Kathryn Hodgson is a guest contributor for The Scuba News. Please see The Scuba News for articles regarding her time as a scuba diving instructor in Egypt and Great White shark wildlife guide in South Africa.
I can’t stop smiling today because I have finally finished and released my book No Damage. I have been writing my story since early 2012 and simply cannot believe little old me has written a book! What makes it even more incredible and joyful is that REAL people are reading my words and leaving the most beautiful customer reviews. I feel like checking it is me they are talking about.
‘I’m only on page 15 of No Damage by KA Hodgson and I get the feeling that after reading the whole book it will change my perception on life. Incredible book, well worth a read (available on Amazon)’
‘I couldn’t put this book down. The writing is so honest, with such sense of humour. I laughed and cried all the way through. Highly recommend’.
I poured heart and soul into sharing my story, I cried many tears and often felt like giving up but I carried on because I had a dream and I still hold that dream close to my heart and tucked away in my hands. From the moment I began writing, I knew that all I wanted was for No Damage to reach people across the world and inspire them. All I wanted was for my words to bring comfort to those that needed it most, to bring laughter, encouragement and a reason to smile when the going gets tough. I wanted to shine a light on the dark corners of life, talk about the taboos and bring hope to the world. I also wanted to delve into the utter embarrassment of being left at the almost-altar twice, the hilarity of internet dating as a novice and somehow finding myself in a South African prison. Life really did throw some curve balls at me for a few years! In spite of everything that happened during those years, this book is a funny and uplifting look at life that promises to inspire the reader. Please enjoy and help me make my dream a reality by sharing this story with your family and friends.
The true story of a woman on the eve of turning thirty who seemingly had it all, with a successful career and home life, until her first fiancé left her at the almost-altar one Christmas and her life began to spiral out of control. This is the hilarious, brutally honest and uplifting story of one woman’s journey to survive having TWO runaway grooms whilst coping with cancer, internet dating as a thirty year old hairy legged novice and her ridiculous, enormous dogs. This is the story of turning a broken life into something brilliant.
‘A beautifully written book. Fascinating in its honesty, gripping in its drama, entertaining in it’s humor and inspiring in its thought provoking analyses of the difficult situations faced by the author in some turbulent years of her life. I challenge anyone to read this book without laughing out loud and shedding some tears.’
For the following people and their blogs who inspired me, thank you and Merry Christmas. You are all incredible!
Is there anything more powerful we can do with our life than follow our dreams, our heart’s deepest wishes?
Is there anything more wonderful than creating good in this world from the very act of being happy?
In my humble opinion, the greatest gifts we can give to this world are those of a beaming smile and being truly, soul happy. Where does that happiness come from? I believe it comes from being the unique person that each of us is, from following a path in life that is true to who we are and from walking away from the expectations and demands placed upon us by others if they are damaging and limiting in intent. We are told from early childhood to conform, to behave, to sit down and be quiet and to follow the same life path as everyone else.
We have our magic, unique beauty and dreams educated right out of our hearts as we grow up in a world that places much importance on wealth, success and following the norm as opposed to following our dreams. It is depressing to think that so many potential dreamers, poets, storytellers, healers and weavers of incredible magical lives have their potential crushed as they are encouraged to stop dreaming and ‘get a real job’ when they grow up. As adults we are laughed at if we so much as mention the idea of one day resuming our heartfelt dreams, no matter how small or big those dreams are.
It seems to me that if each of us were allowed to grow into who we truly are from a young age, without constraints, and given the encouragement to follow our heart’s true desires this world would be a healthier, more beautiful place to be. Can you imagine how we would all co-exist if each of us were given the encouragement to be happy? Imagine if happiness was actually a priority in our societies and we were given the support to create, cherish and grow into our true potential.
The beauty of this life is that we CAN, as adults, choose to make a change and actively decide to follow our dreams. It is never too late and in one way or another each of us can follow our heart’s deepest dreams whether it is a complete life upheaval or something as simple as finally pursuing that hobby we adore. We can be who we truly wish to be if we create enough self awareness to let go of fear, quieten our judgmental mind and just do it. That alone is life changing in the peace and mental freedom it brings.
