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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kristin

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Be Where You Are

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

Honest Monday Check-in: Nov. 28, 2016

I have to be honest in today's Monday check-in.  I'm okay. I am not thriving like I know I can and I would be lying if I said that the holidays have been easy. I don't have any grand answers except that when I reflect on the last month I definitely did less movement (walking, yoga, exercise), less sleeping, less meal planning and thus grabbing for crappier food options, more wine, less vegetables, less connection and more. I feel like my energy, generally, was dispersed in many different ways, leaving me feeling like I was running around with my head cut off with not a lot to show for it. I did get a new teaching gig and I am grateful and excited to share more! Also, I am spending time enriching my yoga studies through the Vinyasa Krama online training with Rod Stryker. It has been work, but I am so grateful to learn and expand! 

Based on all of this I choose to be kind to me and honor that I am not just sitting on the couch. However, I know that I can feel better, physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

If you are curious of more of what isn't feeling good I have captured below. 

My body:

It hurts. Physically my joints hurt, my skin is inflamed and hurts and itches in various places. My physical body hurts because of being out of alignment; I have been teaching, doing workouts out and yoga, but not enough foam rolling and restorative activity. Ouch. Additionally, I feel puffy everywhere. In fact, it isn't a feeling it is a reality because my clothes are fitting a lot tighter in just the last few weeks. And finally, my bloat is awful. I know my tummy is off and not happy lots of times in the day. in fact, almost every time I eat lately my stomach hurts or I can hear the rumbling. Because of all of this I know a little healing will go a long way. 

Emotionally/Mentally

My mind is all over the place. I have a lot on my mind regarding work and home, specifically thinking up various ways to approach each. I am experiencing a great amount of mental spinning (where I take a thought or idea and run with it, usually not for the positive). I am harder on myself, sensitive, and sometimes so anxious I can barely sit still during meditation. This is absolutely a reflection of me being out of balance, in particular not sleeping and more importantly short-cutting my practice to the point that even when I do it I am so tired it doesn't count. I feel connected to something higher than me when I am in nature and when I sit still and find myself in breath and meditation. When I do not do that, the cumulative effect is noticed. In fact, I talk about this a bit in the Pain of Not Practicing post. This awareness will definitely be leverage and motivation for me to show up in my practice because my mind will absolutely benefit. :)

The Process of Healing - why don't more people talk about the process of healing? I am curious.

In reflecting in the last couple days following the peak of feeling crappy I have been thinking a lot about how not a lot of people talk about the process of life or the journey of losing weight or healing from a sickness. I wonder why? It is in the process of pain/suffering where I feel the most alone and confused. I know I am not alone and I reach out to those close to me who often hold me up, but why do I hesitate to share the journey, especially when it isn't pretty? I think it is because it makes me vulnerable. Also, a lot of people share the story of, "one day I had this suffering and then I did x, y, and z and now I feel great!" I am not judging or saying that is not an okay way to share your story, because each one of us gets to choose how we tell our story and how/when we share. What I am saying is that I crave to hear more of the journey and process of others on the way to moving through something that was hard and didn't feel good.

I also hesitate to share sometimes because when you look at my life I am pretty damn lucky. How could someone that has a lot to be thankful for be suffering? It doesn't make sense at all. But then I realize I am not alone in my journey of internal suffering. In fact, we all have these things inside that are here to teach us. And if it wasn't painful we wouldn't have the desire and drive to stand up again and keep moving forward. If it wasn't painful we wouldn't want to make changes and choices in our lives to feel better. And as much as I know that is hard to make changes, especially at the beginning (because sometimes it is easier to stay out of balance), I know what is on the other side, and thus I am very very determined to keep moving forward. I also hope that me sharing the process I am going through as I struggle and get back up again might help just one person.

My Aha-Cycle - Specific to eating, body image, and health (gut health, skin stuff etc.)

I want to go in depth soon about my aha-cycle that I realize I deal with, in particular with my eating and body-image issues. If I am being honest, I am carrying a good 15 pounds, maybe 20 pounds more than what I used to call my set-point weight. In fact, I used to feel chubby during that weight, and now that I have the extra puff (for lack of a better term) and I think, "what was I thinking?" For me it is more than the weight; It is the fact I can feel so awesome one moment and so awful the next moment that I wonder, am I doing it all wrong? Am I defective? Do I simply not have enough will power? And on and on on. So when I was not feeling so hot this last Friday (post Thanksgiving) I pulled out the book, Women Food and God, by Geneen Roth and I found my notes I wrote in the summer. It was pretty incredible what I learned in my reflections from reading this book back in July. (This book moved me faster in my healing of my eating issues than anything I've every done). In my own reflections I quickly became aware of three stages that I am often cycling through. Each stage has a set of behaviors and thought patterns. Essentially, this cycle is one that helped me see the destructive pattern I often find myself in, which ultimately sets me up to not feel good and frankly, think too much about it (food/body) all. 

Here is a pic of the high-level cycle I drew out one day that hit home for me:

In no particular order the three phases are:

  • Connection to Source: Highest good/choice
  • Awareness of positive feelings (or negative) and/or change, leads to Attachment and more focus/attention on food/body.
  • Disconnection to self and not being fully present, feelings of shame.

I look forward to digging deeper into this as I grow and hopefully I can share even more in the future. For now, I will honor that the cycle can exist for me and that I am healing and getting stronger each day. I respect and am accepting of my ability to use my awareness to drop into the present moment and love me exactly as I am today, and tomorrow and the next day. I cannot image that this self love will do anything but help me to make better choices, be kinder and to hopefully thrive. Thus, in sharing I am thankful for this suffering because it has made me more awake and alive. 

So what next?

