mental health

A Reflection from My Time At Onsite

I’m not sure where you were when you got the news that Kate Spade had ended her life.

For me, that news will be forever etched in my mind. I will always remember the patch of grass where I was standing, the feeling of the sun hitting my face as it was setting. The lump in my throat as I tried to swallow when I heard it was suicide. My stomach physically ached.  And not because I was a Kate Spade super-fan, but because I heard the news moments after receiving my phone back on June 7th after being away from all technology for a week. Let me back up.

Onsite.

On June 1st, I drove myself about an hour outside of Nashville, Tennessee, to a place called Cumberland Furnace, TN to the Onsite Workshops. Onsite is a therapeutic retreat center and they have a week-long program called “The Living Centered Program,” or LCP. I’ve had a ton of friends who have gone through the program, who all had incredible experiences, but I never thought I would actually do it.

See, I always thought of Onsite as a rehab type of place — like, you only go there for serious problems. But, after talking with my friend Miles who is the CEO at Onsite, and another friend Jess that works there, I had a better understanding that the program was really for anyone who wanted to take the next step. Anyone who wanted to become more emotionally healthy. A safe space to work on yourself and on your stuff. And that looks like all different things for different people. It’s really just a place for you to get emotionally fit.

So, with a little help and encouragement from my friends I said YES and signed up for the June 1st LCP. Honestly, part of me almost let fear win. Like, I almost didn’t say yes. I didn’t like the fact that I would be without a cell phone/computer and all the comforts of the outside world for a week — hello SEPARATION anxiety from my life. It was a real thing.  And another real fear was that the last 8 months I’ve really felt in an emotionally healthy place…or at least A LOT better than other times in my life…so I was a little worried that a week of intense group therapy was going to leave me in a worse place than before. But, I was able to talk that out with some of the Onsite staff, and they helped calm my fears and reassure me that it was a guided process — I wasn’t going to be alone with these fears.

So, June 1st came, and at around 7pm that evening, I handed over my cell phone. Guys, it was weird. I was excited to be free from it for a week, but I also immediately felt SO ALONE. I had none of my people with me. I couldn’t text Jill if I was having a melt-down. I couldn’t send a GIF to my girls if I needed a laugh. I couldn’t call my mom. I couldn’t insta-story and chat with all my insta-people. Solo. Me. Well, me surrounded by 56 strangers. Yikes.

I’m not going to share the details of all that we did, but it was a combination of mornings spent with the big group — learning more about the science behind why we do what we do…sort of like emotional fitness classes, and then the late mornings and afternoons were spent in your small group of about 8 or 9 other individuals, and that’s when the more focused work would happen…in group therapy.

I am not even going to lie — I thought the idea of group therapy was terrible. I mean, I knew that was the thing that LCP did, but I’ve never done group therapy and I was certain I would hate it. But, OMG, it was magic. These 9 people started out as strangers, and I can tell you right now, there’s not one of them I wouldn’t fly across the country for in one hot second right now. These strangers became like family. Six days. What in the world?

I’m not even sure how to fully summarize what changes I feel in myself, but it feels significant. And full disclosure, I definitely had some personal a-ha moments that I want to keep for myself or family/close friends, but I do really want to share some of my takeaways with you in hopes that they might be useful to you. They might be jumbled or random but here’s the bottom line.

I loved it. I feel like I learned tools that will help me navigate the rest of my life. I feel like I experienced real healing in some wounds that I was carrying since childhood. I would highly recommend the program to anyone who has blood running through their veins. I think anyone and everyone could benefit. Literally there were people there from ages 19 to mid-70s. Anyone can do this.

Group Therapy.

So, you’re in a small group, where everyone has signed a confidentiality agreement and you have a therapist who is the guide for your group and you get to know these people. Like, KNOW them. As you share your story and as they share theirs, something begins to shift inside of you. You cannot look someone in the eyes when they’re talking about their pain and not be changed. My therapist group leader told me that 70% of your healing comes from just being in the room — the 30% is when you’re talking about your own stuff, but that might not even be as impactful. And I realized something…that might be the key. I think that’s what we’re all looking for in life. Someone to bear witness to our pain. We don’t need someone to fix it. Or say it’s going to be fine. Or pity us. We just need someone to see it. Someone to bear witness to our pain. Especially if the pain happened a long time ago, to go back, to uncover those painful moments and have a room full of people witness it. There is healing in that.

