Slow Down Monday Check-in: Sleep and Slowing Down—Dec. 12, 2016

Slow down. Calm down. Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Trust the process.
— Alexandra Stoddard

Yesterday's raw post with the full-moon picture said it all for me, not to mention the quote above: Slow Down. I have pasted my words below for those of you that didn't catch the post. It was a pretty incredible moment that took me by surprise because I found so much peace during such a simple task of driving, when typically my mind would be thinking about my appointment, my class the next morning and more! But for whatever reason time slowed down and it was such a gift. I must continue this and truly trust the process of life and each moment.

Here is yesterday's post on Slowing Down

Have you ever just slowed down? And I mean slow down for real? I am talking about picking an every-day task you do and do it slower. This evening I did just that. I drove slower. I left early because of potentially slower roads because of snow, dark and cold. I drove through the city streets for almost 30 minutes.

Something miraculous happened. I SAW. I saw the bright xmas lights as I passed by, I saw the foggy full moon, I felt my breath begin to deepen and slow, and my thoughts slowly but surely began to follow. As I mention in my yoga teachings and as I experience in my own yoga learning, the breath and the mind are so connected.

But slowing down was what allowed me to feel and to SEE so clear for these few moments in this frigid night in Minneapolis. I was jamming out to a yoga playlist and heard the line "you don't have to be on your own." From the song "A Message" by Coldplay (X&Y). As typical I pulled it into my own context. Damn it I don't have to do it alone and for that I am SO damn lucky; grateful!

The message to me tonight is clear: slow down. Slow down my desire to heal faster, slow down my desire to get more done, slow down my desire to move my professional aspirations forward now, slow down my reactions to my kids, slow down my breath. Slow it all down. Why? To see, to truly see the beauty of life in front of me each moment (and maybe to stop yelling or frowning or holding my breath).

While experiencing this intense seeing I wished I could be in the presence of my kids. I can only imagine their eyes wide open and despite their behavior, I would imagine I could see the life, the desire, the twinkle and drive in their eyes to also see. Somehow as an adult it is easy to forget this important gift.

So tonight I share this in hopes for you to slow down something. Try it out, soften your shoulders (if you can...brrr), soften your gaze, perhaps your grip on your steering wheel or the clock that is ticking while attempting to get somewhere. See what happens! :) I know for me I found peace and a little bit of that part of me that tries so hard to soften, just a bit.


Other updates - Sleep, coffee, and awareness of my positivity of the season!

In other news I am happy to report I am sleeping more. The last five of six nights (starting from last Wednesday) I have been in bed for 8-9 hours and had some nights where I actually slept pretty well. Also, I am down to only one cup of coffee or to be exact two shots of Nespresso with my hot water. I will say, there is nothing better than a homemade Americano without having to leave your house. I love it a lot. However, I am realizing how darn tired I have been with my strong dependency of needing caffeine and a little more and a little more. Only having a little caffeine could be one of the reasons I am forced to slow down because I am tired.

This week I will continue to try to sleep and give myself grace that life might be a little messy and my lists long and unorganized, because if I don't sleep I will get sick and then the little things won't be able to be enjoyed. Am I right? And my hope is that slowing down will help me to not yell anymore and to breathe a bit deeper, and, and and. UPDATE: I wrote this on Tuesday morning and then sickness hit our house. Thus, sleep went out the window, but the slowing down theme remained! :) It is impossible to take care of my sick and sweet little man without slowing down. It is interesting to me that I was ready to slow down before the sickness hit so I have been embracing it and finding gratitude in our overall health. That is definitely the silver lining in spite of seeing him be so sick and my hands so raw from washing them and wiping things down!

And finally, I am excited to say that last year I worked SO hard at forcing the gratitude statements about this time of year. For example, I would say, "I am so very grateful for this time of year because I get to spend more time with my kids. Thank you thank you thank you!" Or, " I am so very grateful for this time of year because I get to snuggle in with those that I love and we don't get overheated. Thank you thank you thank you!" And while deep in my core I still was a bit of a hater during the season, I found glimpses of joy. I am happy to report that this year I think I am truly seeing the beauty of the season. Instead of try so darn hard to be on top of it or focus so much about how flipping cold I am or how I am tried of having the constant cold that won't go away, I am finding true joy in the mess and the magic of the season. While I honestly miss my flip-flops I am embracing and actually enjoying a lot more moments this go round. I guess neuroplasticity is a real thing! My brain is changing.

That is all for this week: sleep, slowing down, and awareness of real enjoyment of a season two years ago I was wishing to be over before it even started. Update: and doing the nurse-mom thing that requires patience, less sleep and faith that despite my knowledge of how it will all shake out or if the others will be hit with the barfs and the fever to follow, I must have faith. All things to celebrate. Maybe I will be singing a different tune next week but today I feel pretty positive and look forward to back to eight hours in bed. What are you up to this week and what can you give yourself a high five for doing or being? I am sure you have something.

Have an amazing week and weekend (since I am posting Monday on Thursday). Why not? Grace is grace. Am I right?

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

My attempt to avoid the sickness Sunday night - Juicing is fun and messy!

My attempt to avoid the sickness Sunday night - Juicing is fun and messy!

Check-in Monday: Connection to the Soul—Dec. 5, 2016

Today I am going to keep it pretty simple. Last week's update I wasn't feeling so hot: mind, body and spirit. It was tough to acknowledge, but with the help of my coach, my yoga practice, husband, friends and family I can say that I am moving forward and feel a bit better. My joints are less in pain, my stomach issues aren't as frequent and the best news, I feel more connected to my soul and me than I have in a few weeks. 

This small taste of feeling better and more grounded in me is keeping me going and determined to heal more from the eating issues and the constant judging of whatever I didn't do good enough: parenting, teaching a class, listening to a friend and more. I actually feel oh so grateful for the blip of not feeling so hot because I know it will drive me forward and help me to work through something that has been so deeply rooted in me in many ways. 

So without any more words (usually there are a lot), here is this week’s focus:

1. Weaning from caffeine. I already have a caffeine headache and I still had three shots of espresso on Sunday morning. Yikes. I definitely used caffeine as my way to get through days of less than 6 hours of sleep and sometimes a few in a row. By noon I hit a wall and then I want the second round of caffeine. I am going to switch to decaf or at the maximum, one shot of espresso on the days I really want one. However, Ideally my caffeine is coming from a good grean tea. I will be drinking decaf though because last year trying to give it all up was a disaster and right now I am not ready for that. Obviously I will allow myself to wean as slow as I need. 

2. Staying away from alcohol. I know how much I love a good whiskey, tequila or a glass of wine, but the impact to me recently shows up in not so pretty ways. I often feel more emotional, sad or angry days following drinking. Additionally, even if I have one glass of wine it feels like the next day I have gained 3 pounds. This is not an exaggeration and doesn't make sense. So as much as I crave it, I am taking a break for the month of December. 

3. Slowing down and being present, with the intention to heal my adrenals and hormones. I know they are still off and my recent test results are there to confirm it. As someone that lives in this busy world with kids I am often thinking about what next or what hasn’t gotten done or what happened and spend less time in the present. This morning I gave it a try, I decided to pause the morning routine and snuggle each kid on the couch while looking at the tree. I asked them three questions about the Christmas tree. It felt nice; I noticed things like how they smelled and the smile and twinkle in their eye. Bonus: I think they behaved better too! 

4. Connection. When I connect with others and laugh, listen, am heard, and more, I feel connected to their souls and I feel happy inside. I think I recently read an article that when people have good friendships and family they are happier because of the human connection; it does something to your brain for the better. I will take that!! 

