Facing fear: a conversation and discovery

Photo by Johannes Planio

Photo by Johannes Planio

All my heart wants to do is write, but I keep procrastinating and distracting myself with searching for stuff like a refillable purple pen so I don’t keep throwing out single use pens, and books, lots of books, because I love books and could drown in them.

The more time I spend searching, the sadder my heart becomes. I am not doing what it really wants to do. I am doing anything but, and the anything I am doing isn’t particularly meaningful even if I justify it with logic and reasons.  

I am scared.

Fear doesn’t want me to write that down. It becomes squirmy and slippery like an eel.

Fear doesn’t want to be inquired into. It has special protective powers like mind blanking. As soon as my conscious mind starts to inquire into fear it can freeze everything and wipe the slate clean. It’s a lot like being a deer in headlights.

Fear can try to disguise itself and hide but it can’t hide very well anymore. I have worked hard to cultivate my awareness and stand in my power so it can’t take over completely or for too long no matter what tricks it pulls.

But yes, here it is now, shaking and quivering around me. Every step I take closer to listening to my heart and writing what it has to say, fear gets louder and louder.

It pleads that I don’t do this, for I will be found out, people will know that I have nothing valuable or original to say and that I can’t really write. I will reveal myself as a fraud. And even if I do write, no one will want to read it anyway so I will waste my time and embarrass myself by even trying.

Fear says stay here where it’s safe, where you don’t risk failure, where you don’t expose yourself and make yourself vulnerable.

I pause and ponder, taking in all that fear has to say, and then I respond.

I can’t stay here and I can’t not do this. I have procrastinated and avoided the call of my heart for long enough and I have suffered.

I am parched and withered and dying a slow fruitless death docked to this wharf of safety but the waves keep lapping at me and the horizon beckons me to explore what lies out there beyond this safe mooring and I must go.

I may return and I may not.

I may find others to journey with me or I may ride the waves alone.

I may discover there are many people interested in the treasures I discover or I may be the only one who is interested.

I may discover riches or I may be lead into the realm of nothingness, just drifting in a sea of blue.

The bounty could be all or it could seem to be nothing.

None of this matters. All that truly matters is that when you hear or feel the call of your Soul, you answer and you go.

If you keep fixating on the world you see, if you keep trying to find your place within it, you will play too small and limited.

There is a whole cosmos of possibility within you. Say yes and discover it.

As for fear, well fear will take the journey with you. It may never leave your side.

It may always be the voice that pleads for you to return to shore where everything appears more steady and certain, especially when you sail into new unknown territory or face waves bigger than you’ve ever seen before.

But you can take fear by the hand and talk to it, reassure it that you’re here for the adventure and not the safe harbour, and remind it of the times you ventured into unknown territory and things turned out okay.

You may never be fearless but you may fear less and even discover how bold, and daring you truly are.

With love and courage,

Kym xx

The wisdom of being lost and tools to navigate the fog lands (including an excerpt from my book)

Photo by Dimitar Donovski

Photo by Dimitar Donovski


Dear ones,

Just like clouds can suddenly blanket the sky and block out the sun, we can find ourselves at times feeling lost and uncertain of where we are going or how to find the sun again.

I call this the fog lands. This is a place in my life where I feel fogged in and I cannot see where I am or where I am going and where the vision that was guiding me seems to have disappeared. When this happens, as it does from time to time as clouds are a part of life, we might find ourselves waiting for someone or something to show us where we’re going or meant to go but we already have the tools available to help us navigate our way out of the fog.

1.    Tune into your heart.

Our heart’s know our true desires. The heart is the home of our heart. So when wanting to know what way to go in your unique life, tune into you heart.

A simple question you can ask over and over and contemplate is “What does my heart desire?”

You can also play with visioning, finding pictures and words to create a collage of your dream whilst exploring the feeling within the dream.

At the moment I participating in Hannah Marcotti’s Five Beautiful Dreams visioning circle. http://www.hannahmarcotti.com/hannah-marcotti-2/2019/7/25/together-we-dream-a-two-week-visioning-practice

2.    Set your intentions

Setting intentions is a very powerful way of setting direction in your life.

