I Hope You Find Your Density

Last week, we learned about the "Essentials" that make up our heart - the things that nourish, empower and inspire us, on a daily basis. The main takeaway? In order to take flight, and live a life full of health & happiness, we need to nourish ourselves in various aspects of our lives. If one of those 11 Essentials is lacking, well then we won't find ourselves in the best health we could potentially be in. I mentioned this being the "Season of Love"; and a main takeaway in my last couple of posts has been on self-love, as well as finding love (and contentment) in being single, and in being alone. As a woman, I know how difficult this statement can be. This post is a composition of stories, opinions and a couple of really-important aspects - things I desire for each and every woman out there.

Being Human

I feel like my 'dating history' consists of a couple of long-term relationships, with a dash of random situations. And in my history, those relationships went one of two ways - the person you're with decides they no longer want to be with you, OR you realize you no longer want to be with the person you're with, but unsure of what to do next. And I think this is usually the story for many women; as women, we're always wanting to "make things work"; we're never wanting to give up on a situation, or a person.

Now, I'm also no idiot. Women, at least a lot of us, tend to cling on, long after we should have let go. This can happen when we're out of a relationship, or if we're still in one. This isn't a 'flaw' no; it's simply just being a woman; it's simply just being caring. Again, being in a situation where we'd be willing to try anything to 'make things work'; putting others before ourselves. But I want you to think about what that 'making things work' does to your own system - or, if you're like me, thinking about what it's DONE to your system...

Staying When We Should Go

I don't speak of my breakup, with my ex boyfriend, because it's something still regularly on my mind, but instead because it was a critical break in the chain I needed, in my life. See, looking back on it now, I can see how severely unhappy I was, for so long; how little I was made to feel, so often; how grey my life felt. Instead of getting out at the first sign of distress, I stayed. Why? For numerous reasons (as we all do) - I thought I could CHANGE him; I thought that he loved me; I wanted to be wanted; I had this grand idea that things would get better; and honestly, I couldn't imagine my life without the person I had experienced so much with. But things didn't get better. And instead of leaving (getting out), I stayed and turned into a version of myself I wasn't proud of. I began to apologize, constantly; and not just to him, but to everyone. Why was I starting to feel apologetic for things I hadn't even done? My view on myself took a turn, as well. I started to question everything I did - everything I felt.

I find it interesting now, but I remember a conversation my dad sparked one night, when he, my mom and I were out at dinner, "So Kate, are you planning on marrying your boyfriend?" I stopped, mid-drink, and looked at him and laughed, "No." Inside, my gut was wrenching, "WHY WAS I CONTINUING TO BE WITH SOMEONE I DIDN'T WANT TO SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH?" Not only did I not want to marry him, but I knew my parents didn't want me to, either; even if they didn't specifically say so. This example is key for what I plan on discussing later.

Did I end things, there and then, after that conversation? Nope. Instead, I continued to battle feelings of insecurity for years to come. I continued to endure arguments, tears and the curiosity of what it'd be like to be in a relationship with other men.

The end of this ten year on-and-off-again-relationship came easily, astonishingly... for me. After years of waking up, heartbroken about potentially not having this person in my life, one morning I woke up, and knew that it was done. My mind, and my heart were free.

I used to think that women were being "stupid" for staying in an unhappy relationship, "Rip off the band-aid; it'll hurt for a while, but you'll be better off in the long run." This phrase doesn't resonate with me, as well, now (after experiencing it).

Ladies, if you find yourself in a dead-end relationship, unsure of what to do next, listen to your heart. Maybe you know things won’t last; maybe you know sooner or later, things will die off. But at this moment in time, if your heart and soul doesn’t feel ready to be done, don’t be done. When it’s time, you’ll know... this I promise.

I don't share this story as a bashing, of any sort. I don't talk to my ex boyfriend anymore, and that's okay. Do I regret being in that relationship? Of course not! Do I wish ill on him? Definitely not, and just the opposite! Just because you have a really crummy relationship with someone doesn't make them a bad person; it doesn't make you a bad person; it just serves as a reminder that things weren't supposed to work out. I'm so, extremely grateful for those ten years; I'm so extremely grateful I stayed for the length I did. Each one of those days served a purpose - helping turn me into the person I am today.

Boys Drool

After this relationship came to an end, I found myself in a spot I hadn't been in before. For the first time, in ten years, I was single - like emotionally, physically, completely SINGLE. While exciting, it honestly, also, scared the bejesus out of me. Suddenly, I found myself fixated on my appearance, more than ever. I started to take more selfies, flirt and go on dates. I downloaded Tinder & Bumble and was horrified when some dude sent me a dick pic. I remember going on a date once, and this guy told me I had a "nice ass". Another time, a man walked into the store I was working and asked for my number. He texted me, the next week, and asked if I wanted to go out for wings and beer (I was vegan and gluten free). Friends in Humboldt began to try to fix me up with other singles, who were around the same age as me. Isn't it interesting when THAT'S enough common-ground for someone to fix you up?!

