deepening the conversations with ourselves {via our bodies}

wellll….fuck it. I took a cross country train trip back from my friend’s wedding in Toronto a few weeks ago and somewhere in North Dakota I realized, oh, fuck.. where am I going to write about this? I shut down my personal blog…so, I’m back. Here. With my personal blog. If I don’t write I’ll implode and my annoying Leo side needs a stage while my Cancerian side just wants to burrow in my shell. This is the compromise. Yay, go us.

And this is me in a saree gearing up for the wedding:

me and geeta gearing up for wedding fun times usa.

me and geeta gearing up for wedding fun times usa.

and this is my new pet rabbit George Bailey:

bunny love

bunny love

I’ll be writing more about my trip back east this week and this cute little bunny but I had some pretty amazing healing experiences the past two weeks that I wanted to share and why it’s so important and worth it to look at pain and fear as they arise…hang out with them and let them go…stop bullshitting yourself, have more fun and enjoy.

this is actually my client newsletter from Shift so maybe I am cheating a little by posting it here too but whatevs. i woke up at 430am way too excited to get this out. you’re welcome.

meow meow meow,
kathy j.
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I wasn’t really born a free-spirited hippie who liked to get naked and have people touch me.

When I got my first massage in India fourteen years ago I had no idea what to expect. We were at a gorgeous retreat in the backwaters of Kerala on the south western coast. The “treatment room” was an open air space and the massage table was a huge wooden oil-soaked slab.

They directed me to lay down face up, stark naked on the slab and I slid around a bit wondering why the hell anyone would find this relaxing. Not one, but TWO therapists proceeded to pour gallons of oil over me while massaging in rhythm and chatting to each other in hindi. They then walked me to a seated shower and bathed me. After getting over the initial weirdness of having another person bathe me, I settled into the pure and simple nourishment of it.

I left feeling renewed, alive and invigorated. My mind was clear and I felt a relaxation that I hadn’t experienced before. Welcome to the world of massage.

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Fast forward a year to my first stateside massage at the posh-ish Burke Williams spa in Santa Monica. My girlfriends and I snuggled into big cozy robes and sipped cucumber lemon water while we waited for our treatments. A clean cut hulky dude {who was so handsome that he made me blush) greeted me and escorted me back to a quiet dark room. Unlike India, there were sheets, lots and lots of sheets…and lotion, not oil, and no bathing afterwards. [damn!] 😉

I left feeling relaxed, chill and felt an edge come off of my chronic anxiety. We had a blast partying in Venice that night..but that’s another story. 🙂

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Fast forward to a craniosacral session last week. If you haven’t had a craniosacral session, it’s an opportunity to deep dive into the stillness. It’s rare that we get to listen to our bodies so profoundly and converse so honestly and deeply with them. What’s odd is that a craniosacral session is often a wordless conversation that takes place with our bodies in our own heads & hearts…with the therapist gently holding space and witnessing. In my 7 years of doing this as a client and practitioner I have found that our bodies never lie.

But back to last week…during my craniosacral session, I connected a fascial restriction at the juncture of my heart/pericardial sac & diaphragm to guilt and shame in my pelvic bowl around using sexuality for control throughout my corporate career…which was connected to searing anger in my mid-back and a feeling of loss of power from being raped in high school. I could see in my mind’s eye a triangle between my pelvis and solar plexus that reflected a power imbalance.

As the therapist gently held my back, deep guttural sobs started emanating from my core. I didn’t want to go there, I didn’t try to go there, it just happened. I’ve processed enough emotional trauma through my body to know that once you go there, the body memory is no longer there and has no control over you…so, I went there and just “felt into” the stuck area in my back and a huge amount of anger arose.

Wait, what? I thought that I was going to just chill out and get a massage.

As the therapist gently encouraged me to breathe into my back, I wanted so badly to hang on to it. I was SO angry. There was no justification for what had happened or from my power being violated in such a way at such a young age. I had processed it with bodywork and talk therapy the last six years…finally opening up after decades of silence…and I was lying there in the stillness with such real emotions….and a choice point…to let that anger go.. or to continue holding on to it. [Mind you, all of these conversations and correlations are playing out in my own body and my own head. The therapist continued to gently hold the areas and occasionally say encouraging things like, that’s right, connect with the field of support and love around you, etc.]

