Monday, October 31, 2005



what a month! as i reflect on all that october has brought my way, i'm impressed with myself and ready for a month (or more) of reflection to catch up with all that has happened. the biggest thing i'm noticing as i think about all of my adventures, learnings and new schemes and ideas is that change is truly the only constant in our lives.

while i've heard people say things like this before, things like - "change is the only thing you can truly count on." i've never fully gotten it in the personal sense, it's never resonated in my life, until now. over the last few months, as i've been heading in new directions and back towards some old ones i'd abandoned - what has become entirely clear is that not only is there no "final destination" even the illusion of firmly planting your feet is just that - an illusion.

there is no standing still in this life. no reaching a conclusion, or neatly tying things up with a bow. we are constantly evolving, growing and learning. there is simply no way around it. in fact, i'm now noticing that even during the times in my life when i have felt stagnant and uninspired growth has nonetheless been my constant companion. i may not be able to see it until i look back in retrospect, but it was happening all along.

thinking about change in this new way - as something that is always happening and will always happen - gives me a great sense of peace. it removes the pressure to "be in control" and instead leads me to take actions that will simply guide or frame the changes that will inevitably come.

in reading about change, i've found this quote as both a challenge to let go and a comfort that we are all in this together:
All is change; all yields its place and goes.

how do you approach change?

what might shift in your life if you saw change as ever present rather than occasional and jarring?

as always, send your thoughts my way via post or email!

dream big,

Friday, October 21, 2005


body love

i think for many of us when we think about our lives, how well they are going, how much we feel we are finding success in them, and so on, we think mostly about our accomplishments - about the external actions we have taken.

and while these things are important, i've been thinking lately about being pleased with our lives on all levels - including the physical level. we live in a culture where being unabashedly pleased with our physical selves is tricky to say the least.

it's due to no fault of our own that we can't hold onto the reality that we are beautiful, housed in amazing bodies that serve us moment by moment in extraordinary ways. we live in a culture where "beauty" as defined by those who sell it to us on a daily basis is unattainable except for the smallest percentage of humanity - and even for them it's a constantly shifting target.

imagining our lives outside of this beautification construct is hard to do. it permeates everything, including our consciousness. but fighting to do so is worth it. how can we really be wholly pleased with ourselves and act with confidence if on some level we are always beating ourselves up for having a too small of a chest or a too of a big belly?

i came across a quote recently, that got me thinking about tackling my negative thoughts head on. here's what it said:

If I were you, every time I put on a garment - pair of shoes, or gloves, or a T-shirt - I'd say something really nice to your body.
wow, i thought. what a paradigm shift that'd be! so, i've decided to try it. thanking and complimenting my body regularly - outloud even! i've found so far that just noticing it more is immensely helpful. and in particular noticing the parts i'm pleased with.

i'd love for you to try the experiment with me, spread the body love i say!

and as always share the results of your experiments here!

dream big,

Thursday, October 20, 2005


balance in motion

in one of my yoga classes last month my instructor had us do a balancing pose where we kept our lifted leg in motion the entire time we were in the pose. mastering balance, he pointed out, happens when we can find balance even while in motion.

these last few weeks, i've been up to big things. leading in new ways, in bigger ways and in more personal ways. it's been exhilarating, exhausting and overall taking a major toll on any sense of balance in my world.

some of you may have noticed that i've been posting less, my partner has noticed that i've been home less, and i've noticed that i've been feeling any semblance of calm less. reflecting on the state of my world, my mind brought me back to that yoga pose.

it reminded me that balance is really all about motion. while the pose my instructor had us do pushed us to stay balanced while making large movements, no balancing pose is ever held by being completely still. in fact being completely still is simply not possible for living human beings. it's not part of our repertoire.

in the same way, a balanced life is not something we arrive at, but something we create day by day. life requires motion to keep going, and thus a balanced life requires that we are in a constant state of adjusting and adapting to the motions of life.

i'm comforted by these thoughts, reminded that all is not lost. it's not as if a couple of weeks being full to the brim means that i have lost my balance completely, it simply means my adjustments have to be bigger. and getting back to yoga class would be a great place to start.

what helps you create a life of balance in motion? what adjustments do you need to make?

as always, i'd love to hear your thoughts, so post 'em here.

dream big,

Monday, October 17, 2005


childhood lessons

in the early years of our lives we learn a tremendous amount in a very short period of time, it's truly amazing the capacity young brains have to absorb information. as we look back on these things we've learned, viewing them through our adult perspectives, we often overlook their complexity. what becomes clear upon further investigation, however, is that these basic skills we learn when we are young employ some of our greatest wisdom and sharpest wit to master.

curt rosengren's blog, the occupational adventure, recently referred to an article that revealed the wisdom found in learning just such a task: being toilet trained. as the article states:

Although this time can be a frustrating and messy one, it's a great opportunity for you to model for your daughter how to approach many of life's challenges:

- when you want to do something, it's easier
-if you don't want to do something, figure out why
-internal motivation is the best motivation
-identify what it is that stands between you and completing your goal
-sometimes pull-ups slow down your progress
-often others see when you are shifting from foot to foot, before you do
-continuing to do what you are comfortable with can keep you from growing
-poop happens, accidents are part of learning to do it right
-don't beat yourself up over mistakes
-overcoming a challenge is a process
-sometimes you just need to do it
-celebrate successes!

learning new things always involves some level of challenge. this list is an excellent reminder of how capable we are to handle the challenges placed before us. we are fully able to jump into action when the moment is right and learn from our mistakes and then head out to try again and likely make new ones.

what items on this list can you apply to your current projects and challenges? as always i'd love to hear your thoughts so feel free to post them here!

dream big,

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


what barriers?

