Renew your courage by reviewing your courage

Photo by Joäo Silas

Photo by Joäo Silas

My heart continually calls me to live in alignment with my soul’s longings and guidance. Often it wants me to make changes that feel very scary to me. What my heart and soul want often clash with my rational mind and beliefs about life.

One of the ways I have been able to cultivate my courage to make decisions and choices that have scared me has been by reviewing the times in the past that I have been scared to do something and looking at how things turned out.

By doing this, I have seen time and time again that although things didn’t always turn out how I thought they would turn out or maybe how I wanted them to turn out, they always turned out okay, often better than okay in ways I never would have imagined.

Here’s an example:

I had loved my job as an executive manager in an ASX-listed financial services company but a restructure put me at first in a project role I liked and then into in a newly created investment-focused role that I didn’t like. Although my manager had promised me that he would find me something else if I didn’t like it, he didn’t. I did everything I could to stay with the company. I even put forward a proposal for a new role that I designed for myself that I would have loved, but it was rejected. I didn’t want to leave the company but the new role wasn’t right for me. Eventually, I accepted that I was going to have to leave and find another job but I hated going to work to do this role and the idea of spending the next few months job-hunting while doing this job felt really heavy. A mentor suggested that I resign and then look for another job. My soul was pretty keen on this idea but I was horrified.

My conversation with my soul went something like this:

What do you mean you want me to quit my job before I get another job? No, no, no. You have to have another job lined up before you can quit your current job. This will just make it harder to get another job. Employers will look down on me for quitting.

These arguments didn’t win. With some reassurance from my mentor, I quickly made the decision to quit. And guess what? Everything turned out far better than okay.

I was really scared to make the decision to quit and then really anxious for the first week after I left the company that I had made the wrong decision, sabotaged myself, and that I would never get another job.  If you had asked me at this point of time if everything had turned out okay I might have said no. Then I relaxed into my unemployment. I enjoyed slowing down and not being busy. I could walk slowly and savour my coffee. I had time to contemplate what was important to me and what I really wanted.

A few months later, two former colleagues contacted me on the same day about the same contract position. It was the perfect role for me, the right money, right contract length, used my skills and knowledge perfectly. I got the job. Everything turned out okay.

Now looking back I can tell you that actually everything turned out better than okay because I went on to take a year’s sabbatical to follow my passion for scuba diving and my soul’s urge to be free for a while and travel in south east Asia. I then went on to have further contracts with that employer which allowed me to live between Melbourne and Thailand for a few years. And that promise my manager made but didn’t keep was the best promise never kept, although at the time I was hurt and upset. I’m glad I didn’t stay because of everything I have experienced since then.

By looking back at my life and seeing how when I made choices aligned with my heart’s longings, and even when change has been thrust upon me, I learned to see that although I might not have liked the change initially everything always turned out okay, often better than okay, in ways I never could have imagined.

This has become a favourite mantra of mine, one that I often turn to in the midst of change and uncertainty or where I need to make choices where the outcome is uncertain or unknown because it reminds me that life is on my side, it makes me feel stronger and more trusting that no matter the outcome that I cannot control, I will be okay.

It is a mantra that I have turned to recently, as I made the decision to release my book, The Path You Make. I don’t know how things will turn out, whether people will buy it or not, whether they will like it or not. I know that my heart said to release it now and that no matter what happens, everything will be okay.

Review your courage

Try it for yourself and review your own courage. Look at the times your heart wanted you to do something that was scary and you did it and make note of what happened as a result. How did things unfold for you? What unexpected opportunities opened up? Was there magic? Can you see how maybe you weren’t convinced things were okay at first but with the unfolding of time, it played out in your favour in some way? Can you find a gift in it? Can you witness your own courage? Notice how it makes you feel now in your body to recognise this. Do you feel stronger? More confident and self-believing?

You are braver than you think and more capable than you may know.

With love and courage,

Kym
xx

What lies between where you are and where you want to be?

I am fascinated by doors, especially the rustic and colourful ones like this one, which I find really intriguing.

Yesterday, I attended a joy-filled yoga, meditation and soundbath retreat hosted by my dear friend and counselling colleague, Pauline Butler of CHI Connection, Healing & Insight in Geelong West. The theme was I am joyful and we spent a few hours immersed in the exploration and sharing of joy.

You might be wondering about the correlation between doors and a meditation retreat?

