I've scribbled the alphabet for meaning since I can remember.
It went something like this, at a kitchen table, amidst a house adorned by the chaos of an almost toddling child in desperate need of a deep clean (the house, not the child):
Me: Iʻm making apple pies for Aaronʻs first birthday.
Corey: We can buy pies, itʻs okay. Itʻll save time.
A variation of the two above sentences played out repeatedly over the weeks. If you think this story doesnʻt apply to you, I encourage you to read on. Birth applies to everyone.
“Non-negotiable” was the exact word I used when both of my parents also tried to intervene and explain that it was okay to have a store bought cake – there was enough to do.
“Itʻs a hard line, non-negotiable,” Iʻd respond automatically. No room for discussion.
So 48 hours before the party, with family arriving from out of town, I packed my little man in a car and drove an hour to our favorite orchard to pick his first apple. Non-negotiable, Iʻd repeat to anyone listening.
My outing was met with traffic and delayed all my careful planning. Fast-forward to me frantic, the next morning, despite all my zen-hipster-older mom cool, I was losing it. I peeled and peeled. I melted butter, added cinnamon and listened to music from Aaronʻs fourth trimester playlist, and on came the tears.
I was not sad. Water, tears, emotions, all of it was simply leaking out of my body as I peeled and individually placed each coconut sugared slice of apple.
I often refer to Karla McLarenʻs book, and I was recently re-reading on the need to integrate our experiences in our life for us to be fully present. For our autonomic nervous system to rest in some semblance of balance, we need to return, feel un-integrated emotions, and bring that peace / piece back inside of ourselves. When BIG events happen (read: trauma) a little bit of us steps to the side to protect us, so that we can move on through our day and our life, coming back to integrate the pieces later.
In an intact culture, there are rituals and practices, a community of peers or Elders to instigate a return, a whisper of support, an acknowledgement of the new. Because when you pass through a threshold: a marriage, a divorce, a business, a failure, a death, a birth, a big moment in time – you are altered. You are new, again.
Hereʻs the hitch, in our faster, next, never stop scrolling, never do nothing culture we miss the pause for the cycle to come around and clean up, catch up – really integrate the pieces of us or an experience we couldnʻt get the first time through, leaving us disconnected, frazzled and never quite "here."
Should I have told you first that I needed convincing that we needed a big party? I kept hearing, “Itʻs a milestone.” My modern mind thought: “Pshht. We will celebrate him and move along –no biggie,”
My family and my body knew differently. There is a cycle to birth; there is a cyclical revisit; there is an integration and it is necessary. The fact that I thought the 1st birthday wasnʻt a big deal would be the first clue my practitioner self would notice in another as a key that there WAS something that needed space for integration.
It was in the apple pie peels, in the shaky assembling of the crust that so many unspoken emotions, from all over the spectrum tumbled out. It was the effort and the offering of the pies that opened up the gates of emotions.
THIS is why we need ritual. This is why we need each other, I relearned that day. We need a way to return, to integrate, to be witnessed and suss through some of lifeʻs difficulty (or magnanimous generosity) that was a bit too big to chew the first time through.
Thank goodness, I thought, for those apple pies. Women, in their wisdom, grandmomʻs in their kitchens with their alchemical recipes ---- was that why their cooking tasted so good? In the flour and the butter are the tears of pure joy and anguish for the ones we love to love.
As a beginning and a continuation of this conversation, Iʻll be making more apple pies as a return to ritual.
What about you? Where is ritual in your life?
“Ritual is able to hold the long-discarded shards of our stories and make them whole again. It has the strength and elasticity to contain what we cannot contain on our own, what we cannot face in solitude.”
― Francis Weller
I have learned – am learning – so much as a parent. At first, admittedly, I wanted to keep that sharing to a minimum: I mean my newsletter list didnʻt sign up to read about Kate the Parent.
And that is - what I am realizing - one of the foundationally flawed mindsets of our current culture. We think we can place our children on a shelf and include them only when appropriate, rather than building a culture that is appropriate for our children.
May you enjoy the slowing down of October, and the call of those that came before us; those who bore the weight to make space for our existence, good, bad or indifferent, so that we may walk our own road.
