Relief at Release

I breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as I ordered the first dozen author copies of my first book, Unleash, Unlearn, and Enliven: Seven Micro-Practices to Engage Your Somatic Wisdom. I get to buy at printing cost plus shipping from Amazon.

Is there some shameless self-promotion in this post? Yea you betcha, as we say in Minnesota.

I’m choosing to include not just the Amazon link as I encourage potential readers to buy the book, but also links at Bookshop.org, which supports Indie booksellers. I also include Barnes and Noble, because I truly miss hanging out in their bookstore/coffee shop as I did for many hours (days, weeks, months) back when I was finishing my masters thesis in 2006. I’m giving some love to Birchbark Books in Minneapolis. It is owned by author Louise Erdrich. I first read Love Medicine back in college I think. If you have never read Erdrich’s work, stop now and order a book by her. Any book. Don’t even read my book. Seriously, your money is better spent on her work if you haven’t read any of it yet.

My deepest hope for my first book is that it feels like nourishment and support to those who are bicultural and/or neurodiverse, with ADHD, or those with sensitive nervous systems who want to love those parts of themselves they often hide in the shadows. There is much love contained in it, and much hard-won wisdom. And I know it’s not for everyone, but I hope it helps my peeps feel less alone.

We live in an incredible time when we can spread the messages we wish to convey without the same gatekeepers who used to “control the store” so to speak. While I deeply respect the work of the traditional publishing world, I also know that the leadership there is overwhelmingly White and male. In recent years, many independent publishers have been established that cater to a more diverse reader base. And now as self-publisher, I get to join that list in a tiny way.

If you want to take a listen to the guided somatic awareness practice from Sound Cloud, it might make a nice 5 minute body-based meditation as a break from your day. I will someday have an audio book version of the entire book produced, perhaps. One project at a time. Spring has me thinking about podcasts to further spread the micro-practices, but I’ve got a little prep to do before that.

Hope your creative work is fruitful and satisfying in 2022!

Cheers,

Cristy

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?

Self-confidence as embodied experience

Hello lovely friends,

Hope those of you in the United States enjoyed a beautiful and safe weekend and that everyone else is well also.

I spent time connecting with friends and enjoying mask-free, vaccinated “new freedom” and got to listen to live music, gather with those I enjoy and also have adequate time for solitude.

It’s those longer weekends that make us all feel refreshed, no?

Somatics of Self-Confidence is being offered free on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

But I digress. I have been excited to plan on a new free offering on the somatics of self-confidence upcoming on July 15, 2021. It’s unclear if I will use LinkedIn Live or Zoom for that event (I may try some experiments before that to test). However, I intend to make this a real-time practice session for those looking to build confidence on a non-left-brained way.

We will embody confidence by doing some small movements (somatics) in order to release chronic tension from our bodies. We will breathe deeply into our bellies (diaphragmatic breath) in order to generate the feelings of confidence we desire. And we can use this confidence for a number of things: ask for a raise, ask for a work-from-home day once or twice a week, apply for a new job, or even to give a presentation.

Can you benefit from a little more confidence?

Join us at 11:30am CST on Thursday July 15, 2021 by getting on my workshop list (free, no charge) and allow me to share a few techniques I have found helpful especially in the last few years.

Look forward to seeing you there!

P.S. I’m linking to a YouTube video that’s part of my series on the somatics of self-confidence in case you want a byte-sized version of what I will offer at the free webinar.

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