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!