What happens when you say yes to your dream and thank you see ya later to resistance

I arrived in St Peter’s Square, with Peter and Paulius my personal apostles, 6 years ago on the 24th November., completing my 2000+ kilometre journey on the Via Friancigena from Canterbury to Rome.

A lot has happened since then:

  • A failed plan to walk a farther pilgrimage from Rome to Jerusalem by myself as a result of seized lower back triggered by a severe ankle sprain then hip and pelvis issues. I

  • completed a diploma in Holistic Counselling so I could walk straight in the direction of my dream to work 1 on 1 with clients to help them walk into their own dreams.

  • I accepted a last minute invitation for a diving trip to Palau (part of Micronesia) and met my future husband. We got married two years ago today.

  • And throughout all of this, I have been working on my book, The Path We Make: A woman’s search for purpose walking the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome.y.

Writing this book has been an even bigger journey than walking the Via Francigena with so much to learn about the writing and publishing process and myself.

The timeline of my book

I completed the first draft by May 2014. I finished my edits by July 2014. I spent a month wondering what to do next. I decided to submit it to some publishers and did this between August and November 2014. This was a rookie error. The manuscript needed a lot more work and of course I received rejections.

I did some research and learned about the editing process. In 2015 I invested in a structural edit. Then worked through the edits and kept revisiting them.

In 2016 I started studying my diploma in holistic counseling and invested myself in that course. Then I met my husband. The book took a back seat for a while.

In 2017 I invested in the second stage of editing, a line-by-line copy edit.  Then I worked through those edits slowly.  Later that year I got married and the focus was on visa application for my husband and helping him settle into a new life in Australia.

Just over a year ago, I started moving forward with self-publishing, seeking the permission of those people I speak about in the book to use their names, and then I proceeded with getting the book cover and layout designed.  

I was almost ready to self-publish but I held back.

In my book I write about painful events from my childhood. I felt like I needed to work through a healing process with my dad before I could publish, which I did work through. Then I went into another round of edits and re-edits and deep into fear and uncertainty about whether I should release it and whether I was doing the right thing.

I’m also a first time author learning the whole process of marketing and promotion. For a few months I lost my head in research and trying to figure out how to launch a book. There’s so much information out there and so many different ways to launch from getting reviews to growing your audience to running competition and promotions.

Eventually I came back home to my body and asked myself what I wanted to do and what felt right for me.

How to get unstuck

I know without a doubt that I need to move forward, that not publishing this book is taking up precious time and energy and blocking me from undertaking other creative projects. 

What feels right for me is to keep it simple and take the actions that feel joyful and expansive to my heart. I need to follow my own path, not someone else’s (although I can learn from others and seek inspiration from them too.) 

Otherwise I could stay stuck eternally in the search phase of trying to launch this book just right, which is a form of resistance from fear of not doing it right.

So last weekend, I made the decision that I would move forward and I started inviting people to join my launch team.

This was a simple but huge step. You see I’ve been playing the story over and over in my head that nobody would want to help.  I was also telling myself that there’s not enough time left to launch this year and that it will fail. These stories conjured a lot of fear.

And here’s the thing, people signed up to my launch team. I’ve received so much encouragement from others sharing their excitement that I’m finally releasing my book. As soon as I said yes and continued forward, the fear vanished. My body was flooded with uplifting, forward moving energy as my resistance stopped working against me and started moving me in the direction of my dreams.

Sometimes when we are stuck in resistance, we are avoiding saying yes to something very big, and very obvious in front of us that we simply must act upon.  

As David Whyte writes in his poem Start Close In

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

 Whilst fears of not getting this right and starting before I was ready have kept me stuck, I realised that not getting it right isn’t the end of the world. It’s all experience and learning. I’ve never needed this book to a New York Times best seller or even an Amazon best seller. I’m not concerned with accolades.

What does matter to me is that this book finds its way into the hands of those people that it is destined to serve, to encourage and inspire them to move through their fear, and trust their intuition and act on it. This book will never be able to do that if I don’t sent it out into the world.

“Action spawns courage, not the other way around.” - Marie Forleo

What action do you need to take to take to grow your courage and give your own gift to this world?

With love and courage,

Kym
xx

PS The Path You Make: A woman’s search for purpose walking the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome will be available on Amazon from Monday 25th November 2019.

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The inner protector who protects too much

Photo by Jason Briscoe

Photo by Jason Briscoe

 

Life says yes,

but something inside me says no

and the dance is cut off

before it begins.

The no is swift and involuntary,

like a guillotine falling

and chopping off my own head

Yet it is also subtle

because it is often undetectable

in the moment of activation.

