Shine Freely

Over the past three days I have spent time with some wonderful people that have brought me support and inspiration when I needed them the most. They came unexpectedly just when I was low and unsure which way to turn. They came from family, friends and strangers that cared enough to give me time and words when I couldn’t find my own. So now it is my turn. It is my turn to care and offer a piece of my story and some words of encouragement to a certain lady that I know is dreaming big but doesn’t believe she can make her dream come true.  I hope these words help you find the creativity and the courage to keep dreaming.

My dream has always been to work with sharks, in marine conservation, to teach and inspire others to achieve their dreams and overcome their fears in life. I wanted to help the oceans, be surrounded by beautiful marine life and help people to smile and be free. To make a positive change in our world and share my love and passion with all. I dreamed of a life in the sunshine working in this way, with blue oceans on my doorstep and a cosy home to cherish and share with my beloved man of the sea.

But you see, I never thought I could make that my reality. Not once did I believe any of it would be possible. I can say that with absolute certainty, with my hand on my heart. The first time I admitted this dream, all I could think was this:

It will never happen. I can’t do this, ever.

The tears fell down my face as I told my family this dream out loud for the first time in my life and I felt myself die inside as I heard those two sentences over and again in my mind. It will never happen. I can’t do this, ever. Yet I also felt this huge weight lift from my shoulders as I admitted my naughty secret; that I didn’t want to continue walking the life I had created. My dream was out there, it had been heard, acknowledged and I was terrified. Terrified that now I had admitted it to myself I really had to do something about it. But what? I had already said it will never happen.

So what did I do next?

I went to the pub. A day later I went to the local pub in Padstow called The Custom House with my two sisters – my sister by birth and my sister by marriage. I adore them both and the three of us went to the pub for some girls’ time, for a little time to reflect and share our thoughts. As we sat laughing and talking we came round to our dreams. Each one of us whispered quietly and uncertainly what our dream was and we each committed to doing something towards making our dreams a reality in the coming year. We each wrote our dream down on a pub leaflet, signed and dated it and took our leaflets home with us. Here is the photograph of my dream from that day. It sits proudly on my bedside table so I can remind myself how far I have come. How the ‘impossible’ became my reality.

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Let me say again at this point that when I signed that leaflet I still didn’t believe it could ever possibly happen. Ever. Yet somewhere inside of me I must have thought it was possible. Somewhere deep down inside me, where dreams blossom quietly, I was sowing a seed in the sunshine that one day would bloom. Bloom more brightly and sweetly than I could possibly have envisaged.

I have always been an avid journal writer and this became a big part of how I made my dream come true for me. I lack in confidence and self belief and I wouldn’t see my own gifts and talents if they slapped me in the face. I am your typical woman that deep down feels she is just not good enough. What I lack in those areas though I make up for with imagination and creativity. So I did what I do best…I took the lid off my favourite pink pen and every week I wrote down my dream again in my journal. I never once looked back at previous entries and I always did it at a time when I felt free in my mind, relaxed. I would sit down and say this to myself before starting:

If money were no object, if you knew you would succeed, if you had no fear and could do it all….what would be your dream?

That thought changed my life. It gave me permission to write down my dream as if it were a game; a game where I could be anyone I wanted to be. A woman free of limiting self beliefs, a woman with courage and inspiration and the talent to make her world beautiful. I wrote and wrote until I needed a new pink pen and then I wrote some more. Sometimes I cried as I felt my dream and still couldn’t see how to make it real. But I kept on writing it out regardless and I did this for the next seven months. I started to write down what it was that really mattered within my dream as well, how each component made me feel and how my ideal day would look. By feeling my way through my dream I came to learn what my priorities were for me. I discovered new passions and listed what was not negotiable in my dream and what I could compromise if need be. And importantly I discovered, wrote and felt exactly what it was that lit up my heart and soul; what I couldn’t wait to share with the world.

