Archive for the ‘Daily’ Category

Doing It Imperfectly

Written by Kate • December 10, 2018 •
Leave a comment

There are a lot of tasks and calls for our time. As Christine Kane has said, some are urgent and not important and some are important not urgent. So it’s important to get into the habit of doing the important work first and not get called away by the urgent. And I’ve fallen in this trap. I spent the weekend doing urgent tasks, like expense reports that needed to be done. But it wasn’t important to do. And I then spent some time with my family which was important. But I didn’t get any time to exercise or write so I feel like my weekend wasn’t as well spent as it could be.

But as I mentioned in a previous post, Kyle Cease talked about the pendulum swinging in ever smaller circle as you get more and more centered and the pain of the big swings is finally too big to be continued to be borne. In the past, when I’ve reached this stage, where my old habits have temporarily taken hold, I’ve allowed the critic in my mind to berate me into creeping back to the old way of life.

Finally, I see instead that the critic I hear in my mind isn’t helping me do anything than stay small. But I’m not resisting the critic. I’m hearing it, acknowledging and it, and accepting that it’s there but I’m not attaching to it any more. As Rumi says, it’s welcome but it’s not something I need to pay attention to.

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

Post to Twitter

Day 4. And the pendulum swings back

Written by Kate • December 6, 2018 •
Leave a comment

It’s been 4 days since I’ve committed to getting up early and exercising and meditating for an hour and writing this blog. It’s going quite imperfectly but I realized yesterday that expecting perfection is perfectly stupid. I don’t fully know how to be in this new way. I’m feeling my way through a new behavior pattern and I’ve got powerfully strong habits that are pulling me back to my old, familiar patterns.  So last night I was so tired and I didn’t feel well from dehydration that I laid on the couch to recover so I could head upstairs. And fell headlong into a novel and didn’t go to bed until past 10pm. I could beat myself up about this or I could learn from it and begin again tomorrow.

And still I woke up at 4:15 and got out of bed at 4:45. I meditated and now I’m writing.  This is definitely a win in my book. I can nap and do my exercise later on. Also, the “voice” has been talking to me telling me that my writing is boring. I’m not funny or real or interesting or whatever enough. And maybe I’m not. But I also know the more that I sit and allow whatever needs to come through to come through, I’ll get better, more practiced, and confident in what I’m doing. So here I sit, writing.

I’ve been watching and participating in Kyle Cease’s the Limitation Game. I highly recommend it. It proved to me that you can hear the same thing multiple times but until you’re either ready or it’s said in a way that pierces you to the core, this important nugget of information just doesn’t resonate. Until it does. In terms of the Limitation Game, Kyle talked about the Universe speaking through you to give you guidance. But the guidance is just the next step. Not the step beyond or the whole path or even the why. Just the next step. And that really hit me in the feels. But Kyle then juxtaposed the current GPS system we all know and love from our apps or car GPS with the old way of doing it, like MapQuest.

The old way was you’d hit your computer and use MapQuest or Google Maps, tell it your starting and ending points and it would spit out the directions for the entire trip. You’d print that out and have it with you in the car as you headed out. I remember how I managed my trips with MapQuest. Even if I got a nudge to go a different way, I still stayed on the known path. I spent the entire time clutching it in my hand, nervous that I’d miss my turn and I’d have to turn back and waste a ton of time. I was constantly consulting it rather than enjoying the trip. It didn’t constantly update me with a new way to travel based on ever changing circumstances like traffic or an accident. This metaphor is just so incredibly apt for living a life without being the flow, without allowing the Universe to guide you in the moment.

Whereas the Universe is really like a current GPS system. Go left in 1000 ft. It’s quiet. The voice is firm and doesn’t argue or try to bombard you with information you don’t need about another step in the path. Just go left. And if you’re stubborn and you ignore the directions and pass the left turn you were directed to make and keeping on going down your own path, it helps to redirect you back to where you are going on the fly, updating the directions based on what’s actually happening now. So you don’t need to do more than make the change the GPS Universe is giving you.

