Back-to-School 2017: Embrace Your Feelings; Honor The Now

As I sit here in the quiet of the house, my son is napping and my daughter is at her first-day of second grade. Why is my heart so heavy with mixed emotions? I don't think my lady hormones are helping me much, but my heart truly feels so full of emotions. For me, I am always planning or thinking about what next that I often miss out on the now. This summer I decided to abort a lot of planning. My lists were very few and usually lasted about five minutes before I lost them or they got shoved in my back pocket or sribbled on. This was the summer of FUN and just allowing. 

I had a lot of adult celebrations with amazing wedding celebrations, 15-year college reunion and more. But in the midst of the crazy we squeezed in summer fun. I am talking small things like walks to the library (for the record we only went twice), quick neighborhood swims before teaching yoga or just being together while little brother was napping. It was something I will not ever forget. I can see her smile and hear your sarcastic jokes at lunch while the construction is so loud my annoyance level was up...saying "wow, this lunch is SOOOO relaxing!" Oh man, her light and sense of humor kept me going. Don't get me wrong there were many moments of crazy and me ignoring them or sibling fighting. However, when I reflect of course I sift through all of that. Similar to child birth and our distorted memory of it all. :) 

This summer I knew that I was behind on everything. in fact, early July my website went down because of technical issue that for most is a five-minute fix. After trying to consequctive mornings with the help desk I decided to abort and just enjoy the various "fun" we had on the schedule. If I felt called to write I would, but it didn't matter because what was in front of me mattered more. I did find time for me in small and big ways this summer and for that I am grateful. But some of my favorite memories involved my sweet second grader, just the two of us. Like the below picture where we came up with a no-bake cookie recipe for our kid's cookbook we are working on (slowly of course).

summer kitchen creations!

summer kitchen creations!

So today I just sit. I sit with my emotions as mama. As a torn mama, a woman that is on the fence about what my role should be as mom and professional. A journey I am developing as I sit. I am not sure what the future holds, how the days will flow, or how it will all work. However, I know what is the MOST important to me right now? Me. My self love. Time for me to feel how I feel and process all of the feels. What is most important is NOT knowing but allowing me to not know. What is is most important is my big learning about what self love is. I realize that none of it matters, not work, not alone time with the kids or family time or date time or a successful career or organized house or a website that is up and running if I don't love myself first. If I don't have faith in life first. If I don't let go of ALL of those things I cannot control, included in that today are my feelings and my lack of clearly knowing much of anything but that my heart is FULL. I am not perfect and have a long way to go as I show up in this life as a human.

Summer sunset fun!

Summer sunset fun!

Even though I know I am not perfect, I know that my little ones (second grader and preschool boy) won't wait for me to figure it out. They are watching me NOW. They are watching if I am complaining or being positive. They are watching me turn a crappy day around and bring back the joy that we all so deserve in all the days. They are watching me be kind to the slowest cashier in the history of Target. Why? Because I am their role model. Isn't that how it works? And yes, I know I have not been perfect (oh are there stories), but I know that because of the abundant amount of life lessons these little humans have taught me, I CAN and WILL and MUST keep going. I must show up and love myself enough to pause and feel and know that deep breaths, relaxed shoulders and looking these little ones in the eyes is a lot of what my job is. 

I will hug them and make lunches for them and yes, I will make them put their stuff away. I sometimes wonder how that will happen, but I will NOT give up on any of it. I will raise kind and responsible and loving humans because they are already so far ahead of what I could have imagined such small people could be. Through the honor of being mom it has become very clear to me that a lot is so innate. We are good. We are Love. And all of that light and potential lives in us the moment we take our first breath. Yes, I am a role model and a guide, but that personality is not taught and that light is what makes the world go round. So today I simply say, thank you for letting me be your mama. And thank you yoga and family and sometimes wine at 3 p.m. to help remind me to let myself feel so the days you come home sad or scared or mad I don't make you push it away and I sit with you and "let you feel!" 

Whatever your emotions are...allow the feels. Allow yourself to not know, but at the same time know that you are okay right now. Look around. Take a breath. Go to bed early. Take a bath. And just be okay with right now. No matter your feel, you let it roll off you like "water off a ducks back." Life is a little bit easier when we allow ourselves to flow with feelings and flow with life. 

Sending all you mamas and dads and caretakers LOVE and more LOVE on this day of transition (or coming transition). I couldn't quite get out of bed snuggling my son at nap today because I know some day he won't want snuggles from me so then I just stayed a little longer today. Why? Why not.

Namaste and love to y'all!

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!

Perfectly Imperfect

Today It is late and I am trying to actually get to sleep so I have decided to share a little of the messy parts of parenting for me before I head to bed. This is unedited and simply from my heart. I want to start by saying that I love my kids oh so much; you know that deep love in your soul love. However, being a mama in a lot of ways doesn’t come easy to me. I get caught up in the emotions of the kids and the resistance and it gets the best of me. I hate to admit it but I sometimes yell, I try not to but my swearing comes out and I even ignore them (gasp)!

The last two days I have been in full-on mommy duty. I did teach a class this morning at 6 a.m. and then my hubby let me go for a run around the lake. Check out some of this picture. This was a run that although I was physically spent, I knew my soul needed to move. I always feel connected when I get outside and move my body; I am reminded of the gift of life and it helps me to do my very best.

