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.

Managing emotions in uncertain times

Managing our emotions during a pandemic can feel like a difficult prospect sometimes. This is when it becomes important to recognize that the behavior of the “herd” has an effect on our thoughts and emotions. We can offer ourselves compassion, because this is what our minds are designed to do, to detect threat, pay attention to social signaling, and to respond accordingly.

Managing our emotions

So if you are hard on yourself because you are experiencing anxiety, try talking with yourself in the way you might comfort a good friend: “It’s okay. Things seem hard right now. You are doing the best you can.”

It is also important to stay centered and grounded in your body and in the present moment. Too often news coverage, designed to grab and hold your attention, starts spinning doomsday scenarios. It becomes like a train wreck, hard to look away, though you know it is a disaster to keep watching.

Acknowledging difficult emotions and letting them rise and fall within you is very important. If you try to deny them, or push them away, you just intensify those feelings. So give them proper space, and allow the thoughts to come and go. Write them down if this makes it easier to get some distance.

Then breathe, close your eyes, come back to the sensations in your body and realize that, at this moment, you can let go of these temporary thoughts and emotions. They do not have to drive you toward hoarding behavior or destructive habits like over-eating or over-drinking. By allowing yourself to be fully human, and to realize that thoughts and emotions will arise.  and we can still find ways to be calm, we will get through this.

Sending all of you love and virtual hugs.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

***

P.S. If you feel the need to get some coaching or support on emotions that may be troubling you, please to set up a free call with me.  There is no obligation to purchase anything or sign up for a long-term commitment. I just want to offer what I can and be of service as we get through this crisis together. Be well.

Connecting women (revisited)

**This is a post was originally written exactly one year ago. I connected today with a woman from my alma mater who has been on a strikingly similar life path. Monday night I participated in a Moon Rising circle of sisterhood. All of it is even more important to me now. Sometimes following is as important as leading. And it is a dance: act, share, witness, support. **

There is powerful energy created when women with similar journeys and struggles connect and share stories with each other. It is a combination of relief and joy when we realize we are not alone.

connecting women
Photo credit link

I witnessed this in my learning circle on Monday night, and I was inspired to consider how fascinating it is that we connected, and all of our commonalities. I am also pondering how best to facilitate some practices that can help us stay grounded and centered along the journey.

Of course, y’all know I’m an evangelist for meditation and yoga, so we will explore some simple practices that I have found to be particularly helpful. I am also requesting that they commit to some small daily action, with the support of the group, to help build and maintain their ability to show up at their best, at home, work or in the community.

Since this is the first time I have offered this series, we will see where it goes. But for now, I am so honored and grateful that these amazing women have elected to join me in staying open to learning practices that will support their growth.

Onward,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Postscript: my weekly “desk chair” yoga class at work is also a circle of women. Honored to see these gatherings come together. 

 

Do you value yourself?

I am reflecting on a conversation I had with a lovely friend recently. I heard in her voice a yearning, a desire to feel deeply understood and loved. I recognize that longing; it is profoundly human. We all want to be appreciated for who we are, and we want to feel valued and seen.

At the same time, we forget to attend to what we want when we are in the habit of giving to others. We may see ourselves as valuable only when we are giving, achieving or being productive. Social conditioning may tell us we are incomplete unless we have a certain kind of relationship. Certainly advertising makes it clear that we need something outside ourselves to feel complete.

But what if we could recognize the deeply abundant creators and nurturers that we all are, deep at our cores? What if we could truly see our value, and that we offered to ourselves opportunities to “play” with those joys within us more?

Who could help but love and value that face?

I am guessing what would happen is that we would see radical transformation in the world. If we could all truly appreciate the beauty within us, and the lightness and completeness of our beings at a soul level, entire systems of oppression would crumble.

This is one reason why I enjoy the process of coaching. Most of us have blind spots to our own potential that are hard to see in ourselves. We may not be able to unpack some of the beliefs that hold us back from appreciating our amazing qualities.