These metaphors, juxtaposed against each other, highlighted to me weaknesses and flaws in trying to live a life based on a MapQuest kind of way and showed me the power and simplicity of relying on GPS for just the next step. And, in fact, having the whole journey written down for you to hold in your hand makes me rigid and unwilling to travel down a new road that looks interesting and fun. Because I have the plan and that’s the how I’m supposed to get there.

He also talked about the power of needing and wanting to make changes to your life, especially through meditation. he talked about living a life where you are swinging from one situation to the next, like big swings of a pendulum. Likely they’re the same situation with slightly different nuances, like a different boss who’s giving you trouble or a different boyfriend who’s breaking your heart. But fundamentally, it’s the same story being played out again and again. he says through meditation, we can slow the pendulum down and lessen the swings so that you’re more centered and there’s less big motions.  The more you sit and meditate, listening to the stillness, the pendulum can be halted and there you are, in peace and stillness.

By staying up late last night, my old habits tried to get me back into a big pendulum swing of drama where I’m once again not living my life in a way that supports my true self and the guidance I repeatedly get over and over and over and over again (seriously repeated guidance of just sit the hell still and listen- Stop running away!) But I got up and I meditated and I feel like I’m back in stillness and a more peaceful life.

To me, it’s so helpful to view slipping back into old patterns as just the pendulum trying to pick up again so I can marinate in my old patterns of drama and victimhood. I see now that I can lay that one down and easily step back into my new way of life without engaging in any mental self-flagellation for finding comfort in old routines when I’m at my most tired.

And I’m routinely finding that I can bang out 1000 words or more in 45 minutes whereas before trying to even write one blog, when I wasn’t feeling the topic, was so brutally hard.

Post to Twitter

How Did I Get Here? Taking Stock

Written by Kate • December 5, 2018 •
Leave a comment


As I mentioned in my earlier post, I take full responsibility for being here as much as I take full responsibility in how to live more authentically. But a key difference in my new way of BEing is that I’m no longer “figuring” out a new way. I’m not thinking up new ways to BE and then muscling my will to bend to my mind’s machinations. Instead, I’m softly allowing new ideas to come to me and I’m feeling my way, with my body, to see which are healthy and which are just more of the same from the past.


One of my new key ways to be is that I just can’t fake “it” any more. I can’t diet because I promised myself a long time ago that I’d stop but it took me a long time to truly honor that commitment. This summer, my body just said “no. You promised me no more diets and I calling in that debt. NO MORE DIETING”. I started to gain weight, like I  have in the past, but I haven’t been able to use my old ways to manage my weight. So I haven’t been able to diet and resist carbs and sugar and engage in “restricted” eating in order to get back to a manageable weight. And given that it was simply impossible for me to diet, I started looking to see if this could be considered a new life style change and if maybe this was the Universe’s nudge to look at my weight in a new way. And I’ve gained tremendous insights into what overeating is a symptom of and trying to only manage the symptoms is never the best course of action. I also need to look at why I’ve overeaten in the past. More on this in a later blog post.


In looking back, I believe the first time I dieted was when I was about 14 years old, a sophomore in high school. My Mom told me I was fat (technically, she said overweight) and that I needed to lose weight. I weighed 135 lbs and I am 5’5″. I think she thought she was doing me a kindness because she literally spent her whole life, probably 65 years when you exclude her childhood, on a diet. She told me stories of dieting all day and standing in a phone booth (look it up if you don’t know where they are, ROFL) and sliding down the wall onto the ground because she didn’t’ have the strength to stand.  What a story! I think it shows a lot of things but mainly that my Mom believed in extreme dieting and was very attached to being thin.

I believed her, as my whole life my family made fun of my large derriere (before JLo and just after Twiggy). My Dad and Uncle used to laugh at me? towards me? at Thanksgiving and say things like, “you might as well take that gravy and smear it directly on your thighs”. I think we all know how sensitive teens are, especially teen girls and how they are bombarded with body negative images and expectations. None of this helped me realize that I was a perfect weight for my size. Literally a perfect weight for my size.

And so the dieting began. I was playing soccer for two seasons and on the swim team in the spring season. I was extremely active and I was at the perfect weight for me. And then I drastically cut my calories. What happened? I was starving all the time. I gained weight. And I would essentially binge on food due to the cravings brought on by denying myself the correct amount of food.