Guys, use this as a reminder to treat women with respect, always. Being crude, in any way, isn't going to get you anywhere. It's a turn-off.

For a "relationship girl", this all was so foreign to me, and honestly, kind of draining. I began to pine for that connection to someone. Meeting people was fun, but it was also hard work... I would feel so confident, yet so insecure, at the same time. Feeling "on the stand" regularly is tough work; I felt like I needed to be portrayed as perfect, all of the time.

Being single, especially when you don't necessarily want to be single is the worst. For anyone going through that, I completely empathize. Maybe you don't even necessarily want to be in a relationship, but want to make a connection with someone halfway decent; I get that, too!

During this time, I also started talking to a guy who managed bands, and toured, constantly. While I knew a future with him was impossible, I began to think of one anyway. I think we, as humans, tend to reach for what, in our minds, seems safe and comfortable. Sometimes, putting ourselves out there is harder than imagining a life with someone... even if we know that vision will never come true.

This guy flew me out to L.A. for a couple of days, and a week later, stopped returning my texts. This was around the same time I had been roofied, at a club. While nothing, physically, happened to me, I found myself devastated. For some strange reason, now unbeknownst to me, I felt that my getting roofied and being "vulnerable" was the reason he stopped texting; stopped wanting me.

Ladies, this is something so many of us feel, more times than not. How come, when a dude decides to be a dick, we automatically assume it's on us; we assume it's because of something WE did?! I now know this isn't true, and I hope the same for you. When a guy doesn't call, or doesn't show up the way he should, don't put the blame on yourself; that's all on him. He's not worth your time, anyway.

Making Your List

During this time of being single, my mom told me to make a list of the things I was looking for in a man. The first couple of times, I laughed and rolled my eyes. "I'm not looking for a husband, Mom!" She'd laugh back, and tell me that it didn't matter; creating a list of things you want, in a man, can be really helpful. That 'laundry list', if you will, of the most important aspects. So, I decided creating a list wouldn't hurt (even if I didn't want to get married).

Remembering what you deserve...

Remembering what you deserve...

  1. Gets along with my family
  2. Enjoys spending time with MY friends
  3. Supports me
  4. Is reliable, always
  5. Personable
  6. Gets along, and loves being with his own family
  7. Kind, and courteous
  8. Relatable
  9. Funny
  10. Talks to the old ladies, when accompanying me to church

*#10 was one of those "reasons when I'll know I want to marry him" jokes, I would make with my family

As strange as I thought this list was, when my mom first suggested I make it, I now understand where she was coming from. Regardless of if you are ready to get married, or not, having that list (in the back of your mind) can be helpful; it keeps you in check with yourself, your values and what YOU DESERVE.

Finding Your Equivalent

You know how people say that you'll fall in love when you least expect it; when you're not looking for it? Well, I believed this to be untrue, for as long as I can remember. How can I find love if I'm not looking for it? What if I meet a really nice guy, and he doesn't ask for my number? Did I just lose out on meeting my 'soulmate'? But now this makes a lot of sense, and I think for good reason. When we're not actively looking for 'the one', we're our truest self. We're completely open, and the universe takes that as an opportunity to drop something in your lap.

I remember getting ready, one morning, when I was visiting my brother. My friend, Katie, sent me a text and said, "Dude! I can't believe I never thought of this before, but you and Ryan Nelson would be PERFECT for one another!...ADD HIM ON FACEBOOK!"

We all know that situation, right?! A friend tells you you'd be PERFECT with someone they know?! Similarly to what I mentioned earlier, sometimes you get the impression that two single individuals, with similar mutual acquaintances, AUTOMATICALLY mean TRUE LOVE, in the eyes of a friend. At first, this was where my mind was. I laughed, rolled my eyes, and continued putting on my eyeliner.

I knew who this guy was. I had met this guy before (we grew up in the same hometown). I was pretty damn sure we weren't 'perfect' for each other... (or else, I would have known... right)? Either way, after getting countless promising texts, I decided to add him on Facebook.

Beginning to "talk" to someone is always humorous to me, "What do you do?" "What kind of music do you like?" "What do you do on the weekends?" The questions are always the same; always getting the same typical answers. This is how our Facebook Messenger conversation started, as well. Honestly, at first, I just saw it as any other random messenger convo I'd had with people, in the past; we'd message for a while, but then get bored of one another, and that'd be that. Except this one was different. Ryan seemed legitimately interested in me, and what I was saying; he was kind (which was so freaking refreshing)!

