Kayci

Kayci

Tuesday, 03 January 2023 01:47

The Elusiveness of Motivation

Have you ever felt that you lacked any and all motivation to do anything? When it comes to motivation, I feel like it’s a game that keeps wanting to be played. Some days motivation comes easily and you’re winning at life. Then other days, you lose all desire to do anything and can’t remember your toast left in your toaster. Are there any solutions to this back-and-forth tug-of-war? 

I’ve read countless books and listened to more podcasts than a pharmacy as drugs and I still haven’t discovered the secret to being motivated all the time. But maybe that’s not the point. We are humans after all, not machines that can function 24-7. With the societal pressure to “be on” all the time, it can be hard to remember that we are humans and not our phones. 

I’d like to share five tips on ways to win at the game against motivation. These tips may or may not work for you, but I've found that they are certainly worth trying because otherwise, I would be scrolling on my phone for an hour looking at funny cat videos. 

Saturday, 19 November 2022 21:43

Healing Retreat

“I think everyone should attend a grief retreat at least once in their lives,” I told my friend asking me how the experience of attending a loss and transformation retreat was. “It should be required for navigating tough times.”

As humans, grief is an inevitable part of life. When we open ourselves up to love, we risk losing it. In October of 2022, I went on a life-changing trip to Bolinas, CA to a house of hope and healing called Commonweal. There, I delved deeper into the grief over my mother’s death and my marriage’s failure. During the course of six days, I met wonderful women from all over the country, from all walks of life, and who were experiencing their own personal loss and seeking the same things as me: to feel loved, to be heard, to squelch the loneliness, and to heal.

Sunday, 30 October 2022 21:32

Quitter

When I was five years old, my mother enrolled me in a local majorette’s group for kids my age. I whined to her that I didn’t like it and wanted to quit, but she “forced” me to go so I could learn how to twirl and toss and spin a long metal bar with two knobs on either end like her. She was the “best in the school,” said my grandparents. But I was not like my mother. I was uncoordinated, dropped the baton, and had a hard time paying attention. During the parade my group marched in, I carried the banner with our group name on it because I wasn’t good enough to walk and twirl with the others. I quit after the parade.

Sunday, 28 August 2022 15:50

Finding Our Gold

There is a story in the Buddhist tradition about a clay statue of the Buddha in a monastery in Thailand. Over the years, it was protected in the monastery from outside invaders. One day while it was being relocated, one of the monks spotted a crack in the clay. When the monk looked closer, he noticed that underneath the clay there was solid gold. The clay statue had been made of gold the whole time!

Wednesday, 20 July 2022 22:42

Meaning Revisited

I’ve written on the topic of finding meaning in things that seem hopeless before, but I wanted to revisit with some more of my own thoughts, insights, and realizations that I have discovered over the last few months.

Hamlet asked the question, “To be or not to be,” but these days, our question can be summed up in one small but powerful word: “Why?” We can’t stop asking it.

Why do people die before we think they should?

Why couldn’t my marriage survive?

Why did I get cancer?

We ask why when we encounter any of the things that interfere with our plan, our health, and our dreams for our future.

That’s where faith, hope, and sometimes religion comes in. We need hope for better things to get through the rough times, the sad times, the confusing times, and the painful times. I believe that without hope, people can lose their will to live. But hope is just one part of the “Why” equation.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022 23:26

I Left my Heart in San Francisco

Day one

As soon as I stepped out into the 40-degree morning and saw my breath leave my body, I felt like I could live there. The plane ride from Jacksonville to San Francisco was one of the best I’ve experienced. Even in the days of mask wearing, the trip went off without many issues, despite having a 30-minute delay on the first flight from Jacksonville to Dallas.

The Lyft driver was a friendly fellow from India who chatted pleasantly as he drove me to the Hilton Hotel in Burlingame that first night. The check-in was quick and easy, and even when my room key didn’t work when I swiped it, the front desk attendant had it quickly taken care of. I would only be staying there one night and staying with a friend the rest of my time there.

Feeling groggy from being on Eastern Standard Time, I jotted down some notes in my travel journal as I sipped my coffee in the hotel lobby the next morning. My phone dinged a notification. Thinking it was a text message, I opened it only to be reminded of “three years ago” with a picture of my husband and I out on some trail.

Throughout my personal journey towards growth and healing, there is one theme that continues to crop up on my radar. That theme is fear. Fear is arguably the one emotion that prevents human beings from accomplishing their goals, fulfilling their dreams, and achieving everything they want tin life.

Fear has been categorized as an “opposite.” It’s the opposite of love. The opposite of hope. The opposite of success. Fear holds us back. It tells us we aren’t good enough or that we will never achieve the kinds of things we want. Fear puts doubt in our minds and makes us stay the course. Afterall, life isn’t perfect and it was never promised to be perfect, but at least we are alive and healthy with the way things are.

