GROWing

I’ve taken a big hiatus from posting anything on this pod feed. In fact, I was still working on editing an interview I did with Riley Huebsch about birth and postpartum doulaing when the world’s systems screeched to a halt and started reshaping with a pandemic and global cries to restructure our society to embody racial justice.

So, as the podcast title states, I felt a need to GROW and broaden the view of what kinds of stories I wanted to broadcast on this feed. Sure, birth stories, postpartum stories, women’s stories…but why not more? Why not see what comes?

So today I sat down to talk with my amazing nephew, Gabe. He is graduating from high school this year and headed for college in the fall (virtual or otherwise.) We talk about protests, Martin Luther King, Jr., the problem with corrupt cops, and why this time in history is as he says, “a tipping point.”

Gabe’s perspective is unique primarily because he has great ideas and is a young person going through incredible cultural changes. On top of that, his origin story is unique, as a person of color living in Wisconsin, adopted from Guatemala to white parents in a middle class family.

For the parents….

 

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This is a short episode. I wanted to give a shout out to parents of young kids making it work amidst extreme social restrictions. Particularly parents of high energy kids that are seeking proprioceptive input and need therapy that might be currently unavailable. Especially parents who are working overtime to manage their own stress and meet their kids’ needs while many of their sanity-keeping resources are unavailable. So I grabbed a poem I’d written a couple years ago. Here’s an excerpt:

You are loving harder bigger wider, redefining normal, stretching it to make it yours. You are stepping on legos and beads, hunting for stuffed animals in the middle of the night, you are clung to and breathed on in your sleep, never alone and perpetually lonely, wishing for respite. You are loved ferociously, fiercely, sought out above anyone else. You are peppered with non-stop questions, inventive thoughts and ideas, you are craving silence and solutions.

You are needed and necessary, the teacher and student, in over your head and right where you belong, seeking, experimenting, reading, discovering. You sneak chocolate and beer after dark, hide in the bathroom and cry in the shower. You feel empowered and powerless every day and are wondering about failure and are celebrating small successes- a hug, a moment of cooperation, an ask for permission.

You scour the internet, seek out sandboxes and ninja classes, buy more band-aids and pray for naps. You are thinking about the future, about what you are sacrificing, about who you are becoming, what you are fostering, about what could be wrong and what you might be getting right.

New Podcast: Meditate Elevate

Hello there. Just a quickie update to say I finally have some audio meditations available! They’re in podcast format under the show name: Meditate Elevate. You can find them on apple podcasts, spotify, stitcher, and I’m working on getting them up on google play too.

The latest episode was Yoga Nidra. Very, very powerful and relaxing. Set 30 minutes aside to lay down and go deep into the layers of the mind for this restorative “yogic sleep.”

The Pep Talk

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Over the last few days, I’ve been feeling like someone of importance has announced that a meteor is on a course for earth and will inevitably collide into our planet, causing insurmountable damage and destruction. Not the case, but the tone in messages from almost every media source is either peppered or overseasoned with fear.

 

 

Truth is: It’s March of 2020. NASA has photos of Pluto, taken billions of miles away. Trump is president. DNA can be edited with CRISPR. Toilets are still amazing inventions. It’s springtime in Wisconsin. Kenny Rogers died of natural causes. And there’s a virus. It spreads easily. Most people who catch it are fine, some don’t even know they have it. It can make a small portion of the people who catch it really sick and sometimes causes death. I’ve seen estimates that after running its course, if it continues on a current trajectory, that anywhere from 200,000 to more a million people could die from Covid 19 out of 7.8 billion on planet earth. Social distancing and staying home impacts the trajectory.

 

Being human means we are naturally scared of getting sick, of seeing our loved ones get sick, of seeing the health care system push its resources to the max, causing impossible ethical decisions to be made like who gets to use equipment and who doesn’t.

 

Viruses have been around for millions of years. We’ve evolved in partnership with them. But death is scary. And right now the whole globe is in the midst of an existential crisis.