Once we start start to value ourselves, we begin scheduling activities that nurture us and keep us balanced. We spend time with the people who give us energy and those who reflect our light back to us. We begin to act from love rather than fear. When we are in love with our lives, we seem to emit some type of vibration that attracts others as well.

So it might be worthwhile to ask yourself not and then: how am I honoring and valuing myself? Are there ways I can nurture myself more fully, so that I can live well and give to others also?

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Commit vs. drop-in

I have a confession to make:

I did not want to offer a 5-week yoga series. I had hoped to offer several one-time standalone workshops to get my certification hours done. Maybe 2 hours apiece, with lots of class interaction and an hour of yoga practice in the “juicy” middle.

It seems harder to get a group to commit to a class for 5 weeks in a row. Indeed, when it comes to yoga, it has been a long time since I committed to a series of classes. I paid for an 8-week series for several seasons at my workplace years ago. Nurturing yoga was the name of that series. It was lovely. Not the yoga-aerobics that so many fitness centers offer these days.

I still remember Marcy Lundquist very fondly. She is retired now. But her class was a taste of what I felt was “real” yoga. I’ve since found people like Ruth Silva, who is moving this month to the east coast. Grant Foster has been a teacher I have appreciated at Tula Yoga as well.

So I was thinking that I’m a commitment-phobe, and I had a little story I was telling myself about that. Then I started talking with my husband about commitments, and I realized that’s not true.

I committed to 6 months of yoga teacher training back in January, which involved a 3-day weekend (27-30 hours) per month for 7 training weekends. I’ve lived with my hubby for 5 years after dating for 4 before that, and we’ve been married nearly 2 years. I stayed at Medtronic for over 11 years. From 1999-2006 I stuck with completing a master’s degree program even though I was working full-time for most of that time. I have meditated every day for 930+ consecutive days!

How fascinating. I am actually quite good with commitments! So why is this old belief still a story I am telling myself?

Time to let it go. How awesome.

Happy Labor Day weekend, for those living in the U.S. And happy weekend to everyone else!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. One of these days I will figure out a link/registration system for the class series I’m offering (flyer below). But this a “save the date” notice. 😉

Yoga for over-thinkers (3)

 

Change and our inner voices

Hello Friends,

I have been reading a wonderful little book for my Yoga Teacher Training and I wanted to reflect a bit on it. Making a Change for Good by Cheri Huber is getting me to rethink my coaching practice and also the self-coaching and mentoring we can do as we meditate and become more self-aware.

Some of the quotes which have impacted me the most since doing the reading, discussing with my colleagues and then re-reading:

“In meditation we find the center of conscious, compassionate awareness, and from that place mentor the young parts of ourselves who never had anyone help them understand their wants and needs.”

Making a Change for Good.jpgThe idea is that we all have sub-personalities that evolved when we were young to help us behave in certain ways to get the care and attention we needed from adults at the time. This leads to the illusion of a separate self from the rest of life, a principle Cheri Huber calls “Egocentric Karmic Conditioning.” She explains that self-hate is the process that EKC uses to remain in power.

It is really fascinating. I previously called this voice the “inner critic” but I definitely can sense it arising when I am about to do something courageous or bold. My voice often says “who do you think YOU are?” and it sometimes gets me to scurry back to safety before I risk anything too vulnerable. But we all have these voices. Acknowledging that they are a product of conditioning, and dis-identifying with them compassionately is how we decrease our suffering and create permanent changes in our lives.

“So much of what passes for education is nothing more than adults inflicting their unexamined beliefs and assumptions onto children and projecting their own unexamined reasons and motivations onto children’s reactions.”

This is profound stuff. Since I am fascinated by theories of behavior change, and how we can adopt more healthy and sustaining practices to live well, this is my jam! It dovetails nicely with what I am learning on coaching for transformation. I am so eager to put this work into practice!

What do the inner voices say to you each day? How often do you listen? 

cristy@minnesotana.com