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

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.

To receive the day

Photo by Angelo Pantazis

Photo by Angelo Pantazis

 

Mid way through this warm autumn,

I sit and watch,

listen and breathe,

feel and appreciate

all the beauty of this season:

The softness of the daylight,

the cool breeze,

clumps of bronze seed pods

waiting to helicopter-fall

from the ash tree,

the thin pale blue sky,

birds chirping, magpies carolling,

shimmering strands of spider webs,

the sun gently warming my skin.

The earth endlessly offers us

so much beauty and nourishment

for free,

yet we rush on with our days,

with the busyness

of the consuming world

we were born into.

Change begins within each of us.

To receive the day

is different than to take.

To appreciate fully

what is freely and generously offered

fills the endless void of lack.

Wants fade away. Needs are fulfilled.

Joy, contentment and peace

are here

in front of us.


 

Dear ones,

Wherever you are in the world, whether it is spring or autumn, monsoon or dry season, I hope that you find many moments each day to be still and enjoy the beauty of this earth in the changing seasons.
May your problems dissipate or even go away.
May you find fulfilment in simplicity and just being here.
May you be inspired to create and to celebrate life and our beautiful mother earth.
May you be kind unto her, unto yourself and to each other.
May kindness become our prime currency now. We need it more than ever.

With love and courage,

Kym xx

The power of a heart that feels fully

I have delayed writing this post today because I wanted to find subject matter that my mind deemed more uplifting or positive. I have done the grocery shopping, some cleaning, scrolled through Facebook, made coffee and decided I was hungry a couple of times— basically employed all the available tactics to avoid coming into direct contact with what is waiting for me here and now.

For me today, what is here waiting for me now is grief that sits in the middle of my heart waiting to pour forth the moment I say yes to what is there.

I am not grieving the loss of a human loved one. I am crying for trees, sacred trees that are at risk of being cut down so that a highway in regional Victoria can be widened.

The Djap Wurrung Embassy who represent the traditional owners of the land where the trees stand writes this:

“We are sitting here on Djapwurrung country protecting sacred trees.

These beautiful trees include an 800 year old tree that has seen over 50 generations born inside of a hollow in her trunk and a 350 year old directions tree that has been shaped and resembles a Woman. This area is part of the song line, the series of scared trees and artefacts we find here regularly prove its significance.

To our People, the land is our means of survival.

It is our food, spirit, identity and culture. Our lands have a spiritual value and not an economic one. If the land is destroyed so is our dreaming. Our dreaming is our story. It is what connects us to the beginning of time, back to our spirit ancestors, our creators.

Vic Roads plan to create a 4 Lane Highway.

 It’s located just outside of Ararat, this is why we are sitting on Country now. If this 12km stretch goes ahead 3000 trees will be gone, including the sacred trees and their protected habitats. All this devastation is in the name of cutting 3 minutes off the existing highways travel time.”

It’s is the idea of cutting down the 800-year old sacred birthing tree that upsets me most.

Tree as mid-wife.

Tree as life support.

Tree as safe holding space.

Tree as womb.

Tree as nurturer.

Tree as witness.

Tree as healer.

Tree of wisdom.

Tree as divine feminine.

Tree so sacred and holy.

Tree so easily discarded in the name of progress and development.

Could my life be so easily discarded too?

My heart cries out, “Stop! Stop! Please stop! This is too much devastation to bear.”

And as I speak the words I know they are not mine alone. It is the voice of the earth, of the divine feminine, of the animate and inanimate beings being exploited and destroyed, and of all the men and women awakening and remembering that we were born to co-exist in harmony and with reverence, and that to continue to dominate and compete is the path of our destruction.

Here where I live in suburbia, life is very comfortable, efficient and orderly— well except for the weeds that always pop up in the garden and that untameable kid who keeps discarding his soft drink can on our nature strip on his way home from school.

I live some 2.5 hours drive away from where the sacred trees are at risk of being felled for a wider road. In fact, I’ve never seen them. They are far from my sight and it is easy to turn away and forget and preoccupy myself with what is in my view along with all my distractions.

