Filling The Cup & How It Fuels Everything

 


What we do with every other area of our lives is what ultimately decides how inspired and vibrant we are creatively. How we live our lives matters. How, or whether or not we take the time to fill our cup? That matters too. Enormously.  


I know from experience that I write best when I am happy (let me know if it's this way for you too) and in order to be happy, I can't just neglect myself, staying locked away in my office gaping at my laptop for hours and days on end. There's a time and place for that, sure. When I'm on a role writing a novel, I want nothing more than to be left to it - time alone in the office, salt lamp and diffuser going full blast, quiet sorod music, yes please! But I find that in order to even arrive at this place of settling in for deep writing sessions, I need to have prepared myself with a well-rounded lifestyle of actively taking the time to fill my cup. Otherwise, I'm not refreshed, I'm not stoked to write, and I feel generally burnt out. 


We all know the feeling, and it sucks, right? 


In my humble experience, taking time to fill my cup, to cultivate joy is what makes it possible for me to, in turn, experience joy in my writing. I have to arrive at my desk with joy already in my possession. When I show up empty handed, looking to my craft to create some satisfaction in my life, it puts a massive strain on our relationship. 


In the past, I would sometimes even get feelings of anxiety when I would show up to write. I would be tired, weary, and on edge, hoping that I could write well enough that day to feel "accomplished" and, in turn, happy and fulfilled. What I didn't realize at the time was that it was this exact mindset that was negatively impacting my relationship with my writing. I was putting my writing on this pedestal, expecting it to "fix" everything for me, and bring me happiness. By doing this, and at the same time also realizing that there was a good chance I would not ultimately feel joyful by using this method, I would often feel hugely anxious and put my writing off, procrastinating and creating excuses to not write because I was secretly afraid that writing would fail to bring me happiness...and the expectations I'd constructed around my career would come crashing down around me. 


What I didn't understand was that writing can never make me happy. Nothing we do can; the act of writing is simply an experience, and like all experiences, it's not the things that are occuring or being engaged in that make us happy, it's who we are while doing them. We must be nourished in every sense in order to truly find enjoyment in anything. The fulfillment wells from within and spills over to produce these experiences, not the other way around.


When we embrace nourishing our spirits, minds, and bodies, we tend to the well. We fill the cup. And the cup spills to the saucer. That's where the fulfillment is found. Not in the experiences...but from within. 


Are we arriving to write or be creative on an empty cup? Are we burnt out and exhausted, putting our craft on an unattainable pedestal, putting huge amounts of pressure on it to make us happy? Or are we coming to the creative experience with a sense of joy already established?


And so that's why rock climbing is officially part of my "writing routine" - it's part of my creative flow. And surfing and hiking and kayaking and backpacking and time for spiritual seeking, and time with family, all of these things are what stir joy inside of me and guide me on the path.


Never belittle the need to be nourished, to fill your cup, never put it off...it's what truly fuels everything that you do.


NOW TELL ME...what did YOU do this weekend? Did anything bring you JOY? What's had your heart humming lately? I would love it if you commented below and shared your own journeyπŸ™πŸŒΏ


stay stoked,

Kate

The Magic of the Early Mornings

I firmly believe that there is a bit of magic in the early mornings. It's always been one of my favorite parts of traveling: getting up early, headed out into the unknown. Who knows what waits for us? Up before the bustle of the crowds, the world is still. Peaceful.

We rose hours before dawn one morning in Utah to get the shot you see featured at the top from the Mesa Arch in Canyonlands, Utah. The first three shots actually. There's something absolutely magical about watching the sun rise over a landscape you've never beheld before. The warm golden rays reveal something new, something that causes your eyes to grow wide and your heart to beat in your throat.

The shot of the tree is also from Canyonlands, Utah. The last two of the field are from Colorado. It was freezing that morning. Frost kissed the ground. I was bundled in a thick sweatshirt and cradling a tin mug of dark coffee in my chilled fingers. I walked around the sleepy campground with my camera slung around my neck, and watched a sun burning bright gold swell up over amber waves of grain. I loved the way these shots came out.

There's something about early mornings, at least for me. It's like there's a little bit of magic contained within them that makes it impossible for you to forget the potency of the experience. Something that leaves us in awe.


When was the last time you woke up with the sun? Do you have any cool sunrise stories? Do you find that there's just a bit of magic in the early mornings too? Comment below, I would love to hear your stories. :) I hope you have a lovely weekend my friend. Be sure to tune into the podcast on Monday...it's going to be real. Signing off for a weekend outdoors!

Stay stoked

Kate 

Rooted In Gratitude



Gratitude. These are our roots. This is where we began.

This morning I sat in silence - in the quiet of the sunroom with the windows open. I could hear the screech of the hawks that have taken up residence in the woods surrounding our house as they do every summer. Their long, shrill calls to one another echoed through the still, early morning atmosphere. Beyond this: the twitter of wrens, the sighs of crickets, the gentle swish of the wind as it made its way through the leaves.

Sitting there, listening, noticing the sunlight as it warmed my skin, I felt a deep sense of...being. I was there. Fully. And I was grateful. For hawks, wrens, crickets, the breeze, the sun. We get to live on this beautiful planet. We are part of it, and it is part of us.

Wow.

When that sinks in...and it does every time we stop and notice...I find it impossible not to be filled to the brim with awe.

The very fact that we are here, now, grounded in this present moment together, witnessing the sun as she rises, the birds as they awaken.

Wow.

Gratitude. These are our roots.

We don't need to go anywhere to find things to be filled with gratitude for...we have so much, right here, right now, to be thankful for. All we need to do is open our eyes...really open them; truly see the world around us.

This moment is wild. It is teeming with life yet to be discovered. I've been racing dragonflies along the water's edge lately, they're in the air and I'm in my kayak, and it's reminded me of how good it feels to be

alive
alive
alive.

We are lotuses coming up through the water, climbing toward the sunlight. Excited just to be alive. When did we start feeling like we always need to be doing something in order to feel alive? We have everything right here - I want to be like the lotus, basking in the sun, complete in that moment, complete right now...simply being.

There's so much in this moment, and when we notice, when we cultivate gratitude, there is a beautiful, grounding connection.

That's my meditation today. πŸ™πŸŒΏπŸŒΊ What are you grateful for? Do you take quiet time to think or meditate & simply be in the morning? What is your personal practice? Please feel free to share below if you would like to. I would love to hear your thoughts. Have a beautiful weekend, friend. Namaste.

stay stoked,
Kate


πŸ”Recent videos offerings on my channel you may love ☀️

Small Steps: How Yoga Helps Me Reset & Have A Better Day



I believe in small actionable steps. I think they are important and how anything is accomplished. Small steps are what make up the world around us, everything we love. It all was once just a thought, acted upon not in one herculien leap that brought it into manifestation, but in small steps. Small steps bring so much about.

I like to apply this idea whenever I can. I try to remind myself not to look at the big picture, but to look at the very next small actionable step. What can I do next that would make this better?

I say this about small steps, because yesterday I was thinking about how one small step in particular has completely changed my life. Yesterday, I was having a bit of an off, grumpy morning. You know the kind of morning I'm talking about. I just felt tired and frustrated for no particular reason.

I stopped everything, set all tasks aside and rolled out the yoga mat. For a half an hour, I stretched, worked my core, and breathed deep. And it turned my day around.

I know this sounds like a bit of a yogi-rant, of course I'm going to say this as someone who practices yoga, right? But I'm serious...I've always worked out, since I was a young teenager. But there's something very, very special and different about yoga. I've practiced for around five years now, and I still feel as though I am only just beginning to discover the benefits of the journey.

It has helped me to connect with my body and my environment so much. It's a tune-up. It's something that I've found actually does have the power to completely turn my day around. When I'm having a "bad" day, I drop everything and retreat to the mat.

By this point, it's becoming common knowledge that movement brings with it a plethora of benefits for both the mind and the body, easing symptoms of anxiety and depression, and allowing our muscles to stretch, relax, and build us into the strongest, healthiest versions of ourselves.

My personal experience with yoga specifically, this unity of breath and movement, has proven itself to be something that has the capacity to turn my entire day around. When I feel off, I turn to yoga, and from what I've experienced, it resets my day. I feel better, refreshed. I can think with far better clarity. I feel connected with the environment around me, and deeply immersed in my own body and it's needs. It drives me to eat clean and healthy, to fill my cup, to cultivate and express gratitude, and to accomplish with grace and compassion.


Yoga merits more blog posts - it's an expansive topic. But for now, I just wanted to give it a shoutout, express gratitude and love for how well it has served me, and leave a few resources below if you're looking to give it a try yourself, or simply deepen your practice.

I am grateful to yoga for giving me an opportunity to let go, to pause and to set aside anything and everything that may be cluttering my mind. I am grateful for the chance to simply breathe, connect...be. Society pushes "do" while yoga contradicts this with what I deeply believe to be a vital spiritual principle: "be."

I am thankful that each day is a gentle and welcoming opportunity to learn how to be. Just...be. Because no matter how much I "do"...what I accomplish is not who I am. Who I am is not the author of The Blood Race. Who I am is not the filmmaker. Who I am is not an entrepreneur. These are all wonderful things...but they are just that: things. Not who we are. Not definitions.