5. Acceptance. Finally, and most important is my intention to accept and ultimately be more loving all around. Obviously this one starts within first, in order to give love to others. I say a lot to myself, “I do not judge _____, I accept _____.” And then comes the love and less frustration or anger or whatever it is that the judgment is focused on. It is in this place where I do not go to shame but rather refocus my energy on the now and moving forward. I will keep trying this technique because so far, it is working!! This technique was all from my amazing coach, Laura Burkey. I am pretty lucky to have her support I have to say. :) 

I think that is it for me this week. I am excited to share more ideas on how to stay balanced as the holiday season progresses, fun recipes and more!

How are you doing this week? What is your intention for yet another new week? How can you still take care of you in the midst of crazy this December?

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

The secret to health both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, not to anticipate the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
— Buddha

 

Honest Monday Check-in: Nov. 28, 2016

I have to be honest in today's Monday check-in.  I'm okay. I am not thriving like I know I can and I would be lying if I said that the holidays have been easy. I don't have any grand answers except that when I reflect on the last month I definitely did less movement (walking, yoga, exercise), less sleeping, less meal planning and thus grabbing for crappier food options, more wine, less vegetables, less connection and more. I feel like my energy, generally, was dispersed in many different ways, leaving me feeling like I was running around with my head cut off with not a lot to show for it. I did get a new teaching gig and I am grateful and excited to share more! Also, I am spending time enriching my yoga studies through the Vinyasa Krama online training with Rod Stryker. It has been work, but I am so grateful to learn and expand! 

Based on all of this I choose to be kind to me and honor that I am not just sitting on the couch. However, I know that I can feel better, physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

If you are curious of more of what isn't feeling good I have captured below. 

My body:

It hurts. Physically my joints hurt, my skin is inflamed and hurts and itches in various places. My physical body hurts because of being out of alignment; I have been teaching, doing workouts out and yoga, but not enough foam rolling and restorative activity. Ouch. Additionally, I feel puffy everywhere. In fact, it isn't a feeling it is a reality because my clothes are fitting a lot tighter in just the last few weeks. And finally, my bloat is awful. I know my tummy is off and not happy lots of times in the day. in fact, almost every time I eat lately my stomach hurts or I can hear the rumbling. Because of all of this I know a little healing will go a long way. 

Emotionally/Mentally

My mind is all over the place. I have a lot on my mind regarding work and home, specifically thinking up various ways to approach each. I am experiencing a great amount of mental spinning (where I take a thought or idea and run with it, usually not for the positive). I am harder on myself, sensitive, and sometimes so anxious I can barely sit still during meditation. This is absolutely a reflection of me being out of balance, in particular not sleeping and more importantly short-cutting my practice to the point that even when I do it I am so tired it doesn't count. I feel connected to something higher than me when I am in nature and when I sit still and find myself in breath and meditation. When I do not do that, the cumulative effect is noticed. In fact, I talk about this a bit in the Pain of Not Practicing post. This awareness will definitely be leverage and motivation for me to show up in my practice because my mind will absolutely benefit. :)

The Process of Healing - why don't more people talk about the process of healing? I am curious.

In reflecting in the last couple days following the peak of feeling crappy I have been thinking a lot about how not a lot of people talk about the process of life or the journey of losing weight or healing from a sickness. I wonder why? It is in the process of pain/suffering where I feel the most alone and confused. I know I am not alone and I reach out to those close to me who often hold me up, but why do I hesitate to share the journey, especially when it isn't pretty? I think it is because it makes me vulnerable. Also, a lot of people share the story of, "one day I had this suffering and then I did x, y, and z and now I feel great!" I am not judging or saying that is not an okay way to share your story, because each one of us gets to choose how we tell our story and how/when we share. What I am saying is that I crave to hear more of the journey and process of others on the way to moving through something that was hard and didn't feel good.

I also hesitate to share sometimes because when you look at my life I am pretty damn lucky. How could someone that has a lot to be thankful for be suffering? It doesn't make sense at all. But then I realize I am not alone in my journey of internal suffering. In fact, we all have these things inside that are here to teach us. And if it wasn't painful we wouldn't have the desire and drive to stand up again and keep moving forward. If it wasn't painful we wouldn't want to make changes and choices in our lives to feel better. And as much as I know that is hard to make changes, especially at the beginning (because sometimes it is easier to stay out of balance), I know what is on the other side, and thus I am very very determined to keep moving forward. I also hope that me sharing the process I am going through as I struggle and get back up again might help just one person.

My Aha-Cycle - Specific to eating, body image, and health (gut health, skin stuff etc.)

I want to go in depth soon about my aha-cycle that I realize I deal with, in particular with my eating and body-image issues. If I am being honest, I am carrying a good 15 pounds, maybe 20 pounds more than what I used to call my set-point weight. In fact, I used to feel chubby during that weight, and now that I have the extra puff (for lack of a better term) and I think, "what was I thinking?" For me it is more than the weight; It is the fact I can feel so awesome one moment and so awful the next moment that I wonder, am I doing it all wrong? Am I defective? Do I simply not have enough will power? And on and on on. So when I was not feeling so hot this last Friday (post Thanksgiving) I pulled out the book, Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth and I found my notes I wrote in the summer. It was pretty incredible what I learned in my reflections from reading this book back in July. (This book moved me faster in my healing of my eating issues than anything I've every done). In my own reflections I quickly became aware of three stages that I am often cycling through. Each stage has a set of behaviors and thought patterns. Essentially, this cycle is one that helped me see the destructive pattern I often find myself in, which ultimately sets me up to not feel good and frankly, think too much about it (food/body) all. 

Here is a pic of the high-level cycle I drew out one day that hit home for me:

In no particular order the three phases are:

  • Connection to Source: Highest good/choice
  • Awareness of positive feelings (or negative) and/or change, leads to Attachment and more focus/attention on food/body.
  • Disconnection to self and not being fully present, feelings of shame.

I look forward to digging deeper into this as I grow and hopefully I can share even more in the future. For now, I will honor that the cycle can exist for me and that I am healing and getting stronger each day. I respect and am accepting of my ability to use my awareness to drop into the present moment and love me exactly as I am today, and tomorrow and the next day. I cannot image that this self love will do anything but help me to make better choices, be kinder and to hopefully thrive. Thus, in sharing I am thankful for this suffering because it has made me more awake and alive. 

So what next?

  1. I am doing everything I can to be fully present in ALL of life. I am challenging myself to feel all of my feelings and slow down. Often times I numb myself or distract myself with staying up too late, looking at my phone, getting a snack or thinking about food too much. Thus, I am not truly living in the moment, right? Also, I realize I am often crabby and impatient at home and at the stem of it all is that I am often thinking about what I need to do to be prepared to teach or do something esle and instead I am doing parenting things. Thus, I am quickly reactive and not my best self.
  2. Honor my truth. I am working closely with my coach to realize and accept/love all of me, the good, the challenging, and the quirky. And instead of constantly try to improve or judge myself, I am working to accept and LOVE it all. After all of this recent awareness I realize that I am so incredibly hard on myself it actually makes life a lot more difficult and amps up my anger and impatience to a pretty high level. 
  3. I will LIVE my YOGA! Daily yoga means living my yoga; each moment I see as my practice. To be kind to myself, my kids, and those I come in contact with. This will lead to nourishing foods, moving my body, connecting, and practice--giving myself the healing gift of yoga to move, change my energetic body and pause my mind enough to connect to the place in me that is unchanging and bright.