As it would happen my mind changed with that writing. I started to believe that actually I could do this. I could succeed at anything if I put my mind to it and the only thing stopping me was fear and practical circumstances. Both of which could and would change once I committed to making a change in me. A change towards believing that I deserve happiness, towards knowing it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of my dream and that yes I am good enough. I must point out that I still had no idea how this dream was going to come true but I decided that it would, one day or one thousand days from now. I believed it would be around 8 years down the line but it turns out I was a little bit wrong there.

With that in mind, I began to write down ways to achieve my dream. I wrote down practical changes I could make both small and large so I could start to live my dream NOW. For example, I started painting pictures of sharks again to express my love of them and my love of art. I booked a scuba diving holiday and I started to connect with people living their dreams. And most importantly, I listed my limiting beliefs about who I thought I was. I listed changes to start making to my mental attitude so that I would set myself free. The only person stopping me in the past had been effectively me. So now the only person that was going to stop me from quitting on my dream this time round was me. I became my greatest supporter in my journal – I didn’t have the courage to say this out loud or admit what was going on for me internally. I felt guilty and ashamed that I had this dream, that I was indulging my own potential happiness, but still my seed of a dream began to bloom.

My attitude changed from ‘It will never happen’ to ‘How am I going to make this happen?’

Can I just say as an aside at this point: Isn’t it sad that some of us limit ourselves as I had done until now? I could blame it on the actions of others in my past but I am not going to. I did this to myself, with my own mind. We do it to ourselves every day throughout the world, particularly as women, and it simply has to change. We need to start dreaming again and believing like children do that we can be anything we want to be. Because to be anything other than our authentic self and following our passion in life is an absolute tragedy. Trust me, I know this first hand.

Coming back to how I was going to make my dream happen. A guest on our boat today asked me a simple question as I told him my story about how my life changed this past year. He asked:

What was the one thing you said to yourself that helped you the most?

True Love

I have written those two words in the sand in the UK and here in South Africa, in my journal in my pink pen, on rocks I have tossed into the sea, on paper I have burned into ashes. True Love.

By this I mean the ability to love myself truly and unconditionally and to nurture my dreams for the love of me, for the love of life and so I could give my passion and love to others. I honestly feel that it all comes back to learning true love and never giving up on the pursuit of it in all its forms. Those two words helped me through the good days and the ones where I felt like throwing my pen away, squashing my seed of a dream with my boot and giving up.

It was around this time that a friend introduced me to the Free Range Humans tribe that I have mentioned and linked in my previous posts. This helped and inspired me immensely. It brought people and ideas to me that have helped me in many ways and I am truly thankful to them all.

So then what happened?

How did this dream in pink pen truly become real?

The honest answer is I don’t know. I wish I could but I cannot define a single moment or action that resulted in me being where I am today. Somehow my writing, my mental work and my dreaming were the keys to my change on a practical level. I put one foot in-front of the other without even knowing it and I started opening doors to new opportunities; saying ‘yes’ to everything that felt right. Yes to anything and everything that took me in the right direction and no to everything else. I think the reality is that it was the moment I believed my dream would one day come true that actually made it real. We all have the practical tools, the imagination and the ability to do whatever it is we dream of but we have to believe it is possible first.

You can’t grasp your dream if you don’t believe it can exist. You can’t grasp your dream if you don’t believe you deserve it

I think I am trying to say that all you need to do is believe it is possible, that you can do it. The rest will follow of its own accord if you just keep dreaming big and keep focussed on knowing who you are and what your heart yearns for.

I got on my flight to South Africa four weeks ago to start my new life. With my journal and pen in my hand this is what I wrote in my journal, word for word:

Never again will I underestimate myself. I am so much more than I led myself to believe. I am beautiful, I have gifts and talents to offer this world. For f*ck’s sake do it! Make it happen!! SING, PAINT, TEACH, SHARKS, DIVE, LOVE. Don’t settle for anything less than what I truly deserve and am capable of. Shine like you were born to do. Step out of your shadow. This is your time girl. Go. Fly. Show the world who you are. NOW. GO. DON’T FEAR, DON’T DOUBT YOU KATHRYN. NEVER AGAIN GIVE UP.

Marie Reed, this is for you

May you chase your dream no matter how impossible it may seem right now. Fly free lady, believe you can do it and enjoy every moment along the way.

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