Categories
conscious living minimalism

A Car-Free Life: Reducing My Own Carbon Footprint

One of the things that deterred me from moving back to Michigan from the East Coast was the need for a car. It seems pretty silly, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, one of the reasons I specifically chose to move to Boston back in 2016 because of its walkability, T system, and ease of a daily commute.

I became extremely attached to the concept of not being attached to my material possessions back in 2016 as well, especially after spending over two years in New York City.

While talking to a friend who worked for an automotive company, he told me something pretty disheartening- that it is “strongly implied” at work that “only poor people” take BATA Transit Official (and they don’t count). 😳

BATA is our public transit system, and I was surprised to learn how helpful and nice it was when I came back to Michigan. The drivers were friendly, the schedules were consistent, and it took you pretty much anywhere you needed to go.

But hold up.

Yes, all walks of life take public transportation. I’ve taken the bus here and I’ve seen all kinds of people- tourists, storytellers, students, and sweet elderly people.

As a person who exclusively took the bus and train while living in San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, and Boston, it’s hard for me to go back to the pain of a car- especially going six years without one. Don’t get me wrong, I adored my Mini Cooper (my mother still has two, depending on the season), but every time something went wrong, I felt sick. With every check engine alert or knick on the door, I felt trapped by my material item.

Since selling Mini and moving to New York City in 2014, I’ve chosen not to drive.

I have walked over five miles a day for as long as I can remember (usually 10 or more on many days!), utilized a bike, and used my time in Uber or public transportation to write. After becoming much more conscious and mindful, I’ve embraced the time I can simply sit still and relax while going from point A to point B.

The “poor people” statement makes me sick to my stomach. Really. Could we please focus more on love and understanding instead of labels and judgment in this new decade?

That said, I don’t have a use for a car at the moment. I may in the future, but not now- and it’s somewhat of a political statement to avoid driving with the current state of our environment. I understand it’s necessary for many people to drive- to get to work, take their kids to school, or to travel on weekends. I’m fortunate to live in town and have the option to walk everywhere I need to go, use the bus, or take Uber if I can’t get there. My cat’s food and litter is delivered. I can even order groceries if I want to.

After six years in the city, it’s not easy to transition to a small town with a very limited view of the world. I can only hope to continue to connect with likeminded individuals who aren’t so quick to judge.

More love in 2020, please. For now, I’m grateful Traverse City has BATA- and good friends who don’t value others based on what they own.

Categories
mindfulness self care self discovery

Expressing Your Inner Goddess

We all have a Goddess inside of us.

We all have our own special inner powers, passions, and purposes to live out, but we have been conditioned to listen to our doubts, fears, and insecurities.

It’s time to let that Goddess shine.

I’m not suggesting you throw a Goddess party, wear a flower crown, or to book a retreat.  Those things are fun, but they don’t have anything to do with who you are- the strong, beautiful woman who has endless gifts to offer the world around them.

Divine feminine energy embraces intuition, inner wisdom, and the ability to both give and receive.  Strong and confident women are secure in who they are, lift others up, and know the importance of self-care.  They don’t have to overpower others to prove their point; they have a quiet power that shines through their everyday actions.

So, are you wondering how to start embracing your own Goddess within?

1. Leave your ego at the door

You don’t have anything to prove to anyone but yourself.

2. Open your heart

You may think it’s safer to keep it closed, but magical things happen when you’re open to receiving.

3. Love yourself without judgment

No one is perfect, and that is what makes us unique!

Embracing your inner Goddess is all about letting your authentic nature free and finally allowing your light to shine.

Somewhere along the road our spirit was crushed.  It may have been a parent’s divorce, childhood trauma, bullying, or a broken heart.  Maybe someone told us our dreams were foolish, or perhaps we were conditioned to think we weren’t good enough.

As adults, we can heal those wounds and go back to our original state of joy, dreams, and delight.  We can let go of what the world around us has said and start listening to ourselves.

From living beautifully every day to knowing the importance of setting boundaries in your life, you don’t need anything outside of yourself to embrace the Goddess within.

She knows the way- you just need to start listening to her.

For more Goddess goodness, please check out Emma Mildon’s “Evolution of a Goddess.” It’s such a great book, and I’m a total “Moon.”