I believe in my heart that this small moment of not feeling so hot is a gift to me to adjust and do what I know I need to do to honor me, my path, my blessings and more. I also now know what it is like to physically feel not awesome and to have my weight not budge, regardless of what I am doing. I know what I need and I plan to carry on. I allow the hurt and the feelings. I dig into a deep place of me that will not try to be it all or be perfect but to be present: more breaths, more pausing, more allowing feelings to come in and out. Thus, hopefully more real moments of bliss, laughter, joy and true gratitude with effortlessly flow into my life. 

Am I right? Does any of this resonate with you? Do you have something you are working through and are you allowing or are you pushing it away? Can you learn from your challenges and honor the process? Ask yourself questions and continue to be curious because the lessons are in the everyday moments and your heart. And of course the real sweet spot is allowing it all to happen and find that acceptance in your mind, body and spirit. You are worthy of love today.

Thanks for reading and for honoring you! Wherever you are today and on your journey you are exactly where you should be. Can you give yourself a little more love and grace today? Can you slow down and be a little more present? I know I can and I will try. I look forward to reporting back on how it is going. 

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

p.s. I couldn't resist putting this little cutie and our bright tree in the pic. The tree might be my favorite part of December. :) 

p.p.s I am feeling better now that it is Friday and I have made small changes. I look forward to sharing more. xo

40 day look back and forward (Everyone is behind too!)—Check in Monday, Nov. 21, 2016

I don't know about you, but I have felt behind on literally everything the last couple weeks. As you can see this post for this Monday check-in arrives on Tuesday. Each year in Sept/October I devise a plan. i feel so smart and strategic; it is almost as though I have figured it out. I think to myself, "this year I am not going to be behind during the holidays and this year I am going to love them because I am going to alleviate all of the stress and do everything early. By December I will be making Christmas cookies, hanging out with friends, going to yoga and maybe even picking up a craft at the craft store!" How about it right? In theory this seems amazing and doable. However, in reality this is never the case. And yes, there is a rare group of people that execute everything early and are amazing at this, in fact they likely thrive in this environment. If that is you, damn you are awesome and if you are willing to share your tips I am all ears. I might even send you a gift in return because I can use all of the help I can get. But what I am hearing among my friends, family and even students in my classes is that their lists are long too! They are behind and feel like they are letting everything slide. And, my friends, I am a full-time stay-at-home mom a lot more than I spend time teaching classes or working on my business. Even with that extra time I am behind!

So what is a girl to do? The words that comes to mind are surrender and soften. As I say to my yoga students, relax your face and jaw and even your mind. Can you loosen your grip on this list and know that maybe everyone else feels the same way and that if it all doesn't get done, well, tomorrow will come? I sometimes think if I just do an extra push, skip the yoga practice or the sleep I will catch up, but then I become tired or angry and depleted. It is no fun and it never works. I think secretly I thrive on adrenaline (another reason I am likely in a continual fight with my adrenals), but that is not the point of today's post. My point is this, instead of focus on the long list of what is left to do or what you haven't gotten to yet, what if we just smile and nod because we are not alone and perhaps everyone is behind too? And what if instead of look at our lists, what if we look back?

Not too long ago my six-year old daughter reminded us, "there are 50 days left in the calendar year." I remember when she said this I am sure my eyeballs popped out of my head because for sure I could see my dream of having it all done so I could bake cookies quickly slip away. The same day she shared this I was on a run and I had this huge aha-moment. Are you ready for this (you might want to sit down for this)? What if we start to look back at the last year now, instead of wait until the New Year is quickly upon us? We all know that in a month's time social media will be flooded with all the various ways to reflect on last year and set the perfect resolution for next year. Right (insert head nod)? 

This week I am challenging myself and YOU to do the same. We have 40 days exactly until the New Year! Get a pen and paper (or your phone and open up the notepad). Do it now, you won't be sorry. Think about the last year and make a list of all the successes, little and big that you have have accomplished this year. If you are anything like me you may have days, weeks, and moments that you are continually doing everything you can to strive to be better and you are SO hard on yourself. Nobody is perfect and we all have tough days, weeks and months. But I am sure that you have moments that you have forgotten that you kicked ass at something. It can be anything that you are proud of whether it is at home or work or you overcoming something that was harder than you ever imagined on your heart and soul. But here you are, today, reading this blog. If you haven't grabbed your paper, please do it now. 

A live smile shot for you (see lists in background) :) 

A live smile shot for you (see lists in background) :) 

When I got this idea on my run I began to do it immediately in my head of course. Prior to the run I was feeling hard on myself because I was behind on everything: my house was a disaster, I was planning another class at the last minute, I felt like I wanted my business to be moving faster than it was, and I still didn't fit in my clothes or make enough healthy food. And then this came to me. Why not focus on what you have done amazing at? As soon as I started to go through my memory lane of 2016 I began to curl my lips up and smile. My smile was so big as I continued the exercise (in my head) that I even noticed the strangers I passed smile back at me. I am sure they could feel my joy and pride coming from me as I jogged slowly by. I felt so grateful for my run now because not only did I get away from the shit show at home, but I also was able to create a huge shift in my perspective. I no longer felt frustrated with my said list (that is now longer), but I felt proud of how far I had come. Was everything perfect? Hell no. But, I had little and big moments I was proud of, and that kept me going on my run. And looking back and feeling proud and grateful  keeps me going on my list and simply showing up in my life as mom and my dreams.

Here is my stab at it - My 2016 reflections: 

  • I started my website and blog. I had been ghost blogging in a folder on my desktop for years and I finally put myself out there and did it. This desire came deep from my soul; I created a sankalpa (resolution in sanskrit). In less than 12 months my resolution was a reality. Not too shabby for someone that is technically challenged. Seriously, sometimes I cannot even google things and not get confused. Reading this makes me think...why have I not created a solid sankalpa again? Indeed that is happening next week. Should I add it to the list? :) 
  • I hired a life coach to continue my healing heart and eating disorder. I continued to feel lost and struggled a lot in many areas. This investment in me was a huge blessing and of course makes me feel vulnerable because it costs money and it is clearly saying, I need the support of not just me. I knew I couldn't do it alone and for this I am proud to say has changed my life. Thank you Laura Burkey!
  • I started teaching barre in February of 2016. I fell in love with the format shortly after I had my son at a time when I felt more disconnected to my body than I had ever been (in particular my core). I completed the Barre Training through Blooma the fall of 2015 and made my dream of teaching a new format that I was passionate about become a reality. I still remember how much I was in my head my first mock-class. Prepping for that was a ton of work, but if you don't put yourself out there, well, you will simply keep watching. 
  • I completed a yoga weekend training with Rod Stryker and stayed in a hotel for two nights away from the family! I loved the training, the people and friendships, but being way from my family helped me feel free! I missed them terribly but It was the first time I was away since my son was born (he turned three in September). 
  • I decided against running any long races. That is right, I LOVE running races in the spring, summer and fall and despite my strong desire to pick up the miles and run more I listened to my intuition. I knew my adrenals still felt pretty depleted and the best thing for me was to run the lake when I could and look forward to a race at a different time in my life. I guess you could call this listening to my body (even though I resist this term-read here). 
  • I enrolled in Rod Stryker's Vinyasa Krama: The Energetics of Sequencing online training and I am currently working on this with my dharma sister. It is a big commitment and I am learning a lot. I cannot wait to apply what I am learning to my practice, life and teaching. 
  • I created a "happy summer!" for my kiddos. Well, it wasn't all Mary-Poppins, but I feel like I tried to create memories and love. The funny story is that about 30-minutes into summer break I was so flipping annoyed that as I walked away from the kids in my attempt to not yell I couldn't hold back any longer and I screamed at the top of my lungs, "Happy Summer!" I was so mad, but couldn't help but joke around later and make my unnecessary drama a joke to lighten the mood. I suppose this was a good lesson for my kids to see right? 
  • I went on an airplane for the first time by myself AND rented a car. I drove through San Francisco out to wine country for a short commute of almost three hours all by myself! I felt like a badass because it was totally out of my comfort zone. But I did it with the help of my yoga breathing and my Young Living Peace and Calming. 
  • Oh, did I mentioned that fed my kids many snacks, meals, gave baths, wiped tears and more! Yup, it all adds up right? I think I even got them check-ups at the doctor and dentist.
  • Finally, I say that I am sorry when I suck as a mama. I think, for my own parenting style, that works for me. I always want my kids to feel like we are a team and being human is a reality. Love and kindness win in my world. 

