Archives for the month of: January, 2020

We seek out emotional intensity vicariously, because when we are emotionally numb, we need a great deal of stimulation to feel something, anything. So emotional pornography provides the stimulation, but it’s only ersatz emotion — it doesn’t teach us anything about ourselves or the world. ~ Miriam Greenspan, psychotherapist (via Brene Brown)

One of the most popular singers today, Adele seems to unite us all with her deeply felt ballads and powerful, rich delivery, as illustrated so well by this SNL video. It’s a funny premise because it touches upon some profound truth, as she is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time due to her universal appeal; young, old, rich, poor, black, white, purple, no matter your nationality, religious or political affiliation — virtually no one can resist the temptation to be moved and sing along.

The Maori culture of New Zealand has a tradition called haka, an “ancestral war cry, dance or challenge performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.” You can check out the rugby team’s haka for their most famous player’s funeral or this wedding video that went viral around the globe. My guess is that 99.99 percent of viewers had no idea what was being said/sung, but what makes haka and other similar native traditions so powerful is the absolute lack of artifice and 200 percent commitment to the raw, exaggerated emotion expressed; you can’t help but feel something stirred within you and respond emotionally in kind.

Sporting events, especially football, with its expanding audience and the Super Bowl essentially having the status of a national holiday, are one of the only acceptable forums where we can shout and scream and express our emotions to the max — joy, excitement, disappointment, frustration, surprise. If you’re not a sports fan, then stadium rock concerts can offer a similar opportunity as we enjoy head-banging tunes, raging against the machine, and belting our hearts out with longing, hope, despair, anger, passion and, of course, love. This is also what we see stirred up at political rallies, igniting people with emotions, good, bad and ugly.”

And because of the explosion of diverse media outlets, the content being created — movies, TV series, reality shows, and even “news” programs — keeps pushing the envelope to the extremes of sex, violence, revenge, horror and apocalyptic scenarios to get any attention. Social media is getting worse, always in a race to post the most salacious or silly videos, scandalous or outrageous memes and headlines in order attract the most click bait. And most folks can’t help falling for it, getting sucked in more times than they realize or care to admit.

These are also all shared experiences, or varying degrees of tribal experiences, activating a very human part of us that needs to connect and feel part of a bigger group. As we become more and more isolated and only virtually connected, these experiences become more rare and intensified as we advance in our technological age. And remember, emotions are contagious, so choose your tribes and tribal experiences wisely.

Whether it’s an Adele song, a demonstration of haka, a major sporting event, a viral video or a political rally, these experiences awaken emotions that we are becoming desensitized to, are covering up, or are embarrassed to share as we text and type without direct human contact, with our gadgets as legitimized interlopers. We are in danger of becoming robots ourselves.

Being able to feel is the most human trait we possess, and one that will ultimately separate us from artificial intelligence. The good news is that we are inherently rebelling: Our subconscious natural inclination to express our feelings is so strong that it is evidenced by the creation and widespread use of emojis! We simply cannot contain that part of ourselves, as emotion is essential to the way humans communicate if we want to be fully understood.

As I say in my talks, most people walk around emotionally constipated. We need to feel our feelings because the alternative is some unhealthy form of distraction, addiction or even violence. Learn to process your emotions; recognize and honor your feelings as they occur and then express or release them in an appropriate manner. That could mean talking it out; other times it’s just journaling. Sometimes it’s hysterically crying, belly-laughing, running for miles, dancing your butt off, singing, screaming or even moaning. Remember, emotion is “energy in motion,” so you need to let it move through and out of you, which is why those big stadium experiences, scary movies and power ballads feel so good. But they don’t have to be the only game in town if you cultivate your emotional health on a regular basis.

One of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies, French Kiss, is when Meg Ryan is frustrated with how French women have a way of interacting with men, masking or manipulating how they really feel rather than just being straightforward. She laments, “If you’re happy, smile, if you’re sad, frown; use the corresponding face to the corresponding emotion!” When we consistently feel our feelings and express them honestly to ourselves and others, we are able to communicate more effectively and gain a sense of inner peace and harmony. That means stop holding back or repressing our emotional selves, hiding behind our smartphones, or relying on “emotional porn” to give us the natural satisfaction and release that we require as conscious, sentient beings.