The Upanishads, which are a collection of ancient Hindu religious/philosophical texts, state that,  “You are your deepest driving desire – as is your desire, so is your will, as is your will, so is your deed, as is your deed, so is your destiny”.

I really love Davidji’s process of ritualization and in particular, the way he sets intentions by inviting your attention into your awareness, planting it like a seed in your heart, then handing it over to the universe by letting the universe kiss your heart.

You don’t have to force it, just invite it in.

You can find the details of his process here:
https://davidji.com/ritualization-important-meditation-practice/

3.    Use intuition and divine guidance to navigate towards your intention

When we jump into our heads and try to figure everything out, we disconnect from our body and intuition and try do do everything ourselves.

When we ask for guidance, it opens us up for help and support in whatever form it comes. For me it is usually what I call the whispers or the quiet voice of wisdom within that I hear directing, guiding, supporting and encouraging me. It can also come as symbols, knowing and guided movements or action.

 4. Getting lost can serve your path

Many of us worry about getting lost, not knowing what’s next or if we’re gong to be okay. When I was walking the Via Francigena, the quiet voice of wisdom spoke up one day early in my journey in France. It said, “You are so worried about getting lost, but can you afford not to?”

We are lead to believe that not knowing where we are going, not having a direction or focus in life and being lost is a bad thing. But what if being lost was a gift and a blessing?

Here is an excerpt from my book, The Path We Make: a journey of the heart on the Via Francigena, about the positive side of being lost. 

 

In the morning, I woke and launched straight into my new routine. I dressed, filled the hydration bladder with just enough water to last the day, packed the Devil, ate breakfast then harnessed myself into my bags. It was nine o’clock when I checked out of the hotel and started walking out of town. The morning market was in full swing. The streets were lined with stalls selling summer fruits and vegetables, local cheese, cold cuts and clothes. I bought six ripe apricots and an apple from a fruit stall then a ham and cheese baguette from the boulangerie. It was too big to fit inside the Devil, so I tied it to the left side and tucked the bottom of it into the pocket that held my walking poles.

The market obscured the landmarks. I couldn’t see the mairie, the town hall, to get my bearings. After a few false starts, I used the GPS to find my way out of town. I didn’t bother with the guidebook at all for the rest of the day. The trail was well signposted and I had the map and GPS that I referred to more often than was necessary. As I went to check it again, I heard a firm but kind voice that I recognised as my own, coming from within but also beyond.

“You are so worried about getting lost, but can you afford not to?”

I stopped. I knew from my time in Tuscany that getting lost could mean miles of extra walking, physical pain and tiredness. It meant having to ask strangers for help and trying to communicate ineloquently in a foreign language then trying to interpret the reply. But I also knew that it was through getting lost that I discovered the most treasure. When I had lost my way in my career, taking on a role that I discovered I didn’t like, it provided me with the opportunity to take a risk and leap into the unknown by quitting without another job lined up. In taking that leap, I found that I could live with uncertainty and I experienced the joy of slowing down and living one day at a time. When I lost my way walking through Tuscany, I discovered that I could navigate my own way back to the route or the next town, and that getting lost helped to sharpen my intuition. And once, after I was kicked out of a taxi in a part of Bangkok I didn’t know because of horrendous traffic jams, I stumbled into the middle of a festival with bands and food stalls and streets jammed with tens of thousands of people wearing white. It was the Thai queen’s birthday celebration, something I will always remember because of the unexpected delight of chancing upon it. What would I miss out on if I didn’t get lost? What would my life be like if I had never lost my way in my career and decided as a result to step off that path in an unknown direction?

In The Art of Pilgrimage, Phil Cousineau writes that “what every traveller confronts sooner or later is that the way we spend each day of our travel ... is the way we spend our lives.” I no longer wanted to live being so worried about not knowing what the hell I was doing or where I was going in my life. I didn’t want to spend my life trying to keep myself on a safe and known path. I wanted to trust that if I followed my heart and my intuition, I would always find my way. I knew that if I kept hoping to find answers outside myself in books or from other people then I would never fine-tune my inner compass, and I would forever look outside myself when I needed to trust what was within. I promised myself that from then on I would only turn the GPS on if I really needed it.

