Gratitude for something you want before you have it + contentment

It has been a while and I am hopeful that I can crank out a quick post today because I simply feel like sharing. I cannot help but feel inspired after a good night of sleep (I slept until 8 a.m. which hasn’t happened it a long time) and some morning gratitude. I have to say a huge shift in me happened after I followed my ‘to-do’s’ in my gratitude journey I am doing yet again with Laura Burkey. She is amazing and it never fails I remember the power of gratitude while doing. In fact, I always gain something from participating in these programs.

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What I wanted to share today was simply the power of gratitude before something happens. I couldn’t help but get excited about one of our assignments today. It was to make a list of ten reasons why we are grateful for something that we would really like to happen. It could be specific (example: I want to go to Italy) or general (example: my health is great and I am thriving).

I was excited about this specific focus for two reasons. The first is that I know the power of being grateful for something before it happens simply because of all the reading I have done and yoga books, etc. In fact, I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite quotes from Rod Stryker “Resting in an awareness of acceptance and gratitude is could be the ideal soil for planting Intention for what you want.” I know this isn’t the same thing, but quite frankly, when I feel gratitude for something that hasn’t manifested, I feel uplifted, at ease, and clear. I ask myself, ‘why wouldn’t I want to feel these feelings?’

The second reason I was excited about this book is that I am at a point in my life where I am trying to figure out how to spend my time once my youngest (5) goes to school. There are many roles that I play right now, including mom, manager of the family, and fitness/yoga teacher. However, I will have a bit more time next year, depending how I set it up. Thus, I was able to think about that today in a way that felt free and clear. It was a lot of fun and took the stress about what it should look like etc. In fact it was uplifting and I gained a sense of knowing that it will work out just as it should. It makes me think of another quote from Abraham Hicks. She said, “you will never get all done and you will never get it wrong.” Or perhaps I cannot quote her exactly, but that is how I remember it. In fact, I couldn’t find the exact quote, but I did find this video of audio Abraham Hicks explaining more. It sometimes can seem a little over the top, but when you open up to listening to the message I always find a nugget I can take away with me. Give it a listen and see what you think.

So let’s read the message one more time! “You will never get it all done and you will never get it wrong.” This is not to say it isn’t important to have goals and focus. It is to take the pressure and the stress that we find ourselves in when we make the decisions on where to spend our time. We all have our to-do lists that include many things that help the flow of our lives: appointments, house projects, travel, work meetings, dates (hopefully), kids activities, etc. Sometimes it feels overwhelming and that not only am I running in place I am getting farther behind on everything. For example, I finally went to the dentist last week (after two years…I know gross) and it felt so good. It just didn’t work out like I used to like it (ever 6 months). But I had no cavities and all was well.

So I will leave you with two requests. First, ask yourself is there something that you would love to do or to have that has not yet manifested? Can you find a list of why you are grateful for that thing to happen? I highly recommend you do this and write it out. And if you need more support, I have been working with Laura Burkey for years now and I couldn’t be happier for her support and knowledge.

Second, can you embrace Abraham Hicks quote with your life to-dos? Can you find contentment in how much you got done today and know that you cannot get it wrong. If you planned to run the lake but slept in, can you be content with the extra sleep and know you can run tomorrow? I think the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) stems from wanting to do it all and miss nothing. When in fact, in order to live in the present and feel good in our days we must miss out on a lot so that we can in turn enjoy the present.

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Cheers to finding your gratitude and ease. I know you can; and as Abraham would say, you cannot get it wrong!

In gratitude and Love,

Kristin

Resting in an awareness of acceptance and gratitude for what is could be the ideal soil for planting an intention about what you want.
— Rod Stryker, Para Yoga; parayoga.com

New Year Reflections

What is your intention for your day, week, month and year?

Today I have a long list as I prep for my daughter to turn 8 tomorrow and for my busier days of teaching Thursday - Saturday. I decided before I keep going I would sit down and just look at my website for a moment to update my teaching scheduling and then read a post I wrote on New Year's Day. Inspired by a recent FB and blogger, I decided why write and not share. So I added a couple tags and am posting. 

What I find pretty lovely about this writing is that my intention for 2018 has stayed very close to what I wrote. I am choosing to be selective in my yes column so I can unravel and live in each day with the gifts at hand. I have finally realized mess will be in my life as a mama (right now lunch dishes in front of me and kitchen still not cleaned up from lunch). Instead of wait until it feels organized, clean, perfect, or like I have met my first goal, I am leaning into each moment a little bit more. I am also finding that being grateful and loving right now is actually bringing me closer to my goals and helping me simply be happier in each moment. 

No, I do not have it all together. Yes, my clothes are too tight and I have a hard time (still) following the SIBO diet and trying to challenge foods. No, I still haven't finished my Vinyasa Krama training (still need to complete a book report) and Yes, I am still filling out a goal-book to help me prioritize and haven't even gotten to the month section. Ha. Maybe it will be for April - September or maybe I won't get to it for a couple more months. However, the bottom line is that taking the time to be intentional is helping me immediately. 

And that is all I have for now. I am doing my best each and every day. I need to head and get more water for now and maybe clean up a bit, but I promise you I will keep sharing whether in videos or words or however I can. I know it help my soul feel content. And that is a win. 

Check out my writing from 2018 and more importantly, take a pause to check-in with YOU. How are things going so far and if you did set goals/intentions for 2018 how are they going? If you didn't, is there an intention that you want to put forth for the next season? Where your attention goes energy flows right? So remember that. And please note: I didn't credit anyone for that because when I looked up I found about 5 authors. I will take any clarification if you have. :) 

Written Jan 1, 2018

I cannot help but pause for a brief moment and reflect on the past year. I think it is important to take even five minutes to look at where you have been and where you are headed. As I sit at the coffee shop I am supposed to be finishing my final homework assignment for my Vinyasa Krama and I realize that I have learned so much over the last year plus. It has been a year of trying lots of new things, with intention and some things rushed. It has been a year of sometimes not listening to what is in my best interest and then feeling the consequences of those actions. 

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As a mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister and more I realize I have lots of hats to wear. In this endeavor of life I know I am not alone in that regard. What I can tell you today is that things have evolved and changed many times since I became a mom almost eight years ago. It is honestly crazy and amazing all at the same time. In the last year it has become very clear to me that although we are all very unique we also have a lot in common. We all desire to thrive. We all desire to connect to something bigger than us. We are all our best and most shiny version of ourselves when we are true to who we are, what is important and doing what we feel is the best in this particular day. 

There are so many expectations put on us for what we should do. We are supposed to look a certain way and talk a certain way. We are supposed to exercise and eat healthy and love others and love ourselves, say the right thing, do the right thing, etc. We are supposed to squeeze it all in and somehow find faith in this crazy thing called life. This last year of 2017 has brought forth many emotions and scenarios of life that have brought to our attention the intensity of being human. That with the light that is in the world and goodness comes the other side of darkness. And yes, it has been painful and impacted many people, but what I say to that is that we must all keep moving forward unique to YOU.

