Tag Archives: happy

and baby makes four…

30 Nov

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I’m guessing from the title of this post you know what’s coming…A BABY!!!!!!! Can you tell I’m happy about this news? Actually, happy isn’t a grand enough word to describe how I feel. I’m literally bursting at the seams with joy. I can’t seem to wipe the huge smile off my face. It’s been 75 days since I first held the positive pregnancy test in my hands and I still feel like I am floating on a cloud. The whole thing feels unreal despite the bulge at my midsection.

Brian and I started “trying” for a baby in June. I had heard it could take up to a year to get pregnant but I decided I was going to get pregnant the first month. Such an overachiever, huh? So imagine my surprise when I didn’t get pregnant that first month. I immediately started worrying. From then on, getting pregnant became all I could think about. I researched everything on the subject…what to eat, what not to eat, fertility boosters, stress relievers, positions, blah blah blah. In an attempt to get my body in tip-top shape I cut out alcohol, limited my caffeine intake, got off any anxiety medicine and started eating even healthier than I already did, all in hopes it would boost my chances of getting pregnant. After three months of trying…still no baby.

I was feeling rather defeated by the whole process. I am a person who believes that actions should yield results and my actions weren’t yielding the desired results.

I am aware that three months isn’t a very long time but it felt like an eternity to me. When you’re ready…you’re ready, you know? The process was a good lesson for me- I don’t control the universe. As much as I’d like to…I don’t and sadly, I never will. For a person who craves control, this is always a hard pill for me swallow.

I realized I had to refocus my energy. Instead of tightly griping on to my ideas of how it should go, I had to trust the process. I had to trust that our baby would come when it was meant to be. I had to trust the divine timing of it all. There’s magic in the things we can’t control. I truly believe the universe has an order to it and once I reminded myself of that I was able to surrender.

It was around this time I got pregnant.

September 16th…

My period wasn’t due for four days but I had been feeling “off” for close to a week with cramping and lower back aches.  I just felt weird. Of course this made me excited that I could possibly be pregnant but I also tried to remain cautious about getting too excited…I didn’t want to be disappointed.  After Brian left for work that morning I was lying in bed sipping my coffee when I remembered that I had an unopened package of First Responses under the sink in the bathroom (a pregnancy test that you can take six days before your missed period). So I thought…why not? If it’s negative I will try another test in a few days again. Nothing lost, right?

So I took the test…set the alarm for three minutes….sat on the bathroom floor in my pjs and continued to sip my coffee while I waited.

Three minutes later the alarm went off and I peered at the test.

And there it was….

yes!

That moment was an out-of-body experience. A billion thoughts rushed through my head in a millisecond. OMG!  It says YES! I’m going to be a mother…we’re going to have a baby!!!…I can’t wait to tell Brian!!…OMG…Holy shit…I’m going to be somebody’s mom…HOLY SHIT…HOLY SHIT…HOLY SHIT…there’s a tiny human in my belly! What a fucking miracle! Shit…am I allowed to drink coffee now that I’m pregnant??? The last thought left me running to the sink to spit out my mouthful of coffee. I continued to stand there and stare at the positive test in my hand- unable to grasp the fact that this was really happening. Becoming a parent is such an abstract thought…until it isn’t. A wave of emotion came over me and I started to cry. I felt so grateful. So elated. So nervous. So shocked. So insanely happy.

 It makes Frank very uncomfortable when I cry and he anxiously peered up at me with his big brown eyes. I kept reassuring him it was ok, that I was just happy. Then I informed him he was going to be a big brother. ha.

Still unable to catch my breath and with tears streaming down my face I picked up the phone to call Brian. Then I thought better of it and hung up. I didn’t want him to find out he was going to be a father in a hurried phone call between meetings at work, so I dialed my mother instead. She sleepily picked up the phone (it was 7 am after all) and I began to sob even harder.

To which she fearfully replied, “Kate??? What’s wrong???! Are you ok??!”