At that moment a flood of compassion washed over me for both myself, my past actions and for every single challenge and challenging person in my life. I realized that there would never, ever be a justification for being attacked and that holding on to the anger was only hurting myself…and so I gently took a deep breath in and released it. In doing that, I reclaimed a piece of my power and in that moment I realized that really, truly no one can reclaim our power for ourselves but ourselves. By holding onto that anger and search for retribution I would only continue imprisoning myself.

And if you’re like me and want to throw up or punch someone every time someone says… just let it go! …it really was that easy after I made the conscious connection to the feeling state in my body…acknowledged it for serving me, threw a big heap of compassion and love on top of it and took a big inhale and exhale… out. Gone.

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Healing doesn’t happen linearly nor can we control when or how the next level of body-mind conversation will reveal itself. These explorations in consciousness that can be accessed through the stillness of bodywork would have blown my rocket scientist mind less than a decade ago. First of all, I could not feel unless I was really high or really low.. let alone believe there was a correlation between the body and mind sensations. As time moved on and I’ve gone deeper into this field, the elegance and depth of conversations that I have with myself and my clients has become more authentic and rich…and I realized that….

These are the most important conversations that we can have with ourselves.

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There are ton of reasons NOT to have these conversations:
-fear [it’s serious work but doesn’t have to be so serious. we are always moving to JOY and freedom of thought…not continually getting off on reliving trauma]

-life is fun! why dwell on the past? [i love fun but shoving our feelings down only lasts so long before the body rebels. looking is not the same as dwelling. usually once we truly look and heal there is no longer room for dwelling and there is waaay more room for fun and awesomeness.]

-you’re weird [everyone goes through this stuff. and, actually you probably are weird in our culture if you take time for self-reflection. you are also successful.]

-the pain feels bottomless [it isn’t. i promise you.]

-change [yep, being authentically you and speaking your truth will likely eff up existing relationships, situations and arrangements in your life. the alternative of not living authentically, to me, is far more painful.]

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Asking the question to yourself doesn’t mean that you need to share the answers…my therapist didn’t know any of those correlations that I experienced above.

Asking the question doesn’t mean that you are bound to the answer

Get curious, ask the question.

There is freedom on the other side of these questions… when the motivation comes from the light within you.. you find that it is limitless and it becomes a question of:

– how much light can I hold,
– how can I serve with my greatest gifts,
– what can I create with the time I have left and the people I truly connect with.

There is power in claiming all of life’s experiences and honoring them. Don’t let them steal your peace.

Muchos besos lovelies.

happy spring!
xo
kathy j.

PPS Living like you give a damn depends on first knowing yourself enough to know what you give a damn about. The greatest power is not outside of yourself. It’s inside.. keep lookin’ in. you’ve got this whole life thing down.

it's like a heart beat.. gah gung gah gung

it’s like a heart beat.. gah gung gah gung

contentment defined. (where fuck it meets fuck yeah)

contentment. (fuck it – i am/have/do enough)

inner peace. (fuck yeah – life is supposed to feel this good)

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I felt a wave of sadness a few days after posting the last entry.

change is inevitable in any worthwhile creative pursuit. if you find your schtick and stick with it the rest of your life and that makes you happy, good on you.

For me, it would be inauthentic to continue writing about my own experience with PTSD as I feel that I’ve healed from it…maybe that’s another reason why I hesitated to post that last entry for so long.

And like saying goodbye to any love, I’m a little sad but also excited for what lies ahead.

I enjoyed these exercises and healed from them. Your eyes helped me heal and for that I am grateful. There is a lot of shit on the internet and I appreciate your time and hearts.
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During this time of extreme healing, I’ve also been creating…communities, connections…a freaking business, a way to support myself and others as they move through times of change.

It’s called Shift and it’s the place where head meets heart.

My vision from 2 years ago was to create:

“A safe and nurturing place in the heart of the city where clients can come privately or together to:

-cultivate personal wellness
-encourage civil discourse in communities at home and work
-embrace creativity
-engage heart consciousness

There will be no gurus. It will encourage respect for individual sovereignty and authentic connection.

