That Time I Reverse-Engineered Advice + Grew A Unicorn Horn

My brother echoed many times to me: “What other people think of you is none of your business, Sister.”

 

Those words were soothing to me and exactly what I needed to hear when I was a teenager in high school and for whatever hormonal, lady-raging reason I actually gave a shit about what others thought (no, I’m not exempt from caring what other people think, I just usually do the duck and water thing and let it roll off my back. Turns out I’m human, not a duck).

 

Fast forward a decade or so later and I was reverse engineering that statement as I fumbled through making tea and pouring my ever-so-needed Brain Octane into my Bulletproof Yerba Maté one morning.

 

Thoughts raced through my head about family, friends, decisions, what if’s and holy-mother-of-contemplation-hamster-wheel, Batman! I felt like I couldn’t get off the roller coaster or monkey mind as they call it (again, I was trying desperately to pump that Bulletproof brain fuel of tea into my mouth as fast as possible – go, Seabiscuit, go!)

 

Considerations like so were jump roping in my head:

“She’s still with that guy?”

“Why does she stay?”

“Why did she go back?”

“Why did he do that?”

“Are Unicorns real?”

“Of course they are, Kel – get real!”

 

And then a miraculous and bloody practical thought popped into the ole noggin’: what you think of it/them/situation is none of your damn business!

 

I felt weighed down with judgment and concern and major think tanking and knew it wasn’t serving them and it sure as hell wasn’t serving me. Once that ping of “none of that being my business” came through the mind, I felt lighter and able to move through the moments easier, less debilitated in whatever my mind was holding hostage. Because I wasn’t using discernment, I was just straight up being judgmental (and curious as hell into human behavior) for people and things I had no business asserting judgment towards.

 

Now I say all of this because at one point in my life, this scenario of thoughts clogging my brain would have went down a wee bit differently. I would’ve tried to phone a friend that was a monk (I actually don’t have friends that are monks, but I lived with and around some uber-spiritual people once in my life if that counts?), or plop my ass down and thumb through YouTube for a guided meditation on For the Love of God, Shut My Brain Off, or chant affirmation words and cram everything into my Positive Box as I danced around to Prince’s Purple Rain.

 

At times those cosmic-loving resources worked and other times they didn’t and I found myself disappointed and all judgy-pants…with myself.

 

I can always say a prayer and send love. Meditation can definitely be a chill pill for me. And affirming the shit out of something or turning it on the positive side is like, my skill in life.

 

What I’ve learned through all of the deep breaths and chatting with would-be monks is that solutions can be ethereal and practical – moods can lift from accessing otherworldly realms and they can also shift from rooting in practical advice from your brother. All that matters is how it works for you. And for me, remembering that it’s not one or the other, it’s a mesh and meld of the real-world advice and a remembering of those times when you get a call from a friend you were just thinking about and not calling it a coincidence…and that time I thought I was growing a Unicorn horn from my head (even if it turned into a whopping zit)!

 

Love + Melding + Big Brother’s,

Keli

CONTINUE READING

Relationship Freedom + Why I Called Bullshit on “Two Becoming One”

 

There I was perusing the Internet like the mature 30-something that I am, scrolling through my Facebook feed as I wondered why I even placed my thumb on that blue icon on my iPhone in the first place — political rant after political rant — blah, blah and another blah.

 

Finally my eyes saw a post about love and marriage and that saying that pulls at the heartstrings so much…”when two become one.” Now, for some reason, I found myself playing my own game of Bullshit and thought to myself, “I’m married and don’t believe that saying.”

 

As I started to peel back my own onion, I thought, “Shit, I’m a walking contradiction it seems like. I’m happily married, wouldn’t change it for the world, yet, I don’t believe in all the love-buzz around marriage. Am I completely deranged, or is there more to this?”

 

Enter me, flying down my own rabbit hole.

 

You see, I’m a freedom fanatic. Some call me crazy and I’m quite comfortable with that, thank you very much. I’m all about freedom for and in every. damn. thing. Especially in relationships: please don’t tell me what to do, or expect certain things from me. (P.S. – my Hubs waves the same Freedom Flag — probably why we’re still married after 7 years). Now, I know that might sound like a little girl stomping her feet because she doesn’t get what she wants, but stay with me…

 

Because I know in my core that if I don’t feel freedom in my life I will, indeed, go bat-shit crazy and I will make Nurse Ratched contemplate a career change when I don’t feel like I’m ringing the Liberty Bell.

 

So, what really got me in a tizzy about the ole “when two become one” adage was not the act of marriage, or romance, or feeling so high on love you’re basically drunk – who doesn’t love the early phase of love when you feel like you’re walking on air and eating clouds to sustain yourself?