May we be kind,
Lomilomi Sessions: Lafayette Hill: Sundays in November + December
We can work together to create space for you.
Holiday Gift Certificates available and all mamaʻs prenatal + postpartum are welcome on the table.
Lomilomi Intensive: If you are curious about lomilomi, feeling a little disconnected and looking to reconnect to meaning, or looking to add depth to your current bodywork practice – join us November 4th 12 – 5pm at Yoga on Main. Investment $150
Retreat on Kauai: Come reconnect with your Self in the paradise that is Kauaʻi. Soak in the mana of the mountains, the love of the ocean, the sweetness of the local fresh food, and submerge your set in the learning of Lomilomi for yourself, and your community. Join Us. Learn more here -- the beauty and brilliance of Kauaʻi is calling.
Happy Samhain! Kate
originally sent in newsletter August 2018
I am not known in my circle for my green thumb.
Although I love and need the nourishment of deep Nature, I am smack in the heart of the concrete jungle of Philadelphia, learning to be grateful for the small stretch of plantable dirt that we have in our backyard. Along with herb and medicinal plants, I bought my first sunflower seeds this summer, wanting to bring some color into my sonʻs world.
They popped through the dirt pretty quickly - the sunflowers; I thought. I had the same excitement and wonder from childhood, witnessing the sprout popping through: “It works!” Nature doesnʻt cease to amaze, even while we are too busy to see.
We went to visit family at the beach for a week, during which there was a huge windstorm back in Philadelphia. Of the three previously impressive stalks, one had broken, and one was bending. In my rash disappointment, I clipped the bending one off, and regretted it immediately. Only one remained.
I ran into the house – yes, ran – and started to explain to Corey (my partner) that there was a sunflower emergency and that I couldnʻt grow anything, and, and, and...
He listened and quietly slipped away. He returned with a stake, tape and a broom handle.
“A broom handle?”
“Yes, a broom, handle."
“A broom handle?” I repeated.
“Listen, if that sunflower goes down – you will go down too, and that canʻt happen.”
I was surprised by his words, mostly because he was right. I had been exceptionally invested in the sunflower, checking Her daily, watering Her, talking about Her, peeking in on Her at night.
Honestly, I figured it would fail. I think that is why I broke that stalk off.
After the broom handle operation, all I could do was wait.
A less windy rain storm came. Where the wind had broken Her one stalk, She now had two flowerheads sprouting. The broom-handle-fortified stalk now had a tightly fisted, fractaled head full of promise and vibrancy.
I was mesmerized, and waited now with hopeful anticipation. I talked to Her, sharing our expectation for and with Her.
On a Sunday morning, She did it.
She was the most radiant sunflower I had ever seen.
I told Her so. I marveled at her determination, her allowance of her genetic and divine brilliance.
We continued to water Her and talk to Her. Aaron and I inspected her petals and watched as She would turn ever so slightly to better face the sun.
One day, on her center sat a honeybee. In the midst of the city, in a small row of dirt, surrounded by concrete, weathering a storm that took all others down, She fed another.
"Follow diligently the Way in your own heart, but make no display of it to the world. Keep behind, and you shall be put in front; keep out, and you shall be kept in. (S)He that humbles himself shall be preserved entire. (S)He that bends shall be made straight. (S)He that is empty shall be filled. (S)He that is worn out shall be renewed." –Lao-Tzu
I was awestruck.
She looked right at me and shared one word: Shine.
If She could do it, I thought, so can I.
And so can you.
Shine On friend.
Itʻs what you are here for.
Check out some fellow Sunflowers:
My friend and fellow creative, Joe Longo did 30 days of Inspiration to get his creative projects flowing, and I was one of the interviews. Check it out here.
Just like the sunflower, the 30 days was such a big success it is continuing on.
Another friend, creative photog and yogini, Heather Sizemore, has decided to unleash her work. As a professional photographer for years -- her photography is not new (and you can work with her, I recommend it), but like many of us leaning in to the warmth of the sun, Heather is now sharing the depths of her most precious perspectives -- check her out here.
