listen to the podcast Archives - ⚡️Kristen Kalp

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How to make it to work each morning

Ignore the deteriorating institutions
leaving crumbs in your breakfast.

Clear the tendrils of capitalism
from your throat, your mind,
your body, your gaze.

Make peace with the many greeds
in which you are complicit.

Lower your inner drawbridge
so that others may experience
your vast, shining heart.

Pay no mind to the judgments
you level against yourself
when you are tired or lonely or hurting.

Hum softly when you happen upon
a puppy or a flower
or even an adult!
who hasn’t given up living
just yet.

Revel in the aliveness
you find hidden
everywhere, everywhere,

You can also listen in as I read this to you!

P.S. Many, many more of my poems live here, or you can buy my book of poetry here.


These podcasts are 150% an experiment.

What happens if I don’t have a meticulous plan with bullet points and a perfect transcript before I begin talking? 

What happens if I’m FAR more honest and revealing than is strictly comfortable, trusting that I’ll be well held by those who listen? 

What if I can, by revealing the most inward emotions and thoughts of my being at this moment, find those EXACT emotions and thoughts in you, thereby helping you feel far less alone? 

What if I tell you what I’m wrestling with, and what I’ve been keeping hidden from myself (and therefore you), and what I’m working on before it’s 100% done? 

And what if it’s all recorded while I’m pulled over to the side of the road in my car in a single take? 


This is the most vulnerable series of podcasts I’ve ever created.

In this series, we walk from OMG I’M MAKING A THING!!!! to starting the thing, to freaking out about doing the thing, to having completed the thing, week by week.

These are the spaces created by beginning with the word “Confession” and going from there.

They are not ‘useful’ in the sense of having been plotted, tweaked, and carefully crafted. 

They are DEEPLY ‘useful’ if you value honesty, want to feel less alone, or have been numbing, muting, or martyring yourself throughout these pandemic years.

Confessions! Starving Souls & Lotto Tickets

Confessions! On Crying & Joy Infections

Confessions! The Tumor & The Witness

Confessions! The Shame and The Not-Useful

Confessions! The Damage and the Dare

Confessions! Weak Ties & The Everything Bagel 🥯

Confessions! The Urgency of Now and CRUSHING it

Confessions! The Social Media Sermon

Confessions! The Worst Advice I’ve Ever Taken

Confessions! What if I’m NOT an expert?

I hope these episodes shake the dust from your soul, affirm your feelings, and sweep away your loneliness.

👉🏻Let me know what you think by shooting an email to — or send me a note right here.

P.S. If you feel compelled to work with me, HOLY HELL TALK TO ME ON THE PHONE.  Yes, I *do* have secret offerings only available to those who talk to me! 😉

The Imaginarium is coming up this Fall in Philly, details here!

Confessions: Covid and the 💩 Birthday Party

It’s so WEIRD to be alive, isn’t it?

You think you’ve got something figured out, and then WHAM JUST KIDDING, something new appears and you’re rethinking everything.

I’m seven years in to making the That’s What She Said podcast. What I’ve noticed, over time, is that I’m less and less free, more and more sticking to a carefully created transcript as I create each episode.


::existential wringing of hands::

AND! What I want and need from other creators I love is to share NOT ONLY their most ‘expert,’ cis-het-white-passive-income-friendly selves. I want to go behind the scenes, hear the questions they’re wrestling with, know about what’s ACTUALLY going on with them, and feel into their struggles alongside them.

Because it’s easy to pretend everyone else has it all figured out. Everyone else is on Easy Street, sipping $7 beverages and spending five hours a day sunning by the pool, says asshole brain. Everyone else has more time, money, and energy than you. Everyone else has it all under control.

I’m choosing to try something different (and defeat asshole brain) by sharing the places where I’m caught up in my head, unsure, pissed off, full of questions, or trying to process ENORMOUS WORLD EVENTS in real time and out loud.

I sincerely hope this confessional episode is a service to your heart and spirit.

It’s a pulled-over-on-the-side-of-the-road confessional in which I share big, little, existential, and petty thoughts about where we are at this moment in time, and in which I share the big huge questions rattling around in my brain, too!

Listen in to Confessions: Covid and the 💩 Birthday Party if you want to hear what I’m working on, what I’m wrestling with, and why this whole Covid thing is a lot like a birthday party gone off the rails. 😉

P.S. Overachiever, Enneagram type 3, or Hyper-competent Human Who Needs Help From No One? If you haven’t yet, I recommend listening to: Lower the Bar.

