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.

Amazing things happen beneath the surface

Amazing things happen beneath the surface

Dense grey clouds carpet the sky blocking the sun from view. It’s not yet 2pm but it feels like dusk and it’s getting darker, as the rain begins to fall. The soggy leaves at the end of the driveway I was going to rake and shovel will wait another day.

Only a week ago, I returned from the Maldives where I visited my beloved who is currently based there working on a scuba diving liveaboard boat, guiding guests through the magic of the underwater world, sharing his knowledge and passion of the aquatic world.

It was the first time I dived with him and he taught me so much by how he dived and guided us to the right place to see what we wanted to see without scaring the creatures away.

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A story about falling and its lessons

A story about falling and its lessons
"What you can plan is too small for you to live." — David Whyte

For the last six weeks I have danced with an illness that has required me to pull back from boxing, social activities and even walking. I have walked only 10 to 12 kilometres once each when I planned to be walking significantly more by now. Sometimes even this was too far and I had to pull back into rest and stillness. It felt like one step forward, one step back.

Then on Sunday, in one single moment, every thing changed. Unexpectedly, I took a giant step back into a stepless place.

I just finished writing my newsletter, put my computer aside then stood to walk upstairs to fetch my sheets to launder when disaster stuck. The toes of my sleepy left foot curled under and the full weight of my body came down hard on the top of my foot that was touching the ground where the sole should have been. Pain roared instantly and I knew that my foot was badly injured — that it could even be broken.

Standing on my right leg only, I pulled off my ugg boot, looked at my left foot and gasped in horror. On top of my foot was a huge, dark lump, the size of a small chicken egg getting larger by the second. I needed to ice it and elevate it immediately.

I managed to hop to the freezer to grab an ice pack, hop to the bench to grab the phone then hop over to the couch and raise my foot up above my heart. Then the shock kicked in. I phoned friends for help, sobbing that I’d done something really bad to my foot, rang the after hours medical clinic for an appointment so I could avoid spending hours waiting in emergency at a hospital, then lay on the couch shivering from the shock as I waited for my friend Tracy to arrive.

As I waited, I wondered how this would impact my pilgrimage: would it be better if it were broken or just soft tissue damage i.e. which would heal more quickly? Will it heal in time to walk in September? What if it doesn’t heal in time? How would I feel if I had to postpone the pilgrimage?

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