After 30 plus years of saying these yes no’s,

I wonder what life would be like without the no.

Would I still wish I said no

because there is something familiar and soothing

in the pull back of this inner movement?

Or would I just glide over each new edge with abandon,

freed from the security guard within

that wants to protect

but unwittingly chains me?

We all have protective parts that operate in our psyches. I have an inner manager inside me that at times wants to fiercely keep me on the straight and narrow. She doesn’t like it when I want to explore or do anything she deems impractical. She can be a hard task master who wants to keep me within the boundaries of her known world that she believes is safe. As soon as I start to make a move on the advice of my intuitive self, my inner protective manager cuts in and tries to pull me back with what often seem like logical reasons for not moving forward until they are investigated. Her other tactic is to use fear.

When I contemplated walking the whole Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, my inner protector objected very loudly with logic and fear:

 

You didn’t save any money this year, and you didn’t save for this. It’s expensive.

It’s a long walk.

It is summer, so it will be too hot.

Everyone goes on holidays in August. You won’t be able to find any accommodation.

What if something happens to you?

You don’t know anything about hiking. What if you can’t finish it? What a waste of money that would be.

But the loudest objection I heard was the question of why on earth would I want to walk 2000 kilometres. What was the point of that?

Fortunately at the time, my inner wise self also spoke up, reminding me that where there’s a will there’s a way and if not now, when? I had just been made redundant and I had the time to do the whole walk in one go (it takes around 3 months). What if I never had this freedom again?

Through my personal psychotherapy and healing, as well as my counselling studies and mindfulness practices, I have developed awareness of my inner parts and when they start running the show, although sometimes they can still be slippery and quick acting and go under the radar.

When a protective part of you speaks up, there is no need to shame it, argue with it or make it wrong. There’s also no need to try and get rid of it. Instead, we listen to it and make it more consciously known to us. It can hold valuable information you need to know. The key is to become curious and always be compassionate towards yourself.

With love and courage,

Kym
xx

PS If you’re feeling stuck and unable to move towards something that you’re really longing for, it could be that your inner protector is at work whether known or unbeknown to you. Email me or get in touch if you would like some support.

Wisdom from the sea: there’s a right time for everything

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Dear ones,

I’m currently on a deep dive into the world of marketing, finalising and planning the launch of my book. This is my first book and so marketing/promoting/launching is new to me and it’s taking me out of my comfort zone.

At times, I feel like I’m swimming in the ocean without a compass, feeling and guessing which way to go. At times I’m kicking up against the current of my own resistance.

In scuba diving as in life, there’s a time to kick against the current, a time to turn around and flow with it, and a time to get your reef hook out, hook onto a rock and let the rope keep you suspended in place while the current washes around you.

My resistance may be strong, but my intuition tells me that I must learn these new marketing and promotion skills and so this a time to hook in.

The ocean has been one of my greatest teachers. I’m so grateful that I have the ability and privilege to have scuba dived in many wonderful places. If you are unsure of what to do, stay, go, wait, fight, I hope this short poem-story from the sea will help you tune in and guide you.

 

The current becomes even stronger.

We should follow its pull outward

except it will take us off the pinnacle

and into deep blue sea.

So we kick and we kick against it

fighting for each metre forward

only to be pushed back half as far by the swell.

We use our reef hooks to attach ourselves to a rock

so we can watch the grey sharks be nibbled clean

by wrasse at the cleaning station

without constant kicking and swimming and fighting the current

only for another group of divers to move straight towards them

and scare them away.

A common mistake.

Sometimes to get really close to what you desire

you must sit and wait

and let it come to you.

Timing is everything

especially down here

20 metres below the surface

in this aquatic world

where even the fiercest creatures can be shy

and startle easily.

There's a time for everything

to move towards, to move away,

to fight against, to go with the flow

to sink down, to rise up,

to change or surrender your plan

to stay where you are and wait

and bide your time.

Your intuition will guide you.

And it is always the right time to pay attention,

to surrender what you think and watch.

If you do, the sea will show you her ways.

With love and courage,

Kym
xx

For the days when self-doubt is LOUD…

Photo by Jason Rosewell

Photo by Jason Rosewell


There will be days when you are in your stride, your inspiration is high and everything is flowing effortlessly and unfolding steadily like a river.

Then there will be days when it feels like the path has dropped away and a fuzzy grey light has replaced what was once a clear view to the horizon, and no matter how hard you dig and scavenge, recalibrate your internal GPS and search, the path seems lost and you just cannot find what was once so clearly set out before you.

