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!

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.

When your calling is scary and 3 tips to help you over come your resistance so you can just start

Photo by Ian Schneider.

Photo by Ian Schneider.

Today I have everything and nothing to say. So much has unfolded in my life in the last week.  There are so many things I could write about: the secret tricks of resistance, the gifts of cleaning up my act, the intelligence of the body, the unexpected joy of following a green mono-diet for the last week that was not hard at all contrary to what my mind had to say before I started.

My mind has been flipping between all the options I could write about, not sure which one to choose. So I decided to just start writing and see what emerges.

Sometimes you just have to start and see where you end up.

 The path isn’t linear or set in stone.

All roads lead to Rome. Although in years gone by, pilgrims may have walked the same route to Rome for safety and to access amenities, which is why it became the preferred pilgrimage route in the first place. There are in fact innumerable routes to Rome depending on which way you personally choose to walk. Your path is yours and yours alone. Don’t walk someone else’s (unless you feel called by your soul to do so.)

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I didn’t know I was going to write all that. It just came out as I was typing. See. This is this joy of turning up to a blank page to see what wants to emerge and be expressed.

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Sometimes we think we have to know where we’re going or how to do something or how it’s going to turn out before we start but the truth is we don’t really know until we start.  

So just start with a small step or if a small step is too much just a small movement or gesture.
Find your way.

On the weekend I bought and almost completely devoured Stephen Pressfield’s latest book, The Artist's Journey: The Wake of the Hero's Journey and the Lifelong Pursuit of Meaning upon the recommendation of my women’s circle leader, Grace Funk of Priestess Your Life, who described it asa game-changer.”

 Similar to Grace, I have spent most of my life exploring why am I here? What are my gifts? And in recent years, what is my subject? What is the underlying theme of my writing? Who am I here to serve?

 I realise as I was reading that my writing has dwindled away (again). The poetry has stopped. My instagram posts have a sentence or two at most. Sometimes I journal. I write my weekly blog post…so that’s something.  But overall, I have been writing very little.

I don’t feel inspired.
I have nothing to say.
I have to focus on finalising and marketing my book.
I’m too tired.
I don’t know what I want to write about yet.
I’m not clear on the subject yet.

These are some of my most common reasons…I mean excuses…I tell myself that stop me from writing.

Yes…they stop me from writing which because I tell myself means I stop myself from writing.

 Guess what’s really at play here?

 Resistance. I’d write it in invisible ink if I could because that’s how it often shows up in my life.

Stephen explains that writing or creating requires that we go from Level #1 - our everyday reality into what he calls Level #2 -“that is the Unconscious, the Soul, the Self, the Super-conscious.” You might also think of it as the Universe or unlimited creative field.

 “Resistance is a min-Refusal of the Call” (to adventure, to create, to take a risk or specifically in my case to sit down to the blank page to write.)

 But why?

 It’s simple.

 “The Call is scary,” writes Stephen.

Resistance is “the terror the psyche experiences at the prospect of encountering the Self, i.e. the soul, the unconscious, the superconscious.” 

I’d also offer that the psyche experiences this terror when venturing into the unknown whether it be to go and walk a pilgrimage route on the other side of the world, quit your job without another one to go to, take on any challenge you’ve never done before where you risk failing or change your life in some way that the psyche fears may be irreversible.

Stephen says that the first skill the artist must learn is how to start.  However, he does not tell you how to start. This is something the artist must discover for herself.

 At the end of the day you must discover what works for you but I will share a few things that have worked for me:

1.    When I don’t know what to write about, I ask for inspiration

I discovered this early in my Via Francigena journey. I noticed that I had been receiving writing inspiration constantly as I was walking then one day there was nothing.  I heard nothing.

I asked the universe why I wasn’t receiving inspiration and a small quiet voice said I didn’t ask. So I asked and it soon came flooding in.

To ask is to open to receive.

2.    Grow your creative energy anyway you can

Dance, walk, cook, paint, draw, colour, write, sing, play, walk, take photos, make love, go to an art exhibition or a performance.

Do something that gets you out of your head, that is fun and makes you feel excited.

This weekend I got my easel and paint out for the first time in months and intuitively painted.  When I paint, sometimes I have an idea of what I’m going to paint but it usually changes as I paint, often completely such is the way the creative process works through me. I also “make mistakes” e.g. put paint on in a way that doesn’t match my expectations, but somehow I always find a way to cover it, change it, blend it, correct it, morph it into something new or accept it.

