On the joy of missing out

Hi Friends,

I just returned from a few days of blissful off-grid time for my birthday over the weekend. I was in a tiny cabin near the north shore of Lake Superior without wifi, electricity and running water.

Full confession here: I charged my cell phone via my car charger when I went for visits to “town” or picked up groceries or had a spot of lunch in the places nearby. And I used the flashlight feature when I lost light in the evenings and still wanted to read.

But for the most part, I moved to the slower rhythms that all of the usual over-stimulation does not seem to allow in our post-modern life, even post-COVID-19. It was amazing and wonderful, highly restorative.

During the first day I struggled with not being able to “post and share” about my adventures. But after days 2 and 3 I relaxed into the rhythm of delightful simplicity, the way we do on a vacation where we have not planned much, besides the bliss of letting our minds wander.

If you have time this summer to spend a long weekend, or even an entire week off the usual “grid” of social responsibilities and obligations, I highly recommend it. I’ll be sharing via LinkedIn and my other web presence a few things I observed during that time. I’ll probably post some photos here once I get around to indexing them… but today I am embracing my slowness.

In the meantime, I wish you much off-grid time to daydream, write, read and be WITH YOURSELF during this summer season.

Much love,

Cristy

Starting the query journey

Hi Friends,

I hope you are well and enjoying the glorious month of May! Last week I reached out to my networks to ask for a few people who are willing to read my query letter draft before I start reaching out to agents.

When I began researching agents via QueryTracker, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a few prospects that seem like a fit for my manuscript. I looked on Manuscript Wish List for more information and got very excited. So I set about researching how to write a query letter.

I am curious about the “hook” and wish I could read examples of others’ winning query letters. If any of you writers out there have advice, I am open to your advice!

Cheers & happy writing,

Cristy

P.S. I have received both of my vaccine shots! So excited to be able to get out and about again, though this introvert will be pacing herself. Wishing you health and wellbeing for the season ahead.

Book title ideas – your feedback?

Hi Friends,

It has been some time since posted here. I hope y’all are well and are enjoying the return of Spring (for those in the northern hemisphere). I am excited that I have been making progress on drafting my first book. I am writing to help college educated bicultural Latina women own their strengths, gain confidence and release limiting beliefs so they can lead from a place of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Had to do this. Why not? Designing silly book covers is a lot more fun than editing the rough draft!

There are a lot of personal stories in the book. I am connecting some of the lessons of my experience while leading an international reseach division at a large medical device company, and also life lessons as a light skinned woman of Mexican descent. I am playing around with 3-5 working titles and subtitles. I wonder if you can take a look at the 3 below and let me know if any of them seem particularly catchy to you.

We Defy Definition – Thriving as a bicultural woman in pandemic era. 
White Mexican(a) – Out of the shadows and into the spotlight. 
Feminista in bureaucrazy – Leading in places that need you without losing your mind. 

This last one gets me to imagine a funny cover that gave me a giggle…

Many thanks in advance. It is vulnerable to put it out there that I am writing my first book. But I expect the WordPress crowd will be supportive.

Much love to you all and happy Spring!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Inaugural moment of celebration

I told my husband this morning: Kamala Harris will be inaugurated today!

And also: Joe Biden. Yeah. I’m not gonna lie. I am more excited about her, and what she represents than I am about Joe himself. Joe made a choice that many saw as a risk. He saw her as the future, not a risk. I wholeheartedly agree.

And I have to admit it brought tears to my eyes that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the Supreme Court, did the swearing in ceremony. Firsts, but not lasts.

I had to capture this moment, as I took a personal holiday for myself (in my p.j.’s).

Lots of work to do for this administration. But I’m grateful that we can finally rest from the daily ravings of a disturbed man who believes everything is about him. While there are divisions in this country, Biden’s speech indicated a need for coming together.

We face challenges in the months and the years ahead. But I am grateful that this feels like a breath of fresh air, leadership with dignity and decency after the ego-driven, self-centered and self-interested approach of “Sideshow Donald.” I’m not sure what made him that way, but he mirrors the part of our country that is determined to hang onto white body supremacy.

Now it is time to acknowledge that history and the hurt these policies have caused, to comprehend the depths of the disparities that are showing up in health care, education, employment, and the criminal justice system. Can we be in a place of “yes, AND” rather than “either/or” instead of polarizing? I sure hope so.

No matter the challenges ahead, I’m taking time today to celebrate!

Cheers,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

We Defy Definition

Hello Friends,

I hope you are well and are enjoying some New Year’s Eve peace and joy. As we bring this year to a close I know many of us are hoping that 2021 brings a little more lightness and brightness than 2020.

