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

Why you should slow down and take your time

Sometimes it seems this world is in such a rush to get somewhere and especially to cram as much as possible into the short time we have to live this human incarnation.

But doesn’t rushing feel like skating on the surface?

And doesn’t cramming it all in feel confining and stifling and like there’s no space for joy to wrap around the experience?

In our efforts to realise our dreams, we skip over uncertainty, and we don’t mine the gifts of our procrastination, fears, avoidant tendencies and other blocks.

I’m a proponent of slowing down and taking your time.

In my work place, I see time and time again how too much focus on getting the job done often in a rush and not enough focus on the unfolding journey called process causes errors, sub-standard work and re-works making the journey take twice as long and a whole heap of frustration and lost goodwill. A lot of business studies have shown that slowing down is the way to speed up.

As a scuba diver, swimming too fast has two implications:
The first is that you will suck your tank dry of air quickly and your dive time will be greatly reduced;
The second is that you won’t see all the camouflaged, hidden and tiny creatures as you swim right past them. You might see more of a big site but really you will see less.

As a pilgrim (or hiker or every day walker), walking through the world brings you into direct contact with the world around you, the ground, the sky, the weather, the sounds, the smells, the textures, the small and hidden details, in a way you can’t experience it in a bus or train or car.

As a meditator, your experience of life slows right down to this moment, this breath, this inhale then exhale, the thoughts floating through like passing clouds and all the sensations that are here to be noticed and felt fully.

There’s a time to leap and jump and swing through life, and there’s a time to bust through your procrastination and other blocks that hold you back, but mostly I think we need to slow down.

The fullness of life is not in how much we do or how far we go or how much we achieve but in how deeply we experience and treasure each moment that it presents, even the ones we want to bypass or reject.

With love and courage,

Kym xx

What do do when you don't know what to do

There will be times on the journey when you lose your way, lose your vision, become directionless, disoriented, confused and you don’t know what to do, who or where to turn to.

Don’t panic.

Don’t rush to take the first step that comes to mind to get you out of your experience and away from where you don’t want to be unless the house is on fire or you are in some other kind of immediate danger.

You don’t have to scramble to retrace your steps to find out where you went wrong to end up in this place for nothing is wrong despite what you may think.

Instead, take a deep breath and rest exactly where you are.

Melt into this place of stuckness, confusion, unknowing, uncertainty and visionlessness, deeper and deeper with each breath you exhale.

Another breath will come without you having to do a thing.
You are alive and life is supporting you exactly where you are.

The discomfort you feel isn’t a sign that anything is wrong nor is it something you have to escape or even figure out.

The flow that you may have had and lost doesn’t need to be rediscovered right this very moment.

Slowly you will adjust to what at first felt uncomfortable and made you want to scramble to find your way again.

You will find that you can look around at where you are now with curiousity, love and compassion; the fog will lift, the mountain may dissolve.

You can listen more intently and hear more clearly what is arising from within you.

You will discover that you are standing on sacred ground, that being stopped in your tracks or the way forward disappearing beneath your feet came to serve a sacred purpose: a time for rest, renewal, reconnection or redirection.

This sacred pit stop may help you strengthen and recommit to your vision or allow a new one to arise along with a new path to walk. Or may be you discover that you really did take a wrong turn and you can retrace your steps to that point and continue on, but not before opening the gifts of your wrong turn.

Don’t jump ahead and miss this step.  

Don’t be in a rush to carry on and arrive.

If you were really meant to be there already, you would be there.
If you were meant to know what to do, you would already know.

The fruits are always in the journey not the destination.

Slow down and just be here where you are, with your palms open in gratitude and receptiveness for the knowing to arrive in its own divine time and way.

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.

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.