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  • Metta Meditation + Things I'm Grateful For

    Metta Meditation + Things I'm Grateful For

    In yoga class last night, 
    The flow was good. Very good.
    But the message was even better.
    And the timing was perfect.
    Brittni led us through a loving-kindness meditation.
    Metta meditation.

    Not familiar?

    The Greater Good Science Center, out of the University of California Berkeley, describes loving-kindess (or "metta") meditation as the simple practice of directing well-wishes towards other people

    And also yourself.

    It's a simple, yet powerful way to feel happier, pump up the positivity, get yourself on a trajectory of growth, feel more connected, and even change the way you approach life! 

    Pretty awesome, eh? 

    How does it work? You simply direct kind, loving feelings to yourself, others (those you love, as well as those you've been feeling tension/negativity towards), and finally, all beings everywhere. It only take a few minutes to do, and it's something anyone can do - including the little ones!

    Check out this awesome video to get a better feel for how this works!

    I'd gone into class feeling some tension about something (doesn't matter what) someone (doesn't matter who) had said earlier this week. And the metta meditation was exactly what I'd needed.

    It left me feeling peace, ease, perspective, compassion, and love for the person who'd been weighing on my mind. It felt like a weight had been lifted: Free from the negativity and the tension. Ready and able to move on. 

    And that's where the gratitude comes in.

    To me, gratitude is like a reality check.
    Yeah, things may be crazy at times.
    Life may feel really hard.
    And it may seem silly to stop and think about what you're grateful for. 

    But I've found that, especially in those most challenging moments, when we take the time to focus on what's good in our lives (love, friendship, being brave, overcoming fear, telling your story, time to listen, being heard, sitting in the sunshine, making a big change, a hug, a hand, doing what's right), something incredible happens.

    A shift.
    And a lightness. 
    And over time, it grows. 


    So I invite you to pause for a moment today.
    Or even a few times today!
    To direct some metta at yourself, the people in your life, and the world. 
    Lord knows we can (all) always use more loving-kindness.

    Maybe even start a list!

    I'll kick things off with 5 big things I'm feeling especially grateful for this morning:

    • Love in my life.
      From family and friends.
      People who lift me up, cheer me on, and genuinely care.
      I am so grateful for you.
    • Community.
      My tribe.
      And there are many, actually.
      This one is forever shifting and expanding.
      But the magic that happens when you connect with people who "get" you is hard to describe. 
      And I am so grateful for this.
    • Meaningful work.
      The opporunity to do soemthing that lights me up and makes me feel alive.
      With food, natural health, self-care, supporting, educating, empowering.
      But most of all: People
      For this I am massively grateful.
    • My Health.
      The ability to breathe clearly, move freely, dance, stretch, run, relax, travel, and snuggle.
      These were not always things I could easily do.
      And I cherish them now more than ever.
    • And even: The Hard Stuff
      Because it's shaped and molded me into who I am today.
      It's an excellent teacher.
      I am stronger, clearer, and more confident in who I am and what I'm capable of because of the challenges.

    And you? What are you thankful for right now?


    Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!

    Wherever you may find yourselves today,

    May you be happy,
    May you be healthy,
    May you be safe,
    May you be peaceful,
    And may you be at ease.

    Katie
    XO

  • Here's to the simple things + Acorn Squash

    Here's to the simple things + Acorn Squash

    Autumn. 

    The sweet spot between Summer and Fall.
    And my most favorite time of year. 

    Open the windows, build a fire, breathe in those gorgeous turning leaves.
    Before they've fallen to the ground, all brown and lifeless and gone.
    Until the Spring. 

    A time for getting grounded. For introspection. 
    For checking in.
    And seeing how you're doing.

    How's it going these days?

    Are you feeling more up than down? I hope!
    Comfortable in your skin? More so every day? 
    Or are you itching, stretching, can't stand it anymore, ready for a change?

    What change?
    What do you want more of?
    How do you want to feel? Who do you want to be? 
    And how thrilling to be on the verge of a shift!

    As much as I know there's a whole season between now and the new year, I can't help but feel like I've already begun to reflect on 2015. And it's been quite a year. (Too much to process just now. But that's coming.) Another post. Another day.



    For now, I'm content to pause.
    And appreciate the still-mostly-green leaves on the trees in the backyard.
    To slow down when my body says it needs to.
    To not push, even when my head says don't stop.
    To reflect on all the goodness. All the joy. All the love in my life. 

    I've got my head in the clouds.

    Still dreaming, believing, creating, achieving, and growing.
    Into the person I am.
    And the person I'm always becoming.
     
    Sometimes I stumble. 
    Sometimes I screw up. 
    Sometimes I fall.
    Or overdue it.

    But I can come back from that.
    Can right my ship and adjust the course. 

    And my feet on the ground.