I am a fixer by nature. I want to rescue and fix and make a plan for change to get out of pain. Yet, that was not my role —in group therapy or in life — my role is to say, I see you in that pain. Maybe that’s it. Just, I see it. I am a witness to your pain…and I’m sorry. You take 57 strangers, and you realize that every single person there is carrying pain of some sort. Wounds. Hurt. Heartache. Some of them are scars that run deep. Some are fresh and still oozing with infection. But pain is pain. I left there and I swear I was seeing people differently. The cashier at Kroger. The guy flipping burgers at Five Guys. Every single human alive has a story and most likely has pain. It makes me want to listen more. I don’t need to fix or rescue. I need to listen and see people. I need to bear witness to their pain. It’s powerful.

It was intense.

They say the week there is equivalent to 8 months of weekly therapy. So, it’s no walk in the park. At times, it was uncomfortable…pushing me out of my comfort zone and into feelings that I haven’t felt in a while. Was it a breeze? No. Was it worth it? Yes. Because here’s the thing: I’m pretty certain that great things come after a bit of friction. Sometimes sitting in the group room, I felt uncomfortable and it felt hard. I think of it now like fire or friction. No one likes fire, but that’s how you get the refined beauty. No one likes the friction on the rock until the diamond appears. And I don’t mean it to be a cheesy analogy, but I mean it. It reminded me that most things in life that are worth it take work, and sometimes that work is uncomfortable in the process.


You aren’t allowed to talk about what you do for work. That is a true story. You arrive and you are given a name tag. Kate R. — that was all of me. You guys, I’ve been a part of the duo Jill and Kate for 15 freaking years. Do you know how awesome it was for people to get to know me? Me. Not “Kate” from Jill and Kate...or Kate the back-up singer for Kelly Clarkson. Me! Just me! This part was so helpful.  Literally, there are people that don’t know the difference between Jill and I, and honestly they don’t care to. When showing up at an event on my own people will ask me: “So, how are you guys?” Ummm…it’s just me here.

I felt seen.

This kind of piggy backs on my last point — but during my week at Onsite, I felt seen. I sort of think you can’t escape that. Seen, known, and loved. I think someone summarized those things that might be our three most basic desires and longings. I wasn’t known for accomplishments or seen because of what I did for work. I was seen as a human being not a human doing.

Also, I realized that so much of my life is work. And I love it — I love all that I get to do, but when people aren’t allowed to talk about work — you talk about who you are. Sometimes around the meal tables there would be awkward lulls in conversation because the natural flow of conversation NORM is to talk about work. Instead, I found myself asking the question “Do you have any hobbies? What do you do for fun?” A lot. It was awesome because you actually get to know people for who they are, not what they do. Yes, yes, yes. I’m trying to do this more. My way of asking people questions is now, “So what keeps you busy when you’re not {at the event or driving for Uber}?”

Another huge takeaway for me was that my job is to look after myself. Not in a “Only lookout for #1” way or a selfish manner at all, but that my role in life is taking care of and nurturing myself. I cannot control anyone else or any other situation, but I can take care of myself. A lot of my nature is to caretake — which my therapist also pointed out the difference between care-taking and caregiving. That care-taking is way more about you than it is the other person. Ummm…say what? Thanks Jim for the mic drop moment. Taking vs. giving. Dang, that was a lightbulb moment for me. But I realized that self-care is something that I need to focus on.

Meditation and the brain.

So here’s the deal. I have always heard meditating is good for you. I sort of thought it was more in the New Age vein, but heck, even the Bible talks about meditating…but I’ve never really done it, because I thought that it was something to do for fun or for spiritual reasons. During one of the morning sessions, they do a whole lecture about meditating and show you scientific scans of brains and meditation. I will not attempt to regurgitate medical information here, but let’s just say I now try to meditate every single morning. It’s like flossing but for your brain. Do it, do it, do it. I downloaded a few free apps that have guided mediations: Calm, Headspace and Simple Habit. So far, I like Calm the best.

I am so incredibly grateful for my time at Onsite. To the people that read this that spent the week with me — you know who you are, and I am so grateful to have you with me on my journey from here on out. To the ones who got me to Onsite — Jess, Miles and all the other friends I texted for advice — thank you! I am a different person because of you.

And to you, reader, who might be feeling scared or stuck or in need of the next step…reach out for help. If it’s a friend or a therapist or counselor or a week at Onsite — don’t underestimate the healing power of sharing your pain with others — that’s what we all need — we need a witness to the pain.

And so, I think that’s why the news of Kate Spade hit me so hard.

