in search of (even more) grey

I keep finding myself stuck.

Stuck in the way other people do things.

Stuck in how I should present myself on social media if I want to coach/yoga teach/write/who knows what for a living eventually.

I’ve been holding myself back. I’ve read several places that those that are successful in places where I want to go, they don’t write about stuff until they have it figured it out. They don’t publish what’s going on when they are in the middle of their shit.

Well, guess what. That’s not me. And I’m tired of being quiet because I think I have to have it figured out before you will believe in me, have faith in me, take me seriously.

I have opinions. (Or, as Nathan says, I “just know things.”) And they are just forming. But just because they aren’t solidified doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t talk about them. Because, seriously? If I wait until I have it all figured out? I’ll just find something else to figure out and I’ll never write here again.

(#nowplaying : Do you know Radical Face? This song slays me.)

With that said, welcome to my latest Soapbox.

I want to preface this by saying that I’m not talking about anyone in particular, sweet friends. Not you, or you, or even you.  I follow a lot of people in social media. These are patterns that I see. I am a therapist at heart. I look for patterns and interactions. I look for ways I want to be present. And this is what I’m seeing.

There seems to be two polarizing schools of self-improvement floating around right now: permission and aggression. In theory, they both have their place. Permission is self-kindness, self-love, self-everything. Aggression is being hyper-focused, ignoring self in order to reach a goal, no-excuses-ever. I get both. And, at different times in my life, I’ve been in both places.

I get the appeal of both. I get how easy it is to get drawn into one or the other. It seems like such a continuum to me. And I see so much danger on both ends. And the trends are polarizing.

Too much permission? Things don’t get done. Important tasks get missed because what I really need/want/ is to lay here on the couch and watch another episode of SVU or Criminal Minds. Or maybe even watch one now and DVR the other. And that yoga prop? I want it, I’ll use it, so I’ll buy it. Who cares if I can afford it? I’ll figure it out. Yes, life is experienced. Yes, we learn about ourselves. But is what we are building making us truly happy? Are we creating happiness in our career? Are we living in line with our values or our whims? Are we just reacting to the Veruca Salt inside of us? The only thing that is important is happiness in this moment.

Too much aggression? This kills me, friends. Few things make me more sad on social media (well, except for surprise starving animals) than seeing my friends at war with themselves. Self-improvement as a battle that is just white-knuckled through. Denial of physical and emotional needs to check off a box or meet a goal. The only thing that is important is the goal, no matter the cost.

I’m trying really hard to find a balance with this with myself. Important goals, with flexibility. Staying focused and pursuing self-improvement with kindness and contentment. Trusting myself to know what I need, but being aware that I will have to step out of my comfort zone and my complacent nature from time to time.

Knowing what my heart wants. Moving. Noticing. Adjusting. Moving. Noticing. Adjusting.

But I’m afraid that there’s no glamor in this middle ground.

Is it accessible? Yes.

Is it a realistic way to create lasting change? Yes.

Is it kind and loving with necessary pieces of self-redirection and even a nudge from someone who knows what you really want? Yes.

But it isn’t flashy. It doesn’t have an impressive before/after picture. It doesn’t look good on pinterest or instagram.

And I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter.

It is something that I want to live. I’ve been working really hard at it.

And it is something that I want to give to you, to show you, to bring to you.

But I don’t have to wait until I have it all figured out.

Of course, I’ll be writing about it here on the blog. I also send out more vulnerable stuff to my newsletter subscribers (get on the list here) and I love using my Instagram feed for mini-blogposts as well.

Finding the grey, friends. Story of my life.

anger and gratitude

This happened on Friday.

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My husband was alone. And I knew that he was okay before I even saw the car. The trip from our house to the flower-filled median beside Pier One was filled with the frantic prayer.

Nothing can be ill if he is well.

Thank You for keeping my husband in the palm of Your hand.

