tarakemp_ tarakemp_

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Tara Kemp  🙋🏼‍♀️ showing up to do the inner work 🦋 self-love sanctuary ❤️ plant-based nourishing 🌻 mindful & heartful living 👇🏻 coaching spots available!

somewhere during the past month and a half of next-level hecticness in my life, i lost my full practice of gratifood. i would often take a moment to say “thank you” before eating, but not much more.

tonight, sitting down to dinner with my bestie @mindfuldiabeticrobby and doing a full gratifood prayer was SO wonderful (i especially love this practice when shared with friends). i’ve missed this. so, i am making a point to pick back up with my full practice. it gives the eating experience a sacredness that turns the meal into a ceremony (rather than just another necessary step for the day done mindlessly) and makes the food so much more nourishing.

in case you’d like some gratifood inspiration in your life, here’s what was flowing through me today as i took a minute of appreciation when i sat down to eat:

thank you. thank you for this life; for the experience of living in this world; for the opportunity to take part in this grand collaboration happening right now. thank you for the food before me. thank you for the millions of magical, healing vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that nature created and packaged up into delicious plant foods for us to enjoy. thank you for the way everything was set up so perfectly and harmoniously for us to be nourished by the earth. thank you for my body, which is my home. please, body, forgive me for the times i did not trust you or treat you with love and appreciation; and thank you for your resilience and forgiveness - i promise to always honor your needs. thank you for everything that has led me to where i am today, and for everything that is coming up ahead. thank you for the people in my life who remind me who i am and inspire me to be that person. thank you for the constant learning process of life, and for the perspective to see everything as a teacher. thank you for the brain’s memories and tools of intelligence, for the heart’s emotions, for the body’s wisdom, and for the intuition’s guidance. thank you for the simple pleasures in life, and thank you for the challenges too. thank you, thank you, thank you. this life is so much more than enough.
❤️

as i was answering questions the other day, one of you asked me, “who inspires you?” i loved putting thought to this, and i would so love to hear from you, too.

who inspires you? 💓 please tag one person (it can be a personal friend or someone you simply know here on instagram) in the comments and share why they inspire you.

here’s my answer, and in the photo i’ve tagged a few (of many) people who are particularly inspiring to me at this moment in time, for at least one of these reasons:
i am inspired by people who are authentic and vulnerable. people who are openly excited and nerdy about their passions. people who show up with love to even the most difficult situations. people who live with compassion and stand up for others. people who trust their intuition and let it lead them. people who go after life with enthusiasm, take risks, remain playful, and keep the big picture in mind. people who are not afraid of their darkness, and people who are not afraid to shine their light. and, finally, the infinite possibility of who each of us can be. including myself. i am the possibility of so much, and i am inspired to explore and express as much of that as i can in this life. 💫

let life be fun.
look at living in this world as an opportunity to play and explore, and to learn and grow in the process.

i have come a long way in this. although i have always been silly and playful in many ways, i also used to put a lot of pressure on myself to be high achieving. i wanted to be super “productive” and i was really afraid of failure. i could go off on a tangent here about how we can’t really define “high achieving” or “productive” or “success,” and why “failure” isn’t really a thing either... but i’ll keep it short(ish - you guys know how it goes with me, haha) and just say that i’ve shifted a lot from this old perspective. now i see the value, and “productivity,” in NOT needing to constantly be doing something measurable. in just being present, in resting, in enjoying the moment.

i’ve also realized that much of that pressure came from fear and mindless conditioning. i felt a need to prove myself or else i wouldn’t be good enough. i had listened to what society’s messages said was valuable. now, i still like to be efficient with my time when i am working on projects, and i still want to create and give to the world and make a difference, but i know that what “success” society tells us to measure isn’t necessarily what i value. i don’t feel pressure to “be someone” in order to be loved and admired.

it’s easier to take risks and go big when you are not feeling pressure to have a certain outcome, and instead look at it as a fun experiment, a game. use your imagination to look at the possibilities of everything this life can be. of everything that YOU can be.

i used to think i wanted to be “on the grind” most of the time. i wanted to create as much as humanly possible. but now, i’m okay if i create a little less in terms of work projects and instead fill that time with friends, family, and indulging in the gifts of this physical world such as nature, reading, art, shows, physical activities and travel adventures… play! play, for the sake of play and nothing else. to simply enjoy this world i get to inhabit for however long this life lasts.

i’m so grateful for friends like @absofruitlymel. thanks for being my playmate 😘

throughout my life, i’ve been told more than once that i am “very disciplined.” i always felt weird when people would say that, because i felt like it implied that i was doing things that were difficult, things that i didn’t want to do but felt i “should.” like a self-punishment of sorts. despite being praised for it, being “disciplined” didn’t feel like something i necessarily wanted to have as a personal characteristic, and in many cases it didn’t feel accurate to my experience.

