The Breath

pexels-photo-612914.jpegLet go of forcing.

Let go of expectation, and deadlines, and timelines.

Embrace quiet moments, and slowness and tenderness.

Move with purpose not pressure.

Give your breath volume.

Listen

Let the breaths pace be your metronome.

Notice as you lift and settle with each breath cycle, not just in body but heart and mind.

Give your breath space

Feel it

Use the expansion to remind you of your own capacity.

Notice that given the opportunity, your body will slow the breath, it will deepen and take more.

There is always room for more breath, just as there is always capacity for more love, more patience, more forgiveness, power, healing, grace….

There is space in the body, just as there is in the heart and mind.  To cultivate tenderness toward self, toward others…

Let the breath carry you.

Each inhale you feed and foster,

Each exhale you soften, surrender,

Slowly moving closer and deeper toward an unknown something.

Breath by sweet breath you travel toward a new sense of calm, or competence or strength.  Perhaps it is balance, or perseverance or flexibility.

The breath cues the body to be at ease.

It cues the mind to rest

It calms the heart and slows the rhythm.

The breath also lifts the spirit.

It brightens our mood.

It fuels our muscles and mind and wills us onward.

EVER ONWARD

The breath will hold you up when life has you weak at the knees.

The breath will anchor you when you wish you could flee.

The breath can sustain you in moments of pain, and sadness, and fear.

When the intensity of your experience feels unbearable, when fate is playing cruel games or you believe you are facing the impossible…

The breath – YOUR BREATH

Will illuminate your fortitude, feed your flames of vitality, and open your mind to possibilities.

Your breath will keep you aloft through your heaviest, most tenderising moments – and then gently place you in a position of readiness.
If you let it.
If you trust it
If you USE it.

 

XO

KATE

Yoga

30604151_1227069220756374_2720526654307827712_nWe can get caught thinking yoga is all about flexibility or strength, exercise or meditation. Indeed it IS these things but not only these things. Yoga is about community too. It is about creating a sense of belonging and being curious about others. It is about building relationships with others and with our own selves.

Yoga

IS simple quiet moments sipping tea.

Listening to the rain.

Letting life be slow for a moment.

This past Saturday morning I played with a group of children.
Yoga with them was story telling with our bodies. It was imagination and play. It was loving reminders to be gentle with each other and even quietly asking them to take a moment alone-then welcoming them back with enthusiasm.

For me, that morning, yoga was embracing the beautiful chaos of a room full of children. It was total acceptance, patience, understanding and a sense of joy. It was setting firm but flexible boundaries and holding them in place with tenderness.

In the evening yoga was guiding a group of people into a playful irreverent dance practice. We sweat and flowed and laughed. Our yoga was shared delight. It was movement and music and meeting new people.

Yoga is everything, it is everywhere. It is ours to discover and explore and LIVE. It is not simply a sequence of body shapes or the achievement of a goal. It is a way of being. A way of seeing, and doing. Yoga is path finding.  It is holding trust in the light and cultivating  an understanding of darkness. Yoga is found not just in the body, but in our breath, our hearts, our thoughts. In these same internal spaces so too we PRACTICE yoga.

We practice, every day, in every way.  We do it all imperfectly….that is why it is called practice.
Namaste xo

KATE

Anatomy of an Instagram Photo…

20180422_122224I have an Instagram account.  Mostly just because I am trying to keep up with the technological world and felt that I should.  I like it.  I am not super active – but I find it fun to post pictures and write little snip-its of what comes to mind to suit the moment or the shot.  I try to keep it real and unpolished.  Recently though, I stumbled into the realisation that I could achieve some cool yoga postures that I have always loved but never thought I would be able to do.  Wooed by excitement and pride – romanced by the setting we were in – and inspired by the knowledge that these accomplishments had come NOT from pressing and forcing but through patience and riding my breath until strength and flexibility came along…I asked my husband to take a photo for me.  Like EVERYONE ON THE PLANET…I chose the nicest one and posted it on my Instagram account.

SHAME ON ME!

That was not what my post was about and not what I want to put out to the world.  I don’t want to show my best side, my best angle, my prettiest lines and all my successes!  I want to show my reality!  I want to create connection and a sense of being “OK” by relating the beauty of imperfection.  The joy of navigating a clunky, clumsy ,chaotic existence and the power of self acceptance.  SO…in the name of honesty, humility and above all HUMOUR.  I give you….the anatomy of my Instagram photo.

We begin with ‘‘the approach’‘.  Note how I descend, with all the grace of an arthritic turtle and my sweater apparently tucked partially into my pants.  (At least it’s not my skirt caught in my panty hose – this time! 😉 )

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Next I give you “phase one” wherein I attempted to move into position only to realise this was ”my stiff side”.  Note the look of wild disappointment after all my work to get down on the ground!  What did not get caught on camera was the moment when I actually tipped over like a little tea pot because I can not hold my balance on this side. 😀

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The third image, now resting on ”my good side” – Oopps!  Glasses…wouldn’t want the world (AKA my 100 or so Instagram followers) to see me like THIS! 😉

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Ah…ok…next shot, not sure why he zoomed in – but here you have the glasses free re-entry.  This is me pulling my foot into position before I grip it with my elbow.  Not quite so elegant now am I?

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Annnndddd….just hang on a minute…I just gotta’ get my arm way up and back – and as long as I can hook my other hand I will be golden….”

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“I’m there!  Ok babe!  Take the shot!  Take it!!  Did ya’ get it??”

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“OK, I’m good here, I won’t fall again…try one with me smiling.”

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Did you get the back ground?  No?  Babe – It’s all about the shot – one more please!  Get the river in it!”

YA….put THAT on Instagram 🙂

20180422_122224Just keepin’ it real folks.

 

XO

KATE

Denial

Two years.

It’s been two years almost to the day since I slipped and fell. A beautiful spring day hiking in the Muskokas ended with a moderate TBI. It was such a simple little accident but getting through the aftermath has been….not simple at all.

I suck at setting limits. I always have. It is not that I am an endless self sacrificer. I don’t ignore my own needs in favor of others. I just don’t see my limits until I get smacked in the face with them. I feel most happy when I am busy. I feel a sense of purpose when I am working to solve a problem. So naturally I gravitate to helping others but I would set my limits and hold my pace. If I could just develop the skills to do so!

It has been 2 years and still I forget to adjust plans to accomodate for over stimulation and fatigue. I continue to be suprised at how scattered and dysfunctional I can become. I will be standing in the middle of a children’s birthday party and suddenly think “man, I feel anxious and dizzy, I guess I should have expected this to be a lot”.

I feel tired most of the time and need daily naps. When my occupational therapist ask me to describe a typical day she told me I do too much. If I need naps then I am tiring myself out and should adjust my routine to do less. I was shocked. I could see she was right, but I already felt that I was doing so little!

Finding balance is hard. I want to be social and fun. I want to be a part of what is happening with my family, friends and community. I want to produce. I want to feel a sense of contribution. I also have to relealise I will get run down when I push too hard, stay too long or fail to rest. For some reason I just can’t get that to sink in.

Sometimes things can get really out of hand. I get so tired that I don’t speak well. I can not make decisions, or even follow a simple story. People will ask me why I didn’t ask for help or take a break. I can only be honest and say I didn’t think to. I didn’t see it coming until I felt my head tighten and my mind shut down. It is a little embarrassing to admit to such a lack of insight, there you have it. I suck. Lol

This weekend we had a large family event. After 2 hours spent meeting new people,mingling in a crowded room and conversing mainly in french I suddenly felt sick. My head felt as if it was being squeezed from both sides. Not pain…just pressure. I felt confussed and hopelessly tired, almost like I had been sedated.

“Of course!”I thought to myself.

Of course I felt this way. Why had I not considered this? I should have realised I would need breaks. Or at least that this would be a tough event. It honestly had not even crossed my mind until the moment I felt myself hit by the wave of fatigue.

I snuck off to the little room where the kids were playing quietly. I sat on the floor, leaned my cheek against the wall and closed my eyes. Cool, soothing, calm.

A few moments later my husband came searching for me. He had suddenly realized it too. “Oh my god babe,you must be exhausted.” He was concerned and feeling badly for not thinking of a back up plan either.

Driving home we were discussing and trying to figure out how it is possible that this keeps happening. We came to the conclusion that we are really both still in denial. I don’t think of myself as a person with limitations. He does not see his wife as a person who needs special support. So we both kind of drop the ball on planning sometimes.