  1. I am doing everything I can to be fully present in ALL of life. I am challenging myself to feel all of my feelings and slow down. Often times I numb myself or distract myself with staying up too late, looking at my phone, getting a snack or thinking about food too much. Thus, I am not truly living in the moment, right? Also, I realize I am often crabby and impatient at home and at the stem of it all is that I am often thinking about what I need to do to be prepared to teach or do something esle and instead I am doing parenting things. Thus, I am quickly reactive and not my best self.
  2. Honor my truth. I am working closely with my coach to realize and accept/love all of me, the good, the challenging, and the quirky. And instead of constantly try to improve or judge myself, I am working to accept and LOVE it all. After all of this recent awareness I realize that I am so incredibly hard on myself it actually makes life a lot more difficult and amps up my anger and impatience to a pretty high level. 
  3. I will LIVE my YOGA! Daily yoga means living my yoga; each moment I see as my practice. To be kind to myself, my kids, and those I come in contact with. This will lead to nourishing foods, moving my body, connecting, and practice--giving myself the healing gift of yoga to move, change my energetic body and pause my mind enough to connect to the place in me that is unchanging and bright.

I believe in my heart that this small moment of not feeling so hot is a gift to me to adjust and do what I know I need to do to honor me, my path, my blessings and more. I also now know what it is like to physically feel not awesome and to have my weight not budge, regardless of what I am doing. I know what I need and I plan to carry on. I allow the hurt and the feelings. I dig into a deep place of me that will not try to be it all or be perfect but to be present: more breaths, more pausing, more allowing feelings to come in and out. Thus, hopefully more real moments of bliss, laughter, joy and true gratitude with effortlessly flow into my life. 

Am I right? Does any of this resonate with you? Do you have something you are working through and are you allowing or are you pushing it away? Can you learn from your challenges and honor the process? Ask yourself questions and continue to be curious because the lessons are in the everyday moments and your heart. And of course the real sweet spot is allowing it all to happen and find that acceptance in your mind, body and spirit. You are worthy of love today.

Thanks for reading and for honoring you! Wherever you are today and on your journey you are exactly where you should be. Can you give yourself a little more love and grace today? Can you slow down and be a little more present? I know I can and I will try. I look forward to reporting back on how it is going. 

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin 

p.s. I couldn't resist putting this little cutie and our bright tree in the pic. The tree might be my favorite part of December. :) 

p.p.s I am feeling better now that it is Friday and I have made small changes. I look forward to sharing more. xo

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!

Be just how you are

"I want you to be just how you are." Responds my husband when asked by me, "do you ever wish I would drink beer with you?" As he cracked open a beer on a Saturday night. My jaw dropped. What? How can you be so loving and kind? Did I really marry you? Speechless, I left for my slowest run in years. Okay, I may have snuck in a few words before I finally dragged my butt outside, but I finally left to move my stuck energy. It was 4 p.m. and I had the "gremmies" and we all knew it (note, in our house "gremmies" is short for gremlins and it means we feel stuck and cranky and need to move our energy to feel better). My husband and six-year-old daughter were thinking...'send mama for a run!' 

You are perfect just as you are

You are perfect just as you are

I started walking, and then started to jog—one foot in front of the other. I stopped and started and stopped again. Down a hill I went and then I didn't stop. I kept going. This was hard. Should I be doing this? Am I pushing myself? When I push myself like this is it only harming my attempt to heal my hormones? And oh, my thighs are rubbing together and let's not mention the fire in my chest (BAD heartburn) and the fire in my bottom (aka my "v"). Okay, yes it is too much information for some, but this time it cannot be left out. I was uncomfortable and I mean SO uncomfortable. My physical body was screaming at me on this run in many ways. 

What happened next is a reflection to me of my journey. I am growing and healing and sometimes I don't even know it. Instead of focus on the thighs or the discomfort of my body and why it's unfair that I have heartburn and an on-fire "v," I instead shifted. I heard the wisdom again of my dear husband. He said to me, "Go out and truly enjoy our neighborhood!"

Ah, such good advice. So I start to look around. I felt the cool fall breeze on my body and it felt so good. I felt my feet hit the pavement each step. It wasn't easy but I was doing it. Wow, I thought to myself, ‘I am lucky that my body is able to do so much.’ And then the lake, it was so beautiful with a blue haze over the lake and big waves. The goodness of life and people were everywhere this late Saturday afternoon.

On my jog there were people biking, running, walking with friends and pushing their babies in strollers. I found their eyes as I passed by and I looked in their eyes for a brief moment and felt their stories. They too, are on this planet for the same reason as I am. We all want to avoid pain and feel pleasure. We all want and need to be loved. I felt so grateful at that moment and each subsequent step. No matter the discomfort or scary moments or joy or bliss, we are meant to be present. In this brief and powerful moment (like many are when I run) I realized how infrequent I truly am in the present moment. And I long for more moments of dropping into to the present moment, so that I can feel the breeze on my face or smell the sweetness of my kiddos or truly see the love in my husband's eyes. On this challenging yet glorious day, I was reminded that it is these moments and the little things that truly matter. And all of these little moments add up to your days, weeks and months. 

Let's go back to what my husband said to me. I want you to be just how you are. Read that again but read it like someone you love is saying it to you with all his/her heart. I want you to be just how you are. How does that feel when you read it and feel it? What is going on in your mind and heart? Maybe read it again or maybe just feel and truly think about those words. 

What if exactly how we are, our struggles and ailments and all the challenges that come our way, are here to shape us? What if they are here to help us to rise above? What if they are here to help us to make a lot of little and big choices to do something great and to thrive? And I mean really feel every moment and LOVE ALL OF WHAT YOU ARE. Maybe you have a lot of fire like me and you fly off the handle. Maybe you swear too much or work too much or pick fights with those that love you. Or maybe you procrastinate or are always late or watch too much television or...or...or. God knows we all are imperfect. But maybe we are perfectly imperfect like the quote says. 

I am perfectly imperfect
— Anonymous

And my friends, as I write this I cannot help but think about how I have been fighting "me" since middle school. This resistance and challenge of wanting to be just how I am isn't something that has come naturally to me. I think back to those intense younger years and I used to think things like, 'why am I the bigger kid? Why am I the most inflexible girl in my class? Why do I have boobs and hips and none of the other girls do? Why did I seem like ten years older when it came to responsibility? Why did I feel like I was okay at everything but not really good at anything? Why did I want to look different?' And on and on? What went on in my head as a young girl was intense (and I am sure I am not alone in this regard). I was sure something was wrong with me. If only I lost weight or told less jokes or, or, or. 