 

My craze tethered to the ball busting, freedom fanatic I am at heart.

Two becoming one made me feel stifled and quite frankly, like I couldn’t breathe.

And when freedom is one of your biggest must-haves in life, especially in relationships, you protect the shit out of it.

 

And that usually looks like:

— Having conversations so difficult and oozing with honesty that your lips quiver as you talk, but you know this is what growth feels like.

— The sand analogy: if you pick up sand and hold it tight all it does is seep through the cracks and tries desperately to come up for air. When you keep the palm of your hand open, the sand feels comfortable enough to nestle and fluid in its movement. Be like the open palm; flow.

 

In my relationship…

I feel united with my husband – not one.

I choose growth constantly over being comfortable in our relationship.

I require open door policies and raw truth telling.

We don’t get caught up in forever, or “till death do us part” – we do this moment, right now, because we know it’ll lead us to the next and the next…and the next. Ain’t nobody got time for future-trippin’.

 

My panties got in a wad over some words that struck a chord in me and with some onion peeling, I reaffirmed my must-have in life: freedom.

Whatever your non-negotiable in life is – freedom or whatever lights you up and makes you the best version of you – let that be your number one. Protect your must-have, caudle it, stoke your fire, own it and shrug off anyone who calls you crazy because of it.

 

I shall leave you with this quote:

 

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

 

— *Rob Siltanen or Steve Jobs/Apple or John Chapman (confusing confirmation all around trying to quote the right person, damn you Internet).

 

 

 

Love + Waving My Freedom Flag,

Keli

 

 

 

CONTINUE READING

Questions For Heaven – When Wonder Turns To Appreciation

On what would have been your 61st trip around the sun, I woke up with questions swirling my orbit and I couldn’t help but talk to the cosmos about it…

 

Questions For Heaven –

I wonder how much joy you’d have being a grandma.

I wonder how many giggles you and your granddaughter would have racked up by now.

I wonder how my life would be different with your help dealing with dad and his dementia.

I wonder what your day-to-day life would look like – where would you be going? What career would you have pursued? How much farther would you have climbed?

I wonder how much more healing we would have experienced in our relationship –

Would I call you everyday?

Would we plant a garden every year?

Would you have taken over every small detail while planning my wedding?

Would you have cared about gift bags at my baby shower?

Would you’ve done the little things like party favors and centerpieces that I think are useless?

I wonder the amount of love you’d have for the man who loves me as much as I love myself.

 

Mostly though, because of your earthly departure, I wonder if I’d even be who I am today – with all the bruises, scars and my own Phoenix Rising –

Would I still be trying to shut people out and ice my heart so I can’t feel emotions?

Would I still be running away from people when times got tough and I just wanted to be selfish and worry only about myself?

 

And then my wonder turns to appreciation.

Because I know your beaming up to heaven was the greatest burning up in my own flames and eventual rebirth I could have ever experienced — although you couldn’t have told me that at the time.

So, when I try to answer those heart-panging questions, I sit with gratitude and immense appreciation for the journey that even brought me to these questions…

Because it means I have most definitely grown, and more often than not, sat in my feelings and chose to stay with them, as well as not running away from anything or anyone who brought up emotion in me.

Some questions are better left unanswered and some journeys are better for it.

 

Love + Rebirth + Sitting In Wonder,

Keli

 

P.S. – If you’ve lost a loved one, especially your mother, the book, “Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss” by Hope Edelman changed my world and was an enormous resource for my grief and healing journey.

CONTINUE READING

5 Ways To Get A Grip On Life + Grow A Pair

Not only do I have some WTF moments, I also have dark flashes when all I really want to do is wiggle my nose like Samantha Stephens on Bewitched and start anew. Yep, sometimes I most definitely need to get a grip on life and grow a pair.

I will say that these times don’t stick around too long because of a couple tricks I have up my sleeve to help get a grip when I need one and/or grow a set of balls if that’s required, too. Because life is real deal, yo.

 

5 Ways To Get A Grip On Life + Grow A Pair —   

 

  1. – Let It All Out:

Look, I spent most of my life holding everything in and priding myself on being an ice queen, until one day, when my mom died, all the walls I built to keep myself “safe” actually caved in and began to suffocate me.

Ever since then (and many grief counseling sessions later) I’ve been a firm believer in feeling what I feel and then letting that shit go.

Holding it in actually keeps you stuck wherever you are emotionally. Even if you don’t want to let out an ugly cry and think the pain will bury you, let it – because you will still be breathing, dirt eventually washes away and guaranteed the sun will rise again.