Well, as I went to leave the bathroom, which had just a very ordinary, beige sliding door, I quickly closed the door again to read this message.

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There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.

This door succinctly summed up why I am so fascinated with doors. They are the threshold between what is known and unknown. I am a curious soul and an explorer, dedicated to learning and growth. I love to discover the unknown, although sometimes it terrifies me.

Doors are often barriers between where you are and what you want or where you want to be or how you want to feel. You cannot enter a new world or a new life without passing through the doorway of the old to the new.

Some doors are exciting and easy to open and pass through. Others are terrifying and it can take a lot of time, support and courage just to approach the door yet alone come close enough to open it or even consider opening it.

To illustrate, here’s some examples of doors I have passed through.

1. Quitting my well-paid passionless job without another job to go to

At the time, I believed that you shouldn’t quit your job without having another job to go to. My fear-filled self told me I’d spend all my savings being unemployed (I didn’t) and that potential employers would look unfavourably on me quitting without another job to go. It wasn’t a problem. I consulted with a mentor at the time who encouraged me to follow my heart and helped me understand how I could explain my decision to potential employers.

2. Learning to ride a motor scooter (in Thailand of all places)

I wanted to learn to ride a motor scooter so badly. I really need to so I could get around Phuket more easily but I’d seen enough accidents in Thailand to know the roads are dangerous especially for motorbike riders. I had also taken on the fear of someone close to me who had pleaded for me not to do it. In the end, I enlisted the help of my dear friend Ina who was proficient on a bike to teach and mentor me. I was scared and very wobbly at first driving no more than 20 km/h, but with practice I slowly built up confidence and speed.

3. Getting married

This was the easiest door for me to pass through. I was filled with joy and excitement to be walking hand in hand with my beloved.

That said, I know for some people who have been hurt or in abusive relationships previously, entering a new relationship or making a deep commitment can be very challenging and scary.

4. Deciding to walk the whole Via Francigena route from Canterbury to Rome by myself

My inner critic and protector tried to talk me out of it. While she had a lot of arguments against me going (failure, waste of money, what was the point?), I heard the clear, calm and certain voice of my friend and yoga instructor, Joey, reminding me, “If not now, when?”, as well as Willy the koala mascot of Australia’s 1984 Olympics team telling me, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”  True story.

I write more about this in my book, The Path You Make, being released on Amazon on Monday 25th November 2019.

5. Allowing my deep self to be seen

As a child, I was subject to ongoing harsh criticism, judgement and attack by my mother. This was traumatising. I became skilled at masking how I really felt and my true self would hide or just leave my body at the first sign of attack to stay safe. The pattern of hiding and protecting was unconscious and became engrained but I needed to heal it to be more me, more free, more empowered in this world. Plus my soul can be pretty relentless in what is asks of me.

Healing the trauma and patterns is a journey and not a one-time action. There are many levels to heal and often we pass through the door into the unknown but then come back again into our safe place albeit in an upgraded version of the known world. This type of healing requires exquisite safety and therapeutic support.

The doors in our lives are many and varied. While we can draw inspiration and encouragement and learn from each other, each of our paths and doorways to cross s is unique. No one else has lived your life and experienced exactly what you have experienced.

3 tips to help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be

1. Name the gap

Sometimes when you’re stuck and don’t know why or if you’ve been trying to achieve a result and been unsuccessful, you might be too focussed on where you want to be rather than where you are now and the gap that’s in between. It’s like staring at the horizon and wanting to be there and not recognising that there’s a whole sea or mountain range you have to cross to get there and not learning all the skills you need to cross it.

Barriers can be seen as problems but really they are better seen as teachers. Learn as much as you can from them. First of all, name your gap and learn about your doorway. There’s no rush to cross through. Approach it as slowly as you like.

2. Find your mentor

On the hero’s journey made famous by Joseph Campbell, in between receiving the call to adventure, which is the invitation or desire to move into the unknown, and actually crossing over the threshold into the unknown, the hero meets a mentor. Sometimes this person will appear to you. Sometimes you will have to seek them out. In the examples I gave above, my mentors included work colleagues, friends, an internalised mentor, my beloved and my therapist.

While many of us want to go it alone, especially those of us with avoidant/island attachment styles, as human beings we are wired for connection and we often need the help of other people to see what we can’t see or at least to encourage and support us to where we want to be.