As someone who treasures time alone or in small groups, this was a year of relative freedom for me. While being released from a job can be stressful for many, I was grateful to have solid savings and unemployment funds to tide me over during the transition to my next venture.

I began a team coaching certification program in September at The Medici Group, which I will complete in February 2021. I enjoyed teaching yoga online through Healing Within Acupuncture & Wellness Studios. I provided personal coaching services to a few 1:1 clients, and I had lots of time for my favorite things: reading books, writing and snuggling on the couch with my hubby, with no pressure to be social.

I co-taught yoga sessions like “De-Stress for the Holidays” (available free on YouTube) with yoga sisters Amy Klous and Krista Steinbach, and connected with other wellbeing professionals at Ikigai Lab. I worked with my lovely coach, Stephanie, founder of Our Natural Wisdom. And I re-discovered my sense of purpose and mastery that led to me leaving a corporate position in 2018 to pursue my own endeavors.

One day, upon being asked (once again) for a bio prior to a presentation I was about to give, I threw up my hands in despair. Why do people keep wanting me to define myself based on my past? Seriously, it is an existential and also a practical question. I prefer to define myself based on my vision for the future. So I wondered if I might create community and offerings around embracing everyone’s gifts, not defining people based on roles, job titles or diagnoses. 

As someone with variable attention (which I do not consider a deficit, as a diagnosis might suggest) I struggle to BE just one thing. I enjoy so many things, and my creativity is enhanced by my ability to see the connections between things. And while I am “mexi-minnesotana,” it is only ONE aspect of my personality, not the totality of me.

And I know this is true of YOU also! You are not just a mother, a sister, a teacher, a writer, a caregiver, an employee. You are a multi-dimensional, beautiful human being! Can we all take a moment to celebrate that? Okay, now carry on with your day. 🙂

While I know my business will evolve over time, for now I plan to write, speak and advocate for those of us that refuse to be tamed and tethered by the terms others use to define us. We will together Unleash, Unlearn & Enliven. The world needs us, and it is time to step out of the shadows and be our full selves.

Grateful for the supportive community here that has actively championed my contributions here for 3+ years. Much love to you all!

cristy@wedefydefinition.com

P.S. To learn more, or to participate in a weekly free yoga series I will offer in 2021 called Body Love Yoga (Tuesdays 7:30-8:15am Central time), email me for a Zoom link. We will practice radical self-love, breath work, gentle soma yoga and meditation.

The Way We Live Now

Hi Friends,

Apparently I cannot quite let go of this blog, despite my intention to do so. It has provided a valuable outlet for me that apparently satisfies something in me that a “professional blog” may never do. So I will occasional post when I feel I must, because I find it so therapeutic. It’s also faster than my handwritten journal, which has taken a slight backseat to a practice daily voice memos to myself.

Daily voice memos are like a personal “podcast” that I can go back to hear in my own voices how my thoughts, beliefs and feelings evolve over time. And I’ve also felt almost obsessively drawn to re-listen to a podcast series called “The Way We Live Now.” Hosted by Dani Shapiro, it ran from April 14th to July 3rd this year. I listened to all 59 episodes (short form mostly 10-20 minutes) when they were first released, but I felt compelled to go there again.

Cover photo from the Podcast page

As I re-listened, I found the listener stories, a feature posted on Fridays to be particularly compelling and beautiful. They feature glimpses into the worlds of people working through grief, coping with previously unimagined scenarios, and finding joy during the pandemic.

I keep asking myself: why does this draw me in so deeply? And I think I now know: because so many stories illustrate the deep resilience of humans coming together during a crisis to support each other. And the voices we hear in this podcast that are not often heard feel so relevant to me. We tell each other our stories to connect, and reassure each other that we are not alone. The shared humanity feels profound.

It helps to be aware of my “input channels” and not to take in too much every day. I also recognize a need to counterbalance measured doses of news coverage with healthy doses of stories that fill me up spiritually. I am grateful to Dani Shapiro for this, and for her memoirs and other podcast, Family Secrets, now in its 4th season and also produced with such tenderness and care.

Is there any doubt that “The Way We Live Now” requires revision and radical re-imagining as we keep moving forward?

Now that I have seen new possibilities and have had time to imagine and test a few new possibilities, I am less willing to go back to past situations and behaviors which did not work well. Self-criticism gives way to self-compassion. My “old self” felt confined and contained, and it now yields to a new self being re-born.

While that feels tender and scary at times, it is not possible to “unsee” what we have seen. What undiscovered new joys and surprises will appear as we craft together our New Normals?

Much love,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com