Wednesday Revelations: The Big One

Life update that is! The one I’ve been needing to do for a couple of weeks now. Hold on folks, its about to get crazy. 😉

I realize that I’ve hinted at a lot of things over the past couple of months. I’ve had to tell this story over and over again, in various forms, to different people who I spoke with at different points in it. I literally have friends who don’t know what city I’m in right now. So this post is as much for my in-person friends as it is for the rest of my lovely readers.

First of all, let me clarify – I’m in Baltimore! I’m here until at least the end of the year, maybe longer.

The beau and I moved into a new apartment in the city in June. Our plan was to stay through summer and if we didn’t have jobs, pack up and head home to CT to bunk with family. However, come the end of July we both had a number of job prospects. And so the pattern continued. We’d be ready to call our management company and start looking for new tenants…a job prospect would pop up…we’d decide to stay for “just one more month”…and the job would fall through.

It was utterly exhausting. And soul crushing at times. Every time I had to prep myself to leave a city I was finally starting to feel comfortable in, only to have my heart broken. Rinse and repeat.

The beau eventually got a couple of side jobs and I picked up an amazing babysitting gig. I wish I could show you the babies because they are utterly adorable and perfect and my phone is filled with photos of them. But alas, I read an article a while back about face recognition stuff so I’m paranoid to post said photos. Moving on…

The side jobs floated us. We both kept busy enough and though the money wasn’t great, it was better than relying entirely on our rapidly dwindling savings. But come September, we agreed for good that we’d give it one more month. Because this decision was purely financial, it had significantly more weight than our previous ones. I began the full grieving process that came along with saying goodbye. I needed closure because more and more Baltimore was feeling like the home I so wished it were during my MPH year. I had community—my support group, the handful of friends still in the area, and my second family that I babysat for.

Then, towards the end of September, the beau found out about a dream job opportunity in NYC, our dream city In a matter of weeks he applied, had two interviews, received an offer and accepted. We were moving to NYC. We decided he would move up first and I would follow at the end of October. As we began working our way through his bucket list, I found myself struggling more and more. Quite frankly it didn’t feel fair that I had to give up what little I had down here. I almost lost it during every Zumba class I taught as I looked at my students and was overwhelmed with a combination of pride and sadness. The beau and I talked a lot during these weeks as we made the most of what we thought was our last bit of time in Baltimore.

But alas, things couldn’t be that simple. Our plan to move up together fell through. On the same day, a good friend in Baltimore offered me the one thing I needed the most: time. And so the beau packed up his stuff, we did a farewell bar crawl, and the day after Columbus Day he set off on his next big adventure.

Within an hour of saying goodbye to him I had a job.

Seriously, I couldn’t write a story this good. Movie rights are available for the top bidder. 😉 So I relished my last few days of complete freedom, spent an amazing afternoon with the kiddos at the children’s museum, and began packing up for my fourth move in a a year and a half.

On the second day of my job (aka two Tuesdays ago), I received the sad call from one of my besties. The beau came down at the end of the week to help me move to my new home on Saturday and on Sunday we made the drive to NYC so I could catch a bus from there to RI where the services were taking place. Monday evening I flew back and the rest of last week was a flurry of work, doctor’s appointments, unpacking, and other obligations. I was running on adrenaline and lots of caffeine.

In between all of this I started physical therapy for a sprained ankle, said goodbye to friend after friend as they moved to new cities for jobs, and was showing the apartment and selling our furniture.

And that brings us to now. I’m loving my new position and can see myself working for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for a long time. I’m in my third beautiful apartment in Baltimore and getting to know another neighborhood. My roomie has a cuddly kitty and our downstairs neighbor has a super friendly dog that I have permission to visit whenever. My ankle is doing slightly better and I’m meeting new people. Oh and my days have purpose – to help cure cancer.

In other words, things are looking up.

I’m terrified to make any definite plans, given how great that worked over the past few months. So for now I’m focusing on being grateful for the gifts I’ve been given, especially being able to stay with someone as I readjust to the loss of my biggest support person. The nightmare called job hunting showed me more of what I want out of my life. And if I learned nothing else, I know I’m resilient in ways I didn’t think were possible. There were many times this summer when I wanted to just give up. Quite frankly, some weeks I did. I would sit and watch hours of Netflix and just avoid everything because the pain was overwhelming. But eventually I’d put the pieces back together

And that’s all we really can do, isn’t it? Get back up, take what lessons we can, and create a better reality the next time.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

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Wednesday Revelations: We Create our Lives

2 August 2013

August, start:

  • fear
  • hopelessness
  • lack
  • terror
  • despair
  • anger
  • loneliness

—————————————————————————————————–

August, end:

  • hopeful
  • joyous
  • abundant
  • laughter
  • light
  • friendship
  • dreams come true

And so it shall be.

