The Gift of Feeling Emotions

Emotions. Sadness. Feelings.

Lately I have been experiencing very intense emotions. I would say it’s been going on for the past…well, I guess since October 1st. What has happened in my life recently that could cause this? Well, the answer is, many things. I came back to Portugal after a three week visit with family in Idaho, a weeklong orientation at the university where I’m getting my Master’s in Ayurveda and Integrated Medicine, and then a four day tourist trip to Washington DC. It’s always a bit tough to settle back into my life, thousands of miles away from family, with images of smiles, happiness, and good times lingering in my head. In my mind my mom, stepdad, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew are always together doing holiday things, celebrating birthdays, holidays, enjoying football games together and everyone’s always smiling and enjoying themselves…in reality, I know this isn’t true. Their lives involve work and obligations, ups and downs, and arguments just like everyone else’s. Remembering this opens up space for me to enjoy what I have here in Portugal. I call it my castle by the sea.

I love my home. It’s my first creation that lives and breathes my essence. I have created it over the span of almost two years and everything in it is a piece of me. It was getting a bit cluttered so just yesterday I decided to kick the TV to the curb, (I literally left if on the curb by that dumpsters.) Now my trash is someone else’s treasure, because it’s gone. I also put the stand it was on out there. Minimizing the furniture in my living room as opened up space for what’s important to me. I rearranged and now my living room is more like a yoga/cozy conversation room with the futon and cushy chair facing each other and towards the balcony with the view of the ocean. I also combed through and thinned-out much of my old paperwork that had built-up throughout my years here. Over the past few months I’ve been eliminating clothes that I don’t wear much or that don’t feel good when I do wear them in order to ensure that I am always intentionally making myself feel good when I get dressed in the morning. Now when I look around, I like much more what I see, or what I don’t see, really. I’m back down to a manageable quantity of “things”. I know what I have and it’s not creeping into my space slowly kicking me out. It’s as if there was a war and the enemy was creeping in, taking over, and finally we (me, myself, and I) made our final push and the enemy slowly but surely retreated and we got our land back. It’s physically and mentally cleansing.

So, back to these emotions. Ok, so I came home (to Portugal) after being home (in Idaho). Then I ran a half marathon in the Cascais Ironman. I had told a friend of mine that I would be her runner months ago, so I had a commitment and I couldn’t back down. I trained, yes, a little. I could have/should have trained better, but it was what it was. I was traveling and I did the best I could, although I could have trained better before I left for the States. Anyways, after not training very well, I kicked ass! I couldn’t believe myself. I completed this half faster that I have ever run a half marathon! Not only that but our entire team did better than what they predicted. Gabby swam faster than she expected, and Wiley rode better than ever. I think it has to do with the energy of race day and everyone around us but also being part of a team. I wanted to run faster so that our team got a better time. It wasn’t over competitive, but it was definitely a thought in my mind, and it kept me going, just a little faster. It was amazing! So, there was the high of that race. It felt so good that within the next few days I had already signed myself up for two more races this year…one being a marathon! OMG! What was I thinking?! I know what I was thinking, ‘yes, I want to run (or do) a marathon again and this course is lovely!’ The course is along the ocean, from Cascais to Lisbon. I’ve done marathons before. Two. The first was on my own and the second was with my sister. So, I know I can do it. My only concern was, I had 3 weeks to train from 13 miles to 26 miles! That’s a huge gap! Ok, so I told myself, “Kels, you can also walk. There are people who sign up for marathons to walk the whole thing. It’s ok.” This concept brings me back to the Vipassana course I did in July just north of Barcelona. My biggest message from this course was breaking out of the rigid “perfectionist” torture device, listening to myself and my needs and making space for those needs to be met with love and intention. Instead of going through life as a robot trying to do everything perfectly and only seeing shortcomings is not a self-loving way of living. So, I am learning how to see myself from outside of me, smile, love, nurture and give what this being inside of me needs. That is my new “perfect”. Perfect already is. It’s identifying our own fragility, our own humanness, our sway between the energizer bunny and melting candle wax and letting ourselves be in that space fully, lovingly, with full recognition of self. So, the marathon in in 5 days. I’ve ran/walked 23+ miles, albeit with a super sore knee towards the end, but I know I can do it. I will finish before the cutoff time and that’s all that matters to me this time around. That and enjoying the 26.2 miles of the Atlantic Ocean meeting the Tagus River and finishing up in the gorgeous towering arches and historic buildings in the sparkling city of Lisbon. I am blessed to live here.