In one of our earlier conversations, I made the joke about how he seemed to be the 'male equivalent of me'; we laughed and decided that in order to know, for sure, we needed to meet.

Quick side-note: For as long as I've lived, people have said that "opposites attract"! Yeah... they do, and for good reason. Opposites DO attract, but what usually happens after this attraction? Do they live happily ever after, or does that spark burn out as quickly as it began? After the experience I've had, instead of trying to find someone that is your 'opposite', try looking for someone more like you - someone who meets your values... your list!

I'm Your Density... I Mean, Your Destiny

Back to the future

Back to the future

back to the future

back to the future

Does anyone here remember in "Back to the Future", when George introduces himself to Lorraine and accidentally calls him her "Density", instead of destiny?! The BTTF series is my absolute favorite, and I was pleased to know that Ryan felt the same. The day of our first date came, and I drove up to Minnesota (he lived there, and I was in the process of moving up there). I remember driving by his house, once, because I was so nervous! After having spent the last week talking to the 'male equivalent' of myself, I began to think that this date might not be just any typical date.

I got out of my car, after taking five minutes (I swear) to park, on the street. We hugged, awkwardly, and went inside the house, for a bit. As we were walking to his car, to go have dinner, he stopped me, "Wait. I have to do what I was originally planning on doing, before I got so nervous..." He took his phone, and in the best awkward George McFly way, read, "Kate, I am your density... I mean, your destiny." I laughed out loud, and we drove to dinner.

I won't bore you with the details of our dinner. We talked about Humboldt, mutual friends and past relationships. Ryan, like myself, had been in a ten-year relationship; a relationship that had changed his whole outlook on life. It was extremely refreshing to have a conversation with someone who had gone through something almost identical, and had the same outlook on it.

Easy Like Sunday Morning

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People would always say to me, in the past, that meeting 'the one' would be easy, "You'll just know because it's easy. Nothing is forced." Again, a phrase I hadn't believed to be true, until I met Ryan. I think that our common-ground, mixed with our similar personalities made conversation easy; I felt like I had known him my whole life.

I had expected to spend the night (since my brother told me I was not welcome to stay at his place, again). LOL Except, I ended up staying the entire weekend. Again, easy. Nothing was awkward, forced or strange; I felt at home, when I was with Ryan.

Each week continued to be similar to our first weekend together, and it didn't take long for me to know that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this person. Ryan seemed to balance me out, in just the way I hadn't known I needed, before we met. He had this way of taking any obstacle, and overcoming it with a positive outlook.

In past relationships, I'd find myself worried to share my feelings, or opinions because I would be contradicted, and made to feel inferior. Ryan was the opposite; I remember him telling me once, "Kate, in order to have a good relationship, we have to be honest with each other. You need to tell me when you're mad." WOW... for the first time, I was able to share about things that bothered me, without worrying about him getting mad, in return.

Using Your Past to Define Your Future

Looking back on the list my mom told me to make, now, makes me smile. Every number is met (including #10... when Ryan and his grandma accompanied me to church, on Christmas Eve). The "little things" continue to bring me the most joy: kisses in the kitchen, texts that say "I love you", movie quotes, random laughter, snuggles and smiles, in the morning. I've come to the conclusion that sometimes, in order to get what we want, we need to first define what it is, exactly, we DO want; and then, we need to be patient. Create space in your life, and the universe will take advantage of that.

Remember when I said that my past relationships and experiences helped turn me into the person I am today? This is something Ryan and I talk about frequently; it rings true for the both of us. See, five years ago, if we would have been introduced, we wouldn't have been in a place to start dating; wanting to spend the rest of our lives with one another. Sometimes, it's easy, when you're in a relationship, to get focused on the past your partner had. But the next time you find yourself paying attention to that, I want you to take a step back; it was the path you and your partner took that got you both to where you are. If one thing didn't happen, in the series of your past, that could have created a time paradox, "the result of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the spacetime continuum..." OR, if you aren't into quoting "Back to the Future", if that one thing didn't happen, in the series of your past, who's to say you'd be with your partner now, or with your future partner, to come?


My hope is that you all, someday, find your Ryan, your "density". And even if you don't, my hope is that you recognize how amazing you really are, and the greatness you deserve. Don't continue to put yourself on the back-burner; if you are, I want you to recognize it's happening, and start to make your own list - maybe not a list of what you're looking for in a partner, but what you're looking for in yourself!