She was seen and known by billions of people. Had success. Money. Fame. But did she feel truly seen? Truly known? Truly loved. Did she need someone to bear witness to her pain? I don’t know and I never will. But hearing the news of her death was the punctuation mark to my week at Onsite that made it forever memorable.

My hope for you, dear reader, is that you feel seen, known and loved.

Much love,

Kate


More or Less.

Hey!

It’s me Kate. I wanted to share some things that I’ve been thinking about recently. This walkabout has given me a great space to think and ponder about life. At times in the past, life has moved so quickly that I haven’t had time in the moment to process, but this walkabout has been different. Maybe it’s the weekly podcast forcing me to check-in with my head and heart to talk about what’s going on in my head…I don’t know. It’s been different. 

Anyway, I was thinking about the person that I’m turning into to. What I want my life to look like. How I want to feel. I made a quick list of more and less that I wanted. The below list sort of tumbled out. 

  • Less guilty. 
  • More humble. 
  • More in the moment.
  • More dancing. 
  • Less planning ahead. 
  • More letting go. 

Less guilty. I find myself feeling guilty a lot. Little or big things. Guilty feelings for not texting someone back. Guilty feelings for not sending my nephew a birthday card. Guilty for eating that bag of potato chips. Whatever it is, just lots of feeling that I’m not quite meeting the mark. That I'm not enough. But, who made that mark anyway? Where is that standard coming from? I’m trying to learn to extend the same grace to myself as I’ve been trying to extend to others: I’m doing the best I can. Throw guilt out the freakin’ car window, Kate. Let it go. Guilt helps no one.

More humble. I don’t think I’m a super braggy person or anything…haha or at least I hope not! I’ve just noticed in others how attractive humility is. When someone doesn’t consider themselves above others, ugh, it’s just so attractive to me. My friend Bob says: “Humble voices carry the furthest.” Yes, so true. I’ve also realized how badly I want approval from people. I hate even typing that because it feels hella vulnerable. But, it’s true. I want the “attagirl” or the approval from others and I am trying to let that go. All I need approval from is me and God. No one else. 

More in the moment. This was/is my number one goal for this walkabout. To be in every moment. Fully present. Fully feeling it all. Not worrying about past or future…letting expectation fall to the wayside and just BE. It’s a hard thing for me to practice, but it’s a practice…I have good days and bad days…but I'm trying to not feel guilty when I don’t do the best job. 

More dancing. Because, hello? Dancing is fun and I think as I get older I get more reserved or rational or I -don’t-know-what, but I want to dance more. What did Amy Poehler say:

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Yes please. Make me childlike so that when I hear the music, even if it’s in my own head, I won’t be afraid to surrender to the music and DANCE.

Less planning ahead. This goes back to more in the moment. I’m always thinking ahead. When I park my car, I am thinking about how I’m getting out of that parking space. It’s always going. My brain is constantly thinking in the future. And I want to change that. More right now. More what’s in front of me. More what do I see/hear/smell/touch right now. The future will take care of itself, of that I’m sure. And I don’t want to miss it...the it that’s right in front of me.

More letting go. Hurts, fears, anxiety…the big and little stuff. The massive heartaches and times I’ve been screwed over. The small inconsequential hurt feelings. The expectations of “how I thought life would be” and the dreams that haven’t come to pass yet. Letting it go will make you lighter and that’s what I’m after. 

Yeah, so that’s where I’m at right now. What are you trying to have more of or less of in your life? I’d love to hear. 

Much love,

Kate

Big News. Big Changes.

Hi friends!


How are you? We are doing just fine--thanks for asking :) No really...we are and we have some major news for you. We want to share it with you...and it’s finally time. Hoo-freaking-ray!

Have you ever felt stuck? Like, really stuckkkkkk. Not a temporary “funk-stuck”---but in a really, really, thick stuck-ness? (Very technical term.) Well, if you’ve ever had that feeling, we feel ya. Cause that’s where we’ve been. And I hesitate to say “been” like it’s past tense...because we are still kind of in that...but we are taking active steps towards getting unstuck, like woah, and we’re going to tell you what that means.

Last year we wrote an eBook about finding inspiration and one of the exercises we suggested is to “change up your routine or shake things up” when you’re feeling stuck. So, being people who don’t like to give advice unless we’re willing to take it, we did. Like, we reallllllllly did. You ready for this? Here’s the short story:

  1. Jill sold her house in Nashville where we both were living.
  2. We sold almost ALL of our belongings.
  3. We are going on an adventure (and you’re coming with us. Please don’t leave us. Ha!)