Except my heart won’t forget. My heart is connected with the one heart that connects all beings, and so is yours. What we do to the earth, to the one heart, we do to ourselves.

My heart burns and weeps and deep within I can hear a wailing song of grief, yet it is still tinged with hope.

I was reluctant to write this post because I know there is a part inside all of us that doesn’t want to hear it. I have observed over the last couple of years that when I share anything on social media that highlights environmental concerns that it goes ignored when in comparison, anything I share about love and happiness seems to get many, many likes. It could just be algorithms but I also think that maybe we have become numb or hopeless and/or just prefer to be uplifted and entertained than to read or witness something in which we too will experience pain, a pain we don’t know what to do with.

So let me reframe this sharing. It is not intended as lecture or judgement but as an expression of my own heartache. This story of pain is actually one of great love.

I have been blessed to witness so much of the extraordinary beauty and mystery of Mother Earth with my own eyes from breathtaking sunsets, to whale sharks and schooling hammerheads in her seas, to visiting many lands across Europe, India and Asia. This planet is so extraordinarily beautiful she moves me to tears and I fear that we are not doing enough quickly enough to preserve her for our future generations.

Whatever it is that pains you— the destruction of the earth, the loss of a loved one, the impossibility of a situation in your life, persecution, racism, injustice—may it break your heart open so wide that only love pours through and moves you into action in service of something greater than just you, in service of the one heart that connects us all.

The heart that feels fully can heal and transform anything.

With love and courage,

Kym

xx

This post is for Her, our beautiful Mother Earth, with a great and endless love.

Going where the heart energy flows and the peace that holds everything

Yesterday when I was thinking about this week’s blog post, I was excitedly contemplating recording another video blog and ideas were quickly flashing up about what I could vlog about. And then today dawned, and a different plan unfolded.

I had the opportunity to say yes to visit loved ones for a healing conversation.

In the background my mind mumbled some objections mostly around having so much to do including writing this blog post and not enough time but these days I’m more interested in what my heart has to say.

Heart didn’t even have to say go. It was already there and so my body followed.

We will always have to do lists and things we need to do but there is no guarantee how long our loved ones will be with us on this planet. Don’t delay any longer saying those things that are ripe or overdue to be expressed.

On the way home, as late as it was and still needing to write this blog post, I stopped beside the sea to watch the sun set for a few moments.
The horizon glowed golden apricot.
The waves rippled to shore.
Sea gulls glided gracefully free.
Despite the noise of traffic rumbling past behind me, there was a peace here that holds everything.
No matter the chaos or busyness of everyday life, you can find peace within it. If you need a little dose now, you can experience it for yourself here https://vimeo.com/324943305

IMG_4034.jpg

This is not the blog post I thought I would write today.

Today was not the day I thought it would be when I awoke into the new day. It was much more alive than that.

In his poem, What to Remember When Waking, David Whyte wrote, “What you can plan is too small for you to live.”

Life keeps teaching me again and again to trust the unplanned life. There is something greater that wants to be lived through us beyond anything we could plan.

With love and courage,

Kym
xx

On the other side of excuses

I’m back from Italy, which was a beautiful, delicious, love-filled, insightful, and at times challenging pilgrimage to my husband’s hometown.

The long flights back to Melbourne via Singapore were easy, but the jet lag is not.  It’s only 5pm on Monday and I’m ready for bed.

It’s also the day I post on my blog and I have a lot of good reasons (excuses) not to post: I’m so jet lagged. My brain is foggy. I can’t think clearly. I don’t know what to write about. I don’t feel like it.

But I also made a commitment to myself and to you to show up every week even when I don’t feel like it.

My heart is urging me to show up and just be here with all the scrambled messiness, the unknowing, the resistance, the imperfection and to offer what I can in this moment.

Our minds can justify, rationalise and explain anything but this can hold us back from what our hearts truly want.

Don’t let it hold you back. Listen to your heart. On the other side of the reasons (excuses) is the life that is waiting for you, the one you truly want to live.

With love and courage,

Kym xx