I would like to create a sacred space that can hold something larger than conditioned reality. Generate a space that can hold a relationship to health that centers personal suffering. Relationship to health is a gateway to the deeper forces and intentions that resonate with and are expressed in our authentic selves.”

(yeah ok it’s kind of chunky writing but it’s a vision statement, yo – gotta anchor the spirit…plus, i edited it down just for you sweetie)

and then I found this gem…

“I will be a successful business owner when I have a space in south lake union with a full schedule of mind body workshops.”

Well…. guess what peeps.. that time is now.
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This month I have a full calendar of creative workshops at Shift: Where Head Meets Heart. For the first time, i am finally teaching my own workshops instead of putting everyone else’s needs/work/interests ahead of mine.

It feels good.

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I am living my dream practice. Each day I have amazing clients and we do amazing healing work. I am left speechless by the sheer beauty of humanity that I witness each day.

I come home from full days of clients and do not plant myself in front of the computer or do more work.

Instead I say, “That was enough”.

I stretch, turn on music, move, cook some dinner, go out with friends and read. I have a life that i love and am enjoying the down moments. In an unexpectedly gorgeous twist of fate (and a sort of sickeningly sweet rom com plot), I’ve fallen in love again with a love who has been in front of me the whole time.

I have a lot of work to do in digging myself out of the financial hole left behind by my health stuff and divorce…and frankly that still occasionally keeps me up at night…but it’s do-able. The money is flowing again, I am receiving it and the most important part has been healed – the psychology and trauma around it. I have faith in myself that I can create again…and it’s safe…to be beautiful…in this world.
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The “in between” times are elusive.

No one ever writes about the in between times.

It’s because no one ever really wants to stay in the in between times…those mundane things we take for granted..riding the bus, driving to work, getting from here to there…

They are fleeting.

The best that we can do is stay inspired while moving through them.

But maybe when you stop chasing things and striving…life turns into one gorgeously inspired in-between time. It does seem that way.

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There comes a time when you have to say

ENOUGH.

I am Enough.

This is Enough.

Fuck it.

and Fuck yeah.

and just live each day like you give a damn… with people you give a damn about… because that’s all we can really ever do. and that love and conscious intention will inspire others who will inspire others and maybe we will have a chance in turning this clusterfuck of what we’re doing to the earth around.

maybe.

but it starts now.

with love.
and enough.
______________
with that.. the experiment has concluded. i’ve proven to myself that it is safe to be beautiful in this world so my work here is done.

time to share the joy and amazing insights into how to stay centered and really thrive in times of change.

i hope that you will join me over at www.shiftmassage.com or Pinterest or Facebook. i think that we can continue creating good things together.

thank you.

namaste
and rock on.
xoxoox 4eva,
kathy j.

When Childhood Trauma Fucks with your Present Day Psychology {and how compassion & ritual can heal}

Early childhood trauma is a tricky bugger to heal.


This morning I woke up to a dream that I was in an empty room full of space and light. The possibilities were endless and the only thing that I had to do was play & create. The sense of ease and lightness and joy in my heart as I woke up was remarkable. No panic attacks to start the morning…a feeling of vitality and wholeness.

The day continued to unfold with ease and grace. I threw on some clothes and a semblance of a pony tail, grabbed the keys and walked outside to my apartment courtyard to pick up the sunday NY Times. I smiled at the big wreath on the door and felt extreme gratitude for living in such a beautiful little apartment building in my favorite neighborhood of Seattle.

Today was exactly the reason that I spent time looking at the big questions & big scary monsters in my closets. I knew that there was the possibility of calm on the other side of anxiety. I knew that as we continue to heal, shine and have fun …the joy becomes exponential.

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It’s winter solstice…a time when the light returns. An opportunity to swap darkness for light, pain for healing, resentment for compassion.  I’d ask you to consider what you can shed some light on this year.  The universal energy is supporting you right now to make some mega changes in the land of relationships.  Go for it.