3. Practice self-compassion

Always practice self-compassion. In the words of one my favourite spiritual teachers, Matt Kahn, “You deserve more love, not less.”

“You deserve more love, not less” — Matt Kahn

No matter where you are at in life, how close to the door or how far away, it doesn’t matter; you always deserve your own kindness, compassion and love.

Punishment, including your own self-criticism and judgement, only constricts you and makes you smaller. It is love that uplifts and expands.

With love and courage,

Kym xx

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

How to effortlessly find the motivation to take action especially when it is hard, uncomfortable or unpleasant

Photo by @helloimnik via unsplash

Photo by @helloimnik via unsplash

A few weeks ago, to my surprise, my spirit urged me to start a running training program.

I’ve never been much of a fan of running. It can be pretty punishing on the body, boring and create a lot of discomfort mostly of the mental kind, where you want to quit because it feels hard but you keep pushing yourself to keep going, unless of course you do quit because you don’t win the mental battle and either walk, go home and/or never go for a run again.

Why running?

Well I’m not a fan of the gym, and while I love boxing (I trained in boxing for many years and was even going to try some amateur bouts until I sprained my ankle then suffered hip and back problems for a couple of years) I’m not feeling the call to go back to boxing right now.

My main goal is to move my body, get fit and feel good. My secondary goal is to work up to running 5 kilometres, just because it feels good to have to something to aim towards that will extend myself.

So I googled and found a simple training program that combines walking and running that builds up to only running over a number of weeks so that I can ease into it, build up strength and stamina and reduce the risk of injury by going too hard too soon.

It’s not been the best time of year to start training here in Melbourne. It’s winter. They days are short and cold, sometimes windy, and we’ve had a lot of rain. So you know what’s coming next….

Common excuses not to take action

Being winter gives me at least 4 reasons not to go outside and run:

  • It’s too dark.

  • It’s too cold.

  • It’s too wet.

  • It might rain.

 The other excuses I can come up with include:

  • I’m still sore from the last run.

  • I’m too tired.

  • It’s too hard.

  • I’ll go tomorrow.

My favourite and most consistent excuse is:

I don’t feel like it.

As humans, we’re pretty wired for comfort and safety. I think it’s a rare person who wakes up and says to them self…

“Gee I feel like getting out of my comfort zone today!”

Well at least I don’t wake up thinking that or saying to myself that I really feel like going for a run, although maybe one day I will. 

So far, three weeks into my training I haven’t missed a training session and I’ve managed pretty easily not to give into my excuses and allow them to stop me and this is why…

My secret motivation booster…

Last year, my teacher/coach introduced me to Kundalini meditation and yoga by prescribing some short meditative practices to help with anger and negativity, heart protection and self-love.  I’ve tried different styles of yoga over the years but never clicked with them the way I clicked with Kundalini yoga. I felt completely different after the first short 3-minute practice I was given.  Since then, I’ve been practicing almost every day.

One of the things that I love about the kundalini practice is that often there is time allowed to sit, breathe, notice the body and it’s energy and integrate the medicine of the practice. The energy in and around my body may feel different depending on the practice but there are usually very delicious feelings to feel.

I’ve transferred this practice of awareness and integration into my running training.

When I arrive home from a run, I sit for a few minutes and feel the energy that is around my body. Yes, my legs or feet or knees might feel a bit sore or achy, but the energy in and around my body feels light, vibrant, alive, vital, joyful and sometimes blissful.

It is by paying attention to how I feel after I’ve done the hard work i.e. the fruits of my labour that motivates me to go back and run again, to put myself through discomfort.

The running might be hard at times but the more I do it, the more I start to experience pockets of joy as I run. The more I pay attention to how I feel after running, the more I want to go back and do it again.

Bask in the goodness. Soak in all the delicious sensations.

Photo by Melissa Askew

Photo by Melissa Askew

It’s that simple. And it’s something we can apply to almost any difficult task we have to accomplish whether it be a university assignment, cleaning up a very messy house, making a difficult phone call we’ve been putting off.

Try it…

So I offer you this short practice to try:

  1. Drift back in time and remember something you accomplished that felt good to accomplish.

  2. Remember how you felt.

  3. Notice where the feeling is located in your body and what the sensations are like. It might not be in your body but just around your body in your energy field or aura.