There may also be days when the path ahead of you is so steep and winding and relentless that you don’t think you can go on, and you can’t remember what you were climbing towards or why.

When those days come, don’t panic and definitely don’t give up. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong and it doesn’t automatically mean that you have lost your way.

You may hear a voice that tells you it is all too hard, that you should go back down the mountain to the old straight path that you once knew like the back of your hand, where it will be safer and easier and you won’t have days like this, where you have no idea where you are going or if you’ll ever make it.

When you hear that voice and it tells you to give in, don’t berate it but don’t believe it either. Simply wrap your arms lovingly around the one who is scared and doubts and let her know that she is heard and that she’s okay.

You are simply passing through the dark forest of confusion. Darkness often comes before any great illumination. Take what steps you can and take some time to rest and give yourself your best self-care.

With love and courage,

Kym
xx

On the edge of aliveness, not fear.

Photo by Nathan Anderson

Photo by Nathan Anderson

Sometimes when we are scared, we stop at naming it as fear rather than feeling through it and experiencing it fully.

I wrote this poem after a morning meditation where I journeyed to the edge of my known and unknown world. Fear arose but I sat at the edge and this is what was revealed to me...

 

Take me to the edge of the edge

of this life that I know

and let me breathe here for a while

looking at the cosmos

of possibility before me

constantly rearranging itself.

I may say that I want to leap

and free fall through it all

but we both know that’s not true.

So let me sit here for a while

attuning to the beginning

of what’s to come

while celebrating what has been

and where I am

on this vast frontier called life.

Like a child, I may return home

to my safe haven

and the comfort of what is known

before coming to the edge

to explore again.

This coming, this going

is the pulse of life.

Sit at the edge long enough

and you will become one

with aliveness.

You will know

that anything is possible

and that nothing is as well.

You will know

that falling is not failing,

they are different words,

and failing does not matter,

it never mattered,

but aliveness does.

Stay in your comfort zone

and you will live

a life of atrophy.

To live while you’re alive

is always to be on the edge

of great failure

and great success.

In the end there is only one

and it doesn’t matter what you call it.

What you think is fear

is not.

What you feel as fear

is not necessarily what you think it is.

Feel into it further than just naming it

and you will know

that fear was only ever the edge

of this,

of being alive.

Stay with the aliveness

and all the noises

of fear and self-doubt

will calm down.

Your judgment of good and bad,

right and wrong,

success and failure

are getting in your way.

Remove them

and there is no barrier,

only endless creativity,

exploration and experience.

Isn’t that what you’re really here for?

 

With love and courage,

Kym
xx

How to build self-belief and not die with regrets

Photo by Edu Lauton

Photo by Edu Lauton

This day six years ago, I was walking from Bruay-la-Buissière to Arras in France. It was day nine of my Via Francigena pilgrimage and my longest walking day yet.

With few accommodation options between the two towns and still uncertain if I could make it to Rome within my 90-day Schengen visa, I felt that I had little choice but to walk the 38.5 kilometres between the two towns — and that was the shorter route; if I followed the guidebook exactly I would have walked an extra 14 kilometres. Ouch and no thank you to 52.5 kilometres.

It took me 10 hours to walk the 38.5 kilometres to Arras. I had two deep blisters on my toes that burned, arch and heel pain, and then my hips went into a spasm. The pain was excruciating. It took me an hour to walk the last 2 kilometres into Arras. Actually, it was more like a shuffle.

When I was a kid, I seemed to have the words “I can’t” pre-programmed into me and spilling off my lips whenever things got tough.

Learning (and struggling) to tie my shoelaces, I’d tell my dad, “I can’t.”

Going on a long bike ride with my dad and brother: “I can’t” make it up the hill. “I can’t” make it home; it’s too far.

My dad was ever patient and calm. He told me many times that there’s no such thing as can’t. He taught me to read the book, The Little Engine That Could whose mantra was “I think I can.”

I get it now.

I can’t usually means I don’t want to.  It can also mean I don’t know how to yet or this is really hard for me and I’m scared of failing or even just plan I won’t.

I’ve had many people tell me that they could never do what I did and walk the Via Francigena, especially alone. I never believe them because broken down to its simplest component it is just walking, one step after the other. Unless you are affected by a disability, you can most likely walk. It’s just a question of whether you have the desire and motivation to walk so far and on your own.

I was a solo pilgrim walking the Via Francigena.  I had only myself to urge me on and there really wasn’t any room for I can’t.

My mantra that day walking from Bruay-la-Buissière to Arras and every time the going got tough was I” can do it.” On repeat.