_________________________________________________________________________

1 September 2013

Hope: job opportunities

Pride: healthy, balanced decisions

Joy: birthdays + anniversaries

Closeness: revealing conversations, asking for what we need

Let’s do this September.

_________________________________________________________________________

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Wednesday Revelations: Ariel, Belle, and…Me?

Apparently my writing muse is back because I’ve been going it at it like a champ. #punintended

Seriously, my journal is filling up, so is the notebook I carry with me for ideas, quotes, and connections. And this is the third week in a row that I’ve posted more than once. I’m not 100% sure what is happening, but I love it. Writing, for me, is so therapeutic. Its, as Dan Shapiro said, how I navigate my world, especially my victories and struggles.

One particularly poignant struggle lately has been about figuring out where I fit in this crazy world. As I continue to work on getting back to myself, and battling deep loneliness + regret, I’ve started to see two common themes that may remind you of the very Disney princesses I reference in the title.

  1. I never quite feel like I belong. There’s always something that seems to hold me back from being part of the group, whether its my belief that veganism is not the answer for everyone, my unwillingness to give everything else up for my studies or acting or environmentalism, or my desire to take my work as a sex educator beyond doing Passion Parties and into the realms of cancer survivorship, LGBTQ rights, sexual violence prevention and response, and advocacy around of all these issues and more.
  2. I often feel there’s something bigger out there waiting to be realized by me. I can feel myself on the brink again here, teetering between fear and acceptance of something I can only call my destiny, of leaving my mark in this world by making it a better place through prevention and promotion, education and healing, promise, and hope.

To put it into Disney terms I want to be part of that world and I’ve got so much more than they’ve got planned. Yes, that just happened. No, I’m not sorry about it. And come on, you know I had to! 😉

As I look back on my life I can see these two themes running over and over again. I know this is common among entrepreneurs and healers and empaths, but, you guessed it, I don’t feel that I fit into those labels as well. I want to, so very desperately, but I don’t.

Which, of course, leaves just me.

Please don’t get me wrong…I have wonderful friends and readers and clients. My life is full of love. It took quite some time for me to be able to own that fact after my experiences in grad school, but I can now proudly say that I know its true. But, despite all of this, I often still find myself feeling on the outside, buddies with everyone but true friends with few. A recent Hopkins gathering reminded me of this and reopened old wounds I thought I had dealt with. Although I didn’t completely revert into a quieter, shadowier, more self-deprecating version of myself, I could feel her coming out of me. My inner child, who took such a beating over the course of the last year, wanted nothing more than to curl up into a corner and hide…from the potential for judgment and the reminder that I’m not like them and I blew my chance to be with them.

This all leads me to a new book I’m reading: Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. Or rather, a book I’m rereading because I sped through the first round and now I’m taking it one topic at a time, furiously taking notes and working on actually implementing the principles. Anyway, one of the principles talks about well-intentioned family and friends as being one of our greatest adversaries. Why? Because they see us, and want to keep us, consciously or not, as we are. Steven encourages us to let them go because new friends, ones who will be among our greatest aids, the people who we 100% need will show up.

Perhaps, this message is telling me to forget about trying to fit in. That the people who I constantly feel I have to prove myself to (clue: just about everyone except for a handful of dear loved ones!), are not the ones I should be spending time worrying about. That, upon “giving them up,” a new tribe will come into my life, accepting me as I am and encouraging me to be the best version of myself.

Because, at the end of the day, that’s who I want to surround myself with, is it not? Or is that just my ego talking, trying to protect me by keeping me separate? Its been hard for me to tell lately, as one of the more unfortunate results from this past year’s journey is that I no longer have a strong sense of whether my ego or my Inner Pilot Light is speaking…probably definitely because getting quiet and tapping into the latter became so much harder + scarier.

SO this revelation is far from complete…although it has inspired me to rewatch two of my absolute favorite Disney movies.

Have you ever struggled with feeling lonely and/or not fitting in?

Yoga/beauty/crazy-sexy-life,

Kait xo

Wednesday Revelations: Into My Greatness

Don’t forget to enter Monday’s giveaway!  I received my new box and let’s just say there is now even more chocolate.  YUM.

