Rituals

THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE by Kassandra Horn

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This past week and, well, the past few months left me thinking more than usual about gratitude – about how and where it shows up in my life, habits or behaviors I may be holding onto that take away from it and what practices I could adopt to live and love from a place of abundance.  

Without turning this into a pity party, I can honestly say this year has had its share of ups and downs. I’m frustrated with lot of what’s happening in our country politically and economically. I’m facing a few personal demons and recognizing my responsibility in creating (or not creating) my own happiness. At the same time, I’m experiencing so many wins. And you know what? I’m learning to find gratitude in all of it. No, every day isn’t always an improvement but to the best of my ability I’m no longer hiding from the negatives. I’m listening to the lessons, using them to guide me and moving forward instead of looking back.

Let’s talk a little bit about what’s pushing me closer to my truth:

FAMILY who supports everything I do and loves me unconditionally but also keeps me in line. I love that as I get older our conversations and closeness grow deeper. I can be open about almost anything with them and know that even if we disagree, we appreciate our differences and intend to create a safe space for expression.

FRIENDS who know how to make life’s little moments a little sweeter, who will dance in the streets if the mood strikes, who aren’t afraid to say I love you and pick me up off the floor when my pain is too much to bear. They call me out on my BS, encourage me to pursue passions and remind me that I am imperfectly perfect on the days I don’t see it. 

YOGA for challenging me physically, mentally, emotionally. I’m still terrified to do a handstand on my own but I know one day it will become second nature. For a studio that embraced my ambition this year to make moves, find community and work through my troubles on the mat.

KITTEN for shining a light on the importance of patience and filling my home with consistent affection. On my worst days, he’s there to greet me at the door and won’t leave my side until I’m smiling again. And on my best, he lets me smother him with all my goofiness. Call me a sappy cat lady but making the decision to bring him home was both selfless and selfish.  

LONELINESS for teaching me that you really can provide everything you need. I love my ‘me time.’ Some of my closest will debate with me on this but I am an introvert. I need space to feel whole. I also understand that proving my independence (to myself and others) is not necessary, and that I can ask for help. I think for a long time I believed that If I didn’t have to lean too hard on anyone, I would never get hurt. Of course, that also meant I would miss out on the joy of being truly seen. So, I’m taking this opportunity, this gift of loneliness as a challenge to face my fear of getting too close and I’m excited about what’s on the other side.   

GROWTH for pushing me to discover my own limits, or lack thereof? And to truly realize my power. I still have a lot of work to do, but I can now say I’m excited about that. I’ve always loved learning and for once instead of learning about something outside of me, I’m turning inward to celebrate my strengths and forgive past versions of me as I shed them. Growth has brought me hard times, new friends, non-friends, more awareness and enlightenment than I could have imagined.

What are you thankful for right now? It doesn’t have to be grand or life-changing, positive or negative. It really can be anything that makes you feel.

*****

If you’re looking for more gratitude in your life, my friend and fellow Wanderlust Ambassador Asal Dean is on a mission to spread kindness at scale with her Gratitudegrams™️ project. She understands the value of showing yourself and others gratitude and is creating the tools for all of us to make an impact. Just think if we each shared something we’re thankful for every day, it might help make the difficult moments a little easier to bear.  

I’m hoping to interview her soon – stay tuned! 

MY MORNING RITUALS by Kassandra Horn

Good morning! I'm writing this as I sip on a Bulletproof coffee after a challenging but invigorating vinyasa flow class with one of my favorite Wanderlust Hollywood instructors Rachel Jackson. It must be a combination of the caffeine hit and getting some movement in on a Saturday before most of LA is awake that has me ready to take on the world. Starting with this post. :) 

The motivation for this post comes from a podcast I listened to recently (Bad on Paper, episode 11 to be exact) where the hosts quoted a statistic claiming people spend an average of 4 hours on 'self care' per day - NOT including sleep. At first, this seemed like an overestimate... until I reflected on how many different activities fall into the realm of "self-care." Especially with all of the new age thinking going around.