I am so very grateful for this list and for the perspective of being proud of what I have done and how I continue to show up and do my very best each day. I know I can feel even better than I do now, but I know it isn't by tackling my list and being ahead of it all. Rather, it is more about the perspective that I choose to have. It is about pausing and reflecting. It is about being proud of what I have done and of how I have grown from the moments I am not proud of or things that didn't go as I had hoped. God knows my list will maybe get short when my kids are out of the house and that is not something I wish for. In fact, I long for a way to slow down how they are getting older. I long for my ability to able to truly be present with them and not think about what I am not getting done. Yes, that happens to me a lot and I wonder..."am I truly ever present with this little gifts that live under my house?" The answer to that is yes and no, but again I am not going for perfection.

So this Thanksgiving week I am curling my lips up and I am smiling! Not because I have a long list of accomplishments but because I was true to myself and I know in my heart I am so darn determined to continue to do everything I can to shine as bright as I can. I know that taking care of me so that I can truly be my best version of me is the only thing in my control. And I know the world needs all of us to dig into that place. The yogi in me knows that this light is there in all of us, even when we are down and don't know it. We always have access to it.

My friends, you ALL deserve to smile and be proud and say, "I am amazing and I am enough!"  

Have you started your list? Can you jot down the list and say good job to you? Give thanks to the YOU that you are. We need each and everyone of you...exactly as you are! Happy Thanksgiving week.

Sending you so much love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

Talk less, listen more; think less, be more—Monday check-in Nov. 14, 2016

This week I will focus on my writing and what lives deep in my heart. As I continue to have a loss of words to speak to what so many are talking about, yesterday (Sunday) I was reflecting and thinking of the coming week. In my reflection I heard clearly heard the following: talk less, listen more; think less, be more! For me it is clear that the impact I need to have on the world starts with me. I can talk all day about how a daily mediation practice is good for us all, but if I am not doing it why waste the effort of talking? Or I can lecture to my kid about whatever the life lesson is from the previous tough parenting moment (whether it be morning routine or sibling fighting etc), but what are my words worth if my actions are not what I expect of my kiddos?

Sunday I felt a deep awareness of this message that that struck a cord in my heart. What will have more impact on my beautiful daughter's heart and light—my words or my actions? The answer to that is obvious. My actions as mom and thoughtful words are what support my children and reflect my love to them; these actions reflect to my daughter (and son) my belief and trust in her (him). For example, when I express my parenting frustration in angry words or a simple, yet powerful look of frustration, it is becomes immediate to me the impact on my daughter’s heart and and sometimes even her belief in herself. And that is obviously not the goal and is hard to realize that these moments even exist as a mama. But I will say that I often hope and hang onto my ability to love them so hard. That I know is a constant. 

For me parenting is hard, especially the ability to stay calm, keep perspective and not be so reactive. Despite this daily challenge as a mama for me I know the powerful impact I can have on my daughter and son. This knowledge gives me great passion to live by these words that came to me: talk less, listen more; think less, be more. Thus, I promise to continue to strive to share my love and belief in my daughter (and son) through my listening and my being. My actions will make the biggest impact along with the words that I selectively choose. I think this aha-moment for me on Sunday allowed me to give myself a little break in the timing of my varied "priorities" this week and focus on being the best mama I could be. And let me tell you this wasn't as pretty as a it sounds. I have been stern, and yelled and definitely gave a look or too or said their name with the sound of disappointment already this week (and it's only Tuesday). And that is the reality of parenting. However, I have also not allowed intense parenting moments to spiral into a battle and have found myself looking into their eyes more and listening a bit more. I have stopped my crabbiness or frustration a heck of a lot quicker and tried to see their sides with love and space. Also, I know as a mom, I could work on my skill set of using my filter. This is not a strength of mine, but listening more and talking less could help encourage and hone in this oh-so-needed skill in my parenting and my life in general. :) 

As I continue to reflect on the past week, I find myself at a loss for words as to how to express all that is going in the world around me. There are many people who have articulated a lot in the last few days and used their gift of communication and community to help support many by sharing and creating love, peace and safety. I am grateful for the words and wisdom of others—thank you for those that share your gift and bring us all together.

In this time of uncertainty in our hearts and the country we live in right now I know how important our words and actions can be. We all have experienced the power and hurt of words (more some than others) in our lives (note: I am being vague on purpose here because the details are not the point). In my perspective it is clear that actions can heal. True actions of compassion and selflessness can heal. Because of this understanding I figured now is the best time to invest in me taking action of love and positivity in my life in hopes that it will spill into the rest of my life and those I come in contact with. 

So my friends, based on yesterday’s small parenting moment I couldn’t help but look within a bit more on how critical this is for me to live now in my life as a mom, but it is vital that that I reflect this in ALL that I do in my life. I can, and will and must reflect the light that I know I can be. I must listen more and be more. And if there is a moment of frustration or exhaustion or whatever the hell it is, I will ride the wave with grace, brush myself off and stand up again by focusing on what I stand for.

I stand for love, faith, confidence and surrender. I stand for being YOU all the time and listening to your heart. I stand for uniting together and being the best that you can be. How can I expect this to be my outer world before it is an actuality in my inner world? If I cannot start with being kind to me on the inside with my words and actions how can I expect this to filter into my parenting, my marriage, my teaching, my family, friends and work? 

What does starting with me look like? It might be obvious but again, I come back to my daily practices: getting my ass to bed, honoring my light by doing my daily yoga practice, nourishing myself with food and drink, choosing wisely the things I read and spend my time on, creating connection, having fun and more! When you start to think about what you talk about, do you actually put it into action? My answer to that is sometimes. My meditation is the perfect example. I often find excuses for not doing it even when I know it serves me in so many ways and not only impacts me so profoundly, but it also impacts my family/friends, students and more. I am a better me. This week it is all about showing up and walking the walk.

What if I took it a bit further? How can I talk less and listen more as a wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister, teacher, neighbor and more? How can I think less and analyze less in my mind and simply stand confident in who I am, what I stand for and how much I have actually done on a given day? When I think of the mind spinning I know I have things I spend time thinking about that are versions of me being hard on myself and don't serve me or others. This is something I can choose to do or choose not to do. For example, I always fall short of what I feel like I need to do or accomplish (in a day, week or month). This blog is a great example of that; I drafted this post on Sunday and have finally had a moment on Tuesday to make edits and add photos. And with the rest of you, my list goes on. I am trying to do a lot, but maybe the best I can and the progress forward is just enough.

Furthermore, no matter the check boxes completed on my list what should matter more is am I living each day and moment as me? Am I cultivating and surrounding myself with choices that will make my light shine brighter? This is a question that I will keep coming back to because the one thing I can control is how I take care of me (including how I react to life). I am the one that can control how I love me and talk to me. And this will, without a doubt, show up in how I parent and how am in all that I do in this world.