My beloved partner, Corey, has a big announcement too -- but I have to wait on that. What I can share with you are his Cord Cutting Sessions. Just like he had the presence in my story to fortify the foundations for the sunflower, he also does the same for his pranic healing clients (and me, honestly). Many of us donʻt understand energetic hygiene -- but you do know when you feel "icky" in a room, or exhausted for no reason, well just as we wash our windows, and change our oil, itʻs healthy to clear out your field of debris. He has mini cord cutting / energy clearing sessions, you can book here and thank me later.
One more sunflower spotlight, Meghan Gaffney Wells, soon to be mama, walked away from professional life in the shade and found her heart when she created little gʻs letters and goods. It is a powerful practice to adorn your home with the words that create your life, Meghanʻs are a masterpiece. Check her out here, soon, before she goes on leave!
"Put things in order before they exist – Tao Te Ching
The fourth trimester is over and it is time to get back into the swing of things.
But that sentence alone is flawed, not grammatically, but indeed structurally.
There is no back – nor should there be. There actually never is a “back to” which in essence is an escape from, but when you are a new Mom in American society – a society that has stopped caring about moms since the baby shower, and really wants you to “get back” – and quickly.
“Are you back to work yet?”
“Are you back to yourself?”
“Did you get your body back?”
Back. Back. Back.
Well, I can feel my back all the time and thanks for some body awareness it is doing well – but no one really wants to hear about that back, or entertain the notion that creating a human indeed takes longer than 6 weeks for things to spring – back.
You want to know what I keep hearing?
It takes a year.
A year! I said. Not me. No way – I will do it sooner.
First contemplation: Why is sooner perceived as better?
“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?” - Tao Te Ching
I had a fantastic conversation with my chiropractor, Dr. Justin Ohm, of the Phildelphia area – and he explained (and I am remembering from memory) that No, you donʻt want to do the crunches and exert the abdominal muscles like everyone tells you. You donʻt want to rush the body. And when they tell women their strength is gone – that is simply not true. There may be things that need to be moved along or out of the body from teh tremendous experience that is birth, but the first step: You want to reestablish communication.
Huh, I leaned in because that felt true.
Apparently the prolactin in your system (that lets ligaments enlongate, bones seperate, and the complete re-org that is Birth) continues for several months because there is so much change in the body you do not want to rush the reconfiguration, rather the body drops off and drops back in to a new alignment, and hopefully a new strength.
I felt such relief – and the wisdom felt right.
I slowed down.
And then – there was this class that I desperately wanted to take with Jamie Broderick to help pivot my outreach a bit, and increase my online presence. I was so excited for our introduction call. (Yes, please notice the inconsistency).
Except, the baby was crying and I missed the call.
Undeterred, I called her back in several minutes [sidenote Jamie was fantastic, present, and accomodating] and as I sat on the call I realized two things.
One, this woman knows what she is talking about and can really help me.
Two, itʻs not the right time. For a multitude of reasons, but mostly: I cannot tend to my child and this at the same time – right now. Not never - just not now. In all honesty it took me two weeks to come to this conclusion. I took my time swimming in anxiety, pressure, and judgment – pushing the river from my own mind and from the hive mind around me: Get back to it, Kate!
I remembered on the call, when Jamie spoke of her Networking Group – she mentioned in the variety of community: “You get connected for whatever you need, maybe even babysitting, who knows.”
I donʻt need babysitting – I thought to myself.
But I do.
I do need babysitting.
Hey Kate: Get back here & slow down!
When I asked myself, what is my highest priority now? It was Aaron. No hesitation. No social norms needed. I had personal clarity -- and joy with its truth.
I emailed Jamie and found out the class ran again in April. Done. That felt right.
Nature has her own rhythm (each family has their own rhythm) and all is provided for -- if we make ourselves available.
Look outside. Look up.
Yes, if you are reading this on your hand-held, right now, take a breath, wiggle your toes and look up at the sky.
There is your proof.
Simple as that.
No – none of this is Earth shattering stuff. It is merely a whisper that when you slow down, there is more available to you. You might even become available to you.
Put things in order before they exist – Tao Te Ching
I have found whispers so precious, much more so than screams.