Fast-forward twenty plus years and I am starting to get it all. It is starting to come together as I reflect, pause and be curious. Maybe it is time for me to stop resisting and share the feelings that my husband said to me so effortlessly Saturday night. So today I say to myself, "I want you to be just how you are." Perhaps you could say the same thing to yourself, if even just for a day or even a weekend. Stop resisting and honor you, exactly how you are

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

 

 

 

 

 

Wine country, you healed me again

Just two weekends ago I was drinking expensive wine and eating delicious freshly cooked food. It was an amazing weekend surrounded by beautiful scenery, awesome people, and with the love of my life. Being away from "real life" helped me to connect with a part of myself that I forget. As I have briefly shared I have had challenges with disordered eating on and off for years (8th grade to be specific). Each time it seems to come on is typically during a time of change, whether it be something that is going on in my life (for example when I had a baby or when I got laid off from my job) or something as simple as the season changing or the holidays. All things 'change' are a trigger for me, and now that I have had time to reflect and be curious over the years I am learning a lot! 

Prior to our trip to Sonoma I was feeling some of the "food stuff" (for lack of a better way to explain it) come up. I was thinking so much about what I ate and the amount and is it the right food and will I feel okay? The thoughts were frequent and consumed a lot of my thinking—is it what I am eating or when I am eating or how much caffeine I am having that is making my clothes continue to feel tight? What is the deal? Was I worried about looking a particular way or to feel good and even sexy since I would be around my hubby? I wasn't sure, but what I can tell you is that it was a bit of a challenge prior to leaving and I had to keep telling myself one moment and day at a time. 

Today I am curious as I think about our trip to wine country. It was a unique opportunity to go to different events where everything was provided for us—food, drink, and transportation. I didn't have to think about food as much as I do when I am feeding my kiddos constantly (and when it is my job to decide, buy and cook food for the family). I did notice that one big worry that sometimes comes up when we aren't at home is, "will I get enough to eat." This almost sounds silly because of the abundance of food I have access too in reality, but in recent years my food sensitivities have provided it difficult to find something to eat in social settings. It has been a challenge for me and I think a part of why I have a bit of social apprehension. When you aren't sure if you will have food you can eat sometimes you don't even want to go out and you have one more thing to think about. Should I eat or should I pack something or will there be food? And often times I just try not to care, but it is a real variable in social situations and cannot be overlooked.

In fact, last year when I went on the same trip to Sonoma, I was so afraid that they wouldn't have food that I could eat that I packed a lot of food in my suitcase. I had brown rice tortillas and peanut butter and bars and seeds and more. It was a bit excessive. However, after last year's trip I healed in a unique way with my eating-disorder issues. I realized that I would have enough to eat and that trying to have a very restrictive diet was just TOO MUCH for me. And in fact, being restricted was and still can be a huge trigger for me. 

To continue on last year's healing for a moment, I came back from the last year's trip realizing how free and able I was to be present with my body and food; I actually enjoyed food again and it was fun. Unfortunately, and fortunately shortly after our trip I completed a food sensitivities test called the LEAP MRT Food Sensitivities test; the diet required me to eat a very restrictive diet. The main focus of the diet was to eliminate foods that I reacted to in order to create healing in my gut. The theory of this test and the reintroduction protocol is that it isn't the food that is causing you to react to the food; rather, it is the state of your gut that matters. Thus, if you eliminate these foods for a while and then strategically reintroduce them you have time to heal and the end result: eat more foods and feel good! I was all about it when I received my initial results and was very dedicated until the holidays rolled around. Once the holidays hit and I had been going strong for weeks it got SO HARD. In short it was a mind F, and I kept feeling like a failure. Each time I would retry to strategically introduce a food I would fail or not be perfect, I would feel so much shame. My nutritionist worked closely with me and basically pulled me from the protocol sometime in January or early February. The message that she helped me understand was I had done enough healing and worrying so much about the process of "testing" foods was actually causing me more harm than the actual food. I was shocked and concerned and worried. How is stopping now a good idea?

Stopping in the middle of the process of the food sensitivity test was a challenge for me emotionally and mentally. Had I failed? Am I not as determined as I think I am to get something accomplished? Over time I realized I had to let go of my own critique of how it went. I was not a failure and I actually did great for a while. To give you a little insight, for a good 6-8 weeks I ate mainly cucumber, avocado, buckwheat, brown rice, turkey, cumin, salt and mango. It was a pretty limited list, especially in the vegetable department. 

As I fast forward to right now I ask myself this: did doing the LEAP MRT diet help me heal? I would absolutely say yes. For example, I would get incredibly sick if I would eat oatmeal or an almond a year ago. Now, if I eat a little bit I am okay and my stomach doesn't blow up. Also, the summer of 2015 I couldn't eat a salad without getting very sick and the summer before that everything I ate needed to be either cooked or blended. It was awesome to have your food blended or cooked in the heat of the summer (or maybe not so much). And you wonder why I felt restricted, angry, confused and more. The good news is that this summer (2016) I ate salads without getting sick and it was glorious! It isn't perfect, but each day I am learning more and more. This gut healing is a journey and isn't ever going to be perfect. So I will lean into that  and try to do my best regarding what I need each week. 

Reflecting on these eating issues brings me back to the recent weekend away in wine country. This time I knew there would be food that I could eat and I had a lot better trust and lack of worry that I would actually have food to eat. This freedom and trust led to a heightened awareness of the present moment. I was not thinking about what next for food or if I was eating enough of the right food. I was enjoying each moment that I was presented with. I was also reminded that what feeds me isn't food, but rather being connected—when I am connected to others it is strongly correlated to when I thrive and do well. I absolutely LOVED being with people in an environment where I could be 100% me. I was in a group of people that knew nothing about me. Thus, there weren't any pre-conceived ideas about what I am, what I stand for or anything. And that was amazing. I felt grounded in me. I was confident, present, and so grateful for this space away. In fact, I had no idea at the time how much of an impact being away and in this situation would be for my healing heart. I also think it is important to note, my stomach was a bit off because of the unique food I was eating, but I made it through and having the experience was healing to all of me, my mind body and soul.