 

xoxo,

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Pieces of My Heart (and Yours)

"Love is in the air, every time I look around"... literally. February has been the season for hearts, kisses and showering your loved ones with gratitude. For some, this season is wonderful; an excuse to say "I love you" one more time; a reminder of the love you do have, in your life. For others, this month is torture; maybe you're sad you're not currently with anyone; maybe you're bitter about a past-relationship; maybe you aren't happy in your current situation. Similarly to the theme of the month, this post is on love; but before you start to roll your eyes and exit out of here, hear me out on this: This post will describe the essentials of My Q-Life; the building blocks, or pieces, of my heart (and yours) that nourish, empower and inspire us, on a daily basis. Just like Primary Foods, these are the pieces that I believe to be critical in being happy & healthy; feeling nourished and supported in every aspect of your being.

When thinking about Primary Foods, I came to the realization that those were a bit broad. Creating a life of health and happiness is made up of more than four characteristics (in my mind), and to find true alignment, we need to make sure we are cultivating the ground for ourselves to grow. I decided to create my own list of "essentials"; a guide, if you will, of the requirements for a happy and healthy life.

My Q-Life 11 Essentials for a Happy & healthy Life

My Q-Life 11 Essentials for a Happy & healthy Life


My Q-Life Founding Principles:

1. Healthy Food

This one is pretty self-explanatory; in order to be healthy, we need to make sure we're fueling our bodies properly, with the right foods. Remember, kale isn't the only healthy food out there, but greens are important! Fill yourself with healthy proteins, carbs and fats. Each is your friend; don't deprive yourself of one, for they each serve a great purpose.

Take the time to enjoy the food you're eating; don't rush through eating it. That causes issues of its own. Eat when you're hungry; stop when you're full. Listen to your body. At the point I am now, I know, even before eating something, if it's going to make me feel good or not great. Enjoy the junk food, on occasion. But make sure the majority of your meals and snacks include good, wholesome ingredients. Eating healthy doesn't need to be difficult.

 

2. Meditate

Have you checked out my Self-Care Guide yet? Meditating is one of those 'things I should really do more often' items, always on our bucket list, right? Seriously. Make time to meditate. Schedule it in your phone; just 10-15 minutes is all you need. Give yourself some quiet time; your mind needs to slow down. When our minds slow down, stress automatically begins to reduce. The stress may not go away, per say, but our response to that stress does, and that's something we can control.

So often, the idea of meditating seems easy, until we try to do it; that's why so many of us don't get it done. It's seriously HARD to sit, in silence; I know this! When we take the time to just be, breathe and relax, that's when our bodies start to open up. We can see things clearer, and our bodies become lighter.

 

3. Relationships

Your BFF. Your significant other. Your parents. Your siblings. Your co-workers. Your 'weekend hangout crew'. Relationships come in all kinds, shapes and sizes, and each one is so important in being healthy and happy. We all need relationships, of some kind, to grow.

My good friend, Holly, sent me a video by Will Smith, the other day, where Will asked whether your friends were, "feeding your flames, or dousing your fire". This really got me to thinking. Relationships are important, but GOOD relationships are crucial. Look at the last five text messages, in your phone. Who are they from? Do those individuals build you up? Do they inspire you, and help you want to become better? If they do, good; that's how it should be! If they don't, take this time to re-evaluate your friendships. Relationships give us a sense of belonging; they remind us that we're never alone.

*Don't use this as an excuse to wallow about NOT being in a romantic relationship, either. I know, I've been there; but honestly, being single is a great time to find yourself, and work to create better relationships with others... in the non-romantic way!

 

4. Create

Art. Love. Gratitude. Writing. Music. Inspiration. The list is endless. When we create something, we give our brain and our body the opportunity to grow, learn and develop. You don't need to be 'artsy' to create something; we're all artists. Life is our canvas, and it's up to us to create something that will beautify ourselves, and beautify the world.

 

5. Sex

Before I go on, I want you to take all judgements and throw them out the window. Sex isn't bad. Sex isn't sinful. It isn't something to be ashamed of. It isn't something we should be hard-up for (LOL... I had to), but it's also not something we should go into lightly, either. Sex is natural. It's something our bodies are hardwired to want; something we desire. In a relationship, it's one of the best ways to connect with your partner. Sex, in my opinion, is so much better when you're in love; however, I realize that often, love has nothing to do with it; and that's okay, too.

Maybe you're not in a relationship, right now. Maybe casual sex is something you're doing. That's okay... if you're okay. Speaking as a woman, it's incredibly hard to have sex with someone and not grow attached. So pay attention to your feelings, and only give your body to someone if it feels right.

Maybe sex isn't happening - in a relationship, or out of one. And in this case, I'd recommend you to take a look at your own sexuality, over your sex (for the current time). Do you love your body? Do you touch your body? Being sexual, with ourselves, is incredibly taboo, however, it's a great way we can focus on better loving ourselves, relationship or not. Never be ashamed to touch your body; for touching your body opens up a sexual door to pleasure, discovery and self-love.