That is my biggest lesson. We have the potential to overcome these bigger social issues, and the potential to overcome our own suffering and internal struggles. Whether they are specific to you or something bigger, they all matter and they are all connected. 

I often feel very helpless and by nature, am more of a nervous person. I have always been a bit jumpy, simply waiting for something bad/shitty to happen. As a kid, my friends would tell me to "relax!" That wasn't my favorite response, but it was truth. That was not fun in many moments of my life. But more importantly, I have learned that these worries are not mine to carry. If I keep carrying the worries of what I cannot control I am going to make myself sick and suffer most of my life. Instead, I know that leaning into faith and gratitude will help me to be free. This faith will help me to continue to believe in something bigger than me and to enjoy the gift of life. 

In addition to faith I have seen the magic of gratitude in a way that words cannot describe. It is true that when we are grateful for life and its blessings and its pain we can raise our vibration. For example, the last three months I have been so challenged with my SIBO healing protocol and some huge physical pain and limitations. I get so pissed and want to say "f this!" However, I know that if I lean into my frustration it is going to keep me away from actually healing. Thus, I use the technique discussed in Melissa Gilbert's book, Magic and Rod Stryker's Four Desires Book, which he calls the "miracle angle." How can I find gratitude for what is? Even if it sucks you-know-what. 

I will tell you that this has gotten me through and in some cases, has given me the perspective I think I always needed. For example, I have always been challenged at the holidays. Specifically, I think a lot about my body during this time of year and try to eat perfect, workout as I should, and am constantly judging my body, the workouts, the things I eat, etc. It is as thought I have never been good enough and I think, if I can just lose ten pounds or get that job or, fill in the blank, I will be happy. Next Christmas I will be more fit and have my shit together and I will enjoy it better...and this year just get through it. 

What did I finally lock in this last year, in particular the last couple months of being very challenged? That we are always going to be striving for the next thing. But what if being grateful for what is, is exactly what I need to find the joy, peace and self-love that is always there? And to be honest, I tried it this year. WE didn't have it together at Christmas this year (but somehow pulled it off), I had to make my own special food, I wasn't feeling awesome sometimes, etc., but this year I actually felt the magic of the holidays. It was as though instead of me striving for that extra ten pounds to be gone, or to be more organized or other things I just said, well, this is where I am and darn it, I am blessed. 

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From an eating-disorder perspective, I am on a very restrictive diet that has challenged me in many ways. However, finally I realize that I must embrace the process of the food that will help me to heal. I would be lying if it doesn't come back some times, but I know that I have to surrender to simply being the best version of me and trusting the process of healing. What keeps me going even more was the self-love meditation we did last spring when Rod Stryker was in town and I felt a self-love that is already there. Wow was that powerful and when I start to struggle I realize that. And I think, why do I have to wait to be happy and feel good about me? And then I come back to my true nature. 

And as a mom, well, I realize that breathing more will be a HUGE win for me in 2018. I didn't realize until recently that being a mom made me do a lot of inhales. Or as my daughter's teacher reminds us of the Zones of Regulation. I am pretty sure I am in the green zone a lot less than I should. And knowing what I know now, being stressed and inhaling too often has depleted me so much that I think has contributed to my sickness. I know I am depleted and I need to nourish and fill up this year. I am excited to share more about how I am doing that with my own yoga practice in 2018. I know that we deserve to feel better, that it all matters, and that I can keep healing and thrive. 

So I will close with that. My intention is to bring forth a deeper level of commitment to life by being my best version of me. I will stand in my truth and find love, faith and surrender each and every day. I will honor that each day will be different and that I cannot control life, but can control how I react to it. And finally, I am going to be more focused and intentional in where I give my time. I get excited about all sorts of ideas and things that require my time, but there are only 24-hours in a day. 

I am excited to be focused, loving, open, adaptable, and grateful. I am blessed with an abundance of support and love and cannot wait to enjoy the people that I am so lucky to love and that love me back. 

What are you doing today, this week, this month and where do you want your attention to go? (used to say...what are you doing this New Year to reflect and where do you want your attention to go?"). You intentions don't have to be cheesy at all. What matters is that we understand each day is a new day, regardless of it is Jan 1. or Feb. 19, or clearly March 6. Each day matters, each thought matters, each action matters, and YOU matter. 

Take good care. 

In love and so much gratitude,

Kristin

Happy Thanksgiving 2016—Honor all in your heart today

Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! :) Today I choose gratitude. Isn't that the theme of the day? Oh I am sure there are so many emotions running through us all today? Why? Because we each have our story. We are each unique amazing beings that have a story that makes us who we are. Because of our story and life experiences, today might be filled with a variety of emotions. There are those that have experienced deep loss and are longing for the loved ones that are no longer with us and there are those that are lonely and just want someone to love and share this holiday with. I am sure there are others that do not feel the freedom that we celebrate in our country and are simply in a place of confusion, sadness and more in the recent happenings of our political and social world. There are some that got stuck in weather, unable to make it home and others that physically or mentally are suffering and hurting in so many ways. Whatever your challenges are this holiday season let me start by saying, I honor you. I honor each and every one of you that might have a part in your heart and body that is challenged or hurting. 

Often times we are so focused on gratitude we forget to honor the part of us that is hurting or challenged. So let's do that for a moment. Take a moment and honor all of you, give thanks to those times of suffering because they are here to make us stronger and to shape us. It actually makes me think of something Rod Stryker shared in our last training together. In discussing one of the books we were studying he explained "self effort is God." That is what the book were were studying and yoga tradition was talking about. This hit home with me and was something that stuck. When we suffer because of things we are dealing with internally or externally, the human condition doesn't like that feeling and thus we strive to feel better. Usually this translates to our own self effort of fighting back from a pain or loss so deep and to rise above.

This battle to keep going on the hard days is absolutely self effort. How cool to think about this self effort as God? And for some you may not use the word God, replace it with something that works for you: universe, spirit, divinity, etc. The point is this, we all have our battles and challenges and they are here to teach us in a way that sometimes we don't even know as we are going through them. But I can guarantee that you are stronger than you think. In fact, a lot of my fears in life are because I don't think I will ever get through x, y, or z. And then I look around me and see the battles that people are facing and fighting and those who are battling don't give up, they keep going and show up in life. I have chills thinking about it. Somehow we all come together and keep on going and that is flippin amazing!

So why in the world am I talking about suffering on this day of thanks? I think because I know that while it is SO important to focus on gratitude and that truly is the way to happiness in our journeys of life I also know that I have suffered and felt physical, emotional and mental pain (on Thanksgiving) in addition to my experience of an abundance of joy, love and happiness. And to ignore that both happen to me seems wrong. In fact, I was inspired to write this on this Thanksgiving morning because I am physically hurting today. I woke up to my hands being numb and the pain in my joints great. My skin and stomach issues are inflamed and I don't feel awesome. Something is off for me physically and I clearly have more healing to do. Additionally we slept in a hotel last night and I don't think I slept the best. However, as I woke up to this morning I realized that I must honor the challenges and pain that I have experienced and am experiencing today, but I also have the power to create the day that I want and so need.