but last night, i was at a talk by a friend of mine @brandilyn_tebo, and she said something (among many other things) that i LOVED. she explained that the word “discipline” comes from the word “disciple,” which is someone who lovingly devotes themselves to something they believe in. to truly be disciplined means to dedicate yourself from a place of love.

so, yes, i am disciplined. proudly so. i eat healthy, whole, plant-based foods (right now, mostly locally sourced) not because i think i “should,” but because i LOVE that i can. i so wholeheartedly believe in every part of eating this way. i try to meditate every morning because it is a meaningful practice to me. i love how it helps me to stay connected to myself and to the greater whole of life. i run 4-6 days each week because i love the way it makes me feel – it’s like a joy ride for my body. these are not things i HAVE to do. these are gifts i choose to give myself.

if you ever feel like you want to be more disciplined about different lifestyle choices, remember this: discipline is NOT having the willpower to do things that you feel like you “should” do in order to be good enough, in order to prove yourself, in order to meet the expectations of someone else – these are all fear-based motivations. discipline is lovingly devoting yourself to practices that truly matter to you and align with your values. go forth to build healthy habits from a place of LOVE.
😘 xo

i want to tell you a story. i hope you’ll read through to the end, because it has a happy ending.
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my grandpa died about two weeks ago. none of us were ready for it. he was a strong, active, loving, traditional, stubborn, social, incredible man full of positive energy. my family is a really tight-knit group, and it feels so strange that he’s no longer here with us.
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anyways, the reason i’m telling you this is that mourning and honoring and celebrating him was a BIG ordeal. for over a week, my family spent day after day together. we did the traditional funeral viewings and church service (where the church was packed and dozens of people had to stand along the sides and in the back), but we also had family gatherings every single night. many of us hosted those who traveled in from out of town. it was amazing and beautiful. and totally exhausting for me. i hit my limit… and then kept going.
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and then i broke down. i woke up one morning and i just couldn’t do it anymore. i felt like i didn’t have it in me to be present with the party and make conversation with people. i wasn’t myself. i felt like i should be able to handle it, but i knew that if i was being honest with myself, i was truly depleted.
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i didn’t know what to do. we were hosting a head count of 38 at my house for dinner that night, and the thought of it made me feel anxious and completely overwhelmed. i sat on the floor and cried. and one by one, my immediate family members came to comfort and validate me. it was the most beautiful thing. all of them made me feel safe and seen. my dad sat down on the floor across from me and asked me what i was feeling. he let me know that i could spend the evening upstairs in their room if i wanted to skip the party and take some time for myself, or that i could take the car and drive somewhere if i needed to get away. my mom came and gave me a little back massage and a big long squeezing hug, and told me that it was okay to need a break. though not to the same extreme, she was feeling a little overwhelmed too. my sister told me not to feel silly or ashamed, and not to worry about what anyone else might think. (continued in comments below ⬇️)

confession: i still feel insecure sometimes.
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about all sorts of things. i find myself (over)thinking about things that i said, or wondering what other people think of me. even in regards to food... sometimes i find myself wishing i didn’t care so much about what i eat so that i wouldn’t be the odd one out at family gatherings or other events. but then i sit with those feelings and ask myself what is underneath them - do i actually want to be/act differently than i am? am i showing up inauthentically? and my answer is (not always, but usually) no. i like who i am, and i believe wholeheartedly in my values and lifestyle choices.
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the issue is that i, like most people, just want to feel like i belong. i want to feel validated and understood. i also can easily fall into being hard on myself about not being “perfect.” but thankfully, i have learned how to look beneath these desires and reconnect with myself. it takes practice and lots of relearning, but i can do it more easily and more quickly as time goes on. it’s okay to be different. it’s okay to pack healthy quinoa salads to share at family barbecues. it’s okay if not everyone sees, or feels, or eats, or processes things the way that you do. it’s okay to still be figuring things out, to change your mind, to make mistakes, and so much more.
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when you feel insecurity creeping in, turn your attention inward and ask whether you actually want to change, or whether you are simply longing to belong or be understood. this is an important distinction. please also remember that nobody is perfect, including you.
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be yourself. be kind and compassionate and open-minded, but be yourself. and let other people be who they are, too. it’s so much more beautiful when we all shine as exactly who we are. we have so much to share with and learn from one another.
❤️

the reason that i eat a plant-based diet is not just a health issue or a moral issue for me anymore. it is still both of these things, very much so, but it has also become a spiritual issue. it connects me to the greater whole, reminding me that i am part of something so much bigger than myself. it’s a way for me to live in harmony with the entire life community of plants, animals, and people on this little planet we call home.
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when i eat plant foods in their whole, unprocessed form, i feel connected to the earth. it reminds me of the interconnectedness of all living things; the ultimate truth of who i am, the greater collective whole that i am part of, and what truly matters to me.
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i picked these black raspberries straight from the bush in my parents’ garden last week. feet grounded in the grass, sun shining on my skin. this is life.
💫

“when you go out into the woods, and you look at trees, you see all these different trees. and some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. and you look at the tree and you allow it. you see why it is the way it is. you sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. and you don’t get all emotional about it. you just allow it. you appreciate the tree.

the minute you get near humans, you lose all that. and you are constantly saying ‘you are too this, or i’m too this.’ that judgment mind comes in. and so i practice turning people into trees. which means appreciating them just the way they are.” - @babaramdass.
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just pure yes. all the yes for this. don’t let the judgement mind take over. just look at people (including yourself) like you look at trees: with unconditional acceptance and love 🙏🏻❤️🌲.