My deep hope is that that taking care of me first by listening more and being more will spill into my kids and into the world. It is my deep hope that I can look within each day and continue to choose things that serve me so that I can be the best version of me. And instead of worry if I have expressed myself in the right way in this post I will simply think less about it. I know these words are from my heart and what I will be focusing on this week. The power and wisdom I learn from parenting is profound and I am grateful for that. I am grateful that today I showed up and shared my passion and hopes.

Will you join me this week in taking action in doing what you know will brighten your light? For me it is talk less and listen more; think less and be more. What will serve you? I know you have this wisdom and I know when we take care of us and shine, we can stick together, united with love and peace.

Thank you for reading and for being YOU; shine bright!

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

You are you and I am me; we are exactly how we are meant to be!
— Kristin Gourde

Monday Check-in: Breathing - Nov. 7, 2016

How am I? 

I am in a rut and I am better than I've ever been! Why? Because despite having a tough week and not feeling the best, I know I have support, tools such as yoga, meditation, gratitude and more to get back up. I consider last week's challenging moments a paper cut. Why was this last week harder than some? I had some tougher moments emotionally this week but it wasn't a whole day; each time it was just a moment. What a gift. Also, based on how I feel, I am reminded that what I'm doing right now for self-care is not the right balance. I am not sleeping enough or eating the right foods or doing a consistent and solid yoga practice. And I know that needs to change. However, I also know that the hardest part is starting. I'm learning a lot right now in my yoga training (online Vinyasa Krama training with Rod Stryker). And in that training he talks about the Law of Continuity. It essentially means like attracts like and thus, we tend to keep doing what keeps us out of balance because it feels good. Sometimes doing the same thing, even if it makes us feel crappy, makes us feel better than making a change. Wow, can I resonate with that because that is exactly where I am. I know what I need to do, but there is a lot of resistance to doing it. I think we all can relate to this in some way. Think of the months where you have a consistent workout schedule. Then life happens and you get out of your rhythm and getting back to the schedule that made you feel good is so much harder.

Below I have quickly broke down a bit of what my rut seems to consist and what I know I need more of. Also, you can read about how last week's Queen Allowina did. And don't forget to think about you. Maybe reading this will get you thinking about what is going on with you because I know reflection can always help me have better weeks, days or moments. 

My rut: 

  • Not sleeping enough 
  • Drinking too much caffeine
  • Being hard in myself, and I mean really hard 
  • My mind is spinning and I am not stopping it (oh I want to write a whole post on this one)
  • Perhaps trying to do too much at once? But I feel the fire, so I will just keep it going with grace and a planner/spreadsheet. 
  • Not as patience or as kind as I know i can be, especially to kiddos 
  • More anger 
  • Food stuff crept in a bit, but knowing my triggers it is again, just a moment and I can move forward and grow!

What do I need? 

  • More sleep
  • More meditation that allows some a.m. practices on the days I am not teaching early
  • More water. I was with my daughter on Thursday and Friday and she drank a lot of water. I thought I would give it a try and I feel a ton better. More days like that!
  • More being and less thinking. That's right. More BEing! One of my amazing teachers would always remind us that we are "human beings, not human doings!" Dang, I need someone to say that to me every day!
  • Continue to give myself grace at the rate I am building my business. It takes time to create something great right?

How did allowing go? 
Last week my theme of the week was to be Queen Allowina! I wanted to embrace the mess of life and allow various feelings, the mess of the house, and simply not being perfect into my week. So how did it go? 

Queen Allowina's reflection of last week:

I was so surprised (and not surprised) that I resisted the heck out of allowing. It was the most painful attempt at trying to be laid back. In all honestly, it showed up the most in my parenting. For some reason the kids were a handful last week and into the weekend. For a good part of the week I thought their behavior and the parenting frustrations were me not being patient until I saw the kids get the best of my husband (he rarely gets frustrated with the kids). Phew, it wasn't just me. As the week progressed I found myself resisting allowing the mess and allowing the crazy morning routines and being behind on what feels like everything. For most of the week I was sure as a mom I have no clue what I am doing; but don't we all have parenting moments when we wonder what the...? 

Last week I found myself having an angry and impatient tone of voice with the kids, and even raising my voice when I they would continue to not listen! The positive: I realize it is important to not allow unkind behavior, but at the same point I realize I must only allow the lessons to come from the place of love. So Sunday, on the way to swimming lessons with both kids, we went over our four rules:

1. Listen to mom and dad the first time
2. Kindness (kind words and actions such as hitting, biting etc.)
3. No name calling (believe it or not I am the worst at this). For example I joke around that I am "mean mommy." After the intense parenting morning (for both my hubby and I) we were going over the rules in the car and my three-year old son says to me "mean mommy is name calling!" Hot damn he was so right. How did I miss that one?
4. No back talk

A big thanks to my friend for helping me create these rules because when I think I might lose it as a mom and feel so lost and unsure of what next I go back to these. And it helps me to realize that these aren't Kid's Rules, but Family Rules. I must be kind in my guiding and parenting, even if they are acting like a-holes.  

As far as allowing others to feel, well I realize this will be an ongoing opportunity because I quickly take on the feelings of others and have it negatively impact my moments. But I know I am solely in charge of my own emotions and others have the right to feel. Thus, Queen Allowina will continue. 

Finally, I allowed my Thursday post to just get posted when I finally can edit and add pictures. It was done on Wednesday and that my friends, is the kind of week I had as far as all-hands-on-dec with the kiddos. Oh well, it is just a blog post. I allow right?. :) :) 

What next?

I am going to keep it simple this week. I am going to commit to my daily practice, water, sleep and grace when it comes to the to-do’s, both work and home. The list is long and the passion is deep, but I am only one person and my best this week will be enough. I realized in being more aware last week that my anger is stemmed by never feeling like I can get enough done or be enough for people or sleep the right amount, etc. etc.

What I know I can control and do Now is breathe. I often joke around that I am the yoga teacher that doesn't breathe. Unfortunately, it isn't a joke. I don't breathe very well most of the days (again, another opportunity for more writing on this gem). This week my focus to support me is "I will breathe!" I will breathe in and out as calmly and deeply as I can. I know how I feel after a yoga practice with intentional breathing. Why don’t I do this in my everyday life? Last week taking a drop essential oil (I have been loving the Gratitude oil) and cupping my hands to smell and breathe helped calm my body and drop into the present moment. The breath is our foundation for life and greatly connected to the quality of the mind. Why not start today? 

What are your plans for this week?

As always, take a moment to think about last week. What felt good and what would you like more of? Is there something you are doing a lot of that is actually keeping you out of balance? Do you need an extra yoga class or some extra sleep? How can you stay grounded and calm in the week we are approaching with Tuesday’s election and I could imagine a busy life and mind? Schedule something in for you if you can. And lastly, are you breathing? Breathe with my please. And tell me how it's going; I would love to hear!

Life is such a gift and feel so very grateful to have the time to reflect, share and grow.

Thank you so much for reading and more importantly, thank you so much for being YOU! Have a beautiful week. 

Peace and love to y'all!

Kristin

The quality of our breath expresses our inner feelings.
— TKV Desikachar

"Allowina" - Check-in Monday Oct.31, 2016

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Last week with the theme of making choices that make me "feel good" I had a lot of awareness happening in the past week. I am learning more each day how GREATLY I am impacted by the emotions of others. Although in theory I would like to allow others around me to have their feelings, those closest to me might say that I tend to get frustrated or annoyed or even angry when they are in a mood. This shows up the most with my husband and kids. I realized this a lot the past couple weeks because of the wisdom and guidance of my coach (Laura Burkey - check her out here)! She has been helping support me in this skill, among others. We cannot control the feelings or actions of others and it is not our job to change their feelings or take it on. In our chat we discussed me working on allowing and being playful with it; thus, my new nickname I am calling myself is "Allowina!" Basically, I allow others to feel and allow life to happen. This weekend I used it and would twirl around and joke around when I could feel my resistance to my kids (or hubby) having a moment where they were moving through an emotion.

