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

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

Divine Feminine Rising

I write this with an impish sense of glee because of the subversiveness in invoking the Divine Feminine for my next yoga workshop. And at the same time, it is time. Fitting that I sent an invitation to my yoga community yesterday, on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of women’s right to vote (on a national level) in the United States.

What I believe is that leadership needs to be in balance within any community, and needs to reflect the diversity of that community.

Also: leadership does not always come from the top. It often comes from the dedicated and grassroots work of caring people who take initiative (sometimes despite bad leadership) to unite and work together.

We must create new models of leadership that are more inclusive and representative. I know it is possible. And I truly believe our planet needs this to thrive. We may need to open to it rather than push all the time.

Divine Feminine image - Sunday Retreat experience for women,
August 30 9am-10:30am
To sign up for this retreat, click here. Deadline is Friday, August 28th to reserve your spot.

So while I know this may seem “edgy” and my scientist-trained left-brained readers might wonder about me, I am practicing radical openness in allowing myself to trust that the right people are guided toward me. The others can go along their merry way and think what they wish.

How liberating.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Weekend haiku post retreat

I was off the grid for the weekend, a planned retreat to my primitive place in the woods before we began experiencing as a collective the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the chaos that descended upon the Twin Cities.

Friday the following haiku tumbled forth:

Our hearts grieve deeply

Sorrow of generations

Collective trauma 

***

On Saturday, after reading old journals and during a re-read of Dani Shapiro’s memoir devotion, the following emerged:

Our paradoxes

Ideas contradicting

And nested within

***

Ferns at 1224 Cramer
A lovely stand of ferns captured while on a hike 5/30/2020.

A part of me felt anxiety while I was off the grid, missing the news, away from the internet. I was not even able to receive texts unless the wind was right and my cell intermittently had reception. Another part of me felt grateful for the retreat and the space away from knowing all of the heartbreaking external events of the world.

I used the weekend for reading past journals (I’m up to 2016 after about a year of reviewing my collection which goes back to 1992), reflection, writing and grieving. I went on walks and listened to what my inner voice seemed to request. I fasted for 20 hours on Saturday, allowing my body to be awake to any and all sensations.

Retreating requires enormous privilege, I realize. And it is something that feeds me psychologically and spiritually. Since I was very young I have always valued and treasured solitude and personal space. I wish it is something everyone could have when it is necessary.

After a retreat, there is the return. We live together in an interdependent web. We love each other. We hurt each other. We forgive each other. We acknowledge and apologize for past misdeeds. We resolve to treat each other with more respect. We understand that how we treat others is a reflection of our beliefs. We examine and unpack those beliefs, conditioned patterns we did not necessarily create consciously.

In the end, many of us realize that we are not separate from others. All living beings contain a divine spark, an unlikely miracle of energy and matter, defying the physical law of entropy.

How can we learn to value and love all humans, and all creatures of this earth? How can we remember our divine connection, our shared fate on this small planet? 

These are questions for which I have no answers. Yet I keep asking them and my soul keeps beckoning me to live these questions as I strive to serve.

***

cristy@meximinnesotana.com