May you navigate your own fog lands with courage and trust.

With love,

Kym xx

What do do when you don't know what to do: Part 2

Photo by Josh Boot

Photo by Josh Boot

"Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action."
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Dear ones,

I’ve just come home from seeing a dear friend who has been suddenly thrown into an impossible situation, one that they must live through. I want to help as much as I can, but the circumstances are complicated and there is very little I can do to help except to reach out, love, be willing and able to act and to pray.

I wrote this poem when I got home. My hope is that if you find yourself in a difficult situation, or if one of your loved ones is also going through a hard time and you don’t know how you can help or you can’t help, that these words bring some comfort.

 

 

When you don’t know what to do,

you can pray.

And even if you do know what to do,

you can pray.

 

You can pray to god or goddess,

the universe, your higher self,

wisdom, the Light

or even just the goodness that exists in the world

no matter how hidden it seems.

 

You can pray for yourself, for another

or for all sentient beings.

 

You can pray on your knees, on the train, driving the car,

sitting on the toilet, in the shower, walking down the street,

in a church, in a forest, in the office,

wherever it is that you are.

Even if you don’t believe in prayer,

you can pray.

Prayer is a request, a statement of longing, desire or intention.

It can be a plea for help or guidance.

Often it is a gesture of gratitude.

 

Whatever your circumstances right now,

whether it be heartbreak, hopelessness, despair,

uncertainty, confusion, depression,

fear or shock in the aftermath of a bombshell,

joy, contentment, gratitude,

seeking, longing, or dreaming,

you can pray.

 

You can pray to bless or be blessed.

You can pray to uplift or be uplifted.

You can pray to heal or be haled.

How the world, needs so much of this right now.

 

You can pray with your own words,

or you can borrow the words of others,

or even use an ancient prayer.

 

Maybe you won’t notice any immediate change,

but there will be change

starting with you

because you won’t be the same person

as before you prayed.

Peace, connection, alignment and divine support will be yours.

The positive intentions that flow through your body

will ripple out into the world

and touch others

even if they don’t know it.

You will be strengthened.

You will contain more light.

And while you still may not know what to do,

your being present, willing and able,

and the pure intention of your heart

will be enough.

 

If you need to borrow some words to get started in prayer, the Shantideva prayer might be a good place to start.

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With love and courage,

Kym xx

How to effortlessly find the motivation to take action especially when it is hard, uncomfortable or unpleasant

Photo by @helloimnik via unsplash

Photo by @helloimnik via unsplash

A few weeks ago, to my surprise, my spirit urged me to start a running training program.

I’ve never been much of a fan of running. It can be pretty punishing on the body, boring and create a lot of discomfort mostly of the mental kind, where you want to quit because it feels hard but you keep pushing yourself to keep going, unless of course you do quit because you don’t win the mental battle and either walk, go home and/or never go for a run again.

Why running?

Well I’m not a fan of the gym, and while I love boxing (I trained in boxing for many years and was even going to try some amateur bouts until I sprained my ankle then suffered hip and back problems for a couple of years) I’m not feeling the call to go back to boxing right now.

My main goal is to move my body, get fit and feel good. My secondary goal is to work up to running 5 kilometres, just because it feels good to have to something to aim towards that will extend myself.

So I googled and found a simple training program that combines walking and running that builds up to only running over a number of weeks so that I can ease into it, build up strength and stamina and reduce the risk of injury by going too hard too soon.

It’s not been the best time of year to start training here in Melbourne. It’s winter. They days are short and cold, sometimes windy, and we’ve had a lot of rain. So you know what’s coming next….

Common excuses not to take action

Being winter gives me at least 4 reasons not to go outside and run:

  • It’s too dark.

  • It’s too cold.