Lower the Bar

Since you’re one of my peeps, I can make a bunch of assumptions about you. Namely, that you’re an overachiever who does your absolute best each day. You might be grappling with mental illness or physical illness or battling asshole brain or measuring your worth by your work ( <– HAPPY FREEBIE TO HELP YOU DEAL WITH THAT HERE).  No matter what, you still give each day’s efforts everything you’ve got.

Trouble is, I’ve noticed that my clients and I are often holding ourselves to standards we created in The Before. Nothing about our lives functions the same way as it did in 2019, but we refuse to let ourselves lower the bar for what it takes to survive and thrive in 2022.

Psst!  This is an episode of my podcast, That’s What She Said!  The audio contains more asides and three of my poems, but here’s the quick version 👇🏻:

Here are 3 thoughts that might help you ease up on your expectations for yourself in these dumpster fire days:

1 – When you’re in the BRACE FOR IMPACT position, your clients probably are, too.

A coaching client of mine mentioned that inquiries for her business dropped significantly in the past 10 days. She was certain this was ALL HER FAULT.

“Did anything else happen in the past 10 days,” I asked.

“Yup, Russia invaded Ukraine. I’ve been off of social media and in the fetal position for a few days now.”

“Do you think your (potential) clients are ALSO in the fetal position, which explains the lack of inquiries?”

Holy shit…you’re probably right.”

When the world is destabilized at the global level by an insane dictator who provokes a war for no good reason, and who attacks a nuclear plant for funsies, it’s nigh impossible to continue business as usual. You might feel less like you care about your business, or you might pay less attention to other businesses, or both.

That’s because when you’re in the brace position, your clients probably are, too.

I’m not saying you have to stop working or marketing entirely, but please give yourself the grace of realizing that you’ll probably have to repeat yourself more as this conflict continues.

Acknowledging that current events effect your energy levels, mood, and will to work means you don’t have to beat yourself up for being human, or wonder WHY NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR SALE ON MUGS RIGHT NOW. You’re not doing anything wrong; we’re simply doomscrolling and panic breathing in an ever-more-distracted fashion at the moment.

2 – No one can tell the difference between your 90% and your 100%.

This is a fun principle to test out!

One of my coaching clients spent hours less time than usual on a writing project for her college class, shocked to find it returned by the professor with an A+ at the top. That’s because, for overachievers who are habitually aiming for perfection, no one can tell the difference between our 90% and our 100%.

You can easily spend hours tweaking font kerning or editing a draft for a fifth time. And NO ONE CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE IN YOUR FINISHED PRODUCT.

This is a call not for lowering your standards, but for acknowledging where you are already meeting and exceeding others’ standards for your work.

You are not required to go above and beyond for each effort you make.

You do not have to CRUSH IT OUT OF THE PARK each time you step up to bat.

Your clients do not need to have their texts returned within 23 seconds.

You don’t need to show up on social media 23 times per day with your game face on.

Much of your success in the coming years (read: as systems continue to crumble and everything ever is in flux) lies in your ability to know which standards to maintain and which you can let go.

Showering? Still pretty awesome.

Responding to each email received within 15 minutes? Lower the bar.

Delivering client orders days ahead of schedule? Lower the bar.

Losing sleep to put the finishing touches on a low-paying project? Lower the bar.

Not letting yourself feel feelings even though Covid isn’t over and Putin is making moves that threaten the entire world? Lower the bar. (And let yourself have feelings.)

To my delight, one of my clients was like, “If I’m being honest, I don’t think people can tell the difference between my SIXTY perfect and my hundred percent.” Yes! Exactly!

We require SO MUCH of ourselves that lowering the bar feels like self betrayal – but it’s actually self care.

We simply CAN’T keep our 2019 standards for living or business completely intact and expect to stay sane.

Lowering the bar for ourselves is an act of unprecedented kindness for ourselves and our futures.

It’s also a wise acknowledgement that things have changed – at every level, in every part of the world – and that our futures lie in dealing with reality at this moment. In these times, with these very particular circumstances.

3 – Double down on meaning.

If social media feels like a hellscape of nothingness…good. Quit Facebook and do something you’ve always wanted to do. Take up the hobby you’ve never found time for. Cut your screen time in half and use those hours in ways you find delightful.

You can subvert the entirety of the media complex on this planet by using your time to do anything but doomscroll.

If something has meaning for you, please let yourself take it up with abandon. Write the play, film the movie, record the album, release the book, have the baby, join the movement, organize the protest, adopt the animals, start the project, paint your living room with rainbow colors. (Or, most subversive of all: rest.)