 

6. Self

My last post really explains this, in detail. Happiness is an inside job, and before we can love others, we need to work on loving ourselves. I find this especially important when it comes to romantic relationships. Do you love yourself? Can you enjoy the time you have, alone? It's incredibly difficult to love someone else, and give them what they need, when you don't have the same love for yourself. Maybe you're TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF, and struggling with not being in a relationship. That's where having a good sense of self comes in, as well. Be confident with yourself, and your singleness. You don't need someone else to prove anything, or to be someone. Honestly, when we're alone is when our sense of self shines most.

Self-care falls under this category, too. When you legitimately care for yourself, you'll TAKE care of yourself. View it as a garden; your brain and your heart cannot (and will not) grow, or bloom, without taking proper care to make sure the seeds are first planted, then watered and monitored, daily. Do you feel like a good person? Are you proud of the decisions you make - the things you stand up for? Are you a parent? Do you feel like a positive role-model for your child? This all falls under having a positive sense of self. Without ourselves, we don't have anything; remember that.

 

7. Laughter

Laughter is the world's best medicine. It relaxes the body, strengthens the immune system, releases endorphins and burns calories. It's literally the wonder drug! When was the last time you laughed? Truly, whole-heartily, deep-bellied laughed? When you think of situations, or friends that allow you to laugh the most, what/who do you think of? Can you spend more time in those situations, and around those people? There absolutely is a place for seriousness, in life, however, the majority of situations can benefit more from laughter, and optimism.

 

8. Exercise

This one's pretty self-explanatory, also. We know exercise burns calories, it releases endorphins (similar to laughter) and allows us to tone up. I want you to recognize, though, that exercise comes in many different forms - there's not one way to move, nor should there be. Are you tired of running? Stop! Are you sore from overdoing it, at the gym? Stop! Switch things up. Trust me, your body and your mind will thank you.

Something I always recommend, to my members, is to find a form of exercise that they enjoy; because when you enjoy something, you're more likely to do it, often. Exercise shouldn't always be something you dread. I realize, sometimes, this is the case, but always listen to yourself. Push back when you're feeling tired; push forward when you feel you can. Start where you are, when it comes to moving. Even if that's just 10-15 minutes, a day. A walk around the block, a hike in your favorite park, popping in a fitness DVD, dancing in your kitchen... the opportunities are endless! Just get out and move!

 

9. Home

"Home is where the heart is." Sound familiar? This is true, but there's also something incredibly important about having a safe space to come back to, to fall asleep in, at the end of the day. "Home" is important.

I had a college professor once tell our class that it was interesting to listen to people talk about "home", depending on the age they were. In high school, obviously, your house is your house. When moving away to college, "home" is still, usually, your parents' house; the place you'd go on the weekends and for summer vacation. As you get older, and begin to find your own place, spend more time at your own place, that's when things begin to change. Maybe your "home" changes; your comfort level begins to develop at a new location.

My definition of home is anywhere I can walk around naked (honestly). I can pee with the door open. I can lay on the floor. I can take my bra off, at the end of the day, sit in my chair, and snuggle with my kitty. It's a safe space; a quiet place. It's the place I feel comfortable coming back to; it's clean. You need "home"; you need a place to feel safe.

It takes some time to find "home", after moving out of the house you spent your childhood in. I've finally reached a point where I call my house "home", but let me tell you, there's no more comforting feeling I get than driving down that gravel road, into my parents' driveway. That will always be "home". Home is a place you can come back to; it's always a place you're welcome.

 

10. Love

Love should be like breathing. It should be just a quality in you - wherever you are, with whomsoever you are, or even if you are alone, love goes on overflowing from you. It is not a question of being in love with someone - it is a question of being love.
— Osho

Love can carry so many definitions, and this description is very similar. Love for yourself, love for another, love for your pets, love for your family, love for your neighbors. I've shared this quote (to the right), on Valentine's Day, for the past couple of years now...

So often, especially this time of year, we're too focused on being IN love. That's not it, at all! Relationship or no relationship, love should never be about DOING more than BEING. I want you to think about what the qualities of BEING love would look like? And to reiterate, not being IN love - BEING LOVE. How would you act? How would you present yourself? Focus on being love; giving yourself love, first, with the thoughts you create, the words you say, the actions you show, so that you can then go love others.

 

11. Purpose

I mentioned earlier not necessarily loving the four original Primary Foods, just because of their broadness, but also because of the "career" element. See, as an individual who has suffered, a lot, with finding alignment in career, I don't necessarily believe that that factor fits everyone; or be a depiction of a happy & healthy life, or not. Sometimes, we won't have a job where we're making enough money. Sometimes, we're working, but not feeling great about it. Sometimes, we find ourselves without a job, living back with our parents, or digging into Indeed.com, daily.

