When was the last time you gave your Self permission?
I mean truly, whole-heatedly granted your Self permission to be who you are, in this moment?
Permission to feel. It all.
Deeply and resolutely -
without fear or embarrassment,
without pushing against the pain or running from the discomfort?
Permission to sit and allow the feelings, whether good or bad,
to fill every inch of your being?

When was the last time you granted your Self permission to say no?
To do nothing but retreat within the confines of your own soul -
to shake your head, stomp your feet
and plant them firmly into the murky soil that surrounds you
all the while lifting your voice high above the crowd,
to expel a resounding “no” from the depths of your belly?

When was the last time you gave your Self permission to fall short of your own expectations?
When have you allowed your Self to do it wrong,
to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are only human,
that you will have a bad day,
that you ARE having a bad day,
that sinking into it and accepting it will allow you to see the truth?
The truth that it is here to propel you and guide you through this life.

 When was the last time you gave your Self permission to come home again?
To allow your Self to circle back at any time,
no matter how inopportune it may be.
To slow down, to feel the allure of comfort,
of tenderness
leading you towards that which makes you feel loved, adored,
accepted by your own heart center -
By the core of your own existence.

Today, grant your Self the permission that you need.
To feel however it is you need feel,
without pretending,
without putting on the mask that will cover it up.
Give your Self permission to be held,
to hear that it will be okay,
that not everyday will grant endless clarity and abounding joy.
Receive this grace,
if by no one else,
than by your own sweet soul.
And give your Self permission to feel it all.
To live.
As you wish,
in this moment.

Today, I invite you to find pause
amid your everyday interactions
with the people
who are dear to you.
While the words are flowing,
and the exchange is being made,
stop.
Allow the person in front of you to fill
your awareness.
Position your gaze so that it may connect with theirs.
Look deeply into their eyes.
Feel the sizzle,
the essence of their being
reach out to touch you,
their humanity,
the vulnerability of you both
as you openly share a piece of yourself with the other.
It is so easy to allow your eyes to sweep past their features,
to overlook who is sitting right in front of you.
Notice them.
Notice it all.
The color.
The light.
The love.
Feel that love as it surges through you.
As it reaches inward and tugs at your heartstrings.
Anchor into that feeling
and bask in its unending light.
Choose to see them
for who they are
in this moment
in time.

choosing

Some days I look at the clock and wonder where the day has gone – especially those that fall on the weekend. Disappointment sets in and I feel as if I’ve wasted precious moments of my time.  That I didn’t get enough accomplished. For me, weekends are for replenishment.  Replenishment of self, of the kitchen and house, of family time.  I try to squeeze in as much as I can, hoping to touch upon all of the areas of lack. To get done what hasn’t during the week.  Our home needs to be cleaned and restocked. Household and creative projects are beckoning to be completed. Downtime and self-care are at the forefront of my mind. Moments for our family to relax and reconnect with each other – to take advantage of the weather and revel in the season – are a must.

Yesterday was one of those days.  I saw time slipping away.  It was almost dinnertime. After that, we would begin our son’s bedtime routine. I felt powerless against the clock as I tried to grasp on for dear life and slow the minutes to a standstill.  Why had I squandered the time away?  Then, I paused.  I took a deep breath and attempted to look at the past couple of days from a different perspective. What are the choices I made this weekend that brought me happiness? What was my weekend filled with?

I began to mentally run through a list of all that had transpired in the past few days. All that I had chosen to fill my time with.  I chose yoga. A solo trip to the bookstore. A simple, healthy meal to share with the family after a long day. I chose to set intentions and allow them to lead me. I bundled up, grabbed my journal, and headed outside one morning to capture the thoughts that were rolling around in my mind. I chose to make my son laugh, to play several games of Go Fish! with the family, to attend a dinner with extended family. The upstair was cleaned, the laundry was done, groceries were purchased, and a pie was baked. I chose a walk in the woods with my husband and son. To notice the colors, the deer, and the gorgeous views that were gifted to us. I photographed some of the moments that took my breath away and shared them with others. I chose to rest, to read, to watch inspiring talks by women who are making a difference. I chose to listen to my Self. To notice the beauty of the everyday. To slow down and simply sit alongside of those that I love.