So, there was the high from the Ironman which was September 29th. My 36th birthday, mind you, was the 28th. Races always seem to fall around my birthday. It’s a good way to celebrate another year older. Ok, so now, I’m back in Portugal, ran a half marathon, turned 36 and am just about to start an at-home panchakarma treatment. This is an ancient Indian full body detox/cleansing. It involves internal and external oleation, a monodiet, sweating, purgation, and rejuvenation. It’s very intense, not your typical cleanse. Due to the oleation phase it really brings toxins from the deep tissue layers to your digestive tract and then expels them through urine and feces, also toxins are released through sweat. These toxins are buried deep and with them come past emotions that have been buried with them. I’m telling you; I have been experiencing emotions so strong that I haven’t felt since I was a child. I’m talking maybe 7, 8, 9 years old. My mom remarried when I was 10 and it was around that time that I learned that my emotions were an inconvenience and it’s better to stuff them down. Then, the way I made myself feel better was to eat. Well, this quickly turned into an eating disorder which I suffered from for the next 20+ years. It was a terrible struggle. The hiding, guilt, shame, lies, isolation, wishing to be normal and the vicious cycle repeating over and over. Feeling out of control because my mind was saying one thing and my heart something else, they never agreed or got along. The mind would be on board with my heart for a moment and then the devil would come out when no one was around and convince me that food was the only way to “treat” myself so better eat as much as possible now, while no one’s looking. Oooh, it’s an awful game. But now, it’s beautiful. The universe is offering me these gifts of intense, “childlike” (and I say that because I haven’t felt such strong emotions since my childhood) emotions; watching, knowingly as I conquer each bout of audible sobbing, crying, tears streaming, gasping for air, totally present fully aware of myself and my feelings. It is so strengthening, so encouraging, and so relieving to be with myself through this pain. It seems strange to say it, but it really hurts so good. It feels good to feel this pain because I know I am strong enough to take it now. I can withstand it and I will survive it. And without such intense pain and sadness, the joy and laughter wouldn’t be as grand. Yes, this is my time to grow, grow into myself, put on my own skin again and feel how good it feels. I feel that this at-home panchakarma treatment is at the epitome of this current journey and I am so grateful for Ayurveda in my life. I am the proudest little master’s student that I know because soon I get to share with the world this wonderful system that has helped so many others when allopathic doctors have thrown in the towel. Not only that but it is all encompassing, working with the body, mind, emotions, and consciousness. It is my life’s work and I am thrilled to have a channel through which I can share my experiential knowledge and wisdom and help others at the same time. This is my gift. This is why I’m here. (I’m about to cry.)

Then, to boot, my period comes at the tail end of this Panchakarma. So, not only am I cleansing and detoxing physically and emotionally from the Panchakarma, but I suppose I’m extra sensitive from the Pre/Para Menstrual hormones. Which I’m totally ok with, by the way, because, due to the aforementioned eating disorder, I had lost my period for +/- 12 years. Thanks to Ayurveda, I got it back last December and have gotten it every month since! Almost like clockwork. (I can’t lie, one month got skipped but then I got it twice the next month. Silly little universe playing games with me. 😉 So, so proud of my body and it’s inner intelligence. Ok, so now comes these undulating waves of grief and loss over the passing of my best friend, my soulmate, my time capsule, my baby, Joker. I had put him down in July, after the Vipassana course but it didn’t really hit me till about 3 months later that he is gone now. Forever. I knew it would have a late onset because I have left him for months on end before while I went and traveled. One day, I walked outside with my lunch, pulled out the chair to sit on my balcony, stare out at the ocean and enjoy my lunch like I do so often, and I just burst into tears. Where’s Joker? He always is at my heals, he lays down by the table and keeps me company while I eat my lunch. But he’s not there. He’ll never be there anymore. He’s only in my heart and in my mind. For this I am ever grateful. I so lucky to have had him in my life for the 11+ years we had each other. We really were best friends. Neither of us had to say a word and we knew what the other was thinking. I miss him so much. I have to grab a pillow sometimes and squeeze it just to feel something up against my heart, the way I used to cuddle with him. I was big spoon and he was little spoon. I always love getting down on the floor with him, wrestling/acroyoga-ing. I’m telling you; he was down for whatever! From Tucson, to Idaho, to Alaska, to Portugal; from 23 years old doing drugs and struggling with an eating disorder to 35, a yoga teacher, runner, and Ayurvedic practitioner and everything in between. He knew all of me, all my sides, more than anyone in the entire world. I will always love him. Joker will always be in my heart.