I wanted to change things a little. Instead of using "career" as one of my essentials, I'm using "Purpose", because that feels so much better, in my soul. Purpose is something we're all searching for; something we all are wanting. A reason to wake up in the morning; something that excites us; something that drives us to push forward. For some of us, maybe that IS a career. Maybe we're proud of the work we do, in the job we're at. For others, maybe we're a parent, or a stay-at-home-parent, and that brings us purpose. Maybe we volunteer, or snuggle with our pet, or visit our parents, or grandparents, weekly. Purpose can be whatever brings you joy - whatever fills your cup up. Whatever it is, you need it; you need to have purpose.

I struggled with finding my purpose for a very long time; some days, I still struggle. My hope is that you never give up searching; that you never feel discouraged to the point where you give up. Look at your interests, your goals, your loves; where do you spend the most time, physically and mentally? Use those as a road map - allowing you to get closer to your purpose.


These are my Primary Foods ("Essentials"); the focal points needing attention, daily, in order to live the best life we can. Each essential makes up part of the heart - flowing in a collage of color, similar to our own self. This reminds us that not one is more important than the other, and that each essential relies on another, in order to flow accordingly. When one is missing, or lacking in color, that's when we find ourselves struggling - in mind, in body and/or spirit.

 

(Thesis), a short statement, usually one sentence, that summarizes the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, etc., and is developed, supported, and explained in the text by means of examples and evidence.
— Dictionary.com

Do you remember in your high school English class, when you first learned about properly writing papers? Do you remember creating a thesis statement?

When thinking of these essentials, I want you to think about it in terms of being your "thesis" - a short statement, summarizing the main points; needing to be explained by means of examples and evidence, later on.

These essentials are all part of our heart; they're explained, briefly, however, in order to explain yourself, and your story, you need to take each one of those essentials and make it your own; creating the color and the collage. Let these Founding Principles summarize the way in which you live, and let the actions you take, and the pictures you paint, be your evidence.


From here on out, every weekly post will cover one of the 11 Essentials. It's my hope that we can start to bring more color to each essential of our heart... one piece at a time.

xoxo,

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A Life of Self-Care

Last week, I shared my personal story about the struggles I experienced, during my Quarter-Life Crisis. As I mentioned last time, it's amazing how far from ourselves we become when we try to fit into this mold of what we think we should be; where we think we should be at. After spending years doing this, going through the motions of life, I became less passionate, less healthy and less myself. As a society that puts this ridiculous amount of pressure on 'having your life together', it's amazing the majority of us who really don't have our lives together - our priorities in check.


I mention priorities because that was last week's assignment: to make a list of the things you fill your day (and minds) with, and narrow it down to your three priorities.


But what if you created your list, tried to narrow it down, and realized that your current priorities weren't really what you'd like those priorities to be?

Well then, no worries! That's what this week's post is all about... taking the time to give ourselves the love we deserve, so those priorities are a lot easier to define, and a lot easier to stick to.

First Think About It

Think about your day, currently. I want you to answer these questions:

  • How do you fill it up?
  • What thoughts run through your head?
  • What foods and beverages do you fill your body with?
  • Do you exercise? If so, how do you feel doing it, and once it's over?
  • Do you feel relaxed, or on-edge?
  • How quickly does it take to fall asleep?

These are just a couple of questions that are important to ask, while working toward figuring yourself out. Chances are, after answering them, you weren't exactly excited about the outcome, am I right?! That's exactly where I was, a couple of years ago, when I was going through my Quarter-Life Crisis. And it's important to realize that before we change ourselves, and expect those changes to stick, we need to assess our lives, and make sure we're creating a welcoming environment for that positive change.

Where Self-Care Comes In

I'm sure we've all seen it - the articles, photos and hashtags about self-care...

#treatyoself #selfcare #workingonme

Everybody seems to be taking the time for themselves, when they can, WHICH IS GREAT! But I can't help but think... what is this person's life like, the other 23 hours, in their day, they're not taking that bubble bath?! Does this person feel so much stress in their every-day life that they feel the need to spend one hour attempting to forget about it?!

Again, by no means am I bashing ANYONE doing this! I give you all the kudos in the world for creating a little bit of self-care in your life, but instead of ADDING self-care into our lives, why don't we work to CREATE a LIFE of self-care!?

How would you feel if your life was directed toward caring for yourself?

10 years ago, in high school, I was described as an all-around extrovert; doing this and doing that - utilizing every second of my time in every way possible. 10 years ago, I was also extremely sick, depressed and stressed.