i just returned from an amazing international young adult leaders conference in ben lomond, ca. the conference was for people in their twenties who are leaders in a peer counseling organization i am a part of. the organization has as its primary goals the elimination of racism and the empowerment of young people. for more info check out their website

the conference was amazing in so many ways, one of the things that had the biggest impact on me was getting to see how much can happen in an international group in spite of the fact that people speak different languages, come from different cultures and have had widely varied life experiences. we often assume that differences like these will create barriers for connection and collaboration, but this past weekend showed me that this can be far from true.

there were people from japan, australia, botswana, kenya, england, mexico, poland, sweden, usa, and more at the conference. the experience that most clearly made evident to me that there were no real barriers in this group was a late night of game playing. we played a variety of interactive games, laughing hysterically and having a fabulous time in a group where the languages spoken ranged from swedish to japanese. it turned out that not only could we navigate whatever language issues came up, for the most part they didn't. we ended the evening feeling connected and filled with a great feeling of happy exhaustion.

as i've begun settling back into my life in minnesota i've been reflecting on these experiences and thinking about how they fit into my life here. what individuals or groups of people do i pull back from based on a belief that our differences will prevent us from forming connections? and more broadly, what barriers do i assume exist that perhaps do not?

how about you, what barriers do you make assumptions about? and i'm not talking just about barriers between people, but barriers in general. have you made assumptions about barriers between you and the job you want or about your ability to tackle certain projects or go after certain ideas?

this conference showed me that questioning the barriers that we assume exist in our lives may well be worth our while. stripping these presumed barriers of their power over us may reveal that behind them lies an amazing wealth of opportunity just waiting to be discovered.

dream big,

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


notes from the universe

thanks to jodee over at you already know this stuff, a few months back i signed up for a marvelous service from tut's adventurer's club called notes from the universe.

as often as you select, personalized notes directly from the universe to you arrive in your inbox. they cheer you on, debunk your self-doubt and most importantly remind you that the universe is indeed on your side. yesterday i got one of my favorite notes to date:
Oh, shoot, Kirsten! I don't think I ever told you that whilst in pursuit of a grand and wonderful dream, should you all of a sudden round a bend and see before you an enormous uncharted mountain with towering cliffs, jagged rocks, and seemingly impenetrable walls, just consider it a sign that your dream is considerably more worthwhile than you had previously imagined, and that you are exactly where you're supposed to be.
Kudos -
The Universe

it was exactly what i needed to hear, moreover it was written with the brilliant tone that all of my notes from the universe contain - a light, silly, "of course this is true why even bother arguing" tone. argument proof encouragment, who could ask for more?

so, if you enjoy being cheered on as much as i do - check out tut's website...and see what the universe has to say to you!

dream big,

Monday, October 03, 2005


the comfort zone

last night i had the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone. my partner, a brilliant handyman and carpenter, took on a project building a wheelchair ramp for a neighbor of ours. the project seemed to get more complex at each turn and the weekend, which he had set aside to do the work, was running out. so i offered to help.

i'm not really sure what i was thinking i'd do when i offered to help, but when he asked if i'd rather screw in deck boards with the drill or cut boards with the circular saw i was a bit caught off guard. power tools, yikes. i took a few minutes to gather myself and decided a drill seemed much less scary than a saw - no real danger of losing a limb. he did a quick demonstration of how to space the boards, gave me a couple tips on using the drill and sent me to work.

i can't say that i ever really "got the hang of it", but i managed to successfully screw in one whole section of ramp. and at the end of the night when we pushed the wheelchair down that section i must admit i felt quite proud.

using a power tool to build a deck is a totally different kind of challenge than i am used to taking on -it definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone...and it was great. i got to experience firsthand what it is my partner spends a whole chunk of his life doing, and understood better why he loves it. it made me notice my ability to learn new things and to use my physical strength to accomplish something.

it also served to remind me that almost everything we think of as undoable is in reality simply a learned skill. my partner was not born with the innate ability to deftly maneuver a drill, he's just done it a few thousand more times than me.

pushing ourselves outside our comfort zones can be done in big or small ways, but it almost always pays off with new perspectives, increased confidence and often new skills.

when was the last time you ventured outside your comfort zone?

what might you try if you gave yourself the challenge to put comfort aside and learn something new?

i'd love to hear about your adventures outside your comfort zone, post 'em here.

dream big,

Saturday, October 01, 2005


being who we are

lately i’ve been questioning a lot of my most basic assumptions. thinking way outside the boxes i have long lived inside and considering what might be different if i didn’t adhere to their parameters.

one of the things i have come to as i’ve considered, deliberated and pondered, is that just being who we are is a really big deal. in fact, i’ve begun to think of it as a revolutionary act.

we live in a culture where the name of the game is to be just like everyone else, to fit in, to be hip, to follow the latest trends. being our often awkward, goofy, unrefined selves is not what we are encouraged to do. following our unprofitable passions, exploring our quirky questions, or donning our own unique look is often seen as abnormal, a waste of time or even nuts.

but isn’t this what being on this planet is all about, developing who we are as distinct individuals and seeing what our special combination of characteristics can add to the world? what would the world have missed out on if people like albert einstein or amelia earhart had listened to the many people who must have told them they ought to abandon the nonsense they were up to and settle down to a normal life?

being who we really are requires us to think beyond the shoulds and ought tos we’ve heard and internalized. it may mean questioning some ideas that we now think of as unquestionable. perhaps it means questioning whether or not you really want to get married, or have children, or whether or not you like the place you live, or the work you do.

who are you? it’s a question we answer in so many different ways at so many different points in our lives. try asking it of yourself on a deeper level. what would it mean to be true to yourself completely, each and every quirky part?

i plan to keep asking myself, and would love to hear any thoughts you have to share, feel free to post them here!

dream big,

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