 

The things that support and drive our society’s functioning like: public schools, access to income, access to child care, social connections, human touch, church gatherings, group celebrations, and any number of other countless ways we feel value in our lives, has been stripped fairly bare.

 

Big systems and ideas are under the microscope. Death! Ethics! Science! Government! Education! Transportation! Trade! Finance! Poverty!

 

I’ll name all the ways we have earned the right to feel stressed the fuck out with what’s been happening, but first I wanted to note that given what you’re seeing each day in the media, just as easily headlines could read:

 

 

Humanity Bands Together!
Governments Finally Listen to Scientists!
Humankind Make Drastic and Rapid Changes to Assist Loved Ones and At-Risk Strangers!
Pollution Slows and Humans Spend Time in Nature!
Hard-working Truck Drivers and Grocery Store Clerks Celebrated as Heroes!
People Cook at Home for their Families and Eat Meals Together!
Teachers Find a Way to Get Shit Done, As Usual!
Technological Communication Proves Its Value to the Human Race!
United Global Effort Slows the Spread of Virus!

 

There are reasons to celebrate being human here, for sure. But there’s also uncertainty and worry. Alot of it. I’d like to pause for a moment to acknowledge the shitstorm of anxiety we’re either seeing in our own selves or witnessing in others.

 

 

Why is the media spraying fear everywhere about this? In part because scientists want people to take action now in order to avoid the calamity of overriding our health care systems. As my Dad once said, “Death is a great motivator.” The thinking is that if action is taken quickly and extensively, like yesterday, it will slow the virus down and buy time.

 

We are essentially buying time because any number of positive things can happen to the trajectory of the virus’ effect if there is simply more time. More time=more resources. More time=more research. More time= more knowledge.

 

So….fear-based messaging. Would anyone have changed any bit of their lives if the message was, “There’s this bug going around. Most everyone will likely be fine but not everyone. Maybe wash your hands more?”

 

Fear causes action.

 

And in the best sense, this action, even if motivated by fear, shines a major spotlight on what we hope is true for all of us. That we care deeply about the well-being of our fellow humans. We are willing to give up our jobs, our comforts, our routine, our church, our education, our timeline, our plans, and our income if it means we can save lives. That’s pretty remarkable don’t you think?

 

But I don’t want to ignore the fact that for some families and individuals, social isolation for weeks or months will cause such a strain on their mental and emotional health that avoiding one health crisis may create entirely new health crises. Not to mention financial crises along the way.

 

Everything in my perspective on mental health is partially influenced by what life was like in the midst of debilitating panic disorder in my 20’s. If I were experiencing that at this time, with such a whirlwind around me, I wouldn’t be able to sleep, or calm down, or leave the house even if I wanted to. I needed people back then to help me name what I was feeling so I could work my way out of it. So here in this post, I wanted to spend a few moments to name what’s happening for a lot of people in the emotional world and to give some hope and resources.

 

 

Being stormed by the recent challenges has brought a lot of our human frailties and tendencies to light:

 

 

1. Rapid change is not something we as humans usually prefer. In a matter of weeks, most of us have changed our daily routine, work schedule, family schedule, financial schedule, and relationship patterns all at once and very rapidly.

 

2. Genetically, our minds evolved over millions of years to activate our fight or flight response when we perceive ourselves to be in the face of threat or danger. Financial uncertainty and a pandemic, particularly how they are presented in the media, are grabbing the attention of our subconscious panic buttons.

 

3. In modern society, most of us have become somewhat disconnected from our own emotions, particularly when we grieve or lose something or someone we love. Fear of loss looms large in in part because we are not comfortable feeling our feelings, and loss hurts.

 

4. Being directed how to live our lives, even temporarily, and having restrictions placed on our freedoms is a tough nut to swallow for most of us who live in a country where we are generally free to do as we please.

 

5. Many of us are carrying around the energy from unresolved traumas from our past: and any or all of the above can be triggers for past painful events we haven’t processed yet.

 

6. Feeling like our daily connections to our loved ones and the simplicity of human touch are being taken away, at least temporarily, can cause us to feel deep loneliness.