I can do it. I can do it
. I can do it. I can do it.

I repeated this over and over until I did it; I arrived in Arras. When I was saying I can do it, there was no room for I can’t.

The pain and the struggle faded away not long after arriving and flopping down on the bed in my hotel room in Arras. All these years later, I still remember that day and that I was in so much pain but the pain itself now just resembles a large grey cloud that hovered above me as I walked. I don’t feel the physical pain in my body and even if I did, I would walk the whole Via Francigena again in a heartbeat.

The Via Francigena tested me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I didn’t arrive in Rome as the same person that set out from Canterbury. My bank account may have been lower but I was far richer in all my being; deeper, wiser, stronger and with a reinforced faith that I was guided and supported by life. I still receive gifts from this journey all these years later.

Lewis Carroll has been quoted as saying:

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”

Whatever it is that your heart longs for, whether it is an adventure, to learn a new skill, leave a career and start a new one, take a risk and find a way out of your comfort zone , find your way to say yes.

You can do anything you put your mind to and energy into.

Maybe you aren’t destined to be Luciano Pavarotti or an Olympic gold medallist or maybe you are and don’t know it yet…but how will you ever find out what you are capable of if you don’t try.

Imagine if Pavarotti told himself he couldn’t sing and believed it!

If you are ever in doubt that you can do what you really want to do, then borrow the Little Engine Who Could’s mantra, “I think I can, I think I can” or even my mantra: “I can do it.” Say it over and over even if you don’t believe it at first. It will still help put positive I can energy into your system.

If you’re not sure if it’s worth the risk, and if you’re still scared and struggling to take the first step then reach out to me. Working through fear and self-doubt is my specialty.

With love and courage,

Kym
xx

PS Here’s a few snaps from that hard walking day: in sunshine, a rain-free moment, in the midst of raining wearing Kermit my green poncho, my friends the cows, a lot of potatoes and the avenue of trees.

Dear Procrastination, it's time for you to stop wasting my time

Photo by Dayne Tomkin

Photo by Dayne Tomkin

Dear Procrastination

You have managed to fill most of my day with various insignificant tasks that didn’t really need to be done today.

You have also showered me with your version of inspiring thoughts and ideas that you insisted I investigate and explore immediately of which I obliged and these have also kept me very busy.

Some of these tasks brought me short-term joy, such as the instagram post I created using Canva and finding a new recipe to cook for dinner tonight that my husband will love.

But here I am at 4 o’clock in the afternoon feeling deeply unsatisfied, as well as a little bit anxious and guilty that I have managed to let most of the day pass without doing what I really want to do.

Lately, inspiration has been raining down upon me and I have a growing list of books that want me to write them.  Yes, that’s right, book ideas have found their way to me with titles and phrases and ideas, some vague and some more concrete but without a lot of detail or structure because they need me to delve deeply into a relationship with them to discover what wants to be written.  

I know that if I don’t honour these book ideas with my presence, time and willingness to write that they will find their way to someone else who will. 

The other thing I really want to do that I’m not doing is to start marketing and promoting my book, The Path We Make.  The manuscript is finalised and it’s time for me to help it make its way out into the world and into the hands of those people it is destined to support, inspire and heal. But I’m not a natural marketer or salesperson and I feel daunted and uncomfortable by this whole task.

Procrastination, I know you are trying to protect and distract me from my discomfort and fear of failure and inadequacy, but I gotta tell you something…

Letting you run the show actually causes a lot more suffering and you don’t really protect me from anything.  

With you running the show, I have ended up feeling much worse than I have in facing my fear and discomfort, which I am doing right now, sitting here writing to you. I faced the blank page and discovered what wanted to emerge word-by-word, thought-by-thought.  And once I have posted this letter to you on my blog, I will return to my book marketing plan and look at just the next step because as one of my fitness apps tells me, “Progress is progress no matter how small.”

 And as I discovered on my Via Francigena Pilgrimage on those long and steep climbs: “Sometimes you have to stop looking at the big picture and just look down at your feet in order to take the next step.”

Sometimes you have to stop looking at the big picture and just look down at your feet in order to take the next step. copy.png

Procrastination, I cannot make you go away. Like a puppy, you may still nip at my heels and beg for me to play with you, but right now, I am placing you in a basket at my feet where I can rub your belly with my foot while I sit here and do the work that I really want to do, that fulfils my heart and soul, and that feels meaningful.

 I choose to face the fear and discomfort because I know when I do only one thing happens: I grow.

 And it is this practice of facing fear and discomfort again and again that makes me free and that’s all I really want to be.

With love and courage,

Kym
xx