The wisdom of being lost and tools to navigate the fog lands (including an excerpt from my book)

Photo by Dimitar Donovski

Photo by Dimitar Donovski


Dear ones,

Just like clouds can suddenly blanket the sky and block out the sun, we can find ourselves at times feeling lost and uncertain of where we are going or how to find the sun again.

I call this the fog lands. This is a place in my life where I feel fogged in and I cannot see where I am or where I am going and where the vision that was guiding me seems to have disappeared. When this happens, as it does from time to time as clouds are a part of life, we might find ourselves waiting for someone or something to show us where we’re going or meant to go but we already have the tools available to help us navigate our way out of the fog.

1.    Tune into your heart.

Our heart’s know our true desires. The heart is the home of our heart. So when wanting to know what way to go in your unique life, tune into you heart.

A simple question you can ask over and over and contemplate is “What does my heart desire?”

You can also play with visioning, finding pictures and words to create a collage of your dream whilst exploring the feeling within the dream.

At the moment I participating in Hannah Marcotti’s Five Beautiful Dreams visioning circle. http://www.hannahmarcotti.com/hannah-marcotti-2/2019/7/25/together-we-dream-a-two-week-visioning-practice

2.    Set your intentions

Setting intentions is a very powerful way of setting direction in your life.

The Upanishads, which are a collection of ancient Hindu religious/philosophical texts, state that,  “You are your deepest driving desire – as is your desire, so is your will, as is your will, so is your deed, as is your deed, so is your destiny”.

I really love Davidji’s process of ritualization and in particular, the way he sets intentions by inviting your attention into your awareness, planting it like a seed in your heart, then handing it over to the universe by letting the universe kiss your heart.

You don’t have to force it, just invite it in.

You can find the details of his process here:
https://davidji.com/ritualization-important-meditation-practice/

3.    Use intuition and divine guidance to navigate towards your intention

When we jump into our heads and try to figure everything out, we disconnect from our body and intuition and try do do everything ourselves.

When we ask for guidance, it opens us up for help and support in whatever form it comes. For me it is usually what I call the whispers or the quiet voice of wisdom within that I hear directing, guiding, supporting and encouraging me. It can also come as symbols, knowing and guided movements or action.

 4. Getting lost can serve your path

Many of us worry about getting lost, not knowing what’s next or if we’re gong to be okay. When I was walking the Via Francigena, the quiet voice of wisdom spoke up one day early in my journey in France. It said, “You are so worried about getting lost, but can you afford not to?”

We are lead to believe that not knowing where we are going, not having a direction or focus in life and being lost is a bad thing. But what if being lost was a gift and a blessing?

Here is an excerpt from my book, The Path We Make: a journey of the heart on the Via Francigena, about the positive side of being lost. 

 

In the morning, I woke and launched straight into my new routine. I dressed, filled the hydration bladder with just enough water to last the day, packed the Devil, ate breakfast then harnessed myself into my bags. It was nine o’clock when I checked out of the hotel and started walking out of town. The morning market was in full swing. The streets were lined with stalls selling summer fruits and vegetables, local cheese, cold cuts and clothes. I bought six ripe apricots and an apple from a fruit stall then a ham and cheese baguette from the boulangerie. It was too big to fit inside the Devil, so I tied it to the left side and tucked the bottom of it into the pocket that held my walking poles.

The market obscured the landmarks. I couldn’t see the mairie, the town hall, to get my bearings. After a few false starts, I used the GPS to find my way out of town. I didn’t bother with the guidebook at all for the rest of the day. The trail was well signposted and I had the map and GPS that I referred to more often than was necessary. As I went to check it again, I heard a firm but kind voice that I recognised as my own, coming from within but also beyond.

“You are so worried about getting lost, but can you afford not to?”

I stopped. I knew from my time in Tuscany that getting lost could mean miles of extra walking, physical pain and tiredness. It meant having to ask strangers for help and trying to communicate ineloquently in a foreign language then trying to interpret the reply. But I also knew that it was through getting lost that I discovered the most treasure. When I had lost my way in my career, taking on a role that I discovered I didn’t like, it provided me with the opportunity to take a risk and leap into the unknown by quitting without another job lined up. In taking that leap, I found that I could live with uncertainty and I experienced the joy of slowing down and living one day at a time. When I lost my way walking through Tuscany, I discovered that I could navigate my own way back to the route or the next town, and that getting lost helped to sharpen my intuition. And once, after I was kicked out of a taxi in a part of Bangkok I didn’t know because of horrendous traffic jams, I stumbled into the middle of a festival with bands and food stalls and streets jammed with tens of thousands of people wearing white. It was the Thai queen’s birthday celebration, something I will always remember because of the unexpected delight of chancing upon it. What would I miss out on if I didn’t get lost? What would my life be like if I had never lost my way in my career and decided as a result to step off that path in an unknown direction?