The thing about looking at emotional and physical trauma is that it does NOT have to be harsh.  In fact, often the most gentle approach is the most effective. I have witnessed this in my own healing and in my bodywork practice focusing on helping clients process emotional trauma through their physical body.  I can not say enough for the power of compassion and the simple act of listening.


Childhood trauma is a little trickier because it operates most often at a subconscious level.  You may or may not have the actual memories of the trauma but you often have the feeling and _knowing_ that something happened cognitively/intuitively.  Letting go of a trauma through a simple symbolic ritual is a great partner to processing the trauma cognitively or somatically – and it’s free. Who doesn’t love free?  It’s like old ouija board sleepover party days. Have fun with it. This stuff works.

So, here’s my story.  It’s deeply personal but universal at the same time.  I didn’t want to write about the ritual until I had a few months under my belt to see if it “stuck”.  I also didn’t really want to write about it publicly at all but I keep getting the feedback that it might be helpful for other people going through the same thing of letting go of childhood trauma.  Here we go.

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This blog was started as a form of therapy to share my process of healing from divorce last year, losing everything that I had financially and healing some pretty heavy shit.

In that healing people have remarked that “it took a lot of courage”.  And while I guess that’s true, I’m finding that it takes a hell of a lot MORE courage to SHINE and let my light out.

I’m opening this dialogue because I truly believe that when we share our humanity we build compassion for ourselves and each other. We begin to truly embody the sage advice to: bekind

Kindness is going to make a better world for all of us. {and it will make the holidays better…more on that in the next post}

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It is scary for me to shine and own my light.  Yet, I ‘m constantly having it reflected back to me so I know it’s there. I even see it in my own eyes these days when I look in the mirror and say, wow, you are a beautiful person…and I mean it.

Here’s where the fucked up childhood trauma psychology comes in:

I am afraid that if I shine my light or show too much joy someone will die. {and so I pretend to be more serious  and in control}

I am afraid that if I love someone too much they will die. {and so I hold back from or end really good relationships to feel in control}

My biggest challenge is that I create a shit ton of abundance in my world but am terrified to receive it and so am constantly in a poverty cycle. The fear has served me well and protected me in ways that I needed protected as a child.   But now I no longer need this.

From the outside, this probably looks crazy.  Fear of success, what a whiny bitch right? You can hashtag it #firstworldproblems #whitegirlproblems whatever you want but…

It’s terrifying.

It’s taken me years to get to this place of being able to let it go. And writing and sharing stories is the only way that I really know how to do that fully.  I’ve done a bunch of bodywork and been witnessed individually, but I feel this needs collective energy to heal. So, thank you.  In giving we receive and in receiving we give.

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The Childhood Trauma Part:
When I was 4 my twin brothers died shortly after birth.  They were conjoined twins.  Born alive.  They tried to save one but it didn’t work.  It was the eighties.

My first memory is their funeral.  It’s a shitty first memory. I wrote an essay on this in high school and won an award. Still no one acknowledged it.
 

I somehow took responsibility for their death. The grief from their death led me to act as an overindulgent caretaker, attempt suicide multiple times, fuck/drink/smoke away the pain and be unable to form intimate bonds because I was afraid of connection.


I was afraid of joy.


I was afraid of closeness.

Because if someone became close to me or I got excited in anticipation of their arrival, they would DIE. Dude. srsly?

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Interestingly, reading my grandma’s memoirs, her earliest memory is the death of her baby brother. “My earliest memories were sad ones..” her autobiography begins.

This from a woman who was first generation Polish born on Staten Island who later worked on Wall Street and as an office admin at Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project…yet, she can’t write through the pain: the story ends pretty shortly after that.

She died alone and angry and that makes me sad.

Our ancestors’ experiences are in our DNA.  I’ve got her overachiever drive mixed with her heartache in spades.  I have experiential proof of this generational heartache in the women in my family.  I have made a conscious choice that the buck stops here. Done.  Not going to pass on that family heirloom.


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Last February, I took a 3-week writing workshop where we took a story from our personal lives and performed it at a live event. 3 weeks from concept to performance! It was intense, liberating and engaging.   The act of writing, witnessing and being witnessed changes lives.

