6 Little Gems to Help PNW Inhabitants Make it Through the Gray Days.

Don’t let Eeyore be your PNW Fall spirit animal!

Moving into fall can be a very challenging time for the people of the Pacific Northwest, where   the weather sets records daily for the most rainfall inside of my soul. I am from here and you’d think that I would be used to this by now, but I am not. I, like many others, suffer from a need to see sunshine on a semi-regular basis.

There are some, who would like to believe themselves immune to the effects of a life in monotone, but they are delusional. They are just in denial of the fact that they are sadder, more lethargic, drinking more alcohol, and spending way more time indoors than usual. They refuse to believe and so they shop at REI, where they can pick up every waterproofed item necessary to venture out and “enjoy” the outdoors in the Land of Soggy Trees.

I am not in denial. I know that this is about to be very hard for me and many others.  I think we may fare better if we plan for the Drearyland experience and are prepared to fight off Gray days with YAY days!  I will deck up my halls with festive cheer and embrace this season. I will watch so many sports, and I will go to the gym after waking up every morning to my sunrise Sunshine lamp. I will make it through this, and so will you. In an attempt to help us all out I’ve created a list of things that one can do to help make it through to next July 5th when we will see the sun again.  These are my personal experiences from a lifetime of living here. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. Good luck to you and I hope that we see each other in the coming months!

1.Take supplements: I am taking Vitamin D, fish oil, magnesium, multivitamin, and a probiotic. I don’t particularly remember why I  decided to take these.  I am sure it has something to do with something somebody told me or I read it in a magazine somewhere. I do know that this combo works well for me because when I stop taking them it’s worse.  I am sure everyone is different in their needs, but do at least try to help yourself along with some vitamin D!  #vitamindforlife #takeyourvitamins #shoplocaldrugstores #thatdoesntmeanpotdispensaries #althoughthatcanhelptoo

  1. The Bright AF Lights*. Purchase a tiny box filled with old tanning bed lights so that you can sit next to it  and have it shoot laser sunbeams straight into the sides of your eyeballs multiple times a day as a method of getting the vitamin D that your body needs. This works, I have one. Apparently, Bright AF Lights directed straight at your eyeball makes you feel more awake. #Science.
  2.  The #HFL or Healthy Fitness lifestyle involves exercising and eating for mental health and so that when the spring comes and you take off the sweater that you are not upset with yourself.  Also, excessive drinking of alcohol equals an excessive need for cardio. If you are going to drink like that during this time of year, then you must sweat it out and rehydrate. Otherwise, you will find yourself putting on unnecessary weight and your skin will look awful. #earnthosecalories #cardioworkoutsmatter
  3. Be social. We need to be around people in a healthy, happy and relaxed manner so instead of always waiting around for invites and then sometimes turning them down because you don’t like the restaurant or the bar or the other person who’s coming, host them at your house. Build your social calendar through the holidays early on with dinners, game nights, watching sports together and enjoy the company you’d like with the food that you eat and with the drinks that you prefer. Even though you have to go out through the cold and wet to get there, it’s worth it in the end when you see those smiling faces of your friends! #gather #community
  4.  Do the fun things. It’s easy to say “no” when it’s nasty outside or you haven’t been feeling your best, but this time of year is filled with tons of fun events that require lots of silly kinds of activities and games which put most of us out of our comfort zones. Say “yes” and try something new! Go and dress up! Wear that costume, dress to the nines for that holiday affair,  wear bells on your shoes, let loose and make merry. Create memories and give yourself something to look forward to the next time this season comes around. People miss you and they want to hang out with you, you should call them and set something up. #fucktheseattlefreeze  #trynewstuff #fallfun #tistheseason #takebacktheholidays

 

  1.  Find Gratitude.  It gets busy and we stretch ourselves and our wallets very thin sometimes.  That can sometimes leave you feeling less than grateful for obligations in your life directly related to loved ones and less than enthused to participate.  That doesn’t feel very nice.  A life’s work is hard and finances are stressful no doubt, but the only answer I have found to ease this pain is gratitude.  When I feel those frusterating, sad and lonely emotions come on I engage Full Gratitude mode.  Focus and focus hard on that in your life for which you are most grateful and I guarantee you that it will bring upon you a wave of happiness.  When you can live in a space of gratitude you will take that feeling into your days and it will create an intention inside of you to pass that feeling along to others.  There will be no withholding, no selfishness and this is better than any vitamin or Bright AF light.  #liveingratitude #bevulnerable

 

I hope this helps.  I would love to hear your tricks and tips to make it through the gloom that isn’t relocating to a sunnier locale, lol. 

