for making meaning Archives - Page 2 of 15 - Kristen Kalp

Posts in "for making meaning" Category — Page 2

Your brain is (still) an asshole.

You’re not the only one who feels as if the world is, in some way, ending, while a new one is being born. You’re not the only one who’s scared, or the only one who’s tired, or the only one who’s walking around in a daze going, ‘DEAR GOD, HOW DID I GET HERE?’ Whether that ‘here’ is in your business or your home life, in the arrangement of your basement clutter or the arrangement of your community’s politics.

You’re not the only one who sees fires burning everywhere and doesn’t know which one to put out first.

It’s important to remember that, since your brain will naturally try to convince you that you’re the only one. The only one who’s scared. The only one who’s having a tough time. The only one who wants to sink into despair. The only one who’s overwhelmed. The only one who’s struggling to find a new normal. The only one who cries as you watch the news or scroll through your Facebook feed.


In today’s episode of That’s What She Said, we dismantle some of the sneakier ways your brain is an asshole.  Instead of calling you stupid or saying you’re a failure, your brain will provide a nearly endless loop of reasons you can’t _______________, then do its best to keep you from meeting other humans who will prove your asshole brain wrong.

Keeping you in the dark, feeling as if you’re all alone, is your asshole brain’s ultimate goal. Let’s prevent it from winning, shall we?

P.S. Another classic asshole brain line: “But what if no one wants it?

How to use your dollars to shape the world.

You have tremendous power. 

You spend money every single day, and where you spend that money matters tremendously.

Your dollars can be spent to make giant corporations even larger, or they can be used to keep currency in circulation locally, to keep people who safeguard our democracy (i.e. journalists) working, and to keep artists, makers, thinkers, and rebels doing their respective jobs each day.  (I suggest the latter.)

Here are quick and effective ways to use your dollars to shape our world for the better.

Subscribe to forms of media that pay journalists.

At a recent political conference I attended, subscribing to a physical newspaper was described as a political act. Pick a paper and get it delivered. If you want to overachieve, get a local and a national paper subscription.

Best of all, newspapers are delivered without a comments section. No angry trolls lurking at the bottom of the page!  No clickbait waiting to draw your attention!  No news about how to lose 15 pounds using that one secret trick!

Subscribe to media forms that are not owned or influenced by major corporations.

There used to be 10,000 franchises and companies that owned and contributed to our radio waves, TV waves, and newspapers. Now there fewer than 10.

I’m completely new to this realm and have to be honest — I only know of The Young Turks in terms of major not-funded-by-a-conglomerate-outlets. (The founder, Cenk Uyger, received a triple standing ovation at Sister Giant.) If you’re like, OOH I KNOW SOME AMAZING ALTERNATE SOURCES OF NEWS, KRISTEN — message and help me out.

Pick an artist — any artist — and buy their work directly from them right now.

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they’ve enjoyed my work for months/years but have never purchased anything — but THANK YOU!!!!!!!!, they say — I could pay this month’s rent with those dividends. I am grateful for kind words, but they are absolutely useless currency for paying bills, buying food, and keeping coffee in my French press.

Pay your favorite people to keep going.

Further: if you are an artist and you don’t pay artists for their work, you’re unconsciously undermining your own. In a world where art is being driven toward free with a link of attribution for usage, all of our work descends to a far-from-sustainable-for-paying-the-bills place. Photographers, writers, poets, makers, illustrators, designers, tinkerers…pay for every piece of art you enjoy and/or use and your own work can only shine brighter.

Give money to those who inspire you.

When humans make work that inspires you and you pay them, they can keep making work that inspires you, and on and on the cycle goes. Donate to a nonprofit that’s kicking ass at the moment. Pick up a book that will change your life or reframe the way you do business (or both — Calling to the Deep!). Buy a full album from your nearest record store instead of a single from iTunes. Support projects via Patreon. Chip in to pay for intellectual food.

Elevate the voices of those thinkers, talents, speakers, writers, and artists you love.

Share your art purchases with a link and a hearty recommendation via any social media platform you choose.

Spreading the word about what you listen to, what you read, what keeps you sane, and what keeps you laughing is of vital importance. As the media comes under more and more fire — as these uncertain days get longer and darker and heavier — we will need to uplift one another with our words and our dollars more than ever.

Right now: put your money where your heart is. Pick five people who’ve inspired you and find a way to give them money.

If for some crazy reason they’re not taking money and have absolutely nothing for sale, e-mail them to ask to make a donation to charity in their name. (No seriously, do this right now.)

This week, I: bought a tote and pin from Emily McDowell, subscribed to James Victore’s Patreon, purchased 2 books — Men Explain Things to Me and Corruption in America, stopped by The High Point Cafe, which was donating 5% of its proceeds to the ACLU for the day, and went to see a movie at my local nonprofit movie house.

Those aren’t big giant dollar-sucking commitments. Those are everyday purchases totaling less than $60 that I spent to support makers and non-profits and people who make me laugh really hard.