For me Thanksgiving has been both an awesome day but also a day that has challenged me in subtle ways that have, in the past, taken away from the joy and gratitude of life, and in particular this day of giving and experiencing thanks. For me my suffering is two-fold: my body can hurt and challenge my physically (as mentioned above) and my emotional and mental body as well. As I have discussed before, my internal suffering and struggles have a lot to do with food and body-image issues. These are deeply rooted in things that I can get into more in another time, but today I cannot help but think of how some Thanksgivings were pretty challenging for me. Some Thanksgivings I felt like I did it all right and I survived and others I felt like I couldn't wait for the day to be over because the focus of food was just too much. And I know that on those past Thanksgiving days the focus of my worries (food, exercise and health) diluted my ability to enjoy what I had on that day. And that goes for any other day of my life. When I am so focused on this internal battle with food, body, or anything that doesn't seem to be going my way, I miss the joy of life that is sitting right in front of me. And that, my friends is why I bring this up. 

So today I woke up and after sharing my physical pain that my body is experiencing today with my husband I looked at him and said, "I know that I am hurting, but I am determined to be and feel gratitude today because I am so lucky and so grateful to be sharing this day with you and our family!" The point in saying that was me honoring that perhaps my physical and mental body may still have some healing to do, but more importantly that I have the power to choose the kind of Thanksgiving I have and the day after that and the day after that. 

So today, how will I shape the day that I want? With intention and being very clear with what I want: Today I fill my mind, body and spirit up with gratitude so that I can feel every ounce of how lucky I am to live and love so hard that I feel my true essence, I see vitality, innocence and pure joy in my kids. Today I am an example to them of living my gratitude. I know I can make this happen even more if I make my list of what I am grateful for and why. So here is my list on this Thanksgiving day:

 

Here is my Thanksgiving 2016 gratitude....

  • I am so very grateful for my healthy family because they give me back so much love and joy in my heart. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for essential oils because they have helped me a lot this week as I have not felt the best. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for the best parents a girl could ask for because they taught me to be who I am, to believe in myself and life and to love big. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for my husband and best friend because he is my rock and teaches me so much in life. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for my yoga practice because it reminds me of my true essence and teaches me to be the very best me that I can be. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for coffee because, well, I have been depending on it a bit these last few months and it tastes so good, especially my fancy Nespresso machine that is at home and I maybe missing a bit today. :) Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for my friends because they remind me to play and love and they will always be there for me. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for my siblings because they are amazing humans and I have so much fun with I am with them. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for other humans and their unique stories, including the joy and the suffering, because watching others live and love inspires me to do the same. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for my health and all the resources to support me because I wouldn't be on this healing journey without their knowledge, and support. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for the creativity and simply joys that my kids show me each day because I am reminded that it is the little things and the present moment that matter most. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for my body and its ability to move and play and touch because it is pretty incredible all that it can do. I am especially grateful for my workout this morning and the reminder of the strength I carry each day. Thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for the veggies (see pic above) I made yesterday because I know that eating veggies too will make everything feel better and bonus, if it is yummy I might have a new recipe to share! Thank you Thank you thank you!
  • I am so very thankful that we had a safe drive yesterday, but more importantly we survived a very crabby and needy three-year old. Thank you thank you thank you! (note: see pic below of my sweetheart and I surviving each moment). :) 
  • I am so very grateful that I have the opportunity to write and share because it simple feels so good for my soul and for that I am so very grateful. Thank you thank you thank you thank you!
  • I am so very grateful for another day because each day is a gift and I am determined to create joy, love and truly live my gratitude because I am so very blessed and lucky. Thank you thank you thank you!!!
We are surviving the three-year old freak outs in the back seat: I am grateful I could squeeze between two carseats. :) 

We are surviving the three-year old freak outs in the back seat: I am grateful I could squeeze between two carseats. :) 

Now it is your turn. What is your intention for the day? What do you need to honor that might be hurting and what can you bring into your day that creates joy and happiness? Can you take a moment and list what you are grateful for and why? Feel the feelings in all of you as you feel this gratitude and notice how it lifts you up. Last weekend I did this little exercise when my son stepped on my homemade vegan pumpkin pie and it actually made me enjoy my day even more.

I wish you nothing but an amazing day filled with love, joy and gratitude and present moment, whatever that means to you on this 2016 Thanksgiving day. 

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

 

Top 5 tips to Thrive in November

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It is hard not to think about the month of November that quickly snuck up on me. It is definitely getting darker and colder (though in Minnesota we have been having some warmer days). This is the month that I struggle a lot because of the lack of light (in Minnesota is is typically the cloudiest month), the pressure to get everything done and stay on top of life (mostly self-inflicted). It is almost this “oh crap” mentality that I forgot to do a lot in the summer and I must catch up and prepare for winter and do normal-life stuff, and get ready for that Turkey Holiday! Oh, and then it naturally happens I find less outdoor activity. I know I can get my butt outside more, but it takes a lot more intention to get outside. Am I right? I know when I am the most connected is when I am in nature or when connecting with humans; when I am outside I see the incredible beauty of life right before my eyes and can feel the fresh air on my body and in my lungs. I feel alive and blessed. And when I look into the eyes of a friend and can see love and can hear them share a part of their story with me, I feel complete. We all want to be supported, loved and heard. I am always honored to be a part of that with others. and if I get to do both be in nature and be with a friend, well, that is bliss! 

As I reflect I cannot help but ask you: what are you going to do this November to support you? Can you look back at previous Novembers and see what might be your struggles and what you love about the month? With the extra dark and cold it is truly a time to look within and perhaps sleep more, cook more and rest more. This seems hard to do with so much going on and even longer to-do lists. But maybe, just maybe you can find various ways to slow down, just a bit. For me I know that getting eight hours in my bed is going to be critical. I am starting November in the tank in the sleep department and likely my hormones still remain a bit out of balance. Because of this it is even more critical for me to make sleep a priority (I feel like a broken record). In my attempt to keep it simple I want to share my top five tips for thriving in November. My hope is that this list resonates with you. Maybe you will want to use this list or tweak it to make it your own. Either way, having an intention and a target to shoot for can help ground you this fall and busy month! I know I can feel better this November than previous years if I keep perspective and these five things in mind. 

Top 5 Tips to Thrive in November!

  1. Gratitude. I want to dedicate the entire month to gratitude. Gratitude is a game changer. This seems like the no-brainer word for November when Thanksgiving is coming and the holiday is all about giving thanks. However, when you LIVE your gratitude you not only say what you are grateful for but you FEEL it in your bones. Why are you grateful? Can you start a gratitude journal? Do you want to send gratitude cards to people before they might expect it? Or maybe you are struggling with something in your life that is hard and perhaps finding small reasons of gratitude will keep you going!