In The Art of Pilgrimage, Phil Cousineau writes that “what every traveller confronts sooner or later is that the way we spend each day of our travel ... is the way we spend our lives.” I no longer wanted to live being so worried about not knowing what the hell I was doing or where I was going in my life. I didn’t want to spend my life trying to keep myself on a safe and known path. I wanted to trust that if I followed my heart and my intuition, I would always find my way. I knew that if I kept hoping to find answers outside myself in books or from other people then I would never fine-tune my inner compass, and I would forever look outside myself when I needed to trust what was within. I promised myself that from then on I would only turn the GPS on if I really needed it.

May you navigate your own fog lands with courage and trust.

With love,

Kym xx

The wisdom of your younger self

photo by J R Korpa

photo by J R Korpa

When you were a kid, did you ever write a story about what you would be or what your life would be like when you grew up?

I did. And I found mine yesterday as I was tidying up and organising our cupboards.

I pulled out my storage box of cards, letters and other papers and started poking through the contents and there it was among some old schoolwork that my dad had kept for me and that I had put away and forgotten: a typed up and illustrated story that I wrote when I was 7 or 8 years old, titled When I’m grown up.

IMG_5417.JPG

 Here’s what I wrote:

When I’m grown up.

When I’m grown up I will be a nurse. I will also be bigger. And instead of being a nurse, I might be an artist. If I am an artist I shall draw wild birds and wild flowers. When I’m grown up I shall get married and have children. I shall buy a house and get a pool, I shall have fun with the children too. I shall take them to the circus. We shall go on holidays. When I have finished being an artist, I shall be a ballerina. I shall go over the world as a ballerina. When I am a bit older I shall quit being a ballerina and go back to my own country.

                        THE END

(because when you’re young all stories must formally end this way.)

I giggled joyfully when I read it and studied the pictures which include a red-framed painting of the wild flowers I would draw when I was an artist, a self-portrait of me as a very happy pink-crowned, purple tutu wearing ballerina, and a picture of me and my future husband with orange hair surrounded by colourful confetti.

It wasn’t just the pictures that delighted me but the innocence of the story and although I never became a nurse or ballerina, and haven’t had children or bought a house with a pool there is still a very sweet truth that lives within those words that has played out in my life.

I didn’t know then but I would help to care for my mum from the time I was age 11 as her muscular dystrophy deteriorated her physical condition and she became bed bound.

I also used the qualities of the nursing in my financial planning career by trying to improve systems and cultures, to care for what is sick or ill or not functioning well and finding ways to bring ease and joy.

I am a writer and a poet. I also dabble in painting and pastels for fun. Coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally), my last two paintings were of an owl and tulips.

I have always loved being in water, from dad taking us to the swimming pool to beach holidays at my nana and papa’s house in Rosebud West.  Swimming, scuba diving, being in or near water is like oxygen for my soul.

My younger self used to love putting on her leotards and choreographing her own dance routines, especially to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I’ve never studied ballet or taken any other type of dance class for that matter except for line dancing and ballroom dancing that was part of compulsory physical education classes at school, but I have actually danced my way around the world: I’ve danced in Thailand, India, Bali, on boats in Indonesia, and I dance-walked parts of the Via Francigena in France and Italy —I dance-walked into St Peter’s Square when I arrived in Rome and completed my pilgrimage.

And yes I have come back to my own country. I’m living in Melbourne and not dancing all over the world at the moment but I don’t think I’m done being my version of a world-travelling ballerina just yet.

When I re-read my story of When I’m Grown Up, I can’t help but marvel at how my younger self easily and innocently dreamed up her life. She knew what she liked and what mattered to her and easily declared her willingness to follow her curiousity without second guessing herself.

Of course this was before all the seriousness of growing up and being an adult and having responsibilities and taking on ideas about what it means to be an adult and live a meaningful life took over.

Often we look to our older or future selves and even our higher selves for advice on how to live our lives and which direction to go, but I think that our younger selves have their own wisdom to offer that was gained before we unlearned our innocent ways and were taught how to succeed and fit into this world.