The more society as we knew it goes flying off the rails, the more free you are to pursue that which gives your life meaning. We live on a burning planet, and it’s up to us to determine how we use our time here. Seek hope. Turn off your wifi. Plant a garden. Volunteer. Spend sumptuous hours learning to cook or knit or sew or organize effectively…whatever you like. ANYTHING beats doomscrolling on Insta.

If you don’t know what has meaning for you in this moment – if everything is simply a flat, barren wasteland of despair – rest.

Sleep is a legitimate hobby these days. Other legitimate hobbies for those lowering the bar include napping, daydreaming, resting your eyes, canceling plans, and going to bed early. We can’t reliably access hope in our bodies without having accessed sleep first. The world is simply too heavy, too insane, too wildly WTF IS EVEN HAPPENING to do much of anything effectively without first prioritizing rest.

P.S. You don’t have to earn your keep.

Identify your pandemic pattern.


The One Who Cares lies nested within
the one who pretends she doesn’t.

The One Who Cares wants
to give up because humans are too brutal
to stick around and witness.
(She mourns the loss of the rainforest,
the ice caps, the coral reefs. She weeps
for all the plastic in the ocean that will be here
long after she’s died.)

She is full of grief
for all the ways we humans shut down, numb, disconnect,
go to sleep, give up, give out, and refuse to feel. (She
does not respond to phone notifications
in a timely manner, which is one of her charms.)

The One Who Cares lies hidden
behind The One Who Gets Things Done:
the one who has a schedule, does the laundry, feeds the dog,
pays the electric bill, stays on top of the news. The one who
Gets Things Done rolls out her yoga mat, meditates,
and eats a nutritious breakfast.

The One Who Cares sinks into the body when she can,
lets tears fall down her cheeks in the bath,
and breathes, breathes, breathes.

She has few answers and asks eternal questions.

(She is often overwhelmed and leans into victimhood
if left unchecked. I cannot give her unfettered time
or she would pull me under, again.)

So she nests, watching all those tasks get checked off the list,
waiting for her moments to feel, to spin the globe of concern
and take in the bodies floating on the Ganges, bloated with Covid;
the white supremacists tightening voting restrictions; the Black bodies
piling up at the hands of police; the next reveal
of the rapist who remains in office. (And the next, and the next.)

The One Who Cares is most present
with reality but cannot remain there for long
or she is held down, held under, unable to move
until The One Who Gets Things Done picks her up,
dusts her off, and says,

Yes, yes, yes.
Feel all that. Use every breath
to move the whole world through you.
Let the entirety of existence be what it is,
and then we’ll get back to work.

Whether The One Who Cares and The One Who Gets Things Done battle it out in your life or not, finding some spaces where internal battles are being waged is the name of the game for this episode of That’s What She Said.

When does asshole brain take the driver’s seat in your life?

For me, it’s part of my hormonal cycle. I’ve been working closely with my doctor for all sorts of tests, and we found that a.) I have no measurable levels of testosterone in my body and b.) on day 20, my hormones plummet like Thelma and Louise going over the cliff at the end of the movie. I don’t make major decisions or big plans on Day 20, which I’ve marked in my calendar, ’cause that would be setting myself up for failure.

It used to be when I was comparing myself to others and fighting with people’s social media posts in my head. Scroll, GET OUTRAGED, close app and mull over VARIOUS OUTRAGES until tomorrow. Repeat daily.  (Related: I deleted social media and then this happened.)

Asshole brain might take over at a particular time of day or point in your hormonal cycle. Maybe it rears its ugly head with particular clients or relationships. Perhaps it only appears when a project is mentioned or you’re facing a deadline.

No matter when it appears, knowing the dominant asshole brain pattern in your life helps you to make life easier for yourself.

My asshole brain gets out its fancy pants and loud microphone after 7 p.m., so I have never done a coaching call or held a workshop at that time. I wrap up while the sun’s up, ’cause that’s when my body is most awesome.

What do I never ‘let’ myself do?

For me, it’s spending money on travel that’s not work related. You want me to blow cash on a sweet hotel and fancy foods with a big souvenir budget when I’m being paid to speak or teach? No problem.

You want me to spend that same amount of money on…my own joy? UGGGGGHHHHHHHH.

It used to be stepping away from the computer when work was done for the day. I would sit at the screen for eight hours, every day, whether I had important work or I was just bopping around on social media, clicking links like a mofo. (Related: it took years for me to master the Quietly Subversive 3-Hour Work Day.)