So, then, let’s speed this up a bit. I am approached with an opportunity to teach yoga and hold Ayurvedic workshops at a studio in Lisbon! Super stoked about that because while I was in the States, I specifically told myself that I was going to go to yoga studio after yoga studio until I found one where I could give regular classes. Then, it came to me?! Thank you universe. I hear you. So, I bought a scooter (a Vespa to be more precise) to get me to and from yoga and Ayurvedic consults more easily. No, I am not yet teaching or giving consults yet, but I am living into this vision, this path. The universe is guiding me and I’m just taking the appropriate next step. But, after the scooter and rent, I’m pretty much broke. Not to mention, I let go of a job that I was totally unaligned with, thinking I had to keep it or I’d be broke. I let it go with a conversation with my boss/friend (Wiley, Ironman friend’s boyfriend) about following my passion, “trimming the fat” and cutting out tasks that are time consuming and aren’t compatible with my goals, including this job. Not even a week after I let go of that job did the most perfect job open up for me. I am now working in the field of Ayurveda, providing assistance to the students in the bachelor’s program at the university I am attending. Perfect, right! This is my calling. I’m telling you. Providing help to these students is basically training for consultations, and I’m getting a good wage for it!

So, as you can see, there have been a lot of ups and downs, twists and turns. Then, this guy I’ve been seeing lets me know that he will be staying in Sweden for the Winter. We’ve only been seeing each other since June or so but still, it was really special. He always said his life is very unpredictable and he doesn’t know where he might be in the next moment, and so it became. My fantasies of carving pumpkins, sipping chai tea on cold (-ish, come on, we’re in Portugal here) winter nights lit by the sparkle of Christmas lights, and spending Christmas eve and day together, just the two of us, wherever we ended up…vanished, in an instant. That was the morning I had already decided to rearrange my living room and then the purging of paperwork and other things followed. It was actually a perfect marriage of these two circumstances. I got the news, I looked at the TV and all the things I had already moved off the stand and thought, “Do I really want to do this right now?” and quickly I found the answer was, “Yes.” So, I continued to move, clean, cry, break down, spill tears, find new homes for plants, a new use for the stools (plant holders), through the tears and release of emotions came creativity and strength. When it was all said and done, I was feeling a bit fragile again, and I thought, I think I’ll do some yoga. It was a very random thought. I laid out my mat, almost rolled it back up but decided to just go for it. As soon as my outstretched arms and palms came together above my head, I knew this was exactly what I needed. There is so much strength and power in just that action. To come together, go within, let my body express it’s beauty, strength, and intelligence without limits, without instructions, just letting go and letting it flow. This was my coming back to myself. There was a moment on this day that I held onto this Buddha statue I have, I hugged it and cried saying, “I just want to hold on to Something.” It was in this moment that it came to me. I can’t hold on to Joker, I can’t hold on to a person. I can’t hold on to anything forever. It feels so good to have what we have in the moment, so it’s important to experience it fully when it’s there. It’s important to stay present in our lives and in our relationships so that we can submerge ourselves into this puddle of colors running from the cloth that they are cut from. This way our relationships become a part of us. They dye our skin, our clothes and enrich our lives. We can only experience so much as a solo being in this world, but when we take time to stop and tune into the person or people that we are with, we get to live their experiences for a moment, and these then become our own. This is love. This is understanding. And this, is what it’s all about. Afterall, I am the only person I will have for the rest of my life. I can only hold on to, nurture, care for, and respect myself and expect something in return. For we are always rewarded when we treat our self well. No one is responsible for me. I am. I choose to see the light in the dark. I know that to everything there must be a balance. You can’t have dark without light, up without down, the in breath without the outbreath. Opposites are life. Sun and Moon. Day and Night. Drought and Flood. Birth and Death…the list goes on. I am here to live it fully and deeply. I am so grateful for emotions and so privileged to feel them.

 

 

Your Spirit Speaking

Hello Dear One. I am here. Can you see me? I am in your heart. In your chest. Come visit me. Dive deep, through your skin, beyond your rib cage, through your heart, deeper still, into the pit of your soul. I am you. I am here. I am your instinct. Your gut feeling. Your divine wisdom. Ever present. All knowing. I am here. I am you. Why do you run? Why do you turn away from me? Neglect me? You know I will never leave you. We are in this together. Do you see, the further you get from me the more pain comes, filling that space, the separateness. You turn your back to me, to yourself, to your true essential nature, as if you believe that you aren’t worthy, aren’t good enough, and you look out there for the answer, for the identity you wish to be, thinking that that is the answer. Out there somewhere. While all along, I am here. You are here, deep inside, waiting to be recognized, by you. Only you can see me. Only you can free me. You can give me voice and life. You can lift me up by shining a light toward me, toward yourself. You are worthy. I am worthy. Please see me. Please let me live through you. By quieting me I am stifled, suffocating in your heart. And no matter how far you go to find the answer I will always be here, I am the answer. Please see this. Please come back. Let’s hold each other, join hands, and go out into the world as one. In strength and in love.

