Archive for April, 2016

#BADASSWOMENCONFESS

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I must confess…. I too am in fact, a BADASS WOMAN. And I am PROUD OF MY BADASSERY.

I never pass up a good opportunity.
I don’t play dumb.
I am active.
I work very hard.
And I like a challenge.
I make decisions in my life based on what is right for me.
I follow my intuition.
I am a warrior goddess.
I live in the world of reality, work, recreation, creativity, and the soul.
I devote time to me and those I love.

I do not let people walk on me.
I gracefully (and sometimes not so gracefully) love people, but I do not let people take advantage of me.
I am genuine, no bullshit, strong.
My morals are high and I am honest to a fault.
I have tattoos.
I rock climb.
I enjoy getting my hands dirty.
I am real, and I am a BADASS WOMAN.

And, I am imperfect. My life can be messy, my mind can be messy, and my heart can be messy.

In my first few years of college I struggled greatly with anxiety. Fear consumed me and left me hopeless and exhausted. Despite my BADASSNESS, at times I struggled to make it through the day. I spent many days isolating and avoiding. Until I began to do my work and recover. It took all my determination to move forward.

At 26 I was married after a 7 year long relationship, and at 27, I was divorced. My world crashed around me, as I released the life plans I had made and ventured into my new reality. While I knew I did not want to end my marriage, I could no longer sustain my heart and soul energy in that relationship. I made the brave and terrifying decision to leave. I promptly planned a party with my closest friends to celebrate the separation. And I moved on.

Many tears later, here I am. Braver, stronger, smarter, and more content. What did it take to get me here, to a place of more stability and contentment? A few key elements helped me survive these difficult periods in my life.

I believe that walking towards fear and depth is one key element to my growth. When I am fearful, I know it is an indication of an attachment I have to the world or life.

Reaching out to friends and family for support has also been invaluable for my heart and soul. I am eternally grateful for the unwavering support of my friends and family.

Mentors and spiritual experiences along the path have guided me to remove the limits I place on myself.

And my own personal work has been the most important aspect of my growth. I have worked with therapists, coaches, and supervisors throughout my life. I would not be able to show up for my clients without doing my own work. I know my shadows and my light. I practice self-care and self-compassion.

Being a BADASS WOMAN means stepping up to the challenge of self exploration. It takes bravery and determination to delve into your own depths and know your shadows and light. Being a BADASS WOMAN means feeling your emotions and following your soul’s path.

To living into the fullness of your badassary,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensoriotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows badass women in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

5 WAYS #BADASSWOMENRELAX

 

 

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For part two of my blog series on my favorite kind of women – the BADASS WOMAN – I thought I would write a little about how to incorporate relaxation in to the badass woman lifestyle.

Badass women are women who function highly in many different areas of life and career paths. If you are a BADASS WOMAN, you refuse to take shit from others and stand firm in your beliefs, ideals, and life choices. You are not afraid of climbing the ladder, telling someone what they think, and being successful. You know what the line between right and wrong and you make sure others follow in the lines. You almost never choose the easy road, you chose the road you want. You are polite and caring, generous, yet, no one can stand in the way of what you want. You may be in a high powered position or perhaps you have chosen an alternative career, but you are most definitely great at what you do and an invaluable worker.

For all you badass women out there, you know how difficult it can be to really take time for yourself to relax. You are set on “DO” mode and may find it a struggle to just “BE.” Perhaps you relax with TV series, netflix movies in solitude and/or spend free time socializing. Your socializing includes time out with friends drinking or using substances to relax and you feel like you have to be “ON” all the times, maybe even as if you are the entertainment for the crowd.

You wear a mask and seldom feel as if you are yourself while out with friends. In your solitude, you may fill the hours with entertainment and while it is relaxing to numb out in front of a screen, you feel as if you there is something missing. You may even try yoga, running or other sports and still feel disconnected from receiving benefits of the activity. You feel inauthentic, as if you are acting a part, a fraud. You want to DO SOMETHING, but you are not sure what. 

As you tune into your body, you come into the awareness that you often feel either angry or anxious. It feels like this fluctuation is present almost constantly. At times you may rage out, only later to come to the realization that you overreacted and likely regret your behavior. In times of anxiety, it is difficult to settle, to sitstill and think clearly. You hide from others the distressful state of your internal world and push through the day. You cannot seem to just relax anymore.

The real trouble is that you feel out of control of your internal world. You can’t believe it has gotten to this place and you are ready to do something to ease the pain and struggle. 

