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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: Transition

The Power of Thresholds: 10 Guideposts for Transition

Kirstin Hotelling Zona

Like the mechanism of the beating heart, or the process of birth shared by all mammals, creativity is born not by way of unwavering action, but through the pulse of contraction: surges of energy born on the back of quiet periods that appear, to the observer, so still as to be lifeless: the winter tree shorn of leaves, the tangle of brittle stalks upon which last year’s peonies balanced and billowed, the birthing woman sunk in sudden sleep between the volcanic heaves of her womb’s sharp cinch and release.

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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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Depression or Desire? How to Thrive Through the Creative Process

Kirstin Hotelling Zona

Have you been feeling alternately anxious and elated? More swing-y than steady? Extra vulnerable? Fraught at times by uncertainty, by bouts of worry? I ask because, like me, many of my clients are also experiencing deep internal shifts right now, and what I know to be true is that without guidance, we can all too easily mistake these signs of what I call radical becoming—a deeply generative state of psychological/spiritual growth that is often, though not always, accompanied or catalyzed by an act of creation/change (making a piece of art, writing a book, having a baby, starting or ending a relationship, starting or ending a new job, launching a business, etc.)—for their opposite: symptoms of something gone wrong, of depression looming, of our own failure and ineptitude.

Over the years, I've come to recognize this state of being, in which we can feel both oddly at home and at sea, as the hot center of the creative process. Given the sometimes surreal and disorienting feeling of this state, a state that, in my experience, can last for weeks, even months at a time, it’s no wonder that many describe the creative process as otherworldly, a syncing-up of human and beyond-human forces (I think here immediately of Elizabeth Gilbert’s recent book, Big Magic, which I loved). It’s also no wonder, given the often-uncomfortable symptoms of creation-in-process, that we resist this state. If unrecognized, let alone unmanaged, our resistance can sabotage the journey altogether, and foreclose the rewards that make the discomfort along the way worth every sob and ounce of angst: Innovation. Service. Enlightenment. Love.

But when we’re in the throes of new growth, we often don’t know it. What we do know for sure is that we feel a little (or a lot) crazy, or overly anxious, or overly sensitive, and we’re not sure why. We make those feelings, as well as the thoughts that generate those feelings (“I’m not good enough,” “What’s wrong with me,” “There’s not enough opportunity,” “Life isn’t fair,” etc.) mean something, usually something about our own insufficiency. That is, we believe them.

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Memory & Tradition

Kirstin Hotelling Zona

As a kid, I lived down a long dirt road, far away from other houses, and dozens of miles from take-out fare of any kind. Moreover, I grew up with a mom who cooked everything—including bread, tortillas, and mayonnaise—from scratch; take-out for dinner, especially on Christmas, would have been the ultimate act of unloving indifference. So, when I suggested one year (after the birth of my second child), that we order Chinese food for Christmas eve (a break from cooking for me, with no extended family within 1500 miles), then drive around looking at lights (kids strapped into car seats—oh mercy of heaven—and the blissful chance to sit for an hour), while drinking hot chocolate (tiny hands busied and mouths delighted), I felt downright liberated. Bold. Revolutionary. And, as the years passed, delighted with our new beloved family tradition.

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The Voice of More: Purpose, Part 2

Kirstin Hotelling Zona

In my last post, I taught you how to recognize—and trust—The Voice of More: her key characteristics, her various faces. What The Voice of More sounds and feels like, and what she is not. In Part 1, I took up the first of two common questions that clients ask me regarding purpose: “How do I trust that feeling—restlessness, dissatisfaction, desire?” This time, I’ll address the question that almost always follows on the heels of the last: “What if I know I want something more, or different, but have no idea what that is?” 

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