the magic of noticing

 

in february i went to center space in grand rapids michigan to write for ten days.  i lived with strangers and internet friends for over a week and made art and cooked food and watched the world.  while there, a new friend commented on my tendency to share things i noticed in the natural world, squirrels eating outside the kitchen window for instance.  ever since that comment i have been really examining the way i notice the world.  and of course i related it back to plants, and now i am teaching a workshop this weekend called the magic of noticing.   

so i have been researching noticing, and what happens when we notice the world around us.  the magic of noticing is an opportunity to make time expand.  it is about realizing the present moment and recognizing that we have free will in that moment.  that we can be how we want to be as we are right now.  this is not about accepting the circumstances, it is about realizing where we have agency and making change.  your change may be big, maybe its small but it starts with noticing.  i told you i related this back to plants of course.  houseplants specifically but now even outside is full of small things growing that we can notice.

go outside. notice something alive.

so this free will that we exercise is really powerful and we can harness it and understand it when we use noticing as a tool.  noticing starts pretty small, minutia, but once we get good at noticing we can start to really notice bigger things. noticing is a tool we can use to build connection.  this is not surprising.  but its juicy.  

noticing gives us the power to really feel where we are, in our body, in our surroundings, in our homes, in our work environments,  when we begin to notice how our body feels when we are in a certain place and time we begin to make connections about our body and our feelings in that specific time and space. are you still with me?

connection. what happens when we are in connection with living beings around us? how can we be of service to the living beings we share space with?  this is where the real magic of noticing hits us. it is the moment we realize that we are part of bigger natural systems. when we are able to notice our connection to the natural world, whether we struggle with the time change of daylight savings time, or we crave sweeter richer foods in the fall or we feel as if we will explode in february if there is not a sunny warm day soon. often these moments of recognition are distilling a frustration or a disconnect we have with the universe around us. note that it can feel easier to notice discomfort before comfort, pain is information after all. these moments of noticing, that illuminate our part in the cycles of the earth are invitations to use our free will to make the tiniest shift towards feeling good, or better in your moment. perhaps reconciling the disconnect we have with the earth is what this noticing is best for. i don’t know. but i know that my noticing brings me into the present, brings me the gift of realizing and recognizing how i am connected to the natural world, i am a part of it, no matter how removed from it i feel. i am an animal, the rhythms of the earth affect my existence and noticing brings me deeper connection and understanding of this truth.

a huge component of my research in to noticing has been reciprocity. noticing is about being in relation with the world around you, and fostering deeper connection with your world. when we do this work, we begin to understand the reciprocal nature of our being in relation with other living beings. what we tend to grows, literally and figuratively. what we cultivate and use grows stronger, what we notice blooms.

Sabbatical Announcement.

I am writing a quick note to tell you that I am taking a bit of a sabbatical from this space.  I have been working behind the scenes to align my work with how I best work.  Meaning that I am starting to focus more energy on in person workshops and group coaching opportunities.  The online creative entrepreneur sphere is a hard space for me to work within because I am so susceptible to comparison spirals, imposter syndrome and 2nd guessing myself into paralysis.  I work hard to honor my intuition in my business and I have found that I trust myself more when I am working 1:1 with folks.  I am more dynamic in person, I love myself more, and I feel as though the work is more aligned with my highest and best self, therefore making me a more pure conduit of service for the collective.  

That being said, I am not planning to go anywhere, I am not closing up shop, I am just shifting focus and that takes lots of writing, planning and creating.  My favorite stuff, other than smashing the patriarchy by teaching self-love.  

So while I may not be posting here for the next month or so know that I am fiercely writing my way into something really big for Walker Whole Health and I can’t wait to share it all with you.  

 

See you in April!

in unrelated news we make a lot of fucking trash.

It feels as if I have been travelling to new england almost every weekend since the new year.  On a recent train ride from Vermont to New Jersey I sat in the window seat.  I love riding the train.  It is one of my preferred modes of travel.  Recent Amtrak crashes aside.  At age 21 I rode a train from the 413 to Seattle.  The only disappointment was that we went through the rockies at night.  Needless to say I was looking forward to my ride.  I had some writing to do and was anticipating getting some work done as well.  I did not get any work done and I only wrote a few pages because I was so distracted by the trash.