The great news is that you did not chose to create this internal world for yourself, it has happened over time and you can recover. Your behaviors, while no longer serving you, are protective in nature and have kept you safe.

Here are some places to start to relax. 

  1. Gratitude.  Thank your mind and body for protecting you. Anger and anxiety are animal defense mechanisms. When they arise, your mind and body are trying to keep you safe. Remember to be thankful for your body and mind’s protection rather than beating yourself up for having these reactions. Adding a layer of guilt and shame to your worries can further exacerbate your overall stress level.
  2. Breath.  Breathing is a powerful mechanism for turning on the self-soothing chemicals in your mind and body. Breathing in 3 counts and out 6 counts can turn on soothing chemicals in your body, turning off the stress response. Try breathing in the 3 inhale, 6 exhale count about 4 times and notice how it changes your body state.
  3. Progressive muscle relaxation. Before going to sleep, spend five minutes tensing and then relaxing each muscle group of your body, one at a time. Or if you prefer, just relax and don’t tense muscles. Start with your toes and move to the top of your head, relaxing one muscle group at a time with each exhale.
  4. Connection. Humans are wired to connect for survival. It is important to spend time connecting with people while doing calm activities. Yoga, meditation, hiking, making art, and attending religious services all can be very soothing. Spending a few hours of your week participating in these activities can improve your mood and help you feel relaxed throughout your week.
  5. Solitude. Spend some time in soulful activity on your own. Explore meditation, mindful walking, making art, dancing, or any other soul nourishing activity for just one hour a week on your own. Notice how that one hour a week can affect your week.
  6. Reach out. Because connection and relationship is such a large part of our functioning, reaching out for help and receiving help may be the most powerful tool for overall relaxation and mood stability. Often dysregulation of your mood and mind is a result of very old wounds in our relationships. Repairing these wounds with a therapist is powerfully healing. The great thing about this is that it does not necessarily mean sharing traumatic stories, instead the focus is on the limiting beliefs you may have.

Much love and gratitude to you in your journey,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensoriotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows badass women in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

Nature as a Resource & Guide

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I have to speak today of the resource and guidance of nature. With continual visits from birds over the last few days, I have to put any other agendas aside. We will further the exploration of the badass woman next week. Today, nature is singing and my humble heart has to pay attention.

Throughout the last few weeks, little birds have been visiting my window sills. At opportune moments in the session, just when emotion has peaked, my little feather friend seems to consistently show up and sing the most beautiful song, breaking the emotional expression for just a moment before flitting away.

What do we make of this?

Well my scientific Catholic upbringing says “Aren’t those birds pretty and cute, how nice to get the chance to see them up close and witness their little bird lives. Though I wish they would stop disrupting my clients’ processes!”

While the artist in me says “I wonder what it would be like to be a bird, floating this way and that, free to roam. They are magnificent creatures, so different from us. I will definitely be painting an image of that little guy later….”  Then the mystic in me says “Isn’t it interesting how these little guys show up just as emotions become strong. They must be spirit guides, cosmic supports for my and my clients’ process.”

And so, here are our options. The logical to the mystical. I embrace them all, each are a lense or perception of the same experience. I dive into each at times and prefer the latter.

Why not? Why not live in the mystical, spiritual, free, creative world. I pick my perception and I pick that one. I get to experience the signs and surrender spiritually. I get to believe in abundance and joy returning to me as I release it. I get to play and live fully in my heartspace. I can shape shift into those other perceptions as needed to relate to others and protect my heart or I can live on all levels at once. Yet, I receive and give my joy most readily from the mystical space.

Birds have always been important to me. My mother studied birds for much of her career and I would relish in pointing out all the different birds we would see on our drives, coming home and looking up their profile in the Audubon reference book.

I once had the pleasure of doing a past life regression. I received three stories of my lives. The last live I experienced was that of an eagle. In that life I was free, liberated from any constraints. I enjoyed the solitude of my life and stood solidly atop a cliff, overseeing the valleys below. I felt the pure power of solitude and the experience of flight.

As my little bird friends visit, I am reminded of the presence of nature’s energy. I am reminded they are out there seeing us and connecting with us as they sing to me and clients through the window. I am reminded that we are one with nature when it comes down to it and feel gratitude for this beautiful life.

I invite you to take 10 minutes from your day to attend to nature with a mystical curiosity as it attunes to us. Take a little walk in the woods, paint an image of an animal that shows up in your life, listen to the sounds of the humpback whale, set an intention of loving kindness to the earth and all its creatures. ​

To connecting with nature,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensoriotor therapy or to explore or deepen your connection to nature in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com