard of a few people who are really good at teaching  about self-care or self-help but nothing ever resonated enough with me to attend any course. I also need the guarantee that when I spend money on myself that could be used towards my daughter Savannah’s care, the value must be spectacular.

Past experiences also taught me to stay away from people who need to ‘give me a word’ or promise to ‘heal my life’ or ‘know a lot about how people think’. The most well-meaning intentions by the most passionate people can cause more damage than good. When a pastor, coach or counsellor does not have the skills, understanding and compassion to help a person through an issue that could potentially cause that person to break, they actually have no business engaging an individual on such a personal level.

What was interesting to me is that my husband shares these same reservations as I do, yet it was him who finally convinced me to register for the course, knowing full well that I would be away from home from 9am to 9pm every day for three days.

On the 19th December as I drove to the course, I was ready to be open to the experience and not to show up for anyone else but myself. I have a reputation of ‘mothering’ people wherever I go and I’m known to be an extrovert. This time I just wanted to be true to what I was feeling during the process. Yes, that it’s..I told myself ‘Trust the process’.

The process I was to trust was ‘Journey To You’ headed by renowned NLP Coach Deon Groenewald. NLP is an acronym for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Deon has earned himself a reputation as a Master of his field. ‘Journey To You’ is a three-day intensive journey of transformation developed by Deon over a ten-year period. It is designed to help people to effect change from a deep place inside themselves that results in an amazing personal journey.

I knew none of this when I arrived at the course. I did not read the course details because I did not want to go into my self-defence mode. As an over thinker and someone who prepares for every possible outcome, I wanted to let the process guide me instead of the other way round.

As I write this I’m incredibly overwhelmed by what took place over the three days. I learnt so much about the science of how the brain deals with information and how that affects our decision-making process. The pivotal points for me was in understanding my conscious mind and my sub conscious mind, aligning my first reaction and my second reaction, learning how to plan for my goals and in learning to plan a celebration for myself when I achieved a goal.

More than learning these pivotal points in the context of the large group, I was also assigned to a life coach Maligay Govender. Each participant was part of a smaller group led by a qualified coach. It was in my small group that I was taught how to apply what I learnt in the larger group. Maligay made the principles and techniques real for me by guiding me on how to integrate it into my life plan which I had begun to fill out from the morning of Day One.

Maligay Govender Coach) and I

As I write this and recount the timeline exercise that she did with me, I am filled with emotion. Timeline was the most vulnerable I’ve ever been until then and it was the first time I allowed myself to remember who I was as a child. I actually was able to visualise myself at four years old and to reconnect that person to myself today.

Years ago, my then pastors wife asked me to describe myself. Who was I? It took longer than a month for me to give her an answer that did not include daughter, mother, wife, sister, friend and all the roles I fulfil. When I eventually did give her an answer, I gave her a scripture but it did not describe me. It described someone I wanted to be. As Maligay finished the timeline exercise with me, I realised that I could finally answer that question without all the roles that form part of who I am.

I knew who I was without all the events that shaped me. I liked that person. And I wanted to live with her innocence and her passion again. It was so powerful that I cry even now as I understand what a gift Maligay helped me to find within myself.

Maligay and Bharat Trikam, a fellow change maker

On Day three of ‘Journey to You’, I knew that the moment had come for me to commit myself to a process of understanding how to listen to my own authentic internal voice. With the entire larger group of participants in the room, I courageously volunteered to allow Deon to take me through this process.

I am not going to give the details away of how that was done because I fear I may reduce it’s impact and beauty here. I will share this:

  • There wasn’t any music to influence what happened.
  • There wasn’t wild applause or coercion from the other participants.
  • There were many people in the room including a film crew as this was being recorded for television viewing. Yet the room felt that it was filled to every corner and every space with nothing but goodwill and love.

Deon was respectful of me, never asking me to share more than I was comfortable to share. The key though was that his process did not need for me to bare my soul so that he could rescue me. He only needed me to trust the exercise and to trust myself.  I walked off the stage without the anger, resentment, fear and oppressiveness that I carried with me for a long time about my childhood. I walked off that stage with the door to a part of my soul thrown wide open and a feeling of self acceptance, contentment and peace.

Myself and Nadia Marillier, a fellow change maker

At the beginning of this year, I wrote that I entered a Women Empowerment Programme as a gift to myself http://amillionbeautifulpieces.co.za/2018/03/09/entering-competition-title/ . I wanted to give myself one year to experience life on my terms. I resigned from that competition because I realised early on that it was not what I was looking for. As I write this, I feel humbled by how God works. Just before the curtain dropped on 2018, God remembered me and He gave me my ‘Journey To You’.

My heartfelt thank you to Deon Groenwald, to Maligay Govender, to all the coaches; and most especially to my fellow course participants with whom I now share another beautiful piece of life with.
I am blessed I am.
I am grateful I am.
I am Desirae I am.

There is so much more I want to share, so look out for part two of My Greatest Gift This Year.


Sharing my womanhood and motherhood journey of faith, hope and love as a woman who started out as a teenage mother to a daughter with a disability. I write on topics about womanhood, motherhood, disability and assistive technology (Journey to Communication). I am available as a motivational speaker within the South African region.


  1. Thank you for sharing another beautiful piece of you with us. You are truly an inspiration. God bless your beautiful heart, head and hands (Nadia’s H3 principle) ?

    You are amazing. You are worthy. You are powerful. You are beautiful. You are inspiring. You are all that you are?

    • Darling Yvonne, I am all that you say I am:)
      Thank you for this message. I am not sure why, but I have been praying for you too. I wish you all the strength and love for 2019. May God bless your beautiful head, heart and hand too. And bless Nadia for teaching us that. Hugs Desirae

  2. Beautiful post, Desirae! You captured the spirit of Journey to You so perfectly!
    As one of the team coaches (like your wonderful Maligay), I can say that we got a lot out of the experience as well – we also participated and felt the transformations happening in ourselves, as you were going through them.
    I love your attitude of gratitude and aligning yourself to God’s timing; thanks for the reminder!

    • Dear Shannon, Thank you for reminding me about what this experience meant to the coaches. I think that the film crew too were encapsulated by the process. Thinking back, I think that even if anyone tried hard not to participate in the process, on some level they must have been drawn in. Thank you for this beautiful message. Life was a tough teacher and when all is said and done, only kindness remains. I wish you all the best for 2019 as you help bring more people to themselves. Hugs to you too. Desirae

  3. Tshepang Khumalo Reply

    What a beautiful piece you shared on journey to you. I hope many more people get to read this and see the importance of finding self. Our world needs this so let’s go around and bring forth the change we have been given and make our world a better place. It was an honour to have met an incredible women as yourself and I hope to read more of your amazing blogs. Continue to be your amazing self. Thank you Dez

    • Dear Tshepang, Thank you for this lovely message. I am so glad that I was part of this group of amazing people too. I am with you all the way for bringing about change. I will definitely continue to align myself with making the world a better place and spread Faith, Hope and Love. I wish you all that you wish for yourself for 2019. May God bless you. Desirae

Write A Comment

error: All content on this website it protected. Please contact me should you need access to my content.