To Live and Love - A Journey of Surrender Through Joy and Pain

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Does life ever seem to just slow down, for a second, like you are watching life happen in slow motion? For me this happens from time to time and the sound is internal. The noises become like white noise or even quite in my mind and my eyes see different. Today I see people at Whole Foods hustling. They are eating and packing their groceries and texting. Some people are smiling while others look tired and others heavy with grief.

Where are they going? What are they cooking for dinner? What are they thinking about? When is the last time they were held or heard the words “I love you?” How are they feeling with the dynamics of the world lately? Are they hurting with the loss of the fires? Have they lost a good friend or lover recently? Have they found joy in something special?

I think these questions and more. Are these people that are going about life connected or numb? Or perhaps a little of both? Do they know their purpose? Do they even contemplate this question? Are they running on fumes or rested?

The answers to these questions and more are unknown to me yet available to each person.. All I know is what I can see, feel, hear, taste and touch.

Today I sense that life is delicate and bold and beautiful. When these moments happen it is hard for me to fully articulate what this feels like. The closest thing I can compare it to is looking at a meteor shower. Have you ever watched a lot of shooting stars in a dark night? As you are outside the rest of the life simple stops and you can so clearly feel and know that there is something out there that is bigger than you. Something so grand and complex that everything works together. The sun rises and sets. The seasons change. The birds chirp as the sun rises. The list goes on and on. Nature is perfect and somehow this life things works, despite my ability to sometimes comprehend how.

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So today, I sit with headphones in, I pause in this moment. I am in awe of simply being a human. I am in awe of experiencing all of life: the joy, the pain, the sorrow, the worry and the love. All of it. It is intense and amazing and hard all at the same time.

Can you relate? Are you someone that feels intensely or worries? For those of you that know me, I am a worrier and a feeler. I can feel all of the feelings so strong that sometimes it overwhelms me and I cannot breathe deep or understand the depth of life. And in these moments I allow myself to take it in and pause. And then get back to being grounded and find room and moments to breathe and be grateful. The other thing I will honest with is my fear of loss. My worry has been very intense since I was young. I feel like since I have been young, I have been waiting for the call that something bad has happened. In fact, even today, my dad called me and the slightest pause in the “Hello Kitten” made my heart drop. My heart was pounding in my chest and I thought/felt “what is wrong? What happened?” Oh, dear. That isn’t fun or necessary, but sometimes is my reality.

I mean, that doesn’t seem productive or even normal. As I’ve been working with my therapist on this, I have trained my mind to think the chance of something bad to happen to be heavily skewed to a higher percentage of it to happen.

Why I am sharing this with you? Well, for starters, I want to be clear that this thought pattern of being on high alert has not been valuable to my mental or physical health. It can through my rhythm in a moments notice.

However, it is my reality. It is my work in progress. It is the story behind me trying my best in life. It is the story behind my smile and showing up in life. It is my battle of letting go fully and surrendering enough to say, “I am living; I am loving.”

But then again, what does it mean to live? Does it mean going through the motions and hustle? Or does it does it mean to connect? Does it mean to be at ease in the good times and soft and open to healing and hurt in the not so pretty times?

Honestly, I truly am thinking a lot about life. I am clear if one thing, that when I am connected to source, and I take time to pause, and breathe I have a better life. I am kinder to those I love. I am kinder to myself, I have more patience, resilience, joy, and faith. And so I strive to do more of this in the form of gratitude, meditation, and honoring life by taking care of myself.

What I am not so clear on is this whole loss thing. The pain of life is so intense. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of our dear friend Erik who left us on August 7, 2018. Why Erik? Why did a man that had such a positive impact and love have to leave us so soon? Will any of this every make any sense at all? What about his beautiful wife and three kiddos? Why them? And then how do we surrender to bad shit like this happening?

Honestly, I don’t understand nor do I pretend to know if I will ever comprehend. But what I know is that to honor Erik and all those that have passed or are living and experienced grief, I will do my best to honor the life I do have. And I will take it a day at a time. I know it is cheesy and hard all at the same time.

I want to prevent the hurt and pain. For me, for James, for my kids and my mom and dad and sisters and brothers. I want to avoid pain at all costs. I want to never have to get that call again and I want the pain in the world to go away. But what if my job isn’t to do everything I can to avoid that? What if my job, rather, is to surrender to it all. What if my job is to trust that no matter the crappy things that happen, there will also be joy and peace within. To know and own in my journey that there will be light and joy along the way.

Maybe the point is to give so much thanks to our blessings that we spread even more? What if we do even more good? And instead of waste precious moments worrying about would or could happen should there be tragedy, what it we simply surrender to the blessings now? And then know that this is a choice to surrender each and every day. It isn’t something you buy at Target or Amazon, rather, it is a choice that we make each and every day and moments through the day. I think I can even get on board with that (and am trying, I promise).

And it also isn’t saying that to surrender doesn’t mean to show up for you and those around you. For example, do you care about animal rights? Go after it. Channel it and do good things. Do you worry about guns in schools and pretty much everywhere these days? Try your best to surrender and be at ease and then channel your frustration to volunteer or raise money to change laws.

That is the balance. That is the gift we get to choose. And then we take a deep breath again and again to connect, to believe in something and to keep showing up.

What do you choose? How do you show up for you and life? How do you surrender and let go, yet fight for something you believe in. How do you hold those close to you but not grip and worry so much that aren’t able to live or feel the feelings of love and joy?

That is my deep question for you as we enter this holiday week. There isn’t an answer that is right or wrong. The quote in the bathroom today at mXe said “Be Where You Are.”

My wish for you is to do just that. Be right where you are. Be aware and kind. Contemplate the gift of life and how it can be beautiful and divine and so many things. And honor all of your feelings today. And know that you are loved and not alone.

Peace, love, and healing to all of you beautiful humans.

Kristin

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Be Where You Are

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