When I got home I felt a huge sense of sadness. And yes, it might be the amazing wine or being with my sexy husband that I was missing, but when I look beyond the expensive wine and experience I know in all of my heart these things:

1. CONNECTION is a huge part of my happiness, and truly all of us humans walking this earth. Of course we all need varying degrees of connection and different things work for different people 

2. Not having to think about food is HUGE! As a mama and the chef of the family, sometimes that is all I am thinking about. It feels like there isn't an hour that goes by where I am not planning the next meal. Additionally, I SUCK at meal planning. And I mean really bad. I used to be good at meal planning when it was just the two of us, but with kids and picky eaters I just seem to feel off. If I make something they will like, it is lacking the vegetables that I like and if it is something I would eat, I need to have something in addition that they would eat. You get my point. 

3. Space. Having space for real life was healing. Sometimes being away makes you appreciate all that you have. And for me, spending time with the love of my life helped me realize why I am doing this crazy family-life with him. At the foundation of it all, LOVE!

How are things now that I am back? Well, to say the least, the first week I felt a bit tired and spacey. I was a little scattered with a few things that I am starting in my own work, not to mention we have a lot of fall-calendar fun happening that is keeping us busy. Despite all of this I am trying to fill up my heart with gratitude, faith and love. And most of all I want to keep it all going with curiosity surrounding each of my moments and days.

Yes, the eating stuff seems to be like a light switch. When I am home and back in charge of everything my eating issues are close by, sometimes closer than I would like. I wonder if I need to organize my house differently or why it keeps coming back. But I know deep in my heart that it is because eating issues and thought patterns and even behaviors are what I know. And I also know that CHANGE is hard. When we resit to change we are afraid of hurting and being in pain. This is a lesson I have learned in yoga, and in particular with my studies with Rod Stryker. And because of all of this, when I heal it feels amazing because I am free and feel more like myself than every. However, I think there is something deep inside that knows that change will be hard and is scared and so much more. Thus, I must carry on. I must share this now because maybe, just maybe I will inspire myself and others to keep showing up. To know that your dark side is there to teach you and that you can keep making more and more choices that will align with you and you can and will thrive. I know I can create new patterns that change the old patterns and I know I can and will continue to feel better and heal. 

That is it my friends. I do not have any amazing conclusions from this trip except that I know that I can heal even more. I feel called to share even more and I feel called to keep showing up to my life. There is a lot going on in the world right now, but what we what we can control are the choices we make and how we react to it.

In love, light and so much gratitude,

Kristin

Take Care of You First - Different Each Day

Take care of you first! Self care and taking care of you first each and every day is something I often encourage my friends, family and my students in my yoga and barre classes to make a priority. This choice to take care of you first is a sign of self-love—you know that deep down love where you actually recognize how flipping amazing you are? This awareness and self loves empowers you to rest more, take a run, sit your butt down to meditate, take a bath and more. I also find that this choice helps me be a better wife, mom, friend and simply have more positivity, joy and faith in my life. For me it is truly a ripple impact in my life.

So how does 'taking care of you first' look? Different. That's right. I know you are thinking obviously, we are all different. Yes, we are all different, but my point is each day for you is different. I am encouraging you to honor that your days ebb and flow and again, the message to listen to what you want to do versus what you think you should do is critical. I will also add that this gets a bit tricky when you have multiple priorities and things tugging at your time, but like I always say to my kids, “I am only one person!” And you too, are just one person. Thus, it is okay to say no to things so you can say yes to others and it is okay to embrace that your list might be behind for a while, especially if you are on a new project, in a new job, moving, have kids, and more.

I would like to share a story from this weekend that illustrates how 'taking care of you' can be different on any given day. Here is what I wrote at the end of last Saturday: 

Saturday, June 4—9:45 p.m.

Today I chose that taking care of me was actually not doing anything for me but to be present in each moment—to embrace my discomfort of not enough movement or sleep and to lean in to my sweet life, especially the blessings of my little kiddos. I planned to swim for 10 minutes for me after their swim lessons and hand off to the hubby, but the locker room situation did not allow. I planned to lock myself in my room at nap time to do my yoga practice and rest because I am so tried. However, my daughter sat right next to me after lunch and looked at me with her bright blue eyes and said, "mom, can I whisper something to you?" Always trying to teach a lesson, I paused her and said it would be rude to whisper in front of her little brother and I asked her to write it down. You can see below that the note was a simple request—"mom, can I make a recipe with you?"

Translate - "can i cook with you at nap time? answer: _____" My response was "maybe." And then you can see her desire to make "chocolate balls!" 

Translate - "can i cook with you at nap time? answer: _____" My response was "maybe." And then you can see her desire to make "chocolate balls!" 

This was her saying, mom, I want to spend some time with you when…you aren't prepping dinner or for a class or you aren't on your phone or doing one more thing. Her message to me hit me loud and clear: Be. Present. With. Me. Mom. Yet, hanging over my head was a commitment to ME. I deserve a break! I have to get my practice in. If I'm going to do this journey called life and honor my needs I am going to have to say no. And then I thought to myself, maybe, just maybe saying yes is exactly what I need to be doing.

I feel the words stronger each day from those older who always utter(ed), "enjoy every minute, it goes fast," while toting the kids around. I used to be angry at those words and now I see the wisdom from them. Those women and men that, with passion, reminded me how important being in the moment was as a parent. I am now clear that they knew deep in their hearts that they were there once too. You know what I am talking about or at least have heard what I am talking about: sleep deprivation at its best, not a second for a shower or a conversation with anyone, and how about a new outfit or any time for your brain or body to rest, never feeling like you could catch up, and God knows getting ahead was for your neighbor. And in all the energy it takes to parent they remember how hard it was and how those moments of playing and present moments slip quickly away each year your kid grows. I now feel their hearts speaking to me as I reflect upon the happenings of today.