In truth, I have some work to be done around this because as I write this, I find myself still mildly angry and somewhat indignant that anyone would tell a 14 year old that she needed to diet. In the next two years, I gained 20 lbs and I assumed it was because of the binging and not from a slowed metabolism brought on by the inappropriateness of dieting.

When I was a senior, two years later, my Mom and I were looking at a photo of me around the time she told me I was fat. I was astonished at how thin and perfectly muscular I looked and said to her, “Mom, I wasn’t fat at all. Why did you say I was?” My Mom, looked at me sheepishly (because she could see I was right) and said, “well, you were just bigger than the other girls”. And when, a few months later I was getting ready for a date and I couldn’t really find anything that looked good on me, as I continued to gain weight until I was about 155 lbs at the end of high school and felt incredibly fat, I sat in the living room waiting for my date to come pick me up and my Mom said to me, JUST BEFORE MY DATE, “I think you’re the heaviest you’ve ever been”.  I was already off kilter because I couldn’t find anything that looked smashing on me for my date. I was wearing an outfit belonging to my much taller sister and I felt slightly frumpy and then my Mom says this. Any confidence I had that I looked at least presentable was out the window. Now I felt like I just looked fat and gross.


Hey, parents: Don’t do this to your kids. Hey kids: Don’t do this to yourself. Hey adults: Don’t do this to yourself. Try to get to remember that the critical voice is almost never telling the truth and certainly it’s not telling the truth in a loving way. But I digress.

I dieted for the next million years, always searching for the best way to eat. Using my head rather than my body to feel my way through it. Not using my body as the barometer but instead ate what my brain wanted. Eating way too much in order to feel good.

I started sharing a house with someone who, for what felt like the first time in my life, had a “good relationship” with food. She ate well. Baked cakes all the time and enjoyed her sweets, her beer, and she loved her exercise. She was in bed early and up early and enjoyed her meals, her life, and moving her body while she walked to work or cycled on the weekends with her boyfriend. I watched and studied her as if I was an anthropologist who  had been sent to study another culture. And I was fascinated. Mostly because she ate a fair amount and enjoyed the heck out of her meals.

I have lost weight a few times in my life. Once was just before I met Dion, where I was exercising for two hours a day, five days a week, and I was using a great deal of will power to monitor/slow every bit of food that entered my mouth But it didn’t last. How could it? Two hours a day working out! Two other times I was overseas. In the Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa, my life slowed down and I started slowed down with it. No electricity. No phone. No movies. Few distractions. I began to notice when I was hungry and when I was full. It took me a while to notice if I was hungry. I started drinking a lot of water and broth to see if it was thirst or hunger. The broth helped to replenish the salts I was losing to sweating in the humidity that is tropical Africa. After a while, I started having clear hunger signals and I knew they were hunger signals. Not bored so let’s have something to eat. Not something rocked my world today so let’s eat something to feel better for a moment. Just hunger.

I needed to eat upon waking. I had my breakfast of rice and beans and would have a hard boiled egg with it, all drowned in a very tasty tomato sauce with palm oil. I ate a portion about the size of my palm. It always seemed so little. I lost something like 30 lbs in Peace Corps. I was still. I was present. I ate to satiety and no more. But when I returned to the whirlwind of my life here in the US, I started to eat to feel better from the stress I was feeling and pound by pound, it all came back. And when I was in Bali in 2017, I had the same experience where my life simplified and I started listening to my body’s cues rather than my head’s. And I lost 10 lbs in 6 weeks.

So 35 years of dieting, restrained eat, fasting, binging, etc has taken its toll mentally and physically.

My metabolism is slowed down by the years and years of dieting. My body and even part of my brain is saying no more.


I don’t want to be talking about my weight. I don’t want to spend any more time or energy over my weight. So why am I talking about it here? One thing I have learned is that I haven’t listened and respected my body in a long time.  I pray every morning before my meditation session:

“Divine Beloved, please give to me and take from all that I need to be fully surrendered as fast as possible”.