“I’m preeeee- ga- nant!!” I said between tears.

“What???”she said

“I’m PREGNANT!” I said

“You are!!? Why are you crying then???”

“I don’t know” sniffle “I guess I’m just overwhelmed.”

So, that’s how my mom found out.

After hanging up with her I began to ponder my next step. I felt emotionally paralyzed. I guess I was supposed to go to the doctor for blood work to confirm it? Yeah, that seemed right. So I got dressed and drove to my doctor’s office. A few hours later I got the call…I was most definitely pregnant!  The next thing on my agenda…how to tell Brian the news. I went back and forth on various ideas. Even googling “how to tell your partner you’re pregnant”- let me tell you…there are some really creative people out there. So many brilliant ideas. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put on a big show or just tell him the news. I tried to think of ways to bring Frank into the announcement as well. Maybe I could find a shirt that read “I’m going to be a big brother” and squeeze Frank into it before Brian got home? Sadly, I was crunched for time so instead of driving around town in search of a big brother shirt for Frank, I headed to the bookstore in search of a book about becoming a father for Brian. I settled on a book that’s cover read…“DUDE, YOU’RE GOING TO BE A DAD!” with a bunch of sperm swimming around. I thought the swimming sperm was a nice touch.

I taped the positive test stick to the cover of the book (not quite sure why I thought the book title wouldn’t be clear enough?) and put it at the bottom of a newly folded pile of clothes out of the dryer. When Brian got home from work I asked him to go thru the pile to make sure everything was his before putting it away. He went thru each shirt…yes…yes…yes…yes…no…yes…then he got to the book..looked right at it and moved on- clearly, it didn’t register at first. Then he stopped in his tracks…went back to the book…peered at me with wide eyes and said…REALLY??!

I said…YES!!!

He stood there quietly. I wasn’t quite sure what was coming next. Tears, maybe?? Brian doesn’t do well with surprises. After a few moments…he made a move…hugged me tightly and said…”I’m so happy for you!”

HAAAAA.

“I’m so happy for you” Best. Response. Ever. Like I was some stranger on the street who just told him she was pregnant.

I said, “You’re so happy for ME? You are aware that I didn’t get pregnant on my own right?”

He will never live that response down- NEVER. I won’t let him. I was expecting tears. people! Poor boy was in total shock. After an hour (and a few beers) the shock had worn off and he was excitedly touching my belly. He just needed a minute to let it all sink in.

So there you have it…we’re having a BABY!!!

And we found out last week it’s a baby boy!!!

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two

9 Nov

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Two years ago today I married my best friend. Such a cliché thing to say but it’s the truth. He is my favorite person. He is the bacon to my eggs. When we said “I do” I wasn’t sure what marriage entailed but I was sure that I was willing to step into the unknown with him. I knew with every fiber of my being that he was the one that I wanted to spend my life with. He was the one I wanted to share my whole heart with. He was the one I wanted to go on adventures with. He was the one I wanted to build a home and family with. He was the one I wanted to experience it all with.

He was the one.

So much has happened over the last two years- personal struggles, career heart breaks and victories, loss, joy, laughter, surprises, triumphs, sadness, growth…the list goes on. Marriage is indeed hard work, just like anything worthwhile in life. I’ve learned the rewards are huge though. Over the last two years we have seen each other’s flaws and imperfections and know each other better for it- actually I’d even go as far to say love each other more for them. Our marriage is not perfect; but it is my favorite thing. It’s the thing that brings me the most joy in my life. It’s the thing I am most proud of. It’s the thing I am most sure of.