Today, if you were to ask anyone that talks to me frequently, you'd find out that my days aren't filled with much of anything; work, exercise (maybe), dinner, movie and night-snuggles with Mona. Does this sound boring?! Well maybe! However, if it sounds boring, chances are you're struggling with providing yourself the self-care you merit.

Compared to ten years ago (hell, even two), I'm now healthier, happier and more satisfied than I've ever been. And a lot of that has to do with living a life of self-care.

Breaking It Down & Overcoming Excuses

Giving back to yourself - ©My Q-Life

Giving back to yourself - ©My Q-Life

Maybe your reasoning for not giving yourself the care you deserve is time; for time is the NUMBER ONE EXCUSE GIVEN BY ALL OF US (myself included)! You work two jobs; your kids have activities; you're taking classes; the list goes on, and it goes on for everyone. But now, I want you to think of all of the things you do, in a day, that are 100% completely necessary. They aren't all necessary, are they? Which unnecessary things bring you joy; which do not? I want you to think about all of the things you're NOT doing for yourself, that are causing you to live a life filled with stress. What's preventing you from eating that healthy dinner? What's stopping you from saying 'NO' to your friend's Happy Hour offer? What's preventing you from taking a day to relax at home, instead of going overboard at the gym? What's the reason you continue to feed yourself negative thoughts?

Sometimes, life gets in the way; sometimes, we push ourselves because we think that's what's 'best' for us; I completely get that. But here's the main point: Don't. Ever. Let. Life. Get. In. The. Way. Completely. Don't. Ever. Push. Yourself. Without. Taking. Time. To. Back. Off. An easy way to do this is to question every decision you make: "Will going to Happy Hour make me happier, in the long run?" "Will saying yes to being on this board create too much added chaos?" "Will doing this HIIT workout, every single day, help me feel less stressed?" We're all different, and know our bodies better than anyone. Sometimes, it's just about getting back to yourself, in the first place, and taking the time to listen.

Feeding Yourself Right

In my time at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I learned about Primary and Secondary Foods. Primary Foods are the ways we feed ourselves, mentally, through relationships, spirituality, career and physical activity. Secondary Foods being the physical food we consume to fill our bodies.

Institute for integrative nutrition, integrative nutrition plate; primary and secondary foods

Institute for integrative nutrition, integrative nutrition plate; primary and secondary foods

The thought here is a fantastic one; when we're feeding our physical bodies all of the right foods (Secondary Food), it doesn't mean squat if our Primary Foods aren't in check, too. Meaning: you can eat kale every day, count your macros and consume all organic food, but if you're not feeding your soul with what it needs, you're not going to be healthy.

**Quick side note here: this doesn't mean that Secondary Food isn't important! This is all about balance, as is anything with life.

Think of it this way: How do you feel after binging on a double-cheeseburger, fries and a soda? Just like your physical body hurts (after feeding it unhealthy food), we hurt our soul when we feed it with unhealthy thoughts.

In my eyes, Primary Food goes hand-in-hand with living a life filled with self-care! Self-care isn't just about finding that down time, taking that bubble bath, but it's also about finding those ways to feed your soul with positive thoughts and positive actions.

**I created a pretty handy self-care guide that focuses on creating a life of self-care, based on feeding ourselves with Primary & Secondary Foods. Please take a look, and use it in whatever way feels best! Sometimes, we just need a little push in the right direction, and my hope is that this guide will do just that. Click here for the guide, and subscribe to my page...


This week, your goal is to focus on your Primary Foods. What's positive, and going well? Where needs some love? How can you put more self-care and self-love into those areas?


As always, remember that change is a gradual process, and that it takes time. Don't worry about worrying, or rushing, because that'll just make it more difficult to get to the point of this blog post. I always like to think that the most positive thing is realizing that we need to make a change, and then be willing to make it. Once we've reached that point, we're halfway there!

xoxo,

 

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My Quarter-Life Crisis

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It's amazing the amount of times I can count being absolutely terrified about not having my life 'together'. For years, I'd try to fit myself into this mold of what I thought I needed to do, and in turn, I just became less passionate, less healthy and less myself....

It all started after college ended; I struggled right from the get-go. While people I knew were getting jobs, moving to large cities, meeting the loves of their life, I moved back home, got drunk frequently, ate too much and filled my days with relationships that no longer satisfied me. I was applying for jobs, mindlessly, with no larger goal than to find a job that could allow me to make money, move into my own place, and "be happy".