Not sure if you’re clogged up with a hodgepodge of emotions or if you only feel with the help of some outside stimulus? Give me a buzz and I’ll be your personal Roto-Rooter (wo)man to get things moving along so you can feel your own subtle or not-so-subtle emotions and go with your own flow — without always needing that bigger, bolder, in-your-face experience or to live vicariously through another’s.

(Today’s PGG was originally published on February 11, 2016)

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!  

Click here for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Click here for some testimonials from past clients 

Click here for a video that explains some ways I can help you as a coach

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.  Slowly building my YouTube channel so you check that out and subscribe too!

Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)” In this excerpt covering the final seven minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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Start responding to your life instead of projecting it. ~ Caroline Myss

All life is knowing, being, becoming. ~ Alan Watts

Mensch tracht, un Gott lacht (Man plans, and God laughs) ~ Yiddish saying

It’s easy to be consumed with all that’s happening in the world these days, and with social media, it’s ever-present and can feel quite visceral. And unfortunately, the truth is often distorted, hidden or framed in certain ways to evoke certain responses. But we need to be realistic about what we can and can’t control; we need to be knowledgeable and aware but not be drawn into a drama that is not ours or be distracted from our own lives. We must be discern when to take action and when to be an informed observer. I’m not saying this is easy; it takes practice and constant reminders, lest you get sucked in to the vortex!

It has always been my philosophy and mantra that “personal transformation is the key to social transformation.” Because ultimately, if we all focus on ourselves and cleaning up our own environments and spheres of influences, both internal and external, we will actually be doing our part to contribute to the collective versions as well.

When thinking about what I wanted to say as we enter a new year and new decade, I found the above silly Instagram story pic from a couple of months ago, and it seemed like a logical one to use. But the truth is, I don’t really set New Year’s goals or make resolutions. Every year my process is a little different – it’s more like intentions, themes and a general direction to move in with some specifics. But come Dec 31, I always review the previous 12 months to see what transpired. And if I didn’t achieve my “goals,” I can see very clearly what happened – and there is always growth, so I’m OK with that as long as I know I’m doing the best I can and at least progressing on some level, trusting that all is evolving as it should, as I like to say, “in time and on time.” (By the way, it’s not too late for you to do this exercise if you haven’t already!)

With this approach, you don’t have to start the year feeling bad or beating yourself up as long as you’re getting closer to rather than further from your desired aspirations and life trajectory. Some years are built for bigger moves than others – and remember that any change first happens on an internal level – so maybe that’s been the focus for you as it’s been for me. And the fact is that the outer stuff won’t happen if we’re blocked with inner stuff, so it’s just as productive, if not more so, to work on that. It can be less tangible, but no less significant or essential.

Or perhaps your “goals” have changed along the way. Because we may think we know what we want at some point – and may actually get it – but it isn’t always what we expected, or there may be some detours, decluttering, detoxing and/or healing along the way that prevent you from getting over the finish line when a calendar and culture says you should, but instead that sojourn is exactly on track with your own organic process of unfoldment.

In other words, when you’re in tune with your own rhythms and pay attention to what’s happening around you, you can respond minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day accordingly. That way, you can shape the outcomes in collaboration with something greater than yourself that is moving you along in a direction you might not yet perceive or understand, but is ultimately for your highest good.

This is why it’s so important to be intentional about an overarching goal for your life, which really is just to know and become the best, most expressed version of who you are. And then everything else takes care of itself more effortlessly and clearly from there.

So be compassionate with yourself if your 2019 goals didn’t quite manifest. As long as you were taking action in the direction of your own becoming, trust you are exactly where you need to be and do what you can to continue that journey in 2020, which as we can see, is going to be a wild one.

