How to recover from a setback and reconnect to your heart

Photo by Jesse Schoff

Photo by Jesse Schoff


Here in Australia, the Federal election on the weekend delivered for many of us a very surprising result, as our coalition government was voted back into power.

Along with many earth lovers, I reeled in shock and disbelief. My heart is still weeping.

Many of us believed that this was a climate election and that Australia would vote for what needs to be done to help prevent a climate change catastrophe.

Instead, Australia voted mostly for no change (except for a few key figureheads who did not regain their parliamentary seats.)

Our Federal government tells us that we are on track to meet the Paris agreement on carbon reduction requirements, but the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which is a United Nations body, is telling us that this is no longer enough.

I won’t get into the politics here because this post isn’t really about politics.

This post is about how to recover from a setback and it is about me talking directly to your inner flame, your soul, your calling, the gifts and seeds and dreams and qualities within you that need nurturing and encouragement to come out of hiding because the world needs them.

Mother earth needs you. We need you. Please do not give up hope. Please keep nurturing your dreams and gifts no matter how small and insignificant or bigger than you they may seem.

To help, I have two things for you today:

1.    A poem for the world weary

2.    A meditation to connect with you heart and help you recover from a setback

And as a a little bonus, I’ve even recorded them for you to listen to on soundcloud. Here is the poem and here is the meditation.

Miracles are everywhere: a poem for the world-weary

 

 What do you do when you're world-weary? 

How do you restore your hallowed heart?

I feel my feet on the earth as I look up at the sky.

I breathe deep into my belly and touch the ticklish gift of life,

then exhale anything icky that may have got stuck.

If I can walk, I will walk.

And if I can't, then I will look out into this great world 

beyond my confined view and ask for a miracle.

They are everywhere.

Today, as I walked,

swept along by the icy breeze,

that overpowered the subtle sun,

the grass glowed with luminous aliveness;

boundless blades quivered with glee

and so did I

as the miracle I asked for

silently found and blessed me,

reminding me of my own luminosity,

my own aliveness,

and my own boundlessness

that nobody and nothing

can ever take from me.

Listen to the poem on soundcloud here.

A meditation for setback recovery

 Whenever we experience a shock of some kind or setback, the first step is always to breathe.

 Breathe in and out. Feel your breath fill your belly and your chest. Then let it go.

Again, breathe in. Feel your breath fill your belly, your belly expands and then your breath fills your chest. Then let it go.

And again, breathe in fully, expanding your stomach and filing your chest. Then let it go.

Feel your feet on the ground and the earth solidly supporting you here and now.  Breathe in and out and feel the support that is here.

And as you begin to feel more steady and grounded in this moment, look around you.

Notice what you see without judgment. Maybe you are in your bedroom with your bed made nicely or maybe there’s a mountain of clothes. Maybe you are on the train on your way to work with a train full of commuters all quiet and looking at their smart phones. Maybe you are sitting in a park in the sunshine.

Wherever you are, just notice.

Then close your eyes and take your awareness inside yourself to your heart.

Feel into your heart space. Sense your heart your heart beating to it’s own beat. Feel it’s vastness.

Ask your heart what it needs you to know right now?

Ask your heart if there is anything you need to do right now? What, if anything, is your next step?

Just wait and listen for your heart’s response without expectation.

It may be enough that you are here in this moment feeling connected to your heart. Maybe there are emotions that need to be felt and expressed. If you are in a place that feels safe and comfortable, may you can feel into them. Notice sensations, temperature, colour. Give them names if that helps. Sadness. Grief. Despair. Hopelessness. Fear. Confusion.

Maybe your heart has words of wisdom for you. Sacred reminders from within about what you most need to know right now. Listen. If you can, write them down.

Stay here as long as you need, feeling, talking to and listening to your own heart.

When you feel complete, thank your heart. Know that your heart is always available to you. You just have to breathe and bring your awareness back in.

Listen to the meditation on soundcloud here.

I hope this poem and meditation serves you.
With love and courage,

Kym xx

Before you dismiss that crazy idea you have, read this…

Photo by Austin Chan

Photo by Austin Chan

Some 15 years ago when I was committed to my career and worked as an executive manager in a listed financial services company, I suddenly started feeling the urge to paint (as in art not house walls or fences.)

It was easy to dismiss at first as a “crazy” idea. I wasn’t great at art in high school. I got a C-grade in the last ever art class I took in year 8. That made it go away for a while.

But it came back, like a little kid tugging at my pant legs trying to get my attention.

Go away, I told it annoyed that it was there again.

I’m not an artist. I’m not good at art

And that made it go quiet for a while.

But it came back again and again and kept nagging at me no matter how many times I tried to dismiss it until it became pretty insistent.

