you don't have to be in the ditch.

The other day, Nathan and I were talking about what we are learning. I had just finished C-School with Jess Lively. Nathan finished Michael Pollen’s new book. So, for a while, we shared bits and pieces of information and I totally geeked out at how it all fit together. (And Pollen’s book is now third in my to-be-read stack.)

One of the things Nathan talked about was how the brain creates ridges in our patterns of thought. And, because it isn’t possible for us to actually take in all the stimulation we encounter, we default to these ridges. We take in the information that supports these ridges and we don’t absorb the information that doesn’t fit into these patterns. I immediately thought about the ridges that cars create driving in highway lanes over and over and over. The water pools there because there are indentions and dips.

I’ve been thinking about how this relates to my limiting beliefs and my patterns of destructive thinking. I have identified two major beliefs that keep me small.

There is nothing special about me.

I’m going to screw this up so why even try.

I have been trying to use affirmations to come at these, but it isn’t working for me. Because the discussion feels like I’m trying to reason with a toddler.

I was laying in bed this morning, trying to go back to sleep after work stress woke me up about an hour before my alarm. You need to see Patient X and send that appeal. You’re going to screw it up. Krissie. Stop. You haven’t ever screwed this up before. You’ve done a few and they have been fine. This is completely in your competence. I’d feel better for a few seconds, but then the panic would come up again.

Out of my half-sleep haze came this voice that said GET OUT OF THE DITCH.

I could see myself. Walking along the ditch of doubt and fear. It wasn’t deep, but it was rocky and I wasn’t wearing shoes. Just beside me - maybe shoulder level - was lush, soft grass. The ridge. I didn’t climb out. I pictured it like a video game where I was plucked out of the ditch and placed in the grass slightly above. And I kept walking.

Then another situation came to mind. An email I sent that could have been read a different way. She is going to think I’m incompetent. She’s a bully and she’s going to call and yell at me tomorrow. No, Krissie. You know she read the email yesterday and didn’t respond. You are FINE. Again with the inner argument. And again GET OUT OF THE DITCH.

And BOOP. There I was. Walking along in the grass.

Then it got a little fun. I’d intentionally bring up a situation. Feel the anxiety and BOOP pluck myself out of the ditch and onto the soft grass but without the discussion. I did it a few times so that I even have a sound effect in my head to go along with it.

Before I knew it, I was walking along a lush green countryside. I could see the ocean and the rocky shore below me at a safe distance away. Kinda like how I imagine Ireland. I’m sure the ditch was there somewhere, but I wasn’t in it. I was in the grass.

I am not sure if this will continue to resonate with me when I’m not half-asleep, but I’m going to try and see what happens.

Out of the rocky ditch. Onto the lush ridge. Not with argument, but with a BOOP.

everything is falling apart. and it feels good.

Things are falling apart.

A spring is coming out of the bottom of our living room chair.

There is a hole in the seat of the couch.

Our bed is lumpy and creaky.

Both of my phone charger cords have done that thing where the cover has split and the wires are now visible.

My black pants have a hole in them. And so does Nathan’s favorite brown hoodie.

We are getting to the point where we need to replace things. Things need to be done. Soonish.

There was a time - a year ago, maybe - where this would have sent me into a tailspin of worry. I would have seen a list of needs that I didn’t know how we would meet. I would have felt a sense of lack and fear and disappointment that I wasn’t able to provide for our needs.

But now? Things feel different.

New things are coming.

I’m in no rush. The couch is still fine. I just threw a blanket over the seat. The bed is still fine. The chargers still charge. And without pants, I just wear more dresses (which I prefer anyway). There is no rush to get any of these things. If they were a need, we could meet it.

But who knows. Maybe I’ll get a new phone before the chargers stop working. Maybe we’ll decide to paint before we get a couch/bed/chair. Or maybe we’ll put down hardwood. Or maybe we’ll get a new house. I don’t know.

I do know that I don’t feel a rush to go out and get new things. I feel like this is a time to sit tight.

New things are coming.

Soonish.

Am I ready to play with my toys?

Earlier this year, I was driving home from teaching yoga. It was a warm night. Just the right temperature to roll the windows down. As is typical, I put on the music that I had taught with that night and prayed out loud for my 15 minute drive home.

Most of my driving prayers are gratitude and reflection on where I want to be. But that night? I was mad. I had a rough week at work. Everything there was just hard (and, honestly, it still is). But teaching? It was EASY. My coaching clients? EASY. My work with integrating deep body awareness meditation in my teaching? EASY.

As I ended my class with the blessing “may we all live in ease,” I got mad. And that’s how I prayed on the way home.

Why do you give me this gift and let me use it only 10 hours a week?

Why would you give me such ease in working with yoga and psychology and intuition and yet I spend 40+ hours a week in a corporate job?

Why would you give me these skills and not give me the opportunity to utilize them most?

Clearly, I heard a question: Are you ready now? It wasn’t a challenge or a confrontation. It was asked in the same tone as Nathan would ask me if I was ready to go to dinner. Or in the same way I invite my students to come out of savasana when they are ready.

But I didn’t want to answer the question. I wanted to stay in that feeling of being wronged. Of not having control or choice. I wanted to stay angry about being shortchanged. And, most importantly, I didn’t want to admit that any of it was within my power. I wanted to continue to believe it was out of my control.

Through my work with Jess Lively’s C-School, I think I may have realized the unconscious pattern that has me stuck in this place of not being able to enjoy what I have been given.