  4. Name the feelings or sensations.

  5. Bask in the feeling and sensations.

Doing this will effortlessly build your motivation to take action because…

  1. You will more deeply map the feeling to your body and energy system.

  2. The next time you have to do something hard or uncomfortable, your body will remember the good feelings .

  3. Those good feelings will help you move through the uncomfortable part.

  4. It will become easier to take action and consistent action towards your goals because those good feelings are going to pull you towards them.

Try it and let me know how you go.

Oh and if you’re one of those people who does wake up in the morning looking forward to getting out of their comfort zone, I’d love to hear from you too. Let me in on your secret.

 With love and courage,

Kym xx

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PS This is me on my way back home from a run, rugged up for the cold and rain jacket on because it was possibly going to rain but it didn’t…


Why you should slow down and take your time

Sometimes it seems this world is in such a rush to get somewhere and especially to cram as much as possible into the short time we have to live this human incarnation.

But doesn’t rushing feel like skating on the surface?

And doesn’t cramming it all in feel confining and stifling and like there’s no space for joy to wrap around the experience?

In our efforts to realise our dreams, we skip over uncertainty, and we don’t mine the gifts of our procrastination, fears, avoidant tendencies and other blocks.

I’m a proponent of slowing down and taking your time.

In my work place, I see time and time again how too much focus on getting the job done often in a rush and not enough focus on the unfolding journey called process causes errors, sub-standard work and re-works making the journey take twice as long and a whole heap of frustration and lost goodwill. A lot of business studies have shown that slowing down is the way to speed up.

As a scuba diver, swimming too fast has two implications:
The first is that you will suck your tank dry of air quickly and your dive time will be greatly reduced;
The second is that you won’t see all the camouflaged, hidden and tiny creatures as you swim right past them. You might see more of a big site but really you will see less.

As a pilgrim (or hiker or every day walker), walking through the world brings you into direct contact with the world around you, the ground, the sky, the weather, the sounds, the smells, the textures, the small and hidden details, in a way you can’t experience it in a bus or train or car.

As a meditator, your experience of life slows right down to this moment, this breath, this inhale then exhale, the thoughts floating through like passing clouds and all the sensations that are here to be noticed and felt fully.

There’s a time to leap and jump and swing through life, and there’s a time to bust through your procrastination and other blocks that hold you back, but mostly I think we need to slow down.

The fullness of life is not in how much we do or how far we go or how much we achieve but in how deeply we experience and treasure each moment that it presents, even the ones we want to bypass or reject.

With love and courage,

Kym xx

You will rise back up and bloom: faith learned from life and the garden

 

This is what happens,
after life cuts you down to the ground.

You may be stunned and startled,
hollowed and halted,
broken and disheveled,
cut off from everything you knew
and were growing towards.

But slowly over time,
nature will have her way.

Your roots will draw sustenance
from tears and sobbing,
the pain of desolation, 
and the barrenness that breathes you
when your dream has been snatched away.

One day, maybe tomorrow, 
maybe next week, 
maybe next month
or even years from now,
you will rise back up, 
and you will bloom
more beautiful than ever before. 
Radiant with all your scars
and all your new growth. 

Despite everything, 
you endured. 

You risked, you loved, you lost
and in the end you won,
twisted, stretched, scrunched and moulded
into intricate living wisdom
that cannot be learned from reading books,
only from embracing 
and bowing to life herself,
no matter how willing or unwillingly
you fell to your knees and plunged
into the mud and the darkness.


 

PS Please share, with love.

What you are capable of

When you are tired and your feet are throbbing from the forty thousandth step and the fourteen kilos loaded on your back.

When your hips muscles spasm rebelling against the thirtieth kilometre you have walked today alone.

When your body is crying its song of pain only you can hear and begging that you stop.

You do not.

You question why you do this day after day and if it is the only way to find what you seek.

But each morning you still wake to walk, and you keep going until you reach the place you know you must be to find shelter and warmth and nourishment to thank your body for its service despite its complaints.

As you pass through another village, the chalky smoke of old fires burning invoke desire for rest.

The dark whispers tell you that it’s okay to stop, that you can quit and just go home.

But your spirit surges through your heart, strong and determined.

It tells you, laughing kindly, that you still don't know what you are fully capable of and you will never know if you skirt the flames.

You did not come into this world to live easy.

You came into this world to find out who you are and to discover the enormity of your own power.

You came into this world, to live this ordinary human life extraordinarily.