    I have recent example how gratitude was the only thing that got my head out of my rear end. It was last Sunday and I felt in a funk, but decided to put my swim suit and head to swimming lessons with my daughter. Why not take care of myself right and swim next to her? When we arrived my intention to lap swim quickly changed when the lanes were busy! The lanes have been open for the last couple months and my excitement to take care of me quickly shifted--I felt angry and sad (and I wasn't in the mood to share a lane). I felt really sad, tears and all. And we are simply talking about 25-minutes of swimming. How big of a deal could it be? After class I decided to shower at the same time as my daughter so at least I would be clean and ready for the day. While I was showering I still felt sad and angry. Then I thought about my little girl and how aware she was of my feelings, and that I am here to teach her that I can make my day what I want to make of it. As I showered I started listing off all of the things I was grateful for because of this particular situation. I got to nine things and it was actually very uplifted and much happier after doing this exercise of listing and feeling the gratitude. It shifted my energy and I was able to be that example to my daughter I so desired. I highly recommend weaving gratitude in wherever you can. And I mean everywhere!!
     
  2. Self-Care. Regardless of how busy you are or how many things you need to do or buy or whatever fills your cup this month, self-care is critical. I know that when I don’t take care of me first I am angry and my head is NOT on straight. I ask you this question in my attempt to help you get on top of it. How can you take care of you every single day? Obviously I know some days you might get a long walk in or to the gym and others it might only be 20 minutes. However, every day is so important. For example, for me, even two missed days of meditation impacts my emotional self and that is a must for me. However, I get so tired at night I am trying to find a new schedule that we help anchor me and fill my cup this month.
     
  3. Slow down and be present. Tip, the quickest way to do this is by using the breath! Oh this seems so obvious; and if I were reading this I might be SO annoyed. But stick with me for a moment. I am simply asking you if there is something you might be able to tweak so that you can be even more present? Maybe it is simply a part of the day. For example, maybe you put your phone away after dinner or you have a time to journal each Sunday night. Or maybe it is something as simple as taking five breaths before dinner. Whatever helps you to stay present is a win. Play around with it.

    Yesterday I was so tired and feeling pulled for time and energy (my daughter was home from school) prior to teaching a yoga class and I was mentally was freaking out. I went on a 10-minute walk with my daughter and everything started to slow down for me. I noticed the pretty trees (barely), but more importantly I noticed the ability of this young soul to be present and curious, stopping often. As we walked a little further I thought to myself—I can do this too. So I tried to notice things around be and realized I couldn't. The emotions inside were too strong for me at that moment. So I paused again and tried to check in. You would think I should be really good at this as a yoga teacher and someone that supports and teaches wellness. Let me tell you that is not the case; I am a work in progress. But after about three tough minutes of my attempt to check in I could sense tightness in my throat (the fifth chakra) and a lot of tension in my first, second and third chakra. Essentially, there was a lot going on in my navel center. For me this moment was an aha-moment of the power of pausing and learning about what truly is happening. And sometimes, for me on this particular day, it has to start within because you can see the greatness around you. I went home and put the Gratitude Oil in my palms and then slowly took breaths. And after just two minutes of breathing I felt a huge shift. A lot changed for me in that moment. What will it be for you? Can you keep this awareness this month? Breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out! Repeat

  4. Say YES! Say yes to you! In previous months I have attempted to live out “No-vember!” My theory: to say “no” to as much as you can. Free up your calendar with the intention to find more self-care for you. It seems as though this didn’t work and left me feeling not so positive about November. So This November I instead encourage you to Say YES! Say yes to whatever it is that feels good in your schedule or for you. Do you need to cancel because you are under the weather? Do you need an extra yoga class and tea with a friend because connection is low and your kiddos (or hubby/wife) are driving you crazy? Do you need to go to bed early? Just say yes! Whatever it is that you want, go and get it! Yes, yes, yes!!!! Isn’t that fun?
     
  5. Embrace Imperfection. Bottom line, life isn’t perfect. It never will be. It is messy for you and the neighbor and the sister and brother. There will be easier weeks, days and months and harder ones. But when we know that perfect isn’t what we are going for in life, then the mess seems less important. This awareness can help you shift your focus to what truly is important. And maybe, just maybe you will be able to go to bed with a mess or allow yourself to indulge in groceries delivered to your door. Why not? Embrace and love up the mess much as you can. I know it isn’t easy (this week has proven that for me), but I will keep on trying!

I wish for you an amazing November filled with rest, connection, and thanks! You are amazing and you deserve to feel good on this journey. Please share your favorite tips to stay feeling awesome in November. I would LOVE to hear!

In love, light and gratitude!

Kristin 

Like the air you breathe, abundance in all things is available to you. Your life will simply be as good as you allow it to be.
— Abraham-Hicks

p.s. I am definitely “allowing” this week by posting late and simply realizing that I will never be perfect, but I must keep showing up (even if I haven’t showered) or I forgot (again) to email or text you back. Sending LOVE to y’all!

Listen to you body - or maybe not today

What does listen to your body mean to you? Honest. What comes up when you read those words? Read them again, but this time insert your name. "________, listen to your body." Pause. What are you feeling in your body? 

For me, when I hear the phrase "listen to your body" I have a mixed bag of reactions; it depends on when you catch me:

-On a good day I might feel: empowered hopeful, excited and trust 

-On a bad day: anger, distrust, defective, frustrated, and alone. 

The good day is pretty easy to understand right? It's the same reason so many of us in the health and wellness field say these words, "listen to your body." It makes sense in in theory—when you tap in and listen, you know exactly what you need physically, mentally and emotionally. 

However, take a tougher day—a day when you've spilled your coffee, yelled at your kids, screwed up a proposal, you are battling a heartbreak or a loss of any kind. These are the days it's hard to know what you need in all areas of your life. 

Let's break down "listening to your body" a little more. 

Physically—Breaking Down Listening to your body

My physical body has been a huge battle for me. I gained an extra 20 lbs in the last two years and I'm not Preggo. There is a long story that goes with my weight gain that I will share as I talk more openly about my story. However, in this regard I trusted nothing and nobody. At this time in my life healthy food made me sick, sleep wasn't happening and disordered eating was at its greatest. Additionally, my psoriasis was high and my heart was torn, I wanted to be home with the kids but I felt like I was trapped. To stick with the theme of my body, in a nutshell, my body wasn't working for me. The more I tried the more I could hear jack squat. Nothing. I was so angry that I couldn't even make a damn soup because they all had tomatoes and beans and peppers, all which made me incredibly sick. Not to mention I felt like I was not myself with extra 'love' and a wardrobe that didn't fit. Sweats and yoga pants were the name of fashion in my world. And if you've ever been there you know how that feels. It makes you feel worse. Finally, why is my psoriasis so bad? Why is my body fighting with me as I nurse my sweet baby into a healthy world? Enough said. 