The list of reasons that I love this man is long. I seem to add to it every day. He is a good human- like an exceptionally good human. He does the right thing even if nobody is watching. He’s fiercely loyal to those he cares about. He’s passionate about all things he touches- luckily that includes me. He never puts anything less than 100 percent in at all times. He means what he says. You can trust the words that come out of his mouth. He’s surprisingly funny…it’s a dry and sarcastic humor that comes when you least expect it. There is nobody that makes me laugh harder than he does. He’s a wealth of knowledge. I am shocked at the information that comes out of his mouth. Seriously, bring up any topic and he will have something to add to the conversation. He knows how to make a mean cup of coffee and brings me one every morning in bed. He is tender and loving- a hug from him can cure-all. He craves adventure, travel and new frontiers as much as I do. I feel most alive when we are on adventures together. He is attentive and intuitive. The depth of his soul surprises me daily. He has the most handsome face I have ever laid eyes on. I love every feature on it and often find myself thinking…I hope our future child gets his this or that. He loves me with his whole heart and doesn’t just tell me but makes me feel it every day. He lets me be me- he has never once tried to change me and that is the best feeling in the world. He has my back and there is nobody I trust more than him.

Dearest, Bri. I love you endlessly.

Happy 2nd wedding anniversary goose. I have a sneaking suspicion this next year is going to be a really good one.

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“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
– Mignon McLaughlin

big magic

2 Nov

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I just finished reading “Big Magic : Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert for my book club. I’ve been a fan of Gilbert’s work ever since I read “Eat, Pray, Love”- a book that people either seem to love or hate. I personally loved it. I remember devouring it in a few short days and being consumed with her journey. Considering I am also a travel nut I enjoyed reading about Italy, India & Indonesia. That book planted a seed in me to one day visit Bali and the famous medicine man Ketut, who she receives a reading when in Bali and I did both last year on our honeymoon. I was feeling very connected to the lovely Elizabeth Gilbert in that moment!

“Big Magic” is a guide of sorts on how to live a creative life. That doesn’t mean just writing (although Elizabeth does talk a lot about writing because it happens to be her creative passion) but encompasses something larger: instead exploring any activity that takes you out of yourself and opens you to the experience of wonder and joy. This could mean weaving, drawing, dancing, it could mean running a farm, tap dancing, learning a new lanugaue…the options are endless!

I have been seeking inspiration recently so this book spoke to me. It made me think about the times in my life that I have been most fulfilled and it is most definitely when I feel creatively alive. I think back to when I started this blog- I was in a funk at the time and instinctively knew that to break free from its hold, I had to create, write, explore & learn. I had to get back in touch with the part of myself that comes alive when I am living a creative and inspired existence. That year I learned how to cook, I learned how to tango, I drove across the country taking photos and writing. All these activities brought me such profound joy and isn’t that the point of living? Why don’t we give our creative pursuits more energy?

This book reminded me that it’s ok to spend an afternoon painting for no other reason than it feels good and makes you happy…and that is a life worth living in my opinion.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from the book…

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

“Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”

“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

“creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”

“But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.”

“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust—and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.”

“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”

“But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work.”

“Because often what keeps you from creative living is your self-absorption (your self-doubt, your self-disgust, your self-judgment, your crushing sense of self-protection).”

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all the paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise- you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

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Gilbert explored some of the ideas in the book in two TED talks, 2009’s “Your Elusive Creative Genius” and 2014’s “Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating.”

currently…

19 Oct

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looking forward to…

Carving a scary pumpkin with Brian, dressing Frank in his taco costume and parading him around town on Halloween, eating copious amounts of candy on Halloween, celebrating our wedding anniversary on November 9th (we’re turning two!), celebrating thanksgiving with our families (we are joining them all together for the first time), the holidays in general, getting a christmas tree (every year we name our tree Bert and this year it will be Bert IV), a quiet December with more time for creative projects, finishing some projects around the house, my upcoming trip to Kansas City to visit my step father Irv and to Atlanta to visit my girlfriend Chantal and her sweet family.