Practice Self-Love

Isn’t it interesting how when we start to criticize ourselves, we start projecting our own self-love into the future? “When I have self-control, I will love myself better.” “When I lose weight, I can then love myself and take myself to the beach.” “When I feel better, I will go on a walk.” It’s like this future condition. Like we aren’t worthy for our love as we are, only as we want ourselves to be. Conditional love. I urge you, when these voices pop into your mind, watch them, then try to counter them with, “I love you as you are now.” “You are worthy and deserving of a walk just as you are.” “You are beautiful and lovable just as you are, right now.” “I love me right here, right now, as I am.” Notice how that brings a sense of peace and an openness to live your life in abundance in this present moment. You don’t have to wait for the future to love yourself. In fact, who knows how much future we really have, right? We could get hit by a car or something else could take our life in the blink of an eye and we will have said, “Oops, I was waiting for perfection before I loved myself and now, I don’t have that opportunity.” Instead, take this opportunity right now to look at yourself through the eyes of a best friend. Extend your arms out in front of you, cross them and wrap them around your torso, giving yourself a big hug. Feel your arms around your body, squeezing with love and affection. Be your own best friend, full of love and compassion. It all starts with you, right here, right now. You are worthy of your love. When you see that, you will soften and your actions toward yourself will be more loving. Then that future condition will evaporate as you begin to experience what you thought was a destination to get to out there happening in this very moment. I love you.

Recommended Song: Love Letters to God by Nahko and Medicine for the People

Finding Peace Under the Chaos of the Mind

Time to get some thoughts down on “paper”.

I have been wanting to write for quite some time now but the thought of “writing a blog post” has been paralyzing me. I come up with an idea in my head, roll it around and watch as it rolls to the back of my mind, deeming itself silly and not good enough for a post. Why do we do this? Why do we undermine ourselves? Our thoughts. The voices chime in: “Everyone is writing about that topic,” “That’s not original,” “There’s not enough to talk about there” etc. Done! Enough! Here I go…Today’s topic is: ALLOWING…or is it?

Allowing yourself to be just as you are. Saying, “That’s OK.” to yourself. Ever hear a friend talk about him/herself to you. Giving their self a hard time for eating too much, gaining weight, looking fat/ugly etc? And what is your response? Something along the lines of “I love you. No matter what. I will always love you.” We encourage them to say nicer things to themselves. We have compassion and unconditional love. But then, the next thing we know, we are condemning for the same things. The track gets stuck repeating the same old demeaning mind chatter, “You shouldn’t have eaten that. You should eat this. You should have done some exercise. You should meditate. You should take the dog on a real walk. A longer walk. You shouldn’t have said that. You should have said this. You should work harder. You should be a better parent, child, sibling, friend, etc. You shouldn’t work so much. You should make more time for your family. Blah blah blah.” What is this mind’s determination to punish, to condemn, leaving us feeling belittled and not enough? I don’t know about you but when insults and criticism come from outside, from another person, and then, in almost the same breath they try to tell me what to do, the first thing I want to do is say “Fuck you!” and do the exact opposite.

Oh, strange, that’s what we do to ourselves. We have the same reaction to our mind chatter. We take those insults and rebel against them. They hurt so we do the next best thing to make ourselves feel better in the immediate future. Be it eating, smoking, popping pills, drinking, drugs of any sort. These are all quick fixes to the current feeling of insufficiency, not enough-ness. They are also external. Outside of our self. The unrest resides inside of us and when we seek external solutions we get further and further away from our true self, our essence, the you the is there when you look back at every single phase of your life and recognize that constant being. He/she will still be there to greet you when the external “fix” wares off, runs out, or you get too depleted to continue doing it. We sober up and find our self in a downward spiral once again. The shame and guilt creep in like a black cloud, the voices are meaner, angrier and louder this time. You glare at them with contempt, fists clenched as you rush to the battlefield again for relief with more of the same vice, all the while hearing that faint melody playing in the background, softly reminding you, “This isn’t the way.” but feeling helpless in choosing to look at what really heals. Choosing to look within, acknowledge the fragile, hurting self that feels ugly and unlovable but all it wants is to be recognized and cared for. By You. Beautiful You.

Chitta – mind chatter. What an appropriate word. Sometimes the “chatter” seems a bit more like shouting ridicule. What is this mind’s tendency to self-sabotage? In fact, maybe it’s an opportunity to look at this a little differently. When our Chitta is ramping up, getting louder and louder, more and more harsh, sometimes bringing us into a state of paralysis where we are afraid to get out of bed because we know we’ll ‘do it wrong’ whatever ‘it’ is, what has become muted in the meantime? If our mind is overpowering, what is it overpowering? What is taking the backseat? What has been beaten down to a pulp, left to feel worthless, and tossed aside as if it doesn’t matter? That’s right. Our heart. Our soul. Our true self. Our heart has left the building…almost. Thankfully we can’t live without our heart, we are our true essence, and we can never completely “leave the building,” except for in extreme cases when Chitta gets the best of us and we intentionally call it quits. This sucks. It’s a scary place. Sometimes it seems so near, like a good way out. Just to throw in the towel and be finished. But if you’re reading this, and you’ve been that close then you’ve also experienced the comeback, ready to jump back on the horse, fight again for this life that we fought for when we won the fertilization race as little spermatozoa. There is a beautiful Being inside of you and was brought into this world to share its unique light. No, you are not supposed to be like anyone else. You are your own spark, flavor, color, texture that when added to this piece of art we call life makes it ignite. You bring the piece of the puzzle that only you hold and without your unique contribution the rest of this crazy masterpiece is lacking.

