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Blog

Welcome to my blog, where you'll find substantive, well-researched articles that blend neuroscience, philosophy, poetry, personal reflection, and the latest life coaching tools in service of helping people engage their full potential. 

 

Filtering by Category: Gratitude

On Epiphany

Kirstin Hotelling Zona

The experience of epiphany is, more than anything, an act of radical belonging: in its midst we learn that confusion is a symptom of over-steeping in the known, a failure of curiosity. We discover that true freedom—that sudden sensation of clear-seeing—is achieved not through isolation, not by stepping-away and seeing anew, but by climbing into the palm of what beckons from beyond and finding we've always lived there. 

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On Belonging: How to Parent Ourselves

Kirstin Hotelling Zona

Whether you are celebrating today, or grieving, or aching... Whether you have children, have lost children, chose not to have children, wanted children and could not birth or otherwise raise children of your own... Whether you are with your children, or estranged from them ... You are, yourself, born of a mother, and you are, yourself, called every day into the profound life's work of learning to parent yourself. 

What does this mean, to (re)parent oneself? 

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Surviving vs. Thriving Through the Holidays (and Beyond)

Kirstin Hotelling Zona

Am I (with the best of intentions!) gearing up to survive this season? Or am I setting myself up to thrive

Maybe the answer to this question is obvious to you, but if you're like me, you're not always sure; survival-mind is so deeply normalized by our culture today that we often don't realize when we're caught in its grip. Hyper-consumption (the f.o.m.o. fomented by Black Friday, Cyber Monday... the belief that eating and drinking well past the point of our body's comfort or health means we're in sync with the "holiday spirit"...), overspending and over-commitment, and habitual people-pleasing are just a few ways in which we perpetuate and naturalize survival-mindset, that deep-grooved network of beliefs that whispers there's not enoughmore is better, and that's just the way it is

You know you're in survival mindset if you're bracing for the days ahead. You know you're in survival mindset if you're letting yourself off the hook with regard to self-care (eating well, sleeping enough, honoring your boundaries and priorities) in the name of being festive, fun, a "good friend" or a "good host." You know you're in survival mindset if you're striving for perfection, if you're spending more time thinking about what others will think of your efforts than you spend enjoying those efforts along the way, and if you're responding to feelings of overwhelm by shifting into auto-pilot, that slightly numb state of being in which we tell ourselves that the delayed reward of "getting it all done" justifies the edgy cortisol high we're riding through a sea of seemingly endless tasks. 

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What Will You Make it Mean?

Kirstin Hotelling Zona

This year, the coming of fall means the advent of intention. As the Buddha once said, the whole of conscious life unfolds on the tip of intention. And I want my intention to be strong, focused, and clear--just like the bright fall air, the cool mornings and crystalline skies. I want to wake every day with an overarching vision of what it is that I want, above all else, to feel--in my body, my mind, and in my interactions with others. I want to light my bedside candle each night and write, with a sense of gratitude and excitement, about what I created that day, what I learned, what surprised me, and whose support I'm so grateful for that I could weep. 

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On the Magic of Giving and the Nature of Gratitude

Kirstin Hotelling Zona

As mammals, we instinctively face the cold dark by simultaneously conserving and sharing. By turning inside and reaching out. Like foxes and bears and squirrels, we stay put in nature’s darkest hour. We move inward. We shelter. We become quiet. We burrow into memory and reflection: prayer, the lighting of candles, rituals of silence and observation. And we also gather. Like penguins, who press themselves into a circle of contiguous heartbeats to counter the arctic night, we too draw our bodies nearer to others’ at this time of year: congregations of singing and sermon, feasts with family and friends, long snuggles under blankets and bedclothes… This pirouette from dark to light, from what hurts to what heals, is, I believe, the condition of gratitude: a deeply human, perhaps deeply animal, confrontation of our own fragility and mortality coupled with the recognition of our potential for tenderness, healing, and love. 

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