reading…

Oy. I got so many books going right now. My goal to read all these (& these) books by the end of the year has turned me into a reading machine (it has also set me up for failure. I still have so many to read!). I plan on putting together a book review post at some point. “At some point”- famous last words. Anyway, I read and LOVED “Everything I Never Told You”- I devoured it in three days. Then I moved onto “Luckiest Girl Alive” for one of my book clubs- still haven’t finished it. Can’t seem to get into it. What am I missing here? I think I still plan on finishing it. Maybe? It’s sits next to my bed waiting for me to pick it back up. In the meantime I’ve moved onto “Big Magic” and so far I am loving it. It’s all about living an inspired and creative life and I’m down for that.

watching…

So much tv- it’s embarrassing. I wish there weren’t so many shows that we liked. On Sundays we watch “Homeland” & “The Walking Dead”…on Monday we (or maybe I should say I)  watch the new sitcom “Life In Pieces” (have you seen it? I’m not one to laugh out loud when watching television but this show gets me every single time. The first episode literally had me crying)…on Tuesdays I got nothing (I usually catch up on my reading that night)…on Wednesdays we watch “American Horror Story”…on Thursdays we (ok, I force Brian to watch with me. It’s what marriage is all about, right?) watch “Grey’s Anatomy” (yes, some people still do. I can’t give up now, I’ve been watching it for twelve years at this point), “Scandal” & “How To Get Away With Murder”. Oh and then you have netflix…I am obsessed with “The Affair’ right now. We are six episodes into the first season and love it. Oh and lastly, we watched “Amy Schumer: live at the Apollo” on HBO last night. HAAAA. I love that women. So many inappropriate jokes but so funny.

you know what I’m not watching…

“The Leftovers”- I keep trying to watch it but I don’t think I’m smart enough. But really…is anyone smart enough? What is this show even about?? It frustrates me to no end.

practicing…

mindfulness in all things I do…from making the bed…to taking Frank on his morning walks…to spending time with the people I love.

loving…

My girlfriends. This is a constant feeling for me, but lately I’ve just been so in awe of the females in my life. Each relationship adds so much joy to my life and I can feel their support at all times. The tiny hints of fall in the air in Los Angeles, movie dates with my mom and brother (it takes me back to childhood. we have some good laughs), evening walks with Frank and Brian, flannel shirts,  avocados, pictures of my fiends babies (so many cute kids!), going to bed at ten (ok, 9:30) every night (I like my sleep) and my husband…I’m always loving my husband.

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What are you guys currently up to?

 

 

Sunday night dinner

29 Sep

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As I mentioned in a previous post I want to get back into kitchen this fall. We fell into a bad habit this summer of eating out or every single night. Seriously…every single night. We had four restaurants in our neighborhood on rotation…Thai, Mexican, Greek & Italian. I knew it had gone too far when the lovely lady who works at the Thai restaurant down the street knew my name and order without any direction- I guess it’s my fault for ordering spicy eggplant with chicken every single time.

Originally I wanted to make a savory fall recipe in the slow cooker this Sunday but the weather in Los Angeles has been SO hot (over it) and it just didn’t seem fitting. I would’ve had to draw all the curtains and blast the AC to make it feel cozy and fall like in our place.  So I switched gears and settled on a lighter chicken dish instead- roasted chicken with potatoes, arugula and garlic yogurt.

I forgot how much I love cooking on a lazy Sunday. The light is always so pretty that time of day in our home. We put on music…Brian cracks a cold beer and chats with me as I chop (he’s also kind enough to document the cooking session for my blog- thanks love!)…Frank plays with his toys by my feet.

It’s one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon.

The dish was an absolute success- such an interesting mix of flavors with the sriracha, cumin & garlic yogurt!