Today I’m writing to you from a place of stress + excitement.  Just like pain and pleasure, these emotions are two sides of the same coin.  Wouldn’t you agree?

You see over the past few weeks I’ve started to re-realize my own greatness.  (My Gremlin wants to apologize for coming off as haughty; my Inner Pilot Light wants you to know that it is OK to own your accomplishments).

As some of you may have picked up through here and Facebook, I’ve been going through some dark and stormy places lately.  I’ve been feeling listless and lost, down and out, scared and hopeless.  You see I realized a couple weeks ago that the path I’m currently on…to create a sex-positive culture within the healthcare field…is whoa huge.  I mean…this is my task…I’ve never been more sure of it, but its darn scary to know that I’m embarking on something that hasn’t been done before.

A few weeks ago I totally freaked out…in hindsight I’m realizing it was an upper limit problem.  As in…I got spooked by my own greatness, by knowing that this journey I’m embarking on is huge and it could change the lives of the millions of women who are diagnosed with cancer every year.  I questioned friendships, I hid away in my apartment (perks of living on the outskirts of the city, no?), and I avoided hanging out with people.  This spiraled into all sorts of loneliness and angst…and then I went home for Thanksgiving.

I got grounded and centered just by being around my loved ones.  I came back refreshed and more passionate, more certain, more ready.  And this week I started being excited again…realizing that I have the potential to help millions of cancer survivors and thrivers live more pleasurable lives…that I can make a lasting and impacting difference through a combination of healing + teaching.   I can’t help but smile even as I write this when I think about all the possibility ahead of me.

Yes there will be obstacles…but there will also be triumphs.

I’ve known for some time that I am headed for greatness.   Lissa first opened my eyes to this, and I will never forget her telling me how she has created the amazing life she has essentially from nothing.  Hillary helped me to see beyond the limits of my imagination, she saw the could will-be’s and the bigger picture.  The one where I am leading tele-jams and webinars, doing speaking engagements, and making Passion by Kait something bigger than I ever dreamt of.

And though the growth hasn’t happened at the rate I had hoped, though at times it felt like my business was slipping away from me and it wasn’t worth it, I know that every step I’ve taken, and all those I will take, are moving me in the right direction of my destiny.  Because slowly but surely I’m doing those things I want…this past Saturday I had my first presentation (the Gremlin wants you to know its “just” a co-presentation and my co-presenter created most of it but my Inner Pilot Light is shushing him like a good Italian grandma and is already preparing to shout it from the rooftops and make a feast fit for a queen because wouldn’t you know I contributed significantly and it is my presence and my passion and the empowering impression I leave that brought the opportunity to me and that alone is something to sing about).  Over the January term I will be designing a sex education curriculum for fifth graders and potentially teaching part of the sex ed module for a local high school.

And all I had to do was be myself…send an e-mail or two…and trust in the Universe.  (Ok so that last part isn’t always easy…)

And now all I have to do is keep taking these steps, keep being true to myself, and keep working through the dark & stormy when it comes up.  Because undoubtedly it will…and undoubtedly I will get through it to emerge stronger, wiser, and with opportunities abounding. 

What great things are going on in your life lately?

Yoga/beauty/this crazy life,

Kait xo

Wednesday Revelations: Back to My Mat

Before I get to the heart of this post, I wanted to share some awesome photos from last week.

First, I present the World Pneumonia Day Crusaders. Yes this is real life.

Apparently it’s tradition to slip into blue spandex body suits and dance for the BioStats class…flash mob style. If you want a good laugh pick me up, check out the video here (I’m far back left). You’re welcome. 🙂

After Thursday’s amazing performance, I had the fall formal to look forward to Friday night. AKA prom, grad school-style (read: with an open bar and plenty of taxis). Here’s some photos of me my friends and I looking pertiful:

Me and one of my college besties who drove up from DC. 🙂

Now on with today’s post. I had this awesome weekend…dancing on Thursday, formal + clubbing + a sleepover on Friday, and a potluck and karaoke on Saturday. Yet Sunday, I couldn’t shake this deep sense of loneliness. The type of loneliness that literally paralyzes you, that causes you to feel completely alone in a room full of people, that causes every piece-of-shit lie you’ve ever heard and every deception you’ve convinced yourself is true… to just replay.

You see…some truths came to the surface this weekend. Nothing life shifting and nothing to be shared here but, things I’d been denying. Things I had shoved down so deep that I refused to accept their mere existence anymore. Yet they were as much a part of me as anything else. And once unleashed, they were both swift and fierce in their retribution for shoving them aside for so long. So I ruminated…and ruminated…and ruminated some more. I was smart enough to reach out to some friends and things got better once I got my ass off the couch and into their loving arms.