We are fighters. All of us. We fought to experience this miracle we call life and now it’s time to tap into that fire, that unrestrained confidence and determination which doesn’t think twice about who’s saying or thinking what about us. The focus moves from the outer world to the inner world. There are no external standards to meet, only what you know to be true deep inside your gut, at your core. When you go here you are unstoppable. Need I remind you; you won the race however many years ago. Do you notice that when you are trying something for the first time, with nothing to compare yourself against, you typically knock it out of the park? Something they call “beginner’s luck”. Why is this? Because you have no image to lose. No one will think you’ve gotten better or worse, wonder what’s wrong with you today, what’s changed, what’s working, what’s not working, she’s not focused, she’s so focused…again, blah blah blah. Are they even wondering these things anyway? These are our own thoughts that we put on other people, thinking it’s coming from outside, but really, we’re projecting our insecurities onto others. Has anyone ever really said the thoughts that you think they’re thinking to you? Probably not. Ok, maybe once, at some point in your life someone said something along those lines to you, but more likely you’ve heard people saying these things about other people and then you internalized it, personalized it, assuming people say the same thing about you. How insane and what a waste of energy! Like it even matters! This just fills up our head with distraction, self-doubt and limiting beliefs. Coming back to that beginner’s luck phenomenon, this is a time when we are closer to our true self, our childlike nature. This space of nonjudgement, of adventure, playfulness, and forgiveness. A gentle laugh says, “Go ahead, give it a try, you never know what might happen. And whatever happens is perfectly ok. Totally allowed. You may be a natural at this and it might not be your cup of tea, but either way, it’s no big deal.” What a gift to give yourself. Freedom to be you. To explore how you are today, in this moment, with no history of this event to give you any expectation for the future outcome.

What if we gave ourselves this opportunity more often? The opportunity for a clean slate. The chance to live this moment free from attachments to the past. Cut the strings that are reaching back to the previous days’, months’, or years’ experience, keeping us back, holding us down and not letting us fly like we can when we live in this present moment in the newness that it is with its limitless possibilities. You have never had a moment like this before. Even if you are going in to work through the same door you always do, at the same time you always do, to carry-out tasks that you know so well you could do them with your eyes closed, still, you have an opportunity today to do all of this as if it’s the first time, because, today, it is the first time. Every breath you take today will be brand new as it is inhaled, and then, never to come again as it is exhaled. What a gift. To Allow the present moment infinite options to present itself to you right here, right now. To be able to perceive this moment and all its details with a new mind, a clean mind, open to experience all the little nuances that only exist exactly as they are right now. Knowing that this moment, too, shall pass is an open invitation to love it. To love yourself enough to soak in the wonders this universe is offering you and flooding your senses with. The sounds, the smells, the sights, the tactile sensations. Feel your heartbeat, feel as your chest rises and falls with each precious breath and give thanks. Thank yourself for finding a moment in time to stop the track, reel it in, and come back to the present moment, where you are, where you have always been and where you will always be. You will always be able to find yourself here. To reconnect. You can never escape yourself and instead of trying, instead of resisting, next time, maybe you’ll remember a little bit about this experience, this article. Perhaps you’ll stop and Allow the moment to be as it is. You’ll take a moment to experience the life-giving breath inside of you, to enjoy this life, which has been lovingly given to you as a gift. Right here. Right now.

An excellent song to check-out: You Can’t Rush Your Healing by Trevor Hall

Straying off the Path

Have you ever ventured from your routine just to see what it’s like on the other side? Have you thought, “Why is it that I do what I do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis?” So-and-so doesn’t go to the gym every morning so maybe I don’t need to either” or “they eat/drink this way so maybe I will too”, “he or she goes to bed late and sleeps-in in the morning so maybe I’ll try that on as well”? I think we all do this to some extent. It’s testing our boundaries, our surroundings. Finding some flex room and seeing where and how we fit in with those around us. Sometimes taking on a new habit can actually be beneficial. We might find something that works for us. In fact, I just went through a whole rollercoaster of shifts and NONE of them worked for me, but I’ll tell you what, I did learn something hugely valuable, the ability to be flexible and allowing with myself. I am bendable and pliable, I will not break. Let me tell you a little story…

