Mind & Body

Underwater

July 26, 2015

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Photos (on an underwater just-for-fun point and shoot!) by Misty Bradley of Revel Photo.  She also did my post-apocalyptic-inspired warrior mama maternity shoot

Why I Work Out

January 18, 2015

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Towards the end of my pregnancy last year I became obsessed with the idea of becoming a bodybuilder. I started following bodybuilders on Instagram (total guilty pleasure) and reading everything I could about weightlifting and nutrition to support a killer physique. It wasn’t just the fact that I felt huge and very pregnant that had me dreaming about six-pack abs but the pregnancy itself made me curious about transformation and the stuff our bodies are capable of doing.

So these bodybuilders I follow on Instagram are constantly pairing their #gymselfies and photos chicken and oats in tupperware with motivational captions like “I have goals. Nothing will get in my way. You have to know WHY you want what you want and then you have to go for it full force.” (Trite, yes – but I’m a total sucker for them.)

These captions always have me feeling like I don’t know really know my why. That said, these women with boulder shoulders and glutes that won’t quit never really seem to articulate their WHY either. So I started thinking about my own personal reasons why I want to be in killer shape. I came up with two:
1. so I can kill zombies and look like The Walking Dead‘s Michonne doing it
2. so I can look like a zombie-killing badass in a bikini this summer

I think I’m disciplined enough to go to the gym and kick my own ass and track my macros down to the gram so I can look and feel like Linda Hamilton doing hundreds of pushups and pull-ups in Terminator or Ellen Ripley kicking some Alien ass or Michonne slaying zombies … but is it a sustainable why? Is looking like a post-apocalyptic badass the kind of why that will get my ass in gear when I’m tired and want to eat All The Sugar?

So I started digging deeper about my “why”. Why do I work out?

After lots of driving and thinking, showering and thinking, working out and thinking, walking and thinking, and brushing my teeth and thinking I came to the conclusion that my WHY boils down to two values: 1. transformation and 2. discipline.

Transformation. I love a good reinvention. I remember as a kid I was always excited for Madonna to unveil her newest look – I even admired how bold and unapologetic she was about stuff like her fake English accent. Into my late teens and early 20s America’s Next Top Model was my favorite – and the episode I never wanted to miss was the big makeover where they chop Rapunzel’s locks into a Rosemary’s Baby pixie. I couldn’t get enough.

And then there is Discipline. I love the idea of spontaneity and just living life, man… but when it comes down to it I thrive on discipline and routine. Trusting a process that will get me from Point A to Point B – it gives me the certainty I crave. But I’ve noticed over the past year that when I lose faith in myself, I stop trusting how over time little steps will add up to great distances. When I’m low I can’t even see past my own hand. Getting from Point A to Point B seems pointless when I don’t even know what Point B looks like. So discipline – it’s about focusing on the process. It’s about establishing habits that pull me, step-by-step, out of the valleys, even when I can’t see what’s ahead.

So back to my why. Why do I work out? Because I believe if I can sculpt my body into a zombie-killing machine then I will prove to myself that transformation + discipline can accomplish any vision I set my sites on. And right now, I have some pretty big vision.

So now I have my why. I like it. But I still want to look like a zombie-slaying badass in a bikini.

What I Want

November 11, 2014

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I’ve always been good at wanting things.

• Talent • Beauty • Recognition • Fortune • Tradition • Ritual • Muscle • Flexibility • Adventure • Travel • Leisure • Tight Jeans • Boyfriend Jeans • A new car • New teeth • A baby • Some sleep • Dark chocolate • Red wine • The ocean • The mountains • Hot sun • Cool air • Pink skies • A cozy bed • Wicker furniture • Gold jewelry • Platinum hair • Red lips • Vintage rugs • Oversized sweaters • A good show to watch • A good book to read •

The list could go on. But at the end of the day what I really crave is experience – to live the kind of life that makes for good stories – the little details and the magical memories.

And sometimes that story simply boils down to some good food, good conversation, and big love.

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Images by Choate House for Vidya Seasonal Kitchen | Fall – check out more images and the video + Fall recipe here. Claire is really great at making good food and good conversation, and she’s taught me so much about Ayurvedic nutrition and self-care, yogic philosophy, and seasonal alignment. Claire is currently available for one-on-one coaching if you’re interested in learning more about those things too – learn more at Vidya Cleanse.

Nice Nails

September 11, 2014

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I’ve been biting my nails since I can remember. And biting is probably the most tame way to describe the kind of masochistic destruction I was doing to my digits. Nothing felt better that biting down at the edge of a nail to get the process started and then proceeding with my available fingers to rip the rest of it off. Even the smallest bit of white that would begin to appear was a reminder that I had work to do and a little bit anxiety to relieve.

At some point I truly believed that I was incapable of nice nails. Just like some people are born with thick, straight manes and moms with access to fancy stylists – others are born with curly nests and moms who feel confident DIYing bangs on the back porch with a comb missing a few teeth and dull scissors. Some people are born with nice nails and others are born nail biters.