Yet I knew that once Monday came, the truths would still be there and it would be time to own up to them. And though I wanted to run, I didn’t. It wasn’t easy, and some of the truths that came up undoubtedly hurt, but I initiated the needed conversations (4 issues, 4 talks…that takes a lot out of a girl). And after some hugs…came more loneliness and pain. That was when I knew I needed to go back my mat, a place I haven’t been in far too long. I longed for my home studio yet I also realized that they may very well have been problematic in itself.

I haven’t let go of home…of what was…of what might have been. One common theme since I’ve moved to Baltimore is feeling out of place, in every way imaginable. I’m undergoing huge growth and well, they don’t call’ em growing pains for nothing.

I realized that I needed to return to my mat so I could let go. I needed to just dump it all–the pain, the heartbreak, the hurtful truths, the homesickness, the longing for what’s been–into the grounding, earth-red vessel that has seen me through the best and the worst of times. I needed to let my body go limp…with trust, with hope, with belief.

I headed to the one studio where I feel truly ok here. Where I know I can just be myself, modifications, loud sighs, and all. The sub, well she was perfect. Every assist she gave seemed to open me up in just the right spots. Twist deeper. Her cues, they pushed me to simultaneously push harder and listen to my body. Fold further. The readings and music she chose spoke perfectly spoke my current struggle and my next steps. Trust more.

And my mat, it was just what I needed. When I left class, my heart a little less heavy. My demon truths seemed a little more manageable. And through it all I found myself rooting for love. Because in this sometimes (often?) crazy world, there is nothing quite like finding the people who really get you. We spend so much time focusing on the hatred and the vitriol and the falsehoods that we too easily lock ourselves off from love. We say that the risk, the potential price we might pay, isn’t worth it. We run from pain and fear, forgetting that they live on the same muscle as love and joy. We must feel the pain if we also wish to embody the love.

So despite my somewhat still aching heart, I found myself wanting to reach out to those in my life. To remind them that, yes the risk may be big and yes things might be messy along the way or in the end. I’ve been there. I get it. But I don’t regret the things I do and have done for love.

Like practice yoga.
Or cook delicious food to share.
Or lose friendships.
Or stick with a long distance relationship.
Or risk everything.

“Love is a choice” one of my friends told me in one of the aforementioned conversations . Yes its an emotion but choosing to stick with it through good and bad, well that’s another issue entirely. I needed to go back to my mat, to go back to a place of self-love to remember that lesson.

So today I encourage you to choose love, whatever that means to you. Let your heart open just a small crack and let in that feeling of connection, of joy, and, yes, maybe of a bit of pain. Do it again tomorrow. And the day after that. I can’t promise you won’t get hurt…but I can promise that the alternative means not living life to its fullest.

Who’s with me? Will you choose love today?

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Wednsday Revelations: On Religiousness

For someone who claims not to be religious, I pray a whole lot.

But let me back up.  Because this topic requires  bit of, shall we say, unpacking, to really understand where I’m coming from.  SO let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

I grew up in a town where the public schools were less than stellar…or so my momma always said.  Instead, she busted her butt working multiple jobs to put my brother and I through the slightly better Catholic K-8 school.  While a bunch of students left between 5th and 6th grade, and though we looked at  the public schools in hopes of finding something that would challenge me a bit more, I stayed.  And promptly went to a Catholic high school, completed CCD, and got confirmed.  By the time I graduated and went to a Catholic college, I had put a lot of distance between myself and religion in general.  To me it had become about following the rules, about restricting individuals from living their lives, and about blind acceptance and ignoring of negative truths.  What it wasn’t really about was how you lived your life because unless you lived your life how the religion told you to, you were wrong.

I didn’t like this vey much.  Truth be told, I still don’t.

In my first semester I was required to take a religious studies class and it opened my eyes up to Judaism (and Islam although less has stuck with me).  I don’t remember a ton of specifics besides the fact that sex is a mitzvah and female birth control is a-okay but I do remember that a large part of the religion is about studying…questioning…searching.  Though I didn’t know it until recently, this attracted my interest more than anything (yes, even the mandated weekly sex. 😉 ).  Because up until then, I was taught to blindly follow and accept, to not question, and to ignore wrongdoings.