 

7. Feeling the risk of being yourself and owning your opinions is really active. There is a stigma of disagreeing with the practice of social distancing. The fear of losing friendships and family relationships and the love of your community because you, despite hearing the best scientific arguments for social distancing and sheltering in, just plainly disagree- fear of being outcast is an evolutionary fear, whether your reasons are religious, mental health based or otherwise.

 

These are BIG fucking deals. Mental and emotional health are equal in importance to physical health, as anyone who has ever suffered from PTSD, clinical depression, or debilitating panic can tell you.

 

And I feel the need to say that it’s natural to feel all the things right now: overwhelmed, pissed off, restricted, helpless, afraid, cautious, uncertain, powerless, anxious….we are entitled to feel every single bit of what we’re feeling.

 

Not that anyone asked me, but I’m cool with following guidelines of social distancing if it will save lives, of course, as long as we can also keep an eye on what happens to mental and emotional health when people can’t be with each other, go to work, get respite from caring for kids (with special needs in particular), earn money, exercise when they need it, be touched, and are inundated with messages to panic throughout their days.

 

As long as someone has their eye on that ball, great.

 

Pep talk time. There is an “other side” to this- you know, it’s the one we’ll get to and come out on. Some of my best spiritual teachers have advised that in difficult times, you use your prayers as a montage of what things will be like on the other side. This is why Einstein said imagination is more important than intelligence. It can take you places your mind needs to go in order to lift you through difficult circumstances and literally generate a new reality into existence.

 

You can get through this. You will emerge on the other side having used the tools you have and having learned new tools for self-care and stability. You will not be the same. You’ll be an elevated version of your current self, with a deeper appreciation for every aspect of your life including your relationships. You’ll notice things about yourself you hadn’t known, you’ll discover more about who you truly are.

 

People will smile more often at each other, feel grateful just to be together, and see clearly who matters most to them. Old, ineffective systems will show their wear and transition into more effective ones. People will discover they want leaders who respond efficiently and with wisdom and compassion. Communities will discover new ways of coming together and supporting those in need.

 

So what about the day to day? How to get through?

 

Visualize what your positive outcome looks like when this has calmed down. Are you closer to your family? Finally writing that short story you wanted to work on? Have a laser-like focus on what your finances look like? Managed to clean out the clutter in your home? Or just feel deeply grateful for what really matters to you. What does the world look like after going through something like this collectively? What do our systems look like when they’ve had to reshape due to the strain? Visualize best case scenarios…and then make them even better in your imagination.

 

Calm your nervous system. There are many tools to calm our systems down as we navigate the massive changes we’re in. You already know my favorites: meditation and breathwork. But there’s more: trauma release, qi gong, and pranayama to name a few. I’m going to share some links at the end of this post that are awesome resources for acute and low-level anxieties.

 

Feel your feelings and forgive yourself. We’ve been asking alot of our minds, bodies and emotions over the past few weeks. Given all that, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, OF COURSE YOU ARE. It’s ok to feel anything during this kind of uncertainty: helpless, enraged, terrified, lonely, powerless, disengaged. Your system is responding how it needs to and it’s ok to feel what you feel.

 

Discover what heals you. There are parts of us we neglect entirely in our daily lives and parts of us we don’t even realize are within us that are looking now to come online. Massive change fuels growth. Art, movement, nature, yoga, meditation, music…use the tools that work for you to hear that inner voice and be willing to listen.

 

Cultivate flexibility. That saying “people never change” is bullshit. People change all the time. We are constantly evolving. By letting go of things you thought you needed, you are paving the way for all kinds of creative new energies to emerge.

 

Hope.  Hope is underrated. It’s a doorway that guides us forward and highlights the best parts of our humanity. Let your hope become so strong that it actually serves as a stabilizing force.  Let it create freedom within you.

 

 

I’ve got a new podcast series running called Meditate Elevate. You can find it on apple podcasts, stitcher, or spotify . To search, just type in Kris Adams Meditate.  If you need a laugh or want to hear inspiring stories in the meantime, check out Solving Everything.