I did NOT want the topic of my brothers to come up.  Seriously, I was tired of writing about PTSD and un-fun things.  Yet every time I checked in with my intuition the answer that I kept getting was “write about your brothers’ deaths”. So, I wrote the story about how craniosacral therapy helped me process the childhood trauma from my brothers’ deaths.  I have posted that here.

What I did not share is the creative process of writing this story.   This creative process is what I need to share with you now. This creative process and the ritual that was created within it is the final piece that I need to let go of.


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After the first week of the workshop, we had to read our rough draft to the other class participants. The first time that I read the rough draft aloud to my classmates I broke into a sobbing mess.  I could not get through the first page. The facilitator kindly said that if I wasn’t ready that I didn’t have to perform.  I appreciated that kindness.

I went home, put the story away and picked it up again after a day or two.  My professional background in public speaking mixed with just enough college theater has taught me that rehearsing is key…and that recording is important.

I sat at the kitchen table intermittently for the next 24 hours with my iphone voice recorder…I would do a few read throughs, note where I broke down emotionally, scribbled notes to “BREATHE”, “YOU’VE GOT THIS SISTER”, “LOVE”. I rehearsed…and rehearsed.

And no matter how much I rehearsed, I could NOT get through the last part about letting my dead brothers go.  Then I realized it was because I had NOT, in fact, let them go.  I was bullshitting myself by writing a happy tidy ending.  This is why giving actual VOICE and speaking your stories aloud is important.  The body never lies.

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My present from my mom last year was the birth certificates, baptismal certificates and baby bracelets of those twin brothers.  Those dead babies that we never talked about.

I had asked her for them. I knew it was important for me to get proof of their existence for this writing project.  I knew that it was important for my healing.

She wrote me a note that said, “You are the oldest, you get to keep the family history.” Fuck. I honestly didn’t know what to do with those artifacts. They were charged with way more emotion than I had anticipated.

My sister delivered them to me after her trip home and I just started sobbing and locked myself in my room. Interestingly, that is the same reaction that I had when I was four and found out they had died. I ran into my room crying and locked my dad out.  He slid a pad of paper and pens under the door to me.

My mom included those drawings in the package. MOM. BABIES. KATHY. I wrote over and over with little umbrellas to protect us all I guess.

 

If I wanted to get through this performance of this story, I needed to get rid of these artifacts and truly energetically let my brothers go.

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The Ritual

So, I went to my old friend… ritual.  Rituals, the ways that we humans bring peace to our tortured souls, celebrate love and bring some semblance of sacredness to an otherwise clanging world.

I didn’t consult a book.


I just listened to my intuition and made shit up.


I did what felt right and looked for answers within.

 
I took ACTION to the better feeling state.

First point of order, I lit my baptism candle that my mom had also included in the package.  I figured that if there was a time for a new birth, this was the one…and the wiccan chicks in junior high were always using candles right?  Work with the light baby and everything is easier.

Next up, I took down the envelope and laid out all of their artifacts in front of me on the table. I held each one gently and really took in every aspect of each document.  I put the cut ends of their baby bracelets together and saw just how tiny they were.

I had a stone next to me that I would hold for grounding and power as I sobbed.  Stones come from the mother and are good medicine.  Their spirit of generosity in healing is remarkable.

Then I wrote my dead baby brothers a letter and read it aloud. I took all of their artifacts and burned them.  And made this video.

And that’s it. They’re gone. I’m free. It’s been almost a year since I did that ritual and I feel a lightness with my relationship with my mother, an ease of not needing to be responsible for my siblings and a focus on slowness & self-care. My heart has recently opened in a surprising and amazingly fearless way. For these things I am grateful.

This experience has taught me that it’s rather incredible how childhood grief and trauma can fuck with your adult psychology. And healing truly can come in an instant when we sit with, honor and integrate our painful experiences into our current life. This simple ritual worked because of the intention behind it not to run away from the pain or shove it down, but to honor it for what it was..an opportunity to EMBRACE all of life’s parts equally.