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Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt. 

ingredients-

1 1/2 pounds chicken things and drumsticks

1 1/4 pounds of small Yukon gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

2 tablespoons of sriracha

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

4 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 leeks, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/3 cup of plain yogurt (do not use greek)

1 garlic clove

2 ounces of baby arugula

chopped fresh dill

lemon juice

directions-

  • combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together sriracha, cumin and 3 tablespoons of oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
  • meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil.
  • heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden, 30 minutes longer,
  • While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, spoon yogurt over chicken and vegetables. Scatter arugula and dill over mixture. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and serve.

celebrating my momma’s bday…

28 Sep

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My momma’s birthday always feels like the kick-off for the upcoming celebratory season. Her birthday, September 24th falls the day after the first day of fall- my absolute favorite time of year. Even though it’s usually still unbearably hot in Los Angeles on her birthday I am in full fall mode.

Her lovely friends Mary & Francesca hosted a casual dinner for fourteen of us to celebrate her birthday. I am a fan of celebrating my mom because she is hands down one of my favorite people to walk the earth. She’s full of so much joy, love and laughter. She’s the kind of person you want to be stuck in a room with for hours. She’s just fun.

We feasted on a Moroccan chicken dish, roasted veggies, an arugula salad & a fruit salad while sitting outside in the garden. After dinner we moved into the living room to eat dessert (the most delectable bread pudding I have ever tasted) while watching her open gifts.

It was the kind of evening that left me heart feeling full.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Momma.

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fall / winter 2015

9 Sep

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(image found via pinterest)

With 2015 nearing to a close…I know, I know, we still have four full months, but once September hits I can’t help but reflect on how I want the year to wrap up. September – December always seems to fly by and I find myself surprised every year on January 1st- it almost seems impossible that we are there again. The next four months also happen to be my absolute favorite time of year- I find myself most creatively alive during this time. I also love everything to do with the holidays and what they represent- family dinners, our wedding anniversary, carving pumpkins, dressing Frankie up for Halloween, cooking, warmth, bundling up, decorating trees, cuddling & new beginnings.

The last eight months have been an introspective time for me. Rather than exploring the world around me, as I usually do, I have been instead making the journey within. I knew at the start of 2015 that something was off.  I had baggage that I still hadn’t worked through and I was dragging it around with me. I couldn’t hide from it anymore. It was time to do the hard work, even if that meant that other things had to be put on the back burner. Something very hard for a person who desires immediate results like me to come to terms with. Instead I had to trust the process. It reminded me of that quote by Zora Neale Hurston –  “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Thus far this year has most definitely been asking me some questions. Ones that needed answering and ones that positively shifted something in me once I did. I feel empowered and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Life man, such a wild ride sometimes, right?

When reflecting about how I want the next few months to unfold, it was clear to me that I want them to feed my soul, creative mind, relationships, home & belly. I want to soak in every bit of goodness that 2015 has left to offer me. I have a feeling the next four months will bring an entirely different energy than the first eight did and I am ready for that new energy.

Some of the ways I would like to spend the next few months…

Deepening my meditation practice. I know I have only been scratching at the surface and I am feeling a pull towards more. In addition to developing a stronger home practice I want to explore Unplug Meditation, Against The Stream & Shambhala Center.

Reading! There are fifteen (I might be setting myself up for failure on this one) books I would love to read before the end of the year. I’ll share them in a later post.

Cooking- I plan on spending some quality time in the kitchen! Again, there is something about fall and winter that inspire me to want to cook. I love hearty recipes and the feeling of warmth that comes from the kitchen this time of year.

I would love to put a small dinner party together in our home each month to bring our family and friends together. I want to make a point to enjoy the ones that matter most in my life. I also love to entertain.

I want to finish a few work projects that have been on the back burner for many many many months. As I mentioned previously, I put some things on the back burner to focus on me and it’s time to dust them off. They involve getting two book proposals finished and ready to submit in the new year and revamping my personal website which has been in purgatory for the last six months.

Practicing yoga. I want to make my yoga practice more of a priority over the next few months. My love for it has been renewed recently and I would love to keep the love affair going. My body just feels so much more balanced when I am practicing regularly.

I would love to finally find a property for the business Brian and I have been building with a few partners this past year. I can’t wait to share about it in the new year! Granted we find a property and the ball gets moving.