 

You can find some meditations I posted on youtube here:

 

If you want more, just click on my name and you’ll see links to more.

 

You can find a cool qi-gong immune boosting quick routine here:

 

If you are feeling wired and need help releasing some stored anxiety, check out Trauma Release Exercises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26zoFKZzbQc
and there are people in Madison who offer TRE at Red Beard Bodywork.

 

For a very cool look at how to piece apart the different aspects of yourselves to discover there is a calm wisdom within, check out this 2 hour meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n22a1Hf4rjk

 

And in the coming days I’ll be posting a Nidra meditation soon on that new podcast, so check back for that.

 

Here for you. And as always, sending love.

New Podcast: Solving Everything

 

SOLVING EVERYTHING

 

Peeps, I am so proud of the new podcast venture I’ve been working on with two buddies: Andy Nath and Dan Higgs. It’s called Solving Everything and it is hilarious and heartfelt. We talk about sports, growing up, being who you want to be, making connections, music, legends, movies, and so much more. Our home base is podjectivity.com. You can find us on google play, spotify and apple podcasts but you have to use my name in the search field for some reason. Or a direct link from podjectivity works too.

Check it out if you need to laugh or remember how connected we all are to each other and our shared histories.

Coming Soon…

Coming soon from GROW headquarters, a very special new podcast!

Watch for an upcoming trailer on your Spotify, Apple podcasts, or Google Play feeds for Solving Everything: a new podcast hosted by me, Andrew Nath and Dan Higgs that specializes in seeking and finding the meaningful connective tissue in everything from pop culture to formative childhood experiences to the creative current of artists and musicians. We offer different takes on shared cultural experiences and break down the big picture of sports, Hollywood, pop icons, growing up, showing up, and building meaningful lives and connections. And release never before heard original songs and stories you will not hear anywhere else.

Trailer coming soon….

GROW: Podcast Girl Talk with Kelly and Abbie

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Get ready for Round 2 of Girl Talk with my BFF’s novelist Kelly Harms and photographer Abbie Chaffee. In this episode we talk about the amazing book, Fair Play, which every person in a committed relationship and shared household should read. Think you have a good grip on equality in your home? This book may have you thinking differently.

We also cover Krampus, the horrifying Santa alternative that terrifies children into good behavior, and we have an extensive discussion about thank you notes and whether we still want to spend time writing about our gratitude.

*Please note: Do not listen to this episode with kids under age 10! There is very real talk about magical beings.

Happy Holidays!

 

GROW Podcast: Interview with Ali Brooks, Social Worker, Artist, Goddess, Leader of Girls Empowerment group

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Ali Brooks does amazing work! She leads an empowerment group for girls with Maureen Cassidy right here in Madison. She is also an amazing artist and social worker who works with women who have experienced trauma. Find her website here: Medicine for the Heart and find the link to her girls’ empowerment group here.

 

 

Ali

 

GROW Podcast: Meet Megan and Kristin: Goddess business owners at Haumea in Sun Prairie.

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Kick-ass prenatal yoga, childbirth education, lactation support, vinyasa classes, baby & mama yoga, and a place in the Madison area that offers community, connection, and a heart-centered place to relax and restore. Meet Megan Stansil-Reilly and Kristin Nemecek, the amazing owners of Haumea in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

 

 

 

 

GROW Podcast: Interview with Lori: business owner, adoption advocate, Reactive Attachment Disorder specialist, cancer survivor, and more.

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My sister and I both fight the urge to be analytical to the extreme. We are armchair experts at therapy. But this interview is so much more than us analyzing the ins and outs of growing up Midwest “nice” with an emotionally challenged atheist Dad in a home where a lot of feelings got buried. Where does all that unexpressed anger go? How do we know when our feelings aren’t totally irrational?