 

So, I guess remember to be easy on yourself this holiday.  Be easy on your family.  Even if they’re assholes. My years as a therapist have taught me that most people are assholes because they are in a ton of pain.  It’s not your job to deal with their pain or even address it.  We can’t change people but we can be kind.

 

The holiday season is an opportunity to practice compassion both for yourself and others.  Give it a whirl. And if that doesn’t work, come over for some of Aunt Janey’s egg nog.  It’s legit. Happy holidays lovelies. Thank you for your eyeballs, hearts and time.  It’s precious. Time to shine. xo, kathy j.

money, sex & serendipity (and why you should meet susan gibson)

Money & sex:  two pleasures that we all claim to want more of but often sabotage ourselves around receiving.

bacon's got no hangups.

bacon’s got no hangups.

Whether we consciously realize it or not, our fear of _receiving_ is metaphorically cock-blocking the cash, cooch &/or cock.  When we’re not blocking ourselves, oooooh mama that connection brings some GOOODNESSS into life. YUM YUM YUM.  More please, thank you.

I have never been able to hold onto money, even when I was making a bunch of it.  It’s like it instantaneously disappears out of my hands or I’m constantly throwing it back to others.  This has led to the rather untenable financial situation that I find myself in.

Thanks to the serendipitous gift of a retreat to Bainbridge Island I organically uncovered the mistaken belief behind this behavior:

“IF MONEY IS INVOLVED, I’M GOING TO GET FUCKED.”

Now, why would anyone think this? And why is it even worth investigating?

Here’s my best guess to both of those questions for my sitch.  First, the backstory…

That’s 14 year old me on the left.  That’s a cute 15 year old boy on the right.  His family had more money than mine.  I ditched my glasses that year.  Suddenly a word was used to describe me that I hadn’t heard before: pretty.  Whoa.  When cute boy asked me out I was amazed, giddy, silly and all of the other things a 14 year old girl is on her first date.1383086_10151967586911098_1486380041_nHere’s me after our date.  Boo.  Cute boy raped me.  It was terrifying.  But it was a forced blow job, so I thought, well, that doesn’t really count. After it happened he drove me home and never asked me out again.  It shredded my self-esteem. My sense of self ruptured. I locked my self-worth away.  I continually down played my experience and didn’t speak of it for 20 years.  I stopped trusting my experiences.

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I spent the next 20 years locking away my heart, my power, my self-worth.  The boxes and locks got bigger.  The addictive behaviors crazier and crazier.  Money continued to be something that I could get but couldn’t hold on to.  How was I constantly broke making six figures?

That receiving piece of myself was locked inside that damn box and I kept putting more padlocks on it.  I couldn’t really feel my body unless it was really high or really low…but my brain was in control…and control was good because it kept me safe.


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Then I started getting massages.  I had a job where I was traveling around the world and jet lag was my new BFF.  I’d “pamper” myself going to spas.  At first, I was creeped out for people to touch me. My family wasn’t a big “touch” family and the only form of touch I really knew was sexual.  I was freaked out that the therapist could somehow read my mind in the quiet and stillness…but eventually my body would take over in the session, shut my brain up and I’d leave feeling relaxed and energized.  So I kept going.

And something else happened… I began to hear a voice inside of me…I think it might have been my heart that was in the box? I kept getting more and more massages and ended up in massage school.  That began a seven year adventure into sensation and consciousness and listening.  It was not what I thought I’d be doing when I graduated Lehigh with an engineering and anthropology degree.

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Then this happened.  My brain realized that it was part of a body and made friends with the neighbors.

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And then slowly, the locks began unlocking and the boxes started opening.

And then I started putting the pieces back together.

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And then this happened:

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But the most striking thing that I realized from this experiment was how my locked away self-worth affected my relationships.

My relationship to my body, intuition and sexual energy…

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My relationship to my sisters and women…

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My relationships with men…

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And my relationships with nature…

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These are not the most attractive behaviors and I’m not necessarily proud of them.  But looking at them I actually gained a huge amount of compassion for myself and understanding of what my big relationship patterns have been….and change starts with that awareness and compassion.

Then I got to the good stuff..visioning the future that I’m creating.