WHAT? Have you guys lost your ever-loving minds? I’m envisioning your brains squealing to a halting stop right about now. Say what? Yup. We did it guys. Sold every piece of furniture. Sold every piece of artwork except for one painting. Had a garage sale. Gave approximately 2 full car loads to Goodwill. We each kept a few bins of “keepsake memorabilia” in storage, but other than that, we are FREE. We are now each traveling with one suitcase, carry-on roller bag, a backpack, and a purse (and of course our guitars!). And it feels amazing. So freeeeee! We’ve really taken the minimalism thing to the next level...haha! (Thanks Marie Kondo)

Now, let’s back up to how we got to this decision.

In May of this year we recorded some acoustic covers. We had such a good time recording our Acoustic Covers Vol 1 album in 2014, that we decided to do more. Our awesome licensing company in LA was also excited about having these new songs to pitch for TV/Film because covers are SO HOT RIGHT NOW...or so sayeth the cool kids.

So, we decided the theme was going to be “throwbacks” and we sat down to try and make some of these favorite songs our own. We started with the upbeat, life-giving anthem by Cyndi Lauper: Girls Just Want To Have Fun! We began messing around with the song, and low and behold, this EPICALLY sad, slow, tear-at-your-heart, make-you-refill-your-wine-glass-5-times version comes out. We sort of just looked at each other with blank stares. Then there were a few tears. Because we had this realization: we weren’t having any fun anymore.

We wanted to...but we just weren’t. We still knew that we loved music. That we loved songs. We loved writing. Singing. Harmony. Melody. The way music just reaches down deep inside of you...we still loved it...but we weren’t having any FUN anymore. In all of the hustle and bustle...the trying to make it work...we lost the element of fun. It was work. It was struggle.  And if you know us at all or have been following us for any amount of time, you know that we LOVE fun. Fun is life, guys. And we just weren’t having any. We wanted the lighthearted, the laughter, the spontaneous....and it just wasn’t happening.

The last few years have been a hard blur of sorts. We lost one of our dearest to cancer. We lost jobs. We lost money. Loss was a common theme. Not sure what it was, but we just couldn’t seem to get over the hump of stuck-ness. However, we weren’t ready to be done either.

We DEFINITELY don’t feel like it’s over. So don’t go thinking this is a “the end” blog because we know and we hope you know: the only way to fail is to quit and we have about ZERO plans of quitting so...yeah. Just needed to put that out there :) People like you have kept us going and keep us going. Your emails, meeting you at shows, hearing you respond and relate to our songs and our blogs. You guys bring meaning to us and inspire us to keep making music, writing, and sharing life with you guys. 

We’ve had an incredible career so far and we are honestly so grateful...and we’ve definitely had bouts of success. It’s not like we’ve totally failed. But, the last couple years have been so stressful...and mostly stressful because we’ve been trying to make money from music and like any indie musician will tell you, it’s tough. For the past couple years we have invested, invested, invested in every aspect...and we have seen the return on investment in almost every area, except for financially. And we’re still believing that one day that will turn around--we 100% believe that we will make livings off of our music and songwriting, etc. But right now, it’s not happening. We’ve been so fortunate to have other awesome jobs to help us pay the bills, and we still do.

Anyway, we just sort of found ourselves in this spot where we’d played the big stages, traveled the world, lived the big dream...but also, nannied, eaten beans and rice, and gone into debt from making investments in our career. We invested everything we had and got to a point where we had to decide. Stop? Change? Quit? Keep going hoping for the best? 

So, one day in June, Jill said out of the blue: what if I sell my house and we can pay off some bills, chase some fun, find some inspiration, and kick-off a new season. We needed to get unstuck and shake things up. Chase the things that are life-giving. My immediate answer was: YES. And so twenty-something odd days later, the house was on the market and 10 days after that, it sold. Sayyyyy whaaaaaaat? SOLD.

Honestly, and this is hard to say, but neither one of us thought that life would turn out like this. At this point in our lives we both thought we’d have songs on the radio, be touring more, be winning Grammys (hello 7th grade dream), have “established” careers and so on. And on personal levels, we thought maybe we’d each have awesome husbands right now...maybe have each had some kiddos….but that’s just not the way things have turned out. And of course we struggle with comparing our lives to our friends, peers, and strangers our age. 

