Quiet places (and my noisy mind)

I transport myself to a quiet place in nature, not necessarily truly quiet, but a place that calms my mind. Listening to the sound of flowing water, my nervous system feels immediately soothed.

I have often had a “noisy” mind, a busy mind, an exuberant and thoughtful (also thought-full) mind. I have been rewarded for this in many ways. And this over-active mind is also a source of suffering all too often.

Learning to calm myself through yoga, running or dance and through journaling, has helped to slow the racing thoughts. I sometimes forget these practices, like anyone, when my mind becomes triggered by a painful thought. At those times, I feel myself bracing and going into “defense” mode, constricting and pushing back.

A video of my favorite quiet place in nature (in Schroeder, MN).

When I can take a breath or two and recognize that I’m not actually under attack by anything physical, and I’m responding to a painful thought or belief, I can allow my emotional response without reacting.

I keep training myself to do this, and re-training myself. It’s a lifelong journey, it seems. And maybe that’s what it means to be human, this acknowledgement of unhealed wounds that need tending and self-compassion. We may realize intellectually that they are no longer threats, and yet they still activate a primal place within our nervous system.

When they trigger fear or sadness or another painful emotion, there is a cascade of “stories” that usually follows (for me). And then that feedback loop can lead to even more painful thoughts. I bring myself back again to my physical sensations, my senses both internal and external, and re-ground myself.

The noisy mind is still there. And now I access a place where the “watcher” can lovingly and compassionately see the pattern, and offer comfort. Nothing has gone wrong. This is what minds do, generate thoughts like bubbles in a stream. They are not necessarily true, particularly the painful ones.

Stepping back, I access that bubbling stream knowing all is well. A bit of distance, a bit of perspective, and the noisy mind calms itself.

Be well, dear readers.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Bullies on the playground

On the playground of life, there are always bullies. Sadly, though adults might be expected outgrow this insecure need to dominate others around them to feel safe, some never do.

Watching this play out at a national level has been something to witness. I am one of the many people who breathed a sigh of relief last Saturday as it became clear that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had won the electoral vote. This was an indication, both from the popular vote and the electoral vote, that Americans are ready for the adults to resume control of our democracy.

Though clearly the bully-in-chief is not ready to vacate. No, indeed as stated prior to the election, the current occupier of the office had told us he would accept no outcome but victory.

Taken on a walk back in June 2020.

While some are shocked that he refuses to use any modicum of decency and responsible leadership, most of us expected this to happen. Not that we hoped for it, but it is not the shock that some journalists seem to express for this behavior.

Bullies do not concede because they cannot accept any reality that brushes them aside as irrelevant. The ego of a bully is fragile, driven by fear and narcissism. And yet: it has cowed many other Republicans into remaining quiet, or to deferring to being “within his rights” to investigate non-substantiated allegations of fraud.

They are scared. They know what can happen to non-loyalists. And they know that a peaceful transfer of power is likely given our constitution. Our institutions of democracy are not so fragile that we need to spend our energy worrying, tempting though it might be.

These days I need to carefully manage my news consumption, and limit it to daily doses such as “Consider This” from NPR. Otherwise, I can “go down the rabbit hole” of media. I realize that is unhealthy, and it does not serve me.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the nation, and rural hospitals are especially challenged during this time, I am sad that the obstruction of this transition only hurts Americans. While I am relieved that the adults will resume control of the office in 2 months, I also grieve the losses we will face in the meantime.

Stay safe and sane, friends.

Democracy has not (yet) failed us.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Stand down, Mr. President

As I write this, I balk at using the title “president.” Technically you hold this title, Donald, though you are anything BUT presidential.

I heard on NPR and in the local papers that you are coming to Rochester, Minnesota for a rally on Friday.

Why?

We do not support you. Please stand down, and stay away from our state.

The irony is not lost on us that you are visiting Rochester, the home of the Mayo Clinic, where outstanding medical professionals and scientists provide outstanding care to patients, while contributing to the advancement of science.

Scientists…you scoffed at a recent rally. Joe Biden will listen to the scientists, whom you have mocked repeatedly.

You are a disgraceful person, and you are not a leader. Your casual disdain for the health of Americans disqualifies you for this role. Science has saved your life, and yet you discredit it.

When you fail to protect the citizens to whom you have sworn an oath, you fail our nation. When your presence in our communities becomes a threat to public health, you must stand down.

Mayor Kim Norton of Rochester has expressed her concern about your visit, noting that the communities and states around the area are currently a hotbed for COVID and that your campaign will be bussing people in. This is irresponsible and reflects a disdain for health and for life.

The bulk of the COVID cases in the community of Bemidji in October were directly traced to your campaign rally in September. Your failure to take this illness seriously endangers all health care workers serving our communities.

We are so eager to send you home, Donald. You exhaust us. You anger us. You sow destruction and anxiety in the places you visit.

Minnesotans will speak loudly and clearly at the polls. I certainly hope you will keep your pledge not to visit the states where you have lost. If you never visit us again, it will be too soon.

