Go wander

[I am currently in Italy with my husband and his family for the Christmas holidays. This is a re-share and small update of a poem that I wrote a few years ago.
To create change in your life, you have to do things differently.
Open up space for nothingness so new inspiration can come through.
Step off your current path so you can experience something new.
Be willing to become lost. You will see new things. See the world differently. Strengthen your intuition and connection to your soul.
Be willing to let go of the life that you currently have. Be willing to wander and experiment.]

Let go of your schedule, your timetables, your calendar, your planning, your busyness and your need to make your waking moments productive.

Go outside, exactly as you are. Go to a park or a forest, a beach, your backyard or any space you have longed to explore.

Let your feet follow your eyes re-opened as if born anew and seeing for the first time.

Go to what calls your attention, to what flirts with your senses with its bright pretty colours or intriguing patterns and shapes.

Let your mind rest and your life force move you.

Wander without aim, without rules or constraints.

Wander with curiosity.

Wander with faith in its aimlessness.

Wandering produces nothing yet yields everything.

Wandering reclaims the instinct of your soul cut off the moment your life became ruled by your calendar and time, your to do lists and busyness, and the idea that you have to make something of your life for your life to matter instead of living fluidly as an expression of joy.

With love and courage,

Kym

xx

After the rain comes sun (and an excerpt from my book)

Looking down at the cemetery on the way into Berceto (Italy) on the Via Francigena

Looking down at the cemetery on the way into Berceto (Italy) on the Via Francigena

It’s been a tough 6 weeks with constant stomach pain, and grief and stress all coming up to be loved and healed.

Last weekend my body voiced its need to rest, heavy and lethargic with no desire to go anywhere or do anything. So I rested at home watching a new favourite series, Call the Midwife. I adore Sister Monica Joan with her poetic, mystical, deeply emotional and wise nature.

Contemplating what I would write about today in light of my current challenges, I remembered when I was walking the Via Francigena, how the ever-changing weather and the mud that clung to my boots tested me almost daily.  And so I felt inspired to share some excerpts from my forthcoming book, The Path We Make.

“After the rain comes sun. It managed to break through the clouds for large parts of the day. I welcomed its warmth on my skin, pausing to bask in the simple pleasure of it. Yet after the rain also comes wet grass and mud. Although my map showed that the canal path continued all the way into Châlons-en-Champagne, I followed the guidebook’s detour via Juvigny and trudged through 500 metres of thick, gunky mud that clung to the soles of my boots, gluing my feet to the ground. I hated the mud to the point of repulsion. I hated how it felt under my feet and I hated getting dirty. After stomping along for a time, I was relieved to turn onto a gravel path, but after 900 metres the gravel led to more wet grass and thick mud. The last 100 metres I walked through were a tangled mess of knee-high grass and blackberry bushes. The Red Beasts were wet again and so were my feet. My soles were clumped with mud and my pants smeared grey-brown. I missed the turn onto Rue St Martin that led to another field, but I didn’t mind walking along the hard bitumen for a while longer. At least my feet weren’t getting wetter or coated in more mud. Two kilometres down the road, I turned onto a gravel track back towards the main trail that became four more kilometres of clay and wet grass.

If I had to choose between walking all day in the rain on bitumen roads or walking in the sunshine on muddy wet tracks, I’m not sure which I would choose. They were both short straws: the bitumen punishingly hard, the rain a pain and the mud just plain repulsive. I tried to find something positive about mud and wet grass but couldn’t. It was annoying and gross and that was all. I was so happy when I finally turned back onto the concrete towpath and scraped the mud off my boots with a small stick. I had never spent this much time outdoors with limited shelter, exposed to whatever weather swept through, and with the need to keep moving. Unlike the week I walked through Tuscany in summer, when it was hot and hot only, I was experiencing four seasons almost every day, often numerous times each day, and it was testing my ability to accept what is.”

The Via Francigena pilgrimage tested me deeply and consistently on emotional, physical, spiritual and mental levels.  But for all the challenges, there were many gifts. Here’s another excerpt from my book from when I was walking from Berry-au-Bac to Reims in France. Kermit cloak is the name I gave to my green rain poncho.

“During the day I cursed the weather frequently. Melbourne is renowned for having four seasons in one day, but on this road it was four seasons every hour. Kermit cloak on then off, warm layer off then on again. Repeat, repeat, repeat! As frustrating as the weather was, it had its blessings too. A sudden shower forced me to put Kermit back on and then five minutes later the sun came out scorching, leaving me cursing as I ripped the Kermit off again. I rounded a corner and saw a host of yellow and purple wildflowers glistening in the sun. My cursing turned into cries of amazement.”

Amidst the frustration and trying times can be great beauty. And if there’s no beauty to be seen, don’t lose faith. The weather will eventually change, as will the seasons and the terrain you travel. Keep breathing.

With love and courage

Kym xx

Rediscovering the thread: an urban pilgrimage

Rediscovering the thread: an urban pilgrimage

"For in their hearts doth Nature stir them so, Then people long on pilgrimage to go."
—Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales

From the silence beneath the noise, I feel it—a tug from the unmet mystery to wander out into the world, and a push from my desire to meet it.

My mind starts trying to formulate a plan: starting and end points, how long and far I want to walk, what time I will leave.

But this call asks for none of that.  It is not about duration, exercise or a final destination. The call just asks me to get out of my chair, get dressed and follow where it leads without needing to understand where, why, how or when.

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Life: a masterpiece of curiosity

Life: a masterpiece of curiosity

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”—Joseph Campbell

At the moment my writing is going through another phase of floating through a snow dome and so I have been quiet on the blog. There has been some significant change in my inner and outer life and more injury so I must simply wait for the mud to settle before I can write about it. However, I feel inspired to share a small timely insight.

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To walk is joy

To walk is joy

“Movement is the song of the body”—Vanda Scaravelli

The sky is denim blue as I leave the house and the oak tree is a charcoal bushy silhouette against the glowing horizon.

Today for the first time in two months I feel an honest urge to go for a walk—not for health or fitness or to train for some crazy long-distance walk but because my body feels like walking.

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Homecoming

Homecoming

So many times over the last few weeks I have sat down to write about what has happened since I left London to drift. Each time I felt like I was in the word version of a snow dome: words and sentences danced around my head but didn't come together to form what I wanted to say.

Sometimes life is messy and chaotic and it doesn't seem to make any sense and we don't have to make sense of it although we may try. So here I am, again, trying.

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Be like driftwood

Be like driftwood

So when your original plan fails, what do you do next? Do you come up with plan B?

Maybe. 

Or maybe you recognise that it was your human planning and deadline setting and trying to make things happen that resulted in what you experienced in the first place.

Maybe your plan really was as David Whyte says, "...too small for you to live."

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