Summer of Meditation Challenge Week 2: Pernicious Thoughts + My Lunch with a Horse

Repeat after me: the goal of meditation is not to stop the mind from thinking.

Make this your goal and you are sure to fail. (And be mean to yourself along the way.)

It is the nature of the mind to think. We think upwards of 12,000 thoughts a day (that’s 1,000 or more an hour!).

Meditation helps us strengthen our attention muscle so we don’t chase the thoughts like a puppy but instead can stay with ourselves in the present. Which is where we have a choice.

Interestingly, in meditation, thoughts can actually be one of the ways the body is releasing stress.*

A thought in meditation is simply inviting you to into your practice. This is the very moment where you are rewiring your brain to be more resilient by choosing to notice the thought and return consciously to the present moment. There are many tools which bring us back, the breath is one of them.

Try this week’s guided audio meditation to detangle your thinking.

UntangleThoughts_week 2

Building our attention muscle in meditation we are more capable of noticing the painful thoughts as they emerge in daily life and creating a little distance from them. Which is how we grow our sense of freedom + agency in the face of life circumstance. Thoughts often position us as a victim.

Come home to the present and you remind yourself that you have capacities to respond creatively to life.

You are on your own hero’s journey.

What are some of your recurrent painful thoughts?

What are some of the painful thoughts you encounter regularly in your social context? Often people share their painful thoughts with each other without realizing. Rather than drinking in another’s anxiety… could you return to your breath and meet your friend or coworker with compassion even as you choose not to internalize their pain? This is a fresh form of thought leadership.

And Now Choose Your Commitment!

Take a moment right now, a few breaths, close your eyes and feel into your body. What is the right commitment for you?

Could you do this thought dissolving meditation for 10 minutes every day?

Or maybe 3 times a week? Or just once right now?

Share Your Commitment Leave a comment below. What you share may be just the inspiration another needs to hear. Share it with a friend or on social media. (Connect with me on Facebook. And don’t forget to use #summerofmeditationchallenge so I can find + read all about your experience.)

Until next week… where we will have fun with lovingkindness. xo Courtney

PS Read on for details about my recent Soulpreneur retreat and an upcoming group coaching option for Soulpreneurs.

*For more on this theme check out Sarah McClean’s book Soul-Centered.

Soulpreneur

We had such a beautiful gathering of heart-led entrepreneurs out at Shooting Star Ranch this week. Hearing all of the women’s stories about their businesses or dreams of businesses I felt like I used to feel back when I was a doula — each birth a brush with the holy. So too these dreams struck me as sacred and powerful. Women heeding that voice of wisdom which calls them to step out on their own, to create a container through which they can contribute their unique gifts to the world. If you are interested in this conversation please stay tuned about a new Soulpreneur MasterMind (a group coaching package) I’ll be starting next month. So much more to share about that. Details coming.

After the event was over I was cleaning up and sat down to enjoy a late lunch. This beauty ambled up to me and we shared a moment. Each of us chewing and held by the hush of the green forest around us. It was one of those moments where I felt deeply witnessed and grateful to life for its magic.

magic

LaCasita

Summer of Meditation Challenge 2016

Come on in. Feel the fresh and verdant air. Let’s detox your brain and nervous system so new ideas and iterations of you can bloom!

Join 500+ people from around the country who have participated in this free, 8 week online program to start or deepen a regular meditation practice. Enter your email into the box below to receive a weekly email with my favorite guided meditation practices + videos with tips for how to integrate them into real life. The Challenge starts Friday June 17th.

Xo Courtney


Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a popular blog on soulful living. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and MindBody practices as well as supporting other “soulpreneurs,” aka women who want to lead with heart in their work + lives. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

SUMMER OF MEDITATION CHALLENGE 2016 WEEK ONE (Now with videos!)

SummerofMedWeek1

 

To avoid the most common frustration I hear in my meditation class and elsewhere– let’s skip the sit all together today, shall we? No need to force your mind to be empty. Instead, walk.

And try out this delightful, simple, easy practice from Thích Nhất Hạnh, master of mindfulness and all things good:

Oui + Merci.

Listen here.

Oui + Merci_Walking Meditation

On the inhale you say “oui…oui….oui” and the exhale “merci….merci…..merci.”

We say yes to life. And thank you.

But wait doesn’t it have to be harder than this? Um, no.

Actually it turns out that being kind to yourself and treating this meditation project as play is so much more likely to open the space for you to grow into a new routine this summer. So if you need a metric, something to keep an eye on, rather than noticing how many thoughts you have (which are actually evidence of stress leaving your body…more on that next week) — could you instead observe how kind you are to yourself?

How kind are you when you miss a day of meditation? Or aren’t able to do your practice when you planned? Or find yourself distracted and in need of redirection to the mantra and the footstep?

Might you be even kinder to yourself next time?

Kindness is the secret sauce for any kind of inner growth.

And Now Choose Your Commitment!

Meditation reconnects you to your sense of choice and freedom in each moment: freedom to enjoy your life, freedom to be with what is here, freedom to begin again.

Engage your sense of choice as you design your practice this week.

Take a moment right now, a few breaths, close your eyes and feel into your body. What is the right commitment for you?

Could you do this walking meditation for 10 minutes every day?

Or maybe 3 times a week? Or just once right now?

Could you begin to play around with different times of day to see what works best for you?

If you already have a regular sitting practice, perhaps you want to add this in as an evening practice or before you sit?

Share your commitment in a reply to the post. What you share may be just the inspiration another needs to hear. Share it with a friend and on social media (Don’t forget to tag me + use #summerofmeditationchallenge).

Social accountability helps to make it real.

While the gold standard for rewiring your brain with meditation is 30 minutes a day for 8 weeks, the benefits come much sooner and even with smaller doses.

And the best meditation is the one you do. Oui? Oui.

And merci.

Courtney

Summer of Meditation Challenge 2016

Come on in. Feel the fresh and verdant air. Let’s detox your brain and nervous system so new ideas and iterations of you can bloom!

Join 500+ people from around the country who have participated in this free, 8 week online program to start or deepen a regular meditation practice. Enter your email into the box below to receive a weekly email with my favorite guided meditation practices + videos with tips for how to integrate them into real life. The Challenge starts Friday June 17th.

Xo Courtney


Photo Nov 12, 6 14 05 PMCourtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a popular blog on soulful living. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and MindBody practices as well as supporting other “soulpreneurs,” women who want to lead with heart in their work + lives. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

What Connects You to Your SuperPower? (+ My Secret Mantra)

Spiral Labyrinth Bouquet

When my hem is wet and water tricking down my parka and it is round trip # five in the rain to the minivan hauling nature bits for the spiral labyrinth which is our preschool graduation (now moved indoors) I have a little mantra I say to myself:

“I was in the Peace Corps.”

It is my own way of saying “Hey, Corina, you got this!” (Corina is my nickname and what I call myself. A throwback to my time in Nicaragua where “Courtney” comes out “Corny” in the mouths of Spanish-speakers and who wants to be called “Corny” for 27 months? So I rechristened myself…)

And in challenging moments some wiser part of me comes up saying, “Sweety, you forget what you can do. Sure maybe time is tight and you feel a little squeezed on the last day of school and so ready to graduate from preschool yourself after 7 years and 3 little ones. But take a breath. And remember. You hauled your own water. You lived on a volcano. And you loved it. When it wasn’t breaking your heart.

This is no different. This is life. The too-muchness of it all. And you got it. Or rather, it has you.”

My self talk isn’t always so kind. But I am grateful when this better angel of my nature shows up and reminds me to hold my own agenda with a light touch. Otherwise the day will be a blur and I won’t have had that moment to let the shift happen, to really feel into the saying goodbye to one era and hello to another. And that is not the way I want to live, at least not anymore.

So it has me wondering, dear one:

What mantra do you offer yourself to tap into your resiliency? 

How do you remind yourself of what you are capable of?

Maybe your story of discovering resources you didn’t know you had happened closer to home.

Maybe it was in the service of another: a loved one or friend.

Maybe it is happening right now today, as you contemplate a shift in your life or dare to name a transition you desire.

We all need inner touchstones which help us stretch back out to our rightful size.

I would love to hear your resiliency story or mantra in a comment below.

What you share may be just the inspiration another needs to hear!

Love + All the Good,

Courtney

PS Read on for details about the Summer of Meditation Challenge (a free 8 week training program) plus 3 live events I have coming in June. My Soulpreneur Day Retreat is more than half full so grab a spot today if you are interested! Click on each photo for full details + to register. xo Courtney

Summer of Meditation Challenge 2016

Meditation_Workshop

ParentingPotionswTitle

Soulpreneur

You Are Invited: Soulpreneur Day Retreat

Soulpreneur

Working for yourself can be such an adventure. Every day throwing open the window to new opportunities….

Except for the days when you really wish you had someone to talk to over lunch. Or when you work too late to prepare for a workshop or launch an offering on your site and the tea gets cold and no one else is around to see how very hard you hustle. Or when social media feels like a beast you must feed rather than a tool you employ.

Are you a woman entrepreneur who wants to serve others with your services and/or products?

Do you desire to lead from the heart in your biz and life but sometimes find yourself caught either in old workaholic patterns or stuck unable to launch your content out of fear?

Have Facebook and Instagram have become spheres which equally excite and torment you as you notice what others are creating in their lives and businesses (things you can’t help but compare to your own efforts…)?

Or maybe it is all going swimmingly but you could just use a little structure to your flow–  creating the comfort of waking up each day knowing exactly what to focus on, when.

So you can live the freedom that you desire– that core motivation which launched you into business for yourself:

Maybe you want to be present to your children and have a flexible schedule.

Maybe you want to travel and working for yourself opens that door (+ the tax write offs:)

Maybe you want to own your creative license– putting out content you feel great about without having to ask permission.

Or maybe you just woke up one day and realized you couldn’t fit in anyone else’s box anymore. So you created your own box.

And then one day you woke up and realized you didn’t even want to be in your own box anymore.

And instead that you wanted work which nourishes you as much as others.

Work that connects you to your deepest soulful longings and yet feels like play.

I so get it.

And the best medicine I have found for tempering the isolation and complexity of soleprenuer life is to gather with other soulpreneurs aka women who lead with heart in their life and biz and with whom you can share your struggle and draw in support.

So this June 21, a Tuesday, from 9AM-1PM I am hosting a Soulpreneur Day retreat at Shooting Star Ranch, just 20 miles south of downtown Dallas.

Our retreat will include a delish vegetarian, gluten free, and local/organic lunch as well as fresh herbal teas from my garden.

Each participant will also get a copy of The Conquer Kit by Natalie MacNeil, which we will use to guide our time together. So you leave with a real actionable plan for your life + work which is centered in your deepest wisdom and the support of this group.

Enjoy forest bathing, time to relax and a chance to get the big picture on your priorities. When we pause to shine our light first inside, the warmth and glow will naturally spill out into the communities we serve.

Price $97 (includes vegetarian organic/gluten free lunch + your copy of The Conquer Kit).

Space is limited. This will be a small group of women meeting at the intimate La Casita at Shooting Star Ranch so click on the button below and register today! (You can either pay via PayPal or using your credit or debit card.)

xo Courtney

Yes Please!

Photo Oct 01, 12 56 17 PM

Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

Rewild Your Life

OurTrinityRiver

This is not what I’m supposed to be writing. Now “supposed to” when you work for yourself is always subject to change.

The truth is I am much more of a go with the flow person than one who craves structure. But I have learned that creativity thrives with a constraint and thus the benefit of an editorial calendar mapping what I share via my blog. This keeps writing feeling light and not like something I have to do even if I don’t happen to be inspired.

On the Bird calendar today’s post is busting meditation myths to get you ready for the Summer of Meditation Challenge (a free 8 week online training program which starts in June!) And I’m actually super excited about that content which you will see next week but instead I want to share something else today.

So I am.

Lately I’ve been feeling possessed. Is it spring fever? I’m not sure. Hard to wrap words around it but with the turning of the season I am going a little stir crazy and yearning for more of a relationship with the growing things out my window —  that whole world of trees, plants and waterways, what indigenous communities call “the green nation.”

Last year this spring fever impulse fueled many a trip to the farm store and the hauling of animal troughs to convert to planters. I needed more growing space.

TroughPlanter

This year my garden feels nice and full.  Aside from adding flowers and seasonal herbs to freshen it up and helping my husband install a new flagstone pathway through the garden beds (something I have wanted for about 4 years — here I am getting back from a walk on the day our two tons of flagstone were delivered. You can see the stack to my right and the path meandering behind me.)

ContentCourtey

Yet I still feel restless.

So rather than taking on another big outdoor project I’m attempting both to feel this stir of spring energy and slow myself down to actually enjoy, relish even, time outside. 

To help encourage me to savor the outdoors I am doing the #rewildyourlife challenge. At least 30 minutes a day every day. For 30 days. Here are some pictures from this week’s rewilding activities ranging from an outing on Mother’s Day to the Trinity River Audubon Center, lemonbalm tea from my garden, and walks around our neighborhood.

Mudwalk

MothersDay

LemonBalmTea

VintageCarGladiolusLn

I’m curious, are you feeling Spring Fever?  Craft your own ReWildYourLife Challenge. How would you like to enjoy the shifting of the season this year? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear!

Warmly,

Courtney

PS Just two spots left for my Spring Clean Coaching Special (including two bonus sessions from a nutrition coach and a home organizer).  If you have been curious about coaching or feeling an inner nudge to get support in creating work and a life you love– this month is a great time to start! Just grab a free laser coaching session today to talk more. xo

Spring Clean

UPCOMING LIVE EVENTS

ParentingPotionswTitle

Parenting Potions is Back! Just in time for Summer join me at our local Oil & Cotton Creative Exchange for a popular class to help you find more freedom and choice in your parenting role + other relationships. Plus you will make and take three roller balls with essential oil potions to help you reset when pressure builds. I’m offering two times: come in the morning for tea (or grab a delish coffee at Davis Street Coffee Roasters next door) or join me for the evening class and enjoy wine and adult conversation. Full details + link to register below.

June 11 or June 18 Parenting Potions

$35.00

Saturday, June 11, 6-8pm or June 18, 10-12pm
Location: 817 W. Davis #110 Street

What is Your Parenting Personality? Do you lead (and filter) primarily with your head, heart, or gut center? Do you tend to lean into conflict? Or need time to retreat to regain your center? Utilizing a powerful tool called the Enneagram you can recognize your own dominant personality pattern and “de-velcro” from habitual approaches to life to instead find more freedom & choice in parenting and all relationships. Join Courtney to learn more about this dynamic tool + create three aromatherapy blends (in convenient roller bottles for easy application) to balance your mood and help you ground, open your heart, and clarify your mind. (Participants will receive a written guide with specific tips and practices plus the three roller balls with a choice of aromatherapy blends, and a carrier bag.)

*There are two class time options for this class. The June 11 evening class will include wine, you are welcome to contribute more drinks and snacks. The June 18 morning class will include tea, again you are welcome to bring snacks.

*Bring a friend and receive a 10% discount. If you’d like to bring a group please call or email for discounted rates.

Register Today

Also, the Summer of Meditation Challenge is Coming (a free 8 week online training program.) This year I will be adding brief videos to each week! Stay tuned for more details … the training will start in June.

Photo Oct 01, 12 56 17 PM

Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

Diggin’ this content? Sign up for weekly inspiration sent straight to your inbox!

  

Shine_Series

This Spring I’m writing on the 4 key myths I had to burn through before I was ready to really own my own juiciest goals. If you have a juicy goal I hope this series might help you clear out any inner obstacles so the goal can go from “out there” to “right here + totally possible.” xo Courtney

Myth #1: To Be Spiritually Awake Requires You to Stay Small

Myth #2: When You Are in the Flow Nothing Will Ever Go Wrong

Myth #3: Reaching Big Goals Requires You to Work Your *ss Off

Myth #4: It is All Highly Personal

Two of My Favorite Teachers + Austin Delights

Marion+Terry

When I find myself in rooms with wise people I always wonder the same questions:

Does what you do on the outside match who you are on the inside?

And more… are you happy?

Not in a fleeting way but in a deep, wholehearted way?

I have this thing about teachers. I am always hungry for a mentor.

Which drives me to attend many a lecture, meditation workshop, and conference. I’ve heard esteemed lamas, spiritual masters and prolific authors speak.

And often the answer to these questions would seem to be yes. In fact the more I move up the teacher food chain, the more irreverent and playful they become.

But other times I sense a dissonance — like maybe they are playing a part or have developed their intuition or spiritual dimensions at a cost to their bodies. And other times I simply feel an awareness that this teacher is not for me.

Discernment of our guides is a vital part of the growth process.

And in this season of my life I am clear that I’m not looking for a guru.

Or someone to mold me into them (been there).

I’m looking for teachers who are authentic.

Who help me be more of myself.

And who show me how to live with my weaknesses, vulnerabilities and honesty as part of the package.

I just got back from an immersion in the Enneagram + Body Wisdom this weekend in Austin. (The Enneagram = an ancient personality map and one of my favorite tools for transformative inner work.) The photo above shows me with two of the most gifted Enneagram teachers I know of, Marion Gilbert and Terry Saracino, who led the training.

We meditated. We did energy and body movements. We heard from panels of people sharing their experience of their personality type. We received live coaching from Marion and Terry to aid in identifying how our personality habits live as neural pathways or tracks in the body as well as how to soften and work with these habits.

And after hours and hours of all the above plus other trainings I can say with full clarity:

These ladies are the real deal.

I don’t hold them on a pedestal. I know they are full human beings with lives and relationships most of which I know little about.

But they are masters at holding space.

Space where I am equipped with fresh tools for how to work with the wisdom of my body rather than “pushing the spiritual bypass button” and somehow pretending that the signals and symptoms from my tissues are not intimately related to my life and path.

Space to connect with other people at various ages and stages who are also committed to this work in their lives.

And space to sit on a panel and share a piece of my story during which my chest began to vibrate. This happened at a previous training where I learned that shaking is evidence of the body releasing old or stored energy. My heart took advantage of that moment with the field of kindness in the room and Marion’s guidance to do some serious thawing. (I had gotten caught in a “freeze response” i.e. numbing my heart space as a way of coping with the intensity of the sensations. This tracks with my personality type (3) and is one example of how our type lives in our tissues. Other types are more likely to get caught in a fight or flight response. See… I told you this stuff is interesting.)

Now over to you… have you had teachers who inspired you?  

Who helped you grow into you rather than molding you into them?

I’d love to hear in a comment below. Warmly, Courtney

PS I know not everyone is as into the Enneagram as I am or has the time and resources to sit in a room with these beloveds. Which is one of the challenges which lights me up: how to make complex spiritual tools, like the Enneagram and meditation, accessible in everyday life for busy people. Because none of us is meant to do this awareness work alone. So if you could use some custom support or would like help identifying or working with your personality type, I have two more spots open for my Spring Clean coaching package this month. Reply to this email with questions or if you are ready to get started!

Below I share a few more pics of Austin beauty. For the fun.

Also, the Summer of Meditation Challenge is coming (a free 8 week online training program.) This year I will be adding brief videos to each week! Stay tuned for more details … the training will start in June. xxo

Spring Clean

ColoradoRiver_Austin

AustinCactus

AustinStairs

Also, the Summer of Meditation Challenge is Coming (a free 8 week online training program.) This year I will be adding brief videos to each week! Stay tuned for more details … the training will start in June.

Photo Oct 01, 12 56 17 PM

Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

Diggin’ this content? Sign up for weekly inspiration sent straight to your inbox!

  

Shine_Series

This Spring I’m writing on the 4 key myths I had to burn through before I was ready to really own my own juiciest goals. If you have a juicy goal I hope this series might help you clear out any inner obstacles so the goal can go from “out there” to “right here + totally possible.” xo Courtney

Myth #1: To Be Spiritually Awake Requires You to Stay Small

Myth #2: When You Are in the Flow Nothing Will Ever Go Wrong

Myth #3: Reaching Big Goals Requires You to Work Your *ss Off

Myth #4: It is All Highly Personal

Myth #4: It is Highly Personal

Shine_Series

Repeat after me: it is all just data.

This is one of my new favorite mantras. Something I learn from my husband who is a data coach among his other talents, helping nonprofit leaders make informed choices.

Richie tutors me in the art of detachment. This is a lesson he offers not because he is trying to teach it to anyone, but it is simply one of his natural abilities for navigating life. (We all have different inherent skills, a lot depending on our Ennea type.)

In his work and also personal interactions my husband can sit back and see the whole picture.

In contrast, I have a teeny habit of taking things highly personally.

This is the flip side of being sensitive: the cosmic backwash of being so open to other people and the pains of the world.

Yet, here is the truth.

It is really not all about me. (or you)

And the more I remember to take a deep breath, to drop into my heart space, and share my work as an offering (knowing it is not for everyone) the more freedom I discover.

This is especially vital breathing room when I am stretching toward a juicy goal (like hosting live events in nature-rich locations).

Observing feedback from a more detached place is helpful in entrepreneurial life but truthfully it is a good practice for creative and clever people of all stripes.

Just remember: The feedback doesn’t quantify your value.

And far from making you more armored or shut off from your intuition, taking this spacious view actually allows you to integrate and learn from the constructive comments. And to let the rest go.

Tara Mohr calls this unhooking from praise and criticism.

In stretch times and everyday I try to remember that there is a natural cadence between action and surrender, between doing the work that is mine to do and releasing the rest.

This is the resiliency rhythm and it is so vital for approaching our big goals.

Stepping back from that habit of taking feedback so personally is one tool which frees you up to live in this way.

So this week I hope you will repeat your new mantra, it is all just data, whenever you encounter a challenge. And keep me posted on how it goes!

Now over to you:

How do you handle feedback? What helps you take what is useful and still keep your juicy goal in focus?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment over on the blog.

Warmly, Courtney

PS The Summer of Meditation Challenge is Coming (a free 8 week online training program.) Look for more details next week. xo

Spring Clean

Photo Oct 01, 12 56 17 PM

Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

Diggin’ this content? Sign up for weekly inspiration sent straight to your inbox!

  

 

This Spring I’m writing on the 4 key myths I had to burn through before I was ready to really own my own juiciest goals. If you have a juicy goal I hope this series might help you clear out any inner obstacles so the goal can go from “out there” to “right here + totally possible.” xo Courtney

Myth #1: To Be Spiritually Awake Requires You to Stay Small

Myth #2: When You Are in the Flow Nothing Will Ever Go Wrong

Myth #3: Reaching Big Goals Requires You to Work Your *ss Off

Myth #4: It is All Highly Personal

The Most Important Moment in Your Change Process (is not what you think!)

Reset

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself recently. I’m on a sugar free diet, recommended by my chiropractor/Chinese herbalist. And for the month of March and early April I was fiercely adhering to the practices:

One serving of grain at one meal a day

One fruit a day

Apple cider vinegar after every meal

Probiotics

And no chocolate or alcohol. I know. I know.

Reduced caffeine (Well, eliminating caffeine is actually the recommended practice. I’ve gone off coffee and reduced from two cups of green tea to one cup. But at this point I seem unable to peel my fingers off that final cup…)

And it started working! I kept reporting delighted updates to my husband, who is used to my holistic health explorations:

I have more energy!

I am having fewer headaches!

I feel more resilient, like I can handle more stress in my system without getting sick!

And then I came home from my New Mexico retreat and was so happy at how lovely the whole thing was that I promptly started eating lots of chocolate. And double servings of my husband’s really good French toast (with powdered sugar). And he actually makes delicious grilled cheese as well so I had some of that one night too. Oh and the kids had s’mores camping while I was away. I have a weak spot for marshmallows so downed some of those leftovers from the bag in the pantry as well.

(Thinking: “Hey! My immune system is doing so well now and I have this big work project behind me so lets see if I can slide for a bit…”)

You see where this is headed.

Then I even shared a cider with my man and got all hot and bothered watching the presidential debates (you know I love democracy. Even when it is ugly).

This partial sugar reduction worked for a while (hey, I was still probably eating less than usual!) Until it didn’t. And my body started giving me little nudges.

First some headaches.

Then fatigue linked up with me.

Finally a really bad headache. (I hate it when I wake up with them. It just seems supremely unfair.)

I tried half-heartedly to “reset” a few times but it took the big headache/sick day to wake me up.

So Monday I took the day off to rest and recover. I sat in a detoxifying bath (2 cups of Epsom Salts plus my current fav essential oils: Geranium (which nourishes the heart, reduces inflammation and makes you happy) and Frankincense (grounding + good for skin.)

While in the tub I engaged in a tapathon. And as I tapped (tapping = a form of acupressure) on the headache and other symptoms to help reduce the pain, (which it did! From like a 5 to a 2 on a 10 point scale!) other phrases popped up.

This is called a tapping tree. You start with whatever issue is presenting itself – the strong physical or emotional symptom and then you go from there.

And as these other phrases emerged I realized I was hung up on how I had fallen off the sugar-free wagon.

I had to forgive myself. I had to love that part of myself that was struggling with the sugar cleanse (as much as I do really want to kill that extra Candida.)

The other thing which helped me reset with kindness is to up the yummy factor on the food I can eat. Hence the featured omelet made with farm fresh-red spring onions from our CSA which just started this week. It is filled with dollops of oniony cream cheese and sprinkled with pink Himalayan sea salt. It was seriously good. (Why is it resting on a bed of Mexican heather you may ask? Just for the pretty. I like to eat in the garden and plopped it there to snap the pic.)

In my work with coaching clients and in my own journey I have come to recognize that one moment is the most critical in any transformational process:

It is not the starting.

It is not the celebrating what you achieve.

Though those are super vital bookends to the change.

It is the midstream reset which will make or break your transition.

So…

When your best intentions have been carried downstream.

How do you create an island so you can stop your drifting and refocus?

The only way I know to do it is to acknowledge that part of you which is struggling, sabotaging or otherwise disrupting your better intentions and welcome it back home with kindness.

Tapping on the monologue (for why you are lame for failing to implement your goals) also helps defuse the situation.

For example:

Maybe you think you are weak for not being able to make the change.

Or maybe you tell yourself a story about how you are—and how you always trip over the same things and won’t ever be able to live into these new habits…

Whatever it is. Find your compassionate inner observer. It is your ally. Observe those thoughts and judgements and tap on them.

And then. When it starts to feel true: Connect to that part of yourself that wants to start over.

Remember it doesn’t matter how many times you get carried away. It matters that you are kind to yourself. And that you begin again.

Social accountability is a helpful way to seal in the new commitment as well. So telling a friend or a coach is a great way to resource yourself. If other people know about your commitment, and better yet ask you about it, it helps keep your goal in focus.

Now over to you—When you hit a roadblock in your change process how do you usually respond? And what helps you reset?

I’d love to hear your experiences in a comment over on the blog.What you share may be one tip or experience that someone else really needs to hear.

Love + All the Good,

Courtney

PS I was so grateful to find my new Acupuncturist (who seemed to get my body and what it needed) that I almost cried. It is such a reminder that we cannot diagnose and cure our own challenges all the time! We need people outside our heads who have fresh tools and who can take complex issues (and options for responding to them) and break them down into simple practices to implement, day by day. This is where coaching shines. It is one of the many reasons I love to work in this field and support women who are changing the world, starting from the inside out.

Could you use some compassionate targeted support? I have one more spot for my Spring Clean Coaching Special to start this month and would love to talk to you, sister. Lets’ do this! Reply to this email with any questions + let’s get started! Xo Courtney

Spring Clean

SPRING CLEAN COACHING BONUSES
1. Your copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. 2. Organizing session + followup with Alison from OldSpaceNewSpace to help you problem-solve that part of your house which breeds clutter. 3. Coaching session with Melissa, health + fitness coach from Enduralife, plus her favorite recipes to help you detox your body through high quality nutrition. 4. The Living Space Tool by Martha Beck. Using this framework we will explore the area of least satisfaction in your home + identify how that space is similar to other aspects of your life. Plus concrete steps to to make it better!
These bonuses are all in addition to the regular elements of my 6 or 10 session Bird in Hand Coaching Package.
Glamping

Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

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What Happiness Looks Like + Fav Pics from New Mexico

Courtney at Casa del Sol
Looking at the mountains out my window, Casa del Sol, Ghost Ranch. Photo by Katie Wise.

I feel like I slayed a dragon.

Well three small inner demons which together created a full scale dragon as I prepared to lead the MindBodySpirit Leadership Retreat for Women last week in New Mexico.

The first demon: What if no one comes?

Then, as registrations came in + kept coming (we filled Casa del Sol to the brim!) demon number two popped up:

What if the participants aren’t as into all this material as I am? AKA What if they don’t like the retreat or worse…. me?

And lastly, what if I have a body breakdown? What if it is all going swimmingly but I get sick or otherwise can’t teach?

On the other side of the stretch I can report that the space which all those questions occupied in my psyche leading up to the event has now been filled with gratitude.

Gratitude for the kick*ss women who came spanning 4 corners of the country and 4 decades. Here they are learning tapping (or acupressure.) One of my favorite MindBody techniques.

Tapping_CasadelSol

Gratitude to Georgia O’Keeffe for making soulful art which invites pilgrims of beauty to this place.

Gratitude for the mountains and sky which welcomed us there and made us supple for the explorations and relationships at hand.

Casa Front Door

Gratitude to my body for converting kale salad and delicious views into the health and presence of mind I needed to teach. Not only did I not get sick I felt full of energy. I have heard this described as “primary food” — that joie de vivre which nourishes us when we are engaged in activities we love.

BestKaleSalad

And gratitude to Katie, my hospitality goddess and back-agenda creatrix who kept us all cozy and knowing we had returned from hikes, and who took such good care of me she literally got me a scoop of nut butter and a spoon when I got so excited setting up for our evening session one night I forgot to eat.

Irreplaceable Katie Wise

Much more to say but I haven’t fully landed to wrap all the words around which could be wrapped.

But I am happy to report that I took two whole days off to rest upon my return. Those who know me well can affirm this is serious progress! And I enjoyed a favorite meal — sushi and kombucha — with Richie and the kids to celebrate our reunion. (Well, sushi is not my children’s favorite food. They got a gluten free frozen pizza.) But for all of us it felt good to pause rather than just plowing back into regular life.

Casa Arch

This MindBodySpirit gathering was a serious reaffirmation of the power in coming together at beautiful, nature-rich destinations for transformational work. So you can look for more from me on that front including the possibility of a MindBodySpirit Master Class (including the Enneagram) next year at Ghost Ranch. Also the idea of hosting a retreat at the Nicaraguan tree house re-emerged as well… because this wasn’t enough of a stretch now I need to think about international live events:) But seriously, let me know if you want to be on the short list for either gathering and I’ll keep you updated!

Warmly,
Courtney
PS If you could use a hit of that New Mexico spaciousness into your real life and schedule, consider my Spring Clean Coaching Special. I have one more spot for April and 3 more opening up in May. Reach out to me at cp@courtneypinkerton.com with any questions + let’s get started!

Spring Clean

You can read all about my current Spring Clean Coaching Package and fun bonuses here. xo Courtney

Glamping

Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

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Could Your Weak Link Really Be Your Strong Spot? (Try this New Guided Meditation)

Casa del Sol Courtyard
Casa del Sol Courtyard, Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

Laying on the table with a needle sticking out of the middle of my forehead and another out of my crown, I was in no position to argue. So when my acupuncturist asked me if I would like to try some cognitive behavioral tools during my session, I agreed.  (Truthfully I am a self-help junkie I would have said yes anyway, even without the needles.)

Knowing about my upcoming retreat in New Mexico (and that my excitement/stress were building) he suggested that I try saying to myself a positive mantra. Something like: “I’m doing my part to prepare. The rest is up to God, Karma, the Universe.”

Ah. I said. It is true– I am preparing. I have been printing up a storm this week as I gather all the various MindBody tools I’ll be sharing. Below Beatrix is supervising my progress. And I have had fun working with my colleague Katie, who is assisting me on the retreat, to create our “backdoor agenda” of all the things we need to do to behind the scenes to support the flow of the gathering and the care of the participants.

Beatrix Supervises My Process
Here Beatrix supervises my process of printing acupressure points.

So that part of the mantra felt good. I know I can trust myself to prepare. But releasing the rest?!

Well, that is when I remembered I am a control freak. I have known this for a while, but I forget until my anxiety skyrockets and then I realize, oh wait! I’m trying to hold responsibility for the whole dang thing. For other people’s lived experiences. For the weather and the airports and many other things that are beyond my grasp. And this holding is overloading my circuits.

Sometimes instead of doing my part and releasing the rest, I turn on my body (traitor!) if it shows any sign of strain. I can even go so far as to blame the symptomatic part of me, headache, whatever. For causing the problem. And slowing me down.

If this sounds familiar I have created a custom meditation just for you/me to help us reorient our attention to our “weak link.”

It takes 10 minutes. I hope you will try it today. And make that choice to befriend your body and see it as your vehicle, your ally, your partner through life. Not your foe.

WeakLink (mp3 file for download)

The irony of the fact that I’m teaching on MindBody tools and have needed to employ all my tricks this week (visiting my chiropractor, acupuncturist and wearing my diffuser necklace nonstop with yummy anxiety-calming smells) has not been lost of me. This is why I love coaching as a field. It is all about authenticity. “Living it to give it.” Martha Beck calls this your original medicine. It is what you offer first to yourself (because you need it) and then share with others.

If you could use some one on one support this Spring in managing stress, supporting yourself with MindBody tools, or cleaning your “inner house” of some of that self-criticism, check out my Spring Cleaning Coaching Package with fresh bonuses + set up your complementary laser coaching session to talk more!

xo Courtney

Spring Clean

Glamping

Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at cp@courtneypinkerton.com.

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Holistic Life Coaching for Lovers, Creators & Social Innovators