That is what happened for me today. My head was spinning on my run because the day prior was a mess. It had some very amazing, even bliss-filled moments with the kiddos during the day. In those moments I was fully present and I felt so blessed. I could see the twinkle in the their eyes as we went to the local pumpkin patch (aka-the local garden store that has loads of pumpkins and a sign that says “pumpkin patch). Thank you Sunnyside Gardens for saving my Wednesday. My kids were pumped and I was present. My phone was only out for the fifty pictures I snapped because it was one of those moments I could feel in my bones that I didn’t want to forget. And as I am starting to figure out as a mom, the farther you are way from the messy parts, the more amazing those moments start to take over your entire memory. I sure as heck hope that my kiddos feel the same. I hope that when they think about their childhood they remember the love. They remember the moments of fun that we created in our family. And they remember the hugs and kisses and most importantly the times I said I was sorry. Those moments are hard for me as a mama because I know I wasn’t perfect. I know I let them down. But I also know that telling them I am sorry for my words that may have hurt them is the best that I can do. And I believe, deep in my heart, that they need to know that I am not perfect and I never will be. I am perfectly imperfect. And so are you and the rest of us.

This morning in class I was sharing parenting stories and talked about how it can hurt so bad as a mom when what you say to your kid takes their energy from that bright and big vibe of happiness and kid curiosity to small. Please tell me you know what I mean. For example, if I say something like, “name-of-kid.” In a disappointing tone, they look at me with sad eyes and immediately their energy shrinks. For my little boy he starts to cry because he knows I am mad and can feel my disappointment. Or how about, “what were you thinking?” What? I know it sounds like I am awful, but sometimes these words slip out. And I know exactly what those words make a little kiddo feel: shame. And that is the LAST thing I intend to make my kids feel. So then as a mama I feel small. But then I dust myself off, and I keep going because they need me to. They need me to keep trying and to love them still and to do a little better next time. And sometimes, getting mad is the only way to get them to get my attention (and I am working on this mentality too), but tonight I was calm with no emotion for most of the night with the exception of a couple minor moments. And for me and for us, that is a miracle. The love outweighed the mess. And that my friends is my goal.

I will leave you with a little excerpt from a moment on Wednesday where I thought I was going to lose it on my kids. Instead of scream or have an adult tantrum I ran to my computer and wrote. Another time I ran to the porch and started to do deep belly breathing. I suppose this is a good example for them to see me channel my frustration in a positive way right?

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.

I am ignoring my three-year old crying for a quick moment and I wonder why the heck I cannot be more patient. I decided to skip my planned at-home workout today so that we could get a quick store run in and have some outdoor fun. And now it is 10:30 which leaves two hours and a lot of mama anger. Why can't I ever feel like i have it together? Seriously. I try so hard. I stay up late and make lists and write plans and decide to be kind. And for the beginning of the morning it was fun; everyone was playing nice to each other and we were getting a few extra things done. And then the morning poops and the spilled water and the mess from playing. And the laundry that I am trying to stay on top of so the busy weekend plans can fall into place. And what about quality time with my oldest kiddo because I  know we don't get it much. We plan to do a spa day, but must do it right at the beginning of nap because then we are running to dance. And I wonder if I am the crazy mom that is making her do dance when I peak in her room and I find her doing ballet in her room (ribbon around her leg) with a huge smile. Okay, so the running around is worth it.

And then coming back to the present moment I realize I am making my kiddos feel bad that the time is the time and we just cannot do it all in four hours. And that isn't right. So I type. I choose to type instead of keep sputtering words out of my mouth that are annoying me and likely unintentionally hurting them. I read a post from someone yesterday talking about how much it hurts when our children grow up because we miss when they are little. But why was it so hard during that time of not being able to reason? Why did we wish to lock ourselves in the bathroom because it just seemed too much? Is it because the phase is actually hard or is it because expectations in just one simple day tend to be too high. For me today I want to get chores done, do fall fun, pack for the weekend, buy some stuff at the store that we need and some Halloween things, and have one-on-one time and more! Oh, did I mention my yoga and meditation? And the prep for the barre class or the writing that I want to finish up? How about the packing list for the coming trip? And how many hours in the day do I think that I have?

Typing this I realize that maybe my kids aren't messed up or annoying and that my expectations are just too much for one person/day. So I guess it is time to get the teapot off the stove and adapt. I must adapt, look into their eyes and make them feel love and safe. Isn't that my job after all? Do I really need to have it all together? I guess if we walk to the local garden store instead of find a pumpkin patch it will be okay and f I don't get to the store until tonight and we have PB sandwiches for dinner, it will be alright too. So, I breathe in love and exhale all the shit that just happened in the last 15 minutes. All is well and I am grateful for all of my blessings. 

Parenting is a gift and can be so hard all at the same time. So we must continue to keep ourselves in check and adjust adjust adjust. That my friend is the best I can do. And when I tell myself I suck, well then I actually do.

Here's to finding the beauty in the mess of parenting (and maybe a little bit of fun). 

All my love to you in your parenting adventures, or life adventures. How are you perfectly imperfect? I am sure you have your own story and are doing your best. In class today I asked the question, "what are you awesome at?"  I will leave you with that question because I am sure you are a rockstar in the mess of it all.

Shine on!

In love, light, and gratitude,

Kristin