Gurmukh mentioned in this movie...How you breathe is how you live. Long, deep breaths - long, deep life. Short, shallow breaths - short, shallow life.
I made a list.
I committed to “Put things in order before they exist.”
What is the outcome? Where is the storyʻs end?
We are quite literally in medis res.
BUT, we are actually here. Instead of wishing to be there.
Iʻm present and that, my friends, is everything.
Happy International Womenʻs Day.
“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” — Diane Mariechild
Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.
I wanted a quote on quiet and I googled: poof the perfect poem, above, appeared. I love that about our world of internet-edness.
But what of what is not to be easily found - or shared? Where are those spaces and how are we to maintain them?
I am a bit biased I suppose: A good deal of my “feed” (consumption) is peppered with spiritual spaces, intimate moments, fresh little lives, we get to peek into, yet my hermit self will not open that same door. I can remember being in spaces and times where capturing the moment was not only frowned upon, but forbidden. Times have changed and there is so much support in the connectivity. There are also practices we indulge in that feel good in the moment, thank you oxytocin, but are false flags of emotion and actually create a monkey of a burden.
For instance, I recently heard a story of a woman who changed her hiking plans because she wanted to post pictures “where all the good hikers went.” I asked my friend, the story-teller, again and again: “So she changed her plans for her social media posts?”
“Yes,” he answered every time I asked.
I was shocked. I never would even consider that.
It reminded me of a research paper that I wrote in graduate school that sought to understand the largest influencers on children — and, well no, I am not going to go find the paper, but as I recall, I had discovered what we already know: Children that have a guardian and a solid support structure, in general are not deeply effected by what they see on television, but children that do not have an adult figure to intervene and help them understand the difference between real behavior and imagined, children that do not have solid adult figures to emulate, they are deeply disturbed and influenced by media and entertainment. This paper was written in 2003 before social media.
But my post is not a discourse on children per-say, it is on the inner child or the inner temple that needs the stillness and the quiet.
As the New Yearʻs fireworks started, and out dog cowered in the corner, my partner said: “We live in a neighborhood of 2 year olds.” I took that to mean that the draw of loud and audacious with no concern for others, as two year olds are still learning definition of self and boundaries, blithely naive to the interconnectedness of it all — leaving havoc wherever they tumble.
Inter in Latin is the combo of “in” (into) and “terra” (Earth).
And interestingly this is what I found for the etymology of “net”: Old English net "netting, network, spider web, mesh used for capturing," also figuratively, "moral or mental snare or trap," from Proto-Germanic *natjan (source also of Old Saxon net, Old Norse, Dutch net, Swedish nät, Old High German nezzi, German Netz, Gothic nati "net"), originally "something knotted."
So this net, that we are now living for and through - how does it invite us into that Inner Temple? And if it does or does not, where do we draw the curtain, the line, the “not for public consumption” demarcation on our private lives? Do we have private lives? Or do we need to be seen to prove it so? Do we have a need - or even a relationship with silence? With stillness? What then happens to the magical moments of the unseen that can only be lived or felt, yet barely known?
The Tao says: Stillness is the ruler of haste. (chapter 26)
Perhaps today we take the day off, as Oliver suggests and drop into Us.
Happy New Year - may it be kind, may it be healthy and may it be miraculous.
Shift your Perspective
"How we spend our days is how we spend our lives." - Annie Dillard
Making a decision to change your perspective is greatly emboldened by the treasured art of committed practice. Every day, cultivate your ability to see more than before, and allow it - whatever it may be - before judging or quantifying what you perceive. You might just be delighted.
Here are some resources on how and why this is something to consider:
1. How To Make Mindfulness A Working Advantage (And Not Just Cuddly Nonsense)
2. Being Busy Is Killing Our Ability to Think Creatively
3. Can 10 Minutes of Meditation Make You More Creative?
“Meditation will not carry you to another world, but it will reveal the most profound and awesome dimensions of the world in which you already live. Calmly contemplating these dimensions and bringing them into the service of compassion and kindness is the right way to make rapid gains in meditation as well as in life.”
~Zen Master Hsing Yun
Thank you to Michelle Landis of Pinnacle 7, learn more here.
“For it is not inertia alone that causes the unspeakable monotonous and unrenewed human condition to repeat itself again and again. It is the aversion to anything new, any unpredictable experience, which is believed to be untenable.” - Rainer Maria Rilke
I heard that to train an elephant they use heavy shackles to tie him to a tree, realizing the predicament he is in he eventually resigns himself to domestication — once the elephant relinquishes, the elephant trainers need only rope for restraint. Apparently broken, the elephant could - but does not venture escape.
We do this.
We do this every day: “the unspeakable montonous.”
We do this when we refuse to experience new places or when we only talk to people who think like us. We do this when we refuse to open up to a silly idea from a child or when we go home the same way from work - every. single. day. Did you know that a simple trick for re-sparking inspired, creative thinking is driving a different way?
Because when we do the same thing over and over again, the ever intelligent brain says: "There is nothing new to see here." And doesnʻt even look.
You want to reread that sentence?
Have you ever taken an out of town guest to your favorite restaurant or coffee shop and they notice something you have never seen before? Itʻs because they are looking. They are seeing. Their brain is skrying the environment and noticing.
What did you notice on your way to work? The sky? The birds? Your text messages (hope not, both hands on the wheel!) Or are you thinking about what happened before you left — or worrying about what is yet to come?
Of course brainstorming and collecting thoughts for the day, or processing a conversation in the quiet of your car is great. But are we ever just present? Or radically grateful that we have a car to drive and a job to drive to?
It might sound trite, but allowing new vision - not imprinting the past as the present- reorganizes how your brain works. Because in the present, there is possibility.
When you are grateful — your brain says, “Oh, we are looking for things to be grateful for. What can I find now?“ and that sends a message through the neurotransmitters associated with dopamine, which incites the “Letʻs do this again” response. The brain - the ever wanting to please puppy, like all dogs when they have proper exercise, discipline, and affection — feels satiated by completing a task and receiving the reward of positive attention. So you can program your brain to look for things that make you happy.
You can allow your brain to inspire you.
Gratitude is one way. You can also slow down and notice. Slow down and be. Let new information come from within (put down the phone), take a walk, remember the feeling of inspiration. Can you remember your last true a-ha? Did you act on the whispers? Or did you find yourself explaining to friends after the fact, ”I knew it!” But did nothing.
Seth Godin recently asked, “What would you do if all your meetings were cancelled? Go do that - now.” Why wait? You already know what you could be doing if you gave yourself permission.
As Elizabeth Gilbert says: "Consider this your permission slip." Now go have fun - be creative. Be a problem solver.
When we give pause, we can notice. When we give ourselves permission to dream broader, we act accordingly. We notice a co-worker that needs a hand. We can revision a parenting or an accounting problem. We can have a moment of not-knowing and surrender to that instead of repeating ad nauseam what we do know — and changing nothing but increasing our desperation and therefore inflammation, which serves only to makes us more upset and bitter.
To give space, to slow down, to notice beauty - in another, in artwork, in Nature — creates possibility.
“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” ― Thomas Merton
To notice that your life has changed and perhaps you were once shackled with immovable mental chains, but maybe you arenʻt now. Maybe you are a little wiser, a little kinder, a little more courageous. Maybe you made that move, or started a gentler self talk, or enrolled into ceramics / wine tasting / outdoor canoeing club, and you are not only exercising your mind, you are exercising your right to joy — and you are letting more of that in. You are letting a little more inspiration shine. Maybe breath by breath and choice by choice that metal chain is becoming a rope — and you can choose to slip it off and walk away.
What do you have to lose?
If it is hard, if you feel that you are the only one, you are most likely in the best company of your own determination. Like this elephant — and it is from here that much change can happen
This piece is available and gorgeously created by Mish-el Benjamin.
“To the millions who live in this world today let me say that there are many worthwhile things little people can do, both individually and collectively. When I dedicated my life to be of as much service as possible to my fellow human beings someone said to me very sarcastically, ‘What do you think you can do?’And I replied, ‘I know I am a little person and can do only little things, but there are so many little things that need to be done.’ And I never had any trouble finding worthwhile little things to do. When I started my pilgrimage I was asking for very big things and someone said to me then, ‘You might as well ask for the moon.’ But I answered, ‘If enough of us little people ask together even very, very big things will be granted.’