Best of luck to you and yours in the coming season. #Liveyourbestlife

 

Peace and Love,

Kristina

 

*”Bright AF Lights” are not a brand that can be purchased.

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8 Ted Talks I can’t stop talking about!

I love Ted Talks!  And as the name of this post suggests, I have gleaned life-changing-perspective and mind-blowing insight.

Today I want to share some of my favorites with you. I love so many of them and it’s hard to remember them all, but these are the ones I probably reference the most.  I hope you enjoy my little collection of Ted Talks gems!

1.  Esther Perel: The secret to desire in long term relationships.


Even if you’re single this is a great talk.   In this talk Esther gives a frank and fresh perspective on what creates and fosters desire and how that can sometimes be at war with love.  I really appreciate her take on healthy relationships, boundaries and her focus on the person being and feeling whole, in and of themself.

2. Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability. 

https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

Exactly like it sounds,  this well loved talk explains how vulnerability and shame are also the birthplace of many a good thing if we can learn to embrace the mess and let go of of our the fears that can paralyze us from letting our authenttic selves be seen.

3.  Srikumar Rao: Plug Into Your Hardwired Happinesss

https://www.ted.com/talks/srikumar_rao_plug_into_your_hard_wired_happiness

This one hit me hard.  As one who was always trying to get straight A’s on my report card of life, this one explains how not only is that a fools errand, but it’s also a terrible waste of a life.  This one went a long way to helping me see the beauty in the journey and to letting go of the my expectations about outcomes.

4.  Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator.

https://www.ted.com/talks/tim_urban_inside_the_mind_of_a_master_procrastinator

Funny and cleverly delivered, you’ll meet the Monkey who wants to play all day and keep us from doing the hard stuff of life. I enjoyed feeling like I wasn’t alone in this or that I have some attention disorder condition…No, no…I just have a Monkey in my head.   This talk helped me see that in major life projects, with no deadline and no one to hold me accountable it is my duty to keep that Monkey in check.  Because left to his own devices he will always choose to play… all day, every day.

5. Sarah Lewis: Embrace the Near Win

https://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_lewis_embrace_the_near_win

This talk inspired in me a new perspective in regards to how I felt about my “failures”.  It affirms how our “near wins” (aka near misses) can spur tenacity and perseverance in a person.  Also, how mastery is achieved through creating consistently excellent outcomes; that takes s lot of near wins to accomplish.  Sarah shares how if we can see these moments as opportunities for recalibration, we might improve our chances for a better outcome on our next try.

6. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action

Food for the souls of entrepreneurs and businesses minded, this talk helps us understand the “why” in business is invaluable insight especially when building a brand.  Also, check out his interview about “Millenials in the workplace” and another of his Ted Talks on “How Good leaders maker us feel safe”.

7. Tusn Nguyen: Volunteerism

From a humble background that encouraged and embraced gratitude and community activism his a story that inspired me to up my volunteer efforts while doing what I love!

8. Andrew Solomon: How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are.

A beautiful talk about adversity and how it shapes our character.  This one brought the tears and helped me be grateful for my past challenges that made me who I am today.
Ted Talks are “ideas worth sharing”, so if you liked any or all of these please share the wealth!

Wanna share a talk with me? Please do.  Send me link and share the ideas that inspire you!

Thanks!

 Finding Happiness

happinessI found my happiness and I’m on an all-time high. I have finally accepted everything in my life; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I no longer feel like I’m rushing to make it to the end of every day when I zone out and sometimes drink too much wine and smoke too much pot. I’m not exactly sure how it came to me.  I think I just got tired of tracing every perceived “bad” outcome and circumstance all the way back to my birth and then even farther to that of my parents and blah, blah, blah…That’s exhausting. I had to ask myself “Every time something bad happens in your life do you really want to go all the way back only to find that there’s no one to blame except God and His timing? Then what? Be mad about that?  Forget it.   I didn’t get to choose anything about the timing of my birth or to whom I was born, and it is my mission in life to accept me the way I was made and to love me so hard.