Being playful and calling myself "Allowina" actually lightened the mood and helped me realize often times my frustration is simply my lack of allowing the feelings of others. Of course this isn't intentional; I think it is because I often feel like I am actually feeling the feelings of others. Have you ever seen someone get injured and feel that zing through your body where you could almost feels the pain? I bet a lot of you know exactly what I mean. It's the empathetic part in a lot of us that is sometimes stronger is some. Having empathy can be an incredible gift in connection/support for those that you love, but it can also be an enemy if aren't careful. Thus, I fully support and will nurture my new skill of allowing. "I am Allowina!" 

This was a day-changer walk for me with a pal. Breathing in the fresh air and moving my body always allows me to find my faith and gratitude!

I also realize that as the busy and hustle of the season approaches I get a little crazy in the head. My mind is all over the place and I feel like I am always ten steps behind. I feel angry and annoyed, like I am not enough, especially as a parent. Let me be clear that I know I am enough—my self-love has increased a lot in the last couple years as I have learned a lot about myself. However, in the parenting department this is HARD. I get mad fast and sometimes I even swear and of course apologize when I make a mistake. I have started to do "re-do's" with the kids to help move through the challenging and no-so-good parenting moments (another skill I have learned from my amazing coach). But to put it simply, I feel sad when I talk to my kids in a crappy tone or lose my patience. I am sad when I feel like I am not being as present, kind or as patient as I intend to be. For example, I promised a Halloween party on the weekend and then never found one because I was too tired on Friday night (as were the rest of my people). In all of this I know I also need to allow imperfection in the life of parenting and NOT be so hard on myself. When I take the approach of love and I allow the mess of the house and the morning routine and even the moments of discipline, then it all seems easier. And I find that I am more loving. 

In parenting (and life) there are big wins and then moments of learning and challenge. For example, last night I was under the weather and had the kids give me a bath. This sounds funny, but the reality was I got them ready for bed fast and then took a bath while they were reading to me and playing with the water. My 3-year old son disappeared near the end and I kept asking my 6-year old daughter to check on him. He was "reading" books in his room. I got out of the bath grateful to take care of myself before 8 p.m. ensuring that I would actually go to bed (that did not happen a lot last week). Wow, I thought to myself, this is magical and definitely goes in the magical bucket of parenting. I walk out into the hall with my towel on and my son gives me the guilty look and points to me and says, "go away mommy!" Oh no, what did he do? You guessed it! He pooped in his diaper. He had on his nighttime diaper and said that he pooped because "his poop was stuck!" Yuck. God bless my husband for rescuing the moment and changing his diaper. He has been potty trained since the spring so I haven't changed a diaper for a while. 

I share this story because I think it is good representation of life. It is beautiful and magical and messy. The more we focus on the magic and the blessings the happier life is. Today I am not feeling well so we are home and not running around crazy like we typically do. And instead of feel sorry for myself I find myself naturally grateful for the moments to slow down. I am grateful I am not missing work and I have the ability to actually be sick. I got a few chores done (because I suck at not being still) and that feels good. The vacuum broke during my cleaning session so I tried to fix it and failed, but I swept the carpet. Allowina won that cleaning session and the house is cleaner than it was before even if the vacuum failed me. Also, while cleaning I attempted to make elderberry syrup and the glass jar broke. Again, I must adapt and allow a shift to fix the problem. And finally, we hit up our local co-op to make this magic potion to help me feel better and when I got home I realized I forgot the ginger, a key ingredient in the drink. What in the world? Adapt again! And since I wrote this one more change of plans—the dinner that I planned to make forgot to make its way to the crockpot. Leftovers and hot dogs it is. Adapt one more time. 

Thus, In writing this simple reflection of today I realize a lot of my anger or frustration in life, and in particular as a mama, has a lot to do with expectations and things never going the way I expect them. I do not have control and it makes me mad. But the more that I realize the negative impact on this perspective the more that "allowing" seems to create a lot more happiness and peace. I am hoping I can do more of this in my parenting and all areas of my life. 

As for looking at last week, overall it was a great week of showing up in life, attempting to do things that made me feel good, and reflect as kindly as I could when I didn't. For example, I stayed up way too late many nights. And this week, well, I am not as on top of life as I want but I am realizing I will likely never be. Thus, my intention for the week is "I allow" or "I am Allowina!" My hope is that the rest will fall into place. I will keep getting my butt to bed in hopes to feel even better and find times for things like early-morning practice (the days I am not teaching) and more. 

Each day is a gift and hands us interesting lessons. This week I ask for grace, gratitude and an ability to slowly hone in my skills to allow. I assume this will have a positive effect on my life and those I love. What direction are you headed this week? What went well last week and felt good and what didn't feel so good? Can you learn from it this week and can you give yourself just a little more grace?

I wish you a Happy Halloween and an amazing week! 

Oh, and two more things to add. I was feeling so crummy last night so instead of spend the few minutes to edit my post and add pictures I allowed myself to go to bed. I guess that is a little win. I allow my Monday post to show up Tuesday. And, this morning when pouring my finished elderberry syrup in the jar I spilled a good amount and I simply laughed. I allow. It is amazing the power of intention and how it can positively impact your days and life. Namaste friends!

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In love and gratitude,

Kristin

Check-in Monday, October 24, 2016

This last week was a blur and again, these check-ins are helpful for me because it helps me to pause and reflect on last week and get ready for this week. I would love to take the time this week to share last week's learnings to you in hopes that it will encourage you to look at last week and see what you might want to do more of and what you might want to do less of. Additionally, I will take a look at what I want to get out of this coming week as each week brings us new challenges and opportunities for each of us. 

This post has a few pictures from this weekend's adventure in California, where I flew into San Francisco and met my husband to celebrate our anniversary! Today the pictures remind me of the good times and the simple beauty of life. The picture out of the airplane looked like a blanket of clouds; it is always so breathtaking to see the world from the view in a plane.  

Last week's reflections

  • I know that sleep was a BIG focus and intention for me. Guess what? it was the WORST week for sleep for me. A part of it was that my week was full, but then another part was that my energy was scattered with life and planning a weekend away. Also, I didn't make sleep a priority and sometimes felt like I was rebelling when I wouldn't go to bed. It was as though I forgot how shitty I feel when I don't sleep and the negative impact on ALL of my life. For me, I am wondering if setting weekly intentions that specific, such as, I will sleep eight hours a night, is less than ideal for me? I am wondering if less rules and more going off of "how is this going to make me feel?" will drive me to actually change. I am honestly not sure what it might take for me to make changes, but I do know I will keep sharing this sleep one to you because it is a big challenge on my journey. In fact, I am up past ten right now typing because I am a bit wired from being on California time. Bottom line, I am sure I will sleep more this week without even trying. :) 
  • I was challenged big time from on faith and anxiety. On Friday I took my very first flight alone and rented a car, alone. I met my husband out in wine country for our anniversary. Until I was waiting for the plane it hadn't dawned on me that it was my first time alone for either of these adventures, but it definitely helped me gain power in my abilities and faith in me. The short version of the story is that there was a maintenance issue with the toilet on the plane and my imagination got the best of me. I simply felt worried and so much more. However, with the support of my coach and hubby I realized I could channel my faith and find that place of peace right away through my breath, visualization and meditation. It was a pretty profound experience for me and one that I would love to share in more detail in a future post. Bottom line: we all hold within us that internal power to stay steady and filled with faith so that we may enjoy life and trust the process. And on top of that, because it was so new and out of the ordinary I felt like a badass mama living and loving! 
  • I had an awesome weekend in Sonoma, California, celebrating my wedding anniversary with my handsome husband (11 years)! Like I mentioned above, I met him out there because he was out there for work and it was a leap of courage for me to be independent. For some this might seem laughable, but for me it was a moment of being brave so that I could create experiences, connection and memories with the love of my life. I am so proud and so happy to have gone and am home again with my beautiful family. I am blessed beyond belief and feel excited and renewed to be back. And I always feel so free and happy in wine country. It is a place to me that feels like home and that I simply LOVE to spend time in. It also helps that our best pals are out there and that makes it even better! Thank you again wine country for an amazing time!
  • I forgot about my daily intention and "I Am" statements until I looked back at last week's post. These can be oh so lovely and I will remember to weave these in, especially on the days that I feel off or crabby. They are so good at redirecting me and keeping me grounded. But this past week it was just too much.