Mental-Emotional—Breaking Down Listening your Body

Let's put mental and emotional together because they go hand-in-hand and are easier to talk about at the same time. As I mentioned above, my heart was hurting. After having my son I found the transition into life was harder. I cried a lot, was angry a lot and while I knew I wanted to inhale the smells, sounds, and touch of this gift to be home with my baby and my little girl, I couldn't actually be present enough to enjoy. I compare it to eating lunch while driving or watching a movie while doing work emails, but even more painful. Because not only am I NOT enjoying, I am also hurting and filled with feelings of SHAME. What the F is wrong with you Kristin? Can't you see what you have In front of you? Can't you actually enjoy what you wished for? Why are you mean to the best husband and dad you could dream up? And why is your body failing you? I would think, "I can't eat anything yet I'm still fat," or "I must be defective because my stomach hurts, my joints hurt, my skin is fared up, my girlie part is broken, not to mention my abs are separated and I might never do a sit up again. And I don't have the willpower to eat what doesn't flare me up." I felt broke. 

The food stuff started with me sneaking the cereal in the cupboard with oats and sugar and things that make me sick. It had been a couple years of me trying to eat a fairly restrictive diet. Quick snapshot of my no's and yay's in the food department. The bottom line, I attempted a modified yeast-free diet and then it turned into variations of that as I progressed. Just because this was my attempt doesn't mean that I followed this the entire duration; there were ups and downs. It was always my intention to eat clean and lots of the right veggies, gluten, dairy, yeast and sugar free, but there were many moments I would choose otherwise. Sometimes I would physically feel worse when I ate things off of the "no list" and sometimes I wasn't sure. This experience by itself caused a lot of confusion in my mind because I wondered if what I was trying to do was actually going to work? That is just a small part of the equation. Below is a snapshot of the Yes/NO list from 2011 - 2015

Snapshot of Yes/No List from 2011 - 2015

Foods on the "Yes List"

  • Proteins were a yes, fresh is best (beef, chicken, pork, eggs, etc.)
  • Vegetables, the non-starchy ones were better. Sweet potatoes were only on occassion or a little amount, same with other squash like butternut squash, but I could eat just not loads of them.
  • Rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa (this is now a no for me ironically)
  • Fruit that were a yes: apples, especially green because of the low-sugar content, strawberries, some blueberries and raspberries
  • Fats like avocado, nuts, seeds all okay. These sat well with me sometimes and other times almonds, cashews and other nuts made me sick. So it truly depended on the day. 
  • Beans were okay at the beginning

Foods on the "No List"

  • No Gluten
  • No Dairy
  • No sugar, including maple syrup or honey
  • Little to no fruit 
  • And absolutely No dried fruit
  • No vinegar
  • No ketchup, dressings or sauces
  • No wine, or very minimally
  • No coffee (but I figured espresso seemed okay)
  • No dessert even the "healthy upgrades" including chocolate
  • No Nightshades
  • No Corn
  • No Oats
  • No beans of any kind as time progressed

Attempting the restricted diet f'ed with my mind. Because I couldn't have it, I wanted it. Then I wanted it because my turkey and broccoli didn't satisfy my (wonder why), and at nap time I would sneak in the kitchen and pour a bowl of that cereal. Just a little bit. I would eat it and want more. So another pour and another. And then shame quickly happened. That moved on to days when I would eat a little and then say something like ,"wtf" and I would pause and spit it out, but then go for another bite and then spit it out again. And there became the dysfunctional pattern. The dichotomy of wanting something I knew would make me sick but the desire to have it. I was stuck between two worlds. Thus, I picked neither. I didn't resist nor did I eat it. I would eat and spit it out. It was so nauseating and awful, yet I continued to find myself in that situation. Sometimes it was a small bowl of something and sometimes it was a whole bag of candy. Yup. The day it became more than a little "event" (we will call it) was Halloween night three years ago. Eat some of it? Nope. Forbidden. And bedtime happened and hubby was out with neighbors. And I thought what the hell, it's the closest thing to enjoying the candy right? I won't do it again. And there it happened. How could I do it so I left zero trace? A little of this and a little of that. A few times I ate a little and a lot of others I just couldn't. 

Holy f. What just happened? It was such a blur to me and so out of body (just like writing this is**). One more important detail in all of this. I had been trying for almost two months to not eat (or eat as little as I could). What? Why would anyone do that? Again, this one is a long story I would like to elaborate on later because it is a huge piece of my story. The summation of this desire was I was sick with a parasite in July that year (2014( and lost 10 + pounds--you know, the extra baby weight I couldn't lose plus five extra. Once I was well again, instead of have the wisdom to be grateful I was so SCARED to eat. I was so AFRAID of getting fat. Thus, I tried to eat the least amount I could. I completely disconnected from my mind, body and spirit. And in that state, there is NO way I could "listen to my body." None. I was so clouded by this fear and this desire to stay in my clothes. And to be enough. And to top it off my food choices still were quite limited so I had to plan and cook and think about food all the time. 

Needless to say, this was a silent pain in my heart. A suffering that made me feel even more defective and alone and an inability to trust my body or mind. My suffering, in hindsight is the biggest blessing I could have ever had. It is now becoming clear to me that I needed to learn a lot. That although I thought I got help in 2002/3 I still had a "monkey on my back." I had more healing to do, and as I write this I know I must stay true to always knowing my triggers and realizing each day I can create a safe and healthy environment where these behaviors are not me, they were just moments or " an event." And that is so freeing to think about. I am not Kristin with an eating disorder. I am Kristin with moments in my life where I had disordered-eating behaviors. I am free and I have power within to choose my thoughts and thus my actions. These were misunderstandings in my mind and moments that likely have many causes and reasons. In fact, I still wonder if there are additional factors during that October 2014 when I had just taken an anti-parasitic and was likely beginning my challenge with adrenal fatigue. Those can all impact your mind and behaviors. 

A year ago I wrote a post filled with so much push-back and anger against the phrase "listen to your body!" However, it never felt right or that it was the whole story. Until recently, I read the book Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth. 

This book asked me to pause, listen, and feel. This author asked me to be curious and see what this whole "food thing" was all about. So I gave it a shot. I tried to pause more and listen more. I've found thought and story lines and key points to it all just pop in my head. My little girl caught me not in the cupboard the other day but feverishly writing post-it notes. These notes came from a different place, a place so deep in my soul and heart that I had to write fast. Perhaps I am not defective at all. Perhaps my story and experiences are critical to exactly where I am now. Perhaps I have even more to learn. And although it is coming to me in pieces, and my hormones continue to feel off (I am burning hot when it is 60 degrees out and am wired at midnight), I have promised myself to keep listening and be curious. But what I have also promised and learned through it all is that "listen to your body" isn't easy or clear or even simple. It is a journey and on many days can be clouded by life, experiences, feelings, and situations and deep-rooted pain or joy. 

I cannot say what this phrase ("Listen to your body") means to you, but I honor that is different for all of us. Thus, I beg all of you to keep being curious, keep dropping into the present and to the NOW. But know, it's okay if listening is just too hard, you are doing your best, you are enough and only YOU KNOW what YOU NEED.  

I wish you only the best and many moments of joy and present moment contentment. Thank you for honoring your story and your life. 