We did all of the accident stuff. I listened to my sweet husband recount the accident over and over and over. (For the love of all that is holy, people. Put your phones down in the car. It only takes a second to total two vehicles.) He was so calm and so polite and everything I hope I would be in the situation.

But as soon as the car was on the tow truck and my husband was safe with me, I immediately went into panic.

We’ve never had a second car payment.

Can we afford this?

What will we have to give up to buy a second car?

What if we can’t make this work?

How dare that distracted driver take our beloved paid-off Altima from us? (This is a little embarrassing, but this is the post where we bought the car in 2007!)

And each time I went into this panic mode, I felt guilty. I should be thankful that Nathan is okay. My gratitude should be overshadowing all of my fear and my anger and my loss.

But it wasn’t. I am nervous. I am angry. I wonder how it will work.

That is the truth. And I finally realized that I needed to give myself permission to practice what I preach.

I can be both.

I can be thankful that my husband is okay and angry that someone destroyed my car.

I can be fearful of adding a second car payment into our budget and excited to get a new(to us) car.

I can be both trusting that we will figure it out and disappointed that we have to figure it out.

Allowing myself that space to hold both of those feelings at the same time made it all more manageable. I don’t have to worry about balancing them against each other if I just accept that they are both there.

I don’t have to feel either/or. I can feel and.

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As we approach the holidays, I am presenting happyHEALTHYholidays for a third year! Spend the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas giving not only to those around you, but also to yourself. We’ll spend the month devoted to small, manageable, daily goals (total of 30 minutes or so). By focusing on self-care, home, food, and fitness, I’ll coach you through keeping your joy and self-care present in your holiday season. Click here for more info and to register!

that I would be good

that I would be good.

… even if I don’t follow an editorial calendar and just write whenever I feel like it.

… even if I decide that I want to make an effort to release some weight.

… even if I am angry in a place where I should be oh-so-thankful.

… even if I stop posting on my facebook page (because facebook business pages is where posts to go to die).

… even when I am overwhelmed (and it is okay to talk about it).

… even when I let my fear of financial lack get in the way of believing in abundance and provision.

… even if my forward fold still looks all jacked-up.

… even when my upstairs is overrun by clean clothes.

… even when I fear that what I have to say goes against a lot of what my contemporaries encourage (and what I thought I’d encourage).

… even when I doubt my relevance.

… even if I did nothing.

But I’m still doing things. I’m just not talking a lot.

What am I doing?

I’m shooting yoga videos for my clients. It is so fun but so terrifying.

I’m sending my more vulnerable stuff to my newsletter list. Do you get it?

I’m putting the finishing touches on happyHEALTHYholidays to run again this year. With new content. 4 weeks of self-care (and self-preservation) coaching through the holiday season, running from November 25 – December 26.

And, friends, it is good.

And I am good.

xoxo

curvy yoga teacher training – round 2

My absence has been purposeful.

I have been living. Absorbing. Learning. Reflecting.

I have completed half of my classroom hours toward becoming a yoga teacher.

I am a year older.

And, friends. My heart is full.

Suitcase. Air mattress. Early bedtime. Nashville Sarah was oh-so-welcoming.

 

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There are few joys like an iced latte from the Frothy Monkey.

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I love LOVE everyone involved in my teacher training – both students and instructors. I love that we can have salad and garlic knots and pizza for lunch. All at once. It is so wonderful to just eat without food issues hanging over.

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The studio has really came together since we were there last. The artwork is just fantastic. My intention for the week was to be brave. In a calm and peaceful way. Without aggression or forcefulness.

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A toast for a day well done. My milkshake. Root beer and probably a pretty hoppy IPA.

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I don’t know how many trips we made up and down this staircase. And each step? Yup. There was love there.

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I adore this spot. There’s just something about this little nook that makes me feel nice and cozy and at home.

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My drive from Sarah’s to the studio is hilarious. Get on one one interstate. Take the first exit to the left. Take the first exit to the right. Then cross three lanes of traffic and take the first exit. It is just hysterical. And when I come to a stop? This is my view. This is Nashville.

