The Refined Man

The Refined Man is VULNERABLE

03.26.15

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As many of you know this past year I have fallen in love with yoga.  I’ve practiced at other points in my life, but it wasn’t until meeting Tutti last fall and trying out Yoga Vida here in NYC that my love affair blossomed.  It has been an incredible blessing to my body + soul, and I have felt stronger and more balanced than I have in years.

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I started taking Zander’s classes at some point, and immediately connected with him.  He resonates with a philosophy that I live in my life “how you show up for one thing is how you show up for everything” + I learned quickly in his classes that so much of what he teaches applies to life “off” the mat.  Like living a balanced life, being present, letting go of things we can’t control, and so much more.  I’m so excited to have him talking about vulnerability today on The Refined Man.  And if you’re a local NYC’er or Brooklynite be sure and check out his retreat ‘The Yoga Adventure’ May 15-17th in upstate; it’s going to be wonderful!

XO,

Kat

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When most men hear the word vulnerable they think weak or sissy.  The kind of vulnerability that I’m talking about is not the lost child kind or the naked at school kind. The refined man becomes more powerful through the vulnerability of being honest with his challenges, and sharing his story to empower and connect with other people.  To be a refined man means being open to life, to love, to change, and to growth.  He says yes to what life throws at him, and is not afraid of pain or being hurt.  There is a bold confidence you get when living an unapologetic life that is not concerned with others people’s opinions of you.  Haters gonna hate regardless, your choice is to either stand up and shout from the mountain tops, or sit down like a “good boy” and be quite.

The tough guy and the macho man is an outdated system of belief.  These concepts of being strong and not feeling pain or not caring are all just masks.  The macho man has literally built a shell around him because he is so afraid of how powerful his emotions and true feeling might be.  The man who builds up the shell of his body with muscle and won’t show emotion tends to be the most scarred and disconnected of us all.  OK, I love muscles and getting stronger but there is an inherently flawed idea that the physically big and strong man is also mentally and emotionally strong.  You can trace this machismo culture back many thousands of years to the warriors and hunters who had a reason to be this way.  The 21st century man tends to live a sheltered life that is a far cry from these battlefields.

Vulnerability means living in the moment, it means being OK with any and all of your emotions.  Letting them flow through you so they do not get stuck and create tension.  What we resist tends to persist and the more we deny something that is true and real, the more it tends to affect the very fabric of our lives.  Our bodies become riddled with stress and the physical manifestation of emotional wounds when we deny our experiences in order to be ‘tough’ or ‘strong’.  We have all experienced this to a lesser degree when we are ‘stressed’ or late for a meeting and get knots in our shoulders or pain in our stomach. Over time these little stresses that are not acknowledged build up and can lead to debilitating disease. The refined man is vulnerable enough to embrace the flow of emotion so it can do what it wants to do – move through you and be experienced.  As you bring consciousness into your body, you begin to understand the energetic charge that is emotion, and in so doing, you allow it to flow through you. Emotion is just energy that wants to be In-Motion.  Let it flow.

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Being vulnerable also gives a man the space to know what he wants and takes action.  He has defined barriers and structure, but they are not rigid and he is not confined by them.   He is connected to his body, his breath and the fullness of each experience.  He knows that true growth comes from living in the messiness that can be life.  To be a refined man means not having it all figured out, it means not knowing everything and being OK with it.  This means being open to all that life has to offer and to know that the only permanent thing in life is change.  To embrace flow while still being the architect of your fate.

Vulnerability is one facet to being a modern, refined man.  Essentially we must take risks if we are to have a life well lived.  Being vulnerable means taking risks with our hearts, bodies and our minds by exposing them to ourselves and to others.  We have to risk getting out of our comfort zone and unconscious habits in order to see the world a little differently.  We have to risk doing new things, meeting new people, getting out of routine and not knowing how it will all end up.

Cheers,

Zander

P.S. If your are interested in taking a small risk that has the transformative potential that comes from being a little vulnerable, then you are welcome to sign up for The Yoga Adventure retreat to Upstate New York, May 15th -17th.  You don’t have to have a yoga practice but you do have to be open to trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone.  We will be hiking, doing yoga, eating local vegetarian meals, dancing, laughing, meditating and having bonfires, all while getting off the grid for a long weekend.  For more information and to register click HERE.

Photos C/O Kat Harris

Beauty Is ...