I can say this to you: Live the present. Do the things you know need to be done. Do all the good you can each day.The future will unfold.” - Peace Pilgrim
Hello there.The world outside our window is asking for more. Each of us will respond to this in our own unique way. The last thing needed is one more voice - mine - telling you how to do this. So I am not.
I can remind you that any large undertaking happens one action at a time. If you believe in the resonance of action, each small selfless, beauty-creating action we perform creates a new resonance. In these times, tiny acts of kindness and courageous fortitude in our personal universes will be large declarations.
Some us will be called on to larger stages. Some of us will be called to action at a backyard BBQ, I leave that to your heart and mind to move and speak from where you feel the most kindness and compassion may be created.
I am reminded of the Dalai Lama’s response to the Paris Attacks:
“I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.
We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody's interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.”
May you be able to be your best self today + allow others to do the same,
Where to Find Kate — a list of loved project updates.
Most notably lomilomi sessions are running through September and reconvening in January 2018.
Lomilomi Sessions are being scheduled through September 12th and will resume again in January 2018 in the Philadelphia area. I’ll be sending an update to this announcement. If you were planning on hopping on the table, now is the time whether scheduling in Manayunk or Port Richmond. I have 2 weekend sessions available August 20th at 12:00 pm + 1:30pm
Sit In Your Center : A Woman's Retreat in Meditation, Movement and Intention based in Aloha. This gathering is true sweetness + it is coming to The Center in Downingtown, PA September 9th 12:30 - 4:30
It’s been called: “Eye-opening. Transformative. Healing” and “The Sit in Your Center workshop that Kate led was a powerful and deepening experience. Her kind and vibrant light allowed for a safe and comfortable space from which the real work of "sitting in your center" could begin. I can't recommend this workshop enough! - N.K.
An invitation to one’s entirety - free from expectation - away from that which leaves us smushed and shushed. Through guided meditation, potentized intentions, and gentle movement, we un-pack our stories, making space for silent knowing. When you know your own voice, you can hear what is being said.
Registration is open, click here to join us. All ages, (female) bodies, and perspectives welcome. Next gathering will be in 2018.
Writing + Ritual: Expressing Your Creative Voice Mira Newman + I are offering two gatherings this fall: September 13th + 27th. 7-9pm Private residence. Sign up for one ($40) or both evenings ($70)
To register: email@example.com Space is limited. reserve your spot early!
Join us as we weave the mystical call of creation through mantra chanting, writing prompts, and simple writing tools into a powerful and transformational awakening of the heart. "Looking at my writing from the last two workshops, I was shocked at the intimacy I allowed myself to share among virtual strangers...something about the energy created by Mira and Kate, the timeliness of the activities we shared, the courage and trust that permeated that room...I am warmed and recharged by the memory." M.L., NJ
Wisdom Coaching: Stay tuned for different program options for group and individual coaching support for our modern lives. If you have a current horizon that needs expanding, we have room for 2 clients for our individualized 4 week program for $486 beginning the week of August 28th. What kind of horizons? You ask. Here are a few examples: job transitions, bodyworkers + healing artists restructuring client boundaries + education, artists (we are all artists) looking to reignite their Inspiration, humans ready to enjoy themselves a little more. PM firstname.lastname@example.org if you are one of them and I will send you a follow-up questionnaire to see if we are the right fit.
“Regardless of what your transition is (mine: new job, new state to live in, bunch of stuff tangled up in all of that), Kate will help you get there. She can hear you, feel you, see you with a clarity that for me was far superior to the cognitive therapy, psychoanalytic therapy, yoga therapy and pretty much every other therapy I’ve experienced. It wasn’t just the clarity. It was the succinct way in which she summarized goals, fed me writing prompts to explore deeper meaning, music to inspire me, tasks (yes, lists with dates) for me to complete and to be held accountable for. She embodies in her teaching the perfect blend of spirituality and practicality. Dreaming and believing. Resting and Moving. Action, the one next step to take, in bite size pieces that eventually add up to a whole cake.” - E.M. San Francisco, CA
What’s Your Story? An Online Experiment in Creativity: is running now and will run again in January 2018. It is a project from my teachers’s heart to share in an inundated world: a little beauty, a little structure and a little invitation to enjoy your tremendous life a little more. We have creative content, art projects, guest teachers, grounded steps for daily action + fun. We need to create some space for fun. Sign-ups will begin later this year, ideal for rehydrating your life, moms needing easy + accessible inspiration, friends or beloveds wanting to grow together, and anyone looking to smile (also great content for homeschooled teenagers).