Granted there is a specific bleakness to rural new england when a recent rain has melted the snow and left piles of plowed gravel and detritus in its stead.  But the light on this Sunday afternoon in mid January was gentle and lovely. Grey linen sheets of clouds hung low and let the sun create moody shadows.  I have always loved winter because one can see the shape of the earth without her full bloom and foliage.  There is a starkness to the slope of a mountainside silhoetted against the trunks of a bare forest that I love.  Unfortunately all of the garbage I saw loomed larger than the winter landscape.  The rotting cars, piles of discarded plastic, forgotten along the train tracks practically screamed to me during my ride.  

I should admit I’ve recently been thinking quite a lot about how much stuff I throw away.  The @trash_canyon_ account on Instagram is a very interesting experiment in examining our relationship to waste and consumerism.  I am currently reading The Year of Less by Cait Flanders.  My only interest in the recent cultural disaster most people call the super bowl is if it was actual #zerowaste as it had been advertised to be.  I can’t seem to find anything post fiasco to know if they were able to meet their goal of 90% waste diversion.  Here at home we have curbside compost, our recycle bin is always full and we have a half bag of trash a week.  So we pay attention to what and how we throw away our waste.  We are the minority.

Trash is everywhere.  I didn’t get my work done on the train because I was fixated by all the trash accumulated on the side of the railroad tracks, against fences, in abandoned parking lots, crumbling buildings, junkyards full of rotting cars, swamps full of trash bags, yards full of rusting yard equipment.  It was overwhelming.  

I am not sure what actions will rise from this overwhelm.  But I felt as if I needed to state my current mindset.  It’s too early to tell how this feeling will weave into my current work.  The least we can do is start talking about our trash, that is the first step to taking responsibility for our actions.  

New Year. Who dis?

Reclaiming-New-Years-resolutions

Here at Walker Whole Health we are in the throes of our first ever instagram challenge, and by throes I mean its day three ya'll.  Intention.  But let me back track for a second.

Reclaiming New Years Resolutions.

Living in a fat body is exhausting.  Not because I am carrying around weight but because I carry so much fucking stigma.  And this time of year it is even worse, everybody is selling something that is gonna make me lose weight, get healthy and live the best year of my life.  Reality check.  The only thing that can give me the best year of my life is me.  Nothing I buy will do that for me.

So I was thinking, rather than hide from all the New Year, New You bs, what if I reclaimed new years resolutions for myself?  What if I made a resolution to trust myself, to listen to my own intuition and celebrate my body for all the joy it brings me?

Then I realized that this message of listening to our deepest knowing resonated with others.  People you would never imagine suffer body stigma were like YAAAAS!  Thank you for talking about this.  So I kept talking.  I'm getting louder.  What better way to get people engaged, talking out loud about being in the body they have right now, than to take it to social media.  By now you all know that I don't do f-book.  So an instagram challenge seemed like a good way to reach folks and get a conversation started about loving ourselves as we are right now.  

Cue the #radicalresolution challenge.  Today is day three, intention.  I designed the challenge to get us thinking about our own mindset, tools and practices that can let us give space to our intuition.  How can we love ourselves as we are right now?  What makes us happy?  Where do we get frustrated?  Can we shift our perspective so that we meet ourselves with a gentle understanding and reverence?

Leave a comment below, send me an email, and if you feel inclined; join the challenge, its fun and there are prizes!

xo

Cathlinstar

Establishing Sovereign Borders

establishing sovereign borders.jpg

Somewhere recently, I read about sovereignty as it pertains to being a woman in the patriarchal world culture.  The idea of establishing boundaries, maintaining them and then to be in charge of how people engage with said boundaries resonated with me.  I thought only of nations as sovereign and was mildly intrigued by the concept of sovereignty, but after reading a dictionary definition I am really interested.  Being sovereign is about autonomy more than anything else. Yes there are hints of royalty and excellence, but the autonomous aspect makes more sense to me on a personal level, especially in relation to the current conversation around sexual assault, #metoo, and consent.   