And as I say in all my talks, you need to strengthen the security within yourself in order to adapt and adjust to the many changes taking place at this point in our history. Being in harmony and at peace with yourself and your own world would be a huge accomplishment to aim for this year and beyond as we make this transformation from microcosm to macrocosm – so remember to exercise those muscles as well as the ones at the gym!

Click here for the PGG with photo

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!  

Click here for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Click here for some testimonials from past clients 

Click here for a video that explains some ways I can help you as a coach

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.  Slowly building my YouTube channel so you check that out and subscribe too!

Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)” In this excerpt covering the final seven minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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Read over fifty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

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At the end of December 2009, I felt unusually annoyed with so much chatter about New Year’s resolutions – mostly having to do with diet and exercise – when the timing was just not right for so many reasons. Because of our consumer, materialistic society, especially here in NYC, the majority of folks operate out of harmony with the flow of nature and give in to the pressure and/or blind credence to an arbitrary calendar and overall commercial hoopla to their detriment. For some reason, that year it pushed me over the edge!

Back then I had been coaching professionally for just over two years, which overlapped with running The Women’s Mosaic, so I hadn’t spent much time or effort marketing or creating my own coaching/speaking brand, but it was getting to the point where I should have at least had some sort of newsletter. I basically decided to channel my frustration with the New Year’s shtick by saying, OK I’ll write this down and send it out. And that, my friends, is how PGG was born on January 5, 2010, with the essay New Year’s Message: Don’t Believe the Hype (which you can see didn’t make it on to my website until April 4, when I finally realized I should have one!).

I never thought of myself as writer. I’m somewhat dyslexic, barely read books, have terrible grammar/syntax and a limited vocabulary. (Looking back, I did like essay writing and research papers in school, although those seem very different to me.) But I had something to say. I had a built-in audience from my clients/TWM and needed content. So I wrote. And got some positive feedback from that initial blast.

I kept writing each week. Each one took me a long time – initially I gave myself a limit of 500 words. (Clearly I gave that up after a couple years!) The topic had to be relevant to the season or what was happening in the world. Every essay took me a minimum of 8-12 hours to write and edit, and it could be painful! It became the only thing I did without fail on a weekly basis; it turned into a discipline – something I never had before. And the more I wrote, the more I found my voice, and a certain kind of format. I began to think of them as my art, and I still do.

Then an interesting thing started to happen: People I considered good writers, wordsmiths, bookworms, aficionados and literary-type folks reached out to tell me I was a good writer. This puzzled me greatly because, like I said, to this day – although scratch that, for 2020 I am claiming it! – I had never called or considered myself a writer.

Then, after maybe four or five months of sending out the weekly PGG, I went to an event with over 75 people in the audience. We were instructed to introduce ourselves to the person next to us, and after I said, “Hi, I’m Kristina,” the woman I met responded, “Leonardi?” Shocked and bewildered since she did not look familiar at all, I said, “Yes?” and she said, “I get your emails. They really help me.”

So, like my public speaking, which I also do because I have something to SAY, not because I’m very good at or comfortable presenting (I’m actually an introvert and more of a behind-the-scenes kinda gal) – even though I feel these are not my core strengths, I kept getting such positive feedback I couldn’t ignore the fact that people were benefiting, so I kept doing it.

After not missing a week for two years, I realized I could repeat PGGs and reduce my original writing to about once a month. (I think I’ve only skipped once or twice due to extenuating circumstances.) After four years I thought, Hey I have enough essays, I should compile them in a book – mostly for myself so I could hold something in my hands to represent all of the time and energy I spent on them! Nearly five years and 131 essays after that fateful January day (since then it’s 10 years and 167!), I published them in a very beautiful, fun and useful book, which you can buy on Amazon or take out from the New York Public Library.

I won’t repeat myself here about my process, which I described in last week’s PGG Year in Review, but know that even if I am not writing an original one, I am very thoughtful and intentional about the PGG that lands in your inbox. I want it to be relevant to the what you may be currently experiencing and provide an aha, hope or hmm, chuckle, useful tip/tool, or perspective that is enjoyable to read and helpful to digest and implement.