In deep gratitude, love and light,

Kristin

P.S. After reading this story and my list of "no's" you can get a better understanding of why the name, "No Rules Wellness?" I think we all know that when someone tells us "no" to something we almost instinctively want it more. Thus, the No Rules Wellness was born because instead of what the experts say, how about you be the expert? I like that a lot more. Namaste!

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 

Pain of Not Practicing

In early August I found myself more anxious, negative and more. I began to inquire and become curious. After a little bit I quickly realized that my yoga practice, in particular my meditation practice, had become inconsistent. I was consumed by the busy schedules and long days of summer. Additionally, I was internally challenging meditation and its benefits to me on a subtle level. On an early afternoon in  August, I sat down at my computer and wrote a bit about how the pain of not practicing was too strong for me and I was ready to commit again. As I read through this again today before posting I cannot help but be reminded of how important sitting is for me each day. Note: if you don't have time to read the story, scroll down to the list at the bottom that shows my own personal experience of the pain vs. benefit for me when I am NOT practicing vs. when I AM practicing. It is powerful.

Written, Aug. 11, 2016 - The Pain of Not Practicing

Today I feel compelled to write; I want to share with you a little more of my story, specifically my yoga journey and the positive impact it has had on my life. The title of this post comes from a personal story that I have heard Rod Stryker talk about more than once. Rod Stryker is the founder of ParaYoga and the author of The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom (which I often reference). In order to set the stage for my perspective of not practicing vs. practicing and the impact on my life I would like to provide additional background. 

In the article, "The Secret to Making Positive Life Changes" found in full at the Huffington Post here, Rod Stryker explains that making changes in life are hard for so many of us and "it's all about pain" he writes in the article. Rod explains, "In short, as long as you identify change as being more powerful than not changing, odds are that you won't change."  He says, "our desire to avoid pain is why we find it difficult to start or sustain a new habit or achieve our goals." 

In this article he tells the story of his earlier years of practicing and his discussion with his teacher about his practice. Rod Stryker says it best when he writes (find full article here):

Despite all the benefits it provided me, despite being aware of how much better my life was whenever i did it, I failed to do it consistently. Curious about how to overcome my resistance and convert my enthusiasm for it into a regular practice I approached my teacher.

“What do you feel like when you don’t do it,” he asked.

“Not so great,” I said. “I feel less clear, less inspired, less confident, less comfortable.”

“Great,” he said. “Keep that at the forefront of your mind. The more mindful you are of the pain of not doing it, the less likely you are to not practice.” I remember thinking, “That’s it? ‘Recall the pain of not doing it,’ that’s the secret to practicing regularly?” It took time, but I would eventually learn that my teacher had asked me to apply the critical element that determines practically all human behavior — the desire to avoid pain. Our desire to avoid pain is why we find it difficult to start or sustain a new habit or achieve our goals.

This story has stuck with me and is the biggest reason why I get on my mat and why I find a daily meditation practice. The pain of not practicing is significantly stronger than the challenge to actually practice. In recent personal reflections I am have realized that there is a powerful correlation to happiness when I am practicing versus my suffering when I am not practicing. 

As I have mentioned before, Rod Stryker's Four Desires book is my compass and has helped me remain calm and confident on good days and hard days, especially when I felt so sad and alone when my own issues were challenging me. My dharma code (purpose) was created from the exercises in this book and continues to serve me and keep me grounded in me. Your dharma code is meant to serve you in big and small challenges. I have personally felt the positive impact of a daily practice in my day-to-day experiences and healing of my heart as I climbed out of a very low time of my emotional and spiritual self when my disordered eating issues were very prevalent. 

I share this story and thought on change with you because it is one that has greatly impacted me—specifically in the way that I live my life and my perspective on the importance of a daily practice. However, in the last three months, my daily practice has been challenged by my mind telling me that I am too busy, and to try to see if I can tap into that inner teacher without quieting my mind. A part of me feels that this little blip of inconsistent practice is the rebel in me asking, "does this practice thing really make a difference?" After three months of real data from my own experiences, my conclusion: daily practice matters most definitely!  

What am I noticing without a consistent practice? I have listed below my key disturbances when I do NOT practice and the positive effect of when I DO practice. Again, as I read through this list I am inspired and encouraged to keep showing up for me each day because the positive effects are much more enjoyable; why would i want to suffer? Again, it is easy to see here that the pain of not practicing is definitely greater than the challenge to find the time to practice. 

Inconsistent Practice vs. Consistent practice:

1. Busy Mind (ALL over the place place) vs. Steady Mind

I have recently noticed that my mind is a lot more distracted and less one-pointed. For example, the last call that I had with my coach I used the metaphor of me on a track with ten lanes, and each lane is one of my competing priorities. What is a girl going to do? My head is spinning and I care about them ALL. How can I move forward with all of them? I know, make a spreadsheet? Or, how about work harder? Or better yet, let me get my post-it notes out because that always solves the problem. Fast forward one week later and I am realizing that my mind has not had the opportunity to be quiet every day for a while (mainly because I do my practice at night and I am so tired I fall asleep or create more anxiety by trying to stay awake just to meditate). This obviously needs to shift (and already has to the morning most days).

2. Anxiety/Fear vs. Faith

I have a lot more anxiety in the last couple months. I know I am not alone in this regard because of all that is happening in the world and in particular, in the United States with the intense political scene. However, from my point-of-view, feeling jumpy and worrying about every the little thing is starting to creep up. I go from normal thinking to the worst-case scenario in literally 5 seconds. I have to walk myself off the ledge by actually feeling what it feels like to know everything is okay. That technique has saved me—but I know that I can do more than that. I know that when I have a consistent practice, with the minimum of a daily meditation practice, the ease and faith in life become more effortless. That is something worth stopping this busy life for.

3. Anger vs. Peace an Love

When I am not practicing I feel angry fast. I am annoyed with my kids faster than normal and I am quick to yell and focus on the stuff that actually doesn't matter. Does it really matter if they pick up their pajamas or if we are late to school? Of course I want them to be responsible and I will have to figure out a calm and consistent approach to that issue, but getting angry by mumbling under my breath or simply expressing anger to the kiddos is not valuable to them or my physical body. It immediately puts me in the fight-or-flight stress response and that isn't good for anything, especially as I know my cortisol is low and I am battling hormones (more on that another day). I notice when I am meditating daily, I don't give as many shits about the small stuff. You know that book, Don't Sweat The Small Stuff? Someone should write a meditation version that says, When You Meditate You Won't Sweat the Small Stuff. :) 

4. Self-Doubt vs. Strong Intuition

When I meditate daily, I begin to trust my intuition and inner voice. Thus, when I am not meditating I have SO MUCH MORE DOUBT. I vacillate a lot more what to do next, the little things, or choice A or B. However, when I take the time to find quiet in my mind, my inner teacher and voice is much more present in my waking moments and non-meditative moments. Thus, I can make the choices that are in my highest good. I am fairly confident that this is the case because answers arrive so much quicker when I have been connecting to something higher than me. I trust in me, I trust in life and I trust in others.