When you mention following your dreams to most people, they laugh and push it aside saying it is pointless, there is no value or gain in pursuing dreams and it is impossible because of….insert a million and one reasons. It doesn’t pay the bills, it doesn’t contribute to a pension and dreaming is a childish habit that should be forgotten. I utterly disagree. I wholeheartedly believe that if each of us commits to what truly ignites our soul and keeps practising, it will eventually all come to good. There is no instant reward or success with giving up a routine life to follow dreams but there is the journey of a lifetime and, with persistence and effort, there is reward in the long-term.
When I was about to take my leap away from a routine lifestyle, I asked myself one simple question over and over again. It never failed to help me understand my true purpose in life and if I was on the right path for me.
If money were no object, if you knew you couldn’t fail and if you had no fear….What would you do?
That simple question has taken me both within myself and across the globe. I am still in the early days of following my dreams, I am working incredibly hard to make it work but I can tell you this. I have never been so happy and that alone is worth everything to me and to those I touch with my genuine, beaming smile.
Take a moment today to consider what truly lifts and inspires you forwards in life and follow that thought. Lift your head to the sky, close your weary eyes after a week of work and fall back to your dreams. If money were no object, if you knew you couldn’t fail and if you had no fear….What would you do? May you have the courage to begin to follow those dreams.
I am really enjoying the blog challenge I signed up for with Live Your Legend. I receive a daily writing prompt each day and here are the latest two and my thoughts on them. Perhaps you’d like to think about and use those prompts yourself? It is a fascinating exercise. Here are the latest two:
What do people thank you for?
Initially I found that difficult to answer but then I realised that people thank me for inspiring them to follow their dreams, for encouraging them to keep going when they feel like all hope is lost. I have been thanked for reminding others that we all have difficult times and for helping them fell less alone by sharing my own fears, vulnerability and life stories with them. I think it is the comfort that come from emotional connectivity and support that helps. People also thank me for helping them find their courage and resilience to keep going and keep fighting for what they believe their life could be.
Oh an finally…they also thank me for my optimism, enthusiasm and belief that anything is possible if we just give it a try!
What’s one thing you’re proud of?
One thing I am very proud of is simply surviving. I know that may sound bizarre, we all survive on a day to day basis and there is nothing exceptional in that word, but it means everything to me. It may turn you off to read that I am proud of surviving but really, truly I am.
I went through what was, for me, an incredibly tough time in 2008 and it lasted for four long and painful years. Every time I got back up and tried to rebuild my life, the world dealt me another blow and I fell to my knees again. But every single time it happened, I refused to give up. I cried many hot, angry tears and felt a good deal of grief, shame and hopelessness but I got up and survived it all. Plus I built a life afterwards that I adore. I was stubborn and refused to give up on optimism and smiling and that pulled me through every day in which I never wanted to see the sun rise again.
I am incredibly proud that, on the back of those four years, I had the courage to move overseas and carve a life for me that contained no guarantees but it did (and still does) contain a chance at fulfilling my dreams of working with sharks and of becoming a writer. It is not yet two years down the line and I have finished my first ever book, which tells my story of those difficult yet inspiring years beforehand. The first two unedited chapters are here if you would like to read them. It is not yet two years down the line and I have just begun to create a charitable cause for sharks and marine conservation with my awesome and incredible partner in crime Nicholas. Out of interest, that cause came about because a serious back injury meant I had to give up my job and career plans for the future this August and find a new way forward whilst I recover. It is not an easy time but again I am surviving, smiling and making something new out of it. As I sit here typing I have an ice pack strapped to my back! So yes, perhaps you can see why I am so proud of myself right now.
Please check out our fun and interesting charitable cause Friends for Sharks Facebook page and our website if you have a moment. I can’t believe we almost have 500 likes already (I am so excited about that) and the website has a fun 3 min promo about our World Tour 2015, which had me in stitches when we were filming and I kept forgetting my lines.
We are busy working full time and unpaid on this cause so that we can give educational talks about our work with sharks and marine conservation to people around the world throughout 2015. I have no idea how successful or not it will be for us, it has many unknowns, but I feel inspired and happy. My hope is that feeling that way and showing others what we are doing will inspire them to also reconnect with nature and follow their dreams in life. Plus we will also be raising money for our two nominated charities along the way. That alone has been worth surviving for!
The Dingo was Here – Makings of a Hero
EA Squad – Tom’s Story
It’s Holly Bea – It’s all about your attitude
ToeMail – Each day is a gift
Endless Light and Love – There is wisdom in everyone
This week I am mostly learning the art of awareness and stepping back from overworking myself.
It has a busy time for me as we are launching our charitable cause and super exciting venture Friends for Sharks. We had an absolute hoot filming our promo video for this. I couldn’t stop laughing every time I forgot what to say, the sun shone down on us and we got to spend time at the beach talking about oceans, inspiration and following your dreams. What more could I ask for?!
It feels incredible to be following this journey after some difficult times recently. Yes I am a little apprehensive at times, having given up our paid work to do this (eek) but I’m also feeling pretty perky and bold as I put on my happy shoes and have a metaphorical dance around the room each morning. I love my life!
Please take a peek at our promo video.
Enjoy the scenery, the oceans and us having a little chat about our plans.
It is awesome for me to think we are committed full time to raising money for charity for an entire year. Life is too short to focus solely on personal financial gain and already we are enjoying devoting ourselves and our voices to a good cause. I am determined we will raise enough sponsorship and donations to make Friends for Sharks a success and, best of all, we will inspire people around the world to be the change they wish to see. What is not to love about a plan like that?! I am over the moon excited that we already have our first talk booked; at Melbourne aquarium next year.
Do you know anyone that would like to host us as guest speakers?
Please point them in the direction of our tour itinerary.
If you feel inspired to support us with a donation, please check out our happy little GoFundMe campaign and share it with your friends and family. Every penny counts to us and it is all for a fantastic cause.
One of the challenges for me throughout this venture is finding my balance, my happy, and not overworking myself. I am often like an overeager puppy, with bucket loads of enthusiasm and no ability to stop myself until I become exhausted. The challenge for me right now is to rein myself in and make sure I give my body and mind time to rest. I am slowly starting to recognise that actually it is inefficient working all day long anyway. Our minds are capable of being more productive and efficient if we give them a chance to rest, to daydream and be creative.
The biggest thing I can do to help improve my work output is actually to work fewer hours and spend some time watching the world go by in my daydreams. One of my favourite ways to do this is my Daily Walk and I am trying hard to make sure I take time off every day in addition to that. Admittedly it is not always happening but it is a journey that I am committed to.
My other learning curve this week is about being fearless. I am practising pulling on my superhero pants, reminding myself I can do this and being fearless about the future. I waste far too much time on pointless worries and ‘what ifs’ and I don’t want to be that way. I have no idea how the next year will pan out (will I end up homeless with fleas? Possibly, maybe not, I don’t know) but I can choose not to be fearful and to embrace whatever lies ahead with absolute acceptance and a pretty welcome mat.
On this beautiful afternoon I am practising creating that welcome mat in my mind and it looks a little like this.
Be fearless, enjoy today and accept whatever comes your way with a welcome mat
and your favourite pair of happy shoes.
Onwards we go!
There are so many awesome blog posts inspiring me right now. Here are my favourites that are definitely worth reading.
In the Stillness of WillowHill: Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet
Totally Inspired Mind: Words of wisdom found this week
Leap Like a Frog: Living your life happily ever after
Apartment Wife: Hopeful beginnings
With Love from CA: A look inside the art portfolio
This Italian Family: The world’s largest tree house
Life Paths for Better Endings: The quest
I am thrilled to announce the planning stages of our Friends for Sharks charitable World Tour 2015 are well underway.
Nicholas and I have been working our socks off every day (and night!) and all you need to know about our campaign is found within our fun short promo video on our website here.
Please take a moment out of your day to watch our promo video, get to know us, enjoy the shark footage and share our message.We are raising money for two fantastic shark and marine conservation charities; The Shark Trust and Project AWARE
We have given up all paid work to commit to raising money for our charities during 2015 by organising and undertaking an educational and inspiring world tour. This is no easy task and we need your support!
Please help us by donating to our cause here and sharing this blog to raise awareness.
Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.
