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

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

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

Here is yesterday's post on Slowing Down

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

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

Check-in Mondays!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog schedule – Summary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prepping breakfast the night before

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

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

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

Now it is your turn!

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

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

Have an amazing week!

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin