Daily Blog #14 – Soft Heart, Strong Spirit

“The world either breaks or hardens the heart.” -Nicolas Chamfort

My spirit is strong as hell – I’ve survived a lot of trauma over the years.  I’m also very sensitive and continually open my heart to others in spite of being wounded. Through it all, I consider myself unbreakable.  Why?

Because I believe only the strongest can be the softest. It’s easy to close yourself off in a protective barrier. Try facing the harsh elements of life in your own skin with no external protection – now that takes inner strength. Stay soft and simultaneously stay strong. The softer you become, the stronger you get. Here are a few things I truly try to practice and wholeheartedly embrace as an equally strong and soft being.

Everyday I own and celebrate my body’s power.

Everyday I use my voice to write my passion.

Everyday I get stronger by showing kindness to myself and others.

Everyday I find beauty and love.

Everyday I am stronger.

Everyday is today.

 

Have a beYOUtiful today.

Love, Kitty =^.^=

Daily Blog #13 – Icicles and Acorns

Okay. So I’m in a bit of a quirky mood because I just biked eight miles in two degree weather. Either my brain is frozen or everything is overly funny due to delirium, or both. So I’m going to list a few random thoughts, just ’cause.

  1. Don’t bicycle outside in winter with a wet braid, or you’ll have an icicle rope hitting you in the face whenever a wind gust visits.
  2. If you haven’t listened to The Carpenters’ cover of Hank Williams’s “Jambalaya,” I seriously recommend you pull it up on ye olde Spotify. The flautist goes HAM on that song! Why The Carpenters’ chose flute as the lead instrument on a country song, I don’t know. Maybe they also biked in two degree weather?
  3.  My obsession with the power of one. Seems like Ralph Waldo Emerson had it as well. Today my tea bag had a quote with a number “one” theme – I see reminders everywhere. “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

So there you have it. A few ramblings of a crazy Jamaican in Minnesota.

Stay warm, stay strong, and stay beYOUtiful.

Love, Kitty =^.^=

Daily Blog #12 – Power of One

The power of one. This is something that changed my life, genuinely. If you’re just getting to know me, you’ll hear me talk of my massive weight loss (over 345 pounds after a debilitating car accident just out of high school). And if you already know me, you’ll hear me talk of it as well lol. I can’t shut my big mouth! 😉 But it’s because I’m so excited about this concept.

Besides weight loss, you may also hear me speak about the number “one” over and over: one step, one choice, one moment, etc. Why, Kitty? I can hear you asking. Why are you so freaking obsessed with the number “one.”

Why?

When I was sitting in my bed all those years ago, and couldn’t move – unsure of whether I’d walk again, unsure of my ability to hold a job again, to drive a car again, and I thought my career as a musician was over – I looked across the room at a mirror propped against the wall.

I looked into my small black eyes and thought my life was over. I was suicidal. I thought I had lost any chance of ever making my dreams a reality. I was so fat I couldn’t recognize myself. Literally, beneath the hundreds of pounds of fat and shattered pieces of my soul, the only things familiar were my eyes. I was this close to ending it all.

And then I heard a small, still voice deep within the chambers of my psyche.

Kitty, choose to fight, one more time. Just once.

One.

That number changed my life. I realized that if I could master a moment once, I could repeat that action and accomplish anything I desired. If I could strengthen one more atrophied muscle, or create one new pathway in my brain, I could lift my leg. If I could lift my leg, I could lift it one more time again, then again.

Eventually I could take one step. Then another. And another.

Anything, and I mean anything, no matter how daunting or seemingly impossible, can be broken down into one piece.

Anything.

If you can master doing something once, you can master anything you dream of.

What is the one thing you need to master to eventually reach your biggest dream?

Thanks for investing in YOU!

Love, Kitty =^.^=

Daily Blog #11 – Kindness

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop

This quote has shaped my entire worldview over the years. Although brief, it packs such a punch that I won’t detract from it by writing a million words. Instead, I’ll ask one question:

What is one small act of kindness you can do today?

Love, Kitty =^.^=

Daily Blog #10 – Beauty Bomb!

Hey you guys! I’m posting a meditation I frequently use, which I call a “Beauty Bomb.” The objective is to bombard you with beauty, gratitude and love. Feel free to use this anytime you need a pick-me-up or could use an extra dose of encouragement. It works! Oh, I almost forgot: keep in mind, the more you meditate, the easier it gets. Don’t be discouraged if it’s hard to focus at first. Practice makes empowered.

If you have a few minutes, let’s get started. (If now isn’t a good or quiet time, don’t worry,  you can always come back to it.) So, if you’re ready…it’s time to Beauty Bomb!