  • It’s too wet.

  • It might rain.

 The other excuses I can come up with include:

  • I’m still sore from the last run.

  • I’m too tired.

  • It’s too hard.

  • I’ll go tomorrow.

My favourite and most consistent excuse is:

I don’t feel like it.

As humans, we’re pretty wired for comfort and safety. I think it’s a rare person who wakes up and says to them self…

“Gee I feel like getting out of my comfort zone today!”

Well at least I don’t wake up thinking that or saying to myself that I really feel like going for a run, although maybe one day I will. 

So far, three weeks into my training I haven’t missed a training session and I’ve managed pretty easily not to give into my excuses and allow them to stop me and this is why…

My secret motivation booster…

Last year, my teacher/coach introduced me to Kundalini meditation and yoga by prescribing some short meditative practices to help with anger and negativity, heart protection and self-love.  I’ve tried different styles of yoga over the years but never clicked with them the way I clicked with Kundalini yoga. I felt completely different after the first short 3-minute practice I was given.  Since then, I’ve been practicing almost every day.

One of the things that I love about the kundalini practice is that often there is time allowed to sit, breathe, notice the body and it’s energy and integrate the medicine of the practice. The energy in and around my body may feel different depending on the practice but there are usually very delicious feelings to feel.

I’ve transferred this practice of awareness and integration into my running training.

When I arrive home from a run, I sit for a few minutes and feel the energy that is around my body. Yes, my legs or feet or knees might feel a bit sore or achy, but the energy in and around my body feels light, vibrant, alive, vital, joyful and sometimes blissful.

It is by paying attention to how I feel after I’ve done the hard work i.e. the fruits of my labour that motivates me to go back and run again, to put myself through discomfort.

The running might be hard at times but the more I do it, the more I start to experience pockets of joy as I run. The more I pay attention to how I feel after running, the more I want to go back and do it again.

Bask in the goodness. Soak in all the delicious sensations.

Photo by Melissa Askew

Photo by Melissa Askew

It’s that simple. And it’s something we can apply to almost any difficult task we have to accomplish whether it be a university assignment, cleaning up a very messy house, making a difficult phone call we’ve been putting off.

Try it…

So I offer you this short practice to try:

  1. Drift back in time and remember something you accomplished that felt good to accomplish.

  2. Remember how you felt.

  3. Notice where the feeling is located in your body and what the sensations are like. It might not be in your body but just around your body in your energy field or aura.

  4. Name the feelings or sensations.

  5. Bask in the feeling and sensations.

Doing this will effortlessly build your motivation to take action because…

  1. You will more deeply map the feeling to your body and energy system.

  2. The next time you have to do something hard or uncomfortable, your body will remember the good feelings .

  3. Those good feelings will help you move through the uncomfortable part.

  4. It will become easier to take action and consistent action towards your goals because those good feelings are going to pull you towards them.

Try it and let me know how you go.

Oh and if you’re one of those people who does wake up in the morning looking forward to getting out of their comfort zone, I’d love to hear from you too. Let me in on your secret.

 With love and courage,

Kym xx

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PS This is me on my way back home from a run, rugged up for the cold and rain jacket on because it was possibly going to rain but it didn’t…


The wisdom of your younger self

photo by J R Korpa

photo by J R Korpa

When you were a kid, did you ever write a story about what you would be or what your life would be like when you grew up?

I did. And I found mine yesterday as I was tidying up and organising our cupboards.

I pulled out my storage box of cards, letters and other papers and started poking through the contents and there it was among some old schoolwork that my dad had kept for me and that I had put away and forgotten: a typed up and illustrated story that I wrote when I was 7 or 8 years old, titled When I’m grown up.

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 Here’s what I wrote:

When I’m grown up.

When I’m grown up I will be a nurse. I will also be bigger. And instead of being a nurse, I might be an artist. If I am an artist I shall draw wild birds and wild flowers. When I’m grown up I shall get married and have children. I shall buy a house and get a pool, I shall have fun with the children too. I shall take them to the circus. We shall go on holidays. When I have finished being an artist, I shall be a ballerina. I shall go over the world as a ballerina. When I am a bit older I shall quit being a ballerina and go back to my own country.

