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Reigniting My Flame 2016

January 10, 2016 - Author: KishaLynn Elliott
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Yesterday I had the honor and pleasure of attending a workshop at the Monarch School where I work called “Reignite Your Flame in the New Year”. It was lead by my friend and Monarch’s amazing Director of Therapeutic Arts, Rachelle Archer, and her Expressive Arts intern Jamie Rosen.

Gathered in a sacred circle around burning candles, we opened with a poetry reading of Judy Brown’s ‘Fire’.

Reigniting Your Flame

Photo by Rachelle Archer used with permission

We chose images that resonated with how we were feeling in life. I chose this one below, which represents how I feel as a self-described “entre-professional”, wife and mom-to-be, with the weight of the world on my shoulders and back as enormous changes initiated in 2015 come to bear in 2016 to infinity.

CarryingLoad

Carrying the Load: You Got This

Then we created and shared reflections or poems about those images. Mine read: When I am feeling the weight of my world, I need a brace, a massage, a spotter, a cheerleader, a crane, a hand of help, or applause, a lift, a ride. When my life is heavy, I need some light, the sun, a breath of fresh air, or sometimes to simply stop and be there. 

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We partnered up for an emotional listening and playback exercise. We briefly reviewed some stress management resources and healthy responses to stress before enjoying a wholesome vegetarian lunch together. After lunch, there was an intimate candle lighting and intention-setting ceremony. My word of intention for 2016 is FAITH.

Candle Lighting and Intention Setting

Candle Lighting and Intention Setting

Next was an hour-long art project where we made–or in my case, STARTED making, visual story books.

Visual Story Books

Expressive Arts Activity: Making Visual Story Books

The day culminated in a share-out of our artwork and takeaways from the creative experience.

I describe it all in such detail because I was truly moved by every moment of it. I will admit, I initially attended more out of desire to support my colleague Rachelle, an obligation of friendship that I take seriously. I don’t know why I wasn’t looking for it to help me shift and work through things I am challenged with coming into 2016. Perhaps it’s because I am a life coach and felt a little “been there, done that” walking in. So full of myself.

Walking out though, all of my expectations, for the workshop and for myself, were exceeded beyond measure. I wished I had shared about it in advance and invited others, rather than treating it like “this work thing I have on Saturday”. That was a selfishly missed opportunity that I will definitely make amends for should Rachelle and Jamie offer the workshop again in the future.

When I got home, I thought I would just zone out in front of the TV with my wife like I usually do on a typical Saturday. But my unfinished storybook called to me.

So, I dragged my coaching workshop/retreat/crafts suitcase out of my office and mined it for more materials, posted up in the living room (so as not to abandon my wife and her TV), and resumed work on my story book.

Ten hours later (at 1:00 a.m.) with only one 20 minute break for dinner, I was finished. It felt like hardly any time had passed. I guess that’s what making art feels like. Writing has been my chosen form of art since I was a little girl. Yet, I can’t think of a time in my life when I sat down and wrote for 10 hours straight.

I am proud of the work, so I took the pictures below, which tells the story described.

I am even prouder of the lasting impact this experience made on me, so I am sharing this reflection and the photos on my blog and social media sites.

If someone ever invites you to do something that sounds a combination of  amazing and cheesy, whether it is to Reignite Your Flame, or to INDULGE in Self-Love (just sayin’! *wink*), my advice is to be open, and try it if you are able. Bring a friend. Or if you want to keep it to yourself, then share the results and impact it made on you afterwards. Perhaps someone else will be inspired to want to tag along next time. 

And for the love of God, if you start a piece of artwork and are enjoying the direction it is going in, commit to FINISHING it, no matter how long it takes.

Always Believing In You…

Love,
Coach KishaLynn

KishaLynn Elliott’s Inspirational Visual Story Book

The Glass Isn't Half Empty, It's Full.

“The glass isn’t half empty, it’s full. True story.” Pullout: Things I Love–God. Myself. My Wife. My Framily. My Life. You.

BE...

“Be balanced and evolving. Be happy, vibrant and perfecting. Be positively brillant. Be healthy, free, beautiful. Be compassionate and loving. Be inspired. Your own opinion counts. I AM awesome.” Pullout: “BLOOM where you are planted.”