But I still rebelled against religion. I couldn’t sync it with my political views or my scientific studies.  While I still felt spiritual and often described myself as such, I built up a lot of resentment against religiousness.  It became something that I didn’t really talk about because, like a petulant child, I would roll my eyes when people brought it up.  Yet years of indoctrination meant I would still feel guilty over little things…like writing the word god without a capital letter, which I couldn’t do until recently and which still, truth be told, isn’t a habit.

Fast forward to June 2011.  I’ve been on a journey at this point and am exploring the metaphysical world.  I’ve found this group of people who talk about The Universe and I’ve read The Secret and yes you know I never stopped believing in a higher power.  And I have a life changing retreat.  And then I get sick…and my life falls to pieces and I retret so far into myself that when I finally come too I’ve convinced myself that I never really went way when, in fact, I hadn’t told practically anyone what was going on.

And in the meantime I’ve poured my heart and soul onto my yoga mat.  I’ve found the spiritual practice that yogis speak of…after all, I had no choice since my injuries meant I had to put my ego in the corner and modify nearly every posture.  I start to tell people that yoga is my religion…my practice is just a part of it.  I ask my teachers how I can learn more about this community, this spiritual path that teaches truth and gentleness, the pushing of limits and the respecting of boundaries, the opening of the body and the spirit.

Fast forward to my coaching program with Hillary when she says, “I prefer to use the word God but some people like Universe better.  Do whatever feels more authentic to you.”  Wait, what?  Not only are you telling me that metaphysics and religiousness can go together but I get to choose?  It isn’t wrong to question my beliefs?  I’m not doomed to hell if I do so?  Its ok to believe in a higher power that I don’t call god?  What world is this.

And somewhere in all of this I had found Gabby Bernstein, the girl known for making spirituality cool.  And so cool with spirtituality I became.  But even some of her content seemed too woo-woo for me sometimes because lets be real…GOD?  Honestly people? *teenage eye roll*

Fast forward to this fall.  Sometime late September/early October I look around at my group of close friends, people I’ve known for practically no time at all and yet who get me on such an intuitive level, and I realize that me…the girl who rolls her eyes when people say they are going to Church and doing mission trips (which are clearly wrong since really who are we to tell anyone what to believe?) and who talk about Bible study or Christian fellowship…has surrounded herself with deeply religious individuals of various faiths.  Friends who go to church every week, who actively participate in their church community, who talk openly about a merciful God.

The situation was ludicrous.  Yet I knew because it was so different that I was meant to learn from it.  So I committed to keeping myself open to whatever lesson I am supposed to learn from these friends.

And slowly but surely I started to see that we do in fact speak the same language.  My unwavering faith in a Universe that wants the best for us and helps us manifest all good things is not all that different from my friend’s belief in a merciful, loving God.  Yes we use different words, but our prayers, be them of gratitude or for assistance, are the same. Better yet, these differences don’t stop us from being able to talk openly about anything and everything, religion and prayer included.  Instead, they broaden our understanding of it.  This is religion  as I’ve never experienced it before: open, doable, and accepting.

I’m still not completely  sure what to do with this newfound concept because it is so far from the religion I know and was taught for 22 years of my life that I’m [insert metaphor re: being lost].  But you know what?  This, my friends’, form of religion, Gabby’s form of spirituality?  It is pretty cool.  And I can do this.  In fact I do it…every. single. day. Because I no longer can imagine starting my day without silently speaking the Serenity prayer before getting out of bed and stumbling to my meditation pillow, a practice that I hate to skip, no matter how pressed I am for time, and which, if we’re getting serious, is really a form of prayer. 

So that brings us to now (well the time I wrote this)…to me sitting on my couch crying and finding myself reaching out for comfort with the serenity prayer.  And realizing that for a girl who still hates religiousness, I really do pray an awful lot.  All the time actually…giving thanks for the flow of money and energy in…asking for help to make it through weeks where the energy is only flowing out…and seeking peace when I know the answers I need are all within me and I just need to open myself up to listening for them.  For the first time in a long time, I’m ok with this whole religious thing.

So maybe this was the lesson I was supposed to learn.  Maybe not.  All I know is that I’ve come a long way from that scarred, indoctrinated girl who couldn’t even think about religion without a perfectly mastered eye-roll-and-sigh combo. I still identify with yoga as my religion in part because it is a way of life that is constantly challenging and supporting me.  It has opened me up to so many beautiful things, including the relationships I mention here and the lessons I’ve gained.  Yoga has allowed me to open up to myself, to learn to listen in, and to understand why when I do something “harmless” that in reality clashes with my values, I feel guilty.  But it has also taught me to let go of that guilt.