The most common feedback I get is a simple reply to the PGG email thanking me because it’s exactly what they needed to hear that day, with a sentiment of “how did you know that’s just what I was gong through??” It’s uncanny. Those responses make me so happy because someone took the time to affirm my intention to be meaningful and inspire:

“I love your messages, Kristina!”
“I love the Friday updates!!”
“Thank you for all your articles.”
“Love this! Grateful for you and your wisdom
.”
“Your writing inspires me to think and write myself. I like seeing how the week’s events get incorporated into your musings…”
“I love your PGG newsletters – one of the only ones I actually read in its entirety. They are excellently written, and spot on.
Thanks for being so inspirational and reflective!”
“It has the perfect pick-me-up stories; they keep me centered or inspired.”

“[love] the uplifting, inspiring messages!”

Over the decade, I’ve also heard how a particular PGG has helped you, how it might have spurred you to take action: Like a client who told me she reached out to an old friend she hadn’t been in touch with after she read People Who Need People; or a client who said Leap of Faith was the affirmation she needed to make a big move. Several people tell me they now hug for Six Seconds. Others say they journal because they read Write or Die. Several African-American women thanked me for my understanding and articulation of a difficult topic in Carte Blanche, long before the term “white privilege” was in the vernacular.

Some of my favorite PGGs are just because I love alliteration and making random connections like: Moonies, Mormons & Muslims; Batteries, Bunkers & Bonding; and Zombies, Xenophobia & Xanax.

Many pay tribute or reference historical figures or recent passings: You Say You Want a Revolution, They Might Be Giants, For Weddings and a Funeral, An Unlikely Trinity, or Shake Your Groove Thing.

Other favorites are the ones that describe how I understand life: The Rhythm of the Saints, It Takes Two to Tango, Tangible Schmangible, or Something’s Gotta Give.

There were also some extremely personal PGGs, like Peace Out, about when my mother passed; or political ones, like Bubble Burst, which so many people said helped them process the 2016 election; or my anger and frustration at current events like Beauty and The Beast; Get Up, Stand Up; Rage Against the Machine; or What Lies Beneath.

Some fan favorites are: Thank the Turkeys, Too! | Smile in Your Liver| Truth No. 2 | Don’t Worry, Be Happy | Election | The Fog of War | Happy | Let Love Rule | And S/he Was | Polar Shift | Labor Pains | The Present of Presence | One Day at a Time | All That You Can’t Leave Behind | Wherever You Go, There You Are.

And last but not least, of course there are the ones that talk about my work as a coach: Fruits of Our Labor | All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | A Decade of Doing What I Do | Express Yourself

There are so many PGGs to choose from – like 167! – which meant compiling this list was not easy. How do you choose your favorite children? It’s an interesting thing to look at your body of work. Yes, I have a body of work! As I write this, I realize that’s a pretty cool thing to have. Over the past decade, I have gotten a teeny bit faster/better at writing/editing, have gained more confidence about expressing myself in all areas of life, and have excavated a whole part of myself I didn’t know existed.

So THANK YOU, dear readers, for being an integral and essential part of this journey. I wouldn’t be here without your encouragement, and I look forward to having you along with me for the next leg of the adventure!

As always, I welcome any comments and suggestions, and don’t forget to see below for 5 ways to show your support and interest in my work and keep PGG going and growing!

CLICK here for this PGG eNewsletter

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today. 

Click here for some testimonials from past clients 

Click here for a video that explains some ways I can help you as a coach

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter for up to date posts, helpful articles and inspirational thoughts.  Slowly building my YouTube channel so you check that out and subscribe too!

Text CLEARLYKRISTINA to 22828 to be added to my mailing list and be in the loop with my coaching and workshops as well as have these essays delivered to your inbox!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)” In this excerpt covering the final seven minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Read over fifty 5-star “Yelp” style reviews here

Join Mailing List

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