Oh, we have something so powerful inside of us...we haven't even scratched the surface yet!! But I am so thankful for tools that allow us to seek and find...and yoga is one of those tools for me.

My favorite yoga channel:

Other helpful yoga channels:

My current go-to yoga flows:

Videos I've made on yoga:


What about you? Do you practice yoga? Are you thinking about giving it a try? How does your own, personal movement practice help you mind, body, and spirit? Please comment below and tell me about your journey, I would love to hear. πŸ™πŸ’›πŸŒΏ

stay stoked,
kate


unplugging...and finding true connection


If you've followed me anywhere for any length of time, you've most likely heard me say (at least once) that I firmly believe that what we do with every other area of our lives directly affects how creative (and how happy) we will be.

I could go on and on about this, recommending books and videos to supplement this idea I've only quickly mentioned here, but I'll try to get right to the point: happiness comes first. With anything. With creating, with life, with careers, and relationships. Every time we try to look for fulfillment from these things themselves, we turn up empty-handed. We can't find fulfillment in those things alone. Fulfillment comes from within and that is where we truly find happiness.

Now as to how we do this exactly - finding happiness and fulfillment within our beings - I am not an authority, but I am a student. My wildly scribbled field notes suggest that gratitude has a lot to do with it. (I'll list a couple of videos at the bottom of this post, which I highly recommend you watch after reading for more on this concept.)

Finding gratitude...for me, I have to quiet down. I have to unplug from what noise there may be in my life - noise like the beeps and pings of phones and computers, social media, or tv. These are distractions; "hey look at me!" that's all they have to say, and yet, how much value have these things sincerely added to our lives?

My phone lives in my satchel, charged and turned off, ready to be used in case I need to get in touch with family when I go out. My laptop is set-up not to receive any distracting notifications during the day. I have no social media apps, and update social media mindfully through a planner, checking up on friends through messages and emails instead of scrolling through a cluttered feed.

Certainly not trying to "toot my own horn" here, I am just trying to make a point: we live in a world that wants YOUR WORLD, your personal world, to be a cluttered one by default. We have to choose clarity and quiet with robust intention.

I believe that it's within that quiet, that absence of clutter and noise that we find peace and stillness: what is real. What connects us to gratitude - what I mean is simply being quiet and open enough to even notice how much we have to be grateful for. Including that breath you just took.

For me, this helpful process does not end with unplugging, just as stopping a bad habit doesn't automatically start us on a new, good habit. I can't just unplug from something without actively connecting to something else.


Yesterday I was thinking about this as I trekked through the woods; quiet footsteps beneath canopies of sunlit birches and pines. It was so quiet out there...at least, we call it quiet. What we mean is, all of our noises aren't there: the clicks and beeps. Really, the forest is teeming with a chorus that my words can hardly contain here: the chirrup of crickets, the twitter of the cardinals, wrens, and chickadees, the hushed trickling of a mountain stream tumbling into a pond cupped in the palm of the valley below. The wind whispering "shhhhh" to our minds, our hearts.

I stood beside a cluster of conifers, touching their soft branches with my fingertips, standing there in silence for a moment. I could actually feel their presence - the space they took up, the energy they emulated. It was incredible.

Everything has a presence, nature is filled with it. And I've found that being out in it connects me not only to the earth, but to something much deeper and more profound in myself. Something I want to explore more, and become more aligned with.

I don't like to try to pin down these feelings and experiences in words, but I think that it's all an invitation - a declaration that there is so much more here than we realized. That so much is waiting to be explored inside of us. That there is something so real lying just below the surface of all the noise and clutter we've created. Just like plunging into a quiet mountain lake - everything silences to stillness...serenity. And it invites us to truly listen.

I hope you had a chance to get out into nature this weekend, my friend. And if not, I hope you'll enjoy the video offerings below that delve into some of these topics a little more. May they offer you a breath of fresh air today!

On gratitude:

On unplugging & getting into nature:


Do you enjoy unplugging and getting out into nature? Where do you feel most at home in nature? What speaks to you? I would love to hear about your personal practice and experiences below if you would like to share. πŸ™πŸ’›πŸŒΏ

stay stoked,
Kate

peaceful imagery for troubled times





















Haute-Savoie, France. 

It's a very hard time. A very dark time. I wanted to give something beyond words; something that I found has helped me a lot when I feel anxious or overwhelmed, and that is looking at beautiful, relaxing imagery, whether it is film or still photographs. I thought I would share these photos from a past trip. I hope they emanate feelings of calm. May you stay healthy and safe my friend.

peace,
kate