What is left of our version of "chocolate balls"

What is left of our version of "chocolate balls"

So today I decided to listen to my heart and what I needed today. And that was to slow down and make that choice a mama does to be with my daughter. I could have used some "me time" but looking back on my day today my decision to be present and feel gratitude for my kids and our health and their smiles and their wise and passionate eyes—WAS me taking care of me. I will never get today back and although I could have used that swim or the yoga or the walk I planned at 7:30 and got dressed for, instead I listened. My son was hysterical for mama at bedtime. Why? Because it is almost always me (because I am lucky) while my hubby cleans up. And I missed Thursday and Friday bedtime and both were also school days. He missed his mommy. And so I paused, felt, and said, sweet son, you are heard!

Just maybe me listening to my kids and their requests some of the days and some of the moments will wash out any of my shitty-mommy moments. I'm talking about the moments you take out your crappy day or internal struggles and subtly project them onto your kid(s). Those days and moments have been too many for me. I have struggled these last couple years and the kids (and my hubby) have had to deal with hormonal and emotional mommy/wife. I know this is not so easy on everyone and I know we all deserve better! 

So today I took care of me by trying my best to kick ass as a mom and a wife. Did I swear in front of them a couple times, maybe, but it was accidental. I feel extra firey lately. I know this is related to hormones, not enough sleep and a lack of quality yoga practices, specifically my mediations. When I fall asleep doing my mediations I do not tap into that inner peace that I feel when I have been dedicated. My mind becomes much more active, my fears louder and my patience; well, it's usually shit. That is how I know I must find a way to practice earlier, even on the days I am teaching at 6 or 7 am. I will figure it out. We are in transition and my self work is still going strong: I am listening more, supported greatly, changing my energy as fast as I can when I feel negative or am hard on myself or in old patterns. These are all huge wins for me. And what I can also say is that I am challenged right now as I work through this deep change—changes to thrive instead of suffer physically and mentally (and yes, this is subtle). And Rod Stryker in his Four Desires book says the hardest practice of yoga is change. So my friends, instead of being angry I didn’t get to have “me time,” I instead I loved through today by doing what my heart (and the heart of my kids) needed.

These little moments in my mind are wins. Again it comes back to living your life each day and honoring how life shakes it up for you. If we get SO wrapped up in the rules and the expectations/plans we set forth for ourselves can we actually listen and take the right action? And are we really taking care of ourselves first? Also, what happens when we miss what we planned to do? There is a good chance we spend a lot of energy and time beating ourselves up because yet again, we missed the mark. Self-criticism is not the goal of self-care or time for you. When moments that push you away from your version of “me time” happen, maybe you can think about them differently. Perhaps you needed to do something more important deep in your heart.

As I wrote this I couldn’t help but think of a quote Brené Brown references in her book, The Power of Vulnerability, that I would like to leave you with. It is from a book written by Lynne Twist’s book on scarcity, The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources. You can also find the longer quote on Brene Brown’s blog post from 2008.

“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of. We don’t have enough exercise. We don’t have enough work. We don’t have enough profits. We don’t have enough power. We don’t have enough wilderness. We don’t have enough weekends. Of course, we don’t have enough money – ever.”

Well said; we are SO hard on ourselves! There truly are only 24 hours in each day and A LOT in our lives. Just today I challenge you think about your self-care or "me time" differently—because maybe you deserve a day off or a bath or rest versus a run. The more you allow freedom of what "taking care of you" looks like the more you will be free and empowered to keep making awesome choices for you that make you feel amazing! Try it for just one day or maybe even week—I know I will be doing it with you!

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

Happiness and LOVE NOW – not once “x” is complete

I have been quiet. I have been contemplating. I have been pausing. I have been trying to get on top of life. You know those moments of life when you think..."I'm going to kick butt at this and then I am going to feel great!" Or the idea of when I just do fill-in-the blank I will be happy or things will seem easy. Well, for me, it is time to let go of that. I am ready to let go of expectations of thinking the feelings of accomplishing “x” is going to make it all feel great. My heart is saying it is time to feel and choose to live and enjoy the now. Life as it is: the messy, the pretty, and everything in between.

a peaceful morning view - my walks help me to remember to live and love!

a peaceful morning view - my walks help me to remember to live and love!

What do I am mean? Let me share a little personal story to make it clearer. As I mention on my about page, I had a huge life shift when I was laid off and went from busy corporate-world mama to...I-am-going-for-this dream-deep-in-my heart mama. At the time it was not super logical and still really doesn’t make perfect sense. I have experience that would allow me to create bigger savings, more vacations, and maybe even a few more sitters. How is this career going to work as a yoga teacher, wellness instructor, and writer? I am not quite sure and I am okay with it. It could perhaps be a mix of both someday and I however it shakes out I am okay with it. The reality is that I actually prayed to be laid off. I still remember the meeting where we were given a heads up that lay-offs were coming. I looked up to the sky and said a silent prayer, “let it be me.” I had been told my job was safe, but I hoped that it would happen to me. And it did. Be careful what you ask for. I knew I needed the nudge from the universe to take a leap and had I not listened to the voice to become certified in fitness and complete yoga training I can guarantee I would not be writing right now (or teaching).

I decided to start with getting my personal training certification and then yoga training for group fitness. I selected yoga because I LOVED the way it made me feel and I thought it would be the hardest to teach. Little did I know my yoga training would change the trajectory of my life. It was so much more than leaving being able to teach yoga. My faith in life, others, and myself has deepened greatly because of my practice. I will elaborate on this in a future post!

My reality now is that I am just at the beginning. The beginning of a different path with "more tools in my toolbox!" This was my ultimate goal. Do I have clarity on exactly where I am headed? Not a chance. What I can tell you is this: I have had glimpses of life feeling more effortless in life and inspiring others in my teaching, glimpses of my ability to have more patience with the kiddos, glimpses of moving past my food issues and into healthy and present-moment eating and glimpses of tapping into my intuition in all aspects of my life. I feel connected with my soul’s purpose because of the work I have done with my teachers. I have had moments where I don't think about food and moments when the extra pounds that have accumulated in the last year and a half start to feel like they are melting away. I believe this is not because I am doing anything special, but being PRESENT RIGHT NOW (yup, all caps are necessary). And when my focus shifts from trying so flippin hard in life (waiting until I have lost the weight as an example)…to my breath, my passions, self-care, and to listening to my intuition vs. what I should do…subtle changes happen with my choices and thought.

