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!

The secret to blooming

Photo by Leanna Cushman

Photo by Leanna Cushman

 

Soft, gentle blooming —

every flower blossoms

and surrenders its petals

in its own time

and its own unique way.

No pushing, no striving,

just the creative force of life

moving through you

like a river, ever onwards.

Humans industrialised the world, 

yet nature is wiser than we.

The hardest thing to do is

to step away from a way of life

you may have chosen or inherited or fallen into,

to trust and live the life

that wants to unfold through you.

But it can be done

when you trust in you

and the ever evolving wisdom

that emerges through your own intuition.

With love and courage,

kym2 copy.png
 

PS Rest is an essential part of nature’s creative process. I’m on holidays for the next two weeks. I’ll be back on the 24th June.

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.