How the World sometimes Turns

Hi Friends,

I spent some time licking my wounds last week and realizing that the opportunity I had been vying for probably wasn’t the right fit. But I responded with my real opinions this morning when the employer asked for feedback. Who knows if a human reads those things. Probably an “AI” is scraping the data. Oh well.

Only a few days after I received the pee test news I was offered an opportunity to coach a BIPOC and/or junior staff cohort at an organization who’s values are highly aligned with mine. Until we are signed and fully contracted I am going to hold off mentioning them here. The hourly rate is 15+ times what I was offered at the job where I was turned down. And thus, I will continue my “irrational” pursuit of self-employment while further developing affordable somatics and stress-relief opportunities and group mentoring.

The YouTube 1 minute video of a woman standing up for her land and her country.

There is a lot of heavy energy in the world right now, and not getting a part-time job is the least my worries as people in the Ukraine are being attacked. I was humbled to realize how lucky and privileged I am sitting safely at home, while others cope with unbridled tyranny on the other side of the planet. But I’ve also been so heartened to see how many people around the world are doing everything they can to help.

If you have not seen the video of the woman speaking to the soldiers about the sunflower seeds she wants them to carry in their pockets, it is worth seeing. Talk about “escalating” the situation. This is what courage looks like, unless the captioning is wrong (I don’t speak the language).

Last year I worked with a group called Fight for Right Ukraine while I was part of team facilitation cohorts for The Medici Group. They were a tiny but scrappy and resourceful team and I was greatly impressed with their creativity and their amazing resolve to find ways to grow their network of disability rights activists. I donated to a GoFundMe campaign (in Euros) because I know how hard they were working, and I believe this group has already made change legislatively and practically. In case you are feeling helpless and might want to make a small gift, I know the funds would be well-stewarded.

Be well,

Cristy

P.S. If you need a song to help bolster your personal Resilience, I’ve been playing this one by Rising Appalacia over and over again. The shorter video version still brings tears to my eyes. In case you need a small lift from the heavy energy this is something that has helped me to stay focused on the helpers in the world. I believe we are still are in the majority.

Delightful nourishment

Happy 2022, dear friends!

Are you anticipating new projects on the horizon? I am excited to consider a few creative intentions for the year. I’m not one to make resolutions but I see intentions as a helpful guiding compass for any new period of time that feels right.

Typically I set intentions each month, around the new moon, which tends to be an energetic cycle of contemplation for me. This month and year what kept coming forward was a combination of two of the core desired feelings I set as intentions back in July (which is what I think of as the beginning of my “fiscal” year).

Delightful nourishment (in noun form)

Delightfully nourishing (the adverb)

Playing with those terms a bit, I wanted to phrase that in a way that makes sense in a “quantum question” type of format. Here’s my idea:

In what ways can I create assets that are delightfully nourishing for myself, my husband, my clients and my business?

After creating my first book in the past year (though I’m still anxiously awaiting the paperback proof due to me this week) I considered all of the joy and love that went into that creation. While it was difficult at times to keep going, especially during the editing phase, overall the process was delightful nourishment for my soul. For much of the process, I devoted just an hour a day to the project, but as it kept moving forward and taking shape, it was enormously satisfying.

The shadow side of that process is that since late last summer, I’ve noticed slight but steady weight gain. Only about a pound or so per month, but it is a contrast to the first 4 months of the project, when I seemed to have some effortless weight loss. It was though I was being “fed” by my creativity. With my training as a yoga teacher, and my emphasis on somatic wisdom in the book, I feel somewhat sheepish at admitting this, but it feels related.

The pure joy of creating a draft and working with words is delightful nourishment to me. And the process of thinking about how my work will go out into the world, speculating how it will be received is another matter. It seemed to bring up all my past demons with food as a way to dull difficult emotions. It probably didn’t help that the pandemic uncertainty and anxiety about contracts and jobs also came up.

I find the beauty of sunrise to be delightfully nourishing, especially when I take the time to appreciate it.

Rather than chastise myself about this, though, I am bringing self-compassion to my struggle. It can feel so vulnerable to bring our work out into the world. So much so that many people have manuscripts in drawers, and many never share their gifts.

Overeating is never delightful nourishment. It can be subtle and tenacious though. This year I want to turn to forms of spiritual nourishment instead of food, like writing, abhyanga (Ayurvedic oiling), reading delicious literature, walking in nature, drinking in the beauty around me, being present with my loved ones, and creating more books, or maybe a podcast. All of these activities feel delightfully nourishing to me.

What kinds of delightful nourishment are you planning for yourself in 2022?

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

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, and 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

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