    Grounded.
    Not always, but as often as possible.
    I'm reconnecting. 
    Appreciating.
    Offering up gratitude.
    For all that I have and all that I'm able to do.
    Even when it's small.

    Especially then.



    Here's to the simple things.

    Like acorn squash at the market!

    The smallest of pleasures. 
    The changing of the seasons.
    The going on of life.
    And taking the time to notice. 
    And celebrate.
    Even if you do it quietly. 

    Even if you do it by yourself.

    Especially then.

    Sending you LOVE, my friends.
    And squash. :)





    ACORN SQUASH, SUPER SIMPLY:

    1. Wash it.
    2. Halve it.
    3. Drizzle it with oil.
    4. Bake, flesh sides down, for 45 minutes at 385F.
    5. Sea salt, pepper, and good maple syrup. Ahhhhmaaazinggg.

  • Suddenly, nothing else matters.

    Suddenly, nothing else matters.

    There are times, sometimes, when I look back on my life and can see how everything that's happened has brought me to where I am.

    All the people I've met, people I've loved, people I've traveled with and worked beside.
    People I've lost. People I've let down. People I've hurt.
    And everything (and everyone) in between.
    All the ups and downs and tears and fears and fights and disappointment.
    All the laughter, love, and joy.

    Has brought me here now. Has taught me something.
    Has molded and created the person you see before you. 

    In tiny moments of flashes of light, I see that it has only been through the careful and consistent decision to follow my heart and do what feels right that I've begun to grow into the person I was meant to be.

    Somewhere along the line, something happens to people. We get a glimpse of our own mortality. Or someone else's.

    And we begin to see, to grasp, to feel in our bones - that there is only so much time we have here. So much space to fill. 

    And suddenly, nothing else matters.

    Nothing -- except the urgent, frantic, burning, bleeding, overwhelming need to love absolutely everything and everyone in our lives.

    And to accept nothing less than the right people, the right work, and the right adventures.

    To spend our time doing ONLY the things that really mean something. Or, at least, to do things differently now, savoring each moment: The soapy water in the sink, the colors in the produce section at the market, and the beautiful ritual of oil on your skin after a shower.

    To be held, to breathe it all in, to hold each other a little longer. To linger. And connect. And love MORE. (And more. And more.)

    To feel the sun on your skin, the earth beneath your feet, the rain on your tongue.

    To buy flowers, to cook from scratch, to breathe, to snuggle, to sing, to dance, to PLAY.

    Big or small, everything else (the fear, the pain, the anguish, the confusion, the overanalyzing, the anger, the perfectionism, the doing-too-much, the self-neglect, the self-doubt, the resentment, and all the wasted time and energy) must go.

    Because there is, at long last, no space for it here.

    Not anymore. And not ever again.

    As much as we can help it!

    Because life, it turns out, is far far FAR too short.

    Blink - and it's gone.
    In the meantime, I plan to make it count.

    Every single gorgeous second of it.

  • What You'll Find Here

    What You'll Find Here

    Hello Love,

    I love this photograph from our trip to Tulum. 
    It feels like freedom, peace, and warmth.
    Invites you to have a seat. To share some food together. To share some time together.

    How are you, my friend? 

    I've been meaning to write this for a while now. Just haven't known exactly where to start, I guess. It's been a long time since we've connected this way, and I've missed you

    How've you been? I mean, really: How are you? 

    How do you feel?
    What's good in your world?
    What are you loving right now? And who?
    What do you want more of?
    And how do you want to feel?


    In a way, I suppose I've been asking myself these very same questions. 

    It's amazing how easily we can get lost in our lives, as we're learning, exploring, fumbling, feeling, and finding our way through. 

    Things can get heavy. And tight. And confusing. And feel like too much.


    Sometimes (used to be most times), when that happens to me, I turn inward. Push through. I keep those feelings of overwhelm and fear to myself. 

    Other times (better times), I breathe, meditate, and create. 

    And that helps. A lot, actually.


    But what I've discovered is that the real magic, the release, the ease, the acceptance, and the greatest sense of love is in connection.

    Community. Support. Sisterhood. Family. Tribe.

    Sometimes it's a community of two. Sometimes 10. Sometimes many more.

    But feeling understood and loved, unconditionally, is where it's at.

    Being honest, being vulnerable, being who we are. With ourselves and our people.

    These days, I'm craving simple things. 

    Clean, nourishing food. Gentle movement. Connection. Fresh air. And soothing spaces.

    I'm hugging more. Telling you I love you, because I do. And because if not now, then when? 

    I'm practicing being in the moment. And trusting the timing. 

    Letting go. Accepting. And re-connecting.

    All the while, I'm taking my time and being patient with myself, as I become the most genuine version of myself I've ever been, stripping away the superficial stuff. 

