The Gathering

Inspired by Bruno Pirecki’s debut novel Town Lawe as well as Ben Franklin’s Junto (which later became the American Philosophical Society), I decided to start my own communal gathering. Both the examples listed depict people coming together to discuss ideas and pursue wisdom. And that’s what I wanted to do.

As someone who naturally resonates with the lone wolf archetype, I am often drawn to self-sufficiency out of fear that the need for community is based in weakness. But ultimately humans are communal creatures, and the cultivation of a healthy community can be incredibly life giving. I reached out to some friends individually to pitch the idea to them: I wanted to start a weekly gathering to build community and to pursue wisdom through the discussion of various topics.

Some people attend once and others come every week; I usually provide a charcuterie board of sorts so no one needs to leave hungry. Through my commitment to set aside this time and space on a weekly basis, a small group of about three or four of us meet to talk, often late into the night, about our questions, observations, frustrations, and celebrations in life. Sometimes the conversation doesn’t go very deep; other times I find myself revealing vulnerable truths I wrestle with as I search for growth and healing. The whole process has felt like a necessary part of leaning into what it means to be human, at least for me.

And as I have sought to offer value to others, I have found that blessing returning to me as well. There have been times I felt exhausted, and a friend furnished and prepared the snacks for me so I didn’t have to. As I have attempted to cultivate an environment of trust for others, so I have found I am able to express more vulnerable parts of myself and allow others to speak encouragement into my insecurities. This, I believe, is part of what it means to pursue wisdom.

Advertisement

Low Power Mode

“Low Battery. Switch to low power mode?”

This message appears on my phone all too often – a sign it’s getting older and will eventually need to be replaced.

As I’ve been learning to better care for my body and overall self, I’m realizing I’ve been living life in a sort of low power mode for a long time. I’ve spent so long hibernating, trying to preserve my energy, because I’ve had so little of myself to give; and even what little energy I did have became depleted all too quickly.

As part of my commitment to taking better care of my body, I recently received a massage that helped bring this concept home for me. It had been awhile since I had received my last full-body session (and as a massage therapist, it’s important to receive work regularly). I didn’t realize how worn-out I was until my practitioner stood by my shoulders, slowly and methodically working out tension my body had been longing to let go of. It was as if my body was saying, “I feel seen and heard. Thank you.”

Not only did I feel more calm and more myself after that session, I also felt excited to then go and help other people feel the same way. I returned home with a fresh vigor for life and a desire to serve. This I believe is a glimpse of what human flourishing looks like: having my needs met so then I can help meet others’ needs out of my own abundance.

The healthier I am (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), the better I can serve others. I want to remember this lesson as I continue my journey to living life to the fullest. Life is not meant to be lived on low power mode.

Welcome!

Welcome to my new website! I was able to keep WordPress as my blogging platform after all, which hopefully means a seamless experience for my readers who have been with me since before the change.

I have officially launched my website, KatherineHill.com, and am working on developing my brand as a massage therapist and holistic entrepreneur. My goal is to have a place to connect all my creative outlets into one cohesive brand, hence my Music page as well as links to my YouTube channels on my About page.

I want to thank my readers again for your following throughout the years as I have shared my journey of growth, healing, and ultimately learning about myself. I’m excited for this next chapter and to share how I’m growing in the process. Take care.

Dance Partner

Once upon a time when my aunt was younger, she had some extra spending money and was trying to decide whether to buy a color tv or ballroom dancing lessons. She chose the dance lessons and met a man there who, lo and behold, possessed two color tvs. They fell in love and the man became my uncle.

I always thought that was a romantic story and thought it would be cool to find my partner in dance classes. While I’ve taken a few classes in the past, I don’t quite have the budget for it right now. But it’s something I plan to invest in a little farther down the road.

I was thinking recently about the importance of dance in my life, and how relevant it would be for my romantic partner to be able to / want to dance with me. And I realized that for me, dance isn’t just about physical exercise or a fun hobby. It’s a fundamental perspective on life.

Life is, in and of itself, art; and every movement, every step, every molecule of my body, every breath I take is an act of worship. I may not be a painter, but I believe that my very movements are a way of creating art with my body. So when I do yoga, or give a massage, or hug someone, or shift my weight from foot to foot as I walk heel to toe, my very being is an expression of art. I would hope that my partner recognizes and shares a similar belief in the sacredness of the body. I believe in dancing through life, and I am looking for my dance partner.