By definition, Self-care is:

The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.

Well, shoot - in that case, dedicating 4 hours to the improvement of our health is awesome! But it also got me thinking, not all of the things we do to take care of ourselves are creating a sense of peace and calm. For me, mornings always used to be a rush. Every day I felt like I woke  up behind -- to an inbox filled with emails, texts awaiting response, a list of things I forgot to do. I barely got out of bed and someone else needed something. It's only in the past year or so that I started truly prioritizing WHAT I NEED. And I found the best way to do this is at the start of my day.

You won't see meditation on this list because I still haven't mastered the art of sitting still long enough for that. But hey, baby steps. Most of my rituals don't take much time at all, yet they're a great way to give myself some extra attention every morning and hit the reset button before racing to work. 

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5-Minute Matcha

Yes, I am on the matcha train. Can't get enough of this stuff, thanks in part to my dear friend Shelby Torrese who taught me almost everything I know about it. I'm particularly fond of an iced version right now with just matcha, water, oat milk and ice considering temps are at a cool 90-100 degrees here in LA, but when I'm preparing in a blender my typical recipe is:

  • 1 tsp Matcha (Mizuba Tea is my jam. It's unsweetened and full of flavor)
  • 6 oz non-dairy milk + 6 oz filtered H2O 
  • 1 tsp SunPotion Tocos (rice bran solubles, aka non-dairy creamer) 
  • 1 tsp Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides 
  • Big dash of cinnamon
  • Small squeeze of local honey 

I don't know what a peptide is and I fully intend to learn. All I know is that a little collagen every day keeps the aging away (in my experience). Whether you're with me on matcha, or a proud coffee fiend, the ritual is essentially the same. The smell and sweetness of sipping on something delicious that I know is also good for my body and mind is intoxicating. Learn more about the harvesting and amazing benefits of matcha here

Moving My Body

Some days it's a walk to the nearest park or hiking up to Griffith Observatory, matcha in hand. Others it's firing up my core with a little HIIT or getting my down dog on. In fact, switching it up makes this ritual all the more fun! Pick something that makes you excited to get out of bed and sweat. If you're dreading your workouts, you're doing it all wrong. There are so many options out there - the key is trying them to see what sticks. 

Quick plug: If you live near Hollywood and haven't been to Wanderlust, I can promise it's worth a visit. They have a variety of classes to get you moving, meditating, pushing your body to new limits and finding flexibility you never knew you had. I can't get my headstand quite right and their instructors are committed to helping me get there. We're conquering fears over here, my friends! 

Reading & Writing

I'm currently moving through Danielle LaPorte's White Hot Truth at a snail's pace, but I love that I can read a chapter, even a few pages, from it each morning to set the tone for a lighter and brighter day. If I'm really feeling one of her teachings, I'll grab my journal and use it as a prompt - jotting down whatever comes to mind. It's a free-flowing exercise to to clear my head of any negative thoughts or remember what I'm thankful for. Gratitude is gold. 

Phone-Free Zone

One of the biggest culprits for causing me stress in the morning is the damn phone. Put that sh*t down! This goes for evening too. At least 30 minutes before I got to bed and 30 minutes after I wake up is a phone-free zone. The last thing I need to start my day and cloud my head is mindless scrolling or unintentional comparisons. 

Also worth noting, when I do this, I find myself staying off of social media or other distractions more throughout the day which means I get more done and I feel better about productivity. Every minute is a gift and I'm here to use them wisely. 

FINDING WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

These are just some of the rituals that work for me personally. They won't work for everyone, and that's the beauty of our individuality. Just as we all have different stressors or triggers, we all have unique ways of healing - pressing pause, quieting the chaos and getting grounded. 

How do you start your morning? Are there any habits you've picked up that you didn't even realize help ease stress or bring you relaxation until you aren't able to make time for them?