I found that $60 for supporting the arts easily by popping into Sarah Von Bargen’s Put Your Money Where Your Happy Is course — which caused me to renegotiate billing on several fronts and save $650 per month on expenditures.  YUP, that’s a $147 class that paid for itself four times over in the first month of use.  Check it out here.

If I’m one of the people who have inspired you in some way, please pick up one of my books or come to the Brave workshop this April. I can’t keep making without your support — and you can’t keep making without the support of others.

We need one another.

These words are part of a longer That’s What She Said podcast, too!  Listen in…

P.S. One more for the makers: 5 money mindsets that keep you from making bank.

P.P.S. Again, this class helped me save $650 per month — so put your money where your happy is, please.

The tender-hearted guide to making big, big change

Sometimes big change comes upon you slowly, like one song fading into the air while another fades out, and sometimes it comes collapsing down on you like an ancient tower crumbling in a windstorm. Whether a slow unfolding or a sudden event, big change means big emotions, and big emotions often mean turmoil of some kind.

This, then, is the tender-hearted guide to making big, big change. How do you deal with the turmoil of watching what you’ve loved/built/created/worked on/adored crumble? How do you sort through the pieces for the good/interesting/worthwhile bits without scrapping everything? How do you stop yourself from saying ALL OF IT WAS A WASTE and then taking up your vice of choice?

First: grieve.

This is the hardest and most essential element of the death of any project, life choice, or season: the grieving.

You’ll naturally want to run into the next thing. You’ll naturally want to blink back the tears and push down the pain and ignore what feels like tiny elves bashing at your eyeballs from the inside out, demanding that you cry in all the everyday places you normally frequent. (See: pharmacy, diner, bank, sidewalk, car, bathroom, bed.)

When a season ends, it’s okay to cry.

That sounds so obvious and trite and even condescending until it’s actually happening to you — until you’re actually looking back at the landscape of your life’s choices and mourning all those pieces that no longer fit.

Grieving hurts. By definition. There’s no avoiding it. The good news is, the less you fight it, the faster it will pass. When you let yourself fall apart over breakfast and in the car and in your partner’s arms and while eating bruschetta at the local Italian restaurant (SO NOT SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE HERE WHAT GIVES YOU THAT IDEA), you’re making space for the next thing.

You’re acknowledging the charred ruins of what you thought could last forever, and you’re hunting the tiny, glowing embers that will carry you into the next phase of your existence.

That’s brutally painful, because for every glowing ember, you’ll find something you didn’t think you could handle losing. (In non-metaphorical terms: you can spend seven years building a business one way, only to step away and stand still as you let the whole thing crumple. You built a whole skyscraper from your heart, and what remains is so small it clanks around in a carry-on-sized suitcase.)

The suitcase will serve you. It’s best to travel lightly.

When you’ve got your pieces…

Focus on the next step.

Just the one. You’ll want to make a 23-pronged plan and scale your ambitions or nudges of intuition with graphs and charts and scales and…no. Don’t.

The one step in front of you is generally quite simple.

You’ll take more breaks.
You’ll ask for the sale more often.
You’ll cut back on the products you offer.
You’ll introduce a new service.
You’ll enroll in a class.

Naturally, though, you’ll scale up and make ‘cutting back on products’ equal creating three new products to celebrate the products that are going away, then add a giveaway and a sale and a hashtag and a social media plan and…it gets complicated.

Try to resist the complicating and the scaling, focusing on the one simple thing you’re meant to do next. People will step in with all sorts of (ever more complicated) advice, but it’s your job to stick to the one thing.

Finally, and most importantly: be kind to yourself.

You know how we all teach what we need to learn? Yah, this is when I write directly to myself (but you can watch!). Patience is not only a virtue, but a necessity, as you choose kindness over and over again.

When you flog yourself for not seeing what is now so obvious.
When you shake your head at all the signs that mean you should have done this long ago.
When you consider firebombing your old self because (s)he is so, so stupid.
When you’re crying for the fifth time in three hours about what appears to be nothing,
or hiding from the world unshowered for the second day (read: week) in a row,
or scrolling through screens instead of doing anything that truly feeds you,
or berating yourself for all the ways you just. Aren’t. Enough.

Choose kindness.

Let your shoulders stop eating your ears and breathe into your heart and practice the difficult art of forgiving yourself. (I know, right? I scoffed when a friend told me, too.) Forgiving yourself is one of the most powerful arts you can practice in everyday life, and it means you’ll survive this latest change with something like grace and aplomb.

Seasons end, and what you thought was a sure thing turns out to be…not the surest thing anymore, and this is part of being human. You grow, you change, you shift, and you respond accordingly.

May you be brave enough to make the changes as they come, and may you know the relief and joy on the other side of watching your own work fall to the ground.


P.S.  I totally read this to you in the latest episode of That’s What She Said.