I loved my painting so much, I have called her Mary the Angel and framed her and hung her on the wall behind my desk to reflect back at me my own creativity as I work. I am now super excited to paint more. I even ordered a book on intuitive painting for inspiration and learning. This excitement is flowing over into my writing and other areas of my life.

Here’s Mary the Angel….

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Can you see the luminous lizard creature hanging around her head aura? Well that was unintentional (which you could call a mistake) but as one of the many things lizard symbolises is teaching us that there are untapped powers in us, I think it was divinely intended and created.

3.    Be curious

 High expectations are a killer. Take the pressure off yourself. You don’t have to create something perfect. You don’t have to get it right.

Just start with curiosity and see what emerges and where you end up. Maybe it will be a mess.  Maybe you will fail.

Or maybe it will inspire something else or another part of your life.

Maybe it will be truly amazing.

Maybe that’s the real fear here that your amazingness exceeds what you have previously known/thought about yourself.

You may still feel resistance. Fear may come up.

Just feel it and send it some love.

See if you can find the excitement in your body for creating, make it bigger and bigger in your body so that your excitement is greater than your fear. Your excitement will help you step over the edge again and again.

“The artist is not expressing himself. He is discovering himself.” - Stephen Pressfield

And isn’t that just it? We get focused on outcomes: achievements and progress and getting somewhere and making it some place. But the journey is about discovery and there’s so much to discover in this world, and especially within yourself in the short time we have here on this planet in this life.

I just started writing this blog unsure of my starting point or where I was going and it showed up as I wrote. This also happens to be the longest blog I have written in a long time, which could be good or bad depending on your attention span and/or personal preference [insert cheeky face emoji that doesn’t exist on my laptop keyboard so you’ll have to imagine it.]

In writing this, I have discovered more about myself, primarily that I’m actually quite clear on how to get myself out of resistance. I just needed to write it down to remind myself.

I’m also feeling the creative fire inside my heart burning even more brightly, a combination of writing this blog, creative cooking, and painting on the weekend that has triggered a whole heap of ideas for books and insights and clarity around what I’m here to teach in this lifetime.

 So what do you say? Want a make a commitment to yourself to just start? To have a go? To give it your best shot?

Your adventure, your art, your book, your poetry, your song, your dance, your [fill in the blank] is waiting to come through you.

I hope you’ll say yes.

With love and courage,

Kym

xx

PS If you need some help to overcome resistance, checkout how we can work together on my service page and/or send me an email to kym@kymwilson.com.au or through my contact page.

Embracing fear, taking a risk

Fear rushes towards me. All of my cells scream “no!”

Don’t worry. I’m not in any real danger. I’m just sitting at my writing desk with my iPhone in my hand and my thumb hovering over the share button of a Facebook post.

I’m on the verge of putting my first holistic counseling service offer into the world and it feels like I’m about to step off the edge of a cliff and go splat in a way that not even the ever flexible Gumby could recover from.

IMAGE SOURCE: https://shannoncrane.files.wordpress.com

IMAGE SOURCE: https://shannoncrane.files.wordpress.com

I don’t have to do this, I know. Nobody’s making me do it. I could delete the draft post, put the phone down and just walk away, or I could use the classic deferral tactic and tell myself I’ll do it next week or another day and that day will come and I can just defer it again.

But you see, this is what my heart wants:
To take risks even if I might fail.
To offer what I have to give even if there is no one out there to receive what I have to offer.
To support other sensitive souls through their doubts and fear so that they can step towards their dreams and callings and give their gifts that the world so desperately needs.

My heart has wanted this for a long time, but it’s my mind that has surveyed the future and identified all the potential risks, harm and downfall. (Risk management assessment is a particularly strong skill of mine that has helped me succeed in the business world.)

My mind protests loudly. It digs its heels firmly into the ground. “You’re not going any further. You’re safe here where you are,” it asserts.

For a moment, I contemplate not taking that step and I feel like this…

 
IMAGE SOURCE: coachingforinspiration.com

IMAGE SOURCE: coachingforinspiration.com

 

Yes, this is what playing it safe can look like on the inside. Try the posture on yourself. It doesn’t feel very good.

Our protective parts will do anything to keep us safe.

They make up a lot of stories, often of the type that don’t have a happy ending.  They tend to overlook the potential for success, freedom, and joy.

They can speak very powerfully with authority but they actually don’t know what the future holds. Nobody does. The only way to find out is to go there.