During my most recent trip to the States I was blessed to get to stay with my sister, her fiance and their brand new (as in, born when I was there) baby boy. During my stay I witnessed a lifestyle completely different then what I am used to. They would stay up til midnight or later, watching TV on the couch in the living room and then mosey to their bedroom not to re emerge until about 11am the next day. Now, this is something so completely different than the way we grew up. We were early risers. I always knew my sister to be up and ready at least by 8. I’m a bit more extreme, I like the sunrise so my “lifting” time changes a bit with the seasons but it’s typically just before daybreak. So, as I lasted days longer in this environment I still actually kept my routine. I was kind of on vacation so I allowed myself to join a yoga studio to practice yoga 30 days for $30. This was a blessing! I learned all different kinds of yoga plus, it got me moving in the right mental, spiritual and physical direction first thing in the mornings. Sometimes I started at 6am other days it was 8 or 9 but almost always in the morning, although, I have been practicing being flexible with myself so sometimes I’d go for an afternoon or evening class as well. Sometimes even two classes in one day! I digress. As I was living out my life in the life and domicile of my sister and her beautiful new little family I started to hypothesize and draw some conclusions. “Hmmm, maybe if they do it this way, this is what works, and I should do it this way.” There’s that “should” voice. That stinker sneaks in so slyly. They eat breakfast at 11 or noon, lunch at 3 or 4 and dinner around 8…their lifestyle seems nice so if it works for them it can work for me. Nothing’s “wrong” with staying up late and waking up early. There’s the justification. Ok, if they’re not “wrong” doing this, then I wouldn’t be “wrong” either. A way to get permission from outside of myself to act in a way against what I have decided at some point is “the right way”. Hmm, in the future I will question myself when I want to act in a way that goes against what I think is right and reevaluate if that thinking serves me or if it’s just a way to set up unnecessary walls to restrict myself. Often times we push against our own walls and want to break through but if we ask ourselves why those walls or boundaries or limits are there perhaps we’ll hold to them more strongly and with pride and confidence and then other times maybe we’ll create a little doorway in the wall to make it pass through-able. This allows for less rigidity, more fluidity, self-reflection, and tenderness.

Ok, so skipping ahead. I arrive back to Portugal. After two months in the States, sharing time between my mom and step dad’s house and my sister and Nick’s house, I have come home to my climate, my routine, and it feels like a nest with open arms awaiting my body to snuggle-in. But oh, what’s this?! A schedule change! The restaurant I was working at before I left wants me to work evenings instead of days now. Hmm, ok. I think I can do this. “Other people live their lives in the latter half of the day.” I thought. I spoke with my sister about this, too. In fact, she’s the one that encouraged me to sleep-in. “Stay in bed. Don’t wake up to an alarm.”  Usually I don’t have to anyways, I know when I want to wake up and my body does just that. I like being in touch with myself like that. Oh, mind you, my sister is a super health fanatic. Always exercising, keeping a muscular physique to the point where people have asked her to be their trainer. So, she’s no dummy when it comes to health and probably a good person to model after. Although, pregnant sister has a few different habits and routines than pre pregnant sister. Different priorities let’s say. Ok, back in Portugal. So, I take the night shift. Working 4pm to midnight cooking. I ride my bike to work and ride it home, just about 10 minutes each way. No problem. Lisbon is pretty much always dry at least at some point within an hour. The winter months are wetter but I can deal with it. Just bring a raincoat and boots. I was enjoying learning how to sleep in. Closing my shades, blacking out my room and allowing myself to be in darkness until I was ready to rise. Lifting my shades, doing my own little morning routine late into the morning. Up at maybe 8 maybe 9am some days. Tongue scrape, oil pull, yoga, self massage…my little routine. Maybe a run at noon or 1pm which is crazy for me! I either run in the morning or not at all, usually. So this was an interesting experience for me. I kinda liked giving myself this option. It felt like I was exploring another part of the day, like another dimension. As time went on I started feeling some heaviness, there was definitely some negativity stirring-up from this lifestyle change. I wasn’t living in alignment with what I know to be right and good for me. This constant living to someone else’s standards and justifying it because “if they can do it, why can’t I” was creating a battlefield in my aura. My eating patterns were all off, my health started to decline mentally, physically and emotionally. My mind was dirty and I couldn’t wash it clean no matter how much I told it that it knows better. I couldn’t reason and tool my mind out of its own hole. The more I thought the deeper the hole. “Come on Kelsey, you have the tools to get on the right track here. Use an attitude of gratitude. Journal. Yoga. Meditate. Just. Keep. Going. One foot in front of the other. Be gentle with yourself. Be patient. Don’t resist, sit with the discomfort. What you resist persists. Etc Etc Etc! But still, this heaviness lingered like a heavy blanket hovering over my body keeping me still, stagnant, paralyzed. But how to get out? During this time I wasn’t running much…or was I. I remember thinking, I don’t need to run, not everyone runs so if they don’t then I don’t have to. I knew something was off and I was desperately trying to change it within my own mind. Trying to change my thoughts, because, thoughts become things. But it seemed like no matter what I told myself I wanted to do, I didn’t follow through with myself which left me even more depressed and defeated.