This week's intention

As mentioned above, I am not so sure how well I do when I drill down too specifically regarding what I want to do in my week. Having specific goals actually seem to back fire for me and my recent experience. Thus, this week I am going to take a different approach. I want to keep it simple by creating one over-arching theme for the week with an understanding of how it will generally impact the big rocks in my life. I will see how this works this week and for sure will let you know!

This week's intention: I plan to make choices this week all around choosing things that make me feel good. I am not getting specific on the glasses of water or hours of sleep. However, I am going to use this as my guide. What is going to make me FEEL GOOD?

I would imagine this is going to include more sleep, daily meditation, exercises more laughter and vegetables. And perhaps an espresso (but not five). Additionally, I think getting organized in my house and business will help keep me grounded in what next. And finally, I am trying to attempt to get ahead of the holiday season with a plan and scheduling in experiences, deciding the budget, and the calendar for the rest of 2016. My hope that if I have holiday plan and get ahead it will create time in our life to take care of me and my family to actually enjoy the days. When it gets darker we should do less and if I can get ahead of it maybe I will begin to see and feel the magic of togetherness, faith and generosity. I often try the theme of "No-vember" to attempt to create more self care, but it doesn't typically come out a success. That is why I am going to try to schedule things in advance so that I know when I have to say no because it is too much. And just maybe this might shift the way it feels to us all. Who knows how that will all shake out, but I have decided to be grateful for the positive outcome of this change from getting ahead of it. Feel grateful before it happens right? And getting ahead for the holidays to me feels very similar to a successful day in the life of kids--you know the days you are ahead of it all (dinner made early, birthday present bought a week before the party, homework turned in early, etc.)? Those are fun days, and while not always ideal, they definitely free up the days for a lot more fun and present moments.

So my friends, this week is a new week and that always feels good. I am going to try less hard by just being me and using my intuition and knowing of what feel's good as my guide. What are you going to do this week that is going to support you? Do you need to keep on truck'in or do you need to shake things up? Only YOU know the answer.

Have an amazing week.

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

p.s. Happy Birthday Mom - you are a light in my life and I love you more than you will know! XO 

Check-in Mondays - Week of Oct. 17

Happy Monday! Are you tired today after all of the energy of the super moon and perhaps the restless nights of sleep? Today I feel excited for the week, but feeling a little off physically. Also, my head is full with ideas, weekly to-dos, and more! This weekend I was away at a Young Living Conference to learn more about products and a company I love. Even more important I was with my beautiful sister and we got to have time to connect. It was awesome. I was quickly reminded of the power of connection as I was away from my family. I even had my own hotel room; a part of me didn’t want to go back to the conference the second day because of how blissful the quiet was without responsibilities in the sink or anywhere else hiding around the corner. Also, I haven’t stayed in a hotel alone for more than six years (gasp)!

As I think of this week ahead I reflect on last week's intention, but more importantly how I feel and what inspiration I left the weekend with. Last weekend I was reminded in many ways to be yourself, and I mean BE YOU! Be grounded in who you are because the way you are is purposeful. When we are authentic in who we are and show up in life it can come together in a form of success that is different for us all. But I am telling you this; I have yet to find a success story of someone trying to be someone else. “Being you” is embedded as a theme in each success story I have found, whether it was from this weekend, books I’ve read, podcasts and more.

I can’t help but think back to the last post I wrote on the Pain of Not Practicing: when you know yourself and dharma code (your purpose) and are living it and being authentic in you, you will thrive in all areas of your life. From my perspective dharma code is a fancy way of saying BE YOU! Isn’t that fun? I know the times that I truly am grounded in me I have a lot more fun and life becomes a bit more effortless.

This week:

I know I can get ahead of myself with all that I want to accomplish at home, in and on my business and more. However, I know that it is only one week, and a short one at that. The kids are out of school on Wednesday so the flow of the week is different. Thus, today I want to do three things in our Check-In Monday:

  1. Check in on how last week went
  2. Share my intention for this week 
  3. Quick reminder to you to check in for YOU!

1.How did last week go?

Overall, it went decent. I felt like I had set a lot of goals and did my best to keep the themes positive and even small changes I attempted to celebrate. Looking back I feel like I was a bit aggressive, but that can be good some weeks.

  • Sleep – I had a few nights of eight hours of sleep and other nights not so much. This was a win overall, and I know I can do better. Also, I realize without sleep I pretty much SUCK at life. I am hungrier, crabbier, my mind is restless and all over the place. Also, gratitude feels forced. You know what I am talking about—the days when you go in public and everyone bugs the crap out of you; even you bug yourself!
  • Water—I am realizing that I can amp this up even more because I often think I am good at drinking water and am not. Adding in a glass or even a half of glass before meals is helping a lot. However, some days I am scrounging and never eating a meal so that doesn’t always work. More on that later.
  • Gratitude—This is always a day booster and I especially did this with my kiddos at dinner, bedtime and on the way to school. It keeps me in check and helps me let go of the often shit-show moments of parenthood.
  • Food—I actually had to look back at last week’s goal. I have no idea what it was, perhaps it was to eat more veggies? But, I do know that I tried to actually eat and sit down and maybe had a few more moments when I actually sat down to eat the meal vs. just eating on the run. Often times I am having a bit here and there and not truly knowing if and what I have eaten. Thus, it doesn’t matter what last week’s goal was, I know that I need more of those moments of putting something, anything on a plate, and looking at it, pausing with a breath or two and actually eating it without distractions or usually the mommy anger that I can have during meal time. Yes, kids can be so irritating during a meal. Maybe I should take my plate and lock myself in the bathroom some nights? 
  • Breathe and be present—Again, I tried my best to do this and did my best when I was one-on-one with really amazing friends I was blessed to hang out with last week. I realize these moments of being much more present feel so good. As for being present in real life and as a mom, well, I think there is room for improvement. Maybe I should set my phone down or let go of the to-do list or flippin breathe!
  • No swearing in front of the kiddos—I think that must have been a typo last week. I don’t swear in front of the kids. :) Or maybe I need to push this one out. Maybe I will just be more kind in general or breathe like I tried to above and the swearing will simply subside.

2. This week’s intention—in the effort to be adaptable while getting stuff done this week here are my intentions.

  • Sleep. It is clearly the foundation. Thus, I will be in bed each night eight hours and the goal is to do this 5 out of 7 nights.
  • Water. It is what keeps us going and can benefit us even more this time of year by sickness prevention. I’m obviously not a doctor but I have heard hydration can help with that and everything else. The lemon water in the morning can be a life saver if you know what I mean. Eight glasses for me a day seems like a good goal. I am at 3:00 and have had 4 glasses; maybe that is why I feel shaky? Or maybe my morning caffeine is still bothering me. Eek.
  • I will set my daily intention and in addition I have written these "I AM" statements to anchor my week: I want/need to get some stuff done this week and I want to enjoy my kiddos and my life in the present.  Thus, these “I am” statements seem to support me getting through my week with grace. Again, the adaptable one is huge for me because for those of you that know me, know that I love love love structure and I struggle and am agitated when life isn’t as I plan it. Ha. That seems funny to even write, but it is a reality and I will definitely need more work on adaptability.