                        THE END

(because when you’re young all stories must formally end this way.)

I giggled joyfully when I read it and studied the pictures which include a red-framed painting of the wild flowers I would draw when I was an artist, a self-portrait of me as a very happy pink-crowned, purple tutu wearing ballerina, and a picture of me and my future husband with orange hair surrounded by colourful confetti.

It wasn’t just the pictures that delighted me but the innocence of the story and although I never became a nurse or ballerina, and haven’t had children or bought a house with a pool there is still a very sweet truth that lives within those words that has played out in my life.

I didn’t know then but I would help to care for my mum from the time I was age 11 as her muscular dystrophy deteriorated her physical condition and she became bed bound.

I also used the qualities of the nursing in my financial planning career by trying to improve systems and cultures, to care for what is sick or ill or not functioning well and finding ways to bring ease and joy.

I am a writer and a poet. I also dabble in painting and pastels for fun. Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally), my last two paintings were of an owl and tulips.

I have always loved being in water, from dad taking us to the swimming pool to beach holidays at my nana and papa’s house in Rosebud West.  Swimming, scuba diving, being in or near water is like oxygen for my soul.

My younger self used to love putting on her leotards and choreographing her own dance routines, especially to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I’ve never studied ballet or taken any other type of dance class for that matter except for line dancing and ballroom dancing that was part of compulsory physical education classes at school, but I have actually danced my way around the world: I’ve danced in Thailand, India, Bali, on boats in Indonesia, and I dance-walked parts of the Via Francigena in France and Italy —I dance-walked into St Peter’s Square when I arrived in Rome and completed my pilgrimage.

And yes I have come back to my own country. I’m living in Melbourne and not dancing all over the world at the moment but I don’t think I’m done being my version of a world-travelling ballerina just yet.

When I re-read my story of When I’m Grown Up, I can’t help but marvel at how my younger self easily and innocently dreamed up her life. She knew what she liked and what mattered to her and easily declared her willingness to follow her curiousity without second guessing herself.

Of course this was before all the seriousness of growing up and being an adult and having responsibilities and taking on ideas about what it means to be an adult and live a meaningful life took over.

Often we look to our older or future selves and even our higher selves for advice on how to live our lives and which direction to go, but I think that our younger selves have their own wisdom to offer that was gained before we unlearned our innocent ways and were taught how to succeed and fit into this world.

What wisdom does your younger self hold for you?
Is there something you forgot along the way to being an adult that you could pick up again that would bring you joy?

With love and courage,

Kym xx

How do you cope with sudden change and not knowing what the future will bring?

Photo by Ross Findon

Photo by Ross Findon

After my last blog post about letting go of what you think life should look, I received emails with questions about coping with change and how to let go and get unstuck. These were great questions and useful for us all to consider as we all experience and have to find our way through change.

When life changes very quickly it can feel like the rug is swept out from under your feet and you don’t yet know where you will land.  When the sudden change relates to our living arrangements our sense of security becomes threatened and can trigger our fight, flight, freeze response. A sudden change in our circumstances or expectations can initially shake everything up creating confusion and an inability to see the way forward.  In time when the mud settles, there can be more clarity.

If even just reading this makes you feel uneasy, take a moment to ground yourself in the safety of this present moment.  Feel your feet on the ground, look around you where you are and name what you see, notice your breath and see if you can slow it down and make it deeper and remind yourself that you are safe.

Like you, I’ve experienced a lot of change in my own life. Mine include changes in living arrangements, to redundancy, to relationships and friendships ending and deaths of loved ones. I experienced all the emotions that go along with change: shock, disbelief, anger, confusion, grief, sorrow, uncertainty, fear and eventually even curiosity and excitement about new possibilities.

Packing up my life to travel for a year (which turned into a prolonged period of living between Melbourne and Thailand, travelling and adventures such as walking the Via Francigena) meant that I have spent a large chunk of my life with my belongings in storage and without a permanent home.