So I became curious about this urge to paint and inquired within myself. Why was this urge here? What did it want of me? What did it want me to know?

I discovered that I didn’t want to learn the techniques of painting but that I wanted to explore with paint and have fun with it. Although I didn’t really understand why I had the urge to paint I stayed open to the idea.

Eventually I found an intuitive painting workshop just down the road from me. My inner painting urge (aka my inner child) was pretty excited about the idea of this workshop, jumping up and down with glee. Although I felt a bit scared and nervous, I signed up and went.

It was subtly life changing.

The intuitive painting course reintroduced meditation back into my life as each session started with a gentle breath meditation that I loved. It was calming, loving and kind.
I rediscovered my creativity. I had actually always been a crafty child.
I remembered how to have fun again.
I learned to risk making mistakes and that any mistake I made in a painting just helped the painting to evolve in a different way.
Most importantly, I reconnected with my intuition that had gone AWOL for a while as I had overridden and ignored it so many times with my fearful and rationalising mind.

Just like we can override and dismiss our inner callings, we can also override, ignore, dismiss or rationalise the unexpected opportunities that life presents us.

Here is a short excerpt from my book, The Path We Make: a journey of the heart on the Via Francigena—in fact it is the opening paragraph of the book.

 

“Oh no! I’m not interested in walking that far. Ever!”

That was my response several years ago when my employer asked me to join a team that would walk 50 kilometres to raise money for the Leprosy Mission. I can’t help but laugh kindly at that younger version of myself who scoffed at the idea and was adamant that she would never walk that far. I don’t believe everything in our lives is predetermined, but there are some things that life wants us to experience. If at first we turn our backs on those things or head in a different direction, life has a miraculous way of finding an alternative way in or choosing another way to speak to us so that we hear and understand. It calls us forward again and again to come down the path it wants us to follow, until finally we say yes and take those steps.

Sometimes our callings will come in the form of inner urgings, curiosities, recurring thoughts and ideas. Sometimes they will come as opportunities, invitations, signs and coincidences from the world around us.

Often we will push them away, ignore or dismiss them and/or rationalise why we shouldn’t pay attention to them because they are foreign to the life that we know and are currently living and we aren’t yet ready to accept them into our field of possibilities.

Sometimes they scare us and we might not even recognise we are scared.

Often they will keep coming back—especially the ones that really want our care and focus.

When something flirts with you or you become aware of some recurring theme, sign, thought, urge or other pattern in your life— pay attention and get curious. At first they may seem irrational, crazy, foreign, silly, out-there, nonsensical or irrelevant, but you also don’t know what rich gifts they have for you or where they may lead you.

I’d love to hear your stories about what has called to you that you have dismissed until you finally had to listen and say yes.

Leave a comment below or send me a private message. And if ever you want some support to explore what is calling you, I’m here. Just reach out.

Using the power of brave

My own photo taken in Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy .

My own photo taken in Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy .

Dear ones,

Today I feel called to share an excerpt from my coming-soon book, The Path We Make, about bravery and how to follow your heart’s guidance even when you are afraid.

The excerpt is set in France on day 14 of my journey as I left Tergnier to walk 32 kilometres to Laon. The Devil is the affectionate name I gave to my backpack, inspired after reading Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild in which she nick-named her backpack Monster.

 

With the Devil harnessed onto my back, I walked outside into the dull light and drizzle and headed straight into the bar next door for a café-au-lait chaude (coffee with warm milk). I added sugar and savoured its hot sweetness in quick sips. I wasn’t eager to walk in the rain but I had 31 kilometres to go today and I needed to get started. As I paid for my coffee, the bar lady spoke to me in English about my pilgrimage.

“Aren’t you scared of walking alone?” she asked.

“No. No, I’m not. Most of the time I’m in the countryside, and there is no one around. I make sure I am alert and aware of my surroundings. I’m more scared of walking on the roads. They can be dangerous.”

“You are very brave.”

That is not a word that I would use to describe myself. It’s not that I’m not brave; it’s just that I don’t always feel brave. I’m far from fearless. When I started seriously contemplating this pilgrimage after I was made redundant, all my fears surfaced as ‘what if’ statements. What if I didn’t make it? What if it was a huge waste of money? What if I were injured? Over the years, I have discovered my own unique dance with fear. I feel it, I back away from it, and then I dance up to it again, allowing myself to feel the fear a little more before retreating. I repeat this dance until I am ready to take that final step into what is unknown, uncomfortable, scary or painful. There are people who take a flying leap right into or over their fear, but that’s not me. I dance with it until I am ready to act. Brave is the power I summon to take that final step. I have learned that my authentic desires are more powerful than my fears. Therefore, instead of focusing on my fear, I focus on my dream and how it would feel to live that dream. This way, my desire grows stronger than my fear, and it makes the decision to take that final step much easier. This was how I decided to embark on this journey in the first place. I summoned the power of my bravery to make the decision. Everything else was just walking, faith and resilience. Still, I appreciated the bar lady’s kindness. I thanked her, said goodbye and walked back out into the rain.

