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.

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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!

 

 

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.