Breathe in compassion.  Breathe out suffering.

It has taught me that its ok to ugly cry…to completely release.  But also that sometimes you must push through and carry on.

Breathe in strength.  Breathe out doubt.

It has taught me to let others in, to be okay with imperfections, theirs and mine.

Breathe in acceptance.  Breathe out judgement.

Yoga, this my religion, has taught me that religion is, in fact, simply okay.

Breathe in joy…love…grace…life…freedom.  Breathe out fear…hatred…worry…deception…harm.

What are your thoughts on religion and religiousness?

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait

Yesterday

Yesterday I…

met some fake friends who I hadn’t seen in a long time.

procrastination. fear. regret. guilt. let down.

struggled with my gremlin the whole damn day.

he told me I wasn’t worth it…was a fake, a hoax, a phoney.  taunted and teased…incessantly.

had detox brain fog that left me unsteady.

unstable. confused. worried

struggled more than I had in a while.

and wasn’t totally sure what to do about it.

found no solace in my yoga practice.

instead i felt disconnected, disheartened, lost and loney.

missed “home” more than I had in a while.

mom’s house, worcester, MYoga, my family, my friends.

fell into old patterns I thought I had left behind.

ones I thought I’d never see again.

was not my best day.

and it also wasn’t my worst.

I survived.

and today I started anew.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Wednesday Revelations: Losing Focus

During one of our sessions Hillary passed along some advice she had gotten from a teacher of hers:

A bad day for your ego is a good day for your soul.

Let me tell you something.  The past couple of days have been pretty good days for my soul.

I’ve cried sobbed.  Yelled.  Blamed (myself + others).I’ve been upset in every meaning of the word.  I’ve had my joy but all-in-all, during the past couple of days its felt kind of like there’s a black cloud following me around.

In May I was lost focus.  Now I’m back on track and feeling antsy.  I went straight from enjoying the work-and-worry-free life to busting at the seams to get to Baltimore.  I’m ready to settle back into a schedule…to have a kitchen space that is all my own…that isn’t shared.  And though I’m technically back on track, my focus is turned elsewhere.  In the quiet moments my mind wanders to the future…to the great unknown that comprises my next big adventure.  So I go through the motions and I put my time and work in and I’m redeveloping my sense of time management and discipline (tangent: I feel so blessed that I can make that skill wax and wane as necessary 🙂 ) but my focus still isn’t on the target.

In other words, my focus isn’t my filter even though it should be.

Let me talk in concrete terms for a second.  In April, I had my highest month ever with Passion Parties.  I grossed over $5000.00 in sales in four little parties.  I was on top of the world.  I quit the job the I checked out of months ago and was no longer living in a space with someone whose habits and mine didn’t always sync.  Life was good.  May was set to be even better with five parties, a week in Newport, and time devoted solely to working out, watching TV, and reading whatever I felt like.

What wasn’t good, however, were my May parties.  I shook off the first.  It happens I told myself every party can’t be $1000+ even though I know my products and I are 100% worth it.  I did the same with the second.  And the third and the fourth.  Then came the fifth and sixth.  My last hopes.  I clocked over 8 hours of driving in two days…for around minimum wage.  I barely made my quota for May…the amount I need to earn each month in grad school to cover expenses.

I cried and I raged and I held a full blown pity party in my honor.  Slowly but surely other little things started to occur.  It seemed that everything I touched was turning to shit.  I felt like Icarus when he got too close to the sun.  I pouted and cursed people and was wholly not my regular self in any way/shape/form.

I reached out to my team…to my angel of fire.  I worked on my newsletter.  Then I went deeper.  I quieted my mind and I looked inside.  And I realized that though being lazy has its benefits, the loss of focus that accompanied my laziness had done nothing to serve me.  My business wasn’t thriving and neither was I.

And I realized that not only had I lost focus, I had also taken my business for granted.  I allowed myself to be pushed around.  I didn’t stand up for us. I didn’t set the standard.  And it showed…in cold hard numbers and lack of income.  All of the amazing things I’ve learned over the past few months–how I can and should ask directly for what I need, how I need to respect my biz first and foremost before I can expect anyone else to–had slipped from my mind.  I didn’t run the show and therefore the show simply didn’t run.

It was a rude awakening.  But it was a lesson my soul needed to learn.  Do I wish I could have avoided the pain?  The worry and concern that is keeping me up at night making me wonder if it will all work out next year?  Hell. yes.  But did I also need to learn the lesson?  YES.