The Good Life

“There came a great freedom. Build it and say ‘I spent wisely.’ Sow a smart investment. Reap the benefits. Give. Live the good life. Stay open for business. Joy is not in things, it is in us. It’s the little things you come to love. We’re going! Determination is in our nature. Start smart. Coming home. YOUR HOME. See yourself in paradise. Enjoy.” Pullout: “The way to know life is to LOVE many things.” -Vincent Van Gogh

Ready or Not: Baby

“Ready or Not! You and Me. Baby. Mother. Little fingers, little toes. Family.  Imagine the possibilities. PLAY.” Pullout: “All life is an experiment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I omitted the left page because it reveals the gender and name of the baby my wife and I are expecting in June 2016. We aren’t ready to make that public yet. :-)

Shelli you are my sunshine

“Shelli you are my sunshine every single day! Perfect. An intense and absorbing love. Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be. Love and Pride. Romance. I heart you like XO. Beautiful. When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. Warm. Unity. PERFECT. I love you unlike any other.” Pullout: “Find ecstacy in life–the mere sense of living is joy enough.” -Emily Dickinson

Stay Fit, Stay Fun, Feel Good

“Start every day the right way. Stay fit, stay fun. FEEL GOOD. Whole food nutrition. Staying power. ‘Nothing should be prized more highly than the value of each day.’ (Goethe). The only wealth is life. Energy. Think, don’t smoke. Water–drink it every day!”

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“Words of wisdom: Learn to think. Track your progress. True friends are those who like you for who you are. Be committed to transformation. Keep the faith. DREAMs come true. You make some decisions with your heart, others with your mind. But every step you take affects your life. Look which way you’re going. Your life is NOW. Believe in miracles. I guess like all things in life, MAKE it till you make it.” Pullout: At the end of the day…the choice is yours.

Well done DREAM Weaver

“Well done DREAM Weaver. Go on and make it happen. Smile, you’re fabulous. The end?”

That’s my story and I am sticking to it…XOXOKL

Copyright 2016 KishaLynn Elliott. All Rights Reserved.

2 Comments - Categories: blogs

I Am Not My Weight

January 4, 2016 - Author: KishaLynn Elliott

I'm Not Where I Want To Be, But I'm Not Where I Was

I’m Not Where I Want To Be, But I’m Not Where I Was

Hi there, it’s Coach KishaLynn.

I know it’s been quite a while. I am writing to share something that I haven’t shared anywhere, or with anyone else yet.

If you’ve been following me for the past few years, you may know that on my 30th birthday in 2010, I weighed 331 lbs. Horrified that my weight was more than 10 times my age, and wanting more for and from myself, I embarked on a journey for a healthy body. Over the next four years, through regular food tracking, fitness training and nutrition coaching, I lost 120 pounds. My lowest weight got to 212, but on average I was hanging out between 220 and 225 during 2014. During that time, I also started a personal development business, published a book, and got a full-time coaching job working at a school for homeless youth.

2015 came. On many fronts it was a strong year for me. I traveled across the country for business and pleasure. I vacationed in Mexico in January and Italy in September. I developed a new business model around all-inclusive self-love retreats for women. And, my wife and partner of 10 years is now four months pregnant with our first child. All of that is seen and celebrated by my loved ones, my clients, and by me.

What isn’t known (though may be evident to those paying close attention), is that I gained 40 pounds back last year.

Life took its toll in 2015.

Codi, my amazing nutrition coach and personal trainer, moved away in January. I did not replace him with another accountability system. I became “too busy/tired” to work out. I became “unmotivated/undisciplined” about tracking my food. I gained five pounds right away.

We were hit with a major IRS audit in March that impacts our financial outlook to this day. I ate my money fears. Gained another five pounds.

The process of getting my wife pregnant this summer was emotionally difficult and expensive. I ate the anxiety. Then I went on an iCation to Italy in September and ate EVERYTHING. Ten more pounds gained.

Then in November, my father died. I ate the grief and gained 20 pounds in the last two months of the year.