  1. Take a few deep breaths, and if you feel comfortable, I invite you to close your eyes. (Feel free to take your time and read each part separately, closing your eyes and breathing deeply between prompts to focus on the experience and the sensations this exercise initiates.) Continue taking generous breaths, allowing peace to flood your entire system with each round.
  2. Notice the texture of your breath, each inhale and exhale. You don’t need to change anything about your breathing right now, just be aware of how it feels expanding and releasing in your chest and mouth. Close your eyes and really focus on your lungs and cleansing breaths. Seriously, close your eyes. It makes the exercise extremely effective. I’ll be here when you get back! Really good. Once you have taken a few deep breaths, see if you can slowly make each breath even and steady, equal in length, continuous and smooth. Let the oxygen flow effortlessly through your body, smoothing out any tension in your shoulders and neck. Take a long, refreshing breath in, then a slow, sweet breath out. Allow any stress to evaporate, visualize any worries floating out of your body with each exhale. Give yourself the gift of a few uninterrupted minutes of relaxation – any tasks or to-dos will still be here in a few minutes, you can take a moment to push it all aside. I promise. 🙂
  3. Continuing with healing breaths, begin to notice where your body connects to the chair or the earth. If you’re sitting on a chair, pay attention to the point where your rear and thighs rest on the seat, or if you’re lying down, notice all the connecting points of your body touching the ground. Whether seated or lying, allow yourself to soften a bit into that space, releasing any tension. Take a few more breaths, melting into them as you let go a bit more.
  4.  With your eyes closed, allow your awareness to shift to the outdoors surrounding the building you’re in. Do you hear any noises of cars on the road, or the muffled tones of conversations as people walk by? Think about your city or neighborhood. All of the kind, hard-working people who contribute to making your community a better place to reside. Focus on of all of the creative works of art that performers, inventors, engineers, and artists contribute to your city and the world. All the passion and love that flows through your neighborhood. Then think of all the doctors, teachers, mentors, nurses, firefighters and other human beings who are committed to serving you, devoting their lives to keeping you safe, supported and healthy. Yes, there are some bad people in the world, but there are MANY, MANY more people (the vast majority of us) who are here to spread love and joy. Think of us, the majority. Think of the hundreds, or thousands of people who live and work with you to make your community and neighborhood a great place!
  5.  Now, imagine all of the adorable dogs, cats and furry creatures who are taking eager walks in the park, or on sidewalks, or are perched in their windows nearby. Go ahead, actually picture their funny grins and soft, inviting fur! So. much. cute! Think of how happy and curious about life these fluffy ones are, how excited they are to explore your neighborhood and see all the smiling faces! Take a few more deep breaths and think of the cuteness overload that exists in the few miles surrounding you. So many sweet, slobbery babies!
  6. Now, begin to focus your attention on the building where you are currently, or where you live. Think of all the modern conveniences that exist in this space, the ingenuity that supports you and allows you to live with ease: fresh water supply that nourishes your body, readily available at the turn of a faucet, heat or cold air to keep you comfortable at the press of a button, refrigerators that allow you to eat fresh, nutritious food at any time of the year, regardless of seasons. Think of the sturdy, protective walls that keep you sheltered and cozy, and the technological devices at your fingertips, keeping you connected and instantly informed. So many tools are in your life, ready at your command to support and nurture your growth! Genuinely consider how many modern conveniences you often take for granted, all the advances available that didn’t even exist for thousands of years. All of these systems are in place to support you, and improve your daily existence. Allow yourself to feel the gratitude spreading through your entire body, and keep taking cleansing, calming breaths. Awesome Job!
  7.  Now, let’s go even further in. Gradually begin to place your awareness on your physical body. Hone in on your breath, and feelings of relaxation. Pay attention to your fingertips and rub them together. Feel the sensation of touch and think of all the beautiful things it allows you to experience; the caress of a soft blanket, the coziness of your favorite nubby sweater, a hug of a friend, the silky texture of flower petals,  and the wind tickling your skin. Next, allow your mind to wander to your arms and legs, picture all the activities they allow you to participate in; walking through the park on a sunny day, swimming in a luxurious pool on vacation, biking through your neighborhood, jumping on a trampoline, carrying your child. Your limbs and muscles work effortlessly to allow you to engage in a multitude of activities, providing strength and function, each and every day! Take a deep breath of appreciation for all the joy your body provides you. Focus on your lungs and heart; become aware of their steady dependability and how much you can rely on their hard work. Each breath fills your cells with vitality, each pump of your heart fuels health and dynamic function. Your breath and heartbeat are life-long companions, supporting your every move, even as you sleep!
  8. Now go even further, to your amazing brain. It is a miraculous machine, capable of unimaginable exploits! Your brain regulates every function of your body, allowing you to learn, grow, heal, sense and feel. Your wondrous brain allows you to bond with others and fall in love. Your brain gives you beautiful dreams, powers your imagination and allows you to process your surroundings. Think of the beautiful sonatas you’ve heard, the breathtaking landscapes your eyes have allowed you to witness, the funny jokes you’ve laughed at, the immense love you feel for your family and significant other. Think of every person that has ever loved you. Think of the enjoyment and unconditional love your pet gives you. All of this amazing beauty is made possible because of your wonderful brain. Kind of incredible if you think about it, isn’t it?
  9. Lastly, take a few energizing breaths as you begin focus on the most important aspect of this entire exercise: YOU. I don’t mean your temporal physical body, or your brain, or even your life thus far. I mean that inner, eternal part of yourself that some call “soul or spirit.” The deep divine force within yourself…the true you. Place your hand on your heart and allow yourself to feel the loving energy pulsating through your entire being. You are magnificently created, capable of amazing things. You are beautiful and contribute something to this world that no other person on the entire planet can. You are unique and there will never be another you. Please know I love and appreciate the beauty and grace you contribute to our community of living Beings! Thanks for enriching us all and making the world a better place, homie.

Allow yourself a few more breaths of stillness, soaking up the benefits of this meditation practice. Notice how you feel now that you’ve taken a few moments to bombard yourself with all the beauty in your life. Maybe your breathing is a bit more steady, your mind a bit more quiet? I hope this exercise helps you as much as it has me. Before you gently shift your awareness back to your immediate surroundings and go about your day, take the time to appreciate yourself for the self-care today!  And that’s it, we’re done. Wonderful job!

Thanks for letting me Beauty Bomb you, and for investing in yourself!

Love, Kitty =^.^=

Daily Blog #9 – Food. Food. Gimme some food!

“He dreamed he was eating shredded wheat and woke up up find the mattress half gone.” -Fred Allen

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up and all you want to do is eat calories, all of the calories? You know you do! And if not, well, let me tell you – cravings are powerful. S*** gets real.

Especially when you have an eating disorder. Mine is a food addiction, but I have had bouts of purging and anorexia as well. Eating disorders are never fully healed, they are just managed. Today is one of those days where I need to micromanage the heck outta this gobbling beast!

This morning I woke up and the only thing I wanted to eat was a mountain of hash browns. I even dreamed about them lol. I desperately needed my fix.

So what did I do? I plopped my butt down and wrote to you, and then I’m going to go for a bike ride and do some yoga, maybe chill with the squirrels in the park for a bit before I get back to work.

I find another drug other than food, and I indulge myself, big time. It works! The addict in me gets her fix, and I don’t eat the collective supply of hash browns in all of Minneapolis. This is how I lost 345 pounds, seriously! I got my fix, day by day, minute by minute.

With mood-altering substances healthier than food; sunshine, endorphins, pet snuggles, good convos, funny books, blog entries.

So, for now, the potatoes in my city are safe. 😉

Have a beYOUtiful day!

Love, Kitty =^.^=

Daily Blog #8 – I and I.

When I was little all my older cousins in Jamaica were Rastas. They would chill up in the hills or in the backyard and smoke (some of my fondest memories are permeated with the distinct smell of ganja floating through the muggy Caribbean air). I’m from a tiny village up in the mountains in a very remote spot of Jamaica, on Bob Marley’s land, so reefer was plentiful. I remember when I was really small thinking the plants that grew freely in the back of the house were a vegetable garden! 😉 But my cousins with their dreads, low melodic tones and rich cocoa skin taught me a lot from a very young age. They were very laid back and wise, lounging around with the chickens and goats that roamed freely, caught in a bubble where time and space seemed to move in slow motion. When we were in that back yard of green bush and plantain trees, there were no worries, no troubles.  Eternal wisdom would spill from my cousins’ weed-tinged lips between clouds of hazy smoke.

“It’s irie, mon…”

“…Jah bless.”

“…I and I.”

One time I innocently tried to correct my cousin’s grammar, genuinely thinking he hadn’t paid attention to his lessons in school. “I don’t think it’s ‘I and I?’ You mean, ‘you and I,’ I’m pretty sure.”

He laughed, slow and assured, with his patois drawl. “No likkle one,” he pointed to my heart in my chest, then to his, emphasizing the totality of our togetherness. “I and I. We are one.”

That blew my mind! I will never forget that moment, suspended in the warm tropical breeze, smoke and chicken squawks.

I and I. We are one.

Let me just throw that out to you today. Although we are separate beings with our own goals, schedules and lives, we are one.

Wherever you are right now as you read this, wherever you go today, whomever you interact with, good or bad, please remember. We are not all that different. We all want to be happy, we all struggle, we all want to protect our loved ones and live a meaningful existence.

We are more similar than you may think. We are one.

I and I.

So try to offer a little kindness to yourself…whether it be through talking with love to a stranger or when you look in the mirror today.

Thanks for reading this, and investing in you…and I!

Love, Kitty =^.^=