My home life- one of the most important aspects of my life. It has been in an incredibly solid and fulfilling place and I want to continue to watch it grow.

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There are years that ask questions and years that answer,

Years that

fall apart

and years that come together…

There are years that cry and years that laugh,

Years that wonder

And years that strike and clap and thunder.

. . .

Your job isn’t to know — not right now, not quite yet.

Your job is simply

to breathe,

to trust,

to rest

To know that it is all a part of the path —

The mystery and the clarity

The hardship and delight

The darkness and the light alike.

. . .

Dear One,

Haven’t you heard?

“This place where you are right now

God circled on a map for you.”

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monday morning meditation

3 Aug

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p a t i e n c e     is the     a n t i d o t e

Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path. By patience, we do not mean endurance- as in ” grin and bear it.” In any situation, instead of reacting suddenly, we could chew it, smell it, look at it, and open ourselves to seeing what’s there. The opposite of patience is aggression- the desire to jump and move, to push against our lives, to try to fill up space. The journey of patience involves relaxing, opening to whats happening, experiencing a sense of wonder.

-Pema Chodron-

road trip inspiration – big sur

23 Jul

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I’m back in road trip planning mode after a long break. As I’ve mentioned before, we originally planned on doing this trip last spring but life got in the way so we decided to push it to fall. Although, now that we’ve settled on fall I wonder why I ever thought spring was the right time to go? With a chill in the air and the leaves changing fall seems like the better choice. Am I right? At first I thought we’d travel in November to tie it in with our 2nd wedding anniversary but then I thought maybe the weather could become an issue at that time? Could we possibly hit snow as we get further North? Anyway, the fear of sketchy weather made me go with early October instead. Now that we have dates on the calendar I am getting excited. I feel like I am planning a mini version of the cross-country road trip I took a few years ago. I love the planning process- it gives me such a rush researching each city.

The first stop on our itinerary is Big Sur, one of the most magical places on earth, in my opinion. The scenery is breathtaking- rocky cliffs, blue ocean, sandy beaches and tree covered coastal mountains all rolled into one. It also smells incredible there- like fresh pine trees.

Brian and I have been to Big Sur a few times together. The first was when he introduced me to camping (it happened to be one of my ten goals when I started this blog four years ago- an experience you can read about here, here & here) The second trip was on our mini moon after getting married in 2013. As you can probably imagine Big Sur holds a special place in my heart.

Despite having traveled there a few times I still feel like I have so much to explore. I’m dying to visit the Esalen Institute. How have I never been there?

Here are some of my inspiration photos for stop one. Do any of you lovely folks have Big Sur recommendations? Restaurants? Coffee joints? Hikes? Hotels? Drives? Anything!

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images found via pinterest

 

the four rooms

21 Jul

 

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There is an Indian proverb that says “everyone is a house with four rooms, a mental, a physical, an emotional, and a spiritual. It is said that most of us live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not complete person.” Interesting thought, don’t you agree? The idea is based on the principle that when our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual selves are in alignment – we can more fully manifest the life we desire. This idea resonates with me. I find that when one of my rooms is out of sorts it affects everything in my life. I feel unbalanced. Off kilter. Anxious. Reactive.

So how does one balance their four rooms?

I pulled some excerpts from the beautiful site The Intentional Workplace that explain how to tend to your four rooms. Again, not my words. Enjoy!

Room one- the mental room 

The power of thought is one of the most creative forces in the Universe. Some would say – the most powerful. We don’t usually give a second thought to thinking, but our thoughts are constantly creating our experiences.

The language we use – to think and speak – is the narrative of our inner and outer world . Look around the room you are sitting in now; in the purest sense, everything in it is the product of someone’s thought. Our thoughts are the domain in which we can exercise our greatest control. Not rigid or authoritarian control, but choice. In the moment to moment choices we make, we demonstrate the power of our thought.

