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Interrupt the pattern.

Interrupt the pattern

Psst!  This is episode #225 of That’s What She Said, my podcast! Listen in below, or read on for a transcript-ish version of the goods. (The actual podcast involves raptors and fences and far more swearing and laughter!)

Like bajillions of people around the globe, I picked up a yoga practice during the pandemic.  I started practicing yoga with Jessamyn Stanley over at Underbelly Yoga, and WOW is she amazing.

Why is she so amazing? She’s good at teaching because she had to learn every part of each sequence in her body, and it wasn’t easy. She didn’t wake up in a teeny tiny, ultra-athletic body, good at every sport imaginable. In class, she talks about how for the first year of doing the pose she’s now modeling, she fell down. She makes no issue of needing to rest, of needing support, of needing modifications, or of otherwise listening to your body, because the whole point of class is to learn to listen to your body and push it to its own edges.

Here’s the great thing about having been chronically depressed (i.e. mentally ill) for most of my adult life: I CAN TEACH YOU SO MUCH ABOUT MANAGING YOUR BRAIN WHEN BULLSHIT NONSENSE FROM YOUR OWN INTERIORS TRIES TO TAKE YOU OUT OF LIFE ITSELF. 

Because I had to learn it.  Every bit of it.  I fell down, I got rest, I got supported, I learned stuff, and it was absolutely fucking miserable…until it wasn’t. Until I learned.  If I can save you even three minutes of the nonsense my brain has thrown at me for the past two decades, I’ll count it as time. well. spent.  For both of us.

Here’s the first tool: interrupt the pattern.

Your brain is an asshole, as we’ve talked about and talked about. But you might not know that yet, or you’ve forgotten after being locked down for months on end.  You might believe everything your brain has to say, and that’s precisely the place where we begin.

Interrupting the pattern means that you catch your asshole brain in action without believing a word it says.

This is step zero — as in, before step one, there’s step zero.  That means this tool isn’t particularly exciting and will feel completely inadequate. (A little like learning to do down dog properly in your late 30’s, and WOW you’ve been doing it wrong for 20 years.)

When your brain is being an asshole, it’s generally following a well-trodden road. That road is littered with phrases like, ‘Who are you to _____?’ and ‘You can’t possibly ______,’ and the old standards, ‘You’re TOO MUCH’ and ‘You’re NOT ENOUGH.’ Both/and, at the same time, because brains are awesome like that.

Again: interrupting the pattern means that you catch your asshole brain in action without believing a word it says.

That simple activity — catching your asshole brain in action — will start to remove its power over you. Your inner bully likes to run around, given free range inside your head, and when you stop it from moving about as it chooses, you begin to regain control over your mental health.

It’s not going to go down without a fight, though.

Asshole brain will kick up reminders of all the times you’ve failed to listen to your intuition in the past, reminding you that you’re a horrible degenerate fuck-up who won’t ever learn.

You’re not capable of changing. You’re useless. You’ll never learn. You should give up. Remember that time you were warned and did that stupid thing anyway??????

Asshole brain will present you with tremendously helpful stories of the past, like cataloging your failures one by one, over and over, while also providing endless reasons to give up in the present.

You’ve never done this before, why start now? You should be further along by now. You’re not qualified to do this. You’re not ready. You’re going to lose everything you love if you keep going.

Most commonly, asshole brain will take the worst case scenario all the way to its (illogical) end: you’re going to end up homeless, loveless, and penniless if you _______ [insert incredibly small task here].

Examples of that small task include: sending that email, talking to that person, failing to talk to that person, or asking for help.

Asshole brain also has a catalog of stories about what other people think of you or will think of you.

She’s jealous. He’s going to leave you. They’re spearheading a campaign against you. She’ll think you’re weak. He’ll think you’re too cocky. They’ll send you hate mail and you’ll never recover. You’ll die via mail bomb because your work is so controversial. Most recently: THE KARENS ARE COMING!!!!

Asshole brain is also really, really into asking you Uninteresting Questions.

‘What do they think of me?’ or ‘How do I compare to them?’ won’t take you anywhere interesting. ‘What’s wrong with this?’ will yield 3,427 unhelpful responses. ‘Why even try to [insert task here] during a pandemic…’ will only help you find all the ways you are useless, inept, inadequate, and otherwise unable to help at this moment.