My clothes stopped fitting. Having long purged my closet of sizes 20 and up, I took advantage of Black Friday deals to restock my closet with enough clothes to get through the short San Diego winter. My collarbones have retreated and my old friend the double chin is back in town. Worst of all, I have food allergies that are moderate (corn, dairy, soy) to severe (gluten–wheat, barley and rye). Yet, I continually ate foods that made me sick, knowingly and willingly. I tried to mitigate the discomfort with enzymes and supplements. However, I still suffered from skin rashes, headaches, constipation, stomach upset, and fatigue in addition to weight gain.

Three days ago I weighed in at 260 pounds on New Years Day 2016.

I'm not fat, my wife is pregnant. ;)

I’m not fat, my wife is pregnant. ;)

But here’s the thing. I don’t hate myself for it.

I am big on self-love, confidence and acceptance. I measure my value by far more than the number on a scale. My worth is not determined by the size of my clothes. Additionally, I have a great network of inspiring motivators that advocate against all forms of body shaming. (Shout out to my coach Molly Morrissey and my friend Lauren Marie Fleming and for constantly speaking encouraging truths to and about me.) So I am not beating myself up about the weight I’ve gained. I am in an emotionally good place with myself. Like Mary J. Blige sang, “I like what I see when I’m looking at me when I’m walking past the mirror.” Double chin and all.

I also realize that my weight gain is a manifestation of deeper issues that I need to address. I am off track of my goal to achieve my healthiest body. For me, a healthy body isn’t so much measured by numbers, but by how I feel in my body and what I am capable of doing physically. I know that if I don’t do something, then all the weight that it took me three years to lose and maintain, will come back in half the time.

It’s the first week of the new year, so of course people everywhere I look “recommitting” to weight loss, nutrition and fitness goals. Most of them will be long abandoned and forgotten by Valentine’s Day. Rather than climb aboard this broken bandwagon, this week I have been checking in with myself to see what I really want to do, and “weighing” my options:

  • I could do the Master Cleanse again. (I used to do it every January and June.)
  • I could try a newfangled detox. (Apple Cider Vinegar is getting a lot of hype these days.)
  • I could join WeightWatchers again. (I started my journey there and lost 75 of the 120 pounds on the program.)
  • I could start working out again. (My wife and I got gymberships in October. We haven’t been back to the gym since the night we signed up.)
  • I could try to barter with a personal trainer and/or nutrition coach again. (Hiring one is strictly out of the budget for foreseeable future).
  • I could go back on an intense eating plan, i.e. the Elimination and FODMAP-restricted diet. (I did this last fall NOT to lose weight, but to narrow down which foods were making me sick.)
  • I could do some or all of these in combination. (And most likely fail by over-trying.)

I can’t say I have made a decision on the best immediate path(s) to take. As I was reflecting though, it occurred to me the one thing I should DEFINITELY do: TALK ABOUT IT.

Being a life coach doesn’t make me inhuman, or impervious to the chaos of life, or incapable of making mistakes. Actually, I like to believe that being a coach makes me damn good at all of the above.

What can be gained, by myself or by others, if I hide and pretend that things like this aren’t happening to me? I would much rather openly share my challenge as I work through it. After all, someone could be reading this, right now, and feel better about themselves and their journey because I shared this truth. Or someone could read this and reach out to me with the motivation and encouragement I’ve been needing to get back on track.

So here I am, Coach KishaLynn, 260 pounds (again) and size 20 (again), saying: “Yeah, me too.”

I still love myself. I AM manifesting my healthiest body, day by day, goal by goal, step by step. But I refuse to do it by acting like the journey is linear. It isn’t, it wasn’t, and it ain’t ever gonna be, for me, and for most people who have enough integrity and self-confidence to tell the truth.

There you have it. I leave you with the great lyrics of Kina’s “Me”:
I’m just me
I’m enough
With myself
I’m in love
I’ve been weak
I’ve been low
Now I’m strong
Now I know
I’m just me
I’m enough
Nothing less
Nothing more
I wish everybody could just
Feel this kind of love.

Always Believing In You…xoxoKL

Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

2 Comments - Categories: blogs