Sincerely,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

You knew I couldn’t resist, right?

I watched the final debate on Thursday night, and I can’t resist a few comments.

You know that would happen, didn’t you? I am a feminista, and a woman who believes in racial justice and equity for all.

I want to encourage you to vote early if you can in Minnesota. This is an option for us, and because we are in a pandemic, extending the ability cast ballots safely is an important consideration.

I want to ask you to consider, no matter what party you are in, please VOTE. You know which way I am voting. I can’t hide it. I vote pro-choice, pro-woman, pro-family.

This 4-button pack is available at the Team Joe website.
I’m partial to the Kamala shirt.
Anything you can do to help would be appreciated, I am sure.

The harasser in chief has called Mexicans rapists and drug dealers (and some of them are good people, he conceded). I’ll let you guess which one I am.

I am a Mexican American woman. Women are shouldering a much higher burden during this pandemic. Latina women are facing unprecedented levels of job loss.

This pandemic is not showing any signs of slowing in this country. In fact, the infection rates are spiking in many states. Our economy needs support, and the President is intent on getting a Supreme Court nominee in place rather than committing to helping the American people.

This 4-year nightmare needs to end. It is bad enough that this presidency continues into January, even if the American people win in November. And he must be defeated. Biden has the good sense to steer us into better days. His experience, empathy and judgment have never been more crucial.

The ultimate “mute” button for those of us who are tired a constant stream of lies is to vote for Joe Biden.

End of PSA/rant. Love you all.

cristy@meximinnesotan.com

On letting go and letting flow

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope that September is treating you well and that you are your loved ones are healthy and safe. For those that face the start of school, and some of the anxieties that are likely to crop up, I hope you are taking deep breaths and centering.

For those that are enjoying the unofficial last week of the summer before Labor Day, I wish you a last lovely week. Labor Day typically signals the end of Fall for many of us, with schools starting around that time. For me, it has always felt like “the new January” because I have always loved the start of a new school year. New notebooks, a new school outfit or two and the freshness of a new set of subjects to learn.

For me, I have been contemplating a change, specifically a “sunset” to regular posting here. I have spent 3 years producing regular content here. For one year I posted every single day! (And for most of that I was working full time…) In total I have produced 720+ pieces of content. This blog began as a test for me. I love to write. And I wanted to see if I could produce consistently, on a challenging schedule. Mission accomplished.

While I do not strive here for news-worthy New York Times quality journalism, my goal is authenticity, personal learning and growth. I have been so grateful for the support of this community at WordPress. I have not been reading as much of your work lately, as I turn attention toward finding more sustainable income for my family. And I know you will be generous in understanding how that goes…

I have been neglecting the task of working on my professional website and producing consulting and coaching resources that will help launch my business and help my clients. And as I have been letting go of old files at home, and culling my library, it occurred to me that it’s time to decrease the “open channels” so I can go ALL THE WAY in this endeavor.

After every sunset, there is a sunrise. And new opportunities on the horizon…

Rather than making offers to potential clients, I have been staying stuck in indecision mode about what is next. When I listened to my soul and got really honest with myself I admitted I love to teach, coach, and develop curricula around the needs of an organization or department. Writing is breathing to me. So I will “pitch” myself for projects in that arena also.

It is time to make offers every day to those may need what I have to offer. Rather than applying for jobs with descriptions that are only 50-60% aligned with my strengths and interests, why not create offers for potential clients that are 90-100% aligned?

Short answer: because it is scary. Because it means rejections are inevitable. Sales people understand that there is typically a ratio of 10-30 “nos” for every yes. And yet, I am confident and driven enough to use those “nos” as fuel. Each one gets me closer to a new client.

I see so many managers, directors and VPs that are leading in tough times. In normal times, the best ones do a lot of coaching of employees. Now, they are barely able to keep their heads above water, and development coaching has fallen by the wayside. They also need support, and are not always getting it if companies have had to let go of L&D staff and internal coaches to cut costs.

I see employees who need and want support for their own development, given that their roles may have dramatically changed in the past 6 months. And I see companies that are so stressed and stretched that they are not able to assess emerging needs beyond getting through the current daily challenges. External perspectives can help.

As I brainstormed what I will offer, I recorded a few videos of myself talking through what I can do. Suddenly an explosion of energy bolted through me as I saw how I have been holding back due to fear. No more. I am ready.

This blog will stay live temporarily as I figure out how to archive and possibly re-write my favorite pieces for short LinkedIn articles. And occasionally I may not be able to help myself from issuing political commentary once in a while when I need to save my husband from my wrath and yelling at the news. You knew that yoga teachers are not the calmest people, right? We tend to teach what we most want to learn. 😉

This is my love letter to all of you. You are a wonderful community. You have engaged with my content in meaningful and helpful ways to me. I am ever in your debt in terms of your contribution to my growth. As winter emerges and business cycles for my industry typically slow at some times of the year, I hope to return to being a more regular reader of your work. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy.

Much love and “mil gracias a todos”

cristy@meximinnesotana.com