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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

Investing in YourSelf!

Today marks a day of self-investment! I have been piggy backing off of WordPress’s free site for months, maybe even years, now, and today was the day! I’m so excited to have my own website! This is big. Huge! I have my own space to create my own little internet world here. It’s like moving into your own home and having the free will to decorate how you want, letting your inner being shine through all of the intricate details of what you call home. I don’t own my own place yet, I rent, but I have slowly learned to decorate to my heart’s desire. What is it about fret? Worrying if it’s going to be good enough. If it’s going to be right? What does it matter really? If I don’t like it, I can change it. That’s what makes a house a home. I recently, well, a year ago now, moved into my ideal home. I am proud to live here, and I am proud to invite people into my sacred space. They get to see a part of me when they walk into my home. My favorite part is the view of the ocean and some green space. I get the best of both worlds. My second favorite part of living here is the fact that it was truly a needle in the the haystack. I found (or did it find me?) an ocean view, proximal to the beach, with a beautiful path to run or walk down any time of the day or night, with my dog or without him. The interior is all me. It came fully furnished but as time has gone by I have made my special touches on the place and I have to say, I love who I am and how I am expressed in my home. Plants, candles, meditation space, yoga space. It’s not a big place but it suits me and my needs. Yeah, sometimes I do things I’m not proud of in my home. I have a little too much wine, eat a little too much and I don’t feel well. Surely this will happen in my World Wide Web Home as well. Okay, I hope I don’t eat or drink too much on here but I’m sure there will be times that I say or do something that I’m not so proud of or that I may second guess. But that’s ok. That only shows the world that I’m not perfect. So there it is, I’m not perfect! Yay! The cat’s out of the bag. Whew. Now I don’t have to live up to that impossible standard. In my little corner of internet world here I plan to develop a home. A place that’s comfortable for all to read, to write, to comment and to connect. I’m sure I’ll have controversial things to say and I am open to any and all confrontations. Without challenges it is hard to make those big leaps of growth. Yes, it’s nice to connect on like mindedness, for sure. I thrive off of these types of connections. But when I’m challenged? That’s when I really grow. Let’s all grow together. Thanks for being part of my world and my little home here in this corner of “Cyber Space”. 😉

Human Connection

Get out there. Meet people. Talk to people. Go to an event or just go on a walk. You never know what you might see, who you might meet, how you’ll be inspired and what might tweak your life just a little bit more in a positive direction. Over the weekend I went to the Feira Alternativa with a fellow yoga friend I just met. I often plan to do these things but then bail on myself last minute. (Mental note, plan with a friend, it makes it harder to bail-out.) While here I experienced a peaceful sound massage as Ana placed the heavy copper bowls (one on my upper back, then legs, feet) and gave each one a voice as she struck it and it sang its unique vibrations throughout my body bringing me into harmony. The vibration of the bowls gets transmitted into your body, and since we are 70% water our whole body starts singing in harmony. It was so grounding (also, I was laying on the ground, haha :)) and peaceful. Such a nice connection with Ana, with Earth, and with myself. We carried on having an inspiring conversation with the director of an Ayurvedic School here in Sintra opening doors and creating opportunities. Before we knew it, it was time for me to leave. I had to get back home to take care of my lovely aging boxer, Joker. After which I decided, since I had no food in the house and the only store that was open didn’t have what I wanted to make for dinner, to go to my favorite local restaurant, and wouldn’t you know it…I stood in the middle of the restaurant and scanned the place for a seat that I thought would be comfortable to spend the next 30 minutes or so, to eat my vegetarian meal, have one eye on Joker and then finish our walk home. I asked a lovely, slightly older (64 to be exact), heavier set, darker skinned woman slowly eating a Bifana (steak sandwich) and drinking a non alcoholic beer, if I could sit next to her, she accepted my company. I separated our individual two-top tables to create space so we could sit as two, single ladies out to dinner, not as two single ladies out to dinner. It wasn’t long (surprise surprise) before we got to talking. It was as if the fair followed me home. She was born in Angola, raised catholic turned ___. She started speaking of Sattvic eating (where you don’t eat garlic and onions so that you can reach a higher state of meditation) vegetarianism, veganism, reflexology, astrology, motherhood (her daughter is married  and lives in Italy), relationships (after asking God for an Italian man when she was living in London he brought one into her life, for her daughter!)…we got deep! In Portuguese and English our conversation surpassed language barriers. Turns out she has been living in the same neighborhood I live in for 43 years! She is full of wisdom, love and compassion and she is a seeker. Seeking to learn more about herself, life, love, the world, spirituality etc. What a wonderful surprise waiting for me in the little corner of that restaurant.

Ayurveda: The Science of You — MEGAN BETTIS – “An excellent article on the basics of Ayurveda. What is it?” – Kelsey

Known as yoga’s sister science, Ayurveda is the 5,000-year-old practice of medicine – making it the oldest recorded! Long before Western medicine realized the mind-body connection, sages in India developed this sophisticated system designed to not only treat illness and ailments, but to prevent them through knowledge and care of self. That means we have […]

via Ayurveda: The Science of You — MEGAN BETTIS