❤️
“i love and accept myself exactly as i am.”
“i love and accept myself exactly as i am.”
“i love and accept myself exactly as i am.”
make this your mantra, and watch your life transform from the inside out.
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ps - speaking of unconditional self-love and transformation, there’s just 10 days left to pre-order the chrysalis necklace and get a handwritten love letter from me 🦋✨. if you’re interested in having a sacred piece of jewelry embedded with meaning to remind you of your inner strength and inner safe space as you wander this world, please watch the saved highlight story “chrysalis” on my profile page @tarakemp_ 😘xo.
i love you. always.

self-love is not just building ourselves up. in fact, it’s much the opposite. it is acknowledging and holding kindness for all parts of ourselves — including the average and below-average. we are all gifted, AND we are all imperfect. part of being human is making mistakes.
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in the moments following mistakes, self-love says, “you made a mistake. but it doesn’t make you a bad person. you are just worthy of love and compassion.” to clarify, this doesn’t mean that you let yourself slide. on the contrary, it means that you look those points of weakness or moments of missteps directly in the face. it means you acknowledge them and see the slip-up for what it is. but you don’t add to the pain with your own negative self-talk. that’s unnecessary and unhelpful. the inner critic is let go, and unconditional love takes the lead.
🦋

vulnerability. living with your whole heart. growth. change. loss. love.
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yesterday, @setareh.khatibi and i sat and processed the coming changes (aka we curled up together on the couch and cried for a solid half hour). i know that this feels like such a big loss because it is so beautiful. i am grateful to have a home full of friendships that are so hard to leave. it’s a testament to how deeply we love one another. it’s so hard because it’s so good. but still, it’s so hard.
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as we were talking (aka blubbering), she said, “it’s like we came here with a seed planted in us, and these relationships have nourished us to grow. we’ve bloomed. but now we’ve outgrown the pot, and we need to be replanted in a bigger pot.” i have been feeling that exact sentiment, and i LOVE the metaphor she used. i replied, “we’re not heading to bigger pots, we’re going off to start our own gardens. to share the nourishment and help inspire even more growth around us.”
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sometimes, whether it be a place, or a relationship, or a job, or a sport… any chapter in your life, really… you receive the lessons and love that you need, but you eventually arrive to a point where staying means stunting your growth. as hard and sad and scary as it is to let go, leaving is the pathway to expansion. i don’t want to leave this place, these amazing people, but i know that i have to go. it’s time.
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but thankfully, not quite yet. i still have another month. and i have never in my life felt more present. more fully focused on the current moment. i am soaking up every minute here… every last drop. i look around in awe. i hug with longer squeezes. i savor each bite of the locally-grown farmers market magic. i laugh and i cry and i tell my friends over and over and over again: i love you, i love you, i love you. please don’t ever second guess how amazing you are.
❤️

so, i have some news… 🙊
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i am soon to be starting a new chapter 💫 .
i will be leaving santa monica and heading to flagstaff, arizona to start a phd program 🤓. in a few months, i’ll be stuffing this backpack with books and binders instead of (or in addition to 😜) veggies and potatoes.
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as per usual, this gives me all the feels. santa monica feels like home. my job is full of purpose and our team is incredible. my friends here are a tightly-knit family; and we have something special that i can’t ever fully convey in words no matter how much i try. but although i am leaving something amazing, i am also headed toward something that feels amazing in a different way. i am feeling strongly pulled in this direction, and i am following that, trusting my intuition to lead me.
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it’s time for me to dive deeper into what i feel most passionate about right now. the phd program is an interdisciplinary program that looks at the intersection of nutrition, public health, psychology, and sociology. i’m going to be studying the relationship between mental, emotional, and physical health in the realm of nutrition and lifestyle change. my current vision is to study the role of self-compassion in building a foundation for sustainable and successful healthy lifestyle habits, especially in regards to nutrition. but we shall see what unfolds.
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i don’t quite know where this is all going, but it will be a marvelous adventure. to all of you here with me, thank you. i am so grateful to be sharing this journey with you 🙏🏻❤️.
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i love you.
trust what makes your heart leap.
go bravely in the direction of your dreams.
xoxo 🦋

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