You might never let yourself spend money on your needs, take time off, pay yourself in your business, or say “no.” (Related: how to say “no.”)

You might not let yourself have strong enough boundaries to create time for your work, time for your business, or time that’s simply not someone else’s to claim. (Related: boundaries are awesome.)

What do you never ‘let’ yourself do – and how might you interrupt that pattern, starting right now?

What do you need to admit or voice about the way pandemic has impacted your life and being?

For me, it’s missing the work I used to do with people face-to-face, in person, while breathing the same air. Whether speaking or teaching, I used to get on a plane for my Truest Work four to six times a year, and that work/travel combo fed me deeply.

As the years of pandemic roll on, I miss the in-person work more and more. There’s an amorphous, ongoing aspect to this grief that recently prompted me to start working with a therapist. What do you DO with what you’ve lost for the moment, but maybe permanently, but maybe NOT permanently…? I don’t know, so I’m getting help to sort it out.

Early in pandemic, I needed to admit that Long Covid kicked my ass. I was too deep in fear to say things about it, since asshole brain had convinced me that I’d never be able to breathe or think or be witty or exercise or laugh ever again. Those fears subsided as my basic abilities and instincts returned, but WOW it was scary for a while.

Whether you’re flourishing or floundering in pandemic life, admitting the ways it has impacted your life and being is just plain helpful.

You can stop pretending that you’ve got it all together, or that you looooove homeschooling, or that you don’t find performing continuous risk assessment stressful af. Acknowledging where you are gives you the ability to move forward in a way that’s both deeply rooted in reality and completely honest.

We don’t need you to be amazing and stunning and #winning in every aspect of pandemic life. But we do need you to be honest about where you are and what you need.

To put it another way…where are you censoring yourself?

What’s roiling up within you that you don’t say? What drives you batshit crazy but is tolerated in your everyday existence? What are you holding within you that is beating on the walls of your interiors to be let out?

I’m not suggesting that you go on a social media rant delineating every last thing that has ever pissed you off. I am suggesting that admitting how you’re feeling, where you’re struggling, and what’s driving you crazy allows you to both relieve interior pressure (you know, that feeling of IF I HAVE TO TOLERATE THIS ONE MORE TIME I WILL BURST INTO A THOUSAND PIECES AND DESTROY WORLDS) and to ask for help wherever possible.

Uncensored, uncut you has Many Things to Say. Please find a way to express those things, whether through art, in conversation, or in therapy. Don’t let the big feels eat you alive, okay?

Penning bad poems is the only way to get to the good ones.
Same goes for bad photographs, bad drawings, bad drafts —
shitty first attempts –they’re the starting point for your work in the world.

Don’t shy away from making terrible artwork, horrible mistakes, or
unfortunate choices. These are the pebbles that are stacked to form
your shoreline: the only risks that will count in a year’s time.

Go on, take a chance. Make it awful. Let your whole heart out
and see where it takes you. See what your work does when you’re not
looking. See how it surprises you when you let your instincts out to play.

Waste paint and supplies and hours at the computer, writing.
Give yourself to the unknown elements, the chaos of losing control over
what you “should” be doing.

Breathe it in: this is art, moving in you and through you.
May it surprise you every time.

That’s it, you survived!!!!  (Related: your art will save your life.)

Shoot me a note with whichever pattern you’re ready to shift so I can cheer you on – for real.

This work – this knowing of ourselves and then taking action from the place of Deep Knowing – is the work we do in The Imaginarium.

If you’d like to both a.) return to yourself and b.) find a way forward in the midst of pandemic, please talk to me about attending!

The Imaginarium goes down in Philly from March 30th to April 1st or May 18th to 20th. This live, vaccinated-only workshop will help you stay connected to both your interiors and the world around you via some magical structures I’ve set up that involve massive support and accountability. Click here to book a tiny call, or shoot me a note via

Says Nicole, an Imaginarium attendee:  “I have never ever looked forward to December and January like I’m looking forward to it this year, and I didn’t realize I would be so excited for these follow up sessions.”

Current Imaginarium attendees are making massive progress, leaning on each other in gorgeous ways, and sending me frequent OH MY GOD THANK YOU FOR DOING THIS WORK AND INTRODUCING ME TO THESE WOMEN texts.

You don’t have to do the rest of 2022 alone, lemme help!  Book a tiny call!

P.S. One other pattern that might be taking over your life: screeeeeens.  Let’s stop that pattern dead in its tracks.