    I share this with you because I want to let you in. I want you to know where my mind's been. And where I am now.

    The past year has been full of joy, challenges, love, leaps, and figuring stuff out.

    It's been wonderful and tearful and beautiful. 

    So what's good in my life?

    So much love. Friends + family. Work - coaching, teaching, collaborating, empowering, leading - that is more aligned with what I believe than ever before. Adventures. Community. And peace.

    And what do I want more of?

    All of the above. I want to let go of what no longer serves me, take better care of myself, do yoga, laugh, learn, and connect with people who want the same.

    In the end, I want to leave more love in the world and help people find their happy place.

    Which brings me to you, my dear friend.

    Because that's what you'll find here.

    Food? Yes. But so much more. 

    Because there's so much more to life than food.
    And especially worrying about food.

    So let's enjoy food again. Let's uncomplicate, savor, and appreciate.

    And while we're at it, let's not forget about all the other things that make life awesome.

    Whether it's real food, culinary nutrition, travel adventures, holistic living, essential oils, natural solutions, yoga, musical medicine, inspirational folks, mindful living, life stories, or community you're looking for, it'll be here.

    Shared honestly and freely. From me to you. 

    Though I do hope you'll share, too.

    And I thank you, so very kindly, for being a part of this community. Part of my life. It surely wouldn't be the same without you. 

    Love + Light,
    Katie
    XO

  • Choose Gratitude

    Choose Gratitude


    Choose calm today. 

    This beautiful Christmas cactus reminds me of my Nanny. 
    As I write this, I can feel her here with me, squeezing my hand and sending me love. She pushed me. Challenged me. Celebrated me. She played the piano so beautifully - and the organ. She was a teacher, raised a family, and loved to read. She was a constant in my life for many many years. Until, one day, she was gone. I don't think it was until the end of her life that I really appreciated her as I should have. And even then there was so much more I could've done.

    I miss her. And others, too, who are no longer here. Celebrating Christmas without them is painful. Their bodies, their faces - are like shadows in the room. There's a kind of emptiness, now, at the dinner table, and in other spaces they once occupied.

    This Christmas, I find myself paying attention to the loss and the pain of the season. The sacrifices. The pressing on. New beginnings. Fighting spirits.
     And the massive love all around us.


    On Sunday, driving home from dinner with friends, we were met with the blaring alarms of sirens. Fire trucks and ambulances, rushing to the scene of a horrific house fire. Police had blocked off the road, but we could see, as we passed, that the house was hopelessly enveloped. Lost to the ravages of a hungry fire. And just before Christmas. It left us speechless. A pause in our conversation, a heaviness in our hearts. And we sat in stillness for a moment, offering up a silent prayer that no one had been harmed.

    It's the natural time for gratitude. It flows immediately, almost painfully, at moments like these. For a home and a wonderful family. Beautiful friendships. A body that does great things for me every day.

    Working in healthcare can be challenging, to say the least. There's a lot of stress, a lot of pressure, a lot of long hours on our feet. Lifting, turning, pulling, cleaning, comforting. Giving. Documenting... And a lot of people who just don't seem to appreciate you. But that's not all there is - and not always the case. 

    The Emergency Room is the kind of place that brings out the best and the worst in folks. And it's because of this that I enjoy the privilege of a tiny little window into the massive love in people's lives. 

    Like the couple, in their eighties, I cared for yesterday. She was the patient and he her husband of forty-nine years. Overcome by a rapid progression of neurological decline, she was tired and weak, listless and helpless. With my wonderful coworker, I spent a full hour cleaning her up and getting her comfortable, while her husband hovered around us, longing to help, wishing he could. But the disease, whatever it was, had been just as hard on him. His eyes were tired. And worried. But full of love. He'd been caring for her himself since the Summer, when the whole thing started.

    Many times I went in and out of that room, before the end of my shift. And each time, as I left, I'd see him stand, come in close, smooth back her hair, and kiss her, gently, on her forehead.

    Choose love.

    And in that moment a tiny curl of the corners of her mouth - a smile - would appear, ever so sweetly and briefly, and then fade away. In July they'd been going to the gym together. And now? 

    It was so sad, but so beautiful - something I had very little time to process in the midst of providing care and comfort. But as I sat at the kitchen table last night, sharing this story with my husband, I was overcome by the painful beauty of the experience - a witness to such devotion and love. Such pain. A husband savoring every precious moment with his wife. His companion, his friend, his love. His life.

    These are the moments I cherish - moments of overwhelming love and gratitude. 

    Sometimes they come out of pain or loss, struggle or frustration. Sometimes they come after mistakes I've made. Or satisfaction from things I've achieved. Many times, they come out of nowhere - unexpected reminders to live and love and give thanks.

    Choose gratitude.

    What are you grateful for today? Tell me here.
    Sending you so much love this holiday season.
    XO