I discovered that when I filled my mind with thoughts of self-love for all of me (past, present and future) I was overwhelmed with the desire to exude love.  An authentically generous and patient nature seemed to overcome my senses. I discovered a universal truth that the more you give, the more you receive. I had been operating from a space of scarcity for so long.

I had not taken inventory of my blessings and the work that was going into caring for those blessings felt like a burden; I was tired. And now…Now, (as cheesy as it sounds) I wake up every morning feeling very grateful to be alive and to have another opportunity to love on my community and to take care of my responsibilities with the greatest of tenderness and thoughtfulness. It is my intention to do good and I know that I will make mistakes.

I know I’m going to feel like crying in a corner again at some point in time and I know that my children are going to get in trouble and I know that I’m going to cheat on my diet and skip the gym and I know that I’m going to forget to get back to that person like I said I would and I know that I am going to snap at a friend unintentionally…I am only human.  I’m finally okay with that, (I’m done trying to be Jesus).  We are imperfect by design.

I am embracing my near-misses.  My near misses are opportunities for me to recalibrate and come at the challenge with a better aim and perspective the next time I have the chance.  Just because I don’t have it today doesn’t mean I’ll never get it, it just means that I don’t get it yet.  There’s always tomorrow.

So I choose to be easy on myself and know that more often than not I’m going to get it wrong because I’ve never lived this life before, I don’t know what I’m doing and I didn’t come with a manual. This is only my first time. Which is why I am so grateful for my mentors who have guided me along this path. Their advice is invaluable and life-changing. They have lived their lives and made their mistakes and are humble enough to share their stories with me in the hopes that I may not have to make the exact same mistakes that they made and save me some time so that I can make different mistakes and affect my overall outcome. What a blessing mentors are.

The discovery of these truths is how I found my happiness within.  The seas only raged in my soul because I kept stirring them up.  No more.  The waters are now peaceful and going with the flow feels like the best decision I make everyday and I would never dream of rushing it.  I’m going to cherish every moment I’m flowing through this life.

Cheers to you, your journey towards the future and the past that brought you to the present!

 

 

A Letter For The Men.

Dear men who are interested in dating me,

I want to save you the time of reading through ALL of my very emotional and very long blogs and summarize for you what is important to me if you are interested in dating me.  This list provides you the best of my overall preferences.*

Top 10 Hacks For Dating Me.

1.  Be a man who gets dressed.  Shave your neck.  I don’t care what kind of facial hair you have, shave your neck up to your chin-line and trim mustache hair so that I might kiss your lips…not your facial hair.  Iron your shirt.  Although I think everyone should know how to iron their own clothes, I will permit the use of a dry cleaner’s assistance if your clothes are really nice.

2.  Take pride in the presentation.  Clean out your car (yes, this means you have to have a car).  If you have to move shit off the front seat when you open up the door (please notice that YOU opened up the door) to let me in you clearly were not thinking about my ass sitting there.  Which means you were clearly not thinking about my ass…missed opportunity. #noscrubs

3.  Have your own (neat and tidy) home that you take care of on your own.  No roommates.  Exceptions: extenuating circumstances involving family/loved ones. #cleanlikeyourmamataughtyou

4.  Love your career or be actively working through a plan that is getting you there.  I like men ambitious and I’m nowhere near retirement (income/savings is not a thermometer for retirement readiness, btw), neither should you be.  I like a man who has his sights on professional success in a way that is useful to his community and provides him the daily opportunity for personal growth.  That really says a lot about how you value your time and your brain. #locallove #investinyourprocess

5. Have a healthy, fitness, lifestyle already in place.  How’s your endurance?  How’s your mental health?  Enough said. #igotstamina #beenready