But, life doesn’t always go the way you think it’s going to go and maybe you’re reading this also thinking that you thought you’d be somewhere else or life would look differently. And you know what...that’s okay. Why? Because we’re all in this together. And it’s never too late. Ever. And where we are, and where you are, in life, is right where we’re supposed to be. We truly believe and trust that this is true. We also believe it’s possible to make change. Don’t believe the lie that says you’re stuck, it’s over, things will never change, etc. It’s just not true.

One thing that we’ve talked about FOR YEARS and you all have told us to do FOR YEARS, we are finally going to do. This new adventure season is the perfect time to do it. Friends, will you go on this adventure with us?

We give you: GIRLS JUST POD TO HAVE FUN (coming this fall!)

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Ahhhh that’s right. (Also, doesn’t everybody have a podcast now?) This is our podcast about fun and what to do with life when it hasn’t turned out the way you thought it would. This podcast will be following our journey (it’ll be a journey because we really don’t have many plans yet or know the outcome of anything) back to finding the FUN in life....interviewing our fun friends, having serious talks and ridiculous talks...all while recording it for you.

Here’s something we talk about in our first episode, but it’s crazy you guys. When you move, movement happens. Change begets change. The day after we decided to sell Jill’s house and go on this adventure, we had told a total of zero people. But, literally the day after our decision, our phones both buzzed with a text from our friend Luke who is a ridiculously talented producer. His text said he wanted to produce 4 songs for us and that he had a hole in his schedule freeing him up to work most of August and September. We’ve been wanting to work with him for ages, but he’s a really busy dude. He’s produced stuff for Walker Hayes, David Kroll and so many other awesome artists. So, we did it. The last 6 weeks before closing on the house we recorded 4 new songs! We made HAVING FUN a priority and IT WAS SO FUN. (Scroll down to the bottom of this blog to see more pics from the studio.)

So, we are also going to be releasing NEW MUSIC too. It might be those 4 songs or we might go back and record a few more, but really...those 4 are almost done and we think you are going to love them. We LOVE them.

So, our first stop on this new adventure is New England. Because, obviously. New England is where we met and started this whole shindig circa 14 years ago. New England is where we both graduated from college. It is also where Jill is a straight-up native and her parents still live in a house that is a quarter-mile from the ocean (all the praise hands!) New England is where some of our best friends still live. So, last Friday, September 29th, we loaded up Jill’s car (mine is staying in Nashville so we have wheels when we’re back) and we hit the road. We drove all day, spent the night in Virginia, and made the rest of the drive Saturday. We literally drove straight to the ocean and it was pitch black, but we had to see it. We had to document the end of a hard, stuck season and feel the 40-degree ocean air fill our lungs with hope, newness, and an excitement down deep in our bones. We took this picture and had to use the flash because it was PITCH BLACK. But look at the excitement on our faces! Look at it, guys. It’s real.

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People have asked us what “our plans” are, and frankly, we don’t have many or any that are set in stone.  Except to be in the moment and to be present as much as possible. To chase the things that are life-giving to us. To experience freedom and joy again. To re-ignite our passion for what we were made to do: sharing stories through making music. When you don't have plans, it leaves room for anything to happen. And we are up for anything. We can't wait to find out what it is.

So there you have it. We told our friend Bob our “plans” (ps. what’s a word for non-planned-plan, cause we need one) and he said, “Oh, it’s what the Australians call a “walkabout.” Yes, perfect. Of course the Aussie’s know what’s up: A walkabout. So we want you to join us on this walkabout for two reasons:

  1. We like you and we’d like the company.

  2. We will test out this theory for you. We will see if you can really get yourself unstuck and turn your life around. Therefore, if it turns out really badly, you can learn from us and not do the same thing...haha. But if it works...it’ll be proof that you can get unstuck and chase fun yourself too.

So, let’s do this thing. Podcast, coming soon. New music, coming soon. FUN, coming soon. Change, coming soon.

Thank you guys for being in this with us. We’re in it with you. Let’s go.

Jill and Kate

First day headed into the studio..

First day headed into the studio..

Working on a song. That's Luke in the middle and  Seth Earnest  who co-produced these songs with Luke. He is a GEM. So creative. So humble. 

Working on a song. That's Luke in the middle and Seth Earnest who co-produced these songs with Luke. He is a GEM. So creative. So humble. 

Jill in her happy place.

Jill in her happy place.

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It's A Trap

I’m just going to ramble here for a second. Stay with me...or don’t...I’m literally just thinking out loud...and by out loud, I mean on paper...and by on paper, I mean on my screen. Good Lord, I’m already rambling. 