5. Negativity vs. Gratitude

This one is pretty easy to explain, but comes with a recent story. When I wake up and/or have missed my meditation for a day or two, I find myself focusing on what sucks. You know what I am talking about—that buzz-killer negativity. For example, yesterday morning I woke up and within seconds of me sitting to meditation, my littlest one was up and I was on full-on mommy duty. I also knew I would not get a break all day/night because he was just getting over a fever and we would have another low-key day (translation – no gym drop-off or preschool that day). What happened for me was a quick shift of realizing what was in front of me and I immediately complained to my husband about what he didn’t do to help me that particular morning. Oh wait, did I forget all he does every day or the fact that I was complaining about things so small that would take me a total of ten minutes or the fact that he was about to leave to an important meeting within the hour? I could feel his energy shift (rightfully so because I was not being kind) and then realized, wow, that is a lot of negativity coming from one lady. I made the choice to fight back and find gratitude and grace in my day. My point here is this: When I have time to quiet my mind, set my intention for the day and feel the gratitude of life just by being, I can easily slip into living my gratitude. This positively effects my day and those I come in contact with. Yesterday, the first few hours felt like an uphill battle for me and I know now in reflection how important this time is for me and for the family that I oh so love.

Thus, as you can see, it doesn't make any sense to "do one more thing" without finding the time to sit on my butt and quiet my mind. One of my yoga teachers, often reminds me, "tush to the cush!" and rightfully so. My practice can be as short as 10 minutes to as long as 30 minutes. The longer I have been practicing, the longer I prefer to sit for 20-30 minutes and/or twice a day. However, it truly doesn't take long to tap into that place inside of you that is unchanging and ever present. When you quiet your mind, you can quickly tap into that part of you that has peace in your heart always and is connected to something higher than you. 

Because of this and because of how quick the benefit of practice is, I have committed to a 10-minute practice every day, simply to gain confidence in my ability to set aside time for my meditation. I can already see a difference and sometimes those ten minutes are the high of my day. The ten minutes give back greatly in the positive impact on my entire day and days to follow. I can immediately notice a difference when I begin to practice again and the cumulative effect of practicing days and weeks in a row can be felt. Not only do I notice it, but also my close friends and husband can tell a noticeable difference in me. My husband will sometimes hand me my bolster and ask me to "meditate." I think he gets it sometimes more than I do.

So with all of that, I ask you one question: Do you want a steady mind and more peace, love, and faith in your life? If you feel that even one of those areas in your inner world and life could be positively impacted, then I strongly encourage you to find even just a couple minutes to sit and quiet your mind or simply think about making that change in your future (I know we are all ready for change at a different pace).

Where can you find meditations? A lot of people have said they really like the MindSpace and the Headspace app for mediation and there are free meditations everywhere. If you are a beginner I would be mindful of what you select, knowing that the most accessible meditation for almost anyone is the meditation on the breath. I enjoy Rod Stryker's meditations from his Four Desires CD and I am sure there are many more available. Additionally, I plan to offer a free meditation in the coming month to make this simple meditation easily accessible to you. Feel free to reach out with any questions you might have on resources and tell me how you are doing if you are trying something new, I would LOVE to hear!

Birthday Reflections

My birthday was last week and it was filled with love, celebration, mommy hood, teaching, staying up past my bedtime and birthday wishes/songs. I also now share my birthday with the death of our beloved Prince who left this world too early. After an amazing day and a day of sadness for the loss of this inspiring legend and a weekend plus of rain, I sit in the quiet of the afternoon. I reflect. I pause. I breathe.

This last year was a year of change, a year of blessings, and a year of a lot of healing.

As I reflect, I cannot help but think back to the end of March 2015 when I completed the Four Desires training with Rod Stryker. This was a critical part of my journey and the start of some clarity and traction for me. It was a weekend of so much honesty and feelings: pure authenticity. It was a pivotal point in my life where I dug deep to see what might be holding me back from my happiness and what might be causing some of my internal suffering. As we all know, our internal struggles and happiness impact those around us the most. You know the saying, “If mama a’int happy, nobody happy!” I think I get that one now. Let’s just say that I left that training with a lot of tears and a new knowledge of my inner compass, my dharma (purpose).  

The Four Desires book (by Rod Stryker) is one that guides you to help you find and live your dharma. One of the amazing trainers with Rod reminded our small group that living your dharma is there to help you know how to act when your house is on fire or you-know-what is hitting the fan in your life. What is your soul’s purpose and how will you act when things are going well AND not going well? My hard work served me well and is still at the heart of my life right now. Are there things that are holding me back? Of course! I am human and this is a PROCESS. But, when I start to freak out on the kids, myself or whatever, I pause and ask myself something like, “Is this congruent with your dharma?” Most often it isn’t and I am forced to take a couple breaths and act a little different.

In addition to knowing and putting words to my dharma, this training also helped me to create a sankalpa (resolution). Part of my sankalpa was to ‘start my blog!’ and to ‘meditate daily.” Both of these I have accomplished. I have a place to write and a consistent meditation practice, that when missed, is deeply felt (more on that later). I want to write A LOT more than I have been writing, but this whole blogging thing is new to me. For example, about two weeks ago I spent time drafting a post while I was dealing with sick kiddos and a hubby in California. Therefore, I never had a moment to edit the darn thing and now it isn’t relevant. I could go back and change certain parts of it, but the fun of a blog, in my mind, is to share the relevant. It is about creativity and the now. Thus, what I wrote then isn’t relevant today. And so I give myself a little grace as I figure my own intention and rhythm of this blog. I know in my heart I feel complete when I write, share, and reflect. And so I will carry on.

I thought it might be fun, since I love lists and all, to bullet out some of my highlights from 2015/2016.

2015/2016 Highlights

  • I trusted in the world and sent my sweet daughter to kindergarten. It was harder than I thought to watch her walk into the school without me by her side. I will never forget it. To see her walk in confidently now and her growth in less than a year inspires me. She is such an amazing light!
  • I went on my first airplane ride (the day after kindergarten started) without the kids and with the hubby since the birth of my first child six plus years ago. It was amazing to be away and have a little space, and connection. It was 100% grown-up time.
  • I ran two 10-mile races in the fall. They were both equally challenging in the different ways, each leaving me feel proud to show up for me and try something difficult.
  • I completed a Barre Training and began teaching barre class at the amazing Blooma studio. It was the next thing I wanted to explore in the fitness world. I am so grateful that I took a leap of faith in me and for ALL the support that surrounds me as I grow through this challenge. I am working on becoming more efficient and confident in each and every class. You have to start somewhere right?
  • For the first time as a married adult, I did my VERY BEST to embrace the holidays and be grateful for the mess and craziness of it. I saw more holiday sparkle in the eyes of my kids than every before. I think I might be able to say that I no longer “hate” the holidays. I know, I was definitely a ba-humbug. This was likely due to the work I have done on gratitude. I will definitely be sharing this with you too!
  • I passed the 1-year mark of consistently teaching yoga classes! I have been teaching for two plus years, but I didn’t start teaching on a regular basis until January of 2015. I am finding my voice as a teacher and am so thankful for all of my teachers to inspire me to keep going on this teaching journey. It hasn’t always been easy, but I am so grateful for this opportunity!
  • I started this blog! I had a few bumps in the road, but it happened with my determination and the right resources and amazing amazing support. I look forward to sharing even more this next year!
  • I have worked HARD on my own healing physically, emotionally, and mentally! From eliminating foods and doing the LEAP MRT Food Sensitivity test and protocol, to challenging my thoughts, actions and fears in ways I have never done. Thank God for my support system…you know who you are. And thank you for those professionals that have guided me on my path! I am learning to LOVE and ACCEPT ALL of me NOW!
  • I rode a bike on a street with cars! Oh my! Yes, we are bike shopping (finally) and I have only desired to bike on a path, but I went for it on Saturday during my date and it was a blast! This likely seems odd to most, but for me this is a big win!
  • I keep showing up for me, and my family to make the most of each and every day the best that I can!

