Delightful new opportunities

Hello Friends,

This week I’m in the midst of introductory conversations with staff that work with my new organizational client and I’ve interacted with a few of them by email as well. These are lovely young(er) people who are very mission-driven and are committed to sustainability for our planet.

I am deeply grateful for this opportunity. It comes at a time when I was questioning whether it might be time to give up my pursuit of this “portfolio career” of being coach, team facilitator and writer. But something keeps pulling me in. I think it’s the notion that I am committed to wellbeing and workplace transformation. Yet I don’t believe most workplaces are changing fast enough to adapt to a changing world, which it has been why I haven’t pursued traditional full-time employment.

Many of the up-and-coming generations want not only work that makes them feel purposeful and committed, they want to learn more about themselves and grow personally. They want to challenge themselves in new ways, and not just get stuck with the “admin” work that their leaders shovel down on them. Maybe for some people that sounds self-indulgent, but for me, it’s an indicator of future leadership qualities. And our world deeply needs those who can think creatively rather than simply conform. It inspires me to be get even better at

Photo taken near Lake Superior – Baragas Cross wayside rest (copyright mexi-minnesotana 2021)

Don’t get me wrong. I did a lot of “admin” work early in my career. Actually, I probably spent the first 8-10 years of my post-college career doing this kind of work, to greater and lesser degrees depending on the job, because I kept starting over at each new workplace. It wasn’t until my 30’s when I really begun understanding myself better that I sought the kinds of opportunities where I thrived. Looking back to my college days, I now see how I was preparing myself all along through volunteer and extra-curricular activities that were related to group dynamics and mentoring people.

There are times in our lives when the financial tides recede, and there are times when the tides roll in. Sometimes as humans we forget that life doesn’t yield linear results. There are cycles, patterns, and spirals. There are times for earning, and there are times for investing in our growth by allowing the field to lie fallow, to regenerate and rest. The seeds we have planted are starting to put down roots, and to draw upon the earth for nourishment. Soon the plants will emerge and take in the sunlight. But they are born in sacred darkness.

The next time I feel like I’m trying to “force” a bloom, I will read this to remember how this dance works.

Be well.

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

Juneteenth

A lot of us are learning more about our history in response to recent events, protests and having a little more time on our hands. I confess that before this year, I knew very little about Juneteenth. I am an introvert and I do not gravitate toward large events.

This year, because it has become abundantly clear that people who identify as Black or African American have never been truly free in this country. We swim in history that is informed by a philosophy of white body supremacy.

Juneteenth
Link to the Juneteenth celebration website

I found a virtual Juneteenth event in Saint Paul that was co-sponsored by the Saint Paul Library. On the home page (linked above) are some beautiful read-aloud videos from staff there, children’s stories that have wonderful lessons for adults. Check them out.  They can be resources to help teach children about inclusion versus racism.

I will be tuning in this Friday. It is time to learn and grow, time to come together as human beings “alone together” on this tiny planet.

Happy weekend, friends.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Age 46 and alive

Hello Friends,

I find myself celebrating the past year for my birthday but feeling quieter and more reflective than in past years. When I read that George Floyd was also 46 years old I realized we shared an age, but are separated by a yawning gap of white body privilege. His life was cut short, and my life continues.

I spent the past week re-reading portions of “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem. I downloaded the audio book so I could listen to it as well. Coincidentally, Krista Tippett had a conversation with Resmaa on her podcast On Being just before the pandemic, but it aired only within the last week. If you have not heard it, I recommend a listen.

There is also a simple body practice that is about 4-5 minutes that Krista released yesterday that I really love. It helps us engage the vagus nerve and the psoas muscle in a way that is calming. Resmaa describes how “bodies of culture” must orient when they feel in danger.

Resmaa web photo
This photo is stolen right from Resmaa’s website. I hope he will not mind since I am using it to promote his work and not my own. 

One of my loyal yoga practitioners (Jackie) told me last week that Resmaa’s book is sold out right now, since she had looked for it online. I find that wonderful and hopeful. Maybe we white folks are ready to grow up and out of our privilege in a way that can support “bodies of culture” (I love Resmaa’s terminology) to achieve their dreams as well.

We must do the work, and we must begin now, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at first. One thing that yoga teaches us is that we can stay with discomfort, a moment longer, to hear what it has to say. I love it that we have the tools to do that. It is our practice off the mat, and it is why we can succeed in this effort.

As a white woman from a multi-cultural (Swedish Mexican) heritage, I have struggled with knowing what my role can or should be in this effort. I have to admit I don’t have a complete answer right now, except to highlight voices that may not otherwise be heard. I also hope to hold space for other “white bodies” that know we must be part of the solution here.

Resmaa recommends we do our own work, with each other, to educate and get over our “fragility” around race discussions. In my 46 years of life I have never worried about being killed by a police officer. My level of discomfort is a tiny sliver compared to a daily stress of someone who’s life has been cut short by a police officer. While police bodies also need to do their own work, we can and must begin in our own bodies.

I close this reflection by saying all of this begins in our bodies. We unwind our stories and social conditioning by exploring their origins, questioning the protective habits that our “primitive lizard” brains developed, and by learning better ways to sharing the bounty we all have. When all do better, all do better (a phrase Paul Wellstone used to use frequently).

Best regards,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

P.S. Resmaa’s Cultural Somatics Institute offers a free 5-day e-course which summarizes the principles in his book. The videos are short and they are helpful. They will make you want to get the book.