Thanks for reading.
Have a beauty-full, grace-full day,
"In Beauty we are united, through Beauty we pray, with Beauty we conquer." Nicholas Roerich
Image: I have been playing with Black Out Poetry. You take newspaper articles and find the words to create a poem. I love it. It is more centering and focus creating than I expected, plus - it's fun!
Seth Godin was talking on Tim Ferris’ podcast about an initial online classroom that had been created from an audience who already supported him - but people were leaving. When he looked closer he realized - and I am paraphrasing, you can listen here - that ‘Without the social pressure to perform, when it got hard, people left.’
That really got me thinking. The presence of pressure, or the presence of social accountability does not have to be utilized as a task master of fear, yet it is a presence we respond to and sometimes aspire from.
Corey and I were talking about how we are held together by pressure - atmospheric pressure. Without it: poof. Gone. Without a focal point we drift, and one of the most potent horizons to fix your life upon is service, in some way not just chasing for our own selves, but in service to some thing. Even if that is our creativity or beauty making -- it is still an offering.
I was in a recent meeting about what skill sets are missing in the workplace, and resoundingly, whether in schools, boardrooms or zoom rooms, the missing herb is resilience. The stick-with-it-ness to make ourselves grow. The commitment to be carved (asDawn Smelser phrased) - staying long after the initial high, the initial ease; this is what we are missing.
And I would argue we are missing it so much some of us have cut out enjoyment as a measurable element altogether. Meaning we don't have the stick-with-it-ness to believe that it can create enjoyment in our life, so we either forgo enjoyment or flit from flower high to flower high - without staying long enough to gather nectar.
I was recently talking with a coaching client, an educator and aspiring writer, and when we were aiming to address why she cannot find time to write, she said : “Well, enjoyment isn’t enough of a reason to schedule it.”
And then she heard herself.
And then we made a plan.
And now she was been writing 10 days going.
And guess what, she said: “It’s harder than I thought, some days I didn’t even like what I wrote - and it is going really fast and I love it.”
Keep going - or help someone else up. Same same.
“The world is always going to be dangerous, and people get badly banged up, but how can there be more meaning than helping one another stand up in a wind and stay warm?” - Anne Lamott
Want more? sign up for What’s Your Story? Inspiration Infiltrating your scroll time.
"A lot of creativity is about being in a network and... not so much about being this lone genius; it's much more about being connected." - Austin Kleon
I decided to spend more time developing my artist self this summer - in an easy, simple and just for myself kinda way. I did have my friend Damini Celebre's book Painting the Landscape of Your Soul as my chosen guide. One reason I picked her book was that she told me to get kid's supplies, and the other was it is beautiful, like her, and the third - I respond to outside motivation and structure - plain and simple.
Guess what? It's fun.
Opening back to Art inspired me to invite a few new guests, add some sparkles and a little restructuring to re-open What's Your Story?: An Online Experiment in Creativity, starting August 6th - 22nd. Registration is open (see below).
In the spirit of gratitude and inspiration, here is a varied list of creative resources for you. It's summer for most of us, and Mother Nature is in her full strength and playful grace -- what beauty are we creating and sharing along with her? Let the Creative Muse whisper into your ear and - have fun.
- Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic. I am rereading it. She invites you to stop complaining - it chases Inspiration away, say "I enjoy my creativity" instead and see what happens.
- And there is the podcast On Being that I find exquisite.
- If you are in Philly, you can go to my friend Mira + Shakti Devi's kirtan, here.
- If you are in Kaua'i, you can go to my friend Kim Murriera's Form Drawing class, here.