One strong primary relationship with a man. (Notice, there is no money inside of him anymore.  Not relying on a man for financial support subconsciously anymore.) Plus creating with other women in a place of resonance, support and trust – leads organically to money…the money comes as a result of good relationships.

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Connecting with nature, self-care and giving myself downtime is critical to my creative process and health.  And that connection is extending to the feminine in general.  It feels like a huge mystery opening up to me and is deep and powerful and grounding.

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It’s an experiment in receiving and I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going.   I’ll be writing more on how this unfolds. I realize that a lot of women experience that body/mind split and it’s important information that I feel compelled to share.  We are hard wired for joy and healing and letting ourselves receive it is where the magic lies.

I want to close by expressing my huge gratitude to Susan Gibson for giving me the gift of this retreat.  I highly recommend attending one of her retreats or conferences when you can. She brings a unique mix of head and heart and is an incredible host and listener.  She holds a strong safe space for gentle transformation.  I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on personal development in the last six years and this method of articulation and visualization through symbols and words clicked it all together.   Love you Susan and my Temenos sisters from the October retreat.

xoxo,

kathy j.

 

How to Stay Inspired in the “In-Between Times” of Your Creative Project

Creative projects are generally book-ended with champagne and celebration.  But any creative knows that the everyday life of keeping a creative project going can be pretty boring.  How do you stay inspired in the in-between times?   

 

Here’s one tool I use to keep me on track – not rocket science but always keeps my head in check.

 

Say Goodbye to “The Man”

The problem with taking full responsibility for your life is that you have to take full responsibility for your life.

The liberation of taking full responsibility for your life is that you take full responsibility for your life.

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from the 13th floor http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/prisoner

from the 13th floor http://www.tumblr.com/
tagged/prisoner

There are three phrases that I hope to someday abolish, “workin’ for The Man”, “same shit different day”, and “moist slacks”.  Moist slacks is just a gross saying.

We’ve all got our personal versions of “The Man”.  “The Man” being the external force that “keeps you down”, “controls you” and somehow “makes your life miserable”.

In some cases this is a very true concept. Like, if you’re being held in prison unjustifiably under the regime of an evil dictator or physically enslaved in some way shape or form = major suckage.

But….most of the time, “The Man” is a lie that we tell ourselves because we are too scared to step into our own INTERNAL power.

Today I’m saying goodbye to my version of “The Man”.

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When and why do we decide to change our behaviors?  Sometimes it’s a catastrophic event that kicks us into full Carpe Diem mode. and sometimes it’s nothing but a shift in preferences of how we define a life well-lived.  A moving towards versus a running from.

This week I realized that I’m hitting my goals but aiming way too low.  My financial goals for my business barely support me.  I’m tired of being in survival mode.  Has anyone out there had that “a-ha moment”?

IT’S A COP OUT TO SET GOALS THAT YOU CAN EASILY HIT.

It might assuage your ego to always be getting that “gold star” but who gives a fuck if you’re continually create stuff that doesn’t support or nourish you, the life you want to lead and the community around you?

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this was the bonus of the bus this week

this was the bonus of the bus this week

I hit a wall riding the bus this week.  It’s been 11 months of commuting 3 hours a day from Seattle to Kirkland and everywhere in between.  I have one more month to go to uphold my commitment to the OneLess Car program and myself to finish the field research.

 A combined chorus of self-hate and self-love snuck (<— is that a word?) in yesterday and said, “Kathy J, my dear just what the hell are you doing with your life?” The bottom line is that I got really angry with my current material situation.

Self-love said, “Dear, why are you not receiving and supporting yourself?” Self-hate said, “Dear, I have to agree with self-love on this one.”  It’s unanimous, I’ve got to stop fighting abundance and get my shit together in the material world.

 Anger is an incredible tool that helps us determine and define boundaries in our life.  I’m so laid-back about these things that it was just the kick in the ass that I needed.  A kick in the ass to stop making my life so difficult.

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I have to be honest that every time I get close to fulfilling my dreams and moving forward, I sabotage it with thoughts of self-hate, with comfortable patterns of over-extending myself and incessant mantras of not being good enough.

somedays this is the only hat that can be worn

somedays this is the only hat that can be worn

My ex-husband, the bus, the debt are all manifestations of “the Man” the voice of self-hate so perfectly mirrored to me.