So, it’s Sunday. I woke up early, all on my own, and I essentially have the entire day free. Aren’t these kind of days totally awesome? They are rare and wonderful and I just don’t want to miss the good glory of it. So, I woke up at 7:27am and the only thing I *have* to do today is meet wonderful friends for dinner who are flying in from out of town. That’s happening at 6pm.

That means that I have approximately 10 hours before I have to leave for the dinner... and let’s say 9 hours of TOTAL FREE TIME ...giving myself an hour to get ready...which is a lie...I’m going to spray some dry shampoo in my hair and probably do my makeup in the car because that’s how I roll. 

So, that leaves me with 9ish hours to do whatever I want. So let me recap and bring you up to speed on what I’ve done:

  • Went for a 3 mile run...aka...week 8 of my couch to 10k training...I’m really on week 10 but didn’t feel up for running for 45 min today. Yack. 
  • Got back, ate some cereal & had coffee and chatted with a friend who is staying with me who used to live here but now she lives in Denver. (I am including so many unnecessary details but I can’t stop...)
  • Wrote in my journal. (wouldn’t you like to know…)
  • Paid some bills. (on a Sunday, I know...why Kate, why?)
  • Made lunch...really more of a brunch...but whatevs. Egg white omelette with chicken sausage, broccoli, onions and tomatoes...with a side of guacamole.
  • Showered. Even shaved my legs. Winning. (but didn’t wash my hair because of earlier said dry shampoo use. Dry shampoo is life and if I washed my hair as much as Jill did that would be my full time gig. Just washing and drying my hair would’ve taken half of my day. It’s nuts. Ahhh, again with the non-useful info. Sorry.)
  • Threw in a load of laundry. 

AND THIS BRINGS ME TO RIGHT NOW. It’s 1:51pm and I’m just not sure what to do with myself. I have a “to-do” list that I could definitely cross some things off of...doesn’t everyone always have a proverbial list of all the things I should do in my free time but never really do. Like cleaning my car, or organizing my closet, or sorting out my pile of “I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-you-papers” that have been piling up since March. Part of me wants to GSD (get sh$t done)  and the other part of me wants to lie on the couch and watch Bloodline and if I’m honest--maybe have a glass of wine...but I find this internal voice in my head telling me I should go, do, be, see, work, cross-off, hustle, etc. Instagram is not going to instagram itself you know.

Why is it so hard to rest? To say, I am enough. I have done enough. I can lie here on the couch and chill. Why do we feel so guilty about that? Also, I’ve already gotten a few things done today. Exercising, laundry, journaled, paid bills...I should be able to say to myself, “good job self. Look at what you’ve done. Go do whatever you want now. No need to cross off or document or do anything with jazz-hands.” 

All of these thoughts led me to sitting down at my computer to write this blog...and if I’m honest I wrote it for 2 reasons. One, because I get my best thinking out on a keyboard in words--it’s my way to process, to filter out all of the noise...and two, I wonder if deep down if I wrote it, then I’d feel another wave of accomplishment allowing me to finally rest. THAT’S CRAZY MAKING KATE. Gah, I should be able to rest, not because I’ve done anything, just because I’m human. 

I think with social media, we see peers going and doing and seeing and accomplishing and sometimes I’m like--cool, i’m just going to be here on the couch guys. Or sitting by the ocean, looking at the water for hours, doing nothing. And boy, that’s got to be okay. I am working on my inner dialogue. My inner voice that tells me I need to keep up. BUT IT’S A TRAP. You can’t keep up. You just have to go at your own pace. You are your own pace-setter for the race that you’re on. 

And all of this can be summarized into what I am really trying to focus on: be present in YOUR moment and don’t be anywhere else. UGHHHH. That’s so hard for me. I’m a 7 on the Enneagram and so I am always looking for the next adventure or exciting event...and I miss stuff, you guys. I miss it because I’m not always present. I literally may need a tattoo on my hand that says PRESENT...that’s how quickly I forget. When I park in a parking spot, I am thinking about  the best way to get out of the parking lot. Say wuuuuttttt? Truth. 

OOfta. If you’re still reading. Thank you. Ha...this was my way of processing and to process I normally do a lot of rambling...this was maybe even an excessive amount of rambling...even for me. 

To summarize: don’t keep up with someone else’s pace--it’s a trap and be present in YOUR moment and don’t be anywhere else. 

