Internet Inspiration – April 24, 2015

4.24.2015

I remember learning about synesthesia in high school and thinking, “I want it.” Check out this artist who painted songs she saw.

Did I link to this before? I hope so. How to DIY an awesome writer’s retreat. I’m thinking this needs to be a quarterly thing for me.

Your brain on orgasms. My favorite thing about this article is that it acknowledges that there are many different kinds of orgasms; not just clitoral.

There’s an awesome social media push for #LoveYourLines, and I’m into it.

An important reminder about the limits of your jurisdiction.

Your outrage is understandable and appropriate; it’s just not helpful.

There is a time and place for skepticism like yours: When you’re the one deciding whether to marry/reconcile/procreate with someone, or you’ve been asked to advise the person who is.

24 fiction books that can change your life. I haven’t read many of these, but those that I have are solid recommendations. Actually, now that I’m reviewing the list again, I only see one book by a woman on this list, and I don’t think any from people of color. So these books might change your life, but there are more authors to explore. Here are 100 books by black women everyone should read and 41 awesome female authors. These are the convenient lists I have, but there’s a big world of authors out there, so if you have recommendations from demographics I haven’t highlighted here (A Fine Balance, Cutting for Stone, Americanah, Wild Swans, etc), do share. I’d love to take a literature trip around the world!

And I read this op-ed on Earth Day. It includes a list of counter-intuitive recommendations to save the planet, which mostly include concentrating humans in cities and leaving nature alone. Interesting thoughts to say the least.

Lastly, I know it’s an ad and it’s designed to manipulate me, but I felt things watching these blindfolded kids pick their moms out of a crowd.

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Holding Space for Yourself

holding space for yourself

I made my CrossFit class so mad at me last week. We are in a new training cycle, and the workout called for double unders, where the jumprope passes twice beneath your feet on every jump. Usually we tell people they can do three single unders for every double under, so if the workout calls for 30 double unders one could do 90 single unders. But this week I told everyone that didn’t have double unders consistently that only double under attempts would count. Single unders, the easy, safe, accessible crutch, would count for nothing.

To watch the devolution of these athletes during the first few rounds of the workout was almost hilarious. I’ve written before about double unders and how frustrating they can be until you get them. I could see the anger and nasty thoughts people were sending my way. (Fortunately, I joke to my members, I feed on their suffering.)

But how many people got double unders that class? All of them.

Many of them got double unders for the very first time.

It’s my typical pattern to avoid people hating me At All Costs. So it was very interesting to truly feel all the frustration and resentment being directed at me and know that I was the cause of suffering in that class. If not for me and my arbitrary rules, that workout could have been just a challenging physical workout and not a grueling mental battle.

Perhaps being in “coach” mode protected me from taking their frustration personally. But I think the true quality that protected my ego from being hated was empathy.

I knew that their frustration wasn’t about me. It wasn’t even about the double unders. They got hooked into an emotional pattern, and the double unders started to mean… more. It became personal.

I hate this. I suck at this. Double unders suck. Why am I so terrible? I’m terrible at everything. Why can’t I be like that guy? It looks effortless for him. Why does this suck so much? Fuck you Kathryn for making me FACE THIS.

There are two reasons this is easy for me to see this and hold the space for you to feel this:

  • I have been here before, I have felt this before, and it’s easy for me to see what’s happening for you.
  • It is not currently happening to me. I’m outside it, unattached.

It’s useful to have a coach. It’s useful to have someone who can help you have your stuff without making it theirs.

But you can also cultivate this relationship with yourself.

All you need is time and space for expression. It’s hard to do this in the moment; it’s easier when you’ve been noticing your triggers (without panicking or fixing them) often enough that you can see the patterns.

Soon you’ll start to notice that most of your patterns are the same.

Not being able to do something “right” might trigger you because being perfect and a great achiever is the way you know for sure that you’ll be loved and accepted. So not being able to follow the perfect diet or have the perfect body or do the workout perfectly means more than just not looking like that woman in a magazine; it means that love and belonging are out of your reach. No wonder you get panicked! No wonder you try to insult that bitch over there. It’s survival of the fittest here.

Turning to food to suppress your emotions might have been the coping mechanism you used as a kid because no one allowed you to have your emotional experience. It wasn’t safe for you to feel rage, or grief, or frustration, or even delight and joy. Safer to push all that down.

Believing you aren’t changing because you’re a willpower weakling is a message you probably got from society at large and is nonsense, quite frankly. No wonder beating yourself up hasn’t worked yet.

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My favorite way to unravel these patterns is by writing. You might like talking to yourself, or talking with a therapist or coach. But you’ll start to notice that your triggers aren’t isolated. They don’t happen in a vacuum. When you get frustrated with double unders, it’s not really about the double unders. When you binge on ice cream or cookies, it’s not about wanting ice cream and cookies.

Notice. See if you can identify the qualities underneath your reaction. See if you can find out what you’re really hungry for. This is all psychology is: noticing patterns and following threads.

If you can cultivate your tolerance to discomfort, eventually you’ll see yourself getting triggered and say, “oh that’s right, I’m feeling afraid/embarrassed/anxious/nervous/etc. This is my pattern with this emotion.” And just like that, you’ll have pulled yourself out of the spiral and you’ll have the opportunity to act from wisdom.