And at the end of the day, all the crying felt pretty damn good.

When was the last time you had a good soul day?

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

On Values, Balance, and Alignment

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I’m happy to report that my tummy troubles are mostly cleaned out.  I guess I just felt the need to take spring cleaning to another level!

Ok…the sometimes-witty-sometimes-awful poop jokes will stop now, promise!  😉

All-in-all, I am super proud of myself for stopping to recognize and honor that my body needed a rest.   This is a lesson that definitely grew out of my injury as I learned to ask for what I need, even of myself.

Anyway, today I want to talk a bit more about values, something, quite frankly, I don’t think about very often.  On my weekly coaching call last night, I mentioned my tummy troubles to Hillary and she basically stopped me right then and there and was like, “WHOA girl…tummy stuff is always emotional.”

HUH?!  I thought this was just about the fiber…  what the hell is she talking about?

So we worked through it and chatted and went over by close to 30 minutes and it was wonderful and beautiful and she gave me new exercises to put into practice to address these issues and so on.  At the end, she asked if there was anything I needed…I brought up balance, something I struggle with in a mental and emotional sense albeit not physically.  <–I find it fascinating when there is a discrepancy between my physical and energetic states!  And she said one sentence that blew my mind with its simplicity and raw truth: Balance comes from alignment.

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It is easy to see how this manifests physically, especially if you’ve ever attempted something like Warrior III.  But I didn’t see how it manifested energetically in other areas of our lives.  Hillary mentioned something about values but until this morning, I could not grasp the lesson.

I began the day with one of the exercises Hillary asked me to complete: drawing a pie chart of my life.  I drew the circle, listed the ten things to put it in and got to work divvying it up.  I let my heart guide the pen rather than my hand.  At the end I looked down, feeling proud of my work, only to realize that not only was it severely out of balance, I had not made room for everything on my list.  Things like future tripping and reading blogs have a huge chunk of my time while family and friends barely have slivers.  My Passion biz didn’t even make it on the chart.  This both broke my heart and showed me how accurate the chart reflected my current state.  As I focused my attention and awareness on this chart and how I could bring it into more balance (dare I say, “fix it”?), the word values rose from my heart.  So many lessons that I have heard and read and so many things I’ve been told bubbled to the surface as the lesson became clear.

Our lives are in alignment not when everything is going perfectly, but when we are living in accordance with our deepest values.  And so it is true that from this alignment and this alignment only, can we find balance.

I turned inward to examine my values and from this examination I drew a new pie chart, one that put no one person or activity above the other, recognizing and acknowledging the Tantric/Spirit Junkie teaching that we are all one. I grabbed markers and highlighters and colorful pens and let creativity and the Universe flow through me.  Encircling the circle are my most important values, things like simplicity, integrity, willingness, love, and peace.  I left two areas free, designating them “Miscellaneous” in recognition of the fact that this pie chart is not a static drawing, but rather a living, breathing, changing force.

The new chart looks less like the pie from your family dinner, where everyone chaotically asks for different size pieces, and more like a wheel, a hot pink,  functional wheel that has the power and the know-how to keep the bike steady.  Surrounded by the things I need and respect the most, this is a wheel that will never let me down.  It will keep moving forward, it will hold me up, and it will allow me to find balance.

This is the wheel of my life.  I cannot control everything, but I can control my mind and how I react and where I place my energy. I cannot control those or the world around me, but I can make a commitment to living in alignment with these values, knowing that they may change over time as I myself grow and change and learn and continue awakening.  This is not a static image–what circle ever is?–but rather one that will flow and grow and shrink and rotate and dance along with the ebbs and flows of my life.

Life is a journey and this is vehicle I’m choosing to travel it on.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

Wednesday Revelations: For the Rejected Among Us

Monday evening I posted the above photo to facebook with the following caption: “It only took 6 years and 23 applications…”

It blew up newsfeed apparently because in about 12 hours it had over 50 likes plus numerous comments.

Then Tuesday, while listening to The Voice at work I had a revelation.  Yes…I had a paradigm-shifting experience while watching reality TV.  Who woulda thunk it?

What about those who didn’t get in and who didn’t win?  What about the rejected?