Alright. I’m off to go watch Bloodline. Love to you all. Thanks for being in this together with me. We really, really are, all in this together. 

xo

kate

What Makes You Healthy?

Yesterday I was scrolling the socials on my phone and started seeing multiple posts about Chester Bennington. He was 41 years young. The lead singer and frontman of Linkin Park committed suicide. Anytime this happens I feel like my heart just breaks.

How long was he feeling like this? How dark were his last moments? How could we have helped him? Those are the questions that run through my head and heart.

You look at a guy like that and think, why? You seemed to have it all. A successful career. Songs that were listened to. Fans that showed up to shows. It was success in most senses of the word. He had a wife and six kids. Why? What pain is so constant, so grievous that you have to escape it? I think it’s hopelessness and loneliness.

I know mental illness is something that we as a society don’t talk about a lot, but I wish we did. I wish there weren’t stigmas surrounding treatment and therapy and seeking help. Because none of us can escape the dark times. Dark times will find us all, but the only way we make it out of them is through and the only way we make it through is with other people.

Jill and I always say that loneliness is the worst disease. When we are going through a dark time you often hear the lie in your head that you are the only one who has ever felt like this. You are the only one with these circumstances...but it’s not true. That’s what lies do. They isolate. They want you to stay small and alone, but that’s why we as humans have this incredible gift to care for one another. To watch out for each other and to share in each other’s grief, loss, fear, hardship, etc.

I never met Chester, but I did share an elevator with him once about 5 years ago in Vegas. We were both headed to the same venue for an event and were in the bowels of this fancy hotel, both taking the dingy service elevator with a kind security guard leading the way. He was tall, seemed very kind, and for about 5 minutes we shared the same oxygen. I don’t have anything poignant to say about that story, just something I recall.

All of this got me thinking that I want to be healthy and I want you reading this to be healthy too. The headline is far too familiar...someone successful, wealthy, and good-looking has ended their life. By their own volition they couldn't bear the pain any longer that breathing was causing them. So, it makes me think. What are the things that make us healthy? I’m not just talking about eating kale vs. donuts...although physical health is definitely a component. I’m talking about what makes you feel alive? What issues have you not dealt with? What brings you joy? Who do you love...and are you seeing those people enough? Are you in a job that you hate? Do you have something to look forward to? What keeps you up at night? What makes your body feel great? Are you happy? What makes your heart beat faster?

In the entertainment industry, there is sort of this weird thing. Unhealthy people sometimes make great art (write great songs) but at the cost of hiding/running/drowning themselves in numbing the pain that they’re feeling. Call it being a “tortured artist” or what have you. But, it’s definitely something we’ve seen. If you’re writing great songs or putting on a killer show... no matter the cost on you as person, sometimes people want you to keep doing it. Keep drinking. Keep shooting up. Keep doing whatever it takes. Anything to keep up the “product” you now are.

And I just want to say no. Personal health is so much more important. Because you can have the number one song and all the money in the world, but if you are dealing with pain, real pain...none of that will satisfy. Nothing will ever be enough to cover the pain. You have to deal with it. I want to be a healthy person...and I think I can be a healthy person and a great artist. It takes work, but I value myself and my health more than a #1 or a million dollar bank account.

For me, my faith in Jesus has also helped me overcome pain and I think that old adage of a “God-shaped hole” inside of each of us is true. We will try and fill it with whatever we can find...and sometimes something works for a little while..or maybe it even fills the hole for years...but it won’t last. If you’ve never talked to God, you can start wherever you are. If you’re looking for a starting place for purpose in your life, The Purpose Driven Life is a great book. A group of us read it on tour a while back and it was a great guide.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that the news about Chester broke my heart. It also breaks my heart to think that his death was reported because he was a celebrity and yet there are suicides happening all day, EVERY day. Ughhhh….this is just so sad and heartbreaking.

We’ve always said, there is no shame in needing help. Both Jill and I have sought counseling and therapy. We even see a therapist for band counseling and it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done. So, if you are in a dark spot, please reach out, ask for help...you were not meant to carry all of your feelings alone. It is SO helpful to speak them out loud.

If you’re reading this and you find yourself NOT in a dark spot right now...excellent. Keep up the good health. But, someone in your circle of friends or neighborhood or office is probably not in the same place. Sit and think of the people you know and see if there is anyone you think might be having a hard time. The best thing you could do is extend kindness and a listening ear. Again, a LISTENING ear. Our job is to sit in their pain with them and let them know they’re not alone. Our job is not to give them a “how-to” or to tell them anything for that matter. We listen. We hug. We hold their hands. We hand tissues. We tell them that we are for them and that we’re with them.