With that I say, thank you for reading. And more importantly, thank you for taking the time to reflect on your moments, days, weeks and years. If you are like most of us you are your harshest critic, and SO FOCUSED on what next, that you forget to tell yourself, “awesome job!” I challenge you to do just that. How can you LOVE yourself up today and feel PROUD of the YOU that you are…TODAY?!!!

To close I want to share with you something I did on Monday night, just a couple days into this new and fresh year of my mid-thirties. I went in the “10 Items or Less” lane with at least 25 items. GASP!!! Okay…in all fairness it was almost 10 p.m., it all fit in my basket and the line was empty…at least when I started. Let’s just say I might not do that again. :) However, the cashier said to me, “rules are meant to be broken.” I smiled back at him with a confident smirk as I thought about the last year and how making your own rules...might just be best.  

In love, light and SO MUCH gratitude,

Kristin 

Enjoy Every Minute Of It!

“They grow up so fast! Enjoy every minute of it!” How many times have you heard someone say this to a parent or to you as a parent? I would imagine it is the number one thing that people say to parents with little kids. I totally get it. The little kiddos with the sweet cheeks and the sparkling eyes are so damn cute. They are pure light and vitality. Children have innocence and joy and pure bliss written all over their expressive faces. I think on any given day we all might want a little bit more innocence in our adult lives.

Today I reflect on motherhood. Today is my daughter’s sixth birthday. I remember the day like it was yesterday; little did I know how much my life would change, my heart would change, and how much her little soul would teach me every day.

I have been blessed to mainly be home with the kids since I was laid off in 2011. These experiences in the last four plus years are a story of their own. I felt a huge pull after I was laid off to follow my dream of working in the wellness world. I became a certified personal trainer (2012) and went through an amazing yoga program to become a yoga teacher in 2013.  The past couple years I did a kettlebell training and barre training! I now teach barre and yoga and have a couple of personal training clients. However, my main job is being mommy. And that is where the next chapter of this story begins.

For the last year it has been so clear that I NEED to do more work in addition to being home with the kiddos. I believe in all of my heart that balance and finding what makes us content is different for each and every one of us. When I was working full-time I thought I wanted to be home with my daughter more. Once that became my reality my struggles with my mental-emotional self seemed to intensify. It got a little better when I was working as a personal trainer and doing part-time HR contract work. And then I had another baby (boy).  After the newness of having two kids wore off shit hit the fan. I was sad and angry and confused and so much more. Of course we had awesome moments and I did the best that I could, but I know I did NOT enjoy every minute of it. In fact I think I have written about this a few different times because let me tell you there are a lot of moments that I can barely breathe through and enjoying every minute of it is not happening. I know I am NOT alone. And this goes for anyone that is a parent...working full time, part-time or at home full-time (I can see a little head nodding with me). :)

I am now realizing that perhaps the advice of my husband to do more work outside of the house might have been the right advice a while ago. But for those of you that know me I am very stubborn. I decided that I had to find a way to dig deep and thrive being home full time. I was lucky right? I could stay in my pajamas in the morning and have an extra cup of coffee or go meet a friend at the coffee shop. I could go shopping, meal plan and go to the gym. I can actually have more time with them to play. Why would I want to go back to work? I can stay home with the kiddos when they are sick. I think you get the picture.

The answer is my soul is screaming at me to get out of the house and work. I want to live my passion. I want a break from being mommy so that when I am back I am filled with so much appreciation for the gifts that my children are to me that I can actually see them, feel them and show them. I know my sanity lies in space. I need space from this role as a mommy. I do NOT have all the answers on the work that will fill in the days when my son starts preschool soon. I am open to finding a balance between my corporate days and my wellness experience. And I know it will continue to evolve. However, the goal of obtaining health and wellness credentials was to follow my passion and to have more tools in my toolbox. And four years later my toolbox is bigger. I am sometimes so focused on what I have NOT done or how I have not been the perfect mom or my struggles that I forget to be grateful for what I have done. I know I am not alone in this regard. Maybe as you are reading this you might think of some things you have forgotten that you actually kicked ass at doing. If that is the case, give yourself a pat on the back! Feel PROUD! I know we all have done some amazing things and leaning into gratitude will only help you find more amazing things.

Outside of the gifts, the hugs, the cake and singing I am thinking a lot today about what I want to give my daughter (and my son…he thinks it is his birthday too)! I want to teach them to feel confident in their own skin. I want to teach my children to love themselves all the days. I want to teach my children to listen to their inner guide because their soul will guide them exactly where they need to be to thrive and to make a difference in the world. I want to teach my children to know it is okay to make mistakes and it is okay to not be perfect because nobody is perfect. I want to teach my children that when we make a mistake or a choice that doesn’t feel good we resolve it by saying we are sorry or doing something kind and move forward with forgiveness and grace. Move forward without shame, without the guilt we often find in that little voice that likes to scold us for not doing it perfectly. I want my children to feel so confident in their choices and their personalities that they are able to stand strong in what makes them feel good and right. I want them to be honest, brave, kind and true to themselves.  I want them to believe in themselves and life, always and forever.

So in this quite hour of the afternoon before the crazy begins I realize that if I do not feel these things in myself I will not be able to pass that along to these beautiful gifts in my life. These little people deserve a mom that acts on her intuition. They deserve a mom that loves herself despite struggling with things in life and despite that I am not perfect. I try each day to show up for me and some days are better than others.  But what I can say I have done very well is that I will NEVER give up. I owe it to them to keep going and to keep shedding some of these layers with my eating disorder stuff and parenting struggles (you know like yelling when I shouldn’t or maybe saying a bad word, etc.).  I owe it to those kids to pass on how I want them to feel by actually feeling it and living it in my own body, mind and soul.

So today I choose love, power, strength, faith, and surrender. What do you choose today? You are worthy of making a choice to bring in what you deserve. Keep asking yourself questions on why you think something or feel something and then ask yourself how you WANT to feel. You have the power to thrive and shine so so bright! Let's do this!

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin