Don’t Give Up on Your Dream

For some time I’ve wanted to make a contribution to my community on Christmas day. I found offerings that happen around the holiday, but not on the 25th.

So I gave up.

One Woman

But this year my friend Kristel posted on Facebook that she was going to distribute stuff to the homeless on Christmas day. All by herself. She had the impulse and she was acting on it. A quick post to her page and I was in!

Kristel had decided to make something happen and that something quickly became bigger than just her. Even as we cleaned out our coat closets and shopped for food and personal items others offered to help.

Five of us put together 30 kits and organized bags of donated sweaters, coats, and personal care items. Lifesource the local health food store, gave me a gift card so I could get appropriate food. My friend Katherine bought food, sterno, and personal care items. Other friends of Kristel’s jumped on board. Her co-workers contributed.

 Project Burrito

Helping the homeless

Sharon & Theresa helping the homeless

I also learned of Kathy and her Project Burrito. She and her group of volunteers cook breakfast burritos and distribute clothes, hand warmers, and other needed items to the homeless on Christmas morning. Kristel’s posse, now seven people, joined up with about 15 other volunteers at 8 in the morning under the Marion Street bridge, a place near the local men’s mission and a park frequented by the homeless.

Since most of the volunteers stood behind the tables laden with donations helping to keep the tables neat, replenishing the items, or serving coffee or burritos I decided to mingle among the homeless.

After saying Merry Christmas I’d ask them if there was anything in particular that they were looking for and then help them find it. One man I spoke with was elated to find a belt. Another wanted candles (he was happy with the sterno) for heat and light. My partner saw a man setting on a bench in the adjacent park, a big smile on his face, putting on his pair of new socks. A gentleman with twinkly blue eyes simply smiled and said, “This IS Christmas.”

My Takeaway

I help people live their purpose. Sometimes that means getting clearer about what their purpose is. Sometimes it means helping people figure out how to take action, to get rid of what’s blocking them. And other times it’s about finding a way to take care of themselves in a way that supports their purpose rather than sabotages it.

For me the message in this experience was that one person, like my friend Kristel or Kathy the burrito lady, can make a huge difference by acting on their desire to help.

I’m taking that realization into the New Year as I plot my course for the coming year.

If you’re like a lot of people you’re at least thinking about how you want 2015 to be different. You might be putting together intentions or a plan for the coming year.

Your Dream?

I invite you to include something that you feel inspired to do as you look ahead. Maybe your idea has seemed too big. Maybe you hit a roadblock when you started. And maybe you worry about what others will think. I encourage you to move past the things that get in your way.

 

  1. First name and claim it. Share your idea with one of your cheerleaders. You can share it here. Wouldn’t that be a great, bold step? I’ll cheer you on.

 

  1. Next decide on a baby step. One little step. Commit to it here and you’ll be that much closer to your dream.

 

Kathy told me that the Christmas morning group served 75 burritos, 120 cups of coffee, and gave away 20-25 gift bags and backpacks with personal items, food, and/or clothing. One man told me there was nothing he needed. He was happy simply to have wandered into the event and been part of it.

So what about your idea? What can you accomplish?

Trusting the Plan

You need a plan, right? But here’s the deal. If you get too attached to “your” plan rather than the “bigger” plan (call it courtroomGod’s or the universe’s or divine order…) you can actually make things harder.

Maybe I should speak for me. When I get too attached to “my” plan and forget that there’s a larger plan I make things harder and decidedly less fun for myself. Do you find this to be true too?

The Jury Summons
Monday I showed up at the courthouse for jury duty. I don’t know what it is about Marion County, Oregon where I live, but they love to send me jury summons. I know people who never get called. But I get one every cycle. Maybe because I show up and I don’t tell them things that make them think I’m a whacko. (Seriously, if you want to get out of jury duty tell them you would kill anyone who abused your child. Yep, that means you won’t get picked.)

And We Wait
Day one was about waiting. And more waiting. The guy in the jury assembly room said he’s never had a group in the assembly room so long. They finally moved us into a courtroom for jury selection after 3 ½ hours. I figured I’d be out by lunchtime.

By 2:00 they finally dismissed those who wouldn’t be on the jury. But unfortunately they’d called my name for this 3-day trial.

I spent the lunch hour cancelling my Tuesday class and rescheduled my coaching and massage appointments for the next couple of days. Not excited about the prospect of listening to stories of meth, abuse, and identity theft, but I didn’t see a way out.

A Reframe
Two of my friends who are attorneys gave me a more positive spin. One said, “Important and powerful work.” The other said how lucky I was to serve and how lucky we are to have the justice system we have in the U.S. I felt less cranky.

Day one ended with a bit of education about our job and we were dismissed. Really? I’m thinking we should get started, but hey, they weren’t asking for my input.

And More Waiting
Day two we were to be there no later than 8:25 with an 8:30 start time. By 9 we’d been brought into the courtroom and then back into the waiting area. False start. And the waiting continued.

About 10 we went back in, heard opening arguments. Well, for a little while. We did get exercise as when there was an objection they would parade us back into the waiting room.
And then we got a “10-15 minute” morning break that lasted for an hour. Finally we got to listen to a witness. It was getting exciting now. Well, not really exciting. Mostly sad. Some people lead really sad, dark lives.

By noon, part way into the prosecutors questioning of witness one, we were dismissed for lunch. Again, I’m thinking really? We just got started.

Back at 1:15 we waited some more. Now I’m getting stressed. With 17 charges against the defendant and six more witnesses I couldn’t see how this was going to be over by Wednesday afternoon. Especially with the frequent breaks.

If we had just been facing loss of income and productive time it would have been stressful, but because the system felt so inefficient with all the waiting and breaks (and I abhor inefficiency) my stress level rose. Every time I felt my mind wandering to whether I should go ahead and cancel my Thursday yoga class and appointments I would take a deep breath, relax my shoulders, and feel better. For a few minutes.

A Bigger Plan
Finally I stopped reading and felt into what I was supposed to learn. I’d been reading a chapter about resistance. Interesting choice, huh? I realized the more I resisted what was happening, the worse I felt. When I finally surrendered and affirmed to myself that I was supported and just not aware of the divine plan I relaxed.

At 4:00, about ½ later, they called the jury back in to the courtroom. We’d been waiting since post lunchtime. Finishing by Wednesday afternoon seemed highly unlikely. The judge announced that because one of the witnesses was unable to testify due to a health issue they were declaring a mistrial and we were dismissed. Just like that I was free.

My Takeaways:
1. Any stress or issues I have are peanuts. Really not significant. I have physical and mental health, a loving family and friends, freedom, and financial abundance.
2. I am supported. When I get out of my own way, magic happens.

I send light and love to the victim, defendant, their children and families. Oh, and the judge, attorneys, and deputy. Those people work hard. Blessings to them all.

If you see me struggling you have permission to suggest I surrender to the divine.

And how about you? Are there places where surrendering to something larger would serve you? Do you ever block your success and health by trying to control things? I so appreciate the comments and feedback you send me. Really helps to know I’m not writing into the void. Would love it if you would share here too.

Are You Paying Attention?

Self-care isn’t something that’s nice to do.Now-later

It’s essential.

I’ve known that for some time. True in my own life and that of my clients. But I’ve been quiet about some of the services I offer. Afraid to promote too heavily. Afraid of rejection. But all that changed for me about a month ago.

On a Sunday a friend who’s an author and international trainer had a stroke. This woman, a key figure in her industry, has touched the lives of many. Today she’s relearning to walk, do laundry, use a computer…

On that Tuesday another friend, a man with a brilliant mind and big heart, passed away after an 8 month dance with cancer. His kindness and belief in me were life changing when I was in my 20’s. His professional life was all about being an advocate for those in vulnerable situations.

On that Thursday his wife, my best friend from college and the maid of honor at my wedding, received her first chemo treatment for ovarian cancer. My friend was a social worker. Currently she works as a nurse practitioner in an emergency room. If you’ve ever complained about a health care practitioner without people skills you can appreciate how important this woman with skills in nursing AND counseling is to her community.

Big Heart, Brilliant Minds

The world needs people with big hearts and brilliant minds. We need the gifts, the life purpose, of these creative and caring souls.

I can’t say that if any of them had made different choices they would have avoided the events of that week. But I do know that people of a caring nature, the massage therapists, coaches, teachers, social workers, artists, etc. I work with often neglect themselves in the pursuit of helping others.

They skimp (or skip) on their workouts. They work late in order to help someone. They eat a fast food meal because they’re too tired from giving, giving, giving.

Yes, I’m talking about others, but I fall victim to this pattern as well sometimes. Thinking that finishing a project is more important than getting to bed. Telling myself I need to work “just a little longer” when what I need is to walk. When I pay attention and take care of myself it always serves me.

My takeaways from that week:

  • Take good care, really good care of the precious body, mind, spirit that you’ve been given.
  • If something’s important to you spend time with it. Friends, family, your pets, a favorite hobby, your purpose in life…
  • I need to be bolder about my message. I’ve stayed too hidden. I need to let people know how I can help. My genius is in helping people with a passion sink firmly into their purpose in a way that is sustainable. I can help them get out of overwork and overwhelm and onto a path that gives them energy and wellness. All while still doing the thing that they’re meant to do.

How about you? What can you commit to doing this week in service of your wellness and your purpose? Commit to it here!

Who Will You Be if You Let Go?

If you’re not living the life of your dreams you probably think adding something to your life is the key.

Hands Releasing a DoveMaybe

More money.

A different job.

More clients.

More travel.

The love of your life.

A new home…

Connecting with your desire, the “what” you want, is an important piece of living your purpose. Actually it’s one of the most important pieces.

But one of the secrets to living your life of purpose is that you must let go. You may have to let go of beliefs, people, other dreams, stuff, and more stuff

The letting go process can be scary. Big scary. It can be hard work.

But it’s necessary work for moving into what’s next.

 The Care and Feeding of Stuff

You see, whatever you’re carrying around, be it physical stuff, extra weight, beliefs, ideas, or expectations, there’s tending involved. That tending takes precious time. Plus the stuff takes up, if not physical space, psychic, energetic, emotional and/or mental space.

And that time and space is space and time that can’t be taken up by new ideas, by new beliefs, a new lifestyle, a new love, or a new business.

Let Go and Then Let Go Again

First, let me say that my ex-husband is a nice man. We’ve been divorced for almost 15 years, yet I know if I needed something he’d help if he could.

But back when I was married I “knew” at some point that it was time to move on from the relationship.

The person I was at 26 was not the same person hovering on the brink of 40. Part of the leaving was about questioning my sexuality. Straight, lesbian, bi-sexual?

But there was more to it than that.

Even though I “knew” my decision, I hesitated.

Would I be alone the rest of my life? I didn’t like that idea.

Would I be able to survive on my self-employment income? I’d been self sufficient, even owning my own home, before marriage. But I had had the illusion of security in the form of a “job” back then.

Even with my fears I made my decision to leave.

Then I changed my mind.

Then I returned to my decision.

Then I got afraid again.

And so it went.

Waiting for an Epiphany

I was going to Peru and hoped for an epiphany while there. Maybe some big voice would boom from the sky. Perhaps an Incan shaman, come back for my benefit, would tell me what to do while I gazed at the Machu Picchu ruins.

The trip was wonderful. Transformational even.

But alas, No booming voice.

I returned and my decision (waffly as it was) was still to leave.

Post Reading Pissed Off

Then someone told me about a psychic that would be visiting Salem.

A really good psychic.

That was it. I would go to see her and she would tell me to leave my marriage. She would tell me about the wonderful life I would have post divorce.

The psychic, instead of telling me to leave, asked why I wouldn’t let my husband love me. Really? I wasn’t happy. I just paid for that?

She asked what would be different if I left. So I thought about the visions I’d been having of my future.

Announcement, Announcement

Could I get what felt was missing right where I was?

So I stayed. Planted some flowers. Went shopping for a new coach. We worked on the intimacy thing.

But then my body started talking to me. I had a health scare. Maybe too much info, but I had pain in my ovary and because I have a family history of ovarian cancer I listened. I can’t tell you why that scare made me decide I definitely needed to move on with my life. As I write this it seems like leap, but at the time it was a clear message for me.

 Letting Go for Good, Real Good

So I leaped.

I moved out into a little rental house by a creek. And I survived. Fast forward to today… I have a wonderful relationship with my domestic partner. We own a house on acreage with woods (for me) and a pasture (for her. Not for her to live in, but to keep her goats in.) No offense to the ex, but I’ve grown in ways I wouldn’t have if I’d stayed in my marriage.

Without letting go of my marriage, I wouldn’t have become who I am today. I’m more direct. More willing to speak my truth. Letting go wasn’t so much about leaving something, but rather about who I could become.

I’m curious if you feel the nudge to let go of something be it big (like a job or relationship) or smaller like a pile of magazines or a habit of checking your phone while talking to someone?

 Four Steps for Letting Go

  1. First name it. You can always decide to hold on if you want.
  2. Check your knowing. Do you get a clear yes? A clear no? A maybe or unknown?
  3. Get some support. This can be a great time to get coaching. With coaching you come up with the answers. The right questions from a coach can be oh so helpful.
  4. Sign up for the 40-day challenge. It’s especially for women entrepreneurs. But if you feel called and you’re not in that category, sign up anyway.

Traffic Jam and a Roadblock

I invited the participants in my recent Mexico yoga retreat to bring along some

yoga retreat ladies on the beach

Angeles and yoga ladies on the beach

school supplies for Majahua, the local village. I’d seen the school and the poverty and knew they could use them.

Well, my ladies were generous. Very generous. Christy who speaks fluent Spanish and works with children brought Spanish language books. Beverly, an artist, brought along art supplies. There were notebooks, pens, crayons, scissors, glue… suitcases full!

The Traffic Jam

Now we had plenty of school supplies. I needed to figure out how to get them delivered to the school.

One day on my way to do some errands for the retreat I got stopped in the best traffic jam ever.

If you were to see this village, just the idea of a traffic jam would make you laugh. Picture about 20 small homes and two little tiendas that sell chips, candy, pop, a few canned items, and a small quantity of produce.

Even slow traffic stirs up dust on this narrow winding dirt road. Speed bumps are made from either a large rope or the bark from a palm tree. Hot, tired dogs lay beside, and sometimes in, the road. People

walk around the dogs as they head to work, to a neighbor’s, or on their way to buy some fish.

As I entered Majahua, school had just been released. The road was lined with pairs and groups headed home, a brother and sister, a mother and her two little ones, a trio of boys laughing…

Next I saw two piglets dart into the road. When I saw the trash truck headed toward me filling the narrow row I pulled over knowing I wasn’t going any where for awhile.

Jose, about eight years old and neatly dressed in black slacks and a white button down shirt, approached my car with a big grin and an “hola.” He asked how I was.

So I inquired if the teachers were still at the school. “Si.”

After Jose left I chatted with other kids, completed my errands, and then stopped at the school.  I arranged with the principal and only teacher to come back on Friday with the school supplies and some of the women from my group. The ladies were eager to meet the kids and be involved in handing off the supplies.

The Roadblock

Thursday evening our entire group headed to La Mexicana restaurant in Troncones for a traditional meal (my first time for pozole) and to watch regional dancing. We were surprised as we drove back through Majahua to be stopped by a roadblock.

It was dark and at first hard to see who held the rope across the road preventing us from moving on. But as we stopped we saw a petite girl of about five held one end. The other rope holder was a girl of ten. The coffee can they held out explained that they were collecting funds so that the bathrooms in the school could be repaired. El banos weren’t currently working. I deposited some coins and told them we were going to be visiting the school the next day. The elder rope holder and keeper of the can explained that there was no school tomorrow.

My first thought was, “how do I say “ah oh” in espanol.” My ladies were leaving on Sunday. I could drop things off the next week, but that meant they wouldn’t get to be involved.

Something Better

The following day we walked down the beach to Majahua to have lunch at Marta’s, one of the beach side restaurants. On the way we ran into Angeles, a cook at the resort where we were staying, plus her children, and a nephew. She explained she had the kids today because, you guessed it, no school.

As we chatted one of the boys began to write letters in the sand.  Angeles explained he liked to write.

Bingo.

Later that day we delivered to Angeles a custom designed bundle of paper, markers, crayons, even a book for her to read to her six-month-old baby.  

At Marta’s we met Victoria, a ten year old who was helping dad because there was no school. This time we were on it. “Do you like to read?” “Not really.” “How about drawing?” “Yes.” You could see the excitement in her eyes.

Guess what Victoria got later that day? A bundle with art pad and pens selected by Beverly along with some things for Victoria’s younger sister.

We had enough that every staff person with children where we were staying was able to choose something for their child or children. And we still had plenty left for the school.

Way Better

The lesson for me (not the first time I’ve learned this lesson) was to not be attached to the outcome. How I saw things unfolding was not how it happened. What happened was way better. We got to really connect with some individuals. We got to give back to people who had been serving us all week. We got to offer something to this community with which we’d fallen in love.

My work is to remember this lesson, or at least be open to re-learning it again. Act where I feel inspired and then let go. Let something or someone greater offer a traffic jam, a roadblock, a better way. And then go along for the ride.

And you? Is this a lesson you’ve learned (or relearned) like me? I’d love to hear your insights and examples here.

And if a yoga retreat to Mexico is calling your name head here. 

Sharon Roemmel

Practically Enlightened You

Start Claiming “Amazing You” Now

 

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Why setting a weight loss goal is probably NOT in your best interest

It’s that time of year. Out with the sugar coma, let the New Year’s resolution’s ring.scales

Maybe you’re feeling a bit under the weather. Your new pants are too tight. You’re energy’s been compromised and you’re yawning yet again.

A better, smarter part of you (than the part that ate your way through the holiday) “knows” you can turn over a new leaf. Maybe this is the year to get into a size 6. Time to start the diet.

Or maybe not.

I don’t doubt you can stay away from the treat that is your Achilles heel, be it a brownie or the extra helping of chips. The question is do you want to?

 Wait, weight…

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t loose weight. There’s plenty of evidence to show that overweight is not in the best interest of your heart or your immune system. Your joints are not big fans of extra weight. Your skin, with too much weight, will stretch beyond a point of return. Your digestion can’t work at peak performance. Your liver and gall bladder will start to give you negative reports (read pain.) Your pancreas will offer wacky read-outs of blood sugar.

What I’m questioning is the life of deprivation that is part of the package we call “dieting.” We, (I mean you and me,) don’t do well with deprivation. A part of us can “woman up,” but is that the part you want to encourage? Is that the part you want to grow?

And if you’ve tried the deprivation thing before you know how it goes. Deprive, deprive, deprive, binge, guilt….

I’m fond of talking about wholeness. When you approach a decision from a part, say you’re butt that’s showing evidence of hours of sitting and too much holiday cheer, you leave out the majority of your wisdom.

Smart Ass?

I’m not saying that your butt’s not smart. It’s just you’re so much more. You’re not your belly. You’re not your thighs.

You’re a soul, a light.

A bright, bright star.

A beautiful body, a bag of emotions, and a brilliant mind.

A huge heart.

While your belly might respond to a deprivation diet by becoming a little flatter, your soul’s probably craving something more along the lines of connection, nature, enough, abundance, kindness… While your flat belly and skinny thighs rejoice from the diet du jour, your soul weeps. Your big heart’s not too thrilled either.

 The Austere Lifestyle

It’s true that some spiritual traditions will tell you that deprivation is good for you. Yes, we live in a world of excess. Less can be more. But simple is different that deprivation. Abundance is not the same as excess.

I’m not saying that deprivation is always bad. But stay the course too long and the pendulum will swing. It’s why many a dieter ends up with an unexplained empty bag of Cheetos at their feet feeling like a failure.

 The Tricky Part

We hear a call and we answer it. It’s in the hearing that we misinterpret. We think we hear a call for an abundance of jelly filled doughnuts. When we refine our ability to listen, when we learn to hear from the sum of the parts, rather than the loudest part we hear a different need.

Despite what sounds a lot like sweet potato fries what you’re craving may actually be something entirely different.

  • A creative outlet
  • Blissful moments of quiet
  • A conversation with a friend
  • Making a courageous move toward the life of your dreams.
  • A nurturing touch…

What you crave will be different than what I crave. What you crave in this moment will likely be different that what you crave tomorrow at 3 p.m.

Listening is step one. Acting on your cravings, your real cravings, is step two. Most of what passes for cravings is a way to distract or numb. If you can intercept the deeper message, now you have magic. And it’s that magic that saves people’s lives.

 Here’s the part no ones talking about.

If you’re using food to distract and/or numb your knees will start complaining from too much weight. The truth is that your mind, your emotions, and your spirit aren’t exactly having a picnic. They’re suffering too. If you try to live a life of deprivation your will power will only last so long. Your body might rejoice in a few less pounds of pressure. But the whole of you won’t be any happier.

When you listen carefully you will understand what you’re actually craving. Then you can feed appropriately. Don’t feel bad if this doesn’t come naturally. I help many of my clients with learning how to listen. When they get it they understand and start to nurture the part that is malnourished.  You might need to feed your creative muse, your inner child, your tender warrior. It may be your inner entrepreneur is suffering from major burn out. And no quantity of peanut butter will fill that well. I’ve tried.

Nurture the part that’s hungry. Even if it feels over the top scary.

Even if you’re not sure.

And then watch what happens to the whole of your life, not just your waistline. It can be pretty incredible. And you might just find your pants fitting a bit looser too.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

The Problem with Retreats

transitionI love retreats of all shapes and sizes. But I noticed for both others and myself a common problem that takes away some of the impact of a retreat.

See if this sounds familiar.

You work hard to be ready to leave. You spend the first part of your time off recovering, resetting your pace.

By the time the retreat is over you do feel better—more relaxed, more rested… You’ve practiced some new habits—regular exercise, healthier eating, not checking your phone every 10 minutes… You feel the benefits from just a few changes and you vow to continue these changes, this slower rhythm.

You return home. Now you have to work hard to catch up from being gone. A couple of weeks pass and someone asks you about your vacation. You have to pause and think about it to remember that you’ve even had time away.

Dang. You’ve lost that retreat/vacation vibe again.

The makings of a great retreat

The word retreat is defined this way: “move back or withdraw to a quiet secluded place.” When you do that you get a chance to slow down, to view your life and how you’re living it with fresh eyes.  You feel renewed, rested, maybe even invigorated.

Before and after

The problem with most retreats is that they occur in a vacuum. You go, you enjoy, and then you return to the same environment from whence you came.

I’ve found that people often have issues with transition. They return to their loved ones, their co-workers, the “regular world.” While the retreat participant may have shifted their ideas and habits the rest of the world is the same. While you were off relaxing by the pool, taking naps, or reading a good book someone was still at home scooping the cat boxes. Yeah, all that cat shit did not mysteriously disappear by itself.

Addressing the fact that you have a life pre- and post retreat can make a world of difference in how that transition goes. (We’ll be doing that as part of the  Purposeful Yoga Retreat.) It can help you reap the benefits of your time off at a deeper fuller level.

A couple of pointers:

  1. Have a plan. Think about how you will transition both before and after your retreat.
  2. Talk with those around you about this transition time. Listen to how it affects them when you’re gone (or how they think it might affect them.) What are their fears? How can you support each other?

Has the transition back to work and life ever been challenging for you? Share your challenges and solutions here.

Little Break, Big Reward

Sharon & SarahLast week my best friend from college visited. Even though I was in charge of showing her the beauties of Oregon for a few days I still felt like I was on vacation. Amazing what a couple of unscheduled, unhurried days did for my rhythm, my psyche.

 If you’re like me you sometimes crave LARGE chunks of time to unwind and restore. Yet I’m always surprised by the huge impact that can come from small moments.  

I just finished a coaching session with a woman who’s been working long, long hours. On top of a grueling schedule she’s been dealing with some stressful personal issues that demand her attention. Stuff that can be physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. Stuff that means she feels emotional pain over loss. Stuff to which she must attend.  

 Today was a brief respite from the intensity. While she was looking forward to a less scheduled day, she also felt the pressure (her own assigned pressure) to take some action, actually make that to push, forward on some of her awaiting projects.

“Down Days”

Actually she’d taken the last two days as “down days.” But as day three threw back the curtains she realized she really needed a couple of weeks of  “down days.”

She felt tired. A bit depressed. Weary really.

And yet her mind said, “If I take the day off from work, my pile will grow higher. My work flow will continue to suffer.”

Her belief was that to get relief, to renew deeply, she needed a significant chunk of time. And right now she doesn’t feel like she can take that time. She felt doomed to push forward, deeper into a place called “weary.”

Brief Respite

I invited her to do an exercise. She was sitting outside her home on a lawn chair in her rural yard.  Her trusty dog at her feet, she was enjoying the summer weather as we chatted via phone. The exercise took maybe two minutes. She was surprised that she felt a little better. Afterwards she said, “Oh, I guess I could allow small times of renewal rather than wait for the more expansive times off.”

I’m all for extended retreats. A weekend in the mountains, a week at a destination spa, a month in an isolated area…

But there are times where those types of getaways feel impossible.  You might have things that require your attention…family, work, home, animals, community.

Yet most of us can carve out small chunks.

Don’t underestimate the power of renewal that can come from these small chunks of time. Not only can they work to fill you back up when you’re depleted, I encourage my clients to integrate these types of renewal into their regular scheduling. That way they’re way less likely to get “ugly burned out.”

If the idea of a wee chunk of time focused on resting, filling up, or getting some significant traction on a project is appealing, then check out the upcoming virtual retreat.

Participants at the last event used the time for what they needed: rest, nurture time, play, and focused productivity. How would you use four hours of unscheduled time?

See Your Beauty

During my final semester of my senior year in college I took a group psychology class. The first night of class we had to introduce ourselves to the person sitting next to us. We were supposed to describe ourselves.

I really didn’t know who I was. How was I supposed to describe myself? So I used the words I’d heard from my recent ex-boyfriend. “My eyes are cat shit gray. My teeth look like horses teeth.”

The man across from me looked surprised and informed me that my eyes were actually a beautiful blue. Hmmm… Really?

Over the years I’ve learned two things: My eyes are blue and I’m not the only woman who doesn’t always see her beauty. I once had a call from a potential massage client. Her main concern was that “she was fat and therefore embarrassed to have someone touch her.” I was shocked when she arrived, as she was a very normal weight.

How Do You See Yourself?

Dove, as part of their “real beauty campaign,” recently hired a criminal sketch artist. He drew woman based on their self-description and then a second time based on a description from a stranger.

The results were stunning. Women definitely see themselves differently than strangers do. If you haven’t watched the video I highly recommend it. Kudos to Dove and the brilliance of the Ogilvy ad agency for graphically showing how distorted our view of ourselves is.

 

The Cost of Self-loathing

All this self-loathing (or even mild self dislike) comes with a price. I think it’s one of the main reasons women don’t always honor their need for self-care. Seeing your own beauty IS self-love. And self-love = self-care. When you love yourself you’re more likely to nurture yourself regularly.

The “I’m flawed” thing also effects women’s willingness to live their purpose. After all if you’re “butt ugly” shouldn’t you just stay inside and not afflict the world. Maybe you’re pretty sure that if you were to show up in a big way people would spend more time talking about your saggy breasts or too big tummy or slightly crooked nose than listening to your message.

If you’re not that beautiful (read valuable) then doesn’t it make sense that you’re less likely to believe in your purpose, your ability, and worthiness? That’s how it worked for me anyway.

I’ve done a lot of self-healing since that college class. While I’d still probably end up with a less attractive self-portrait than one by a stranger I see my beauty and that allows me to show up in the world to do my work.

How about you? Have you struggled with the same issues?

And now for a laugh… watch this parody. Funny stuff.