6.  Be brave.  Brave enough to be open and vulnerable.  Tell me what you want. Express your concerns early on.  Heartbreak can hurt, but it won’t kill.  Be brave enough to share your feelings. Be brave enough to be completely you…raw, unedited and proud of your current place in your life journey.  I’m looking for perfectly imperfect in every way, I’m not trying to date Jesus… Oh, and then if it is wonderful, you must be brave enough to stay.  #nocommittmentphobes #challengeaccepted

7.  Be a man of information.  I like being right, but it turns me on to be with someone who can keep up with me in a conversation that spans a WIDE variety of topics.  I am hairstylist, I can talk about almost anything.   #don’tbebasic.  Conversely, it turns me completely frigid when I am constantly having to explain myself or when I read texts that consistently lack proper grammar, punctuation and are wrought with typos. #makelovetomybrain

8.  Have a kind soul.  Be compassionate, understanding and thoughtful.  You don’t need to go to church to have a belief in something larger than yourself.  A sincere, kind and generous spirit should be the impetus behind your daily grind and attitude about said ‘grind’.  #what’syourwhy?

9.  Take care of your family and friends.  Quality over quantity.  Being you should ideally involve a dedication to uplifting the people in your life who have taken care of you and helped you become the man you are today. #familyfirst #strongtribes #nomanisanisland

10.  Be a fun and adventurous person.  I like change.  I like trying new things and I like to share those experiences with my people…generally with as many people as I can get to show up.  Though you don’t have to be an extreme extrovert like myself, you should not be aghast or offended by the idea of spending lots of time out and about, making conversation with complete strangers or being spontaneous.  #enjoyeachmoment #noplanshere #noexpectations

There you have it.  I can promise you this list is not comprehensive.  If this is not you or you find yourself offended feel free to admire me from a distance and keep it pushing.  If this list doesn’t terrify you nor have have you ever been called a ‘narcissist’ by any of your previous female companions you may proceed the courting process.  First dates are easy to come by, second dates are much harder to get.  I look forward to hearing from you.

I am amazingly hard to hold onto.  #how’syourgrip?

Sincerely,

Kristina, #msindependent    

*This list is subject to change at any moment, without due notice and completely dependent upon the time of the month, situation at hand and/or level of hunger/fatigue. Side affects vary and are not limited to, but may include irritability, inability to make decisions about anything, lack of tolerance for life, insistence of the FACT that I am failing in life, or overall appearance of unsexiness (don’t even think of mentioning ANY the symptoms to me.  Failure to adhere to this rule could result in a bad day for you).  In which case you should overlook all of the symptoms, don your sympathetic face and show up with flowers, good wine and only the darkest of chocolates.

My not dating failure

So that thing I said about not dating and minding my own business…I did not nail that.  Well, to be perfectly accurate I made it one day.   I tried, I really did. I even put it in a blog so that I would be held personally responsible for my actions going forward. I even called it; I knew the potential risk of making a “grand sweeping declaration” and I did it anyway. So in truth I suppose I set myself up for failure, because I have certainly failed at not dating. One day?? The universe is amused by my attempts to map my own future. 
As terrible as it sounds, from the rafters they did come. Each was warned of my emotional fragility from my previous break up and I was honest about the likelihood of me not being available for anything serious while I am working on my life and each did proceed until my disinterest and their pride would eventually cease the fire of their attention in my direction. 

Proud of myself for not giving away time and energy to romantic endeavors I knew had no future and feeling very determined to turn away suitors I kicked the mud off my heels and buried my face in my work a that’s when the message came, naturally.

A shameless intrigue manifested as a direct result of me putting myself out there and challenging myself to do my best. I wanted to say “no”, I really did.  But instead I said,  “Sure, we can get some coffee…” 

I wish I could say the hurt from The Break-Up didn’t impact my feelings about being vulnerable, but it did. At first I thought it was for the worse when Le Saboteur flew ever stronger in my face empowered by the new fear of rejection.  Of course it was not fear of just any rejection, but a fear of rejection of my life with children; something I cannot change nor do I want to. “I ask you again Kristina,  who would want to share your life?”, Le Saboteur mocked her pain, but no sooner did the room fall silent could the voice of another suitor be heard coming through fb messanger.  A man I drunkenly gave my Facebook info to in a bar whom I had immediately unfollowed the next day and had blown off a few times already. His persistence was about to pay off. For some reason on this day I permitted his advance.   