The worst side-effects of nail-biting never seemed to deter my bad habit. Infected fingers, picked at cuticles, irritated hang nails, and that burning sensation when you get salt on a fresh bit of exposed nail bed. Pain usually serves as a red flag to STOP but my addiction held strong. I bit my nails on the bus to Elementary school. I bit my nails in between sets of marching band practice. I bit my nails through boring gen ed classes in college. I felt extra fancy when I got fake acrylic French manicured nails for my first wedding. Not long after I vowed “Forever, I do…” I managed to pop and rip my acrylic nails off my fingers, one-by-one, before the honeymoon was even over. After I got my first job I remember being self conscious about showing designs-in-progress to my account executive … I would fold as many fingers as possible into my palm when pointing out various elements of the art I was presenting.

It wasn’t until Britney Spears went crazy and the tabloids started relentlessly picking on her that I stopped biting my nails. I remember a particular article detailing everything wrong with Britney – from her Cheetos and Frappucino addiction, to her bad hair extensions and inability to wear shoes in gas station restrooms, to a close up, zoomed-in view of her hands (carrying two cell phones, a Starbucks drink, Cheetos, her wallet, and a baby on her hip) pointing out her mangled nubs of fingernails. So that was that. I immediately stopped biting my nails and started treating myself to weekly manicures to stay accountable to kicking the habit. I also stopped reading tabloids … except at the nail salon.

P.S. Stacked rings by Moulton

The Mother Love

May 23, 2014

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This week was something, I’ll tell you. I mean, I’m “supposed to” get my blog posts up in a timely manner – first thing every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning these days. But here we are at 6:15 on a Friday night and I’m just now sitting down to write. The baby crashed a bit earlier than usual (it was clearly a long week for him as well) and Jeremy is in the next room folding laundry before he runs out to pick up some take-out.

Throughout the week I compose blog posts of all the things I want to tell you – the real deal, the little victories, and the every day struggles. But each day seems to slip through my fingers and I’m beginning to see what everyone is talking about when they say it goes by so fast. And in each palm I’m weighing my priorities to see which gets my attention on any given day (or in any given moment, really): Fox, Jeremy, new business, friends, food, hygiene, fitness, blogging, emailing, client meetings, coaching, meditation, sexy times … oh, and sleep. At this point I have so many posts pinging in my head I’m not even sure where to begin. So I’ll just start with where I’m at.

If I’m to be completely honest this mom gig is way more challenging than I anticipated and in unexpected ways. For example, I had no idea that the flood of hormones caused by breastfeeding would leave me feeling scattered, unfocused, and unable to remember my words – basically I’m operating like a stoned person. Or I had no idea that the stress of not getting enough sleep would leave me craving sugar which isn’t doing my still recovering body any favors. For some reason I didn’t consider in advance that committing to breastfeeding would also mean compromising my closet to only clothes that can sustain leaks and give Fox easy accessibility to the boob. And every day I’m trying to balance who I am with who I was with who I want to be – adding “good mom” to my list of titles leaves me wondering how I’m also going to manage “adventurer”, “world traveler”, and “badass business woman” too.

But if I’m being completely honest I also have to tell you that I’m so in love it hurts. I’m surprised at how much I love being a mom … and I think I’m pretty good at it. I feel so lucky that Fox chose us. Watching Jeremy kiss Fox’s neck until he erupts in a fit of giggles is probably my favorite thing in the whole world right now. And I’m sure hormones are at play here but I feel physically addicted to my baby – I start to crave him when we’re apart for too long. Having Fox (and perhaps a few episodes of Cosmos) has made me painfully aware of how fragile life is, and how lucky we are to be living in our skin. It’s made me realize that life truly is too short to waste it on the kinds of unproductive emotions that seem to come with the post-partum package including guilt, embarrassment, and overwhelm just to name a few. It’s become clear that life is too short to be living in anything less than love… The mother love.

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P.S. At about 6 weeks postpartum I recognized that I was struggling and I needed help to nip some shit in the bud. That’s where my momma coach, Rebecca Egbert, comes in. You might remember how Rebecca helped me through my daycare dilemma. These days Rebecca holds me accountable to being the kind of mom and person I want to be. She gives me physiological insights (I swear pregnancy, breastfeeding, and postpartum recovery make me feel like a clueless teenager going through puberty again) that make me feel a little less crazy in my body. We talk about the important stuff that easily gets overlooked – things like sleep, healing foods, and how to stop peeing myself when doing jumping jacks. And we talk just enough about balancing business as a working mom that I can legitimately write-off a good chunk of her fee. But Rebecca also gives me some spiritual soul food that not only opens my heart (daily practices in gratitude) but keeps me grounded and rooted (meditation is where it’s at). The work we do together keeps me operating at my best so when things get hard I can show up as the warrior mama I want to be.

If you’re a mom (or are pregnant… or even thinking about making babies) you should be following Rebecca:
www.rebeccaegbert.com – the blog and newsletter are golden
instagram.com/rebeccaegbert – where Rebecca preaches #themotherlove on the daily

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So now it’s your turn. What’s unexpectedly hard about being a mom? What’s unexpectedly awesome? Share with me in the comments. 

Photo by Ely Fair Photography at the Collected Thread Love Mom Well event.

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