 

  1. – Unleash The Muse

A part of letting it out for me is HOW I want to let it all out — Unleashing The Muse. We all have creative outlets that bring us joy – painting, horseback riding, writing, singing, dancing, numbering (that’s what I call what my husband does when he looks like John Nash in A Beautiful Mind). 🙂

Whatever you plug yourself into that turns you on and allows you to light up from the inside out – do that. Throw paint on a blank canvas, scribble gibberish in your journal, dance naked in your living room, stomp it out, shake it out, breathe it out…unleash the Muse and invite her (him) in, so she feels like she’s part of your healing.

 

  1. – Spill Your Guts

Spilling your guts can also be a part of unleashing the muse, but what I want to talk specifically about is therapy/healing modalities.

When my mom died when I was 24-years old, my life spiraled quickly out of control and I became Party Queen and the Commissioner of non-commitment. It wasn’t until I discovered and dove deep into grief counseling (like every Monday for months, grief counseling) that I began to piece myself back together and finally feel like a whole person again.

Spill your guts – to a soul sister, a counselor, a healer, a coach, a family member, or whomever you trust and can share your entire self with and do it as often as you can. Holding emotions in creates a volcano inside you, that, when erupts, blows ash and heat in every direction.

 

  1. – Crash The Comfort Zone

You hear the quotes about walking outside your comfort zone and that nothing magical happens INSIDE your comfort zone. And as someone who likes to live mostly outside her comfort zone, I’d agree completely with that statement.

Whenever we do something scary, we grow and growth is where the magic is at because we will never be the same again and we tend to learn so much about who we are.

You don’t have to sky dive or become a nun to crash the comfort zone – follow your curiosity, take a plunge down rabbit holes and be open to being used up the Universe – because hot, sweaty and out of words is sometimes really sexy.

 

  1. INVOKE STUART SMALLEY: Forgive + Love Yourself

We might not all be affirmation swinging, mirror reflecting guru’s, but what we CAN be is loving and forgiving to ourselves – not only for the journey we’re on, but everything that has brought us to where we are.

You made a mistake? So what.

Is it really a mistake, or a lesson in knowing yourself better?

You don’t like yourself? If you don’t love you, who the fuck will, so start going on some dates with YOU and wine and dine your beautiful ass.

Forgive yourself first, so you can forgive others and love the shit out of YOU as often as possible!

 

Big Love + Getting A Grip + Growing Some Big One’s,

Keli

CONTINUE READING

How To Receive A Compliment (Illustrated By A Pre-Schooler)

 

It was a bright, yet crisp Saturday morning as she meandered into our bedroom with her white pajama shirt on backwards and her pink and white socks pulled over her pants.

This tiny Pre-Schooler looked like she just rolled out of a John Hughes movie beholding like Curly Sue with some major bedhead – a tiny birds nest in the back of her hair where she slept, waiting for Mama Bird to fly right into it and perch herself on that rough patch of hair.

She grabbed her pink and black polka dotted blanket that’s been around since she was a wee babe, off the futon. I was reading a book and marveled at her appearance and excitedly blurted out, “I love you so much!”

“Love you, too.”

“You are so cute.”

“Thanks!”

And then she walked out of the bedroom sniffing her blanket like the loved up, ball of cuteness I was just doting on.

In that moment I thought – how fucking beautiful it is that this tiny human just accepted AND received a compliment without feeling like she had to compliment me in return or negate what I said.

 

How to receive a compliment:

What if (even if some resistance bubbled up inside us) we said, “thank you” and left it at accepting?

What if we actually received the compliment because holy hell, “You look beautiful today” actually feels really good to hear?

What if we didn’t try to interfere with the joy of the compliment-giver and brush aside what they said because it actually fuels their soul to say those things to you?

What if you didn’t question and actually believed you are absolutely worthy of the words raining upon you?

What if “thank you” is perfectly acceptable to say in return – nothing more, nothing less?

Because compliments (the giving and the receiving of them) can make a day, soothe a soul and elevate a life + you are so worthy.

 

Big Love + Learning to Give and Receive,

Keli

CONTINUE READING

On Acceptance: When Life Is A Literal Shit Show

 

I was straight up sobbing, but without the tears rolling down my cheeks, kind of sob. It looked more like the body cry where your shoulders are heave hoeing up and down uncontrollably like you’re dancing a jig. Yeah, that one.

I’m standing on the bathroom rug, trying to hide my face in the crease of my elbow as I endured, with gray medical gloves on and a plugged nose, trying to clean up an accident my dad just had – right before we were to walk out the door to take my little babe to school.

The difference in this physical weep was that I had never let out a soul cry like that in regards to my father and the journey we’ve been on with his dementia.

Sure — I’ve been frustrated and depleted.

Absolutely – I’ve wiped away the tears when I need to hit my “tap out” button.

You bet — I’ve vented and asked, “Why me?” a few dozen fucking times.