“We should get coffee sometime.” He didn’t hesitate and made the suggestion rather quickly.  I did hesitate. 

“Coffee Kristina,  he’s just asking you for coffee…what’s the harm in that?  Plus,  he is probably a tool anyway.  Just go get your free coffee,  take your laptop so you can get some work done before and after the date, be polite and then you won’t ever have to see him again if you don’t want to” and that was my inner dialogue as I walked into the coffee shop that cool, crisp morning in February.  I stood by the counter considering my order when he walked up to me and met me with a hug…ugh, he’s tall, attractive and smells good…and just like that my one day streak of not dating after my declaration was broken.  Some record. 

I was officially on my first coffee date with The Pilot.

Technically single, emotionally unavailable. 

 

After much contemplation I can honestly say that for the first time in my adult life I have no desire to give energy to the pursuit of love.  This does not mean that I could not make space for it, only that I just don’t care about helping it along; much good that ever did me anyway.  Therefore, being fully aware of the dangers of making sweeping declarations, I doth declare that I pursueth love not.  There is someone I am meant to be and a pretty substantial list of things I have been meaning to do which for way too long have taken a backseat to whatever bright and shiny new distraction came my way.  But no more!  I solemnly swear that this will be the year of minding my own business.  In an only slightly ironic manifestation of my intentional focus, I have decided that this year my business is my community…or my community is my business rather.

For years I have been incubating ideas that with their fruition would directly benefit multiple communities.  Always seeming too unrealistic to accomplish at any given point in my life, I generally just shelved them and continued my happy, simple, only as demanding as I allowed it to be career choice.  Ever persistent, the ideas just kept coming back.  Each time they  were just a little different.  Each time they came with a fresh perspective and direction, but they always had the same desired outcome.  Creating a better community for the present generation and those who follow.  AKA Be a contributing member of society. 

I had spent many years blaming my circumstance for my inability to achieve my greater goals and while the life I choose is indeed very busy and logistically challenging, I am still the one who is ultimately in charge of my schedule.

My other problem was that I have a slew of close friends who are super successful in their professional lives doing amazing things that all benefit the communities they serve, but don’t have kids.  Their desires to or not have kids aside, these people are achieving at such high levels and it often leaves me feeling like unless I can dedicate the same amount of time to work as they do, I might as well wait until the kids are older.  Until I talked with each of them about how I felt and each offered advice or insight that made me feel very ok about just where I was and that even from there very high professional perches they believed in my ability to eventually join them. Oh, how I long to join them.

I once had someone pose me the question, “How would your kids feel if they knew you felt they were responsible for you not pursuing your dreams?”  Without hesitation I know that they would feel terribly if they thought that were true.  In fact, they have asked me questions at different times about how my life would be if I hadn’t had them.  The conversation that followed showed me their innocent desires to not be a burden on me in this very large way.  Though they know that I live my life and construct ours together with the sole purpose of raising them up (they are old enough to understand this now) they still want me to chase my dreams. 

Amazing.

 It’s taken me awhile to figure out how this endeavor might actually work and I was almost there last year until I got distracted by a boy…dun, dun dunnn…blegh.  What a waste/not a waste at all of my time, but of course I could not be where I am today if I hadn’t had my heart broken and learned a valuable lesson about relationships.  Knowing what I know now, I can safely say that I am not in a good place to have that kind of romantic experience overhaul my existence at the moment.  Again, I have business to handle and a family to manage along the way.

I have spent the last few years unknowingly building this strong platform that would be the best possible launch pad for my endeavors.  A focus on a healthy fitness lifestyle, financial stability and personal development for me and the kids has placed us in a very comfortable zone where it feels very possible to add in a new project.  Up until now I wasn’t ready to launch, which is exactly why each of my previous attempts pointed to another area that needed work.  Though I am still very much a work in progress, I am ready to try again.  I am not afraid of success or failure, but I have a sneaking suspicion about my timing and preparation this time around.  My momentum grows.