So try it. When you feel that familiar stress response, the shoulders tensing, the belly tightening, the breath getting shallow and quick… see if you can just soften your belly. Notice whether or not you’re actually in danger. Name your feelings and look for patterns.

love, Kathryn

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Internet Inspiration – April 17, 2015

4.17.2015

Why is English spelling so weird?

English doesn’t borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over, and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.

A photographer attached fireworks to drones and took some beautiful pictures.

Some epic responses from celebrities about fat shaming. My most recent favorite is Kelly Clarkson’s:

I wish I had a better metabolism. But someone else probably wishes they could walk into a room and make friends with everyone the way I can. You always want what someone else has.

All bodies are good bodies, and that includes yoga bodies. We are all welcome.

I can’t stop listening to this song this week. It’s a song I dance to weekly at Thursday Night Salsa, but for some reason this week I want it on all. the. time.

Randomly, this Key & Peele skit about Game of Thrones is hilarious and contains zero current season spoilers.

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Internet Inspiration and Updates – April 10, 2015

4.10.2015

My poor, neglected blog. I remember it used to drive me crazy when I’d look at blogs and every entry would begin with “I’m sorry I’ve been absent so long, let me tell you all the reasons why I haven’t been writing…” and now I really understand where those bloggers were coming from.

Mostly what happened with me is I’d say, “Kathryn. You need to write a blog post. Sit down and do it.” And I’d reply, “You are not the boss of me!” and go do anything besides writing. Sometimes I just need to be a walking f*ck you, even to myself.

I’ve been working on my first online course, which sends me scurrying for anonymity. It’s 8 weeks long, beginning in June, and the real point of the course is for you to get to know yourself, to engage with your emotions (and emotional triggers), and to be on your own side.

It starts with eating patterns: stress, meal timing, eating speed, and also goes into the toxic nutritional beliefs you might have ingested from years of living on planet Earth. But the real fun happens when we have a foundation of slow, mindful eating and can start to turn our attention deeper, into the stuff you’re avoiding when you focus on food and rules and control. Thing like pleasure, desire, and what you’d do with all the energy you’re currently spending worrying about diet, exercise, control, and willpower.

So I’m excited for that, and will absolutely be sending out more and more information over the next few months. But keep it in mind if you’re looking for support and acceptance on your body love path.

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17 of the most brilliant excerpts from poetry.

This post went viral, at least in my circles, a few weeks ago, and it was worthy of its viral status. What it means to hold space for people.

To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc., we can’t do it by taking their power away (ie. trying to fix their problems), shaming them (ie. implying that they should know more than they do), or overwhelming them (ie. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes.

Coconut black rice breakfast pudding. And also let’s go to Thailand.

Everything Is Awful And I’m Not Ok. An excellent article with some practical question and answers to go through if you’re having one of those ways, which we all do at some point.

This is kind of neat: your yoga horoscope. Definitely true for me (a Cancer), at least.

Awesome article on how to live out of a suitcase glamorously. The clothing stuff is cool, but I’m most excited about the cash passport.

And now you can power your own electronic devices through movement!

There’s a Malala Asteroid!

And, there’s a dance opera being filmed inside a particle accelerator.

Nothing is the New Skinny. Amen.

At the end of the day, this is basically about giving women the message that we should all try to be “This!” which is the new “That!” which will make us worthy/good/socially acceptable/fuckable or whatever.  It’s like climbing out of one hole, falling into another hole, and then celebrating that we’re in a different hole.

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Belated Internet Inspiration – March 1, 2015

3.1.2015

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever wondered why mirrors flip things horizontally but not vertically, but if you have, here’s your answer.

8 photographs that showcase beautiful post-baby bodies.

The only story we see is the bounce-back; the mother who went to the gym every day and lost all the weight. But then there’s the rest of us. It’s not that one is bad and one is good. There’s nothing wrong with being able to bounce back; it’s powerful and beautiful. But my experience when I gave birth was very different. I want those women to know they haven’t failed.

Cool infographic on the various ways we can achieve immortality. Which do you prefer?

Beautiful thoughts on the Jewish tradition of Shmita, or letting the land lie fallow every seven years.

To let land lie fallow is to let it rest and replenish, to be left unsown for a period of time in order to restore its fertility.

During this time, all agricultural activity is forbidden by halakha (Jewish law). You can do things like weeding or trimming — clearing out — but only as a necessary preventative measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants.

24 quotes about writing that make you want to write more.

I love everything about this story. A young Seattle girl feeds the crows in her neighborhood and receives presents back.

The crows would clear the feeder of peanuts, and leave shiny trinkets on the empty tray; an earring, a hinge, a polished rock. There wasn’t a pattern. Gifts showed up sporadically – anything shiny and small enough to fit in a crow’s mouth.

One time it was a tiny piece of metal with the word “best” printed on it. “I don’t know if they still have the part that says ‘friend’,” Gabi laughs, amused by the thought of a crow wearing a matching necklace.

It’s CrossFit Open season! Wahooo!!! I’m thinking back to last year and remembering how poignant disappointment can be.

Once we’re ready, we want change and improvement to happen all at once, and it doesn’t. We have a limited capacity for growth.

But when it come to bodies, to abilities, to life, it’s all a series of relationships, as far as I’m concerned.

It’s a relationship, not a technique. And it’s going to be different every damn day. This doesn’t diminish the value of effort and hard work, but this idea of relationship creates space for a little mystery. It makes space for the idea that Earth takes the easy, organic route, and that we can do the same.

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