This blog post is being written by Candice and her husband Chris.
Candice: As I have shared in previous posts, Chris and I are in a life transition. This indeed has brought up an array of emotions, from feeling sad and grieving the loss of my mother (again) while cleaning out our closets to feeling excited and hopeful for the new, fresh experiences that are to come. We are currently living in a very small basement apartment while our new (and smaller) home is being built somewhere along the western edge of the rocky mountains. And for some reason (it's hard to explain), we both love it!
Chris: I am really excited for this new adventure! Living in our cottage house, as we have decided to call it, has actually been a lot of fun. Sure, we step over each other, the dogs are next to our side 24 hours a day, and we can hear the neighbor's son up at all hours of the night playing his VR video game. But Candice is right, there is something about having the simplicity of this small space and this time in our lives that feels like a reprieve.
Happy New Year! We made it through 2018 and for many people (including me) that was not not an easy under-taking. If you take a moment to reflect on the past year and what you had been holding onto, what do you notice? For me, I was holding onto A LOT of baggage. LITERALLY. My husband and I sold our home deciding to simplify, downsize and find a way to live in such a way that sparks joy for us individually and as a couple. As a dear friend told us during our move, "We realize we love the life we have when we don't have to go anywhere to feel like we are on vacation."WOW. Did that stick with me or what?! During our packing process, I had three people (indeed a magic number) ask me if I had read the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
Many people don't know this but 2018 has been an incredibly hard year for me personally. I am learning that sometimes growth and expansion show up this way-the polarity of opposites perhaps? Maybe you recognize the term, "With pain comes growth"?
In my process of going through some parallel experiences similar to what I witness each and every day in my career, I quietly, slowly, unintentionally though absent-mindedly had moved away from my SELF. Specifically, I had moved away from taking care of me.
It is actually quite fascinating how growth and expansion shows up in our world. Historically, when I have felt out of control in one area of my life I typically would focus on what I could control. This brought me a sense of ease and inner peace. However, this year I learned that I had to let go of external control and go inward. Go deeper. There was no amount of control that would help me heal this wound.
In any relationship, especially when things are challenging, we are often asked to listen to our heart or listen to our head. But what about listening to your gut?
For instance, have you ever had a "gut feeling" about a person or situation that, when it came true, you were glad you had felt it prior? How about waking up with a sensation in your gut (such as anxiety in your stomach via "butterflies") then having something that you felt come true?
These are examples described by researchers in the field of medicine who are now referring to our gut as our "second brain." New research is showing that the "brain in your gut" is revolutionizing the way we think about our moods, digestive system, and overall health. Research is also finding evidence that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system (CNS) that trigger mood changes such as depression, anxiety, and irritability. Along with this, there is discussion that the second brain is impacting our cognition including memory and thinking (John Hopkins Medicine, hopkinsmedicine.org, 2018)!
Disconnect to Reconnect with Yourself
By Annie Jacobs and Candice Christiansen
All too often we are rushing through life, running down the list of our to-do’s, while feeling completely overwhelmed. We find ourselves at the end of each day wanting nothing but to be able to fall asleep for a week, but knowing that tomorrow’s early morning is only a few hours away. We rush through our meals, hurry from place to place, and rarely find time for ourselves. When we do find downtime, we mindlessly fill it with electronics, whether that be phones, computers, or TVs.
Finding time to put down the phone, step away from social media, and turn off Netflix is crucial for our sanity. New studies are coming out every day of how detrimental too much time on electronics can be, including a re-wiring of the brain. In Jean Twenge, PhD book, "IGen", she discusses this issue and how people born after 1995 are starting to socialize and communicate differently because of the technology we now have. We get stuck (and so do our children) in a false social media world where the amount of likes equals your worth and unrealistic expectations are placed on you. There has been an increase in depression and anxiety becauseof technology!