I don’t even know a lot about dance. Sure, I’ve dabbled in it here and there, but I’m no expert. I plan to train more formally and become better one day. I don’t expect my partner to be a professional. But it is a way of life I would hope we could share together. Not just because of the physicality of it (which is beautiful). But because of the meaning it holds for me, the idea that the body is sacred, and self-expression is an essential part of who we are.

And maybe I won’t find a partner. Maybe I’m meant to dance alone. But that won’t keep me from dancing nonetheless. Life is too beautiful not to.

Living Without A Passion; A Yoga Practice

These are some thoughts I began to write a couple years ago. I have often felt insecure that I didn’t feel passionate toward a particular career or cause like many of my peers did. This is a snippet of my mental process.

Reflections from February 2018

I bow my head, palms together in a prayer-like position. Close my eyes; breathe. I do not feel a particular passion toward anything.

I reach my hands up to the sky – feel a gentle pull in my muscles as my body awakens. I do not have a dream job, only varied interests.

I touch my toes; my head pulled down by gravity. I accept what is. I have a bucket list of things I’d like to try, but more importantly I just want to be.

Weight shifts onto my hands as my feet shoot back to land in a plank. I am strong; I work hard. I pay my bills and reduce debt. I am learning to purge my possessions to live more simply.

Lower onto the belly. I enjoy cleanliness and wellness. I like simplicity and natural products. I diffuse essential oils and buy bamboo toothbrushes. Arch my back, feel the stretch in my throat. I enjoy animals and nature.

I raise my body up until I’m in an inverted “V” shape – my hands and feet on the ground with my hips toward the sky. I’ve often wondered if something was wrong with me because I don’t feel a passion toward a singular career. I just want to live a balanced life. I breathe in, breathe out. I let go of my insecurities.

I walk my feet up to my hands and slowly rise to standing again. I long for more in life, but I am also learning to become one with the present.

A Quiet Reunion

Like a ghost, you concealed yourself in the dark corners of my mind.

Hidden in the shadows nearly forgotten until recently you emerged again, filling the absence of another. 

I have made peace with you; I am not afraid. You have been a constant companion to me these years and I have come to value your presence. You have connected me with a deep part of myself, given me access to a new dimension filled with wonders. You are a painful presence, but I do not resent you. You are a gift given to me to teach me hard lessons, to be my guide. I welcome you, my old friend: Loneliness.

Confession of Anger

Forgive me, Father, for my anger.

And not for the anger itself, but for the depth to which my anger roots itself to my soul.

I have caressed it, coddled it like a child, raised it up to grow into a monster. Feeling blessed by my own self-righteousness I give way to bitterness, resentment, envy. They make me feel good. They are faithful friends who stay by my side, nursing my hurt and making me powerful. 

But this is not the way of Love. Love takes hurt into her arms and weeps. Her tears wash away the filth in my soul, melting the monsters I have grown to cherish. She puts pain in its proper place – acknowledging it, grieving it, transforming it – and letting it go.

Snapshot: My Lovely Saturday Night

“I’ll be taking wonderful care of you tonight,” my waiter said as he opened his notepad and readied his pen. My order was simple: water, lobster bisque, and biscuits. He dashed off to the kitchen, his feet almost as quick as his speech.

Alone with my thoughts, I took in my surroundings: the soft thump, thump, thump of the base drum on the radio, the low lighting creating an air of privacy, the Canadian man sitting behind me talking about his trip to Florida. A baby cried in an adjacent room. Nearby, some servers gathered around one of the cash registers to share a joke. I wondered if anyone would find it strange for a woman to eat dinner alone in a restaurant, but it didn’t seem to matter.

Wearing my new (to me) sweater and sporting a fresh haircut, I figured tonight was as much a night as any to celebrate. It had been awhile since I’d taken myself “out on a date,” and the gift card I had received gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. I would not look at my phone tonight. Instead, I savored the environment – the mainstream, commercialized bistro I had learned to love from childhood – and drew comfort from its familiarity. I basked in gratefulness for the beauty of these moments, moments I hadn’t experienced in a long time.

I had lost sight of something. Of myself. I had forgotten how nice it felt to do something special – by myself. Here, now, I could be fully present, and present I was – well, at least until I realized I had almost finished my soup. It was so good I nearly forgot to enjoy it. The bisque tasted like the sea and like a warm hug all at once, and the cheesy, buttery biscuits melted in my mouth.

I thought about how I had no one to talk to there, but I didn’t mind. My soul was content to rest and reflect and simply be, without having to focus on conversation. Sometimes loneliness is a beautiful thing.