 

And other questions like do you trust destiny when your life is on the line? We discuss surviving Stage 3 breast cancer, the violent rage that sometimes comes with Reactive Attachment Disorder and how to protect your other children from it, a miracle pregnancy, anxiety, depression, quantum physics and more. We started off by picking up the thread of a chat we had already been having… How we filter our own emotions…. to see if it’s valid before expressing it and then expressing it in a way that won’t ruffle feathers. WAKING UP is hard sometimes. This conversation details the inner process we all at some times go through to give ourselves permission to feel. Check out Lori’s work at Red Thread Learning.

 

 

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Here’s the breakdown:

 

2:40 Emotions…when are we being unreasonable?
5:00 A brain on a stick..when our minds and bodies aren’t connected
6:45 Letting our emotions past the gate of analysis: is the feeling warranted?
7:25 Which emotions are we repressing? Joy is a big one
9:00 Would you rather have a life filled with big highs and lows or something stable in the middle without any extreme highs?
10:30 Seasonal depression, welcome to thinking about mortality and DEATH
12:00 Having a baby brings thoughts about mortality
14:00 When your parent raises you to live life afraid
14:20 WATCH OUT FOR SHARKS AND RIPTIDES
17:20 My mom could maybe use some safety precautions
19:30 We want to know our feelings and experiences matter
22:00 A submarine of women on their periods is not bound for doom
22:30 Does it matter if a person’s unreasonable since you have to deal with it either way?
24:45 There’s usually a need under the anger
25:30 Fear is the flip side of anger and our survival used to depend on being accepted by the tribe
27:00 When even admitting or expressing that you’re angry is a problem
28:00 Birth Story and the back story starts here
28:30 What happens when you discover stage 3 breast cancer when you have a one year old and have just moved overseas
30:00 Life turns upside down
31:30 Docs say breast milk does not contain cancer from the breast, but chemo passes through breastmilk
32:15 Dad with some supportive words
34:00 Going into surgery thinking you’ll have both breasts coming out, but things don’t always go as planned
34:30 Lori is told that getting pregnant would kill her
35:00 Lori starts thinking of adoption: the oncologist doctor says – you shouldn’t think about the future because you probably won’t be here- thanks Doc
37:30 Two international adoptions and Lori gets those tubes tied
40:00 Miracle pregnancy
43:30:00 We don’t know if it will kill you..it might, we don’t know
45:00 Being pro-choice does not make the decision of abortion easy- even when death is on the line
49:00 Faith v. logic….winner=faith
51:00 Telling Dad about a pregnancy he didn’t approve of…my sister gets hung up on
53:00 My dad couldn’t have been any worse at this and, by the way, NEVER tell a pregnant woman she’s not thinking clearly because she’s pregnant
56:00 Unthinkable to make others angry
58:00 The stress of the possibility of recurrence sticks around
58:30 It’s ok to lose a breast if it means you’re alive
59:30 No pressure, but your babies brains are affected by the state of the mother during pregnancy.
1:1:30 Concern for who’s carrying the baby in adoption and Red Thread
1:3:00 Illusion of control during pregnancy and the process of adoption means letting go of some control
1:5:30 The invisible Red Thread – we are connected to the meaningful people in our lives past and present and future
1:7:00 Sorrow that adopted kids can feel the pain of not being with the birth family even if you feel you were meant to parent them
1:09:00 Lori came to earth with an outline
1.09:30 Parallel universes, free will, and destiny
1:13:00 It’s possible Kris is nuts
1:14:30 Quantum physics and there are multiple realities existing
1:16:30 All things are connected
1:20:30 Anger
1:21:00 Attachment disorder: when your child becomes violent
1:22:30 Sacrificing your emotions to maintain peace and keep everyone safe
1:26:30 If you come close to me (to bite me), I’m going to assume you want a hug
1:27:30 I am pretending to be calm even if the emotional house is burning down
1:29:00 PTSD, stifling anger messes up the stress response
1:30:30 Trauma informed caregiving: getting professional training because of how attachment disorder was disrupting the home
1:35:00 Where do you feel emotions in your bod? Focusing and saying yes.
1:38:00 It’s impossible to be triggerless and yet sometimes we do it
1:39:00 An uncomfortable feeling is just a thought in your head and a sensation in your body
1:40:30 Depression – accepting it when it happens