make meaning Archives - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

Posts in "make meaning" Category

Build invisible alliances.

Have you ever learned a thing and then YOU JUST NEED TO SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE?  (Right after you remember that you wrote it, ’cause you discovered it on your laptop?) That’s this. Listen in to this episode of That’s What She Said below, or keep reading for a transcript-ish version.

A diary entry from March 2020, as Covid was descending upon the world:

“When I was going to Grandma’s funeral on Sunday, which was just walking to the closest cemetery to sit while her services were taking place thousands of miles away, Bruce sang me right to the gates with a song I had queued up the day before, like, “Next time you turn on Spotify, you’ll need this.” ‘A Long Time Coming’ felt just right for saying goodbye to someone who lost ten years of her life to Alzheimer’s.

When I arrived, a murder of crows greeted me — I’ve never had so many talk to me at once — and shook me down for peanuts. And I do mean shook me down.

Then I gave the ‘all clear’ energetic signal and they flew off. I was wondering where to sit or what to do for Grandma — beating myself up about how I wasn’t prepared because all I had was my body and these two rocks I’d picked up somewhere in New Jersey and carried to Oregon for ??? purpose — when a single fox squirrel appeared. They were sitting at the base of an enormous tree with magical, Disney-like light on them. So I sat down. And I cried.

An old Russian woman’s headstone was facing the spot where I was sitting, complete with a photo on her grave marker. And damn if she didn’t look enough like grandma for me to feel seen. So I sat under that giant pine and made an offering of what the earth provided: offerings to the four directions with gathered moss and pine needles, tiny branches and the discarded shells of nuts the squirrels had finished. No photos. Nothing to record. Just an offering of everything I had in that moment.

My friend Josh sent a song he was working on, and I listened to it with my heart wide open, weeping there under a tree while the crows chatted and the squirrels chased each other and the sun split the mandala exactly in half, dividing light from shadow.

The energy shifted in about an hour, which is about how long the service lasted, and I was released. I decided to buy something full of sugar and garbage calories for Grandma at the nearest restaurant, because food was grandma’s love language, but of course the nearest restaurant had a sign out front that said ‘Healthy organic shit’ on the sandwich board. Verbatim. I had the best oatmeal of my life, and some coffee, and one of the baristas sang along to Regina Spektor quite well as I ate.

I headed back to the cemetery for one last visit to the grandma spot when I remembered that I had a nut snack pack from Trader Joe’s in my pocket. When a fox squirrel stopped me on the sidewalk to beg, they got human-grade nuts in assorted varieties.

I left a few choice nuts on the mandala to ensure that the squirrels would find it useful and treat it as part of their home, not some weird human thing they had to avoid, then left the cemetery.”

Build. Invisible. Alliances.

Crows. Squirrels. An old Russian woman’s headstone. (The grave is written in Russian, so I can’t even acknowledge her name.) Canteen. Bruce. Regina Spektor.

We have every right to these invisible alliances, particularly when we’re down and out and stressed and the world is mired in fear. So, future self, cultivate them and use them and make them even stronger.  (Note that this phrase — build invisible alliances — was taught to me by David Elliott.)

Your alliances don’t have to be obvious to be meaningful.

You can be mentored by people who are long passed from the earth, or people who are still on the earth but so enormous energetically that it’s no small thing for them to teach you about life on the side.

You can be mentored by your dreams.
By songs. By albums.
By every single part of nature that you admire.
By books and words. By poetry.
By your dog or cat or chinchilla.
By past you. By future you.
By your friends. By your partners.
By ascended masters in other realms.
By your own breath.

Acting as if the only alliances that matter are the ones we can see, like corporate sponsorships for our souls, is detrimental to our wellbeing at all levels. Individually, collectively, all-the-ways-y.

Books have always been some of my closest friends, since they never judge and are always available. Your local library can and will get you access to most any book, on demand, for zero dollars, which is nothing short of a miracle.

The blueberry bush on pap’s property taught me that a perfectly ordinary thing can suddenly, as if by magic, produce the most spectacular fruit of the season.

Some musical albums live deep in my bones because I have played their songs on repeat until those who lived with me no doubt wanted to murder me. I spent secret, shameful hours of my Freshman year of high school slow dancing to ‘Secret Garden’ on repeat in my bedroom, turning in tiny circles and dreaming of a time when I would fully understand that song, because I had never ever felt the way Bruce Springsteen made me feel for the space of those four and a half minutes.

You can build constellations of invisible support. It’s your right as a living being.

Ask the winds and the rain and the trees and the waters and the songs and the words and the love of everyone you know and a few of those you don’t to support you, tangibly, without having to sign a contract or Venmo anybody anything.

Let yourself be influenced deeply. And then influence others in the same way.

P.S. Speaking of invisible…here are 29 ways to stop hiding in your business. 😉

Coaching Quickie: Start a No Collection.

Are you afraid of hearing the word NO?

Do you avoid asking for help — or asking for anything that could lead to hearing a NO from another human being?

If yes, first and foremost, YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

Most of my biz coaching clients come to me so avoidant of the word ‘no’ that they never ask questions or make offers that could lead to hearing that word.

This coaching quickie episode of That’s What She Said will help you a.) stop fearing the word ‘no,’ and b.) actively celebrate every last rejection you receive.

Ready?

Start a No Collection.

Your goal is to make SO MANY asks of your fellow humans in the coming week that you collect 3 to 5 no’s along the way.

Starting a No Collection is an easy way of turning a word we tend to fear — ‘no’ — into a celebration of having asked in the first place. (Either you get a yes — WHICH IS FANTASTIC — or a no — which gets added to your collection! See how you win either way, with this one trick?)

Creating a No Collection allows you to assess your needs, ask for support with your most pressing concerns, and collect some help along the way.

By tracking and celebrating each one of the no’s you receive, you become less afraid of hearing no, less afraid of asking for help in general, and less afraid of making offers in your business. (Not everyone will want everything you offer! That’s par for owning and operating an enterprise.)

BUT WHAT WILL I ASK FOR, KRISTEN?

First and foremost: ask for help with invisible labor.

Any and everywhere that you complete tasks no one sees or acknowledges, take time to write those tasks down. Particularly tasks that make you seethe with resentment, that make you feel like you’re wasting your time or send you into despair, or that are in your business but do not require your particular gifts to complete. (For example: an acupuncturist client of mine recently hired an assistant to sterilize instruments, clean session rooms, and launder blankets and towels between appointments. Necessary work? Yes. Necessary work for the person who owns the business to complete? Not at all.)

If you’re seething with resentment about any tasks on your list, start there with asking for help! It can be paid help, bartered help, free help, family help, or friend help! The point is to ASK FOR HELP.

WHAT ELSE CAN I ASK FOR HELP WITH, KRISTEN?

Anything at all. Might I recommend support of some kind?

You can ask your friend to look over your new business product/service sales page and provide feedback about it.

Ask a colleague to hire you.

Ask to hire a colleague!

Ask for help with an area of business you find sticky or tricky: accounting, bookkeeping, graphic design, social media management, and/or consistent communication with your audience are places I’ve found that most business owners need support.

Ask for accountability around completing ________ [a task you’ve been avoiding for weeks/months/years/since Obama was in office].

As a business owner, I can 100% guarantee that you need help with something (or many somethings) at this moment.

I can also guarantee that specific requests for the support you need are the only way to get what you need, ’cause a money fairy or accounting fairy or structured time fairy is not going to drop out of the sky and makeover your life this afternoon.

👉🏻Should you need ALL THE HELP — hop on my KK on Tap biz coaching waitlist! When biz coaching spots open, you’ll be the first to know, and you’ll have me in your court for one full year. All the magic goes down online, so you can work with me from anywhere in the world!

Pro tip: specificity in your ask makes it easier for peeps to say yes or no.

Asking for an hour-long exploratory conversation is better than asking someone to ‘collaborate’ on an unspecified project that hasn’t yet been created.

Asking a colleague to text you on Tuesday mornings and ask whether you’ve completed the week’s bookkeeping duty beats asking someone to simply ‘be an accountability buddy.’ (For what? And how long? On which platform? Regarding which activities?)

Asking your partner to cook dinner on Wednesday and Friday beats asking for them to cook dinner ‘more.’ (I mean, they cooked that one time last week, which is technically ‘more’ than the weeks prior…)

Specific asks give a person an idea of what is expected, and when, and how much time it will take to complete the task. Because the other person understands the level of time, money, and/or energy needed to complete the task, they’re better equipped to give an honest answer and to be genuinely helpful when the time comes.

And if they say no, remember: you’re building a No Collection! Add it to the collection and keep on trucking!

YAH BUT HOW DO I ASK, EXACTLY?

There are an infinite number of ways to ask and I’ll roll through a few of ’em, but first: make peace with the asking itself.

Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, bad, wrong, or any other words your asshole brain throws around to keep you from completing this activity.

Asking for help makes you A HUMAN. We aren’t meant to meet 100% of our needs all by ourselves, but somehow the world makes it seem like being ‘self-made’ is the goal. We’re trained to need no one, ever, for any reason.

When you start a No Collection, you make it more likely that you’ll get the help you need to thrive at this moment.

If phrasing trips you up, here are 10 ways to frame the way you ask for help. The more specificity you can weave into these questions, the better:

Would you be willing to ____________?
Can you teach me how to ____________?
I have ____________ and you have ___________, can we trade?
Can you take a look at this [project/email/sales page/product] and let me know what you think about X?
Is it okay to call you/text you this afternoon about ___________?
I could use some help with _______________ this week. I estimate it will take X minutes.
Remember how [last week/month/year] you offered to _____________? I’d like to take you up on that offer.
I’ll give you ten bucks and a high five if you know the answer to this question. _____?
You asked if you could help and this is how. Here’s what I need: __________________.

WHAT ABOUT ASKING FOR MONEY?

Which clients or potential clients do you need to ask about hiring you, rehiring you, making a deposit, or pressing the buy button?

Because you can do that shit like BOOM. Make a list of about five people who have been circling your business and make a time-sensitive offer to each one. (More about making an offer that gets money in your bank account here.)

Maybe you include a 72-hour promo code with a ‘hire me!’ email. Maybe you offer a dozen roses or a massive discount or a huge bonus for buying within 24 hours. Maybe you extend an offer that hasn’t been doing all that well by making another pitch or two for your peeps to hire you.

So long as you’re asking your peeps to give you money in business, you’re doing the hard work of selling AND building your No Collection along the way.

Again, your goal is to gather 3-5 no’s for your No Collection in the coming week. Lemme know how it goes by shooting an email to k@kristenkalp.com!

P.S. Need help selling when you’re sick of saying the same thing over and over (and fucking OVER)…?  I FEEL YOU!  And also… Stay on it.

Live podcast magic is here!

The very first LIVE podcast episode of That’s What She Said is here!  This is something I’ve been dreaming about doing, and it was SOFRIGGINFUN to see faces and talk to peeps while recording!

In this episode of That’s What She Said, we talk about…

+ how to find meaning when everything feels meaningless
+ how to re-enter society as pandemic comes to some sort of end
+ why much of the modern marketing scene feels like Very Pretty Garbage
+ and how to say true to your self and your instincts in the face of what seems like the whole world shouting, “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!”

[technical note] This was recorded LIVE and the first 2 minutes are a bit static-y. The issue is resolved by minute 3.

Like what you hear?  Shoot me an email and tell me what you’d like to discuss on the next live episode, okay?

If you’d like to come to a live recording of That’s What She Said, hop on my mailing list and you’ll be the first to know when the next one happens!

Also: I won't spam you because I'm not a butthead. Powered by ConvertKit

P.S. If you’d like to receive snail mail from me, hop on my SNAIL mailing list! <– For real: SNAIL MAIL.

Simple + helpful ways to defeat asshole brain

After more than a decade of biz coaching work, I’ve noticed that solopreneurs struggle with asshole brain in VERY specific ways that often end in self sabotage.  So!

Let’s walk through six really friggin common ways asshole brain will mess with you and your work.

I’ve been living with depression and its kissing cousin, asshole brain, for more than 2 decades now. PLEASE let yourself learn from this work without shame or guilt! Each subset links to a podcast episode or article of mine that will help you explore each aspect of overcoming asshole brain a bit further.

Asshole Brain will tell you to give up.

It will tell you to abandon…everything. Absolutely everything.

The specifics may include: your career, your work, your marriage, your internal goals, your boundaries, your hopes, your friends, and your fiercest talents.

Asshole brain always has a word about what you’re doing, why it absolutely sucks, and why you should give up. ALWAYS.

What if you go all in instead?  <– This is the tale of losing many thousands of dollars on a business event, and why that was not the worst thing that ever happened to me.

More subtly, asshole brain will try to get you to walk away from the work you’re doing at this moment.

You sat down to work on that project or painting or piece of writing.

You’re finally answering those emails and DMs and voicemails and messages and texts.

You’re all set to begin tackling that organization project or those systems you need to set up or to create an email list to connect with your peeps.

But suddenly! The laundry! The phone! The need to doomscroll! The kids’ needs that aren’t at all urgent but WOW IT’S BETTER THAN DOING THIS!

Also you’re hungry! You’re tired! You need to ‘just check in on’ social media before you can begin! The toilet needs to be cleaned URGENTLY! And on and on it goes.

Asshole brain fights for control of your thoughts by letting you get to the knife’s edge of doing your work in the world — and then it pipes up about THE URGENT NEED TO BE DOING ANYTHING ELSE.

But. What if you get fierce about your priorities and identify the actions that actually move the needle of YOUR business forward?  Lemme show you how to get started.

Should you find ways to do your work consistently, asshole brain does NOT want you to be seen.

When you enter into doing work that’s public in some way — say, for example, you’re a business owner who puts anything at all on the internet 😉 — asshole brain will curl into the mental equivalent of an armadillo under threat.

All armor.

Nothing goes in or out.

Remain still and hope for the best.

You’re basically in vulnerability bunker mode.

This armadillo phase results in hiding, freaking out, procrastinating, and possibly buying other people’s tools/prompts/done-for-you kits so you can have something to say. It might also end with repeating what ‘works’ even if it doesn’t enrich your soul in any capacity.

::cough aggressive sales funnels and tripwires cough::

Unfortunately, being truly seen is the only sustainable way to feel as if we belong anywhere.

If vulnerability gives you the heebie jeebies, listen to or read Vulnerability 101.  I’ll walk you through ways to begin to be vulnerable online. (It’s something I’ve been doing for 11 years now!)

If your particular fear of being seen involves having an email list and sending zero communications per year, check out How to F*#*ing Communicate! This short class and workbook combo will help you figure out what to send, and when, with less stress and fewer freakouts.  Promise.

Oooh another one! Asshole brain remembers every bit of training that you’re veering from when you decide to try something new. It wants you to do everything ‘right.’

Those college classes that weren’t helpful but were ‘official’ in some way? It remembers.

The courses and coaches and teachers and mentors who have had an opinion about your work over the years? It remembers.

Asshole brain will beat you up about all the ways you’re veering from the path, even as it also declares the VERY SAME PATH stupid and useless and then concludes that you should just give up anyway. (SEE HOW SNEAKY THIS MOTHERFUCKER IS????)

You don’t have to do anything the way everyone else is doing it. You don’t have to whip up business offerings that look like what everyone else is making.

You don’t even give a fuck about what your past mentors have said. <– I once paid $20,000 to take part in a mastermind and, over the course of the years following, to UNlearn everything I had learned in that space. Unlearning has been a deeply difficult and ultimately satisfying pursuit, ’cause now I can help you Go Your Own Way in business.

Should you succeed in making a thing! Asshole brain will try to negate the work you’re doing because it isn’t ‘official’ in some way.

Maybe you’re trying something new.

Maybe you’ve recently taken up a hobby.

Maybe you finished creating your next business product and it’s ready for launch.

Maybe you have written nonfiction all your life and you’d just like to write a single poem.

This is when asshole brain will remind you that you’re a [JOB TITLE HERE], not a [MAKER OF THE THING YOU JUST MADE].

It will also get really hung up on titles and certifications and degrees and ways that you can’t possibly be qualified to do the thing you just friggin did.

What if you let your deep knowing drive the bus? What if you didn’t listen to the voices that say you’re not qualified or certified or capable of doing the things you’ve already done? We can work around being ‘official’ when we’re in touch with our intuition.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, in which you are basically frozen in place! Asshole brain wants you to THINK about your work more than it wants you to DO your work.

When you think about writing the book or painting the painting or building the website or helping the clients or opening the studio or renting the office, you’re fine. Pin 3,000 photos of your dream office to Pinterest and your brain is SO FUCKING HAPPY. You’re SAFE. You’re in Imagination Land, flitting from flatlay inspiration to new website template idea to paint colors to furniture choices to planning your perfect bookshelf.

But!

Action makes asshole brain freak out.

When you call to make an appointment for touring the office or write another 1,000 words for your novel or investigate website hosting or send out the invitations to the open house, asshole brain goes into full blown freakout mode.

Making and sharing your truest work is vulnerable. And asshole brain doesn’t want to be vulnerable. (See: vulnerability 101 — you can do this!)

If you’re the thinking-about-it-thinking-about-it-thinking-about-it type, what’s the smallest bit of action that needs to happen in order to move your work forward? You’re capable of taking those steps.

If overthinking is a HUGE problem for you… The M-School podcast series will help you place some structure around your daily work, as well as help you reframe your weekly schedule in a way that’s both enduring and flexible.  (M stands for Magic, and I’m fairly certin you’ll love everything about M-School!)

If procrastination, the need to go back to school or be ‘official,’ the constant critique of ‘you’re doing it wrong,’ amped up distractions, and the ever-present ‘just give up’ chant don’t take you out of the game, asshole brain gets more subtle.

In some cases, you’ll prioritize others’ work over your own. You’ll find no time for your ‘real’ work and let other people’s needs take over your schedule.

This is easy to do if you’ve got kids! You could take 30 minutes to work on that thing, or you could cut out early and go back to the ever-present needs of tiny beings. This becomes a habit, et voila! You’ve never got time to do YOUR work again.

Similarly, you might prioritize grant seeking or fundraising for your clients or beloved organizations, not yourself. You might convince yourself that you’re not that big a deal, and anyway the deadline for that grant is close at hand. You’ve got no time. You’ve got no chance. (AND there we are, back at ‘you should probably give up.’ Asshole brain is predictable that way!)

I used to spend HOURS ghostwriting for clients each day before I would work on my own blog or podcast or books or classes. It was only by consciously shifting my schedule to be mine first, others second that I shifted out of this mode of asshole brain.

In other cases, asshole brain might convince you that your career doesn’t allow for this — whether this is a promotion, a demotion, starting a business, stepping away from your business, or shifting gears into a new realm. Also it will say you should probably go back to school, thus delaying this shift for a number of years. It might even go on about how you should be at the next level (which doesn’t exist), and how your failure to be at the ‘next level’ means you should give up.

OH MY GOD IT’S SO CYCLICAL, ISN’T IT? WE’RE RIGHT BACK AT THE BEGINNING, WITH YOU GIVING UP.  ::facepalm::

Asshole brain’s ultimate goal is to keep you safe. This often means saying whatever it takes to keep you small, stuck, taking no risks, spinning in overwhelm (here’s how to stop the overwhelm), overthinking your every move, and generally freaking out.

This should be the part where I have an AMAZING OFFER that will SOLVE YOUR LIFE. Alas!  Asshole brain isn’t one of those things you can outrun or outmaneuver in a single move.

The work of overcoming your particular flavor of asshole brain is a lifelong endeavor. (Read: it’s a real pain in the ass.)

You can do this.

You can refuse to believe the worst things your brain says about you.

You can make shifts that help you get your work done with less static from your thoughts.

You can learn to be vulnerable with your work.

You can begin to communicate regularly about your business with your clients.

You can allow yourself to dream, to grow, and to expand without losing months to procrastination or overwhelm.

You. Can. Do. This.

If you’d like my help doing it, please check out KK on Tap. We’ll tackle your particular flavor of asshole brain while making strides toward creating your most profitable and meaningful business.

::high fives::

P.S. I love you, keep going.

An Invitation to Let Your Deep Knowing Drive the Bus

deep knowing

I lost the future for a bit, there. The past four years got me so tangled up in Trump’s antics and generally FREAKING OUT that when the pandemic hit, I burned my plans and sat down for A Very Long Time.

Every human interaction outside of the people I live with: canceled.
Every workshop or class or retreat I wanted to make or attend or hold this year: canceled.
My sense of knowing what tomorrow might hold: ABSOLUTELY GONE.

If you’ve lost the ability to plan for or sense the future: hi, hello, welcome. Me, too.

Between American politics and the pandemic, I’ve never had more trouble connecting to my own depths, desires, and needs.

In fact, I’m tempted to spend every waking moment flailing like Kermit and/or freaking out like Moira Rose.

pop tv omg GIF by Schitt's Creek

This podcast episode is here to help you connect with your interior continent, ask deep-ass questions, and maybe even make some plans for your life and business in the coming months.

Before we dive in! One of the things that might help to keep you from drowning in your own life is actively creating structure, which is something I’ve taught extensively about on the podcast. Structure, rhythms, and routines are something we creative peeps fight against AND ALSO DESPERATELY NEED. These five podcast episodes are a highly condensed version of most everything I know about creating gorgeous, stable structures for your time and attention.

Listen to the Structure That Doesn’t Suck series now. 

Now, let’s talk money fruits!

If you suspect that you’d like to do something in your business differently in a year or two, start planting the seeds for the new thing now.

Take the class, get the certification, scope out the cost of renting a studio; write down the workshop curriculum, start a wait list, ask past clients to do a dry run with you; schedule time to write the sales page, shoot the video, make the course, or get the images you’ll need to accompany the project.

I read somewhere that we overestimate what we can do in a single year and underestimate what we can do in five. Go with that, holding everything that may happen as loosely as possible.

What would you like to have made, in five years?

Who would you like to have worked with, interacted with, or made something with?

What would you be heartbroken to tell people you HAVEN’T done in five years?

To reach the ripening of the money fruits, plan for constant experimentation. Adjust accordingly.

Most people treat plans and planning as a once-and-done activity best suited for the start of the new year, not an exercise in continuous canceling, crossing out, and readjusting the sails.

That promotion didn’t work? Adjust.

You thought you’d be having a glorious day of sex, but instead you ended up holding your best friend in the vet’s ‘comfort room’ while a vet named Dr. Stark put her cat to sleep? Adjust.

You figured you’d have budgets, credit cards, and all things financial figured out by now? Adjust.

There’s no shame in adjusting.

If and when you really, truly believe that, you’ll move through your life far more swiftly and with much less guilt than ever before.

As you get used to both looking forward and adjusting the sails for today’s weather, you get more of a sense of spirit, intuition, deep knowing, or whatever you choose to call this phenomena.

You beat yourself up less for being human or for letting life happen to you.

You also let the reins go a bit more, since you’ll never be in charge of things like whether today is rainy, whether a pet is sick, whether your client will show up to that meeting, or whether you’re going to get food poisoning from that new restaurant.

As you adjust, with ever more subtle listening and precision, you’ll find the way through life that is distinctly yours.

Here’s a diary entry from 18 months ago, and it’s profoundly vulnerable to help you see the wrestling as it happens:

“It feels like the river is flowing in a different direction and that direction is away from California, at least for now. It feels fuzzy to think about — no longer OBVIOUSLY CALIFORNIA YES — since I looked at Portland and discovered that Philly has had both the same amount of rainy days and more rain than Portland in 2018. So, myth that I cannot live there: busted.

Also Portland is the same price as here, and 90 minutes from the ocean like here, and otherwise my people’s home, since you can drop shrooms and smoke weed and read books and make art and have fantastic food and go outside every minute that it’s not raining, minus the Philly attitude and general East-Coast go go go go go-ness.