Which is exactly why I can’t with the men right now.  My legs are still a bit wobbly on this new platform and it will not take much to knock me off during this infantile phase of my dream building.  There is much to be done and I need to be driven and focused and that means just saying “no” to men…but it’s so hard! My…let’s call them “urges” want something else entirely. 

My friend tells me that she is interested in a story where I control my urges and I tell you and her that I too am interested in the same!

So with determination and trepidation I forge the path onward, my children at my side and my supportive community behind me.   I’ll be working very hard at keeping the boys at bay (which I realize is like asking for them to come bounding from the rafters) and I’ll be dating my life very seriously while I get these projects going and giving them all of the emotional energy I have to support the flourishing of these aspirations.  

As for now , my current relationship status is “technically single, emotionally unavailable.”

Wish me luck!

 

 

Fundamental Change

 

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I have long wondered about the best way to prioritize my life.  I was pretty sure I had it handled too until it became quite obvious at the end of my last relationship that I in fact did not.  It seemed that my long-held belief that storybook love would eventually make me completely happy was actually not true at all.  I never even questioned it and followed the signs that led me to my inevitable disappointment.  I blindly followed the masses of people in the pursuit of happiness via the Love Highway.  A rule of the road: I should never rely on anyone to create happiness in my life, nor should I be responsible for the happiness of another.  I know this to be true and yet I couldn’t see the disconnect between my facts and my beliefs.

It is incredibly challenging to create new thought patterns and the behaviors that follow.  I have tried in my relationships to uphold this principle, but after each failed attempt I can see that I put the pursuit of love first (I really thought my happiness depended on it).  Love by any name would get top billing as it came into my life.  Even if the guy wasn’t right I kept my eye on the prize and overlooked the smaller indiscretions of character.  No matter how far I advanced through the stages of a relationship or how happy the relationship made me, it was never enough.  I can see now that it never could be.  I was relying on a person to create a situation which I was intending to make fully responsible for the highest heights of my happiness.   The foolish man builds his house upon the sand.

People, situations and love are all finite.  A friend once warned me of the dangers of relying on others for happiness or stability.

“Then what happens when one of you gets hit by a big mack truck?  Then what?”, she would ask me.  And while I used this metaphor to help me with personal boundaries so that I did not allow others to lean on me or take on their problems as my own, I did not see the ways in which I was still very much relying on others…or trying to anyway.

Then those that I leaned so heavily on were all hit by a big mack truck.  Within a matter of months those who I made responsible for my sense of security, belonging and happiness all went away.  I had nothing to do with it, these people just wanted to go and live their best lives and I loved them all enough to encourage the change and respected their decisions.  But where did that leave me?  Alone and back at the beginning and disappointed.

The thought of rebuilding this house in the sand was daunting, but I’ve been here before.  I know exactly how to get this started and without even a consideration of the predictable outcome I started construction.  Not too far into the project I glanced over my shoulder and saw the waves off at a distance.  I thought, “They will come, they always do and they always wash away my work, no matter how good I’ve become at fortifying it.”  Then  the moment of clarity, “Uh duh Kristina…Stop building your friggin house on the sand, AKA stop making others responsible for your happiness.  If it can get hit by a big mack truck and die then don’t count on it to make you happy!”  There, in that moment, I finally understood.

My relationships are not the foundation of my happiness.  They can help to shape it, they can add value and they can even increase the pleasure of my life experience, but I am the foundation for my happiness.  I am responsible for cultivating my own sense of belonging, security, love and happiness and it is well within me to do so.

Then what of the longing?  There is clearly something missing creating this chasm; something that romantic love’s flurry of emotions can easily satisfy and fully occupy.  The answer to this question will be the key to discovering my real and true happiness.

I can see that this journey was meant for me alone.  Only alone can I find out what makes my soul sing as I experience the world through the only filter that really matters to me–my own.  Only alone can I discover what is absolutely necessary for me feel happiness and discern that from what I can live without.  Only alone will I be able to seek out the role I was meant to play in this life, which fosters a sense of security and belonging where I can truly understand my place in the world and the value therein and alone must I learn to love and accept myself exactly as I am today.  There is someone I need to be and I will never find her in another person.

Let the journey begin!