What does asshole brain repeat to you, over and over again?
Where does it trip you up or convince you that you’re utterly broken?

Record the most common phrases your asshole brain uses so you can interrupt the pattern in the coming months.

When you can call out asshole brain — OH THERE YOU ARE I SEE YOU — you are then free to reorient your brain to a new pattern.

That pattern might be taking a few deep breaths
or refusing to believe that you are a useless piece of shit
or putting your phone away
or even, possibly, at some point…believing in your own abilities and power.

But first, it will be unpleasant bullshit that you hate doing, and you’ll see no point in it, because it’s easier to sink into the mud of nihilism and despair than to keep your soul alive. Particularly at this moment. Particularly when you can spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, tuned into the headlines, and the headlines are 1% good news and 99% END TIMES DEATH DOOM GIVE UP WHY EVEN BOTHER.

When you interrupt the pattern, you’re making progress. Even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Please go and practice interrupting the pattern.

When you are spiraling, when you are endlessly scrolling, when you are completely overwhelmed, when you are freaked the fuck out and sure you’re completely ineffective as a human because you haven’t managed to single-handedly stop rampant police brutality, systemic racism, and Covid-19…interrupt the pattern.

Breathe.

You don’t have to believe everything your asshole brain says.

And you can be of far greater service to the world when you learn to tame the beast within your own mind.

P.S. My business exists because of supporters and coaching clients.  If you benefit from my work and want to help me have exist in the world, you can become a supporter here.

If you’d like to learn more about year-long business coaching with me, email me — k@kristenkalp.com — and we’ll talk!

Today I started with nothing.

And so I took a walk,
greeting as many beings
as I could see:

rain, puddle, rose.

I drank deeply from the lilacs
and wondered at the tiny complex
reproductive organs of flowers
whose names I do not know:

nova, miracle, Wild.

I watched ants traversing canyons
of tree bark
In search of
I Do Not Know What:

sustenance, wandering, sweet.

(I didn’t have anything to offer
the water-soaked crow resting over there
and tried to not feel bad about my failing.)

(Human, human, human.)

At the last corner,
a pink bed of cherry blossom petals
strewn all over the sidewalk
to celebrate this homecoming:

You are here, you are here, you are here.

Air, sky, breath.

Alive.

Remember.
Alive.

P.S. We need this Note to Self now more than ever.

Let’s unlearn productivity, starting right now:

We are born into Not Enough.

Let’s storm the corporate castles
and make our meaning
from the world that already exists within this one —
the world in which the poems and paintings
and portraits and plants
count for something far more
than cash can ever provide —
the world in which our caring
is cause for celebration,
not another fucking commodity —
the world in which we take unlearning
productivity, perfectionism, and patriarchy
as seriously as we once took
wondering
whether we looked cute enough to leave the house.

P.S. Dig poems?  My book of poetry is pay-what-you-can priced.

(Also!  What you see burning in the featured image is a mix of everyday herbs similar to what would have been used by my way-back-wise-women ancestors.  The bundle was gifted to me by Bear Hebert, whom I interview about anti-capitalist business practices here.)

Using breath to clear panic w/ Josh Solar

Josh Solar

No one on earth has ever scheduled an interview and been like, ‘Oh hey, what if we record on a day that waves of fear and panic about a pandemic are dropped across the planet?’

But if you could have the ideal guest for such an occasion, it’s breathwork wizard, meditation guide, and reiki master Josh Solar.

We’ll help you navigate the panic of a pandemic — including a trusty breathing technique that will calm you anywhere, at any time, for any reason, for free.

Mentioned in this episode of the podcast, you’ll find lots of breathwork practitioners, including: Josh Solar himselfPick up his breathwork class (which he scores and then records because he’s a musical GENIUS) here.  <– This class is fantastic and I do it regularly!

We also mention The Softness Sessions, which are Breathwork 101, in which I’ll help you ease into a breathwork practice!  We start on 3/19/20.  You can pick up your seat here.

As for other practitioners!  Both Josh and I are trained in breathwork with David Elliott, Erin Telford, and Wim Hof.  Josh mentions Dr. Belisa’s book, too!