Having a home gives us a sense of security and safety, as does having some certainty in our working and personal relationships. A change in our life circumstances can make us feel unsafe.

In my experience, not having a permanent home and travelling meant I had to trust that somehow everything would turn out okay, that I would find a roof over my head and work when I needed it. It helped me to grow my courage and my trust in the universe but I also experienced a lot of fear and shed many tears along the way.

A great example of this trust and courage was my experience when I was walking the Via Francigena and I arrived in Gy, a small town in eastern France with a population of just over 1,000 and was unable to find accommodation. I had been afraid that this would happen.  You can read the whole story here, but here’s the very short version.

A little pot of panic simmered in my stomach and started to boil as I worked through my list of accommodation options and couldn’t find anything. But a very firm voice within me told me to “Keep calm,” which I did. Eventually I found a Bed n Breakfast in Choye, a town 4 kilometres away and after making a phone call speaking only in French with my limited vocabulary and comprehension, I found a room for the night. I was so happy and relieved and even victorious.

That night I wrote in my Via Francigena blog…

“Everything always works out.  We end up exactly where we are meant to be.”

For me this continues to be true, although it doesn’t always feel like it in the midst of change or uncertainty. It is at those times that I find it most useful to reflect on my life, at the path I’ve travelled with all the change, fear and uncertainty I’ve experienced and how life turned out at those times and the gifts it gave me. That is, I give myself a reminder of how everything has worked out okay.

I find that when change comes, my life turns out in ways I could never have imagined.

If you are experiencing a period of change and transition in your life with all of the fear, grief, uncertainty, frustration and confusion that may entail, may you connect deeply with our Mother Earth who supports you with every breath and may friends and loved ones hold space for your uncertainty and unfolding.

With love and courage, 

Kym xx

PS I love to hear from you, so if you have a question or a comment get in touch!

Letting go of what you think life should look like

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For years, I leaned forward into a life I never arrived at.

I was preoccupied with everything I thought would make me happy and that would eventually make my life mean something important – like a successful career, financial security, overseas holidays, a home, a husband and family.

Then one day, during a prolonged period of extreme unhappiness, I quit.

I left a long-term relationship that I had over-stayed.

I quit my job without another job to go to.

Eventually I packed up my belongings to travel and be free for a while.

Unshackled from routine and my never-ending planning and doing, I found myself in wonder at this life and what it truly means to be alive.

Free of ties and blindfolds, free of commitment and expectation, I sank into the invitation to move the way my spirit moved me instead of the way I thought I should move through my life.

I began to see the magic all around:
in the blossoming of flowers,
in the setting of the sun,
in the kind and gentle touch of a lover,
in the sting of being misunderstood,
in the flow of following my intuition and the surprising terrain it guided me through.

I let go of what I thought life should look like and how it should unfold by becoming open and free and willing to see what could be possible.

I became a blank canvas for the universe to write on and through.

I began to experience the rapture of living in the aliveness that is only available now and cannot be deferred or chased.

Your life might not look like mine. You may not be called to the same adventure, to quit a job, to leave a relationship, to travel or to change careers. But there will be times during your life that you will be called to adventure in your own unique way.

You may resist or deny the call. Making life changes can be thrilling for some but scary for others. Resisting that step for too long can lead to pain and suffering or even a dulling of vitality or complete loss of joy.

My wish for you is that you don’t stay stuck in the resistance for too long.

May you gather your courage and your allies and supporters who really want the best for you and can hold space for your change.

May you find your way to let go of whatever may be holding your back, or find the energy of your tipping point to move you forward.

There is no formula for letting go and moving forward and it’s usually never as simple as just letting go as some people may tell you, although they may mean well.

There can also be a lot to learn from our resistance if we unpack and explore it, but staying stuck for too long can be unnecessary and unhelpful.

If you find yourself stuck and need some support to help you move forward, send me an email to kym@kymwilson.com.au. I’m here and ready to help.

With love and courage,

Kym xx