Staying close to the mystery and less planning

[I am currently in Italy with my husband and his family for the Christmas holidays. This is an update of an article that I wrote a few years ago. I hope it offers some inspiration and insight into your own New Year dreaming process.]

It is the eve of the last day of the year. In these peaceful days between the celebration of Christmas and new beginnings, many people in my circles are reflecting on the year that has almost completed, and dreaming and planning the year that is about to begin.

I notice some people have given themselves a hard time for all that they set out to achieve in the last year but didn’t. For all the “good” and “positive” ways they wanted to be in the world but weren’t.

If this is you, I want you to know that you are loved beyond what you have done or haven't done. There is nothing you can do or not do that earns or loses you unconditional love

There is time enough for everything your spirit needs to experience in your life. Our human minds live in years, months, weeks, days, hours and minutes. Our spirits live in an eternal moment.

As part of New Year dreaming and planning rituals, some people are searching for the word that will guide them in. Some are dreaming into what they would like the year to look and feel like. Many are setting their goals and intentions and planning the steps they will take to reach their goals.

I've seen a lot of beautiful and inspiring tools out there designed to help you plan out and live your most fabulous year yet. I love the idea of them but often they trigger a sense of overwhelm and resistance in me: There is so much to analyse and think about, and so many rituals and practices to do and think about doing.

Where does just being and experiencing life fit into all the intentions and goal setting and planning and rituals I could complete to make my year fabulous?

Do I have to plan for spontaneity and serendipity to make sure I have time for these experiences too?

This was yet another year that didn’t turn out as I had hoped. I started the year pregnant and in March my dreams of being a mother bled from me. I was swallowed by a grief bigger than I could have imagined. This coupled with extreme stress from my day job overwhelmed my nervous system and I struggled with extended bouts of stomach pain for most of the year.

While life didn’t turn out as I had hoped (again), there have been great gifts in my illness and healing that I may not have experienced otherwise: I have discovered the grace of Kundalini meditation and yoga, neurological integration system to support healing and rebalancing, the awakening of the most beautiful yearning to be a mother, and to have known and cherished the feeling of being pregnant, carrying life within me even with all the horrendous morning sickness despite the pregnancy ending with no baby to be held physically in my arms.

I would never have chosen this journey through grief and illness. I’m still grieving the loss of my baby and what feels like was my last chance to be a mum.  But I am open to the idea, as I have been before, that maybe the vast intelligence of this world knows a bit more about what I need to experience in life than I do, including things I would never choose, and it knows how to bring me experiences so I don’t have to go out of my way to make everything happen in my life.

There is magic in deep dreaming with your heart. It brings us closer to what I call the Divine but you may call God, Higher Self, the Universe, Love or something else. It opens us to possibilities that we could never think of. If we listen deeply and patiently we hear our heart's true yearnings and callings and we are shown a way through life that may be far different than we could think of with our human minds. Everything unfolds in perfect timing; it's just often not to our human mind's timing.

The group energy of this time is one of reflection and dreaming.  As one human year ends and another one begins, I naturally feel pulled towards reflecting upon my year as well, tenderly, kindly and with gratitude (where I can feel authentically grateful) for its blessings.

I am also dreaming into the possibilities of my life and wondering what magic and mysteries it has in store for me today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. After a year of feeling like being in the mud and muck and a holding zone, I am feeling like next year could be radiant.

I am inviting inspiration, for the Divine to create and express through me in its own way, in its own time. I am waiting and watching with open hands ready to catch and follow the thread as soon as it appears knowing that at any moment I may also have to let it go.

I am inviting in magic and mystery because I want to live a life beyond that which I could simply think or plan alone.

Staying close to the mystery of this world is the best plan that I can have.

With love and courage,

Kym xx

 

After the rain comes sun (and an excerpt from my book)

Looking down at the cemetery on the way into Berceto (Italy) on the Via Francigena

Looking down at the cemetery on the way into Berceto (Italy) on the Via Francigena

It’s been a tough 6 weeks with constant stomach pain, and grief and stress all coming up to be loved and healed.

