The Level Up

I have leveled up and now the world looks differently than before. I have learned so much about myself and how I find happiness. With that knowledge also came clarity on my physical symptoms of unhappiness like weight gain, panic attacks, migraines, substance abuse, and depression. I learned to keep reciprocity out of relationships. I recognized my part in past relationship “learning opportunities”,AKA failures and I have apologized to the best of my ability. The new non-codependent me doesn’t want a thing for my apology, it just feels good to at least try and clean up my mess with a determination to never make those kinds of messes again. Then after all that processing, I took a real time inventory of what I am capable and willing to bring to the table in relationships.

I can see now that in the past I was offering a person who doesn’t exist for herself in relationships; only a mirror of other’s desires and a vessel for the pleasure of other’s because of what I believed. I wasn’t lying with my offers as I am fully capable of everything I said and my willingness to do as requested was very real. The problem is my bad relationship “why” (explained in this previous blog) When the terms/requests came I didn’t even ask myself if it was something I really wanted to do. I just asked myself what I thought they wanted to hear and then I promised to figure it out to the best of my ability. Name your price and I will pay! Indeed, I did. Sustainable only for short amounts of time, sooner or later my true preferences and true self would show through and then in my discomfort I would want to take my contract back or at least tweak it a bit. At this point they would complain in some way, shape or form, then I would apologize; AKA say anything (again) that I thought they wanted to hear so that they would stay in this very codependent relationship model. So the cycle would begin anew, each time growing in resentment and disappointment, each time increasing states of self loathing and disconnection until inevitably it always exploded. I could not understand how I kept landing here…but now I understand.

This is my next level up. I no longer feel like an empty vessel waiting for someone to validate me. Because of learning this challenging lesson I feel whole and complete and because of that wholeness loving through this new perspective doesn’t feel feel forced or contrived like it so often did when I was selling my soul to be seen. Hopefully, it will be easier to avoid codependent situations now that I can see them for what they are. In addition to that big level up, I do believe I could be better listener and do some work with getting better acquainted with my own preferences. I have been mind reading and focusing so hard on others for so long I haven’t gotten to know me as well as I ought to.

Now I’m better prepared to self advocate. I know now that if in the future I choose to be in a relationship being my best new me and it still doesn’t pan out, I’ll be prepared to take it up for review and choose 1 of only 2 options (Yes, this one is VERY black and white.) Option 1: If both parties are willing and capable, renegotiate contract with new understanding, new terms and acceptance to move forward. Option 2: If parties cannot come to agreement on new terms then part ways, effective immediately.

Hanging around without resolution will only put us back at the beginning of the cycle, I can see that now and how it never works out.

No one should have less in a relationship than they feel they need. Everyone deserves healthy happy relationships that suit who they are today. To thine own self be true…

Instead of seeing life how I think the world sees me, I am seeing life as I see it, through my own lense and it’s really beautiful. I like it very much and it’s quite a happy place with lots of exciting and new adventures. Even if I wanted to go back to doing what I was before I don’t think that I could. This new perspective has changed me, I am my own person now and I feel so much better. For the first time in my life I can look at myself in the mirror and feel proud that today, in this stage of my very own personal journey, I am the woman I always wanted to be, flaws and all.

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The End of Reciprocity

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We all need to give and we all need to receive, but we should never give with the expectation or the intention of reciprocity. It’s better to give of ourselves because it is well within us to do so. We can only appreciate our blessings if we can see them as the acts of altruism they are. When we wait around to get paid for our deeds in kind we are guaranteed to be disappointed. For when we do receive our blessings, and we will, instead of seeing them for what they are we will only see how it measures up against our own efforts. Tit for tat, reciprocity…killjoy.

I was taught something very valuable in this Ted Talk about finding true happiness. We all have these mental models that represent how we think the real world works. We have them for everything. One type of mental model is an “if/then” model. For example, if I can lose ten pounds then I can fit into my pants better and then I will be happy. Losing ten pounds may make your pants fit better and that may bring your more joy and a better quality of life, but setting your happiness to this model is inherently flawed. What if you find it impossible to take off the ten pounds in a short amount of time? Do you not get to be happy until then? Do you put that ten pound loss so high up on your list that now your self worth is also wrapped up in the end result? And then what if you still can’t do it? Can we never get to be fully happy?

We wrap this ‘if/then” model around some pretty big things-

If she would just apologize for this thing, then I could be happy .

If he would just ask me out, then I would be in a relationship, then I would be happy.