The waiter gave me a small bag to pack up the extra biscuits; I gave him an extra tip for his sweet demeanor. My spirit was overflowing with joy from being fully alive and fully myself. It really was a quick supper – I was in and out in under and hour – but my heart was full. And so was my belly.

Getting Debt-Free by Going Waste-Free

As I learn more about money management, I can’t help wanting to learn more about life management as well. And part of living a balanced life involves being mindful of what I consume and how I consume it.

One girl I follow on social media, Lauren Singer, has been my main inspiration for transitioning to a waste-free lifestyle. What does that mean? To me, that means learning ways to produce less waste and live more naturally – not because I’m turning into a hippie, but because being mindful of my consumption is leading me to a healthier way of living.

How do I do that? I’m starting by taking baby steps. After I’m finished with my current plastic toothbrush I plan to buy bamboo toothbrushes, which break down much faster than plastic. I am also using bar soap for my face and body. Bar soap requires less packaging than body wash or other liquid soap, and can also be more beneficial for the skin if it contains natural ingredients. A third step is changing out my plastic razors for a stainless steel safety razor. That is my most recent purchase, and I have to say I’ve actually enjoyed the progress of learning how to use it.

Not all of the change is fun, however. In addition to using bar soap for my skin, I have also started using a shampoo bar for my hair. For the last six weeks, my hair has been one greasy mess as the residual silicone and chemicals from drugstore shampoo have slowly disappeared. In their place, my body is having to re-train itself on how much oil it produces to regulate my hair. One thing that has helped with this is rinsing my hair with lemon juice on occasion; it functions as a conditioner as well as a way to cut through the grease. Showering in the morning has also been very helpful, instead of going to bed with wet hair (although I’m usually a night-shower-er, so that’s really weird for me!).

The most challenging and probably most tedious next step for me will be reducing my food waste. I find it much more convenient, and often cheaper, to buy frozen vegetables in plastic packaging than buying fresh ones and cutting them up and potentially having to throw them out because I didn’t eat them quickly enough. I also don’t like cooking and meal-planning in general, so my journey with eating habits has always been a difficult one. I hope to remedy this by developing more consistent routines with meal-planning, and perhaps even utilizing the local farmers’ market more.

I still live pretty wastefully, so when I say I’m taking baby steps I mean really baby steps. I imagine it will take many months for me to transition to where I want to be, but it starts with becoming a conscious consumer and growing from there.

Taking Care of Debt By Taking Care of Myself

As shared in my previous post, my goal for 2018 is to be debt free by December 1. Throughout the year I will be focusing not only on financial freedom, but also overall wellness. Taking care of myself will help me achieve my goals in a healthy way.

I am mindful of my health this year, since I want to put money toward debt rather than emergency expenses. As such, for the month of January I am working on developing routines to help keep my body healthy.

I have been doing 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene via her YouTube channel, and after January I am planning to continue a consistent yoga practice several times per week. It is not only great for improving the body’s strength and flexibility, but also for calming and focusing the mind. I don’t love working out, but yoga takes the focus away from working out and instead directs it to being well overall.

This winter, I am developing a nightly routine of making tea (it’s actually a concoction of cinnamon, honey, and hot water). These ingredients are loaded with antioxidants that help fight bacteria to keep the body healthy. I’m finding it helpful during the cold months. Plus it’s also a cozy way to end the day.

After tea, I do oil-pulling with coconut oil to enhance my dental health. Recently I began noticing some sensitivity in my gums, but the oil pulling has helped clear out any bacteria as well as eliminate the discomfort.

Before going to sleep at night, I wind down by doing a bit of reading. I’m aiming to read 15 books this year, and I keep track using the GoodReads app. It’s a lot of fun and I’ve discovered some interesting books. Reading helps keep my mind alive.

I still have trouble sleeping sometimes. I used to struggle with really bad insomnia, and I still awaken several times at night, but I am thankfully able to go back to sleep. I use a sleep-tracker app to help maintain an awareness of how I’m doing, and I will say that having a daily and nightly routine has helped tremendously.

As I start the morning, I usually drink hot water. I don’t have much desire for coffee or tea, but it is a welcome treat on occasion. I really do love the warmth of hot water in the cold weather. It helps me ease me awake as I begin working.

I’ve discovered that developing healthy routines has helped nurture a spirit of contentment in my being. And while I’m ambitious about the future, I’m also learning to become one with the moment I’m in. And it’s even okay if my plans or goals change, because I’m satisfied with the now. It’s all I’ve got, and I’m loving it.