Along the way, (this was only a couple months like this) a job opportunity that re presented itself. I decided to pursue it and over a couple weeks it went from a potential shift to an actual offer to start a new position. This position would allow more routine (an actual start and end time, not just, when we don’t have anymore customers we finish up), also more free time, I would have weekends off, and the same amount of money. So, score! The only thing, it’s office work. I like being around people and being active. But ok. So it took me some time to decide if I should make the leap. I hemmed and hawed. Back and forth, pro’s and con’s list (Which didn’t work for me. I think it’s because I’m a Libra and I can find equal goods and bads for each side). This unknowing was eating at me on top of already feeling torn up by this, what I now recognize as, bout of depression. So, I chose to take the leap. I have always been a leaper. Off bridges, off cliffs, from one continent to another…so here’s another one. Let’s go. Wow! Incredible the immediate physiological transformation! It was a two day process. Day one, I accepted the offer. My spirits were lifted, I was walking a little lighter, my back was a little straighter, my thoughts were forward-thinking with a positive touch to them. Even on my bike ride into work I was better able to be grateful for the job I have. I had a great day that day. The second day: I gave my notice. And that was it, I jumped off the high dive, my wings snapped out and I was flying! Energy came from pockets all around me, creativity has been flooding my mind and body, my spirit is soaring, my body doesn’t need much sleep, it literally feels like I have been launched into the next chapter of my existence. I am happy I can recognize this energy and use it appropriately. I know it’s a surge. I know not to rely on it for the long term and I am so enjoying it right now. With this shift I have opened up space to get the best of all worlds. I will still be involved in the restaurant but in a more off-scenes kind of way (event organizing, maybe some serving once in awhile because I like the social aspect), I get to further my business portfolio but opening up a marketing position and expanding my skills while learning global business, all the while maintaining my current marketing position for the family business. Change is good. I have learned that I must experience change. I need to be growing, trying new things, learning them well and then challenged again to try other new things. I don’t stay stagnant well. I am a flowing river not a bog. My waters must sparkle clean and flow with freshness and adventure. I cannot be stifled or I will wither. But who is in charge of this? I am. Every step of the way. No one can make my life the way I need it other than me. No one is responsible for what I say yes and no to. I am ultimately in control of every decision I make at every moment of the day and this is so wonderful, so powerful. To be a powerful co creator, with the universe. The universe provides if I just listen and follow my heart openly we (me and the universe) are unstoppable. I soar. My heart flies. What I see, looking back, is that, when i feel off balance, when I recognize this down shifting, it’s time to take some inventory. Oh! I almost forgot, I also went on a nice long run and really got some clarity. But, now, thinking back, I went on a couple runs when I was down in the dumps and clarity didn’t crash over me like a wave like it did yesterday, two days after I decided to take this new position. I think I am still learning lessons from this last cycle. Life comes in waves. We are always experiencing ups and downs. Some are more extreme than others. During this last one I kept telling myself, ok Kelsey, this is just the down part of the cycle, you are going to get through it and there will be the upswing, just ride it. It’s hard when you’re in it to ride the wave while you’re feeling the effects of it on your mind body and soul. That’s for sure. But there’s reassurance in knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel, this too shall pass, it just takes one foot in front of the other. We are strong. We are human. We are all we’ve got, really.

Perhaps this story has been a little fluttery, back and forth, touching on this and then that and then back to this. This is a bit like my mind right now. But I had to share, while it’s still fresh. Sometimes we hold on to something because we know there is goodness within it but we think we will lose it if we let go and move onto something else. But as we hold tightly we actually squeeze and suffocate what good is inside. If we let go, and move on, we allow what is to breathe, breathe new life into itself. Leaves unfold and it can blossom and the beauty that we knew was held inside is able to come out and be exposed so that we can enjoy it.

Perhaps I’ve been a bit to vague at the end here but I am in a bit of a rush to get to the bike shop and then to work. Hopefully this speaks to you and didn’t just lose you at the end 😉 Any questions or clarifications just let me know!

Thanks for reading me!

What?!

Crazy! Almost directly after writing my little blurb on “Finding Clarity” I received this in my inbox!

https://www.dailyom.com/cgi-bin/display/articledisplay.cgi?aid=67195#

It’s about Decision Making! Call it a coincidence…I call it the law of attraction. We get what we give, eh! So incredible how the universe makes this so clear to me in my life. Time and again I am reassured by the universe. I know I’m not alone and that I am supported by the strength of the universe which gives me so much power and tranquility.