Deciding to go and walk the whole Via Francigena pilgrimage route alone from Canterbury to Rome was one of the boldest, bravest choices I have made in my life.

 It was the choice, that is, making the decision to go, that I wrestled with as the protective and fearful part of me told me all the reasons why I shouldn’t go and do something as crazy as walk 2000 kilometres alone across the other side of the world.

It could have turned into an epic battle of the mind demons but it didn’t.  I listened to the voice of fear without shaming it, and then listened to the voice of my heart that yearned strongly and lovingly to go and walk this path, come what may.

I chose to listen to my heart.

After I made the decision to go and walk, the fear didn’t go away but excitement and the strength of my heart’s longing and knowing carried me forward despite the fear.

Sometimes the heart yearns for us to act in ways that is illogical and frightening to our mind that just wants to protect us and keep us safe. The mind will judge and reject anything that is uncertain and risky with an unknown outcome or the possibility of failure or looks at odds with current reality or our limited picture of what is possible.

I continue to learn from my own life that letting the voice of my fears direct my choices in life usually leads to suffering, sadness, staleness, smallness and the merry-go-round of inner conflict, whereas listening to my heart takes me on a great adventure to discover myself and life in ways I never knew was possible when I was held back by fear.

The step through fear doesn’t necessarily get easier. Fear doesn’t go away. To be brave or courageous requires a certain fierceness not fearlessness, and a loving commitment to choose your own heart again and again.

These times call for us to live with great courage, to slow down, become quiet and tune inward to be able to hear the voice of our heart that speaks in quiet and subtle ways, as well as to be able to receive its guidance and messages, especially when it looks different than what you’re used to or doesn’t make sense from where you currently stand.

I hope that sharing the story of my dance with fear helps you to tune into your own heart and all the courage and sensitive wisdom it contains to guide and direct your life in miraculous ways.

With love and courage

Kym xx

PS If you would like support and the safety of sacred space to explore your own dance with fear and doubt whilst cultivating your courage to say yes to the ideas and callings of your heart, I’m here and I’m currently offering free 30-minute discovery sessions. Please reach out to me.

The urgency of now: a call to courageous action

Photo by Tim Marshall

Photo by Tim Marshall


Dear ones,

Can you feel it too? This urgency that is in the air. Maybe it is more pronounced here in Australia as we have a significant and game-changing Federal election looming, but I suspect you may feel it too, no matter where you are in the world.

The voices of the innocent, our children, are calling for us to take action now.

They school strike for climate change led by an incredibly fierce young soul, Greta Thunberg. She has been meeting with political and world leaders not only demanding they take action but also calling them out on their short-comings to date in very clear and direct language so that there can be no confusion.

She tells us that our house is burning down.
Our leaders don’t want to do anything because it would make them unpopular.
We should be panicking.
Around the year 2030, 10 years 252 days and 10 hours away from now, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it.

I listen to her speak and I cry. I know she is right and I know that I have also been walking around in the bubble of it not being a here-now problem, when it really is.

With the upcoming election, there is a part of me that would prefer that I put my head in the sand on election day than cast a vote in a system that is a tragic-comedic battle of power between parties rather than truly putting the needs of the earth and its citizens first. The political system must change.

But I know that turning away and choosing non-participation won’t help.

I also know that I chose to be here on this planet at this time to be part of the healing and the solution, to aid the return of the divine feminine and reverent living to this planet.

If you’re reading this, then I know that you are too.

We each have our own unique role to play.

Given the urgency of these times, it feels right to share my poem, The Invitation, with you again.

 

It’s time to start listening to that quiet voice of wisdom within.
It’s time to cultivate the courage to acknowledge and follow your soul’s guidance and forge your own unique path.
No more avoidance, ignoring, procrastinating or holding back.
No more pretending that you haven’t been chosen for your soul’s mission.
The fear won’t go away but as you build courage your ability to hold the tension in your body will grow so the fear will seem less.
As you follow your heart’s callings, deep joy and aliveness will be your new companions.
As you say yes to what’s true for you and no to what’s false, you will strengthen your inner compass and your connection to your soul.
The world needs your soul’s medicine, your voice, your gifts, your courage, your ideas, your fully expressed essence, your truth in whatever form it takes to express you.
Your soul needs you to come home and whole, to be fully you in this world.
Stop comparing. Stop looking outside of yourself for where you fit in. You were never born for that. You belong because you were born.
Stop trying to fit yourself in a box, that’s way too limiting. Take up space. Create your own new shape.
Your life has lead you to this moment.
Now is the time to say YES.
Now is the time to start your real work in this world, untaming and becoming wildly yourself.