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Every morning, we’d gather down the street at Bongo (after my stop at Frothy Monkey). And it felt like Cheers. Except with amazing muffins. Don’t make me choose between the Sweet Potato White Chocolate and the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip. They both made fantastic afternoon snacks.

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You may notice both of the muffins in my learning space.

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The window seat in the classroom is so inviting.

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We walked to lunch every day. And the choices are just amazing. Pork belly and shrimp noodle soup. Yes, yes, yes. As we discreetly texted about the old-school celebrity sitting at the table to my left.

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There is something about this place. Suits. Yoga pants. Big hair. Baby-wearing dads. Artists in action. Bibles and highlighters. So much feeds me other than the amazing latte and blueberry+lavender+lemon scone. Seriously, though. This scone. I took home three.

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This is right after I busted in the quiet room. I barreled in and said, “Whatcha doin’ Karin? OH SHIT! This is the quiet room!” And then we took a selfie.

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Yumm. Caffeine. Notice a theme?

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Sandwich and salad ended up being my lunch of choice most days.

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Yes, Nashville, I am here. I am in Sarah’s super tall bed with quilts, quilts, quilts. I am surrounded by new yoga pants. I just got off the phone with my darling husband. I have amazing friends and teachers who have such sweet souls. My belly is full. I figured out Half Moon against the wall (I think my heart is still smiling). My body is exhausted and my heart is full and I’m thinking about actually fixing my hair tomorrow. I will be 37 in two days but I don’t feel the weight of “late thirties.” Not at all. There is so so much gratitude in the here that I am in. (But I still wouldn’t mind if Nathan was physically here with me.)

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This space is so, so sacred. We are brave. We are curious. We trust Anna and Liz and each other. This space, friends.

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I so love these women. I hide in their bushes (how did I not get a picture of this, Carrie?!?). We are on trying-on-pants-as-a-group terms. Woo, Pants Party! We tell ghost stories. We lay hands on each other (with permission and, sometimes giggles). And I can’t wait to be together again in March.

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You can learn more about Anna Guest-Jelley’s Curvy Yoga Teacher Training here. And, if nothing else, click over because the photos of the studio are beautiful.

I am on my way, sweet friends.

this is not the time.

I’m cooking up something delicious for the first of the year.

This means that I – along with a small group of test clients – am smack in the middle of body awareness. We are learning to listen what our bodies tell us about food, movement, and beauty.

And I am learning. Lots.

Sometimes, the problem is just timing.

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In an honest attempt to simplify my menu planning, I signed up for a cleanse. A cleanse that I was really excited about. That I thought I wanted. I made the grocery list. I sent Nathan to the grocery store. I detoxed from caffeine. I was involved in the Facebook group. I was super super excited.

But then, two days in to the food restriction, I felt terrible. My joints – especially in my fingers – ached. My lips were cracking. And the only thing I could think about was a glass of milk.

Not sugar. Not grain. But a glass of milk.

So I had one.

It wasn’t a knee-jerk decision. I weighed my options. I thought about what I was potentially giving up. I thought about my financial commitment. But I realized that I could still cook everything on the menu.

And I could add cheese if I wanted.

So I had a glass of milk. And maybe it is in my head, but I woke up feeling like me again.

And that is what is most important to me today. In a world where I am preparing for yoga teacher training trip 2. In a world where work feels less than stable. In a world where I want so many things to be different but am terrified of change.

I need to feel like me. I need to be grounded in who I am, physically and emotionally.

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This is not the time to cleanse. There will be a time, but this is not it.

I am still decaf. I am still keeping the additions to my day. But I’m also listening to my body. Because I know what I need. And more challenge is not what I need.

I am not giving up. I am not jumping ship. I am just saying not right now.

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Are you on Instagram? I am loving the space as a mini- blog. You can see my pictures and follow me as krissiebentley.