If I could just get a better job I could make more money and then I would be happy.

The truth is that like the man said, “Anything you can get you can unget.”

And so then if you base your happiness on anyone of these things then your happiness at best is fleeting. After 35 years on this planet I can see that most everything comes and goes, but I don’t want my happiness to come and go. I want to hold that feeling inside of me always. These goals, accomplishments, lessons, relationships…this life and the moments within in it do bring me joy on a regular basis, but I’m looking for a constant and sustainable kinda self-love. I have to forgive myself for my past, and just let that shit go. It doesn’t serve me anymore and it ruins stuff. I’m done. I’m trying to accept and be grateful for where I came from because it put me where I am today and it is clear that the universe is guiding me and I should just go with it, because that is the easy path. I’m always asking my kids ” Do you want the easy way or the hard way?” Seems like I should I ask myself the same question. That is really hard space for me to live in.

I couldn’t figure out what bad mental model I was living under and then it occured to me, I have been operating under the assumption that when in a relationship it was my responsibility to discover their needs and prioritize them over mine so that I could make them happy in their dependency on my contribution to their happiness and then they would never leave…bingo. There are those abandonment issues. No wonder I haven’t been able to have any success. This mental model is not at all inline with my natural God given inclinations. I hate being needed, but because of my beliefs I would intentionally place myself in situations where there was a need because I believed that was the way to happiness. I over promised and under delivered because no one can deliver on that kind of level. Now I know better now I can stop the cycle.

I had been so depressed thinking that I would always be owned by my baggage and now I can see the way out. It is really a continual process in self discovery and asking yourself, “Is this working me?” If no, you know what to do. If the model doesn’t serve you and is making things harder, full stop. I cannot do a thing about where I came from or where I got these mental models, but I can realize when it’s time for a new perspective, one that serves who I am in the world as it is today. I am learning to be present and wholehearted all by myself and that feels nice.

When I go to the place of acceptance of the present moment I find peace and happiness every time. It’s reliable. I myself am a reliable source of happiness. Why is this so hard to hammer in my head? I don’t need anyone, thing, situation to be happy and I never did. I have always been alright and I always will be. That’s what my mama said, she was right.

I am baninshing my “if/then” relationship reciprocity mental model.

I don’t need to be needed to be happy. Codependent relationships only create a false sense of security. In personal relationships it is not my responsibility to discover the needs of the other person so that I may create a value around what I have to offer so that they will need me so that they will never leave me and then in that security I will feel happy. Phew…no wonder that never worked for me…so many layers. Baggage be gone!

There. I am not doing that anymore. I am doing what makes me happy from now on. I am going to be a wholehearted, self contained happiness unit and if it so happens that in the course of my happy personal journey I bless others others with the outpouring of my internal happiness that will certainly bring even more joy to my life. As I learn my lessons I’ll compare today to the past, but only for the benefit of recognizing the difference, the growth, the change and accepting it for what it is, then letting it go. No more holding on to anything, that is not real security, that is not real happiness. I’ve let it go. It’s time for a new era of self-love and inner peace.

I don’t need reciprocity in a relationship to make me happy. I need to be happy to be happy in a relationship.

A lesson in fear.