Dear one, the world really needs your soul’s medicine, your voice, your gifts, your courage, your ideas, your fully expressed essence, your truth in whatever form it takes to express you.

If you need some support to heal fear and doubt, to cultivate your courage, or to clarify your gifts or ideas, I’m here. Please reach out to me. I offer free 30 minute discovery sessions.

I have also created an A4 poster of my poem that you can print and put somewhere you can see it and read it anytime you need some encouragement. You can access it here. Please feel free to share with anyone you know who may also need the encouragement.

By healing ourselves, we contribute to healing the whole.

With love and courage

Kym xx

A prayer and poem for earth day

Photo by Rachel Pfuetzner

Photo by Rachel Pfuetzner

Dear ones,

Today is Earth Day. All over the world events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. My dreaming is that one day we won’t need an annual Earth Day because we will live with reverence for Mother Earth and in harmony with her and each other every single day.

Today, may we give great thanks for all that the earth provides us:
Air to breathe.
Water to hydrate and cleanse us.
Food to nourish us.
Ground to support us.
Places of shelter.
Beauty and wonder to inspire us.
Creatures to walk beside us.

As I sat down to write this post, I hoped I would be inspired to write something my mind deemed as profound, but instead, I found myself returning to a simple gratitude poem I wrote some years ago when I was living in Phuket. I felt reluctant to share it at first, because it is steeped in a child-like innocence but it is because of its essence of innocence that I feel compelled to share it. Innocence is our true nature from which wonder and pure love arises.

 


Thank you for the sunsets

Thank you for the sea

Thank you for scuba diving

and all it has taught me.

Thank you for the stars

and the beautiful crescent moon.

Thank you for the sunrise

although sometimes it comes too soon.

Thank you for my family.

Thank you for my friends —

for all the support and love I receive,

I hope it never ends.

Thank you for my street dogs,

they remind me how to love.

Thank you for the aeroplanes

and the view they give me from above.

Thank you for this planet

I love it more than I can say.

Thank you for each breath I take,

and for each and every day.

Thank you for this freedom,

I’m grateful for so much choice.

Thank you for this life I live

I’ve so much to rejoice.

What are you grateful for today?

With love and courage,

Kym xx

To receive the day

Photo by Angelo Pantazis

Photo by Angelo Pantazis

 

Mid way through this warm autumn,

I sit and watch,

listen and breathe,

feel and appreciate

all the beauty of this season:

The softness of the daylight,

the cool breeze,

clumps of bronze seed pods

waiting to helicopter-fall

from the ash tree,

the thin pale blue sky,

birds chirping, magpies carolling,

shimmering strands of spider webs,

the sun gently warming my skin.

The earth endlessly offers us

so much beauty and nourishment

for free,

yet we rush on with our days,

with the busyness

of the consuming world

we were born into.

Change begins within each of us.

To receive the day

is different than to take.

To appreciate fully

what is freely and generously offered

fills the endless void of lack.

Wants fade away. Needs are fulfilled.

Joy, contentment and peace

are here

in front of us.


 

Dear ones,

Wherever you are in the world, whether it is spring or autumn, monsoon or dry season, I hope that you find many moments each day to be still and enjoy the beauty of this earth in the changing seasons.
May your problems dissipate or even go away.
May you find fulfilment in simplicity and just being here.
May you be inspired to create and to celebrate life and our beautiful mother earth.
May you be kind unto her, unto yourself and to each other.
May kindness become our prime currency now. We need it more than ever.

With love and courage,

Kym xx

Silence, a wise teacher

Picture by Greg Rakozy

Picture by Greg Rakozy

 

Blessed Silence, how grateful I am that you found me once again.

My mind had all these ideas of what I was going to write

but when I sat down to type all the words flew away.

Instead, I discovered a vast space pulsing with tangible quiet

and the deep inner peace that tells me everything is okay.

Your sudden appearance used to distress me.

I questioned how I could call myself a writer if I had nothing to say.

But I have come to realise that you are a wise teacher.

You may show up unexpectedly and catch me by surprise

but you always bring gifts:

Rest. Presence. Depth. Space. Holding.

Time beyond time. Refined listening. Integration.

These gifts cannot be fully received if I am in motion,

chasing after thoughts that were already running away.

New words may come later, perhaps wisdom too

but if there is something truly to be spoken,

Silence, it will arise from you.