Whenever we take a risk, fear can arise. It’s a normal response especially when we think of risk in terms of danger or uncertainty instead of opportunity or even thrill. Fear can be heightened for those who are highly sensitive like me.

I don’t believe there is a standard approach to facing and crossing these edges in our lives. We must determine our individual response each time we face an edge that is unique to our life and who we are.

Sometimes the response that feels right is to feel the fear and leap.
Sometimes, we must stand at the edge for a while dreaming into what lies on the other side.
Sometimes we must walk up to the edge then walk away many times before we are ready to take that step.

This time I stood at the edge with fear rushing towards me. I slowly leaned towards the edge of my known and unknown worlds, millimetre by millimetre. As I did, I came into closer contact with the fear.

I held my ground and just felt the sensations that were in and around my body as they grew and grew until I realised it wasn’t actually fear I was feeling.

It was my very life force rushing through me.

All of my cells pulsed with aliveness, not fear. It’s an aliveness I feel now in my body as I write about that experience and further embody it. It’s an incredibly strong power and vibrant light.

Fuelled by my aliveness not fear, I pressed share on that post and published it on Facebook. And guess what?

My world didn’t end. 

I didn’t splat onto the ground. I didn’t get the outcome I hoped for but nothing bad happened at all. Instead something very unexpected happened. I came into direct contact with my own life force and power.

Marianne Williamson wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

The way to liberate yourself from fear is not to turn away from it, not to bypass it, not to step over or around it but to allow it to be there and consciously build your own relationship with it.

Slow down here. Don’t rush. This is hallowed ground.

Be curious about about your fear and the sensations in your body. Is it really fear you are feeling? Ask it questions and check how true the response is. Dialogue with it.

Investigate your beliefs about taking a risk or achieving success.

Feel your way through it into your own power. It’s right there waiting for you.

Is there something you’re afraid of that’s holding you back? I’d love the opportunity to support you through it.  Consider working with me 1:1.

With love and courage,

kym2 copy.png
 
 

Another standstill

Another standstill

There are only 9 weeks left until I take my first steps from Rome to Jerusalem and again I have been brought to a standstill.

I have been pushing myself hard over the last few weeks since the ligaments I tore in my ankle at the end of March healed enough that I could start hiking. I have effectively been working the equivalent of 4 days in 3 as my contract's project moved into a critical phase, plus walking 3 days per week up to 20 kilometres per session, plus finishing the edits on my book so I could try and publish it before I leave, and not to mention trying to finalise plans to walk and pack up my life for 6 months or more.

Then 1 week ago, after back-to-back days walking 16 and 20 kilometres in the Dandenong Ranges and beside the Yarra River wearing the Princess boots, the Morton’s neuroma in my left foot returned. The nerve between my third and fourth metatarsals is compressed and fibrous tissue has formed around it causing constant pain and discomfort.

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Ending this fall of silence

Ending this fall of silence
"Silence is a source of great strength." — Lao Tzu

As we transition seasons from Autumn to Winter here in Melbourne, the remainder of the deciduous trees are in the final stages of surrendering their autumn dresses of lemon and lime, and tangerine, wine red and paper-bag brown. And I feel ready to surrender the silence that unexpectedly enveloped me after I fell.

I spent 1.5 weeks on crutches and 3 weeks applying ice for two hours every night to reduce the enormous swelling. An x-ray confirmed it wasn’t broken. However, I tore the anterior talofibular ligament in my ankle almost entirely apart. As you can imagine, this isn’t ideal for someone planning on walking thousands of kilometres. The healing has been steady but slow. And the fall triggered realisations that caused me to surrender plans made:

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The Way of Peace and how to find your own

The Way of Peace and how to find your own
"When you live on a round planet, there’s no choosing sides." — Wayne Dyer

This morning as I walked into the office, the newspapers lying on the coffee table in our client waiting area jumped out at me:

Terror! The headlines were huge and bold. Terror was the word being used to draw in readers and sell newspapers.

And it is true. There are people in this world doing terrible things and creating terror. There are wars and murders and atrocities being committed everyday. I don’t deny that.

But I don’t buy the news and I still believe that the goodness of humankind can outweigh the ugly and the bad.

Last year as I walked the Via Francigena, I became acutely aware of the “stranger danger” programming I learned as a child. Whenever strangers approached me, my first reaction was fear, wondering if I could trust them or if they intended me harm. What I experienced was kindness and curiosity; people only ever wanted to talk to me, to offer me coffee or a meal or the use of their bathroom.

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