I don’t really know how to wrap this up, except to say: You are not alone. We are all in this together. Life is precious and WE NEED YOU HERE. If you want a list of songs we’ve written from our sadness and dark times, you can see that here. We need your thoughts, your smile, your ideas, your work, your inventions, your laughter, your writing, etc etc etc. WE NEED YOU HERE.

Hug the ones you love tight today. Let’s all aim to be the healthiest versions of ourselves.

Love to you all,

Kate

 

Enough

Something I've been thinking about a lot is this question that keeps popping up in my head. Am I good enough? Am I enough? The lie that I am not enough is an insecurity that I've been fighting almost my whole life and if you're like me, you might ask that question too.

And some days are better than others.

But, I have the answer. Yes, that may sound a bit bold, but it’s true. I do.

I have a no-fail, 100% true way of testing to see if you’re enough. Nervous? Want to see if you qualify as being enough? Good. I thought you would.

I want you to put your hand on your chest. (yes...go ahead & do it now...hand to chest.) Feel that beating? That thumping in your chest? That beating automatically means that you are enough. It's really that simple. Congratulations for taking the test and passing with flying colors. You are a winner.

You are enough. You are living and breathing and showing up. You have a unique gift to share with the world. We need you. We need your vantage point. We need your ideas, your laughter, you specific fingerprint. We need you. And you are enough.

I know you might be thinking...this is all good and fine Kate, but what if I don't FEEL like I'm enough. Yes, you might not feel like enough right now. But, that's just not the truth. If you have blood pumping in your veins and a heart beating in your chest--you are enough.

Maybe I’m typing this because I am in need of this reminder. The insecure voices have been begging for mental real-estate recently and so I’m typing this as much for myself as I am for you. In my industry, there is so much focus on outward appearance. I am constantly reminding myself that I am not supposed to be anyone else but myself...and that I, Katherine Elizabeth, with my heart and blood pumping in my veins, just as I am, am 100% enough.

So when you are tempted to compare yourself to someone more talented, taller, thinner, happier, etc., whatever it is that is telling you that you aren’t enough--shut it down. Hold that hand to your chest and remind yourself that YOU ARE ENOUGH. I wish I could sit down with each of you reading this and stare into your beautiful face and tell you that even if you can’t believe it yourself yet, I know that you are enough. 

"Comparison is the thief of joy"--no matter who said it first...either CS Lewis or Theodore Roosevelt--they were both smart dudes and it's true. Don’t think of yourself and think, "If I were taller, more successful, prettier, thinner, a mom, married...then I would be enough." None of those things will ever make you more “enough” than you are right now at this present moment. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in self-improvement and marriages and all those good things...but we need to approach them realizing that your quota for being “enough” in the world has already been 100% met...just by being you with your beating heart. 

See, there is this notion going around that we can improve our self-worth. IT'S A TRAP, GUYS. Don't fall for it. No thing can improve your self-worth. You are worthy of love just as you are and that makes you ENOUGH. 

I’ve been hearing a lot about suicides recently and it just wrecks me. I don’t know what goes through a person’s mind before they take their own life, but I wonder if that lie about not being enough is somewhere rooted deeply inside. It starts small and can snowball so quickly. I know I’ve said it like a million times already, but you are enough and we need you here. If you are considering taking your own life--please tell someone. Reach out. Call a hotline. Call a friend. Tell your neighbor. Email us. We need you here.

If you are reading this right now, I think there’s a reason. Maybe you need the reminder that you are enough and that everyone is good at something. You may not be on a stage or in the spotlight, but that's not the point. Maybe you’re good at celebrating people? Maybe you’re good at painting? Maybe you’re good at holding babies? Maybe you’re good at cooking or baking? Maybe you’re good at making people feel welcome? Maybe you’re good at teaching? Or playing games. We are all good at something. Even if you feel like you're good at nothing, (that's not true) but you're still ENOUGH. 

If the lies pop into your head. Shut ‘em down. Hand to heart. Let that be our reminder. Deal? Deal. When I’m not feeling like enough, I’m going to put my hand to my heart, remind myself that I am enough and remind myself that we are all in this together.

With all my love,

Kate

PS. I started getting this idea for the blog last weekend while I was at the beach. I took long walks by myself thinking and talking to God...and just had to remind myself. I am enough. I am enough. I took this pic because I want to practice what I write. I am enough. Love, love, love.