When I was little - elementary school little - someone in my family had the idea that I needed to collect holiday Barbie dolls. And collect meant, of course, keeping them in the box and not playing with them. I have a very distinct memory of being at my grandparents house, on Christmas Eve, in front of the fire, and unwrapping a beautiful Barbie. Of course, because she was a holiday edition, her dress was big and ornate and beautiful. And I also remember the argument and tears (on both sides, I’m sure) because I wanted to open this Barbie and the intention of the giver was for me to have it and not play with it.

Over the years, I was given 3 holiday Barbies before the tradition faded. And they sat on the top of my bookshelf (because even young Krissie had books galore). For years, these three barbies sat way up where I couldn’t reach them. And they taunted me. They were a reminder of what I had but couldn’t use.

But I am no longer a child. I am tall enough to reach my joy. I have agency over my life to take control. I am ready now.

When I have this feeling of not being able to reach what I have and what I want, I picture myself taking a Barbie out of the box. I am not that little girl. I can play with what I have. I can do this by taking control, claiming what I want, and playing with my toys.

I am still scared. I am scared of breaking what I’ve been given. I am scared of it not being as special as I hope or expect. I am afraid of having it taken away.

But I am also ready.

My mantra since that night has been the same. I am ready now. To utilize what I have. To be open to what is coming. Even when it is scary.

I am ready now.

a fire in my belly

Does anyone even read blogs anymore? Is this a pointless endeavor? Is this just spitting words into the ether?

You know what? I don’t care.

This is how I started. With this little box where I typed words. Granted, it was hosted somewhere else, all the blogposts were song lyrics, and the url was different. (Damn, how I wish I had kept questions for dessert.)

So here I am. Without any big plans. Without any sweeping intentions.

Just a desire to write. And a need to come home to write.

So here I am.

So when I spoke, I would know it was truth

My word for 2017 is UNFURL. To me, unfurl means being 100% Krissie. Letting my light shine – bright and strong – no matter the consequences. To let people see me – the real me – all of the time. I have had Words of the Year before, but I have never felt so sure. So grounded. So positive that the word is meant to be my True North.

When I heard about a job that seemed perfect for me, I kept UNFURL in mind. As I edited my resume to fit the specific position. As I wrote my cover letter (in the style of this amazing wisdom from Alex Franzen).  As I interviewed three separate times. I was All Krissie All the Time. I was honest in times that it might not have served me. I was just…free. True. Me. Not hiding, not inflating. Just me.

I was zero percent surprised when I got the job. Zero. There was a part of me that knew from the moment I applied that it was mine. It just felt right. And things fall into place for me. Not always exactly what I want, but enough to take care of me and my responsibilities. And my gut said, "This is it."

I am incredibly excited about this position for a lot of reasons, but money is a big one. For those of you that have followed me for a while, you already know that work and money have been a big struggle for me the last few years. Unhappy, then unemployed, then employed at a much lower pay scale, then unemployed AGAIN, and now employed at a just slightly less lower pay scale. But that all changes. This new position will be back at the same pay scale (a little more, actually) as the position I lost 2 years ago. Everything about this feels right and solid.

And now (well, in 10 days), I am in a position – for the first time in years – where things will just work financially. I won’t have to stir up business on the side to make ends meet. The money I bring in through my soul work of yoga and coaching will be money that we can enjoy – vacations, dinners out, weekends with my FatCamp girls, yoga trainings – not money we need to make the car payment. I won’t have to figure out how to make things work, they just will. I won't have to put the weight of responsibility into the work that I love. I can do it because I love it, and the income will just be gravy. 

And the liberation that comes with that? I don’t even know how to explain it.

Except maybe by saying that I want MORE.

One of the things that I speak about often when I talk my students into Savasana is linking their breath to what they want to experience. Peace. Stillness. Contentment. Love. The inhale feeds the feeling, and then the feeling spreads on the exhale. And I want Lent to be one giant inhale. A clean, pure, peaceful inhale. So that over the rest of the year, I can continue to unfurl while carrying this peace and calm.

I have decided to give up social media for Lent. (GASP!) All of it. Facebook. FB Messenger. Instagram. Snapchat. Twitter. Everything. They will all be removed from my phone Tuesday evening. I am so excited (and a little terrified) to take this opportunity. But because I am no longer doing social media for a living and I’m not trying to drum up business or launch a program, this seems like the time. I am at a space where I can do this with little consequence. I am nervous, but I know I need this. I need a break from producing content, or feeling like I should be producing content. There is a line in an old Peter Mulvey song that says, “I’ve been so long silent so that when I spoke, I would know it was truth.” And that’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to what I have to say, or how I change the ways I say it, at the end of my social media silence.

Also worth noting, I will not be blogging during that time either (not that I’ve been posting so much lately anyway).

So what if you want to contact me?

  • You can email me at krissie.bentley@gmail.com
  • You can see my daily yoga practice uploaded weekly on Vimeo. I don’t consider this content production or social media because these are records I keep for myself. I upload them here every week to free up the space on my phone. I am also making a commitment to not interact in the comments.
  • If you are Lexington Local and want to practice with me, keep up with Granola Culture on Instagram.
  • If you have my cell phone number, feel free to text me! I will probably get lonely without the constant interaction.

So yeah. That’s it. I’m intending to get another post up before Tuesday about my inner guru (KrissieLou Bergquist), but I’m not pressuring myself. Maybe she will be truth I write about when I return.

Have a lovely week. A lovely Lent. And I look forward to having a clear heart when I return. And I really look forward to telling you all about it.