So long as the world is stuck inside, pick up Glennon Doyle’s Untamed, which I’ll read a portion of in this podcast.  It’s soul food at the deepest levels, particularly for those who are a 4 on the Enneagram.

Please listen in and learn how to make simple breath modifications your default panic-management technique.

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

How to Experiment

how to experiment

One of the things I get asked by my coaching clients (3 year-long spots open in April, get on the wait list here!) is how to begin something new or different. They want a road map or plan that will mitigate all the risk involved in trying a brand new thing (of course), and I assure them that risk is built into the whole thing (of course).

The good news is, we can absolutely figure out a way for you to move forward that doesn’t lead to fear-puking on your shoes every morning.

‘How to experiment’ is an extremely flexible framework that can help you enter into a new project, idea, concept, collaboration, or phase of your work at the deepest levels.

Psst!  This is a podcast episode!  Listen in below, or just keep reading if you like to go fast.

First, let’s talk about Wim Hof. He’s fascinating because if you listen to an interview without knowing his story, he sounds absolutely insane.

He holds many Guinness World Records for bodily feats and generally defies all that we thought we knew about the limits of the human body.

But his refrain when teaching is often: “Don’t think about it, just do it!”

How do you keep your body temperature steady while taking an ice bath?

How do you run a marathon in the desert without water?

How do you climb Mount Everest in your underwear?

“Don’t think about it, just do it!”  (Also YES he has a method, but that method is so simple that we naturally ask 3,427 questions with no solid answers when presented with his achievements. I have been there and very much done that.)

Frustrating as his sentiment is, I don’t think he’s being condescending when he says, ‘Don’t think about it, just do it!’  I think he’s tapping into the primal bits of ourselves that simply know what to do, and that are perfectly fine to function without letting the limitations of the mind stop us.

So, when we dive into a topic like ‘How to experiment,’ we just do it.

First, we give ourselves permission to change the way it’s always been done.

The podcast has been me talking to you for the past five years. (Yup, five!) That has been absolutely lovely, and there are hundreds of episodes to enjoy at kristenkalp.com/podcast. In order to shake things up a bit, I have to give myself permission to change and grow.

You’ll have to do the same before you make shifts in your work.

If you’ve got a thing you’ve been doing a single way for some time, it’s okay to make space for that thing to change. It’s okay to try a new drawing style or close a shop or start a shop or give up on that process or withdraw from that partnership that hasn’t been working. It’s okay to stop working for free, to draw boundaries around your time and energy (see: Structure That Doesn’t Suck), and generally to make room for your own growth.

I’m going to illustrate the ‘how to experiment’ process in four steps for the sake of ease, but of course the real life process is rarely this obvious and straightforward.

We don’t have the kind of time it takes to acknowledge every single way that your particular path through life can swerve and curve. Your job is to try and figure out which step you’re currently in so that you’ll have a better idea of what to do next.

Step One: Listen for your little knowings.

Little knowings, meaning: feelings, thoughts, images, ideas, or ways of being that appear suddenly and that you know to be true. No data or science or other mind tools required.

All I knew for weeks and weeks was that something about the podcast needed to change. I would sit down to write or to record and get a shrug from the universe in return. That’s never happened.

Because I am wise and trusting of all that is, I freaked out and completely panicked. OH MY GOD AM I DONE WITH THE PODCAST, I DIDN’T KNOW, HOW COULD I NOT KNOWWWWWWWWWWW????

Some part of me knew that this energy would shift if I could sit with it and allow myself to be open to change. (Again, that sounds so simple, and is actually excruciating. Patience in the space of not knowing is difficult for me 100% of the time.)

Step Two: Record your little knowings.

In the case of the podcast, I wrote down ‘KK and the Rainbows’ weeks and weeks ago with no idea what it meant. It just kept coming up, flitting into my brain on repeat, so I grew frustrated enough to put it in my calendar.

‘KK and The Rainbows! There, you get an hour on Thursday, okay!?’ Please note that I gave this concept that clearly wanted my attention a block of time without knowing what would happen when I reached that space on my calendar.