And I immediately thought back to the picture and the caption and sent a little prayer/love note/universal hug to every person whose letter from JHSPH didn’t start with, “Congratulations…”  I held them in my heart and whispered words of encouragement and hope and love.  Because I have been there…21 times in the last two years and numerous more in the last 6.  I’ve been the “almost” girl more times than I can count and had started joking that I would fail miserably in the dating scene because, clearly, I’m a terrible closer.  😉

This is the time of year where acceptances start rolling in.  And in our moments of glory and pride and relief and joy and pure happiness, we forget that for every one of us, there are countless others who’s dreams have been squashed.  Who call their best friend as soon as they see that small envelope waiting in the mail pile and beg her to drive across the state at 11 at night with cookies and hugs.  Who are broken with pain, with diminishing hope, with inertia and boredom and fear and anxiety and pure disappointment.  Whose beliefs in themselves are being shaken.  Who are starting to think they aren’t worth it.

This post is for you.

On the night I received my rejection letter from Einstein, the last med school I was waiting to hear from, I wrote the following (ironically, found days before I received my Hopkins letter):

“My roommate left the envelope in plain site.  We both had been eagerly, hopefully awaiting the news.  I did not let its’ small size get me down since others had mentioned their good news had been packaged in that way.  Moments later I felt as if I had been ripped apart from the inside.  Every failed attempt, every forgetting obligation, every “No” I had ever heard roared through my body, filling me with despair, regret, death.  I welcomed the emptiness that followed many hours of the deepest pain I had ever felt.  This surely was personal….there is no way it could not be.  Something had to be wrong with me for I had failed yet again.  My asthma flared up, my heart raced, and I had never been so happy for my isolation as in that moment…

We make plans.  We organize our lives around these plans and let them influence what we see when we look ahead in time.  Then the Universe, or God, or whatever higher entity you choose to believe in, steps in to say, “Hold on.  Take a step back.  Let’s rethink this situation.” and we find ourselves broken, faithless, and questioning.  Those of us who consider ourselves optimists try to find a deeper meaning in the situation, hoping that good will eventually come…after all, it should be our turn by now.  So we jump back into action mode, a little late in the game, and start moving forward.  But in those dark moments when we find ourselves alone in our apartments or in the stage between wake and sleep, the gremlins in our mind begin to sneak in and remind us that we are not worth it, that we were rejected for a reason, and that we will never be good enough.

Day in and day out we move along, maintaing a smiling face and being productive.  We tell others that we are “Good” out of habit rather than truth, and never reveal the feelings of inadequacy that threaten to overwhelm us at any given moment.  We find ourselves more prone to crying when we read medical charts and start to question whether medicine is even our correct path.  For those of us who are empathetic to a fault, a season of rejections is traumatizing.  We replay every interview and reread every application, trying to discern wherein lies our fault.  We pretend that we are coping when in reality we feel lost, uncentered, and off-balance.

We begin the process of reapplying and wonder if its even really worth it.”

For me, those feeling plagued the rest of 2011.  You know…you’ve been reading along with me.  Because, for me, it wasn’t just one season of rejection letters but years.  It was a pattern. And it hurt like hell.

So I get you, the rejected, the lost, the broken.  I’ve been you more times than I wish.  And my advice is this: feel your hurt.  Let the rage and angst course through you, overwhelm you, fill you up, and break you.  Scream, sob, snot, heave, cuddle your pets, have angry sex, punch the wall, break a glass.  Do what you need.  Let yourself go numb for a while…then channel those emotions into creating something.  Write, draw, bake, dance, run.  Let others help you.  <–I know how hard this is. Don’t hide from your emotions, but rather let them fuel you.  Reassess, do some soul searching, try to find the teaching moment.

I know now that I needed another year.  I thought last year I had it all but that was before the injury, before yoga became a spiritual practice infused in my everyday life, and before I could even realize that it was not my time.  No way could I have dealt with medical school + my wrist situation.  So in a twisted way, I am grateful.  <–never saw that coming last year!

And for those who have received that long awaited acceptance: CONGRATUFRICKINGLATIONS!  Celebrate, revel, rejoice.  And when you find a moment of quiet (for me it took a couple days), place your hands on your heart and think kindly of those who were not as lucky.  Send them your love and your encouragement and whisper words of hope and comfort and peace.  Know that I am not telling you to feel bad or guilty because you got in and so many others didn’t.  Instead, I’m asking that you acknowledge your luck and fortune and hard work, be grateful, and be mindful.  Scream it from the rooftops but do so with love.

Yoga/beauty/life,

Kait xo

P.S. For those wondering about the picture…the science department at my alma mater, Stonehill College, has a success board in the main lobby of our science center.  When people are accepted to schools or programs, we get our names on the board…its a huge honor and accomplishment and something we all hope to accomplish over the course of our time there.  🙂