I accepted my first "big girl job", in Minneapolis, about six months after graduating. "This is it," I thought, as I began to brag about how I was going to be an Event Planner, living it up in The Cities. I signed a lease, moved up during the bitter cold of winter, and started working. Fast-forward about two months into my job, where I was stuck on i35, at 6am one morning, during a blizzard, trying to make it to Downtown Minneapolis to set-up for an event. I had been severely stressed for those two months; eating like crap, drowning my stress in gluten free cookies and booze. This was NOT "living it up"; this wasn't even living, but surviving. "I'm not happy," I told myself. Long story short, I quit. I told myself that no job was worth getting ill over, and that I'd never choose a job just for the money.

Fast-forward three months later, when my U-Haul pulled up in front of my new townhome, in Des Moines... IOWA. Yep. I had accepted a job as a Project Manager for a sweet company, and better yet, the pay was incredibly awesome. "This is it," I thought, as I began to brag about how I was now living in DSM, helping non-profits. Two months later? Yep, you guessed it. I was stressed to the max, drowning my stress in bottles of champagne, and homemade gluten free pizza (which FYI: isn't ALWAYS a bad thing)! Another long story short, I quit. Again. And told myself, again, that no job was worth getting ill over, and that I'd never choose a job just for the money.

Notice a pattern here? Well, this pattern continued for the next year. One random job after the other, resulting in another blubbering phone call to my mom, where she would say, "I love you. It's your decision, and I can't help you make it, no matter how much I wish I could." -- I was devastated. Defeated. Depressed. For so long, I had been "looking for happiness", and instead, seemed to dig myself deeper in despair.

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.
— J.P. Morgan

The break in this chain occurred when my dad sent me an email he had received from a friend, who had a friend "whose child was going through the same thing as me", blah, blah, blah. You know how those scenarios go. However, after my parents, so graciously, agreed to pay for me to see this life coach, who helped so many, I hesitantly agreed. Isn't it strange how when you're depressed, you're even more hesitant to make changes, or try something else?

In one of my first meetings with my life coach, I was asked to make a list of all of the words that described me, and what I prioritized. After doing this, I had to narrow that list down to just three - my top three priorities. The thought was that after I defined these three priorities, I would then focus on how to make my life fit those priorities, rather than fitting my priorities into my crazy life. This is what unlocked the hugely-secured door that had been blocking my life for so long! Why hadn't I thought of this before?! Jumping from one thing to the other, especially when it was against my priorities, wasn't going to help me in the slightest.

My Three Priorities for a Satisfying Life: Health, Happiness and Relationships (family/friends)

1. Health: Something I had COMPLETELY lost since running around, jumping from job to job. Something I realized I NEEDED to have, in order to have a satisfying, lasting life.

2. Happiness: Something that's directly connected to health. Something I had been avidly looking to find for so long.

3. Relationships: Family and friends have always been, and will always be so important to me. Putting them first, always, is a priority.

After defining these, and setting personal goals for myself, I was on an upward trend. I realized that allowing myself to stay stuck in these 'time-sucking, life-sucking, depressing situations' wasn't healthy, and after that realization, things continued to improve.

After much thought, I moved back home, AGAIN. However, this time, I had a plan. I enrolled in a Health & Wellness Coaching Program, with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I started to put the focus back on what I NEEDED to do in order to life a life I was proud of; a life where I was living based on my priorities, instead of the other way around.

What did this look like? Well to some, it appeared as if I 'needed help'. LOL I, finally, ended a 10-year toxic relationship, I started to fuel my body with what it needed, I began to meditate, sweat, laugh and spend time with the people I loved and cared for, so passionately. I began to take risks, and above anything else, I started to love myself. Defining those three priorities was pretty amazing, wasn't it?!

My Q-Life was born after the ‘Quarter-Life Crisis’ I experienced. It’s for everyone that finds themselves experiencing something similar, whether it be quarter, mid or beyond. I’m here to help; we’re here to help one another!

So, WHY does this matter to you? WHY am I telling you this? Because I've literally been there. And I know how difficult it is to be stuck doing something you hate, health deteriorating and happiness drowning. Is my life completely together now? Hell no! But see, that's the beauty of it, I've learned! Life's about figuring ourselves out, and enjoying the journey along the way. It's about taking small steps to make some fantastic changes! Would I take back any of the experiences I had? Absolutely not! They're what helped get me here. Helped me get to a place of being able to help others who are struggling as well.

Each week, we'll dig a little deeper on a subject that's helpful in getting us closer to the life we are happy to live. Have something you'd like me to talk about?! Please let me know! Also, as with all good life-work, each week's post will end with some homework. It's up to you to try it out, and report back!


 

This week, your goal is to make a list of the words/priorities that describe you, and then, find your top three!

 


My hope is that this space will turn into a safe haven for you - allowing you to dig deep into yourself, and find a life you're passionate about. So, pop open that bottle of champagne (or kombucha), kick your feet up, relax and enjoy the ride we're about to embark on! xoxo