Beauty is… Celebrating Everyday | Lauren Sims

03.24.15

We’re so honored to have Lauren Sims join us this week for Beauty Is.  Lauren has a heart of gold.  She helps run the uber successful LoLo Mag in Dallas, Texas.  She loves God, her husband,  and of course fashion.  And this girl has some fabulous things to say!  We’re so grateful for you Lauren!

XO,

Kat + Em

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The older I get, the more I realize this: Life moves so quickly.

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Days are filled with laundry and errands and meetings and deadlines and before you know it, your head is on the pillow again at night.  Another day has flown by.  Lately, I have been learning the importance of savoring each day, each moment.  Of celebrating the everyday, and truly living in each moment with a joyful and grateful heart.

March 28th will mark my one-year wedding anniversary, and what a whirlwind this year has been!  Our first year of marriage has been filled with growing, adjusting, compromising, laughing, crying (for me…), adventuring, and so much more.  With all the beauty in our first year it still is easy for me to focus on the arguments, or what my husband didn’t do for me that day, or compare him with what other husbands are doing for their wives. But how much more joy is there in celebrating when he brings me flowers home, when he does the dishes, or when he plays with my hair while we watch a show.  As women, it is so tempting for us to pick apart and find the negative – not just in our husbands, but in ourselves too.  I am learning how much beauty there is in celebrating the little things. In savoring the nights where Michael and I make cookies ,and watch Netflix, or go to church together.  When my focus is on savoring these moments; It fills our marriage with so much more joy and sweetness, and in the end, love.

I recently started reading Shauna Niequist’s most recent book, Savor, and she sums up this concept of celebrating and savoring perfectly:

God is always speaking, always. He is always moving, always present, always creating, always healing. The trick, at least for me, is paying attention. The trick is savoring…I forget so easily that there’s a bigger picture. I’m easily seduced by the bustle of the day – lunch and laundry, deadlines and dinnertime. I forget that it’s all held together by a holy, loving God, and that we get to be his partners in restoration and healing. I forget that there’s more than I see, more than I can dream.

Life can feel so mundane when you get caught up in the day-to-day, or in your set backs and insecurities. I believe life is so much more beautiful when you accept each day as it comes, with a thankful heart:  thankful that you woke up this morning, for the smell of freshly brewed coffee, for the physical ability to go for a walk or run or whatever it is you do to stay active.

It is far too easy to have our minds going in 1 million directions while we’re on the treadmill, or in the grocery store, making mental to-do list as we hustle and bustle about our day. But let’s not miss out on the current task at hand. Let’s 100% live in and savor each moment so that we don’t miss all the beauty and life there is in these daily tasks or occurrences. When your mind is in a million places while you’re checking out at the grocery store, you might fail to realize that the cashier really just needed someone to smile at her and ask how her day was going. When you’re doing your daily jog around the neighborhood but already planning what’s for dinner that night, you might miss how perfectly blue the sky is that day and find the beauty of God in that.

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So let’s stop, and pay attention. Let’s put an end to our focus on fear and insecurities, and instead soak up the goodness and beauty of life all around us.  May we walk through each day expecting, noticing, and celebrating glimpses and shimmers of the divine, right in the midst of our daily lives.

XO,

Lauren Sims, LoloMag

Photos C/O:  Lindsey Shea Photography

 

Style

OUTFIT | The White Button-Up

03.19.15

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So are you mad at me for not doing an outfit post since November?  #oops #sorry #winter

Thankfully Miss Emily has been holding up strong on the style front lately!  I mean I just wish she could dress me everyday…no but really.  Before I leave the house for meetings I always text her a picture of my outfit.  This usually results in her texting me back a ‘please don’t leave the house in that’.  I keed.  I keed.  But really Em has influenced my style a lot over the past few years, and has shown me the value of investing into quality pieces of my wardrobe.

More and more I’m getting rid of pieces in my closet I don’t need, and really just trying to keep it simple and classic (#shoutouttojcrew…I guess I’m really into hashtags today).  Anyone else too busy to keep up with the latest trends?

I love this outfit.  It’s so me.  Simple.  Classic.  Ladies don’t be scared to keep it easy.  Sometimes I put pressure on myself to come up with this creative + unique outfit.  But I always feel best in something like this. (or my yoga pants…but if I must ‘get dressed’ an outfit like this makes me happy).

XO,

Kat

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Photos:  Tutti del Monte
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