Where am I going with this? Let's get a little deeper into the heart of my extra weight and eating stuff. After having my second child I lost most of the baby weight and was feeling pretty decent. Then I got sick with giardia for three weeks (a parasite), and lost a lot of weight. I couldn’t eat much and was miserable. After finally healing from this parasite a big trigger happened: I was afraid of gaining weight. Yes, that little voice inside subtly had me attempting to try not to eat. And little by little I lost connection with me and slowly gained a little bit of weight that added up over time. I realized last spring I needed some help (with my food stuff and gut healing) and the last year I have been digging in hard.

Fast-forward to my recent work—I have been strongly encouraged to love me exactly how I am. Enough said. As humans we are constantly changing and the best thing we can do is accept and love us exactly as we are. I know I am not alone in this journey in a world of constant self-improvement. Let’s just say I take it body part by body part and that seems a lot easier. When I truly look at each body part individually, it feels f’ing amazing to realize how much my body does. It isn’t always easy, but it is a critical part of MY healing journey. I have my amazing coach, Laura Burkey for encouraging me and supporting me in this regard.

I want to add that I think there is a balance between loving yourself and wanting to make positive changes in your life. I think you can have both. In fact, to someone that is struggling with his/her body I believe it is important to validate their concerns and desires because if you aren't comfortable in your body and want to feel better, then by ALL means you deserve to feel better!!! So my friends, that is my current dance—a balance of loving me today AND finding ways to feel better! I have some hormonal things I have been working through as well so I know it is complicated, but just telling me to love me as I am, in my own experience, is not enough but definitely a critical link.

I caveat this all to say that these struggles are true to me and how I feel and are more unrelated to the scale than it sounds. To elaborate, I know in all of my heart that if I truly take care of my body as I know I can and I stay the same exact size/shape/weight I would feel differently about myself than I do today. I would imagine I would feel more confident and rock my body exactly as it is with feelings of strength and pride. However, my current challenge isn’t the weight but my knowledge of how I have not always respected my body with the kindness in the last year plus. Examples: not enough sleep, too many dips in the peanut butter jar, trying not to eat, or not being present and eating so much I am full (like thanksgiving-style full), or trying too hard to make a plan to do better, or eating food that I know makes my body feel super sick, trying to be perfect, or forgetting gratitude of so many amazing things because I will be able to feel these things once I "lose the weight." These examples have, in the last year + have been my realities. It has been a series of moments of me not being present in the NOW with food and more. It has been a perfect storm and the magic and power of my thoughts. I was afraid I would gain weight and I did. Wow, that is powerful, right?

Unfortunately, these moments have included disordered eating along the way. Often I experience a lack of being in my body and disconnecting to the purpose of food. Using food as a way of controlling, yet losing…Every. Single. Time.  I am happy to report I am the farthest from these disordered-eating patterns than I have been in a long time. I know in my heart that I will be able to 100% heal and that keeps me going. I am so very grateful to be able to share that and feel that.

However, I want to share a little more of the power of the mind with you. About a week and a half ago I decided I was going to choose to love me now AND choose nourishing everything: whole foods, sleep, long walks, intervals, more yoga practice inspired by a recent training, and more. And guess what? I started to energetically and physically start shifting. Even my hubby noticed. I was kinder to the kids, more present in the moment and my body was physically changing. When I noticed the shift too I was excited!

This awareness was great and fun and inspiring...until that little voice came in stealing the show. Yup, I heard subtly, "good job, now keep it and up and eat less..you can do this!" Insert shutting off my connection to the present moment and what is good for me. I am sure that was the critical link to those four or five days of progress.

The past five days I have unraveled my presence and been grazing often; at the same time trying to eat small meals. This lack of allowing myself to eat and listen has created this intense sense of control again. This attempt shifts my brain to think "oh, F, we might not get food again!" So I start to think about food ALL the time! Did I eat too much, can I eat again, will this make me sick, did I get enough veggies, water? Etc. etc.

Oh my goodness! A small voice and thought can shift me from actually living and feeling amazing to thinking way too much about it all. Thus, my aha-moment two days ago is that I am doing this to myself. I need to make a conscious choice to not allow that little voice to rule my choices but to know I can be empowered with my food, sleep, movement, thought, feelings and action. When I put my energy into other things AND nourish myself with yummy food, connection with people, writing, laughing, sleeping, meditating and more, everything falls into place. Food isn’t at the center and that feels SO good.

I share all of this because attempting to control my food and weight so that I can be happy once I figure it all out has been the wrong approach for me. The right approach for me is LOVE now. Breath now. Kindness now. Stopping the mind from spinning now. Gratitude today! I need to continue to create situations that allow me to thrive and make healthy decisions most of the time. This is the best approach for me and helps me enjoy my amazing and blessed life.

And finally, practicing every day. Making my practice (sadhana) my priority in my waking moments. This means gratitude for my amazing life, stopping my mind from spinning (do you see a theme), finding confidence, owning my soul’s light so that I can see and enjoy the radiance of others. All of that is a CHOICE. And for those that know me, making my meditation a non-negotiable in my self-care, because my life is better because of it. I plan to elaborate more on the positive impact of mediation for me soon because it has changed my life.

My hope for sharing is simply this: may you realize the power of your mind. May you know that you can find happiness and peace and love in TODAY and in your journey wherever you are. You can be empowered to choose to your thoughts, actions and feelings. And the more you find these amazing things that you already are, the more you will continue to shine even brighter!

 LOVE, YOU, NOW!