That decision also feels a bit logical, though, like: how easy and relieving is it to give up on California, when clearly it’s something I’ve wanted since the moment I visited? But when I consider bigger things, like will I like the people of Laguna/Orange County? No. Do I like the traffic? No. Is there public transport? No. Does it cost 3-5 times more than here? Yes. BUT WILL I HAVE THE OCEAN? Yes.

We could very easily live in the most magical place on earth but spend every minute trying to earn enough to live there, which would defeat the purpose.

It feels like it’s all up in the air right now. And that’s hard. Like, weeping hard. Giving up on a dream is hard. Switching dreams is hard. Not knowing is hard.”

Letting your deep knowing drive the bus often boils down to paying constant attention to your energetic and emotional weather.

I could have pretended that California was still the dream — “Yah, we’re saving, just a few more years!” — and used it as a reason to stay in Pennsylvania for a lot longer. But instead, Bear and I had conversation after conversation about what it might mean to move to Portland, including how that would look on the job front, the mental health front, the friend front, the financial front, and the business front. We had lots and lots of discussions, and lots and lots of enjoying of the current home we’ve made together. Portland might not be the most magical thing that’s ever happened to us, or it might; all we know is that it’s the next step, and we’re taking it together.

Letting your deep knowing drive the bus means noticing when energy for a person, place, or project drops significantly, as well as noticing when you can’t wait to work on something new.

Sitting here 18 months in the future, I can assure you that Portland was NOT the best thing that ever happened to us.

Making the decision to move away from Portland was predicated upon a number of factors. These included the daily sightings of police drones, military transport, and police helicopters over our home; the increased presence of Proud Boys and other alt-right groups in the city; increasing isolation due to extended lockdown and my own fear of walking alone in the city for any reason; and mounting costs to remain in an overpriced, under-resourced shoebox of a home thousands of miles from those we held dear. (TL; DR, it fucking sucked.)

AND being in Portland helped us trust each other more deeply, rely on each other more heavily, see ourselves more clearly, and take in the scope of the personal and political work before us with absolutely outstanding clarity.

Sometimes you make two cross-country moves in a year, ’cause you’re following the deep knowing where it leads. Bear and I can both see that with the way 2020 went, we wouldn’t have survived the outside forces pressing on us in Philadelphia. His job would have crushed him, and I would have spiraled out of control because there wasn’t a money-making imperative to keep my feet on the earth.

In some ways Portland completely crushed us;
and in other ways it completely saved us.

That’s the bullshit of following your deep knowing:
It might crush you.
It might save you.

And it might do both simultaneously,
just so you remember you’re alive.

Some questions to help you follow your deep knowing:

Does that dream apply like it did yesterday?

Am I actively letting myself dream a different life than the one I imagined at age 8 (I drew a Kmart in my house so I’d never have to leave it for silly things like groceries or sunscreen), the one I imagined at 18 (I shall be a poet — in a houseboat — who lives on sunshine), or the one I imagined at 28 (I will be married…to this one dude…forever…and life will always suck…)?

Are there any places where my attitude has shifted, my energy has dropped, or my emotional landscape has changed dramatically? What might that mean?

Is there anywhere that my reality conflicts with that of my family, parents, partner, or peers? Am I willing to step into the wilderness that our differing beliefs will cause?

Are there any plans that should be put on hold for the sake of preserving my own health or maintaining my inner landscape?

Is there anywhere that I just have to be patient? (THIS IS THE WORST. WHY THE PATIENCE? WHYYYYYYY?)

If I would let spirit/intuition/deep knowing drive the bus — truly, all the way — what would I stop doing immediately?

Likewise, what would I start doing immediately?

I don’t have any easy answers, which is mostly why I try and help you listen — by asking good questions, by pushing breathwork on you at every turn (a free class awaits you here, give it a try!), and by reflecting your truest desires back to you when I see them dart past, like a bright fish flashing past in murky water.

You’re perfectly capable of listening closely, adjusting accordingly, and then giving up the control of your life’s big picture to what wants to be made.

The life you’ll end up with is probably not precisely what you planned at age 8, but I’ll wager that it’s a damn sight more fulfilling than having a Kmart in your basement. 😉

P.S. Nourishing or numbing? A simple question to shift it all.