How could I count this time as wasted? All of the choices that I made brought me joy.  Brought me moments of deep, soulful connection.  Yes, I may not have gotten everything on my “so-called” list completed, but I couldn’t beat myself up for it. I took time for the things that mattered to me at that precise moment in time.  I can look back on these last few days and savor those feelings of peace, of contentment, and of inspiration that came from the choices I did make. We can’t do it all.  We never can.  But we can begin to look at how we spent our time from a different perspective. Instead of asking ourselves what we failed to do, we can ask ourselves to notice what we did do that brought us happiness.

What choices have you made in the past few days that brought you joy?
Notice them and remember to hold them close to your heart as you begin to walk forward into this week. 

found    

At this very moment, I sit surrounded by that which my Self desires. I didn’t plan for this moment. I didn’t seek anything out of the ordinary. I just settled into this day and allowed the soft whispers of routine to guide me. I allowed what was, to unfold.

DSC_0176

After witnessing a breathtaking eclipse from the comfort of my front porch, I reentered the house ready to start my day.As I silently retrace my steps in my mind, I can pinpoint each act that led me – that pulled me – towards living in my pleasure. Connections were made, calls were answered. Once I stepped back through the doorway, I padded upstairs and wrapped my arms around my sweet one who was beckoning me from above. I gently tried to soothe him back to sleep, his warmth and vulnerability washing over me as we connected in the wee morning hours of this day. Making my way back downstairs I lit a candle, plugged in the twinkling lights, and poured a steaming cup of tea to set the mood for putting pen to paper.

And now, as I continue to allow my mind to wash over the path I took of this barely begun day, I hear the faint melody of the birds just outside my window. Nature in its glory. And here I sit alone. With time that has been gifted to me, allowing me to write down my thoughts and sit in gratitude. I am filling my cup and luxuriating in the knowledge that my desires are being met in the ordinary moments of my life. As I take a deep breath and sink into that feeling of utter joy, I linger in the awakening my soul is experiencing.

The realization of that in which I desire can be found in within the careful folds of living.

What I am longing for, is already present in my life, if I only take the time to notice.  And for that I am very grateful.

Look beyond the surface.
Hidden in the depths,
behind the scenes,
woven within the ingredients -
you will find an intricate connection.
A transfer of energy.
Of love.
Familial design.
Artistry.
An opening to pour yourself into
these gifts.
To blanket each movement,
each combination,
with a deep affection for the receiver -
in hopes that every bite articulates
what the heart longs to bestow upon
those gathered
in convergence.

prepc

cupcake

pumpkin cupcakes shared in celebration

zucchini pie

a savory dish bursting with flavor and sustenance for the entire family

kids

hand-selected, the groundwork of independance

mix

an offering, created together of original design

granola bars

Granola Bars

sweet morsels that will come together in meeting

Linking up with Heather at Beauty that Moves for This Week in my Kitchen.

This Week in My Kitchen

Held

Hold me
as I fall
in surrender.
Submerging as I may,
to bathe affectionately in the sanctuary
of your depths.
Your calm waters
soothe me,
calling me back.

Back to your love,
back to you -
completely.
Let us wrap ourselves gently around
this moment,
pulling it close -
breathing in the balm of
our own secluded hideaway
within this dance.

A Practice in Noticing: prompt

You may use these words however you like.
Hold them.
Shape them.
Create this moment in your mind, on paper, or in a visual representation.
Let your thoughts and feelings flow,
as you are held.

I would love to see what has been sparked by these words, if you wish to connect.
You can use #beautyinthismoment on Instagram or email me directly at gina.kimmel@gmail.com

Poem inspired by Write ALM’s: September Prompts

This week, our kitchen was alive with beauty.  The beauty was found on every countertop. In the sizzle of the saucepan as it heated and merged flavors together.  In the simple acts of mixing and rolling ingredients with my own hands and in each delectable bite that touched our lips. It was so present, so breathtaking, because I took the time to look more deeply into the ordinary art of nourishment.

Often times I am intimidated by the kitchen. Stepping into it three times a day, seven days a week, there is a challenge in creating something whole and appetizing out of disconnect – out of the pieces. With varied palettes living under the same roof and dwindling amounts of energy, cooking – more often than not – feels like a chore demanding to be tackled.

Then, something changed last week.  When I began to searching for opportunities within the lacking, it forced me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  Instead of greeting the task of cooking with trepidation, I instead aspired to infuse my meals with love and artistry.  I walked into my kitchen each day with intention – with the intent to slow down, to pause and take note of the art and the beauty of the fare, to see an opportunity for vivid, soul inspiring connections that could be made.  As I looked sweetly with artist eyes at the fresh, crisp ingredients that graced our kitchen, I was drawn into the exquisiteness of them all. Into the allure of creating a masterpiece.  By weaving vestiges of the past with contemporary elements of the present, what was produced this week was distinctive in design.