I can’t move forward without being fully present in my body. And I can’t be fully present in my body unless I stop eating or drinking to excess to avoid being in my body and being present. Therefore, this is something I can must heal.  And I’m really grateful that my body, my weight, my way of buffering from my life is coming to fore again. I see how I’ve made food and going out something to do, as an activity, a source of pleasure, rather than as fuel for my body.

There’s so much more out there than going out to dinner and eating. Even with toddlers,  I can expand my concept of what’s possible to do for fun besides go out to dinner.


Post to Twitter

At the beginning. Again.

Written by Kate • December 3, 2018 •
Leave a comment


Here I sit at 6:25 in the morning. My 3.5 year old twin toddlers appear to be sleeping in for once. I think I may have 10 minutes in which to start this blog before the whirlwind of my day starts.

I’ve effectively been up since 3:55 when my daughter slid into bed with me, cold but unwilling or unable to pull up her blanket and cover herself and drift back to sleep in her own bed. I snoozed fitfully with her in the crook of my arm until 4:30 when I put her back into her bed. I finally got out of bed around 4:50, made some coffee, and started meditating for an hour at 5am. So, like so many parents, my days and nights are not my own. I work around the needs of my family.


But here I sit, nonetheless, determined to start. I am writing this to begin again living a life of purpose and meaning after hitting my own personal bottom, living far differently than I feel is the way I want to live my life.

I’m at the end of the line for me. I surrender. I’m finally ready to listen to the guidance I get all the time but don’t listen to because I’m afraid or it’s inconvenient to the way I think life should be going. But as Anais Nin, it hurts more to stay the same than change.

I know that I am responsible for both the way I’m spending my life now, in ways that make me unhappy. And I know I’m fully responsible for living in a way that better suits who I am. No blaming. No victimhood. Just what I hope is an honest assessment of how I got here and what the path toward a new way of living looks like.


This is the story of my turnaround. How I’ve gotten fit. How I’ve healed. How I’ve dropped my story, let go of my frantic clutching of the shoreline, and allowed myself to drift into the flow and mystery of life. To be still. To listen to God’s/the Universe’s whispers. How I feel abundant. How I’ve begun meditating for an hour a day, every day. How I finally hear the clear input from my body when it’s providing a clamoring “NO”. How I finally tell the truth and have driven off all those who don’t like the real me. Here I am. Jumping off into the unknown. Leaping without the net, believing it will appear when I need it.


A little housekeeping: Of course you’re going to assess my words and my telling of this story. I get it. Which means you’re going to judge me. Judge away! And if you find me lacking and you’ve totally got this all dialed in, yay! I am seriously happy for you.  And if you feel so inclined to let me know in the ways I’ve done it wrong, then this blog isn’t for you. If you’re going to leave a comment, the comment must be something that you’d be willing to say to me to my face, in my own home. The internet can such a cruel place. So let’s not do that. Leave a comment, please! Just remember to be kind. Mean or truly unhelpful comments will be deleted and trolls will be banned.

I’ve written this on Oct 18, 2018. The plan is to release this into the wild after about 6 weeks of living this new way. I look forward to this journey. I hope you enjoy it too.


Post to Twitter

What Are Your Beliefs? How to Uncover the Unconscious Beliefs Running Your Brain

Written by Kate • November 3, 2017 •
Leave a comment

Break Free

Break Free From Unconscious Beliefs

What’s Running Your Brain?

There are lots of unhelpful unconscious thought patterns running your brain. Because they’re unconscious, meaning they are so ingrained in your neural pathways that once triggered, the thought patterns are nearly instantaneous and therefore essentially unknown to your conscious mind. I say “essentially unknown” because, in fact, it’s your brain and while you may not always be conscious of the thought pattern, with attention and stillness, you can be aware of the thoughts  and beliefs that arise, even in triggering situations, even if there isn’t anything you can do in that moment to counter the ingrained thought and resultant behavior pattern. While many of your thought patterns may be beneficial to you, some may be working against what it is you want from life.

What Do You Believe?

