s Uncategorized | Kate Northrup

Category Archives: Uncategorized

More Joy, Less Stress


I’m overjoyed to be introducing you to my very dear friend Deb Kern.

When Mike first met Deb he said, “I would move to Austin to live near her.” That’s how special and magnetic Deb is. We love her so much that we asked her to officiate our wedding.

She’s helped me navigate through some of the toughest moments of my life, and I’m really thrilled she’s sharing some of her wisdom with you!

This week Deb is offering up some incredibly useful advice on how to navigate the holiday season while avoiding obligation. That would, indeed, be a holiday miracle!

Enjoy this woman who I love so dearly!

I am the queen of rituals. I have morning rituals and evening rituals. Dance class rituals and mealtime rituals. I suggest rituals for my clients. I create rituals for my kid (and he sometimes uses them). So you can imagine that I love holiday rituals. Unless, of course, they are mindless or stressful.

There’s a story I remember hearing as a kid that illustrates what I’m talking about:

One day a newly married husband watched as his wife prepared a ham for their first Thanksgiving dinner.

At one point he asked, “Sweetheart, why did you cut off both ends of the ham?”

“Because my mother always cut off the ends of the ham before baking it,” she said.

“But why?”

“I don’t know – let’s ask her when she comes over for dinner.”

So when the mother arrived the new bride asked, “When you prepared the ham every Thanksgiving, you always cut off both ends – why did you do that?”

“I learned that step by watching my mother prepare the ham,” said the mother.

“But why?”

“I don’t know – let’s ask your grandmother when she arrives for dinner.”

Finally, Grandmother arrived for dinner and had barely entered the house when both mother and daughter asked, “When you prepared the ham for baking, you always cut off both ends – why did you do that?”

“Well,” Grandmother said, “the pan was too small.”


Just like the young woman in the story, If we aren’t mindful, rituals that once brought joy can now create stress. {TWEET IT}



How do you know which holiday rituals to keep and which ones to let go?

Here’s the 4 step process I’ve created for myself over the years:




Take Action

When you’re feeling stressed about some aspect of the holidays:  STOP


Why am I doing this or buying this?

Is it necessary?

Does it bring me peace and joy?

Does it serve a high and holy purpose?

Will it cause financial or energy problems down the road?



Sometimes the answer is obvious the moment I take the time to ask myself the questions. But sometimes I get caught in a spin of conflicting thoughts. In those cases I listen to my body rather than my mental thoughts.

Here’s how I listen to my body: first I get clear on the issue I’m pondering.  Then I do some gentle stretching. As I stretch I pay attention to images, sensations and random thoughts. All of these are ways my body gives me clues.

For example: last year I really wanted to drive 5 hours each way to be with my parents for Thanksgiving, but my son had to be at swim practice the Wednesday before and the Friday after. It just didn’t make sense to drive 10 hours and only be there one day. But I felt conflicted. So I lay on the floor, took a few deep breaths to empty my mind and did a gentle hamstring stretch. As I was stretching I saw an image of myself enjoying a leisurely walk around the lake. Simultaneously I reached a point in the stretch where the insertion of my hamstring began to burn. It was the same kind of burning I experience when I sit too long.

That was enough for me to realize that my body really wanted to stay home for Thanksgiving, take a leisurely walk and NOT sit for 10 hours in the car.


Once you’ve asked and listened, you can then make plans that match your true desires. In the example of last Thanksgiving, after a long early morning walk, my son and I joined some neighbors and volunteered to prepare meals that were delivered to homeless people and people who could not get out of their homes.

It was a beautiful way to spend the day and it felt like a true Thanksgiving.

The Center for a New American Dream has a beautiful guidebook that helps you with everything from budgeting, how to talk to your family and simple homemade gift ideas to low-waste wrapping and decorating ideas.

Click here to go to my website download the “Simplify the Holidays” Guidebook.

Wishing you all peace and abundance this holiday season and hoping you will take the time to stop, ask and listen so that you may fully embrace the rituals which are truly meaningful to you.




Over to You:

What rituals can you let go of this holiday season?  Post a comment below and share your ideas!  Kate and I would love to hear from you.

Dr. Deborah Kern is visionary teacher and guide whose groundbreaking research showed that mind/body integrated forms of exercise reduce anxiety more effectively than conventional ones. Dr. Kern offers private intuitive guidance sessions, PranaShakti Dance classes and is the creator of adventure, yoga and dance retreats.

What The Trees Have To Tell Us About Desire & Letting Go

What The Trees Have To Tell Us About Desire & Letting Go

  There are some people whose mere presence makes you feel more nourished and whole. My friend Laura Thompson Brady is one of those people. She oozes compassion, nurturing, and wisdom. With the holiday season quickly approaching, some of us may be starting to feel our shoulders creep up towards our ears and our breath… Continue Reading


The Wild Knowing Within

  It makes sense that if we have the ability to create a human life in our pelvic bowl, we have the ability to create other amazing things from there on an energetic level. My friend Tami Lynn Kent has taught me how to access the profound creative potential in my root chakra and morph it… Continue Reading

Women, Worth and Working Too Hard.

Women, Worth and Working Too Hard.

  I got the inspiration to do a Blog Babysitter Series from this week’s babysitter, Sarah Jenks. She had a babysitter series on her site when she had her first kid just under two years ago. Sarah knows how to take exquisite care of herself. She has two kids under two, runs her own business,… Continue Reading

3 Ways to Be More Productive with Ease

3 Ways to Be More Productive with Ease

  My friend Kris Carr, aka Cucumber Jesus, has become well known for her wisdom around cancer and healing.  (She’s a 10+ year cancer thriver whose incredible film Crazy Sexy Cancer put her on the global map as a wellness warrior.) What a lot of folks don’t know about Kris is what a business genius she is.… Continue Reading

How I Seduced Myself Out of 40K of Debt

How I Seduced Myself Out of 40K of Debt

This week I’m thrilled to introduce you to my dear friend, Kitty Cavalier. She’s babysitting my blog while I snuggle with my new little peanut, Penelope. Kitty is an expert seductress. But this doesn’t mean she’s a manipulative vamp trying to pull men into bed with her. It means she knows how to co-create with Life to… Continue Reading

Without Apology

Without Apology

  I have watched my friend Elizabeth DiAlto transform since I met her in 2012. She’s gone from fast-talking, fast-paced New York hustler to embracing her untamed, feminine soul. She went from teaching women to get tighter to inspiring them to embrace their bodies and whole selves. She’s still got her fiery Staten Island roots, but… Continue Reading

The Rhythm of Labor and Ecstatic Birth

The Rhythm of Labor and Ecstatic Birth

While I’m on maternity leave I’ve asked some of my favorite, most trusted women to take care of my blog for me.  From Sept 9th – Nov 11th you’ll be receiving their weekly wisdom here on my site. When I announced my pregnancy, my friend Sheila Kamara Hay, the founder of Ecstatic-Birth.com, reached out and offered her… Continue Reading

Open Yourself to the Magic

Open Yourself to the Magic

While I’m on maternity leave I’ve asked some of my favorite, most trusted women to take care of my blog for me.  From Sept 9th – Nov 11th you’ll be receiving their weekly wisdom here on my site.   I had my first intuitive reading when I was 14 years old. I felt incredibly seen… Continue Reading