Making space is where the free podcast series, Structure That Doesn’t Suck, really shines! If you put a concept or idea on your schedule for next Tuesday at 10am, you don’t have to worry about it until next Tuesday at 10am. The brain-swirling stops when you give a little knowing the space to exist.

When I say ‘record’ your little knowings, I mean type or talk or text or write or print or draw or paint or sing or whatever you would like. Recording what you know, as information becomes available, means that you won’t forget each fragment as it comes. It often arrives in jumbled order and with scattered pieces in play. The pattern is only obvious if you have the discipline required to record everything you know as it reveals itself to you. When you have enough information to see the next step, you can move forward.

Most people don’t bother to record their ‘little’ ideas or ‘funny’ knowings or the ‘strange’ phrases that pop into their heads. That refusal to write stuff down slows the experimentation process considerably. If you get 15 pieces of intuitive data per day and don’t record any of them, you won’t progress as quickly as the person who records everything they know as it becomes available to them.

To put it a different way: you can be the wisest, most intuitive being on earth who records nothing and eventually get surpassed at every level by the person dedicated to recording and tracking the patterns in their little knowings.

To record your intuitive knowing is to be a good steward of your gifts.

(See also: own your woo.)

Step Three: Follow your little knowings.

Following your knowing means you a.) keep an ear to the ground of your own heart and b.) try not to be frustrated when you only know the next right thing.

If you’re walking your own edges, you will never, ever get your next 57 steps delivered in a PDF manual from someone else’s class or program.

You’ll get the next right step. Just one. (My thanks to future friend Rob Bell for delivering this message to me so many times over the past six years!)

Turns out, ‘KK and the Rainbows’ is actually the framework for a new way of doing the podcast!

You are now a Rainbow. That’s the most inclusive word I can think of — I don’t even care that you be a human in order to enjoy! — and it’s also indicative of the magical nature at the core of your being.

We rainbows need affirmation that we’re not alone. We also need tools to address the challenging nature of being a sensitive, feeling creature in a world wired to shut us down and push us toward productivity and profitability at all costs.

The podcast experiment works like this: you’ll call in live on alternating Tuesdays, and we’ll record the podcast together for an hour. I’ll talk for twenty-ish minutes, you’ll ask questions via video or chat box (because introverts), and we’ll all turn on video chat at the end for a chance to see each others’ pets and wave and giggle. Why yes, I *am* in this for seeing as many animals as possible!

Step Four: See what happens.

Please note that ‘see what happens’ is a neutral phrase. It could go either way.

This could be the greatest advancement the podcast has ever seen, or it could be the worst ever due to lack of attendance or unknown technical difficulties or the trigger for a zombie apocalypse.

The same uncertain nature will be true of your experiments. If they’re truly experiments — not safe bets — they could just as easily slip into disaster as glory. Glennon Doyle mixes the words ‘scary’ and ‘excited’ to call it ‘scited,’ which is precisely how it feels.

I’m committing to six live KK and The Rainbows episodes to start.

To be invited to all 6 live podcast recordings, you just have to be on my email list and I’ll take care of the rest.

I’ll still tell you what’s going on in my business and how you can get on board with things like The Softness Sessions (i.e. Breathwork 101, we start soon!) and the live-in-May-in-Portland Voice Workshop, but the tools I’m presenting won’t be continuous pitches.

We’ll record together on alternating Tuesdays at 10am Pacific, and the following week the recording will be available to everyone who couldn’t attend in real time. The overall pace of the podcast slows down, but the time we get to spend together goes up!

This experiment is completely dependent on your showing up.

KK and The Rainbows, minus any questions or participation from others, is just KK.

My great fear is that absolutely no one will show up.  But I’m doing it anyway.

I hope you’ll do the same, no matter which experiment is on your docket.

Get on the email list and come be a rainbow with me!

P.S. ‘But Kristen!  I don’t HAVE little knowings.  I can’t hear my intuition…at ALL.’  <– That’s a fantastic sign that The Softness Sessions will be so so good for you.

We’ll build your inner listening muscles and intuition muscles, slowly over the course of six weeks, so that you’ll get better at listening to you.  We can absolutely put down the tools of your mind so that we can ‘not think about it, just dooo it!’ 😉

More details here, a podcast about it here, or sign up here.

Buy The Softness Sessions