But, when I’m cleaning him up after it looks like a giant Hershey’s Kiss blew up in the bathroom – no, I hadn’t really felt that sort of emotional outcry before. It was just something I did.

 

I was cursing my life in that moment and the many moments after as we finally drove to school.

And I was allowing myself to feel every bloody emotion that was trying to erupt in my Being.

I loved that I was actually allowing myself to feel what I’m feeling, instead of stuffing them away like a bunch of plastic grocery bags underneath the sink. Because denying my feelings and trying to push them away and act like a robot, were a few things I “prided” myself on for a long time in life.

 

As I entered the front door when we returned home – I felt lighter – not “cured” (whatever the hell that really means) but like I had taken off a couple layers of clothes that were weighing me down during the hot summer.

And then the epiphany hit me as I was listening to Elizabeth DiAlto’s Podcast: Untame the Wild Soul Woman with her guest Margaret Nichols, as they were discussing how often times we forget that the moment we’re in right now is perfect just the way it is.

The conversation they were having was so rich with insight for myself and what I needed to hear in that exact moment – I soon realized I was sliding down the slippery mountain of non-acceptance in my life…again.

I’ve ping ponged back and forth with acceptance of where my life is at various times before, especially the last few years as I’ve taken on a larger role as caregiver and stay-at-home-mom (not two “titles” I thought I’d ever have to this degree, but two I’m damn proud to have now.)

You see, I thought I’d be on Oprah by now, laughing out loud with her on Super Soul Sunday as we sipped our Chai Tea’s.

I thought I’d be 3-5 years in with this whole entrepreneur thing, vacationing in exotic places and retiring my husband.

I thought I’d have my own talk show and be living it up on air five days a week.

 

Instead…

My life is a literal shit show sometimes – I clean up my dad and his accidents because I know I’d regret NOT taking care of him when it’s all said and done – rather than traipsing around the world with a microphone.

I chauffer, entertain, bicker, pull my hair out in frustration, cuddle, read Junie B. Jones books and literally breathe in my spunky, little daughter more than I sit in front of my computer and write because I get to at this stage in my life.

 

What if I allowed this moment to be my medicine?

What if I drank from the cup of life and soaked in each moment?

What if I had faith and trusted I’m exactly where I’m meant to be?

What if this is all part of the big dreams I have?

What if it’s all working FOR me, not against me?

What if acceptance of the present moment actually throttles us closer to the other tugs in our soul?

What if…

 

 

Love + Learning To Love My Shit Show,

Keli

CONTINUE READING

On Living Like You’re Alive

The hubs and I stood there, on a rug that probably cost more than my entire wardrobe, in an exquisitely sizable, modern, well decorated house and just stared at the striking and rather large family picture on the wall.

As we were gazing at it and trying to place all of the people in the frame (because we sure as hell didn’t know them that well, except for shaking hands and exchanging “Nice to meet you,” in their kitchen ten minutes ago) – my father-in-law’s Lady Friend walked into the room and noticed us looking at the picture on the wall.

 

She began to explain one by one who everyone was.

Me being the absolute nosiest, most intrigued person with a profound desire to want to know the intricacies of people’s lives, chose to go down the rabbit hole.

She answered my questions – who, why, what – and then I inquired how the husband and wife met.

Lady Friend was going into detail about how they met and a particular part of the story had both my husband and I on the edge of our tippy toes…

She described how the wife was previously widowed and left with a baby and a toddler and then met and married her (now) husband soon after meeting and they’ve been together ever since.

 

My hubs was dismayed to hear someone re-marrying or hell, even finding love so fast after a partner’s death (and Lady Friend told us their marriage was one of the best she’s ever witnessed and was heartbroken when he passed).

“How could you just move on so quickly after something like that?” Hubs quipped as he sipped his drink.

“Well, as they say, life is for the living.” Lady Friend remarked with her sweet, southern accent.

 

As far as I was concerned, that was a Mic Drop Moment because I went blank in conversation after that and straight absorbed what she just said:

Life. Is. For. The. Living.

 

I know it sounds so simple, but I never heard that saying/quote until those words oozed out of her mouth. And those lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks, man. Coming from someone who thinks she’s all ballsy and wants to live outside her comfort zone – that shit will make you feel alive I thought – but that quote straight hit me like I had to evaluate how I was truly living. 

 

Am I living as if I’m alive or am I living as if I’m already dead?

What would I do differently knowing I have this life to live right now?

How would I live as if I’m fully alive?

 

I now ask myself these questions as often as I need in order to smack my own ass.

“Life is for the living,” repeats in my head constantly nowadays.

 

And when I feel uninspired — I remember that I’m alive and breath is a gift.

 

 

Love + Living Like I’m Alive,

Keli

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