I hope to hold onto this newfound feeling of adventure in the kitchen and imbue a taste of this delight into anyone who gathers around the dinner table alongside of me, or anyone who attempts to steep our dishes with their own touch of magic. Until then, here some of the moments, some of the scenes, that took my breath away this week.

Cookies

 paleo chocolate chips cookies baked on the cookie sheets my grandfather used in his bakery

sheet

 

treat

 

bounty

 fresh garden veggies from the co-op

pasta

 

appleseauce

 a chosen recipe from my childhood cookbook, combining and creating side by side 

dishes

 

peaches

 afternoon light and beginnings – separate, about to become one

pie

 my very first peach pie from scratch, with a lattice cream cheese crust

dinnerthe fine art of nourishment

Linking up with Heather at Beauty that Moves for This Week in my Kitchen.

This Week in My Kitchen

home

As the summer months slowly move into recent memory and I walk steadily into the changing tides of autumn, I am met with a strong desire to come home. Not only to the walls that surround me each night as I slowly fall asleep, but more so to the essence that is felt and met within the soul. The connection to my innate sanctuary.

Recently during a conversation with my coach, Jo Anna (or as I like to think of her – my guide to electric living!), she asked me what I want to experience internally as I continued to make my way through this life. My life. One melded and shaped of my own spirited design. With this sudden desire to reside in my own space, she invited me to think about how I can create a “dream home” within my life.

To begin this delicate process of coming home, I felt the need to define it, in my own words, so that I may more clearly forge the path I hope to follow in the months to come. So, before I dive deeper into the process and curl up between a haven of intimacy and serenity, here is what home feels like to me, at this moment in time.

 

Home is shelter,
comfort,
familiarity.
It’s a profound love
and the freedom to simply be.
It is everywhere I am and everywhere they are.
Where we celebrate our joys,
endure our sadness,
console to the extent of tender aching.
It is where we nourish body and mind,
where we grow beyond measure.
Home is a space, a connection.
Where we gather our thoughts,
our strengths,
our courage.
Home is our brave,
our wild
our “can be,”
our “I am.”

 Home lets the light in
and delineates the shadows.
It is a delicious emission of grief
as we howl under a full moon.
It fills us up and lifts us higher.
Home is our world,
the callous soil beneath our feet,
the malleable clay sitting in the palm of our hand.
Home is expanse within our core –
created in the stars,
sensed in the wind,
felt as the sun warms the skin.
It is found in an embrace,
wound inherently around a memory,
and where we feel most alive in this day.

 Home is breath –
deep inhalations of reminder,
followed by soft exhalations of stillness.
It is seeking what is already present,
listening and having faith in your journey.
It is coming up for air,
and a thousand dreams whispered to the night sky.

 Home is surrender –
your instinct,
a natural exploration.
The moment you drop the façade
and are rightly being seen in all of your humanness.
It is varied perspectives melded into one
with a lack of judgment being held.

Home is a distinct flavor -
of rich delight,
the salt of the earth.
It cuts through you like ice on a sun-drenched afternoon
and zealously bursts in your mouth like the hunger of
a fresh picked strawberry.
It is all of these tastes
assaulting your tongue at the same time
over and over,
until you are satiated.

Home is a willingness
to dive into greatness
and see what develops.
It is a spark
that will burn ferociously until something new is birthed into light,
or another path is illuminated in the process.

 Home is your favorite.
It never leaves you,
and won’t turn away.
It holds on for dear life
and cradles you until you
are settled
and at ease within your Self.

There is a steady rain falling all around, granting me permission to ease into this day.  It allows me to take shelter from the summer’s tempting heat that, often times, urges me to wade in the fullness of the season.  I am content, sitting comfortably on my rocking chair.  Barefoot, a soft dress enfolding me, a pen in hand…I am capturing the beauty this morning, instead of sensing the need to create it.  Gently, thoughts of this upcoming week drift into my waking consciousness, linger temporarily, and waft right back out again. The planning feels unnecessary – constraining even, as a new beginning beckons me forward – a new week, a new month, and soon, a new season.