Fear makes us cling to certain outcomes for our lives. We should stay in an unhappy relationship. We should continue to speak to our toxic friends because they have been part of our lives for years. We should continue to take the criticisms of our family members because that’s just the way it always has been.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022 01:12

Dance Lesson

The sway of the instructor’s hips mesmerized me. Jingling like bells, the tassels of her dress sashayed in rhythm with her hips as she twisted and turned. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her flawless figure, her precise foot fall, the way her shoulders sliced through the air as she maneuvered across the dance floor. At that moment, I fell in love with belly dancing.

     At thirty-six years old, my belly roiled with nerves about taking my first formal dance classes. I had enjoyed dancing since I first watched Britney Spears and the boy bands in middle school. When I moved to music—even if I were alone in front of my dresser mirror--a feeling of longing washed over me. When I dance to music, confidence eclipses my fears, and I move into a natural rhythm even though I have no formal training. 

Monday, 25 April 2022 01:01

Loving, Grieving, and Letting Go

I knew something changed when I looked back on the person I was a year ago and don’t even recognize her. When I think of being married, the idea is a foreign concept for me. It feels like being in the in-between-state of a dream and consciousness, not knowing quite where I am for a moment. Except I never really wake up completely. I’m constantly in the state of fog and fuzzy, the “almost aware” phase. 

You would think something like being married would be hard to forget. Afterall, I was with the person for nine years and married for four and a half. I constantly have to look down at my left hand as a reminder. The two bands of metal that once snuggly encircled the flesh are gone and my finger feels exposed and empty. 

“Pre-Trip: Jacksonville”

I’ve always believed Christmas is a time to travel towards friends or family. It’s a time to surround yourself with loved ones next to blazing fires, sipping hot chocolate, while A Christmas Story plays on the television. It harkens delicious smells of roast turkeys and casseroles and the sweet aromas of pies for dessert. Just thinking of those things brings them to the center of your pre-frontal cortex, striking feelings of joy and excitement that race down to your core.

This is the picture so many of us have, myself included. I reflect back to the first Christmases after my mother died. They were ironically the most vivid. It seemed the adults wanted to make sure my siblings and I got everything we wanted, and so treated us like pampered royalty. Tons of boxes and bags in garish Christmas wrapping concealed the floor under the ornate trees at our house, Nan and Pap’s house, and Gram and Pappy’s place.

A massive turkey waited to be carved and served, while smaller dishes lined up in prostration around its succulent form. My whole family sat with expectant faces, taste buds ready to dig into the feast sprawled out before them.

Years later, by the time I got married, my own family’s traditions were slowly fading. My grandparents had passed on. My aunts were getting too old to host meals like they used to. But my husband’s family was bigger, younger, and still did all the Christmas traditions, so I was lucky enough to enjoy a few more years of the iconic Christmases.

That is until December of 2020, the year everyone’s Christmas changed, and mine even more so because it was the year my husband told me he was leaving me.

The pandemic was an unexpected monkey wrench in the world’s plans. Death, destruction, and the unknown hovered over everyone. In the midst of holiday pandemic plans, the fear, the loss, and the desperate hope for a better four years politically, I had lost everything in a different way.

I know loss of any kind is devasting. Loss of a parent or loved one. Loss of a friend or beloved animal. Loss of a marriage to the person you thought would be your partner forever. All loss resonates with us in similar ways. We feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. Our minds do not seem to function in the same way. Our bodies become tense and unfamiliar. We either cannot eat at all for the lump in our stomach, or suddenly depend on eating as a way to cope. My head knows all this and should have been prepared. But can we ever be completely prepared for the emotions and feelings associated with what is our loss, our life?

Months of pain, confusion, anger, blame, guilt, and tears brought me to my first Christmas holiday post-pandemic and post-divorce, alone and wondering who I was and who I was becoming.

I knew I could go home to the safety and security of my dad, my aunt, my sister, and brother. But there wasn’t much else. We would not have a typical Christmas celebration. There wasn’t a need for it anymore. We had no grandparents from the old generations and no children for the new. I would be going back for a visit, not a holiday gathering.

My ex-husband’s family was out of the question. Not one single person reached out to wish me a happy birthday in October let alone invite me to their Christmas meal. If my ex and his new partner were there, it would not have been a possibility anyway.

This realization led me to consider what I wanted to do for Christmas. Did I want to stay in a city in which I lived for almost 10 years, triggered by memories of my ex, or did I want to leave the bitter-sweetness of my adoptive home and explore uncharted territory? I chose the latter. I chose North Carolina.

The reasons were simple: North Carolina had both of my favorite things: mountains and beaches. The state was also conveniently half way between my home state of Pennsylvania and my current home, Florida. I considered living there, hoping for a magic message when I arrived, nudging me in the direction of this fresh start. I planned on spending two weeks exploring the areas of Asheville, Maggie Valley, Charlotte, and Oak Island.

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