Categories
mental health self discovery

Nothing Will Go Away Until It Teaches Us What We Need To Know

Running away from my problems used to be my favorite coping mechanism.

I can still fall prey to this old bad habit; I’ll hope people who bother me will disappear, or I will leave situations when I’m uncomfortable.  However, every time I do this the same people pop back up, and the same situations manifest in a different way… over and over again.

It’s a fact.

I could write about endless examples, but there’s one I have in mind which was so bitterly uncomfortable that I’m still surprised I got through it.  When I had a difficult roommate, I obviously thought the solution was to move.  To run away.  Despite receiving the silent treatment for weeks, I didn’t leave- and get this:

I was kind.

I still said “excuse me” when we would pass each other in the hallway, and I still tried to be considerate despite her obvious distaste for me.  Although I really had no idea what I had done wrong, I didn’t cower or run away- but I did later learn she had been secretly drinking.

It wasn’t even me that was the problem.

Old Kristin would have run away to avoid the feelings of rejection, discomfort, and anger- but New Kristin dealt with the situation, stuck to her guns, and now has a much better living situation because she stuck with it.

Completing things you started can be difficult- especially for someone like me who hates to be uncomfortable.  If you were to ask me in an interview today if I am a “team player,” I would probably stop lying and tell them I work best independently.  The truth is, I’m not a team player- I’m one of those kids who got frustrated in school and did the entire project themselves.  As a control freak and type-A person, I kept trying to do everything myself, over and over again, and do it MY way.

But those bad roommates will keep coming along, and so will team assignments.  It’s up to you to choose how to handle them today.

Maybe I do work best independently, and I look forward to the day I don’t have roommates anymore.  Nevertheless, as long as I remain teachable and willing to put down my ego and learn to live life differently than I used to, I’ll be just fine.

Categories
mindfulness self care self discovery

A Mindful Weekend

Every Monday morning, people ask, “did you do anything fun this weekend?”

They usually expect a grand answer.  With the exception of my old party days, my weekends are always pretty quiet.  I wake up early to explore the city, take pictures, write, and do a little shopping.  I indulge in coffee, see a few new spots, and do a lot of walking (Saturday alone was 12 miles!).  

My weekends are sacred to me; they’re my time to recharge, reset, and do the things I love.

I’m the rare breed of human who loves solo dining, going to a movie by myself, and exploring alone- not only because I am comfortable in my own company, but because I can truly be in the moment and enjoy the beauty around me.

I used to think I had to change to fit into other people’s lives, but I have finally realized that they’re the ones who need to be able to fit into mine.

I’m grateful to have wonderful people in my life who do fit- and these days, I don’t have to go to a major event or fill my time with activities just so I don’t feel alone.

I am already home within myself.

Categories
mindfulness self discovery

Living Authentically

According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, authenticity is derived from the natural self, while inauthenticity is a result of external influences.  You know- the ego, societal expectations, and materialism.

So, what is your natural self?

When you stop holding onto the fear of what others think of you, the magic starts to happen:

Authenticity begins.

When you live your life authentically, things start to fall into place.  The right people and opportunities effortlessly find their way to you.  The weight of the world seems to fall away.

For years I tried to water down the person I was due to fear of what people had to say about me.  I would tone down my message, hold back my truth, or justify simple things simply because of what others may think.

Often times, I had no real evidence of what they were actually thinking.

As I began to accept the person I am, I stopped considering the opinions of others.  Sure, it is important for me to be kind and considerate, but I also know when I need to set personal boundaries.  I stopped trying to fit in and embraced what fits for me.

I wrote this back in 2017, when I began my journey of giving less F’s about everything else and caring more about me:

When you’re in alignment with the person you are meant to be, you won’t fit in like you did before.  You will see the world much clearer, more serene, and with a sense of purpose.  The noise from the outside world will no longer affect you so much and you will begin to find ways to improve the world around you, not complain about it.  As you continue to discover your true self, remember that the positives far outweigh the negatives.  Although it can be uncomfortable at first, keep doing you- you’ll thank yourself later. 

If you’ve spent years trying to please everyone around you, here’s the sign you need to break the habit and start remembering the most important person of all: yourself.