The scope of our control over thought continues to be understood through neuroscience. According to a recent study discussed in Nature, researchers stated,“Individuals can rapidly, consciously and voluntarily control neurons deep inside their head.” While it is important not to underestimate the challenge of controlling our thinking (especially where there is history of emotional or physical trauma) the news from science is very encouraging.

We’re entering an era where we understand that our thoughts need not be victims to external influence, but are the epicenter of our own life force and behavioral direction.

Room two- the emotional room 

This is the room where our feelings reside. Neuroscience has shown that our feelings do not simply emanate from one part of our brain (the limbic system), so we can imagine that this room is vast. It encompasses our entire body. You have more neural networks for feeling in your stomach and heart than anywhere else in your body.

Some of us ignore this room. It’s like the extra back room, filled with clutter, that seems like just too much work to organize. Others spend way too much time in the emotional room, reacting on auto-pilot to life’s events, rather than using the knowledge of the mental room for balance.

The tools of emotional intelligence can give us a whole new level of freedom in which to explore this room. We tend to think of this room as a messy place filled with anger, anxiety, resentment, impatience and frustration. While there should be a welcome sign on this room’s door for all of our feelings, remember that this is also the room where calmness, confidence, contentment, satisfaction, love, joy, empathy and compassion live. There is room for all.

The way we breathe is an important clue to how we relate to our emotions. Feelings of anger, fear, jealousy, resentment and frustration are all emotions that contracts us physically (and mentally). These feelings pull us in, forcing our breathing to become very shallow, even halting. Yet, when we experience feelings of contentment, calmness, elation and gratitude, we feel a sense of breathing out – of expansion. Even emotions that some might think of as sad, such as empathy and compassion – provide us with a feeling of release.

I have long contended that every emotion has the potential to be a resource in our lives. Feelings are an exquisite source of information about our experience. They do not lie. They are a blueprint of the truth of our experience. They reliably chart whether we are living our values or not. They brilliantly point to how we are meeting our needs or not.

The emotional room is a powerful place to reflect on your truth. Visit it with curiosity (one of the “neutral” emotions) and leave your judgment by the door. You are there to listen, learn and be humbled by your humanness.

Room three- the physical room 

Being awake and alive requires many of us to basically shift our relationship to our bodies. Most of us are spending too much time “in our heads,” cut off from our senses and the messages from our bodies. Most of the time, we’re not listening – we’re pushing. Our miraculous bodies often take a beating from us and deserve more TLC.

More rest. Better nutrition. More movement. Better posture. More hydration. Less criticism. Less stress. More self-love. It all counts. The body serves us over and over even when we deny its basics needs. How often do we “thank you?”

The core of our being is our breath or Prana in Sanskrit, Ha in Hawaiian and Chi in Chinese. In order to regain our natural connection to our body’s life force, we need to change our relationship to how we breathe. It is the key that unlocks the door between the mind and the body.

As we race from one task to the other, we rarely given our bodies a thought. Too many of our bodies are anesthetized by busyness. The reclamation of our relationships to our bodies should be one of our highest priorities.

Enter the physical room often. Bring your appreciation. Bring your respect. Celebrate this glorious temple of your life.

Room four- the spiritual room 

This room isn’t about doing – it’s about being. It’s doesn’t have to be about religion or ideology. It is the room where your spirit comes alive – where it feels free. It is the room that reflects and shares the immensity of YOU. So many wonderful gifts live in this room – too many untouched.

The gifts in this room don’t have to be marketable, branded, explained, justified or perfect. They simply need the space to go where your intuitive sense takes them.

Living in this room requires that we more closely define what inspires and brings us joy. Whatever the experience – being in nature, working with passion, being with those we love, sharing ideas, caring for those in need, painting a picture, creating a wonderful meal, traveling to places we love – bring us into alignment with the spiritual room.

Whenever we visit this room, we integrate all four rooms in harmony. In this room, we find new sources of creativity, energy and peace. Here we discover what truly feeds us – the source of the real needs behind the endless quest for self-expression.

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