I have talked before about how much I love to read the dictionary  and I stand by that statement, in true nerd fashion I read the dictionary with no shame, and glean a lot of historical information from the definitions.  The part of the definition of sovereignty that stood out to me was “supreme power esp. over a body politic” so then of course I looked up body politic.  Politically organized persons identified as a collective unit.   As a queer fat women I would argue that body politic extends to my body since my body is regulated and discussed in politics and publishing, courtrooms and on the senate floor, or even on tape behind the scenes of a talk show.  

Declaring sovereignty in my own life, establishing my boundaries in regards to my expectations.

Therefore the idea of declaring sovereignty in my own life, establishing my boundaries in regards to my expectations rather than external expectations sounds pretty damn awesome.  So what are my expectations?  How do I want to interact with people?  With myself?  How do I want to show up?  What space do I want to create?  How do I consume media? Do I choose to eat in public?  Or eat at home?  Do I wear clothes for me or other people?  Am I showing up in my body?  Or in my head?  If it was up to me would I have to have this conversation?  Because in this patriarchal world culture I do have to have this conversation, and conversations about assault and violence against women and conversations about not getting paid my worth.  But if I am talking sovereignty then don’t I get to say what conversations I want to participate in?  Lets reframe the conversations!  Let’s move away from talking about my body, but start talking about what liberates us from patriarchal values.  How can we move in a direction that elevates, celebrates and supports women on financial levels, intellectual and educational levels.  How can we change the paradigm?  How do we build a new structure of power in which a creative collective is empowered rather than a fraction of a percentage of white men?  

I have a boss lady friend who always says if you love femmes pay femmes.  I recently hired another friend of mine for a strategy session to bang out some work I needed to do that I didn’t completely understand the mechanics of.  So I paid a femme to work for me.  I think we can reframe the conversations we have about women and our value and our worth, the importance of our consent by paying women to share their expertise.  Investing in what feels good to not only me, I got some great actionable know how out of my time, but also supports and feels good in the community of women business owners I am a part of.  

This can be applied in every aspect of our lives.  In the media we consume, endorsing female political endeavors and candidates, buying female owned work and services.  But also focusing on the parts of you that you want to see more of, endorse those people that see you, or if there is a vacuum, fill it! Take up some space, use your voice.  In a big way but also in small ways, in your everyday life.  

Bring the sovereignty back to your everyday life.  Create space in your life for the way you want to show up.  Recognize where you can create space within boundaries for yourself.  Get really visual with it.  Imagine fencing a huge field.  The fence holds the space for that field, in this case a field you fill with time for your stamp collection, or tarot journey, or side hustle, or vegetable garden.  Or maybe that fence holds space for healing that needs to happen.  Perhaps you need another fence to hold space for therapy every week, or a writing practice.  When you start to imagine the space you need to hold all of the parts that are important it feels powerful.  Because all of that space is within you.  You are infinite in the space you can create for yourself.  

Okay, I get a bit esoteric now and then.  I find there is something comforting, even reassuring that we have everything we need within us.  That the infinite possibility of creating and maintaining our borders rather than being subject to others expectations of us is right in front of us.  By just defining how and with whom we spend our energy.  Often that tangible can be money.  Or exchange of services, it can be friendship and mentorship.  The everyday is connecting within ourselves and with others.  Having conversations about our commonalities.

Sovereignty is also about what is outside of the borders.

Because sovereignty is also about what is outside of the borders.  Any time we talk about a fence we are talking about staking a claim for ourselves.  There is a defined sense of self implied and with in that self is connotation that the outside, the other is in someway harming.  I often argue the harm of patriarchal world culture.  I talk openly about the expectation and should placed on female bodies in our dominant western culture.  The flood of sexual assault accusations, charges, and allegations is only the beginning of the curtain being pulled back to reveal an occurance so de riguer that it has been expected, tolerated and wrapped up neatly in non-disclosure agreements.  Can we shift this conversation so it becomes normal?  Can we teach consent in elementary school?  This is how establishing our sovereignty starts to shift the paradigm.  We begin to demand the conversation and focus shift to relevant, valuable topics, we change where we go for information.  

So this has rambled on and on into a diatribe on being a feminist with a call to heal myself and other women by leading each other into our own power.  Supporting each other as we stand in our power next to each other.