Sundays often greet me with placid idleness, signaling a time for reflection or renewal. This particular Sunday has drawn me inward, where I can feel the power of connection pulsing beneath my sun-kissed skin.  It aches to escape through my fingertips, to brush across the palm of my open hand, and settle into my steely grasp.  I brace myself and begin to surrender to the mystery of it all. The only thoughts of preparation I am allowing are those circling within the heart-center of my home – the kitchen.

kitchen

Only moments before stepping outside, I stood in front of our sink, carefully washing the dishes left in this morning’s wake. Unexpectedly, I began to discern a sense of lack pouring forth from just over my shoulder.  Withering at the thought of venturing out to stock up the bare cupboards and refrigerator, I took a deep breath and looked deeper – beyond the surface of merely a depleted kitchen. Instead of desperately trying to figure out which ingredients could be brought together to haphazardly create sustenance for the days ahead, I shifted my perspective entirely while I methodically rinsed and stacked the dishes to dry.

What if this lack, quite simply, was an opening? An opportunity to create a deeper connection with my life? I quietly ruminated about all the possibilities I was gifted with for connection – those I could forge as I turned this lack into abundance within this small part of my world. A solitary room in our house.

Within this lack, there is a chance to connect more sincerely to my Self. In what ways could I nourish, not only my body, but also my soul as I took time to prepare foods that my body cried out for, that my body needed? What would not only fill me up, but tease the palate and create the energy to keep me going? I sometimes pull my focus away from what I am calling out for, in attempt to satisfy everyone else.  This week, as I make footprints upon my kitchen floor, they should also step inward in ask.  And I shall listen to the answers that cry out.

butternut squash

Over the past couple of days, as I prepared food for my family, I have also felt a transcendent connection to my past. Recently, I was slicing up a handful of peaches for a cobbler that I so desperately wanted to devour – the sweet nectar running down my hands and fully embracing the messiness of this task. While I added the remaining ingredients, which included blackberries we harvested at the orchard, I felt the presence of my grandmothers swirling around me.  It was as if a window to antiquity had opened and I could see them standing in the exact same spot of their kitchen, lovingly preparing food for their family.  How could I tap into that potential again this week? How could I honor that connection as I participated in this simple family ritual of dinner preparation?

blackberries

cobbler

And what about the connection to my own family in the present? Are there dishes that lend themselves to the work of small hands who are always seeking out a way to help? My 4 year old finds such joy in learning how to cook, how to prepare meals that grace our table.  If I have the opportunity to infuse our meal with his zest for life, I only need to jump at the chance. It is a rare instance that the three of us are not gathered around the table for dinner.  Is there some way that I could not only get the meal completed, but also slip in a favorite entrée or a special additive to brighten up someone’s day? I find such joy in seeking out a special way to present our meals, whether it is picnic style or using the china for no particular occasion…what I can do this week that will bring a smile to someone’s face?

pizzas

Finally, there is also space to strengthen my visceral connection to the earth. To our land.  This summer has brought an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit into our kitchen, whether it was from our own garden or neighboring ones in the area.  There is something so sensual and tantalizing about selecting fresh, crisp ingredients that began as a single seed in our own backyard.  Now, that the season is coming to an end, how can I savor the last few offerings that the soil has gifted to us?  How can I use what we have to create a work of beauty?

veggies

There’s no telling what this week will bring or how our meals will fall into place.  Sometimes, what we hunger for rides on a whim, changing my plans completely. What I do know, however, that instead of focusing on the lack, it takes little effort instead to focus on the opportunity.  As I step into the kitchen at the start of the week, possibly even donning an apron that was hand-stitched by my grandmother {simply for the sheer joy of connecting}, I know that there will be a beauty in the dance.  Beauty in the relationship between the work of my hands and relishing in the tastes that make its way to the tips of our tongues. Beauty in filling the lack with a bounty of delicious interconnectedness.  All it takes is a gentle shift in perspective. Looking beyond what “has to” be done.  As I softly rock back and forth, breathing in the serenity of this day, I yearn to find a way to bridge the gap between body and soul.

Linking up with Heather at Beauty that Moves for This Week in my Kitchen.

This Week in My Kitchen

morning

Today’s instructions:
Open your eyes and wake with sheer, unadulterated joy for the mere existence of this day.
It is yours.
Ripe, pure, and alive with enough space for your Self to roam fearlessly through the expanse.
Feel the pulsing beat of your heart – quivering erratically as it tastes the heady combination of freedom and choice.
Dip your toes in the crystal clear reflection staring back at you.
Satisfy your thirst as you drink in the wonders of this gift of light.

Inspired by Write ALM’s: August Prompts