How do you start your day?
My morning ritual is to wake with a tap on my shoulder from our daughter who sleeps in the middle. We swap places so that I can snuggle next to my partner before getting out of bed. I dress in yoga clothes (always hopeful) and descend the stairs to a hungry guinea pig (squeak! squeak!), a happy hungry dog and two hungry cats. Then I open all the blinds and let the sun in. Snuggle, love pets, let light in—every day.
What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?
When I feel any uncomfortable feelings, I say it out loud. “I am so stressed right now!” Or, “Ack! I am so overwhelmed!” That helps me get a little headspace, some self-empathy, and some empathy from my partner. I also like touch, like a long hug. When I’ve moved out of full crisis mode I make a to-do list. I love lists.
What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?
I feel happiest with a combination of the following: moving my body, walking Henry-dog along the river, a good book that has me hooked, a sort-of clean house, an enthralling project, my family, and that sometimes elusive sense that everything is working out just fine.
What are you currently reading?
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. Yes, she gets into outrageous situations and that is always entertaining, but the writing, oof. It’s impressive way beyond shock value.
What are you listening to right now?
Serial, This American Life, and Radio Lab. Also Andrew Bird’s Break It Yourself.
What is your go-to simple recipe?
Quinoa, tofu sautéed in coconut oil, and salad. All in one bowl.
What are some simple things you do for self-care?
I stay home, a lot. I tell the truth. I only spend time with people that I love and that lift me up and know my true self. I exercise.
What does nourishment look like to you?
Enough time to make choices that feel right.
How do you make space for play?
I reserve 10pm – midnight for fun. Every night. We watch movies, we have sex, we eat chocolate.
What are some favorite mantras you cling to?
I don’t use words so much as a perspective. I like to imagine myself from very far away or as an old lady looking back on my life. This view let’s me see what’s important, what I really care about.
Please share some words of wisdom you’ve learned as a direct result of soulful and embodied living.
The lesson that I have been sent to learn, and learn again, and keep right on learning, is that there is no right, no wrong, no better or best, and no outside jury that will, at some point, finally pin a gold star on my lapel and tell me I did it right. I am my own judge and the choices I am faced with are my own to make and succeed or fail at. The people that love me will take their cues from my exuberance and celebrate alongside. Those that disagree or are offended will always be out there, they are both real and imaginary. I can live my life trying to please them, second guessing and appeasing, or not.
Natalie Christensen is a writer, illustrator, and mother living in Missoula, Montana. She is co-creator of Feeleez, a line of tools that support the emotional development of children. She offers life + parenting coaching and on most days can be found on the banks of the Clark Fork river with her family and her yellow dog.
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