Finding Clarity

Finding clarity in unclear situations is tricky. Sometimes we don’t even know that we are needing clarity or that we aren’t seeing clearly. Sometimes it’s quite obvious. For example, when we have a decision to make and we simply can’t get clear on which way to go. Maybe you have spoken with friends, written out a pro’s and con’s list, slept on it , etc. and you still can’t figure out what to do. What gives?! I feel ya sister. I’m there right now. There are times in my life when I am so clear. Usually these times are when I’m taking great care of my body, my mind and my soul. I am not spending excessive amounts of energy overthinking this, that and the other thing. It’s a natural tendency to dwell on a thought when we have a decision to make about it but it seems that that’s the last thing we should do. Our mind is for thinking our heart is for feeling. So, we can let the thought enter our mind and let it go. It is there. It won’t go away. We don’t have to tend to it every moment, perseverate on it and in turn causing stress over it. In fact, it’s best if we don’t. There is this tendency to hold on tightly and to dive deep into every angle of each possible outcome. Sometimes, when a decision is this difficult to make it means that both options are good. So that’s a nice place to start find space and breathing into. Ok, no stress here. It doesn’t matter so much which option I choose because they are both equally good in there different ways. Yay, I am so lucky to have options. This is a nice, refreshing angle. Next. Breathe. Breathe deeply. Smile. Absorb the luxury of having choice. Did those thoughts enter your mind again? This option or that option? That’s ok. That’s all part of the process. Simply acknowledge that your mind slipped back into perseverating over this decision and let it go again. You know each outcome will be good so whichever way you end up going is going to be ok. Let it go. Sometimes it’s the reaction of others involved that has us tied up. Let that go too. It’s not about “them”. It never is. It’s always about you. This is your life. You have the reigns. Isn’t that wonderful?! You get to guide and shape your life. How fun! You are also quite powerful. So maybe, if there are other people involved in the decision, ask them if there can be an adjustment here and/or there to make one outcome more pleasing. You never know, maybe something will open up and the decision will be as easy as pie. Maybe you don’t have to pick one or the other. Maybe there is space for both options. Most importantly remember, you are lucky to have choice. Many people don’t. This is a luxury. Take stock in that. Be grateful with what you have and that you are able to make a choice on the matter. Secondly, relax in knowing that since the decision is so difficult, the two options must be so close in their pro’s and con’s that both will work out just fine. Also, you might choose one thing now and later be able to do the other. Decisions aren’t scary. They may seem black and white, all or nothing, take it or leave it but life just isn’t that way. Usually, in life, there is gray. Many versions of gray. So make the decision, smile, grab on to it, and go for the ride knowing you will be able to make more decisions down the road to fine tune the one that’s got a grip on you now. Big love ~ Namaste

PS Most of this was self-talk to get me through my decision-making hold-up! This life keeps putting things in our path until we learn how to walk through them with ease. Then the next thing falls on the path…this is the journey. Let’s celebrate it!

Mindfulness / Meditation and Complex Trauma: The Rewards and the Risks — Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

What media hype and those selling mindfulness don’t tell you is that mindfulness is a process that can radically transform you, and it’s not always safe, nor is it easy or straightforward. We make it safer by being aware of the risks and learning to listen to our own bodies about when it is or isn’t okay for us. No one else actually knows.

via Mindfulness / Meditation and Complex Trauma: The Rewards and the Risks — Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

Clearing Out Doubt

Quick question…have you ever suspected an ulterior motive? Do you find yourself suspecting this a lot in your life? If the answer’s yes, take that and flip it. Do you hold yourself back from doing or saying things because you worry that others might think you have an ulterior motive? Hmm, good question, eh? Truth be told, I used to think that yoga teachers who would say something along the lines of, “the key is to keep a regular practice” maybe had a slight bit of an ulterior motive. Oh, ok, so you just want me to keep coming to your classes…Jeez, Kelsey. Maybe that’s true too, but really, relax. Give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s true, a regular practice is important. It doesn’t matter if it’s daily or weekly. It doesn’t have to be with the same class every time, but each time you go you find out a little something new about yourself. You dig a little deeper, carve out time to invest in what’s going on inside. Like anything that brings you back to your center, walks in nature, meditation, yoga, journaling, visualization, etc, the more you incorporate these activities into your life the more you grow-up inside. So, by the same token, as we give others the benefit of the doubt, loosen up on the reigns and trust a little more, we can turn that trust inward as well. We can trust that our words are coming from the heart and that they fall on non judgemental, loving ears. Instead of assuming that people think the worst, assume they think the best or they are neutral. Or don’t assume they are thinking anything at all. Simply speak and act from your heart, from your inner truth and you can never go wrong. We are beautiful, well-meaning beings and we can live up to our highest nature when we walk our path from our heart. So, let’s do a little pre-Spring Cleaning, break down those cobwebs of doubt and let the sun of your heart shine through.

In Peace,

Kelsey