This week's Intention:

I am Playful
I am Grateful
I am Focused
I am Adaptable
I am faithful

3. YOU: What are you doing to support you this week? What do you need this week? What did you kick butt at last week? What do you need more of? What do you need less of? Can you be grateful for your good and not so good moments last week? Each moment is a lesson and you are truly amazing for being You! You have the power to choose each moment and make this week great. I am sending you so much love and gratitude as you move into another week. 

Thank you so much for reading!!! Have an amazing week and happy fall!

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

Check-in Mondays!

Good day to you and happy Monday! Welcome to my first version of Check-in Mondays! The beginning of the week is always a good place to check in. It can be so beneficial to check in with yourself on how you are doing and what you can to this week to do to feel better. I used to love to grab my planner on Sunday nights to schedule my week: potentially schedule in meals, workouts, fun times and thoughts. 

I decided each Monday I am going to do a weekly check-in on the blog. This check-in is going to include a little bit of what is going on in my life and how I am thinking I can make changes to feel better. Additionally, it may include great resources, fun facts, and random things that might not fit in its own post.

The point of writing these each week is for you to get to know me a little bit better, but more importantly to inspire you to check in with yourself. Sometimes we forget to check in with ourselves because we are so busy. Self-reflection can help us to stay grounded, focused and create the week that we deserve. In addition to the weekly check–in I will also be posting weekly on Thursdays. These posts will include a variety of topics—self love, life lessons, yoga, meditation, gratitude, holiday tips and more! 

You will also start seeing the Recipe of the Month be published on the first of each month. This month’s recipe is a little late, but it was worth the wait and is perfect for October—Pumpkin Spice Carrot Muffins. Who doesn’t want (or need) to sneak veggies into their kiddos? Bonus, you can turn it into cake with some cream-cheese frosting because that always makes it even more delicious and is perfect for a fall party! I have already eaten two of these little muffins today and I am not sad.

Here is a quick summary of my intention for Check-in Mondays: 

  1. Share a bit of what is going on in my life, and what I might be trying to work on the coming week.
  2. Share any insights to how the previous week went. Learning will be happening.
  3.  Provide various resources to interesting and helpful/fun things I may have discovered the previous week.
  4. Stay connected with my readers. I want to know how you are and what you are working on should you be so inclined to share!!!

Blog schedule – Summary:

  • Check-in Mondays: posted every Monday
  • Thursday blog posts: variety of topics
  • Recipe of the Month: posted the 1st day of each month

Kristin's Check-in Monday: Oct. 9, 2016

What is going on with me this week? I realize it is almost halfway through the day and I am not very focused on the week and what I want get out of it. The busy weekends for me get tricky because we don’t really have a meal plan, calendar pow-wows or time to reflect/prepare for the coming week. This can be as simple as 30 minutes and can make a big different. Thus, this is a good reminder for me to reflect and see how things are going and how can I make choices to make me feel even better! The bonus was that last night I was asleep by 9:00 p.m. because I couldn't keep my eyes open. 

Overall my brain feels a bit scattered today; that is fairly normal for this time of the year. I have a lot of priorities that I am working on and travels coming up in the next couple weeks. In addition, I cannot help but start thinking about November and December. Yes, I am referring to the holiday season that sneaks up on us. I mention this because I often complain or say that I hate this time of year. I know that sounds so awful. It truly can get the best of me and make me so overwhelmed that I cannot keep up or see the beauty of it all.  Thus, I think if I get ahead of it this year, I might be able to feel and enjoy the true magic and point of the crazy time of year. I have more to share on that soon. I recently made a long list of post-it notes to attempt to tackle November and December, but today I will keep focused on this week. As I think about this week , despite feeling scattered, I listed below a few goals that will hopefully make a big impact on how I feel by the end of the week:

  • Sleep – I MUST sleep more. It is tied to SO much of how to feel good and for me, if I want to heal my hormones and my health challenges (and not be the “crabby mommy”) then I must sleep more.

I will go to bed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday by 9:30 p.m. This means I will be ready for bed with the kids at bedtime and can do my meditation and crawl into bed.

11 p.m. is my bedtime for Thursday, Friday and Saturday knowing I have more going on.

  • Water – I need to do even better at this. Thus, I am going to try and drink more water this week be drinking water five different times in the day and then of course when I am thirsty. Note: so far today I am 2 for 3. I guess that is a win

 Lemon water in the morning before anything, water before lunch and after lunch, before and after dinner. The goal is 80 oz. of water.

  • Gratitude – I will start each day with 5 things I am grateful for and why. And then I will end each night with gratitude. My coach Laura Burkey’s gratitude journey that I did last fall changed my life and the way I see the world. Thus, I know if I focus on that everything will be better!
     
  • Food – ah, food. Okay, so I go in a million directions on this. One moment I say, “I will listen to my body,” and the next moment I say, “I need to make a food plan because not knowing is creating stress.” Or I just say “f-it” because as I have mentioned before, I had meal planning and doing the food thing. So then I just feel like I am punting. Even as I type this I think to myself, how can I make this one focus on me feeling better?? Oh, and by the way, I usually HATE the phrase “listen to your body” and have a blog post that I will be sharing with you soon on this. So here is my plan:

Actually eat breakfast and lunch. Actually EATING! What does this mean? Often I am so busy with the kids that I eat “enough” by just grabbing something while I am taking care of them. This is a problem because often times it isn’t a lot of food even though I am often hungry in the morning and I am not present. And then I just graze on and off all day. And it is as though I am not ever eating, but I am always eating. Have you ever been there?

Prepping breakfast the night before

I will cook one batch of soup or a one-pot something that include protein and veggies. Maybe a lentil soup with veggies? Crap, what will that be? Last week it was butternut squash soup and it helped a ton (and I made it at 7 a.m.). 

  • Breathe and be present. I am going to put the phone down and breath and be present. I will check in with if I am being present or kind to my kids, or how am I really feeling? And if I am tired maybe I will choose a rest instead of pushing myself like I am so good at doing.
     
  • No swearing in front of the kids. This is a late add, but it is necessary. For those of you that know me understand this is a problem. I am not judging anyone, but when I swear I am usually angry too and it just doesn't feel good. I think I am going to make a chart since my oldest has been calling me out on it, yikes!

My own challenge with setting my weekly intention is that I want it all and want to have a very long list.  The problem with that is I feel like I have failed by Tuesday or Wednesday and it doesn’t serve it’s purpose. As I look above I think I could be even more specific on my weekly goals/intentions, but this is a good start for this week.

Now it is your turn!

What do you want out of your week? Do you have time scheduled in for you? Do you have healthy food that you can eat at meals or snacks? Do you have a water bottle ready to help hydrate you? Are you staying up watching Twitter or Facebook with the ugly political scene or looking at what your friends did this weekend? (I have no idea what that might feel like, but my friend told me it is a time suck). Could you cut yourself off a little early and journal or plan and reflect for this week or even just sleep a little more? Does your plan prepare you to feel good?

Oh, and don't forget to check out the Pumpkin Spice Carrot Muffins on the blog, especially if you are like my family and totally sick of all of our food options. You won't be sorry. 

Have an amazing week!

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin