Tag Archives: courage

No Damage

No Damage
No Damage by K A Hodgson. Available worldwide on Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk

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.

No Damage on Amazon.com

No Damage on Amazon.co.uk

‘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.’

 

No Damage Cover

For the following people and their blogs who inspired me, thank you and Merry Christmas. You are all incredible!

Apartment Wife

Be the love of life

Bucket List Publications

Dave Cenker

Piano with Rebecca Singerman-Knight

Leap life a frog

Miss Lou acquiring love

Letters to Humanity

Less equals more

Cupcake n sunshine

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Dream Catcher

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.

Being thankful and a little bit proud

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!

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Inspire Me

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

Right, let’s do this

Be big

I am struggling with my writing this week since finishing the first draft of my book…all 123,000 words of it! It has been my baby for the past year and a half, which has incidentally been the biggest 1.5 years of change in my life. It has been incredible and at the moment I am truly missing writing my book. I am feeling nervous as I stand on the edge of the abyss preparing to find a publisher. The usual human fears are popping up about whether anyone will want to read it, if it is worthless, if it is boring blah blah and yet I know that none of things those are true.

It is a flipping brilliant book, it really is, and I created it in the hope it would inspire people. I wanted my book to be a piece of work that someone would pick up during a difficult time in their life, sit down with a cup of tea and read from cover to cover. I wanted that person to read it and say to themselves by the end: if she did it then so can I. That book…she is funny, hilarious at times, heart warming, emotional, heart breaking, ridiculous, unique and just brilliant. Really, a great read. I say that not as the author (that would be terrifically arrogant of me) but as the person that experienced the story happening to themselves and so was the hands through which it was written. I am merely the storyteller and I can say the book needs to be out there and shared. It really, really does and I do not yet have the contacts to make that happen….yet…in the way I would like to do so.
At the moment I am thinking about how to reach the most people possible so that nifty little book can get to work inspiring others. I need to swallow my fear and find the courage to approach agents and publishing houses. Honestly, it scares the inspiration out of me. It does not feel like an easy task right now and I am faltering.

In the spirit of being courageous and making a new change in my life I decided to share the first two chapters. So here they are, warts and all at this link.

Welcome to the first edit of the first two chapters of my book. (Deep breath on my part).

Would you read it? Let’s see if I reach anyone that might just be willing to help or inspire me to give this book a life.

On a different note I also realised it is high time I brought this blog of mine back up to speed. It has taken a back seat lately, I have lost my blog mojo and I really want to let it blossom into the great site it has the potential to be. I have been rooting around to find my inspiration to get going and found a Blog Challenge to join. Here are the basics:

I’m super excited to have joined the free Start-A-Blog Challenge with Scott Dinsmore from Live Your Legend. It comes with a free 7-day course to help build a successful writing habit and a private community of over 1,500 writers, and I’d love any of you friends to join me! You can access the free course and join the challenge here: http://liveyourlegend.net/start-a-blog-challenge-2015/

Over the next seven days I have a number of blog tasks to complete relating to the course, so watch this space. The first question I am prompted to answer is

What really makes you angry about the world?

Quite simply it is when people stop trying. We all have setbacks, failures, shortcomings and fears. ALL OF US. But guess what, here is the great bit, we can all try to overcome them. Every single one of us has the tools, talents, gifts and ability to make a change in our lives for the better every single day – be it large or small. We can either give up or get up and create something good in the day and inspire ourselves (and others in the process) to bring positivity into the world. Few things make me angry and frustrated but one of them is when people give up trying. In fact I’d go so far as to underneath the anger is sadness. It makes me incredibly sad when people no longer feel able to try.

Life is a gift and it should be lived to its fullest by every single one of us, every single day. Onwards team, go try!

Just digging

Inspire Me

Cristian Mihai – October

Life Paths for Better Endings – Your archetype allies

The Muscleheaded Blog – Dr Seuss Says

Princess of the Light – Wordplay

You Can’t Hide the Spark – The good news about crying

I am NOT my story (and neither are you)

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It was whilst having lunch with new friends this week that I remembered I am not my story.

I really enjoy listening to other peoples’ stories; their history of triumphs and failures, joy and loss and the moments they choose to share and believe define who they are. It is a privilege to hear such tales and be trusted not to judge but to listen with an open mind and enjoy a moment immersed in someone else’s world. Though perhaps it is not that I am trusted to not judge but more that they don’t judge themselves for their history, their story, and so it doesn’t matter what I think. I always admire people that have the courage and honesty to just be themselves warts and all.

My journey with my past is an ongoing one and I struggle to admit the recent years of my life when people ask me how I came to be where I am today. I gloss over it as quickly as possible with a series of short sentences that define four painful and embarrassing years of my life because a part of me still feels ashamed. There is a piece of me that is still working on coming to terms with the fact that in the space of four years I was left at the almost-altar by my fiancé just weeks before our wedding, my mother, my best friend, died of cancer and ultimately I lost my career, my home and a whole lot more. Heck, my life was a nightmare at that time and I fought tooth and nail to create something positive from that wreckage whilst also being hideously embarrassed by my circumstances. I have worked on my self-esteem, built a new career overseas and made life choices that have led me to where I am today which is a place of happiness and a lot less drama. I have taken responsibility for my part in each of those moments in my life, I have forgiven others and yet I still feel ashamed to admit it all. I can’t bring myself to say it out loud without turning that series of events into a joke or a flippant tale as I mutter and stare at my glass of wine and shrink into my chair. I am all for listening to other peoples’ vulnerability and stories but less of a fan of sharing mine.

So today I am taking a step away from my shame and a step towards remembering I AM NOT MY STORY by writing that series of events out here. Yes it hurt like hell, it still does on some level, but it does not define me and it changed me in ways I am utterly thankful for. I have more compassion, empathy and understanding than I ever did beforehand and I am adamant that I will use my story to inspire others once I have finished writing it all out in my up and coming book. In the spirit of doing so here is my first admission, with bells on:

I was left at the altar not once but twice.

Yes, you heard me correctly.

I have TWO runaway grooms to my name.

 

I would like to say I feel less ashamed by saying that but I mostly feel like an idiot. On the other hand though, if one person reads this and feels less alone, less embarrassed by their history, then it was worth it. Ultimately all I want to do is help those in similar pain know they are not alone and speak up without shame. If I could survive all of that, which I did, then they can and will too. Keep walking forwards all and don’t let your story, whatever it is, define who you are.

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Inspire Me
Luca’s Cloud What would you do if you were not afraid?
Princess of the Light Seize Every Opportunity
Brene Brown Listening to Shame
Brene Brown The Power of Vulnerability

Unexpected Happy

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Today I have been reminded of the wonderful things that happen when we follow the dreams in our hearts. How by following our own path in life regardless of others expectations, pursuing our passion no matter what it is, we bring so much brightness into this world. So much more than if we just stick to what is expected of us and let our passions die quietly, unheard and unexpressed.

 

I had been told many times before that if I pursue my dreams and commit to whatever may come as a result of that I would be of more use to the world. That I would shine more brightly for expressing my passion and I would change the world by being me and sharing my true loves. I can’t say I believed that for a minute.

 

Who did they think I am? And what kind of magical powers did they think I held?

 

I felt that if I followed my heart I was being selfish and indulgent, prioritising happiness in a world where that is not considered a priority compared to the traditional view of career progression and success. I weighed up the option of taking my leap towards my dreams rather than following the path of what was expected of me in our society. For many years I didn’t have the courage to leap, didn’t have the courage to just express who I am. I thought my dreams were silly, irrational, pointless and would not bring me this so called success in life. Success in the sense that they would not bring me financial security, job stability, recognition amongst my peers and a feeling of being worthwhile in others eyes. So I put them to bed, shoved them under the blanket and kicked them away whenever they threatened to surface. But then I finally woke up from that nightmare, reawakened my heart and her dreams and leapt into the unknown.

 

I didn’t realise the impact that pursuing my passion would have on others.

 

Those that told me the difference this would make to others were right. I knew it would make a difference to me but I didn’t expect the ripples from my leap into the ocean to affect others. By following my heart, by expressing who I am and pursuing a different life that is just right for me, I am not being selfish or doing something wrong. I am by no means sacrificing success. Yes I am prioritising my happiness and yes I am indulging myself in my passions and it feels wonderful.  Finally I see that by being me, by prioritising HAPPY I am shining more brightly.

 

I am sharing my passion and happiness with others. And by doing that I am bringing good into the world. To me that is my success.

 

And what brought me to think about this today? Three wonderful comments on my Facebook group Katshark in which I post about my new life working with sharks:

 

‘Never underestimate the impact your posts have. Great to follow you and hear of your adventures and how they touch your heart and those of the people you meet’

‘Your descriptions take the fear away and that’s just what’s needed. In my mind you’ve made me see sharks like tigers, bears, orca etc. To be respected of course but breaking the mistaken idea they only have one facet (which is all most people think of them) and showing their depth. Great’

‘A friend of you mention/comment this before, my interest for sharks grows because of you. I was never bothered to see a shark or not. Nothing to do with fear, I just like small stuff, critters etc. Would love to talk with you!’

 

Those three comments have left me feeling humbled, happy and with a huge smile on my face today. For anyone out there that is faltering today, unsure of whether to express who they truly are and follow their dreams…..I encourage you wholeheartedly to do it. Yes it is scary, you will have fears, moments where you are paralysed by those fears and uncertainty. But remember this.

 

You will make this world a brighter place to live in by being true to you. You will bring hope to others and change our world for the better. Go now, create your dreams and leap.

 

Sweet Tea

Today I found my inspiration in a cup of tea…..As I sat at the beach cafe pondering life and all her charms I hugged my extra sweet cup of tea. I don’t usually take sugar but today I needed a sweetener; some courage and inspiration as my own reserves were running low. Who knew I would find the words I needed on the back of my sugar packets.

Sweet tea indeed

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