 In love, light, and gratitude,

 Kristin

Admittedly, the world and the people in it are not always just; yet the more you blame factors outside yourself—your parents, genetics, “enemies,” taxes, God, conservatives or liberals, the people who betrayed or took advantage of you, your boss, bad drivers, the subway system, the overcommercialization of Christmas or anything else—the more you dilute your power and weaken your ability to shape the life toward which your soul is intent on guiding you.
— Rod Stryker, The Four Desires

 

 

 


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

Reflection of 2015; Reflection of Change

At the beginning of a new year (yes you still have 11 months left), it is almost impossible not to think about change or resolutions for a better you. It is a great time of year to reflect and look back at the last year. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? Are you happy or struggling? Are you making choices that make you feel good? Do you have a repeating struggle that keeps coming up? Wherever you are on your journey, set aside any judgment and reflect. As I have been sifting through my writing these past couple weeks, it has forced me to reflect upon some of the changes and growth I have made and some of the reoccurring shit that keeps coming my way. One big thing for me is my eating disorder and the emotions, actions and thoughts that come with it. I know I have been healing and doing various food restrictions because of my gut stuff (more on my MRT journey soon), but that has been a huge challenge for me because I fight the reality that I am truly FREE. I have had to go through many moments of actually eating or drinking things that don’t make me always feel well or that are not in my best interest to realize I have the freedom of choice. And that is awesome. However, I get on a roll and feel well and then somehow it unravels a bit and I make a choice that doesn’t make me feel good. It is as though it is just a bit more comfortable to suffer than to change.

So I pause and I reflect. As I do, it becomes a bit clearer why I keep revisiting the same thing: a part of me is SO ready for change, and then another part of me is f’ing scared. I'm scared to stay the same, but I'm also scared to thrive and put myself outside of my comfort zone. Suffering in some capacity has been a part of me for nearly all of my life. As you will continue to learn as I reflect more in my blog, I think a part of me truly feels like I am defective, different than the rest. I had yeast infections when I was two, cried to my first-grade teacher to call my mom to come and get me because of my *girlie* stuff. And then there was the explosion of my woman self in sixth grade with just a couple other girls looking similar (the rest of the girls didn't look anything like me). Two years later, I was diagnosed with psoriasis and at the same time my internal will to control my food to impact my body was strong. I had a goal of eating 10 grams of fat per day to put it in perspective. The outcome was I lost 20+ pounds (I went from 136 lbs. to 114 lbs.). I began to be noticed, and I received a lot of comments, some in the form of praise and some simply comments. This gave me more attention for whatever it meant to me at that time. This was the beginning of my disordered eating. And of course it was at a time that almost all of us during the middle-school years suffer. Some of my journal entries read, “I am a fat ugly blob.” Etc. etc. I know I am not alone in my struggles in middle school, but during that time I felt like I was on an island.

Then, moving onto my high school experience where discipline, high school sports and the friendships that came with it got me through and created a lot of joy in my life. However, I still suffered with my *girlie* stuff and always tried a little harder to eat right, say the right thing, do the right thing, get the right grades and have the perfect clothes. But I continued to fall short of being perfect. I always lost when I compared myself to others and in fact I always do now. In my recent wisdom I think I finally get that comparison dooms you to suffer and never feel good enough. And then there is the “why do I want to be like that other person anyway?” When we strive to be someone other than the true essence of ourselves, again, we set ourselves up to suffer. We can delve into that more later.

To move forward in my reflection, I recall a significant moment in my life that impacted the trajectory of my life. I talked to my high school volleyball coach regarding where I planned to go to college. For the first time, I think I could hear my inner guide. Instead of going to a state school where volleyball was not accessible at my level, all of my being knew I needed volleyball. This is a story in itself because it took me a couple months to truly feel this pull. But, once I could feel it, I knew I couldn't survive without volleyball. One day my dad handed me a free application and encouraged me to apply to The College of St. Benedict. I figured why not. With the support of my amazing parents, I was accepted to St. Ben's. I ended up playing volleyball there for three years and coaching for the fourth. It wasn't as though I hid behind the sport, rather it was a place I found my confidence. It was the place that I didn't have time to think too much, that I could show all of my perseverance, will and drive. It was a place to make effortless connections and friendships. If I ran faster, squatted deeper and dove farther to dig the ball, someone might just see that spark, that something, that light that says “I am enough.” In fact, I am more than enough. I am needed on this team to make the team complete and whole. 

Fast forward to now and use that analogy for my life and my challenge for change. Holy shit, as I write this I realize that I am the team and my light and spark is needed to make me whole! Without me actually knowing my truth and light, I am dim, scared, self-destructive, heady and sad. If I wait around for my loved ones to tell me loud enough that “I got this,” I will never really thrive. Why? Because I am looking for reassurance externally and not from my true self. Yes, their encouragement has kept me afloat and off my face, especially the last couple years. However, for constant lasting change I must realize I have everything I need right now and within to thrive. Will I fail? Yes, sometimes. Will I cry? Yes! Will I have doubts? Yes! Will it be hard? Yes! Will I be perfect? Hell no! But, if my choices are congruent with the true me, I might just thrive and do great things. I might just inspire the next person to pause and start listening to their inner teacher … because we all have it. And I know we all have ways that we forget to be us, and to make choices that aren't in our best interest. But we also have the inner will and shakti (power) to make choices that make us feel good and keep us on our path.

Let me be very clear that I am NOT saying when you make choices that aren't in your best interest you are weak or don't have will. Please know we are human and are supposed to have moments like this. But, what is important is to notice and let these harder moments be our teachers. Notice how you feel in life without judgment. Do everything you can to not judge yourself; be kind to yourself in action and thought. I know it too well from my own experience and even today I have had to tell myself to stop about 25 times. So, if you catch yourself judging or saying not nice things to yourself, try to say something nice to yourself, be grateful for something, daydream about the beach or simply count your breath. Do anything to stop your harsh internal words. Trust me. And then pause, and move forward. By moving forward I mean listen and breathe. And listen again to truly feel. Feel what is going on in your heart and body. I'm not saying it will be easy or pain free. But, I am saying it will help motivate you to make a different choice of thought next time, a different choice of action next time, and a perhaps a different outcome of heart. It might motivate you to quiet your mind for five minutes or play a game with your kids or even pause and smile at yourself in the mirror and say out loud, "I am beautiful; I am enough!"

So as I digest my shit a little more I feel a little more surrender and release. Let me also add that from my original draft to my editing (three hours later), I just ate another chocolate bar. Darn chocolate. This is not in my best interest right now because of how it makes me feel in this moment of my life. But, I will carry on! I still feel a little more hope and a hell of a lot more determination in my heart to keep going and show up! All of my being wants to do everything I can to be ME, do what my heart leads me to do: live with compassion and faith.