Friends for Sharks is a non-profit cause promoting marine conservation
and increasing worldwide awareness of the plight of sharks
Please take a moment to share this charitable cause I have created with my partner Nicholas and join as us we embark on an exciting and innovative world tour in 2015!
Learn more at: http://www.friendsforsharks.com
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FriendsforSharks
On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/FfSharks
On Instagram: http://instagram.com/friends_for_sharks
This week I have been reminded of the importance of following my own path and creating a life that has meaning for me.
It is all too easy to get caught up in others expectations of what they believe to be right or wrong in life, success or failure in our endeavors, and to make life choices based more upon others than upon ourselves. I should know this, as I spent the best part of a decade living in a way that I thought I ‘ought’ to, that I ‘should’ do for the benefit of society and it wasn’t right for me. That chapter of my life didn’t contain the fulfillment of my own dreams or wishes, it contained mostly me trying to find acceptance at work, with peers and at home by conforming to their ways of life. Throughout it all I forgot one simple fact (that is true for each of us) – I am unique. I had absolutely no sense of self or belief in me and I spent my days trying to blend in as a sheep in my relationships, my career and home life. I said ‘yes’ so many times to others demands and opinions that in the end it made me miserable and I became destructive within a reality I had created and yet did not want. There was nothing wrong with that life as such, I had a lovely home and career and I met many wonderful people, but it wasn’t the path that is true to who I am. I always knew something was missing but assumed it was me being greedy and dismissed the niggle in my mind. I ignored the loneliness I felt inside.
I had blinkers on and I didn’t realise that there could be another way to live that would be more fulfilling for me. I had no idea that there could actually be a way in which my opinions, my likes and dislikes, my dreams and aspirations actually mattered and were worth following and voicing. No matter how wild and outrageous they seemed to my fearful mind and to those around me who laughed at my creativity and at my habit of daydreaming in meetings. I thought everything would stay the same because I didn’t know how to make a change.
And then I read this quote two years ago. It gave me a huge wake up call.
Actually it really does matter, more than anything else, that we LOVE wholeheartedly what we do each day. There is only ever right now in life and there is absolutely no point in delaying following our dreams for some other time in an unknown future, because there never is that tomorrow. We work hard and we bank our lives for a retirement that may never happen and some of us spend years miserable at work because we hope it will be worth it. What if you die before even reaching that age? Will delaying your dreams and working so tirelessly at something you were not passionate about have been worth it? Of course not, for it never is. We only have now to take a risk and make a change, to have a positive impact, in this world. We only have now to smile, to laugh, to love and to be thankful for the incredible gift of life – and to do it justice by following a path that is true to each of us. For only then can we spread more happiness across the globe and impact positively upon society.
The world doesn’t need more money, more order and people worked to the bone in jobs they hate. The world desperately needs more people that have come alive.
The death of my mother shortly after her retirement highlighted all of that for me and it is in her honour that I strive to live a life that has meaning for me every day. I was absolutely terrified when I walked away from a well paid and stable career a year and a half ago to pursue what a lot of people dismissed as a low paid, pointless adventure that would go nowhere. In my time overseas I have worked extremely hard at times, I have often felt the fear of ‘what on earth am I doing?’ and yet I have never laughed more and that is because I love the path I am on. I have learned more about myself during the past month than during the past thirty plus years of being me. I have discovered a drive and passion I didn’t know existed, found my spirituality deepen and found abilities and talents within myself that I had failed to even notice before. Oh and I have also realised that no matter how many times I work on a boat I will always get sea sick. Damn.
In spite of injuries that have left me a little bit broken and still recovering a few months down the line, I am truly excited about the future, about today, and leaping into the unknown is bringing me such joy. I may not be earning a great deal (yet) and yes I wake up in cold sweats wondering how I will make this work but I am creating my charitable cause Friends for Sharks and I am proud of that. I am writing articles and books that I hope will propel me forwards (more on that in the months to come) and that I hope will inspire others to follow their dreams fearlessly. I am living proof that, whilst it isn’t easy at times, taking a leap and following your dreams is absolutely worth it and anyone can do it.
I wouldn’t change a moment of what I have done and I urge you to take a step towards the dreams that set you free. Do it right now and smile all the way.