When we see other people/things as simple mirrors of ourselves we are called to take full responsibility for our lives and what we attract into it.  Some of the strongest people that I have ever met could be classified as victims by the outside world yet they are the exact people who have refused to classify themselves as victims.

I’m looking into different mirrors these days. I’m surrounding myself with people owning their own genius and reflecting it back to me with bright shiny light.  I am that light. You are that light. I want to keep growing and shining that light, have fun and just give myself a break.

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Alright, thanks life. I got it.  It’s important to define what we want in the material world. I’m not a huge “stuff” person but I loved my old life of being able to travel whenever i want. I have had to miss so many weddings of dear friends in the last 3 years as i sacrificed whatever i had to keep my business/life running. And to that i say: FUCK THAT

 

I HEREBY DECLARE THAT I WANT MY OLD LIFE BACK

(and i’m willing to work for it by being of service)


What’s your version of “The Man” and what are you going to declare today?

You’re Not Creative? Bullshit. Here’s Your Creative License – Own It.

“It’s impossible – the bitches don’t listen.” Words from my artist friend when complaining about how my muses were waking me up at 3AM everyday.  She’s right and the truth is that I am a slave to these muses.   It is a conscious choice. I’ve jumped out of my conditioned reality of “shoulds” and “must dos” to live this fully creative life in the deep end of “what ifs” and “why nots”.

BaconPeople. Definitely a weird gift from the muses.  This is one of the original "inspirations" - Bacon Steals Your Kidneys. www.whatdobacondo.com

BaconPeople. Definitely a weird gift from the muses. This is one of the original “inspirations” – Bacon Steals Your Kidneys. http://www.facebook.com/WhatDoBaconDo

Being creative is a choice.  I could just as easily roll over and go back to sleep.  It is not easy for a recovering control freak workaholic with insane amounts of “drive” and focus on “making things happen”.  C’est moi.  In fact, in the beginning it was really scary to let go of control.  I’m guessing some of you out there are picking up what I’m putting down.

How many times have you or someone you’ve known said, “I’m not creative.”  Our dad used to put us into categories, I, as one of two engineers, was decidedly “not creative”.  Janice, as the artist. was obviously creative and could understand his “artistic” compositions of the awkward family Christmas photos. (..which involved him throwing a blanket on the floor, arranging all 6 of us randomly in front of the tree and inevitably stomping off in frustration at our smart ass remarks. My siblings and I loved this tradition.)

There is a freedom and abundant joy in this that I would not trade for anything.  There is a price to pay that demands integrity, self-excavation, allowing, trusting and courage.  Damn, and I thought Team America said that Freedom just cost a $1.05?

Yet tapping into this feminine energy of receiving is so incredibly liberating. When I follow grace’s lead life feels effortless. Life is so resonant with the joy at the core of my being that I’m inspired to continue putting in the small mundane steps…like quickbooks, blargh.

My ghost writer friend says it is best to follow these muses and put aside physical comforts every now and then to follow the inspiration – when spirit breathes goodness into your life, best follow it and revel in it.  Why wouldn’t you follow that creative impulse? It’s the entire point of life, isn’t it?

but then i randomly ended up meeting seth godin. he doesn't like bacon but still entertained baconpeople.

but then i keep creating BaconPeople and randomly ended up meeting seth godin. he doesn’t like bacon but still entertained baconpeople.

The next time that you get inspired recognize that you have a choice point.  You can act on it or shove it down and ignore it.  Your choice.

You can listen to those voices in your head that tell you that don’t have time, that it’s stupid or impossible or a waste of time to create something for fun.  Or, you can act on that inspiration with a simple small step like writing it down.  Suspend disbelief for a minute.  Listen to your heart and believe for one small moment that your creations do have value.

Whatever choice you make that’s the reality you create.    The freedom to create abundantly with joy – it’s yours. Own it.  If for some reason you still need external permission – here it is. Your creative license. Print it out. Slap your picture on it and go make cool stuff. The world needs it now more than ever.

Xo,

Kathy j.

creativelicense