What wisdom does your younger self hold for you?
Is there something you forgot along the way to being an adult that you could pick up again that would bring you joy?

With love and courage,

Kym xx

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.

Autumn blessings

Image by Timothy Eberly

Image by Timothy Eberly

 

Blessed Autumn,
you break open my heart
with your brazen beauty.

You ripple across this land
in shades of red, orange, 
amber, yellow and tan
until you fade
into the darkness 
of winter’s waiting arms.

You offer your bounty,
and I drink it all in
until I am satiated in bliss.

I could die right now
and feel content with my life.

Absorbed in the fullness
of this moment 
I know nothing I’ve strived for
truly matters, 
but everything I’ve surrendered to
has been richer in meaning
then anything earned.

Swallow me whole
and if you must spit me out
transform me into the golden light
of the end of days.

Witnessed by many or none
it does not matter,
my purpose will still be complete.

Wholly knowing silence

Dear ones

I was just making some final edits to my intended blog post about packing lightly and living reverently when I accidentally deleted the whole edited post. I tried desperately to recover it without success. It is unretrievable.

I don’t think it’s a mistake that I deleted the intended blog post. Life works quite mysteriously at times.

I don’t have enough time to re-write the post tonight, so I sit quietly and wonder what to do..

Then I remember that what I have really wanted to offer you is a holding space of deep, healing silence, although I haven’t known how to offer that in a blog that requires words until now. Through mishap and silence, this is what spontaneously emerges….

 

My invitation to you is to take a few deep breaths and feel how life is supporting you right now. Maybe you are supported by a chair or seat of some kind, or the ground beneath your feet.

Notice how your breath moves in and out of your chest. Brining new life. Releasing what is old.

Maybe you can hear sounds, birds, traffic, voices.

I invite you to listen more deeply.

Beneath the noise is a container of silence all around you. It is protective and nourishing. Calming and soothing. Just listen and feel.

Take a few moments out of this often busy, rushing, noisy modern world we live in to feel rested and renewed and totally supported.

From this place of deep silence, maybe there is something that wants to be known to you, something that will serve your life and journey now. Or maybe it’s just the silence you need to know more wholly. Most of us do.

Whether you receive words or silence, it is all a blessing. You are held and supported right here and now. Breathe and rest here.

.All is well.

 

With love, courage and the peace of silence,

Kym xx

The constant inbetween

Dear ones

This week I recommenced a regular walking practice. I call it a practice because I don’t just walk for exercise, I walk to see the world around me slowly on foot, and to invite inspiration for writing as well as for inner knowing and guidance on my life path.

A few nights ago, I left the house a little later than usual, it was very late dusk but not quite nighttime. As I walked I reflected on this particular time of day where it’s not dark, but not light. It’s an inbetween time. And I remembered this poem that I wrote while I was walking the Via Francigena pilgrimage route…

 

You see the road

stretch long before you.

Just as you begin to fall

into despair’s embrace,

you are caught by grace,

set back on your feet,

to do the one thing

you know you can do;

take one step

then one step more.

You are here

where you have

chosen to stand.

The goal is never arriving,

which of course you will

then leave again.

Accept there will always

be a long road,

a coming,

a going.

That stillness you crave

only a temporary possibility.

Let go of the clinging

and the desire

to be other than where you are.

Learn to love this life

in the constant inbetween.

I wrote this poem on Day 15 of my Via Francigena pilgrimage while I was walking from Laon to Corbeny in France. While it was only a 27 kilometre walking day, I felt like I would never make it to Corbeny and that I would be walking forever. To distract myself, I decided that I would write as I walked. I asked for inspiration, opened up a writing app on my Ipad called Textilus and this poem streamed out. With it came a deep peace and acceptance of where I was on my journey and trust that I would arrive when I arrived as I had done for the 14 days I had been walking.

For me, this simple realisation (and re-realisation) of living in the inbetween still brings me much peace and acceptance in my life now. I am inbetween leaving a career and starting a new one but I am filled with peace and faith that I am being guided and supported by life no matter how slowly things seem to unfold.

I hope that this realisation serves you in your life too.

And if you are contemplating a journey such as Via Francigena, I hope you will trust the whispers of your heart urging you to go. The calling is sacred. The insights that are waiting to be revealed to you may continue to serve you for the rest of your life too.

With love and courage,

Kym xx