But there were years of avoiding, ignoring my creative self. I want to tell you the story of them, in the hope that it may serve you in coming home to whatever love you’ve lost.
I got a lot of praise from parents and teachers about my writing when I was growing up. Except when I didn’t. Sometimes I had a teacher who didn’t like or “get” my writing style. Sometimes my work just went unnoticed.
What happened to me is what happens, I think, to a million of us when we are growing up. The work (dance, music, writing, sports, math, gymnastics, you name it) stops being about the work, and it becomes about the praise or criticism. The winning or losing. How we are received by the world.
Paradoxically, the more praise I received about my writing talent, the less confident I felt. (There is now fascinating research by Carol Dweck on how and why this is the case). The more I was applauded, the more pressure I felt to produce brilliant work. The more afraid I became of my writing not measuring up. When I didn’t get major praise, it felt like a dramatic failure. That my not being a “good writer” was finally being found out.
Originally posted to KristinaLeonardi.com on February 1st.
Congress ushered in a new Speaker of the House, Queen Elizabeth is thinking about abdicating so that Prince William may actually get a shot at being King; Tunisia did, and now Egypt is on the brink of overthrowing their longtime leaders; American television staples Larry King, Regis Philbin and ET’s Mary Hart, whose careers took off around the same time as Hosni Mubarak came into power, are all retiring as well. What is the world coming to?!
Change is certainly in the air and tomorrow is the Lunar New Year, so it’s another good time to start fresh for the next twelve months. What are you ferociously guarding in your life- and is it worthy of protecting, or are you just doing so because it’s been that way for the past 30 years? What people, ideas, jobs, things, ways of thinking might you be holding on to that are old, stagnant, outdated, served their purpose, overstayed their welcome or just need to step down so that something better and fresher can take their place?
Today we are experiencing a powerful Solar Eclipse. Well all eclipses are powerful, however this one is happening in the constellation of Capricorn. The energy of an eclipse can create intensity in our lives, and an opportunity to do some accelerated transformation.
What does this mean for you? Well Capricorn is the Mountain Goat, the Goat that climbs up steep slopes, steadily moving to reach its goal. To climb in such a way, even for an animal, takes a certain kind of planning. I imagine for the goats that planning ability is hardwired into their instincts, and nervous systems. They seem to automatically know where to place their hooves so that they can continue on their climb. For humans, planning is an action, or a series of actions that may lead to a goal.
Originally posted to KristinaLeonardi.com on December 14th.
As a career/life coach I have a unique vantage point to observe all types of people and notice certain trends and patterns that emerge. In addition to my clients, there is my circle of friends and family as well as my own personal experience, since I, too, am not immune to it all!
Lately the theme has been that of warrior being challenged in one or more areas of life, confronting unpleasant people or situations, dealing with loss, or relentlessly fighting a seemingly uphill battle at every turn. If you’ve been feeling tested (or testy) in the areas of relationships (all kinds), work (too much or not enough of it), finances (‘nough said), or having a health or identity crisis – essentially, the stuff of life – raise your hand and know that you are not the only one that’s been beaten up these past couple months.
For most people, the end of November is a time of gratitude. Thanksgiving Day reminds people to appreciate their friends and family, and the basic necessities they often take for granted. For the Woodhull community, November is a month of gratitude as we remember our wonderful teacher and friend Karen Kisslinger, who died on November 9, 2009.
Karen worked with Woodhull for seven years, teaching hundreds of women yoga and meditation. The meditation Karen taught us was what’s known as metta meditation ─ a loving kindness meditation that encouraged mindful compassion and allowed many of us to reconnect to the things we are grateful for.
Here are the words to the meditation she shared with us. This Thanksgiving weekend, carve out some time to remember Karen by doing this meditation. Karen encouraged us to say these words for ourselves, for someone we love, for someone we see every day but don’t know, and for someone we are having a conflict with. continue
Originally posted to kristinaleonardi.com on November 16th.
“A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” was the conclusion of a new Harvard study using an iPhone app. It is a sentiment that many religions and philosophies have proclaimed for centuries that can best be summed up by the popular phrase, ‘be here now.’
If someone had a window into our minds, they’d see that we are almost never fully engaged in what is right in front of us, whether we’re thinking of something in the past or future, or simply not focused on the task at hand, and that causes unhappiness.
According to Andrew Bersnstein’s The Myth of Stress, it’s not the activity or situation itself that is a stressor, but our mind’s perception and reaction to it that causes the stress. So by recognizing the reality of the situation at that particular time, and really see why it is happening is a way to greatly reduce your adverse response to whatever is taking place.
by Kristina Leonardi, Woodhull Alumna
Originally posted to Kristina’s blog on October 26th
With the advent of Halloween we are bombarded with spooky images and haunted houses to remind us it’s that time of year to face our deepest fears. But the majority of things that frighten us aren’t outside ourselves. Like the creepiness that comes from being in a House of Mirrors, what usually freaks people out most is seeing themselves multiplied a hundred times!
When in your own personal house of horrors, no matter how many cobwebs and shadows you find, know that we all have darker aspects of our personality and we’re never confronted with anything we can’t handle so we should never be afraid. Whether your fears and ugly parts are real or imagined, the key is not to run away from them. The only thing to do is to shed light on the source of our anxieties and perceived inadequacies, get to their roots and make adjustments that will bring us closer to the most fulfilled and peaceful versions of ourselves we can be.
by Donna Bogatin, Woodhull Alumna and founder of SuiteWomen.com
Today’s American woman benefits from legacy physical entitlements valiantly won by pioneering women over the course of the last century: The right to vote, the right to contraception and abortion, the right to education and athletics and the right to work without fear of sexual harassment. Will the new millennium woman mark her own unique liberation and proclaim women once and for all emotionally freed from the heretofore inexorably gender pre-determined roles of procreator and care giver?
Originally published in Financial Profundities on September 28th
selected Elizabeth Warren to oversee the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Like the major financial agencies that came before it (e.g., FDIC, Glass-Steagall (repealed in 1999) and the SEC), the CFPB is being created to correct policy ills that contributed to an economic crisis. With the CFPB, Ms. Warren has an opportunity to do what wasn’t done after the formation of these other agencies.
Personally, I think she is perfect for the role and the new agency’s mission, and I hope she eventually gets nominated and confirmed to actually lead CFPB. She has the perfect combination of knowledge, political savvy, and passion, ingredients she’ll definitely need as she takes on the unenviable and monumental task of fixing things that are broken while building things we aren’t even yet aware of needing. What Prof. Warren is preparing to do on a policy level is exactly what you and I need to do on a personal level: reflect, react and re-envision.
Courtney Martin, Woodhull Alumna, releases her new book “Do It Anyway”
From www.doitanywaybook.org :
That age-old quest for meaning—Who am I? What is my calling? How can I make the world better?—gets a 21st-century makeover. Courtney E. Martin abandons the empty “save the world” rhetoric and ’60s nostalgia that her generation was raised on and doggedly pursues the gritty truth about social change in contemporary America. It’s complicated. It’s challenging. And, yet, it’s still possible.