For example, as a child -and without blaming my parents for living their life based on their own thought patterns and beliefs, I learned that when you’ve had a really bad day, you have a stiff drink to help you calm down and manage your emotions. When you’ve been in a car accident, you have a stiff drink to help you calm down and manage your emotions. When you have a party or go out to eat, you have a drink to have fun. Party=drinking. Going out to eat=have a drink or two. One day in my early 20s, on a day with a few emotional upheavals, I started thinking about having a drink. I didn’t have any of my normal hooch in the house so I cast about for something else to drink. And I wondered why I needed a drink so much on this particular day. I then realized that with the ebbing of my emotional upheaval, in its wake I was left with a wrung-out feeling. And that wrung-out feeling meant, in a my habitual way of thinking, I needed a drink to fully calm down from the lows of my day. But really, did I need the drink? How about if I just felt my feelings instead? It was a novel concept: just deal with my bad day without the stiff drink that I was conditioned to think was normal (and necessary).

Later in life, I also learned, once I moved in my with partner 13 years ago, that despite being a feminist down to the bone, I believed that men take out the trash. That first month, the trash can got more and more full and I started wondering when the heck he was going to take out the trash. Finally, I just asked him when he was going to take it out. He looked at it me in wonder, asking me why I thought he would take it out? And I realized only then that I had an unconscious belief pattern that was running my brain without me being fully conscious of it. So I took out the trash and I take out the trash to this day, when it needs it and I’m the one who notices first.

I could go on and on about the beliefs I’ve uncovered with attention and inquiry. Over the years, I’ve become aware of many unconscious thought patterns and had glimpses of many more. I know I have or have had unconscious thought patterns and beliefs about money, how much money I should have, eating, travel, sex, relationships, healthy boundaries, spirituality, compassion, the Divine, and on and on and on ad infinitum.

Thought Patterns versus Beliefs

I use thought patterns and beliefs interchangeably here. There are more learned people than I who know about which is first, the thought pattern or the belief. I look at it as the chicken or the egg. Which came first is likely the thought pattern. And with repetition comes the belief. In regards to my belief about having a stiff drink, I remember my Mom came home one day when I was 9 years old or so. She was shaking and clearly distraught from a car accident she’d just been involved in. Dad immediately when to the liquor cabinet and got her drink, something like rum and coke or vodka and a mix. And she drank it and was much calmer for it. So I thought, “oh, that’s what you do to calm down. You have a drink.” First it was an external thought pattern that I held from seeing it repeated several times throughout my childhood and then an unconscious personal belief, as I began acting on that belief in my own early adulthood.

How To Undo Thought Patterns and Beliefs

There are many ways to uncover your thought patterns and beliefs. I think one of the easiest ways is to begin to be curious about what beliefs are running your brain. Always begin this type of inquiry with compassion. Don’t use this knowledge to beat yourself up for following your conditioned mind from belief to action. Just allow the knowledge to rise to your consciousness with curiosity about who you are and what’s going on in your brain.

These days, for me, because I meditate daily and have for several years. I know from these sessions how my thoughts come unbidden across my mind and how easy I can attach to and follow them. So it’s been easier for me to feel when a thought has hooked me and I am able to feel the unconscious thought pattern trigger me into a reaction. However, until I’m aware of the thought pattern, there’s nothing to be done to stop the triggered response.

The way I first began this inquiry into my unconscious beliefs was to ask the Divine to allow my to see my blind spots. I know I had them and in relationship with my partner and with my extended family, I could see and feel myself being triggered without being able to stop my conditioned response. So I just asked for these beliefs to be shown to me.

Because I want to be aware of my beliefs, I am increasingly aware of them. It’s just how it works.  When the thought pattern is not that important or so clearly irrational, it’s easier to substitute new thought patterns in its place. No, it’s not exclusively men’s job to take out the trash. Boom. Belief updated. Yes, I can have a bad day without having a stiff drink. (I have to say with that one, the pull remain strong and I remain confronted with the thought to have a drink after a bad day, so I know there are more unexamined thoughts beneath this behavior pattern plus years of habit!).