Leap Like a Frog – Life changes personal survival
Bucket List Publications – 2014 Bucket list
Inspiration Energy – Make it happen credo
Snazzy Turtle – Five things you should quit doing today
Mindful Stew – Wealth as community, time and freedom
As the miles ticked by today on my run (read jog/plod) I pondered my list of what seem like impossible questions to answer. My mental diatribe went something like this:
“Puff, puff, my chest hearts. Oh I like this song on my Ipod, can’t beat some vintage trashy pop. What exactly is it I want to do with my life? What one job is going to fulfil me? My chest still really hurts. Wow look at the pretty plant over there. Nice. What exactly should I be doing with my life and why don’t I know the answers already? We’re on the main road; stand tall, run faster and look fit. People can see me and I am heart attack red. Hello old smiling people. What are my talents, gifts and skills? What should I be doing with my life? What do I want to do and why don’t I know the answers? What is my purpose? What sets my soul on fire? Well my knees are on fire right now. I don’t appear to have much cartilage left in these joints.”
And then I stopped dead in my tracks and it struck me that I have known the answers all along for YEARS but I haven’t been listening to myself and I haven’t been asking the right questions of myself. I laughed out loud as I realised I had in fact written down the answer in my journal this morning. I already had my winning Bingo numbers but I hadn’t seen them; I had been too busy splodging my marker upon random numbers instead. For years. I laughed out loud and leaned heavily on my knees to catch my breath.
I have been focussing my thoughts these past two weeks on finding a job that fits me, will pay my bills and somehow fulfil every single dimension of who I am and what I am capable of.
Talk about asking the impossible.
There is no single job that will fulfil my every need
I am more complex than that and my needs will change with time. My time in South Africa will come to an end shortly and there is a big question mark and a dollop of healthy fear as I prepare to take on new challenges, living in Egypt and looking for work. I don’t know how I will pay my bills, how the experience will change me or what I will call my ‘job(s)’ in the future. I am scared but ready. Actually I am mostly scared but it sounds better to finish it with a positive in there.
By the end of my run today I felt peaceful in the knowledge that I have all along known the answer to what I want to do with my life. I have known it since I scribbled in my journal as a child, tried to help others as a teenager and then lost my way as an adult and clawed my way back to the sunshine again. But it isn’t a job description, it’s my purpose and it goes like this
All I want to do is help people
Inspire them to feel loved, to grow
To find reason to smile and believe in life
To know they can do it, whatever they dream of
It may be that I do this by continuing my much loved work with sharks. Or perhaps by being a diving instructor, a singer, a writer, a wildlife guide, a life coach, a teacher, a pianist, a team leader, a barista, a wine expert, whatever. These are all possible jobs that I could do and there is a whole world of other possibilities out there that I don’t even know about yet. But my point today is
It isn’t about the job title.
It is about finding your purpose, that thing you believe in the most
Knowing my purpose is what will drive me onwards when I am tired, penniless and feel like giving up. Purpose and passion are the coal and fire in my belly, the extra mile in my legs as I run (again read jog/plod) onwards. The reason I get up at 5.45am on a day off and keep going.
And today I have found them. I think they have been waving at me for years, jumping up and down with crazy smiles on their faces and waiting for me to take notice. And now I have found them, I am holding on and will not let go. Whatever the future brings I at least know what I want to do and can guide my decisions by that. I don’t know how I will make it work or exactly what I will be doing. But that’s okay. I can work with that another day.
I stopped laughing on my run and plugged my Ipod back in. One of my favourite songs came on and left me grinning from ear to ear. It’s definitely not running music but listen to the lyrics and you’ll understand.
The timing couldn’t have been better as the music encouraged me to just go my own way, hold my head high and figure it out as I go. Keep exploring this thing called Life.
As I walked in the door I spotted my favourite inspirational quote from this week and did exactly what is said
Excuse the language but the moment deserves it. Now it’s your turn. Go and take five minutes to listen to some inspiring music, walk around the house like a champion and ask yourself
What is my Purpose?
What is it that sets my soul on fire?
And then do it. Whatever it is.
THIS MORNING, THUNDERCLOUD?
Where Positive Minds Congregate & Beautiful Souls Shine
the ramblings of a wife, mommy, foodie, runner and follower of Christ.
Inspired by the Kids in my Life
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