I feel I have moved through many stages of grief in this experience. I have worked through changing career prospects and missed opportunities. I have adapted to being that lady with the crazy health history. I tell people my last few years have been like wack-a-mole. (But I am stubborn as f#$k and playing to win.) I have come to terms with the fact that the adventure sports I used to approach with aggression and confidence now require great caution. I have been able to deal with most of this well. Mostly because I see it all as temporary.

The attitude of standing back up is a strength. I see myself as strong and resilient. I believe I will get back to where I was and where I want to be. It is also a problem. Because in NOT recognizing my current limits I continue to self sabotage. This brain needs rest. It needs quiet and meditation. The current Kate needs more sleep and shorter days. Brain breaks and lots of excercise. If I want to build myself back up I need to stop knocking myself down. THAT will only come when I learn to see myself accurately. THAT is Hard.

Denial is not a choice. It is a psychological wall. It is the self standing in front of a mirror refusing to see what has changed. Our minds and emotions are so complex it is impossible to determine all the how’s and why’s. We have to work hard to over come denial. We have to be humble and brave. Acceptance brings more change. It brings a shift in identity, the surrender of control and a sense of further loss. Yet acceptance also delivers us to the door step of deeper healing. Acceptance allows us to move through the door, while denial has us peeking in windows but never actually getting there.

I have work to do.

Not the work of more, but the work of less. Less pressing and forcing and figuring out. More rest, more reflection, more acceptance more growth, more recovery.

It is time to ding ,dong, ditch denial and ask acceptance to let me through the door.

And You?? What about you? Will I see you on the other side?

KATE

An Open Letter, to Everyone

pexels-photo-744662.jpegDear Human,

I see you.

I know you are trying, just as I am.

I know you lay awake sometimes wondering if you are doing okay.  

You take long drives wondering where things went wrong.

Maybe sometimes you snuggle under a blanket thinking about how wonderful life is – and worrying about all the work it takes to keep it ‘just so’.

 

I know you exhaust yourself with it all.

The hustle.  The struggle.  The circle game.

I know you have moments of delight sprinkled across your plate.

Sometimes they are tossed with a heavy hand, sometimes so sparse and fleeting you barely noticed.  But they were there.

 

I see you.

Some days you look at the world with the eyes of a child.

You scan the landscape for beauty, and take joy in the lights and sounds.

You admire the trees, the green grasses and the scent of the breeze.

 

I see you.

Some days your eyes are dark and weary.

Some days your eyes are cold.

Some days you walk with your head hung low – as if you are hiding in plain sight.

Other days you move like thunder, demanding to be noticed.

 

I know that you waver between a desire for peace and an impulse to fight for your life.

I know you are confused about what you were taught, what you have learned and what you feel in your heart is right.

I know that life has slapped your right cheek with love and kindness more than once, and just ask quickly jolted your chin with a left hook of anger and cruelty.

I know that you are straddling precariously.  Stretched to your full length and more by the expectations you feel placed upon your shoulders and the path forward you see for yourself.

 

I see you.

I see your light.

I know that you work.so.damn.hard to keep it all in motion.

I know that it takes strength to hold it all together.

I know you feel completely lonely – and crowded at the same time.

People  – like water, everywhere and you are drifting.

 

You don’t get it right all the time.  

Maybe you don’t get it right often. But you keep trying.

I see you

I believe in you.

I’m in it with you.

 

I know that there are people in your life who need your forgiveness – and it’s hard.

I know there are people from whom you want forgiveness – and they withhold it.

I know you feel ripped off sometimes.  Cheated, left behind, over looked, taken advantage of….

I know you play small sometimes.  Afraid to take the space you are worthy of.  Afraid of what people may think, or say.

I see you.  I have been where you are.

We will visit this place more than once.

 

It’s okay.

You can move forward, you can take your space!

You can make the changes you dream of, you can carve the path for yourself.

We can do this!

 

Life is hard friend.

Be at ease.

It’s not because you are getting it wrong.

Life is just hard.

AND beautiful

AND confusing

Exhausting

Intriguing

Delightful

Terrifying

Enchanting

Ugly

Exhilerating

 

All of it.

 

Be at ease

I see you, you’re getting there, you’ve got this.

Keep growing.

 

KATE