Learning is explosive. Growth and change are phenomenal events that are usually preceded by fear and frustration. Fear of ‘what’ in particular is one’s own responsibility to identify at each juncture while the frustration feels the same for everyone. How we handle that feeling on a regular basis becomes our defense mechanism and that mechanism we apply to all situations which induce your very own personal answer to the question “What are you afraid of?”
I am afraid of being abandoned because I am not good enough. I just really figured it out. Mercury retrograde kept bumping me against this wall I had built, trying to show me something. I looked at it, but I knew why it was there. I built the wall to keep me safe, then I built the wall keep my kids safe and I built the wall to keep men out so that they could never have the opportunity to leave me. Can you really have a relationship when you are trying to keep someone on the the other side of the wall? No, you cannot continue to tell someone that has proven themselves time and again that they are not and may never be worthy of gaining entrance and then expect them to keep trying. They will die that way, I know this. I lived that life, I died that death. Which is why I built the wall in the first place. I didn’t have any way of knowing that my wall, my fear would have the power to do to someone else what it did to me, it never occured to me.
That wall is defensive. Fear creates a sense of scarcity. It cultivates selfishness and greed. Anxiety followed by depression sets in because it is exhausting to live in fight or flight mode.
My filter with which I viewed life was through the fear of the abandonment then that fear created a emotional response that manifested like scarcity and scarcity created this sense of “There is not enough to give anyone so I’ll keep it to myself because I am more worthy than you because I have been hurt before.” I started to feel apathetic to the good deeds of others since my belief in my scarcity created a sense of entitlement within me because I’m the center of my own universe.
I knew something wasn’t right with me, but I couldn’t dig it out. I saw the changs, but I didn’t think it was all that bad until I saw my reflection in the mirror at the Y again (thanks Zumba) and then in the eyes of my partner (thanks/sorry). I didn’t like it. Not one bit of it. I had fully regressed in many areas which I had already considered myself fully woke. It had been some time (roughly a year) since I practiced what I preached; what I had recently stopped preaching since it didn’t matter anymore. Nothing mattered, except myself and how I felt. I couldn’t get over myself.
Having found myself in familiar territory, I recalled that I had already I had already stumbled upon some good info pertaining to these very ponderings that I had put in my pocket for just such an occasion. An abundant heart drives out scarcity, gratitude creates abundance and love conquers fear.
My fear was abated when every day started with a focus on gratitude and compassion. When I looked out into the world not as the from the center (as I do when I am afraid) and start everyday with thoughts how I can be of service because when I believe I have enough and I am enough I know that I have more than enough to give. I feel abundance.  And if I’m being honest with myself, I’m more apt to do this if I’m waking up early and getting my exercise. The whole world looks different when I’m getting my morning workouts. I swear I do this more for mental health than anything else. I already knew this, but alas…le sigh.
For the universe, I am going to take myself out of the center of it as it has been in my head and I am going to observe what the world looks like when there is no center and everyone is equally worthy of the same amount of love and attention. Placing myself at the center seemed safe, but it was my safety at the detriment of others. It required people to come to me and give to me. It made me a taker. My fear made me a taker.
So I sat on top of that wall throwing rocks at the worthy and calling them names. Scared, safe and causing harm. Nope, that’s not how I am going down, fuck the wall. I am good enough just as I am and I don’t need a damn wall. I didn’t know that then, but I sure do now. Be gone fear!
Sometimes the price we pay to learn a lesson is quite costly. I don’t know what the damage is yet, but they can close my tab on this one. I think I got it now.
I believe that love can conquer fear, but it is not the love from another that will do it.

I lost sight of “why” I #HFL, but I found it.

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In a few days I will finally have my first regular Zumba class on the schedule since my surgery a year ago. Zumba has been the cornerstone of my #healthyfitnesslifestyle since 2010. After the surgery I gained 15 lbs, lost muscle strength and expanded my thigh size considerably, but I knew that last year was going to look different for me. I knew that I was going to have to lay low for a considerable amount of time while my body was healing. That was really, really hard. I knew I had to #aggressivelyheal. But in process I lost sight of a lot of many a thing. Without regular high intensity and challenging fitness in my life I became a less awake, a less alive person. I know it’s not for everyone, but it was part of my success equation and may become more valuable during the gray months.
January I started strong…but I fell off quickly. I had no “why” to keep me motivated other than physical appearance and that only goes so far for me. I’m just not that vain. So I lost sight of it again.
Self analysis in March: I eat too much, I drink too much alcohol, I am not going to the gym. I feel fat and my clothes betray the truth of my current unhealthy, no fitness lifestyle.
I had lost all sense of the gym schedule I had before. I couldn’t even remember why I was ever doing it in the first place. After getting the surgery my stomach still looks great and I really was never training to be a bikini body competitor or anything so I relaxed…for too long, lol.
Ok, fine. Start again.
I started exercising again and started to remember.
I do this for mental health.
I do this for heart health.
I do this for a better night’s sleep.

I do this for healthy skin.
And I really like to do this with my community!!
And who knew? Just when I felt it was time to go back a class spot opened up that was just right for my crazy, busy schedule and I jumped at it. In preparation for class I have been dancing, creating and having fun doing it every day, sometimes twice a day. Putting a class together brings me so much joy! It is exhilarating and I am so looking forward to having this #hfl piece back in my life!
Now that I have my “fitness why” back in check I am ready to go and I hope you are too!
Ps. All that just to say, I am an out of shape zumba instructor, take it easy on me, I promise it’ll be fun and we can work our thighs off together.

Yours Truly,
Kristina

Class time: Fridays 7:15pm Tacoma Center YMCA

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.

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!