Some ways to become aware of your unconscious thought patterns and beliefs:

  1. Ask to become aware of them
  2. Seek out professional help with a therapist to uncover some of the bigger ones operating in your life
  3. Write your way to knowledge.
    1. Take a fresh sheet of paper. At the top of the paper, write “Here’s what I really believe about (subject)”.  (Money, Relationship, Food, Pleasure, You Name It)
    2. Begin to write in a stream of consciousness way without stopping or censoring yourself. State “I really believe that (subject) is … For example, I really believe money is hard to get, evil, corrupting, means selling your soul, etc. Or I really believe that relationship with someone else means the loss of myself, being chained to another person’s whims, etc.
    3. Keep going and write down at least 10 beliefs but try for more.
    4. Now that you’re aware of a negative belief that you’d like to change, try to tease out the thought patterns or belief under that belief. So if money is hard to get, what is the belief or thought pattern that supports that belief? Keep writing.
    5. Try on better feeling thought patterns and use a consciously created thought pattern as a response whenever the old belief arises, now that you can feel and/or know what the  conditioned, negative thought pattern is. For example, if you’ve believed that money is hard to get, what happens if you start thinking that money is easy to get, how does that feel? Can you believe that instead?
  4. With caution and care, ask a trusted and loving family member or friend what is one blind spot you have. Obviously, do this one with someone in your life who will tell you the truth about yourself in a way that isn’t finally the opportunity they’ve been waiting for to criticize you or go running with it as way to list your every perceived flaw. This is simply one thing in your life that they notice which it seems you’re not aware of.

Some Caveats

Some conditioned thought patterns are so deep and ingrained and arise so fast that they don’t cross your frontal cortex and you don’t have the opportunity to initially respond in a new and more thoughtful way. Be kind and compassionate to yourself in these circumstances (in every circumstance, ideally). Something profound in you is being triggered so don’t be dismayed if you can’t help yourself. (With the obvious exception if you’re engaging in harmful or self-harmful behavior. With these, you should get help immediately through professional help and remove yourself from the situation wherever possible).

If you can, just stop the triggered response. When you feel attacked and you’re in the middle of yelling back a response, just close your mouth and stop, even mid-sentence. Try to understand what thoughts arose in the situation and try to become aware of them. When you open your banking app, seeing your balance and feeling a wave of fear about to engulf you as you worry about all that needs to get paid, stand up and take a breath. Take a short walk and watch the thoughts that arise about fear, money, lack.

By engaging in new patterns as soon as you’re aware that you’ve been triggered,  you can start to unwind your conditioned response little by little even as the initial response is so fast and habitual that you can’t yet control it. And begin to start a new thought pattern that are helpful to you.

Willpower Doesn’t Help

An additional caveat- Don’t try to use willpower to change your response to unconscious thought or beliefs. It’s a losing proposition. You only have so much willpower and one day, you’ll be tired, hungry, or angry enough that your willpower will fail you and you’ll respond to the trigger in your conditioned behavior pattern based on your true/old beliefs.  Willpower is not a long term, permanent answer to negative thought patterns and beliefs.

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

By understanding what thoughts and beliefs are running your brain, you can replace them with more helpful and empowering thoughts.  Staying present with your thought despite a rising tide of conditioned responses will help you to understand and change your thinking- changing your life

More Resources

Steve Pavlina‘s blog is always a great source about conscious awareness and behavior change.

Martha Beck is always a great source. Period.

The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal Ph.D. This is a great book that goes over how effective, and limited, willpower really is. It also shows how industry and corporations are highjacking your instincts and what you can do to become aware and counter these tactics. It also helps you become of aware of your habitual actions.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This is another book that describes the power and the limits of willpower and our conditioned thinking.

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt. This book was formative in my understanding about biology and thought patterns.  His most compelling concept is one where the author, a psychologist, notes the mind is like an elephant of conditioned desires and impulses. On top of the elephant is conscious intention as an ineffectual rider. So using your willpower as a jockey riding an elephant of desires and conditioned thinking, you can see how ineffective willpower is. Instead, delving into your beliefs is one of the most effective ways to change your behavior patterns.

Byron Katie is amazing for using inquiry to question our thoughts. She has a lot of free resources. If you’re looking to understand your triggers and blind spots (after you’re out of the profound trauma of fresh tragedy), I think her tools are amazing.

How about you? What has helped you uncover and change your conditioned response?

Post to Twitter