- For a week long creativity retreat, catch my friend Ann Randolphthis August at 1440 Multiversity.
- If you want a Netflix to watch, Iris
- You could watch this Marie Forleo interview of Sarah Jones - what a creative genius! or one of her TedTalk performances here.
- And when you doubt, you can read this
- Or dance to this.
"You may forget but
let me tell you this:
someone in some
future time will
of us." - Sappho
We only get one go around - so make sure you are there for it,
I'm ready sign me up, to scroll less, create more + be a little nicer (optional but appreciated).
Enroll in What's Your Story? + a portion of each enrollment goes to New Leash On Life.
You have to look for it, to see it.
You know, the butter in the back of the fridge, the rainbow in the sky, the good parking spot, and the subtle resonance of the life we are living: you have to look for it — often with your eyes closed.
I was recently complaining about there not being any good bands to go see.
“You’re not looking in the right places,” my friend said. He’s older so I had already expected he would agree with me and was quite shocked at his rebuke.
He did me a favor: I started looking, clicking and listening. Within a week we have three shows we are going to; some are super small and none of them are large, and I don’t know one of the bands, but I was more impressed at the reality that I was not looking for it — yet was complaining widely about it.
Here’s a new song I am enjoying.
Thinking of algebra, I rationalized if x = y then y = z
That is my invitation for you this full moon: look for it with new eyes and expect to see it. A good place I have been finding things is where I am happy. And when I am not happy, I have had to drum it up. Example? I sent out a text to a few girlfriends with some “I love you” kick ass compliments — and I felt great. I figured if I wasn’t smiling, make someone else. It worked.
I am not saying you are not already doing a good job; you are doing an excellent job.
I am not saying you need to do more; I am suggesting you do less.
I am saying instead of comparatively scrolling - spread a little love and see what grows.
Because why not? It took less time than watching a cat and dog play tag on youtube.
This full moon coming up is a dreamer, and these are tough times for dreamers, so hold those seeds close and water them when you can. Believe that it can be easy - and maybe it will. And maybe you will look down and see this:
It’s better to see love than not. I’m pretty sure about that.
Have a beauty-full day + catch up with me when you can; I’ve got some offerings brewing and have upcoming ones listed them below.
Writing + Ritual:
Kate Brenton + Mira Newman
June 11th at a private residence in Gladwyne register email@example.com
10:00 - 3:00pm
$125 Investment *vegetarian, organic lunch provided
"Want to expand and enhance your writing skills in an environment of trust and honesty and pure, laugh-out-loud fun? Then don't miss out on the Writing and Ritual workshops. Kate and Mira gently and powerfully guide you along a path for your writing voice to open to its most individual, its most authentic, and so that it truly shines. It is so terrific, the practices will become your ritual."
Let's create: Join us for a Creative Daylong Retreat for Personal Inspiration! We will weave the mystical call of creation through mantra chanting, writing prompts, and simple writing tools into a powerful and transformational awakening of the heart.
This daylong retreat will offer many opportunities to be together in devotional chanting, creative writing, safe sharing, creative reflection in nature, celebration of Spirit, and the sweetness of community.
Sit In Your Center:
June 24th at www.motherheartstudio.com in Fishtown (register on their website)
11:30 - 3:30
"Empowering, Transformative, and Reflective."
"Enlightening, Sacred and Unifying."
An invitation to one’s entirety - free from expectation - away from that which leaves us smushed and shushed. Through guided meditation, potentized intentions, and gentle movement, we un-pack our stories, making space for silent knowing. When you know your own voice, you can hear what is being said.
"As women no matter what age or position in life, we need to honor who we are and where we are. Kate's workshop reminds us of the importance of doing just that."- L.M., Yadley, PA
One of my client's said, "You're my difference maker," and the name stuck. A combination of wisdom-coaching, creative prodding, and mindfulness making, to get you back into your center + enjoying your life a little more. This works well for those who know they are needing to realign their compass + reclaim their voice, simply. Previous clients have: created a meditation practice, written first drafts of books. played more happily with their children, applied for new jobs + improved personal communication skills.
E-mail me to schedule a free chat to see if we are a good fit to help you shine.
Support the Inspiration.