Last weekend my body voiced its need to rest, heavy and lethargic with no desire to go anywhere or do anything. So I rested at home watching a new favourite series, Call the Midwife. I adore Sister Monica Joan with her poetic, mystical, deeply emotional and wise nature.

Contemplating what I would write about today in light of my current challenges, I remembered when I was walking the Via Francigena, how the ever-changing weather and the mud that clung to my boots tested me almost daily.  And so I felt inspired to share some excerpts from my forthcoming book, The Path We Make.

“After the rain comes sun. It managed to break through the clouds for large parts of the day. I welcomed its warmth on my skin, pausing to bask in the simple pleasure of it. Yet after the rain also comes wet grass and mud. Although my map showed that the canal path continued all the way into Châlons-en-Champagne, I followed the guidebook’s detour via Juvigny and trudged through 500 metres of thick, gunky mud that clung to the soles of my boots, gluing my feet to the ground. I hated the mud to the point of repulsion. I hated how it felt under my feet and I hated getting dirty. After stomping along for a time, I was relieved to turn onto a gravel path, but after 900 metres the gravel led to more wet grass and thick mud. The last 100 metres I walked through were a tangled mess of knee-high grass and blackberry bushes. The Red Beasts were wet again and so were my feet. My soles were clumped with mud and my pants smeared grey-brown. I missed the turn onto Rue St Martin that led to another field, but I didn’t mind walking along the hard bitumen for a while longer. At least my feet weren’t getting wetter or coated in more mud. Two kilometres down the road, I turned onto a gravel track back towards the main trail that became four more kilometres of clay and wet grass.

If I had to choose between walking all day in the rain on bitumen roads or walking in the sunshine on muddy wet tracks, I’m not sure which I would choose. They were both short straws: the bitumen punishingly hard, the rain a pain and the mud just plain repulsive. I tried to find something positive about mud and wet grass but couldn’t. It was annoying and gross and that was all. I was so happy when I finally turned back onto the concrete towpath and scraped the mud off my boots with a small stick. I had never spent this much time outdoors with limited shelter, exposed to whatever weather swept through, and with the need to keep moving. Unlike the week I walked through Tuscany in summer, when it was hot and hot only, I was experiencing four seasons almost every day, often numerous times each day, and it was testing my ability to accept what is.”

The Via Francigena pilgrimage tested me deeply and consistently on emotional, physical, spiritual and mental levels.  But for all the challenges, there were many gifts. Here’s another excerpt from my book from when I was walking from Berry-au-Bac to Reims in France. Kermit cloak is the name I gave to my green rain poncho.

“During the day I cursed the weather frequently. Melbourne is renowned for having four seasons in one day, but on this road it was four seasons every hour. Kermit cloak on then off, warm layer off then on again. Repeat, repeat, repeat! As frustrating as the weather was, it had its blessings too. A sudden shower forced me to put Kermit back on and then five minutes later the sun came out scorching, leaving me cursing as I ripped the Kermit off again. I rounded a corner and saw a host of yellow and purple wildflowers glistening in the sun. My cursing turned into cries of amazement.”

Amidst the frustration and trying times can be great beauty. And if there’s no beauty to be seen, don’t lose faith. The weather will eventually change, as will the seasons and the terrain you travel. Keep breathing.

With love and courage

Kym xx

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

What keeps you going when the going gets tough?

"If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us" — Daisaku Ikeda

...I have wept tears lying on my bedroom floor. I have rocked my pain-filled hip as if it were my own child that was filled with pain and crying. I have woken day after day and lamented that it’s not the day that I go back to normal life again. But the truth is I never will. This pain has burned me to ashes.

Throughout this pain-filled journey, there are two things that have kept me going...

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“Your willpower is the problem,” my osteopath said as he treated me last week.
I laughed.

Determined. Stubborn. Strong-willed. That’s me. Hell, I was going to walk from Rome to Jerusalem with a bung left hip and my left ankle still recovering from a severe sprain—I couldn’t get more strong-willed than that.

I laughed because he spoke the truth

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Sometimes life is messy and chaotic and it doesn't seem to make any sense and we don't have to make sense of it although we may try. So here I am, again, trying.

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