My hope is that I can teach this to my kids and a bonus would be to touch a few of you to encourage you to stop, pause, listen and feel. BE YOU! Today. Don't wait. This is your journey. Not changing is too painful and sometimes you don't need to change because you are in your element and thriving! If that is the case, keep shining! Smile and know your light is contagious. The brighter we all are the better the world is. Let us pause and give thanks to our greatness. Let's hold each other up in good times and bad and do this thing called life.

I challenge you to listen, love and choose your light. Gratitude for reading and being you! Shine on!

Love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

 

Hello – Breaking the Rules in 2016!

Happy New Year and Happy February! You made it through the holidays, the New Year's Celebration and what can sometimes feel like a long month. I hope you are enjoying the new year with more routine than the holidays provide and maybe even a confidence of knowing that you are amazing right now! As I think of the first month of 2016 instead of think about my resolution (that I didn't set) I am trying to focus on the real gem: gratitude for my blessings and life right NOW!

Today is my first official Blog Post! You could say it is a New Year's gift to me. I am almost four years into writing blog posts; however, I have been saving them in my folder labeled "Blog." The more that I write, the more I began to realize how much sharing my story makes me feel like I am living congruently with my purpose. It feels right. My good days and good moments are often around the days I feel like moving my dream of blogging and having a website is closer to a reality. I feel like I stand a bit taller with a little extra bounce in my step when I write and share my perspective and journey. I feel giddy. Even as I type this, as I prepare to be live sooner than later, I feel like a child that just met a new friend or started a new sport or opened a new gift.

This writing thing is really happening. What else is happening? My best attempt to let go of perfectionism. As I realize I am not perfect and may never have it all together, I am finding a little bit more joy in my days and moments and I will take that. For example, this year I planned to have all of my Christmas to-dos done by Dec. 1 and I was doing things up to the last minute. However, I decided that if I cannot enjoy the process of life and I wait around to do it perfectly or be it perfectly, then I will do a lot of waiting. And that does not sound like living or any fun at all. The result was one of the best holidays I have had in years. I think the gratitude and enjoying the moments, despite not having it all together, helped tremendously.

What do I write about on my first post? I simply want to share my excitement for being here and my vision for this blog and website. First, the name of this blog is near and dear to my heart because of what I have experienced with my eating disorder and healing journey. In my own experiences through life, specifically through my battle of healing an eating disorder, gut healing and other health issues such as psoriasis, I have learned so much about myself and want to share my experiences (read more here). The current wellness world we live in right now is filled with an abundance of information on what to eat, what not to eat, when to work out, drink water, what supplements to take, etc. For someone that has gone through various diet protocols, supplements (yes, that is where our money went honey) and therapies/support, it is clear to me that there is an overwhelming amount of information and testing out there for a persons' health and vitality. This can be super helpful and healing to many. However, it can be confusing, paralyzing and difficult for many. For example, let me ask you this question: have you ever been at a restaurant where there are 150 choices for your dinner entree? What happens to your brain? My brain quickly shuts down and I typically am tempted to walk out and go home and make noodles or have ‘cereal.’ I am over stimulated by choice and have a hard time listening to what might taste good and what might be good for me on that particular day. I use this analogy to the wellness world because it can be overwhelming. Through the course of my experiences I am coming to find that the best thing I can do is to tap into my inner teacher and voice.

That is very yogi of me to say and I may have lost some of you.  Stick with me. What I am saying is that YOU are in charge. YOU know what is best for YOU. You know if eating carbs makes you energized or groggy or if water with your dinner works okay with your digestion. You know how you feel when you workout too hard or not enough. You know what a shit night of sleep does for you, your mood, appetite and focus. You know what foods might bother you, make you feel energized and satisfied. You know if you can tolerate caffeine or not. Or perhaps you are like me and have ignored the internal shaking that happens when you drink caffeine. I recently weaned myself from caffeinated espresso and am down to one shot. I did this because I was sleeping horribly and my intuition led me to know that I had to stop for a bit if I truly wanted to sleep again. And yes, getting it down to one shot of espresso is a huge win for me. Note: I have gone on and off too much caffeine since I drafted this a few different times. I have yet to have a full caffeine-free day (yup, still working on this). However, the point is this, I will keep listening and allow myself to create healthy choices that feel like they support me right now.

My desire for this blog: I want you to come to my blog to begin to ask yourself little questions that help you to LISTEN to that voice inside, your inner wisdom. I want you to break the wellness rules that don’t work for you and make your own. I want to inspire you to pause and make small and big choices that are in your BEST interest. It reminds me of the marriage retreat my husband and I went to where they told us over again that the success of our marriage was dependent on taking care of ourselves FIRST and ALWAYS. If you think about it, that is pretty sound advice no matter what you are talking about: marriage, parenting, friendship, business, health, holidays, etc. It might sound selfish, but if you do not nourish YOU, then you will find yourself suffering is one capacity or another. You might be angry, or numbing or sad or confused or simply not even present. It is hard sometimes and of course some days you get more or less, but starting to know what your minimum threshold for you time is important. Even more important, once you know what you need, the biggest step is ASKING for it!

I know this is hard for me to admit, but the more that I listen AND take action the more that I find peace in my heart and am able to truly give to those in my life without resentment. This is genuine giving, living, friendships and peace in my heart.

I plan to share more of my story in the days to come. I have had tough recent years with my internal struggles and am ready to share them along with some of my daily inspirations on how to get through the winter, be creative in the kitchen, get your rear moving, and mindfulness. :) I could type, talk and write about this stuff all day long. And If I wait until I am perfect, well, you will have nothing to read at all. So onward I go. I will live my words and keep asking myself what I need on each given day and I promise you I will keep showing up.

Please take a moment today to ask yourself if you are making choices that take care of you first? Do you have something for you planned today or tomorrow? Do you feel content or angry? Do you feel resentful or at peace? Please know that there is not a perfect formula. Rather, each day we make choices and some days we do the best that we can to squeeze in time for us because it can be hard with real life. Remember it all adds up and you are worth it! And remember if you don’t like a rule, go ahead and break it. I have my own recent stories of breaking my rules and it feels so good (more on that soon)!

Thank you for reading and being you!

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin